We Can’t Do God’s Work

Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. Psalm 78:41.

He humbled himself. But man has misunderstood this attitude. In creature ignorance, pride and self importance, He has been maligned, and despised. “Unadorned, without honor, He was not respected.—nor sought or desired. Despised and neglected by men, a man in His sorrows acquainted with grief, (Isa. 53: 3.) “Ye have limited the Holy One of Israel.” The way of salvation – Christ cruclfied, the power of God and the wisdom of God – is professed, but its adequacy is denied by resort to other means which seem more practical. “The Lamb, – that bore away the sin of the world.”- this is made void by the common preaching of all Christendom, that, regardless of sin put away, the sinner must be punished. But it is said, “Of course, that is all right, everybody believes that, what is the matter with it?” The matter is, that it is a contradiction. For here are the very words that God commands shall be proclaimed on that point, “everybody” to the contrary though they be. “To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the cosmos unto Himself, not charging their sins to them.” Did you ever hear anybody preach this “without reservations? “You have limited the Holy One of Israel.” and have reduced the Gospel to a minimum, and then wonder that it has no power, and you ask God to give you some wonderful baptism that will bring the world to—(what?), and you charge upon God the responsibility of your carna! failure. What is this prayer that is heard on any and every occasion that God would pour out his Spirit,” and bring multitudes into a carnal church? The Holy Spirit will endorse the Divinely powerful gospel, though proclaimed by a weak messenger. But men pray that unscriptural ideas may be used to convert souls; that a personal gift of power may do a mighty work; that God will act contrary to His dispensational program; and then charge God withholding back something that He could give just as well as not. No, “The Lord’s hand is not shortened.” Men are slow to believe..

Joseph S. Johnston (1843-1933), Christ Victorious Over All (P. 7-8)

The Age that is Coming

And whoever may speak a word against the Son of Man it shall be forgiven to him, but whoever may speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is coming. Matthew 12:32

If therefore the next state (conformably to the common mode of thinking) is a state of punishment, not intended for the cure of the patients themselves, but to satisfy the justice of God, and give warning to others, it is impossible all men should be finally saved. Whereas if the state is a state of discipline, designed for the amendment of the sufferers themselves as well as the good of others, and wisely adapted as a mean to this end, they may be recovered, and formed to meetness for immortality and honor. Or, should any so sunk their natures in this as not to be capable of a recovery in the next state; a state beyond that may be again a state of discipline, wherein misery will be inflicted with a salutary view. Upon which supposition, their recovery will be still possible; they may, in the end, become the capable subjects of happiness. And that this will be the operation of the scheme of God, with reference to the whole human kind, as it is set forth in the scriptures (the effect whereof will finally be the accomplishment of their salvation) we shall see more reason to believe, in the progress of this attempt, than we may, at present be ready to imagine.

Charles Chauncy, The Mystery Hid From Ages, 1784

The Whole Universe is Included

Making known to us the secret of His will (in accord with His delight, which He purposed in Him) to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head up all in the Christ—both that in the heavens and that on the earth—in Him in Whom our lot was cast also, being designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will…” Ephesians 1:9-11(CV)

Again, we hear with clarity what goal God has set for Himself in this counsel of the eons—to bring everything that is in heaven and on earth under one head in Christ. In later chapters, we will have to come back to the precious meaning and significance of this expression “under one head.” We can say, now, that with this the Father has decreed and promised His first begotten Son, the Christ, the One anointed with the Spirit, of whom all Scripture testifies, a position at the head of the entire created universe, which excludes any successful resistance or objection against the Son, whether this be in heaven or on earth. Note also that the plain language of Scripture, according to its simple statements, includes the entire universe. If, in the first verse of the Bible it is written: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” then surely believers cannot entertain the idea of creatures not being included in this expression “heaven and earth,” whether they be lifeless or living beings, humans or angels. Moreover, it is generally a good rule that an expression often used in Scripture can be interpreted best if used in the same sense as it was when it appeared for the first time.

The Gospel Of God’s Reconciliation Of All in Christ (p. 24) by E. F. Stroeter

Weekend Wisdom – Abraham Lincoln

Jonathan Harnett was a Lincoln associate and businessman from Pleasant Plains, IL. Harnett retold of his 1858 conversation with Lincoln and some of their associates:

[Lincoln] closed with the restitution of all things to God, as the doctrine taught in the Scriptures, and if anyone was left in doubt in regard to his belief in the atonement of Christ and the final salvation of all men, he removed those doubts in a few questions he answered and propounded to others. After expressing himself, some one or two took exceptions to his position, and he asked a few questions that cornered his interrogators and left no room to doubt or question his soundness on the atonement of Christ, and salvation finally of all men. He did not pretend to know just when that event would be consummated, but that it would be the ultimate result, that Christ must reign supreme, high over all. The Savior of all; and the supreme Ruler, he could not be with one out of the fold; all must come in, with his understanding of the doctrine taught in the Scriptures.”

