THE FULLNESS THAT FILLETH ALL IN ALL
A discourse delivered before the Associated Bible Students by Dr. M. E. Riemer, M. D., at the Denver Convention, Sunday, June 2, 1918 . . .
We realize that the subject we have chosen for this afternoonís consideration is the greatest theme in the universe. And since we further realize that we are about the smallest thing in the universe upon the plane of intelligence; we marvel at the honor bestowed upon us in being able to, in a measure, discuss this subject. We also wonder at the marvelous condescension on the part of Jehovah that He should grant a revelation of His own glorious self to such as we are.
Our text, found in #Eph 1:23, shows us that this fullness that filleth all in all is Jesus and His church, the Christ. We are also informed that when this fullness shall have been brought to pass it will be the Father as the all and in all.
The statement the fullness that filleth all and in all, implies that all of Godís intelligent creation must yet receive an added fullness. This does not imply that any of Godís creation was created imperfect, for we realize that everything that God creates is created very good or perfect, but there is a great difference between perfection and completeness. If we should describe the work of a perfect artist we would describe every stroke of his brush as perfect, but not until the picture was a finished product would it be complete. So; if the Bible tells us that there is to be a fullness that will fill all and in all, we can see that although God pronounced His creatures as being very good or perfect, yet we realize that none were fully complete until our Lord Jesus was seated at the right hand of the throne of God. From that time on we will see how God has provided the channel and the agency through which this added fullness will be given to the whole of the intelligent creation, all those who will permit of their being filled in His way. I am sure we realize that when God will be all and in all that the probability of sin will be a thing of the past.
I feel sure -that we all realize that God was not all in father Adam. Had it been so, would father Adam ever have transgressed Godís righteous law? Since Adam violated Godís law on account of His love for mother Eve, it is a demonstrated fact that Eve was more to Adam than God himself. But when in due time the Heavenly Father shall have revealed the riches of His grace and favor, and His great love to father Adam, so that God will be the whole thing in father Adamís affections, then we realize that Adam will be so in love with God that never again would he disobey God on account of love for an earthly companion, even though he should love her as his own flesh.
We see that many of Godís angelic sons have also become disobedient to God. If God had been all in all to them, would they ever: have become alienated from him? True, these angelic sons, as well as father Adam, knew much of God. His great wisdom and power were demonstrated to them in the things that were made, His justice also, to some extent, was demonstrated in creation, but it remained for His love to be demonstrated before they could get a real insight into and appreciate the statement, that God is love. God is not content to describe Himself as a God of love, for description falls far short of what He really is. Jehovah acts upon the principle that actions speak louder than words. Moses prayed "show me now Thy way that I may know Thee." God therefore has decided to reveal His love to them through His great plan of which Jesus and His church will be the central feature. Thus, when our text tells us that the church, the body of Christ, is to be the fullness of Him, Christ the Head, that filleth all and in all, we can see that it is through Jesus and His church that the Heavenly Father will reveal this greatest of His attributes, love.
The Word of God tells us that it pleased the Father that in Jesus all fullness should dwell. We realize that this refers also to fulfilling the requirements of Justice which are necessary on the part of the fallen human race before they can come in contact with the Heavenly Father to receive of His fullness. So the first feature of this fullness we will consider will be the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus and how it reveals to us the love of God.
St. John tells us herein is the love of God manifested, demonstrated or proven, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. We see that this filling of the -requirements of justice will be through the death of Jesus, but notice that this reveals the love of God to us. We have all pondered at, and marveled at, the great love which our Savior has manifested towards us in the giving of His life for us, with all that this means of suffering and ignominy and shame, but how few Christians know and appreciate what the death of Jesus manifests of Godís great love, what sufferings it must have cost the Heavenly Fatherís heart to provide this sacrifice for us. True, the angels in heaven being in the spirit nature, can more closely approximate Godís sufferings than can we living here on a different plane. So that we might appreciate what it has cost the Father in the sacrifice of His son, God has pictured the sacrifice in a, human life in asking Abraham to sacrifice His son Isaac for Him. So that we might know that he wanted to call our attention to his sufferings in this way, He tells us, that as a father pitieth his child, even so He, the Heavenly Father, pities them that reverence Him. So as Abraham in pity suffered more in the carrying out of this picture than did Isaac, so we can readily see how that it cost the loving heart of our Heavenly Father far more suffering than it cost our Lord Jesus to be the sacrifice.
