The Unsearchable Depth of the Heart of Kings

“The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.” (Proverbs 25:3)

The Heaven for Height…

NASA is making plans to be the first nation to go to Mars, the nearest planet in the solar system. The distance is so great (250 million miles) that it would take forty days each way at the speed of a nuclear-powered space probe: 35,000 miles per hour. The biggest challenge, we are told, is the constant bombardment of deadly cosmic rays that will be continuously penetrating the vessel and everyone in it the whole time; because the ship will be outside the magnetic field of the earth, which shelters us from most of the harmful radiation that comes from space. If we can get there alive, we will have traveled an insignificant distance compared to the distance of the furthest galaxy. Modern telescopes, we are told, can resolve objects that are at a distance of 13 billion light years. That’s 225 billion trillion miles.

The heavens are so vast that the stars literally cannot be counted. Scientists make estimates, but the numbers are so big as to be meaningless. As for exploration — it would take four years to get to the nearest star, if we could travel at the speed of light! At speeds that are attainable today, it would take about 137,000 years! Interstellar travel — from star to star — is only possible in science fiction. The good news (or the bad news, if you like) is that, if any space aliens are out there, they could never get to here! Truly, the height of the heaven is unsearchable!

The Earth for Depth…

The following is an excerpt from an article that I found on the internet at atlasobscura.com. I have only altered the article by substituting English measurements for metric ones. The article begins:

“It has been said that the human race knows more about certain distant galaxies than it does about the ground that lies beneath its very feet. In fact, while it took the famous Voyager 1 satellite 26 years to exit our Solar System (relaying measurements to Earth from 10 billion miles away), it took about the same amount of time for humanity to penetrate a mere 7 1/2 miles into the Earth’s surface.

While the U.S. and U.S.S.R. vied for space exploration supremacy during the Space Race, a different, less-publicized race took place between the two nations’ greatest drillers. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Americans and Soviets began planning separate efforts to drill as deep as possible into the Earth’s crust, the rocky shell that comprises the outer 19-31 mi of the 4,000 mi distance to our planet’s core.

The American “Project Mohole,” stationed off the Pacific coast of Mexico, was cut short in 1966 due to lack of funding; but set an important precedent for future off-shore drilling programs. The Soviets, thanks to the planning of the Interdepartmental Scientific Council for the Study of the Earth’s Interior and Superdeep Drilling, had greater success. From 1970 to 1994 their drill on the Kola Peninsula chipped slowly away to create an Earth-shattering record at the time: the deepest hole in the world.

In actuality, the Kola Superdeep Borehole consists of several holes branching from one central hole. The deepest of these, named “SG-3”, measures just nine inches in diameter but extends 7.5 miles into the Earth. That’s roughly a third of the way through the Baltic continental crust. To meet scientific objectives and provide a nearly continuous look at the crust’s profile, the Soviets even developed instruments to take direct physical measurements at the bottom of the borehole. The drilling apparatus thus allowed for greater measurement integrity since rock samples would deform under their incredible internal pressure when brought to the surface. Needless to say, the project produced enormous amounts of geological data, most of which elucidated how little we know about our planet.

The study of the Earth is often largely limited to surface observations and seismic studies, but the Kola borehole allowed a direct look at the structure of the crust and put geologist’s theories to the test. One of the most surprising findings was the absence of the transition from granite to basalt, which scientists had long expected to exist between two and 4 miles below the surface. Known to geologists as the “Conrad discontinuity,” this transition in rock type was reasoned to exist due to the results of seismic-reflection surveys.

Though the discontinuity has been detected beneath all of the continents, the drill at Kola never encountered the proposed layer of basalt. Instead, the granitic rock was found to extend beyond the seven and a half mile point. This led to scientists’ realization that the seismic-reflection results were due to a metamorphic change in the rock (i.e. from intense heat and pressure), and not a change in rock type as they had previously anticipated. And if the non-existence of an entire layer of the Earth’s crust is not surprising enough, the cracks of the rock many miles below the surface were found to be saturated with water. As free water is not supposed to exist at such great depths, researchers believe the water consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that have been squeezed out of the surrounding rock by the enormous pressure and retained below the surface due to a layer of impermeable rock above.

