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The fact is that the Turkey earthquake is grotesque - poignant, appalling, devastating. News of ill-built houses, excessive dust indicative of poor quality concrete, and lingering lives - for days somehow living amidst the desolation before being unearthed and rescued, are alike filled with the gruesome and the hopeful. Somehow, some people lived through the interstices of this thing.
As we see the bodies, just living
after so long with so much rubble or ruin above them and so little in them,
carried on stretchers to the completion of their rescue, many thoughts
First, there come to mind, the big three: FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE. Today, it is HOPE which grips one in the midst of so much tragedy. It is also FAITH, through what it warns, and love through what is needed. No, the three today are not Communism, Roman Catholicism*1 and the Moslem religion; nor Russia, the USA and England (and how long past this sort of nomenclature now seems, how quickly the scene changes since the end of World War II, which seems but last month). Far better and far more needed are these indispensable ingredients. It is indeed true that without love there is no salvation, without faith there is no salvation, and there is no salvation which does not include hope (cf. I Cor. 13:13,1, Hebrews 11:6, Romans 5:1-12, Titus 2:13*2).
HOPE is a wonderful thing. It is not so wonderful when it is merely a looking ahead with brave heart, strong arm and careful planning, though this is better than much that occurs! THAT can be dashed, however brave and resolute ... by an earthquake in 10 seconds! However in terms of what endures, HOPE is ALLIED to and PARTNER of FAITH, as Paul declares in I Cor. 13:13.
What IS faith ? Turning to Hebrews 11:1, we find definition. A careful rendering is as follows, with due regard to the scope of meaning in the Greek terms used:
FAITH then is not a feeling, an opinion or a preference; it is so far removed from optimism as to be more related to that realism which faces facts. It has nevertheless a better than optimistic basis for its "HOPE", which is total and absolute, which is specific and covenantal, which is what God promises, both now and later. By faith, one is saved, for one receives that justification as a past and finished fact which Christ gives by virtue of His atoning death. By this, in His righteous perfection, He purchased eternal redemption, having perfected or completed for ever the sanctification of those called, by it (Romans 5:1-11, 8:29ff., Hebrews 9:12-15, 10:10-14), so becoming an immovable anchor, in the very presence of the Father, having there carried our names by His salvation (I John 3), just as He bore for Christians, our sins by His death as righteous, vicariously (Hebrews 6:18-20, Revelation 20:15, John 10:8,27-28, Ephesians 1:4,11-14, I Thessalonians 5:9-10).
LOVE is a medium, movement, reality, approach, attitude in spirit, akin to God and from Him. It is superbly expressed in I Cor. 13. It is indispensable, so that loveless Christian is a contradiction in terms, like totalitarian democrat. It is NOT the same as affection, which can be inordinate, idolatrous and without understanding. As to love: its hope is founded in reality, comes from it and moves to it. There IS salvation available in this world, so love has hope; there is none without faith, so if love comes, it comes by faith, so that these two are inseparable. With hope, they make three. You see the force of it starkly in Titus 2:9, which is considered in *2 below.
FAITH then, as to those who are Christians, we are looking for HIS
appearing, knowing it will be like everything else God says in blessing
and determination. It will be personal (Acts
1:11) and involve both rescue (Matthew 24:39ff.) and the considerations
of impending judgment (II Thessalonians 2, Revelation 19). There
will be shown His grand majesty on earth (Revelation
20, Habakkuk 3:14, cf. Repent or
Perish 6, pp. 128ff.,
Biblical Workman 1 , esp.
Excursion at End-note 3;
p. 20; Appendix on Faith,
pp. 165-172; SMR pp. 506ff.
