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It is necessary to consider what is written, not by Calvin, but from the Lord in the Bible, in this field. So many are so tempest tossed by the idea of a mysterious predestinative aura about a horrible exclusion zone for the divine premises, where saving love does not reach, and where God has no interest, that it is best to clear the air. The Bible itself performs this task ideally; but it is necessary to listen to what it says. This, unfortunately, is not always the approach one finds. We must all return to its precise discipline, not erring on the one side or the other. Alas, as seen in Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 2 *1,  partisan camps are a common substitution for the word of God, and in creating schism, are not fitting for the kingdom of heaven.

The topic is what is not as yet revealed, but which will be revealed, what is in any sense 'hidden' and unavailable as yet. For this we look at two major texts, one being I Corinthians 13:8-10, and the other Deuteronomy 29, and in particular 29:29. Our interest is this, that Calvinism uses this concept as if to overturn the repeatedly revealed scope of the love of God. Therefore the concept needs attention. This has been given it in Predestination and Freewill, in Section 2, at this point. Indeed, a short excerpt will be here provided, to further introduce the topic.


We have referred to a certain love­lack in the sovereign schema of Calvin ­ a pre­eminence of a principle in one area, with a corresponding depletion, in theory, of a Person. This was the more erroneous in that this Person is the originator of principles. There is now a correlative problem. It applies to the Son of this Sovereign Himself.

If we could say as is sometimes done, that Calvin is Theo­centric, not Christo­centric, in that he has the Father make a logically prior sovereign selection by ultimate authority; and that only subsequently87* does he introduce the Son to the question, according Him an agent status in the matter, such that He simply seeks, pays, procures and brings home the extrinsic appointees: if we could say this, the matter under review would be simpler.

We would then in straightforward fashion indicate that there had been an omission of Christ, the eternal co­essential partner of the Father from the processes of predestination; and add that such an ontologically inept omission of the character and essence of the Son in this ultimate predestining process would mean that this Son manifested as to love in a characterisable way on earth, was simply omitted from the character determining procedure of predestination. This, one would add, violates the definitive text as to divine attitude as well as to the power, place and immutable character of the Son, who has divine standing.

This is interesting; as although Calvin does not make this assertion touching the emplacement of Christ in predestination, the rebuttal will still in essence be found to be applicable. Implications from his propositions produce almost the equivalent.

Calvin actually says that Christ is the Author of Predestination. This sounds most adequate ­ He is divine: Father and Son are inter-essential personalities of the Godhead.

So strict however, is Calvin's authoritarianism (a sad diversion of the blessed principle of authority), that through what he styled the "decretum horribile" of predestination, the Christ whom God revealed must in election be concealed. We must see how this comes about.

Calvin stoutly asserts that God has not two wills. Yet he notes Christ's lament and yearning love for Jerusalem: His appealing and appalling invitation. Certainly this was the will of God. Again he notes God had determined through inaccessible prudence that He did not on any account desire the deliverance of the city, that He would ensure its exclusion from repentance grants, although these were readily accessible to Him for the purpose. This: but we are forbidden to conclude that God has two wills!

The point, he affirms, is that the will of God is manifold in operation, that is all. It is not two; but to be conceived in two aspects: the one superficial and revealed, the other quintessential and concealed. Christ's lament, in effect, becomes an urge of will but the divine current was set in the opposite direction. This is the sense of Calvin's protestation about the wills, when it is considered.

It is unavoidable to perceive that this would mean that the divine essence of Christ is here muted or countermanded in motion: a mere ploy in intensity, as far as word is concerned... since He suited deeds to words ­ this would apply to deeds also.

Now Calvin does not mean to downgrade Christ: he is vocally intense in the opposite direction. Moreover, he customarily exhibits great acuity in expounding Scripture. But we here find Christ an eddy on a current: such is not the Deity who is the Christ. What then has produced this result?

{Cf. Calvin's Institutes, Book 3, Ch. 24, Section 17. As for Christ's lament and statement of gathering in Matthew 23:37: Calvin's disregard here of the clear exposure of the heart of the incarnate God is a hiatus in the life of the divine picture, for which scripture gives no ground. If the "form" of God is not on earth as it is heaven, yet when we come to Christ's word: "He who has seen Me, has seen the Father", this is known,  because He expressly changed His form (John 1, Philippians 2), but not His reality (Heb. 1:3, Mal.3:6, John 8:58). Accordingly, rejection of a divine statement of heart and principle, for one at variance from it, is no interpretation! Concerning Matthew 23:37, see The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Appendix B as also Ch.8, pp. 636-643.}

There seem to have been at least two reasons ­ the one predisposing, the other imposing. First is the noted tendency to downgrade revelation in general (again not characteristically, but solely in the manner noted). As the area affected must involve Christ, the word of God, His manifestation as such of the Father must suffer if the application of the sovereign principle is affected. Here we see how important an operational principle of revelation can become. Pressed by this principle of sovereignty, Calvin composed this theory of wills, although it is clearly obvious that no unitary being can will two precisely opposite willings in the same respect at the same time and do so with a unitary will: a point Calvin did not adequately pursue.

What then? If there is not this disjunction between this manifested will of Christ and the alleged secret will debarring Jerusalem whilst Christ was pleading with bared heart all those years ­ if there is not this disjunction of will, it must rather be between wills ­ say between the incarnate and paternal persons of the Trinity. On the one hand, will would be destroyed; while on the other, the Trinity.

Calvin means and allows neither. If then we cannot revert to two wills, perforce we must conclude that Calvin's system of sovereignty requires modification.

This has been dealt with at length, in various facets, in the PQ, that is, the Predestination Quintet, otherwise named ON PREDESTINATION and FOREKNOWLEDGE, LIBERTY and NECESSITY,
RESPONSIBILITY, DUTY and CREATIVITY, the volumes of which are to be found here.

On this occasion, partly in considering I Corinthians 13:10 and partly Deuteronomy 29 with it, a further facet is regarded. Like all the rest, this fits with precision, like a machine of wonder, or the human body, or a tower, being given by God in His word, and merely needing to be searched out.

First we look at the translation matter, as in Bible Translations.




"Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will come to an end;
whether there are tongues, they will cease;
whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when
that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

Unfortunately, the KJV has after prophecies, "they will fail".  This has nothing whatever to do with the Greek as rendered into modern English. Worse, the NKJV keeps this.

The actual import of the Greek term, as found in Thayer's Greek dictionary, is quite clear. First, one should note that it is the same Greek verb that appears both after "knowledge" and "prophecies". The meaning is this:  that the thing concerned has finished its job, is complete, no longer functioning. The verb is katagew, here used in the future passive. In that mode, it means ... that the thing in view will be 'rendered idle', or 'caused to cease' or 'put an end to'. With persons, it can mean discharged or loosed from what had held it or its bound place.

The concept, then, has nothing whatsoever to do with a break-down, something that is a failure. It is rather something that having done all, has no more ground to continue, is now out of functional usage, perhaps like some of the old ploughs you see in farming communities, on display to give recognition to former times. The ploughs are BY NO MEANS being disparaged: quite the contrary. They are being given their due, and remembered for the vital and valuable work which they once performed.

The reason why the prophecies, on the one hand, and 'knowledge' on the other, are to cease to be in active performance once one is in heaven, when and when alone 'that which is perfect' is come to all who are the Lord's (which is the topic), is simple. Thus, when the night lights of the train work in the darkness, it is of great value; when, however,  the day comes, they are no longer functionally relevant. You would have no occasion to use them: they are finished, done away, rendered idle, caused to cease. Daylight is so much better, revealing what formerly was visible, but not so manifest!

The daylight in this case, that is the consummation, the end of the matter, that to which Paul looks in terms of being a 'child' and becoming a 'man' by contrast, is nothing other than heaven's direct gaze (Revelation 22), following the resurrection. There is no other possible understanding for seeing God 'face to face'. Here IN PART in the order of events; there KNOWING AS KNOWN, seeing face to face is the order. Here the one is contrasted with the other.

Accordingly,  'knowledge', Paul explains in I Corinthians 13, which is to 'vanish away' is something currently present in PART, at this point. When that which is perfect is come, then what is in part will no more have a bearing. Important as a PART was once, occasioning insight and understanding, yet it is now no longer functionally operative, for the WHOLE in the resurrection, is  available. The 'part' has succeeded in being a vital part in the 'night' ' but when the 'day' comes, with Christ for His people, it will be outshone as is a torch by the sunlight.

It is therefore best to translate this in some such way as 'come to an end'. Since 'knowledge' in the same way and with the same Greek verb is to have a similar terminus to that of 'prophecy', then we could indeed use the same English verb to translate  'knowledge shall come to an end"; but this too does not fit happily into the context, and suggests in English more than the  Greek provides. In translating Greek, you have terms with their own range and spread of meaning, and English partial equivalents, with theirs. It is good to use the genius of the one language and that of the other, so that the best match of English words to Greek,  in the context provides the total sense, without doing violence to any one word at the same time.

Hence we could translate as above for both of these cases, one concerning 'knowledge' and the other concerning 'prophecies'. "Vanish away" for knowledge certainly has a particular feeling associated, and when we are given the exact sense, by 'know in part', it is so clear that this rather brusque rendering has a certain felicity. It seems well kept, and only the 'fail' used for the same verb in translation in I Cor. 13:8, needs to change.

Freed from ambiguity or imported senses not present in the original, therefore we so translate, as above in blue, at the outset of this presentation.

In the case of  "Love", on the other hand, at the start of  I Cor. 13:8, the verb used here is another one: and in this case, it does signify what English translates as 'fail'. Hence this can be kept and only one word, and not this one at this point in the translation, needs replacement. It is rather amusing, in a way, that in the KJV as in the NKJV, the two verbs which are the same in Greek, have different renderings (quite possible, as above), while the one which is different, as in "love never fails", is made the same as one of the two instances of katagew. Thus the twins are separated, and what are not twins are joined together.

Readily however is the case rectified as above. The NASV simply puts 'done away' for both the partial knowledge and the fulfilled prophecies. As often, the NKJV does not seem to have the flair of some, though it seems more reliable than a considerable number. It is best to study the Greek, consider what has been done, look at the context, ensure that there is insurance as far as may be against misinterpretation in the rendering into English, and to remember the point about the profiles of the Greek and English terms available, some languages having more options than others, and using the best interlacing available, in terms of the possibilities on the one hand, and the sweep and content of the utterance on the other. In this way, felicity and art, on the one hand, and accuracy and clarity on the other, may be kept.

Thus we see that 'that which is perfect' is the correlative of seeing God 'face to face'. That occurs at the resurrection as in Revelation 22. Knowledge NOT in part, is likewise reserved till that hour, disposition and time. There is now a substantial knowledge, received as for creations, ourselves, yet redeemed creations (Ephesians 1:17ff.), which the Holy Spirit helps us to realise from the word of God. It is at the resurrection that  this gains an immediacy of so direct and manifest a quality, that then nothing is left  hooded or clouded in obscurity (cf. Philippians 3:8-14).




Similarly, in Deuteronomy 29:29, there is a clear indication that at that time, some things were not revealed, while other ones were. The part for man to know was provided in the covenantal revelation.

As in I Corinthians 2:9-13, of course, there is no question of what is not revealed as yet being contrary to what is revealed, a fact you see most emphatically in Psalm 119, Isaiah 59:21 and like passages. The DEEP things of God are already researched by His Spirit and presented in the scriptures as Paul here shows.

What is revealed is truth forever; and what is fulfilled, with final gifts replacing it, is by its very nature past in applicability (Hebrews 8-10), as in the case of animal sacrifices, replaced by the one sacrifice of Christ, once made, and made with blood, without which there is no remission (Hebrews 9).

This however does not broach the principle, that truth itself is what is provided; for it is ALL to be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-19), and of course, when that is done, it is no longer operative as a prophecy, since the point of prophecy is to indicate the coming, and to have it happen. Like a birth, it remains significant indeed that it happened, but it is no longer the issue. Living after it is now to the point.

Again, the Gospel is immutable, though an angel or apostle should seek to alter it; and as to the words of Christ (it was the Spirit of Christ who spoke through the Old Testament prophets, I Peter 1:8-11 advises us), their truth outlasts the passing of heaven and earth, being ultra-temporal as well as historically precise (Matthew 23:35). The word of God, as the Psalmist in 119 advises us, is founded forever in heaven. Its truth is impervious to time, while  its application, given for time, is duly achieved with 100% fidelity. Thus Christ declared not only that He had told them THE TRUTH (John 8), but that He personally WAS (as He always has been and now is) the TRUTH. Incarnate as then, or not as was the case before that time: this is who He is. The truth, He is, as well as the life and the way (John 14:6).

