By Fred O. Blakely
"Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?" (Gal. 3:1).
Such is the interrelatedness and perfect consistency of God's kingdom that it produces peace and full accord among its citizens, not confusion and division. When one gets off on the right foot in the kingdom, so to speak, and continues to steer a straight course therein, he finds everything perfectly logical and harmonious. Otherwise, great difficulty is encountered. That situation accounts for much of the gross confusion and contrariety to God prevailing in religious circles today.
In no case is this consistency more evident and gratifying than in that of one's attitude toward and relation to the various demands, representations, and exhortations directed by the Apostles to the church. Genuine belief of and obedience to the gospel makes them all fully relevant to the resultant newness of life in Christ, and renders one eager to comply with the involved demands upon him. Witness some typical specimens of that blessed situation.
Scripture apprises us of the fact that to you who believe "He [Christ] is precious" (I Pet. 2:7). Certainly, those who have "tasted that the Lord is gracious" (v. 3) can identify with the representation of that assertion.
We are told that, being risen with Christ, we are to "seek those things which are above," where Christ is (Col. 3:1). What could be more spiritually natural than that for one who has died to the law, sin, the world, and the flesh, and has been exalted by faith to sit with Christ in the heavenly places? His glorious Head is in heaven; hence, his spirit logically turns thitherward. "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together" (Lk. 17:37).
The word of Scripture to those who are of Christ is to "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (I Jn. 2:15-17). From the perspective of their risen life, that almost seems like a superfluous exhortation. How can they who have wholly sanctified the Lord God in their heart love the world, which is directly opposed to Him? In their union with Christ, they are crucified to the world, and it is crucified to them (Gal. 6:14-16). How, then, can they have an actuating affinity for the world? The urge of Romans 12:1-2 also falls into this class of reasonable requirements of us by God.
Finally, members of Christ's body are continually exhorted by Scripture to be ready for and "earnestly desiring" His second coming (II Pet. 3:10-13, ASV). It is only to those in that state, in fact, we are told, that Christ "will appear a second time to save" (Heb. 9:28, RSV). These exhortations, also, almost seem to be unnecessary, as viewed from the standpoint of the risen, sin-denying, world-opposing life (cf. Rev. 22:20).
The Lord's glorious appearing will mean the end of the conflict for the believer, and his investment with completed salvation. How could he logically do otherwise than eagerly look for and earnestly desire it? It is only those who are not dead and their lives hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3) who, in aversion and fear, draw back from this certain prospect.
So, indeed, are God's demands of us "not grievous," as John observes (I Jn. 5:2-3). The genuine love of the Father and bona fide union with the Son in His risen and exalted life constitute the key to the otherwise difficult situation. People find themselves fundamentally at variance with God's requirements of them simply because they have not done the first work of believing and obeying His dear Son. Had they done that, He would have written His law in their hearts (Jer. 31:33), and they, being reconciled to God and His ways, would delight to do His will.
Instead, those who withhold the obedience of faith are trying to align God against Himself. That is attempted by endeavoring to adapt Him and His kingdom to the flesh and the present evil world. Both of the latter are condemned by God, and are destined to be destroyed at Jesus' revelation.
It is by that attempted perversion of God that the difficulty with His Word is encountered. He simply will not adapt to man; the requirement is for man to adapt to Him.