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As I brought to them all the Evil, so I will bring to you all the Good. Print E-mail
Written by Oshea Davis   
Friday, 16 March 2012

As I brought to them all the Evil, so I will bring to you all the Good.

By: Oshea Davis

  [- This sermon is part of my Yale project in transcribing previously unpublished Christology Jonathan Edwards sermons. As an example for today, this sermon is an attempt to write modern day sermons patterned after these; I do this in hope to inspire the legacy of the Christ-centered and Christ-supremacy preaching of Jonathan Edwards in the hearts of my peers. - ]

Jeremiah 32:42,

For thus says the LORD: 'Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.

         

     Jeremiah's timeline is during of the last good king of Judah, Josiah, and through the captivity of Jerusalem by Babylon.  He came from a priestly class in a levitical town Anathoth.  He did not marry and faithfully prophesied approx. 42 years.  During this time the Assyrian empire was crumbling and Babylon was taking advantage of this by conquering the Assyrians and the surrounding kingdoms. Israel has already been carried off and scattered, and Jerusalem is weakened from the wars and paying tribute to Assyria for many years.

     It is herein God calls Jeremiah to prophesy to a people who are facing imminent punishment. God calls his people to repent and face the punishment of their God, for if they do, the punishment will not be so severe; but if they continue in unrepentance the punishment will be even more severe.  Their sins have already reached the breaking point and there is no turning God's punishment. Jeremiah prays for mercy for the people but God replies back: "The LORD said to me, "Do not pray for these people anymore," (14:11).  Furthermore, (15:1-3) "The LORD said to me, "Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. And I will appoint over them four forms of destruction," says the LORD: "the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour."" Jeremiah, understanding the inevitable punishment and the weight of his brethren persecuting him for these prophecies sorrows in despair, "Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me, a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me."

     Under this weight of sorrow, God speaks to Jeremiah about the restoration and redemption of His people in the future in chapters 31-32.  It is in context we read the following:

I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 'And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 'Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.' "For thus says the LORD: 'Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.'"

     Then God tells Jeremiah the assurance of this redemption in the next chapter by revealing the good of the people hinges on the messiah, or the Branch of Righteousness from David. The surety of the Messiah fulfilling His role as redeemer is as sure as God's covenant with the day and night:

     Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: 15 'In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of Righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.' 17 "For thus says the LORD: 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 'nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.'  19 "And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 20 "Thus says the LORD: 'If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, 21 'then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant.

 

DOCTRINE

As much detail as the Almighty used to punish the wicked He will, for Christ's sake, use as much detail and sovereign power to perform great good to the Elect.

 

     What we have here is the considering of how detailed and sovereign God is in punishing the wicked so that the saints from this perspective might be encouraged to see how detailed and sovereign God will be in performing the mercy and goodness to them in Christ. 

Therefore, we will investigate three things:

     I. How Jesus is the dividing line of these two groups.

     II. How detailed and sovereign God is in punishing unbelievers.

     III. How detailed and sovereign God is in giving grace to the elect. 

 

     I.  How is Jesus the dividing line of these two groups?

     First. Simeon the priest spoke about Christ as the dividing line where good falls on one group and evil to the other in Luke 2:34 when it reads, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel."  Jesus spoke about Himself in a similar way in, NLT Luke 20:17-18, "The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone.' All who stumble over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone on whom it falls." Those who reject are crushed, but those that stand on this stone will find safety and salvation.  And so the prophet Isaiah foretold this, NLT Isaiah 28:16, "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem. It is firm, a tested and precious cornerstone that is safe to build on." An antitype can be seen when the red sea parted: for them that trusted the LORD they found a safety and a firm footing, but for the wicked they found a wall of stone that crushed them to powder.  

     Second. Paul in Romans 3:25-26 tells us that even the past saints who believed in the LORD did so upon the mercy of God's restraint, waiting upon the propitiation of Christ's future death. "God set forth [Jesus] as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."  And so Paul tells us that when we preach Christ that, NIV 2 Corinthians 2:15-16, "we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life."  Here Christ is the dividing line where through belief one is an aroma of sweet life and where through unbelief another becomes an aroma of death.

     There is no neutral ground for as Jesus Christ said you are either with Him or against Him: Luke 11:23 "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters." If you are not with Jesus you actively "scatter" against Him.

