Adoss Newsletter No 21
A Day of Small Things
By Σωσθένης Ὁἀδελφὸς – Sosthenes the Brother
A couple of weeks ago I passed that significant milestone – threescore years and ten. That, according to scripture, is man’s allotted span. ‘The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away’ (Psalm 90:10). I can be very thankful to God for preserving me physically and spiritually for all these years. Yes, like Paul, I have a ‘thorn for the flesh’ (2 Cor 2:7) – that is for my good, no doubt, but I have strength in measure, and if it please God for me to be left hear a few more years, may they be fulfilled in the Lord’s service and to God’s glory.
I was born right at the end of the war (between VE and VJ days). There have been many public celebrations this month and a lot of these have involved very old men and women who bravely fought in battles or supported the war effort.
The First World War was dubbed ‘the war to end all wars’. In just over 20 years the world was engulfed in a different but equally traumatic conflict. In my lifetime there have been further wars – Korea, Suez, Vietnam, Israel, India/Pakistan, Afghanistan, Falklands, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Rwanda, Biafra, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia … The list goes on. People are killed, injured or made homeless. When will it end?
Many of these troubles have been between religions: Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, Sunni and Shiite in the Middle East. It was so in biblical times; it will be so until a King reigns in righteousness.
Nobody who engages in these things has any concept of Christianity – still less do they know the Saviour. They see Christianity as an earthly religion, just like the others. Indeed what goes by that name often is. But it is not of this world. Jesus said to Pilate, ‘My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.’ (John 18:36). Thank God I am a citizen of that kingdom.
It is really sad that many – possibly all, myself included – citizens of Christ’s kingdom have been affected by features of the world, and introduced those features into the Christian circle. Satan is happy about that: his aim is not to eradicate Christianity, but bring Christian practice down to the level of the world.
I have seen much in 70 years; I have heard of more. On one side is legality, on the other looseness. Years ago I was delivered from a system marked by excessive legality. They preached the gospel, but then dictated your practice – and some practices were bizarre (and temporary). Yes of course the leadership found scriptures to justify their ideas (even Satan did that to the Lord), but they were the rules laid down by leaders – rules laid down by men to bring devoted Christians into bondage. I well remember a servant of the Lord from Germany coming to minister during this time and reading ‘O senseless Galatians, who has bewitched (he said ‘betvitched’) you’ and Christ has set us free in freedom; stand fast therefore, and be not held again in a yoke of bondage’ (Gal 3:1, Gal 5:1 Darby).
Then I have seen things swing the other way. After the joy of getting free of the bond of legality, instead of getting eyes firmly fixed on our Lord Jesus, vision is lost. ‘Where there is no vision the people cast off restraint’ (Prov 29:18 Darby). There is no law – you can go anywhere; you can do anything. You can, but here is the test – Can you do it in the name of the Lord Jesus? That preserves us from worldliness – physical or religious.
Then you hear it said, ‘Things are getting out of hand, we must tighten things up.’ Oh dear! Sadly this comes from younger persons without the experience of former times. Things swing back, maybe not to the extremes, but back nonetheless.
Many readers will know what I am referring to. Others will be able to relate to them from their own Christian experience.
Liberty is a wonderful thing. But only if from the great Liberator, and maintained in the power and enjoyment of the Holy Spirit.
On the road for three score ten
The given lot of fallen men,
If through grace I reach four score,
‘Tis through strength I’ll have had more.
Strength, that comes from God above,
Health provided – oh what love!
Joy and soul prosperity,
Peace throughout eternity:
Our Father, who has made us all,
Jesus, who my name did call,
Holy Ghost, who’s strengthened me,
Oh God, to Thee all worship be.
– Apologies of quality of poetry! S.