[Listen to post here.]
~ ~ ~
All things that possess movement, in time and space, have three distinct characteristics. They have a “source”: the origin of the movement; they have a “means”: that by which the movement is carried out and sustained; and they have an “end”: that towards which the movement is directed and will eventually terminate. All movement, therefore can be known by its source, its means and its end.
God is the supreme creator of “movement”. Though He, Himself, is not in essence “movement”, yet He is the creator of it. He is the One who created the dimensions of time and space in which movement exists. He is the One, also, who set in motion the Supreme Movement of the ages: His eternal purpose.
The eternal purpose, the Supreme Movement of God, therefore, is known by the characteristics of source, means and end. We find this clearly described for us in Romans 11:36:
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things…”
God Himself is the Source (“of Him”), the Means (“through Him”) and the End (“to Him”) of all things in His eternal purpose. This is one of the most essential and significant truths we can know about God concerning His will, His works and His ways.
For God to be all three of these things in His eternal purpose would be relatively easy if it all began and ended right there. God would undertake, God would carry out, and God would consummate all things, solely and simply in and by Himself. This is not all that complicated or difficult for a Sovereign, omnipotent God. There is a footnote to this truth, however, which brings in a whole other dimension; one that brings in a complexity and a complication.
God has chosen to significantly incorporate man into the outworking of His purpose, and therein lies a significant challenge. How can God include man in the fulfillment of His plan without man overstepping his bounds and interjecting himself into the process, thereby corrupting either the source, the means or the end of God’s work?
Man in his fallenness is radically self-centered and therefore, perpetually in contraposition, if not outright opposition, to that which is utterly God-centered. Selfish ambition, self-interest, self-preservation, self-promotion, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-satisfaction, and self-glory all mark the works and ways of man. For God to incorporate self-centered man into the fulfilling of His God-centered work without it being hijacked and corrupted requires the employment of something radical on God’s part. In order to protect and preserve His work from the selfish propensity of fallen man, self-centeredness must be eradicated. If man is to be fit for co-laboring with God in the unfolding of His Supreme Movement, then he must become fully God-centered in regards to the source, the means and the end of God’s work.
That “something radical” that God employs is nothing other than THE CROSS.
The cross can be summed up in one simple phrase: “The End”. It is the termination point of all that is not of God, through God and for God. It is the ultimate filter that screens out all that is fallen, self-centered, of this world, and of the darkness.
When Jesus died on the cross, He not only died for us, He also died as us. When He died, we died with Him, for we were “in Him”. The flesh, the selfish, self-centered part of man, died with Christ on the cross. This is a radical work that was accomplished. According to God’s view of the cross it is done, it is finished…”The End!”
We are now simply called to “reckon” on this fact, and live not as self-centered men, but God-centered men. Paul says, “Likewise, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11) The cross, when it has fully accomplished its radical work, makes us alive in Christ as God-centered men and women, fit to co-labor with Him in His God-centered work. We will no longer interject ourselves into His work as originators of it, sustainers of it or prime recipients of it. We will merely be earthen vessels participating in that which has its source, means and ends in God and not in the natural man.
This is what it means, then, to co-labor with God, and this is what we have all been called unto. May we allow the deep work of the cross to do its work within us as to our self-initiative, self-sufficiency and self-interest in regard to the work of God, and may we yield ourselves as broken and weak vessels through whom He may initiate, carry-out and accomplish His great work.
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things,
to Whom be glory forever. Amen.”
The Greatest Among You
Shaped by God’s Eternal Purpose
Parables of the Cross – by Isabella Lilias Trotter (free audiobook)
So glad you ‘re-discovered’ this unfinished post and finished it. It really puts things into perspective so beautifully and helps us glorify God, who alone is worthy.
Thanks for this inspiration at the beginning of the New Year. May the Lord use you abundantly through your blogging in this next season!
Thank you, Erroll, for your encouraging comment.
I’m thankful also for the “co-laboring” that we did last year together on “The Greatest Among You” post! It is a blessing and an honor to have you as a brother and friend in Christ.
