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BY ANOTHER NAME ?
BOTANICAL, THE POLITICAL ... the CHRISTIAN ?
In the last, quote Judas!
and Pre-Natal Pulsations
If a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a cabbage by any other name would be loved as little. The aesthetic qualities, that is, in the respective items are unaltered by their names.
However the names do have a place. It is not merely to signify the thing meant; there is a combination of circumstances, an odour of custom, an association of elements, verbal and ideational, envisaged and depicted, perhaps an etymology of affection, tracing an historical development, in itself not without lustre, interest or even in some cases, humour, pathos, and so on.
Words indeed can be so wedded to the items in view, that the two worlds, that of the word and that which is signified, can entwine in a sort of gracious garden party of love and affection amidst the flowers.
Let us take a modern example, from the political and international arena. President Bush has advised us, from Germany which he has recently been visiting, as we noted in Ch. 1 above, that the thing he has in mind could be called axis of evil, the negative aspect, or war on terrorism which would be construed as a positive one. The name, indeed, he added is not the point, CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL!
What then COULD it be called ?
It could then be deemed a sell-out of spiritual values to a tangential relationship, as if it had the substance, of a rose for a petal, the agglomeration of good and evil forces, misnamed, in an unholy alliance. It could be called a subordination of primary things for secondary ones, the spiritual for the national. It could be called a betrayal of American history, in its crucial commencements, by making explicit a religious syncretism which demeans any 'in God we trust' into a mere mouthing, leaving out what in the world they mean by God.
What in the world ? Surely it is not something out of it which is in view when the 'god' concerned both has and has not Son, is and is not the redemptive Saviour. This Islamic alliance is vile, and it demeans the past of America into so miserable a contemporary space that one can only continue to tremble for the sheer folly of these alliances. Now we hear of President Bush, returned home, speaking to his ally in Pakistan, Musharraf, and telling him that he MUST stop the incursions in Indian Kashmir; he MUST: indeed, Bush added, 'he said he would', or words to this effect. India is vociferous: ISLAMIC terrorists are harbouring in Pakistan, and al Qaeda is amongst them. Where now this wonderful alliance ? How sure is the alliance with a vacant god, a Moslem mouthing, which lacks historical validation, prophetic confirmation and logical force! (More Marvels Ch. 4).
Is God to be made a thing of convenience, a word, a name ... God by any other name ? Will man make gods by his own mind and assign them names, or will God make man by His own mind and assign to him, a name ? The thing, at the infinite level, has become inverted, a perversion of religion, a radical revisionism, a fearless fiasco of the fear of the true, living and attested God whose word gives sanction to history, and form to things not yet come, to allow them, so that we may see them and marvel, as they arrive.
But what would you expect ? Is GOD not to be amazing when He acts, He who created us! He specifically tells Israel exactly what the contemporary world needs to hear: I HAVE TOLD YOU what is to be, He declares, before it happened, so that you could not say MY IDOL TOLD ME! He alleges wicked corruption of heart, to avoid the evidence, and divine determination to expose this hoax, this sallow and unspiritual hoax, which mixes idols with God, error with truth, and empty vanity, like Islam, and the gods of the Phoenicians of old, with the Creator.
Let us hear the word of God to this effect, in Isaiah 48:3-8:
“I have declared the former things from the beginning;It would almost seem, in this our day, that the nations once famed for the presence of some form of godliness in their midst, like England and the United States, are being drawn into ever closer alliance with turgid substitutes for truth, at the national level, while their internal ecclesiastical structures either wither in size, as in the Church of England in Britain, to micro-measures compared with the past, or swell into macro-confusion as in the United States, where Biblical Christianity is being so abused, that the very name of orthodoxy is being grabbed by this and that label, each a libel on God, for errors of the most exotic kind!
They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it.
Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
Because I knew that you were obstinate,
And your neck was an iron sinew,
And your brow bronze,
Even from the beginning I have declared it to you;
Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you,
Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them,
And my carved image and my molded image
Have commanded them.’
“You have heard;
See all this.
And will you not declare it?
I have made you hear new things from this time,
Even hidden things, and you did not know them.
They are created now and not from the beginning;
And before this day you have not heard them,
Lest you should say, ‘Of course I knew them.’
"Surely you did not hear,
Surely you did not know;
Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
And were called a transgressor from the womb."
