CHRISTIANS, COME FORTH!!
(Reclaiming Art For Christ)
We are all familiar with I Sam. 13. Here we see that Saul had only been king for a year when he meets the first real test of his faith, (and we will meet that test also).
Israel had a small victory against the Philistines which naturally upset the Philistines. The Philistines gathered a huge army together to fight Israel, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude... The men of Israel saw this multitude and preparation of the enemy. They quickly forgot the previous victory and fled into the caves, thickets, rocks, high places and pits to get away from the enemy.
Samuel had told Saul that within seven days he would come (I Sam. 10:8), and offer burnt offerings... and show thee what thou shalt do. Saul looked around here in chp. 13, and saw the enemy's strength and his army fleeing for any place of safety and he proceeded to make the offering and intercession without waiting for Samuel.
Of course, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; Samuel asked Saul, what hast thou done? Saul said that because he saw the people fleeing in fear of the Philistines and the Philistines gathering, getting ready for an attack, he felt he needed to go ahead with the offering. He didn't really have time to obey God's word and wait upon the Lord. Things were too pressing. Because Saul did not keep the commandment of the Lord, the Lord took the kingdom away from him.
There are many points here in chp.. 13, which we will not even discuss now. But there is a point we do want to make, and this is in v. 6. Rather than the people of God finding strength from former victories and standing firm upon the promises of God in the face of the overwhelming odds of the enemy, they crawled into the caves or any place where they could hide.
This brings us to some things we see going on around us, more commonly known as the New Age Movement. Let us be quick to point out that it is not new. This revolt against God started in Isaiah 14:12-15, when Lucifer said, I will be like the most high. We can follow this revolt through in Ps. 2.
The New Age Movement is the same old rebellion against the Lord and his Christ which tempted Eve and which Adam gave in to. The new, is new clothes, colors, and methods. Sad to say, the other thing that makes it new is a new response from the people of God, hiding away from society.
The only reason that it is gaining so much strength is because the people of God are: 1.) Emphasizing the strength of the antichrist crowd; 2.) Forgetting the promises of God; 3.) Failing to emphasize the victory which is theirs if they will obey the commandments of God and wait on Him to instruct them, I Sam. 13:13. We have done foolishly by not keeping His commandments.
(We might mention here, that the most effective method of the New Agers for destroying Christianity is the government schools. Because Christians won't admit that those schools are antichrist, the New Agers are gaining even the next generation of the Christian's children. If the professed Christians would only obey God's commandments in this one area alone, the New Age movement would lose a very large percentage of its power and influence. The so called New Age Movement isn't new, nor is it any more powerful than it was in King David's day. The thing that gives it all of its power is that Christians have delivered their children [as well as many, many other areas], to those promoting this rebellion. The problem is not the strength of the New Agers, the problem is the lack of faith and Christian consistency in the body of Christ. Deut. chps. 28-32, etc., is extremely clear on this.)
Because of this, God's people are fearful and have lost their ability to fight an effective warfare. Christians have withdrawn from society with, "What's the use? The word of God says things are going to get worse, so let it go." This is ungodly to say the least.
I have before me an article by Patrick J. Buchanan, Hurrah for Helms (Human Events, 8/12/89). Helms introduced an amendment, "to ban federal funding, through the National Endowment for the Arts, for obscene or indecent materials including... depictions of sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts." The article goes on to describe some of the "art" which tax dollars go to support, including the infamous "Piss Christ". (Copy of article upon request.)
Now the meat of the article, (which should have been written by a pastor or Bible-believing Theologian). ""Art is the signature of man," said G. K. Chesterton. Sculptor and art historian H. Reed Armstrong adds: "Whether it be the religious fervor of the Middle Ages, the humanism of the Renaissance, or the romanticism of the 19th Century, the visual artist is the medium who most faithfully reflects the spirit of the age. The "art" of the 20th Century is a fearful indictment of our culture. It is the fruitless art of "liberated man", disunited from the cause of his being... The "artist" of today "fulfills himself" as does the cancerous cell, in total disregard of the life of the organism which feeds and nourishes it.""
