It has often been the expressed desire of many aficionados of the “Arts” and “Culture” to seek to engender an appreciation of them in the “ignorant masses” and “common herd”. They hope to raise the moral and intellectual tone of society by giving the “common people” a love of beauty and through this the desire to improve themselves and make the world a better place.
Commendable as this aim may be, the fact is that very often it comes from a sense of superiority and condescension.
While Art may be a source of Beauty and convey powerful influences and emotions it has very often been degraded and debauched by sin besotted people and has often had a deleterious effect on culture and morals.
The artistic community while professing an aim is to raise others from their boorishness and bad taste are very often those who lead in immorality and sinful depravity.
The “Arts” like other intellectual pursuits and worldly pleasures bear the taint of sin which spoils them and require great discernment on the part of the believer to see through the enemy’s lies masquerading as works of Art .
It is only when our eyes are opened to the beauty of Christ that we come to understand that so much of what the sinful world regards as beautiful is actually ugly in the extreme and the “spiritual” things that the world sees no beauty at all in, have beauty that endures for time and eternity.
When the Gadarenes arrived at the place Jesus was and saw the former “demoniac” who had formerly terrorized their country, sitting sober and in his right mind, they were filled with fear and asked Jesus to leave the area. The whole account is found in Mark 5:1-20.
One can only wonder as to the cause of their fear.
Why were they not relieved that they were now free from the terror and threat that this man formerly represented to their community?
They could now sleep safe in their beds and dwell undisturbed by his cries and rantings. The people could go about their business safely without the constant fear of harassment and harm.
Why was there no rejoicing in the miraculous deliverance of someone long held in bondage, no happiness felt in prospect of his re-uniting with family and love ones?
There is not the least evidence seen here of human compassion and tenderness on the part of these people.
It would be terrible to think that the main cause of their fear was due to the loss of the swine herd in the Sea of Galilee.
Perhaps it was the prospect of further financial losses to their lucrative business that prompted them to beg for Jesus’ immediate departure. They feared loss income if Jesus remained in the area working miracles hither and yon.
The mercy and healing power Christ manifested in this wondrous miracle was, to these “swine keepers”, of less importance than their own prosperity and desire for a quiet life.
For whatever the reason that motivated it, their bidding Jesus depart had the effect of shutting the door, for the time being, upon themselves for the Saviour’s further imparting of saving mercy and grace to them.
In this they showed themselves more foolish than even the Samaritans who welcomed the Lord into their midst, after His conversation with the woman at the well.
How many have shied away from Christ and Christianity because their all absorbing personal interests were threatened? Like the “Rich young ruler” they could not part with all and follow Jesus.
How many have baulked at the mighty and genuine work of God around them because it spoiled and interrupted the order and tranquility of their lives?
How many have been unwilling to put in effort involved in following Christ fully?
It is a terrible thing to ask Christ to depart from us? It will cost us far more in the long run than a herd of “piggish” pleasures and porcine desires.
God’s Mercy and Grace .
Robert Trail in his sermons on the “Throne of Grace” says that many people go there for forgiveness but do not seek God’s grace for conquering sin and holy living. I quote;
“Mercy and grace are joined together by God, and are not to be put asunder by man.
They would be content to obtain mercy; but they care not so much for his grace. But such are only profane ignorant persons, that know neither God nor themselves, nor his mercy, nor his grace.
The Lord will not give mercy without grace, nor grace without mercy. All that receive either, receive both; and all that would have either, must ask both; and none can ask either a right, but he that asks both.”
To me it seems that the Christians of today are all for seeking God’s miraculous power in their lives for somewhat selfish and short-sighted ends.
God has come to be regarded as an over indulgent “father’ happy to spoil His children in any way they ask or desire.
We may desire mercy from God but we have no interest in seeking His grace to avoid future sin and for help to increase holiness of life.
Or we desire to obtain grace and blessing without any regard to our need for His mercy with regard to our past sin and present sinfulness.
We may be glad to benefit from Christ as Saviour yet will disregard his Lordship and the need for His control over our lives.
As Trail says what God has joined let no man put asunder.
Every “jot and tittle”!
The difference between these two:
The master beat the scholar with a strap.
The master beat the scholar, with a strap.
Is in logic nothing; but in rhetoric it is the difference between a “Matter-of-fact ” statement and indignant statement: a strap, we are to understand from the comma, is a barbarous instrument. (quoted from “the King’s English) by H.W. Fowler and F.G Fowler.
Most of us see no difference between these two statements. yet the insertion of a miniscule comma draws our attention away from the action and towards the instrument used to inflict it.
Like spelling, punctuation is not my strong suit at all and may be so for many of us.
To understand the point a writer or for that matter a speaker seeks to convey it is often necessary to pay close attention to even the seemingly insignificant expressions and punctuation.
This is especially so in our understanding of the Scriptures as God’s Word.
Great matters often hang upon small things.
As Christ said of the Law, not the least “iota’ of it will pass away until it is fully fulfilled.
Indeed our clear and correct understanding of it may depend on the smallest “comma” and “full stop”.