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We have seen how our 'materials' in this case, provide power to resolve philosophic and allied problems; we now see how they comprise a cohesive teaching, and convey a perspective that baulks at nothing and swallows all before it.
To expose these aspects, we shall pursue the following schedule:
1. We survey an introductory conspectus of teaching, drawn from the Christian Bible.
2. We look at a composition of components regarding the approach to and nature of the end of this Age, of this world scene indeed, as currently constituted . This is a topic naturally yet more pressing to unbelievers, as environmentally, militarily and popularly it casts its shadow before. What then may be said to summarise Biblical treatment of eschatological times - of the way it... ends?
3. In order to disperse illusion and confusion, it is now time to ask of the Bible - what is a Christian ? Inadequate, or inaccurate concepts of what is involved, may mar thought and provoke the penalties of imprecision in any systematic understanding. What does it mean... to be a Christian ?
4. Facing the trinity. The Christ who saves: He is divinity, not divinity fudge...
5. In particular, how does salvation relate to creation ? Are they merely ideas in parallel, or is there any correlation ? Can we Biblically divorce the concepts at will, or are they mutually involved ? We need to see the force of what is there, and so avoid unreal options in considering the matter.
6. Biblical perspective on rest. We consider: Resting in the redemption that re-creates, in Christ. We are alive; what does it teach on living ?
7. What about the Bible on missions ? Is there a clear teaching about it, an orientation ? How should it be viewed ? Does the Biblical mandate for missions, contravene or express the character of God revealed in the Bible ? Whether we are to be delighted or offended by the matter, we need to be accurate, and to take due note of the character and cohesion of concepts involved in the Great Commission, to take the gospel to all the nations on earth.
8. Biblical perspective on growth. What is the upward call ? Resting in spirit, in Christ, does not imply failing in the dynamics of growth, or in the passion for spiritual fulfilment of His desire, the wonder of adventure in His spiritual pastures; nor do missions exclude others from such developments, but rather constitute merely one field; nor are foreign missionaries the only ones, nor is missionary activity mere activism.
9. Biblical perspective on the path of pilgrims: having and hallowing Christ as counsellor. Neither growth nor work is a substitute for the knowledge of Christ, from whom growth springs and for whom work is done. Following Him is more than overcoming an obstacle course, moreover; it requires perspective and prudence in the path to be followed; and the special purpose of this prudence is His glory, effectively forwarded in the field of battle.
10. Biblical perspective on clarity and confession, repentance and realism. We ponder hallowing the Lord in the heart: avoiding the glittering philosophies and foolish fantasies of the spirit of the Age, questing believers are counselled directly and personally by Christ, so that neither missions, nor works, nor the wonders of the way remove from sight the wayfarers' need of dynamic, careful, spiritual and supple communion with Christ, according to His word, in poverty of spirit.
11. Lessons in the Lord from the child, and from childishness: A matter of marvels. The unfolding of man from a child dramatically arrests to a sense of the horror and the wonder, the vulnerability and the capacity for virtue of this creation... The folly of spiritual dysfunction and the whole unresolvable enigma of man without God are seen in highlight, while the joy of communion with Christ, solution and Saviour brings one to ponder the opposite extreme, to the babble of the bewildered, the professionally averse from God. That ? It is this Christ, Jesus Christ, who is able to bring completion to the composition of man, through the work of the Cross for everyone who will be humbled as a little child and receive Him as he is.
12. Biblical witness to the sovereign singularity of the Word of God and the irrepressibility of the Gospel. God has made no secret of His speech but parades the propositions of prophecy before man, denouncing the listless confusion of that wilfully inventive creation: man. Yet in the midst of this, His varied appeals splash like the waves of the sea on the sands of time. As the waves of the sea, though they vary, are yet always sea, so the many appeals come from the unvarying wonder of the unchanging victor, Jesus Christ, immiscible, unsubduable ... infinitely, utterly and always.
