THIS MESSAGE is written to genuine children in the faith, who have regard to the grace, peace and mercy which is blessing them continually from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. It is an appeal to those who have been distressed and saddened by their contact with apostasy and the attendant evils which have become so familiar among the saints today. With it comes a prayer for those who have seen so much of what they held dear in the past days fail and fall into ruin. Many have have become disheartened, or discouraged, or confused, or perplexed. We desire that they will again examine the Scriptures so that confusion may disappear and in its place will shine the glorious light and truth of the God of the Scriptures; the universal Creator and Reconciler. Our prayer is "that your love may be superabounding still more and more in all realization and sensibility for you to be testing what things are of consequence, in order that you may be sincere and no stumbling block unto the day of Christ."
These matters we place before you that your vision may be enlarged, so that you will be increasing in love and praise, and in realization of the grace and glory of Him "Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will."
Previously we had not perceived the import of this statement regarding God's activity. We were bound by concepts based upon the unscriptural usage of words, such as in the phrase "a divine plan of the ages" and as the word plan relates to details of form, structure and action, so we were preoccupied with the process and failed to consider the goal. Now that we have a clear statement of this scripture, "the purpose of the eons," our minds leap over the details and fix upon the goal, the ultimate, of which God is speaking. We can now appreciate the statement, "Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will." We can see that our destiny is assured, it is not a thing of chance for God is impelling all to its allotted end. We now see not only a plan, foreseen and laid out, but also a goal to which all things are being actively operated; toward which are exercised the prerogatives of the Deity as the Placer, Arbiter, The Almighty God.
When we perceived this many matters had to be readjusted. Our understanding on many points previously held as true had to be corrected. Our vision was clarified regarding statements such as Rom. 11:36, 1 Tim. 4:9-11, 1 Tim. 2:4-6, Rom. 5:18-19, 1 Cor. 15:22-28 and Col. 1:20, giving both lucidity and potency to them and now we have a comprehension of God in His relationship to His universe that accords Him the glory of Deity.
Let us look again at these scriptures. Let us see how brightly they shine. Let us feel how they warm our hearts and strengthen us in spirit as they give illumination to our minds.
We have in Rom. 11:36 a comprehensive statement which views the universe in its relation to God. The universe is not the outcome of blind chance, neither is it the sport of blind fate. But it is the outcome of God's activity; He called it into being; He it is Who controls its course; He it is Who guarantees its destiny.
We should treasure the statement, "All is out of Him and through Him and for Him," in our hearts and minds. We should be rejoicing in the God Whom this scripture reveals, for this statement brings satisfaction to our minds because the universe is shown to be based in reason and has an intelligible explanation: to our hearts because we see that God's love will be all conquering, for it will bring the universe into harmony with Himself; to our spirit because we know that our longing for the passing of this world and the inauguration of better things is part of reality, it has its foundation in God Who made us. Moreover, the spirit which is being given to us is of Him Who is over all and will work out His Own will, it is of God Who is all-wise, all-powerful and all-loving. From our hearts we should echo the words of the apostle "to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen! "
THE JUSTIFYING OF ALL MANKIND
- Rom. 5:18-19
Here we have the declaration of a just award for all mankind and its effect which will constitute all just; and as surely as men were made sinners by one man (Adam), so will mankind be made righteous by One (Christ).
The supreme crises of history are centered in the disobedience of the first man and the obedience of the second. These two acts are compared and contrasted in vv. 12-19; the verses 18-19 draw the conclusion of the whole argument.
Let us then take a brief look at these verses 18-19. In order to make this easier we will set these out according to their literary framework, thus the compared and contrasted statements will be thrown into prominence.
v. 18 Consequently, then,
A/ as it was
B/ through one offence
C/ for all mankind
D/ for condemnation,
a/ thus, also it is
b/ through one just award
c/ for all mankind
d/ for life's justifying.
v. 19 For
A/ even as
B/ through the disobedience of the one man
C/ the many
D/ were constituted sinners. a/ thus, also,
b/ through the obedience of the One
c/ the many d/ shall be constituted just.
