THE LAW OF MOTION
There’s a law in physics, part of Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, that states, “An object will remain at rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external, unbalanced force.” If I were to hold a rubber ball in my hand and then toss it directly overhead, the ball would travel upward until stopping to return back to my hand. This can help demonstrate the above stated law. This ball, resting in my hand, will remain so UNTIL some EXTERNAL, UNBALANCED force acts upon it. External in that the applied force must come from ‘outside’ the ball, and unbalanced in that there is no other equal force present to ‘balance-off’ the applied force. It will remain at rest in my hand until it experiences an external unbalanced force. Once I apply an external unbalanced force to the ball – tossing it upward – its state of rest is disturbed and there is a change in motion, the ball moves upward in the direction of the applied force. If there were no other external forces about, the ball would continue in this upward direction. For example, if I were beyond the earth’s gravitational field the ball would continue moving with its given velocity in space until it entered the gravitational field of another space object. Back on earth, as the ball travels upward from my hand it is being acted upon by another external unbalanced force – gravity. This force causes the ball to change its motion and it moves back in the direction of the gravitational pull upon it.
Wonderful, thanks for the physics lesson Robert, but what has this to do with a Sunday morning message? Glad you asked! Objects on earth fall down. Urban Legend has it that it was a falling apple that first alerted Newton to discover this law of motion. Another urban legend associates another apple with another fall. I say urban legend here in that there is no Scriptural evidence the fruit in question was an apple. The Bible only says “fruit of the tree.” Nonetheless, comparing apples to apples, serves as a segue to my message.
What is the motion of the world itself? I don’t mean in a physical way as in planetary movement, I refer to its spiritual or moral motion. The world is fallen. The fall is its motion. It’s motion is of sin and evil. So, how do you stop that motion, the motion of the fall? How do you end sin and evil? 1 The secular world, our present day world system, along with its myriad of religious opinions, would have us believe that we can cure all of our ills with the turning-over of new leaves, or the applications of self-help agendas. As Newton’s law points out, and as Scripture clearly defines, there is no way of stopping the motion of our fall without two things: the application of an external force (a force beyond ourselves) and that said external force needs be unbalanced, in that there is no other force great enough to overcome or prevent it!
This, in a nut-shell, is the gospel!
The external aspect of this necessary force means that it is beyond ourselves, it is outside of our universe! This needs be so since our entire universe suffers the consequences of our fall. Romans 8:20-22 states:
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now.”
We, the fallen, could not affect the end of sin and evil of our own accord. We could never accomplish an end of the consequences of our own sin by any force within ourselves. We needed an outside Agency. We needed the application of an External Force. So too, the universe. The above verses tell us that all of creation is subjected to futility – all efforts or force of itself are unable to change its direction. But there is One who is outside of the universe who has in fact placed the universe in ‘subjection in hope’ meaning it has been earmarked and placed in a position of hope for the coming renewal when the fall of all creation will be reversed. In order to affect change in people and in the universe there must needs be an applied external force.
Considering the ball again for a moment, notice, that as it left my hand an external applied force of gravity caused it to begin to slow down. At some point in time the ball STOPPED, and TURNED AROUND. It turned about 180 degrees and headed in the opposite direction. Can you catch (no pun intended) the implication here. This inanimate ball obeys by nature the laws of God. It is my opinion that every aspect of nature reflects the beauty and greatness of God; that every law demonstrates His trustworthiness. Someone has said that “Mathematics is just out there.” The same applies to all the laws of physics and chemistry and other sciences. By this it is meant that people do not invent laws and formulae but rather they discover or uncover the truths of God’s myriad mysteries that are just ‘out there.’ When we uncover a law of God we are mystified by its beauty, simplicity and its application as an object lesson for us. Consider the ball once more. It is moving along its way, all the time being acted upon by an external unbalanced force – gravity. All of a sudden, or so it seems, it makes an abrupt about face. It turns about 180 degrees and travels in the opposite direction. Is this not a profound object lesson? This is the very definition of repentance. True repentance means the act of turning about 180 degrees and going in a different direction. And notice, this Unbalanced External force has been acting upon our little ball, unseen by the ball, for some time. Is that not what we experience, what we believe about our own journey toward salvation? God is at work in the background, ‘slowing us down’ until suddenly we make an about-face. He turns our life about. And even more than this, He draws us ever closer to Himself. Just as the ball, after its about-face, races, accelerates towards the source of this External Force that has so affected its motion.
