AW W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Volume What is New
MYSTERIES AND MASTERIES,
The Predestination Locale
We have been looking at mysteries and masteries. Now we come to a special phase of this theme. It is that concerning the eternal wisdom, knowledge, foreknowledge and predestinative activities of God as in Ephesians 1:4-9, Romans 8, 9, Jeremiah 1, Colossians 1 and I Timothy 2, for example. Here are seen some of the premises, promises, principles in view.
In Ephesians 1, having made known in 1:4 that Christians were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, we learn that having granted to this, His spiritual people, the redemption and forgiveness of sins, being predestinated according to the good pleasure of His will as in `:5-6, with more on the abundant generosity of spirit involved on His part in 1:8, yet more to the point, in 1:9. First however it is time to reflect on this verses. HIS WILL has a good pleasure, aa goodness with graciousness is His, and this being so, He has chosen His own persons before time's pollution, history's fallen state and man's scenario of sin. This we have learnt. The context this goodness and graciousness.
Now in 1:9 we come to what is called the "mystery of His will," which in this case includes the wonder that īn the dispensation of the fulness of times," He should gather together in one, all things in Christ." The details of the design, the parts of the program are revealed in accordance with I Cor. 2:9ff., where the deep things of God are made available to his chosen writers by His Spirit.
Thus it is IN CHRIST that the CHOICE of His own is made, and it is IN CHRIST as the criterion that all things will end up finding their place. What refuses to be there, is like weeds on the way, removed from the production site (cf. Matthew 13:42-43). Christ then is the focus, featured principle and more, the actual exclusive repository of saved sinners, who are also thosse to be left into eternity, just as they were chosen in eternity, before time shook its grizzled head, wounded by sin, gashed by iniquity and dizzy with folly, amid the better things which God has rescued.
Let us ponder briefly the mystery aspect of the
Of course, God is Himself, reliant on none, subject to nothing (Romans 11:36), but He declares His mind, as in Amos 4:11 just as, in that prophetic book, He had been doing very many times in the earlier proclamations in it This was the principle, those were the lead up to this announcement. He was not psychiatrising man, but instructing him. As in I Cor. 2:9ff., the deep things themselves are not hidden, but revealed, even the wordings given by grace. They are given to man, through the chosen writers. We are not in the dark, though vast and marvellous, stunning and lovely are His revelations of His nature, greatness and goodness, love of mercy and ways of seeking souls. The pith is presented clearly in so many ways, illustrations and exhibits (cf. Hosea 12:1`0), that it is a breathtaking experience even to review them.
It is meant to be such. God wishes to arrest as He seeks, to pierce rugged self-willed armour plating and yet not to tyrannise. Hence the sadness in Jeremiah 9, where the prophet in close concert with the mind of God, could weep day and night for the coming disasters then being made ready for a recalcitrant ancient Israel, and in Hosea 11P8, we have this.
"How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred."
What then ? God has many deep mysteries in the sense that without revelation they could not be guessed; and much concerning Him is completely obvious, as in Romans 1:17ff.. It is the attitude of His heart that needs to be known, and the plans of His bosom, the counsel of His thought. This is shown from time to time, more and more, until by I Cor. 2, it is stated categorically that even the deep things of God are exposed, they are not hidden, and searched by the Spirit they are made available to man by this inspiration of His word.
Some things are stated again and again in abundantly categorical form. Thus the deep things are exposed (I Cor. 2), the love is for the reconciliation of ALL things (Col. 1), even those in heaven as well as on earth, to Himself, and that, in terms of the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Col. 1:19). There is NO lack at the outset of foraging love, seeking mercy or sovereign desire; nor of divine restraint and irresistible aversion to mere force (Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:41ff., Hosea 11:1-4. Even prodigious effort in accord with the living reality of God, is not a warrant for remedy, but a testimony of love. Equally, even the most prodigous repulsion of God is no warrant that the heart will not surrender to Him. In total knowledge, God demonstrates His love in the Gospel action in Christ, and His restraint in NOT forcing Jerusalem, in its day, for example to repent rather than find ruin in the temper of its own saucy will.
God is longsuffering but undupable; longing for restoration of mankind, seeking not to judge, but when ALL is done, judge He will, and what is foreknown with accuracy IN TERMS OF HIS LOVING AND MERCIFUL PRINCIPLES, as of justice, is just what comes to pass; for what IS foreknown is the outcome, the income and all surrounds of the matter. We do not possess these faculties; God does. The creation is not so well informed; God is. The children of man cannot match liberty and love, with historical outcome and teaching; God can. It is well to separate infinite capacity with our own limited one; infinite knowledge with our partial case, and infinite love, with our own love, in danger of partiality as it is.