Though glorious in the Godhead, in love He delighted to take the body in which He was sacrificed, being born through a woman; and being from His Father, He actively performed as well as passively sustained the loving will of that Father, whose profound salvation this same Christ encompasses, constitutes and confers. It is He who in infinite concord with the Father is also alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, and whose timeless eternity is exhibited in His words - "Before Abraham was, I AM".
Deferring on earth to His Father ("My Father is greater than I"), He yet has equal honour conferred on Himself by the Father (men should honour Him "just as they honour the Father"). Without Him, the light of the world, none can know the Father; while He, only through His Father's will, may be known (Matthew 11:27). The knowledge of Him is more precious than anything that could be offered, being "unsearchable riches". He is that good shepherd, bishop of our souls, that "gift by grace" and bridegroom of the Church. This, like a bride is received by Him; and like a slave, ransomed and delivered from death by His death, as the ransom price - justly covering the full consequences of departure from God. To all His own is given lively immortality, which is His by nature: everlasting life (1 John 1:1-4, John 10:27).
Christ is the crux of Christianity, the author of salvation, its finisher, the authorised and announced Lord and judge of men; and His resurrected body is a foretaste of the assured state of the redeemed, to come. He with the Father sends the Holy Spirit, revealing heavenly things by His grace: and that is the third Person of that triune, immutable Being, inscrutable to profane eyes, who is God.
He seals to the believer the salvation of Christ, against the day of judgment (Ephesians 1:13-14), refreshes the pilgrims and heirs of God; and is the indispensable, undeniable 'finger' of God on His people. He indwells the saint, and bears to God in glory the prayers of those who are redeemed (Romans 8:26-27 ), whilst working, witnessing or striving also within them, as their growth, cleansing, correction or uplift may require. Not speaking on His own authority, "whatever He hears, He will speak", and will glorify Christ (John 16:13).
This member of God's creation, in gross and unreasoned rebellion, frequently follows Satan, the adversary in delusion and to his own confusion.
A marvel of compactness and construction, man is capable of absurd pretensions, wicked inventions of mind, spirit and body; and may fall to that remorseless shame of the renegade which ends only in immovable judgment, everlasting destruction and divorce from glory. As helpless before God, he may receive Christ and accept His sacrifice. (Consider Ecclesiastes 3:11- "God has set eternity in his heart", and 7:29, Proverbs 20:27, John 16:13, I Corinthians 13:12). If saved from the guilt of sin, he is restored to his Creator Father, and resumes a sonship from which sin seduced him.
An experimenter with himself and history, man embezzles the spiritual funds committed to him, and runs a rearguard action of desperate ruin in which history is written, nevertheless, by the finger of God, who ordains whatsoever comes to pass and who is neither confused nor aborted by the activities of men.
In judgment, sin is seen on Christ on the Cross, as the Church's Redeemer. In desolation, it is seen in His cry - "Why have You forsaken Me ?" as He experienced it sacrificially, for others; in epidemic, it is seen described in the last verses of Romans 1; in development to its destiny, it is revealed in II Timothy 3; in it simple denial, it is witnessed in the life of Christ; in its diversity in Psalm 107; in finale and friction, in hell. It is unhallowed, unhelpful and deceptive, doomed but subject to remission for believers, only because Christ poured out His soul to death, and bearing their iniquities, died to sin once. For those who look for Him, He will appear without sin to the consummation of salvation, redeeming the body, exposing His already procured provisions for those whom He redeemed, past the ravages of sin and the terrors of time in such a world as this, in the world to come.
As to sin: its justice is death and curse; its cure is Christ; its condition is corruption; and its scope includes the human race in all its history, outside Christ.
The One who was judged, is Judge:
of the world for its disbelief;
of the world rulers of thought and religion for their rebellion;
of men of the world, whose errors are endemic in the hearts and minds
of multiplied antagonists of the truth;
of those sinners who have forfeited salvation, through negating Christ;
of artful experimentation which failed to make truth its guide,
to make God its goal and His design its direction...
