The Preference to Death over Humility
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. — Luke 17:7-10
Gary North expands on this theme in Unprofitable Servants., focusing on the foolishness of autonomous men and their refusal to obey Jesus Christ, regardless of the cost. Said men generally talk a lot about freedom: but the actual result is the rise of an idol or other, even a collectivist tyranny than under the liberty of God
Christians would be wise to hold on to this liberty: a liberty that gives him a wide degree of freedom on what he should do, but the goals and foundations of why he should act are fixed by God, point to God, and exalt God alone. This is far better than being dominated by some expensive and increasingly ineffective bureaucracy.
Autonomous Man would prefer to die a slave to the State and to his sins, he and his aborted children, and his aborted civilization.
Christian Man must choose otherwise.
Christ’s Substitutionary Death
But why did He allow Adam and Adam’s race to multiply His losses?
[That is, allowed to commit sin after sin, sins that we could never pay for, atone for, or justify.]
Because God had a way of getting Adam’s race back into the “expected rate of return” category. He had a way to compensate Himself for the losses incurred as a result of Adam’s poor performance, and once this payment was made, to return the servants to the profit column. The compensating balance was paid by Jesus Christ.
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). In other words, Jesus was a profitable servant in the eyes of God. Thus, through a substitution of Christ’s death for the death of Adam’s heirs, God allows a transfer of capital to the heirs. They are placed, as Adam was before his rebellion, in positions of servitude, but profitable servitude. They become servants who are still at work in the fields, or feeding the cattle, and who have not yet come in to fix the master’s meal at the end of the day. Their work is still before them, but it has not yet become unprofitable by their failure to perform a particular assignment. God is still earning a positive rate of return on His investment.
The multiplication of the Second Adam’s race is now positive. […] However, we must not forget that God is self-contained, self-sufficient, and in need of nothing from us; His own glory is self-sufficient. God possesses, as Cornelius Van Til says, a full bucket. He does not need man to fill it higher. Yet man is to glorify God, and history does have meaning. If it didn’t, God would not have bothered to send Christ to redeem history and restore redeemed mankind to profitability. He would not have bothered to call Noah to build an ark; He would simply have wiped the slate clean, acknowledging that all of mankind was a waste, a source of endless losses. So there is a dilemma here, which Van Til calls the full-bucket dilemma. God does not really need mankind to make Him wealthy; He does not really have to “get a rate of return” on His “investment” in mankind. God is not going to the poorhouse if His investment goes sour. Yet He did not want this investment to go sour; He sacrificed His Son in order to keep it from going sour.
The reason why God did not want His investment in humanity to go sour is because of His love for us – and not because of any supposed benefit we bring to Him. (As there is no such benefit.)
This is an amazing love. But this love does not make void the Law, as payment was made in full accordance with the Commandments and the demands of Justice. A severe price was paid for the salvation of the world and of mankind.
And even so, most of humanity still prefers to reject it: a profound horror of a choice, with an ugly set of consequences. Fortunately, the world will be inherited by those who love Jesus Christ as King and Lord and God, while the wicked diminish, dry up, and blow away after a time.
Yes, there are occasional bursts of increased Satanic power, but even these bits of vigorous evil grow stagnant and dreary and still. Choosing Satan means choosing disgrace and death, sooner or later.
We dare not pass over the investment aspects of the history of salvation. God does want a return on His investment. He wants the world subdued to His glory by His servants. This was His plan from the beginning. Satan’s efforts did involve economics: turning potentially profitable servants into a loss-producing asset in God’s portfolio. Satan realized that God was determined to see the earth subdued by man, and as a rebel, Satan sought to thwart the plans of his Enemy. Satan is a destroyer, the one who sows tares in the field of God, in an attempt to destroy the harvest (Matt. 13:24-30; 36-43). He seeks to reduce the value of God’s portfolio to zero, if possible, or better yet, into a debt position. Satan would be delighted to be able to haul God into bankruptcy court–with Satan as the judge, jury, and enforcer.
