Poetic Siesta II

AT THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

A measly ten pounds

(He had a minuscule amount of interest)

A purchase to please others

Unimpressed with his own gift-giving

But conforming to what was expected

Surprised by the appreciation shown in return

‘What’s all the fuss about?’ He secretly thinks –

almost murmurs

People socialise – greet – and connect warmly –

(to his further dismay)

‘I’m not used to this social interaction’

he sighs to himself

But can’t help noticing the enjoyment

they all must feel

As they act normal and share affection

with one another

He himself – embraced like a long lost brother

Too much for his brain to handle

Survival and dog-eat-dog

Was always his lot, – was all that he knew

He is dressed well for once

And looks now – for the next hand-shake

Slow transformation – 

I could live with this’ he concludes

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Poetic Siesta I

MAYBE ANOTHER DAY 

As I draw close to the page once again

And the mind mounts the staircase

The fingers create the words

The critics-helmet goes on

The sifting of thoughts by the same maker of thoughts

The stops and starts – reflecting – on reflection

Standards vary – jury’s out – mini-decisions are made

And a manuscript – shuttles out from the printing machine

Out of the mind onto the white

A poem – not a thing of beauty or a joy forever

But a poem just the same – stirs you – to take the time

Or helps you – close your mind

What will it be today? Will you rise to the challenge?

Or has all that food made you sleepy?

Put the poem away – and live to read another day

Fallen? – Get up!

FALLEN? – GET UP!

You have fallen. Get back up. You have fallen physically – get back up. You have many bruises emotionally – come to Christ for healing. You are beset with clamorous confused thoughts – turn to God’s word, to replace them. Settle on His word(s).

In western movies we all remember the stagecoach, which having lost it’s two drivers/riders – runs wildly onwards – out of control, the horses having no guide.

A cowboy on horseback outrides/outruns the stagecoach hops on board and the two damsels inside are rescued, as he brings the stagecoach to a halt.

Regardless of how out of control things may seem – there is one who is willing to draw alongside and take control of your life beginning with your thought-life. He is always ahead of you, able to double back and embrace you and save you.

But how hard it initially is to ‘calm down’, stop and relax, gather up your thoughts to get past the turmoil of emotion.

But you can do it! Faith begins in God’s word, faith is strengthened by reading the Word, faith provides the ability to enter into rest again.

Easier said than done? Yes – but let’s be reminded that regardless of how instant the help seems, or not – trusting beats remaining in the turmoil.

Paul the apostle exhorts us:

casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Bringing every thought into captivity is not easy when in a ‘whirl’ over a given negative situation.

That’s why some preachers exhort us to ‘Praise God in every situation’. Praise takes our mind and focuses it on God! His attributes are multiple – there is much to Praise God for.

Praise is the voice of faith.

I believe God needs our co-operation – if He is to help us. We are all slow to give Him or co-operation at times.

Sometimes the choice of the will is all we have. The choice we must take is to use our faith.

Lord we who are so weak – use our faith – to co-operate with you in order that your strength be made perfect in our weakness!

(II Corinthians 12/9)

The Mystery

THE MYSTERY

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

To some the knowing of the MYSTERY, has been given:

11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,

‘To you it has been given…’

We cannot know the mystery, except it be given to us.

We can’t find it any other way. Not by ingenuity of the most ingenious kind, not by reading books alone, nor by oral tradition, nor by scanning every man-made philosophy.

As we read, as we listen, as we seek, as we ask, as we knock – yes in the course of doing so – it can be given us ‘to know…’

But ‘to you…’, Jesus said to His chosen disciples ‘it has been given to know the mystery…’

What mystery?

The mystery of the kingdom of God.

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

A mystery kept secret.

This mystery of God’s kingdom cannot be given to sinful man. Therefore what the mystery is – is unknown to those from whom it is hidden.

That means they strive and struggle with their own intellects to dismiss it as mumbo-jumbo. They attack the gospel because they are left without it’s revelation.

