Unconditional election 8

How different it is to dwell in the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of this world, where Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them (Mt 20:25).  The Prince of Peace, however, sought to rub shoulders with us, seeks to minister to us, to offer us a way out of the wearying demands of human ego and ceaseless office politics: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Mt 11:30).

How different it is to be in church on the Lord’s Day, than to be in the cross-fire of the slings and arrows of outrageous worldliness from Monday to Saturday.  Believers in Christ are not competitors with one another so much as convicted, guilty sinners, united in their acceptance in the Beloved, amazed and glad simply to be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (Ps 84:10).

How different it is to be ruled by the One who truly cares for us, who proclaims that I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Mt 28:20); through our personal ups and downs, triumphs and backslidings, fears and intimations of eternal glory.  In which worldly organisation(s) is the boss or line-manager someone so accommodating, so willing to manifest such fatherly, shepherdly care, 24-7?

How different from aloof genius is our Father in heaven.  It wasn’t enough for God (the Son) to take our place and die for us, thus paying off our mountainous sin-debt; He made it so we would be in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit and gradually transformed, through His infinite condescension to our finite, limited capacities.  And so as we meditate upon His inherent greatness (Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come Eph 1:21), we who have been elected ought more often to be dumbfounded and humbled by the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power (v. 19).

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God’s elect

God’s elect are not elite,

for they were rescued

from defeat.

 

God’s elect are not in queue,

for hierarchy’s our

human view.

 

God’s elect are not alone,

for through One’s work

One’s faith will hone.

 

God’s elect are not all here,

for God in time has

more to shear.

Total depravity 8

It is a remarkable thing that that wretched thief or that immoral woman were, in their heavenly states, superior to John the Baptist (he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he Lk 7:28) or Mary (Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come Jn 2:4) in their earthly states.

In the flesh, the very greatest, kindest, cleanest, most faithful people are as yet earthern vessels, in which the treasure (2 Cor 4:7) of Jesus Christ is bestowed, or not.  In the case of John the Baptist and Mary it manifestly was, but until they were actually away from this world and in heaven the indwelling presence of their old natures rendered them unfit to be, at least experientially, with the angels and redeemed multitudes who dwell in immortal bliss with our Saviour.

Lest we get ahead of ourselves, may we remember our own actual states in this present worldly realm.  It is not possible to be as we want to be until the time when we are actually with the Holy One in that ultimate sense.  Nevertheless, we rejoice greatly that the day is coming when we shall indeed be all we wish to be; no longer saved-sinners requiring hope and faith but finally consummated, agape dwellers in Christ.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Cor 13:12).

Mary, Mary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

knowing well you do not vary

from the rest of God’s creation

by Him blessed though no relation.

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

hating what’s unnecessary,

adding to God’s mighty grace

idolatry, towards your face!

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

seeing how the pope’s contrary

to the Christ of light and love

stealing the role of vicar, dove.

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

weeping once at Calvary,

praising for ever Jesu’s name

the One you bore, who bore your blame.

Soli Deo Gloria 8

If it were true that there were one that could doeth good (Rom 3:12) upon the face of this earth, then indeed that second table of the moral law, commandments 5-10 would have been kept by a fellow human being.  There would in deed have been a righteous person (v.10) for whom not an instant of earthly time was spent in uncharitable, unclean or unwise thoughts or motions toward a fellow human.

However, even if there were such a one there would still remain the hurdle of commandments 1-4; not only one’s attitude or behaviour toward fellow creatures but toward the Creator.  Such a one would have to be a person that understandeth and seeketh after God (v. 11) throughout all their days.  While false religions promote certain human idols into such a position the truth is that there never has been or will be such a person, aside from the Holy One who tabernacled in human flesh but was God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim 3:16).

When we think upon what we would have been without His incarnation and atonement, indeed what we are aside from Him (although believers are forever IN Him), it is mind-boggling.  Along with the psalmist we may think What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Ps 8:4).  What is man, indeed, but a constantly erupting scandal, born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7); any newspaper will confirm it. And so we entrust our lives to our Father in heaven who knows us better than we know ourselves, caring deeply for each one of us, leading us to 

praise the name of the LORD:

for his name alone is excellent;

his glory is above the earth and heaven

(Ps 148:13).

God in man

Oh God in man, a paradox

like mind in brain, or time in clocks,

and so we trust in God as man

for all in Adam God did ban.

 

Oh God in man, yet infinite

dwelling with sinners, obstinate,

through Christ He can be forgiving,

condemning souls, ever living.

 

Oh God in man, a mystery

like humans’ ancient history,

and so we trust His Anointed

BC, AD, God appointed.

 

Oh God in man, a burning bush

how all our sins against Him push,

for He alone is holy, kind

we’re counterfeit, forging mankind.

Solo Christo 8

There is a tendency within us to worship or to demonise the creature at the drop of a hat.  The Melitians, for example, labelled Paul a murderer (Act 28:4) due to his being attacked by a snake, only to label him a god a few verses later (v. 6).  Similarly, multitudes (Mt 11:7) were quick to label John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus demon-possessed (v. 18), gluttonous, a winebibber, and sinful (v. 19).  In the same chapter the Holy One whom we all should have worshipped graciously commands people everywhere to Come unto ME (v. 28), Take MY yoke upon you, and learn of ME (v. 29).

People are so ready and willing to worship in ways which in reality allow them to dwell in sinful self indulgence and / or abandonment: Aliens, the Multiverse, AI, Atheism, Eastern mysticism, Hedonism, SF, movies, games, sports, narratives and novelties capture and fuel our ungodly imaginations.  Meanwhile, that man of sorrows makes us uncomfortable, squeamish, embarrassed at best.  As we despised and esteemed him not then (Is 53:3), so do we, have we, will we, always.  It is the hidden principle of sin within us.

Or we worship a dead Christ, a distant Christ, an unknowable Christ, one who bears no resemblance to the Christ of the gospels.  The woman of Samaria, for instance, was amazed not only at the identity of the Messiah, I that speak unto thee am he, but that such a one as HIM should deign to speak with such a one as her: Jesus saith unto her (Jn 4:26).  Well, friend, you and I are one with this unworthy recipient of grace.  Not a single one of us can be said to be worthy of His presence, godly care, sanctifying attention.  May it be that as Christ is the light (Jn 8:12) so God will say Let there be light (Gen 1:3) in you.