If this does not resemble ancient Israel, in its contests with the living God, which brought it into successive disasters, as God predicted from the day of Moses would be the case (Leviticus 26), then what would! Paul has already advised the Gentile world not to be "high-minded" (Romans 11:19-20), and made the lesson that the sort of travesty of truth in which ancient Israel successively indulged, is not a Jewish thing only, but exhibits a principle. So act and expect a divine response, such as Israel found! It is not some exotic and esoteric suggestion: it is SO WRITTEN right there in Romans 11.
Take heed, then, nations, for God never speaks in vain. It is not for nothing that the word referring to the idols of the nations can mean 'vanity' or emptiness, or that Jeremiah refers to the vanities of the nations (Jeremiah 16:19ff., 14:22). In this case, the AV translates 'vanities of the Gentiles' and the NKJV 'idols of the nations'. The terms admit of this since the vanity has application, the emptiness, in the term 'idol'.
Emptiness as god ? It is no vacant lot however which is given such a name, and the libel on the Lord is never appreciated! It leads on the one hand to divine expostulation as in Jeremiah 2:13,
My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water."
It leads also to profound admonition: "... will you walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered to do all these abominations' ? "
Delivered ? This is NOT the way to secure deliverance.
This unholy alliance of President Bush, into which the United States of America has entered, one including as often noted earlier, specifically RELIGIOUS involvement by the President (cf. Lord of Life Ch. 4), may indeed be called a war on terrorism, but it is a terrible war, for it is wrongly formulated from the start.
Call it what you will, it is ill-advised. The axis of evil as we noted earlier, implies the presence of good, and the goodness in the religions of violence, even to the extent demonstrated to be in the Koran (cf. the various and varied references collected in More Marvels Ch. 4), directible to the very level of faith, has implications so vicious that to conjoin with them against an axis of evil is to confuse the names themselves. It is a farcical combination of good and evil against a fashionable combination of evil. It was just the same in World War II when Stalin was co-opted to deal, cane toad with cane toad, to combine against Hitler. It would be hilarious if fear had not given to it a certain carnal edge of dignity. It was paid for in the Cold War, in part.
What further destabilisation that sell-out will produce, remains to be seen. The impious practice of collective convenience, perhaps has been 'sanctified' by usage, until it becomes otherwise nameable as PRUDENT! Perhaps it has influenced President Bush as much as the neo-evangelical confusion which have already linked Romanism to Christianity, and hence the former's adventures in further 'inter-faith' follies to some who name the name of Christ (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 16, Q, News, Facts and Forecasts 121).
How plausibly does a concept of Allies, and the designation of the opposition as an AXIS from World War II, bring illusions of peace or profusion or prosperity or victory! Like some plausible salesman, however, it is merely for the unwary, the unwise and the misled.
When God is being discountenanced by forbidden combinations, where not merely is worldly force being formed from a combination of formally denigratory denizens of anti-Christ kind, such as Islam, but religious compliment is being made a complement of the proceedings, as when the Islamic teachings were deemed 'good' by Bush*1, in Mosque mode, you are coming to the edge of an active volcano. Our God is a 'consuming fire', Hebrews reminds us (Hebrews 12:29), and it is well to remember, as we are there advised, that the scenario He has indited in that chapter is this:
"See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.Does one then speak as an enemy of the United States, in recommending return to the Bible and its wisdom ? Far from it, but as a friend; and what friend is he who, seeing his friend embarking on a cliff walk on a projecting ledge, 20 feet beyond the solid base, on an eroded segment cracked and ready to fall, does not warn and appeal: DO not pursue this foolish course! or what friend would not advise on walking in similar eroded lip on a volcano's edge, would not call: Watch you step and move swiftly from this peril!
"For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.' Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."
Has one not expressed the utmost concern before, in August of 2001 at the actions of the USA concerning Israel, and did one not then advise of the danger of calamity to the USA, because of it, and did it not come, within days! This is in no slightest sense, not to one jot, to lay any claim to being a 'prophet', forecasting in some esoteric way; it was merely an application of a scriptural principle, as there indicated. It is the same now. If you insist on driving through the red lights, it is no marvel which tells you: BEWARE! (Cf. The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet - Pitter - Ch.4, *2, Lord of Life Ch. 3, The Impregnable Tower Ch. 4, Red Alert ... Ch. 6.) Moreover, one has no less expressed deep concern at the UN, for its parallel and far worse involvements in the Middle East, with such desolatory seeming indifference, in any practical fashion, to the realities of the treatment of Israel (Pitter Ch. 6).