The more they search for fault in the bible and are proud of their arguments, the further away do they go from it’s revelation, as they substitute their own reasoning powers for the offered revelation of the mystery.

God never intended the abandonment of reason, just repentance from sin. Non-repentant man, the natural man, cannot receive the things of the mystery, until he firsts takes the place of humility.

A man or a woman must go through an inner life-changing spiritual experience as he/she hears the gospel, and responds, in order to really understand it.

That’s why Paul talks of ‘the revelation of the mystery…’

It is a revelation, which is inner illumination supplied by The Holy Spirit of God.

The content of the mystery, is manifold. Not comprehensively understood this side of heaven.

As we walk with Christ Jesus, the possibility remains continuous of understanding more of this mystery.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory…

Those who totally accept Christ as Lord and Saviour – are given insight into this mystery, God has ordained that it be so.

Receiving revelation of the mystery, is not the same as knowing all things. There is always more insight into the mystery, but to the believing Christian much can be revealed. We see this in the life of John, Paul, Peter, and so on.

They played their part in transcribing in the Power of the Holy Spirit whatever God placed within their spirit and understanding, but Paul informs us even though he was given an abundance of revelation – he/we still only ‘know in part’.

Many, aware that they can’t understand spiritual matters and are unable to conclude – consider that everyone is in the same boat. They therefore dismiss out-of-hand anything to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. “After all they conclude, how can we know for sure?”

When God moves in your heart in response to the invitation to do so – you will know without a doubt.

The multitudes who received a healing miracle from Christ – knew beyond a shadow of doubt that this man had the words of eternal life.

However the plight of mankind is made clear – despite witnessing the feeding of four or five thousand people from a handful of  loves and  fishes human nature still has the capacity to doubt and turn away from the King of Kings.

So Paul in light of the deceitfulness of his own heart and ours, exhorts us in the following way:

13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Hold fast despite what life throws at us. Hold fast to the sound words of Christ. Hold fast in faith, despite feelings. 

Hold fast to the only set of thoughts on the planet that are 100% true and reliable. Hold fast and trust the son of man, The Son of God, whom to know is life eternal!

Poetic Interruption V

JOURNEYING ON 

He set off on another journey

His life was journey-bound – 

Everything was another journey

He couldn’t stay still for a season

Still young – still breezing about

Pillar to post – friends housed-him

Girls helped-him – but never got a ring

– On the phone or – on a finger

Vagabond – the hip way to be

In his own eyes money didn’t matter

But he used it when he had it

Used it to make another discovery

Collecting discoveries like old bills

Some relevant to keep – in reminiscence

Others cast away or thrown

on the experience heap

Once again he wears that studious frown

across his brow – and he starts to think:

‘Bus station – hired car – walk the rest’

Call-in on someone half-known

Someone from first-time-round

Things didn’t always work out

On revisit –

doors were slammed

as past hurts – hadn’t passed

and forgiveness

for his exploitive-deeds didn’t flow

So he turned on his heels

Down on his uppers

And struggled through

’til the next idea

Would he do this all his life?

Loyal to the road – and addicted to something

Dishevelled and smelling of nicotine?

Or would he climb back on the wagon

And head for a far-off land

Remain reclusive and while-away the hours

‘Gauguin-romantic’ of unreality?

But of such – were some of you

until family beckoned and feet were

firmly placed on the ground

And imagination provided

the next journey to never take…

Poetic Interruption IV

THE RIGHT JACKET

Over and across from…

There stood a jacketed man

He smoothed it, shifted it, buttoned it

He smiled a model’s smile, – though model he was not

He waited patiently, finger and thumb, brushing his moustache

Yes predictably the watch received a glance

Then he began to pace to and fro

Best to keep moving to some degree,

Pacing – of the maternity-ward – kind

Waiting on the ‘birth-appearance’

of his faithful appointment-keeper

She came into view, he straightened up,

His jacket getting one more pull

A warm embrace ensued with girl called Sue

Arm and arm entwined – they creased the jacket

On their way to the zoo

 

 

 

Poetic Interruption III

IF I COULD…

If I could play a lost chord strumming it into existence

Perhaps sing through the scale better than perfectly

Or answer the unanswerable with amazing insight

If I could offer every last penny – leaving me none

Or stroke her hair with 100% affection

Climb a mountain without being out of breath

Slam a car door without making a noise

Eat a meal with no sleepy effect

Drink a litre of milk and forget I did

If I could arrive on time every time

Or hang the painting straight – straight away

Stand for hours without flinching

If I could…

I could be your friend –

couldn’t I?

