As part of Paulâ€™s letter to Titus and in his admonitions concerning â€œthings that become sound doctrineâ€ he gave advice and godly instruction on how all Christians are to act and as to the character they should exhibit. In chapter two and verses seven and eight is this statement: â€œâ€¦in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.â€ (Titus 2: 7, 8)
While it is true that the Deity is single-minded in purpose as was established in the previous essay (Part 2 of this series), yet there was also a special realm and field of operation for each member of the Godhead.
For instance, man transgressed God’s law and forfeited their right to the tree of life and to the prospects to which they had a right in the earliest days of creation. God Almighty and the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit were all interested in the ultimate redemption of humankind and in the rescue, and final salvation of all who would be called; but in the accomplishment of that singular objective there were a number of intervening things that had to be accomplished.
The first of these was drafting or planning of the great scheme of redemption whereby God could be just and could save mankind. After the plan was proposed, the next step would be its execution. Once executed there followed the issue of how the world would come to know Deity’s plan and become acquainted with its particulars.
So with the ultimate object on the part of these three to be the rescue and final reinstatement into God’s favor and into the paradise of God of those who would seek God, there are three subsequent things that needed to be accomplished: the making of the plan, its execution, its revelation, detail and publication.
None of these alone have any use without the others. Humankind is not profited if the plan has no form, no execution, and if it was kept secret and never revealed.
Therefore, I suggest that the scriptures teach, as you may know or suspect, that it was God the Father’s part to originate the plan, to draft the scheme outline the policy, and furnish the specifications. In the infinite purpose of God Almighty, the plan was formed and proposed. For forty centuries God led and tutored humanity until in the fullness of time Christ came and with him the plans were set in motion for salvation.
As it was Christ’s duty to execute the plan, and as he was likened to the master builder, with that also came the express understanding that he was to construct everything according to the plan as it had been conceived. To this end he answered to his Father, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Then it was his express duty to put in motion and to seal that which the Father had given over for his disposition.
Better than a quarter of a century was spent by our Lord in preparation and some three years working towards the completion of his part of this. Scorn, ridicule, and contempt were heaped upon him. Death came to him in the form of crucifixion on a cross, with the opening of his side, and the shedding of his blood constituting part of the cost. His last expression was, “It is finished.”
What was finished?
That which had been his part in the plan of salvation was then finished. He had walked in obedience to the given charge, and fulfilled each particular. He followed the schematic to each end and to total completion. Not one jot or tittle remained undone and so the preparatory line of the Law of Moses, and the physical Kingdom of Israel’s part also were finished. Upon the conclusion of his duties he commended his spirit back to the Father, and took his rightful place upon the throne of glory both honored and granted title as head of all things.
With that second part having been accomplished, God’s purpose together with that of Christ and the Comforter remained for you and me to learn the way of life and the path of duty. To complete this part, the Holy Spirit began his special function to take up where the Lord had left off and to make known to the sons and daughters of men the good news and the gospel plan of salvation. What was left to be accomplished was to place the gospel first into the hands of the apostles and disciples, and secondly, to give the gift of God perpetually into the hands of “earthen vessels” – those who yet continue to carry it forth into the uttermost parts of the earth.
When the Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth and brought to mind all things that Christ had taught, the will of God then was mans to consider and to hold in our open hands and seal within our hearts. The baton had been passed and the duties to fulfill Gods will had forever more been given over to us to follow. There was at last a perfect and complete revelation of the Way. The responsibility was finally shifted from God Almighty and from Christ and from the Holy Spirit, and for the remainder of the age was placed upon human beings and the duty given to us to hear with our ears. The Lord God Almighty had provided, Christ the Lord had executed, and the Holy Spirit of God had revealed; and so for nearly two thousand years the proposition has come to us to either accept what has been provided and to be saved or to reject the same and to be damned.
I ask you this — what do you think about the completion of these respective parts? When God Almighty in the morning of time had flashed before him the whole outline of the future of man and the possibilities of mans redemption and had finished his consideration of it, I wonder if there is anybody reading this that thinks that it was not complete as designed? I wonder if anyone thinks that God was not up to the task of designing a plan of salvation that would work in all ages and under every consideration. Yet there are many who have by their words and in their actions stated just that – that God’s plan is incomplete, insufficient, or that it is not finished.
Do you have faith that God’s plan is adequate to save souls? That it is complete, and suitable in its design and for its stated purpose? If you don’t, I suggest that you have but little faith in God. I don’t mean that in a mean way, but if you don’t believe that God is capable of bringing his own plan to completion and that he did not manage to do so – then I would wonder why you would continue reading this now.
