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BULLETIN ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE
Fearsome Aspect of Divine Law
and the Marvellous Forethought of God
Some texts in the Bible remind you of the vast and
imposing strength and face of judgment.
This helps to emphasise the grandeur and glory of divine grace, which is nothing less than magnificent and mighty.
Yet we should ponder our paths, and these relate! Take for instance the following three declarations:
II Corinthians 5:11 and
respectively, that all the world might be guilty before God;
to receive all the sin which had been done in the body;
and thirdly, that those who have sinned without law will perish without law and those who have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.
It is just as well for us that this last passage ends in all, even the secrets of man, will be judged by Jesus Christ "according to my Gospel" (Romans 2:16). That is the end of the whole matter: Jesus Christ according to His Gospel. Truth is paramount; love is creative; mercy is the barrier which has stopped the obliteration of the heavens and the earth at the time when man was all but obliterated, when the flood poured forth a divine comment on man, as having evil in his thoughts continually, from a young age into a hideous culture. To have allowed more children then to have been born into such a thing as that, would almost have been a tortuous sacrifice!
Those three verses cited above, then, exhibit law
the natural situation without the relevance of the Gospel.
If all, without that, were exposed, then there would be none left to pardon!
Romans 2:16, as noted above, brings us explicitly to the alert, to this perspective, to the grand supervening glory of the Gospel concerning Jesus Christ, the divine provision for the human predicament and pending tragedy.
In a day, then, God will judge even the secrets, the whole agency and agenda, set of actions and attitudes of man, with the criteria of the Gospel in mind, as in John 15:21ff., where it is essential for love that mercy in some divinely chosen way through the mercy of Gospel challenges and meets needy man. IF they had seen and heard the works of Jesus Christ, the people there in view would "not have had no sin", but since they had been so exposed, "their sin remains." Final judgment does not inscrutably condemn, for we are told that God "would have" all, yes the text reiterates, in heaven and earth to be reconciled to Himself. As John 3:19 tells us, the reason why such love in such quantities and qualities and in such a Person as the Messiah does not so liberate ALL, is that "light has come into the world and men have loved darkness rather than light." It is not some other reason. "We no know" is not apt here! There is much to learn but even the deep things of God have been revealed, the apostle declares in I Corinthians 2:9ff.. And this is one of them.
That is why God is so grieved so intensively as in Isaiah 48:15ff., Jeremiah 48, Matthew 23:4 7ff., Luke 19:42ff., Ezekiel 33:11; for He does not abduct, force; for love is not like that and God is love ( cf. I Corinthians 13, I John 4:9-16). Judgment is one (factual) thing; but the entreaties of love to those who MIGHT have done otherwise as in such texts, are read back through the Lord as with a megaphone, and He has known who is who without reference to works (Romans 9:11), for each (Ephesians 1:4). Yes, He has known it before man or sin even existed. He has had sufficient forethought! He has not been lax! In all His ways, He is magnificent.
Let us sum a little. In a day, God will judge the secrets (and what goes with them) of man by Jesus Christ and the criterion is the Gospel, as in John 15:21ff., for God would have all reconciled (though not propelled by mere force, outside the parameters of the creation type in the image of God). Even the Westminster Confession has some ignorant babies ready to be saved (Ch. X, 3). It is just one species of ignorance that they have. Again, God does not just trample on flesh: remember (Luke 9:55). He would have ALL reconciled to Himself, having made peace by the blood of the cross, and does not lose any except by what He states is the ground for it, as in John 3:19.
How appalling is man's plight without God's staggering sacrifice in the flesh of His Son, only begotten, this Lord's sacrifice, grace and place sufficient not just for some one Age, but for all Ages, gathered by and through that divine deposition of mercy (that covered sin for His people in one day - Zechariah 3:9), in the Gospel that in turn covers both Jew and Gentile (Romans 11, Isaiah 66, Galatians 3).
Applied to all, it is sufficient for all; received by some; effective and active for these (Romans 5:18, I John 2:2, Roman 8:32ff.).
How vast is His mercy therefore and how vast the guilt where even with such divine yearning, beyond the spiritual rigors of universal sin desensitising the smitten soul (John 1:12), He has both reached and chosen His own before any of mankind was there (foreknowledge - Ephesians 1:4), before any was even extant, so much as to think of sin.
Sin cannot cheat God in His wisdom and in His desire
(Psalm 115:3, 135:6), or system frustrate Him,
for His wisdom is eternal.