THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The goal of the struggle against worldliness, against lust, and against self-will—particularly against self-will—is that God may be All in all. Think of it! That God may be Everything and in everything. The Lord Jesus Christ will administer the Divine resources until God the Father is Everything and in everything. After the Father’s authority, power, and wisdom have brought the universe under subjection to Christ, then Christ Himself will be subject to the Father—that God may be All in all.
THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL
For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:27,28)
“That God may be All in all.” This is a clearly expressed goal and it helps us to orient ourselves to the seemingly chaotic affairs of men and angels.
Notice that it is the Father who has put everything under the feet of Christ. We do not see this accomplished as yet, but we know the Word of God will continue to operate until all of Christ’s enemies have been made His footstool. All shall bow the knee and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
We can glean two additional facts from I Corinthians 15:27,28:
- It is not true that there are three Gods, coequal, coexistent, coeternal. The Son, Jesus Christ, will be subject to His Father as soon as the universe has been brought into Subjection to the Son.
- It is not true that Jesus Christ actually is the Father in another form. If such were the case, it would make no sense to state Christ is to be made subject to the Father. Is the Father to be made subject to the Father?
I think the reason the unscriptural doctrine of the Trinity was conceived is that Christ might be viewed with all proper majesty. While this is a noble goal, it is never wise to depart from the clear teaching of the Scriptures.
Also, the concepts that there are three coequal Gods, or that Christ is the Father in another form, prevent the incorporation of the saints into the Divine family. We never can truly be one in God in Christ if there are three coequal Gods or if Christ is the Father in another form. It must be true that the Lord Jesus has been born of God just as we have, if we are to be His brothers, members of His Body, and integral parts of Him as branches of the Vine, or members of the Wife of the Lamb.
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so the world may believe you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23)
Taken at face value, the above passage is stating the saints are to be one as God is in Christ and Christ is in God. It is stating the saints may be in the Father and the Son. It is stating Christ has given the saints the glory that the Father gave Him. It is stating God loves the saints as He has loved Christ.
There is no more sublime passage, no higher goal, no more astounding promise, than the above words. If we were to proclaim them from our own desires or thoughts we would be guilty of blasphemy, making ourselves equal with Christ. But because Christ has prayed in this manner, we are to look up in faith and refuse to stagger at the incredible magnificence of God’s promise.
We are not to be personally exalted, because the motive behind the prayer and promise is love, and therefore is not to be viewed as the means by which we are to become “God’s man of faith and power,” or some other puffed up “minister” of the Gospel.
God could do so much more with us if we would cease from seeking our own aggrandizement, as I am afraid some are doing today.
Nothing I am teaching detracts from the fact that Jesus Christ originally was the Word who was with the Father from the beginning, and was God, and by whom all things were created.
I think I may be able to explain how it can be true that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and yet is not another God, or the Father in another form. I believe I can do this without detracting in any manner from the Divinity of Christ, and keeping in strict accord with the Scriptures, Old Testament and New.
I think also my explanation will reveal why scholars have become confused concerning the Persons in the Godhead—why they suppose Christ and the Father are the same Person in separate forms; why some have concluded there are three co-equal Gods.
Let me say at the outset that the reason for the confusion concerning the Persons of the Godhead is that God the Father is in Christ in totality. In Christ dwells all the fullness of God in bodily form. Therefore God is seen in Christ. He who has seen Christ has seen the Father; not because Christ is the Father, but because the Father is in Christ.
Is the Father revealed in Christ? Yes indeed.
Is Christ the Father? Of course not. This would contradict many passages of the New Testament.
Does Christ think the thoughts of the Father; speak the words of the Father; perform the actions of the Father? Yes indeed.
Is Christ a God coequal with the Father? No, this would violate many passages of the Scriptures, and also contradict the fundamental Jewish credo, that God is one God. It would make us polytheists.
If we have Christ do we have the Father also? Indeed we do.
It is the total unity and fullness that create the confusion. We are not accustomed, in our physical world, to have two persons in such total union that when we have one we have the other; when one speaks it is the other speaking; when one works the other works.
But the Scripture teaches clearly that we saints are called to the same fullness and to the same union. This is why it is of practical importance to understand the relationship between Christ and the Father. It is that we are being brought into the same relationship with Christ that is true of His relationship with the Father. If the traditional view is held, it makes it difficult for us to picture how we could be brought into such a transcendent Entity.
As to fullness:
And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
As to union:
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23)
As to authority:
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
As to ministry:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
As to Divine Glory:
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: (John 17:22)
If God was to give to a believer the Glory He has given Jesus Christ, all of mankind would be profoundly moved.
Right at this point we have come to the gist of the present essay.