However the impartiality of the love of God is not to signify any lack of passion, for of passion there is no greater case in total commitment and provision, at personal cost. What it does signify is that there are no twistings of truth, bendings of principles, and this glorious feature also, that it is NOT GOD whose heart, ultimately, excludes you by any defect or deficiency in His love; but there is only one capable of excluding Him, the unsaved sinner (John 3:15-19). God is far greater than the sinner's will (John 1:12); but His will is that the will of the sinner, being foreknown before warping or questions of guilt and innocence are to be seen at all, as if determinants and ruptures in the image of God in man, DOES lead to exclusion. God so ordains such a result for such an input as is by His own wisdom foreknown, before it ever had opportunity for confusion, mix-ups or muddles.
That is the way God sovereignly wants it, this grace, this readiness to pardon, this delight in mercy, this foreknowledge, this truth, this resumption of justice if love is disdained or disregarded, and that in the full light of eternity, But that outcome, should it ever come to pass, this is indeed the last thing He wants. Yet love does not move, like the sun, but in the sheer immensity of its intensity, stays pure, not surging in sovereign lust, but still in the truth. It HAS acted infinitely; there is no other plan, nor any other truth, nor any other love for that creation called mankind; nor is there any need. God's sufficiency is man's opportunity, and having the image of God, man has vast scope for invention! (Psalm 99:8, 106:29,39; Ecclesiastes7:29).
If however the wonder of His lavish generosity and tender grace faces an alternate preference AS FOREKNOWN TO GOD, then that is it. WHY are some then not to come ? We are told: it is because of their adverse preference towards God, they WILL not, even before they were created it is known. It is clear and sure, being despite the love of God, which will not lapse into tyranny. Truth WILL rule; but judgment is a result, not a cause for destiny, duly foreknown.
Thus in the final analysis, it is NEVER that God does not want to save, indeed Christ did not come to condemn the world but to save it. How do we know ? He says so (John 3:18-19). When the issue is the Creator and the created, and the attitude of the former to the latter, we are in no danger of mistake! Those concerned are definable with delicious certainty.
Image of God bearers, however defiled, are not AS SUCH dumped from regard, but despite regard, irrespective of the outcome; and these are in the divine heart desired (Col. 1:19ff.), with love (John 3), be the outcome as clear and statable as you will. That as love, can of course be rejected; for otherwise it would be no more love, and the loved one would not receive it, but a certain rupture of the divine image only. God is no tyrant but justice is inevitable when His mercy is severed by refusal of His SOVEREIGN OFFER. Being loving does not mean being lax or confused. Even a hospital illustrates this; in this country at least; for if you do not WANT an operation, you can refuse its bounties (or in the case of this world, its various outcomes, but we are dealingwith God, here and this is mere illustration!).
Thus, there are principles of operation to which the Lord, moreover, shows He is bound. in the sense of self-binding. That is, He would not be other than He is, and this He wills to be. These principles include justice and righteousness, so important that they are the foundation of His throne, while mercy goes before His face (Psalm 89:14).
Thus He deplores any sloppy 'love' which ignores righteousness, does not embrace it, is not akin to it, let alone forsakes it. Yet He is no martinet. He refuses to ignore the pangs of heart when those sought fail, the taught decline; and even in the end, He shows wrath when the uttermost prodigies of divine love, being ignored or treated dismissively, leave the children of men in the throes of inescapable judgment.
Mystery, that is, unknown wonders of His own personal approach, attitude and plans for man, become known; and how ? by revelation, authorised and authentic, immutable and beautiful, yet realistic and unbending in righteousness. Heaven is not made by dirt, dubiety or lax slackness, but lives in mercy and truth.
Further, there is NULL scope for any fresh revelations concerning these things for those on this earth (Galatians 1 makes this very clear indeed, and as Revelation 22 shows, nothing more can be added - a principle shown in Proverbs 30:6). Slick ways of trying to force God to alter the rules by philosophy or text dismissal or its devious twisting will never alter anything, except the degree of guilt of those who practice these abortive arts; for it is only their own souls that they abort (cf. Jude, II Peter 2, II Cor. 10-11, Jeremiah 23).
