The Antithesis!

The word antithesis is not to be found in God’s word, the holy scriptures. But the principle is there, writ large. It goes all the way back to the beginning when sin entered into God’s created order through man. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Genesis 3:15). Two seeds, the regenerate and the unregenerate, the children of wrath and the children of God. It is a distinction that God himself has instituted. It comes as a result of the separation between the light and the darkness, the believer and the unbeliever. It is clearly declared in the New Testament: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2Corinthians 6:14-18). The above gives us the meaning and also the practice of the antithesis. It is a spiritual separation, not physical. “Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1Cornthians 5:10). It does mean that the believer, the child of God, is not to have fellowship with the works of evildoers, nor even make friends with such (Ephesians 5:11-12; 2Corinthians 6:17; James 4:4). There is no common ground between God’s people and the world, none at all.

For most who profess the Christian faith, this is not so much of a problem. I mean who wants to frequent a sleazy neighbourhood Bar anyway? Who wants the smokehouse or the strip joints? No, where we begin to feel it more intensely and prove our obedience to God, is when it comes to our place of work or business. I mean, we have to live in the world, do our business in it. But even there we must show ourselves to be separate, holy. In the present climate of immorality, this is becoming more and more difficult, some faithful Christians have already lost jobs; some have had their businesses seriously affected, even been taken to court. But where the sharpness of the antithesis is felt the most keenly is in the home, amongst family members. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36). Also, If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). We have a beautiful example of a brother in the Old Testament who shows us the way, come with me…

In the first book of Samuel and in chapter twenty, we have two men, both of them believers, Jonathan and David. David knows that Jonathan’s father, Saul, the king in Israel, is bent on murdering him. Saul is a wicked reprobate bent on slaying David. But Jonathan Saul’s son is not yet convinced of this. God forbid…it is not so” v2. David sets about proving that he is right. On discovering that his father is indeed bent on the murder of his friend David, Jonathan is both enraged and horrified v32-34. He righteously reproves the evil intent of his father v32. Afterwards, he and David meet again v41-42 when Jonathan pledges his allegiance not just to his friend David; remember David is a type of Christ, he pledges his allegiance to Christ; over against his reprobate father. At the same time knowing that he renounces his opportunity of taking the throne after his father, Saul. Jonathan continued to love his father, he died in battle alongside him, proving his love for his father. But it was never the love of that which he had for David, the antithesis was there to the end. His father died in his sin. But the love that Jonathan had for David, and hence for Christ, was a covenant love, a life and death bond. “If any man come to me and hate not his father, he cannot be my disciple” (Matthew 10:34)? Jonathan proved himself to be a true disciple, like his friend, a man after God’s own heart. The antithesis can be very painful, and most sharp when it comes close to home, family members, but for the true child God he or she has no choice in this matter. Be ye separate” (2Corinthians 6:17) is a command, not an option, we must obey.

(©️ James R Hamilton, August 2019)
Sermon Audio


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