I can never do something today that is so evil that it surprises Him. He contemplated these things from eternity, and still thought it was worthwhile to give His son to die for me. Therefore don't you ever question the love of God. You cannot do something so bad that it cuts you off from that love. It might cut you off from the manifestation of that love, He might not be able to show it to you, because you have shut the door in His face, but you cannot stop Him from loving you. Never let the question come into your mind again. When you pray and don't seem to get an answer, Remember that God in love and wisdom is working out something better for you.
More than conquerors
Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Now if you follow that argument, reading on down in the chapter you will see where Paul asks, “who shall separate us from the love of God? Now separation means that some obstacle has come between you both. Something prevents one from reaching the other. “Who shall separate us from the love of God?” He mentions principalities, powers, distresses, persecutions, things present, things to come, life and death. He even mentions angels! What kind of angels is he talking about? Apparently Satan and His angels.
One of the phrases I sometimes hear being used by Christians, is, “Boy Satan is really working.” I really hope I do not hear anybody using that phrase again, as though Satan is separating you from the love of God, as though Satan has power over God. Now here is a phrase that comes a little later on. He says: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Let me ask a question: Who is a conqueror and how do you conquer? You conquer by fighting and overcoming. isn't that right? The man who fights against another man and beats him, is a conqueror, but who is, “more than a conqueror?”
You go to fight against somebody, and the man you go to fight against starts fighting on your side. You don't have to fight. He starts fighting on your behalf, so you are more than a conqueror. You don't have to fight and you don't have to conquer him, because even your enemies fight for you. That's what he says! Who shall separate us from the love of God? tribulation, distress, life, death, persecution, angels, principalities powers? Nothing can come between you and the love of God! That love of God is like a wall around you which is secure and safe, and nothing can come through that wall without being measured and tested by God. If it is good for you, He lets it through, but if it is not, it cannot pass. So when Satan attacks you, what is it? It's a gift of love from a loving Father. It is a gift of love when your brethren speak badly about you, It is God at work in your life. Why do you complain? How can you complain when your Father allows it to come at you? The love that surrounds you cannot be broken. Nothing can separate you from that love. That is the beauty of that passage. That's why it says, all things work together for good to those who love God. Nothing can touch you or penetrate that love, except what that loving Heart allows to come through. Not life nor death, nor principalities or powers, nor angels nor things present, nor things to come. Nothing! And because of that, come rain or sunshine, come sickness or health, come life or death. praise be to that Father of love!
A necessary education
God made a statement through His son Jesus Christ. A statement so great and so comprehensive, so all pervasive, so all embracing that never again need we question the love of God. God gave us a demonstration that is not like the fickle expressions of emotion. A man says to a woman today, “I love you,” and tomorrow he cannot bother with her. Even your own brethren sometimes deal with you the same way. “I care for you, I will always be around to support you,” but when you are in need, you do not see that demonstration of love. God knew that there were times when He would have to be silent. God knows that for our own good, and for our education, He would have to allow hard things to happen to us, not because He can't help us, or because His store house has run dry, but for our education.
Why does a man send his son to lay blocks, or to dig on the hillside? Is it because he cannot pay somebody to do it? No, but because his son must be educated. Why do I allow my children to wash dishes, instead of getting somebody to do it? Why do I send them to school, to spend dreary hours sitting on hard benches, and have lessons drilled into their heads every day, when they would much rather be outside playing? Is it because I don't want them to be happy? No, it is because I know they must be educated. My Father also knows that I must be educated, and He uses Satan to educate me. Praise the Lord! When Satan attacks me, the Lord uses him to chisel me down, and brings me to be what He wants me to be, But I say “Satan is really at work,” and I am depressed, and I am gloomy. Poor foolish me.
Nothing can touch me, but what comes through my Father. Even Satan's attacks are blessings for me! So praise God. That's why the apostle Paul saw things so beautifully. That's why he could say, “...I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses ....” (2 Cor 12:10)
He mentions all the things we are so fearful of, and says: “I am glad. I rejoice in these things.” In all these things, we are more than conquerors Through the One that loved us.
An eight–cow wife
I read a story sometime ago in the Reader's Digest. It was entitled, “Johnny Lingo's eight cow wife.” I don't know if it was a true story, but there is a moral in it that I want to bring across to you.
Johnny Lingo was a man who lived on one of those south sea Islands. He was noted for being a very wise person, and a very careful and astute bargainer.
The person who wrote the story said that one day he heard about something that Johnny Lingo had done, which made him wonder if he was really very smart after all.