The mysteries are indeed with Him since, the infinite Being, He needs to be known. Yet mystery upon mystery is revealed, make clear, announced by intimation of uniquely authorised words. As we find, during these vast revelatory exercises, as for example in Ephesians 1-3, Colossians 1-3, the mysteries are neither unreasonable nor illogical, but astoundingly filled with grace.
Indeed, their exposure is a divine and sovereign act, no more dependent or reliant on man than is the shining of the sun, or the making of that orb in the first place, first a natural source of light, then a more formed father for seasons and light cycles (Genesis 1), as the nature of the universe is disclosed step by step in His word. His own purposes are His delight, and their fulfilment His joy, and their essence is love, their rejection is negative destiny; for light is unwilling to be merged with darkness (John 1), and truth is not sufficiently witless to be conjoined with error.
While man, as in Psalm 4:2, loves worthlessness and seeks falsehood, God loves righteousness and propounds truth, indeed is it; for what He says, goes; and has gone; and will be done. It is the most profound of mercies, that He is insistent, consistent, persistent and this in the passion of love that has His heart churn (Hosea 11:8) even when such as Moab become so tilted and spiritually tipsy that they inherit shame (Jeremiah 38).
THE REVEALING LIGHT
Thus no appeal to mystery is becoming to the Church of Jesus Christ, as a mode of making the clear murky, the revealed unknown or the perspicuously, divinely announced, into a muddle, a befuddlement or a concealment.
God DOES love the world, DOES NOT have an underlying desire at the outset to extinguish it, would that it be saved, but wills this by His own method which abases pride and self-reliance BEFORE GOD, and self-centredness before anyone. He does NOT in some mystery at war with His word, in eternity devise a love-exclusion zone so that those in it have no hope, are apart from His love a priori, constitute an exception to that fact that God IS love (I John 4:7). What does this last point mean ? It is that there is nothing contrary to its mediations and desires that is in Him. If its modes are rejected, then man stands incorrigible and is rejected. This is a divine decision but it INCORPORATES His willingness that none should perish, and the resultant as such, that they were not willing, even to the uttermost, even to eternity as seen, foreseen. That is not the outset, but the onset, and its vile violations are subject as with Pharaoh, to deployment, as litter may be, in its removal (Romans 9).
The wrath of man, if there IS to be such wrath, is made to SERVE HIM (John 14:9, 16:15, 8:58). God is very wise, none wiser, none equal.
What then ? No less than in the day of Christ in His mercy and truth, extended clearly to man, in the unchanging God was the extension equivalent viewable in eternity, as foreknown. What Christ showed Himself to be, this God is, and was, and remains, and this is His nature, whether before time or in it. These are the results for all time. God does not change, and is defined in His Being, but this same Jesus Christ (John 14:9, Hebrews 1).
The nature of love however includes its differentiation from prostitution in mere indulgence. In God, its purity is never changed, truncated, trashed for any cause; and this is so, whether this results in devious rebellion, open degradation or simple refusal. Nor does the destiny, from which it is sent to deliver, itself change. Disease is not altered by remedy's availability, if it be not taken; nor is the love that offers it, by that refusal. The current plethora of Islamic beheadings and fatal behaviour*1 in sites such as Syria-Iraq is not only revolting to the spirit of man, which it trashes with the broken bodies, as an abiding reality, but it is a deadly foe to the very meaning of mankind. When you leave the realities of divine love, human bestiality would be much better than the actual result; for this has the very markings of morbid horror, beyond mere contest, in an appalling defilement of truth itself.
Thus it is that in Revelation 6, you find this, that there is a regency, a rule for the time in a heartless movement such that death is its character. Morbidity seeks to make itself the master! Long has this lain in its site in Revelation, and long has history waited for such an intoxication with death as this, a deadliness that seems to exult in what can scarcely be differentiated from death as king. It is well that God while permitting such slaughterous intoxication, with no rationale but assertion, does not live by it.
WITH death, they bring it about, we find in Revelation. That is, death is their song, their inspiration in their slaughter, it highlights their contempt. Self-appointed judges with no warrant, they declare themselves, using a name that has no verificatory testimony, as they demean mankind, and find it insufferable that it will not simply submit. Yet is not itself in submission to His rule, and mocking His mastery, is simply fulfilling His prophecy.
Accordingly, as with the Nazis and the Communists, so with this Islamic phase, so like so much earlier in its ways, has death as the option for many, or servility in some cases instead. It is as if instead of the cheering in a football crowd, in its enthusiasm, you received the uproar in delight in morbid murder as a way of life, callous cheering, contradictory as that seems and is to the resolution of the plight for man. Thus it becomes mere confusion and ghastliness combined with the reduction of man to the status of a controllable unit, to be killed or kept tame. False prophets*1 are by no means cost free.
