God has a PlanJul 12th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Special Features (click on Article name)
God has a Plan
We find the Scriptures everywhere teaching that God has a plan or fixed arrangement for human redemption and recovery from sin and death, according to which He is working; and that all His purposes in that plan shall be accomplished in His own due time. In that plan He arranged that our Lord Jesus was to be the great and chief divine agent in the work of redemption and recovery. In that predetermined plan He had provided, also, that a few, a “little flock,” should be chosen or selected from among the many of the redeemed world, to be the bride, joint-heirs, under-priests and co-workers with Christ Jesus, their Lord and Chief-priest, in the execution of God’s great plan of blessing all the families of the earth by bringing all men to a full knowledge of God (1 Tim. 2:4-6) and restoring to mental and physical perfection (Acts 3:19-21-23) all who, when they know the Lord fully, shall delight to serve and obey him.
This “little flock” God had not only predetermined should be selected from among redeemed men, but He had also predetermined that only such should be of that select band as should in a trial develop a spirit of loyalty and full consecration to Him; in other words, they must each be “copies of his Son,” their Redeemer. (Rom. 8:29) The trial or testing time of this “little flock” has been during this Gospel age. These are not only being tried to prove their worthiness of everlasting life, but also to prove whether they shall, by very full, hearty, prompt and faithful obedience to the very spirit of God’s will, manifest the likeness of Christ Jesus and be accounted worthy to be of the little flock, His select (elect or chosen) joint-heirs in the coming kingdom.
It is for this that they must “strive,” “run,” “seek,” “fight,” “lay hold,” and “work,” for to “make your calling and election sure:” “So run that ye may obtain” the prize: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling [careful lest you should fail of this great favor of God to which you have been called]; for it is God that worketh among you both to will and to work his good pleasure.” In other words,–Highly esteem the high calling to the great honor set before you in your call to joint-heirship with Christ in his Millennial kingdom. Slight it not; esteem it not lightly. Remember that the call is of God, that it is His exceeding great and precious promises that have worked and are working in you to will to do God’s will and become copies of the great Redeemer; and remember, too, that the same promises are still the power of God, and will enable you, not only to will, but also to do, what would be pleasing to God.
The great mistake made by so many, on the relationship of work and salvation, is this: they see properly, though very indistinctly, that the work of redemption, the giving of the ransom, is entirely a work of Christ, our Lord, in which we can have no share, but which we must accept and appropriate by faith alone. There is no room at all in that redemptive work for our works to come in. We must accept it as a gratuity in full, or not at all, as the poet truly expresses it:
“In my hand no price I bring:
Simply to thy cross I cling.”
This work of Christ cancels the original condemnation, to everlasting destruction, which had passed upon all through the disobedience of Adam, our father and representative. It entitles every man to a fresh trial–an individual trial–and offers life everlasting to each one who (after accepting of Christ’s finished work) shall by his will and his works prove his willingness to be obedient to God. Here faith has its part, in which works cannot share,–in accepting of Christ’s work; then the works of the redeemed, justified ones, come in and join hands with faith to make use of the benefits provided freely by the grace of God in Christ.
The trial of the world in general waits until the trial of the church, which is much more severe, is complete. Then the chosen, the elect, the bride with her Lord, shall judge and bless all the families of earth.
Thus seen, the selection of the church means the very reverse of a curse upon the great remainder of mankind. Though the close of the selection, when the last one of the predetermined number has been tried and approved, will reprobate or cut off the remainder of mankind from all hope of sharing with Christ in the honors of his great restitution work of blessing the masses, it is far from the ordinary idea of reprobation. An illustration of this reprobation is found in politics. When the full number of members of Congress or Parliament, fixed by law, has been selected or elected, the remainder of the people are reprobates thereto. But are they injured thereby? No, they are blessed; for the selection of the few is for the benefit and not for the injury of the many. And much more so God’s selection of the Parliament and ministry of the Millennial Kingdom, under and as co-workers with Christ Jesus the King of kings–they are elected for the expressed purpose of blessing all the families of earth.–Eph. 2:5-10; Gal. 3:16,29.