God will never give His Glory to another person, even to the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason God has given His Glory to Christ, making Christ the supreme Lord over all the works of God’s hands, is that Christ is one with His Father—absolutely one in every conceivable manner. Christ is and does absolutely nothing apart from His Father. The Two are One. Therefore when God gives His Glory to Jesus Christ He is giving it to Himself. He has not given it to another.
We are to relate to Jesus Christ as He is related to His Father.
The Lord Jesus Christ will never give His Glory, the Glory the Father has given Him, to another person. Yet Christ states He has given the Divine Glory to us. But we do not see this to be true of us at the present time.
The reason is, we are not as yet one with Christ in the totality that is required, in the total oneness that is always true of the Father and Christ.
When we are totally one with Christ, as He is One with the Father, then Christ can safely give us the Divine Glory He has received.
But how do we enter such total oneness, the Oneness that is the Oneness of the Father and the Son? How do we become an integral part of the Divine Family—that perfect union for which the Lord Jesus prayed?
To enter the Divine Oneness we must:
- Come out of the spirit of the world, realizing that the Lord Jesus has called us from the world that we might be part of Him.
- Confess, denounce, renounce, and utterly condemn and turn away from all the filthiness of our flesh and spirit.
- Recognize that we cannot maintain our own thoughts, our own words, our own actions, our self-love, self-centeredness, self-will, our personal ambitions, our plans and hopes, and enter oneness with Jesus Christ and the Father.
- God has given us a personal cross, a personal denial of our intense desires, that our self-seeking might be destroyed. We are to remain in the prison in which we have been placed until the Spirit of God releases us.
- We are to live at all times in the awareness of Jesus Christ, submitting to Him all decisions, all thoughts, all actions, all plans. We are to interact with Christ throughout every day and every night.
- We are to lay down our own life that Christ might live in us, just as Christ laid down His life that God might be seen in the earth.
I do not know if Christ lived in this manner, depending solely on God, from the moment He came forth from God at the incomprehensible beginning of time. I suppose He always behaved in this manner, and when He created all things He did so as God moved through Him.
See, for example, the following:
But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:2)
The Father made the universe through the Word, apparently.
Or perhaps it was after He was born of Mary that He was called on to abandon His own life that He might represent the Father fully. To abandon one’s self in this manner is to live in the eternal Sabbath of God. The fact that the Scripture states Christ learned obedience to the Father by the things He suffered lends support to this idea.
In any case, I feel certain this is the manner in which Christ lives and behaves now. I believe He is such a part of the Father that the Two virtually are indistinguishable.
We see this total Oneness in the Book of Revelation:
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3,4)
Notice carefully: “His servants.” “His servants.” “His name.”
Now tell me, who is “His”? Is He God or the Lamb?
I think this source of confusion is deliberate. It is because God and the Lamb are in such total oneness.
Will we see the face of the Father, or the face of the Lamb, or is it the same face? Such total Oneness!
My personal opinion is that the three His’s refer to the Father, but I certainly could be wrong.
Does it matter? It does to me. Christ has promised to reveal the Father to us, and I want to know as much about my Father as the Lord Jesus is willing to show me.
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)
The reason I am making such a point of the difference between Jesus Christ and His Father (without in any manner detracting from the Lordship of Christ, as I promised) is that we are being called into this Divine Family. We are being created the brothers of the Lord Jesus. While we are younger, and lesser in spiritual maturity (to put it mildly), we nevertheless are genuine brothers. And I tell you it gives Christ no pleasure when we shrink away in a false humility and announce that He is so worthy and we are so unworthy. Rather, Christ would have us take hold of the promises of God and press forward into the Divine calling that is upon us.
We are the brothers of Christ, according to the Scriptures, having the same Father as He, and are called to the same glory. The Father of Jesus Christ is our Father. The God of Jesus Christ is our God. I love my Father and I want to know Him and be as close to Him as possible. How about you? How do you feel about this?
Remember, our topic is “that God may be all in all.”
To broaden our understanding, let us think back to the earliest days of Israel. God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and called them out of the world to be separated to Him in a special manner.
Then God spoke to Moses and enabled him to lead Israel from Egypt to Canaan.
After Joshua, the general, God led Israel by the judges. The last of the judges was Samuel.
At the time of Samuel, an extremely important transition took place. The Israelites clamored for a king that they could see. They were not content to be guided by the invisible God, speaking through a prophet such as Samuel.
God answered their prayer by giving them Saul. Saul was successful in battle, but he lost sight of God. He sought his own glory rather than the glory of God—a miserable failure from God’s point of view.
After Saul came King David. David loved the Lord and sought God with all his might. David was greatly blessed as a result.