For those whose sins He bore, His sentence now is pardon for guilt, and His child-care includes chastening for character and joy for strength.For those whose sins He did not bear - John 10:11,26, 8:24, Romans 2:12, Isaiah 53:5-6 (it is the "healed" whose iniquities are "laid on Him", and the Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep, some being "not of my sheep" John 10:26): there is all the cursing and the consequence, the darkness and the destitution such as Christ bore. That is why He bore it, that we might not need to; and this is why He so performed to secure this result, because of His love to man, to humankind (Titus 3:4), to the world (John 3:16). To avoid this love, to pre-empt this offer, to evacuate from this mercy, there is a method too: it is this. As Christ said (John 3:19):
This is their condemnation that light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
There was no question of some procedure of another kind, diversified in dimension, or doctrine, way stations beyond or of another order to this; for in the word of God (Proverbs 30:6), addition is forbidden: we may not add, He does not distort. Without supplement therefore of action or item, this results from the action of God known as creation. There is no gap. There is no pre-existing matter. There is God; there is creation; there is the result of creation: this is it.
God has measured it with design (Isaiah 40:12), acted with monergistic counsel and power (Isaiah 40:13-14,18,25-8), so that nothing is His sole companion until He makes (Isaiah 44:24, 43:13): it is He who "stretches out the heavens all alone", and who "spreads abroad the earth by Myself" (Isaiah 44:24). It is HE who precedes and predates day:
"Before the day was, I am He" (Isaiah 43:13, Psalm 90) - and all this shows: being "from everlasting to everlasting".Indeed, the whole heavens and earth, He has not only formed but created, neither requiring nor seeking help, aid, nor counsel - there being in fact no one else there for such a purpose: "Who, being His counsellor, has taught Him ?" (Is. 40:13).
"See who has created these things!", He advises (Isaiah 40:26 cf. Psalm 89:12). All and any divinity is entirely lacking before, as after Him: "Before Me was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me," (Isaiah 43:10), He declares, and "There is no God beside Me" (Isaiah 40:4); while nothing predates Him who made time:
''I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last'' (Isaiah 48:12, cf. 44:6).He created the heavens (Isaiah 45:18), man (Isaiah 45:12), the earth (40:28, Genesis 1:1). He is everlasting (40:28) and almighty (43:13, Psalm 115:3). He also formed the earth, established it with a purpose (Isaiah 45:18). That purpose includes satisfactory communication from man (45:19) and to man (Amos 4:13), with exposure of pseudo-divine impostors (Isaiah 44:25). It means the performance of His word operationally with man; as earlier, in the work of creation and formation; and in the present time, maintenance, within the universe (Isaiah 48:5,11,17, 41:21-29, Joel 2:13). Meanwhile, He retains total operative control over His creation as He sees fit (Isaiah 48:13), including its removal when He determines (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35).
Most of this short account has dealt from the Old Testament, simply to underline the immediate, total development of such monergistic splendour, with logical, ordered and consistent doctrine. God did not grow; it is we who grow; He simply declared it from the first, as it was. It does not need to change, this account, for it was true from the beginning.
The heavens and the earth, then, will pass as totally as they came (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35), despite their current security until that time comes (Hebrews 12:25-28), and the eternal kingdom will continue and become manifest, without the trappings of the temporal situation now current (II Corinthians 4:16- 5:5); while in this kingdom individuals will continue to be such, though clothed with eternal garments, constituted fitly for the closer and more patent and explicit communion (I Cor. 13:12) with God. Man comes to God, not through evolution, but in the land of pilgrimage, by the work of purification, rendered effective by redemption, freely conferred and executed by the irrepressible, irresistible grace of God.
God did not give man an auto-actualising kit, a self-made kit, but an opportunity to be what he should. That required no extension, merely performance; and that being ruined, God has penetrated the darkness (John 1) with a light which is not merely a re-illumination of a darkened soul, but a Redeemer who provides the right, and justice and payment for the restoration, by redemption. The broken oil-wells, as it were, need to be newly made, a new creation, which is costly; and the illicit use of auto-destruct powers needs heavenly clearance. In Christ, for His sake, this is provided, but neither automatically nor tentatively. It is given to be received; and if it is, it is effective; and if it is not, then to the individual, except as a basis for finding a doubly deserved and eternal destruction from His presence, it is useless.