But the most intriguing discovery made by the Kola borehole researchers is undoubtedly the detection of biological activity in rocks more than two billion years old. The clearest evidence of life came in the form of microscopic fossils: the preserved remains of twenty-four species of single-cell marine plants, otherwise known as plankton. Usually fossils can be found in limestone and silica deposits, but these “microfossils” were encased in organic compounds that remained surprisingly intact despite the extreme pressures and temperatures of the surrounding rock.

While data produced by the Kola drilling project continues to be analyzed, the drilling itself was forced to stop in the early 1990s when unexpectedly high temperatures were encountered. While the temperature gradient conformed to predictions down to a depth of about 10,000 feet, temperatures after this point increased at a higher rate until they reached 356 °F at the bottom of the hole. This was a drastic difference from the expected 212 °F. Also unexpected was a decrease in rock density after the first 14,800 feet. Beyond this point the rock had greater porosity and permeability which, paired with the high temperatures, caused the rock to behave more like a plastic than a solid and made drilling near impossible.

A repository of the many core samples can be found in the nickel-mining town of Zapolyarny, about six miles south of the hole. For its ambitious mission and its contributions to geology and biology, the Kola Superdeep Borehole remains one of the most important relics of Soviet-era science.”

No one knows what lies in the depths of the earth. This article shows that the theoretical study using seismic data has been totally wrong! No technology has ever been able to accurately predict what is only a few miles under our feet, and the center of the earth is 4000 miles down! And there is no way known to verify the models of theorists but to drill and obtain samples; which we now see cannot be done using the best of current technology, beyond a few miles down.

The Heart of Kings…

We have telescopes and drilling rigs that didn’t exist in Solomon’s day; but we are not much closer to searching the depths of the earth or the vastness of the heaven than people were then.

The wise man tells us in this proverb that it is just as vain to try to understand what a king is thinking. One does not ordinarily become a king by being stupid. Even being born heir to the throne is no guarantee that one shall sit upon it. And it is not easy to keep the throne when it is obtained; because there will always be plenty of men who desire it for themselves above all things, and who are willing to do anything to get it!

Let us be on our guard when criticizing or condemning the words and actions of our chief executive and other powerful men, as if we knew their thoughts, and as if we would know how to do a better job than they do. They have so much knowledge that we don’t, that it would be really rash of us to judge them. In the light of this proverb, it would be very foolish indeed for us to engage in the kind of speculation that we daily hear about what our president is really trying to do.

The American system, as set up by the founders, is not a pure democracy, but a republic. Frankly, the people are not fit to govern themselves. Only the most intelligent men have the capacity for rule, and even fewer have the strength of character to be good rulers. So we elect our rulers, and then the power is in their hands. We must choose well, for once they have it, they will use it — for good or for ill.

So the next time you are tempted to condemn one of our rulers for a decision or a statement that you simply disagree with — anything that is not a moral issue, remember these words:

“The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.”

Howard Douglas King

May 12, 2018

Revised May 30, 2019

Are the Doctrines of Grace Only for Mature Believers?

Many times I have heard from Reformed Christians, even pastors, that the doctrines of sovereign grace ought not to be preached to unbelievers or young Christians. It is usually said that these are dangerous doctrines. But I have yet to hear a scriptural argument in favor of that proposition. I cannot properly refute a statement that is a mere assertion; nor is any mere assertion worth dignifying by a refutation.

And yet, because this assertion is widely accepted, and because of its pernicious character, it must be addressed. And the only way to address it is to defend the opposite proposition. This I now undertake to do.

And first, I would ask if there are any other biblical doctrines that ought to be reserved for certain audiences? Are there secret doctrines in Christianity, like those of the old mystery cults and the Masonic Lodge, that are only for initiates, and not to be divulged to anyone on the outside? Does not the Bible lay out all its doctrines openly, for all to read? No, I must protest that the doctrines of grace ought to be preached freely and indiscriminately to all audiences, like every other doctrine of the Bible.

And practically speaking, is not every public meeting of a mixed character? If the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in salvation is not to be preached except to mature believers; how is this to be accomplished? Should an announcement be made that doctrines are now going to be preached, which are for spiritually mature audiences audiences only? Are the rest to be require to leave the sanctuary, or to go home? Are secret meetings to be held, to which only certain members of the congregation are invited? Or ought the attendees to a service be vetted at the door , and all children, immature Christians and unbelievers turned away? If these proposals are absurd, then what is left, but to reserve this teaching to private conversations with persons deemed worthy to hear these “dangerous” doctrines? What biblical warrant is there for this?

