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HYPOTHESIS, HYPOSTASIS AND FACT
The Fabric of
Foreknowledge, The Fathering of Freedom and
The Reality of Love.
The Fabric of Foreknowledge
During our investigations into the biblical meaning and character of predestination, foreknowledge, freewill, human duty, responsibility and the like, and delighted findings of the unique validity and capability of the biblical depiction, covering alone all aspects of this dynamic arena of failed philosophy, which grinds on as if grudging in the unsatisfied fumbling of that domain, what might be deemed a schema has been presented. These include the following.
1) The biblical propositions as in the Melbourne University M.A., Predestination and Freewill, summing up elements of the situation as there presented.
2) The systematic secular failure to cover the elements of the empirical case.
3) The biblical perspicuity in covering them all, based on the effectual basis consistently found there, and the consideration of 1) above.
4) Some major theological write-downs or extremes have been considered, including more recently one to which one was not at the time (in 1964) permitted to add, because the M.A. was already some 75,000 words instead of perhaps a more normal 25,000. The thought earlier is the event now (see Whitehead), of the nature of a broiling hybrid. It thus has interest in our aspect of TYPES of approach in this area.
5) Six more volumes on this predestinative arena of thought, revelation, the empirical, the interstices and the resultants biblically, on many sides have now been published, so that from various vantage points more might be seen, more implications and functions, coverages and verificatory felicities on the bible basis, in which nothing systematic is lacking, and no contradiction or ineluctability is discernible.
6) Emphasis has been made in these seven volumes that in presenting the thesis, there is no attempt to lay down as if certain, any propositions or elements within the whole arena which go beyond the first biblical principles, collected for consideration in this field at the outset in the MA thesis. These have been vindicated as met, as has any enlargement which becomes there exhibited over the (nearly fifty) years since that first volume of the heptad was written, as in the associated presentation made to the Melbourne University Faculty at the time (Father of Freedom). Emphasis is thence laid substantially on application or implication.
That is to say, the endeavour was to show the lack of defect at the systematic level, the presence of total harmony in the biblically based approach, within itself, and the adequacy concerning the empirical data available in this arena of thought as well, so that the unique property of this revelation in this area has been thoroughly tested and vindicated. No intention at any time was held to present anything intrusive into the functioning of the divine, outside the entire biblical revelation, lest there be at another level, presumption. An hypothesis is presented on a given basis, and in the process of verifying it, and showing its unique reasonableness and scope, there is no intent to add to the revelation, its model, in the interests simply of exhibiting its rationality, a duty in Christian Apologetics within a given case, from first to last.
Thus where the thesis presents the hypostasis - in the divine foreknowledge to cover the lines specified in Ephesians 1:4 and Romans 8, for example, so that beyond time, as biblically declared, and before creation of this universe, before therefore sin in it - God has chosen His own people, and prepared in His (then) forthcoming creation their due coming selection and sustaining (John 6, for example), nothing not given in the Bible is necessary or permissible as a given item. Illustrative options may given to show the harmonious, explicatory quality of the biblical text, not to add to its substance or alter its quality. Rather presented is there an embodiment of a case or specification expressed, to enable the demonstration of its adequacy in principle.
Thus, it is made clear (John 3:19, for example) that in the face of the divine love for this world, which has reached such an intensity that anyone believing in the divine sacrifice to bear sin thrust as wide as the reception of the gift of pardon goes, and hence in the authentification o f this unbreachable life in the resurrection of the body of Christ (what was buried as in I Cor. 15, Romans 10:9, 1:4, Psalm 16, Acts 2) is freely forgiven sin (as in Romans 3, Galatians 1, 3, 5).
There is indeed a solution found to why in the Bible, this being so, all the race is not so saved. It is the divine testimony that some have a preference for another deal, pursuit, that of evil (John 3:19). Despite the love of God as stated, its immensity and intensity as portrayed in the arena of divine practical intervention in this world (John 3:16), there is a reason to explain why this coming not to condemn the world, but to save it, in Jesus Christ, failed to cover the practical case for some. In this He did not fail, to present the cover adequately and meaningfully (I John 2:1-2), but so acted that it should be received freely. It is a grant but not a tyranny; and so this was the opening for love to have its meaning, and not a mere catabolism into something else.