Redemption and creation are highly correlative concepts, as seen in Isaiah 45:18-25, driven home repetitively; just as are creation and destruction, judgment (Is. 51:4-8, 12-13). Sole creator, God announces He is also sole Saviour (Is. 43:10-13, 12:1-3, Jonah 2:8-9, Psalm 3:8). ''God is my salvation''. Creator of earth and of man, He is also creator of Israel (Is. 43:1) and of Christians (Is. 43:7, 11 Corinthians 5:17-21). Even some of us, mere derivative creators, do a lot of creation; God does far more, being the basis, source and sovereign over all creation, including its creativity.
Remission (Isaiah 44:22-23) is also associated with transmission (Isaiah 48:16, 51:5-8, John 1:1-14, Philippians 2) of His eternal and living Word, manifestation, image. Thus the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth in incarnate format (1 Timothy 3:16, John 1:1-14, 1 John 1, Philippians 2, John 3:13, 17:3, 5:19-23, 45:22- 24), given His own unique names. The word of God, far from giving accolades to other divinities, in fact scorchingly denounced pretenders (Psalm 83:6-7), persons pretentious as if having virtually divine power, witheringly exposed in that they would 'die like men'.
Therefore the Creator came to His creation, in a form itself created for the purpose (Luke 1:35). Now there appeared He who had once participated (John 1:1,3,10, Colossians 1:16) in the action of the deity's sole creation of all things, in His eternal form as God (Philippians 2:6), the Word, so that "all things were created through Him and for Him" (cf. Proverbs 8). From Him, nothing exists in independence, in all creation (Colossians 1:17, Isaiah 42:5, 43:11-13). Indeed this one God is such that all things were not only created by Him, but only by His will even exist (Revelation 4:11, Hebrews 11:3). To man in man's form He came, offering Himself a sacrifice.
Through the ransom, resurrection, justification (Romans 4:25-5:1), and in His love and salvation, this same Lord Jesus Christ by His Spirit has already engaged in an action of re-creation, not for His entertainment, but for the re-constitution worked in all Christians, so that they are re-made (John 3:6-7, 11 Corinthians 5:17, 1 John 3:9). All Christians, created new, are adopted sons of God in this present time (Romans 8:16); and this re-creation comes when they truly receive Him (Titus 3:4-7, John 3:13-33, Ephesians 1: 23, 2:1-10, 3:14-20, Romans 8:12-17, 4:25-5:21, John 1:12-16), resulting in an inalienable inheritance, adoption and acceptance (1 John 3:9, John 10:27-28, Romans 5:8-11).
As to the setting for the eternity of life of believers, now nascent with life and then completed in life, now promised paradise but then replete (Romans 5 :5, 1 John 5 3:1-9, John 5:24, 4:14, 6:51, 11 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:4-7, Romans 8:29-39, Revelation 14:13, 7:9-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, 1 Corinthians 13: 8-13): this is itself filled with the eternity of God who chooses to give Himself such explicit expression to those once commenced, but now consummated (Revelation 21-22, esp. 22:4-5, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
In this, God the Father and the Lord the Lamb, are the essence and focus of worship (Revelation 22:3-4, 21:23, Is. 45:22-23, Ph. 2:6-11). While reality cannot be adjusted for the sake of sin, God invested Himself in human life, for the sake of sinners, that the creation might be redeemed (cf. John 1:14, 3:16-1, Titus 3:4-7). What is then redeemed deals not with mere creation, to which unbelievers bind themselves, for God is available only on His terms: in fact, the redeemed deal with God, for whom the whole creation was one of His majestic acts, and the redemption another.
a) Genesis 1:27, 2:23, with 2:7,1:12, 1:21-25,2:1; and Ch.'s 1-2 supra carefully.