Thus men cannot hide their desire or felt need, if any, for some way of countering clear statements in the Bible in their doctrine, whether to 'defend' divine sovereignty, or divine love, whether by moving the propositional furniture this way or that, whether by adding to His word, or by altering the clear indications of the text  on the basis of some reserve of 'truth' which not yet being revealed, will countermand what is simply written already!

That unfortunately, whatever the motive, is what Calvin, despite his magnificent achievements in theology and most helpful additions to its field, lapsed into doing. Already above we have seen how he has made a gross mistake in christology in seeking to present a sovereignty which is where he wants it. It is not however where the Bible puts it. The Christ is GOD MANIFEST and TRUTH, and hence it is simply not possible, in consistent harmony with this fact, to cast aside His clear utterance, as Calvin expressly does, in terms of something obscure and other which is IMAGINED to be so, in the Father, by contrast.

You can refuse to talk of two divine wills (mercifully), as Calvin did, but whether it is phenomena in the will domain or facets or aspects, it is all one. GOD SAYS by the mouth of God, by the living and eternal WORD of God incarnate, what He means, and these words will NEVER pass away. They will be replaced operationally by sight, but never cease to be right.

Other attempts to exclude this word of the Lord, in Matthew 23:37 are rejected in SMR
Appendix B, and it is simply impossible to make a scriptural case for such a liberty, any more than for that in Luke 19:42ff., where in pangs of grief and tears, the WORD of God which DEFINITIVELY expresses Him (Hebrews 1), is filled with a sorrow to the heart, that IN THE DAY of opportunity, Jerusalem did not heed Him.

Such language is not singular, but consistently throughout the Bible. Thus in Jeremiah 13:27 you have one of the many such profound sorrows at the ultimate refusal to receive the designed and desired mercy which God is offering.

It is vastly important not to allow the smoking candles of theological 'insight' to void the clarity of the divine day, shining in the Bible, and in particular not to reduce the scope of the divine desire that all might be saved. That is simply as He states it,  in I Timothy 2, that all be reconciled in heaven or in earth, as he emphatically asseverates in Colossians 1:19ff., and this represents the divine antithesis to any concept that He is in any sense desiring the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11 so states). Nor is He too occupied to bother; nor is He moved by strange indifference. This is he EXACT opposite of what is written in John 3, and the texts above mentioned.

It is the WORLD to which He sends His Son (and the concept in the context is as in I Timothy 2, all that pertains to mankind as such, as ratified in Colossians 1, not only for this world, but the heavens themselves). It is that it be not CONDEMNED that He came. His initiative, enterprise, suffering, motivation are all stated categorically many times. To assume what is the contradictory of what is written, is to direct the thoughts of God, a useless ambition, to say no more.

To be sure, when the case is to the uttermost resolved and made manifest, even in history, God may indeed as in II Chronicles 36, show the end of the beginning, and the nature of the end WHEN all that has been for a long time, has been rejected, vitamised, vitiated by the rebellious spirit of man. Equally surely, since foreknowledge precedes predestination in the (at least) logical sequence in Romans 8:29ff., so that the predestination is founded on the divine knowledge, not vice versa, at any time God may reveal the predestinative outcome of this foreknowledge. It is, thirdly and of course, as in Romans 9, NOT a foreknowledge of the works, meritorious or other, of the sinner which is the decisive factor, or even relevant in the divine decision. Nor therefore is there any question of merit in achievement, where achievement as a factor is statedly null.

Nevertheless, there IS the divine longing expressed repeatedly, categorically, cumulatively, in New and Old Covenants, and it is habitual.

Neither Calvin nor any other has any place in seeking to move things around in the divine heart, whatever may be the intention. It is what it is, and stays as it is declared to be, as manifested in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever, to whom every knee will bow (Philippians 2), in the end, as stated rather nearer the beginning of God who ALONE is to be worshipped, in Isaiah 45.  It is He, WHO IS THE TRUTH, who in predestination was operative as the word of God, as He was from the beginning; and it is as He wills, that anyone can know the Father, having Him revealed by the Son (Matthew 11:27). All that the Father has, is His (John 16:15), and their intimacy is infinite (John 5:19-23). As to Christ, moreover, He does not change,  ever the same (Hebrews 13:8), whether before time, or in it.

In predestination, in foreknowledge, in things of time or beyond time, Christ is the TRUTH, and His word written stands, for ONLY fulfilment can remove its tenure; and that, it is not to make of it error, but completion, so that the thing, like birth as noted, is now over. But over it is! It does not alter, nor is it to be made a chameleon for the imagination of men, whether at this or any other point.





Let us then for much interest in seeing further what God DOES reveal, the case of Jeremiah 13:27. First, let us cite from Bible Translations (9), concerning this text.

Let us look then for a moment at Jeremiah 13:27. Confronting the innate sin that dominated in the array of rebellious hearts of that day, that thus DID have dominion over these to whom the prophet speaks, Jeremiah from the Lord makes this declaration, and asks this question:

"Woe to you, O Jerusalem! Will you not be made clean ?
When shall it once be ?"

To this writer, this is one of the most poignant of the verses of the Book of the Lord! There you see


1) a divine yearning, as from a mother.


2) a fatherly caution, crisp with realistic concern.


3) an interrogation, as from a surgeon, foreseeing inoperable lung cancer,
and speaking to an uncontrolled tobacco addict.


4) an implicit attestation of long continued abuse.

Being clean is NOT a matter of drawing near with the lips while the heart is afar off (Isaiah 29:13); it is a matter of WASH and BE CLEAN! (Isaiah 1:16, I John 1). When you respond, you obey, and when you confess in due faith, you are covered. Cleansed and covered you are accorded authority to become the children of God, and these, as His, have the paternal authority always at hand, for their welfare and as adopted, for their confirmation.

What then do we find in all of this ?

Operationally, when you are first so cleansed, you are also regenerated, and when you are regenerated, you are fundamentally changed, and when Christ lives in you, the carnal nature, at war with God, though still a trial and source for Satan, is NOT in control. The washing of regeneration (Titus 3:3-7) is followed by the washing of each working day. The one creates a new relationship with the Father of all, and His Redeemer. The other exhibits its dynamic warranty, and its working of its power. Not for nothing does Deity so yearn; and not in nothing is its culmination to be found!

As a child of God, we see from Matthew 7:21ff., you DO the will of God, though it be ever so poorly. You are His and as Lord He is not a mere verbal ascription, but the living God dominating and dynamising, directing and correcting you. You are HIS: and nothing can change either that or the testimony of the change (Romans 8:30ff.); for it is known from of old, and sustained for ever (John 10:27-28, Ephesians 1:11).  God knows YOU and He leads you in His presence (Galatians 5), so that you are indeed LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, as Paul declares in Romans 8:16, in the very context of morality and divergence from the old life.

     Is God then blind to who you are ?

 and is He who brought you to the birth, not in order that you be not born, but as borne by Him to this place, not to bring you to the light of day as a child of God ?

and if a child of God, do you act as if your old genes were still operational and it is not a regeneration at all (I John 3:9) ?

Can you leave them behind, your new spiritual genes,  evidence of birth and its necessary concomitant ? No more can you do this, than be perfect; but God, HE KNOWS the difference between imaginary perfection and ravaging impurity, between temporary setback, as in sickness, and the morbidity of necrosis (John 6:70). Implanted, these your new genes, the actualisation of the birth,  are inseparable as in ordinary life. Indeed, if you are and become a child of God, you may stumble, and need correction, training and help from your Father; but is to stumble to fail, or to learn to be lost (Hosea 11:1ff.) ? rather is it growth in the domain of vitality, the Lord the presence, the word the witness.

Let those, says Paul, who are the Lord's,  depart from iniquity. Why ? The reason given for such departure is this:  "for the Lord KNOWS who are His" (II Timothy 2:19, blocks added). Departure from iniquity is not unakin to keeping the commandments! Nor is it grievous, to wash, and to love and to relate to your Father when your whole nature is so changed that HE IS your Father, by adoption through Jesus Christ.

In this way, confronted with such a challenge to understanding, we are kept on our toes, forced to examine ourselves and all the evidence, the very fundamental principles profuse in the word of God, lest we should somnolently allow ourselves to stray.

In this way, above, we first see the ingredients of emotion and longing, their quality and nature, in Jeremiah 13:27, and then relate these to the case of actual conversion, noting the extreme divergence between the two. It is however the LONGING, the DIVINE eager and assiduous seeking with all the heart, as in Ezekiel 33:11, Luke 19:42ff., Colossians 1:19ff., Hosea 7:1, Jeremiah 51:9, 49:30-33). As to Jeremiah 13:27, this is a word  which is inescapably poignant, powerfully arresting and the thrust is dramatically apexed in this passage.

Before we proceed further, its full intent may become even clearer when we look at its translation.

Thus the Hebrew is saying this:

Will you not be made clean ? How long ... yet ?

The portent in English, considering the pathos in the ellipsis, is this:

Will you not be made clean ? How long is it that you have already been in this condition of denial, and how long will you proceed, thus polluted, and yet unwilling to have it changed!

Is it still the same with you ?

The time dimension may indeed be twofold, past and present, but what is clear is this, that it is a long time, and that its continued duration is being challenged with a poignancy second to none.

Again, the intent may be phrased slightly differently (as when seeing facets of a jewel):

Not clean, is that your will ?

Does it come to this ? Consider, how long has it been so ? Is your case still the same ?

Further, and at more length, we might seek to interpret it:

there is a throb, and this seems to be it: NOT CLEAN, HOW LONG, STILL!

How long has it been ?

Is it still the same ?

Verbalising the thrust further, we find this impact:

Do you still decline to be made clean ?

After how long a time does this persist ?

Do you procrastinate still further ?

In the light of this, what of the AV translation at the end of this verse:


To the mind of this writer, that rendering is almost a work of genius. It is a very bold idiomatic seeking for equivalence, but it seems to touch the strings of the heart at exactly the right place for the context. If it ever so slightly oversteps in the positive direction, nevertheless, the intense thrust of the feeling seems to hang precisely there.

You DECLINE cleaning, and for long how has this been so, and for what time to come is it to be - for HOW LONG ... and is it to be STILL the same ? Thus comes the haunting question, and here lies the divine entreaty, reproof, analysis, plea and arrest... This means that there is a divine pressure, placed upon man,  to look at the continuation, by rebellion, of what resists to its own devastation,  the most intense desire of the divine Lord, who exhibits a deploring with intense pathos of the same. It is as in Proverbs 1, where there is such an entreaty, so lovingly assembled, but with the rejection, there follows the indictment which is the measure in judgment of the love and mercy's pleading and presentation. That is WHY it was so urgent!

What then do we find in such instances ?  This is not at all a sovereignly inflicted blindness by the power of a mysterious God. NOTHING could be CLEARER! He desires what He does not find, but is unwilling to perform any operation which would frustrate the very nature of creation of man, that is, in the image of God, and simply overthrow the relevance of human will in a remake which would bypass the entire issue, and thus by violence over will, make God responsible for human evil, all being dependent on Himself! Instead, the blindness comes when the entreaties, multiplied for so long (as in Hosea 12:10, as in II Chronicles 36), proceed "till there was no remedy."

Such is not the word of God amplitude of His yearning, its outreach beyond limitation, however its payment is restricted in the end; nor does it anywhere suggest any such thing, rather presenting in all but innumerable cases, just this poignancy of patience, this research of heart, this intensification of desire (as in Jeremiah 17, where despite the settled fate of the city, the Lord still pleads and offers an escape: He who knows all, but has a heart of truth and which is settled forever).

It is a pleading and an exhorting which we find to a decadent  and disordered will, such that were it not, at least in the all-penetrating knowledge of God, vitally responsible despite His willingness and indeed passionate and most intense desire to save, His word would be a casuistry, His solemnity farce, His concern superficial and the ambit of His speech hideously awry.

It is of course NOT the Lord of whom this can be said, but rather might it apply in some degree, to those who manhandle, quite literally, the word of God and snuff out clear statements, categorical and repeated utterances and the entire impetus and dynamic of expressed and explicit divine love of no small or marginal intent, but rather seeking for SALVATION. When it is they or the Lord whose word must be challenged, one infinitely prefers to challenge  the sons of men to the Son of God! His IS the truth, and it has no shadow of turning or variability. He is what He is, and always tells the truth which endures forever.

