Can We Blame Them?

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And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hades: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day (Matthew 11:23).

Why, then, were those mighty works not done? Is it not the will of God that none should perish, but that all should come, through repentance, unto life? Does not He Himself plead with men, saying, “Why will ye die?” (cf. Ezekiel 18:31; 33:11). Yet the Lord Jesus, Who knew what might have been as well as what had been, solemnly declares that even the guilty inhabitants of Sodom and of Tyre and Sidon would have been brought to repentance and life had they witnessed the mighty works wrought in the favored cities of Galilee! Why were they not permitted to witness them, then? Can we blame them; will God condemn them, and condemn them to an eternal death or an eternal misery, because they did not see what they could not see, because they did not repent, when the very means which would infallibly have induced repentance were not vouchsafed them?

Samuel Cox (1826-1893)
Salvator Mundi
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Salvator Mundi: Is Christ the Savior of All Men?

by — Samuel Cox (1826-1893)

(New Enlarged Type Edition) “Salvator Mundi” means “Savior of the World.” First published in 1877, the main object of this book is to encourage those who “faintly trust the larger hope” to commit themselves to it wholly and fearlessly, by showing them that they have ample warrant for it in the Scriptures. Reprint of the 1899 Eleventh Edition.

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The Origin of Evil

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The desire to see the origin of evil in Satan is the equivalent of a deep-seated denial of the absolute deity of God, and is a great hindrance to a life of victorious faith, because it throws a dark shadow on the glorious consummation at the very beginning. … In reality, the adversary only carries out the intention that was deeply anchored in God’s love, and he is what he is in order to fulfill the high purpose of the divine affections.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things (Isaiah 45:7).

M. Jaegle
The Pre-Creation Era of the Universe (1950)
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Dwindling

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He made Himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:7).

Oh, that each of us would learn the sacred art of dwindling! That we might just dwindle and dwindle until in the end we just dwindle away into nothingness, that nothingness of self-esteem which alone makes room for His being “All in all.”

Alan Burns (1884-1929)
Unsearchable Riches, Volume 8 (1916)
The Unexpected in John’s Gospel
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God’s Sure Purpose

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It is God’s will, and I delight in it even when it disappoints my hopes. As for God, His way is perfect; He has a purpose which He is steadily carrying out, and He is making all things work together to accomplish it. That purpose is that we may be conformed to the image of His Son, and – with all our perverseness and unbelief, and the thousand other things that we are ashamed of as we look back on our past lives – that purpose will one day be completely accomplished. How fine we shall be then!

J.G. M’Vicker (1826-1900)
Selected Letters with Brief Memoir of J.G. M’Vicker
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No Creature Can Hinder God’s Plans

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I no longer believe that God ever did create a being that was capable of hindering or frustrating any of His loving plans or purposes, and they that believe Satan ever accomplished anything along that line know not God, and many, very many, who profess to love and serve Him are actually ignorant of His wisdom, power, and love.

Thomas E. McDaniel
Unsearchable Riches, Volume 22, 1931
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Our Disappointments Are His Appointments

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He delights to show His mercy (Micah 7:18).

Seeing God’s sovereign hand in all things turns our regrets into an amazing appreciation!

Our remorse will esteem His almighty plan. Every heartache will be seen as a part of the divine tapestry, meticulously embroidered for the purpose of making known – to every single individual – His unconditional love and mercy.

Disappointments this side of resurrection create the backdrop that is critically important. Otherwise, we would never be able to see clearly the benevolent and generous intent for all of His creation.

Mike Owens
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Free Will?

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Baby Moses, tucked away in his cradle, floating on the water, cried. Was it God’s will, or the baby’s will?

It was a cry that originated in heaven. The king’s daughter was attracted. The child’s life was spared. He entered a palace and eventually became the greatest leader of men this world has ever known. He was entrusted with the commandments; he talked with God on the mountain top.

Is any son of God restless or over-anxious? Then let him think of this minute event and its consequences, and let him watch for the Divine Hand in even life’s smallest events.

Here lies peace. John the Baptist arrived exactly on time to behold the Lamb of God, and be labeled the greatest of all men born among women. Saul was at the right spot when our Lord Jesus visited him.

All is of God. Life’s minutest circumstances are under His control. Therefore, be anxious for nothing. He knows. He loves. He cares. One Captain is competent enough for any ship. We are all only passengers.