b) Colossians 1:16-17, Revelation 4:11, Matthew 19:4-9, Psalm 139:13-16.
c) Hebrews 11:1-4, Psalm 33:6,9, 148:1-6, John 4:24, Colossians 2:3, 1 Timothy 2, 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, 11 Peter 2:1, II Corinthians 11:14-15, 2:17.
d) Romans chapters l-5,8,10-11, Galatians Chapters 3-5, Ephesians Chapters 1-2, Colossians 3, II Corinthians 5, Hebrews Chapters 7-10, John 3, 1 John 3.
e) Isaiah 40, 45, 46, 48, 51, 52-3; Zechariah 12:1.
B. It is seen in Genesis that creatures and dust are clearly described by 1:27 and that with this stated assemblage before Him, God chose dust and a spirit for the composition and creation of man. God is a Spirit so that material things are of interest as to their relation to Him.
We learn in early Genesis that He created material things (from 1:1, 2:4 indeed, that He created the whole cosmos), and the verb used is specific for noted areas of biological life (1:21) addressed separately, and for man (1:27). Now we might have been told of pre-existing materials; but we were not. We could have been told how He formed things from this base; but we were not. The word in Hebrew, here and in the just noted cases used, for 'create' could have been set aside; but it was not. Where it is, it is; and there it will stay.
In 2:1, we learn that we have been told in chapter 1, how all the work (statedly one of creation overall) was done. Heavens, earth, all - were finished as described. 2:3 tells us that this was a work of creation. Creation then, all of it, is as described, and where described.C. Repeatedly the concept of "kind" is introduced. Things are made or created after their kind. Several times we are advised that their propagation is similarly according to kind (verses 11,12,24).
We might have been told it was according to some other feature; but we do not hear of it. It is - according to kind.D. The concept of figurative speech is always possibly relevant, provided the context makes this plain, in any communication or good writing of effective expression. We mean what we say, if sober and competent - and honest - and say what we mean. If we mean something fancy, special or fanciful, we say it when teaching especially is in view, so that evidence is given how we are to be taken.
Let us consider the creation of man. In the book before us, we find man created (Genesis 1:27, Isaiah 45:12, Ephesians 3:9-10, Colossians 3:20). This we find in Genesis is done after the creation of animals, with the use of no visible animal forms, but dust only, and thereupon, with spirit. This occurs in an account statedly covering the whole creation, and is unconfusing, straightforward, explicit. Assumptions to the contrary belie the purposeful explanatory character of the address, the tenor of the speech and the purpose of the declaration, so well signalled both by the opening verse and the link with man's plight in the Old Testament - and in the New, where the same thing is stated or assumed (e.g. Luke 3:8, Romans 5, 1 Timothy 2, I Corinthians 15, Isaiah 40-53. )
Thus man is not moulded as a process, but created. The appropriate term is selected, signifying entire new arrival of all the specifics in view. The creation of the body of man*1 is on a base of dust, of freely available chemicals found on the earth's crust; and as to these chemicals, as we may see, in our advanced century, the earth's crust is, in fact, statedly a container of all the elements of our bodily composition.
Creatures, as declared, come in kinds and reproduce in the same categories. We might have been told that the creatures were constantly reviewed as to kind, either by a natural or a supernatural process. However, we are not. We might have been acquainted with upgrading procedures. We are not. In kinds they come, and according to kinds they go on in propagation. This is quite unmistakably clear.
This does not remove variability within the kinds - such as giants (6:4) may illustrate or curse may cause, in degradation and judgment. It merely states the method of instituting the universe in general, and kinds in particular; and their mode of continuation - in those kinds. Nothing could well be clearer.
It is creation; and even in our field, in the material, biological and spiritual setting, so made for us by God, we can create - so that from our spirits and minds there flash or flow new arrivals. At other times, we mould. We are familiar, in our restricted setting, with the whole matter of creation, as distinct from development.E. How God did create, being invisible and immaterial*2 (John 4:24, I Timothy 6:16, Hebrews 11:1-4, Psalm 148:1-6)... is not available for photograph or research based on the repetition of available laws. Law amongst the creation, was instituted by creation in our cosmos. Laws relate to the method of working of the thing, once it is created; and our physical laws fully accord with the concept of the operation of an existing system, whether conservation of mass and energy, or the second law of thermodynamics be in view. New laws are not flowing, but creation is going in its created setting - according to its kind.