Indeed, we read, as to those not saved, it was, despite the amplitude of the divine love for man, and was the outcome of a contrary preference on the part of some (John 3:19), even amidst that expansive divine love (as in I John 2:1-2, I Timothy 4:10), and notwithstanding the profundity of divine grief expressed when the diligent seeking for salvation for many is wilfully bypassed, as need not have been (as in Matthew 22, Isaiah 48:16ff., and frequently*1). Indeed, how vastly the Lord would have preferred their salvation, but He is not among those who abuse their power, indulge their whim, make a fiasco of responsibility, for His love is love indeed, unique in kind, and one which He seeks to have illustrated in those who are His.
God is set to avoid judgment in His cosmic presentation, enablement, desire and longing (Matthew 23:37ff., I Timothy 2, Luke 19:46, Ezekiel 33:11), and although when the point comes, wrath and judgment will at length arrive for those concerned, resistant in rebellion, averse in misdirection, as often enough over history for Israel (Isaiah 1), and later that of this world (cf. Micah 7, Isaiah 66, Deuteronomy 32, Revelation, Isaiah 24), that is and is to be the self-ruined remnant of this world (Matthew 24).
In fact, that outcome at the first had a very different outset (John 3:16). Love parries the blade but does not alter the truth.
Thus the overall condition and position of those in this adamantine spiritual category, who have come to the irreparable category, because their arbitrary assertion of or coercion to evil is so intense that it may at any time be noted or revealed by Him, its fateful frenzy like a freely impacted tooth: this may be exposed, as concerning Jacob and Esau*2. It may be used to show His glory in patience or incorruptibility; and to illustrate His resolution of each case before whom all time and opportunity is known and foreknown (Romans 9:7-10 with 22) - and II Chronicles 36, Ezekiel 20, Psalm 78 give good dynamic testimony in this line.
Methods and costs to overcome are not cancelled because they did not avail, just as torn up cheques do not contribute to the assets of the persistently delinquent (cf. Hebrews 6). Indeed they may be cancelled at the butt before issue, where the result is foreknown. How obvious it is made, in practice also; thus all that checked Manasseh's ruin was divine mercy, like a torrent of rain in a drought, flushing out depravity and purging sin with an abundance of staggering grace, gratefully received (II Chronicles 33:1-13, II Kings 21).
Indeed clearly, the final position for any party does not define how it got there, either qualitatively or quantitatively
Thus in no way does the final position for any party either forces or determine how it got there. In the Old Testament, Isaiah 48, and in the New, for example, Luke 19 and Matthew 23 show the lament and loathing of the loss, by the Lord. Yet He is not subverted by His sorrow, nor does He resort to distortion of any case, to realise the thrust of His love. The love of evil in some does not equate to the lack of love on the part of the Lord. Such an amazing distortion of logic, comparable to saying for example, 'God had an angry relationship with Israel' - true of phases but in this case, opposite to the eventual attestation of the underlying situation, allows careless thought to attribute what ?
It is to attribute the end to the beginning, as in the case of Romans 9, despite the pointer of 9:22 ("WHAT IF ... ?"), and to allow the very existence of divine sovereignty to presuppose some mystery about its nature, and His, when the end being known from the beginning, the announcement of the final result in a given case, is like examinee's results. If the examiner were God, He could announce this cold fact at any time, with absolutely no reference to the actual historic years or empirical depths or eternal knowledge in which this was obtained. God not taking that time or phase in this ultimate report or exhibiting the patience He has in heart shown in the procedure, He does not thereby cancel it, as if a mother's long care were cancelled because the son eschewed it, behaving monstrously.
Of this II Chronicles 36 and
Ezekiel 20 give an excellent example, except that in these cases concerning
Israel , there was interim judgment, only for the ultimate mercy to prevail, as
so delicately described for Israel in the poignant case of Micah 7! What if, as
so often recorded in the Bible for certain cases, God bore the provocation most
patiently, but being in the end spurned, the double mercy mashed, He used the
negative case for exhortation to others! Outcomes are not incomes, ends are not
beginnings, hopeful attitudes are not negative results, and known endings are
not eliminated heart, when these are known. They were found out, analytically
speaking. We learn the result, when that is the theme and the topic of the word
THE POINT TO CLARITY
Returning then to what the Bible declares, in principle here and there, and in practice, and to the need to realise in any model, be it factual or hypothetical, the need for consistency in its application and to avoid the use of one approach or model, in the very midst of expounding a totally or vitally different model, let us ponder divine foreknowledge.
What are some of its features, viewed simply for comparison with what is another model, without admixtures of approaches, or confusion of outcome with outset ?
First it is sure,
predestination simply carrying it out, being in logical sequence (Romans 8).