Let's pause to note something. He correctly identified these three ages. The Middle Ages was the strength of Christianity. The Renaissance, the rebirth of humanism (this is why we hear so much positive about the Renaissance), and the 19th Century, the age of romanticism, ["The need for unfaithfulness as a principle came to focus in an organized movement, romanticism. Scott's description of the romantic fallacy" is excellent: "it identifies beauty with strangeness." The logic of this position is that, the stranger the object, person, or act, the better it is to the romantic. In Newton's words, "The romantic...can never rejoice in the normal. What interests him must be the exceptional." This means interest in "Mystery, abnormality, and conflict," a dislike of "whatever is law-abiding, whatever conforms to a pattern." The romantic "refuses to acknowledge the existence of law as applied to self- expression...." "thou shalt be exceptional and follow that which is exceptional" is his only commandment.... Abnormality is the negative of law. Its very existence depends on its refusal to conform to law-abiding behavior." This means that freedom is identified with evil, sexual expression with unfaithfulness and perversion, artistic ability with violations of standards and perversity, and character with instability. The growth of perversion and perversity in every area of life is proportionate to the decline of faith and faithfulness." The Institutes of Biblical Law, pgs. 446, 447. R.J. Rushdoony. The Craig Press.]
To further confuse the subject, let's look at Webster's definition (Forth Edition, unabridged). Under "romantic, a... 6. of, characteristic of, or supposedly characteristic of romanticism and Romantic Movement: contrasted with classical, realistic, etc."
Under "romantic, n...3. [pl.] romantic characteristics, thoughts, ways, etc.. Romantic Movement; the revolt in the 18th and early 19th centuries against the artistic, political, and religious principles that had become associated with neoclassicism: characterized in literature and in the arts by liberalism in form and subject matter, emphasis on feeling and originality, the use of imaginative suggestions, and sympathetic interest in primitive nature, medievalism, and the mystical."
Note these definitions. The Romatic in this use of the word, is contrasted with what is already established and is realistic, and by realistic we are referring to, in terms of God's word. Sad to say, much of so called art today fits within this Romanticism. Not only art but almost everything around us is an attack upon God's established order. People in all walks of life are seeing who can be the first in their attack against established reality and who can attack it the hardest. When we get down to it, Romanticism would be acting on wishful thinking.
One more point. The Romantic emphasizes feelings and originality over established reality. This describes a very large percentage of "Christianity", and organized churches.
Continuing on. "T.S. Eliot saw it coming. Culture, he wrote 50 years ago, is the "incarnation... of the religion of a people." "If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes..." "A whole paradigm shift to New Age paganism has taken over the arts," Reed Armstrong wrote recently: "Conservatives had best become interested in art if they wish to see civilization survive into the 21st Century."
This is all important: Not simply to cut out the rot, but to seek out, to find, to celebrate the good, the true, the beautiful. But, first, tell Jesse to hold the fort; help is on the way."
My goodness, what an article: what an indictment against so called Christians who have fled to their holes and pits and have turned over the Arts to the pagans. Christians even purchase that rot which is called, "Modern Art". For God's sake, we should not use the funds He has entrusted into our care to support that antichrist crowd. Christians look around and see the strength of the antichrist crowd. They run into their hole to get away from it all and say, "That area (Art, in this case), doesn't concern me. All I'm interested in is being more spiritual and winning souls." They ask, "What can I do or what kind of a conference can I attend to make me feel better?" This is Romanticism and death to Christianity.
Here is a secular writer, Pat Buchanan, calling on Christians to come out of their holes, caves and pits and reclaim the Arts for the glory of God. Bechanan points out that if they don't, many centuries of Barbarism will set in.
The followers of J.N. Darby will no doubt echo his thoughts as he said that Art (Science, Math, etc.), is a proper pursuit for a Christian only if he is a worldly person. "Let the dead bury their dead; and let the world study the things of the world... But such studies cannot be eagerly followed by the Christian, except when he yields to unbelief." (See The Puritan Hope, pg. 203. Iain H. Murray. The Banner of Truth Trust.)
When any activity of life is placed on a lower level for a Christian (such as the heresy mentioned above), that area will be taken over by the pagans. The result is the loss of a Christian culture.
What is the answer? There are several which are readily apparent. First urge your congressmen to support Helms' amendment, (by the time you get this, it will probably already have been acted on). Second, quit purchasing that so called "Modern Art". When we do purchase it we are supporting those who are in rebellion against the Lord and His Christ. Third, war against any inclination to reduce the gospel to Romanticism, a "make me feel good" message. The word of God is real, it is practical, it is instruction for right living in every area of life. Whether for the artist, the musician, the welders, the auto- mechanic, the truck driver, the soldier, the salesman, the printer, the politician, the preacher. The word of God instructs us how to do everything.