Hebrews 11:1-3 gives us more data, though it simply fits with what is said above. Invisible resources, we are advised, were the basis of the things which can be seen. In particular, the word of God - giving design stipulation and specifications for matter - we learn, framed all that is visible whatsoever. This word created: that sums up what we have seen then (cf. Isaiah 40:12-14,25-28, 45:67, 48:12-13, 51:6,16, Zechariah 12:1, Isaiah 44:24 - 45:8,21-22). God exercised mind and power with expression, to create the things that are visible. The whole visible area, open to inspection, has proceeded from areas which are not visible. God is a Spirit, as Jesus Christ stated; and the Spirit of God moved creatively, as Genesis I indicates.F. Christ, in particular, we learn in Colossians 1:15-18, 2:9, Hebrews 1:3-8, fully expresses God (cf. 2:3) and fully accounted for creation, both as source and focus for it, acting within the Godhead. By Him, all visible and invisible things - codes and creatures, laws and materials, beauties and creative powers able to create beauty or to misuse to desecrate truth - all were created. We are responsible for their use: not for their creation, not AT ALL. The mode of institution of the categories of the universe, of whatever depth or dimension, was creation; and the creator was Christ: "All things were created through Him and for Him" - Colossians 1:16.
G. The finer detail is supported by Jesus Christ (Matthew 19), where He based an argument concerning human behaviour, what was required of our race, on just this: the relation of man and woman as depicted in the record of their creation.
H. Paul, in I Timothy 2, bases an argument covering behaviour on the detail of which party, man or woman, in the creation record, was subject to the first deception by Satan; and Paul claims that the Holy Spirit gives him both divine depths and data, and their purified expression in words impactively 'taught': to impact His mind, so giving declarative statement (I Corinthians 2:8-13, 14:37).
Nor does he contradict himself when referring to what the Lord Jesus said on earth, or to what may be urged justly in favour of options, when more than one path is permitted (1 Corinthians 7:25, 36 ff.). In the last named case, Paul is specifically presenting an option, allowing wisdom in both sides, stating a personal estimate, and doing so in the constraints of wisdom.
Here in 1 Corinthians 14:37, He makes a claim in terms of utterance and command. He does not qualify this; far less is he acknowledging that he does not know the deep things. On the contrary, he states them in a certain inspiration, such that these deep things are "searched" by the Spirit and revealed to Paul, being given to him in "words which the Holy Spirit teaches" (1 Cor. 2:8-13). With this kind of inspiration, these words, then, he 'speaks'; and in referring to the Fall of man, he is referring to a single situation of historical fact (Romans 5:15).
Paul then in 1 Timothy 2 gives such a treatment of an historically presented event in determining a command for the church. That event is one part of the creation statement and what followed, as provided by the book of Genesis.I. Revelation 4:11 confirms with the same decisively clear Greek term as used by Paul (using this verb of "all things", as again, it is used in I Corinthians 11:9 of man). Revelation here declares that God "created" all things. It adds that it is indeed by His will that they are, on the one hand, and were created, on the other. As Colossians puts it in the very process of declaring the gospel, Christ preceded, created and confers continuance on all things (Colossians 1:15-17).
Hebrews expounds it (1:3) that Christ "upholds all things by the word of His power." Thus it is the word of God which creates, confers continuance and sustains by power the existence of all things.J. Indeed, Psalm 139 tells us more detail of man in particular. There is, we find, a volume, what is called a book, an assemblage of suitable, selected, significant symbols in which the eventual parts of a coherent body are 'written' before the actual forms (legs and so on) take shape. It is the Creator who has this book. The Creator has not merely concepts, but codification and integration of everything in ground plan, quite apart from the process of bringing to be, of bringing to life and shape and form and operation, in this life.