Of course He knows who are his (II Timothy 2:19); but this does not alter His heart.

It is nothing less than salvation that He seeks, concerning which He delivers His charge, His challenge and His lament; and no hidden agenda disturbs or denies the purity of His utterance, who is light and in whom is no darkness t all (Deuteronomy 32:1-4, I John 1:5). 

When at such a time, the hardness before Him who sees all, in those who always resist (as Stephen put it in Acts 8), the Holy Spirit, comes historically to be in the realm of the unforgivable (for there is a limit to the striving, lest the spirit of man should fail before the Lord, Isaiah 57:15 - man is a limited being), then indeed His judicial assessment and assertion alike can flow into its blighting force (Matthew 13, Isaiah 6). Then what was foreknown, is duly implemented and shown.

With these general preliminaries in what has been often enough the topic in PQ, in this or that aspect, we turn now to the Deuteronomy 29:29 verse, seeking to find the lurking place for a straightforward contradiction of what IS revealed, from the domain of what is 'hidden', and to remove it. This being a 'foul', interpretation by contradiction, the matter has to be disallowed. However, the domain needs investigation and now is the time for this.



Both I Corinthians 13, as we have seen above, and Deuteronomy 29:29 are in books of revelation, from Paul, from Moses, in which the entire mercy, tenderness, grace, whole-hearted love of God are focussed in a magnificent way.

Thus in Deuteronomy 4, we hear this:

"Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments,
just as the Lord my God commanded me,
that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess.

"Therefore be careful to observe them;
for this is your wisdom and your understanding
in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say,

‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

"For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? 8"And what great nation is there
that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law
which I set before you this day?

"Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself,
lest you forget the things your eyes have seen,
and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.
And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,
especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb,
when the Lord said to me,

‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words,
 that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth,
and that they may teach their children.’


"Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain,
and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven,
with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.
And the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire.

"You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form;
you only heard a voice.

“So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform,
the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.
And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments,
that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess.

"Take careful heed to yourselves,
for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire,
lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image
in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female,
the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness
of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth.

"And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven,
and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven,
you feel driven to worship them and serve them,
which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples
under the whole heaven as a heritage.

“But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace,
out of
, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day."


Here is the declaration of the intense and intimate regard which God has towards His people, for who has heard, seen, been treated with such a near love and continual mercy as they! Solicitous for their welfare, frankly keen for the purity of their lives, that they avoid the cursed afflictions of worshipping simply other parts of the creation - just as Paul warns strenuously of this very thing in Romans 1:17ff., a thing of defamatory folly and inflammatory misdirection, the Lord exhorts them to right, and to sound living. As in John 10:10, when Jesus made it clear He wanted them to have life and to have it more abundantly, so here the Lord through Moses, through the spirit of Christ as Peter declares, makes clear His zeal for their weal.

This message is reinforced at the start of  Deuteronomy 4 and the end of Deuteronomy 12, so that these exhortations become like a shell container for the shell fish within as Deuteronomy 4 progresses. The exhortation so repeated ? It is this, a vigorous insistence that NOTHING is to be added to, or subtracted from the word of the living God, as provided by Him and covenantally deposed. He, as shown throughout the entire Bible, being unique, omniscient and omnipotent, is not making a contribution or suggestion for thought, but providing LIFE. His words, as we now know, like the DNA directing our bodily ingenuities and designs in their integral totality so that we CAN operate, each person, in a single and singular way, are life's way, truth's report.

He proceeds to show that He has rescued them by miraculous interventions, in fact, from the harsh horrors of slavery in Egypt; and that He has brought them out now to their own place, which they here stand ready to inhabit, just as Australians, or British, or French, or the Russian today is brought near to the throne of grace, to the highway of salvation, through faith in the Lord, made entirely manifest in Jesus Christ. The Gospel is present now, and clear to the sight, just as the land was present then to Israel, and clear to the sight. Just as then, they had feared to enter, and so lost 40 years, and a whole generation, so now many fear to have the Lord who made them instead of the creation which did not, as their Master and Guide.

How long has world lost, even recently, as the British Empire, despite all its faults, brought out the concept of the BIBLE ITSELF as the rule and revelation of God, and Christ Jesus as only Lord and Saviour, and then disappearing, left Britain willing to enter into a vague stew called the EU.

Then, after so long a lapse, they had opportunity to enter, and with Joshua they did, at last. Now there is opportunity to enter, not the EU, but the Kingdom of Heaven. The fact that few enter it has no bearing on the opportunity being carelessly thrown over in the interests of power politics, this or that wage, while contradictory elements within and without strive, and ferocious people of errant 'faith' seek to overthrow all, as if in thrall to the Destroyer himself.

Thus, now too, for us in our contemporary world, it is a threshold situation; and it is also a covenantal situation, for the covenant by this time has long been clear, just as for far longer it has, in its consummation, the New Testament, been with us who now read these words.

 People and nations today may be ready to be rescued, and the mere odd little fact that many are about as willing as was Israel when it first of all simply REFUSED to enter the land at which they were actually standing, right at its borders. To Israel, as in Numbers 13, it seemed obvious they COULD not; yet in a very little while after this, as in Numbers 14, it grew  apparent that they could. They even tried to do so, when they had reaped loss from their first failure, and had for the time, no more opportunity! This is in parallel to the present preoccupation with cults, sects, militancies unthinkable and odious, force religions and force politics: like the idols to which Israel would later fall.

For all that, those of us who already know the Lord are already rescued (cf. Hebrews 6:19), from the horrors of life without God, the wantonry, weariness and futility of being immersed in useless cultures which vie with each other, like so many wrong answers, cribbed from this student to that, all useless before the examiner. When Christ said, I AM ... the TRUTH, and NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME (John 14:6), that is the fact, and on this we work and live, the body of Christ under the Head. That, incidentally, is one of the ways that you know something is a body, that it is under the control of its head. This shows that it is not simply an unlikely assemblage of parts, in spasm, or casual alliance without meaning.

The body of Christ is what is under the Head, Christ Himself and hence His word, for He did not come in order to be unknown, as you see in I Corinthians 2:9-13, in Acts 2,3,13,17, but to have His name, work and covenant broadcast to the world for acceptance or rejections (Matthew 24:12). It is here that deliverance from the mere caveats, controls and commands of the creation is to be found, with life's meaning unwound and open for display and delight.

God is God, and the way to Him is on the avenue of His provision, not by any climbing over walls, not by any consequential falls, not by mere thralls to this or that. It is by faith in what HE has provided, to which nothing must be added, from which nothing removed, precisely as in Deuteronomy, summing up the Mosaic testimony, precisely as in end of Revelation 22, summing up the apostolic testimony. ADD NOT to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:6). Do not ADD, says Revelation, to these THINGS, nor take from these WORDS.

This then as in I Corinthians, is a testimony of a grand love, an enormous provision from God, with daring miracle and mighty power, from Egypt to deliver, at the first as an instalment on greater things, and yes, even that with the symbolism of the Passover, looking forward to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (but not by force, in the Gospel, for what does force do to change lives, purify hearts and provide conviction). Then, Egypt was the Hitler of the day, and the deliverance was profound, potent and by its pure dynamism in the Exodus, a challenge to all,  and a rubbishing of the Egyptian gods, many of which were taunted and humiliated by having plagues made from their ludicrous worship. What was to help, became a curse! So it is with what is fraudulent, in the end.

Now, after Calvary and Christ's crucifixion, we see a far greater deliverance from  a far worse slavery, expressly and completely revealed (as in Hebrews 9),  where Christ now once in the last phase of history, that of the Gospel era, has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. It is only by  entering into His covenant, in His own blood, that this is to be done, and it is only by faith that it may be  received (John 1:1=14). He has come to provide escape from sin, to deliver from its curse, to restore to frank and free fellowship with God, and to do so with a vast assurance,  by covenantal mercy, through His trustworthy word and grant, to which history nods in approbation, as to nothing else (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 5, 8-10).

The words of God are final, settled in heaven, sure to be fulfilled (Isaiah 59:21, 34:16). Such is the nature of the "book of the Lord"! We have seen over the millenia, just that, and never apart from the day of the incarnation of Jesus the Christ, so much as during my own lifetime, in those 70-80 years just past. All this is traced in SMR  Chs. 8-9, and numerously in other chapters on this site as seen in this index (under Bible) and this (under prophecy) . 

Since then these words are truth, susceptible to entire and utter fulfilment, to test (Isaiah 41,43, 48), so that any challenger must mount his case against them, and since Christ taught precisely what His Father COMMANDED (John 12:48-50), unless someone wants to accuse God, gratuitously and petulantly, indeed contumaciously and irrelevantly, of misleading, and this in opposition to the claims and verifications of His own word: then NO gaunt haunt, excavated on site of Deuteronomy 29, or for that matter, at I Corinthians 13, can make any difference whatsoever. The thing is not a vacuum for installation of the unknown, but a peak, a Matterhorn, an  Everest, its faces glorious, its standing eternal (Galatians 1:6-9, Ephesians 1:10), its nature exhibited by the One who is Himself the definitive expression of the eternal God (Hebrews 1:1-6).

It is this, then, with which we have to deal, and not some few pages to which a few more could be added by our ideas, conjectures or hypotheses, contrary to the definition of the divine already given. That would make of the Truth, a liar (John 14:6), and of the One who declared that He had shown them the Father (John 14), a false prophet. From such founderings, we steer clear; for this is interpretation by contradiction, quite simply.

As seen earlier, I Corinthians 13 makes it clear not that error is present now, for love rejoices in the truth, but that there is more to come, as when mist is replaced with gigantic clarity. Deuteronomy has the same crucial background of sovereignly and accurately deposed declarations from deity, words susceptible to nothing but fulfilment and designable as nothing except truth, as Psalm 119 affirms many times, irrevocable and eternal. It is as Christ declared (Matthew 5:17-20), all sure and true, from first to last, all to be fulfilled or simply to continue its proclamation of truth.

Hence to seek to imagine what is in the things-not-yet-revealed basket, or crevasse, or mountain, depending on how some may figure or transfigure it! is mere folly.

If one suggests a model for Christian Apologetics to prove a point, not to add to revelation, to demonstrate the harmony of scriptural concepts in predestination and freewill, that is in accord with the order to give a reason for the faith. It is by no means to pry or to imagine, but instead to use a logical demonstration of harmony between biblical concepts, as an apologetic point, the more important since it is exhibits the Christian faith as one unique, not only in fact, but in principle, and one without parallel in any philosophy or religion, resolving all questions of principle with a felicity that is charming, and a completeness that has no parallel on this earth, in the religions, philosophies or words of men.

It is one of the testimonies in verification of the unique majesty and resolving power of the word of God, the Bible*2 (cf. Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace, especially Chs. 7 and 9, and The Love of Grace and the Grace of Love with Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will), that this is so. In what precise way, the Lord exercises His foreknowledge is not for us to know; but the PRINCIPLES which He uses in ALL of His knowledge are as directly stated, and no effort to deny the deity of Christ, or inadvertent lapse into such a position, will ever alter the fact that the will of man in the presence of the willingness of God is a cause of intensive divine lament concerning the other option, of eternal life.

Mystery there is, in godliness (I Timothy 3:16);  for in the form of God there is an infinite depth: but there is NO MYSTERY about what God declares to be the case. To try to thrust mystery into a direct and concrete, a categorical and repeated declaration in the milieu of massively repetitive divine pity, thrust, declaration and lament at this very level, is mere addition of tradition into the Bible, very much in the way of others, such as Rome, who are never satisfied with what is THERE (cf. SMR pp.1032ff., 911ff., 950ff.).

What is not there, this is where mystery begins; but that it is NOT contrary to what is there, we have already shown above, since truth is eternal and God's word is in heaven for ever, the author being in Himself the TRUTH, even Jesus, even in the flesh, who declared that to know Him was to know God!

'Accommodation' is one of Calvin's points, the idea that God does not exactly say what He means in some way, because we are so lowly. This is readily understood, when there are matters of metaphors, to illustrate principles, a common procedure, and seemingly one scarcely for that reason, worthy of any substantial mention. However, when it comes to making what is stated to become what is not stated, and even contrary to it, then we realise at once that this is interpretation with a gun, standing over the word of God, with a mysterious indifference to its declarations, which are then made subservient to the declarations of man. From such things, any sound interpretation must seek to be delivered: for it becomes eisegesis, not exegesis at once.

