by A.E. Knoch

"THERE IS ONE God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him. But not in all is there this knowledge
(1 Cor.8:6,7).
Paul himself had taught the saints in Corinth, but, at this time, he had not revealed transcendent truth, even though they had been enriched in all the knowledge disclosed up to this time. Immediately before this we read that "there are many gods," exactly the opposite of this statement, so this is limited to us. That is, to those who have knowledge and not to the weak.

Today, also, there seem to be very few who have some of the knowledge here referred to. Had these Corinthians known that there is only one God, out of Whom all is, even the idol sacrifices, their consciences would not have bothered them, had they eaten these sacrifices. But true love will consider others, who do not know this, and are disturbed if they see us doing anything which seems to be contrary to the will of God. Most of us are not likely to be eating sacrifices which have been offered to idols, but we might do things like "breaking the sabbath" (working on Saturday or Sunday) which many saints consider offensive to God, and contrary to His Word. Some even consider the statement with which we began, that all is out of God, a dangerous heresy, worse than any other sin.

It has been suggested that we cannot apply this to anything but the eating of idol sacrifices, as the all which is out of God is limited to all this, not to other like matters. But it is difficult to see how to confine it thus. Then the sense would be that all eating of idol sacrifices is of God. But we must consider the context, especially the introductory connectives to determine this. It begins in verse five with the word "for" (gar in Greek). A careful investigation of all of its occurrences shows that it introduces the logical reason. Joseph was not afraid to accept Miriam as his wife "for that which is being generated in her is of holy spirit" (Matt.1:20). The major premise, "is of holy spirit," is not confined in scope to Joseph's feelings. There are many other much greater results, such as that He was the Son of God.

Another example is closer to the case we are examining. In Rom.11:30-32 we read "for (gar) even as you once are stubborn toward God, yet now were shown mercy at their stubbornness, thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours, that now they also may be shown mercy. For (gar) God locks all up together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all." The for gives the underlying reason why the nations were stubborn and why Israel also was stubborn. God wishes to be merciful to all, both Israel and the nations. But this cannot be done if they have no need of it. So God makes sure of it by locking all up together in stubbornness.

Following this we read, "O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For, who knew the mind of the Lord? or, who became His adviser? or, who gives to Him first, and will be repaid by Him? seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!" (Rom.11:33-36).

Here we have two more helpful connectives, for and seeing that. The first gives the reason why the wisdom and knowledge of God is so deep, and His judgments inscrutable and His ways untraceable. No one knew His mind or advised Him, and no one gave Him aught. The second, seeing that, is similar, for it gives the underlying facts on which all this is based. Stubbornness as well as mercy find their ultimate cause in the grand and glorious truth that all originates in Him, and reaches us through Him, and their purpose is to glorify Him for the eons. Not stubbornness and mercy alone, but all other evil and good, including the transcendent grace which is our special portion in Christ Jesus.

Most of those who read these lines have believed all this, and cannot be shaken from their faith by illogical, God disgracing reasonings (1 Tim.2:8). This exhortation is written in order to urge them to avoid questionings and controversies, and all the evils that spring from them. Let us beware lest our knowledge become a stumbling block to the weak in faith, and bear with that which is due to immaturity and unbelief. Let us never show a false and offensive spirit, which is the hall mark of error. Let us bear even with those who seek to expunge God's greatest glories from the pages of Holy Writ. Apart from His grace we would be guilty of the same thing. And let us pray that our conduct will be such as to win some to consider and accept His highest truth, for He has made it plain in His Word that, at present, He is not imparting this knowledge to all.
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