Australian Bible Church March 1, 2009
CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST AND BASE OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
OVER ALL LIMITS, THE LORD
BEYOND THE LIMITS OF TIME
IS THE LORDSHIP OF DIVINE NATURE AND INTENTION:
BUT IT IS IMPERATIVE TO KNOW HIM
THE PLACE OF LIMITS
You’ll be late! Hurry! So great is the influence of time, especially when the fast beating heart is rushing to perform many things, like that of Jehu in the day of the two kings whom he slew, although he himself, having purged Israel of Baal worshippers, moved into his own idolatry later. As to time, it seems that many live not only with it, but almost by it or even for it!
It is good to be able to rest. He who believes in Him will not make haste (says Isaiah 28:16, in its prediction of the coming of the Messiah, the great foundation stone for mankind, as in 42:6). Hastiness is never wise. Occasional speed is one thing; breathless mentality is quite another.
IN time, ON time, GIVEN time are frequently found idioms. We do have limits as to time on this earth, the epic little epoch from birth to death; but while they in this way apply, they need not be made a dictation for the living. Within those times, you live: but these, they merely apportion your day of opportunity and perhaps if you are a Christian – importunity on this earth; for what is the use of being alive if you do not seek the Lord and make a difference in a world almost witless, without wisdom, dying in speedy methods of splendid rush! The great difference is the Gospel, the great result, regeneration, the great privilege, access to God as His own, the illimitable God.
Ah for what is without limit! Yet not altogether so, for man is a creation not of King Chance, a muckish sovereign whose only power is to let things go according to the system which makes such a description apposite, and invents nothing, least of all information: not of this, but of God. The limit which GOD CONSTITUTES for any of His creatures, this is altogether to be desired.
Imagine a world in which there was no limit to stress, to strain, to error, to folly, to imposition ? To be sure, John the Baptist lost his head, but not because of haste, except in the case of his murderer, King Herod. Think of the divine Nuremberg, in a figure, to come – and that in veritable fact. Nothing is lost, all is known, no document flutters away, knowledge is total, since all things are bare before Him, with whom we have to deal, the Almighty! It is good to be passed by pardon for which of us has not, now here, now there, erred this way or that, overcome, blindly foolish, witless, lacking grace, understanding, insight or the beauty of holiness! Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, had his awful moments, and very nearly fell further, being saved from this by a very wise woman (II Samuel 25:19-33).
Imagine where there would be NO peace (trouble without limit), NO love (hatred in its imbroglios, given eternal options), NO redress (the evilly cunning strut forever)! It is good there ARE limits, set by the Almighty; and just as God has set these, both in being the One who IS, and is supervising our creation and providence, so it is well.
Yet, on the way to the Divine Nuremberg, there are many who seek to practise sin without limit: they seek to trample government in Mexico, Columbia-type drug lords and mini-invasions of the USA by illegals; they seek to exterminate Israel, and get other nations to help them, like a team of 100 cats bent on cutting bits off the shoulders and especially the throat of a mouse! Nice dealing: very United Nations like! As they go, they blow: now they want same-sex marriage, and increasingly the line seems to be this: Don’t CALL it marriage it, but sanctify it nonetheless.
Pakistan totters on endless liabilities to diverse foes, sharia-sheiks seek to dictate, those who want to lessen womanhood to the point that the presumption rises to the heavens, in whosever name they may try to justify it, Sudan is a territory of terror, an emblem of shame, Islamic forces despoiling many homes and waging incessant war to be first, to have submission about them; the USA is seeking trillions from China while lessening expressed concern about human rights (translate minimally – reasonable treatment of workers and power to express oneself), Russia is flexing muscles on bronzed arms, while helping Iran in its nuclear ambitions, despite innocent signatures about nice intentions …Where are the limits ? They do not appear, and that is just ONE reason why this world civilisation would disappear if Christ did not return (as in Matthew 24:22-28).
There IS a limit to how much suffering the people of God will endure (as in I Corinthians 10:13), and those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, should bring this in faith to Him, when things are rosy with a red not beautiful, or piercing in pain that does not fail to linger! There is a limit to how long Israel will be threatened before its deliverance, which however, as with many another mortal, relates intimately to HOW LONG before it turns in large measure to that same Lord Jesus Christ whom it slew (with Rome’s marvellous aid! do not forget!). Turns in what way ? This: turns for mercy (as in Zech. 12:10-13:1, and Micah 7, Romans 11:25ff.), which like all of us, it needs. It is however one thing to need it, another to gain it where it may be found, amid repentance by the Cross of Christ, alive to administer peace, pardon and victory (cf. Isaiah 53-55).
