Time and Eternity
A Biblical Study
Chapter Fourteen

by G.T. Stevenson


To some earnest believers the study set out in the preceding pages has seemed a waste of time and effort. Why all this bother to discover the meaning of a few foreign words? Why not leave us with the time honored Authorized Version and the ideas learned in Sunday School?

In answer one may outline his own mental and spiritual experiences. For several decades he taught and preached along 'orthodox' lines including the theory of the absolute finality of the judgment of sinners issuing in unending punishing in 'hell'. The so called gospel consisted largely in threats and bribes. Yes, God's grace was said to be infinite, immeasurable as Calvary's sacrifice; but it could become operative only when sinners believed.

Two major problems continually pressed their claims for answer:-

(a) The great majority of the human race God had created never, in this life, heard of His grace expressed in His Son and the good news of redemption.

(b) Many plain direct statements in the sacred scriptures declared that the purpose of God is through our Lord Jesus Christ to bless all humanity and to bring the whole universe into harmony with Himself. How could this be if myriads of mankind whom He so loved, were to be kept alive 'for ever' in hopeless, purposeless misery? And what kind of a 'god' could love the sinner with Calvary love until he died, and then leave him in indescribable suffering eternally?

One must be thankful that during those years of perplexity, by God's grace, faith was preserved in the sufficiency of His revelation in His Son ultimately to answer every question of the human heart, and at length the answer came.

If the judgments of God are processes and not finalities, if they, along with all His other acts, possess a benign purpose, then the problems disappear.

For those who believe the sacred scriptures to be God's word, the following passages stating His ultimate purpose and couched in plain, non-figurative terms must surely be conclusive.

Gen.12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4, 'In thee and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed.'

In Gal. 3:8 and 16 , these verses are said to refer to our Lord, through Whom, as announced by heavenly massagers at His birth, 'Great joy shall be to all the people' Luke 2:10.

In John 12:32 and 33 our Lord's own promise is recorded. 'If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all to myself. Now this He said signifying by what death He should die.' He was lifted up to die upon the cross, so believers need have no doubt about the fulfillment of His promise.

Rom.8:19-23 sets out the cosmic outreach and efficacy of the Christ event. 'The whole creation' awaits 'deliverance from the slavery of corruption into freedom of the glory of the children of God.'

Even the universal enmity of the natural man toward obedience to God becomes the occasion for a display of 'mercy upon all', Rom.11:32.

In Eph. 1:9 and 10, Paul declares that God has 'made known to us the secret of His will... to reunite all things in Christ, those things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, in Him' and this universal reconciliation is stated in Col.1:20 to be effected 'through the blood of His (Christ's) cross'.

Naturally those who love our Saviour would long to see this purpose of the Father accomplished soon. We are however to abide God's timing. In writing to Timothy (I Tim.1:4-6) Paul describes our Lord as the 'One Mediator of God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all - the testimony in its own seasons'. Similarly the writer of Hebrews states, 'We see not yet all things placed under Him (Christ), but we see Jesus made some little less than angels for the suffering of death,crowned with glory and honor that by the grace of God, He might taste death on behalf of every one'. Heb.2:8,9.

Further,in I Tim.4:9-11, Paul affirms that 'God is the Saviour of all men, especially of believers'. it seems obvious that those now, through God's grace, believing are not the exclusive beneficiaries of His 'mercy upon all', but are in a special and superlative measure now blessed in Christ. In verse II we read,

'These things enjoin and teach'.

Our Saviour's all-embracing redemption also rejoiced the heart of John. In his first epistle (I John 2:2) he writes, 'He (Jesus Christ, the Righteous One) is the propitiation (mercy seat) for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world'.

In I Cor.15:22-28 the inspired apostle to the Gentiles transports his readers' thoughts far into the future, beyond the furthest point envisaged elsewhere in holy writ. After outlining the triumph of the Son of God in bringing all creation under His benign control, Paul sets forth the consummation of the divine plan of the ages in four simple, yet infinitely profound words. 'God, All in All'.

This is our God, purposeful, wise, all loving and all mighty: His Son our Lord a Triumphant Saviour, Who destroys His enemies by making them His friends.

Yes. As Paul writes, (Rom.11:33-36) 'His ways are past finding out '; but the end we know, 'for out of Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things'.

To Him be adoration, love and praise now, and for evermore.


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