But God is not in debt. He does not need “leverage” in order to produce a profit. He is not using OPM (other people’s money). And because of the death of His Son, God is earning a positive return on His investment. What has happened is this: Satan has put himself in the position as administrator or trustee of a portion of God’s portfolio. Specifically, God has transferred to Satan the loss-producing portion, namely, all those unprofitable servants, those disinherited sons. These are Satan’s troops (to switch to a military analogy). These are Satan’s borrowed assets, which he is allowed to invest during his period of borrowed time. They produce losses. Satan is the debtor who will be hauled, on judgment day, into bankruptcy court. He is the ultimate unprofitable servant, the archetype of all indebted servants who cannot pay their masters when the accounts fall due (Matt. 18:23-35).
The New World Order is smoothly segueing over to the Failed World Order, just another dusty artifact of the past. And – as you can see from the paragraphs above – the fact that the New World Order is driving on to complete bankruptcy isn’t just a side-effect of it’s failure, but one of the core spiritual reasons why it will fail.
Payment of all debts is a spiritual, a Divine, command. And there is no way that the secularist order, reliant on a Keynes-based model that loses potency every year, is going to meet its debt load.
So we are profitable servants today, if we operate with the balance sheet given in grace by Christ to His people. Despite our losses from time to time, despite our own mismanagement of funds, through His grace, the losses will not be counted against us. At worst, we will come into heaven with a “zero balance” in our account (1Cor. 3:15). No servant wants a zero balance, and all should strive to build up spiritual capital, but there is no way that we can get into the debt column again. Christ has paid that debt forever.
This should reduce our fear of failure. We need not bury our talents in the ground in fear of the Master. We can speculate–not speculate wildly, but do our best to predict the future, and invest in terms of our convictions. We can take risks and bear uncertainty in order to make a better world. The Satanists can gamble, creating statistically guaranteed long-term losses for the sake of “an exciting game.” They gamble their substance on the turn of a card or the throw of the dice, in games rigged against them. We overcome uncertainty and earn profits by forthrightly dealing with the world in terms of God’s law. The world is “rigged” in favor of God’s law and those who operate in terms of His law. The universe is rigged against Satan and his followers, and they know it, but they play on, as gamblers play on, knowing they will eventually go bankrupt if they play the game long enough. Their end is sure, and so is ours.
Christians can fight, Christians can dare, Christians can challenge, Christians can win – if they live their lives in accordance with God’s commandments. It takes time for the ball to get rolling, but year by year, the profits add up.
And not just for individual Christians, either. The blessings also apply to Christian families, Christian businesses, and Christian nations.
For all the world will be redeemed. And all – including the national governments – will call Jesus Christ Lord and God, the True Lawgiver, the chosen Voice of God, Creator and Saviour and Judge.
“There is no substitute for victory.”
I like to see Christians win: indeed, I believe that faithful Christians do win… if they are willing to commit over the decades, and over the generations.
Which is one reason why I loathe premillenialism: it puts all the emphasis on what’s happening right now; it destroys all planning and hope for future generations; it undercuts God’s explicit command for righteous men to exercise dominion over the world, and – over time – to triumph over the wicked.
In effect, it works as much as possible to turn God’s people into unprofitable, fearful, despairing servants. That’s just disgusting.
Now, turning to a time when Christians were committed to victory, in time and on earth, North writes:
Historical Conditions in the First Century
When we think about the earthly odds against the early church, we can only marvel at what they accomplished. The Jews were against them. The Roman authorities were against them. The various rival Eastern cults, which were spreading like wildfire throughout the Empire, were against them. The church attracted its converts from the less prestigious groups in society.
They had poor educations generally. Most of the early leaders were probably illiterate. How could they have hoped to succeed?
They had God on their side, of course. But God does not place His people into historical vacuums. He had created a unique set of conditions for them to work with.
First, the Roman Empire had established an excellent communications and transportation system…
[Waves to the Internet]
With trade flourishing, people had to communicate. Two languages were universal: Greek and Latin….
[Waves to English]
Second, people’s faith in Greek and Roman religions were fading. There were dozens of Eastern cults coming into Rome. Magic, astrology, and fortune telling were on the rise, and the Roman government could not stamp them out. Religious anarchy was becoming a way of life.
[Certainly, faith in Christ was denied by intellectuals from at least 1660, as people returned with the Renaissance to the Old Religion of State Power and State Morality. Does anyone seriously believe in the kindness of the Leader and the wisdom of the Greek-style intellectual elites anymore?]
