Faith in Relation to Life (continued)
Further, this life is characterized by its inexaustibility. There is no end to it, no exhausting it; it just goes no. As we have already said, it does not get old. We may get old, but that life in us does not get old at all. It goes right on; it is inexhaustible.
And then, because it is God's life, it is incorruptible. Life is symbolized by salt in the Bible. The symbolism of the new cruse and the salt is just that of the vessel of God with the life of God in it. The presence of that life is the counter to the presence of corruption, wherever it is.
This, of course, is quite clearly seen in the first chapters of the Book of Revelation, containing the challenge and message to the churches. It was clearly a time of spiritual decay: but we should go further, and say "of spiritual corruption." Strong language, but justifiable. "Thou sufferest the woman Jezebel" (2:20); "Thou hast ... some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel" (2?14). Here is corruption, and the challenge to that state of corruption in the first place is indicated by the announcement of the Lord Himself. "I am ... the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore" (1:17-18). It is as though He were saying, 'I am measuring you by the standard of this incorruptible life, deathless, death-conquering life; I am challenging you in your corruption.' The import of the message is this: 'These conditions of corruption are due to something having arrested the life. If you had the life vibrant and regnant and triumphant, there would be none of these conditions at all.'
The issue then, for the overcoming the setting aside, of all corruption, is that of life. The corrective for false teaching - for heterodoxy - is not orthodoxy. Let us say, changing the words: the corrective for error is life. That is what the Scriptures show. It was so with the seven churches. John, who wrote the Revelation, at about the same time also wrote his letters, and these likewise deal with falsehood, error, decline, decay, corruption, anticharist, and all the rest - a bad state coming among believers; and John's great word in his letters and in the Revelation, as well as in his Gospel, is life. That emerges from the most elementary study of his writings.
John begins his Gospel: "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men" (1:4), and that is the key-note all the time. "The witness (testimony) is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath the life; He that hath not the Son of God hath not the life" (1:John 5:11-12). At the beginning of the Revelation you find: "I am ... the Living One" (1:17-18); you pass on to the "four living ones" (4:6), and their testimony and influence; and you close the Revelation with the "tree of life" and the "river of life" (22:1-2). It is all about life. But that is all presented in a day of corruption. The answer to corruption is not argument, but Divine life.
(continued with # 30)