Since we all recognize that motherly love is far superior to fatherly love, I formerly wondered why God did not ask Sarah to make this sacrifice of her son Isaac, and thus picture far greater love than what Abrahamís love would picture. But I wonder no longer. Do you think Sarah ever could have been induced to have sacrificed that son she loved so much? I imagine hearing her parley with God, and in her parley making the proposition, offering herself instead of her son. Yes, I imagine hearing her say, Lord, may I not die for the boy? Would it not be just as pleasing to you if I die in his stead? Yes, I imagine she would have offered to die a hundred times rather than to have offered her son. The sum and substance of the whole matter is. She would have loved Isaac so much she could not have given him up, it would have cost her too much suffering. It would have been a hundred times easier for her to have died in his stead than for her to have offered him. But do you think Sarah loved her son Isaac more than the Heavenly Father loved His son Jesus? Could such a thing have been possible ? When the Heavenly Father placed that grand quality of motherly love in the human heart, did He create something above what He himself possessed? Can the thing that is created surpass the creator in any particular? Could such a thing be possible? He, who referring to motherly love said, can a mother forget her suckling child, yea, even though she may, yet will I never forget thee, surely must have loved His son Jesus far more than any mother ever loved her son. Yet His love for us was great enough to endure all the sufferings brought about by the gift of that which He loved the most. Can we make the Heavenly Fatherís love as real and tender, and, affectionate towards us as God would have us to know it-more tender and affectionate and self-sacrificing even than a motherís love?
When God desired to picture this sacrifice in the Passover service, He ordered the elders to select from their sheepfold a lamb of the first year without spot or blemish. Since this was to picture the Lamb of God, these instructions had to be made specific. For if we were choosing a lamb for a sacrifice we might think since it had to be destroyed, a cripple or a blemished or undersized lamb would be good enough. Why take out a perfect lamb? But when God looked over His heavenly sheepfold to select a lamb for the slaughter, did He take one of His lesser lambs to sacrifice for us? No, He chose the best thing that heaven possessed, the dearest thing He had. I often thought, why did not God take one of His lesser angels? This would not have cost His love so much of suffering, but the Bible tells us God cannot deny Himself, and since He wanted to reveal His love to us so that we could become acquainted with Him, His love had to operate to its full possibility, and thus He chose the thing that He loved most, the gift that cost Him the greatest suffering, so that we could look into the real depth of His loving heart. We realize that if God could have come and died for us, His sufferings would not have been by far as great, for it is easier for love to suffer than for love to cause suffering to that which it loves. Realizing what Jesus was to the Father, could we ask a greater exhibition of love than what the sacrifice of Jesus reveals of Godís love? Could we ask for a greater gift? No, this is the limit. God could give nothing greater.
In due course of time our Lord Jesus came to earth and finished His earthly career upon the cross. We have often wondered what was the real cause of our Lord Jesusí death. Many think He died as the result of crucifixion. This is true in one sense of the word, yet in another, sense of the word crucifixion never causes death. The Roman government practiced this method of disposing of its vicious criminals. At times thousands were crucified. At one time the Appian way leading out of Rome was lined with crucified criminals for miles and miles into the country. History tells us that these poor wretches hung on the cross for as much as eight and ten days, and finally died, not as the result of crucifixion, but from starvation and thirst. So crucifixion was a method of torture whereby the victim came to his end by starvation and thirst. But our Lord Jesus only lived six hours on the cross, and therefore could not have died from hunger or thirst, neither could He have died from any physical ailment brought on by disease or imperfection. The Old Testament tells us in so many words, that He died of a broken heart. This does not mean a broken heart in the sense that you and I often use it. Our Lord Jesus died from an actual rupture of His literal heart, the organ that pumped the blood throughout His system. Since this is the only case on record of a literal broken heart, so that we might know that this was actually the case with our Lord Jesus, the New Testament gives us the scientific proof thereof. , You remember it is stated that after Jesusí death a soldier stepped forth and taking a spear in his hand, he pierced Jesusí side and forthwith came both blood and water. Here is the scientific proof. So that you might really appreciate this wonderful truth, I will try and make plain to your minds how this is real proof of a broken heart.