Secondly, it involves divine
"choice", as in Ephesians 1:4, the principles, the mercy,
Thirdly it prevents confusion and
Fourthly, the result is a matter
of grace only with no contribution
Thus any characterisation of a corruptive foreknowledge which provides for the opposite, is invalid as a biblical model. God supplies a) the love to be interested, b) the power to make the interest effectual, c) the wisdom to relate all aptly, d) the Gospel by which the payment for pardon is made, all precisely as He wishes, with help from none (cf. Isaiah 40). He also provides the spiritual site for this service, as distinct from having all mankind in a disabling prison or separation, away from mercy altogether because of sin, or lost in some incinerator for waste products.
He also supplies the sacrificial butt for the payment and the lively Spirit for its application. He makes it clear that it does not depend, the selection for salvation, on the will or flesh or blood of the recipient (John 1:1-14), the spirit of man, the historic target.
Yet it is not at all the exclusivistic will of God in terms of love and desire (as in Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2, and their implications - as again in Isaiah 48:16ff.) which in cold, abstract or any other outward thrust of love at the outset, simply excludes because He feels like it, does not have the dynamic for it, or there is some limiting mood, or mode of this kind. Mystery in the depth of divine love (Ephesians 3) is aplenty because of its magnificent purity and amplitude, self-denial and grace; but any lack in or missing of the embracive and encompassing divine love is not the predisposition of God as repeatedly stated in the Bible. The opposite is the case, and feeble parenthood gives a feeble yet highly significant illustration.
Neither is there any thought of force at THIS level, as the lamentations show afterwards because the step was not taken and the one sought is lost. Force does not create love, being an alternate approach, resulting in loathing at best, and misnomer at worst, an abortion of the topic in view, violating its nature. Accordingly it is not used in this area, except by those lost to love, engines of lust, rumbling with unreason, self-exalting and the like. God is biblically the purest example of the opposite. What He chooses is in terms of what, of who He is, and is to be learned, not presumptuously assigned, using contradiction as a criterion for meaning repeatedly stated. Each select assertion in its due impact is not removed by others, but amplified; assumption of clash is mere pretence for confusion. God is not a God of confusion, as study of His word over the last 70 years has persistently exhibited. Its clarity and internal harmony, its coverage in this exposure is unique in consistency and inviolability.
The word of God is indeed clear (Proverbs 8:8); it does not vary, as shown in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock and other words in this Set, including the predestinative Heptad. His clarity is not other than that which God assigns to it (cf. Isaiah 34:16-17, 59:21, Matthew 5:17-20, I Peter 1:10-12, II Peter 1:19-21, I Thessalonians 2:13-16). Ezekiel 1 is not false imagery but the very vision of the opposite, of a clarity of marvellous penetration and sublime thrust, an intelligence spread thoroughly throughout its domain, a supervening and supernatural glory. Negative assumptions on this point are mere assumptions not borne out, presumptions not fulfilled. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5), and His speech is clear, with nothing twisted in it. Such is the finding, and such is the claim as in Proverbs 8.
Despite and in the face of the multiply announced breadth and character of the desire and love of God, then, there is foreknowledge of the case, the negative case, the differentially negative case with some. It is not a love which at the same time and logical step, both loves to the UTTERMOST (as here), and PREVENTS to the uttermost, the fulfilment. God is not divided, but One and at one. It is as is most well-known to man in countless observations, a love which goes to the uttermost for its children, but does not endeavour to impress force to secure some substitute for love. Rather it grieves when force being irrelevant, the loved one is lost, and through imperious, or imperial follies, itself systematically ruins, step by step, all that was or might be hoped for. Thus does the one who remains lost proceed, aborting each path which led back to sanity, sobriety and spirituality, whether with a blaring insolence, a trumpeting detestation, a lordly indifference or a subtle series of self-subversive steps.
Though God shows both His own absolute divorce from anything of that character, to force or shanghai and so spuriously gain the object of desire, and then call it love, and His grief when the differential outcome of His love is negative even in the face of the adequate cost of the redemption which is both eternal in kind, available as a grant and associated in heaven with great joy when it is received, yet some may ask further. In view of the occurrence of these abortive results for many, some may ask, How did the foreknowledge at the first deal out such outcomes ? Why did they die ? But God replies, as to one phase in Israel, Why will you die! (Ezekiel 33:11); for HE has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he should live. TURN, He cries, turn!
PRIOR NATURE, ABSTRACTED NATURE, BUT HUMAN NATURE!