The Only Potentate

The only Potentate

I Timothy 6/

14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honour and everlasting power. Amen.

It’s the world versus Jesus.

The world-system perpetuated by the powers of darkness.

Jesus Christ is holy harmless and undefiled. His life, more than any other, stands out as the antithesis to every failed attempt to live a righteous life.

There was no blemish found in Him.

But as I write these words there can arise in the hearts of men and women all kinds of thoughts exalted against the acceptance of the Son of God and His words.

As a result many won’t recognise Him for who He is.

He endured all kinds of contradictions of sinners against Himself.

His words and thought-life go contrary to what comes naturally to mankind.

Therefore He is not immediately embraced and welcomed. Just as He was rejected by those of His own in the region of His upbringing, so He is rejected by those who cannot get past their own thinking, which does not immediately correlate with His.

So if we truly stop and think things over – we can trace in ourselves thoughts of resistance to His gospel.

Even Christians need self-awareness of the things we still resist God in, because of our further need for more of His renewing work in our thought life.

He came to do a complete work – but in it all, in everything to do with us, He needs our co-operation.

God – to use a human phrase/description – is a gentleman.

He does not need to flex His spiritual muscle or demonstrate His ability to wipe us out, as some kind of self-indulgent egoist might.

I was fishing with my young son and his friend, quite a few years ago, when this tall and muscular guy arrived at our side – i.e. by the riverside.

He loured at us and asked if we had ‘caught anything’. When we said we had, he said ‘you wouldn’t be trying to fool me would you?’

He then proceeded, without permission, to haul onto the riverbank, the keep-net revealing the fish we had caught. 

Grunting he threw it carelessly into the water again. He lifted a piece of cloth, we had, and wiped his hands – throwing the cloth into the river.

It didn’t take a particularly spiritual man to discern the evil accompanying this person.

The whole time I remained silent.

He then began to say things to me, that I would not repeat in this post.

In all of this I remained in faith. Discerning the evil – but remaining in Christ’s peace.

He left – walking along the riverbank – I could see he was now engaging with someone seated in the distance.

So I immediately packed things up and we headed home. I was most concerned for, and conscious of, my responsibility for my neighbours son, (never mind my own) – who had been left in my care.

This person is a picture of the opposite to the God I serve. God dwells in unapproachable holy light. His nature is in complete contrast to ours, incomprehensibly so.

I have described in this incident with this human being and his controlling and threatening behaviour a picture of the complete opposite to the way of Christ.

The paradox is of course, God can reach the end of His long-suffering and eventually must judge the world and it’s incessant rebellion against Him, His name and His nature.

Yet we account that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation, for those who will receive it.

He is gentle by nature, but uncompromising in character. He is loving and forgiving, and when reviled – reviles not in return. He is wholesome in every way, humble, meek and lowly yet powerful and able to call ten thousand angels to His side. He is absolutely sure of who He is, has wisdom that is uncorrupted by this world. He stretches forth His hands as The Holy Spirit works upon our minds – and offers us the gift of eternal life to those who believingly-commit their lives to Him. He is never surprised and knows the end from the beginning. He is obviously extremely complex in His understanding and yet addresses us simply. He is touched by the feeling of our shortcomings and infirmities. Yet He watches daily as thousands pass from this life with an extremely limited knowledge of what to expect after death. Thousands who perhaps did not give Him a second thought for most of their days.

Some struggle with the God of the Old Testament and the judgement He meted out – but don’t stop to familiarise themselves with the corruption, debauchery, degeneracy, cruelty, occultism and so on – present and rampant in the nations He judged.