This helps us in the rebound from that extreme to come back to biblical reality.
In fact, since Christ IS the word of God, so that all that the Father has is His, and speaks as the Father commanded, being therefore, changeless also (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102, Hebrews 13:8,), He was in the vast eternities before creation (Ephesians 1:4) just as compassionate, desirous, concerned, seeking for the lost, accessible, inevacuable in foreknowledge as when on earth.
Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff., John 3:15-18 are in principle true of Him anywhere, time or place, since He does not change and this, His word, is by its nature, truth. Thus one's trust reposes in Him not only as the Judge of the whole earth to do right, but as the Lover Extraordinaire to seek the lost, and pre-judge none outside the love which He asserts to be His in the delineated terms, to the declared extent: and that is even to the extent of this world. Since it has forsaken Him, it has no secure future, except its final destruction. That at such great cost He sought it, becomes its tombstone verse.
True, He foreknows the lost, but does not attest any lack of love to have made them so, but a lack of driving tyranny. As He says in Isaiah 5, "What more could have been done for My vine!"
Is it finished salvation that is desired (like a complete new car), then it is so (Titus 3:4-7, Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2, Hebrews 10:10-14, John 5:24, Ephesians 1). Is it free salvation ? these show the same (cf. Isaiah 55). Is a non-cold as charity, but warm and personally sacrificial source that is sought ? It is precisely this. Is it a non-harping pardon that is sought ? After the necessity of repentance, as part of actual reality, this is so, for the sins are buried in the depths of the sea, and removed as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103, Micah 7:19). In fact, regardless of cost, the Lord has laid down both their way of escape and the certainty of there being no mistake. It is complete before it happens, and happens because what is complete is the truth. If you want it, with all your heart, you will find it. That is because it is wonderful in conception, in kindness, in purity and in completeness.
He does not love sin's futile worldliness, or the folly of sinners, but the scope of His love in His compassion is at the outset unlimited, just as His reluctant but passionate determination at its bypass for lives lost in blind self-will, is undismissible also. He rules, but He is no tyrant. He speaks, but it is from the heart.
So there is no problem in predestination; for that marvel of assurance that the work of foreknowledge will not vary by one spiritual millimetre from the love as denoted, and the judgment as connoted: for in it, there is the security that things do not vary, that truth does not lapse, that modes and moods do not swing. Hence results may be cited before their time; but their principles are secure.Indeed, what is in principle stated, is what has been applied in foreknowledge and will come into history in the one destiny or in the other. WHEN it is negative, this is deplorable, but alas if you insist on leaping into Daniel's furnace without faith, you burn. Light is like that: a wonder and a delight, a revelatory tool and a masterpiece for revelation; but if it is focussed where the eye is not, and when its scorching reality is contested, challenged, or ignored, then it comes to what is neither fitting for it nor safe from it. It burns.
LOVE DOES NOT LAPSE
So far from a lapse of love, this is a condition of it. It is so vast in God that even His only begotten Son can be as He was, sacrificed to secure the lost souls of what might have been conceived as rubbish-tin destinees, for their foolishness and sin, false ambitions and subtle frauds, their arrogance and their weakness of spirit and mind. It is so pure that even a proposal insisted on, for a change to God is like proposing to a bush-fire that it become a camp log. Life is not like that.
We are not in the presence of a concessive pal, but a commanding God.
This is that captain who is to be loved for His heart and principles, His scope and His power, His tenderness like a nurse for those who freely enter the divine hospital, which brings salvation; but who does not blink at disease where it is preferred, nor at its consequence, where reality being without its basis, becomes for man like the swelling ocean that knows him not, and continues without concession, for those who do not concede their need of rescue, or its Divine Source. If you INSIST on shallowness, then the irony is this, it is then that you are in the fathomless depths.
The divine sovereignty is as sure as might reasonably be suggested - that of the only infinite Being who has a mind of His own! It is as kind as revelation attests it. The one points; the other appoints.
The human predicament is as vulnerable to negative destiny as well could be imagined. The need of salvation, deliverance, reconstitution, indeed regeneration for fallen man is as vast as could be rationally asserted. Not only is this so, but the love of God is as illimitably real and realistic, from the outset, as any love conceivably could be, or could be hoped to be.