We must give practical and reasonable heed to what God says on all topics, and not re-write things, as if we were so advanced, that we can interpret what He REALLY means, contrary to what He ACTUALLY says, by virtue of having an intelligence which was not possessed by those to whom He spoke at the time! We are scripturally cited as made in the image of God, and sin is the downfall, not the build up!

Thus Christ expostulated with Nicodemus (John 3), asking how He could well teach him of heavenly things, when he did not even understand earthly things, being obtuse because spiritually blind! Thus, the teaching of things above, a pursuit which Nicodemus made difficult when he had failed at that time to understand earthly things, had to have a valid comprehension before, principle established, the greater could be taught. Yet it was not the reality which was hard, but the acceptance of it, since the nature of the power and principles of God had not yet been understood, concerning regeneration, rebirth, for example, despite the fact is is often mentioned in this way or that, in the Old Testament*3A. Well might Christ expostulate with Nicodemus, a teacher in Israel, who yet did not even understand these things (John 3:10-12).

God does not accommodate truth to fiction, or categorical character statements to their contraries. The word of God must rule; and where God makes a statement of a factual kind concerning Himself, it is not for man to decide, in the face of infinity, that he knows better! Such a position is ludicrous. We take what God says about God to be what God knows about Himself, and none better. Tele-psychiatry concerning God, on the part of man is a lapse, not a thing of logic or truth. Further, it quickly degenerates into the ludicrous. Small wonder that Spurgeon*3B, speaking of reversing the concept of being saved by GRACE ALONE, to the idea of being lost by SOVEREIGN OMISSION alone, made it clear that this was a hideous caricature! It is. It is part of the work of this chapter, among others on this site, to make clear just how this is so, and how the word of God needs no alliance with the words of men for its comprehension, as if to make a composite drawing, to interpret!

Certainly we understand the divine nature and power of God from His creation, but as to His heart's plans and modes, this is His affair. He MIGHT have destroyed man, but decided not to: that is because He IS love, and we find it to be as He says in practice, and in profundity.

The secret things, then, are indeed of God, and the declared things are those for man, and it is necessary for man to realise this and not to confuse these two items! (Deuteronomy 29:29). Metaphors to not alter categorical assertions, and statements of love and life are not to be contradicted because human beings can use imagery. When you say, 'I love you', it is not a form of words, but a recognition of fact. Sliding into irrelevance does nothing to alter the relationships stated.

Let us then return to the divine truth in its beauty, its scope and the delight of its deposition, its reliability, adequacy and portent.





Thus in I Corinthians 13, we have found this: that God clearly declares that there will one day be a greater comprehension when the people of God are lifted at the resurrection, when and when only we see face to face and know as we are known, in the domain of the illimitable wonder of God manifest (I Corinthians 15, Revelation 22). Many things are shown by divine authority and may be understood in deep and spiritual ways through the written word (John 17:17), which is truth, and the word of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:17ff., Psalm 119, John 14:`6-17, 16:13), before we come to know as we are known, in that glorious intimacy and prodigious amplitude, which is to come.

As a photograph is true, but lacks the immediacy of knowledge given by a face to face meeting, and even a talk over the telephone is not a full revelation, yet here there is honour and truth, real and basic knowledge is gained, in these ways, so now we know "in part", but also in truth. There is no profound and contrary depth to come, but a more total view, a more utter awareness and a vat income of living knowledge to come.

Nothing will startle the viewer who holds, receives and understands the word of God, except its magnificent splendour, total exhibition of stark reality past all vision, and the glorious wholeness of infinitude who is personal, the clean fresh news of majesty and the unblemished purity of express glory for which we then become habitually accustomed. For this we praise God in advance; for the truth now given, all things necessary for godliness, we are also profoundly grateful.

Whether in terms of the Old Covenant as in Deuteronomy 29, or in the New as in I Corinthians 1-3, coming to a first culmination in Ch. 13, and a second in Ch. 15, together with II Corinthians for example, to the 'child' is exposed the true profundity of the truth. This is not some false profundity; but it must be grasped  more and more (II Peter 3:18) in growth to maturity, in counsel, prudence, discretion, character and depth of comprehension. There is nothing untrue in the divine declarations, nor is there any inadequacy in their mode of declaration, for God is a teacher past all, and His truth has no clouds, has nothing nebulous, nubilous or nugatory; for He is the Father of light, in whom is no turning or imperfection. There is no will-'o-the-wisp, but light, so that one does not walk in darkness, and is filled with light (John 8:12, Luke 11:34-36).

There is no deficiency in the words and truth which the Lord revealed to the apostles (I Corinthians 2:9-13, John 16:13), and the fact is, that His disciples KNEW GOD and HAD SEEN HIM (John 14). What remains, 'hidden' in the sense that it is still to come in the great day of seeing God face to face in the resurrection,  is not an indictment on what is already given.

 As with a sapling to become at tree, it is true to what a tree is; but when its full splendour and wonder is seen at its ramifying maturity, alike in extent and delicacy in Spring, strength and stability for Winter, then everything is now manifest: so here we who believe Him, shall later see what now perceive with joy inexpressible and full of glory (I Peter 1:8), in a totality and directness to bring completion to all preliminaries, as faith moves to sight.

In view of these things, the truth being irreformable and irrevocable, the move from "in part" to "face to face" in I Corinthians 13, when the resurrection comes, or in the former era, from the Covenant of the Old Testament to recognition of the Lord Himself in the incarnation and on the Cross, yes in the resurrection, this illustrates that the Lord has great wealth yet in His hand. It was not then fully shown, as the prophets and the New Testament abundantly exhibit, from the day of Moses to our own: it is not yet fully and directly exhibited, as we move from the resurrection of Christ, to our own, He the first fruits of those who rise  from the dead (I Corinthians 15).

This is all but one. The bud becomes the bloom, and the bloom becomes the garden itself. However,  at no time are we at all misled as to the nature of God, and all that He says is truth, and there is no darkness in it at all.

Therefore, in accord with all the scriptures, the whole of the Bible, the "secret things" are the sublime realities of God, just as the New Testament exhibits the full flower of the buds in the Old Testament, always pregnant with meaning and with brilliant depictions in detail of basic things to come and their overview. These totalities come, not to distort current God-given, God-breathed declaration as by the spirit of Christ (I Peter 1:10ff.), not to out-depth in a different dimension what is given (I Corinthians 2:9-13), for the deep things are ALREADY searched and given in Spirit controlled words as Paul there attests. It is not to do this, but to fulfil it. It is always so. God is the truth, is love and is never to be found out as in error, for light does not err: His word being exalted above all His name (Psalm 138:2).

It is not, and cannot be, some contradiction of either His love or His mercy, the centrality of the Messiah, Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 3:10-11, Ephesians 1:10, Revelation 5), or of the Gospel of love, grace, mercy, truth and justice (Galatians 1:6-9), that awaits; for it is expressly its consummation of which Paul, Christ and the apostles speak (as in I Corinthians 13,15, Ephesians 1, John 16:13-15). Indeed, it is in Christ's absence that the Spirit of God is said to lead the apostles into all truth, which is the word of God written. If a more manifest WAY of seeing it is to come, yet it is all there, the structure, the principles and the realities, so that they both knew God and had seen Him.

This is God-given and not even susceptible to variation, for that reason, and the Cross is the cynosure of glory and remains so as in Revelation 5, and Galatians 6:14.

The nature of things known relative to the unknown, that is, of things now revealed concerning the Lord compared to things to come,  is fully defined in I Corinthians as being fitting for the completion of Biblical revelation, as adulthood comes after childhood, and the partial becomes the totality. This is in the Gospel tutelage of Christ, Himself no less than God in the flesh. Indeed, relative to our present point, it is the very love of God which is the crucial, the critical and the indispensable matter in KIND.

This Christ was no figure, but the foundation for the faith (I Corinthians 3:10-11), His was no metaphorical flimsiness, though like others He could use figures to illustrate His principles and categorical declaration to attest direct. Rather did He provide now with the milk of the word, now with a body of meat. The nails were not symbolic, but metal, for the symbolic had become the historical and the historical He depicted in its truth, being truth (Hebrews 8-10). The love for this world was not another name for condemning it, but that it should be saved. All this we know and are told (John 1-3), quite clearly.





(cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.  2, p. 32,  Ch.  4, esp. * 1B,
Predestination and Freewill
Section 2, p. 92,
That Magnificent Rock
  3, pp. 72ff.)


There is hence no room for Calvins' horrible decree, or division of the explicit words of Christ from the thought and direction of desire of the Father*3C (a thing expressly denied in John 5:19-23). There is nothing horrible about God. No mystery leaves lapses in the love of God, for He IS love, and says so (( John 4:7-8); no diminution of scope is scripturally permissible for that love (Colossian 1:19ff.), without making the words of man, the arch rivals and competitors, indeed the expulsion agents for the word of God. Someone who IS courage, cannot at time be cowardly; and one who IS wisdom, cannot at times be unwise; nor can one who IS love, at times be restrictive in its application. It may be that love does not find its rest somewhere, but this is not to have a lapse in love, but a fulfilment without consummation; for love does not force.

Endeavours then to make Christ's love to be truncated despite His utterance are singularly misled.

Truly, this flurry into breaches in the consistency of God's word, of the Son with the Father, is an intrusive shame to the perspicuous clarity of His word (Proverbs 8:8), and a blot on His majesty. It cannot remain. It is unscriptural, the breath of man, not of God.

That the so-called 5 points of Calvin*3 are indeed sound and a most useful declaration, when they are derived as they should be, from scripture, is no excuse for giving them absurdly and gratuitously, a setting which is stark conflict with the Bible. Prior to all system is the love of God, and whether Christ died in this extent or that, it is one system. In fact, however, the love is as defined by Him in whom there is no blemish for it, no lack of perfection, nor any place, spot or contrivance by which it is absent. God IS love.

This does not mean He is nothing else; but it DOES mean that nothing to the contrary can righteously be affirmed.

What then do we find ? This system in the five points of Calvin, seen in its biblical setting, is true; but its whole environment and the antecedents Calvin does not faithfully transmit. There is the antecedent love and foreknowledge, and it is in this knowledge that the scripture explicitly places the predestination by God (Romans 8:29ff.). Nothing of love is denied, but rather it is ratified and fulfilled. No horror is attached to the mystery of decrees. Not only is this so in the Bible in principle and categorical pronouncement form this and that aspect, but it is so in constant divine practice as you read in the scriptures of God, the heart-breaking lament of the LORD Himself, for those irredeemably lost.

How many times He intervenes, with how much anguish, and with what tutelage before, as in Isaiah 57:15, theirs is the lostness at length confirmed! You see this most dramatically and brilliantly exposed in Ezekiel 20, where the Lord again and again is thrust aside, but in mercy acts with labour to deliver the rebels from their due results, until at last, as in II Chronicles 36, there is "no remedy." Remedy is in view; but at last it ceases to be applicable.

No, it is not at a decree of His that He laments, as if some sublime sovereignty impeded His love; for He IS the sovereign and there is NO OTHER. Let alone is it a lament for a decree which He made despite Himself, for God has no imposition, being God above all, knowing all, for whom time with its transmutations and impositions is merely a creation (Romans 8:36ff.). The case is far otherwise. The divine lament is at the continued human resolution not to heed or honour, to hallow or find the reality of His name, of His will, of His work and of His grace; for He delights categorically in mercy (Micah 7:19ff.), and in Him there is no place for less, though again, when all is done, and remedy is refused, mercy ceases to have its application. This we have already considered, above.

There is, however, a horror, as in Isaiah 66, and there it is expressed. The ruins of the unredeemed do indeed evoke horror. This however is the result of such intransigence before the Lord who knew His own before even the creation, and not of a gap in love. What is past redemption is unredeemed; but it is not because of a simple exclusion notice, that this occurs, but because preference for darkness and not light, in the face of the light which is the salvation of Christ, in the eternal knowledge of God, is by those preferred. Freedom, liberty, love, friendship cannot be made by force. All mercy invites; but as in Matthew 13:    , where the final invitation is finally rejected, as known before time by God, then that is another domain, self-impelled, though this only by divine knowledge, which has its sovereign impact at last (cf.  Matthew 22:1-14).