From the Salvation of All  blog.

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Restoration of All Things

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19

Acts records NT believers sharing the good news with Jews and non-Jews alike. The lengthy message in Acts 2:14-3:26 is the perfect opportunity for Peter to tell the unbelieving men of Israel that if they don’t shape up and accept the message, they’re going straight to hell. Yet Peter fails to seize such an opportunity. “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus…whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:19-20).

Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, also blows his opportunity in Acts 17:30-31 when he delivers a gracious and inclusive message to the learned men of Athens, who were idol-worshiping, pagan Greeks: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to all people that everyone everywhere should repent (Greek: obtain a new outlook), because He has fixed a day in which He is about to be judging the inhabited world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, furnishing belief to all by raising him from the dead”.

As we will continue to reveal, God’s judgments do not inherently indicate an everlasting hell sentence. Isaiah 26:9, to which Paul likely referred here, explains their purpose: “When the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”

From Raising Hell by Julie Ferwerda

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God’s Love in Unwavering

But God demonstrated His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Out of one side of its mouth religion will tell us of the love of God, and then out of the other that He will send the overwhelming majority of His creation to suffer the pains of eternal conscious torment. Such a view abandons any concept of unconditional love.

Since God is not a man, His love is not human, but divine. One of the greatest human loves is that of family (of a man for a woman, of a mother and father for their children); and yet God’s love is far superior.

We are all the off spring of God, He is our Father (Acts 17:29). God gave us earthly families that we may know, in some small measure, the nature of His Fatherly love for us. Parental love can be unconditional, and yet it pales in comparison to that of our heavenly Father’s. His love is unwaveringly fixed upon us as the object of His love; and divine “love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8).

From God’s Unconditional Love published in the Bible Students Notebook  by Clyde Pilkington, Jr.

A Triumphant Solution Assured

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matthew 7:18

The character, as well as the ability of the maker, is visible in the thing that he makes. If a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, then it is certain that the great Creator of all, who is holy in all His ways and righteous in all His works, who is good and only doeth good and whose tenderness is over all His works, can design nothing the end of which is not pure happiness and usefulness. Whatever catastrophes may have intervened, and however mysterious are the processes by which His goal will be reached, it follows, from the fact of His unimpeachable character, that the consummation of His work will justify all His methods.

If He employs the discipline of a father, the sacrificial love of a mother, the stern justice of a judge and the passionate affection of a husband and all these are figures chosen by Himself to set forth His attitude towards men and His work for and in them it is to the end that His great designs of love may ultimately triumph.  If He turns men to destruction, it is that He may say, “Return ye children of men.” (Ps. 90:3). If the vessel is marred in the hand of the Potter, it is that He may make it again another vessel. (Jer. 18:4). If His work is marred, then His own face will be more marred than any man’s, that He may buy back those who have sold themselves for nought. Creation is full of mysteries, but the revealed character of the Creator suffices to assure us of a triumphant solution to them all. Only a traitor to His person and character would deny such a God this certainty.

From God in Creation, Redemption, Judgment and Consummation by A.E. Saxby. You can read the complete document here.

God Is a Consuming Fire

For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
“We are also told that God is a consuming fire. Is this a contradiction of what John wrote, that He is love? No, indeed not! The same God who is Love is also a consuming fire. He is a consuming fire of divine love. That is the only answer, if Love is who He is.
That God is a “consuming fire” wonderfully demonstrates the great passion of His love. His is a “consuming” love; and His love is a “purging, purifying” love. His is a love that knows no retreat; knows no end; knows no defeat. He conquers all, not with pure might and strength, not with pure wrath and judgment; but with pure, undying, unrelenting, unceasing, unconditional love.
Love never fails (I Corinthians 13:8).
The greatest of these is love (I Corinthians 13:13).
Love is the greatest, because He is Love – and He is the greatest.
Love never fails, because He is Love-and He never fails. “
Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr. The Salvation of All (p. 108). You can purchase here.

God Will Not be Angry Forever

For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit would fail before me and the soul which I have made. Isa. 57: 16.

Hence, The Lord will not cast off forever; but, though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies, for he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. Lam. 3: 31-33.

One reason why God will not “be angry forever” is, because no soul could endure the storm of God’s endless wrath. The benevolence of God is demonstrated in the statute of limitations, by which when pain becomes unendurable, the victim dies. Endless torture no soul could endure.

From Bible Proofs of Universal Salvation by J.W. Hanson

 

Christ is the Universal Light

“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12. “That was the true light which lightest every man that cometh into the world.” John 21:9.

When all shall receive light from the great “sun of righteousness” none will sit “in darkness, an din the region of the shadow of death.” Is it not surprising that notwithstanding these declarations some contend that a large part of mankind will be doomed by the LIGHT of the WORLD to spend eternity in darkness and death!

From One Hundred and Fifty Reasons For Believing in the Final Salvation of All Mankind (1849) by Erasmus Manford. You can read it here: http://www.tentmaker.org/books/150reasons.html