On the contrary, our Lord Jesus did not reserve these doctrines for the spiritually mature. He knew that there were unbelievers in His audience (John 6:26, 36, 64) when the conversation recorded in the sixth chapter of John took place. Yet He openly and explicitly preached the doctrines of election (v. 37), the special call(vss. 44,45), man’s inability(vs. 44), and the security of the believer(vss. 39, 40, 44, 47) to people whom He knew were only going to be offended by these doctrines, and would subsequently abandon him (vs. 66).

Did Paul jealously guard these doctrines, when he sent his epistles to the churches? Did he tell them that there were some elements of Christianity which they must wait to learn until he could come and instruct them privately? Let us see.

The epistle to the Romans is the first one we meet with in the NT, and in the very first chapter, verses 6,7 he speaks of the special call of God as if it needed no explanation. How do we know that this was the special, and not the general call? How could it be used as a mark of distinction, if it was a call issued to all in general? And yet that is clearly the way it is used, as a mark of distinction “the called”, in distinction from those who were not called.

In chapter eight, verse 28, the same expression “the called” is used. It is well known that what follows is one of the most explicit passages in all the Bible about the free and sovereign grace of God. There we see the “golden chain”, stretching from eternity past to eternity future — with the links of foreknowledge (election), predestination, calling, justification, and glorification.

In chapters 9-11, the whole predestinated plan of God for Jew and Gentile is expounded and celebrated, all built upon the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in His dispensations of grace.

Is there any warning on the front page that some of the material in this epistle may not be appropriate for spiritual minors? Is it not meant to be read openly in the churches, though there are some things in them which are “hard to be understood” as Peter confesses (2 Peter 3:14-16). Peter does not chide Paul for exposing these doctrines to all, even though he deplores the fact that “they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [Paul’s words] as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

I could go on to show example after example of the open declaration of the doctrines of grace indiscriminately to saved and unsaved alike, but I desist. For every place in the Bible where God is said to be the absolute sovereign is naked and exposed to the whole world. It is not written in code, or in invisible ink; but emblazoned upon the pages of Holy Scripture as if in letters of fire!

Why then do so many pastors who name themselves “Reformed”, or others who admit (in private) to believing in the doctrine of sovereign grace, not preach it? Perhaps it is because they sincerely believe that it is a “dangerous “doctrine. Perhaps they feel that they do not know how to preach it, having doubts about its consistency with the free offer of the gospel. One must have sympathy with these men.

Or perhaps they do not preach it, out of fear that it will start a controversy; which may lead to a church split (as it sometimes has done) or the ejection of the offending pastor. To them I humbly offer the following remarks.

Were Peter and Paul afraid of starting a controversy which might cause them trouble? Was Peter afraid of controversy or personal difficulties when he preached the famous sermon on the day of Pentecost? How did he respond when he was dragged before the authorities and beaten (Acts 5:40-42)? What happened when Paul preached the gospel of grace in Antioch, in Pisidia (Acts 13:42-51)? Did he ever shrink from the possibility of persecution? Did he not know that the Jews would hinder him in any way that they could, everywhere that he went? “None of these things move me.” he said, when he was warned against going up to Jerusalem. Remeber Paul and Silas in the Philippian prison, singing and praising God?

Is it following Jesus to decline the cross? Is it faithfulness to hold back a part of the whole counsel of God to protect your own interests? “God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”, Paul said to young Timothy.

You may say that the doctrines of grace are not essential to salvation; and so need not be preached. But your argument proves too much. In general, all that must be believed for salvation is that I am a sinner, and Christ is the savior. Isn’t that right? So, does that mean that there is no need to preach anything else? When Paul was giving his parting address to the elders of the Ephesian church, he said this:

“And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:25-27)

And to Timothy he wrote:

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2Timothy 3:16-17)

There is danger in preaching the doctrines of grace, It is dangerous for the “unlearned and unstable” who, as Peter said, “wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” There is danger to the preacher, of persecution. But if he does not preach it, there is danger that his flock will not receive the benefits which the doctrines are designed to impart. There is danger that he will fall into the habit of holding back things that he should be preaching. In that case, there is danger that he will be judged unfaithful in the last day, and that the work which he has done will be consumed by fire.