     Third. Jesus is the apple of God's eye; He is the eternally begotten Son of the invisible God.  Jesus is the perfect, infinite, beautiful image of His Father.  Doubtless God loves His own glory, and so He loves the perfect image of His glory.   How great will be the Father's love to them that love His Beloved, and how terrible will be His wrath to them that reject His Beloved.

     The Father's love for His Son is the original, eternal, and infinite Love. It is the fount of all love and goodness. No love to any created thing comes to it without it starting in this infinite personal love of the Father to the Son. From this eternal spring all love originates and to which all goodness and love finds as its last ending place.

     This is why the apostle speaks of the pots of destruction and mercy in Romans 9; he is showing how the vessels of wrath make known God's power and heightens the mercy given to the vessels of mercy, but the vessels of mercy are fruits of Christ's death, being imaged after Him. "Christ is the head of the church, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence." And so the reason the Christ is the dividing line of all public good and judgment is to illuminate the centrality of His preeminence.

     The Father always seeing the image of His Son before Himself, in this light through reflex, made the world for Jesus as a gift; this is why Christ is exalted with the public Preeminence and Supremacy and why all things are summed up in Him as the apostle tells in Ephesians 1:10, for the world was given to the Son for His public supremacy.  And the Son being the image of the Father, His exultation is the Father's.

     By the Father's design Christ is the public central axis upon which all good is given (whether elect Saints or angels) for Christ's Name, and likewise to which all judgment is given for the public supremacy of Christ's Name.

     Fourth. For the elect Christ has already died; He has already paid His blood to His Father, and the Father has already accepted His blood for the churches redemption, depositing its merits into their accounts at a definite time and definite place.  Jesus has already had the sin of the church confessed upon Him and He has already suffered outside the gate.  Christ has already been exalted to the Father's right hand and has already been interceding for His bride.  He is already in authority to see to it that all, whom He died for, will be with Him in the last day.  And so the assurance of the elect receiving all the good Christ intended is as sure as the sun running the course of its daily circuit. 

     Therefore, since the love of the Father to His Son is vindicated in the greatness of the public supremacy which His Son receives through the vessels of wrath and mercy, then doubtless the greatness of the wrath for the one will be endless as the mercy to the other will be so. This leads us to the next point of consideration.

 

     II. How detailed and sovereign God is in punishing the wicked.

     First. Our text shows God is a God of vengeance, for it is He who claims responsibility for the evil or calamity which has and will happen to Jerusalem: Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people. & Nahum 1:2, "God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies."

     Second. (1.) God is the-ultimate, primary, and metaphysical-judge and punisher. Although God used secondary instruments such as the Babylon to be the physical hands that cut down and bind up, yet they also are under God's sovereignty and causality in it.  Just as the axe in the hand of an executioner did the beheading yet it was done "by" the executioner. Thus God is the author of evil metaphysically. In addition, even secondary instruments are created by God, upheld by God, have their own hearts moved by God (Prov.21:1) and therefore, secondary causes do not distance God from being the primary or metaphysical author of evil; but He is not the direct author of it in the since of doing it for evil sake as man does.  God decrees and orchestrates evil for His glory and the good of His saints; we do evil for the sake of evil.  God is not "morally" responsible for evil, because He is not accountable, for responsibility presupposes accountability, but God is not responsible to no one, or standard or thing.  However, God is responsible for evil in the sense of orchestrating it metaphysically, for his own goals and ends. 

     Indeed, God is the metaphysical author of evil in the sense of decreeing it and orchestrating it into being.[1]  But He is not the author of evil in the sense of doing evil, for such is impossible besides being a miss-category.  That is, because God is the standard, then whatever He does is right and good and holy and wonderful, no mater how it appears to us.  To say God did evil is like saying wet dryness or round squares; it is a miss-category to say them.  The category of evil actions and God are simply not plausible together. Again, driving the point, there is no morality or standard above God.  Responsibility rather than assuming freedom assumes a sovereign over you, but there is no sovereign over God and so it is a miss-category to say God is evil to kill or to deceive people, for that would plaque God with being responsible to a standard, it would place God under authority, but God is the last authority.  

       Sadly, even some who call themselves Christians (falsely) do not like God and love to say such miss-categories about God precisely because it does place God under a supposed authority.   See, some are filled with unbelief, they despise being under God's authority and so secretly try to put God under a standard, making Him responsible. 

