A man may sink by such slow degrees that, long after he is a devil, he may go on being a good churchman or a good dissenter, and thinking himself a good Christian. Continuously repeated sin against the poorest consciousness of evil must have a dread rousing. There are men who never wake to know how wicked they are, till, lo, the gaze of the multitude is upon them! The multitude staring with self-righteous eyes, doing like things themselves, but not yet found out; sinning after another pattern, therefore the hardest judges, thinking by condemnation to escape judgment. But there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed. What if the only thing to wake the treacherous, money-loving thief, Judas, to a knowledge of himself, was to let the thing go on to the end, and his kiss betray the Master? Judas did not hate the Master when he kissed him, but not being a true man, his very love betrayed him. The good man, conscious of his own evil, and desiring no refuge but the purifying light, will chiefly rejoice that the exposure of evil makes for the victory of the truth, the kingdom of God and his Christ. The only triumph the truth can ever have is its recognition by the heart of the liar. Its victory is in the man who, not content with saying, “I was blind and now I see” cried out, “Lord God, just and true, thou savest me from the death in myself, the untruth I have nourished in me, and even called righteousness! Hallowed be thy name, for thou only art true, thou only art holy, thou only art humble! Thou only art unselfish; thou only hast never sought thine own, but the things of thy children!”
The Unveiling Revelation of God and All Things
by Dave Roney
Scripture forms a grand narrative, "The Great Drama" one might say. And one knows that a Play is acted out in a Theater, and contains a rich concert of elements such as the actors and their parts, scenery, lavish costumes, an orchestra, singing and dancing, and a crew working behind the scenes; and all of these components are put into an order by means of several Acts and Scenes which are guided by a Conductor who (as was the case with Shakespeare) is also the Author. The Play has a beginning, involves many a twist in plot, but is always working toward the final Scene in the final Act. And if the play is well scripted, we see that the end of it displays what was always its goal from the opening Act and Scene—this end may not be obvious or evident during the Drama to the onlookers, but it is there being worked out all along. And thus, we might say, the entire purpose of the Drama is "unveiled" in the final Scene.
Let me ask you, what is the grand, overarching, theme of Scripture which lends meaning to all the parts? And, you might think the answer is self-evident, but because the nature of man is to be anthropocentric rather than theocentric, it is likely that you'll perceive the great Fact to be something centered on you and your well being. Do you suppose, based on what you've heard the preacher say, that the grand theme of Scripture is that Christ died for you, and that you are saved, and that now you'll go to Heaven when you die rather than Hell? I submit to you that what you refer to is a very critical and important Scene within one of the Acts of the Drama, but is not the overarching theme. In other words, the Atonement is not "me" centered.
The grand Theme of the Bible is, and it can be stated variously, but I will put it thus: "All things are from Him, and through Him, and to Him." That is, all of what is created, be it in Heaven or Earth or Sea, or under the Earth (the physical things) as well as the emotions, desires, love, joy, etc., and the imaginations, dreams, visions (the metaphysical, abstract things)— All Things without any exceptions—are from God; and all the things made are sustained through Him; and that in the End He will, by means of His comprehensive Victory over all things, bring them back to Him in unfettered, unblemished and perfected fellowship and relationship with Himself, and the things made with one another in seamless harmony and unity. And within that grand context is your and my personal salvation; as important, and as dramatic, as this personal salvation is, it is but one feature in the grand schema.
When the best of godly theologians take their eyes off the Grand Theme of the Drama, they immediately begin to notice and try to make sense of the several Acts and Scenes within the Play; thus, having lost sight of the grandeur before them, they set about to work out intricate doctrines, and then make the further mistake of attempting to apply them to the entire Drama, often seeing them as central to it, or defining it, or as having control over the meaning of the Final Act and Scene. And the sad end of it is that by this myopic view, doctrines are roused which declare that God has punished an Innocent Man for the sins of other men, as though that could ever be Just; that the Atonement is limited to some, that certain among us are predestined, by a determinate God, to salvation while others are "elected" to perdition, that Hell is eternal, and that there is no hope for any beyond the grave. And had these godly men but understood that everything they believe must align with the comprehensive Victory of God in Christ, by which He declares "all things whatsoever," then they would have known better and corrected themselves early on.