Johnny Lingo had gotten married. Now on that Island, if you wanted a wife, you had to pay a dowry of one or two cows for her. That's how you obtained your wife in that country. You paid one cow normally, but if she was very beautiful, you paid two cows. The story was that Johnny Lingo had bought a wife for eight cows! But the fellow was even more astonished, when he found out who the girl was. She was a mousy type, who always walked around with her head hanging down, and to whom nobody paid much attention. He probably could have bought her for a little calf! But he had paid eight cows for this wife.
When this man heard the story, he said, “something is wrong somewhere.” So he went to Johnny Lingo to find out what had really happened. As they were talking, the wife suddenly came into the room. The visitor gasped in disbelief, for he could not understand how this beautiful creature standing before him, could be the same person he had often seen looking so drab and unattractive. She had a regal bearing, and her head was held high. There was a light in her eyes, and her whole demeanor was transformed. “What happened to her?” was his astonished question. Johnny Lingo only smiled. “I can clearly see now that she is worth even more than eight cows,” the man continued, “but you know you could have had her for much less? Why did you pay so much?” Johnny Lingo simply said, “Yes, that is true, but I wanted an eight cow wife.”
The moral in this story, is what I am trying to get across to you. Because he had paid this high price for the woman, she began to feel worthwhile. She realized that somebody valued her. Her father had asked for one cow, but Johnny Lingo insisted that he was paying eight cows. The father of course, did not hesitate to accept. When she found out that somebody valued her enough to pay eight cows for her, that, according to the story, transformed her, because she felt more valuable than any other woman on the Island. She started to hold her head up, and to dress herself better, her eyes lit up and a feeling of beauty took her over. She had become somebody worthwhile. Not only did she become valuable in Johnny Lingo's eyes, but because of what he had done, she became valuable in everybody else's eyes.
Well, God has done that for us in the universe. How much are we worth? How much is the measure of my worth? Could you put me against a mountain of gold? God could have provided that with a snap of His fingers. What am I worth? I don't know. Down on the scale of created beings, I was low, I was filth, I was vile. But God paid a price for me, that was unbelievably great. There is nothing that could have been more valuable, and God paid it. “Who am I that a king should bleed and die for?” I feel like I am worth something. I feel like a son of God. God has exalted me to this place, and I ought to behave like a worthwhile person. I ought to behave like royalty.
Turn the key
There is a picture in my mind of a great dark wall that blocked us off from every thing that was good or worthwhile. A great dark wall, and on the other side of the wall was God. His head was in His hands, and He was thinking about what it would take to break through that wall. He thought about it for a billion years, and His mind didn't change. He knew that it would take the death of His beloved Son to break through that wall. He thought about the price that He would have to pay. On the other side, huddling against the wall pitiful and wretched and down cast was me; was us. God saw the pitiful objects, and He knew that He had to pay the price to give us a chance. A price that caused Him more agony than the universe can ever comprehend. Nobody will ever understand what it took for God to give His Son to go through that. The Bible tries to give us a hint, but nobody can succeed in bringing it adequately to our minds.
There is an opening in that wall now. The key has been turned on His side. This is what the scripture says: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things? “ (Rom 8:32)
As I look at that verse, I see God and His Son standing on His side of the door, and behind Him, there is a mountain of riches unimaginable. Every glorious good thing is mine, because God has already given me all of heaven in one gift. The only reason I can ever ask God for something and not get it, must be because it is not good for me. That is the only reason, because everything else has already been given to me. All these riches are waiting there behind the Father and He has turned the key on His side.
But it's a two way lock. We have to turn a key on this side as well, and in this, I see a picture of us. We are huddled behind the door, watching the key, fearful that the door is going to open. why? Because I have a few toys here, and I have a little money, and some friends over there. I have a little bad habit here, and something that I treasure, and I am afraid that somebody is going to open that door and take away these things from me. I am huddling and cuddling them. I am dressed in these filthy dirty rags, and I am a little wretch. I am clinging, and fearful of opening that door, because if I do, somebody is going to come and take away my pleasure. But look at the Person I am afraid of! Look at what is behind Him available to me, and look at what I am holding on to! He is waiting and asking us to please open the door that we can receive the abundance of His riches.
The only way through that door is trust in Jesus Christ. If there were any other way, God would not have paid such a price. It's absolutely complete but its the only way. God meditated on this thing for billions of years, and He never came up with any other plan. That is why there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby men might be saved, but through Jesus Christ. He is the only way.
What am I worth?
