Archive for January 2009

Framework of Mercy and Grace

January 26, 2009

Yes, He is holy; yes, He is a righteous Judge. But He always exercises these attributes within the framework of His mercy and grace.

Charles Stanley
A Gift of Love (2001) page 15

Will Sin Always Reign?

January 26, 2009

Has sin reigned in God’s creation? It most certainly has! Will it always reign, sealing forever the wretched fate of billions of God’s children, forever marring and ruining His most precious handiwork? No! It will not! For where sin has reigned and to the extent it has increased, so grace will conquer and reign, increasing far beyond the regions and influence of sin, eventually finding and restoring each and every lost sheep, clothing us all in the very brightness of His glory forever!

Regardless of all the judgment passages in the Bible and all the metaphors and Eastern images that have been forced to bear the false burden of eternal torment, there is a truth that rises above them all, a glorious destiny and precious reality which they all serve. GOD IS LOVE AND LOVE NEVER FAILS! (I John 4:16; I Corinthians 13:8).

All His mighty attributes and perfections, all His fearful judgments and wrath are but servants and ministers of His love that will one day bring His family home, not missing even one, to be perfectly holy and happy, united and free, forever and ever!

Allan E. Chevrier
Whatever Became of Melanie? (2005)

Lord of All

January 26, 2009

He is Lord of all – over the living and the dead – whether or not they recognize Him as Lord. Christian and pagan alike will one day confess His total ownership of all (Romans 14:11). He is Lord of all men by creation. The heavens and the earth and all they contain (including you and me) are His …

Your destiny in not in your hands, it lies in the hands of Jesus Christ, Lord of all, Who loves you and gave Himself of you.

Charles Stanley
A Gift of Love (2001) page 109

The Salvation of All and Our Special Salvation

January 26, 2009

All will eventually be saved because the Lord Jesus Christ tasted “death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). The consequences of Christ’s death for our sins are as follows: “If one died for all, then were all dead” (II Corinthians 5:14); and “he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:7). “We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). As the chosen of God, to whom faith has graciously been granted, we are “now justified by His blood” and, “we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:9).

Since God “will have all men to be saved” (I Timothy 2:4), “is the Saviour of all men” (I Timothy 4:10), is working “all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11), it being the case that the Lord Jesus Christ “gave Himself a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:6), therefore, all mankind will eventually be saved, it being explicitly affirmed that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive … The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death … that God may be All in all” (I Corinthians 15:22, 26, 28).

We who are presently saved are saved because we “are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We have been ordained and appointed to God’s special salvation.[1] This is so, “that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). For this we have been chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), by Him “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Timothy 1:9).

[1]“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:9); “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” (I Timothy 4:10); “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

Adapted from The Consequences of the Cross
James R. Coram
Unsearchable Riches (2006)
Volume XCVII, Number 3, pp. 123-124

Limitless Grace

January 26, 2009

Grace is amazing because it is limitless. God’s grace can never be exhausted. Regardless of the vileness or number of our sins, His grace is always sufficient. It can never be depleted; it can never be measured. He always gives His grace in fullness.

Charles Stanley
A Gift of Love (2001) page 9

Grace Is Stronger than Sin

January 25, 2009

The notion of the popular creed, (i.e., that God is in the Bible detailing the story of His own defeat, how sin has proved too strong for Him), seems wholly unfounded. Assuredly the Bible is not the story of sin, deepening into eternal ruin, of God’s Son, worsted in His utmost effort. It is from the opening to the close the story of grace stronger than sin – of life victorious over every form of death – of God triumphant over evil.

Thomas Allin (1835-1908)
Christ Triumphant

A Simple Argument for the Salvation of All

January 25, 2009

Suppose that Christ commanded that we love our enemies and love our neighbor even as we love ourselves because such love is an essential condition of blessedness or supreme happiness. If this is true, as I believe it is, then God could not possibly bring blessedness to one person without also bringing it to all.

Here is why. If I truly love my daughter even as I love myself, then her interests and my own are so tightly interwoven as to be logically inseparable: any good that befalls her is then a good that befalls me, and any evil that befalls her is likewise an evil that befalls me. I could never be happy, for example, knowing that my daughter is suffering or in a miserable condition – unless, of course, I could somehow believe that all will be well for her in the end. But if I cannot believe this, if I were to believe instead that she had been lost to me forever – even if I were to believe that, by her own will, she had made herself intolerably evil – my own happiness could never be complete. For I would always know what could have been, and I would always experience this as a terrible tragedy and an unacceptable loss, one for which no compensation is even conceivable. Is it any wonder, then, that Paul could say concerning his unbelieving brothers and sisters whom he loved so much, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people” (Romans 9:3)? From the perspective of his love, in other words, Paul’s own damnation would be no worse an evil, and no greater threat to his own happiness, than the eternal damnation of his loved ones would be.

God could make us “happy” whilst our loved ones suffered in hell only in two possible ways: either by concealing from us the magnitude of the tragedy (blissful ignorance), or by giving us a callous and stony heart, so that we no longer truly loved those who were lost. Both of these possibilities, however, are incompatible with true blessedness. So in the end, it is logically impossible for God to bring blessedness to one person without also bringing it to all

Thomas Talbott
The Inescapable Love of God

The First Trusters

January 25, 2009

“That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12).

Do not be discouraged as you look around you. What you see is not the end of God’s plan and purpose. Granted, the world is filled with sin and unbelief. But God is not yet done. Don’t judge the final outcome by the current state of things. This is not the finished product of God.

