No longer do news commentators, top military men and scientists say “if there is a World War III,” now they speak of when and how it shall come! Leading world scientists say frankly they are frightened!
With nuclear bombs by the thousands, with other newly-invented means of mass death and destruction said to be even more horrible than the nuclear bomb, imagination-defying weapons an appalling picture is presented which ought to make everyone shudder!
No one thinks, now, that men swayed by passions or partisanship and greed, and with competitive national aspirations and interests to work for and protect, will be able to prevent the world-cataclysm which experts tell us may blast human life from this earth!
Gloomy picture? Yes, but it’s real! It’s the picture we have to face! This is the world we shall have to live in or die in!
Is it any wonder so many people, if and when they do begin to think of the Great God in this connection asked: “Why, if there is a God does He permit war? Why does God allow such unadulterated hell on earth among men?”
“If God is good, if He is love, He would not wish people who are innocent victims to endure this indescribable anguish and if He is Almighty, then he certainly could prevent it! Why doesn’t He? This is a slightly unbalanced conception of God. It emphasizes His tender mercy and compassion, and His power, but it overlooks God’s righteousness and His wisdom; and it fails utterly of understanding God’s great purpose in putting mankind upon this planet!
War, of course, is not caused by God. It is caused by ambition and greed, by the wrong thinking and acting of men, swayed by human passions. It is the result of evil, of sin. Still, God permits it!
Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill actually gave the answer when he said, regarding the war, before American Congress: “There is a purpose being worked out here below,” of course he implied a higher power, above, doing the working out! World War II was really a part of the working out of that purpose!
But man, it seems, fails to understand that purpose! Naturally, it has to do with the Plan of Redemption. But even that Plan is not very widely understood today, nor rightly preached!
Why, let us ask, and understand, should man need any redemption? The popular teaching is that one is “saved” at the time he or she accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Well, why is it, then, that God does not then and there remove them from this unhappy world of suffering? Why not take them immediately to his happy reward? Why, after they are saved, must they live on in this life of suffering?
Why is it, that once a person is converted, “many are the afflictions of the righteous;” – “all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” “it is thru much tribulation we must enter the Kingdom of God.” Why?
Why, Ist) does God permit the world to suffer so much; and 2nd) Why must even converted Christians go on suffering? Why is there such a thing as sin? We hear it came from the “original fall of man.” Why the fall? Why didn’t God prevent that?
The common teaching, as believed and taught by most denominations, is that God created man perfect and complete, in the very image of God, and placed him in the beautiful Garden of Eden. It is believed that God’s creation was finished completed! Everything was perfect.
And God was able to do all this, and to start our first parents out all right, when lo and behold, Satan succeeded in invading that perfect and blessed retreat. He successfully overthrew the man. Satan succeeded in thwarting God’s will, upsetting God’s Plan for a happy and peaceful life for his perfect humans, alienating the man and woman from God, introducing the dreadful consequences of SIN, marring, wrecking, God’s creative handiwork!
And now, according to this popular teaching, God’s plan for a happy life and beautiful environment for His created humans was all disarranged! Now God had to commence all over again, and formulate a new Plan, a Plan to repair the damage!
Redemption, then, is pictured as God’s Plan for repairing the damage caused by Satan in that “original fall” of man! And ever since, God has entered a furious contest with Satan. For six thousand years, God has desperately been trying to redeem humanity, to save, and restore mankind back to a condition as good as God had originally created him, before the fall. (To learn the truth about the fall of man enroll today in our Traditional Christian Doctrine series).
What is wrong with that picture? When stated so plainly we can see quite clearly something is wrong! What are we going to do with the fall of man? If this popular teaching is correct, it makes Satan more powerful than God. It makes Satan able to wreck God’s perfected creation, to thwart God’s will.
After God in desperation has devised a Plan of Redemption, and spent some six thousand years trying to restore the original Edenic perfection, where does this picture leave us today? Why, with Satan winning the contest by a pitifully lopsided score! More than half of the people who populate this earth today know nothing about Jesus Christ, are blinded by false heathen religions! Only a very small percent of humanity could claim today to be “saved.”
Can’t we see that at every turn this belief presents Satan as more powerful than God? What, then, is the real truth?
Now, if Satan did not succeed in thwarting God’s will, wrecking God’s perfected and completed Creation, then the only alternative is to say that it all happened according to God’s will, exactly as God Himself originally planned!
