Saturday, July 21, 2018

God's Plan of the Ages - Part 5


All in All

Yahweh's plan of the ages is truly marvelous. To come into the understanding that God will not conclude His work among mankind, the angels, and all creation until He has fully and perfectly reconciled all things back to Himself through His Son opens the door to profound worship of our Creator. God's love, His mercy, His patience, and His longsuffering are revealed in their glorious depths.

I would revisit an expression that has been cited in the preceding chapters. Grasping the meaning of the apostle Paul's words has led me to deep consideration, not only of the all encompassing scope of Christ's reconciliatory work, but also to the perfection of the work that must be accomplished in each individual life.

I Corinthians 15:28
When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

These three words, "all in all,"convey the breadth and length and height and depth of Yahweh's plan. For a time I struggled to comprehend what these words "all in all" meant. It was like a light coming on when I read the passage with one of the words changed. I then perceived, by aid of the contrast, the apostle's meaning.

We have seen that this passage is speaking of the end of the reign of Christ. We are told "Christ must reign until..." In this passage, and others, we have also discerned that it was given to the Son by the Father to accomplish the work of reconciling all things in heaven and earth to the Father. Consider how vastly different Paul's message would be if we changed one word, and we did so in keeping with the orthodox belief of the majority of professing Christians today.

I Corinthians 15:28
When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in some.

Does not this alteration of the Scripture accord well with the doctrine of the church in this hour of apostasy? By changing this one word we are able to discern, by contrast, what Paul was actually saying. Christ would not reconcile only part of the creation to His Father. He would reconcile ALL the creation to His Father.

Philippians 2:9-11
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Yahshua every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Yahshua Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Paul presents a wonderful harmony whenever he touches upon this subject in his letters. Consider the perfect agreement in Paul's words to the saints in Philippi with his words to the believers in Corinth. Paul states that "every tongue will confess that Yahshua Christ is Lord." He further informs us that this confession will result in glory to God the Father. Yahweh would not be glorified if men or angels confessed that Yahshua Christ is Lord while harboring rebellion, resentment, and hatred toward the Son of God in their heart. The only way for such a confession to glorify the Father is for it to arise from a sincere heart expressing the truth of what is believed by the individual. Those who worship God must do so in Spirit and in truth.

The apostle conveys the same message of universal reconciliation of the creation to God through Christ to his Hebrew brethren.

Hebrews 2:8
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.

Christ must bring the entire creation into a full and complete subjection to the Father that Yahweh might be "all in all." If it were Yahweh's plan to save only part of the creation, then Paul would certainly have told us that at the end of Christ's reign the Father would be "all in some." To say Yahweh will be "all in all" is to declare that a complete reconciliation will take place. Nothing in the creation will be exempted.

Tragically, the church has come to deny not only that Christ will reconcile "all things" to Himself, they have adopted a very inferior view of the work of Christ in the life of each individual. The mindset I find everywhere throughout the church is that Christ will accomplish only a partial reconciliation in each life. The present conception of Christ's reconciliatory work could be expressed accurately by saying "God will be some in some."

If we say that Yahweh will be "all in all" then we are concluding that He will reconcile everything to Himself. Not only will all creatures be reconciled back to the Father, but there can be no part of any individual that has failed to come under subjection to the life and rule of Christ. Every man must become a wholly yielded vessel. There can be no sin, unrighteousness, or selfishness left in the heart of any person.Everyone must come to be a perfect and mature revelation of Christ. No darkness can remain. All must be light and life and truth.

The church today is content to fall short of such a complete reconciliation. Mankind likes his selfishness. He is satisfied to receive a promise of forgiveness and of heaven when he dies. Coming to a complete conformity to the Son of God is something that rarely enters the mind of Christians. If it does, such a thought is usually discarded as unrealistic, or not truly desirable. After all, the only way to be perfectly conformed to the image of Christ is to embrace the cross and die to self.

Nevertheless, the testimony of Scriptures and of the Holy Spirit is sure. Yahweh will not rest until He has brought every facet of our lives under subjection to the rule of Christ. We are called and destined to attain to the full and perfect character and image of the firstborn Son of God.

Ephesians 4:11-13
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we ALL attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the FULLNESS of Christ.

Christ must fill all things.

Ephesians 4:10
He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.

You and I are part of the "all things" that Christ must fill. The Son of God will not be content for any man or woman to surrender to Him only part of their life. There can be nothing left of the fallen Adamic nature.

Matthew 16:25-26
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Without question, the majority in the church today do not wish to lose their natural lives. They are taught to pursue Your Best Life Now. The church is endeavoring to enjoy their good things in this life while eschewing the afflicted path that alone leads to life. The desires and passions of the soul are what guide and direct most Christians. The natural life is protected, and the disciple's cross is spurned. Consequently, Christ does not fill all things in His church. The saints remain immature, not attaining "to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the FULLNESS of Christ."