It is one at the result of sin; but as to the love of God, what more could He have done for His vineyard (cf. Isaiah 5). He has no desire to condemn even the world, and says so, making the entire parameters of His meaning explicit (cf. Great Execrations ... Ch. 7, and as in I Timothy 2). Though predestination reveals what WILL be condemned, yet as in Romans 8, this arises from a foreknowledge, the very knowledge of God, and is secondary in logical sequence at least, to that, exposing what is hateful to the end, to its own end, as with Judas, who went to his own place.

This is the scope of what is written; and it is no part of sanctity to deny it, as if the glories to come deny the truth already present and presented, and that, in Christ who IS the truth.







Such is the love, mercy and ineffable peace of God, that anyone can know that God is not intent on stopping seeking, for in fact He COMMANDS IT (Matthew 7). He is not waiving access by a stubborn hole in the love, as if worn by the seas of time, but inducing it; He is not concerned to exclude, but to include, has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, would have all to repent and come to a knowledge of the truth, even for the whole world and heavens themselves! All does not mean some; and not to condemn does not mean to condemn. Nor is the whole realm of heaven and earth mean some mini-realm. It is necessary at last to believe God. It is necessary to avoid Reformed traditions, in case they become nails in the coffin of truth, from which Christ has already arisen, so that they become rebellious unrealities. Certainly, confessions may be fine; but NEVER except ENTIRELY subordinate to the BIBLE, and this not in theory, but in practice.

What then do we find of the actual, biblically expressed love of God, and of its impact on man before God ?

Thus equipped, any sinner can seek the Lord knowing that so far from bringing up what will dash the expedition with the majestic might of the Creator, there is the DESIRE in Him that ALL might be saved, and thus he may look for divine help in seeking, not hindrance, look up for marvels of expedition, not inhibition. The winds are favourable and not averse; and who will seek if the desire is gone, and where is the desire to come when the way is foregone! To be sure a mere repining may come, when they seek but not with all the heart (Hosea 7:14ff.), because of a secret desire to be imprisoned by some idol or its equipment; but this is not to seek. It is to temporise, it is humbug, it is ambivalence, it is vexation and anguish self-imposed.

There IS assuredly a hardening which breaches the very life of the soul; but this is not because God did not desire ALL, for He says so; it is because the soul has managed to contrive a way of stepping over and through Christ's dead body, as it were, so that it can no more bring an offering for sin (Hebrews 10).

The soul, staggering in this plight, has but to realise that there is a WORD - for we do not deal with matters beyond need, but with the practical result, once the name of God has been delivered from defilement as in this undivine limitation (not of the atonement, which is VERY limited, but of the love). We deal in short, with the word of God.

But what to the point does it say ? It is this:


"All whom the Father gives Me will come to Me;


and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

You do not know if the Father has given you to Christ ? No, if you are not a Christian, you may not know this. But this you DO know, that if you COME in faith to Him, He will not, promised fact, cast you out. He will receive you. Therefore come. But perhaps one may say: I do not wish to come. So be it. There is nothing horrible about GOD in that! Another may say, I wish I COULD come but there are things I desire more ('I wish, my dear, I could come to your dinner party, but I have a game of cards scheduled for that night'). Very well, you lose nothing of what you want: it is just that you cannot have two top priorities and honour both. That may be horrible of you, but not of God.

Yet take a more appealing case. Now, you WANT to come, more than anything else, you languish because you do not do so; like Augustine, you lament, you are appalled at your own deficiencies, horrified at your declivities, cannot deliver yourself from your sins, wonder how this led to that and so forth. This may be horrible too, but it is not too horrible for God. He CAME, the Christ, not to save righteous people, but sinners and SAID SO (Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:17). Thus you are in good case RELATIVE NOT TO SIN, BUT TO AN APPOINTMENT WITH HIM who came to save sinners!

Rarely has one heard such beautiful words as from a young teacher who, as the first communion time came, and following study of the Bible to find the Gospel, declared: "I am not good enough." There was the heart of it.

He KNEW where he COULD not stand before God. Hence the need was simple: Are you good enough to be a sinner ? Assuredly, came the reply. Are you bad enough to need the Saviour ? Assuredly again. Then TAKE HIM!

You do not take food if you are ready to vomit from surfeit. You are hungry  ? Here is the food. It is not God who desires you to be famished! As Christ put it, I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE. If anyone should eat of this bread, he will live forever! (caps. added).

This was not the PERPETUAL eating, but the once eating! It is not a present continuous here, but a thing to be done, or not done: eat. Certainly, one does again and again receive from His fulness, and He does also speak of this; but the vital first eating, here in view,  is final in result (John 10:9 putting it in other terms, but with the same result).

It is as with the woman of Samaria, ONCE drink of this water and NEVER will you thirst again, nor have to come to this well at all! There is no continuity in grammar or context, but a disjunction from this, to make the transitional point of salvation itself, inalienable and final.

The DECREE MAGNIFICENT of God is to be relished (Romans 5:1-12, Colossians 1). Horrible is no decree of His; and what is at last consigned to the pit, it is because it preferred darkness to light, even in the midst of the very light of the incarnate Christ. Would it not be hell to have to come to heaven, against preference, to share in what is to such a soul, its accursed light! With such a doctor, never imagine it is His fault in any way, that even justice comes at last. HE has done all, even to taking the disease. Prefer it yourself, and die for it ?  So be it. As He decreed, If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins! What more ? Reject the antibiotic against sin, and despite the cost being infinite to gain it as available to you, it is on your head. Man with sin by ultimate preference even in the knowledge of God, and in the face of light, even in God's own foreknowledge, he is lost ? Alas it is so.

The divine passion to alter the case, known of course always to Him, is not aborted by such knowledge, for the thing known is played out, worked out, travailed out into the open, not hidden but clear; the divine love is transmitted to His children (Romans 5:5), and it is in this love that one seeks, knowing the terror of the Lord, that He is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to the uttermost and to eternity, to bring His healing balm and illimitable mercy to man. It is not to be shoved into the back pocket of the resolute in rebellion as they escape; it is provided where it fits, belongs, where loves finds its way to the heart, and so knowing it beyond all time and effort, secures it.

Man with sin in the face of mercy and in the light of truth, apostate to the end, trampling on mercy ?

 It may seem  an unlikely alliance, but never let the unbelieving attribute it in any way to God, but to their own waywardness. For this He has the answer*4; but He will not take your crutches from you, by force.








The endnote *1 of Tender Times... Ch. 2, deals with our current issue in some depth and breadth. Our present interest is an excursion into the affair of hidden knowledge in itself, relative to the Bible, and the application of this aspect to the full-body of the decretum horribile of Calvin, that sadly misconstrued approach. There is nothing horrible about God or His decrees, and it is a testimony against Calvin, for all his brightness, confused at this point, that he can so speak.

This is a good place to consider Calvin's atrocious error a little further. Do not misunderstand, for even David committed an atrocious error with Bath-Sheba, and one quite out of character in the matter of insisting on knowing, through months of work, the statistics of his military host: a thing rebuked.

It is a question of the motive and the spiritual aspect as applicable in the individual and personal case.

So with Calvin, it is excellent what he has in general wrought, but he is quite capable of an atrocious error, such as his concept of the horrible decree; for it is one thing to have, through the impact of the Bible, and its teaching, to call a halt to the worst feature of Calvin's work, but it is quite another to talk of anything horrible in GOD.

Nor is this merely a generic issue. It is unscriptural to the hilt. Thus in Calvin's Institutes, Bk 3, Ch. 27, and in Calvin's Commentary on Romans, as detailed in the above cited endnote in Tender Times ... Ch. 2, alike, this error mounts to the clouds; but is rebuffed by them, before it can go any further. We find such things as this, that "in order to be loved by God, we must first be righteous, for He hates unrighteousness" (loc. cit.).

This is like darkness to light, compared with Romans 5. Here the exact opposite to the thrust of these words is shown. By contrast, in Romans, first we learn how extravagant a thing it is for one to die for another; then that it MIGHT be that someone would "even dare to die" for someone of special goodness; and this before this utter stretch of human solicitude is contrasted with that of God.

Is it in order to show that God loves ONLY the righteous, because "in order to be loved by God, we must FIRST be righteous" (emphasis added) ? In Romans we find written the absolute contradictory. Marvellous as it would be if someone even dared to die for another, GOD COMMENDS HIS LOVE TOWARDS us in that while we were STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us. Was it as an inadvertence ? Known to God are all His works before the foundation of the world, and moreover, He WORKS all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11). Was it then through a temporary shelving of love ? But GOD IS LOVE (I John 4). It is useless to try to fracture God, for He is ever the same; and God SO LOVED the world that HE GAVE (John 3:16 cf. Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 9, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4).

Calvin is here categorically wrong; and the error appears again and again in his dissertations.

Thus he declares in 3:27 of the Institutes, that God does not will this and that in Himself, but His will is manifold. This, as a total,  is nonsense.

If God will that David be given three choices about his discipline for an erroneous preoccupation with military numbers, it is this, and not that. If He wills that Babylon fall and be a hissing among the nations, it is not that it does not fall, that it will fall slightly, that it will fall and be only a slight sibilance among the nations. It is what it says, neither more nor less.

While the purposes of God are vast, His role majestic, His knowledge all-inclusive and His ways past finding out, He DOES declare what they are, what it is to SEE GOD, and KNOW God, whether in the Old or the New Testaments (Exodus 24, Jeremiah 9:24, John 14). When He declares that He is love, you do not need to FIND OUT: for you are told. That is the whole point of REVELATION, of which Christ Jesus the Lord is statedly the definitive and ultimate, the precise and embracive expression. He who IS the truth, has no realms to conquer, and when He took the form of a servant (Philippians 2), it was not because He was in any sense inferior, AS GOD, but DESPITE the fact that to be equal with God was nothing to grab at, since He already was just that!

One of the this or that aspects of the will of God, is the disposition of love, so that He would have all to be saved, so that having made peace by the blood of the cross, He would have all to be reconciled to Himself, and SAYS SO (Colossians 1). Indeed, so vast and expansive is this love that it applies as Paul states, whether to things in heaven or on earth. It is moreover in the context OF heaven and earth, and of the death of Christ, precisely as in I John 2:2. The loving initiative cannot, whether here or in Romans 5, be truncated. It is scripturally given an amplitude which is irreconcilable with skimping, limping, blips and oddities (cf. Great Execrations ... Chs.   7 and   9).

He who IS love never ceases to be what He is (I John 4).

WHILE we were YET sinners, Christ died for us; that is what is written. Moreover, as to the motivation in that event, it is superior to, yes and elevated vastly beyond the willingness of someone to die for the good man. It is the opposite. It is CONTRASTED with such an event among men!

Further, we need not research here, for Paul declares this: "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while se were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It is explicitly not only by such love that He then acts, but it is a DEMONSTRATION OF THAT FACT, and it says so! For ignoring the word of God, alas, on this point, Calvin works with much facility, but so far from this being his glory, it is one hopes, his saddest fall.

As if this were not enough, being in categorical and dramatic contradiction of Calvin, even oratorical collision with his view, the Greek has this, that it God's OWN love. It is THIS which He is stated to demonstrate in this, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.

In the Greek letters, we find not idiou, but eautou. It is not the former, since God is the very original and source of love, and His love is not to be made a mere specific. Yet it is not mere possessive either, but the emphatic. It is a love which is His very own and there is nothing about human love which is to be made its comparison, but rather the contrary. This is HIS love, and this is how it acts! That, indeed, is the very practical application of the principle, which Paul IMMEDIATELY makes.

Which then, Calvin or Christ ? In this particular point, one of great moment,  the comparison is stark; for Calvin here errs, so that weak traditionalism must face the charge of being just that (contrary to Mark 7:7ff.), as well as the additional charge of debasing the love of God, if Calvin be here followed. A third charge to such an error is this, that it is explicitly FORBIDDEN to follow this saint or that (I Corinthians 3), being of Apollos or any other party. It is Christ or nothing, and HE ALONE is the teacher (Matthew 23:8-10). Let us come out of the clouds of expediency down to the earth of what GOD COMMANDS.

It is a necessary precaution in order to avoid error; for it is the word of God which is pure and seven times refined: this is its unique beauty.