Around the heart we have a sack of dense fibrous tissue called the pericardium. In this sack there is nothing but the heart and a small amount of vicid fluid like the white of an egg, which prevents any friction from the action of the heart. If we would pierce a dead body anywhere, there would be no blood flow, nor would there be any watery elements escape. Even should we push a spear into the pericardium the fluid therein is so scant that it would not appear upon the surface. Should we push the spear further into the cavities of the heart, there would be no blood there, for the heart of a dead person is practically empty unless the deceased had heart trouble, then there might be a small quantity, but not sufficient to manifest itself on the surface. The heart in its last contraction in death empties itself, and the little valves at the top prevent any blood from returning, respiration ceasing earlier, the heart is not filled from the lung. When our Lord Jesus received the great sorrow that broke His literal heart, His heart could no longer force the blood to the head and keep the centers of life in action, because the blood escaped through the torn place in His heart into this pericardial sack surrounding the heart, and thus Jesus literally bled to death through this torn place in His heart into His pericardium. Thus Jesus died. After blood escapes from the vessels it immediately undergoes coagulation, forming a clot. Soon this clot starts to contract, thus forcing from itself all the watery elements in the blood, and soon we have the clot and the water elements separated. This is what took place in Jesusí pericardium, which was greatly distended, and when the soldier pierced his side with a spear he opened up this pericardial sack and forthwith came both the blood and the water-a positive scientific proof that no scientist can gainsay, establishing beyond the question of a doubt our Lord Jesusí death due to a broken heart.
But it may be asked, what caused our Lord Jesusí broken heart? The Bible makes this plain, also. It was due to the Heavenly Father hiding His face from Jesus, which brought such great anguish and sorrow to our Lord, that he cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and died of a broken heart. So we see it was due to the fact that God hid His face from Jesus that His heart broke. God long before had made a law which stated "cursed is every one that hangeth on the tree," thus showing that any one who is crucified is cursed in the sight of God. So when Jesus submitted to crucifixion out of His love for God, Godís law pronounced a curse upon Him. Well, some one may ask, why did it not break Adamís heart when God pronounced the curse upon him on account of his disobedience and turned His face from him? He did not die from a broken heart, but lived 928 years there after, and doubtless had many days of pleasure, and why should Jesus die in six hours after God had turned away from Him? This is an interesting point and the Bible clear, it up for us as well.
The prophet said, speaking as Godís mouthpiece, in reference to Jesus, "By His knowledge shall my righteous servant save many." We all realize that it was the death of Jesus and not His life that saves the many. Could it then mean that His knowledge brought about His death? Yes, this is what we think is the deeper thought in this verse.
It was in this particular that Jesus differed from Adam, and thus explains how Jesus died by the Heavenly Father forsaking Him. What was this knowledge that, Jesus, had of God that caused His death? You remember when our Lord Jesus came up out of the water of Jordan at baptism, the account states that the heavens were opened up unto Him. This we understand was His begetting to the Holy Spirit and gave Him an insight into all the glory and beauty of the Heavenly Fatherís character and plan, revealing to Him the Heavenly Father. This was so enrapturing to Jesus that He immediately went forty days into the wilderness, forsaking all and forgetting all, so wrapped up was He in this vision of the Heavenly Father that neither did He eat or drink this whole forty days.. The rest of His life was spent in serving this glorious Heavenly Father when it meant self denial of all earthly joys and comforts and privileges, and doing Godís will at the cost of ignominy, shame and suffering. What a power Godís glory was to Him. Finally His love for God caused Him to submit to the cruel tortures of crucifixion. There on the cross, forsaken by all, denied and betrayed by His closest friends, and so in need of comfort and consolation He turned to His only and truest friend, His Heavenly Father, but did He get any comfort or consolation? No. God had hidden His face from Him, the doors and windows of heaven were closed to Jesus, and when this finally dawned on Jesus, with all its stern realities, it literally broke the hear of our Lord.
