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.”