Part 2: Usury in History

What do Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hindusim have in common? Besides the fact that they are all religions – not much. However, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, all of them have historically been opposed to usury. As late as the 1640s — the Westminster Larger Catechism included usury in its list of sins prohibited by the eighth commandment. In its answer to question 142, it deliberately places usury between extortion and bribery, and cites Psalm 15:5 “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” as the proof text.

It is significant that this text is used, which is a general condemnation of usury, and not one of the texts which forbids usury on charity loans. Their choice of this proof text makes it clear that the Westminster divines understood all loaning at interest to be usury; but even more significant is that it is mentioned under the eighth commandment. They viewed it as a form of theft – of one’s taking what does not belong to him. Right or wrong – that is the view represented in our Westminster Standards.

All of us recognize that the Bible forbids interest on charity loans, and that some rates of interest are so high that to charge them is unethical. But it is wrong to think that these are the things that constitute usury. It is also wrong to ignore the indirect economic impact of usury upon the most vulnerable. R. L. Dabney pointed out that the costs and penalties of the economic system always tend to be passed down the ladder to the poor, so that any unsoundness in the economic system will disproportionately affect them.

For example, the pursuit of luxurious lifestyles by the rich tends to dry up the pool of talented artisans producing necessities, thus raising the cost of necessities. Self-indulgence on the part of the rich is a societal evil that has the tendency to destroy the poor. When people know that they can make money just by loaning out the money that they have, with usury, they are going to invest as much as they can afford. What money is going to be left to help the poor?

Isn’t it possible that God had both the direct and indirect effects of usury upon the economy in view when He prohibited usury? Later, I will attempt to show that this must have been the case, by demonstrating the inevitable effects of usury upon an economy; effects of which God cannot be ignorant.

The principle that accounts for the rise of technological society has been simple greed. This also accounts for the basic organization of that society: the economic sphere is dominant over all other spheres of life. The economic system is designed for the continuous, reliable transfer of wealth from the lower classes to the very rich at the optimum rate; neither too slow, nor so fast that the masses lose their ability to create wealth. Wealth is used to buy control of the other spheres, thereby perpetuating itself. There are no effective systems in place for the righteous re-distribution of wealth, such as the Biblical jubilee, when all debts were canceled. Monopolism is legalized and institutionalized by the laws allowing the forced takeover of smaller businesses by larger ones, resulting in mega-corporations. Patents and copyrights, which allow their owners to take money that does not belong to them, are justified by the fiction of intellectual property. Fiat money, rather than commodity currency is used for the rapid creation of huge paper fortunes. Inflation is built into the system, and taxes those who can least afford it.

Many of us are aware of certain aspects of this deplorable system of evil; but it has not occurred to most people that there might be a connection with the change in the church’s teaching on usury.  It is, in any case, a plain historical fact that legalized usury was a primary means for the aggregation of the wealth which capitalized the industrial revolution, and thus changed Western society from an agrarian to a technological one. The legalization of usury must therefore be seen as an important contributing cause of the industrial or technological society, and of the rampant materialism of our age.

Against Usury – Part 1: On the Abuse of Markets and Money

Money and markets were invented because of necessities created by the fall of man – not because they were part of the perfect divine order. In the state of innocence, man had no need of such things. But after the fall and the expulsion from Eden, scarcity necessitated a division of labor for efficiency’s sake. It was much more efficient for one man in the community to make tools than for each one to make his own. But what would this man eat, if he gave a substantial part of his time to his specialty? He would have to reduce the size of his plantings. Naturally, his deficit in production of food would be made up by the ones who wanted his tools. Thus, a barter system arose, which was adequate at first.

But as other specialties arose, barter became awkward. What if one man needed a tool, but had only wool to trade for it – and the smith had no need of wool, but rather charcoal for his forges? The wool man could try to trade some wool for charcoal, and then trade the charcoal for the tool, but this would be cumbersome and time-consuming. That’s when money was invented – a durable, portable commodity of relatively great value was employed as a  medium of exchange. The barter market was transformed into a money market.

Now, a certain amount of wool could be exchanged for a small amount of money instead of goods that the seller did not want, because the wool seller knew that he could go to any of the other producers in the community and exchange the money for the commodity that he wanted. How, though, would the rate of exchange be set? Who would decide how much money a tool was worth, or a bag of wool? At first, the buyer and seller would simply negotiate a price that was mutually agreeable, on any basis that made sense to them.