Fourth. It is time we realize that the Arts (and all the above mentioned areas as well as thousands of more areas), are as much a part of the Kingdom of God as is preaching or teaching the word of God. These things are as spiritual as is soul-winning, (although soul-winning must be the leading edge of the Kingdom work). Our people with these talents must be urged to use them for the glory of God, I Cor. 10:31.
When we ignore these areas and don't address them from the word of God, we turn them over to the antichrist crowd. When we emphasize the strength of the Philistines (New Agers), over the power and victory of God through obedience to His command-word (see Joshua 1:7, 8), God's people will flee in fear to their holes.
It's time that Christians come forth out of their hiding places. Those hiding places of: 1.) Ignoring the problem; 2.) Refusing to admit that the word of God requires action in those areas; 3.) Refusing to accept responsibility; 4.) Unwilling to make the sacrifice to reclaim them; 5.) Refusing to address these areas from God's word.
If we don't come forth out of our holes, we deserve what we get, Barbarism. Even the secular writers can see this coming.
(For a more in-depth treatment of the Arts in a Christian perspective, see, How Should We Then Live, by Francis A. Schaffer. Crossway Books. Chp. 10.)
We are hearing of the advance of British Israelism. This we should address with a few thoughts from God's word. B.I. is by no means a new teaching. It has been around for years, more recently known as Armstrongism.
We are no expert on this subject, therefore, we will only address what we have heard. From the little I understand of this subject, it involves the belief that America is somehow special in God's sight and is enjoying His special favors, maybe as one of the "lost tribes."
It is easy to understand why this would be a popular thinking and have a wide appeal. It appears so right, even Scriptural.
Let us make an opening point here. We hear speakers say, "These are spiritual truths which only a saved person can understand." This is true enough. Then they go on to tell how one is saved, "Just bow your head and ask Jesus into your heart," or, "Right now, turn your life over to Christ." Mercy, this indicates that they haven't even grasped the basics of salvation and then they try to instruct in the 'deeper' doctrines of God. Is it any wonder there is such confusion today?
It is impossible to have any kind of understanding of the Scriptures apart from a clear understanding of the substitutionary work of Christ and faith in that atoning work for us as a sinner. (As you all know, this is a "pet peeve" of ours.)
There can be no question about the extraordinary benefits which this nation has enjoyed. America has seen the greatest missionary effort in history go out from her shores. She has enjoyed the highest living standard the world has ever known. She possesses probably the richest land in the world. She has had the best system of civil government and justice the world has ever seen. There has been more personal freedom for the individual than any group of people ever dreamed could be. This has been the land of opportunity for untold millions; a place where, by hard work and self-discipline, anyone could be anything they desired to be.
We who accept the word of God for what it is, the inspired word of God, know that only one other nation has even come close to what America has enjoyed. That is the old nation of Israel as she obeyed the law of God.
Also, obvious is the Christian background of this nation. It is so apparent that the history books are rewritten completely to change history, to erase this from the minds of the upcoming generations.
It is easy to understand how many are led to think that America is special to God, enjoying His special favors. It is easy to see why folks would think that America is a chosen nation by God, maybe even comparable to the Old Testament nation of Israel.
This brings us to the question, why has America prospered as a nation? The answer to this will affect our attitude and action toward God.
There are two possible answers to this question. First, she has been chosen by God to fulfill a special purpose in history. The second, she made the Lord her God at the very beginning of her history. Let's follow through each to its logical conclusion and then see which is according to the word of God.
If we view America as chosen by God to fulfill a special purpose, this would lead to the feeling that she is special in His sight; the same problem that the O.T. Jews had. This would lead to the idea that she can do as she pleases, immune to God's wrath and assured of His pleasure toward her. If we compare America to the old Israel in this choosing (maybe even replacing that old nation), it could even lead to the reestablishing of the Mosaic rites, rituals and holy days which spoke of the work of Christ.
(There is no problem with days of celebration, under whatever name we desire, but they need to be in a Christian context [in remembrance of Him] or we deny the finished work of Christ. To celebrate the Jewish passover in the old Jewish context is to deny Christ. The same would go for the different feasts days. Paul spoke strongly against reestablishing any of the old things which Christ did away with. Compare Col. 2:14 and all of Heb.9, with Gal. 2:18. We do keep the passover today, in Him.)