This statement is clear and pointed; there is no ambiguity; it is not indefinite; it is complete and forceful. We are given three primary statements, B, C and D; in B the acts of the two; in C the extent of the effects of these acts; in D the quality of its effect. In B we are told that the one act in each case was sufficient to produce the result. In C the extent of the effect is shown to be the same in both cases, all who are affected by Adam's act will also be affected by Christ's act. In D the quality of the effect is reversed. The first man brought condemnation; he constituted all sinners. The second man brought life's justifying; He constitutes them just.
Let us acknowledge that "constituted just" is more than justification as actual impartation is more than imputation. Also that these verses do not apply during the kingdom, for that is an eon when men shall die for their own iniquity, but to that time when, in Christ, the purpose which saves all and disposes of sin and death shall be consummated.
THE VIVIFICATION OF ALL
- 1 Cor. 15:22-28
These verses bring before us the complementary idea of that in Rom. 5:18-19. In Romans we are told of the moral status to which mankind will be raised, in Corinthians we are told of the quality of life which will be given to them to enable them to live at this level.
This passage too we will set out in its literary framework.
v. 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified.
v.23--Yet each in his own class;
(1)--23-- the Firstfruit, Christ;
(2)--23 thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence;
(3)--24-- thereafter the consummation,
(A)--24 whenever He may give up the Kingdom to God, even the Father
(B)--24 whenever He should be abrogating all sovereignty and all authority and power.
(C)--25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet.
(D)--26 The last enemy which is abolished is death.
(c)--27 For He subjects all under His feet.
(b)--27 Now, whenever He may be saying that all has been subjected it is evident that it is outside of Him Who is subjecting the universe to Him.
(a)--28 Now, whenever the universe may be subject to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subject to Him Who subjects the universe to Him, that God may be ALL in all.
As we follow this passage, the steps by which God reaches the goal of the vivification of all become quite clear.
All shall be vivified, yet each in his own class.
Three classes are indicated as comprising the "all" of verse 22; these classes are not vivified at once; there are three distinct times as indicated by the words: Firstfruit, thereupon and thereafter. In vv. 24-28 we have an extended explanation of the last class, the consummation. Thus, in God's appointed time and way, death will be abolished and all will be vivified.
Thus will God become All in all.
THE SALVATION OF ALL MANKIND
- 1 Tim. 4:9-11
Here we are told that the living God is the Saviour of all mankind. "Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of those who believe," and with this 1 Tim. 2:4-6 concurs.
Dear brethren let us carefully consider this statement.
Will God's will for mankind be fulfilled? Surely we recoil from any suggestions that it can fail. Yet how many accept and rejoice in this faithful saying? Howbeit, we who believe that God is operating the universe, we will accept it. Others seek to limit it to believers, but they overlook the significance f the double statement. That there is a special salvation for believers is plainly stated, but this does not limit the other part of the statement, rather does it emphasize it. The salvation of believers is a special work; they are a special class in the "all mankind." God's glory demands the salvation of all. His will for mankind is salvation, not as a phase in the process, nor as an experimental salvation toying with the will and choice of men, but as their Disposer - God. God's glory demands the salvation of all. He will achieve His glory.
Let us then draw together these three scripture statements which we have discussed.
|Rom. 5 ||All mankind will be constituted just. |
|1 Cor. 15 ||All mankind will be vivified. |
|1 Tim. 4 ||All mankind will be saved. |
THE RECONCILIATION OF THE UNIVERSE
- 1 Tim. 4:9-11
In conclusion turn to Col.1:20. Here we are told: "and through Him to reconcile the universe to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross) through Him, whether on the earth or in the heavens," Thus we are lifted from the sphere of mankind into the universal; this is emphasized by the amplifying statement "whether on the earth or in the heavens." Thus we are told that what we have seen to be the destiny of all mankind is the destiny of the whole universe.
My dear brethren, let us embrace these glorious truths which God has revealed for us. Let them so become a part of us that our lives will be reflecting them. Let them fill our hearts with the love of God and His glorious Son. Let us be rendering praise to the living God, the universal Creator and Reconciler, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"To Him be glory for the eons! Amen!"