The Purpose of God For This Lost World

by W.H. Walker

Part One

DOES God care for this lost world? is a question often asked in view of His seeming indifference to its present sufferings, its many injustices and condition of general disorder. To some the question takes even a more serious form, viz., Is there a God at all? If there is, why does He not do something--if He can?

Why should God care for this lost world? Because in the beginning He created it for His pleasure and glory. He pronounced it very good, but in its changed condition, through the work of an enemy preferred by man to God, it has become such as we could not expect a holy God to take pleasure in. The world has become to Him a scene of anarchy, rebellion and disorder, and under the organized power of an adversary (Eph.2:1,2).

God's present seeming indifference towards the world, is evidence of His deepest interest in it. For God to come into the world now, would be simply to execute judgment. How blind those are who are constantly challenging God to do something, if He can. Did they but know it, the very delay is but the evidence of His long-suffering love, because He would have them saved. Surely such recognition could not fail to bow them before Him in deepest penitence and submissive love. To this fact the ambassador's message calls; the fact of the continuance of the ambassadors here is the deepest proof of the interest of God in this lost world.

Thus we see God has not abandoned this sinful world, but in the fullness of time sent His only begotten Son into it, to reveal His love and redemptive purpose towards it; yet, strange to say, this revelation of Himself in fullest love and richest grace, only revealed in man the depth of his hatred to God, and alienation from Him. Why should God care for the world after this? What could be expected further from a world which had no appreciation of the infinite love and goodness which had been so graciously displayed? Why not close the scene at once by bringing upon it its merited judgment?

The answer to this is found in the fact of the purpose of God formed before the world was ruined, or ever was, and expressed to us in the following scripture: "God hath appointed a day in the which He will rule this world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath appointed and hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." We have in this scripture a purpose, a person, a program and a consummation.

The appointed purpose is to rule this world by a Man. What is a purpose? The determining of a certain end to be accomplished, as also of the means by which it is to be secured. This involves will, aim, interest.

God could make a purpose, hence we read of "His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself" (Eph.1:9). In the execution of that purpose He cannot be hindered. Human purposes may be thwarted, but God's purpose never.

It was formed in Christ Jesus before the age times (2 Tim.1: 9). God could do this for "known unto God are all His works from before age times" (Acts 15:18). His purpose is immutable, for He is in one mind and who can turn Him, for what His soul desireth, even that He doeth (Job 23:13). His word is, "My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa.46:10).

There are three great facts existing before the beginning of the age times, viz: The love of the Father for the Son, the sacrifice of Christ, and the choice of the believers in Him. May we not add a fourth--the eonian purpose. (See John 17:24; 1 Peter 1:19,20; Eph.1:3,4.)

Among the things involved in the purpose is the needed time for its accomplishment. This involved the planning of the ages, which was by the Son (cf Heb.1:1,2; 11:3), their number, length, principle of revelation and responsibility; thus marking the fact of progressive revelation.

The question of the ages has always been, Who shall rule the world? The ages have given the opportunity of determining who can rule the world; and they have all testified unmistakably to the fact of man's incompetency to rule himself, much less is he able to rule others. Nothing could be more impressive than recent facts that the results of all man's efforts to rule the world have ended in significant failure. Never did events cry as loudly to heaven for the competent ruler, as now. Never more fervently did they breathe the prayer, "Thy kingdom come."

Who is the appointed Man? We read "The Father loveth the Son (John 5:20) and hath given all things into His hands" (John 13: 3). God has found one Man Whom He can trust implicitly with all the interests of the world. The Man of His counsel, Who has undertaken the responsibility of delivering back to God a perfectly delivered world, with all enemies abolished, and all the works of the devil destroyed (Prov.8:22-31; 1 Cor.15:25-28; 1 John 3:8).

What did this mean to the Beloved Son? It meant the incarnation. He glorified God in the scene where, by sin, God had been dishonored. The incarnation also revealed man--what he ought to be to God and the distance between that and what he is. It was impossible that the life which was perfect light could do any thing but condemn the darkness and that the darkness should seek to put out the light.

It meant also that He must deal with the enemy. Hence the temptation challenge to conflict, and the victory over the strong man, resulting in the ministry of miracles, which was the spoiling of his goods. The devil never directly attacked Jesus after the victory of the temptation. The question of the temptation was that of rule. "If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine" (Luke 4:7).

The incarnation was also in order that the question of sin might be dealt with as it only could be dealt with by death (Heb. 2:14). Hence, the cross sacrifice. Here a righteous God and an ungodly sinner are dealt with according to the demands of both, in the One Who stood for man in the judgment which he deserved, and in the doing of it met all the requirement of a righteous God with regard to sin.

So perfectly has all this been accomplished that, on the basis of it, God comes to the sinner and commends His love, not imputing men's offenses unto them but beseeching them to be conciliated to Him (2 Cor.5:19-21).

Out of this comes the fact of resurrection, which is the basis of a sinner's assurance of salvation, as well as the demand and guarantee of the future rule of the world by Christ. In the resurrection we have a new supremacy of man in Christ. But now we see not yet all things put under Him; but we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor (Heb.2:7-9), far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but in that which is future (Eph.1:21).