This view would lead the people of God to think that they can have the blessings of God apart from the principles of God's word (independent of Jos. 1:7,8), and that God doesn't hold His law all that important. See Ps. 138:2.
On the other hand, as we see America prospering because of the founding upon Biblical principles, the law of God, the obvious conclusions must be quite different. If we see the prosperity as a result of the founding father's faithfulness to the law-word of God, this would mean that America is not 'special' and immune to the wrath of God. This would mean that as this nation turns from the principles of the law of God, she can fully expect God to turn from her, even turning her over to her enemies.
This would demand that the people of God be faithful to the law of God or destruction is ahead.
I understand that this nation was founded upon the hope that they were advancing the kingdom of God here on earth. This hope led to many great deeds accomplished in His name, and the gospel spread far and wide. But, such a hope would be no better than what the Jews had for their nation.
We cannot see the conquest of the heathen in any light except through the church. It is the chosen people of God, the church, which is the nation of God, not any local nation, 1 Pet. 2:9. (Note, there are only two nations in the world, the nation of God and the wicked, Phi. 2
:15.) The conquering work of the Spirit of God is through the church, Eph. 3:9-11. The church is that nation, chosen by God, to advance His kingdom into all the world, Mat. 28:19, 20. Any theology which sees the covenant people as any people besides those in Christ, leads to false doctrine, Isa. 42:6; 49:8.
Belief that the U.S. was a chosen nation to advance the kingdom of God on earth leads to British Israelism, as well as the same arrogance, evil and judgement which overtook Israel, Jer. 3:(v.8). Any nation can inherit the blessings of the Lord if they will make God and His law their standard of justice, Psa. 33:12.
Undoubtedly, God has blessed this nation beyond anything history has ever known. The only reason He has, is because the foundation was the law-word of God. As this nation abided by His revealed word, God prospered it. This can be the only reason for prosperity and any nation can claim it, Deuteronomy chapters 30-32. Thus, as this nation turns from His every word as its guide, we are seeing the loss of all gained in the past. God will become the enemy of any people who turn against Him and His law.
The book of Lamentations is extremely clear as it tells us that God, as an enemy, will turn in His wrath against the nation that turns from His law. In Lamentations chapter three, we see the prophets telling the people of God that everything is alright even though the law of God is no more. This is given for our instruction, Rom. 15:4.
There can be no doubt that God directed the founding fathers to lay a godly foundation. The result was the blessings of God. We must keep in mind, those blessings were for the obedience to His word.
We must be on guard against any false teaching which separates the blessings of God from national and/or individual obedience to all the commands, law and statutes of God, Joshua 1:7,8.
The latest issue of the CHALCEDON REPORT contains an article by R.J. Rushdoony, THE POLITICAL MYTH.
In a review written in 1954, historian A.J.P. Taylor, not himself a Christian, said of socialism that it assumed the perfectibility of man by man, and "an indefinite expansion of productivity." However, "Once admit that human wickedness and natural hardship are inevitable, and Socialism would have no sense" (A.H.P. Taylor: Politicians, Socialism and Historians, p. 16. New York, N.Y.: Stein & Day, 1982).
Given the Augustininian-Calvinist (Biblical) doctrine of man, it follows that socialism cannot work; man cannot remake man. The supernatural regenerating grace of God is required. (CHALCEDON REPORT, July, 1990. P.O. Box 158, Vallecito, CA 95251)
This brings up an extremely interesting point which, I am sure, will raise a spirit of resistance in the human heart. The Scriptures teach beyond any question, that man is totally depraved, Psalms 14, 53; Romans 3:10-18. (As someone said, "All means all and that is all it means.") Clearly the position that none have any ability to seek after God in any way, is presented.
The opposite view holds that man has within himself a spark of good, which enables him to seek after God and even make a decision for the Lord, apart from the drawing conviction of the Spirit of God.
The contrast is evident. On one hand is the belief that no man has within himself the capability to seek after God, and that God must seek the sinner. On the other is the belief that man does in some way have the ability to seek after God.
This belief that man is capable of choosing God is the same basic faith required in Socialism. Both are centered in the faith that man can chose his own salvation, whether that salvation is through laws (statist programs), or through Christ. In both cases, the choice is man's.