Soon, a range of exchange rates would emerge for every good or service. This range of prices would take into account the quality of the goods, the amount purchased (discounts for bigger customers, etc.), the prestige of the producer, and any other significant factors. But the actual price of any particular good was still up to the buyer and seller to negotiate. This range of prices was not a result of planning or imposition, but was the natural and spontaneous result of a free market. It gave prospective purchasers and sellers information that they needed to plan – whether for production or for spending — and provided useful guidelines for price negotiations.

While a market remains free, this information is useful and valuable to all participants in the market – until the speculator appears on the scene. The speculator is a species of human vermin who disrupts the proper working of a given market and invalidates the market as a source of information to buyers and sellers in order to make a profit without honest labor. He abuses money to buy and sell products which he has no interest in either producing or owning, in order to force the price on goods he purchases below the price that the seller would freely agree to, and to force the price on goods that he sells higher than the buyer would freely agree to. The latter he achieves best by cornering the market and establishing a monopoly. The former, by becoming the most important customer, and using that fact as leverage to get a better price.

Both of these techniques require large amounts of capital. Therefore, it is necessary to acquire a large amount of money to facilitate the speculation. This is no problem, because all he has to do is to borrow the money at interest from someone who already has amassed a fortune, or inherited one. By offering the usurer a huge return on his investment, the speculator can get the large sum he needs to induce the seller of wool to sell him his entire year’s yield of wool, then extort an inordinate price from the rest of the community for that product. After paying the usury and repaying the loan, a handsome profit is his for doing nothing to benefit the community, but rather depriving his neighbors of the opportunity to participate in a free market, or a mutually beneficial system of exchange.

The usurer is happy, because the “work” is done by someone else, and he is guaranteed his usury. He has not loaned a penny to a poor man at usury, so he is considered a respectable businessman – though he has harmed all the poor in the community and greatly enriched himself at one stroke. The speculator is happy to do the “work”, because it is far less work and time than he would otherwise have had to invest to honestly gain such a large sum. The community, however, is not happy, because it has been “legally” ripped off by a pair of parasites. The abuse of the market has hurt them, but they have no recourse or remedy.

Ask the One who Knows

The headline in the Chinese e-zine, Yibada reads “Nobel Prize for Physics in 2011 Falsified…” What were they wrong about? The assumption had been made that all the members of a certain class of astral bodies were at approximately the same distance from us. New research has now challenged that assumption, perhaps disproved it. This has all kinds of implications for the modern cosmology. But it is nothing more than another episode in the ongoing futile quest for a coherent materialistic cosmology.

Most of what is called “astrophysics” is nothing but guesswork. No one knows how far away the most distant detectible stars are, or whether they are moving away from us or each other at a significant rate. None of these things can be directly observed. You can’t just send a man out with one end of a long tape measure and have him report his findings when he gets back. The distances are too great, and the travel times longer than many human lives. We can’t even triangulate accurately at such distances: the base of our triangle must needs be too short.

Scientists are constantly finding out that they have been guessing wrong, making the wrong assumptions. They have no coherent theory of the origin of the moon or the nearer planets, which we can at least in some measure observe with probes. The data conflicts with all the theories; and all the theories conflict with each other. So what can they know about the stars and galaxies at immeasurable distances from us?

The biggest problem, though, is their hidebound commitment to materialism, which arises from a passionate a priori rejection of God’s own word on the subject. We have a choice. We can try to follow the ever-changing guesses of short-sighted, fallible mortals; or we can ask the One who knows.

God was there in the beginning of the cosmos. He made all of it, just about six thousand years ago. And He left an inspired written record for all mankind, which He has not allowed to be corrupted. This view alone provides a sufficient basis for making dogmatic assertions about the nature and origins of the cosmos; and this alone allows scientists to make sound conclusions about what they observe and measure. All that is not built upon this foundation is destined to perish.

The guesses of modern physicists are no better than the guesses of the ancient Greeks; especially since they have both made the fatal mistake of rejecting the only true foundation of knowledge.

Howard Douglas King

April 12, 2015

The Sinner’s Danger!

God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalms 7:11b)

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. (Psalms 9:17)

… He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36 b,c)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18a)

It is my duty as a Christian to tell people who are not followers of Jesus Christ the sobering truth that they are in great danger every moment that they remain in their unbelief. There is nothing more certain to make some of them howl with laughter, while others will gnash their teeth in rage; nevertheless, it is the truth still, and must be told. For the Christian faith makes no sense whatsoever, until it is understood that there is an angry God in heaven whose wrath must be appeased by a sacrifice that we cannot make for ourselves. The pertinent facts are these:

There is a God in heaven who sees all that we do, and who will judge us all in the last day.