This much of the purpose has been accomplished. What yet remains to be done? This will be the subject of a future article.

Part Two

THERE is more than one purpose to be accomplished by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into this world. It is not merely individual, to "seek and to save that which was lost," but it has national and racial objects, according to the first prophecy in Gen.3:15. "The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." This looks on to the final destruction of the works of the devil. The purpose for which Christ came as recorded in the Gospels, was not to form a church, but to set up a kingdom. He did not form a church, but His preaching and teaching, had reference to the kingdom; which would have been set up at that time if the Jewish people had received Him as their King. In their rejection of Him, the kingdom has passed into its condition of mystery, and will so remain until the King shall return, and Israel say "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."

In the progress of the ages, certain things have been accomplished towards the ultimate subjection of the world to the rule of the Man of God's Appointment (Acts 17:31).

1. The King has been born.

This part of the prophecies have been fulfilled, and fulfilled literally, a virgin has conceived and brought forth a Son (Isa.9:6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:35). It is but reasonable to suppose, that the first half of these prophecies having been fulfilled literally, the other half will be fulfilled in like manner.

2. The King has been presented.

John Baptist the herald of the King, proclaimed Him present and introduced Him to the people. The King Himself proclaimed the kingdom at hand, in their midst in the person of the King then with them. The miracles He wrought were the evidence of the righteousness of His claims as their Messiah. They only needed to put the claims of Jesus side by side with the predictions of the prophets to know that of a truth, He was the one that was to come.

3. The King was acknowledged.

The wise men from the East came inquiring "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" Pilate, in the inscriptions he placed over the cross, testified, "this is the King of the Jews," and the resurrection was not only the witness of God that Jesus was the Son of God, but that He was also the seed of David, and the fulfillment of all covenanted promises made to Him.

4. The King has been rejected.

Why rejected in view of all the righteousness of His claims? The Jews were like the people of the present day, with this difference, they (the Jews) read the Scriptures accepting all about the coming glories of the kingdom, but overlooked the necessity of the suffering before the kingdom could be established. Today we are generally occupied with the suffering Christ, and are indifferent as to the kingdom. The offense of the cross has now become the offense of the crown (Luke 24:25-27).

5. The King has been exalted to the right hand of God.

This is where our attention is now directed. "But now, we see not yet all things put under Him; but we see Jesus...crowned with glory and honor" (Heb.2:7-9).

In the rejection of the King, what of the kingdom?

1. It has not been abandoned.

The book of Acts still keeps it before the people. The first question in the book is about the kingdom: "Wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel" was the first question asked by the perplexed disciples, and all through the book it is the prominent subject, and is only set aside at the end of the book. If their thought was wrong, it seems strange that the Master did not use the opportunity to correct their mistake. They did not make any mistake. They were not warranted by the Hebrew Scriptures to expect anything else than the establishment of the Messianic kingdom, according to their prophets (Acts 1:6; 28:28).

2. It has not been changed in its nature.

It still has reference to an earthly administration, the kingdom of the heavens ruling the earth. It has not given place to an order of things "within you," as so often stated, but is yet to be established visibly upon the earth at the return of the King (Luke 19).

3. The church is not the kingdom.

The church was before the kingdom in the purpose of God (Eph.1:3,4). It is heavenly in character. Its position, blessings, and destiny are heavenly.

4. The kingdom is in abeyance.

It is not in view at present. When Israel is again the subject of God's dealings, its form, will be that of the kingdom in mystery. In that condition it will remain until the return of the King. The eight parables of Matt.13 gives us its different phases until the King comes back again. The present time is a parenthesis, not recognized outside Paul's epistles.

What remains yet to be accomplished, before this world is under the rule of the Man "Whom He hath appointed?" The program for the future may be found in many of its particulars in the Acts 15:14-18.

1. The Prophetic Program.

"To this agree the words of the prophets." It must be kept in mind that the present election is not the subject of the prophets. This part of the program has not to do with the church aspect of the coming of the Lord. The secret or mystery as committed to Paul deals with a prior translation of the saints for a meeting with the Lord in the air (1 Thess.4:13-18; Phil.3:10,20,21).

2. The National Program.

This is expressed in "The building again of the tabernacle of David which is thrown down, and the setting of it up again." This is nothing less than the restoration of Israel (1) to their God, (2) to their land, (3) to one another and (4) to their mission.

3. The Racial Program. "And all the gentiles" etc.

Thus we see that the object of the preaching of the gospel at the present time is not the conversion of the world but its evangelization. That the nation of Israel are to be restored to their own land. That this restoration is connected with the coming of the Messiah. That Israel converted will become the missionaries to the nations for their conversion to God, in accordance to the original promise made to Abraham.

4. The Consummate Part of the Program.

This looks far beyond millennial times. This embraces the reign of the Son of Man. Beyond this there is the reign of the Son of God, when all enemies shall be subdued. Beyond this there will be the ultimate delivering up of the kingdom to the Father, that GOD may be ALL in ALL. In the opening of Genesis GOD IS ALL, at the end of the book of Revelation, He is ALL IN ALL (1 Cor.15: 27,28).

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