All is coded, kept, sustained according to kind; and as kind, it was created. How refreshingly direct, this announcement prior to DNA's discovery; and beyond it. This is clarification. It is also verification.K. We learn from Genesis 2 and I Corinthians 15:20-28, from Romans 5:12-21 with Luke 3 that man, indeed (I Timothy 2:12-15) woman and man in that order, fell into voluntary sin, completely without excuse, though not without aid... We find that this deformation of creation has a remedy in the Creator who voluntarily was disfigured beyond human resemblance (Isaiah 52:12 ff.), as a sacrifice (Isaiah 53:10), in and for justice, bearing the judgment in order to clear it (Isaiah 53:11, Romans 3:26), for those who would trust Him as their Saviour from sin (53:1, John 3:15 ff.). Creation... deformation... what about re-creation ?
L. These (who receive Him) are "born again" (John 3) and indeed recreated (II Corinthians 5:13-17); and they are in their living to "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" - (Colossians 3:10). In this way, says Paul (3:11), "Christ is all" .
No one adds to the creation; only is it for Christ. God speaks by His word and creates; and He creates kinds; and none has anything to boast of: for Christ is all. You are, after all, re-newed to the image of Him who created you! indeed, even the Christian's new life, his "new man" is "created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness" - (Ephesians 4:24). You dispense with what you made (Ephesians 4:22); you put it off: you put on the "new man" - and this ? it is created too. The new birth indeed (John 3) is wrought from the Godhead also (3:6). It is in that same image of God man had before the Fall, marvellously confirmed to a now inalienable heritage (Ephesians 1:11, John 14:1-3, Romans 8:28 ff.).M. The cycle of creation, desecration and re-creation is complete (short of the coming for Christians of the "redemption of the body" - Romans 8:23; the great coming "rest from their labours" - Revelation 14:3; - and the final glory in all its praise and action, when "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" - I John 3:2).
As to creation, gift, talent, salvation, re-creation, everything is done by God; and the claims of the flesh are despicable as well as deceitful (Ephesians 2:8, Genesis l:l, Romans 4:5, Galatians 3:1-3, II Corinthians 11:3-4). As Eve was deceived by satanic craftiness, says Paul yet again referring to the events of history in Genesis, from yet another aspect, so you need to be careful, not letting "your minds" be "corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ ". Other Christs may be preached (11:4), and different spirit may come (11:4), with a different gospel, declares Paul. Beware of such novelty, such false apostles, he cries (11:13-15). Satan too has ministers; and they are not too scrupulous. They will put a new face on things; re-interpret and take away from the "simplicity" in Christ.
It is the simplicity which seems to the "Greeks foolishness" (I Corinthians 1:23): but it is Christ crucified, "Christ the power of God and Christ the wisdom of God" (1:24): there is the crux. It is not something else, some other creation, some other salvation, some other basis, process or claimant for glory in creation and re-creation! You are warned. Paul had it covered some 1900 years ago. We as a race (but especially the people of the church) have had time to take care and avoid this fault, be alert to this deception. Evolution is merely one format for the misconstruction, misteaching and denial of doctrine to which Paul refers. It brings in a very different Christ, a totally other gospel; and if opposites are held in confusion, then God is not the author of confusion; He is a God of order, and demands acceptance of His word - something instantly applicable to those who are His (cf. John 7:17).N. Let us expand our series of divine creation and grace a little further. This is the kind of thing that God is doing; and by which "Christ is all".
The "creation" has thus been "subjected to vanity" (Romans 8:32) as a sin penalty; and this too is the doing of God. (See Romans 8:20, Genesis 3:17-19, and Endnotes for pp.1164, 1175 infra.) Those however who truly receive Christ (Acts 8:37; Jeremiah 29:13; Luke 14:33,26) as He requires, are to find that "when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4). His people shall be "like Him" (I John 3:2) who made them "in His image" at the first. Indeed, meanwhile there is a dynamic conforming to Him (II Corinthians 3:18).
