WE WILL APPROACH this study with an excerpt from an inaugural address delivered by a
University president. He is reported to have said that "There exists in the public
mind much uncertainty as to the nature and purpose of research. The problem of research is
the problem of searching for the truth--of searching for what is `so,' as the man in the
street would probably express it. It is not a search for those fragments of the truth
which have already been found and are described in books, more or less scarce or obscure,
but a search for existing truth which has not yet been found by anybody. A professor
engaging in research work is looking for something that already exists. He does not invent
the truth, he does not develop the truth, he does not do anything whatever to the truth
except to uncover it or discover it and to expose it to the comprehensions of his
fellowman. In this study we shall be looking for truth that already exists. We shall not
invent it. We shall not do anything whatever to the truth except to uncover it or discover
it and expose it to the comprehensions of you who read this attempt to lead you to
consider what God says in His word of truth.
We cannot say that we shall discuss truth which has not yet
been found by anybody, for this would be untrue. Yet we must remember that what is old to
us may be new to others. Besides, we need to have our mental processes restimulated by
recollecting the errors from which we were delivered. We need to rejoice with the beginner
in the joys which shall soon be his and thus relive what once was our experience.
The words which form the title of our study are to be found
in the Concordant Version:
"And He said to them, `O foolish and tardy of
heart to be believing on all which the prophets speak! Must not the Christ be
suffering these things, and be entering into His glory?' And beginning from Moses and from
all the prophets also He interprets to them, in all the Scriptures, that which concerns
Himself" (Luke 24:25-27).
We should not point the finger of scorn at these disciples
for their momentary lapse of faith; that is, unless we are prepared to have that same
accusing finger, like a weather-vane , veer in our direction with the wind of fact.
We may not be slow of heart to believe that Christ
suffered: for, with the eye of faith we can perceive the cross of Golgotha and the travail
that took place there. We may not be tardy of heart to believe that He entered into His
glory, for we have the unimpeachable testimony of those who witnessed His ascent into the
But we are liable to the indictment Of being tardy of heart
to be believing all that is found in the Scriptures. Let us direct our attention
to verses which will probe our hearts. Whether we stand condemned or exonerated shall be
left to each of us as we test ourselves in the light of His word. For apart from Christ
there is no human who can be so searching a critic as is the living and active word of
God. There is no human occupying a juridical office so keen a discerner of the sentiments
and thoughts of the heart as is a statement from the Book.
All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial, among
other things, for teaching, for as much as was written was written for our teaching, that
through the endurance and consolation of the Scriptures we may have expectation. The
lessons which may be gleaned from the passage under scrutiny are many indeed. Since the
context is essential to an understanding of any passage of Scripture we should read Luke
24:13 to 27 so that we may better consider that portion which makes up our title.
The saying that "Familiarity breeds contempt"
should not be true of our reading of the Scriptures. Let us all approach the reading of
Scripture with the bated breath and eager expectancy that one finds in an explorer who
suddenly comes upon a vast virgin country hitherto undiscovered by any human. Let us read
as though we had never heard it before. It will be a most refreshing and revealing
First we shall need to examine carefully the words employed
by the Lord. There is a difference between fools and foolish. A wise person may sometimes
commit foolish acts. These disciples were not "fools." et in the light of all
that the prophets had spoken their reasonings and sad countenance were foolish. The Lord
did not call them fools. He did say that they were foolish. And so are we if our actions
and reasonings lead us to disbelieve His word as they were doing. We are far more
fortunate than they. We are acquainted not only with the process by which God is working,
but we have the goal of God clearly revealed for our faith. This should keep us from being
foolish in refusing to be believing on all that God says.
There is a difference between slow and tardy. When you left
home you could be slow in walking to school yet not be tardy if you arrived at the ringing
of the bell. As you may well remember, there were at least two bell ringings that opened
each morning and afternoon session of school. One was rung indicating you were on time.
After an interval it rang again and if you arrived after its ringing you were tardy.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were not on
time when it came to believing on all which the prophets speak. They were not
considered absent, for after He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures
their hearts burned within them as they believed the things of which He spoke. If they
were neither on time or absent, then they were in between the two--they
Such is the word used by the Lord in describing the
condition of their hearts. It might be well to see the force of this root brad in
|O foolish and tardy (slow) of heart
yet should I be tardy (tarry)
swift to hear, tardy (slow) to speak
tardy (slow) to wrath
Lord is not tardy (slack)
as some men count tardiness (slackness)
There are instances where we are forced
to use more than one English word to cover the scope of the central significance residing
in one Greek word, but these instances are few. Where one English word can do duty for one
Greek word as in this case, then one word is better than three. It should not be deemed a
crime to substitute the one word tardy for slow, slack and tarry.