That Magnificent Rock Ch. 4, Allegory 7;
Blessings 3, pp. 43,
SMR Appendix A; Scope
of the Universe 45; Joyful
Jottings18; BEN 70
THAT BLESSED HOPE
There too will come with His glory, His new heaven and earth in its time. There will be reunion with just those who are His of all ages and times (I Thess.4:13ff.), and our longing for them appreciation of them and desire are all related to the fact that our personalities are His construction, who, being timeless and able to make the passage of events to be a matter of survey or items, or other as He wills, has put such love in our hearts as is in His own, though His is glorious and perfect. "That BLESSED HOPE" is nothing less then, as Titus shows, than the certainty of faith that the development, not evolutionary or revolutionary, but consummatory, the completion of all things will be no less by plan that is our DNA, and as prophetically indicated, our history.
And as to THAT development, it centres in the Christ, the Lamb of God of whom we sing with those in Revelation - "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing... Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever" (from Rev. 5:12-13).
HOPE which sure, steadfast, immovable, assured and grounded in reality
(I Cor. 15:51-58), is that blessed one, therefore, is this: that
in Jesus the Christ, and Him personally as faithful operator, divine regent
and glorious Lord, does look, not with quivering uncertainty, but with
settled expectation, as those who attended when children a motion picture
and awaited, after the preliminaries, the picture.
DIRECTIONS AND DESTINY
it is more than this. For that, it could conceivably fail, though it is
eminently unlikely that it should; but here, that outcome is not even conceivable.
More certain than logic, than feeling, than evidence, it is nevertheless
backed unequivocally and decisively by all of these; and in faith, which
has its own intercourse, its certainty is consummated. What BLESSED HOPE
it is, to await the coming of the King who is the author not only of the
faith (Hebrews 12:1) and indeed of faith itself, but of the universe
being the maker of all that is made, Himself unmade (John 8:58).
How wonderful that God in whose power is the earth, has placed upon it what is past all tremors and turmoil of flesh and stage, the book of truth, the Son of His love, the salvation which endures, though heaven itself and earth, and not merely some part of the stage, should remove altogether.
Actually, it will (Matthew 24:35). God who made it is not bound to His toys, His universe, His handicraft, tapestry; nor for that matter are we. It is in Him that we look in a hope which has certainty in it, like steel in a covered rod, for the continuation of communication and the consummation of blessing in individuality and new personal domains, our bodies, in His presence (cf. II Cor. 5:1ff., Revelation 3:12, 2:17, John 14:1-10, 10:27-28). He knows what He is doing and will GATHER ALL THINGS IN ONE IN CHRIST (Ephesians 1:10).
There is ONE language in our physiological
programs, ONE message in the Bible, ONE Saviour and ONE Lord and ONE destiny
for those who are His, and another for those who reject His mercies (cf.
Ephsians 4:4-6, 1:10, Mark 9).
Turkey's calamity has reminded us that not Turkey only, but all the world is to become open to things so destabilising (cf. Revelation 9:10ff., Matthew 24:7ff., 21ff.) that the settled order of things, contrived and created for a purpose, will be successively interpolated with rebukes, reminiscent of the initial curse (cf. Beyond the Curse, Biblical Blessings Ch.7, and News 74-75 above). Indeed, the removal of sadly depleted surviors from amongst the ruins, some even living, most seemingly gravely harassed and denuded, reminds one of a peculair oddity of this Age.
And that ? People who stay in destroyed denominations, where the Bible no longer rules, either with the concessions of parts to liberalism or the addition of parts for traditionalism, by absolutely required Confessions or pope or both, are like those on whom the ruins fell. In their case, however, the misfortune is voluntary, and the partnership with devastation is wilful.
Buried in the debris, with any survival
spiritually verging on the miraculous, any removal is likely to be at enormous
cost to well-being and strength. Many seem to think that to ignore Titus
3:10, Romans 16:17 (cf. Separation
in A Spiritual Potpourri Ch.7) and the many similar directives,
instead of being rank disobedience to Him whom they call ‘Lord’ (cf. Luke
6:46) is some sort of nobility, like that of a captain staying on
his ship, to go down with it. A Captain however is ALONE in such a case!