Next, are you satisfied with what Christ did in his particular endeavors and in relationship to this same plan of salvation? When he lived for some thirty years, and suffered, sorrowed, bled, and died on the cross, are you content with that? Or do you think that something else ought to occur to settle things for you on a more personal level? Do you by your actions promote that the given single dispensation of grace is insufficient for you, and that you should have a better one designed specifically to your desires and with your name stamped on it? Or do you have enough faith to say within your own heart, “Lord, I accept the provisions of salvation and believe that you are the Son of the Living God, and the wonderful sacrifice you made is sufficient to my salvation and to my ultimate redemption?”[Now our salvation depends upon us doing as we have been told by God and not (as some would have us to believe) only in the mere acknowledgement or acceptance of Christ . Notice that I said that it is the provisions that have to be accepted. And the sentence above is posed as a type of sentiment and is not at all a communication of any security through the repetition of the listed words.]
Finally, do you believe that when the Holy Spirit guided the apostles through the proclamation of the truth and when they finally penned all of the word of God that we have set before us, that when this word was confirmed with signs and wonders through their hands — do you believe that the Holy Spirit then had finished his work, or do you think he is still wandering around somewhere seeking to finish his part, and that he is frustrated and yet trying to put an end to it? Do you follow the popular idea that the Spirit has never completed his tasks, his given duty, and that the issues of some today are still the work of the Spirit? Was God overcome with the complexity of the task? Do you think God is slack in his promise and that he has serious trouble completing things just as you or I might?
Isn’t it strange that people will be inconsistent and illogical in their reasoning and in their attitudes?
There is just as much sense in my falling on my knees this hour and asking God Almighty to get up, to design for me or for you a personal custom plan or another scheme, a specially crafted one, and another plan of salvation, as there is for me to ask Christ to come down to earth again, and to suffer again and die. There is as much sense for me to plead for the Holy Spirit to take over my life as there is for me to think that Christ is my very own personal savior, and that he is sitting up and waiting for just my call, and that he will speak to me singly and personally as to no other. This smacks of ignorance, infidelity and skepticism. The scriptures speak harshly against such thoughts and activities.
There is just as much sense, just as much reason, and just as much Bible in my praying to God to get up a new plan of salvation, or that Christ should appear again, as there is for me to ask the Holy Spirit to come down and to perform his work again or to send some other special means to do that which he already has done and which he has done fitly and completely. The expectation of or even an actual visit by any supernatural being such as an angel to such an end is condemned in the word of God, but some of us would rather believe in such vain things or have that or more before we would ever acquiesce to and seek out God’s will as it is plainly put before our eyes and through our ears.
I don’t care who it is that is not content today with God’s plan as it was given, with Christ’s execution of it, and with the Holy Spirit’s revelation of it. For the man or woman who is not content with it has absolutely no part in it, because such men and women have no faith in God. The very word of God stands against what you hold to. The person that has bought into this is in serious need of learning the fundamentals – of reading and studying the word of God and in learning what they need to do to become Christians, and in what it means to serve God as opposed to serving yourself. It is not our terms and conditions that must be met, it is God’s.
Because of the emotional attachment to unscriptural things and due to proliferation of such idle notions, in a large part out to our ignorance, we have the great petitions to, and pleadings for the Spirit, and in our own day, songs calling upon the Spirit so that in some special and unlisted way, by some peculiar and untried means, that the Spirit of God will come and do something wholly different from that which has been portrayed through what has been revealed, in a quiet and personal way or even by some spectacular show – and again, that portrays both a lack of faith and knowledge, and smacks of infidelity. It is simply rebellion against God’s plan, and rebellion to God. And if we are found in rebellion to God, who is it that can save us?
I accept the entire plan of salvation just as it was given. I had come to Christ exactly as the apostle Paul did. No, not through a vision of Christ on the way to Damascus or on some more obscure road: but I have come to Christ through hearing his word, by repentance, belief, and through baptism. I have complete confidence that it all is adequate to its intended end and there is not one single thing lacking in it that is needed to save my soul: to save one other soul or to save millions of souls. It needs no supplement, no support, no embellishment, no new orders for a new century, and no new ideas for a new millennium.
I believe that The Lord of Hosts, God Almighty provided for the redemption of man, that Christ the Messiah tasted death for all and that the Bible, given through the Holy Spirit of God is the perfect revelation of all of these things. I read in his word that this is what he recorded and that there is nothing beyond it that will or can be given. I accept the responsibility to believe that and to be baptized, or to not believe it and to be damned, just as Christ had said. The gospel is to me and to you a savor of life unto life or of death unto death — and so is its design.