Some one may ask how sorrow can. break a heart. We all realize that sorrow is felt in the region of the heart. This is due to the great pneumogastric nerve which supplies the heart with its contractile impulses and over which the feelings of sorrow are referred to the region of the heart. When this greatest of all sorrows entered the life of Jesus, it sent such a spasm of pain over this nerve that the heart literally tore itself in its spasm of pain. Thus Jesus died of a broken heart. We have often seen this effect of sorrow demonstrated in our own lives. When two young people become so wrapped up in each other that they think the world and all of one another, should one turn the other down, the jilted lover immediately appreciates the fact that life isnít worth living when the one that you love above everything else turns you down, and the thought of suicide is pondered. If this be the case with our little selfish human love, how much more must it have been true when the Heavenly Father turned His face from Jesus, thus sending the greatest possible sorrow into His life, yes, it broke His literal heart. Can we appreciate the sufferings that our Lord Jesus bore for us so that we might be released from condemnation? Thus we see He became the means of fulfilling the claims of justice against our race, at the cost of great suffering.
But did this cost the Heavenly Father any suffering, or was He away off in some other part of the universe absorbed in other matters? No, we think He was very near at hand. Did you ever stop to think that it fell to the lot of our Heavenly Father to do the very thing that broke, our Lord Jesusí heart? When God saw our Lord Jesus upon the cross it came His time to act. He had to be true to His law, and since Jesus was upon the cross, and His law had pronounced a curse upon Him, it fell to Gods part to turn His face from Jesus. Did God know what this would mean of added sorrow to the Son of His love, who, there on the cross was crying to Him for comfort and consolation from the very depth of His soul, forsaken by all and suffering crucifixion as a malefactor? Oh yes, God knew, and that from the foundation of the earth. But could the Heavenly Father forsake His son under such trying conditions, knowing that this would send the greatest sorrow possible into His heart, literally crushing it? Yes, His love was great enough to suffer even this. How do you think the Heavenly Father felt when He did this? Do you not think that it cost the great loving heart of the Heavenly Father a hundred times more suffering to deal thus with His son than it ever cost Jesus to be thus dealt with by a loving Father? Ah! now we see what the Apostle meant when he said, "Herein is the love of God proven or demonstrated in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for as." Yes, we begin to see what the love of God really is, and with the poet, we exclaim:
"Oh, for such love, I would make, some return,
My humble offering I hope He will not spurn."
Now, while this great exhibition of love revealed to us fills our heart with unspeakable gratitude and love as we ponder it, do you not think that it must have the same effect upon the angels in heaven and fill their hearts also with an enlarged appreciation of His unspeakable loveliness? Ali! they too, together with ourselves, are being filled up.
But now, while this is unspeakable, unfathomable love, we are invited to consider still greater love, by the Apostle John when he says, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God * * * beloved NOW are we the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see- Him as He is." If it doth not yet appear what we shall be, then we cannot behold what love the Father will bestow upon us when He takes us into His own nature. But if we are NOW the sons of God then this love must already have been manifested and bestowed. Let us see what wonderful love the Heavenly Father has already manifested towards us, so that we can now be called the sons of God.