It is no co-incidence that the USA has grown, with President Bush, increasingly close to the UN, whose building in New York, still stands, though it has long fallen in failing to meet equity in the Middle East and in imposing empty morals, where the Trade Towers have been a vicious enough fall. ALL must realise that to trade in Israel is no trade at all. God has other ideas, His OWN discipline for any nation, and is unimpressed with idle idols, now as ever (Zephaniah 2:11, Deuteronomy 32:35-43).
It is likewise no co-incidence that the battle plans of the USA are becoming embedded increasingly in mud or muddle, as it proceeds in its unholy alliance, first with the UN in its extravanganzas of contra-Christian propaganda and inequitable devisings, then with Islam. Is ally Musharraf busy helping Islam to the point that India is incensed, harbouring al Qaeda ? India appears to think so to the point of nearing war. Is it really ONLY Kashmir that is the problem here, or as India asserts, the militancy of the Moslem terrorists, allegedly Bush's major concern! So Pakistani forces move, we are told, from the Afghanistan border, to the Indian one, and not only is an ally now found to be rather pre-occupied, but according to one little sixth or so of the earth's population, India, it may even be soft on the Islamic thrust, if not in al Qaeda ways, then in others.
Evil is not limited to one phase, and Islam is not confined to one excursion! What is false should never combine with what is true in any ideological pursuit, any more than in mathematics to put people on the moon! If maths is the discipline, keep separate from error; and if equity and truth is the discipline, for man, keep it separate from the swallowing of folly. Poison kills; it does not have to be of any one kind...
wonder the Iraq protection crusade - that is the crusade to gain protection
by changing the atomic vitriol of Iraq to something less ambitious towards
the destruction of much of this world - is stalled. The engines were whirring,
the petrol in full measure, preparations were apace, but then...
Ah me! Poor Britain, after all, with a government of Labour, however metamorphosed (as allegedly is the S.A. Labour Government per courtesy of a 'deal'), was not keen on so treating neighbour Iraq. Tony Blair appeared to have his US-tending wings clipped!
After all, in the days of Churchill, it took more than a warning to indicate the need to act against impending destruction! Indeed, it took more than the plausible excuses of Hitler for taking Austria! As the former First Lord of the Admiralty found to his patient longsuffering, the mere mention and itemisation of peril did not produce effect. It took far more than that to convince that the surging Adolf was REALLY dangerous! Then it was nearly too late! The Battle of Britain, humanly, was won by a feather. On one night, we read, a large force was sent North since there were too few to cover all avenues of attack, and they had to hope and ... were right! Great success!
The other reason for Iraq's correction as an international power broker, or rather breaker, is that it is not alone. It is asserted that in Egypt also, are to be found warriors of similar dedication to destruction, and in Iran. If so, there is a pause ... Is there to be some grand strategy then ? If so, there is the consideration that Russia has removed independent news sources for its nation. Interesting ? it allows Putin to do various things without being subject to censure, or observation. Then again, there was Beirut, where the Islamic world quite recently thronged about Saddam Hussein, presumably not for no reason. Ah! what a good fellow he seemed to be amongst his ... allies ?
There appeared a certain alliance ... ah! of course, Islam!
So the ANY OTHER NAME we like sobriquet for the scenario, for the 'war on terrorism', the combination of Bush with Islamic nations and others, continues to be suggestive.
The case continues its insalubrious and critically unblessed path
Is it a ground for fellowship that two books assert entirely opposite things concerning salvation, the name and the will of God ? Is it perhaps a reason for alliance that one seeks as desideratum the entire subordination of this world to a non-existent idol, and while some others allegedly at least, desire the seeking of the lost to the actual and only Saviour that God has ever deemed it fitting to present! (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3, Isaiah 43:10-11, Acts 4:10-11 and note the "must"; More Marvels ... Ch. 4, Biblical Blessings Ch. 13, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 12, SMR Chs. 1 and 10).
then could it be called, this alliance ? It could be called THE
THE VISIONARY, THE VITAL AND THE VALUABLE
But there is before us a better thing to consider: the developing personality of the young. Here is the blessed INTEGRATION OPPORTUNITY.
