Monday, November 21, 2011

POLES APART

‘When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.’ Weren’t the North and South Poles called such because each had a wooden or a metal pole sticking out of them? Men would search for these poles so that they could attach a flag to them – men such as Scott, Amundsen or the controversial Peary. And, due to a motion of the earth called ‘Chandler’s Wobble’ it was hard for them to find the exact spot! The North and South Poles are just that, poles apart, and so is my thinking as an adult to what it was as a child! ‘But when I became a man, I put away childish things’ 1 Corinthians 13:11.
The Bible teaches that God and man are poles apart. ‘“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”’ Isaiah 55:8-9. ‘The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness’ Psalm 24:1. However, instead of subduing it to the glory of God, man has set about planting his own flag on it. Therefore, according to God’s Word, ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way’ Isaiah 53:6a. To go your own way is to go the wrong way!
I once asked an elderly lady (with one foot in the grave) if she was right with God. She replied that she had been good all her life! Her way and God’s way of getting right with God are poles apart. If the elderly lady had meant that she was trying to be good as her grateful response to God for already having declared her right with Himself (on account of the righteousness of Jesus Christ), then I would have rejoiced. But the lady’s view of salvation was the wrong way round. Her way of salvation was by trying to get right with God by trying to be good. But, as Scripture says, ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death’ Proverbs 14:12. Though elderly, the lady was thinking of God as a child might think of Santa Claus! There is nothing wrong with trying to be good for goodness sake, but trying to be good as a way of salvation is poles apart from what God says in His Word.
When I was a non-Christian I thought as a non-Christian, but now by grace alone I am a Christian, I think as a Christian. Non-Christian thought is poles apart from Christian thought. See an example in the following: ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ 2 Corinthians 10:5. All sixty six books of the Bible, every jot and tittle thereof, were breathed out by God (Matt. 5:17-17; 2 Tim. 3:16). Yet some would argue against this knowledge of God! Others allege that they believe that some, but not all, of the Bible is inspired. Thus these, along with those who reject all of Scripture, are exalting themselves against the knowledge of God. Sadly, like the elderly lady I mentioned above, they follow their own way, which is not God’s way. Their thoughts and God’s thoughts are poles apart.
Our years on this earth are but few: ‘For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away’ James 4:14b. Morning mist melts as the sun rises.  ‘Our God is a consuming fire’ Hebrews 12:29, but He speaks good news to those with ears to hear: ‘The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night’ Psalm 121:5-6. As the Word of the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward’ Genesis 15:1. As vanishing vapour each of us needs God to cover us and to preserve us. You need to: ‘Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are those who put their trust in Him’ Psalm 2:12. As far as Heaven is from Hell, so are those who trust in the Son of God alone for salvation from those who do not. Poles apart!
The elephant in the room is death. It came in through our front door. The death angel slew Adam, mankind’s ‘firstborn’ for breaking the covenant. Head of humanity’s household, he had declared our independence from God by eating the forbidden fruit. Thus all mankind entered a state of misery and death. But God is gracious. He clothed Adam and Eve with skin before ejecting them from the garden. The same salvation was pictured when the blood of the Passover lamb was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintel. God clothes, ie, covers us with His Son. He is the Lamb that shed His own blood to sprinkle us and protect us. He rose again from the dead, bodily. God invites, nay, He commands us to trust only in Christ and His righteousness to receive His pardon and everlasting life, now and in our future resurrection.
‘This is the way, walk in it’ Isaiah 30:21. Don’t be poles apart from God!

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