God had a problem on His hands – Almighty though He is – His creation went wrong. Due to the element of free-will God allowed to reside within his created beings.

To manifest His true character of holiness, meekness and gentleness – (great strengths and manifestations of His power), He needed (through the work of Christ) to bring man to a place where He (God), could begin to show Himself as He truly was.

It’s hard to trust someone we don’t know. The only way we can begin to trust them, is if they communicate to us in an acceptable manner, and we hear sincerely, about their character and life. Concluding (or otherwise) that they can be trusted.

Christ showed us The Heavenly Father – God was manifest in the flesh. Now man, unfit to partake of the things of God – could at least observe Him, and all His attributes:

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

God speaks – man can’t hear. God offers help – man doesn’t want it. Man is natural – God is spiritual. God gives (at least) 490 chances a day – to us – to ask for forgiveness – we ignore all of them through unbelief. (Matthew 18/22)

When we start accusing God and agreeing with the fallen god of this world – what audacity to think it strange that God should judge us.

Instead His long-suffering and ‘long’ arms are outstretched to us all, calling us to return to ‘… the Shepherd and Bishop of (y)our souls’.

Yes it’s the world system of darkness behind everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

But wait! 

Do you hear the still small voice beckoning us in the living room of our consciences – to come to Him, all of us who labour and are heavy laden?

The Only Potentate is calling us into His Royal courts where he steps down and washes our feet – what power! What beauty! What a Saviour!

Questions?

QUESTIONS

We have no concept of the numbers…

No concept of the amount of human beings who will live with or without Christ forever.

It is knowledge that is beyond us.

How many people have populated the earth since the beginning of time?

Of course – impossible to know.

Concerning numbers – there is – a certain 144,000 mentioned in the Bible. As yet such a number has not found it’s way to my scrutiny. I know it has in other cults. But I haven’t studied its context or implications.

So questions like “What happens to those who never hear the gospel of Jesus Christ?”

Or “what happens to those who live a ‘good life’, without having accepted this gospel?”

Considerations like “they will be judged by the light they have received”

All of these ponderings/considerations are common amongst Christians.

But it reminds me of The Lord when He answered the Pharisee:

28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.

The Lord Jesus points out things lacking in the Pharisee’s understanding – 1) a big enough knowledge of the scripture and 2) his lack of experience of the power of God.

When it comes to imponderables, there are no easy answer solutions. There is a point man reaches in his reasoning powers, when in humility he must succumb to the fact that unless the Holy Spirit enlightens the scriptures by His power, we will not become knowledgable concerning certain things.

This should not hinder our faith, but bolster it, in the understanding that without faith it is impossible to please God. So when our enquiries lead us astray from a steadfast faith in Christ – we have given heed to modern fables:

I Timothy 1/4…give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do…

So godly edifying is in faith. Faith waits to be further enlightened, it waits to gain insight previously absent.

So questions we cannot immediately answer, or questions we find imperfect answers to, should not throw our faith, but rather establish even more our need for God’s help, as we admit our finite limitations.

Many start to turn away from God by virtue of the answers they seem unable to obtain.

Doubt sets in – or spiritual carelessness. And the imponderables provide an excuse to turn again to the weak and beggarly elements this world has to offer.

Paul responding to the Galatian believers – who had gone astray in their thinking – is heard to say: 

I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

Regardless of how difficult some things are to understand, we must hold fast to what we already know, and realise that the complexity of life means that when the age-old temptation to dismiss God arises, because we have things that disturb us – there is no reason to depart from the faith.

We think of Job and the affliction he endured – and how he just could not grasp how such a thing could happen to him – and yet he did not curse God or reject Him.

All that I have just written can be challenged by the experiences of life, but God does not change. We must change to a position of waiting on God for His further help.

But when everything cries out – “this is unfair, or how can this happen…” we against-the-odds must find grace to fall on the Rock – Christ Jesus, in confession of our dependancy on the One who has the words of eternal life.