We are almost tempted to suggest that these three words be
crossed out in the verses where they are found and the one word tardy substituted
for them. Yet we refrain from this since we know that diligent students endeavoring to
present themselves to God as qualified workmen will heed the injunction to "hold fast
the form of sound words" and will change the margins in their Bibles to comport with
a pattern of sound words.
These disciples were foolish and tardy of heart to be
believing on all which the prophets had spoken. They were not condemned
for believing on none. Nor were they commended for believing on some.
They were censured for being tardy to believe on all. The spirit of
Christ in the prophets had testified beforehand of the sufferings pertaining to the
Anointed and the glories after these sufferings (1 Peter 1:11). The two disciples were on
time to be believing on all pertaining to His glories. They were tardy
to be believing on all pertaining to His sufferings.
A failure to believe that all means all is graphically
portrayed in the account found in Matt.26:31-35.
After eating the passover and identifying the one who was
to give Him up, Jesus informed the assembled disciples that all of them would be snared
that night because of Him. Peter answered that though all should be snared yet he
would never be snared. Jesus quietly reminded Peter that He knew what was in man by
telling him that before night gave way to morning he would thrice renounce Him. Peter
brashly answered that though death with Christ were involved it would not result in his
renouncing Him. Likewise said all the disciples.
Many are the lessons this recorded scene offers the
searching saint. We shall occupy ourselves with but one aspect, for the issue then, as
now, is one of believing God's word or man's interpretation. Our Lord said "All
of you shall be snared in Me in this night." Had Peter believed these words
he would have reasoned thus: "He knows me better than I know myself. He said that all
would be snared in Him in this night. All includes me. I'd better pray and watch list I be
tested beyond my ability to resist. I shall guard my every utterance and watch my every
step this night." Such a soliloquy would have been the result of believing the words
of the Lord.
Instead, what do we find substituted for this? Peter's
interpretation. He may have said to himself something like this: "Jesus said all the
disciples would be snared in Him. But--all doesn't mean me. It means all except me."
In substituting his interpretation of the scope of all as meaning everyone but
himself, he then was paving the way for his subsequent downfall.
Christ alone is able to guard us from tripping for it is
the Lord Who keepeth the feet of His saints. Peter momentarily overlooked this fact. When
we think that our sufficiency is in ourselves instead of in Him, we place our feet on the
same dangerous slide that will toboggan us to the same bitter experience. We should not
have to be persuaded that He is able to guard what He has committed to us unto the day of
Christ, when He returns in the air to summon unto Himself those whom He ransomed with His
What, then, was Peter's mistake, the recording of which is
for our profit? The word of God said all. Peter said all meant all except
one: that is, himself. Can this important lesson be extended to other Scriptures with
as great profit to us? The rest of this study shall be devoted to a presentation of the
case for the affirmative.
ALL IS OUT OF GOD
One is sometimes forced to conclude that
the first two words of this marvelous statement are transposed when read by some when we
consider their obviously sincere desire to shield God from the inevitable implications of
these words. When we transpose the first two words we make it a question, "Is all out
of God?" Yet the apostle says tb at "All is out of God."
If the words are not transposed then a word is
interpolated. It is the word "good." Thus we make it to read "all (good) is
out of God." Yet the apostle says "all is out of God."
All is always limited by, its context so that "all
men" does not mean "all creation." But there are no limitations imposed on
these words by the context as can be seen by reading carefully Romans 11:33-36. The
apostle says that "all is out of Him."
If we leave the word "good" in our quotation, or
at least leave it to be understood, then there is scarcely a theologian who will not
silently sit in his place and smile his approval of our interpolation and the exegesis
which may be built upon such a foundation.
Only when the question of "all" meaning all comes
up does the theologian bestir himself. He will then say that this is interesting and
undoubtedly important, but that, so far as theology is concerned, it is a much mooted
question and while there is much to be said for all meaning all, it is not precisely -- er
-- er -- practicable, since it would mean that the apostle means that all is out of God
which he does not mean, of course. Yet the apostle says that "all is out of
We sympathize with those who would limit the meaning of all
in this particular passage and others which we shall quote. We tried to do the same
ourselves on many occasions. Yet a careful study convinced us that we were Procrustean in
Procrustes was the name of a Greek who had a very odd
prejudice. He had an aversion to two kinds of people. He could not tolerate people who
were too short or too long. Moreover, he did something about it. He made a bed that was
the correct length for a human. How did Procrustes arrive at the right length? He just
decided what it was to be according to his own standard. He then would proceed to lay his
guests on this bed and shorten or elongate them to fit the length previously determined.