The obvious conclusion is that as the Augustininian-Calvinistic faith has been set aside, for the belief that man can make his own proper choice, Socialism has grown into the monster it is today.
Christianity appears to be under the delusion that what is believed and practiced inside the church and by the individual, has no effect on society. Hosea chapter four is clear. What is in the hearts of God's people will be reflected in the heart of the leaders. God promises to reward His people for their doings, and Hosea says that the reward will come through their leaders.
Thus when the people of God lose sight of the fact that it is all of God, and start believing that they have within their own power to seek after God, the natural result will be just what we see today, the rise of Socialism. God's people cannot point a accusing finger at the Socialists and condemn them for having the same faith that they do. Both have faith in an inborn divine spark of good which allows man to follow that which is right.
As total dependance on the sovereign grace of God is laid aside for a hope in what man is able to do, then the sovereignty of man replaces the sovereignty of God in every area. (By sovereignty of God, we do not mean sitting back and letting whatever will be take place. We mean hard labor, sacrifice and prayer to obey our Lord's commands [Jn.15:15; Ex.20:6], and leaving the results in His hands.)
How can we condemn the world's crowd for believing that they can save themselves through their socialist programs when the vast majority of Christians believe the same thing? The only difference is the means of salvation.
This doctrine of total depravity has been the historical doctrine of the Biblical faith, including the Baptist. (See the introduction page of vol. 38 of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications. Also C.H.S's comments in his sermon ELECTION, and The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. Both available from Gospel Mission, Box M, Choteau, MT 59422Ibid.)
We must admit that this doctrine of total depravity is hated by the human spirit. The natural man refuses to admit that he cannot and does not control his own destiny. But if this total depravity is not accepted, then we must say that the Socialists are correct in their faith that man can make an intelligent decision apart from the working of the Spirit of God, working according to the word of God.
We cannot have one without the other. We cannot expect sinful man to admit that he cannot guide and control his own future through Socialist programs, when the vast majority of God's people will not admit that they cannot control their future. If history is not an act of a Sovereign God, then the Socialists are right.
Again, the Scriptures are clear, history is the action of a Sovereign God without any help or advise from His creation, Romans 9:11-24; 11:34,35; Isaiah 40:13, 14. The only control of the future that has been given to man is the obedience to His word, then the results come to pass according to His promises. See Deuteronomy chapters 28-32.
Socialism has the faith that man has a spark of good, enabling him to chose good and control his own future for good. As the Biblical doctrine of total depravity is abandoned, we can most assuredly expect Socialism to fill the void.
The book of Philippians is one of the sweetest books in Scripture. In it Paul compliments these Christians on their consistency in Christ. They have walked above reproach and the apostle is not one given to false compliments.
Here in about the middle of the book, he reminds them of a warning which he had given them while he had been there in person. That warning was concerning the false teachers which were undermining his teaching and were now evidently among them.
There are some characteristics we can safely assume about these men from this context and from other places in Paul's writings as he writes back to the new churches, dealing with their false doctrine.
First, these were sincere and dedicated men. There is no reason to think they were any less sincere and dedicated than was the apostle before Christ called him, Acts 26. He had the conviction that he was serving God as he sought to stamp out this new sect, Christianity.
As we read what Paul wrote elsewhere dealing with these men, we get the idea that they felt it was their responsibility to further instruct the new converts after Paul leaves the community. "The message of Paul was good, BUT it didn't go far enough. Here is what he didn't tell you." Then they would explain the importance of converting to Judaism, going to the temple at Jerusalem and observing the rites and rituals as given by Moses.
Thus, they mixed the rites and rituals of Moses with the finished work of Christ for salvation and for security in Him, Col. 2:13-15.
Second, these men had very winning (charismatic) personalities and excellent enticing words, I Cor. 1:27-2:5; Col. 2:4-8, (the context of Colossians is warning against anyone who would say that Christ doesn't contain all wisdom and knowledge. An example of v. 8 would be any education not centered in the Word of God).
Third and also within the passages mentioned, they had an immense amount of wisdom and knowledge, which they misused. They probably could argue the bark off a tree.
Fourth, they were moral men. Unlike some of the other churches (Corinth, for example), this church had no sin mentioned. Therefore, these people, unlike those at Corinth, were concerned about purity. They would not have accepted anyone as any kind of a teacher, who had known sin in their lives.