'Be WHOLE!' Christ on occasion exclaimed, and indeed DIRECTED! Let us consider this privilege.
The AGE is getting old, and as to the time for the eventual compromises and cold but heavily spiced collations fed to those who seek to make the resurgence of international rule a reality, as the Beast becomes globally operative for his little day ? This is hot on the heels of its ageing, like some hound panting hard as it pursues its quarry. Pay day is not a pleasant concept, ONLY if you are astray, and the payment is an evacuation, a cost and not a credit!
Let us turn to the young, who develop. After all, just because Satan is seeking his little fling, that devastatingly immoral crusade of corruption, there is no reason to forget that it
He is gone. The dream is gone. So it goes, and men smile; and so it will be when the final ugly dream, the last Babel has babbled and bellowed its blaring last. In the meantime, then, let us turn our eyes to the young who come, and to all who have that element of youth, of resilience of heart, of desire of mind, of quest of spirit that leads to what is lovely. How ? Do we not recall that he who seeks finds, as Christ indicated. The reason is so very simple: HE IS THERE, and hence when you seek Him with all your heart, and His is a compassion incomparable, then you find. Look for example at Isaiah 55:1-4, Jeremiah 29:12-13:
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
"Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.
"Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
That is the Isaiah 55 excerpt, and now we look at that from Jeremiah 29:
"Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
What is to be found ? The LORD is found, and in and with Him, the pattern and the picture, the portrait and the provision for the LIFE of man! This is exceptionally far from the way and wisdom of this world, and its images and paradigms, its gurus and its gabble.
One thing that the Simpson parody of horror exhibits, in the popular TV setting, is the dismal substitution of
REACTION for RESPONSE of theThis seedy comment on society is a sort of comedy of cynicism, it appears. It is noted here, for only one reason: it expresses a singular collapse of reality in the minds of many. It is popular, not without reason. It however may be comparatively mild compared with other programs which popularise depravity, and engage with degradation as if a brother.
DRAB for the DUTIFUL, of the
DISTORTED for the CONVERTED and the
FORM for the FUNCTION.
Violence, another ingredient for its part, is greatly used because it is popular in the public perception, although perhaps not to the amazing extent it is on TV. Nevertheless, for many it attracts; people watch; advertisers get their attention; they pay.
This is far from even suggesting that there are no morals in the TV ménage; but it does take account of the comparative difficulty of seeing them in operation!
But while these pictures, parades and presentations have their normalising effects on audiences often quite uncritical of their becoming more and more like moral blasted heaths, ready for forming in the fashion of deformities, while the State here, as we have often noted, continues its anti-religious exercises in the High Schools (as in That Magnificent Rock Ch. 8, It Bubbles ...Ch. 9, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9), covered under the pretence of plausibility, and while many other States in other nations pursue no dissimilar follies, there is something more.
is that then ? It is this: there is life to remember, its source, its significance
and its destiny.
(Cf. Life, what is it ?, and What is Life for ? ).
All is not the irruption of corruption, the leasing liabilities of evil engines or the acceleration producible in the sinister sports cars of corrosion, things which burn for a season, and are junk. Life is more than man, his manipulation or his all but immeasurable misuse and abuse of the inestimable privileges conferred on him in what is in effect the most sophisticated sports car of all. This, it is incredibly automated, allowing to the young in particular such toughness in meeting challenge, such opportunities to learn, access to wisdom, scope for dreams, standards of excellence, spiritual savour and above all, knowledge of his/her Creator, that the wars that are fought in guile or ignorance, lust or hatred, are mere diseases of the soul: the real war is on man from sin, and the real exit is Christ.
However many are the 'sports car' owners, that is, the youth, the young who ignore the specifications as if they could not read, are hypnotised by the car stealers as if they could not think, and seizing the controls of life, act as if accidents were a thing unknown, rust a thing above perception and an end were nothing to the point. Beginning amiss, they end before they begin, and are dead while they drive. Now nations are dabbling infamously in further and further intrusion into what they do not understand, seeking the controls. Like pathetic children, they grab at daddy's steering wheel, lurching with abandon and wild without discipline.