I want to make one more point. In the eyes of the King, I am worth more than the whole material universe. The whole universe is not worth the life of His Son, so there is not a world out there, or galaxy or anything that is better than I am. God gave the life of His Son for me. His love is the only scale on which we can get a true estimate of the value of things. We can't do it by checking the exchange rate at the bank, or by checking something on a scale to see how much it weighs. We should value things by putting them on the scale of God's love. Where do I rate on that scale? I rate at the top, because He gave the greatest gift in the universe for me. The only thing I could ever put above me or on an equality, is His Son. His only begotten Son. I put us on an equality in terms of God's love for us, because Jesus says: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you,” And Jesus; love for us is no different from the Father's love for us. Truly, no other being in the universe has ever brought forth such a demonstration of love from God.
How terrible then the reality of billions of souls, purchased with this ultimate price, objects of this high manifestation of God's love, and of infinite value, still wrapped in ignorance, sin, darkness and death.
Think of the person you feel most negative towards, or the person who is most ungrateful. Think of the person that is most harassing and disturbing to you and remember that God saw him when He gave His Son. God saw that one, and God's Son shed His blood for him. God valued him more than He valued the sufferings of His Son. That one that you despise, and dislike and can't stand. Think of it!
They are treading still the ways of the ordinary and the common place. They are treading the ways of rebellion and insecurity, the ways of uncertainty; the ways of death. How vital that we should somehow reach them, and impart to them a knowledge of this love. That we should make them aware of what they are worth and share the gift of salvation, not because of their loss alone but moreso the loss to our Father, who gave everything. Whose love, although unrequited and unfulfilled, still yearns for His earthly children with a hunger that is stronger than death. He is waiting for them and we don't even begin to appreciate how much the Father loves them, otherwise our hearts would go out to them. We would love the worst and the most degraded because none of us was any better at the time when Christ died for us.
I found a gem in the writings of Ellen White and I marveled when I saw how beautifully it expressed everything. It is from the Youth's Instructor Oct. 17 1895. It says:
“the Lord God of heaven collected all the riches of the universe, and He laid them down in order to purchase the pearl of lost humanity. The Father gave all His divine resources into the hands of Christ, in order that the richest blessings of heaven might be poured out upon a fallen race. God could not express love greater than He expressed, in giving the son of His bosom to this world.”
Settle that in your mind. If you want to fully discover the love of God, you won't find it in the trees, or in the mountains or in meditation on His works. Where can we discern that love of God fully revealed? We find it in the gift of His Son. That is a great thing to hold on to. If you want to discover the love of God, don't look at what is happening in your life, because sometimes things happen in our lives that seem to be very difficult and bitter. Instead of looking at that, look at the gift of His Son. That is God's once and forever and for all statement. “I gave this much for you, can you ever doubt My love?” Don't doubt it because you are lying on death's bed, and you are suffering, and it seems like the forces of the enemy are overcoming you. Don't doubt God's love for that. If your child lies dying, and you are praying and nothing seems to be happening, or if you are hungry, and deliverance doesn't seem to be at hand, don't doubt His love, because when He gave His Son to die for you, He showed a love, that can never ever after be questioned. That love has been stated clearly once and for all and for ever. If you want to appreciate that love, go and study what He did for us in Christ.
The quotation continues:
“this gift was given to man to convince him that God left nothing undone that He could do. There is nothing held in reserve.”
So don't expect God to do something extra. He can't do anything more. He didn't hold back anything.
“All heaven has been poured out in one vast gift. The present and eternal happiness of man consists in receiving God's love and in keeping Gods commandments. The universe of heaven the worlds unfallen, the fallen world and the confederacy of evil, cannot say that God could do more for the salvation of man than He has done. Never can this gift be surpassed, never can He display a greater depth of love. Calvary represents His crowning work. It is man's part to respond to His great love. We are to show our appreciation of the wonderful gift of God, by becoming partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
I have asked God to help me, never to stop studying this subject as long as I live, and I hope I can start us all on a project of the same nature. I have seen, and I am determined that I am not going to stop studying it, because I know I want to live above sin. But the key is not in fighting myself, or in struggling against a carnal nature. It's not in trying to make flesh into something that it is not. It is beholding the love of God, and by beholding being changed. “We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.” If you really want to change, or if you really want to become what God wants you to be, then stop fighting against other people. Stop fighting against your self. Start looking into the beauty of the love of our Father, and I guarantee you as I have seen in my own experience, things will begin to happen in your life. Mysteriously and strangely, but surely they will happen, because that is the power that rules the universe. It can surely rule your life.