Many of us are Procrustean under the skin and an adverse
interpretation will serve to quickly bring that side of our nature to the fore. Many of
the views we hold as to what the Bible means when it says, are but a
concrete example of shortening or elongating some text to accord with the length
determined by us, with little regard to the length the Scriptures say it is.
How many of us were led astray by those who resorted to
such tactics! How many of us in the past led astray many with such tactics! A Bible
student would cry "Here!" When we quickly ran to him we would hear him say,
"I've found a fact that is too long for our views as to what this verse means. Let us
lay it down on our plank of preconceived length and saw off its legs so it will fit. We
cannot suffer our views to be mutilated. Let the fact limp through life, not our
Again our Bible student would cry "Here!" When we
ran to him we would hear him say on this occasion, "I've found a f act which is too
short this time. It cramps our teaching by limiting what we say it means. Let us lay it on
our plank of preconceived length and stretch it until it fits. It is not proper that our
views be confined within the limits of this short fact. Let it limp through life and be an
example to others of what happens to facts which are too short. Our teaching must not be
hampered by facts of improper length."
What a pompous, yet pathetic, sight theology presents to
one who believes the plain declarations of the word of God! Behold, theology at the head
of a vast army of limping facts! He is bidding recruits to join his ranks by their
submitting to the ordeal of meeting the requirements of the preconceived length of plank.
Of course it is impossible to elongate all to mean more
than all but there are many who would shorten it and make it mean less than all.
But there is no verse of Scripture in Hebrew or Greek which can make it mean less than
all. This is not thrown out as a challenge but it will prove instructive to the one trying
to disprove it.
Do we find our hearts tardy to believe in the scope of the
all in "all is out of Him?" What would you not include within its scope? And for
all that you would fain leave out is there evidence in His word for such a drastic
curtailment of His statement? Is it not better to ask Him to enlarge our hearts to believe
it rather than seek to conform it to Procrustean dimensions?
IN CONDUCTING an embassy for Christ one does not go very far before
contacting persons who say, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. That
is, all except me. Now don't get me wrong. I don't claim to be perfect. No one is. But I
attend church regularly. I try to lead a good life. I pay my debts. I take care of my
family. I try and live by the Golden Rule except sometimes business makes me do the other
fellow before he does it to me. Of course I have shortcomings, but who hasn't? I'll take
my chance of getting through especially when I measure myself alongside of some of my
acquaintances. I'm not too good but I'm not too bad either."
The person who reasons thus is guilty of Peter's sin. All
does not mean all. It means all except me. This sin of subtracting one's self from the
scope of the all in "all have sinned and are wanting of the glory of God"
affects the majority of mankind. Many of us who now revel in our justification in Christ
once self- righteously excluded ourselves from its scope. Yet when we obtained salvation
in grace through faith we realized how rich in mercy and vast in love was our God in
bringing us to the end of ourselves that we might become a new creation in Him.
God's word says all have sinned, all have missed the mark.
This does not allow for so much as one exception, not even the reader of these lines
should he be a stranger to the conciliation. Not one is just--not even one. All
are wanting of the glory of God. Since the glory of God is to be seen in the face
of Jesus Christ it ill behooves anyone to say that he meets His standard, for there is
nothing in man that can serve as a standard of moral conduct, nor has he any inherent
ability to enforce it. The standard and the power to live up to it is derived from God
through union with His Son, Christ Jesus. The Pharisee said he thanked God that he was not
as other men. This may have been true, but he was not as the Man, and so was
short or wanting in God's sight. Since He says "all," and He cannot lie, for any
man to say "all except me" is to make Him a liar. He who would not shrink from
making out God to be a liar to justify himself has already placed himself within the
category of "all have sinned."
When one in grace through faith may, by accepting Him as a
personal Saviour, be complete in Him, why should any person labor from morning till
evening, year in and year out, only to be told they are still short? God, through His
ambassadors, is beseeching mankind to be conciliated to Him. He is not reckoning their
offenses to them. The One knowing no sin, He makes to be sin for our sakes, that we may be
becoming God's righteousness in Him. Why not acknowledge your inclusion within the all
in "all have sinned?" Then you may enjoy the peace that comes as a consequence
of believing that the iniquity of us all has been laid on Him.
