All Things

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For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things … (Romans 11:36).

This is the most comprehensive statement which can be uttered. The universe sprang out of God, and it has its course in Him and He will be its ultimate. This settles all speculation as to the origin of all things. Creation is out of God, not out of nothing. This explains universal history. God is the One in back of all of the movements of mankind. This reveals the goal of all things. God is so guiding all of His creatures that, eventually, He will become their All. To Him, indeed, be glory for the eons!

KnochA.E. Knoch (1874-1965)
Concordant Commentary, p. 242

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Those of No Account

Nothing in this whole universe can step between us and our ultimate glorification, not even our own stupidity. For there are saints who say really stupid things like, “I really don’t see what use I can be to God,” or, “I am too ignorant, or too unworthy, or too fond of other things, to be one of His chosen ones.” The answer to such doubts lies in the fact that it is chiefly those of no account (humanly speaking) who are the very ones whom God has chosen for His ecclesia, so that glory may be His (I Corinthians 1:26-31).

Edward Henry Clayton (1887-1972)
“God is Working”
Grace & Truth Magazine

Love Is Absolute

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We are never told that God is justice, or God is power, or God is wisdom. These are His attributes, not His essence. The distinction is of vital import in the conflicting maze of reasoning concerning God’s ways and words. Justice and power and wisdom are relative, but love is absolute. He is never so just as when He justifies the unjust, for that is in line with His love. He is never so strong as when His weakness overpowers human strength, for that links it to love. He is never so wise as when His foolishness confounds the wisdom of men, for that glorifies love.

All of His attributes appear and withdraw at the beck of love. All serve it and never go counter to its commands. We cannot reason that God will do thus and so because He is just, or strong or wise. Love may not give leave; but we can safely lay our heads on the bosom of His love and there learn the great lesson that He is love, and has both the power and wisdom to carry out the dictates of His affection. What clearer proof can be given that all that He has done and is doing is leading up to that grand ultimate when He will be All in all, and love will rest in being loved?

KnochA.E. Knoch (1874-1965)
Concordant Commentary, p. 371

What We Learn from the Costa Concordia

In the largest passenger ship loss since the Titanic, 33 of the 4,252 passengers and crew of the Costa Concordia perished. The captain of the ship was arrested on preliminary charges, including manslaughter.

Update: As of February 13, 2015, the captain of the ship has now been found guilty of multiple counts of manslaughter and has been given a 16 year sentence.

Despite the fact that some 99.2% were saved, it remains a tragic loss of life. Every life on board the ship was of unique value, and their individual death is a great tragedy.

Just the other day, my dear friend and brother, Jim Burson, shared with me an astute illustration spawned by this cruise ship incident.

There was a large passenger ship with a thousand people on it. The captain assembled all passengers and announced to them, “The ship is about to sink, but I have ‘Good News.’ Fifty of you will be able to make it to dry land.”

This is the “Good News” of traditionalism, but I contend that it is not “Good News” at all. For the nine hundred and fifty who are about to perish, it certainly is not “Good News.” For those fifty who will not perish, it is not “Good News,” because they likely will leave behind children, wives and husbands. Most of all it is not “Good News” to the captain because he knows it was his responsibility to assure the well-being of his passengers.

Here is what we learn from the Costa Concordia: the captain is always responsible for his ship – and all under his care. Any loss is unacceptable, even .8%. This is even truer concerning the Sovereign of the Universe. He is responsible for all He has made – for His entire creation – and He emphatically declares Himself to be the “Savior of all men” (I Timothy 4:10).

In effectually discharging His responsibility God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), proclaiming Him to be the actual Savior of the world (John 4:42).

In spite of all of this, Christianity has the faithless audacity to bring an indictment against God: the vast majority of His creation will be eternally lost, and His Son will utterly fail, being guilty Himself of dereliction of responsibility for His Saviorhood.

Our Lord Jesus Christ “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), and He Who leaves the 99, tirelessly and unfailingly will “go after that which is lost, until He finds it” (Luke 15:4). Some of Christianity would have the nerve to suggest that only a fraction will eventually be saved. However, if Christ’s rate of salvation was that of the Costa Concordia’s – 99.2% – He would be an utter failure, as He was not declared to be the “99.2% Savior of the world.”

Salvation is not the responsibility of the crew or passengers, but of Salvation’s Captain (the “Captain of their salvation” – Hebrews 2:10, KJV) – the successful “Savior of the world.” He, and He alone, will see to its full and complete accomplishment. The Good News is that the ship Salvation is in unwaveringly capable hands. Father and His Son are in absolute control.

Rest, and enjoy the cruise.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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Difficult Places

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It is a very simple life when the one fact has laid hold of our hearts that Christ lives in us. Whatever situation we are in, we are then able to look away from it and recognize in faith that the Lord Himself has put us there, and is revealing Himself through us in it. He puts us in difficult places and with difficult people, so that He can love them through us. We are forced to keep seeing God working all out in perfect love, even when the externals are so imperfect.

Norman GrubbNorman P. Grubb (1895-1993)
Notes from Norman
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