All my best to you and yours in the New Year!
Dear Bro. David
Very blessed by this article. Thank you for posting. Is a gentle reminder for me by the Lord to ‘die’ daily, as Paul the Apostle said. It is so vital that we experience His death and resurrection operational in us on a daily basis to become worthy vessels that He may choose to use for His work. In the world today I see so many efforts being made to ‘serve’ God and to accomplish great things for Him when He may not even have considered the candidates or their service acceptable. What I’m learning over the last few months is that He requires me to die to my human and natural talents and attributes that I may think would be useful to Him, and wait for Him to consider me useful in His time to be used as a co-laborer by Him , that too if I submit wholly to the work of the cross in my life. I admit it is painful!
Some years ago I used to send out a monthly periodical compiling articles connected with various themes in the spiritual life. This was my effort, though the burden was genuine. But I gave it up after a few years when I realized that I considered this to be my service to God rather than finding out if God had really intended for me to do this for Him. I still am waiting and in the meanwhile being taught the lesson of dying and fixing my eyes on Christ. The Lord impressed this on my heart by the life of Moses, whose worldly training and physical attributes could not make him the rescuer of his people, and it took forty years as a shepherd in the desert to get him ready to become a worthy vessel in God’s Hands. I’m grateful for His reminders.
As I also mentioned in my email to you , The Lord has connected me to your blog, and I’m very thankful to Him for the same. May He bless and use your writings to touch many in the days to come.
Thank you for your comments. They truly add to the substance of this post being from your heart and your experience. This is the processing of the Lord in our lives as we go on with Him. He increases and we decrease, and yet through this He increases IN us so that together we become united in His purpose and work. I’m thankful for your heart for the Lord and that we have connected through blogging.
Blessings to you and your lovely family. I’ll be in touch by email very shortly!
Thank you for digging this post up, and sharing it with us. In the past few weeks 2 Corinthians has been brought to my attention, and how insightful the words of Paul are. In this we find that we are living ‘letters’ with His Love being expressed through us.
As you stated;
“We are now simply called to “reckon” on this fact, and live not as self-centered men, but God-centered men. Paul says, ”Likewise, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11) The cross, when it has fully accomplished its radical work, makes us alive in Christ as God-centered men and women, fit to co-labor with Him in His God-centered work. We will no longer interject ourselves into His work as originators of it, sustainers of it or prime recipients of it. We will merely be earthen vessels participating in that which has its source, means and ends in God and not in the natural man.”
This Treasure we have in jars of clay is expressed through the active working of His, and our cross. In so doing we are then able to reflect the Light, and Love of Jesus Christ.
” So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~ Paul
Thank you, Jim, for your thoughts and for sharing those of Paul as well. 2 Corinthians is one of the richest epistles in my opinion. There are deep treasures there and also some of Paul’s most personal sharings of his heart. There is much in there as well as to the experiential work of the cross in our lives that the life and fragrance of Christ may be carried and released through us. This is the way of a ministry of life!
Love and blessings!
Brother, I can say a big Amen to your sharing. We are so self-centered and so much for our own things that even in co-laboring with God we can bring in strange fire or seek our own glory. In everything we do for God and with God we need to be through the cross and by the Spirit. On the one hand we need to allow the cross of Christ to operate in our being to crucify our natural man, our self, and anything of us, and on the other hand we need to exercise our spirit joined to the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17) to be one with Him and let Him do in us what He intends to do!
May the Lord gain many of His believers to work together with Him not by themselves but by another life, the divine life, which life is all-sufficient, all-mature, and able to endure any kind of treatment and environment.
Thank you, Stephan, for your rich and edifying comment. I’m reminded of what Paul said to the Colossians, “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Col.1:29 , and, to the Corinthians, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Cor.15:10. Co-laboring is always marked by, “I labored…yet not I”.
Blessings to you, my brother!
Pingback: Együtt munkálkodás Istennel – David Bolton | keskeny út – narrow way