Christians are to be active in Christ, not willing participants in a doomed
The solution to sin in the mass, in the maze, in the habit or the environment, it is all one: breakage with it is through repentance and faith in the living God in the name of the physically resurrected Christ, whose spiritual power is felt in a renewed life (Ephesians 1:19, cf. That Magnificent Rock, Chs. 2-3, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.10, Part I), where obedience is not a mere option (Acts 5:31-32), but rather an overpowering and delighted desire. It is to unity and friendship with One who is the Maker, the Judge and the Sacrifice.
This remedy is on the grand scale, like the 'problem': the latter categorically and generically traceable to sin, the former to victory over it and its penalties
It is at least delightful that one has so much to offer where the wonder is here, and here to stay, in whatever universe and creation the Lord sees fit to construct. One everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14:6) will always ring, one almighty God always present (Psalm 90:2, Malachi 3:6, Isaiah 43:10-12, Revelation 11:15), one Lord of glory for ever praised (Revelation 5:9ff., Galatians 1:6ff., Daniel 7:13-14), in a purity sublime and eternal, amongst those whose names are already written in the book of life, whose inheritance is ineradicable, not fading away, reserved in heaven (cf. I Peter 1:3-5, Romans 8:29ff., II Cor. 4:16ff., Ephesians 1:4,11, I Thess.5:9-10, Daniel 12:13, Job 19:25ff.).
The Mysteries of Man May be Solved,
but ONLY through the Clarities of God
(cf. SMR pp. 582ff.)
It is a strange mystery how Rome calls its religion Roman Catholicism. It is not catholic - which means universal - precisely because it is Roman. Thus it was that one of the early bishops
(thought of in this religion as 'popes', a word which appears to have an etymological base of what is equivalent to 'daddy' - as we learn from this discipline - "BloomsburyDictionary of Word Origins", Ayto, 1990, p. 404),had a strong word to deliver on this topic. This was none other than the blessed 'Pope' (but really, simply Bishop Gregory I of Rome), who himself correctly deemed it a work of antichrist to elevate the bishop of Rome above his 'brethren' (cf. SMR p. 914). After all, Christ was against it ... too (Matthew 23:8-10)! Neither 'father' nor 'master' could any Christian be called spiritually, since this EVICTED JESUS CHRIST FROM HIS PLACE, indeed both He and His Father were thus shown disrespect. There is NO PERMISSION to do such a thing; there is a PROHIBITION against it, and the reason is twofold:
It is no small matter, and just as Jesus rebuked His disciples for their incorrect preoccupation and they heeded, so this religion is NOT rebuked (in that it does not heed) in this respect, but insists on a man being great among them, even daddy, with many 'fathers' all forbidden in name and essence! Indeed, it has reached to the point where the papal claims have come to the skies, the pope being defined as God Almighty on earth ... (cf. SMR pp. 915-916 - indeed at the coronation this was said of the pope: "greater than man; who judges all, but is judged by none" - a folly unspeakable and direct assault on the unitary pre-eminence of God, John 5:22-24)
Thus man the papacy takes the self-appointed role of man as God; whereas Christ is emphatically God-as-man, an INFINITELY superior position, and the ONLY permitted focus for saving faith. (See Galatians 6:14, I Timothy 3:16, I Cor. 3:10-11, Colossians 3:17, 1:16-23, Philippians 2. Consult also I Timothy 2:4-6. What here are we advised ? This: of mediatorship between God and mankind, there is ONE authorised, as surely as there is one Father; and two into one won't go! In fact, it reads literally: one for God, one and mediator - stressing by the position of the ‘one’ in a characteristic Greek style, the compelling singularity of the reality made manifest. Here is one case where to add to the word of God is not merely automatically condemned as in Proverbs 30:6, but adds to the declared inter-relationship between God and His Son who gave Himself, as mediator for mankind. It is therefore a foundational heresy of the first order. It is a God creating or desecrating action, or both! Its blasphemy cannot be contained.
