Friday, October 30, 2015
Travail Implies Something Costly
Now note the implication of this principle of travail...and there are many connections in which the law of travail operates:
Just go through the Bible and see the great number of connections where struggle and conflict and pain and anguish presages the emergence of some tremendous new thing of GOD.
But note the implication of such a law. What did God mean by it?
I think simply this - and perhaps much more, but certainly this...that nothing was going to be easy and cheap.
To put it another way: that GOD was really establishing the tremendous value of everything.
He was saving man from regarding things as being of little concern or value, forcing him to recognize that this thing is costly because it is valuable.
Surely this is the offset to the whole tendency of man’s nature to get things easily and cheaply, not to pay a price for them, to escape suffering, to escape labour, to get it all without any cost.
And GOD has written in the universe this law that anything that is of Him, whether in creation or in grace, has a price attached to it, is a costly thing; it is infinitely precious and valuable, and worth suffering for!
Note, it is intended to bring the soul in...“the travail of his SOUL”; “My SOUL is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” - to bring the soul into relation with things; and when we say that we mean love.
What we get cheaply and easily we do not really love.
But that which costs binds our hearts to it...it becomes a matter of the heart, of love.
And so by travail the soul is saved from lightness, carelessness, frivolity, cheapness, and brought to recognize that there is something here that is infinitely precious.
How far-reaching is that truth and that law!
What a lot of ground it covers! GOD is not going to let the creation off in this matter.
This is the explanation of so much. And nations and peoples that just give themselves up to frivolity, to cheapness, to escapism and all that sort of thing, are on the high road to a bad time in their history.
It will not be too long before they pass through some fiery ordeal, in order to bring back the preciousness and the seriousness of things.
And if this is true in the realm of nature and the world, how much it explains in the realm of GOD's spiritual things!
Oh, the infinite tragedy of trying to make the things of GOD cheap and easy...even salvation, and the Christian life!
Appealing always to the pleasure side of men, trying to eliminate the cost.
The LORD Jesus never did that. Salvation is something of infinite cost: everything to do with salvation is infinitely precious, and there is not one fragment of all that is of GOD which is not of surpassing and transcendent value.
It is not just going to be had willy-nilly.
Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
Yes, suffering is attached to anything of value, and that is particularly true of spiritual things.
At that very point, you and I need to have our minds “converted” - we need a tremendous change of mind.
Unless you recognize that, unless that has become true for you, there are some things in the Bible you cannot understand.
They sound flippant, garrulous; they sound as though they are just words, words, words…
Listen: “Our light affliction, which is for the moment…” (2 Cor. 4:17).
What are you talking about, Paul - “our light affliction”?
Well, listen to his catalog of sufferings! Listen to him as he tells us of all that he had to go through for the Gospel’s sake, and read the much more that Luke tells us, that Paul never mentions personally.
What that beloved servant of GOD went through for the Gospel’s sake!
And yet he talks like this: “Our light affliction which is but for a passing moment”.
You cannot talk like that in the presence of suffering unless you have seen the infinite preciousness of that toward which GOD is working and bringing you.
Though now for a little while…ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, yet…ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory…” (1 Pet. 1:6,8).
Now look at the context of that: fiery trials.
You cannot get through, understand, endure the travail, unless you have some sense of the value of things.
~T. Austin Sparks~