"All"

"All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations ...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." -- Matthew 28:18-20.

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The King is speaking. The King of kings and Lord of lords. It is true that we "do not as yet see all things put under Him," but all things are under Him, and "in His times He shall shew, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Tim. 6:15). He speaks of the all of His power.

He tells us the sphere of His power—heaven and earth. In the beginning, He created the heaven and the earth, and He is the final and total authority in both. They are united, because God’s purpose in creation, linking them, will be ultimately realized by His redemptive work.

"God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them..." (2 Cor. 5:19). "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2).

Some day, all in heaven and earth will be brought into perfect conformity with the will of God, with every mark and vestige of sin removed forever. His authority will be owned even in hell, for "at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth (hell); And that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11).

We do not yet see all things put under Him. It seems, as James Russell Lowell put it, that "Right is on the scaffold, and Wrong is on the throne."

Man is proving his inability to govern himself or others. Ultimately, all his efforts at self-rule, rejecting the government of God, are doomed to fail.

It is only when the Lord Jesus comes, the One Who has the right to reign, that real peace will come to this troubled old world.

He is the only One Who can now bring peace to a troubled heart. In John 17:2, the Lord said to the Father in prayer, speaking of Himself in the third person: "Thou hast given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him."

He "made peace by the blood of His cross," and all who trust Him enjoy peace with God. Heaven and earth are thus once more united. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).

"Peace with God is Christ in glory;
God is just and God is love;
Jesus died to tell the story,
Foes to bring to God above."

In verse 19 we have the "all" of His purpose. There is a "go" in the gospel—"Go and teach all nations." All nations are not going to be saved, but God is taking out of all the nations a people for His Name (Acts 15:14).

God is not willing that any should perish. He willeth not the death of any. He wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth; yet, not all men will be saved. The Lord Jesus said to some in His day, "You will not come to Me that you might have life." He declared, "O Jerusalem...how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 23:37)

Men are saved because they accept the will of God; and men are lost because they resist God’s will. Yet, in spite of the wickedness and rebellion of men, the gospel of the grace of God will triumph, for some from all nations, tribes and languages will be in heaven, having trusted Christ as Saviour and Lord. Listen to the song in heaven! Will you be there to join in this anthem of praise?

"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9).

Not one will be there because of the life he lived here on earth. Our only title to glory we read in His blood.

The Lord instructed that those who believed were to be baptized. They were not saved because they were baptized, but they were baptized because they were saved. Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians: "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." Baptism follows believing the gospel message. It is not itself any part of the gospel.

In I Cor. 15:1-4, the apostle defines the gospel. It rests on three facts for faith: (1) Christ died for our sins; (2) He was buried; and (3) He rose again the third day, fulfilling the Scriptures. The gospel tells us all that He did. Baptism is a figure of our response to the gospel.

"Unto Thy death baptized,
We own with Thee we died;
With Thee, our life, we’re risen
And shall be glorified.
From sin, the world and Satan,
We’re ransomed by Thy blood;
And here would walk as strangers,
Alive with Thee to God."

The formula for baptism is given us: "baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The triune God has a threefold interest in each believer, and this threefold cord cannot be broken.

The Father chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world! The Son loved me and gave Himself for me; I have been sealed by the Spirit of God until the day of redemption; and He now works in me both to will and to do God’s good pleasure. "Oh, what a salvation this—that Christ liveth in me!"

The Lord next instructs His disciples to teach those baptized "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." He also said, "If you love me, you will keep My commandments." It’s an appreciation of His love that enables the believer to obey His Word.

In verse 20 we have the "all" of His precepts. His mother, Mary, said, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." The Father opened the heavens to say, "This is My beloved Son in Whom

I am well pleased; hear ye Him." The Lord said, "My sheep hear My voice...and they follow Me!"

"You are My friends if you do whatsoever I command you." Obedience is the mark of reality.

"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another" (Col. 3:16).

There’s one sensible question for the whole of life’s journey: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"

"Master, speak and make me ready
When Thy voice is truly heard;
With obedience glad and steady,
Still to follow every word."

Finally, we have the "all" of His presence (Matt. 28:20). He has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." We may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31). Though we may sometimes feel lonely, we are never alone. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and still walks with lonely and discouraged souls, speaking words of comfort to those who have ears to hear.

"I have Christ! What want I more?"


THOU REMAINEST

When from my life the old-time joys have vanished—
Treasures, once mine, I may no longer claim,
This truth may feed my hungry heart and famished:
Lord, Thou remainest!

Thou art still the same!
When streams have dried, those streams of glad refreshing—
Friendships so blest, so pure, so rich, so free—
When sun-kissed skies give place to clouds depressing,
Lord, Thou remainest!

Still my heart hath Thee!
When strength hath failed, and feet, now worn and weary,
On gladsome errands may no longer go,
Why should I sigh, or let the days be dreary?
Lord, Thou remainest!

Couldst Thou more bestow?
Thus through life’s days, whoe’er or what may fail me—
Friends, friendships, joys, in small or great degree,
Songs may be mine—
No sadness need assail me,
Since Thou remainest,
And my heart hath Thee!

                    ... J. Danson Smith