     Moreover, God gave the dreams to Joseph, which was the tipping point of his brothers wanting to kill him (Genesis 37:5, 8)(also similar to the lying spirit and Ahab).  They were not mad enough to kill him, until something happened.  But God needed them to be, for He had a plan to save many through Joseph.  The dreams were one thing to bring this about, which were God's doing.  God, in this light, does not merely use or allow things in motion, but rather, causes or orchestrates them into being.  Who is it but God who must uphold the devil into metaphysical being?  Who is it who sustains our tongues into being as we use them for evil?  Who turns the heart like waters to any direction, even to evil? (Proverbs 21:1).

     Consider that even physical secondary causes are created by God, are sustained by God, moved by God, and even have their own hearts directed by God (etc).  This is why I say God is the metaphysical author of evil.

          Moreover, it is impossible for God to even be tempted to do evil.  Indeed, God is an infinite being who possess every good thing in infinity; and therefore, He is never tempted to hurt or mistreat His creature to get something, for He has it all.  We are tempted to do evil for 2 reasons.  1. We are evil ourselves, or darkness.  Ephesians 5:8, "For you were once darkness."  But God is light and has no shadow of turning.  Darkness is not produced by light; light produces light.  And so God is the Father of lights.  2. We lack and so we steal, lust, hurt, and kill to get what we want.  God possesses infinity.  He possesses infinite blessedness, happiness, value, and beauty.  There is nothing good which God does not already have.  We have nothing for which God would want to hurt us, or do us wrong to get, since He already has it. Furthermore, since God owns everything it is miss-category to say God can steal since He owns all things.

     Therefore, it is impossible for the Infinite Existence to even be tempted to do evil, let alone do evil.

     (2.) God sovereignly called the Chaldeans to be His rod of punishment against Jerusalem: Habakkuk 1:5-6, "Look among the nations and watch -- Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. 6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth."  Indeed, God called Babylon as a man calls for his pet to do his bidding, Isaiah 46:11, "Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it."

     Also, in the last day God is the direct punisher, and so God using Babylon to punish is an anti-type of God punishing and judging directly upon His judgment throne with the Hell he created.  Here, Babylon was the feet treading the wine press directly, but in the last day Christ is the one treading the grapes with His wrath and with His hell.

     (3.) The crucifixion of Christ is the central point of reference for us to behold God's sovereignty in evil and our understanding of it.  (Acts 4:27-28)  God said He determined people to "do" those sinful and evil acts against Christ.  The cross was to God's glory and our good.  See, the worst sins ever committed were not just allowed by God, but rather, according to scripture they were both planned and caused by God for very good ends, for a great saving.  As always, we look to the cross and person of Jesus Christ for our central point of reference

     Third. The same infinite wisdom God used to create the universe out of nothing and used in planning the story of redemption is also used to catch the wicked in their own schemes. Job 5:13, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness."

     And regarding the punishment of wicked Jerusalem we see the great detail and wisdom God used to catch every sort of wickedness to be used against them.

     The wicked trust in the strength of their arms to save them, but God is stronger and overcomes even the valiant men and crushes them. "Both the great and small shall die," Jeremiah 16:6. & Jeremiah 46:15, "Why are your valiant men swept away? They did not stand Because the LORD drove them away." The young man who is strong will die by the hand of the stronger, "The young men shall die by the sword," Jer. 11:22. 

     Indeed to the wicked who were nightmares to the innocent with falsehood and violence, God in return becomes their worst nightmare: Ezekiel 11:8 "You have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you," says the Lord GOD."

     For the wicked who trusted in their inheritance of 7 children find that, "Her sun will set while it is still day; she will be disgraced and humiliated. I will put [her] survivors to the sword before their enemies," Jer. 15 (NIV).  Luke 19:26, "From him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away."

     Many wicked who love and trust in their delicacies and pleasant smells, will find a God of vengeance decreeing that "their slain shall be thrown out; Their stench shall rise from their corpses, And the mountains shall be melted with their blood," Isaiah 34:3.  Indeed they cry out, "My tent is plundered, And all my cords are broken; My children have gone from me," Jer.10:20.  Judah prided itself in his fine sheep and shepherds, but for wicked that trusted in them and not God it is written, "A voice of the cry of the shepherds, And a wailing of the leaders to the flock will be heard. For the LORD has plundered their pasture," Jer. 25:36.

