“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end,” — Hebrews 3:14
We live in an evil world. It is a world which is evil also in its religion and aims, its art and culture, its philosophy and science and industry. The whole world lies in the Evil One. And we live in an America which in school and church is fast becoming thoroughly pagan in its life and world-view. They do not serve God but their idol-gods. Their very speech betrays them! Oh, their word emits a very learned sound, but it is the false philosophy of men.
I am thinking this time of the science called: semantics.
This science is a very commendable one when in the proper hands and when used for good and proper ends.
Semantics deals with what is called the denotation and connotation of words. Webster says that semantics is “the historical and psychological study and classification of changes of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development.” We are told that it deals especially with the “connotative meaning” of terms. Thus, we are told “home” denotes a place where one lives, but connotes: safety, comfort, privacy and intimacy. Now this is all very well. But do not forget that a home is more than that: it is a dwelling-place. It is somewhere. It is not a vague, beautiful isle of somewhere! Everything that suggests “privacy” and “intimacy” is not a home. This might then rather suggest that old fashioned “privy” and a house of debauchery, be it then a modern day one-night motel!
My point is that this science of semantics is a very dangerous and godless business in the hands of evil men. It is when these terms are placed in the hands of modern day sophists, inside and outside of the church, that we have trouble. In propaganda of the nations and of politicians “connotation” and “ambiguity” is exploited to the hilt, for evil purposes.
This is also the case with such a term as “involvement.” The entire Bible does not contain this term, nor does it teach the conception and error contained in this term. Look up any Concordance and you will find that the term cannot be found in the King James Version at all. The Bible has its own vocabulary and with good purpose. The Bible does not even have the abstract term; participation!
It is important to notice that the Bible speaks of being “made partakers of Christ.” This emphasizes what we are rather than what we do. Here not any mere existentialism of the moment. Here we are dealing with the solid and abiding work of God, as the God of our salvation. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works! (Eph. 2:10) This is not a mere concept distilled by man’s imagination by the science of semantics! Someone may hurriedly and rashly say; does this not involve involvement (pardon the cognate accusative, my youthful collegiate reader!) No, it does not! Not mere involvement, but very qualified involvement which is the fruit of grace and manifests itself in the keeping of the commandments as an evidence of the love of Christ in our hearts.
Has it ever been the proper methodology to reason from the denotative to the connotative of a term and thus set the connotative as the real and only meaning and only having value for life? Thus; Home = safety, comfort, privacy and intimacy. A good guide-book for the hippies! Thus did the sophists and the cynics of Greece reason in their rebellion against the accepted mores of society. And thus do we in the church (nominal church) rebel against the vocabulary of the Bible and of the accepted ethics of the church based upon the Bible teaching. Thus we get: get involved in the church = make a partaker of Christ! O, tempores, O, Mores!
In a world where men have so-called wisdom this becomes the fad of the day. With exaggerated zeal men go forth and give talks to young people in the High Schools and Colleges. Perhaps the occasion is labelled: religious emphasis week! It is all a bit vague and nebulous, you must know. But, at any rate, it is getting “youth involved”. At least they are “involved” in the fan-fare of the moment, too much preoccupied with the fanfare and bustle to think incisively about the meaning of the term “Religious” in the term “religious emphasis”? Well, it is vague, and lies in the field of the “connotative” you must know. It is at least a term on which all can agree. We must be religious, and we are. Let us emphasize it. The Devil himself will agree. He is not excluded. (Matt. 4:6) Satan too emphasized “religion” to Christ in the desert in the temptation. Religious emphasis! It sounds so ponderously important!
But, beware! Young people should take warning!
Is the distinction between the true and the false religion pointed out in this most common denominator; religious emphasis?
Get involved is the watch-word.
Yes, it is a bit bewildering. But it’s in the air. Everybody is saying it. Let’s get in step!
Pardon me! Is this the same as being made a partaker of Christ, and that this be emphatically stated. The notion of being made a partaker of Christ is even more than “being” such a partaker. It means being made such, It is God’s work which effects our status in Christ. Yes, then this involves me, and that should be emphasized. But this is a far cry from merely going out and telling people to “get involved.” Frankly, that is a term which used to mean: get into trouble! And even today this term means that we are passively the victim of those who would involve us. Get involved in politics, civil rights movements, marches, and you name it! Thus we become the dupes of those who have lost or who never had the vision, and who cannot distinguish the things that differ. They are simply the blind leaders of the blind. Both shall fall into the pit!
The difficulty with such clichés as “getting involved” is that it is so general, so vague and indefinite that the Devil can use it in his cause and kingdom to attain his end. I am certain that Satan himself as transformed into a minister of light would have no objection to the following syllogism:
- The Bible teaches that we must be and are religious
- Religion is that we get involved in helping our fellowman.
- Hence: getting involved is the religion which the Bible teaches.
I am sure that only Cod’s people in Christ will subscribe to the following syllogism:
- The Bible teaches that Christ makes us partakers of His grace by His almighty, saving power.
- To be a partaker of Christ makes us part of the communion of saints, and of all Christs benefits.
- Hence: true involvement is that we work out our own salvation with fear and
trembling, doing good to all men, particularly the saints.
If we hold fast the beginning of this confidence to the end we do well.
Then are we made partakers of Christ!