Exclusivistically and explicitly
God on high and Christ His sent, sinless Son
(I Peter 2:21-25, Isaiah 48:16) are one, God and His word being One - as in John 1:1, 10:30, 5:19-23, 8:58, Colossians 1:19ff.. The work of salvation is as limited to Christ only as is the work of mediatorial inter-relation. The two realms, God and man, have no other connection. In fact, as to salvation itself, it is this topic and task itself, which precedes the declaration on the unitary mediatorship of Christ, with the word "for". Thus: "who would have all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men." It is this fact therefore which is the operating reality for salvation (cf. Acts 4:11-12), just as it is the intrinsic fact in the trinity: God the operator and God the operating, the Speaker, the Spoken, the Father, the Word.
In mediatorship ? ONE, in salvation, no other name (Acts 4:11). HOW does He mediate ? In providing salvation, offering Himself a ransom for sin, constituting the propitiation, first and last (Hebrews 10:10-14). Is it some reconstructed Mary (‘the only hope of sinners’ is one designation from Rome), or some nominated pope, or some elders of Mormon additive activities, derogating Christ and honouring someone else, or is it some new prophet who has the new way for the new age, and is an ‘interpreter’ of Christ ? It is all one. It is contrary to requirement, requisition, an imposition on the exposition of God by Jesus Christ, His express image and the brightness of His glory (Hebrews 1:3).
It always rather amazes this writer than anyone could possible seek to operate in that sphere, at that level, for it is not only wrong, but infinitely so (I Timothy 6:16). Another Jesus than the one Paul had already preached is scripturally a servant of Satan (II Cor. 11). THAT is the view of the apostle, that master builder of the church, whose declarations are Biblically the commands of Christ (I Cor. 14:27, I Cor. 2:9-13).
God has spelled out what the case is, here.
Any other approach constitutes a revision of the mind of God, making His word of no effect through the tradition of men, an act actively abominated by Christ (Mark 7:7). Anyone who mediates (Greek - mesiths, I Timothy 2:5) is a mediator and if operative as such in this field, therefore, is a false Christ, or else in this is one acting as a servant of the same. A thing actively abominated!
What is it like ? It is like a doctor having an ‘assistant’ medic who actively adds the wrong chemicals to his prescription, which is for a most deadly disease, curable only by the utmost purity in dispensing the drug, one developed at prodigious cost.
here, in this realm and role, by one who was not born as Jesus Christ,
brings active disrelish from Christ, and condemnation as on someone who
with presumption makes empty, vain, useless the gospel! If that is satisfactory,
then it is clear that it is not to the Biblically responsive servants of
Christ. Indeed, WHO was the bearer of this condemnation as much as the
Pharisees (Matthew 23), and of them Christ’s words are a very splendour
of judgment, as may be readily be read. He ? He does not change.
Titus 2:13-14 is exquisitely rendered in the New King James Version. In the AV it has: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us. .." This is ambiguous, whereas the underlying Greek from which the translation is made, is not. The NKJV has :"our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ".
It is actually, literally: "awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and saviour of us Jesus Christ." It is the great God of us and our Saviour. There is ONE 'the' only. It is as if to say: appearing of the [great God and Saviour of us]. It is NOT written, 'the great God and the Saviour of us', then, but as shown. He who was in the form of God (Philippians 2) is returning in His own eternal life (Hebrews 7:17, I John 1:1-4, Colossians 1:15,19, John 5:22-23), expressly the EQUAL in honour to His Father (John 5:23).
THIS is by His Father's own desire;
it is the will of Him, who, for His part will not allow ANYONE to gain
HIS glory (Isaiah 42:8), since the infinite majesty of Him who "dwells
in light which no man can approach to" ( I
Timothy 6:16) is neither for sale or for rapacity, cannot like ancient
Egyptian artefacts be exported whether to Britain or to Rome, is sui
generis, incapable of being swallowed
by the finite, but rather the light which lights every man, thought the
darkness of sin would extinguish it, and seeks for its own those whose
populace will be that of hell (John 1:5, 3:19-36). It is neither pope nor
prophet, JW nor angel Moroni who is pre-eminent, leader, guide, commander
(Isaiah 54:6), our way and witness, but Jesus Christ (John 14:6).