When I first realized what God suffered to purchase us from condemnation I thought this is sufficient to draw out the hearts of all in loving respect to God, and faithful worship of Him eternally. When I realized that Jesus suffered the torture of crucifixion so that He might redeem the Jew in this way from under their condemnation brought on by the law, I thought, how it will break their hearts when they realize that He suffered all this torture at their own hands so they might have salvation. I thanked God that I was no Jew, realizing what this will mean in the way of breaking their hearts when they appreciate this truth. But when I saw that Jesus underwent all the sufferings that He took upon Himself for three and one-half years, just so that you and I might be called the sons of God, I beheld the greatest love possible to manifest to any creature, manifested to us thereby. Jesus, speaking of this love, says, "greater love than this hath no man, than that he lay down his life for his friend," and then explained that his friends were none other than they who were laying down their lives for one another, and thus were keeping His commandments that they love one another as He has loved us. Some one may ask: "did not Jesus lay down His life for every man?" No, we answer. He only laid down His life for His friend. He tasted death for every one and gave His life a ransom for all, but only laid down His life for His friend. Again it is commanded: "husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church (not the world) and gave Himself for it." Thus we see there is a difference between dying and the laying down of oneís life.
It was not necessary for Jesus to suffer three and one half years to be a corresponding price for Adam, for He was this at thirty, having demonstrated His rights to all that Adam had in keeping the Law. He was full of life at thirty, but at the age of thirty-three and one-half He had, practically speaking, given up ninety-nine per cent of His vitality, and had not yet tasted death for any man. The sufferings endured during this three and one-half years in the laying down of His life was only and solely on behalf of His friends, the members of His body. Then dying, He tasted death for every man. The experiences that Jesus received during this three and one-half years of suffering, we are told, were necessary to make Him a faithful High Priest, so that He could be touched with the feeling of our infirmities and make Him perfect as a Captain for our salvation in bringing many sons to glory, the church to the divine nature.
In what way could this laying down of life be efficacious in getting this class ready for the divine nature? When Jesus was thirty years of age He was a perfect and complete human being, enjoying all the rowers of recuperation and life. Thus He never knew what it was to be weary and weak or exhausted. He could not feel the way you and I feel when we must do the Heavenly Fatherís will when we are tired and weary.
Each time he preformed a miracle of healing He did it at a cost to Himself of vitality and vigor, thus, after healing a sufficient number, our Lord Jesus had given up considerable of His strength, and then began to feel weary and weak. To prove that this was the case, we call your attention to the story of how the woman who had suffered much from many physicians, and who could not get release from her physical ailment, had the faith that if she could but touch the hem of His garment she could be made whole. You remember that she worked her way into the crowd, and after touching His garment, was made whole. Jesus immediately asked, "who touched my garment?" His disciples, expressing surprise, since so many were about Him, but Jesus said virtue had gone out of Him. So we see from this narrative that Jesus had lost some of His own vitality which had gone to the healing of this woman.
In this way Jesus gave up His life or laid it down, degree by degree, and, starting when he was one hundred per cent full of life and vigor, and finishing when He was so weary and worn and exhausted, that He fainted under His cross, practically ninety-nine per cent of His vitality gone, we can see how He has passed through every, degree of exhaustion possible between these two extremes. Probably many of us who are quite healthy and strong, may possess as much as fifty per cent vitality. Jesus, when He had given up fifty per cent of His vitality, was then in the same condition of exhaustion and weariness as we are today who have fifty per cent left. Thus He can know just exactly how we feel in doing the Heavenly Fatherís will under these conditions and exhaustion. But many of us have far less, and, thus Jesus passing through these different stages, degree after degree, from one hundred per cent vitality and vigor down to one per cent, has passed through every condition in which any member of the body of Christ may be found, and thus knows just how each and every one feels in doing the will of God under such circumstances. Doubtless none has wearied himself more in doing the Heavenly Fatherís will than Jesus, who fainted in so doing. We see then, how He can he touched with the feeling of our infirmities. But He was also tempted like as we are, yet with out sin. When we feel tired and worn we are disposed to give up the doing of the Heavenly Fatherís will. When we are tired and worn every bit of ignominy and shame that is heaped upon us hurts us so much more. When we are all in, so to speak, then abuse and slander hurts us more than ever before. We see this in our every day life. When we are feeling fine and buoyant, then the noise of the childrenís play doesnít bother us, but when we are all worn out, then how their laughter and noisy play grates on us.