In the domain before our time (a creation as in Roman 8:38, Genesis 1),
before the world was
(as in Ephesians 1:4, Roman 8:28-30, Ephesians 1:11, I Peter 1:2, Jeremiah 1:5),
therefore before the sin of man was,
and therefore before the sinners of mankind were,
or even the sinless priority of Adam was,
God knew in advance of time itself, who were His own.
Indeed, He had chosen them with knowledge and integrity!
Moreover He knew who were not His own (I Peter 2:6-9).
Though they were not there in normal
and though therefore THEY could not
make the ultimate choice, before created,
not as determined from within, which
is no freedom,
but as that freedom which ONLY God
Indeed, it is mere confusion to
assume in a given model,
Accordingly, in using the concept of hypostasis
to enable ready imagination or conception
of such a pre-temporal condition and situation,
one has seen and specified a number of conditions fulfilled
to meet the biblical specifications of the action itself,
that of foreknowing, as biblically given.
The qualities of the action included the following, then.
1) There was no inhibition or direction bound to produce the result, or it would not have been a choice to be made in the Being of Deity, one allowing for the preferential reality in man. Moreover, then Adam, though the type or kind of man, would have been different in fundamental kind, not a federal or any other head, or source. Nor was it conditional on any facility or agility, endured capacity, donated, operative and constraining in the first man, for this was not so with Adam, who was indeed given a test. Emphatically, it was not a mere exposure like a chemical reagent, rather a test, for testimony. Life and death lay in it, and utter responsibility to bring down his life to an almost bathetic loss was no charade, deceit or pretence. There was reality, responsibility and actuality.
As in Lamentations 3:33,
"God does not afflict willingly or grieve the children of men."
2) Neither in construction nor in spiritual consistency, in condition nor instruction differential was any by virtue of creation either disposed or inclined to go one way, for or against God. True only two humans were created, but their institution did not contain any negative constraint, neither was the test bogus, nor a responsibility distortion, nor was it a quiver in justice, but a dealing with its outcome. Great were the gifts; marvellous the capacity to consider to a staggering degree given to man; and great was the result, incorporating precisely what had been indicated to man at the first. Only mercy was added, and for this, God promised to intervene to enable the Saviour to deliver man, in the very most gracious way, most sincere, most untyrannical way He had in mind.
Had this initial ability in man not been so, then it would merely be a case of exhibiting the way it was instituted or constituted, and no cause for grief, only for failure at a level not that of man. A disposition to go one way or the other is no test at all, and would be in the negative case, a criterion for judgment so far from the actual one, rejection of the free gift of God, that it would be like a professional golfer breaking his driver, in demonstrating a shot to a pupil. It would be outrageously contrary to every and any expectation. But it was not so. The Lord instead had in mind a self-sacrifice to make the sacrifice of man for his sin unnecessary, and the acceptance of the Almighty's gift as free as air. Back of every blight, was the light, that of the Lord, whose foreknowledge was by no means defective, whose love by no means broken, but whose body would be. He did not fail to be the I AM WHO I AM, in nature back of and beyond events, but neither oblivious of them, nor non-participatory, according to His wisdom.
God biblically and logically (cf. SMR) was not about to fail (cf. Zephaniah 3:5), nor is He, nor was His word to fail, His justice to become sodden or His knowledge partial. Rather it is His mercy which came and comes into impact with judgment, not for specious demand from man, but from the tenderness of His heart. When man realises the ravages in his soul and the parodies in his life, then the mercies to be sought become clearer, as when the sun creeps through mist, only to become blatantly light and inescapable.
3) Whether man in divine foreknowledge, is viewed beyond time, in this case, then, as sinless in hypostasis, enabling ready disposition and choice, according to his preference (as in John 3:19), by this envisagement and readout of divine desire for the case (as essentially with Adam, but now not through action, since the man is in foreknowledge not actually there except by divine presentation), or there is some other other way of achieving the same evocation and testing result, is not the point. The requirement in terms of logical need is only that SOME method be there, not which one.
Thus it could be that there is a divine analytical lift-off or abstraction of sin and removal of its dynamic in the hypostatic method chosen in divine foreknowledge, resulting in the same exposure of the reality, or of sin itself before the assessing divine eye in that originating phase, or pre-sin exhibition. Who are we, and what is Christian Apologetics to dictate what is neither necessary to know, nor germane to the demonstration of the harmony of the elements of the matter! Man, however, is not operative in this regard, in history, for this neither initiates it nor is it dependent on it (Romans 9, John 1:1-14). He may of course, in our day, dependent on divine approach, experience more or less of the underlying reality as in Hebrews 6 and I Samuel 10:11-12. The foreknowledge however is wrought already (cf. II Timothy 2:19).
