Military strategists are saying that the success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria is due in large part to the lack of unity of command in the forces opposing them. Where there are no clear lines of authority confusion is the result.
If the church has no confidence in her Head to bring to consummation that which He has begun in her she will be ineffective in the mission He has given her: “Let your Kingdom come, let your will be done also in the earth, just as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10 Aramaic/English
I just saw a special on TV concerning the decline of the church in America. I am not so sure that it is a declination - but rather a transformation. The church under the direction of her Supreme Head is becoming less secularized and more intrinsic. Yet, I am concerned that we have not really believed what we say we believe. I know not one confessing Christian who would not espouse belief in the sovereignty of God yet our subsequent actions betray this confidence and reveal that our trust is actually in the arm of the flesh. I am listening to a song right now that says “No Turning Back” yet it is filled with the pronouns I and me - the ego of man has supplanted the Ego Eimi (I AM!) and our logos have superceded the Logos (the Living Word). Still our Faithful Father will only allow such trampling to continue for a season.1
The great doctrinal truth of Covenant is an example of frequent misrepresentation. One well read commentator writes in regard to Romans 9: “A covenant is a relationship entered into between two people. It is a bargain for mutual profit...” Regarding a biblical concept of covenant Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones writes, “But this is the exact opposite of the true meaning of covenant. It is not something that must be thought of in terms of a bilateral agreement.”2 He continues, “What, then, is a covenant? Well, a covenant in the Bible is a sovereign act of God’s grace in which He pledges Himself to do something.”3 Often we adopt a belief that says, “If we do such and such, then God will be obligated to respond in such and such a manner.” Such triviality flies in the face of true Covenant Theology.
The surety of the elect can suffer no denigration. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 To assail this confidence is to besmirch the integrity of God. “...we may always be confident God will perform his good work, in every soul wherein he has really begun it by regeneration;” Matthew Henry
The purpose of God is not subject to any form of amalgamation - or alloy. I know of no Biblical character that willfully cooperated with the purpose of God - all were compelled. Otherwise the servant of God will produce an indistinct sound resulting in confusion among his hearers. “how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?” 1 Corinthians 14:7 NIV We must ask ourselves, what tune are we playing? We are reminded by Charles Spurgeon that the Sovereign Purpose of God will be served, “All that Nature spins time will unravel, to the eternal confusion of all who are clothed therein.”
God will create an absolute confidence in God. Once again from Pastor Spurgeon: “If we indulge in any confidence which is not grounded on the Rock of ages, our confidence is worse than a dream, it will fall upon us, and cover us with its ruins, to our sorrow and confusion.”
When the Father decides to bear His strong right arm in defense of His chosen ones He will use the least likely and the most unqualified. His selection of Gideon to deliver His people from the hand of Midian is a primary example. I will assume a working familiarity with the story here other than to note that Gideon was cowering in fear when he was called and commissioned by the angel of the LORD: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
‘When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Alas, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"’ As he comes to the end of his protestations Gideon understands that he is finished. His confession as translated in the NIV is, “Alas, Sovereign LORD!” or in the New Living, "Oh, Sovereign LORD, I'm doomed!” This is a combination of the use of the two names for God that we commonly refer to as Adonai and Jehovah. These two versions translate Adonai as Sovereign. A similar usage and meaning is used in Ezekiel: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name,...” 36:22
God pared down the forces available to Gideon for this purpose - even higher than the deliverance of Israel: ‘The LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, 'My own power has delivered me.'”’ Judges 7:2 From This Morning’s Meditation with Charles Spurgeon: “forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption.”
Anne Graham Lotz writes in her recent May Day call to prayer: “We worship You as our Adonai. You are Lord. You are The Boss. We acknowledge Your authority to do as You please because You are our Owner, and the Owner of all things. You made us at Creation. You bought us at Calvary. You have the right to rule our lives.” Her use of the phrase “The Boss” is an appropriate translation of Adonai which indicates dominion or ownership.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
The Glory of God is made manifest in His immutable ability to carry through to complete fulfillment the work of regeneration that He has initiated in His chosen ones. This is a distinct sound that compels them to follow wherever He leads. No greater motivation exists.
In summary from Pastor Spurgeon: It would dishonor His great name for Him to forsake them (His people), since it would either show that He made an error in His choice or that He was fickle in His love. God's love has this glory, that it never changes, and this glory He will never tarnish.
Here is our doxology: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18 KJV (“He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:8 NIV)
Soli Deo Gloria
1 Just heard another very popular song filled with the expression, “I am..” And the reference is not to the Great I AM.
2 D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Romans - Exposition of Chapter 9 God’s Sovereign Purpose, 1991, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA, p. 53
3 Ibid, P. 54