Then came Solomon. Solomon’s heart may have been right in the beginning, but he multiplied wives and horses to himself in defiance of the Law of Moses. The result was the division of Israel into Judah under Rehoboam, and the other tribes under Jeroboam.
After Rehoboam and Jeroboam there were several kings, some godly and some ungodly. But Israel, and finally Judah, turned away from God to such an extent that they finally were given over to foreign kings.
All during the days of the kings there were prophets who sought to turn the people back to God.
Then God’s King, the Lord Jesus Christ, came on the scene. The Lord Jesus was different from all the other kings in many ways. But the principal difference, the thesis of my brief essay, is that Jesus revealed God. Although King David was a righteous man, governing in the fear of God, he did not reveal God.
It could not be said of David that God lived in him in His fullness, and that whoever saw David saw God.
The Lord Jesus exemplifies the rulership of the Kingdom of God. It is a rulership in which it actually is God who is ruling, and the greatest King and the lesser kings reveal in themselves God to such an extent that God is all in all.
You know, none of us has ever seen the Father. Many years ago I had a brief glimpse of what I believe was the Throne of God Almighty. But it was the briefest of impressions and consisted mostly of many rays of power emanating from a central source. (Maybe it wasn’t the Father, but Jesus!)
But without doubt none of us has ever had a good look at the Father. But it probably is true that numerous saints of history have seen the Lord Jesus and have walked and talked with Him—like Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Of course, a multitude of people saw Him while He was living on the earth.
I’ll tell you something that may or may not be true. It is possible that when the Lord returns, while the Scripture states clearly that every eye shall see Him, it may be true that people shall see Him in the glorified saints, just as those who saw Jesus were seeing the Father, according to the Lord’s words in the Gospel of John.
I am stating that God is bringing us into the same relationship with Christ as is true of the relationship between Christ and His Father. This means people will be able to see and interact with us, and in so doing will be seeing and interacting with the Lord Jesus.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
It is true of us now that in seeing and interacting with the Lord Jesus we are truly seeing and interacting with the Father. (This is why there has been so much confusion concerning the Persons in the Godhead.)
We believe Christ alone sees the Father. We can see the Father only in Christ. I am suggesting that it is possible when the Lord returns people will see Christ only in us, but we, as members of the royal priesthood, will be able to see Christ.
I venture to say that in some far off age the moment will come when we have matured to the place we will be able to see the Father. I hope such is the case. But if is not, I will be content to come into a very close relationship with the Lord Jesus. How do you feel about this?
Now you can see what I am getting at. If God is to be all in all, then we are going to have to get out of the way. People would see Jesus. Jesus can always be counted on to glorify His Father. Jesus is always willing to be subject to His Father, and is heading up the struggle against rebellion so one day all will be brought into subjection to the Father.
The rule of Christ always is the rule of the Father.
Now, here we are at the point of all this. If we are to be heirs of the Kingdom of God, if we are to govern with Jesus Christ, if we are to be coheirs with Him and His brothers, then we must have that same willingness to set aside our own life that Christ might be seen in us.
I think this is where the Christian churches are today. Each of us must decide if we are going to clutch the gifts and ministries God has given to us, or if we are going to abide in Christ until all that we think, say, and do are proceeding from Him.
This sounds nice on paper and it makes for inspiring preaching. But when we set out to live like this we find all kinds of forces seeking to move us from this rest. These forces range from our lusts and ambitions all the way to the direct intervention of Satan.
Satan does not fear any kind of Christian activity. Satan fears only the Father, the Son, and the Spirit of God. It is when we choose to set aside our own life, in particular our religious life, that Hell trembles.
God can do more with one obedient Christian than He can with ten thousand church members following their plan for world evangelism.
Being a pastor I receive literature from various institutions proclaiming the benefits of this seminar, that program, the other outstanding minister. They want to come to our church and revolutionize it.
Do you know what I have noticed? These glossy, slick brochures seldom mention the name of Jesus.
I do not know about you, but I want no more plans or programs to save the world. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to lift up Jesus and Him alone. He is my program and my seminar.
The Lord said, “If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself.” I realize the Lord was referring to His crucifixion. But it remains true that whenever we lift up the crucified Jesus He still draws people to Himself.
This is my heart’s desire. I want to lift up Jesus. I want to glorify Jesus. I want people to see Jesus. I do not want to be “God’s man of faith and power.” I want to be like the Apostle Paul when he claimed he was crucified with Christ, and Christ was living in him.
I know this is nice religious talk. I know when we try to live in simple submission to Jesus, without any great plans or programs, we sometimes are viewed with suspicion or even disdain. There is a price to pay for being different.
