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Does lie mean what He says, or does He only mean that He will try to reconcile. it, but will be baffled? This question often rises unbidden, as we read these statements of the Bible, and compare them with the popular creed, which turns “all” into “some, when salvation is promised to “all, ” and turns the “world,” when that is said to be saved, into a larger or smaller fraction of men.
The relevance of texts like this lies in the fact that they show the true meaning of God’s election, and are links in that great chain of promise of universal restoration – which S. PETER assures us God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets, and which he declares to mean the restitution of all things.
“THAT HE MIGHT GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE ALL THINGS (ta panta) IN CHRIST, BOTH WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN AND WHICH ARE ON EARTH.” Eph. i. 10.
The universe in all its extent – the sum total of all existence – is to be brought back to Christ as Head, in unity. Such seems the view of the Apostle. It is the same process as the reconciliation of all things – Col i. 15-20- and the subjection of all things to Christ -1 Cor. xv. 27-28 – the homage and praise of all things rendered to Christ.- Phil. ii. 10-11. But if the universe and its contents are summed up in Christ, where is any possibility of an endless hell, or of a creation permanently divided? xiii. 9, as the law is summed up in one commandment, so is the universe to be summed up in Christ one day.
The original verb here is the same as that used of the subjection of Christ to the Father. – 1 Cor. xv. 28, and Phil. iii. 21. See note there.
That is fellow heirs with the Jews. But the promise to the Jews was that all Israel should be saved (see note Rom. xi. 26.), and because Jew and Gentile are made one Eph. ii. 14, – therefore all Gentiles seem to be included in the promise to all Israel. – Rom. xi. 26.
But if Christ is to fill all things – the universe – how can evil subsist eternally? This cannot be eluded by asking whether Christ, as God, has not always filled all things; for, to the Apostle, there is some further and special sense in which Christ is to fill all things (by the expulsion of evil), as a consequence of His completed work.
“BY HIM TO RECONCILE ALL THINGS UNTO HIMSELF; BY HIM, I SAY, WHETHER THEY BE THINGS IN EARTH, OR THINGS IN HEAVEN.” Col. i. 15-19-20.
I gladly substitute for my own comments LIGHTFOOT’S note on v. 16, “All things must find their meeting point, their reconciliation at length in Him from Whom they took their rise; in the Word as the mediatorial agent, and through the Word in the Father as the primary source. The Word is the final cause as well as the creative agent in the universe. This ultimate goal of the present dispensation in time is similarly stated in several passages. Sometimes it is represented as the birth throe and deliverance of all creation through Christ, as Rom. viii. 19. * * Sometimes it is the absolute and final subjection of universal nature to Him as I Cor. xv. 28. * * Sometimes it is the reconciliation of all things through Him as below, v. 20. Sometimes it is the recapitulation, the gathering up in one head of the universe in Him, as Eph. i. 10 * * all alike enunciate the same truth in different terms. The Eternal Word is the Goal of the universe, as He was its starting point. ” If I venture to add anything it is to protest against explaining away these words. WHATSOEVER has issued from the Eternal Word, returns to Him as its Goal, reconciled, purified, and restored; no other meaning can be fairly extracted from the words quoted.
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