The Word for Writers
Apprehending Godís Eternal Purpose
T. Austin-Sparks taught, "God's ends are always present in His beginnings." Another way of defining God's "ends" is His "eternal purposes." The Word of God is the written expression of those eternal purposes. Jesus, His Son, was that eternal purpose "made flesh which dwelt among us." It is submitted here and now that the Word of God, both in word and spirit, cannot be consistently and accurately interpreted apart from that eternal purpose. In a real sense, it is "the Alpha and Omega" of our scriptural and spiritual understanding.
And, what is God's eternal purpose? Make no mistake, one's view of that has a direct correlation on our spiritual understanding, and it is upon this foundation, that all Biblical teaching should hinge. The degree to which we have this issue correct will have a direct correlation upon one's accurate interpretation of the ways and will of God. This may well explain the great contradiction of our day in having more Bible teaching, Bible teachers, Bible study helps, and all the various modern technologies to disseminate that teaching than ever before, while simultaneously producing arguably the most spiritually shallow generation since the beginning of Church history.
Misunderstanding of God's eternal purpose is at the very core of the problem. This eternal purpose is as profound as it is simple, and will directly influence our doctrinal thinking on virtually every point.. And what is God's eternal purpose? The correct answer will rarely be found within the domain of "mature" believers. Why? It simply was never laid down as an integral part of their early spiritual foundation. Frankly, their teachers couldn't pass onto them what they had never received themselves.
Rather, the correct answer to this question should be made known at the very outset of one's spiritual birth. And since "God's ends are always present in His beginnings," it stands to reason that our all-important answer should be found in the first chapter of Genesis. If we discover, and receive what we discover, our spiritual and scriptural understanding will never be the same again, taking us into new heights and depths we never would have imagined.
So then, what is God's eternal purpose? It is found in Genesis 1:26, and it is a two-fold purpose; that we would bear the image of God, and in so doing, would have dominion over the land. These two elements are inseparable. They were never intended to exist, one apart from the other. All biblical doctrine must be understood upon this premise. A right biblical view hinges upon this very notion, directly influencing our interpretation of our world, ranging from the purpose of the Church and Israel to eschatology. Scripturally, it ties all biblical understanding and teaching together. It is the glue which binds and the foundation upon which the Word of God must be comprehended.
And, it is submitted, here and now, that when men grab a hold of this fundamental truth, that we shall begin to hear our modern-day "prophets and teachers" truly speak, "as it were, the very oracles of God." And, he will speak with a power, sobriety, and desperation befitting one who is conscious of the reality that he may be giving his last message on earth to those he holds dear. We are fast approaching a time when our "popularized" teachings within the Church concerning relatively trivial and temporal matters of this life, though sweet to the flesh, will be repulsed by those truly hungry in spirit.
And when men begin to approach the Word of God in this fashion, there will be others who have been prepared by God ready to quench that pure spiritual hunger consistent with God's eternal purposes. The messages will be given as though one were delivering his "last will and testament." And this will mark the bankruptcy of the Americanized Christian enterprise system as we know it, and we shall see a renewal of a "simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." We must pray for men to receive the spirit of Issachar, "men who understood the times and knew what Israel was to do." And the Alpha and Omega of that understanding for our day is derived through a right apprehension of God's eternal purpose, a purpose that should no longer be a mystery to us.
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