Creation, kind, desecration, imputation (of sin - to Him, of His righteousness to Christians - His is the contribution by grace - II Corinthians 5:18-21), regeneration by His Spirit (John 3:8, Titus 3:5-7), new creation, renewal of divine image, redemption of the body, glory... this is the conferred, donated nature and order of divinely directed events. In this, nothing is created by man; at most he operates in the format conferred, whether physical, mental, spiritual; whether in justification, salvation. He saved us (Titus 3:5-7)... so that having been justified...by His grace... we should become heirs (Galatians 3:29, 4:7).
It is done by Him; it is done by grace, it has been done, whether justification or salvation for the Christian, in terms of being heirs (cf. Ephesians 1:11). Work on the estate does not purchase it, create it: it is an inheritance, a gift by grace (Romans 5:15), a divine justification, acquittal and recall to the lost, in fact to the ungodly (Romans 4:5,5:6), a gift incorporating indeed "the righteousness of God" transferred by faith in Him, according to His word (Romans 3:22), so that it is not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:9), but a salvation by grace, through faith, in that exclusive context of compassionate acceptance without limit or cost (Isaiah 55, John 4:14). That is how God devotes people to His inheritance, not making heaven purchasable except by blood and that, of Christ (1 Peter 1:18) so that "Christ is all and in all", as we have seen (Colossians 3:11).
Grace! One is saved, says Paul, by this... we should become heirs (Galatians 3:29, 4:7). "You are no more a servant but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God." Once a son, always a son (1 John 3:9). It is done by Him; it is done by grace; it has been done, whether justification or salvation for the Christian, in terms of being His (cf. Ephesians 1:11). Children do not create their inheritance, nor their birth; and these children, neither do they create their forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), receiving this freely 'according to the riches of His grace' (cf. Romans 3:23, 5:15, 3:24) with express exclusion of any work principle for this gift (Romans 3:28. 5:1, Titus 3:4-7, Romans 3:26-27).
True, misbegotten misnomers, people like soil which stays hard, in which the seed lodges only to die (the seed being the word of God - Matthew 13:18-19 - not the person), people who taste and spit out, these are not in view here. There are spiritual mongoloids; there are Esaus who grow up with what they do not take. Yet without justification, there is only condemnation (Romans 8:33); and with justification, there must be glorification (Romans 8:29). When there is justification, there is conforming to the image of God's Son. There is something we do not create, and to which we conform; and since this is God, and we began in His image, it is our fulfilment. We create within what we are given; but we do not create what we are given.O. This excludes variation as a means of elevation in kind, everywhere; it includes deviation as a means of degeneration. A second divine act of creation in the area of the invisible Spirit, then, has worked on Christians. By this, they are what they are; and their renewed "image" of God - "according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy spirit, whom He poured out abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour" (Titus 3:5) : this new creation (II Corinthians 5:17) proceeds, forgiven, to glory so that Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11, Romans 5:9). The re-creation is "renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created him", and so the "new man", who is "in Christ" is back to the natural, supernaturally crafted format, the one originally constructed: man indeed.
These are not mere events; it is all of grace, of gift; even repentance is something "granted" (Acts 11:18 ). By grace you are a having-been-saved person, says Paul (Ephesians 2:8); you are a having-been-justified person as well (Romans 5:1,9, cf. Titus 3:7), and it is a gift as such (Romans 5:15): for a purpose, to prevent boasting (Romans 3:27, Ephesians 2:9-10). Indeed, Paul continues, it is reasonable, for we are His workmanship! (Ephesians 2:10). Reality, reason and redemption, together with the very nature of creation, all constrain and compel; and so it is written.
1. When that happened, we cannot precisely deduce as genealogies, depending on purpose, may omit generations in overview (cf. Genesis 46:12-15, II Kings 9:12 with 2), or focus on major representatives.
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2. Divine spiritual vitality is independent of visible process: God made time and matter. Material process to create matter is simple contradiction in terms. See p. 643 infra.
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