“My heart is bubbling over with a goodly theme – – My tongue is like the pen of a ready writer – -.” (Psalm 45:1)
Yes, we truly have a goodly theme, and desire to share what we have learned, for by sharing we believe that we shall give glory to the Lord, who so greatly deserves our praise! Our title “Too Hard” may seem a little enigmatic, but let us unveil the reason straight away by considering the conversation the Angel of the Lord had with Abraham, about the prospect of his having a son through Sarah. “Is anything TOO HARD for the Lord. At the time appointed I will return unto you according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Gen.18:14) Is ANYTHING too hard for the Lord? How drastically feeble is the human mind. Most of us, perhaps all of us as believers, are placing false limits on the majesty of God. Maybe we need to step aside a while and reconsider just Who it is we believe in, trust in, and from Whom we receive our daily bread. Let us stop and think for a moment. Where does our boundary lie? At what point do we begin to suspect that God is unable? Could it be that we haven’t had to think that way before? Perhaps it’s high time to ask ourselves a few questions.
Now, when the Angel spoke to Abraham it was over the matter of two rather elderly bodies that were, humanly speaking, past the capability of conception and birth. They laughed about the prospect, and when the child was born, they called him “Laughter”, the meaning of the name Isaac.
But many years later another birth was under consideration, and an Angel was sent to bring the glad-tidings, because it was to be the most important birth this world has ever known – the arrival of the Messiah! The Angel explained what would happen, and then he said, “With God NOTHING shall be impossible!” Mary’s simple answer shows the quality of her faith.“Be it unto me according to your word.” Is ANYTHING too hard for the Lord? asked the first Angel, but the second declared that there is literally NOTHING too hard for God. He is supreme above all things, so great, so wonderful, so able, that nothing we can conceive would be impossible for Him to manage. This is the message we want to share, and it is indeed a goodly theme.
How does this fact emerge from other pages of Holy Writ? In Numbers 11 we read about an incident that arose during the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites. They were getting “fed up” with just a daily fare of Manna, and the Lord promised them some meat. Meat? thought Moses. “Lord, these people number 600,000 footmen, let alone all the women and children! Shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together to suffice?” And with such words he showed how “flabbergasted” he was at the thought of a whole month’s supply being promised. But what did the Lord say? “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? You shall now see whether my word shall come to pass or not.” And of course it came to pass exactly as the Lord said it would, and they ate the quails “until it came out of their nostrils.” What butcher today would be able to satisfy an order of that size? Our God is ABLE. NOTHING is too hard for Him.
Do you believe in a “too small” God? Jeremiah had a problem and he presented his case to the Lord. But he prefaced it with the following words. “Ah Lord God! behold, You have made heaven and earth by Your great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for You.” (32:17) So it might seem that the problem he had was about to dissolve into nothingness. But no. At the end of his discourse he brought up the matter about which the Lord had spoken. “And yet O Lord God, You have told me to go and buy that field for money, and take witnesses, (even though You have told me that) the city is about to be given into the hands of the Chaldeans.” It didn’t add up for Jeremiah, and he was perplexed. But I’m sure the Lord was smiling. He said, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” And He followed on by explaining very fully why that field had to be bought as a sign that in days to come the sons of Israel would once again inhabit their land.
The disciples were seated about their Master, who was sorrowful at that moment. A certain rich young man whom He loved had just gone away, unable to yield to the Lord’s request. “How difficult it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom,” He said.“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” I assume the disciples screwed up their faces as they looked at each other. One of them, shaking his head, said “How then can anyone be saved?” The Master’s answer needs our deepest contemplation. “Things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27, Mark 10:27, Matt.19:26) How many devoted evangelists, serving the Lord full time, have wept sorely at the multitudes who go away from their meetings, just like the rich young man went away. They rejoice in the few who make their commitments, but quite the majority are unable to hear, or else refuse to obey. Yes, it does seem to be a sad matter, and the sadness is such that it reflects the Master’s sadness long ago.
But if we stop there, we shall only be getting half the story. Jesus WAS sad. But He also had an understanding from His Father which He passed on. “That which is humanly impossible is divinely easy.” The disciples might have asked the Lord about the future of the rich young man, but they didn’t. We might ask about the destiny of all those who leave the evangelistic rally, and perhaps we should, because it is a burning question. What about all those who die without knowing Christ? What happens to them? Where do they go? What future do they have? Are they lost for ever? Many of us have questions like these, and the usual answer is full of sadness and misery, because it is related to verses of the Bible which speak of an everlasting hell-fire and torment. So the sadness remains instead of being dissipated.
Paul was speaking about resurrection to the Philippians (3:20-21). He saw something of the magnitude of the miracle that would change our present bodies of humiliation into something very glorious, and he commented that it was “according to the working whereby He is able to SUBDUE ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF.” Paul had no doubt about the amazing ability of the Lord to do things. His mind had become as uplifted as his faith. He saw that Jesus’ resurrection was in essence the resurrection of the whole world, and to the Ephesians he wrote about the “the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.”(2:19-20) To begin with, that mighty power is going to be liberated visibly when God’s little flock are manifested with Him in glory, but the resurrection goes further than that. Paul said to the Corinthians, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain,you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor.15:17) And if our faith is vain, it is vain for all mankind, not just for those who believe. How can we declare this? It is simple logic. Jesus died for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD. How do we know that? Because no one would dare to say to a living soul, “Jesus never died for you.” Everyone knows that POTENTIALLY all men can be saved. We have never known a church which believes otherwise.