The Bible makes it clear what was done, and not done, at the level of basis and character, and this suffices for our purpose. When God makes freedom, He knows what He is doing; when the Great Physician makes choice, He knows the case. When He institutes responsibility and results, He is not unaware. When the case is voluntary, so that there is genuine guilt or otherwise, then He knows the ingredients. When love is concerned at the uttermost divine level, then wisdom and desire mixed omit nothing. Here we have simply envisioned what would harmoniously produce the inscripturated result, and noted its adequacy, yes and a second way as well.
Either man's action or the divine action is the cause of the fall. Love does not do this. Many things happen despite it. Many loved ones fail to respond, even when it is in their manifest interest. In some, at the most basic level, a desire for quasi-autonomy possesses or even obsesses them; the eyes THEY shut and the ears disenable to such sight and sounds as these of divine grace. This is the paradigm, the vast and initial paradigm of Him who uses just such analogy in speaking of His love, and gives to love as distinct from abortive substitutes, its name of perfect purity. It is not even relevant to "love" when this is neither free to respond nor so placed as to make response even operative, in terms of its being to love, and not simply to stimuli.
Whatever would put all in one of a love flicker, failure or limit in extent, ignores the topic. When GOD puts HIS love into a Creator's loving desire, specified as to extent and intensity, it is best not to write some other story. Any religion which makes up some such situation is not even relevant to man. Where man is not recognised as at least and even in principle made operative by God, as free to love Him, then it is the 'God' in view who is responsible. As Spurgeon pointed out, to envisage a God who makes some expressly for damnation is worse than oddity! That foreknown results occur despite passionate provisions to the contrary is one thing, for then there is curb only by the limits which love has in itself, That allows and indeed leads to this being the condemnation, that the limitless quality, extent and scope of the love being aborted by man, it is his privilege as human in the image of God. God has His own ways.
As in John 3:18, it is rebutted in the face of the love to the entire, not-to-be-condemned world; for it was to save this that His mission came. That bad outcomes should be relatable to no one's option, and with no one relevant but God in Himself, is to distort to horror, the giver of the most extreme provision for mankind, who has foreknown before all time, all persons, and shown His character, which does not change, in the process and made a staggeringly ample and eminently personal contribution, given a free basis for the results of the love.
Jesus Christ is to be the JUDGE (John 5:19ff.), and He does not change (Hebrews 13:8)*3. Indeed, His approach whether in the Messianic passages of the Old Testament, or in the New, is to avoid indifference because of love and concern, to find ways of reaching, to cut through needless obstructions, to remove twisted appearances in heartless attacks with ingenuity and discernment that is delightful. He is to be found hating the spiritual diseases which destroy, seeking to obviate destruction where it may yet be done, while lamenting the wilful blindness in man, which cuts out the willing kindness in God, who went so far as to come, to delete the bonds. With no change for the future, for the past, or in the action of foreknowing: He is ONE, and if made other or many oddments by theologians, this is simply distortion in man's kind.
When seen as in the Bible however, He presents the realities of predestination, liberty, foreknowledge, His own desires and actions, defining all. It is this which stands out above all the religious ramblings of man, none of which cover the case of the elements in this arena (cf. II Timothy 4, Jeremiah 23). That is hardly surprising and certainly verificatory; for who but the INFINITE Maker COULD understand and verify what He has done, or broadcast it as He has done, or use it in foreknowledge, who knows the end from the beginning, and even declares it (Isaiah 46:10). When man baulks at it, or any part of it, he is unwise (cf. Proverbs 8:35-36). Yet God has spoken and it is deliciously clear (cf. Proverbs 8:8).
Whatever then, the systematic obscurations of sin, down the generations and degenerations of man, even as in Hebrews 6, God is well able to discern for His own part in His own presence and impact, who is who, which as in all matters goes past mere natural inhibitions to the spiritual essence and reality of each one. He knows in particular whether the pre-world sinner, envisaged and separated from any all-nullifying sinfulness by the power of His own presence, disposes himself or herself this way or that, and this the more readily before the person is even invented or existent. Behold, it is displayed in the phase of foreknowledge, whether He is desired by that person, or not. It is His choice on His terms which He chooses to be so tested before time, and so found out with a love which nothing can overturn by mere disease.