Failure to accept God's statement that all have sinned
excludes one from embracing the fact that He is Saviour. Only the sick have need of a
physician. Since God says the world is sick and He has dispatched the Great Physician with
the remedy, why not avail ourselves of it freely? All of us have the privilege of studying
the Materia Medica, the Sacred Scriptures, to find out what the Great Physician
prescribes after His diagnosis of the world's ills. As His interns, we have no right to
alter His prescription and thus retard the spiritual health of His creatures. We should
not adulterate His "all have sinned" to "some have
sinned," His "all are wanting" to "some are
wanting" of the glory of God.
We should bow before the simplest sentence in the
Scriptures. They are framed of words forged on the divine anvil from metal cupelled seven
times in a retort and divinely pure. They are for our weal, not our woe. If all have
sinned except one, then the iniquity of all except one was laid on Him, then He took away
the sin of the world--minus one. But His word says that all have sinned, all
are wanting of God's glory. Why not accept His diagnosis of your case and the remedy
provided in His blood shed on Golgotha on your behalf? God is conciliated now. Accept the
conciliation and be reconciled. Do not try and make your peace with God. Peace has
been made through the blood of His cross. This peace is yours by accepting Him as your
personal Saviour. The gift of God is life eonian through our Lord Jesus Christ.
GOD IS WORKING ALL TOGETHER FOR GOOD
"Now we are aware that God is working
all together for the good of those who are loving God," is not believed in a time of
testing as readily as it is quoted in a time of freedom from trial. There are mental
reservations. All is working together for good except this particular
circumstance. It is working out to my harm. The verse says we are aware that God
is working all together for good to those who are loving God. To be aware is to
know. Yet many who say they are aware do not know.
We must not sin or miss the mark in this respect. If we say
that nothing is working together for good, we may be condemned for our attitude.
If we say that some things work together for good, we may be censured for our
unbelief. To please Him we should believe Him when He says that all is working
together for good. Let us not be tardy of heart to believe that all means all.
To Mary, the mother of our Lord, to His disciples and
apostles, the cruel cross and His sufferings thereon may not have seemed to feeble sight
and even more feeble faith to be working together for good. Yet it is the basis of all
blessing, theirs and ours and all creation. In that cross God was conciliating the world
to Himself. He was given up to crucifixion by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of
God. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. Up to that shameful evening of the trial and
condemnation they may have thought that all was working together for good, but not this
cross and the lifeless form suspended therefrom. Yet they learned later how mistaken they
Christ is the supreme example of One Who walked on earth
aware that God was working all together for good. He always symphonized with His Father's
will. When, before Pilate, He was silent as a ewe before its shearer is silent, He was in
harmony with His God. His Father's purpose for Him at that time was silence. In
the wilderness when He spoke He was in tune, for He was supposed to speak and
answer the Adversary's statements and questions. Had He been silent in the wilderness and
voluble in Pilate's hall He would have had discord in His life and been acting contrary to
God's will. Christ's life was a never-ending symphony under the baton of the Master
Conductor of the universe, His God and Father.
The manner in which Job responded to the evil sent by God
was a symphony in God's ear but a dissonance in the ears of the Adversary. Not being able
to see the "score" from which God was conducting, to Job, these experiences may
have seemed like interludes of discord. But he faithfully played the part written for him
and the sequel was a symphony to the glory of God, the Disposer and Arbiter of the
Remember the woman and Elisha? The child born to her was
taken sick while in the field with his father, and died at noon. She laid him on the bed
of the man of God and then went to Elisha who was at Mount Carmel. From afar he dispatched
Gehazi to ask, Is it well with the child? Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy
husband? Did she answer thus? Until this morning all was well, but now all is wrong for my
child is dead. She did not! Her reply was, It is well. The word she used was shalom,
peace. All was well with her husband, herself and her child. All was working together for
good. She did not know at that time that her child was to be restored to her, so she spoke
what was in the deepest recesses of her spirit--shalom, peace.
All is peace when faith believes that God is
working all together for good. The peace of God being superior to every
mental state shall garrison our hearts and apprehensions in Christ Jesus. Why should we
not enjoy to the full our heritage as sons of God?
ALL IN ALL OR ALL IN SOME
Those who consistently contend for all
Scripture being inspired as meaning all, do not see the incongruity of their consistently
contending that all will be made alive does not mean all. Those who
would not yield an inch from the position that all have sinned means
all, do not hesitate to rob God of His all in all shall be justified, all
shall be reconciled, all shall be vivified, that God may be All in all.
