We also are men of like passions. Barnabas and Paul
We’ve been on tour, in the name of wonder, through Interpreter’s house. Much there made us wonder, including the two sitting in a little room, Passion and Patience. Passion sat squirming, fretting and fuming, very dissatisfied, the reason being that the head of the house advised him to wait for his best things until next year, that is, until the world to come, but he wanted all now, that is, in this world. When one stood before Passion-who was it now? Let me think-Grace? No, it was Providence-and placed at his feet a bag of treasure, what a change came over Passion’s face! A look of greedy anticipation and a look of scornful contempt was there simultaneously, the one for that now clutched in his graspy little fist, and the other flashed in proud triumph at Patience. We also see his whole history in a moment of time, so that in the end he had nothing left him but rags.
Names, when they are the most properly used, reveal essence, being and nature. Scripture names reveal the real meaning of the thing and the real character of the person. The name Adam reveals the origin and nature of man. Originally, a name contained the nature of a person or thing. The Name is that of Jehovah which expresses the essence of God and means He who is, who was and whoever shall be. That is a valuable name of a man which in itself reveals his nature. In the name Passion we see his nature, what he was and what he is now. Other names, of this kind, are revealing and meaningful. So much so that by the referral of them we already know the persons mentioned. In The Holy Was you meet Mr. No-truth, Mr. False-peace, Mr. Lustings, Mr. Man’s-inventions, Mr. Loathe-to-stoop, and one of the worst of them all, Mr. Anything. There is the place, Blackmouth Lane; also Want-wit Alley. There are Mrs. Soothe-up and her sor., Flatterer, Mr. Carnal-security, Mr. Letgood-slip and Mr. Hate-lies. Passion, then, is a very telling name.
In itself it is a basically good name, for there is a holy passion. Our divine Lord, who was also true and righteous man, had a complete human nature, a real body, rational soul, human mind, pure emotions and perfect passions. He, from early childhood, was consumed by one thought and end, “My Father’s business,” as He himself put it, “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.” This passion was strong and glowing all His life, as well as in His death. His Sadducean enemies hated Him all the more for exposing their detestable passions, but His Christian following loved Him the more for revealing to them the plague of their desperately wicked hearts. Blessed are they who see and feel that they have nothing left them but rags! (That is Christian as we first meet him in his Pilgrim’s Progress.) They have their evil things now and their good things yet to come. They have come to know that it is a mark of their being delivered that they can now say, “I am doing something strange, because I don’t do what I like, but what I hate. But if I do what I don’t like, I agree that the Law is right. It is really no longer I doing it, but Sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. I’m willing, but I’m not doing what is right. I don’t do the things I like, but I do the evil I don’t like. Now if I do what I don’t like, it is no longer I doing it, but Sin living in me. So I find it a rule: When I want to do what is right, evil is there with me. In my inner being I delight in God’s Law, but all through my body I see another law fighting against the Law in my mind and making me prisoner to the sin ruling my body. What a miserable man I am! Who will rescue me from the body that brings me to this death? Thank God! He does it through our Lord Jesus Christ! So I serve the Law of God with my mind but with my flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25, The N.T. in the Language of Today, by Wm. F. Beck, Concordia).
But usually, when we talk of passion, we think immediately of the body, not of the soul, nor of the mind. We think rather of the sensual and the libidinous. This is natural, for, after all, the senses of man have been degraded and depraved in a very fatal fall. This is also in keeping with the long-range view we have of Passion where we see him left at last with nothing but rags. The name, Passion, is profound, deep as the pit of darkness. For some insight into its complexity, you had better read Romans One. There you have commentary on the meaning of Passion. Lusts, vile affections, a reprobate mind, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, insolent, proud, boasters, evil, disobedient, without understanding, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful – all characterize and express one thing – passion! But passion (sin) is such a deeply developed morass of corruption that there is no measure of its tar-pit depths. Yet he is never delivered from it who has never become conscious of the misery of it. Glance down a moment into the putrid depths of that sink (Gal. 5:19-21; 6:8). There you see the works of the flesh. They are manifest; that is, they are definitely not secret, occult or apocryphal; they are public! They are cataloged in five groups. First, there is the sex group; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. The entire list is expressed in 18 words, while that recorded in contrast to it, the fruit of the spirit, contains only 9 words. It takes twice as many words to express human depravity as to express the work of regeneration. Human language is fertile with words for that which is bad because the flesh is full of evil. In this group appear the counterfeits of human love, licentiousness, voluptuousness, the worship of Cupid, Eros, Venus, Aphrodite. Fornication is the world’s favorite flesh-craving, is not censured among the heathen, is regarded as normal in our pagan civilization, while continence is regarded as paranoid. It is a sign of the sodomitical times that both the medical profession and legislative bodies provide for safer indulgence in these sins by contraception, abortion and prostitution. Uncleanness includes all sexual deviations and enticements thereto, such as filthy films, photos, books and records. Lasciviousness is really a much broader term, meaning excess, every form of excess, unbridled lust, such as that found everywhere in today’s degraded, degrading and pathetically inferior literature, songs with hidden meaning, erotic dances, lewd dress and the whole whelming flood of sex-mania surging through the sewer defiles of the communications media. Ominous elements have succeeded in so filling the minds of many with lechery that they cannot think of anything else. This condition persists because we no longer have real masculine leadership in our government and churches. Political and ecclesiastical leaders are effeminate, sweet little old ladies of both sexes.
Next is the godless group: idolatry, witchcraft, a group closely connected with sexual sins, in fact, an outgrowth of the latter. Here prevails the worship and service of the creature, rather than the Creator, but what creature? The calf of Mammon, the Diana of fashion, the Moloch of war, the Buddha of science, the Bacchus of pleasure, but chiefly the belly-god, the Narcissus of self. How stupid are atheists! Sin, their sin, culminates in the world religion of Antichrist, which, pagan and idolatrous, will, aroused in the Gog and Magog nations, annihilate with the utmost detestation those silly atheists. The world sings about love, that it needs, love, but does not know love; it knows only the counterfeits and opposites of love; it knows only self-love, self-save and self-will policies. Witchcraft, literally, pharmacy, includes sorcery, superstition, black magic, astrology, and is here named according to the exotic drugs used originally in secret pagan black-arts, but now in this day publicly. Along with spiritism and voodooism is a revival of the old, once popular witchcraft, the ancient Satan-worship. It is all caused by a false love, which is really a hatred of God.
Next is the hate-group (a fruit of godlessness): hatred (enmities), variance (strifes), emulations (envious rivalries), wraths (outbursts of anger), strifes (factions, partisanship, partyism, clique-spirit). The fourth is the faction-group; seditions (splits, divisions in families: generation-gap, in government; rebellion and revolution), heresies (sects, cults, schools of philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, as the fraudulent Marxism and Freudianism) where every man creates his own religion, writes his own Bible, thinks up his own gospel, makes himself his own prophet, his own god! Then envyings (aims to dishonor another merely because of jealous rage at his superiority and prosperity – a kind of murder of a man’s life), followed by murder. Last, the glutton-group: drunkenness, (sprees) and revellings (carousings). There is Scripture’s full-length portrait of Passion. Under it I detect a caption, revealing his full name, Robert P. Rottenrabble. Just think, it was “that little punk” who ruined the world!
Originally Published in:
Vol. 30 No. 2 April 1970