God chooses as only an infinitely knowledgeable lover can, and never violates the virtue of love to be love, being a free matter and not a bucolic transformation to get His desire under false conditions.
It is a transformation, but one in accord with what in His own knowledge, does NOT want to be ruined by a continuation of sin. Doctors understand the effects of many diseases; God of all. Past the pathological palaver, HE knows the heart: and He says so (Jeremiah 9). Accordingly, He chooses, and His relief is always available, and where given a positive response, where appetite is present above all, always reaches its target, always in truth, and always liberates. THEREFORE NO ONE ever has any reason but himself or herself, to decay into a sinner's destiny, for it is God who yearns for the contrary, and at every level has provided all!
OVERVIEW OF WILL,
PATHOLOGY, INHIBITION AND LIBERATION
Consider now in conclusion, some of the elements involved, in their inter-relation under the sovereign hand of God, and in the midst of His heart, appeals to man.
A vital principle which is to be found in many places, as so often reviewed (cf. Appendix B of SMR, Possess Your Possessions Vol. 7, Ch. 3) is this: WHAT MAY BE SAVED, IS TO BE SAVED. Above and at *2 below, we have considered the jejune misuse of Romans 9:9-11 which is often made, as if a director of a company, foreknowing the result in Brisbane, said, Brisbane I have found detestable. They do not normally foreknow! but when this is in view with God Almighty, there is this result, that He can bring out the finale at any time, without prejudice to the initial attitude of hope, which God shows is His in longing for all, over and over again (as in I Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19ff., Ezekiel 33:11). Indeed it is one of His characteristics often on display whether by yearning of the heart, expressed in words, lamentation for loss, or as in Isaiah 48:15ff., in sharing of the grief at the severance from what was to be and would have been inordinate blessing.
HOW OFTEN, said Christ, would I have gathered, but you would not! Not once; and that is precisely the message in Ezekiel 20, constant pruning of punishment in the hope of better things, not as if God does not know (cf. Isaiah 46:10) the end from the beginning, for He even declares it at will. Yet in patience does He act, as if to leave open to the uttermost, before the closure must come through relentless pertinacity and untiring aversion from Him (cf. II Chronicles 36).
It is, in other words, necessary to KNOW God, to be aware of His character and wonder, His revelations of His heart and mind (as in Jeremiah 9:23), and not to act woodenly in the light of these things, but as one who basically understands the whole scope of His words about Himself and His desires and intentions; just as you may come to know something of an intimate friend, and his likes and sensitivities, passions and principles. You do not even there, act woodenly, but with some empathy or awareness. Indeed, that is part of being a friend in the first place. Friendship with God is a wonder; but Abraham had this, and Christ called for it.
Taking what is then immediately available in the statements of God concerning His desires, designs and delights, and applying them to show their mutual harmony, one finds that one of His prime desires is this: to save what may be saved.
But what of His might! says the sovereignty specialist, who goes so far as to forget that there is the PERSONAL BEING who IS the sovereign as well as the sovereignty which here is His.
He is a GRACIOUS sovereign; and in short, having such invincible power does provide marvellous opportunities, but it does not abort love to make it a substitute, an agent for force, or make of it an impersonal or jet-propelled thing, like a rapist, a stealing rapturist seizing goods as in some debased religions or attitudes. Love knows a tenderness which includes self-restraint.
God has gone to the uttermost IN love, without aborting, thwarting or debasing it, as in John 3:15ff.; and Matthew 22's initial parable gives the sense of it, with I Corinthians 1. Whereas many who have noble gifts and marvellous endowments might be desired, yet since many of these do not willingly come into the kingdom, what is left is, when it is willing, it comes as to the banquet, what is taken and fed.
Even that, unless (as in Isaiah 61:10) the ' guest' is dressed in the garments of salvation, covered in the righteousness received by faith from Christ in His taking of the part of believers and given His standing as cover (II Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:17), is not received; for it is not mass migration, as now from Syria, spreading the Moslem religion, but selective, for the Lord receives those who come in repentance and realism, in heart and mind, without self-will retained, but with willingness for His will and wisdom! Hence, in the Matthew 22:1ff. parable, the one not clad in the 'wedding garment' is categorically unable to stay, and was out of place in coming.
What may be saved does not include what will not be changed or receive the cover of the Saviour who is Lord in reality, eternal and the Creator Himself in human form (Colossians 1:15ff.)!
