The Truth in Jesus

But ye did not so learn Christ; if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit

— Eph. 4:20-22

The law of all laws, the necessity of nature, is that God and man are one. Until they begin to be one in the reality as in the divine idea, in the flower as in the root, in the finishing as in the issuing creation, nothing can go right with the man, and God can have no rest from his labor in him. As the greatest orbs in heaven are drawn by the least, God himself must be held in divine disquiet until every one of his family be brought home to his heart, to be one with him in a unity too absolute, profound, far-reaching, fine, and intense, to be understood by any but the God from whom it comes, yet to be guessed at by the soul from the unspeakableness of its delight when at length it is with the only that can be its own, the one that it can possess, the one that can possess it. For God is the heritage of the soul in the owness of origin; man is the offspring of his making will, of his life; God himself is his birthplace; God is the self that makes the soul able to say, I too, I myself. This absolute unspeakable bliss of the creature is that for which the Son died, for which the Father suffered with him. Then only is life itself; then only is it right, is it one; then only is it as designed and necessitated by the eternal life-outgiving Life.

Whereto then we have attained, let us walk by that same!

Commentary

Unity of Man and God

by Stephen Carney

MacDonald ends this sermon reminding us that until man and God are one, God cannot rest.  It has always been the goal of the Father to bring his children home.  2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” This text gives us much detail about how God is working to bring about the redemption of his children. 

First, we see inferred in the text that many people think that God needs to hurry up and end this business of earth by returning to take those he has home, bringing all thing to final consummation.  But God is in no hurry to finish his work.  Many today like to predict the end of the world.  They are sure it must be close and some are certainly eager for it to come.  They fail to realize that God's divine work is that of bringing his children home and he has the patience of eternity to accomplish it. 

Many years ago I was in Ecuador preaching, this was during the Mayan Calendar excitement, and so I was asked to speak to this issue, as many Ecuadorians were concerned about it.  It was these thoughts from MacDonald and this passage that inspired me to say that, “The end is about a harvest and no farmer harvests his fields till all that he has planted grows into full maturity.  He will not uproot green plants or the budding ears of corn.  The harvest must be ripe before the reapers can reap and so it is with God.  He will not return one moment before all those who need to repent have repented.  When the last soul repents I imagine God might breath a sigh of relief and say, “Now! Comes the harvest.”  As long as there is hope, God will work, and there is still much hope in the world. 

Finally, God is “not wishing for any to perish.”  Isn't that just like God?  He is willing all to come home, even the ones many would cast off.  I have seen God win and work in the hearts of Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and even those who call themselves Christians.  For just as Paul says, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly..”  It is an inner experience that God brings to each of us as we begin to experience the revelation of Christ within. 

I always found John 16 to be a fascinating text: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”  Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit will do the evangelism of the human heart and set in order all matters pertaining to the redemption of the soul.  This was a great relief to me as a young pastor, as I had been led to believe that it was all up to me to win the world!  The burden was too great to bear.  But after reading this passage it began to dawn on me that God was his own evangelist and he is doing a work with or without us. 

I have read story after story how God is converting people in Iran without a missionary present.  He is coming to them in their dreams, waking them up, and they fall on their faces and give their lives to him.  In fact, recently we have received word of an awaking going on in Iran with thousands giving their lives to follow Christ.  I know of a man who died and was dead for a long period of time before the doctors got a pulse.  He had lived a really rough life, filled with bitterness and hatred.  His brother who was a Christian was waiting for him to come to and was ready to share with him Jesus.  But as soon as he awakened and saw his brother standing there he said, “Before you say anything, I want you to know that I am a Christian.”  His brother replied, “What do you mean?”  He said, “When I died Jesus appeared to me and told me he wanted me to follow him.  Right then and there I gave my life to him.  He told me that he was not taking me yet but sending me back to live for him.”  Now, had he died many who believe that the arm of the Lord is too short to save such people would have consigned him to eternal punishment, not knowing the work of God in this mans life.  God can draw us to himself from anywhere, any place, and at anytime.  There are no limits that we can put upon God and his work of redemption, for truly “his arm is not shortened that it cannot save.”