The last sentence in my July article, "Grace in
Administrations," says, "The idea is, we have learned to not
count on our service for God's approval." Lack of space
caused me to stop there. I was trying to say that we are not under
law, and God does not barter so much approval for so much service.
In the first place, pure grace forbids such an arrangement. In the
second place we have learned that there is so much imperfection mixed
with all that we do, that we do not feel that our service merits His
Perhaps one of the greatest failures in history is
the ecclesia. Paul taught the evangel, that now may be made known
to the sovereignties and the authorities among the celestials, through
the ecclesia, the multifarious wisdom of God, Eph. 3:10. Yet the
ecclesia has not learned much about this wisdom, much less has it taught
it to the celestials. The wisdom of God is such that He so
appoints everything, that it may serve the best end. Any other
arrangement would show a lack of wisdom. Yet the ecclesia, for the
most part, has believed that God is so managing that He will lose a
large part of His creation. The scriptures teach that He will save
The wisdom of God is no les manifest in the things
that appeal to the five senses. Only infinite wisdom could so
arrange the heavenly bodies that they serve their purpose, and yet
appear to dwellers on earth, as "diamonds in the sky"all
except the sun and the moon, which are placed in a position to be of special
service to the earth. There is almost infinite variety on earth,
in the way of beauty, good food, pleasant drink, splendid clothing,
work, play, fun, delights, etc., and just enough of the unpleasant
things to enable us to appreciate the good. Yet we have, in large
measure, ignored these, or have not thought of them as indicating His
The ecclesia has been a very backward group. It
has challenged and rejected, for a while almost every claim of
science. Not until certain truths were universally accepted, did
the ecclesia grudgingly accept them, when it could have found almost,
every known scientific fact in the word of god, and it should have been
the first to discover and proclaim them.
The sovereignties and authorities among the
celestialsthe leaders in the governments on other planetsseemto
be equipped to watch us and to know what we are saying. If so,
they have learned very little from us about the multifarious wisdom of
God. For we have learned practically nothing about it,
ourselves. The text says this truth MAY be made known through usit
does not say it SHALL. Humanly speaking, the word, "may"
leaves the matter in uncertainty. Not that it is uncertain with
God; it is so only with man. And it seems that the "may"
has failed to become a "shall," for, as I have said, the
ecclesia has failed to recognize the wisdom of God.
One of the statements of scripture that shows very
clearly god's wisdom, is that all is of god, through God and for
God. The ecclesia has not seen this truth, except that a very few
have seen it. By the way, there are readers who are afraid that if
I insist that all is of God, some saints will take it as an excuse for
sinning. I wonder what kind of saints they have in their
community. I don't find any in "these parts" who are
looking for an excuse for sinning. Don't my readers know that God
can take care of the SINNING question, as well as the SIN
question? Only a few readers have manifested such a fear.
Most of them seem to know that nothing can occur outside God's purpose,
and that He is not at a loss for ways to keep people from doing that
which He intends that they shall not do.
If all is of God, why has the history of the ecclesia
been a record of failure to recognize the multifarious wisdom of
God? If the saints had maintained a perfect record. God
would have been deprived of one of the greatest privileges that He will
ever havethe privilege of displaying the transcendent riches of His
grace in His kindness to us in the oncoming eons.
To bring an unbelieving sinner into touch with Christ
so that he is made a believer and a saint, is great grace. But to
take a saint who has had a life almost filled with failure, and who has
sinned against the instructions found in the evangel, and rouse him, and
vivify him and seat him with Christ among the celestials, and set hem to
the task of doing what he failed to do here, and so equip him that he
will not fail again, is much greater grace. And this is so certain
to be done, that, in God's reckoning, it is ALREADY done. He
vivifies us together in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2:5-7, and blesses us with
every spiritual blessing among the celestials in Christ, Eph. 1:3.
Our service for the celestials will be done AMONG Them, after the body
of our humiliation has been transfigured to conform with the body of His
glory, Phil. 3:21. What grace it iswhat transcendent riches
of graceto give us the opportunity of doing perfectly what we have
failed to do here!
I think that the secret of our failures lies in the
fact that, now we have a body of humiliation, and that, while we have
SOME spiritual blessings, we do not have, as a present possession, EVERY
spiritual blessing. After these lacks have been supplied, there will be
no more failure.
It seems evident that there will be distinction made
in the conditions of different saints in the heavens, not for endless
duration, but for the eons, and that these distinctions will be based on
the degree of failure in their earth-life. This is necessary, in
order that people shall be found to fill every celestial position.
I am sure that there will be no distinction in the happiness of the
different saints, for I can not think of dissatisfaction on the part of
any of us in heaven. Each one will be aware that his spiritual
blessings are of pure grace, and that he does not deserve them.
God, on the other hand, will applaud each one, because each will be
filling the place to which he is assigned. Only multifarious
wisdom can so arrange it that awards are based on service, and yet so
that our celestial opportunities are given to us through transcendent
grace. We must not become worthy by our own efforts. This
would spoil God's desire to display grace.
We who know what it is to fail, feel very
unworthy. We cannot think that there is enough merit in our poor efforts,
to bring God under obligation to approve of us. Even what service
we do render is so mixed with imperfection, that we do not count on our
service for God's approval. I am reminded of the way a dear
brother recently closed his letter to me. He said, "Complete
in Him; absolutely nothing in myself." I find sweet
fellowship in my heart for such a person, for that is the way I regard
myself. I cannot enter into the apparent feelings of the one
who is always afraid that some saint will take the scripture as an
excuse for sinning. We ALL sin. There is not a day that we are
clear of it. We need grace to sustain us, and transcendent grace
to give us the celestial opportunities for which we are pining.
Not only do our failures give God an opportunity to
display the riches of His grace in the oncoming eons, but they serve a
good purpose now, at the same time that they fail to delight God.
If I could live a perfect life, I would become vain. But, being
constantly conscious of my failures, I am almost constantly humbled, I
deeply feel my unworthiness, and I spend much time in solitude with God
talking to Him about it all, and reveling in His word, "Happy the
human to whom the Lord should by no means be reckoning sin," Rom
4:8. I am sure that God is more pleased with a attitude of
humility and of trust in Him, than He could possibly be with the
attitude of a Pharisee. I do not believe that He reckons sin to
me. But this does not make me love sin. I am happy, however,
in the thought that I will not commit more sin than He can use for His
I love to serve Him. I praise Him that, at
times, He operates in me to will, as well as to work, for the sake of
His delight. Since all depends on Him, I am not afraid that I will
not serve Him. He knows how to obtain service. And this does
not constitute a doctrine that a real saint will use as an excuse for
sinning, or for not serving.