Third, people had lost confidence in representative civil government. Alexander the Great destroyed the Greek democracies before he died in 322 B.C. His successors were declared gods.
[Men who pose to be Gods – be it a Leader or some black-robed bureaucrats – always insist that they are Above the Law, that they Make the Law. That’s going down the tubes as well.]
Nero, the last of the heirs of Augustus, came to power in 54 A.D. His teacher, the philosopher Seneca, had taught him that he was to become the savior of the world. He became a murderous tyrant. He even had his mother and his wife murdered. Who could trust in politics?
[Idols topple, and unrepentant Political Saviours rot on earth even before they roast in hell.]
Fourth, the economy began to disintegrate.
[Look around you.]
Fifth, government welfare programs began to drain the Roman treasury….
[Still about two decades or so before this goes down for the count. But when it’s gone, the main tool Political Masters use to rule their servants goes down with it.]
Sixth, sexual debauchery became common. The high ideals of the Roman family became little more than a memory…
[And with the death of the family, comes the sterility of the nation. Except for those who stand with Christ, naturally…]
Seventh, the population of the upper classes stagnated. They practiced abortion and infanticide. They left their infants in the streets to die.
[Evil civilizations die. Surprise, surprise!]
In short, the whole culture was disintegrating. When people lose faith in their institutions, they are ripe for a takeover by those who have a living faith.
That is where Christians come in. But these Christians must be looking forward to shape the world, not hide from it, and not pray for some kind of Rapture escape.
The church had suffered. It had been reviled, ridiculed, beaten down. But over the years, Christians learned how to deal with adversity. They had learned to deal with reality. There was no Roman state to rely on for justice or protection. They had to rely on God, on themselves, and their church courts.They became a second government within the Empire. When the time was ripe, they were ready to exercise leadership.
Christians at the time believed in public justice, pubic righteousness. Not some kind of European-style powerless “Jesus is in my heart (and I keep my mouth shut)” pietism.
Christians decided to work, to judge in a righteous manner, to win. And so they won.
Christians today are far too craven to fight for anything, beside their welfare benefits, old age pensions, and government medical care. They are quite willing to toss their children to the God-hating public schools, in the Glorious Name of Convenience. (Any resemblance with abortion is not coincidental.)
But what about today? Are Christians ready to exercise leadership in the high places of our world? Where are the Christians? Almost invisible.
This is what must change.
I only expect a minority of Christians to change direction, to repent, to turn from defeat to victory… and to pay the price for this.
This minority will shape the future, and is worth speaking to.
The Dominion Assignment
God said to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
God said to Noah and his sons: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen. 9:1).
God said to Abraham: “And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly” (Gen. 17:2).
God said to Moses and the people of Israel: “The Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give to thee. […]” (Deut. 28:11-13).
God said through the resurrected Christ: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18-20).
God said through the Apostle Paul: “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (l Corinthians 15:24-25).
God said . . . but modern Christians prefer not to listen. They do not want to hear about their comprehensive responsibility to master the word of God, and to apply His standards in every area of life, bringing the whole world under the rein of Jesus Christ. They prefer to minimize their responsibility, calling men out of the world, rather than calling them to rule over the world under the authority of Jesus Christ.
But Satan asks, “Hath God said…?”
Christians are to obey and uphold what God said.
God has told us what we must accomplish, as individuals and as a nation, in order to fulfill our dominion assignment. There is no escape from this assignment, from Adam’s day to the present. There can be personal success or failure in carrying it out, but no escape. God holds us responsible, as individuals and as a society. We have our marching orders from a God who has promised victory to His people, in time and on earth. Victory can be achieved only in terms of God’s righteousness, God’s sacrifice at Calvary, and God’s standards of righteousness for every realm of life.
Satan cannot win. Why not? Because he has denied God’s sovereignty and disobeyed God’s law. But Moses was told explicitly, God’s blessings come only from obedience. Satan will not win because he has abandoned God’s tool of dominion, biblical law.
I like to win, so I will strive to keep God’s Law-Word.
I believe that there will be a new generation of Christians, wo like to win and hate to lose. They will discover the Law, and uphold it.
And they will be greatly blessed.