Discipline ? Alas it comes in its own form: World War I, was not without some discipline ? World War II had perhaps a hint or savour of something wrong, needing correction ? The Cold War, just perhaps, had just that strange scent of unsavoury scenario ? The glut of autonomy-seeking nations immersed in war as if famine and starvation were some sort of goal: this too might just give a slight hint that some things are a little amiss ? The parade of prophecy itemising just such a situation from the lips of the only Saviour the world has ever known, the only valid attested and confirmed living word as man from God, who as God gave to man the answer, this must be ignored*4.
Whoever heard of giving God His place! they chant as they rant about rule and hatred and bodies and wars and weapons, and betray each other and illustrate the condition of their spirits, like some stubborn experiment in the laboratory, going on from its own sweet will, determined to show its result over and over again. So the dog returns to its vomit and the world spins awry!
Let us move then, past the secular myths, and it is worth noting as we do, that the increasingly religious side of secular affairs, in its synthetic plasticity, is as it must be for there is a SECOND BEAST noted in Revelation's coverage prophetically, namely the one which speaks like a Lamb but looks like a Dragon, a plausible covering for wolves in sheep's clothing, at the top level (Rev. 13:11ff., cf. News 121). Communism was too obviously absurd to go far; but its case was far worse than that; it was not up to the Biblical mark, for the final product of satanic ire, is very religious.
To parody the truth is one thing: to ignore it is rather more difficult! The former failed, and the latter is in line of prophetic succession in this, that it MUST be and must be the final tilt. NOW therefore (Answers to Questions Ch. 5) would be a very good time for it, and we see much of its ... splendour in such sites as SMR pp. 750Bff., Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 9, News 5, 122 and especially News 121, just mentioned.
It has to be. God said it would be. That is WHY these religious elements are becoming so prominent, devious, synthetic, the subject of such talk and work, so parading, so deployed! As the nations show their religious sleeves now, we see the prophetic situation coming along, as a cook watching her scones turn a lovely light brown, might say, very nicely. How could the evil be 'nice' ? That you will certainly see, as so many do so often, in the EARLY STAGES. The Biblical paradigm shows just such a devious delusive desirability in the early stages (for which see Biblical Blessings Ch. 2). Charm to disarm, and the plausible to enhance, these are more potent than any atomic bomb!
What then are we to seek in the vision of lowly loveliness instead of these ghoulish, popular and peddled horrors ? What that is lovely, or potentially so, can be descried instead, in the field of youthful aspiration as it would be ? As it would be ... ? Yes, as it would be if it were to follow the , and seek the Lord and find in Him the desire of the nations (Haggai 2:7), whose rest is glorious (Isaiah 11:10), whose power prodigious and without parallel, whose presiding grace is incomparable, since none is to be compared to the God who made us all!
This is the God who says and it comes to pass BECAUSE NO ONE CAN STOP HIM (Isaiah 43:13 cf. SMR Chs. 8-9, The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4). That is WHY it comes to pass! But power ? It is useful, but purity and truth are basics indispensable. Here it is in all in one (SMR Chs. 3 and 10), and it is precisely because and when it is NOT taken where it is, that philosophy and politics and social studies have sought so long so obviously in vain that their pronouncements increasingly become just another name for platitude, and their suggestions for a latitude which knows no longitude, and is constantly without bearings, or bearing on man! (Cf. Professor Alan Bloom SMR pp. 354ff..) This is in the most marked contrast with Biblical resolution of problems and harmony of principles (cf. SMR Ch. 5, CELESTIAL HARMONY FOR THE TERRESTRIAL HOST).
First is the vision glorious, the truth inimitable because truth is what it is, the youth not in chains of culture, the clamour of mere tumult or the daze of drugs, mental or physical: he or she so found will be one who RESPONDS rather than REACTS. It will be one where personality is intact, integrated, integral indeed with the Intelligence of God, wrought in the wisdom of God, functioning in the love of the Lord, and filled with the Spirit of the living God. It will not be that reductionistic mode or model of the Simpsons, or worse typings, of various comics which reduce man to moral midgetry, and induce slavish servitude to spiritual degeneracy, biblically defined.
Intelligence is liberated when truth is found; and how great, how enthralling is that liberty, because it is the reality for which our natures are made, and its radical transformation in Christian life, of what preceded it, is merely an experimental or if you will, empirical verification of the nature of the case, sure on other grounds, and demonstrated (SMR). When the devious devices which so afflict the human mind alienated from God (Ephesians 4:17-19), no longer have need to lurk, as the light is fled from, and the truth is viewed as an assassin, then the peace is not only from relief, but from the One from whom flight was made!