Those of us who now trust the Lord Jesus Christ are but the beginning of God’s glorious work. We are but the first trusters in His glorious design.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook

The Firstfruits

January 25, 2009

ListenListen to Today’s Audio Goodie
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… the firstfruits of Achaia … (Romans 16:5).

… firstfruits of His creatures (James 1:18).

… the firstfruits unto God … (Revelation 14:4).

In every harvest there is that small portion of the crop that matures early, before the vast majority of the rest. The firstfruits are a token of that which is to come – the full harvest.

Under the Old Testament economy the firstfruits belonged to God, and were holy unto Him.

In every generation, and in every place, God has had His firstfruits; those who come to harvest earlier than the rest. What a blessed privilege to be the firstfruits of the Lord; and just as God has brought us to faith, so He, too, will bring the rest of His creation.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies

The “Especially” Salvation

January 25, 2009

God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (I Timothy 4:10). He is not the Savior of all mankind, exclusively of believers. That would be the lie of the Christian religion. This verse alone proves that God will save all …

The word “especially,” in I Timothy 4:10, is a very big word.

The “especially” there means that those who believe now do receive more. It is true that there are only a certain number of people chosen by God to believe in this life …

The day I finally realized that salvation was not of me, was a big day … There really was no difference, I discovered, between my flesh, my mortality, my ability to seek God, and the flesh, mortality, and ability of unbelievers. I was in the same boat as everyone else. This is humbling, when you finally see it. It breaks you and you cry. Were it not for God’s grace, I would have been a Hitler, or a Manson, or a Dobson. It was Paul who said, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” People repeat that by rote; they don’t mean it. I used to repeat it and not mean it, too.

The revelation of grace was scary, because I suddenly realized how thankful I should be. I used to not be overcome by great swells of thankfulness. Well, I thought I was a little bit worthy of eternal life. And I was, in my mind. After all, I believed. When I realized that God chose me to believe, and that He gave me the very faith needed to call out to Him (and the greater faith that ensued), I realized how helpless I’d been. I realized that if God hadn’t done all that, I’d still be an unbeliever. I became so thankful then, so desperately thankful. I became less condemning of those not yet chosen to believe. It was not their fault. I finally saw it. My God, it was not their fault. Conversely, it was no more my credit. God had to take me out of church to restore to me a clear-thinking head.

Thanks to God, I did have something more. There as an advantage, I discovered, to being given belief now. I would live and reign with Christ during coming ages (Revelation 22:5), while those without faith would neither live nor reign then (Revelation 20:5). They would instead be dead while I reigned. This was the “especially” salvation of I Timothy 4:10. God Gives immortality to all, eventually (I Corinthians 15:22-28), but He gives it to some early so they can live and reign with Him through oncoming ages. These, He “especially” saves.

I learned that there were two glorious ages ahead: the thousand-year kingdom (Revelation 20:4) and the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1). I learned that most people would be dead during these glorious times (Revelation 20:5). When I learned that this wasn’t their fault, I felt sad for the people. But when I realized that they would eventually be given belief and live eternally with God, it mollified my grief. After all, what were two short eons compared with eternity? Nothing, relatively. Besides, as I said, the unbelievers would be dead. In the death state, there is no consciousness of time. This, also, was a surprising truth. I never knew it. It was always in Scripture, but I was trained to ignore it. These people would not know they were dead. It was God’s merciful provision. Jesus, in Scripture, compared death to sleep (John 11:11-13). It comforted me that these people would be asleep and unaware that I was living and ruling with Christ. No need for me to feel guilty, then.

When one realizes that all is of God and that nothing, absolutely, is of oneself, one does stop condemning unbelievers. It does make one ask God, however: “Why me and not them?” I did this. I wondered what it was. God simply said, “Because I chose you (Ephesians 1:4). Because I favor you. I chose you before you were born (Romans 8:29).” I said, “But don’t you favor them?” God said, “I am the Savior of all mankind, especially of believers. I’m the Savior of them as well, and they will live with me forever. But it is simply not My plan for them to live during the coming two ages. They’ll have no complaints because they’ll be with Me forever. This comes about in its own eras (I Timothy 2:5-6). For now, I’m working in a framework of time (Romans 16:16, the ‘eonian God’).

“Enjoy what I’ve done for you. Stop worrying about everyone else. No one would have any complaints if I consigned the entire human race to the second death. Who would complain about being asleep for two relatively short ages – unaware of the time – and then waking up to a life of eternal bliss? The miracle, Martin, is not that everyone will live with Me for eternity. The miracle is that I have chosen before the eons a blessed few who will rule and reign with Me during the coming two glorious ages of time (Revelation 22:5). This is the “especially” salvation of I Timothy 4:10. It delights Me to do this. It’s not that the rest are cheated, it’s that you and the others I have chosen are especially blessed. You come into My life early, and are privileged. It is nothing of yourself (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is everything of My favor. You are privileged above and beyond the rest of humanity. This is in accord with the delight of My will (Ephesians 1:5), not your worthiness or accomplishment (II Timothy 1:9). It delights Me to bring a select few in early. You are, as My Word says in Ephesians 1:12, ‘Pre-expectant [first trusted] in the Christ.’ So rejoice!”

Martin Zender
The Really Bad Thing About Free Will: A Critical Look at the “Salvation by Willpower” Doctrine (2006), pp. 69-75

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