     Some wicked persons in Jerusalem trusted in Egypt and in the power of man's science and swiftness, but the LORD catches the wicked in their own nets. "You said, 'No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.' But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you," (NLT) Isaiah 30:16. &  (NLT) Isaiah 31:1-3, "Destruction is certain for those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their cavalry and chariots instead of looking to the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.  These Egyptians are mere humans, not God! Their horses are flesh! When the LORD clenches his fist against them, they will stumble and fall among those they are trying to help. They will all fall down and die together."

     Some wicked men openly defied God in the open fields of Judah, by sacrificing their children to the moon and sun. The LORD therefore, granted their wish and sacrificed them all to the moon and sun slaying them in the open field until their bodies piled up like dung hills.  Jeremiah 8:2, "They shall spread them before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served and after which they have walked, which they have sought and which they have worshiped. They shall not be gathered nor buried; they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth."

     Many wicked love their robbing of the poor and forsaking the pleasures of God so that they may feast on the gluttony of the world, and likewise for these God grants their wish and gives to them their own children to eat. Jeremiah 19:9, "And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and in the desperation with which their enemies and those who seek their lives shall drive them to despair."

     The wicked love to sin in secret with all sorts of vile fornications and adulteries, but God will expose their filth to shame them. Jeremiah 13:26, "Therefore I will uncover your skirts over your face, That your shame may appear."

     The Lord promised to catch the wicked in their wickedness and throw it on their own heads and as an anti-type we see God doing just this in terrifyingly great detail to Jerusalem through Babylon. Deuteronomy 7:10 "God repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will repay him to his face!"

     Indeed, for the guilty there is a judge.  For he who runs, the One who pursues is faster.  For the one stealing in secret, there is a One who sees in secret.  For the one ready to sacrifice to idols, there is also One ready to sacrifice them in the open field before the moon.  For the one who sins in another's face, there is One ready to repay to the face.  For the one who sins in secret, there is One who sets traps in secret.  To the one who builds a house out of blood and deceit, there is a carpenter who has the hammer of justice in His right hand and Thor's mighty hammer in the left.  For the prideful Pharaoh, there is an ocean ready to swallow him up.  For the arrogant king, there are worms ready to eat the flesh.  For the one who lies, there are men waiting at the door to carry off their dead body.  For wicked armies, there is a David ready to subdue.  For the harlot, there is a fire ready to give smoke for the praises of men and angels.  For he who has a loose hand for evil, there are chains ready to bind.  For the tongue that sets forests on fire, there is a fire ready to set them ablaze.  For those who eat and could not be satisfied, there is an unquenchable darkness ready to devour them.  For those who accused others, there is a Devil ready to accuse them one great day.  For the coward, there is a bold One ready to give strong judgment.  For the one who does not have, there is One ready to take away what little he did.  For those ready to proclaim they see, there is One ready to blind.  For those who gave other people nightmares, there is One ready to become theirs.  For those stuffed with worldly pleasure and wine, there is One ready to tread the winepress in the fierceness of His wrath. 

      Vengeance has a name, dread has a name, terror has a name, wrath has a name - and His name is Jesus Christ!

     Psalm 11:4, "God's eyelids test the sons of men." Babylon falling upon Jerusalem was only testing men with His eyelids, but on Judgment Day God will test the wicked with His stomping foot upon the winepress.  What words are sufficient to describe the terror of the LORD except scandalous illustrations, "for wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together." (Matt.24:28)  Out of fear of doing injustice in describing the true horror of God's wrath we shall move on to the next point.

 

     III. How detailed and sovereign God is in giving grace to the elect. 

     Many find comfort in the verse which the Apostle wrote in Romans 8:28, "and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose," but sometimes many lack the required work to fully enjoy the benefits of such a promise. Our text today hands to us one such pathway to tread in order for the saints to grasp in purer and deeper apprehensions this glorious promise. We are to behold the detail God has used to destroy the wicked so that we might likewise see in greater detail and nearness how God will work the good He promised for us.

     First. As said before God is sovereign over all things.  Yet, compared to His authorship and sovereignty over judgment and evil, His authorship and sovereignty over the saints in mercy is different in this sense.