Job is an example – when he cried: “Though he slay me – yet will I trust him”.

In light of some of the things other people have suffered and survived – surely we can handle one of the ‘imponderables’ that comes under the heading of theology, and survive with our faith intact – rejoicing that we can only know in part anyway!

I Corinthians 13/12

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

 

Seeing the Invisible

SEEING THE INVISIBLE 

There is always the mysterious side of prayer.

When it comes to what actually happens in the unseen spiritual realm.

As Christians we are called to see into this realm.

How much we do – or don’t, depends on the Grace we have been given individually, it depends on our measure of faith. It depends on our own dedication and faithfulness to God.

After we release our prayers – usually through inner desires communicated to The Lord Jesus, (our representative before the Heavenly Father), or that which we audibly and visibly release from our beings in a prayer meeting with others – what happens after that?

Indeed we have limited knowledge of what this ‘triggers’ in heaven.

Having released our words into the spiritual invisible realm, sending them to our advocate, – it is interesting that we often set about immediately to judge the results by what we see or don’t see in the visible realm, the natural world.

And yet the scripture says: …7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

We are told in the following scripture that Faith sees the invisible:

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

“Seeing Him who is invisible”

That about sums up the difference between the two realms – or worlds – if you like.

In fact we hold a privileged and blessed position if our faith does not depend on seeing things in the natural world – Jesus communicating to doubting Thomas says:

29 …“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What’s it to be, are we to walk looking at the visible or the invisible?

Paul came to spiritual visions and revelations and expected more.

You and I at least need to look in the spirit – indeed, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Prophets could often see the invisible – that’s why of course, they were referred to as ‘seers’.

Who agrees that it is a piece of cake to walk according to the visible world we live in?

Where all our senses respond to the natural.

So when we release our prayers – we are exhorted contrary to our natural senses – we are exhorted to look at the invisible to see our prayers answered.

Jesus did this consistently and into the natural came the answers.

At least we of little faith – can look into the word of God that speaks of the invisible things to see, the spiritual realities.

We must cultivate our inner life with Christ.

We need to realise that there is a seeing literally – a God-given vision with our eyes closed or open. It can be an ‘open vision’, but also it is – we must realise – our understanding that gets to see. 

‘The eyes of our understanding are enlightened’. This too is seeing the invisible. But spiritual things are spiritually discerned. They are more than words on a page. They are more than some form of dead theology.

There are obvious examples from scripture of ones who needed their inner eyes enlightened so that the invisible was made visible. 

What they saw remained invisible it’s just that now they could see or see into the invisible.

2 examples –

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Elisha could already see into the invisible, now the young man received grace and help to also see what was invisible.

Any glimpse we get into the spiritual realm, helps our faith. Calling and causing us to realise that Jesus came to make the invisible father – visible. But now He calls us to see Him in the spirit.

All we can do is keep looking in prayer and into the eternal word, and be open to God according to His word, and only according to His word – granting us sight to see what the natural eyes cannot, or understand what our natural understanding cannot comprehend.

Let’s not pretend we see things, vainly puffed up by our fleshly minds – but at the same time – let us not sell ourselves short. As Christians we have this privilege bought-for-us at the cross of calvary, after which the Holy Spirit was given to lead us into all (therefore more) spiritual truth.

We are already blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (the unseen realm) in Christ Jesus.

More Lord we pray!

The problem with the law

THE PROBLEM WITH THE LAW

In my last post I set about establishing the need for the law, now I want to look at the limiting factor to it’s effectiveness.

We looked at the need for the law to highlight right from wrong, good from bad.

The law was given by Moses, but the first law we ever see in scripture was communicated to the first man and the first woman.

Later God wrote the ten commandments on stone, delivered ‘downhill’ by Moses.

That first ‘law’ given to a man named Adam and a woman named Eve was:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you[c] shall surely die.”

For mankind’s highest good a prohibition was instituted by God. A law, in other words. “You shall not eat etc…”

Woman and man violated that law, with catastrophic consequences.

