Posts for January 2012
5 Posts found

John 15.18-24
Posted: 20 January 2012 in John

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

Following the fall the world, en masse, is in rebellion against God. Unless he chose some out of the world, and called them to himself, none would be saved. That seems to be what is implied in the above verses. Jesus’ entry into the world brought with it a two edged sword. One edge bringing salvation to those whom the Father has chosen, but the other edge bringing into full view the world’s hatred of both Jesus and his Father.

There is no sense in which the will of God can be frustrated by men, and the only rational thing for them to do is to bend themselves to it. But such is the corruption of sin, that we refuse God the worship which is his due.

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Jeremiah 5.7-14 – The worship of idols
Posted: 17 January 2012 in Jeremiah

How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD’s. For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them. Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

The Bible is given for our learning, and contains endless warnings about the consequences of idolatry. In fact, I think I have made more posts about those passages than anything else. But such is our endemic sinfulness that now, as back then, we ignore those warnings, and carry on with our various forms of idolatry. The warnings cannot be dismissed, as is sometimes done with other parts of the Bible, as being “just the Old Testament” – accompanied by the unspoken notion that God changed his ways in New Testament times, and is now much more loving (i.e. indulgent of sin). That, of course, is nonsense, and anybody who does not offer God the exclusive worship which is his due, and put their faith in Christ, will stand condemned. Which makes it all the more urgent that we avoid the idols that are so pervasive in this present day. Easily said.

The idol which is almost universally worshipped in the West is (needless to say) material prosperity, and doubtless Asia will soon be joining the West in that. To which the new atheists add a deified science as their next most favourite idol. That second idol adds pride to avarice as one of our most besetting sins. Like the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, we too will probably fail to fully repent, until our civilisation is brought to collapse, or to the brink of collapse.

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Revelation 19.1-7 – Salvation, Predestination, and God’s Glory
Posted: 16 January 2012 in Revelation

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Amongst other things, these verses give us a reason for salvation not being universal. Namely that God’s victory over his enemies will be part of both motive and substance for the worship of God in heaven. Of course, that might give rise to the perennial complaint that predestination is unfair. But that misses the point that we were not created for our own sake, but in order to serve God’s purposes, and it also misses the point that predestination does not negate human responsibility – when we are judged we will not be able to claim that responsibility for sin is not ours. The universe was created so that God could be thereby glorified, and it is governed with that end in view. All men, all women, and all things, will serve that purpose.

Irrespective of our eternal destiny we all have an unconditional obligation to worship our creator. A refusal to do that, possibly as the result of pride, could be said to function as an indicator of whether or not somebody is amongst God’s elect. If somebody is resentful of God, who is their Lord and reigns over them, and if they steadfastly refuse him their worship, they are hardly fitted to live eternally in his presence. Although what necessarily follows is sometimes described as eternal punishment, it is really something which they will have brought upon themselves – even though it is also something preordained by God for his own glory.

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Revelation 18.14-19 – Serving God (or not).
Posted: 6 January 2012 in Revelation

“And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.”

It might reasonably be supposed that one day a similar lament to that of the merchants will be heard from all people who have spent their lives in pursuit of material prosperity, and their own will, rather than the will of God – and of course that means everybody.

It is difficult to overstate the extent of man’s dpravity, who will always live for himself, rather than for the God who is his Lord and creator. Without Christ there could be no salvation.

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John 5.24-29 – The eternal destiny of men
Posted: 5 January 2012 in John

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

There are Christians today, who not feeling comfortable with the idea that it is the eternal destiny of some men to be destroyed, want to believe that all men will eventually be saved. I personally know a couple of people wearing clerical collars who take that view. Whilst the sentiment is understandable, it is not one which can easily be given a biblical defence – and the Bible is our only authority on these matters. Such a view regarding salvation would necessitate the belief that, for something like two thousand years, men had been misinterpreting the Bible drastically, and only within the last fifty or sixty years has its true meaning finally been established. That sounds intrinsically very unlikely. We don’t have to like it, but those who do not have faith in Christ, and perhaps even those who have never heard of Christ, cannot not be saved. Feeling uncomfortable about that does not make it legitimate for us to creatively reinterpret the Bible, or to question God’s justice and righteousness.

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