Notes of address by John Robinson at Workington (22/3/40).
It is well for us to know what God is doing and the end He has in view on the earth. Where God is working, Satan is working too. His is the great counterfeit of God's masterpiece. Taking account as moral beings involves responsibility to act according to the light God has given! In Genesis, after the Flood, God began with a new earth and Noah was set up in His favour. Immediately he offered a burnt offering and God smelled a sweet savour. Notwithstanding, shortly afterwards Noah failed grievously when tested by wine. A little later, Nimrod manifested purpose of heart in seeking self-exaltation He built a city which developed into Babel. It was the progenitor of the great Babylon yet to be destroyed; so that the end of all man's glory is destruction! Immediately after Nimrod's appearance, God called out Abraham from his country and father's house; that introduced the principle that God must have first place. Abraham, the man of faith, knew how to refuse what in itself might be perfectly right. But in the same chapter he failed in going down to Egypt. However, there was also recovery, and he returned to Bethel, the House of God. He was subjected to another test in the land to which God had called him, in that there was strife between his herdsmen and those of Lot. In spite of his natural right he left the choice to Lot. Then God came in again with the promise to Abraham of all the land in his view. However, he remained a stranger and pilgrim in the land. Following that, he was called to deliver Lot. After his victory he had to refuse the gift of the King of Sodom, as he could not be enriched by the world. He was dependent on God and received everything from Him. (Similarly the kingdoms of the world were at the disposal of the Lord when here, but He knew how to refuse. In the same way beholding the beauty and the glory of the Lord will render us immune from the seductions of the enemy).
As we follow the history in the Old Testament, there was a very interesting time in Joshua. The people had come through the wilderness, crossed the Jordan and the reproach of Egypt had been taken away. As a company dependent on God they marched round Jericho and its walls fell down. Yet immediately after that the Babylonish element entered. Choosing the things of the world brought the people into bondage! After centuries of failure under tests, relieved by individual obedient reaction, the people were taken captive to Babylon; yet even there God was on behalf of His servants. They refused to partake of the king's meat. Subsequently, three of them were cast into a fiery furnace. But there they had the company of One like unto the Son of God. God will honour those who honour Him! He will open a door of escape. The fire set them free from their bonds. They were preserved in the midst of the trial in communion with the Son of God.
Coming to the Gospels we find "His Church" against which the gates of hell shall not prevail, established by the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand in the chapter where Peter boldly confessed the Lord, he was found refusing the Cross and merited the rebuke of the Lord. The precious things of Christianity can only be had through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which separates us from our sins and brings to an end that man who is obnoxious to God! In Romans 7, we see deliverance from bondage and death so that we may be in living association with the Son of God. The things of the world are going on to destruction but there is what belongs to the Lord with which he is occupied:- viz., His Body and His Bride. That will be taken up to meet Him in the air and subsequently to be manifested with Him. Babylon will come out in full bloom, but will have short prosperity coming to final destruction, but what belongs to Christ will come out as His Bride, "adorned for her husband," in spite of all the previous failure in responsibility. She shall display the beauty and perfection of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! As His own peculiar treasure He can take delight for the joy and satisfaction of His heart of love. May the Lord help us to be occupied with Him and His thoughts, that we may become more like Him now, then when He shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is!