Archive for November 2017

The Whole Universe Is Included

November 30, 2017

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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; Concordant Literal Version)

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. … 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 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.

E.F. Stroeter
The Gospel of God’s Reconciliation of All in Christ (p. 24)
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God Seeking Us

November 8, 2017

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Russell H. Schaefer never asked me about my religious experience or my church affiliation. Russell was in love with Christ; he spoke incessantly of the marvelous grace of God that is greater than all our sin. Schaefer did not know that I had never understood that great attribute of God. How can anyone possibly understand what grace means who rests his security within the limits of his own moral capacities rather than in the love of God?

Russell lived in The Book of Romans at that time and, without asking whether I should like it or not, spent the days interpreting the great doctrines of that book. He did not know it, but as the Spirit of God worked mightily in him to bring out those majestic truths, He worked mightily in my heart to bring them in.

Yet, though I dared not say it (for sheer shame), as I listened I knew my heart was turning to God in a sense in which I had never understood Him. I knew I was seeing for the first time in my life the meaning of those great terms such as love, grace, mercy, justification and reconciliation. I saw that God does not demand that we beg Him to come to us, and that there is no difficulty in the heart of God but that God has indeed been seeking us all these years.

The ponderous truths of Romans 5 through 8 overwhelmed me, and I found myself believing them. I wept for the joy that there suddenly came to my heart – like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle of disassembled truth, suddenly putting itself together in one glorious picture – the truth of the sovereignty of Grace, of a God Whose very nature is love. Then I had knowledge that I was a saved man.

A. Jackson Roddy
Though I Spoke with Tongues: Experiences in and Exodus from the Charismatic-Tongues Movement
Scripture Research (1974)
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Can a Sinner Defeat God’s Love?

November 7, 2017

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Love … is not taking account of evil (I Corinthians 13:6, Concordant Literal Version).

I am convinced that God loves all (John 3:16, Romans 5:6-10), and that “love never faileth” (I Corinthians 13:8). Therefore, if one sinner is endlessly lost, that sinner has defeated the love of God and that is impossible.

Louis Abbott
An Analytical Study of Words
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The True Nature of Sin, and Its Remedy

November 4, 2017

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The judgment of God on Adam is strikingly suggestive of the true character of sin. Thorns and thistles are concomitants of man’s sin and a graphic illustration of its real essence. What are thorns? They are stunted, undeveloped, rudimentary growths, undoubtedly due to the lack of sufficient vitality to develop them into proper form. There were no thorns in Eden. Nor will there be any such thing when once more the plants exult in the ideal conditions and fruitful fertility of the coming eon.

What will be done to change them? How can the rose lose its thorns and the cactus its spines? Will the Creator change their nature? Will He remove the sharp and painful lancelets that disfigure and disgrace them now? He will not alter the plant but change its environment. He will fill it with the wine of life and thorns will develop into branches and spines into leaves. The principle that produces thorns and death in plants is identical with sin, which produces degeneration and death in mankind.

What does the gospel bring? It is God’s power for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Sin is spiritual deficiency or lack of the divine glory (Romans 3:23). The evangel supplies the missing energy. Note carefully the contrast in the fifth of Romans (verses 6-8). While we are still infirm, Christ died for the sake of the irreverent. Man does not sin because that is his nature but because he has lost the vital force which should sustain him. His nature might be changed ever so much or ever so often, but that would not doom him to death. Other creatures, who have a different nature, share his penalty with him, for they also share man’s infirmity and humiliation.

A.E. Knoch (1874-1965)
The Problem of Evil, and The Judgments of God
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The Lord Is Good to All

November 2, 2017

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The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works (Psalm 145:9).

God is glorified when His love, goodness, mercy and grace are proclaimed; when His goodness is seen to embrace all; His grace shown to abound much more than sin; His mercy declared to triumph over judgment,” and His love known to be, not simply one divine attribute among many, but the very essence of His Being, the motivating principle and power behind all His works (Psalm 145:9; Romans 5:20-21; James 2:13; I John 4:8, 16).

Anthony Johnson
The Larger Hope
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