The Living And The Dead
KILMARTIN SERIES: 5
In this series, we are looking at how unclean and perverse spirits can easily take hold in a place and turn it away from The Lord. We are taking Kilmartin in Argyll as an example; largely because we live there, but also because it is a focal point where faith in God, once dominant, is being seriously challenged by unbelief, Humanism and New Age philosophy.
But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun.
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works.
Let your garments always be white, and let your head lack no oil.
[Ecclesiastes 9:4-8 NKJV]
I am currently reading ‘The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements’ by Eric Hoffer, which, while not a book about scripture, frequently quotes the Bible to illustrate some of the ‘thoughts’. In one paragraph that I read yesterday evening, Hoffer quotes Ecclesiastes 9:4 …
The liberal sees the present as the legitimate offspring of the past and as constantly growing and developing toward an improved future. All three (conservative, liberal and sceptic) then cherish the present, and, as one would expect, they do not take willingly to the idea of self-sacrifice. Their attitude toward self-sacrifice is best expressed by the sceptic: “for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing … neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.”
What you might ask, has this to do with our Christian outlook in Argyll, or the world for that matter? The Bible view of this is that both the living and the dead are in this world now. The living are ‘alive in Christ’, while the dead are ‘dead in trespasses and sins’.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
So where is our focus? Hoffer noted that the ‘mass movements’ of the radical and the reactionary in this world revere the idea of self-sacrifice for their cause, while the common man avoids self-sacrifice of any sort, if at all possible. The sacrifice that the true Christian makes is not for a cause but for a person; the Lord Jesus Christ, willingly returning the life that God gave him to God so that he avoids death ‘in trespasses and sins’ in exchange for everlasting life. I hope that makes sense.
In terms of Kilmartin, Argyll, we see that over time there has been a movement away from ‘life in Christ’ and an increasing reverence for the gravestones, burial cists, relics, standing stones and rock carvings from pre-history. I have seen people putting their arms around standing stones to ‘feel the life force’ in the rock. This is worshipping the dead.
Christians are not immune to such things; the spirit forces in nature are real enough, but they are subtle and insidious — every bit as real as Covid-19, and just as life-threatening. Our protection from such death is also real enough, it is the Holy Spirit, the thread that keeps us alive in Christ, our intercessor with Father God. Hallelujah!
Experience is a gateway, not an end. Beware of building your faith on experience. You can never give another person that which you have found, but you can make him long for what you have.
[from ‘My Utmost For His Highest’ by Oswald Chambers]
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GEORGE and GILL STEWART