We remain in a static state of sin and darkness unless we are acted upon by the ‘Force of Christ.’ Continuing our analogy, the fall of the apple from the tree will continue unchanged until it is acted upon by an external force causing it to about face. Our fall downward into darkness and death will continue unabated unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. And what is this counter force? It is the force of the Resurrection and the Life. And, in the midst of our ‘fall from the tree of life’ our ears hear incredible words – ‘Arise, and come up hither.’ Our act of repentance causes an about-face, 180 degrees, and propels us to accelerate towards Him, the Source of our change of life (change in our motion.) And the agency of this External Unbalanced Force – is none other than the cross of Christ. We turn about and race to the foot of His cross where we become imbued with new life, new purpose, new motion. The old is passed away and we become new creations. 2 Cor. 5:17 says it this way:
“Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are becoming new.”
The old motion of the old man ceases and a new motion of the new creation takes over. And this action is initiated, sustained and completed by Christ, The External Unbalanced Force.
We mentioned earlier that in order to cause an object at rest or in uniform motion to change direction required an external unbalanced force. Besides being an external force this force must also be unbalanced. This means that there can be no other forces acting upon the object that are strong enough to prevent or hinder this external force achieving its purpose. How does Scripture state it? Listen to Is. 54:17.
“No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper; every tongue that will rise against us in judgment will be condemned. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, says the LORD.”
And in John 4:4 we hear,
“You are of God little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Once we do an about-face and begin our new motion, our race toward Him, nothing can prevent our achieving oneness with Him. It is He that draws us; it is He who compels us forward; it is He who removes the hindrances of all opposing forces that come against us. There is no force, no weapon that can come against us to keep us from Him. It is His Almighty Force that determines the direction of our movement. It is He that draws us close; it is He who has overcome the pull of the gates of Hell by the power of His word, and by the force of His Holiness. Romans 8:31 puts it so aptly: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us who can be against us?” The attractive force of God overcomes all other forces. Nothing can be brought to bear to counteract its action!
Now, this external unbalanced force that has turned our fall from grace 180 degrees about, has a further glorious aspect to it. Whereas we were once in a state of falling from grace much as the apple of Newton was falling from the tree, to land upon the earth where it would rot and decay in its death, we too were dead to sin. However we are not left in this state of death and decay. For our change of heart, change of motion has made us fit for a greater Force of action. Since Christ has first descended into hell for us and been raised incorruptible we too shall be raised! Hear Ephesians 4:9-10 –
“(Now that He ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”
Jesus stopped the motion of our fall by descending into the depths on our behalf. As the song says, “He took the fall for us.” 2 And by the application of His External Unbalanced applied force of His holiness has turned us skyward. He intervened and has lead “captivity captive” 3 raising us up to heavenly places – a new direction of motion! The resurrection is the perfect reality of a change in motion. Ephesians 2:1-3 –
“And you has He quickened [made alive] who were dead in trespass and sin; wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: among whom we also had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
So here we were in a state of motion, helpless to change our course or our destiny. We needed an External Unbalanced force to save us!
Continuing with Ephesians 2 –
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ (by grace you are saved;) Enter the needed External Unbalanced Force to cause a change in our direction. “And has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (from a state of rest in the grave to a greater more perfect state of rest in Him in heavenly places.) “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [the external unbalanced force.] “Not of works lest any man should boast.”
So, we cannot change our own motion, our own blind direction. We need help and that help can only come from beyond ourselves. Likewise the universe is in a fallen state and it too needs help from beyond. And unless an object in motion is acted upon by another force it is incapable of changing direction. And what is this other force? It can’t be of the world. It must be other than the world, beyond the world. It can only come from God. But how? Unless acted upon . . ..The other force must act upon the object. So, the force must come into contact with the object in motion. Therefore, the presence of God must come into contact with the fallen world to act upon it. And what is the cross? It is God taking all the motion of sin and evil and bringing it to an end. And what is the resurrection? It is God giving the world a new motion, the motion of life. It is God giving the fallen the motion of rising. And that’s why the only way to truly change the motion of your life is by the motion of God, by the motion of His life. And the only way to change your heart is by the motion of His heart. But unlike [the ball], it’s your choice to let it happen. So the key is to let Him act upon you, to receive the presence of God and let the force of His life and the power of His love act upon and change the course of your life . . .For a life in motion will stay in that motion unless it comes into contact with the motion of God.”4
As mentioned earlier, all of nature demonstrates the wonder of God; all the starry heavens declare His glory; all the laws that govern His mighty works proclaim His goodness and faithfulness. The mysteries of the realms as they are unveiled are object lessons for us who have fallen from Eden. Our fall was profound and shook the corridors of heaven but God was not caught off guard. He had a plan, of great sacrifice to Himself, to reverse our fall. Everywhere we observe motion; people scurrying to and fro ever moving, ever falling further toward the abyss. And God in His grace and mercy has planted a wooden cross upon a hill at the very centre of planet earth to cause us pause from our daily plunge into despair and allow the loving force of God to adjust our direction and destiny. Romans 10:9 –
“That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
That’s all that it takes on our part to change our direction and our destiny. With our mouth and with our heart we repent, turn about 180 degrees and allow Him to move us into a new direction. Amen.