     Although God upholds the Devil into being so that God is presently there in the devil in the upholding sense-for God is everywhere present and everywhere upholding-yet, God is not there in the intimate loving sense: we all live, more and have our being in God, including the wicked. But with the saints He lives within us as a living fountain. John 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."  The living water is the Spirit of Christ. The "rivers" indicate the endless, continual aspect of His fellowship. The heart indicates the nearness of Christ to His saints; and, the living waters indicate the type of fellowship we have with Christ, intimate as husband and wife. John 17:26, "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

     Christ loves to call His saints His beloved and enjoys singing over them whom He died for. Christ is sovereign over His saints with a personal nearness of love and with the comforting presence of His Spirit.

     Second. If the scriptures were to give one word to the phrase "he will work all things to our good," I suppose this to be "redemption."

Isaiah 29:22-24 teaches us about the doctrine of redemption, which will consist of taking evil speech and turning it around for good by making them speak with doctrine and salt.

"Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

"Jacob shall not now be ashamed, Nor shall his face now grow pale; But when he sees his children, The work of My hands, in his midst, They will hallow My name, And hallow the Holy One of Jacob, And fear the God of Israel. These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine."        

     In the preceding verses, God describes evil men by describing their evil words.  Sinners have empty words, words that offend other people, deceive and lie about people.  God teaches about the glory of redemption by contrasting what was before, to what is the future reality of His saving.  God contrasts the words and understanding of a sinner to that of a redeemed saint, whom God works all things for their Good.

     Our passage says; "These who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine."  This is the heart of the meaning of redemption.  Those who were sinful morons, when God saves them, do not merely have the stupidity wiped away but even more.  God works this around for their good by giving gospel faith and repentance that honors Christ and also causing these same minds to be filled with understanding; they become wise men!  God desires to glorify Himself by using the very thing they so corrupted; God wants the complainers to learn doctrine.  Instead of speaking complaining words, God works their failures and sin around for good, causing these same persons to speak good uplifting doctrine!  

     Third. Our passage encourages us to see the detail of God's sovereignty in causing evil and judgment upon the wicked so that we might see in greater clarity the detail of Christ sovereignly working His accomplished good in His suffering into every part of our lives. Romans 8:32,28, "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not with (Christ) also freely give us all things... for we know that all things work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are the called."

     By punishing the wicked God vindicates the injustice done against His glory by their lawlessness, but in working good for the elect, the Father fulfills His oath to His Son given in the covenant of grace that they would receive all the rewards of Christ's imputed merit given to them.  On the account of Christ's suffering having already vindicated the injustice against God's glory for our sins, God vindicates Christ's sufferings with sending the Spirit to apply redemption to all whom Christ suffered for.  Regarding the elect it is written, John 6:45 "They shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me."

     Doubtless the Father is infinitely pleased with His Son, and infinitely pleased with Christ's freely given obedience to Him to suffer for many sinners; and so doubtless the Father is infinitely pleased in seeing to it that we receive His kingdom, and to be arrayed as stars in heaven sitting in the heavenly place with Christ. Luke 12:32 "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."  

     Christ also sees to it that we receive redemption, for He also says He sends to us the Spirit.  This is why Jesus says the Jew had it wrong regarding righteousness, "because I go to My Father and you see Me no more." Christ is referring to His exaltation into authority at His Father's right hand, so that Christ has the power and authority to send the benefits of His freely given imputed righteousness to those He died for by the Holy Spirit.

     Fourth.  For those who feel broken, as a bruise reed, Christ works the good of kindness and gentleness; His hands are soft enough to carry the most fragile. Not only does Christ carry the broken, but even transforms them into lions by making them righteous through Himself: "the righteous are bold as a lion."  The weak are strong through Christ, "for when I am weak then I am strong," 2 Corinth.12:10. 

     For the weak in faith there is a power that will work in them; it is the same power that rose Christ from the grave setting Him at God's right hand and placing all author, power, might, and dominion under Him: Ephesians 1:19, "what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power."

      For those who are weak under sin's enslavement there is great power found in Jesus Christ: Romans, "for [the gospel] is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes."

     For those who find themselves haters of God and lovers of sin there is one who finds sinners and who loved us while we were still sinners.  "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," Rom. 5:8.