But do we dare make God Himself responsible? We have but two alternatives! Either Satan got in there against God’s will, and in so doing proved himself mightier and more cunning than God, or else God Himself planned and permitted it all!
The answer is in Scriptures that most ministers never dare quote! In it God does not hesitate to take upon Himself this full responsibility! Here it is, Isa. 45:5, 7: “I am the Eternal, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Eternal do all these things.”
The real answer was brought out by Job. “If a man die, shall he live again,” Job asked, and answered: “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shall call, and I will answer thee; thou will have a desire to the work of thine hands” (Job 14:14).
The latter part of his quotation, most often overlooked, is the key to this whole riddle! Read it again! “Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands!”
Job knew he was merely the work of God’s Hands! Merely a piece of divine workmanship in the Hands of the Creator! Merely a piece of plastic clay in the hands of the Master Potter! And in calling us forth from the grave, in the resurrection, God is having a “desire to finish this work of His Hands!” Even the resurrection, then, is a final completing of God’s creation!
Now we come to the wonderful truth! The first chapter of Genesis doesn’t record a complete creation at all! Adam’s creation was not finished! Creation is still going on!
Salvation is not “repairing of the damage,” a frustrated effort of God to restore man back to a condition as good as Adam, before the fall!
Satan didn’t break into the Garden of Eden in spite of God, did not do one single thing contrary to God’s great purpose! All that has happened had been planned before of God, and all is progressing exactly as God wills
What a great truth to know! What God actually is creating in us humans is the supreme masterpiece of all His works of creation! Millions, yes billions with perfect, spiritual character! It is a spiritual creation. And God is bringing it about in two phases! This duality, in fact carries thru every part and sequence of this tremendous work of creation!
The model, from which the finished spiritual product is to be molded, is material substance, just mortal, human clay! The creation described in Genesis 1 is the first phases of this creation, the material creation, only. And that is merely the beginning, the brining into existence of the substance out of which a model may be molded for the finished Masterpiece.
God formed man, not out of Spirit, but “of the dust of the ground.” To the man whose creation is described in Genesis 1, and 2:7, God said, “Dust thou art.” Not immortal spirit, just dust. Man is mortal, not yet immortal!
Adam didn’t have God’s Holy Spirit! He was a perfect physical specimen. Whatever God creates is perfect, not imperfect. But what God created, in Adam, was a fleshly man, a mortal man of flesh and blood. Adam, in other words, was not complete!
One vital thing was lacking and this one thing he was made to need, to hunger and to thirst for, the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.
But God provided for that. In the Garden of Eden was one “tree” which would have supplied it! And this, God freely offered the man. But Adam and Eve had to make a choice between this “tree” which would have given them life, God’s Spirit, the one thing that would fill that void, that longing in the soul, and the “tree” which symbolized the ways of SIN. Adam made the wrong choice, and never received God’s Holy Spirit; our first parents never received immortality! Rather, they were driven forth from the Garden, lest they now take also of the tree of life, and eat, and gain immortality (Gen. 3:22-24).
Creation was not completed, as described in Genesis One, rather, what God is creating is a Spiritual Creation, and God has mapped out a definite plan, allowing seven thousand years for the process! In His great purpose, the physical and material comes first, and always is the type of the spiritual. A day is as a thousand years to God, and a thousand years as a day. And, as God’s revealed Plan is allotted seven thousand-year “Days” for its completion, so God used just seven 24-hour days for its first beginning, the material creation described in Genesis One.
So the seven literal 24-hour days are a type of the seven thousand-year “days.” And in this seven-thousand-year period, God Himself has deliberately allotted to Satan the first six of those days for his labor of deception, but the seventh millennial day shall be the Sabbath of the Eternal, our God, and in it Satan shall not do any work! God has set a limitation upon him! Satan shall be chained for that coming thousand years (Rev. 20:1-3)! (Send for our FREE DVD “Millennial Sabbath”).
Christ will return to earth in Person, as King of kings and Lord of lords, and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Eternal,” (Isa. 11:9) – to Him shall the Gentiles seek (Isa. 11:10), and the final great harvest of souls shall be reaped! That is the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Satan does all in his power to suppress this Good News that Satan’s ministers deny! But God’s Word still shines for those who will see!
So now let’s look briefly at redemption. What is it? “By grace are ye saved thru faith for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10)! Notice, there are good works to salvation! Why do the preachers always stop quoting at verse 9, never reading this 10th verse?