Milton, in conformity to the theology of his day, had Satan
say in "Paradise Lost" that he would "rather reign in Hell than serve in
Heaven." There are many who think that Satan's rather supersedes God's
announced intention. The God of the Scriptures and Satan--each has announced his
intention. Which of the two shall be supreme? The test is in the achieving of one's
Remember the man who stated that it was his desire to build
a tower? At his failing to achieve his goal he was chided for his shortsightedness in
failing to first count the cost of the venture.
God has clearly stated His ultimate objective--All in all.
If He failed in bringing it to pass His creatures could chide Him for His shortsightedness
in failing to count the cost and underestimating His ability. But God is not devoid of
vision nor is His strength impaired. What He purposes He performs.
We may not be tardy of heart to believe that all
have sinned, that all must be manifested at the dais of Christ, that God is
working all together for good. But the test will come in the following passages
where God has stated His will. Any attempt to adulterate will to wish or
all to some should cause us to scrutinize the motive for such
Procrustean curtailment of His Word. The Word of God is powerful and active, not our
comments on its declarations. So we shall quote what He says and ask Him to enlarge our
hearts to believe His goal, the grandest truth in all the Scriptures. These verses state
God's ultimate, so all verses seemingly in opposition to their fulfillment should be
examined in their light. Do not confuse God's goal with His process.
ALL MANKIND TO BE SAVED
This is ideal and welcome before God
our Saviour, Who wills all mankind to be saved and to come into a realization of the
truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator of God and mankind, a Man
Christ Jesus, the One giving Himself a correspondent Ransom for all...Faithful is the
saying and worthy of all welcome (for this are we toiling and being reproached), that we
rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of those
who believe" (1 Tim.2:3-6; 4:9,10). Do you find your heart tardy to believe that God
wills all mankind to be saved?
ALL MANKIND TO BE JUSTIFIED
"...Adam's transgression, which is a
type of that which is about to be. But not as the offense, thus also the grace. For if by
the offense of one the many died, much rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace,
which is of the One Man, Jesus Christ, to the many superabounds. And not through the one
sinning is the gratuity. For, indeed, the judgment is out of one into condemnation, yet
the grace is out of many offenses into a just award. For if by the offense of the one,
death reigns through the one, much rather those obtaining the superabundance of grace and
the gratuity of righteousness shall be reigning in life through the One, Jesus Christ:
Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation,
thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life's
justifying. For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were
constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be
constituted just" (Rom.5:14-19). Do you find your heart tardy to believe that God
wills all mankind to be justified?
ALL MANKIND TO BE RECONCILED
"...Who is the Image of the invisible
God, First-born of every creature, seeing that the all in the heavens and on the earth is
created in Him--the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or
sovereignties or authorities--the all has been created through Him and for Him, and He
is before all, and the all has its cohesion in Him. And He is the Head of the
body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He
may be becoming first, and through Him to reconcile the all to Him (making peace
through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether on the earth or in the heavens"
(Col.1:15-20). Do you find your heart tardy to believe that God wills all mankind
to be reconciled?
ALL MANKIND TO BE VIVIFIED
"(Yet now Christ has been roused from
among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing. For since, in fact, death is
through a man, resurrection of the dead is through a man also. For, even as, in Adam, all
are dying, thus also, in Christ, all shalt be vivified. Yet each in his own
class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence;
thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to God, even the
Father, whenever He should be abrogating all sovereignty and all authority and power. For
He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. The last
enemy being abolished is death. For He subjects all under His feet...Now, whenever the all
may be subject to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subject to Him Who subjects the
all to Him, that God may be All in all" (1 Cor.15:20-28). Do you find your
heart tardy to believe that God wills all mankind to be vivified?
This is God's grand goal: all saved, all
justified, all reconciled, all vivified, that God may be All in all.
This goal will see fruition when the eons have run their course. As a sinner, God
now offers you life eonian as a gift. This will be yours in the resurrection when
expectation gives place to realization. Why not enjoy life in the impending eons by
accepting Him as your personal Saviour?
As a saint, let your heart no longer be tardy to
believe that all means all. Let us not subtract so much as one from any of His
alls. Only by believing what He says and knowing that He will perform His intention will
our hearts be at peace. Thus our whole horizon shall be filled with a realization that our
God is God indeed.