Thus in the exposition on Jacob and Esau, as appears in Institutes 3:22.6, Calvin makes the point that in men God "finds no reason to bless them, but takes it from His mercy alone". That is, one is chosen by mercy, another not: there is nothing universal as to attitude that would work on the forsaken mess that is fallen man.

While the latter part, concerning mercy,  is undoubtedly and most gloriously true, for NOTHING of merit is in man; nevertheless,  the first part limps into a gross and disorderly bump into the fact that there IS a reason. HE LOVES THEM. It is not a reason of human merit, or of human superiority, solicitude or sensibility: it has nothing of that. It is not BECAUSE they are attractive, but DESPITE the fact that they are rendering themselves repugnant through sin, that God manifests His own love towards man (cf. Titus 2-3, for this phrasing).

God loves them, and says so. Sinners or not, God loves them.

Hence there is that within Himself which prompts Him, as we have repeatedly seen in this chapter from the scriptures themselves, to bless or deliver them. Indeed, much of the prophets is on this special topic, with tempestuous seeming passion, with quiet appeal, with irony, with exhortation tender. Time after time, He wrought for them, mercy overcoming the judgment which was staring them in the eyes, to deliver them,

This we read in Ezekiel 20; but alas, they heeded not, till there was no remedy (cf. II Chronicles
36 ). That is a difference from Calvin, as of the towering cliffs overlooking the sea with majesty, to the flat sand beneath. You see far further, when you take your position in the heavenly places, in the Biblical word and warrant, and not in mere philosophy.

For the fact is this: Calvin is excellent in applying some scriptural truths, and one is grateful to God for that; but he is far less so in another case, as we see above, and can exhibit a blind spot precisely as one might in an automobile, when one looks, and looks again to see how one could possibly have missed seeing a car in the mirror, and eventually finds out what adjustment of the side mirror is necessary to avoid such a potential calamity!

One finds, then, further application of Calvin's blind spot in Institutes 3.23.8. Why did Adam fall ? Calvin asks. It is, he declares, because "the Lord had judged it to be expedient." Here you find the same toned down aspect attributed to the divine nature, as if He were planning a military campaign and this was an acceptable loss, or a wise provision. it is not LESS than this, but it is certainly far MORE.

SINCE it is a fact that God would have all reconciled to Himself, since it was PLEASING to Him (Colossians 1),  that this in the even arenas of heaven and earth should be the case: then it is a fact that it did not seem expedient as an ample or even accurate expression of His will toward Adam. God does not change.

To be sure, His foreknowledge (in which His love is amply expressed), and His predestination (in which His foreknowledge is amply expressed)  is such that things are indeed ordained. Nothing is mere chance; and as has been expressed, before, even the events which come to the wicked, who as Psalm 1 tells us come to be like chaff in their disengagement from divine grace, these are not excluded from a divine oversight, since otherwise He would not work all things after the counsel of His own will.

It is just that in such cases, there is no guarantee that the mercy will impel itself into events. It is mercy to die for sins; it is mercy to be persecuted for Christ; but it is wisdom which attends to these things and disposes them, in love, but not in indulgence. Knowing the fearsomeness of such a situation, we who know the Lord are impelled at all costs to help them find Him. It is not some loquacity or pertinacity, but love and pity, in the fear of the Lord. But let us return to Adam's situation.

Thus,  when Adam sinned and fell, the attitude of God might perhaps be in some way be called one of deeming it expedient; but this term is a grossly inadequate one, and merely reflects Calvin's preoccupation with sovereignty which repeatedly comes into collision with the NATURE of the One who IS sovereign. Indeed, it comes at times almost as if sovereignty is ruling, and God is watching it. Certainly, the excision from such events, or the ignoring, as the case here or there in Calvin's works may be,  of the love of God, HIS OWN LOVE, as the scripture states it, leads to statements at once provocative and more a caricature, to use Spurgeon's term in Jacob and Esau, of a parallel approach, than a characterisation of the approach of God.

Adam fell DESPITE this love. It is not a thing that a father would call 'expedient', equipped with the love of a father, that his son would go to gaol. It might be called a grievous acknowledgement in the face of great love, that it is necessary; but 'expedient', this could not be any fair assessment of the event. Nor is it found so, in II Chronicles, where the Lord characterises His attitude to the coming judgment and specifies His almost endless seeming and flaming efforts to deliver His people.

It is moreover, by no means hidden from us, as Calvin here asserts of Adam, why he fell.

The first man fell because firstly, his wife fell, being incited to accept the word apparently of a creature, over whom she should be bearing rule, not one to which she should give heed. This was a breach of responsibility. Further, she should, as a helper to man, not have seized, in such a crucial episode, the initiative, but have brought it to Adam. Thirdly, the noxious and vilificatory effort to indict the moral purity of God was gratuitous, as well as childish. Is the creation to fight against the One who gave it morals, and power and place; and is the entirely derivative and dependent to find means to exhibit the errors of the one from whom came the critical faculties!  Yet this she did.

It came, this fall, fourthly, because Adam listened to his wife, his 'meet help', not his Lord, first in this thing; and so in this, he showed an irresponsibility in view of the absolute terms of reference to his Creator which existed.  It came, fifthly, because the dire, divine warning was ignored, one which meant death.

In short, this fall,  it came for reasons in much but not all, similar and parallel to the reasons why many fall today, exalting themselves and their minuscule wisdoms to the skies, derogating God like a puppy on its hind legs trying to fight its master, and lusting for powers not only ludicrous to imagine, but impossible to achieve, relative to the 'power of the universe', as if the Maker were subject to the mere miscreancy of the creature, or should either in some way fear it, or resign Himself to its puny peregrinations. It is farcical (cf. Alpha and Omega ... Ch. 8).

There, in brief, and merely as a first approach, are five reasons why Adam fell. There is nothing in the least mysterious about it: it is a dire, irresponsible and faithless rebelliousness, aspirant in aim, ludicrous in concept, gross in disregard, and delusive in confidence in a confidence agent. It is ill-thought out, and in heart, a gross ingratitude.

It is far more, but this will do for now! We DO KNOW why Adam fell. It lay in his will, in his mind and in his willingness to be deceived and led by what is inferior. The possibility of such a thing lay in his being in the image of God, who has complete self-determination; and the actuality in Adam, who therefore had a measure of self-determination, came because in his power to dispose and survey, HE FOUND IT EXPEDIENT. THAT is where the expediency lay. It lay in the will.

Professing an improper ignorance of what the Bible makes most plain, the reason for Adam's fall, Calvin also professes an 'expediency' in God, when this bald thing was rather to be found in Adam, when it was far more, as the numerous character references to the divine nature and love, mercy and concern throughout scripture show. They also advise us, meanwhile, that Christ is definitive of God, as revelation, and that He changes neither today, nor yesterday nor forever.

Is it expedient, then, the love of God being manifest that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, that we should die eventually ? That would be perilously close not only to caricature, but distortion! The depth of the love of God, His care, concern and inveterate involvement, would thereby appear to be ANYTHING but what it is! It is the same God with the same love who acts towards His creations. While judgment may come, the curse causeless DOES NOT COME (Proverbs 26:2),

Thus in Psalm 106, we learn of the unadmirable wavering in the history of Israel, this:

"Many times He delivered them, but they rebelled in their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry."

He "relented according to the multitude of His mercies. He also made them to be pitied..."

SUCH is the persevering and acute, the fatherly and apt, the insistent and persistent love of God. There comes a time for judgment, it is true; but again and again we find how reluctant the love of God is to accede to it.  Thus, as in Romans 9, it is indeed the glory of God which is exhibited when He resolves to bring judgment, as in all His ways, but the glory that is, not the glory that is not, the glory of the One who is what He is, and not the glory of someone very different, made by unwitting caricature. Thus in Romans 8:22, having stated the fact, the unimpugnable sovereignty of God, Paul asks this: "What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering, the vessels of wrath..." Accordingly, God did it.

Sovereign He is, and merciful He is, and love He is, and He knows what is applicable and when, even after enduring in a temporal expression of the thing, with much longsuffering. While these principles of His nature are precisely as He states, yet HOW and WHEN He applies them is personal. Far is this from aborting them, for in fact it expresses them, as truth is always expressed; but the point of application requires total wisdom and knowledge, and accordingly He alone can apply it.

What then do we find in this Romans 9 case ?

In His foreknowledge, what is real and effective, He knows what they are, in fact in this instance 'vessels of wrath'. That being so, they are to be deployed to bring admonition to man. Yet in this, as in all, God is who He is, and it is with MUCH LONGSUFFERING THAT HE ENDURED them. He did not ignore who He is, or what His nature is, dismiss love or dispense with mercy, but endured with MUCH pang or pain, the affliction which they constituted. That, it is of course, what love does.

Indeed, the LORD Himself WEPT over the Jerusalem when, even in the day of His visitation (and this involved an infinite humiliation to accomplish, on His part as in Philippians 2), they did not know, they did not consider. Expediency does not weep.

Calvin's endeavours to escape even II Peter 3:9 are pitiful (Institutes 3.24.16). He seeks to make it appear that because 'obviously' conversion must come from the Lord, therefore the idea that all might come to repentance, despite what it SAYS, must mean that they will if He will. If then I say this, Children, I want all of you to come to be good, loving children: are they to understand that I mean that this is so PROVIDED in my own secret counsel, ACTUALLY (as distinct from the words of my mouth - watch my lips please ... to take the Bush parallel to this illustration), I REALLY mean it.

The concept is a ludicrous distortion and a gross intrusion into the word of God. If only Calvin had seen that there is NEVER a way AROUND the word of God for the sake of our own discernment of some principle in it, but always a way to understand it, if we maintain fidelity towards it: then it would have been incomparably better. Then,  the Church would have been saved a wholly needless pre-occupation with a cardinal and direct error, an insertion tab, a desertion tab and a reconstruction. The word of God does not wink at this; it simply continues, take or it leave it, for this or that. It is always the same, and does not move.

The will of God in His love towards the lost and the perishing is stated so many times, in so many episodes, so many times categorically, that even here the effort to contradict it is like trying to impugn a judge, whose integrity is shown countlessly, in some kind of philosophical tic.

GOD is not willing that ANY should perish, and WOULD have ALL to be reconciled, and this is His good pleasure, and He would have it that ALL might be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and SO loved the WORLD, and so regards the very heavens that in them He would have all to be reconciled. There is fact. There is the word of God, immovable.

The twisting and turning is most illusory towards the truth, on the part of Calvin. OF COURSE, a conversion can only come from God, and of course ALL are not going to be converted; but in the divine counsel, which is repeatedly ON THIS POINT, made explicit, there is a stated REASON why some do not find Him (John 3:19), and it does not lie in God's having some variability of will, as if He could not quite manage to speak the truth, or in His being so complex and weak, with it, that He could not summarise what He seemed to be saying, concerning Himself. With God, NOTHING shall be called impossible! That is as deep as the incarnation, and is explicit. If you want the word of God, this is it.

It is best to listen to what God says, and believe it; and any attempt to act so as to contradict His repeated utterances in the interests of a view of the way His sovereignty acts, which is not itself scripturally derived, is mythology on legs.

Thus if God in sovereignty MAKES sure that those foreknown are to be converted, how in the world or out of it, is this supposed to make ground to contradict Him ? Is His foreknowledge unknowledgeable ? or is His love unmanageable ? If love is His name, then in love has He indeed predestinated, as in Ephesians 1: for how could He do otherwise, who IS love!

Thus in the environment of such foreknowledge and such resultant predestination, the action of the love of God - which cannot fail to sit, as if it could be an absentee, any more than a man could sit in a conference without his physical heart -  is at work there also.

As in Christ, so in God, for Christ is His definitive expression and is the truth, eternal in His actions (John 14:6, Hebrews 1, Micah 5:1-3, John 8:58). Thus the sovereignty with which this infinite sovereign expresses Himself in action is not at all to be demeaned into something which even contradicts the exact speech which He makes: for He is sovereign over His own speech also, and knows His own mind! HOW precisely He applies these principles in the before creation and time foreknowing of all, is HIS business. In this site, we have shown how aptly and amply it may be understood and expressed, repeatedly, starting with Predestination and Freewill, and continuing in SMR Ch. 8 and other places, as in the indexes. To be sure, this harmonious understanding cannot be foisted into doctrine, nor can it be ignored as to its unique sating of all logical needs!