This God is holy, righteous and good; and will judge each one according to his works.

God cannot be bought off by anything that we might do. He has His own plan for the salvation of sinners, and recognizes no other.

As God is pleased with those who love, trust, and serve Him; so He is deeply angry with those who despise Him and His laws.

God does not apologize for His wrath. It is as much a necessity of His holy nature to hate sin, as it is to love goodness.

The wrath of God abides continually upon those who do not believe; and those who die unconverted will feel that wrath every moment of their existence, in Hell, to all eternity.

God is benevolent towards all men. He wishes us well; and would be pleased if we would turn from our sins and do what is right. At the same time, He hates what we do, and what we are as sinners. His intrinsic kindness does not make Him soft on crime!

Every time we sin, and transgress the law of God, we insult God, whose law we break. We challenge His sovereignty. We impugn His right to govern His own creatures. We reject His authority. We offend His holiness. We doubt His wisdom, His power, His goodness. We derogate from His infinite majesty. Sin is therefore, as the apostle says, “exceeding sinful”.

God is too wise to be fooled by our lame excuses. We must answer for all our sins which we have committed during our whole lives. Especially will we then regret the opportunities we have had to turn from sin to God, which we have squandered.

The result is, that every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world will be seen to be worthy of the damnation of Hell. We will finally realize — too late — that we have been complete fools, and have traded our immortal souls for such a cheap thing as the few brief thrills that the world has given us.

Our lives are short and uncertain. We have no assurance that we will live out the day. How foolish is it to risk sudden and eternal death when we have been warned!

The danger is unimaginably great! The sufferings of this life are softened by its comforts and pleasures. But there will be no pleasures or diversions in Hell! No sports, no eating and drinking, no pleasures of the flesh or of the mind, no relief in sleep — only the uninterrupted misery of pain, sorrow, and regret!

We can usually find some consolation in our family or friends. If we encounter friends or family there, we will have no comfort in them; but rather mutual recriminations, loathing and hatred because of the evil influences we have had on each other, that have helped to bring us to such a place!

And we can bear many things because we know that all our earthly afflictions will end after a time. But Hell goes on forever!

We do not have to consciously hate God to deserve Hell. Many will go there who have never been aware of any animosity in their hearts against God. It is enough to be indifferent to Him. Most people just do not care very much what God thinks or wants, or what rights He may lay claim to. They think that He should be pleased with them if they throw Him the leftovers of their lives — if they serve Him when it is convenient for them to do so. But the Bible says “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalms 9:17)

God demands that He be the God of our lives — that we treat Him as God should be treated. He is the author of our being! He is to be worshiped, loved, trusted, feared! In comparison to Him, nothing and no one else matters; and it should be so in our hearts. We are to have no other gods before Him. His will must be the only rule of our lives. All our decisions must be based on our understanding of what would please Him. Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, all should be done for the glory and honor of God!

It is because we fail to do any thing of the sort — because we are motivated by a dominating selfishness, and a love of things that are evil in God’s sight that we are all subject to condemnation and perdition unless we are in Christ. Every knee shall bow before that great white throne, and no one will be able to argue that his sentence is unjust, or that God has made a terrible mistake in his case. Conscience will unite with the sentence of God in the day of judgment and say “Amen”!

How much better to say it now, to bow down today and confess God’s judgment just, suing for pardon through Jesus Christ! He is the answer to God’s wrath; and He is ready to hear from humbled sinners who have so far surrendered to the power of truth that they have abandoned the vain attempt to justify themselves. If that is your case, then go to Him and confess that you have no hope except His sovereign mercy. Trust in His goodness and His willingness to save those for whom He died! Trust Him, I say! And you will find that He is able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto God by Him.

Howard Douglas King April 20, 2018

Encouragement in Affliction

Good morning, sister!

I hope that you will not mind if I write you a few lines of encouragement and exhortation, and share some of my experiences with you. I want you to know that my brother and I pray for you often — that our good Lord would be with you and comfort you as no one else can.

You are very brave, sister. ALS is a terrible affliction.  I love to see that you are still able to smile. You are an example to us all. But I know that, being human, you must have times when you are not so brave. I have known periods of dark despair since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I just want you to know that, even then, you are not forsaken — either by God, or by your brethren, who pray for you and suffer with you.