Paul said that in the last days men would not endure sound doctrine. Those in the church would turn aside to myths and fables and heap up to themselves teachers to tell them the things they want to hear. There is a reason that the church has embraced false doctrines relating to the reconciliation of all things to Christ. There is an appeal in these false doctrines to the carnal desires of the natural man. It is very costly to the natural man to attain to a mature conformity to Christ. We learn obedience through the things we suffer, even as did the Son of God.

Hebrews 5:8-9
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of aeonian salvation...

Yahweh has determined that ALL must come to a conformity to Christ. Christ must fill all things. We must decrease that Christ might increase in us. Yet, the natural man is adamantly opposed to decreasing. The natural man seeks to protect his life.What man or woman wants to lay aside their desires, their dreams, their goals, their comfort and pleasures, in order that the will of the Father might be achieved? Christ was the first man to ever walk perfectly in choosing the will of the Father over His own soul's desire.

John 6:38
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

John 4:34
Yahshua said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work."

To be filled with the fulness of Christ, we can have no other mind than that which He had. We too must die to our own will and desires that we might fulfill the will of the Father. In essence, we must despise our own soul's desires and will in order to live for the pleasure of another. Christ said no man could be His disciple unless they hate their natural life, unless they hate their own soul.

Luke 14:26
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate... even his own life (psuche - soul), he cannot be My disciple."

There is only one path that will lead a Christian to that mature image of the Son of God. It is the way of the cross. A man or woman must yield their entire being to be directed by the Spirit of Christ. They must agree to go wherever Christ leads them, and to do whatever He asks of them. Christ has promised ALL who walk this path that there will be suffering, there will be persecution, a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Christ has said that no man can be His disciple who does not give up all he possesses. We must be emptied that Christ might fill us.

At this time Christ is accomplishing the work of reconciling the creation to His Father. Yahshua has commenced upon an orderly reconciliation. He is beginning with a small number that will be firstfruits unto God and Christ. These ones are embracing the suffering of the cross. They are yielding their lives to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These overcoming saints will be Christ's firstborn, attaining to the first resurrection. They will be preeminent among the creation. Only the firstfruits will rule and reign with Christ during the thousand years of His millennial kingdom. These will be participants with Christ in the work of reconciling the world to the Father.

There is a corollary truth to Christ subjecting all things to Himself. Those subjected to Christ must experience a perfect and complete yielding of their will and desires to Yahshua. Similarly, there is a parallel to Christ filling all things in that those who are filled must first be emptied. The more pliant, submissive, and yielding we are to Christ, the sooner we will make progress to maturity. Firstfruits are those who mature quickest. Of necessity they are the ones who die most quickly to the Adamic nature that Christ might be formed in them. If you would be among Christ's firstfruits, you must embrace the cross rather than fleeing from it.An age and an hour will arrive when Christ has accomplished the work of reconciling all things to the Father. The Father will then be "all in all." Every creature will be restored to fellowship with the Father, and Christ will fill every part of those creatures. The Bible testifies in a multitude of places that Yahweh has chosen to save all men.

I Timothy 2:3-4
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Christ is the Savior of ALL MEN.

I Timothy 4:10
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Christ is especially the Savior of those recognized by God as believers in this age. Those who walk as overcomers now will not suffer loss in the ages to come. Blessed and holy are those who attain to the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6). Christ, as the firstborn of the Father, and the first to embrace the suffering of the cross, has received preeminence above the rest of creation.

Philippians 2:8-9
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name...

Christ will in turn bring forth a firstfruits company of sons who will be preeminent among all those who follow. These ones must also experience "death on a cross." Yahweh will eventually fill "all in all." At this time, however, it is a remnant that are yielding to the cross, being emptied of self that they might be filled with the fulness of Christ. The ages will reveal that the way of reconciling every creature to God the Father will involve suffering. The soul must be crushed.

Mark 14:34
And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."

None can escape this crushing. Christ is the forerunner. He is our pattern man. He embraced the cross and was judged to be perfect.

Hebrews 2:10
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

Christ surrendered to the path of suffering and was judged perfect. Yahweh would have all men to be perfect.

Matthew 5:48
"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

This perfection, arriving at the mature stature that belongs to Christ, comes as we follow in His steps.

I Peter 2:21
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps...

Being fully conformed to the image of Christ is what is implied in Paul's statement that God would be "ALL" in His creation. The Father has determined that this perfection will come to the entirety of His creation. Yahweh will not be "all in some." He will not be "some in some." Nor will He be "some in all." When Christ's reign has accomplished all for which it has been established, Yahweh will be "all in all."

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