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The Goal of God (8)

by Charles H. Welch

When we speak of the "Person" in the Godhead, we employ a term that really means that the Invisible, Unconditional, Absolute has "spoken through" the person of "Father" or "Son" or "Holy Ghost" in the N.T., even as He spoke through the titles Elohim, Jehovah, and El Shaddai in the O.T. No one name, nor all the names of God employed together, can encompass and fully present God Himself. Even the employment of the masculine pronoun "He", "Him" is a concession to our limitations, for God Who is Spirit, Invisible, having neither bodily parts, form or parts cannot be properly conceived of as male or female. At every turn human limitation is met by Divine condescension, and nowhere is this more evident and more necessary than in the revelation of His unspeakable nature to man. In philosophy or logic a name is "a word taken at pleasure to serve for a mark, which may raise in our mind a thought like to some thought we had before," but like words, names are often mistaken for things to our undoing. God is Elohim, but He is infinitely more. God is Jehovah, God is Father, God is Son, God is Holy Ghost, but God is, in Himself--what? That is a question never raised and never answered in the Scriptures. For us, at least, until in the glory we shall be in a position to know even as we are known, we exultantly behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and if we ask ourselves, as we should, "What is God like?" the answer is that Christ is "the character" (the express Image) of His invisible, unknowable substance or reality (hupostasis Heb. 1:3).

Now all this mighty movement, Creation, Purpose, Manifestation, Self-limitation must, if God be wise, holy and just, have an equally wonderful goal. That goal is indicated in 1 Cor. 15 as we have earlier suggested: "That God may be all in all."

That is "the end", and creation, overthrow, Adam, redemption, resurrection, eternal life and ultimate glory, are all the blessed means adopted to ensure at last this most wonderful end is attained. We must contemplate this unfolding therefore with bowed heart and reverent thought, for the unveiling of this purpose will ultimately unveil the heart of the living God.

Let us now return to the opening theme of our study and endeavor with the light we have now received to take another step forward. We have already observed that in the world of Nature God is, and always has been, "All in all", and it is toward this same glorious and acknowledged supremacy and fulness in the world of moral agents that the purpose of the ages moves. Where, however, in the world of physics, God could say "Let there be light" and there was light, where in that realm "He spake and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast, in this highest world of morals, it takes the slow unfolding centuries, the bitter lesson of the ages, in other words it takes "the perfecting through suffering" before the God of creation can be the confessed and acknowledged "All in all" in the hearts and consciences of men.

Two passages in Hebrews 2 which have not yet been considered must now be given attention, for they contain within them the solution of one of the great problems of the ages, namely, in what way will God be so "all in all" that the relationship shall carry within itself its own guarantee of permanence and its assurance of richest intimacy. The passages are: "Perfect through sufferings" and "all of one."

This oneness is to be effected between two parties separated by a gulf that at first seems impassable: The INFINITE God, Who is Spirit, and FINITE man who is flesh. The gulf is spanned by the provision of the Mediator, Job's "daysman", the One Who could lay His hands upon both God and man, in short, He Who was "God manifest in the flesh." Here, in Him, God and man can meet. We are already taught that God is "like Christ", so that if redeemed man can become "like Christ" also, oneness is assured and forever established by the possession of this common likeness. This truth we now seek to establish by an examination of the Scriptural employment of the word "Image".

First we must consider those passages which teach that "God is Christ-like", in which God comes down and finds a meeting place with man, in the person of His Son, the One Mediator. Then we must consider the passages where man (1) by creation, and (2) by redemption is said to be either created in the likeness of God, or predestinated to be conformed to the Image of His Son, or is yet to have a body like unto His body of glory; and having discovered in this body like unto His body of glory; and having discovered in the blessed Person, the Son of God, the Divine meeting place of God and man, we shall have discovered the way, and the only way indicated in the Scriptures, for God to become All in all to His people. That will be when He Who is the Word, the Form, the Image, the Character of God, and they, for whom this same glorious One became flesh and was made like unto His brethren, shall have become one in the same sense indicated in John 17:21-23: "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us...I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may have been perfected into one" or shall be "all of one" as indicated in Hebrews 2:11.

(From The Berean Expositor, Vol. 44)

Edited on April 28, 1996 / Updated on April 28, 1996
The Alachau Freenet does not endorse or disendorse the content of this document. Everything is the author's private opinion.
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