The “we” in New Testament language always means Christians, those truly converted. We, then, are God’s workmanship. Yes, created – now being created to what objective, to what purpose? Note it! The purpose Satan’s ministers deny today, “unto good works!” Unto perfect spiritual character!
Paul here is not speaking of Adam’s creation 6,000 years ago. He is speaking of Christians, now, being created unto good works! We are His workmanship, the Creator is still creating! He is molding, fashioning, and changing us, conforming us to His own noble, righteous, holy, spiritual character! Creating in us this perfect character! Salvation, then, is a process!
But the god of this world would blind your eyes to that knowledge! He tries to deceive you into thinking all there is to it is just “accepting Christ,” with “no works” and presto-chango, you are pronounced “saved!” Are you one who has been deceived into thinking they are saved simply by believing?
The Bible reveals that none is yet “saved!” “He that endureth unto the end, that same shall be saved,” (Matt. 24:13). Jesus alone, of all humans, has so far been saved (believe it or not)! By the resurrective power of God! When Jesus comes, at the time of the resurrection of those in Christ, He then brings His reward with Him!
Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God – our Saviour -- was “slain from the foundation of the world,” it was all planned by God from the beginning (Rev. 13:8).
Those called, now, in this present age to salvation, were chosen before Adam was created! “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” And why? “That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (II Cor. 5:17), a New Creation! “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind! And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:23-24).
It all begins in the mind. Repentance, the first step in salvation, is a change of mind. The receiving and indwelling of the Holy Spirit is renewing of the mind. Gradually, thru Bible study, learning to live by “every Word of God,” being continually corrected, keeping in constant prayer, the very mind of God is placed within the yielded man. And thus the New Man, a holy, spiritual character is created in righteousness, and in true holiness!
In this New Creation God works in man, the man must be “born again.” God made Adam solely out of matter. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh!” Then He explained we must be born again, not again of the flesh, not again entering our mother’s womb, as Nicodemus thought He meant, but born of the Spirit, born of God! As we were born of the flesh from a fleshly human father, so now we must be born of the Spirit of God, the heavenly Spiritual Father.
And this process is brought about, in God’s great purpose by a man first coming to see how wrong are the ways of mortal humans, thinking and living contrary to the revealed Laws of God! The first stage is repentance! Surrender to Almighty God!
God sent His Son Jesus into the world as a human being, to pay for us, in our stead, the penalty we have incurred by the transgression of God’s spiritual law. So the second step in our salvation, our spiritual creation, being born of the Spirit, is to accept Christ Jesus as personal Saviour, being baptized for the remission of sins. Then God’s promise is that we shall receive His Holy Spirit. And that is the entrance of the very life of God, the impregnating “germ,” so to speak, of eternal life, the begettal of the life of God. We then compare to an unborn babe in its mother’s womb. And, after the experiences of the Christian life, if we overcome, grow in grace and knowledge, and endure unto the end, then at the time of the resurrection this mortal shall be instantaneously changed into immortality, this flesh and blood body shall become a Spirit body! Then, and not until then, shall we be fully born of God.
Then, and not until then, shall our creation be fully completed! But we now are the “clay models,” in the Hands of the Master Potter! If in this life our thinking, our ways, are changed until we really do become, in character new creatures in Christ Jesus, conformed to His will, then that clay model, worked over, fashioned and shaped as God would have it, is finally turned into the finished Spiritual creation!
This entire Creation begins in Jesus Christ, and is finished by Him! God created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Jesus was the workman, then, who created the original man, Adam. But our Spiritual, creation begins in Him, too. He it is who became our living example, who came into the world to lead the way, and became the first-born from among the dead, the first completed, perfected spiritual man!
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:9-10).
Look at it! Turn to it, read that in your own Bible! Jesus Christ, the captain or leader of our salvation, the one who led off, setting us an example, the only one so far completed, even He was made perfect, and thru sufferings!
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:8-9). There it is again! Christ is the author of our salvation, He wrote that salvation by His experience, and that was the first writing of it, He was the first human ever to achieve it, to be perfected, finished as a perfect character!
Jesus Christ learned! He suffered! But out of it came perfection! Do you see? Do you begin to understand? Satan did not upset God’s Plan. All that has happened, God foreknew and permitted, for a purpose! Redemption is not a repairing of the damage, not a restoring to a condition “just as good.” No, that was merely the beginning, the material creation. Redemption is the great spiritual creation! In it, God is creating in us something infinitely superior to Adam before he sinned.