Its intensity dwarfs the imagination; and it does not lapse. HE BOTH WOULD HAVE ALL AND SAYS SO; and who departs from this either cannot or will not read, or has an obfuscation problem with what is so very clearly and repeatedly categorically written. For some, it almost seems as if the 'mysteries' of their own traditions, extreme and unwarranted from the Bible, the only divinely authorised written word of God to mankind, are their hallowed halls. Here learning fails and there is the incense of the recondite and the anomalously remarkable, as if a shade to the light, to induce an artificial darkness.
That unhappy response, that for many has become a traditionalistic fixity, is not uncommon nor is it left alone as an enemy of the word of God, by Christ as in Mark 7:7ff., and Matthew 23. Nor is a formalistic substitute for truth (Isaiah 1).
God has seen fit to unleash this love, in the comprehensive coverage of the cross, set forth for all as for any, with a love illimitable and an action neither dictatorial nor aristocratic kind, and to disburse its action-focus in salvation without wavering, wandering or withering in its lustre and reality.
When and for the sake of the very integrity of its passionate purity and reality in eternal truth, "you would not" comes into line for its avoidance, then this AS NATURAL and even necessary for love, as air for the lungs. Despite such negative reaction, love does not become a force format, or a freak basis, but rather doex judgment find its way no more blocked. Thus rather, this leads to that desired non-capitulation, non- surrender (contrary to the requirements of Luke 14), which so far from slicing off part of love, shows it fulfilling its integrity, so that the wilfully reprobate thing leaving this saving domain, never entering it by faith, becomes in terms of love, the unredeemed. It is not forced, a thing as true as this, in that it is sovereignly foreknown and executed; for this is in terms of all the wish and will and wisdom of God that never changes.
It is, then, no empty sovereignty, nor is it a vacuous one; for love has its way to the end, without limit, the first becoming the last, whether in rescue or in the results of abandonment.
Mystery ? Perhaps the greatest is how people can depart from what is written repeatedly in the most categorical of terms, and make new fashions of religion with old words, as if writing were a lost art and truth could not come in words. Even if that were so, then by words the proposition itself could not be true; for how could it be true that truth cannot come in words if it is words that say so! This is merely one of the self-contradictions into which all that departs from the sovereign truth and impervious truth of God.
Much is to be learned; but nothing will be relearned by contradiction, for the word of God endures forever, and ever new depths do not remove its testimony, but merely augment it. What God has said is the truth. What He will say will neither depart from nor deviate from it, since it is objectively the case. That wonders of revelation will come when the eternal life of the resurrection duly arrives like the sun arising, is both a delight, and one guaranteed to change nothing of the promises and stated premisses of God; but how wonderfully it will fill them out and bring the glory of His being home as His own people then see Him face to face.
On the religion of Islam, submission, see such as the following.
More Marvels ... Ch. 4, esp. *4,
SMR pp. 50ff., 62ff., 829ff. , 1080
Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 3, *1A misconceptions about the Cross, variable and mutually conflicting, on the part of the Koran
Lord of Life Ch. 3 (and force), 1081ff. (and faith), Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 5;
Pilgrims and Strangers ... 8 (Islam, attestation as false prophecy, news and prohibitions proposed, Sept. 2012);
His Wounds Opened Eternity Ch. 4; 3
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 9,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8 (in perspective), see also *1,
See Divine Agenda Chs. 6
with 3 (an overview of religious truancies, including Marx, Darwin and Koran)
and Highway to Hell - (Koran citations in both, with ideational parallels in perspective, in the latter two; and in the former, futile depravities in endless ideologies such as Sudan has shown so significantly, Islam ablaze without glory),
cf. Overflight in Christ Ch. 1 (and the Koran's musings);
1493 (esp. Britain and sharia);
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7
BARBLISS 5, Acme ... Ch. 9 , Great Execrations ... Ch. 3, SMR p. 1O88D - three major religions in some ways in concert, astray.
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7, SMR pp. 1074ff., esp. 1079, 1081ff.
(These latter show this religion, with the other three major conspiracies towards the ultimate - why conspiracies ? It is because men conspire, or breathe plans together for a control, rule or oversight not ordained by God: these are breaths of man, and the breath that matters is that of God, in and by which all scripture is inspired by Him (II Timothy 3:16, Isaiah 8:20), in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), the Bible, and sustained and implemented by Him (Matthew 26:54ff.). Other ideas for rule are always unruly, since they always tend to use power for what neither reason nor truth compels.)