“Gravity explains the motion of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the plants in motion.” Sir Isaac Newton.
1 Book of Mysteries Jonathan Cahn day 168
2 Above All by Michael W. Smith
3 Ephesians 4:8
4 Book of Mysteries Jonathan Cahn day 168
Pastoral Prayer: A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Divine Unbalanced Force that Leads Us Heavenward
Almighty God, we are so thankful for You. We are so thankful for the salvation You have provided for us through Your Son, Jesus. We are so thankful that You forgive us for our sin nature and our sins when we repent. We are so thankful that You remember our sins no more. We are so thankful that we are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. We are so thankful that when You look at us, Father God, that You see the beautiful robes of righteousness of our Lord Jesus, the Christ. Wow! We are so thankful that we can have a personal relationship with You that is real and impacts every part of our lives in positive ways. We are so thankful that we don’t need to feel lost or flounder because You have a good plan for each one of us, and You promise to direct our steps. What could be more wonderful! We are so thankful that we can experience Your Love and Your Goodness every day of our lives, even when we are afflicted. We are so thankful that every day You provide our “daily bread” and satisfy the longings of our souls with the rich manna of Your Word. We are so thankful that You are the Sovereign Lord of the universe – You created everything and You reign over all of it with loving care. You are so absolutely amazing!
We are so thankful that You are faithful to all of Your great and marvellous promises. We are so thankful that the Kingdom of Heaven is always at hand. We are so thankful that every day Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, rises with healing in His wings for each one of us. We are so thankful that Your Unfailing Love surrounds us. We are so thankful that when we put our trust in You and make You our refuge that we may dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High. We are so thankful Lord that You deliver us from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. We are so thankful that we may take refuge under Your wings. Hallelujah! We are so thankful that even though a thousand may fall at our sides, and ten thousand at our right hands, it shall not come near us. We are so thankful that You give Your angels charge over us, to keep us in all of our ways. Wow!
We are so thankful that because we have known Your Name, we may call upon You and You will answer. How wonderful You are, there is no one like You, Lord! We are so thankful Lord that not only do You forgive all of our sins, but You heal all of our diseases, You redeem us from the pit, You crown us with Love and Compassion and You renew our youth like the eagle’s. Wow! We are so thankful Lord, that by the stripes of Jesus we are healed. Hallelujah! We are so thankful Lord that Jesus sent us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be our Advocate, our Counselor, our Helper, our Strengthener and our Standby. We are so thankful that this same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, gives Life to every cell of our mortal bodies. Glory to God! We are so thankful that when we worship You and acknowledge You in all of our ways, Your Word is health to our flesh and strength to our bones. Yes Lord! Hallelujah!
We are so thankful Lord that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are so thankful that if we have Jesus, we have everything that matters not only for now but for eternity. Wow! We are so thankful Lord that Your Word is Life, it overcomes death in any situation or circumstance. Hallelujah! We are so thankful that Your Word is Light, it overpowers and shatters the darkness. How incredible! We are so thankful Lord, that the Word that You speak does not return empty but always accomplishes the purpose for which You sent it forth. Wow! We are so thankful that Your Word is alive and full of power, that it is sharper than any two-edged sword, having the ability to penetrate to the joints and marrow, and to the dividing of soul and spirit. Whatever infirmity or affliction may have taken hold of us, we are so thankful that Your Word can penetrate deep into us to bring healing, restoration and new freedom. Hallelujah! Glory to our Lord God Almighty!
We are so thankful Lord that Your eyes are always upon us, that Your ears are open to our every cry, that You are always thinking about us and You are especially near when our hearts are breaking. You are the most incredibly loving Father! We are so thankful Lord that You delight in our well-being. We are so thankful that our times are in Your hands. We are so thankful that we can be strong and take heart because our hope is in You. You are so amazing Lord!
We are so thankful Lord for this verse in Psalm 16:3 (NKJV) which says: As for the saints who are on the earth “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all My delight.”
We are so thankful Lord to know that You delight in us who believe. We are so thankful Lord, that we, whom You made from the dust of the ground, can still make You smile. Amen.
Bible Study Challenge:
All of the statements in this prayer are based on Bible verses. How many can you find? . . . . . . Have fun! J