Certain, however,  it is that the love of God in foreknowledge was no less operative than the love of God in the Christ who wept over Jerusalem, for we have no partial incarnation. Hence the sovereign application is not even relevant to the question of WHO is to be saved: it is the methodology which exhibits the sovereignty. The counsel was at the first, and in love. Whom He foreknew, those He predestinated, as Paul declares from the mouth of God (I Corinthians 14:37, 2:9-13).

What breaches it, it does not reach. The human involvements may be vast; but the ultimate result is in the foreknowledge of the God who is the same before and after creation, and has His own will ultimately and absolutely in all things, BEING LOVE!

Again and again, Calvin moves into philosophy to AVOID what God is actually saying; but the philosophy has no teeth. It is in NO way even relevant. It is a sad case; but it has great value in reminding us that even the most potent of human intellects can get a bug in its rug, an error in its dispositions. As we saw, even Augustine can vary what he is saying on such a topic (Predestination and Freewill, Section 2).

There is ALWAYS ONLY one safe and meticulously conscientious way to go: BELIEVE what God says, and reason after it, not intrusively into it. HE KNOWS what He is doing, and WHEN you do that, as we show, not least in such words as Great Execrations ... Chs. 7 and 9, not only do we reap the joy of having simply kept to what He says, in no way dependent on our own wisdom, but we find that here is a harmony on


what is free and what is determined,


what freedom means and what compulsion,


what is the meaning for and of man,


what is the ground, ultimately of human responsibility and guilt,


what is the nature of love and of judgment, but


what is the wonder of the wisdom of God,

who has told us what in turn, shows us this harmony of all His statements.

The reward of understanding with depth and confluence of concepts, so that they constantly expose more and more to the abiding light of His word, giving us a coherent understanding towards which all diversion, whether in Calvin, atypically, or in the ungodly typically, is mere static, is a profound one. It is like skiing: the further you go, the more exhilarating it is, when you are on course. When, like Calvin here, you go off course, defending the indefensible, the case is entirely different!

His way is narrow; truth is like that. But when you follow it, there is no limit to its dimensions, no flurry in its beauty, and its holiness is of so great a charm, so explicatory on all sides of all things that one is left gaping in wonder, delight and worship of the triune God, whose love is so profound that even those who reach hell, would have found the heaven they detest, intolerable.

What nobility is in His truth; what constant and continual accuracy and adequacy is in His word, which excels all, and leaves all competition like slain corpses, buried in the snow of deadly cold.

His love is very warm, and outgoing, most manifest and suffers no lapses.

Praise God for it.



Excursion on the Grace, Love of God and the Liberty of Man


From Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace Ch. 9, there is taken what follows inset below, as a convenient expression of the fact that there is not only in the Christian faith, in the doctrine of the Bible, a total answer to the matters of freedom and responsibility, divine sovereignty and human freedom, love and selection, grace and justice, equity and truth, but that it is one which by its very nature CANNOT be duplicated even in theory.

Meanwhile let us introduce the topic a little more.

Without the Cross (Galatians 6:14), there is no fund for dispelling of what is freely lost, and needs restoration, nor is there ground for cancellation of guilt,so that not human powers, but divine mercy might assimilate the people of God.

Without God becoming man, there is no adequacy in the justice, intimacy in the payment or security in the translation of mercy into redemption, so that truth otherwise would be compromised.

Without that unique person, God as man dying, there is no sating of justice; without His rising, there is no demonstration of power, so that to man and to all is demonstrated that the author of death is the giver of life, in the second instance, by gift, as in the first, by creation. Adequate suffering, meeting of the exact penalty, one for many because the One is the creator of all and adequate for any, single or multiple, of the actual penalty, God for man: this is a pre-condition of justice, as of liberty in the dower of the results to the recipients.

Who are the recipients ?

Without divine selection in sovereignty, there is a necessary ingredient of human differential as given for the construction of each person in the first instance, and hence no sinner could be a participant in freedom, only the resultant of being what one is: the temporal determines the eternal in such a case, and freedom is nil. Such is not the biblical case, but its contrary.

If then it is attained, this differential, then what attains it ? If it is granted, then how is liberty found in what is given so that it executes its own position infallibly ? That is not liberty but a mere building of a desideratum by another.

Without divine love, willing for all and seeking all, there has to be an X-factor, some differential in man which makes his condition or being or some aspect in whatever way, preferable to the divine; and hence it becomes a selection based on what man has, or develops in his own powers or in combination with his differential contribution to become vital, or his differential grace per se, to be a contributing factor. Only love for all can remove a ground in some which is given to them at the outset, or developed in terms of what they have been given, some spiritual zest or quest or sensibility or some feature on which divine focus is pleased to dwell because it is better for, or  closer to Him than some possible alternative.

Calvinism has no answer, precisely because it does not adhere closely, and constantly to the Biblical teaching. Thus, sovereign selection of those to be saved in terms of an alleged mystery on the point, neither acceptable nor harmonious with other scriptures. Indeed,  the Bible is dramatically, emphatically and repeatedly profound in its contradiction of this point (cf. SMR Appendix B, Beauty for Ashes Ch. 2, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4, The Glow of Predestinative Power, Ch. 4), and has a double negation to match it.

Firstly, allegedly and on this model, the sovereignty SELECTS NOT on the basis of human will in any sense: it is MYSTERIOUS and it is such that there is a decretum horribile, a horrible decree, a banishment provision, from mystery to horror. God, it is said,  COULD have justly rejected all, but being gracious found some. This is true, but not the whole truth. Spiritual things must be compared with spiritual (I Corinthians 2). GOD WOULD graciously receive all; but in STATED consideration of HIS view of human will, in HIS KNOWLEDGE, the basis statedly of predestination, with great lament, He does not. Some are excluded on the basis of preference for darkness in the FACE OF LIGHT (John 3:19), and that light has been explained in detail in the first three chapters of John's Gospel, as CHRIST COME IN THE FLESH. Before God and as known by God and as found in foreknowledge and then executed into predestination, this is the response to the divine love.

Thus not only is there in Calvinism, not by desire, but by result of the model created,  a breach of the concept of NON-MERIT or non-superiority or non-anything which is intrinsically preferable, but it is a flat and pronounced denial of repeated scriptural affirmation.

On the other hand, when the Cross of Christ is given its place as in Colossians 1:19ff., Galatians 6:14, we see that UTTER divine willingness, as in I John 2:2, is consonant with LIMITED divine payment (Romans 8:32, Isaiah 53:1-6 - the 'all' are those 'healed'), because as in John 3:19, there is a preference. The will of man is the cited culprit, and to cite God's will in mystery is a gross distortion of explicit divine declaration.

This preference leads to its correlative lack of salvation in some: and this  is NOT due to human superiority, attainment or merit, for God is not talking either of knowledge (but FOREKNOWLEDGE) or human choice but HIS OWN (John 6:65, Matthew 11:27, Romans 9:16), within the ambit of TOTAL LOVE to the point of salvation, directed towards ALL. The will  is cited in the face of divine light, as the culprit;  and it is not that of God, but  of man. The knowledge of that will is cited to exist in the light of GOD ALONE; and the activation of the result is by a divine sovereignty. That is all.

Wrong-headed is the effort for human autonomy, endlessly denied in scripture (e.g. Ephesians 2:1-12, and the above). Just as Arminianism is a gross distortion of divine sovereignty, through its truncation, so wrong-headed also, alas, is the desire to remove the relevance, ex-merit and by foreknowledge, with human action irrelevant (Romans 9:11), of that image of God in man, which has will. Making man autonomous, or God to disregard the reality of the image of God in man, and to relate not at all to human will in His foreknowledge past all that is on earth: these errors are profound and continual. They war on each other, like cat and dog, because EACH has a fundamental error, lapse and shortcoming. Neither is man autonomous, nor is God without the final sovereignty, nor is man degraded nor is preference in him excluded from divine regard.


What then do we find ? It is this. The Cross removes the need to pay and hence any thought of differential capacity in man to do so; it covers the case of justice and grace; it meets the point of total action in the love, as distinct from mere theoretical embalment of thought.

The deity who does it removes the consideration of how to achieve the ADEQUACY of the payment to cover either so much or so many, and the point that nothing else is pure enough to pay absolutely for everything to any extent and to any number. Deity has no limits. Deity did it, in the form of man (Philippians 2).

Hence in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, we glory: there is no other way. In the love of God we rejoice, it is differential in result, but not in disposition, and the difference in application is because of the liberty to man as in the image of God, and as seen before the universe was so much as created, and far more, before man fell. Where sin is absent, difference of merit is irrelevant, since all have all.

We return now to the excerpt from ... Greater Grace, Ch. 7 of the same work gives attention to Colossians 1, in particular, at considerable focus.


Now our present point, after this short review of some aspects more exhaustively covered before, is this. If grace does not grab the recipient, and if love does not seize its object, as if it were not a person but a piece of blank paper, but LOVES someone, and so does this in a personal way, not some fashion which is so perilously principial that it is mere acquisition, how is it grace in function and fact, as distinct from rapture!


The answer is this. Grace does not FORCE the person, as the constant divine laments illustrate so well. Nor does a person’s will, sunk in a blindness incurable without regeneration (John 3), determine the issue (which in any case would also be contrary to Romans 9:16 and John 1:12). What then is the biblical depiction of this reality ? HOW does grace give, when the gift is a life which is not only granted, but henceforth YOURS! How is such a gift something other than an instrumental use of a person by someone else, albeit the grand and wonderful God of his creation!


SINCE it is not by force, and SINCE it is often rejected, and SINCE God often laments - as may  His servants who speak for Him and describe their own reactions – for the results of such human liberty as is consonant with the NON-USE of divine force, while God nevertheless grants to His own alone, this gift: how can all these things be true simultaneously ? It should be noted that in any case, they are scripturally precise. The difficulty seems to include several elements in the earthly thinker, which is one of the reasons that many remain locked in battle rather than finding the exuberant clarity of the Bible on this point. Some see ONE point, the sovereignty of God (which is absolute, unconditional and complete) and ram it home as if it were comparable with some kinds of human sovereignty, mysterious, private, personal and simply a datum.


That is a vast distortion of biblical depiction. GOD IS LOVE, and there is nothing mysterious about that. GOD DECLARES repeatedly (as seen in Ch. 7 above, and SMR Appendix B), that HIS LOVE is co-extensive with those on heaven and on earth, for their reconciliation to Himself, which includes regeneration as in II Corinthians 5:17ff.. How then are some not reconciled, and yet not abused in their persons, in being merely co-opted, recipients of a life which may not be desired ?


It is not far to seek. SINCE we are chosen in Christ, who are His, BEFORE time began, and since Christ is not alterable, the same today, yesterday, forever, being God as man and God swears He does not change, then what is true of Christ on earth is in PRINCIPLE true of God in predestining election. Hence that divine love, that ‘I WOULD’ of Christ is present, as I Timothy 2 expressly states (cf. Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., Ezekiel 33:11), and present then because what GOD IS, that is always present. Now since this is NOT a matter of human will, the selection being made neither BY MAN nor in time, and since it is yet made IN CHRIST, who was prepared to love and lose, then past the mere psychology of man, with its transient moods, modes or ways (and where is the BASE!), in the knowledge of God (and not mere knowledge of what would be – for this is expressly excluded in Romans 9:11 as in 3:23ff), there is a divine cognisance.


What does this mean ? It means that He KNOWS who are His. He does not force; He does not merely listen to ramblings, or acknowledge receipt of communication. It is dependent on HIS KNOWLEDGE, and what He knows is the truth.



 On what does it depend ? On THOSE WHOM He can FORCE ? Not at all, this is excluded by endless scriptures, direct and in implication. Does it then turn on this, those whom He can receive because of some superiority, some X-factor of greater assimilability to God, because of some more meritorious, more godly aspect in the spirit of the man, so that this becomes a mere divine acknowledgement of greater godliness in some, better character ?


Far from it, by express denial, and this in itself would merely mean that some were CREATED better, so that the divine laments would all be stuff and nonsense, God merely making some to fit, and then, seeing them fit, taking them off, fittingly. It is best not to caricature God or to disagree with His statements in understanding Him!


Being in the image of God necessarily makes you to have a select nature, that is, something not merely instrumental. Hence He does not make you in the image of an object when He predestines! He is not a liar, and knows what He is doing, knowing the end from the beginning. There are no short-cuts. He made the wood.