     For those under darkness of understanding and sin, Christ stands as a light among them, "the light shines in the darkness," John 1:5.  & John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."  This light not only shines in them but redeems them to be a light of Christ; it shines out of them. Indeed, those who behold Christ as their treasure will have Christ shine out of them and they will be full of light (Matt.6:22), even as stars in the firmament.

     For those who were under the wrath of God for sins they did in their bodies Christ came once, born of a virgin, suffering under the law, and appeased God's wrath in His death.  Romans 3:25, "God set forth [Jesus] as a propitiation-[appeasement of His wrath] by His blood."  God was opposed to sinful man but in His death Christ works this around so that now God's face shines upon many sinners as the Almighty delights in singing the song of salvation over them.

     For those full of fear and without a Father Christ has worked good for you so that you may rest in such truths telling us that, "you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." Rom.8:15.

     For the broken who cry at night from injustice, persecution, and longing for Christ's return there is one who bottles their tears up and works them around for good so that injustice is paid, whether in Christ's death or in hell; brokenness is healed with a free pass to a river of life and to a tree of life with healing in its leaves(Rev.22:2); persecution is traded in for a Kingdom(Matt.5:10); longing is replaced with Christ inviting His bride to come into His house and telling her she never has to go out from His presence (Rev.3:12).

     For them that destined their lives to hell, being led away with the sinfulness of their own hearts there is One whose suffering pre-destined them for adoption and who by His Spirit leads them safely to the Lamb's marriage supper.

     For the lost there is One who works to find that which is lost. "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."  For the soul sick with sin there is a physician working.

     For the soul made filthy both by their sins and from the sins of others done to them, Christ worked for their good by having their filth transferred to Him so that He was crucified outside the gate, so that they may come inside the gate washed clean by His blood.

     For them that wore a crown of curses upon their heads, "cursed is the ground, for your sake...thorns it shall bring forth," Christ worked this around when He wore a crown of thorns in our place so that we might one day wear a "crown of glory."

     For those that made covenants with sin and the devil Christ made a Covenant of Grace so that they might participate in the covenant of marriage to Himself.

     For those who would one day sweat drops of blood while standing under the Judgment throne of Almighty God there was a Divine One who clothed in humanity did already sweat drops of blood under the impeding judgment that He would soon have to cry out, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

     For those whom Christ died for, the reverse is worked for them. As just we learned in Jeremiah about how God turned the sins of sinners upon their heads Christ works the opposite for His elect church. Gluttons of sin are not given their children to eat; rather, they are now made thirsty for righteousness and given Christ as the bread of heaven and as sweet wine to feast on, for endless time.  For those strong with pride and strong with confidence of man, they are not given over to the sword; rather, Christ makes them humble and gives them over to boasting only in the cross. For who those sacrificed to the moon they are not in returned sacrificed in the open fields; rather, Christ being sacrificed for them, redeems so that they walk a life of sacrificial worship with open hands of praise.

     Jesus Christ was a High Priest for many.  Therefore, for those who are under God's wrath, there is One who was also under God's wrath.   For those needing God's wrath to be removed, there is One who was a propitiation so that they may be forgiven.  For those who are dirty, there is One who was endlessly filthy with their sin.  For those looking to be cleaned, there is One who was an expiation so that they may be clean.  For those needing the vengeance of God to pass over them, there stands one among them as a Passover Lamb.  For those under the curse, there is One who has been crushed under its power for them. For those needing God to be near, there is a baby laying in a manger as one of them.  For those under the fear of death, there is One who was victorious over it.  For those weighted down with the shackles of sin, there is One ready to trade them for the bonds of peace and grace.  For those who are dead in their sins, there is a resurrection of life.  For sinners who are dry bones in a dark valley, there is One who is the light of life.  For those who entered into a covenant sin, there is a Mediator who has entered into the blood of the everlasting covenant.  To those who sacrificed to idols, there was One who was sacrificed for the people.  To those who need to reach God, there is One who has entered behind the veil and is ready to intercede for them.  For the guilty who deserve the ax of God, there is One who has already endured the Sword of God.  For those who recognize the law was against them, there is One who has nailed it to a cross.  For those who have painfully tried climbing staircases (of works) to heaven, there is One who has climbed it for them.  Even for the leper who at first resisted salvations offer, there is still healing in the banks of Jordan.  To those who seek the right to stand in God's presence, there is One who is willing to clothe them in His righteousness so that they shine as stars in the heavens.