This church was strong in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet Paul saw a danger to them from these false teachers. A great enough danger that he writes to them this warning.
Fifth, they were prosperous men and identified godliness with gain, I Tim. 6:5.
The next point from this verse is that Paul identifies these false teachers as evil workers. Paul does not say, "Beware of those good men doing evil deeds."
This apostle would not fit in very well today as we are told not see evil workers as evil men. We are told that they are good people doing bad deeds. "Separate the sin from the sinner."
Unquestionably, if one is doing evil, they are evil. This should be obvious to us but we also have bought the devil's lie which seeks to take the pressure off the wicked to turn from his wicked ways. It takes evil men to do evil deeds. AND GOD'S WORD DEFINES EVIL.
Paul identifies these good (points 1-5) men as evil men because they are doing evil. The evil they were doing was teaching doctrines contrary to the revealed word of God. Can we see evil men differently?
Now the last point we want to make from v. 2. We forget that these churches which Paul writes to did not have a N.T. as we do today. Quite obviously, what we have is what these apostles wrote to deal with situations which arose as these new Christians sought to obey the law of God as found in the O.T..
Thus, we define what caused Paul to call these men evil. These men were teaching a doctrine which did not line up with the doctrine as found in the O.T. law and prophets.
This was a sound church in Christ. The only instruction which they had was the Scripture, Genesis through Malachi. We see from verse three that these false teachers were telling the people they had to become Jews in order to be part of the covenant people.
Paul plainly tells them that the true circumcision is the worship of God in accord with the instructions given by the Lord, John 4:23, 24. Paul not only deals with this problem here, but he deals with it in Galatians (3:17). Thus, the true covenant people have always been and always will be those in Christ by faith.
A conclusion here:
Anyone who does evil works is an evil person. It is impossible to separate the person from his works without departing from the word of God.
In the situation before us, when the instructions from the Scripture departs from the O.T. law and prophets, that instructor is an evil worker, (Paul also identifies them as dogs).
Paul's primary emphasis here is on the teaching which identifies any people other than those in Christ by faith, as the covenant people. These he identifies as false teachers and evil workers.
(Although in Galatians chapter one and II Corinthians eleven, his warning concerns those who promote any gospel other than faith in the finished work and substitutionary death of Christ.)
First, notice where His power came from. Second, this is power over all flesh. "All means all and that is all it means." There is not much more that can be said about this point. In this is total control of all histroy through His divine providence. Third, this power was His from all eternity past. Christ had this power while He was here, Mat. 11:27. Fourth, this power is shown by His ability to give life to whomever He will. This is interesting.
Humanistic man does not identify power as the ability to give life, but as the ability to control others, even to take life. Included in this is the temporal power, to enforce our will upon others. The Lord said, The love of money is the root of all evil. Why does sinful man love money so much? (It gives him power over others, enables him to enforce his will upon others.)
Therefore, we have a difficult time identifying the incarnate Christ here on earth with total power because He did not go around enforcing His will upon others.
Total power would be total control of life and death. Men can claim this power and, at times do, but their power is far short. All they have is the power to kill, John 8:44. Sinful man desires to exercise total power over life and death. This is the motive behind a lot of the research we see today. Science is desperately seeking the power "to make alive," which would give them the power of life.
The next logical conclusion would be to put to death those who will not be in total subjection to the elite, leaving only those they made alive. How far the Lord Jesus will allow the efforts to create life go, only He knows. We do know these efforts and money which are being expended to `create life,' is to rebel against God and the order He has established.
This power which belongs to the Lord Jesus is total. It is power over life. He proved this many times while He was here by raising the dead.
Jn.1:4; 5:25; 11:25; 14:6, tells us that Jesus is life, which means that He is total and complete power. His power includes power over the soul, Mat. 10:28. He alone can lay claim to this power.
It is interesting that the devil is given power by God over in Rev. 13:15, to bring life to the beast, but notice the use of this power; it is to be able to cause death to whomever he pleases. It is not power to bring life so that people could worship the beast. This beast was given power by God to cause others to join him in his rebellion against God, and to cause death if they didn't.
The application here is so obvious that it shouldn't even need repeating. Christ always brings life. If His offer of life is refused or usurped for the wrong purpose, death follows.