These are the things that have a tendency to prevent our carrying out our covenant of doing the Heavenly Fatherís will. So the very thing that we experience of weariness and fatigue and exhaustion, and the cutting of ignominy, shame, abuse, and unpopularity, which have a tendency to cause us to give up the fight, are the very same things that Jesus passed through so that He might be able to succor us who are being tempted, for He experienced like temptations, passing from one degree to another of exhaustion until He had experienced any and every condition that any and every one of the little flock must go through to demonstrate his loyalty in doing the will of God.
Now, our Lord Jesus said, greater love than this hath no man, so we can see that this is even greater love than dying for us, so here we see the great love which Jesus manifested towards us, so that we might be called the sons of God. If He hadnít suffered thus for us, the high calling would never have been extended to the church. But our text says, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God," so, this also reveals Godís great love toward us as well as the love of Jesus. What portion in this suffering and manifestation of love did God partake of? The Bible says, "for it became Him (Jehovah) for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing many sons to glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering." So we see it fell to the Heavenly Fatherís lot to see that Jesus got this, graduated experience so that He could be a perfect Captain to lead us to our great salvation. The prophet Isaiah, referring to this, said, "it pleased our Father to bruise Him (Jesus) to bruise Him sorely." The word bruise here is more properly translated crush.
Thus it would read "it pleased the Father to crush Jesus, to crush Him sorely."
When Jesus made a full consecration of Himself to God He placed Himself unreservedly at Godís disposal, so that God might use Him in any and every way, regardless of what it might mean of suffering or cost. Thus, Jesus, at the age of thirty, stood before the Heavenly Father full of life. From then on the crushing process took place. Little by little the life of Jesus was disposed of in healing those whom Jesus healed, under the Heavenly Fatherís direction. This is shown in the narrative referred to before, of the woman healed by touching Jesusí garment. Jesus did not give her any vitality but found out that vitality had gone from Him without His dispensing of it. This shows clearly that the Heavenly Father, seeing that Jesus had sufficient experience in that degree of strength and vitality, or exhaustion, sent this woman to Him and literally gave her some of His vitality in healing her. This is how the Heavenly Father crushed Jesus, just gradually crushing His vitality from Him, degree by degree, until He was crushed sorely and fainted under the process on the way up Calvary mountain.
This was of the Heavenly Fatherís planning. Such wisdom and love is superhuman and therefore it became Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing these many sons to glory, yes, it became Jehovah to make the Captain of our salvation perfect through suffering. What do you think it must have cost our Heavenly Father to thus crush His dear son through three and one-half years of such suffering? Must we not arrive at the conclusion that the Heavenly Father, who planned and had to direct in this preparation of Jesus as our merciful High Priest, suffered far more in putting Jesus through this suffering than Jesus ever suffered in bearing it at the Fatherís loving hand? If Jesus manifested the greatest love in suffering for us than in dying for us, did not the Heavenly Father suffer more in putting Jesus through this suffering than in bringing about the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on Calvaryís mountain? Do we not see then that this is the greatest possible love that could be manifested on the part of the Heavenly Father to wards us? Think how the Heavenly Father must have pitied and therefore suffered when Jesus, crying out to Him from the bottom of His heart, "Heavenly Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me," and the Heavenly Father had to keep on pouring the cup of bitter experiences until Jesus fainted through sheer exhaustion. Oh! "Behold what love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God, yes, greater love than this hath no one."