It seems very strange to me that this has happened to me. I can still hardly believe it. I know what’s ahead, and sometimes dread it so much that I am not far from despair; but when I am in my right mind, I know that, whatever happens, my God will be with me, and that He means it for my good.

I am one of those people who grow lukewarm towards God whenever life is easy; and rarely seek Him with all my heart unless I am in the midst of painful adversity. Well, sister, this disease is eventually going to leave me with no comfort in the world but God and my loved ones. So what else can I do but draw nigh to God and experience that fellowship which is the inheritance of all the saints!  Our Lord Christ died that we might be reconciled to God and have the high privilege of calling Him “Father”.  It is a pity that we do not value this privilege and avail ourselves of, it as we should!

I have seen a very intelligible and capable man who had been afflicted with Parkinson’s, his face no longer capable of expression, stopping in the middle of a step, trembling and struggling, yet unable to move again for several minutes. I saw him a few years later, at the stage where he could neither speak nor feed himself, and yet fully conscious of all that was going on around him. His greatest comfort was the loving care of his good wife.

I pray that I may not live so long as to have that happen to me. But if it does, it will only be for a time, and after that, eternal glory! Many Christians have suffered, and do suffer, worse things every day. I know that it is possible to triumph over them all in Christ Jesus; and I intend to do so! “Play the man”, I tell myself. “You are a soldier. Don’t be so soft! Follow your Captain wherever he leads you, and be willing to suffer rather than disobey him when He sends you into battle.”

It will be a battle royal, with the world, the flesh and the Devil all conspiring against me, the enemy on every side. But greater is He whose omnipotent might fights for me when I give Him my whole heart’s devotion and trust.

Be of good courage, Lady. Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world. Trust Him always. You can, like the martyrs, be full of joy and perfect peace in the worst tribulation. God helping us, we can sing in the worst situations we can imagine. I cannot say that I will do very well when that time comes; I am too unstable. But that is what you and I must aspire to, for the honor of our worthy Master, for whose glory we were made and redeemed.

God keep you, sister! May the good Lord let you feel that He is walking with you!

Your humble servant for Jesus’ sake,

Howard King

 

The Rights of God

We hear much these days about “human rights”. It seems as if new ones are invented every day: the right to abortion, the right to marry a person of one’s own sex, the right to free “expression”, to free education, free health care, free support, free everything, the right to have one’s choice of gender respected, etc. These “rights”, we know, are merely devices for one group to get what it wants.

Real rights are those which come from God, and they include the right to receive justice from the government, the right to own, enjoy and dispose of our property, and to be left alone in the lawful use of it. We have the right to life, unless we commit a capital crime. We have the right to manage our own affairs (unless we are incapable of doing so; or we are minor children, soldiers, or prisoners).

All these true rights are just claims which we have on other men, by the ordination of God; and if they are infringed upon or denied; we have a right to recourse via the courts. We also have a duty to respect the rights of others; so that they have a similar claim upon us. Every right which any man possesses implies a duty on the part of others to accord him that right, and to respect it. This is one of the foundations of civil society; and without it, what we call civilization would soon be reduced to a violent chaos.

When imaginary rights are claimed, and supported by the government, inevitably it means a violation of the true rights which come from God; because by implication they create a correlative legal duty on our parts to respect them. This is an infringement on our right of liberty, because every human law imposes legal limits upon that liberty. For example, if someone claims a right to build a house on our land, (whether we want them to or not) because they have a “right” to shelter; and the government makes a law protecting that supposed new right; then our right to property will be compromised. We will be obliged, from that time on, to open our property to everyone; which violates the exclusive nature of property. The effect is to deprive us of our property; for its very nature is exclusive.

Human rights are not absolute: God alone has absolute rights. For example, our right to the exclusive use of our property is limited in many ways because we are ultimately only His stewards, responsible to Him for our use of it; and we are obligated to make use of it in such a manner that His rights are respected, and that He receives a return on his investment. Human rights are therefore always limited by the parameters which God has set forth in His Word. To refuse a poor man a piece of bread is to violate the right of God which requires us to share the good things that He has given us with those who are destitute.