Such is the divine irony, but it is turned to strength when the departure being remedied, one returns to the Lord, the Creator, who redeems and so makes man what he could not be, because he had fallen, and would not be, because he preferred to imagine heights in his depths, and so merely sank further.
Terror of truth ? So does the criminal, perhaps not seldom, view the policeman.
Reaction can THEREFORE afford to be distanced, for the new child of God, and RESPONSE comes instead, personal and real, sensitive and distinct; and with it, there comes responsibility which weighs its response amid values that remain. Now the life does not need to hate, except iniquity, for love of truth does not atone for the luxury of dabblings with desires for evil things. It will love: for this it can and must afford to do, when it is no longer yielding the palm to another, and lamenting its loss, and so shying away from such a judicious enterprise.
Now looking as Bunyan*5 so beautifully put it, on the robing from God, accorded to every Christian, each can think the other better than himself, for God so acts upon each. He can indeed, and she can, and the young can as well, even the children may feature, focus and foster the good in others, and seek to enlarge it, as love does.
Love also loves what is lovely, for that partial affection which seeks merely the advancement of that on which its passions rest, is no more when reality rules, and truth rules. What is the good of being top, if you are bottom morally, mediocre in truth, or scattered spiritually ? This is like the elevation of rubbish. Love loves the lovely, seeks it, rejoices in it, and most willingly seeks the transformation of what is not, into what is lovely. It seeks the mandate of love, and it recognises the reality of rubbish, the going-rate of garbage, and seeks to evacuation of people from the tip before they finally reach it. The broken Royal Doulton plate to the tip ? Yes. Sad ? Rather. But a human soul to the tip ? Utter folly, and love seeks to intervene.
God did this to the uttermost part, in sending His only begotten Son, the master craftsman of salvation, the President of peace, the procurer of ransom, the payor of the price of pride and all the other sins of which a man may repent; and made Himself available to the repentant on mere acceptance by faith: the Lord who loved, and who in love, reintroduces to love.
It is not sentiment, far less seedy substitute for ardour that lives; it is not cold charity, for blood that is oozing between nails on the cross is not cold; and the Saviour who shed it now lives forever (Revelation 1:18-19), and ALONE has the keys of hell and death, being judge of all men, Himself (Acts 17:31, Hebrews 2, John 5:1-23).
This is the love of the Sovereign Creator who MADE man, and remakes those who come in faith to Him, according to His word, in repentance, for He redeems them who come, and remakes what is redeemed (John 3, Titus 3).
What does not love is by its very preoccupations and blindness, not fully alive. It is a nominal human being.
What seeks to 'love' without God, seeks to be a phenomenal human being, but succeeds only in masquerading. If God is not your acknowledged source, then the love of sin, the lust of rebellion, the pride of arrogant disdain (cf. SMR pp. 100-101), in NOT ACTING to receive what God at cost has so provided, is already yours; and what is love in that! It infects the spirit, misaligns the soul, rigidifies the personality, distorts the truth, and makes of such love as may be thus spent, a distanced thing, without its source, denying its root, elevating itself into an oblivion just and deserved.
When the light is seen and sent away, it is so (John 3:19-30), and even when it is not seen, there is still the absence which leaves dim and dull, even dismal by comparison, the highest of human modes. So is the branch without the root: it looks good, but withers in its time.
It is the nature of light that when it is shrouded, it is not bright.
But let us become botanical in mode, recalling the natural living given to mankind.
Love in its source, comes flowing, sent to its branches, enduing the derivative life with its eternal blessedness, and the branches, vital in its vigour, are formed in its force, made alive in its distribution, aligned in its dispositions - for love and life are not apart in the Lord: this brings the person who so abides into renewal in the image of Him who created him (as Paul tells the Colossians in 3:10).
You could call it by some other name. You could, for example, call it an axis of good, or a work of war on unloveliness, or a crusade for cleansing, a vision of derivative splendour, the kingdom of heaven in its individual outreaches. However you would have to be careful, for there is NO OTHER NAME by which a man can be saved, and MUST be saved, but that of Jesus Christ. Thus you would advisedly call it Christian Life.