      Mercy has a name, all-things-working-to-the-good has a name-Jesus Christ the Lord!

     Stop your Doubting and Believe! Believe in God and also believe in Jesus Christ.

 

 

APPLICATION

Reflection.

      First. Jesus being made sin for us, had evil worked upon Him so that He could work good upon His church. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Christ also freely give us all things."

     Second. It should be a constant source of pleasure for all saints to remember that all things working for their ultimate good is by the suffering love of Christ.  The saints love to have their minds in constant reflection upon their Savior who suffered in love for them.

     Third. God fulfilled all he promised to Israel.  The deliverance of Israel from Egypt into the Promise Land was a reversed engineered illustration of what God did through Christ for the church. Joshua 21:45, "Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass."

 

For Rebuke.

     John 12:35, "Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going." 

     Man is here and then gone, "every man at his best is but a vapor." And sinners are less than a vapor for their foot is ready to slip and the ground beneath them is ready to crack and give way.  The fool does not understand justice nor is he able to taste goodness, for why would one trade the flesh of the Son of Man, the bread of heaven, for the flesh of their children.

     For those who have enjoyed the light of Christian influence around you but have yet to become the light of Christ do not be foolish and suppose this light will always be shining or that it will always be so warm.  Do not commit the unforgivable sin by putting off God's Spirit prodding your heart to sincere repent, by giving up your life that your soul may close and be united with Christ.  The light of Christ is warm today, but tomorrow it will turn into a fiery furnace for all who practice sin.

 

For Encouragement.

     First. The crucifixion of Christ is the central point of reference for us to behold God's sovereignty in evil and our understanding of it.  (Acts 4:27-28)  God said He determined people to "do" those sinful and evil acts against Christ.  The cross was to God's glory and our good.  See, the worst sins ever committed were not just allowed by God; rather, according to scripture they were both planned and caused by God for very good ends, for a great saving.  As usual, we look to the cross and person of Jesus Christ for our central point of reference.  

     In Christ's death to save sinners we see God being the metaphysical cause of much sin in very specific details.  But we likewise see God being the metaphysical cause of endless grace and glory through the cross in great detail and faithfulness and that to our own lives.  Dear readers look to Christ and Him crucified for you and you will gain a heart of great wisdom and understanding!  Jesus Christ knew it was ultimately His Father's wrath that was being poured on Him.  Jesus knew all sinful acts committed against Him were both planned and caused by His Father's will and power.  Yet, Jesus was not swallowed up by such thoughts, for He knew the reverse was true as well!  Just as thoroughly, detailed and great every little sin, and wrong, and betrayal was fulfilled in His suffering, so likewise as thoroughly, detailed and great will be His victory, life, His endless purchased benefits of grace given to all His Children would be fulfilled.  Indeed, for the joy set before Him He pressed through for He knew it was a true joy and reward that would be fulfilled!

     Second. It is right to feel taken back by the sheer magnitude of God's causality over sin and evil: you are supposed to be!  But it is not right to be swallowed up by it.

     In Jeremiah 32:42 we learn whether it is God calling Babylon to destroy Israel or God planning and causing evil to happen to His Son at the cross, in such great horrific detail, that we are not to stop there; it is to lead Christians to something else!  It is to help us understand the magnitude of God's sovereign love and grace in every little detail of our life through Christ!  God does and will cause every person and detail in each and every one of our lives to be worked out for good.  And even more so, for in Christ we have "much more received abundance of grace." (Romans 5:17)  Dear reader, be assured and see even better the magnitude of God's grace that will be faithfully worked in every detail of our lives; and this so that the magnitude of our praise of Him in every detail would be truly worthy of Him, who is the Infinite Existence.  

     Stop unbelief.  Believe!  Turn from your disbelieving and trust God; be swallowed up in your soul with the magnitude of God's love for you in Christ and how true He is to His word, and how near He is to each one of His beloved children through Christ. John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me."

 



[1] To be fair the basic phrase, "metaphysical author of evil", I received from reading Vincent Cheung.  I do not know if it is original to him or not.  His web site is www.vincentcheung.com .

 
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