Do you see now what God is creating in you and me? He is creating something higher than angels or archangels! He is creating the supreme Masterpiece of all God’s creation, Holy Perfect Spiritual Characters!
Perfect Character, such as God is creating in us, is a person fully made immortal, who is a separate entity from God; who, through independent t free choice has come to know, and to choose, and to do what is right.
Inanimate rock will roll downhill by power of gravity. Water runs in its channels thru creeks and rivers into oceans. Great planets, some many times larger than the earth, must travel in God’s ordained course. These things are marvelous examples of the creative power of God. Yet these things are inanimate, they have no mind, no free choice, no character!
Dumb animals don’t sin. They do not know enough to sin! They act by instinct, or according to training of others. They do not have this character!
Character is the possession and practice of love, patience, mercy, faith, kindness, gentleness, meekness, temperance, self-control, and right direction! Character involves knowledge, wisdom, purpose, ability, all properly controlled and developed, and through independent choice!
Holy, righteous character is something even God can’t create instantaneously! It is produced, or developed, only through experience! Experience requires time, and circumstances! And so God created time, and God creates circumstances which produce character!
So God first formed out of the dust, out of 16 elements of matter, the flesh-and –blood man, in the image of God, (and image means form, or shape, not composition). And thru seven thousand years of experiences, God is taking the human family thru a process, the result of which, even “as we have borne the image of the earthly (mortal Adam): we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (Christ Jesus immortal “second” Adam I Cor. 15:49).
Once fashioned, shaped, molded according to God’s Purpose, even we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!
There are just two broad principles of life, God’s way, or God’s law, summed up in the Ten Commandments, and Satan’s way of competition, greed, vanity.
All suffering, all unhappiness, fear, misery, and death, has come from the transgression of God’s law! Living by that great law of love, then, is the only way to peace, happiness and joy.
God placed man on this earth to learn that lesson to learn it thru generations of experience! We, too, learn by suffering! God has revealed the true way; His revelation always has been available to man! But man, given the right of choice, always has turned his back on God, and on God’s true way. And even though man as a whole still refuses to see or learn the lesson, he has written this lesson indelibly in the history of human experience.
We learn thru experience and thru suffering, this, then, is the very stuff character is made of! And that is why we are not taken immediately to our reward, away from all the unhappy circumstances of this world, just the minute we “accept Christ,” and are converted. That is why “many afflictions” visit the righteous, even as God sent affliction upon Job, though the Eternal delivers us out of them all! That is why God permits Christians to suffer, why God even chastens every son whom He loves! It strengthens us, develops us into the character God is creating. It teaches us to rely on God, and reliance on God is the very foundation of character.
Christ suffered, and was made perfect thru suffering! Paul suffered! We suffer to the end that we shall learn. We are being created in true righteousness and holiness, unto good works! Unto perfect character!
And so it is that in His matchless wisdom God has permitted man to sin. God permits nations to go to war! For almost 6,000 years God has permitted Satan to sway this world, to deceive it into the transgression of His law. Only by experiences do we learn that the results of Satan’s way are not good! The results are the staggering mountain of woe and human misery, the fear, the heartache, the injustice and the suffering in this world today! A comparatively few true Christians have learned that God’s way is good!
Soon, now Jesus is coming again to earth, to finish His tremendous spiritual creation on the 7th millennial day, just as He finished that of the present world on the 7th literal day. Satan will be restrained a thousand years. As Christ healed the sick and preached the gospel on the literal Sabbath, so He will heal up these ugly wounds of the whole world during His millennial day!
He shall rebuke strong nations, until they all beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning-hooks, and the nations learn war no more, but rather find the way of peace! Competition shall be abolished. The premium will no longer be on getting, but on serving. A man will no longer be adjudged successful what he has, what he has been able to amass for himself, but rather by how well, and how much he has served, by how much good he has contributed!
People at last will find the way to peace, the true source of happiness; they will be filled with joy! They will learn God’s law of health, and they will be vigorously filled with joyous vital energy! They will be active; they will come into prosperity we can hardly imagine!
We shall have learned our lesson! We shall have learned that all power, all knowledge and wisdom, all good, comes alone from God. We shall have learned that we are not, ourselves, even capable of knowing which is the right way and what are the true values, unless we go to God for that knowledge, and permit Him to reveal it.
And we shall give all glory to God! Now I think you see God’s great purpose being worked out here below! No wonder Paul burst out, when he saw it, with the exclamation: “O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”