Throughout Jesusí trial He suffered most terrible humiliation. They spit in His face, slapped Him, mocked Him, put a crown of thorns upon Him, and beat it into His brow with a rod, they pulled His whiskers out of His chin, disrobed Him to His shame, and why was all of this? Will mankind suffer this way in the millennium ? Oh, no. Nothing like this will ever be permitted in His kingdom, but since that time many of these prospective sons of God have been so treated, and in the very near future, in the closing hours of the churchís experiences here in the flesh, some of us may be called upon to suffer similarly. When we come under these circumstances and trials, can we not know that Jesus knows just how we feel and therefore can sympathize with us and succor us and send us help in every time of need ? Yes, since Jesus has suffered all this so as to be able to be our succor, and the Heavenly Father has planned it and suffered its execution so that He might prepare succor for us, and now has highly exalted Jesus and given Him all power in heaven and on earth, and given Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, can we not come boldly to the throne of grace and find help and mercy there in EVERY time of need? Can we not see that in everything that we are tempted Jesus was tempted in like manner. What a glorious and merciful High Priest God has provided for us. Does it not reveal most wonderful love, both in the Father and the Son?
"I stand all astonished and wonder, And gaze on the ocean of love; And over its waves to my spirit, Comes peace like a heavenly dove."
In these particulars we see how that Jesus is the channel through which God has revealed most wonderful love. But our text tells us, that we, the church. are to be the fullness of Him that filleth all and in all. Well, how can we reveal the love of God? Does our suffering and death reveal wonderful love on Godís part? Oh no. You and I dying in Christ die most peacefully and often with far less suffering than if we were not in Christ. So Godís love is not revealed in our suffering and dying. But you and I are to be recipients of such marvelous grace and favor, and love, and kindness, that throughout the endless ages of eternity we will be a monument to the exceeding riches of His grace it His kindness to us, a monument of how unspeakably kind God is.
The Apostle Paulís statement in #Eph 2:7 "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches in His grace, in His kindness to us through Christ Jesus," implies, that when we are once in the divine nature we will thus throughout the ages to come be a monument of the exceeding riches of Godís kindness and mercy towards us while here in the embryonic new creature condition.
When in future ages the glory of the Lord will be extended to every intelligent creature already created and yet to be created, they will first learn of Jehovah as a powerful, wise and just Creator. When they later come to an understanding of who these other wonderful and powerful divine beings are who are associated with Him in the divine family then the revelation of God, as a God of self-sacrificing love, and mercy and marvelous condescension, will take place. When they inquire, who is this other great One, that is head of all things and who is like the Heavenly Father, in person and in power, who seems to be another Jehovah? Ah! then the sweet story of Godís love in the way of self-sacrifice and suffering will be revealed. Then they will hear how this dearest of Godís creatures the Son of His love came to earth and suffered and died, an expression of Godís love for sinners and that He received His high exaltation on account of His loving submission through ignominy, shame and suffering. Thus the love of God will be shown forth in the story of the suffering and death of Jesus, as has been described preceding. Then they will ask, who are these other great and powerful ones on the divine plane with Jehovah and His son Jesus. Then a different phase of Godís love will be revealed to them. Were these others also great ones like our Lord Jesus was before He suffered and died? Were there other wonderful angels in heaven who had always been obedient and faithful to God? Oh no. Who were they then? Then the story that will be told will show how that God took them from the lowest intelligent plane of His creation and also from the lowest depths of degradation to which this lowest intelligent creation had fallen and has exalted them to share His own power and nature. What marvelous condescension this will reveal on the part of the Heavenly Father. Could there be any greater condescension than this, the Most High sharing His nature and power with the lowest of the lowest intelligent plane? But how did He get them there? Then the greatest of all love will be revealed to them. How to prepare them for this high exaltation He had to send His son Jesus, and perfect Him through suffering, ignominy and shame, so that thus Jesus might be a merciful High Priest to them and thus lead them forth to glory. Thus the sufferings of Christ for His church, and what this meant to the Heavenly Father of pity and heart suffering, will be revealed to them and thus they will see what a loving, self sacrificing, unselfish, condescending Heavenly Father, Jehovah is. Oh! what a glorious insight into Godís love this will give them!
