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A View from the Altar / Net under the tightrope
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Net under the tightrope

For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.  (Ps 135:5-6)

Something old

The civilization of the historically Christian West, when it was at its best, it saw creation as God’s grand design.  The term “universe” embodied this idea, coming from middle English and meaning literally “all turned into one.”  That is, the multitude of created things are really one thing, one work of God, everything all turned to one thing, a universe, a gigantic, single created thing.

Western Christian man therefore saw himself as being a piece of this whole and defined “truth” in a particular way.  Man knew the truth to the extent that he learned to think God’s thoughts after him.  God thought of all the myriad details of creation, and science was the quest to understand his works, each new discovery re-thinking his thoughts on the natural world.  God thought of all that is holy, good, and right, and the body of ethical knowledge seeks that knowledge, to re-create in life what God envisioned in a morally excellent creation.  The core of the Christian religion, then, is to know him.  This is life eternal, said our Lord, that they might know thee.  (John 17:3)  Paul counted everything else in life as refuse compared to the excellency of knowing him.  (Phil 3:10)

This is a worldview in which God is the key to everything.  Nothing makes sense without him.  We cannot imagine a world in which Christ can be a philosophical footnote to a life lived for the sake of self interest.  He is the foundation and substance of it all, Author and Finisher, Beginning and Ending, Alpha and Omega.  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. (Rom 11:36)

Something new

There is a new order that lately seems to have the momentum.  The new order is not a positive thing unto itself.  It has to be understood for what it is, something that is essentially anti.  It’s an accidental and temporary conspiracy of delusions  in which various groups imagine they share an interest in being rid of the old.  They would, if they could, break his bands asunder and cast away his cords from them.  (Psa 2:3)  The new order has little basis of unity other than enmity against the old.

Court case by court case, the old sexual mores are being chipped away.  The people doing this have no clue where it’s headed.  Each one wants his little piece of the old order knocked over, but no individual has a clear idea of what the totality of the new might look like.  And so people who dislike the demands of marital fidelity got divorce laws liberalized.  Piece by piece, then, fornication has become mainstream; bastardy has become commonplace; homosexuality became accepted, and now relationships based on sodomy are being accorded the status of “marriage.”  On it goes.  If you want to know where society is headed, just turn off your spam filters and count the advertisements for movies of incest, bestiality, specific varieties of erotic torture, and so on.  And if you want to know what comes after that, then go read some  stories related by missionaries who’ve encountered people so corrupt that they can barely survive.

The Secular Man doesn’t know or care where his philosophy is headed.  He just knows he wants rid of whatever prevents his next episode of pleasure.  So all he wants, he assures us, is that barrier knocked over.  Taken in the aggregate, Secular Men have established a habit of getting rid of this barrier, then that barrier, then another one, and so on.  This is the philosophical core of the new order.  It is lawlessness bought in small increments.

Anarchy by installment is by no means limited to sexual mores.  We’ve watched for two generations now as the prohibition against idolatry has been set aside in favor of diversity.  The sin of coveting now has a whole industry refining it into excellence.  Stealing your neighbor’s earnings is considered lawful so long as the tax collector does it for you.  The Lord’s name is just another cuss word to many Americans.  The abortion industry spills oceans of blood every year, but this is merely a choice and not a crime.

Barrier after barrier falls.  The new order is an anti movement.  One thought holds it together: We will not have this man to reign over us! (Luke 19:14)  Christians who comprehend the significance of the old order of things grieve to see modern Vandals ignorantly hacking away at the Bible and the Constitution.  We understand that a nation stands upon its laws or it doesn’t stand at all, and the laws of Western civilization stand upon the Christian religion.  If these fail, America fails.

Our Sovereign God

The wrath of God against all this is passive in its initial stage.  Not many things could be more degrading or destructive than simply allowing the homosexual to have his way.  Likewise, the nation trespasses against its own peace when it chooses creeps and misfits as its rulers.  The Lord has only to let things follow their natural course, and a succession of fools and idiots will humiliate and impoverish us with their misrule.

But if that doesn’t produce reflection and repentance, the Lord eventually has an answer, and the Bible is full of this theme in which God follows patience with destruction.  He gave man 120 years to repent, then came the flood.  The cities of the plain had years to repent, but then the fire fell from heaven.  Egypt had the word of Moses and nine plagues of warning before the firstborn were killed.  The book of Judges features four centuries of the same pattern.  This is followed by the epoch of the prophets in which God’s men preached for centuries before the nation fell.  The Lord Jesus preached parables about people being given talents and time to use them before being called to account, or people renting a vineyard having time to pay the owner before the soldiers came.  Our sense is that the warning phase is nearing its end, and we’re rightly concerned that the retribution phase is at hand.

But God is sovereign, and the psalmist rejoiced that the Lord of hosts is with us, and the God of Jacob is our refuge.  (Ps 46:7)  Those who wait for him will never be ashamed, and Paul assures us that we who belong to Christ are no longer the children of wrath.  (Eph 2:1, 1 Thess 5:5)  God’s purposes cannot fail.  The day is coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.  No matter how an individual or a nation may wiggle and twist, the ending is always the same.  Christ triumphs, the wicked are banished into eternal darkness, and his blood-bought people rejoice in him.

It does our Savior no credit for his people to declare a red alert over every error sinful rulers make as if their deeds could somehow overturn his rule.  We should be good citizens, of course, petitioning them to do what’s right and warning them against what’s wrong, praying for them and witnessing to them.  But the best praise man offers the Great God is a settled,  hopeful, jolly faith that sees Jesus as Lord over it all.  Even if America collapses in the morning, our hope is secured by Calvary and the empty tomb.  There’s a net under our tightrope, so we can relax and enjoy the view.

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