Will God Throw Up His Hands in Defeat?

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And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it (Luke 19:41).

In the Gospels, we are told that as Jesus rides into Jerusalem He weeps over the rejection He is about to experience from His people (Luke 19:41). If God looks like Jesus (John 14:9; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3), then it seems that an everlasting hell would mean everlasting tears flowing down the face of God. It is impossible for me to believe that the God revealed in Jesus will at some point simply throw up his hands in defeat or harden his heart in retaliation.

Heath Bradley
Flames of Love
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The Ultimate End of the Story Is Going to Be All Right

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My friend Dana and I talk about how we want to make everything all right for those we love, and cannot. Her mother died of pancreatic cancer only a few months ago. We say to each other that if we were God we would make everything all right, and then we stop. Look at each other. Because we suddenly see that making everything all right would not make everything all right. We would not be human beings. … We agree sadly that it is a good thing that we are not God; we do not have to understand God’s ways, or the suffering and brokenness and pain that sooner or later come to us all. But we do have to know in the very depths of our being that the ultimate end of the story, no matter how many eons it takes, is going to be all right.

Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)
Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage, pages 151-152
Harper & Row (1988)
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Justice Is Not at Odds with Mercy

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The grandest exercise of justice is mercy. The confusion comes from the fancy that justice means vengeance upon sin, and not the doing of what is right. Justice can be at no strife with mercy, for not to do what is just would be most unmerciful.

George MacDonald (1824-1905)
England’s Antiphon (1874), page 150
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God’s Objective in the Creation

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

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-44).

Of these the former asserts a divine attribute, the latter describes a place of punishment; and, if both be taken in an unlimited sense, they are evidently irreconcilable. Having, therefore, to decide which is best entitled to be taken in this sense, and so to be considered as a leading principle, we ought undoubtedly to prefer the former; because, of these two things, the attribute only is essential and unchangeable.

When thus rightly considered, we are taught by the whole tenor of Scripture, as developed both in the character and actions of God, that He had no other object in the creation of intelligent beings than that of making them finally and supremely happy in the communication of His own blessedness: which object He effects, during successive dispensations, both in this life and the next, through the mediation of His Son; and, under Him, through the ministrations of a chosen portion of His creatures; so that even temporary evil will, in His hands, be made subservient to its more abundant accomplishment.

R. Roe
The Final Restoration of All Things (1835)
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God Will Accomplish His Goal

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Are you sometimes confused by your circumstances? Have you ever been emotionally depleted by things that have happened with your finances, parents, children, even your ministry? Have you ever felt like life is beating you down? Have you doubted God? You didn’t want to doubt, but you did anyway.

When we feel like this (and we all do at times), just trust your Father. Even when you don’t understand, trust Him. As you grow in your knowledge of your loving Abba, you will learn to accept events as they unfold. He is the Great Sovereign over the details of your life and will perform on your behalf, and for His own glory, all the things He has planned for you. Our impatience and frustration is born of our immaturity, but it is through those very trials we protest that God’s Spirit will bring us into a greater maturity.

God will accomplish His goals for your life. … Trust in His goodness and His wisdom. The destination which you will reach is not your concern. … Cling to Him as the journey unfolds. His role is to ensure that you reach His intended destination. …

Relax, and enjoy your journey. Rest in your Father’s sovereignty. Your life is an adventure, planned and performed by Him. We grow weary when we try to do what He alone can do. It is through our trials that He will lift our controlling need to be in charge. We must see that we are not in charge, but God alone determines and controls the unfolding of our destiny. Control is an arena for which we are not suited. Our Father, on the other hand, is perfectly suited for that role.

Steve McVey
Grace Walk
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The Whole Universe Is Included

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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’s Creative Work Is Very Good

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (II Corinthians 5:17).

Upon their creation, God declared Adam and Eve to be “very good, actually made in His divine image. And once God pronounced His creation to be “very good” in the beginning, then, regardless of what happens between times to defile it, His handiwork (all of it) must still be no less than “very good” in the end. He cannot (and will not) permit His original good work to be permanently damaged, diminished or ultimately destroyed (see Revelation 21:4-5).

Ivan A. Rogers
Dropping Hell and Embracing Grace
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God Seeking Us

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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?

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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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All Him

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Not one grain of our re-creation in Christ is attributable to man, any more than our creation was. Man must learn – and re-learn – the “nothing” over against the “All.” And what a relief! Not my past righteousness (non-existent), not my present righteousness (wood, hay and stubble unless He works in me), not my future suitability (equally non-existent). “All” is His: His past planning, His completed redemption, His endless mercy and love.

Norman P. Grubb (1895-1993)
The Deep Things of God
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