Our rights are really privileges graciously granted by God that men might live together in peace and reciprocal relationship. This is because we can have no claim at all upon the Author of our being. Mankind was created by Him, which placed us infinitely in His debt. We are further indebted to Him, in that He allows us to live, though all of us have sinned against Him continuously from the day that we were born! Those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, owe Him an even greater debt; for they have been rescued from the eternal punishment which was absolutely due to them because of their sins! No, we have no claims upon God, and so no absolute rights — only privileges. We have rights only in respect to our relationships with other human beings.

God has absolute rights. Most people have never thought about this great fact. God has a right to demand anything He pleases from us, to give life, and to take it, whenever it pleases Him. He has the exclusive right to be worshiped. He has the right to demand perfect and perpetual obedience to His laws — every single one of them. He has the right to judge, to reward and punish us. He has the right to use us by His providence in any way He pleases, to accomplish His designs. He has the right to choose the place and time and circumstances of our birth and of our death. He has the right to make us tall or short, thin or heavy, wise or unwise, rich or poor, homely or handsome. He has the right to either afflict us, or to give us an easy and comfortable life. He even claims the right to determine who will be the recipients of His saving grace, and who will not.

This is the way it is. This is what it means that He is God; and what it means that we are creatures of God. It is the inescapable reality which we must all learn to accept. For to contest these rights by complaining of His providence or by refusing to acknowledge them is very sinful. God is serious about upholding His own rights. He will not hold us guiltless. Judgment is certain, and God’s wrath against sinners is terrible!

But He is a benevolent God; and wishes well to everyone. He gives us laws and upholds them because it is necessary that He govern us. If He did not punish sin as it deserves and reward the righteous; who would respect His government? What would hinder the strong from inflicting pain upon the weak? Moreover, to live in sin is the worst punishment that we can inflict upon ourselves; for it brings the pangs of conscience and makes us miserable; both in this life, and in that which is to come. God takes no pleasure in the sinner’s sin, in his unhappiness, or in punishing Him; but He must punish, for He is holy. What gives Him joy is when a sinner repents of His sin and turns to Him in faith.

As God is accountable only to Himself, only He can defend His rights. It is His Divine prerogative. He would not be God if He allowed his goodness to be affronted, His honor offended, His justice violated, His kindness abused forever. There must be a day of reckoning.

That day comes to each of us when we die. It may come for you tomorrow. Are you ready? Are you going to ride out the flood of God’s judgment in the ark of safety? Or will you be overwhelmed and destroyed by that flood of wrath? Only you can know the answer to that question. You can know it! You can know that you are Jesus Christ’s. Do you know Him?

Now is the time to examine your heart and be sure, while the breath is still in your body, and your mind is yet capable of understanding. You — we all — are living on borrowed time. We do not know when the time appointed for our departure from this world will come; but it will be soon. Depend upon it, a year or ten or twenty is nothing compared to eternity! Even if you live that long, it will be gone before you know it. Be ready! Be sure!

Sinner, it is time to render to God His rights; and though it may be late in life for you, it is not too late. Surrender your life to Him. Stop foolishly doing things your own way! What good has it done you? What happiness has it brought you? And whatever happiness you may have now will soon come to an end. What will you have to comfort you then? You must then leave behind everything that is dear to you: will not that be painful? And yet it will be nothing to the eternal wrath that you have treasured up for yourself!

You have heaven to gain! Yes, heaven; for Christ gives that unspeakable gift to all who trust Him. He is willing to save you if you are willing to be saved on His terms. All that He requires is that you believe in his goodness, mercy and grace, and power to save. He will forgive your sins. You are unworthy; but so are we all! If only the worthy were saved, none of us would be; but Christ has pledged Himself to save an innumerable multitude. Why not you?

I beg you to have pity on yourself, and come empty-handed to the cross. That is the only rule that He insists upon. You must acknowledge that you have nothing to boast of. You have no worthiness, no righteousness of your own. Let Him clothe you in His! He gives His righteousness to us! He took our sins upon Himself, and was punished in our place. He took away the sins of the world. God will never hold you accountable for sins that have already been punished in our substitute. His rights have been upheld — He is satisfied. There is free and full forgiveness for even the worst sinner.

Come to Christ. He will receive you. Don’t put it off! It may be too late! Are you willing to miss out on the single greatest — the most important — offer ever made? Such a generous offer is not to be despised. Stop provoking the One who holds your life in His hand, before it is too late! You are in great danger every moment! I beg you, in Christ’s name, be reconciled to God — now, today! The choice of life and death is before you. Choose life!

Howard Douglas King

February 28, 2019