I used to feel that if ever I was awarded a portion in the divine family, it would be nothing more than due respect to God and to good old father Abraham, wonderful character as he was, that I should tender my crown to father Abraham, feeling that he is far more worthy of it than I. But if God wanted Abraham in the divine family He doubtless would have placed him there. But why should I have that honor and Abraham not? Ali! if Abraham should be put in the divine family they might see a reason for his getting there. They might say: well surely Abraham ought to be there but when they see such an one as I in it, they will see no other reason than that it was Godís great mercy that brought me there. When God started to take the Church and prepare them for the divine nature this lowest of His intelligent creation had already descended four thousand years into sin and degradation, and here after six thousand years have so marred their characters and dispositions, and mankind has fallen so low that they are little removed from the beast, here is where the Heavenly Father is taking out the larger portion of this class for the divine family. Do we not see that to get such as you and I, weak and fallen as we are, into the divine nature it takes the largest amount of grace? Yes, it takes mercy; mercy upon mercy and grace upon grace in endless quantity to prepare us, and thus when we are placed in the divine nature we will be a monument to show just how merciful the Heavenly Father is. God never had exercised mercy directly to anyone prior to Pentecost, nor will He ever exercise mercy to anyone after the little flock has passed into the eternal condition. Mercy can only be extended to those to whom punishment is due, and that only after justice has been satisfied. All others receive no mercy. Even Jesus received no mercy from God. Thus before Jesus appeared in the presence of God for us, justice was not satisfied on behalf of any and therefore no one could receive mercy. After the church is finished, and the Millennial order begins, no mercy will be shown by God for they will all be in Jesusí hands. When they are turned over to the Heavenly Father at the close of the thousand years, no mercy can be extended by Him to them, and since no sin will ever be permitted again, we see that this Gospel age is the only time that God can personally extend mercy towards anyone and this only for the church. Thus we see the most beautiful quality in the Heavenly Fatherís glorious nature, the thing He delights in, mercy, can only operate today. Thus the church in the divine nature, taken from fallen mankind will eternally be a monument to the Heavenly Fatherís great mercy. Since we are fallen the furthest we need the most mercy. So, can you content yourself in receiving mercy upon mercy and not glorying in your own works so that thus you might be something, a monument to Godís wonderful mercy? Can you love Him so supremely and can you partake of His grace and mercy so abundantly that eternally you may only be something to His glory?
Motherly love in all its beauty would never be appreciated if there had never been any helpless babies nor does it shine out in all its glory, except in a mother and her care for that helpless, wee baby. What all it does and what all it bears and how it sacrifices, can only be shown when the child is the most helpless. When the child is grown to manhoodís estate, this is not seen, then only the memory of this sacrificing love remains, but the love is the same in the motherís heart. So when in the future ages no mercy can be shown, for all will have to meet the strict demands of justice, still this church will be an eternal monument to the memory of Godís mercy and kindness, condescension and suffering for us, telling all of Godís great heart of wonderful mercy.
When thus the glory of the Heavenly Father is revealed to all His intelligent creatures through Jesus and His church it will be so enrapturing and so absorbing of their every love and affection that thus He will become their all and in all. Thus will be realized what the Bible says: that Jesus will turn the Kingdom over to the Father that the Father might be all and in all. Thus we see that we the church are the fullness of Christ and this Christ is the full exhibition of the glorious love and mercy of the Heavenly Father, thus revealing the Heavenly Fatherís love fully to the whole of the intelligent creation, thus filling them with God so that He will be their all and in all. No longer will Adam love the gift, Eve, more than the giver, Jehovah. To show you what effect this will have upon them we want to call your attention to the effect this revelation of God had upon Jesus. He received this revelation the first forty days of His life on this earth as a new creature, and it so caused Him to love God and to become wrapped up in Him that He could sacrifice His all and bear untold suffering, if only He could continue to have God in His life, to fellowship Him and serve Him and have His smile of approval for He was His all and in all, dearer to Him than His own life.
"Higher than the highest mountain,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord Thy love at last hath conquered
None of self and all of Thee."