Joseph A. Freeman
Unsearchable Riches, Volume 26 (1935)
(abridged & edited)
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God’s Free Will and Man’s Limited Will

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When we speak negatively of humanity’s free will we don’t suggest that we don’t have a will at all. We have a will, it is just not free;[1] neither do we have the unrestricted ability to carry out our will.

God, on the other hand has a will that is absolutely free,[2] and without any restriction in executing it whatsoever. In other words, His will is absolutely sovereign[3] without restraint from any outside source.

God is the Father and we are His children. Relatively speaking, when my children were young they had a will, but it was not free. I caused the exercise of their will to be limited, while mine in relationship to theirs, was sovereign. I did so for their maturity and growth; for their welfare and safety. I had their best interest at heart. So it is with God.

To advocate human free will is to deny God’s Godhood. For there to be a God, there can’t be two conflicting wills. There is room in His universe for only one with free will. It’s impossible for a finite being to have an absolutely free will. If creatures had absolute free will, then the creation would be greater than the Creator. God’s will is FREE; man’s will is NOT.

Based on fancied “free will,” Christianity essentially has God gambling on an experiment. We, however, are not the masters of our own fate. We are not the lords of our own lives. We are the creatures, not the Creator. We’re like a leaf on a stream, unaware of the current beneath carrying it along, or of its destination.

We can relax in our constrained wills as creatures, and rest in Father’s free will as Creator. He is our benevolent Dad; He always knows exactly what He is doing, and those of us granted faith have the eyes to see that it all works for eventual good (Romans 8:28).

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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[1]“Not limited” – Cambridge Dictionary; “unconstrained; unrestrained; not under compulsion or control … not obstructed” – Webster’s Dictionary (1828).
[2]Interestingly, “free” is a synonym of “sovereign.”
[3]“Self-governing; independent … having supreme rank or power …” – American Heritage Dictionary.

The Example of Babel

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God caused the confusion at the Tower of Babel for His purposes. We can look to this historical event and somewhat get a grasp of the grand plan and know that it fits perfectly into what God has been doing in world affairs ever since.

In light of this, maybe we can begin to understand God’s sovereign plan to hide Paul’s message of grace as the church entered the 3rd and 4th centuries. Not only was God in control of those in charge of the distortion of this message, but His plan was not thwarted by the nefarious church that eventually introduced mankind into the dark ages, the gruesome crusades, the reformation, and now the 30,000 denominations we see all around the world.

This has been no less a part of God’s plan than the Tower of Babel. To this, we should include the many false religions. Even though they miss the mark, God uses them all for His grand purpose, which is to eventually display His love and mercy to all.

Keep in mind, this life is not about each of us “getting it right.” It’s God’s way of creating a unique story each one of us will take with us to the day of resurrection. Our pain, frustrations, sin, heartaches, sickness, grief, etc. – these dark things in our lives are the necessary back drop that will forever help us see and experience His love. They’re all a necessary contrast!

We can easily get frustrated with the rejection we experience and also wonder, “Why has God kept this message of the forgotten gospel visible only to a minuscule few?”

Fortunately, we can relax in His sovereign Hand while simultaneously stepping forward with an excitement that He is beginning to reveal this beautiful declaration of relentless love to more and more people around the world – and He’s using us to do it. What a humble privilege we have.

mike-owensMike Owens
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The Counting God

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Does not He see my ways, and count all my steps? (Job 31:4)

God is surely the Great Mathematician. All the intricacies of structure and process of His mighty cosmos are, at least in principle, capable of being described mathematically, and the goal of science is to do just that. This precise intelligibility of the universe clearly points to a marvelous intelligence as its Creator.

God even counts “the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4). Astronomers estimate that at least 10 trillion trillion stars exist in the heavens, and God has counted and identified each one! And that is not all: “the very hairs of your head are all numbered,” Jesus said (Matthew 10:30).

From the most massive star to the tiniest hair, God has counted each component of His creation. Such countings are far beyond human capabilities, for, “the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured” (Jeremiah 33:22).

But God has also created, “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) and has promised that the redeemed are “a great multitude, which no man could number” (Revelation 7:9).

No wonder David exclaimed,

Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered (Psalm 40:5).

Perhaps the most wonderful of all God’s counting activities is that implied in Job’s rhetorical question: “Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?” If He has numbered the hairs on our heads, we can be certain He numbers our steps along the way, and guides them all.

The steps of a man are ordered by the LORD: and He delights in his way (Psalm 37:23).

henry-m-morrisHenry M. Morris (1918-2006)
Days of Praise
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