Saturday, August 1, 2009

Jenks - FACE - Above all, in all, through all

Above all, in all, through all

“Over all and through all and in all.”—Eph. iv. 6 (R. V.).

Picture: the whole world as God’s family.

Pray: for a larger heart.

  1. The words.

    1. It is very tempting to interpret directly of the Holy Trinity. Yet the preceding words, “One God and Father of all” must make us hesitate, if not more than that. At any rate reflect that the Father is the source of life in the Blessed Trinity. One may concede so much as that he is revealed through and approached through the Word and the Spirit. These words of S. Paul will check any tendency to tritheism in our idea of the Blessed Trinity, such as may arise through carelessness in thought, and is of course irreverent.

    2. Are the words used in reference to Christians only? This becomes more urgent when the word “you” is rightly omitted. There is no doubt that the apostle’s words have taken rise from the unity of the Church; but it looks as if in the climax he has burst the bonds of his thoughts, and sees in the Church the fulfilment of the whole purpose of God, who rules, pervades, and sustains all.

    3. And if this be so, the last difficulty of interpretation will be solved, and we shall not confine the “all” to human life. He is over all things and events, he pervades all that truly is, and he sustains all things, unifying the variety of things, and giving them the cohesion of purpose.

  2. A more simple reflection.

    1. He is over all. It should inspire us with great confidence, if we live morally in this belief. Faint-heartedness in Christians comes from a partial glimpse of God; a clearer sight of him encourages. Both the world and the Church are under his rule, and he is not to be thwarted or defeated. He is working out his purposes.

    2. He is through all. A lesson of reverence both in prayer and in thought. It is so easy to be secular, and to forget that he is moving and acting through all the issues and events of life and history. It is so easy and so irresponsible to say that God does everything, when we know that there is a great deal that is wrong with the world. But do we with patience wait to see in what way God is acting through the movements which are so complicated?

    3. He is in all. What a solemn reminder of respect for the individual, for the opinion which differs from mine, for the liberty of another which limits my liberty! How unbelieving it is to be self-assertive, aggressive, domineering, intolerant, and the like. And we heighten the effect of these words if we remember that S. Paul does not merely say that God is in all. but God the universal Father. And see iii. 14, 15.

  3. In reference to the Church.

    1. The words form a climax to the description of the one Body, animated by one spirit, stimulated by one hope. Over it all is the great and good Father; Father of the Church doubly, for Father of all. It is the trumpet call to the Church in its relation to a world which denies his Fatherhood and the Church’s sonship. But the Church may not forget that he is the universal Father; it is her encouragement to remember it in her mission to the world.

    2. And what sense of fellowship and corporate union in the Church! And how must one strive to get at this in actual realization, until the Church gives the world an illustration of corporate unity, and convinces her of the only way in which the brotherhood of man is to find realization!

    3. In all. Apply again to Church life, and may the truth of it in prayer and fellowship help to break down the ugly narrownesses and littlenesses of partizan spirit, spiritual rivalry and petty exclusiveness. God is not only in you. And seek the prayers of others, and be not too proud to be helped by the sympathy of others. God is in them also.

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