There is NO LIMIT in God however, in His infinitude to His wisdom, His grandeur of grace, His profundity of mercy, His enormity of power, His faithfulness and patience (not to be confused with lassitude and limitless nonsense masquerading as if from Him), His truth and His everlasting kindness, with which He considers what is in His image, created in measure as His kin, though violating this by iniquity, and vitiating it by will. He has done all; He is winning those who arise and return to their Father, not as mere creations, but through grace by faith, His adopted children.
Today let us look at certain scriptures concerning this latter fact, and rejoice.
THE LORD BEYOND MAN’S LIMITS
Consider these divine intimations in the Bible, and let us reflect on them.
v Psalm 40:5 (thoughts to us innumerable – does not know their number);
v Psalm 103 (forgives ALL your iniquities, mercy from everlasting to everlasting, his mercy as high as the heavens above the earth, and as far as the East from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions);
Psalm 71:15, Isaiah 51:6 (righteousness and
salvation never to be annulled);
Psalm 139:17-18 (thoughts toward him, more than
Psalm 147:5 (His understanding infinite);
Hebrews 13:8 (Jesus Christ, the same without
limit of time);
John 5:24 (the one who believes in Him, thus
qualified, has this to come:
he or she does NOT come into condemnation, has passed FROM death to LIFE
and this life – it is everlasting);
Revelation 22:4-5 (HIS name on their
foreheads, and they will reign for ever and ever, without no limit of time,
alteration of allegiance, variation in disposition);
21:22 (HE is the temple, no lesser thing, no
22:17 (invitation, exhortation to drink
freely – sense, ‘gratuitously’ – as a gift);
and see that in
John 7:37 it arises so much that it
positively flows out from one, and in 4:14, it is so ebullient, that it rises
like a spring, and so lasting that thirst again is excluded;
Romans 8:39 (no limit on the negation of
what would separate from the love of God, be it time or power of any kind in any
being of any category, space or future development);
Hebrews 8:12 (sins NOT to be remembered;
with no limit on duration of exclusion zone);
Hebrews 9:12-13, 10:10, 14, (one offering
by Jesus Christ has completed the cover FOR EVER, no time limit, for it is
sanctifying by obliterative deliverance, and what is thus sanctified is held forever,
kept by His power and operative to completion in the life of His saints – as in I Peter 1:5);
Ephesians 3:18-19 (love of God surpasses
knowledge, try as you might to begin to assess it);
Ephesians 3:20 (His ability exceedingly
abundantly above our very beings,
surpassing not only all ask
but even what we think!).
There is a glorious superabundance, not the delimitations of scarce resources amid competing wants, but an intimation of immortality in its morality and beauty, unsubjectible to damage, deletion or pain, in the midst of power and wonder like the ocean to a child on the shore: whatever you see, yet there is more.
It need not frighten: it is HIS, and we who are believers in Him, who have received Him as given, as crucified, as raised, as alive, as keeping, we are surrounded by what surpasses, and this, not only need, but desire. He is the infinite God, infinite in grace, love, power and understanding. To know Him is a marvel; to be known and to know as a CHILD OF GOD, this is the summit for any creation, and for those who are in this most blessed condition, how could you not REJOICE! Your joy no man takes from you (John 16:22) - your peace like a river and your imputed and operatively present righteousness like the waves of the sea (Isaiah 48:18). Now the department of yea and amen is yours!
Such is the beauty of it, as in II Corinthians 1:20-21 (compare Ephesians 1:11-14):
all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, to the glory of
God by us. Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,
is God, who hath also sealed us,
and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
This seal (Ephesians 1:11-14) is for those who “have an inheritance”, and it endures “until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” How great is that glory which makes such unlimited promises, provides such unlimited assurance, and such timely discipline (Hebrews 12)! Therefore TRUST HIM.
GETTING TO KNOW HIM
GROWING WHILE KNOWING
So surrounded with mercy, pity, purity, inspired by His Spirit (Ephesians 3:16, 1:17-18),
Paul describes the wonder of growing in this way. He declares
that he is
“making mention of you in my prayers:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
“the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know
what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and
what is the exceeding greatness
of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ
when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion,
and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
Notice here the criterion for available power is that demonstrated in raising a crucified, crushed and slowly murdered site for smashing, namely the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, with no limit for life to become not merely healed as so often, but bodily resurrected, irrespective of time, ghoulishness or extremity, in this the first-fruits of the harvest of His own (I Corinthians 15:20-21,42,48,51ff.). The eminence of this risen Christ is incomparable with that of anything in the created realm, spiritual, physical, mental or other, for He is eternal (John 8:58); and His glory in triumph is without limit, in and for any Age you may care to name, being in this immutable and beautiful certitude, just the same.