And if Jesus died for the WHOLE WORLD it means that their sins have been paid for, whether they believe it or not. This fact is latent within the statement concerning the “great and mighty power” which was exerted in raising Christ from the dead. When He was raised, the whole world, in essence, was raised, and in due course we know this will happen, because the Book of Revelation declares it to be so. All the trouble concerning “the rest of the dead” is focussed on one factor. The church believes that ONLY IN THIS LIFE does one have a chance of believing. Afterwards there is no hope. As yet no one has been able to convince me of the truth of this argument. I cannot find it declared in the Bible, and am at a loss to know how the doctrine began. Personally I declare it a false doctrine, a demonic doctrine, and one which is continually causing many sensitive souls much heartache.
When people read in Peter’s 1st letter that Jesus, in the spirit, went and preached to the spirits in prison, (defined by Peter as those who were disobedient in Noah’s day) they tend to gloss over it as “a difficult passage,” and “one not admitting to a simple answer.” Of course not! Their theology won’t allow the answer to be simple! But in the next chapter Peter goes on to say “For this cause was the gospel preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (3:19, 4:6) Once again controversy rages over what Peter meant. But we should NOT have a problem here. We should accept that Peter meant exactly what he said, and in examining the original Greek we in fact find no cause to think otherwise.
Let us go back to the Apostle Paul again, and see what he had to say about spiritual warfare in 2 Cor.10:3-6. “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, and having in readiness to revenge all disobedience, once your obedience is fulfilled.” These words put us to shame. We have not seen them operate, and the Lord will one day ask us why we didn’t just simply believe them and put them into practice. Some of us have had a taste of it, but haven’t pursued it to its logical conclusion.
Now, the point of bringing this up at all is as follows. If the Lord offers us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a means of casting down imaginations and all the high and mighty arguments that set people up in opposition to God, are we to imagine that theLord is Himself unable to do the same? What is more, we should believe that for every little task of overcoming that is achieved by His elect, God is able to do exceeding abundantly more! Jesus spoke about binding the strong man, whereby we might plunder his goods (Matt. 12:29). Will He not Himself ultimately plunder ALL that belongs to Satan, the Strong Man? It is futile to think otherwise. There is NOTHING that is beyond the capability of our God.
John tells us (1 Jn.5:19) that “the whole world lies in (the arms of) the wicked one.” Are not these people to be delivered? Didn’t Jesus come to set the prisoners free? How come then that Christians believe they will forever be Satan’s captives, only to find themselves overcome by a fiery future that never ends? Where is the logic? What is not accomplished here on earth will be accomplished at another time and in another place. It may even be left until such people are raised to live ordinary human lives here on the earth. Not everyone who is raised will receive a glorified body. Take Lazarus as an example, and the widow of Nain’s son, and the lad that Elijah raised from the dead. Why did these resurrections occur? Was it not to show us that one day ALL those who are in the grave will hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth? Jesus went on to say that of that great company, there would be a time of sorting out. The job was not yet finished. When Paul declared that Jesus had “put all things under His feet”, he went on to say that “we do not yet see” this accomplished. But it will happen, and it will be seen. Elsewhere he said that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Such language is very easy to accept at its face value by those who BELIEVE in the ability of God, that there is nothing too hard for Him. How can anyone contemplate the Lord having to admit failure at the end of His work?
Even if ONE soul is lost, and forever destroyed, God would have to declare “This one I could not persuade. He would not bow his knee.” The thing is unthinkable! I feel defiled even having to write such things of the Lord. If we are told to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor.5) and we are asked to reason with mankind, as Paul did, to persuade them of the great victory accomplished at Calvary, and to beseech them to be reconciled to God, to be thankful, and to look henceforth away from self, and into the face of the Saviour; if we are commissioned to do that, then will not the Lord Himself plead with His own creation when men’s ways and men’s powers reach their limit? What does the word of God say? “Look unto Me all the ends of the earth and be saved, for I am God and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto Me shall every knee bow, every tongue shall swear.”(Isaiah 45:21-23)Here is the Lord pleading with all the nations of mankind. And He declares emphatically that His word shall not return unto Him void. It will accomplish all that He intends. God’s will is for men to be saved, not destroyed, and if men refuse to allow His grace to enter their lives in this scene, they will be faced with other opportunities elsewhere. We have shown many times before that all those who DO believe in their lifetime are lifted into a higher dimension of service for the Lord, but this must be looked upon in terms of being helpers of the Lord in coming Kingdom days, helpers in bringing in the greater harvest of souls, rather than just to enjoy privileges. When it comes down to it, none of us has any right to eternal life. It is all by God’s grace. And that grace will reach out evermore until God has fully recovered His creation, a creation that is already fully redeemed, but not yet fully gathered back into the safety of God’s fold. Finally, a real gem of truth emerges from Isaiah 9:6. “His name shall be called Wonderful – -.” And the Hebrew word for “wonderful” is the same word as that translated “too hard” in the other O.T. references! And that takes a bit of thinking about!!