Significance and Consequences

From Gary North’s The Appleseed Principle

Taylor recognizes that the chief lures of bogus temporal immorality–fame, wealth, and power–are inevitably eroded by the acids of time. The temporal is not enough. He is correct: “Nothing is more important in contemplating the significance of one’s life than taking a transcendent, eternal perspective.” But what about immanence? What about this world? In what way is the transcendent linked to the historical? The Bible’s answer is clear: God’s covenant with His people.

Like as a rather pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word (Ps. 103:10-20).

Our actions actually matter in eternity, whether we want them to, or not.

Since this is how reality is structured, we had best stop complaining, and stop wishing for an escape from reality – through anonymity, mysticism, or even the rapture – and start thinking on how we want our actions to matter, and to shape the future.

The fast pace of modern capitalism reflects God’s warning about men’s limited quantity of time. Jesus said: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Paul warned: “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that steepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:14-16). The point is, time is running out. We have limited amounts of it to make our mark. Time is the world’s only irreplaceable resource. This view of time has always been basic to capitalism, which was itself the product of Protestant culture.

In contrast, Roman Catholic countries tend to be slower-paced. The agrarian Old South of the United States was also slow-paced compared with the North; its culture, while Protestant, was not Puritan. It could not compete with the industrial North industrially, as the South learned during the Civil War, and its culture has steadily been swallowed up by the North’s, a fact lamented by twelve non-Christian southern “Agrarians” (literary figures) in the 1930’s in a classic book, I’ll Take My Stand. There is no better example of this transformation than the city of Atlanta, the city that Sherman’s army burned, which is today the boom city of the South.

No, you can’t even slow time down. You have to get moving, and you have to get moving now.

Making Our Mark

To make a meaningful mark on a piece of paper, you need a pen or pencil, “lead” or ink, a vision, an alphabet, literacy, and time. As far as the eternal future is concerned, covenant-keepers make their marks in ink; covenant-breakers make their mark in pencil. The work of the covenant-keeper endures; the work of the covenant-breaker is erased. The covenant-breakers mark endures in the lake of fire, but only with respect to him personally. He leaves behind nothing of enduring value except as the inheritance of covenant-keepers. “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (I Cor. 15:28).

Enemies of God, covenant-breakers, get little significance in this life, and none in the next.

It is the actions of the Christian, and of the Church, that matters.

True: individual believers and even Churches can rebel against their master… and the more consistent their rebellion, the more worthless they will be on earth.

If they despise and lie about God consistently enough, said apostate Church will diminish and die, and the Christian who refuses to call Christ his Lord and Saviour will be as damned as that early Christian, Judas Iscariot.

  • “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” – I John 2:19
  • “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” – Luke 6:46
  • “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
  • “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” – Hebrew 12:14
  • “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” – Romans 8:29
  • “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” – James 2:14-20

(Also, see John MacArthur’s Bombshell)

This is why righteousness is cumulative while unrighteousness is not. Righteousness produces continuity; unrighteousness does not. It is cut short in the midst of time.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments (Ex. 20:4-6).

The temporal reference of the text is generations: those who love God are giving blessings for thousands of generations, i.e., through eternity. This is the fifth point of the covenant: continuity or inheritance.

In other words, The Good Guys are Going to Win!

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