But in foreknowledge (Romans 8:29ff.), we learn that God knows who are His, and brings them through predestination to the appointed kingdom. Before the first dawn, or the first skies, or the first light made darkness flee, before man as a race began, God knew His own, and took steps to ensure their salvation (Ephesians 1:4).
For this, what man was could be viewed without the distortion of the sinfulness and blindness of heart which is the pathological inheritance, towards God, from the fall at the first. Whether such an hypostasis, in God's foreknowledge, be that of someone, of persons not fallen, or a sight through the fallen tissue of the heart to the reality, it is not necessary to know, for it does not affect the outcome.
What may be saved, is saved, for God would have all reconciled to Himself as in Colossians 1.
It is no use ignoring what this Mighty Friend has to say, and if you know Him, why not live by His words!
WHAT may be saved as to condition then ? Is a baby one day old relevant ? The Westminster Confession, I hold is here right: elect infants are saved. That is, if God for good reason has in mind for some child salvation, then the age of death is no warrant for indifference or disregard. It is GOD who knows where and when there is scope for His salvation, His knowledge of all the conditions and incomes and outcomes being total, so that it is He, not our own imaginations, who determines such questions, as equally cases of early death by disease, or in any other calamity of negativity through circumstances. HIS desire is as stated, and where the heart is to be found for His salvation, whatever we may think, His salvation will reach, His love being sufficient, as far as ATTITUDE and desire is concerned, to reach anything within its domain; for did He not even send His only begotten Son into the world, not to condemn it but that it might be saved!
That, then, is a first principle, one of several to note. What may be saved, will be, in the domain of eternity.
Secondly, it will be saved only by the Gospel, for there is no other (Galatians 1).
Thirdly, it will not be saved by works, for the Friend and Father of Spirits available to man, has said so repeatedly and with abhorrence of such an error (as in Ephesians 2 and Galatians 1-5). Nor will our works be even relevant to the base issue of salvation, nor will any be able to boast AT ALL of their attainments (Romans 3), for these are at this level, totally irrelevant. Salvation is by One whose attainments are necessary, totally so, and transferable as to merit, so that efforts to add one's own are virtual blasphemy, our sinfulness in the pot with His purity!
Fourthly, what is saved has to have volition. Adverse human will is the repeatedly cited ground of condemnation: when it is misused (as in John 3:19, Matthew 23:37), the blindness is not just some sealing by God, despite His contrary desire for man, but a SHUTTING OF THE EYES (as in Matthew 13:15) by those concerned. To be sure, this volition is pathologically limited concerning God (cf. Ephesians 2 and 4:17-19), tending towards an adverse intolerance, indifference, disregard, hostility or bypass. But this does not exclude the relevance of will as seen in foreknowledge. God knows what He is talking about, and all His words agree, even if the words of man or theologians, for example, act as if to bypass, or be blind to what is momentously and repeatedly written! God's word solves the problems in perfect internal consistency and external application; man's intrusive, abusive or elusive word makes the clear muddy and the mud scratchily contusive.
Fifthly, there has to be directive potential or power or relevance for that will, in the same way, so that it is not mere wishing but relevant to the issues. Thus inhibitive restraints on its exercise through sin do not merely conquer all men and make none to be saved, but the love of God having foreknown His own, liberates them, the Gospel the means, the death of Christ the cover, and willing acceptance of some from before the fall, in the knowledge of God, the way past all artificial, pathological barriers. By the same token, prevented from duplicity, as if to become an illegal immigrant to the kingdom of heaven, are those who are KNOWN NOT to respond to His love, without which as a sincere mode of life, there is no kingdom, whatever you say. If you do not have an operation to deliver you from a leg amputation, no amount of talk about the surgeon or your condition or the great hope, will substitute! In fact, it can become rather odious.
In this way, and after this small overview, then, we return to the statement made at the end of the last section: THEREFORE NO ONE ever has any reason but himself or herself, to decay into a sinner's destiny, for it is God who yearns for the contrary, and at every level has provided all! What then ? if you have not come, then come! It is not God who sets Himself against it! Come - as in Isaiah 55 - drink freely of the water of life. You do not have to pay for it... but you DO need to drink!
See for example SMR Appendix B.
As truth cannot change, a startling discovery for this wayward world, as in Romans 9, right from the press of predestination, as from the wisdom of foreknowledge, what do we find ? It is this, that at any point in divine revelation the exposure, for any divine purpose, of the placement as to judgment of any person or party, is a drawing on data.