But I want the Lord, and I know you do also.
What do you say that from this point forward we cease presenting our ideas and plans and talk about how wonderful Jesus is.
I would like to see the manifestation of power and healing that occurred during the early days of Pentecost, and also during the middle of the twentieth century. But I think the next revival is going to be a sackcloth revival. I think it is going to be brought by people who care nothing about their own popularity; by those who live in continual repentance and follow Jesus as He does His work.
The Lord worked with them, confirming the Word with signs following. This is like saying the elephant worked with the mice, hauling logs down to the river.
The Lord worked with them. I want the Lord to work with me. I don’t want to—in fact, I refuse to—try to do some great thing and ask the Lord to bless it. From this point forward I want the Lord to initiate His own work and allow me to accompany Him, like a little mouse might accompany an elephant.
I have always believed that I would see the days when the saints did greater works than the Lord did while on the earth. This could mean raising a cemetery of people instead of one person, for example.
But I don’t want to be the one to do this. I want Jesus to do it, and perhaps allow me to stand by and watch Him work. I don’t mind working, but I want it to be the Lord who is directing and doing His work.
There is this about the Lord Jesus: He always glorifies the Father. When the Lord pointed to Himself it was because the Father was telling Him to do this. All that Christ performed He had seen happening while He was alone in prayer on the mountain.
But we humans have a problem. If God does some wonderful thing through us, then the people want to look at us and admire us. They have the same spirit as the Israelites. They desired a king they could see, not an invisible God directing them by a prophet.
This is an evil thing, this unwillingness of people to look past the visible and worship the invisible Creator.
So if the power and glory are going to come upon us in America, and I believe they will, although it will take place during a time of severe trouble and problems, we are going to have to defy this tendency of people—clergy and laity alike—to look at the human vessels and activities.
Old Brother Fullerton said on one occasion to us Bible students, “If you put me up on a pedestal I will kick it out.” Elmer Fullerton was an honorary presbyter in the Assemblies of God, I was informed.
I never have forgotten what that elder, and prophet, said. Now I am older than he was at that time. I hope I have this same determination.
As I said, I believe the Glory is coming in unprecedented power and authority—the promised harvest-rain revival, occurring at the close of the Church Age. When it does, I hope all the “big ministries” will vanish, and in their place will march an army of witnesses who have been crucified with Christ; who care about nothing except listening to Christ and obeying His every direction.
I think if some of us will bow the knee to this extent, forsaking our own thoughts and ways, and rejoice in glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, then the Father will direct Christ to perform the promised “greater works.” I am looking for this and truly believe such unprecedented Divine Glory will be seen in America.
However, at the same time our traditional church procedures will undergo radical change. The services must become militant, challenging the young people to be true disciples, forsaking their own lives that Christ might be glorified. Three points and a conclusion from the pulpit no longer suffice. There must be involvement on the part of the “congregation.” There must be warlike music announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God, loud praise, flag waving, the operation of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. The drums of El Shaddai are beating to the attack as well as the drums of Hell.
It is time for the sleeping giant to wake up and begin to call on the name of Jesus Christ. We have played church long enough. Christ may have to prune some of the assemblies until the self-seeking depart and an army of dedicated warriors remains.
I am not speaking of an enlargement of what presently passes for Christian church assemblings. I am referring to a return to the glorifying of the Lord Jesus Christ. He absolutely must be lifted up. No program is going to be able to stand against the moral darkness that is on the horizon. Only Jesus, only Jesus has the wisdom and power to enable us to survive and help others during the days to come.
The Lord is telling me, I believe, that war is coming. How soon I do not know. If I am correct in this it will happen before too long! Better that than to have America plunge deeper into the moral cesspool that the American way of life is becoming.
“That God may be all in all.” This is what our Lord Jesus desires. Our desire must be that Jesus is All in all in our own life. When Christ indeed is All in all in our life, then God will be All in all in us.
Then other people will see Jesus and be saved. Then bondages will be broken. Then the course of history will be changed. Then the mighty angels of God will be sent down to help us. Then the waves of moral filth that are washing over our land will be turned back, because the Lord Jesus Christ will sit as King of the flood.
You and I have but one life to live. Let’s make our one life count. Let’s make it count by giving our one loaf and fish to the Lord so He may break them into pieces and feed the multitude.
Let’s lift up Jesus until all of those with whom we come in contact can behold the Glory of Christ, and in Him the Glory of God Himself. Let’s continue to do this until our work on earth has been completed and we can walk into the heavenly realms still holding up the Name of Christ until all the saints and angels rise up to join us in singing:
… “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:12,13)
(“That God May Be All in All”, 3192-1)