God’s created mankind were now in rebellion, having inherited a fallen nature.

Fast forwarding, we understand that the giving of the law previous to the New Testament, as in the ten commandments and as in Leviticus etc. was half the answer.

It was incomplete as a way of addressing the sin problem. If you like it was the first half of a whole.

There was a divine order of things, first the law was given, then the second covenant arrived in the timing of God.

That’s why Christ came to fulfil/complete the law. Not only pointing out the problem, but providing the answer as to how it (sin) could be defeated and righteousness restored to the human race.

Speaking He says: Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

However, although the law is pure and holy, something more was needed than pointing out the sin problem. What was needed was the impartation of the ability to overcome sin.

So the law was limited until the bringing in of a better hope took place, in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He fulfilled the requirements of the law and offered His power, the power of an endless life, to His disciples, thus providing the enablement necessary to overcome sin’s dominion in our lives.

The law called for the perfect standard of God. But it was rendered ineffective by man’s fallen nature (flesh), and our inherent inability to respond to the law’s demands:

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh…

The law can only accomplish it’s life changing work in the hand of The Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God alone, who takes the word of God and instead of it being written on stone – He writes it on the human mind and spirit.

But He must be invited to do so by mankind.

This enables us to have the mind of Christ, and with it, His enablement to live like Him.

Because we still live in this body, we often fail to attain Christ’s standard and are become transgressors of the law again, when we stop relying on The Holy Spirit and the Living Word of God, to keep our minds pure and free.

We are told that the law on it’s own was an incomplete answer by the expression here, of ‘For what the law could not do…’

So there was something the law could not do. Regardless of what that was, it reveals the truth that it was not complete as a solution to the problem, due to the fallen nature of man and his inability to keep it.

The law did not change man, but remained to educate him as a schoolmaster, teaching him he was wrong, and pointing him to the coming solution.

We are told that it was the fallen nature of man, that rendered the law ineffective (weak through the flesh), when it came to overcoming sin in our lives.

Christ came therefore to fulfil the law by taking the punishment for sin that the law demanded, becoming the required sacrifice for sin – it (the law) – also demanded for justice to be done, and forgiveness and atonement through Christ The Lamb of God – came to be released.

Restoration of the sinner could then take place – with release from the law’s penalty – then following, to the repentant sinner who believes.

His sacrifice provided forgiveness, because our sin was now atoned for. Forgiveness must be sought, and the gift of His righteousness received by a willing heart.

So the law is good and acceptable, but because of the fallen nature we each live in – it is unable to change us. Only Christ working in us by The Holy Spirit can change us.

The New Testament, the New Covenant, the New Agreement, God wishes us to enter into in partnership with Him – is joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is freedom from the dominion of sin, it is life and life more abundantly, it is the inner spirit of man coming alive.

The cross of Christ is the place and time in history when this New Agreement was released to mankind for the receiving.

Refuse to receive and we are left under the law – condemned and guilty.

This is a vast subject, it is part of the mystery that was hidden from man until the appropriate time.

There is much to say.

But a post is limited in it’s content, nevertheless those who have ears to hear will hear!

Right and wrong – good and bad?

RIGHT AND WRONG – GOOD AND BAD?

You’ve heard it said: “There’s good and bad in everyone…”

(as an aside – check out Paul McCartney’s song: Ebony and Ivory)

* “There’s good and bad in everyone…” Now there’s a statement for you.

What does it mean?

Have you got six weeks, while I address the whole subject?

The following will have to do as we make a start anyway.

Concerning our opening statement* we can take the easy route – and simply agree, and leave it at that. Most people think they know what is meant by this statement.

But then, is it also right that there are varying degrees of good and varying degrees of bad? I would say it is self-evident that there are.

However that the human – nature is intrinsically and mysteriously flawed is also self-evident.

I could go for my preacher hat straight away and lay some scriptures on you.

But instead I’d like to lead-up to that possibility.

Firstly where does our personal idea of good and bad come from i.e. in our individual experience?