But what if you call it that, and it is merely a name, lacking the reality through that dead formalism of which Paul speaks in II Timothy 3, in defining some of the characteristics of the period preceding the return of Jesus Christ for His people (as in I Thessalonians 4). Then it is Eau de Cologne which got mixed up, and took instead the waters of the Rhine, and not the floral base from Cannes or elsewhere. The label does nothing whatsoever for the smell, except to degrade its fame by patent misuse, and patent abuse, in both senses of 'patent'! Some other Christ, yes, some other Spirit, yes, some other Gospel ? yes, says Paul, you might WELL bear with it! (II Cor. 11). This of course was a profound irony to Corinth, where the tender ministrations of the Gospel were in danger at one stage of yielding to a subtle and subversive substitute which would corrupt the people, and lead them only to hell, like premature infants, still born, led off to the morgue.
Sad ? But of course, and such a sorrow by any other name would be grief in abundance. It is well therefore for the young, and those whose hearts still yearn within them for good, for God, for His beauty of holiness and His rule of truth, to go to the still waters which may still be drunk, for he/she who drinks of this water, will never thirst again. The water ? it is the Spirit of God, which indeed then proceeds in abundance to spring up to eternal life and also to move outward from the heart in which it wells, as well (John 4 and 7).
HOW is it obtained ? It is obtained by accepting the vicarious atonement, the redemptive remedy, the sacrificial oblation, the death of Christ in your stead, and the life of Christ in your heart, in repentance and realism, coming to the God who has a mouth, and has spoken, so that His word becomes you guide, His Spirit your girding.
Being a spiritual person is not another way of saying that you are superior (and the world is full of such claims, ludicrous or rash, ruinous or childish). It is to say, in the context of Jesus Christ, that you are born from His Spirit, covered by His cross, realising the power of His resurrection, who made the morgue passé, and owe all to Him! It is to acknowledge that God is the Father of spirits, and that now you are not only a child of His by CREATION, but by REDEMPTION; not only in the way with which you had no commerce (for what child decides to be born ?), but in a way in which your individual heart is filled with particular delight to endorse!
Superior ? How superior is one who needs the death of the Lord to save his soul ? Superior ? How superior is he/she whose life is gained by donation, a donation open to all, urged for all, provided for all, but rejected by many!
Hence humility is another mark of the life which is an option not found very noticeably on the TV screens, or in the halls of riches or fame! Some of those who believe, have fame, but relatively few (cf. I Corinthians 1:27ff.). HIS fame, that of the Lord who did it all, this is the name which matters. If some would thrust fame upon you, you have to be very sure that the glory goes to God, and that HIS work is the one which is central and in focus!
Hence sincerity is another criterion, whilst kindness is yet another; for how would you lack in kindness when your own life is not only built on it, but inhabited and presided upon, by Him who made you, remade you and sustains you foreverout of pure and absolute grace! (Ephesians 2:1-12, 1:11).
Sensitivity is yet another feature: not that which scrupulously avoids all offence, like some Buddhist engineering. Rather it is sensitive to the actualities of things, so that when it is necessary to speak the truth forcibly and boldly (as a doctor might to a cancer patient who needs an urgent operation), you do; and when there is an option to turn the other cheek to some insult, you do. The former must not be left out because of love; the second must be left out for the very same reason!
Recently, in a tennis broadcast, someone said: The modern man, strong and sensitive.
Such is an illusion many may have. They look to some model of strength, to survive, and sensitivity, also to survive, and to make survival more pleasant, perhaps, for survivors. However this is quite compatible with the utmost devilry. No doubt the very man of sin, the antichrist himself, will be somewhat in this mould: strong in the power of evil, and sensitive to his own glory and to others in order to have them acknowledge it the better!
For the spiritual person there is no substitute; and such a thing by any other name would not alter, though the alteration of the name, in conferring vainglory to man instead of glory to God, should remove the model at once! For Christ, there is no other name: He, as the word of God, is as He is and can no more have a name change, than can God be altered. As presented, so He is; as He came, so He did; and as He did, so He is.