Let me speak now of the Unveiling. Do we understand it myopically, as anthropocentric, having first and primarily to do with Self? It is not, no more so than is the Atonement firstly personal (for it is quite broad to include the redemption of all things). If the Unveiling is not man-centered, then it is God-centered; and who first and best shall be unveiled? It is God. It is the until now veiled God which "no man has seen." It is the Christ Who, while in this earthly life, had to say on occasion, "I do not know; only My Father knows;" He now knows, His veil is removed, He will show us all things clearly one day. What was the former world and the angels before sin entered into it and them? We do not know; it is veiled—the Day is coming when the Veil shall drop away from history, and we shall behold with open faces all the previous glory of creation and see it renewed and, if it be possible, even improved upon by God's new heaven and earth. Has God said all which He desires to say to us in Scripture? Never! There is much more which He longs to relate and share with us but, for the time being, must keep veiled; it will be sung by Him from the housetops and we will know fully even as we are known. What of Glory; have we seen it all? It is also for the time being veiled; at its unveiling we shall see it as the sun shineth in his strength! When Christ declared "There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hid that shall not be made known" He, as always, had thought of the Father first. Does not the prelude to the verse include "They have called the master of the house Beelzebul?" He will unveil it, He will show them otherwise, will reveal the Love which became flesh in obedience to the Will of the Father. Upon that basis He says to His men "Fear not!"
There are two veilings in view here; the veil over the face of God that, when men called Him a devil, He allowed it and did not by His power to do so remove His veil; and the other veil is that which was covering their hearts and minds; He allowed that veil to remain in place as well. But there is coming a Day when both the veil over God and that over men shall be stripped away, and then, in contrition, "They will look on Me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son."
Yet, and though we see through a glass darkly with eyes that barely see, the Lord has from the very beginning progressively unveiled Himself to us, that is, to those who with small fingers reach to the veil to see Him Who is behind it; He cannot help it, He is powerless not to do it, for even He is driven by His great love and He cannot bear to leave His creature-children in utter suspence or darkness. The highest best example of this is His Son, the Light Who came into the world:
"God is not a God that hides, but a God that reveals. His whole work in relation to the creatures He has made, is revelation—the giving them truth, the showing of Himself to them that they might know Him, and come nearer and nearer to Him, and so He have His children more and more companions to Him."
God never desired to veil His face from us; unlike Him, we seek to hide our faces from both Him and our fellows. It may be said of what we call "the natural man" that contrary to God Who is ever revealing more and more of Himself, man progressively veils more and more of himself. Even as I think, and am sure, that a man must understand Scripture, and the God of Scripture, by a panoramic view which inevitably includes "all things," so also must a man view himself in his totality, with as much honesty as is in him, to know how much he hides what is in him. Whatever repentence is, it must include that the man by his willingness to do it, takes hold on the veil which masks himself and rip it off with his own hands. And thus, for the first time, he stands eye to eye with the Savior Who loves him and has given Himself for him. But how does a man come to the point that he is willing to admit, i.e. to unveil himself, to God? Is it not often only possible because God allows that man to travel his way, accrue his misery, his hollowness, and reap his consequences?
"But there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed. What if the only thing to wake the treacherous, money-loving thief, Judas, to a knowledge of himself, was to let the thing go on to the end, and his kiss betray the Master?"
And the betrayal of Christ by Judas brings to view yet another form of unveiling; it is not done willingly by the man, is not an instance of God revealing more of Himself to the man; it is God allowing the man to do a thing, and come to regret it—the dreadful remorse being itself a part of his unmasking, a horrible aspect of himself which was in him but which he did not previously know to be there, and could only be known by him when the seed finally became its own bitter fruit. Does the Lord allow Judas to inadvertently unveil himself thus that He might condemn him? Nay! For what does Judas do? Does he not allow his unsolicited unmasking to ring true to him, make no attempt to deny what it exposes in him, nor make excuses for it? No, he owns his unmasked sin; attempts to return the ill gotten mammon, admits to the temple priests and elders "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood;" when they would not receive it back, casts it on the temple floor, and goes out and hangs himself.
It was not God's intent that the poor betrayer of His Son should take his life, less that He should condemn the man; but by letting the thing go on to the end, He did what He could not do for the man in any other way; He brought Judas to repentence, to grief, to self-loathing of himself, of deathly remorse for what he had become—and is such not at least the first step in this man's repentence? The only difference between your own repentence and his has to do with the type and degree of sins, not their nature, certainly has nothing to do with deserts. And if we view Judas from the perspective of the overarching theme of the Drama, not focusing primarily on his particular part in a certain Act and Scene, then we know that he is as much a part of the "all things—from and through and to Him"—as is every other person and thing the unveiled redemption of God encompasses. And we have not yet begun to know the height nor depth of the redeeming love of God for a Judas, for every person, for all things, the fullness of it yet to be unveiled, when we shall with our own faces unveiled look at Him and finally understand that there was nothing in all creation, which was able to separate the children from the Father, from the supra-abounding love, grace, and mercy of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord:
"Lord, God, just and true, Thou savest me from the death in myself, the untruth I have nourished in me, and even called righteousness! Hallowed by Thy Name, for Thou only art true, Thou only art holy, Thou only art humble! Thou only art unselfish; Thou only hast never sought Thine own, but the things of Thy children!"