It is no less important to realise that there are no conditions for a man, as if he would constitute the barrier to God, who would merely have to sit and watch, if you will. God selects without man being created, and without any regard to a man’s works whatsoever; and what he is includes all his works, for his motives and desires are deployed in what he does through what he is. This is the biblical depiction. There IS however a situation which GOD regards, and it is other than a mere blank. It is a PERSON. Since condemnation is based on a person’s PREFERENCE for darkness over light, and since there is no merit in one above another, all having zero merit in the severe light of God’s purity, how then can such preference not be an expression of a latent superiority in man ? whether you think of it as operational in time or discernible by God, before our time ?


It is however not a superior susceptibility which the chosen one has, which led to the divine choice; for a man is not even operational where such things, being inherited, or culturally or even educationally imparted, can work. This is excluded. What then is INCLUDED ? The person. What then do we find here ?  The thing divinely cited being the WILL of the target, man, and the WILL as operational being excluded, then it is clear that the will is included before God, and this not in its own right or action, but in His sensitive NON forcing of it, and UTTER knowledge of it, past all moods and modes. He does not MAKE someone who prefers, in the last essential reality, NOT to have Him, nevertheless to have Him.

 This, it is no theory, but the endless parade of the scripture, as He laments.

 What He arranges in predestination is what is to be, and what is to be is what He evaluates without such force, or rapture. Yet it IS IRRESISTIBLE, for the one to whom it is granted, gets it. However in fact, that word in John 6 does not say this, but that you ARE WITHOUT IT unless it be granted, not that if it is granted, you will HAVE IT. In any case, there can be no choice by man, since as Christ declared, until you are regenerated you are blind to the actual field, so that of course you could not wittingly choose that to which you are blind (as in I Corinthians 2:14). If the natural man does not receive spiritual things, then of course he has to become something else BEFORE he can receive them, and as a natural man, as unconverted, he does not because HE CANNOT, any more than someone with short-sightedness can without glasses read very fine print!

 It is simply a matter of seeing, then, that what God has organised before time, will IRRESISTIBLY be implemented in it. Otherwise the blind would have to see before having operational eyes, which means all go to hell, which is other than the scripture declares. The irresistibility is irrelevant to our quest, since it is a mere result of what was wrought before time. WHAT however was then wrought ? It was a presentation, not in history, and not in enaction, but in foreknowledge (where Romans 8:30 starts its cycle), of life eternal to the person concerned, a presentation seen as non-violent, non-instrumentalist, sincerely accepted, genuine in its action, not contrary to love in its disposition.

 HOW could this be known ? There is no limit to the power of God, and just because it is not here obliterating something, this does not mean that it is not operative! In what way however is this not a mere superiority within the breast of the one who so receives this gift, before time, in the foreknowledge of God ?

 It is in this way, that if you are chosen in view your distinctive properties, where will is excluded, then these have greater affinity to God, which readily implies a better nature. If however you take what the BIBLE SAYS, that  it is the human preference which excludes, and this in the very face of God’s love for the world, and that those refusing the manner and receipt of its object are excluded BECAUSE OF THIS (John 1-3:19), and so they are damned (3:36):  then you are not in this dilemma. Simply, then it is RELEVANT to human will, because GOD SAYS SO.

 What however is the inference from this for our present topic of the nature of grace and the distinctiveness of love from all force and instrumentalism ?






It is this. If you regard will as a mere expression of character, it might be urged that its action similarly and likewise, merely exhibits the superiority of the one who elects to be elected. If however you regard the will as that of one ESSENTIALLY in the image of God, and seen in God as not befuddled, limited or susceptible to inferiority or superiority AT ALL, and THEREFORE, someone regarded in the eye of God outside this whole concourse of the fall, in ultimate reality, then the case has no difficulty. ONLY SIN makes worse, so without this in the equation, there is nothing which CAN be worse, and therefore be BETTER! Hence this consideration evaporates.

 Using the criterion the scripture DECLARES is therefore the resolution of the ‘problem’. Grace gives without being mandatory, though in its application in history, where sin breeds folly and blindness, it comes on this our scene, and in terms of the VISIBLE scenario, as irresistible.

 Since love statedly, in the Bible, seeks all, but in its own modesty, does not thrust itself on any, however, we know that the fact that a grant is not the same as a forced grant merely reflects the reality of freedom in the image of God in predestination, though it is one divinely superintended and indeed mandated, so that the STATED ground of exclusion, the human will, is not  other than the fact.  

 In this way, human responsibility is entire: for if you are not chosen, it is no mere divine caprice or choice of desired implements for special reasons, but rather that entire intractability of desire which puts you where you are to go. ALL the steps on the way are historical expressions, but not determinants, for what determines is the knowledge of God, which is as far above the knowledge of man in its totality and perfection, as the heavens are above the earth.

 On the other hand, divine sovereignty is total, for God not only man made in His image because He wanted it that way, but in so doing made the essential option, even if sin removed it from man’s conscious sight, as if he were autonomous. The grace of God is not restricted, as if in some governmental program where there is some shortage of gifts; for it is not contained in some disposing preference, but according to the utmost opportunity which the nature of man admits, this nature itself the creation of God, and moreover in image, like Him! Man as such, indeed, is not DEFINITIVE of the form or nature of God, but constructed in His image, as a creature, so that correlative communication is possible, natural and proper.

 He WOULD have all men to be saved, to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9, Colossians 1, I Timothy 2, Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42, Hosea 7:1, Jeremiah 51:9 and so on). It is a work of GRACE and not the acknowledgement of some kind of spiritual aristocracy. He so loved the WORLD and so it is His very nature, and not some kind of programmatic assignation. Mankind is made of persons, God is personal, and although Arminian and autonomous misconceptions may make human will the determinant or even condition, it is not so.

 It is GOD’s knowledge which is statedly the condition (Romans 8:29, 9:16), and where and how He chooses is not based on works at all, and since the works of man are expression of his will, not on the operation of man’s will at all. Man DOES NOT CHOOSE GOD at all. Yet is man’s election wholly concordant with the divine restraint which does not force, and is God’s decision expressive of limitless love and grace, that never moves past the margin that would obliterate the reality of the personal in man.

 In short, as shown previously, there is not only no problem in predestination, but there is insoluble problem without it. Moreover, if it were not that man COULD become other than he is, there COULD be no freedom, for you would otherwise always be limited to what you are, and what you are is in the last analysis, the dower of body and spirit which you are given. What liberty is there in expressing what has come to you ? But if you can be OTHER than you are, then there is something outside the mere expression of your being, which is available, and to this you may come.

 If however YOU had to choose yourself, then again, it would be a filtered or blind or directed decision, based on a being which, after all, you do not choose, in order that it might be you, including all your sensitivities and sensibilities; and there is no freedom in that. You merely respond as made.

 When therefore GOD chooses you, and with restraint KNOWS you, and also BRINGS you to what you were not, beyond the whole ambit of your being, then there is liberty which is co-extensive with responsibility, whilst likewise, in God, there is love which is co-extensive with the field of operation as so summarily declared in Colossians 1.

 Love is here GIVEN its meaning, and it is as we find it, though most pure and most effective, and most like itself, not thrusting but zealous. God has what He wants, for it is not His will to dominate frail fealties that are not heartfelt! It is ONLY because of this divine love and grace that freedom is possible for man, and it is in terms which are as much emphasised as any other topic in the Bible, that predestination and human responsibility thus find their only possible resolution. It is normative in Bible study so to find, that what it stresses is what, like the chassis for a car, is necessary, is WHAT IS THERE! Knowledgeability is total, harmony is a colossus, and the joy in beholding it all is boundless.

 Yet someone might say, If a man is to be made into something different from what he is, how is this liberty ? How could he possibly know what it would be like, since he is limited to what he is in seeking to know what it would be ? Firstly, this however is merely to ignore the fact that it is scripturally GOD who chooses. We have just seen that in this choice it is not a sovereignty which is foreign to love, but expressive of it, and hence in this milieu, the lack of human imagination is not relevant. It is GOD WHO CHOOSES, but with respect to the nature of man, in whom the meaning of love is intrinsic, but not its operation, because of sin.

 We therefore return to this fact, as a mere extension of the impossibility of explanation of the whole duty and nature of man, and of this world and its forces and powers, of liberty such as man expresses, in the restrictions and distortions of it which man has: without God and His love and grace and gifts and action.

 This, it too is further verification of the scripture, for in this also, not only does it meet every rational consideration (that is, every aspect of the case with precision and harmony), but it does so in principle in ways not elsewhere available, since:


without God, it cannot be done,


without His love it is not explicative of man, and


without His nature, our nature is a mere confusion of contradictories.

Yet secondly, note how beautifully the nature of His love harmonises with the integrity which does not merely make something ELSE out of a man, but restores him to his own created nature, ex-sin and cum-Christ, so that restoration not innovation is the criterion. WITH the restoration, it is true, there goes an enrichment into an assured eternity and a close-knit correlation with Christ. Yet the result is not beyond man, made by and for God, and at the first realising a relationship of communing and communication; but rather is it that in his restored co-ordination with his Creator, there is renewal to life, the life he lost.

 It is thus a passage not to foreign soil, or alien quarters, but to home both to source and situation, a rebuilding and since this is life, a rebirth. Since, moreover, God is God, it is to a glory of wonder in His presence, that man is then moved, one enhanced as dusk to the first full bloom of dawn. Wrought in love, this transmutation has focus on the plight of man as it provides his superb yet apposite deliverance.

 In this regard, scriptures such as Colossians 1, considered in depth in the last chapter, with its insistence that it PLEASED the Father to have all fullness dwell in Christ, and through His blood on the cross to reconcile ALL things: these provide attestation of the ground of human responsibility with the utmost clarity.

 This, Colossians 1 is the chapter of alls and we move from the firstborn of ALL creation (Christ occupying this on arrival, “FOR all things were created by Him”), a point added in summary, “all things were created through Him and for Him” (1:16). Indeed, in 1:17, further He is “before all things” just as in Him “all things consist”.

 As total backdrop and creator of anything of which it may be said, “It is created”, and therefore not Himself created, since otherwise He would have had to create Himself without being there, an absurdity equal to that of any such thought, it is Christ who is the One in whom “all fullness dwells”, prior to and beyond time, itself a creation (Romans 8:39). This is both apt and appropriate for the eternal Creator and word of God, and fittingly, though marvelously, what pleased the Father was set  in a sort of all but geometrical totality also.

 What was this ? It was that “having made peace through the blood of the Cross” something else should be wrought BY HIM (Colossians 1:19), a phrase repeated for emphasis in this verse! Before we consider what that is, there is a further element to contemplate.

 Let us then pause to recall that in 1:18, we learn that “in all things”, He is to have the pre-eminence, just as in Philippians 1 we learn that equality with God was nothing to be snatched at, since He was in the very form of God, before becoming man. Accordingly to His infinite status, then, so is His total fullness in incarnation, even of the Godhead, affirmed: it is expressed as ALL the FULNESS, as declared in 1:19. But to what is affirmed the correlative of all these ‘all’ embracements ?

 What is to be revealed to be comrade to all these ‘alls’ and consummation to this large prologue of totalities  in this passage in Colossians ?  It is that not only did it please the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell, but that having thus made peace by the blood of the cross, it ALSO PLEASED HIM  “to reconcile ALL things to Himself.” Creator of all, pre-eminent above all, having made peace by His blood on the cross, with all fullness dwelling in Him (cf. Colossians 2:9), He is the agent, the pivot, the door, the table, the platform, the foundation on which this particular desire of the Father rests.

 In what then does it so rest, and to what is it directed as it rests in Him ? that THUS and in THIS PERSON He might reconcile ALL things to Himself. It is exactly the same in tenor in I Timothy 2, where the scope is GOD on the one hand and MAN on the other, and His desire is that ALL might be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.



Some examples may be helpful. First consider Ezekiel 18:30-32:

" 'Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.

" 'Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,' says the Lord God.

" 'Therefore turn and live!' "

Similar themes and principles may be found in Ezekiel 36:24-27, Jeremiah 31:31ff..



For this, see Section 2 of Predestination and  Freewill, here; and note that that volume completes the query of Spurgeon in Section 3, showing the entire consistency of the word of God, as something startlingly beautiful and clear. See also Great Execrations ... Chs. 7 and 9.



See Predestination and Freewill, Section 2 at this point, where the misuse of Matthew 23:37 is shown. It is resolved at some length in SMR Appendix B.



See The Biblical Workman Ch. 8.



See Sinners Only, and SMR pp. 582ff., 611ff..