None can or does or did or will do other to this point, for the power of God is His own prerogative, and He has resolved that just ONCE the Saviour would die (Hebrews 9), and that for those who expectantly look for Him, He will come again, without sin, for salvation (9:28), removing the last impediment death, and securing that outcome of spiritual redemption, the redemption of the very body (Romans 8:23, II Corinthians 5, I Cor. 15). It is IN HIM, Jesus Christ, that God has resolved that all things are to find their basis and their end, their meaning and their position (Ephesians 1:10).
Salvation ? Necessary (Acts 4:11-12). Other name for it ? Impossible. Salvation by any other name would be, and is, fraud.
The transformed child of Christ, according, has
zeal for His honour,
zest for His work,
quest for His will,
faith in His provisions,
and in all things
seeks to make provision for his faith as given by God in truth and in reality!
It is His word which is determinative, not some glitz or glimmer of man,
and it is His work, done by Him,
which is received with a relish both reasonable and accruing.
Some bodies called churches may create from the arid hinterlands of their cultural connections, new christs (Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2:1) without power, without praise, without purity and without the heralding of God. These merely join the thronging selfishnesses of the squalid world, and work as well as any other plastic where stainless steel is required. The world awaits the courage, counsel, compassion, strength, godliness and reliability, sincerity and dependability, guilelessness and goodness to be found where Christ dwells; and it keeps snapping like some daft trout, inebriated by some toxic waste, at anything other than He whose word nothing imitates. However as it constantly looks where flesh exalts, it looks but in the bin, and is let down because it will not face the fact, that as Christ was in the world, so must His children be.
Every mangled, tangled, untrue, power-grabbed, glory-snuffing substitute for Christianity, the world may love; but the actuality it loves just as it loved Jesus Christ Himself, and accords much the same treatment to it, as it did to Him. Bemused, it is confused; alien, it is rampant. So it lives, so it acts, and so now more and more manifestly in our generation, it dies.
Before long, leaving the unlaundered perversions of christs, and the honeyed delusions of philosophies, it will applaud and acclaim the least of men, serpentinely slithering to its evil end*6.
Let it. The people of God, the people of vision, the young who know the will of God and follow Christ, whose eyes are opened to the vicious betrayals and seek the truth with faith undimmed, in the word of God, these will be paintings by a hand which was pierced, and productions that may stand alone in many an adverse field, but yet ... they stand.
Thus did Paul write in Ephesians 6:
"For this reason, take to you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.This is equipment. It is not for display! It works, and the transformed people of God both need it and therefore use it. Yet the world departs, disbelieving, persecuting, unshriven, unlovely, without faith. As it is, so it is shown to be.
"Stand, therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
See Red Alert ...Ch. 6, re this event in 2001.
II Cor. 6:14, Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10 cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7.
See Red Alert ... Ch. 15.
Cf. different aspects in SMR pp. 570ff., 611ff., 623ff., 648ff., 664ff., Scoop of the Universe 37, Benevolent Brightness... 69.
Bunyan does this in Pilgrim's Progress volume 2, which shows the pilgrimage to heaven of Christiana, Christian's wife who had delayed her coming while her husband had gone to serve the Lord, but on her husband's death had realised the need to go herself, taking all her family with her.
When they had all been arrayed in new and suitable 'clothes', they were amazed at the transformation, each looking on the other, and admiring, hence giving an allegorical setting for Paul's 'each think other better than himself'. See Ephesians 4:22-24. This is the change of position while Colossians 3:10 gives the processive modelling which is also involved, on the newly equipped saint. Saint ? But of course, there are no hybrids. If you are a Christian, you are a saint - NOT some pious prelate's pronouncement, but that of God, fortified by the very spiritual power which alone makes men into the sons of God, women into daughters of God, yes and all who so come into children of God, not least the little ones themselves.
If the idea concerns you, perhaps it is because you have omitted to come where the LORD IS TO BE FOUND (Isaiah 55), and so not knowing Him, cannot understand the title, 'child of God' (Galatians 3:26-28, II Cor. 1:1). If so, the time to come is now, and the place is Christ, and the way is that of His Cross FOR you, to ransom you, and His life IN you, to refresh you (John 4:14), and His gifts FOR you (I Cor. 12, Romans 12), to enable you, while His heart is TOWARD you to comfort you (John 14, 16), and His eye is UPON you, to guide you (Psalm 32, Romans 8:16, James 1).
See on this SMR pp. 750Bff., News 5, and Biblical Blessings Ch. 2, for example.