Well – keeping it simple – it comes from our inner knowledge.

We may feel philosophically highfalutin and hold the view that – really good and bad is subjective and there are no absolutes when it comes to the subject.

But then things happen.

Your house is broken into and your possessions stolen, or worse still your house is burnt to the ground.

The person holding the view that good and bad is a subjective thing only, are suddenly flabbergasted by this event.

Rightly offended or devastated by this intrusion and assault upon their sensibilities.

So can we say then that it is universally subjective, i.e. common to us all to feel this response? I think we can.

So it’s not too big a statement to say that we would all feel the same violation in this instance.

Good and bad is more than simply something dependent upon our subjective perspective, but based on what the law reveals to us all.

Even those who reject the law of God, as in the law provided by Jehovah, as in provided by Christ The Lord, have – we are told – a form of the law written within the human psyche.

Romans 2:14-15 King James Version (KJV)

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

This is something that is inescapable, unless we hold to some kind of nihilistic anarchistic self-destructive philosophy. We cannot escape the sense of right and wrong that we all have.

Now of course in certain things, what is acceptable or not acceptable varies from culture to culture.

But let’s start by acknowledging that there is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the first place.

And to simplify the whole discussion – I hold to the law of God as revealed in the Old and New Testament. I believe it is the supreme guide for all of mankind.

Those who do not see the Bible as inerrant, have reason to hold the view that certain immoral practices are morally acceptable.

After all who or what has the right to challenge their point of view? If there is no supreme being who makes His will clearly known to mankind and has given a law to inform us of what is acceptable and not?

The Bible is an inerrant divinely inspired pure guide to all behaviour, telling us clearly what is right and what is wrong.

If you want to discuss a particular way of acting or living you consider acceptable i.e. ‘right’, but I find it ‘wrong’ – my reference straight away is to the bible, as I state my case.

But If you do not accept it (the bible) as the perfect guide – there is no need for further discussion. That’s where we disagree.

No need to argue. The bible plainly says it is wrong, but you feel we have somehow moved on from what it says. Whereas I consider it (the bible) inerrant and there is no moving on from it that does not end in disaster for the human race.

The bible is not open to private interpretation, and can’t be twisted to suit our self-created, self-centred preferences when it comes to behaviour.

We all need to understand it better but when it says: ‘you shall not steal’ it means it.

Too simplistic?

No – not when we are looking for a foundation on which to build before we discuss nuances.

If we do not have a starting point, we have only multiple human-dreamt-up preferences described in scripture as:

…but every man did that which was right in his own eyes

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…

So a world full of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes is confusion personified.

There is a higher revealed order. There is a universal guide found in the world’s best-seller. The so called contradictions man finds in the book, are the result of man’s unaided conclusions as he exalts his own intellect above that of The Most High, and lays aside weightier matters whilst ‘straining at gnats’ with his own ingenuity. (Matthew 23/24)

Thinking himself superior than the divine wisdom revealed in the New Testament.

A call to humility is God’s first requirement. Then we have a chance of change and have a chance of the eyes of our understanding being enlightened.

We read Paul The Apostle, as he starts us on the road to understanding law, in the epistle to the Romans saying: Romans 7/

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

So sin exists – it is the universal affliction in the nature of man – and in case we are in any doubt about this – the law keeps us right.

But this is only part of the story of the good news of the gospel. Nevertheless in an increasingly lawless world, it seems man does not want to be corrected, by any kind of law.

But in the governments of all countries there exists an implementation of law, whether they implement the righteous law of God, or what is the dictates of a dreamt up regime that seeks to rule with an iron hand, calling for bondage and servitude to their selfish demands.

Breaking the law of God – and we look for punishment. Sincere confession of having broken the law and The God of all grace is willing to forgive and receive us as sons.

There is good and bad in everyone? Maybe, but perfection? – No.

That’s why the gospel offers us salvation as a free gift, if we acknowledge the scripture: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

No one escapes the punishment of the law, unless someone else takes their punishment.

Thank you Jesus for taking mine!