The Christian who is following the Lord brings life wherever he goes, he leaves life after him when he leaves. He will always leave the situation better in relationship to God's word than when he came upon the scene.
Total power is not the power to enforce our will on others. Thus, Christ does not have to have everyone bowing before Him to have total power, although the time will come when He will have His power manifested in this way. He had total power while here among us, because He had the total power of life. Christ (godly power), brings life because He is life. The devil only has power to kill and destroy.
5. Notice that this power which Christ had was not the ability to do even as He pleases. He only gave life to as many as had been given to Him, Jn. 5:21; 6:39, 40 (Lk. 7:12-17).
This causes as much turmoil today for humanistic man as it did when He was here. Man does not like to admit that he does not control God and who God selects for life. Humanistic man desires to have God at his control and to be able to command eternal life as he desires.
Christ has total power, but He does not give life to everyone. That life is only given according to God's eternal purpose, Eph. 1:4-11. We hear many explanations of this passage trying to make it say something other than what it says.
6. Getting a little ahead of ourselves, His power was also to keep those He has been given and to raise them up in the last day, Jn. 6:37-40; 17:12.
We may have the power or the ability to do something, but that doesn't mean we should do it. Thus, we see that having the power or ability to do something doesn't necessarily mean that God is in it.
Any ability or power we might have must be used as the Father directs in His word.
7. Another thing the power of Christ is used for is to reveal the Father to those the Father chooses, and to reveal that life is through the Son, vv. 3, 6. Thus, nothing can prevent the power of Christ from working.
8. One day this power will be manifested in the form of all people subdued to where they honor Jesus as King, but for present, it isn't, 1 Cor. 15:24-28.
Therefore, even though we do not see all knees bowed to Him at this time, this in no way says that He is not as powerful today as when He created the heavens and the earth or as He was while He walked here on this earth. His power is shown in His revealing of the Father to His people, the giving of life and the keeping of His people.
We are being overwhelmed in the media with praise for the French Revolution. I received the Chalcedon Report the other day and in it was an excellent article REFLECTIONS ON THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION by Hebden Taylor and worth our consideration. (Let me encourage those who don't, to subscribe to the Chalcedon Report, Box 158, Vallecito, CA 95251. It is sent free of charge.)
FIRST, the F.R. was "full scale revolt against almighty God...."
SECOND, with the F.R. came the introduction "of totalitarian democracy..." "Popular measures were not essentially measures approved by the people, but measures which it was in the people's interest to approve and which therefore could be forced down their throats without diminishing their liberty." Called, The Popular Will of The PEOPLE.
THIRD, a strong centralized governing elite was needed as a "dictatorship acting as the ward of the people's interest until the people should be educated into a proper sense of what their best interest were..." In other words, the people may not want a certain program to be brought into existence but this central committee knows what is best for the people. Therefore, the central planning committee will force it into place, then educate the people as to how it is best for them.
FOURTH, therefore, there can be no public debate as for what the people want because that is already established by the central committee as the Popular Will. The only public debate can be to convince the public that the central committee knows what is best and the people's need to conform with their plan.
Thus, the purpose of government is to translate this Popular Will of the People (will of the central committee in the name of the people. The people had nothing to do with it), into practice, using whatever force is necessary. "The popular will must not be identified with the will of the majority."
FIFTH, "Property was a useful or necessary institution to be preserved for purely social reasons and subject to certain conditions to be enforced by the state."
Now a comment. In our area the issue of zoning is one of the more visible aspects of this "Totalitarian Democracy" in action. The council members have admitted it is not what the people want, yet they are pressing ahead anyway "in the name of the people." This is the very foundation of Communism. The rule by a centralized committee in the name of the people regardless of what the people want or as to what is right.
The purpose of the elected officials in America is to enforce God's moral laws as well as to uphold the Constitution; to protect my life, liberty and property; not to take control of these things, but to protect my freedom to use these things.
If this doesn't describe America today, I don't know what does. The elected officials (as a rule) no longer act on the behalf of the people they are suppose to represent, but seem to be acting in accord with a master plan. They make the decision, then work to convince the people it was what the people wanted all along. While they sell the decision to the people, they use force to make everyone conform to their desire. The grain giveaways, the financing of worldwide Communism, the giveaway of the Panama Canal, etc. Our local areas are not immune to these self-appointed rulers who are convinced that the people don't really know what is best for themselves.