The predestinative processes from before creation (Ephesians 1:4) are all complete for outcomes, as is the character of God for the divine incomes of love and mercy. It is in one respect rather like publication of a spy list, after a world war, of those found out but not noted earlier for lack of reason, or lest outcomes should in any way be intertwined with methods. The application of the love of God, in its extent, is not the same as the outcome of that love, as in John 3:19, and its exposure in any context has no bearing on the scope of that love, any more than the outcome of an exam for the son of a widow has bearing on her wishes, or even in some cases, that of the lad's tutor.
In this case, it is not however a matter of attainments or works, but of total or partial personal reliance on works or attainments on the part of the one concerned, this simply an exclusion device, a dismissal dynamic, an aversion to the divine grace in its redeeming place. It is man and not God who has secured this result, and that despite the grace, mercy, love and action of God in His own saving works. It is He who sent His only begotten Son to cover a far better result for those who receive Him, who is responsible for the provision of salvation, and man for its exclusion, whenever within time, that result may be noted.
To imagine that
the exceedingly brilliant compassion and penetration,
concern and activistic energy of Jesus Christ
in meeting needs almost inconceivable in magnitude and multiplicity,
as in diversity and explosive order of service,
together with His statements and those of the Gospel writers and
(cf. SMR Appendix B, for one exposition)
with a lack of concern for interception, in principle or
by this means or by that,
by that same Eternal Word of God in the Department of Foreknowledge ,
Apart from time in Himself, for it is His creation (Romans 8:36), He is neither aged by it nor changed, for if a human author changes but little in writing a book, and is not subject to its time frame, how much more is the Lord of creation in His eternal life (I John 1), beyond any taint or turning by its presence.
Indeed, to posit that this same Person who delighted to become flesh and do the will of His Father, humbling Himself to dwell among us (John 1:1-14), weeping at the coming loss of Jerusalem and the wilful hardness of heart (Matthew 23:37, 13:15ff.) of those who He had left from before creation, dashed His concern where it mattered most, as if incapable of responding to what He died for (I John 2:1-2) is a contradiction of His stated principles and evidenced character so vast as to become overturning by odium.
He always did the will of His Father and was in eternal consort with Him (John 8:29ff., 17:1ff.), contrary to His own revealed nature and impetus ? That is multiplication by division and logic by anaesthetic. It is like calling a spotlight, deep shade, or an athlete a paraplegic, or a philanthropist, a miserly millionaire. It is not merely a gauche contradiction of data for this model, but a distortively disreputable one.
What He was, He became in a format for specialised service, and there He showed through what He in the form of a servant DID and SAID (for example, Matthew 18:14, Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42), the spectacular concentration of delivering from perishing to the cost of His own life. As in Matthew 22, in the relevant parable, largesse was pressed on the least when the first called refused the wedding invitation, indeed on those who would least expect it (cf. I Corinthians 1:27-30); for there was no difference.
Those who might be qualified, failed, and that being so, for the wedding now the byways as well highways were to be thoroughly searched for those now pressingly invited to the marital pageant. Formal invitees and informal, those hoped but merely negative and those most seemingly inappropriate, all were zealously to be searched for, with energy to be sought with heart desire to be found as in I Timothy 2, and expressed in vast anguish in Isaiah 48, where lost. It is not the express image of the person of God who so varies, nor the invariable exhibit of His splendour and heart. Jesus Christ is indeed the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
In all His works, Christ is the same, and the Messianic majesty does not alter, let alone to the point of contradiction of affirmation, or contraction of expansion. HOW His searching and finding the children of man, from any technical point of view, if you want to apply such aspects to the Almighty Spirit of God, is not germane to our enquiry. It is proper to show the generic issues, but the form of God is His own.
It is the total harmony of the divine aspects which is in view, and found absolute in both Testaments. It is to be found not only from what He has said when incarnate, but in that prior to this; and this as shown in the Heptad noted, these facets have been examined on all sides, to ensure that it is entirely consistent both with all the aspects of the model, and with itself. It even arises to be unique on many sides, where nothing else logically resolves, certainly solves and splendidly exposes the truth in its magnificent harmony.
It is a work of grace in which the Lord leaves NOTHING (cf. Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ) out of line in the systematic inter-relationships of His words, and their impact sites whether in implication, declaration or activation. It is this type of quality which, like the computing-style and verbal-communication methods of His brilliance in sustaining physical life with words, in DNA in no small part, just as He announced that He made it with words, now verified, which is one of the many constantly re-affirming marvels of His revelation through His word and His works.