From “All in All”, on (By A E Knoch)

When I first came to know God I went to the meetings of the “Plymouth Brethren” and learned many a precious truth from them which, at that time, was almost unknown in the nominal churches. The Lord’s coming, the need of “rightly dividing,” a little as to the body of Christ, the difference between the church and the kingdom–these all found a place in my heart and mind at the very beginning of my life of faith. But I also received warnings against “non-eternity,” and “soul-sleep,” and “universalism,” to which I gave due heed.

images2At that early date my life course was determined by the acquisition of Wigram’s Concordances. Next to the Scriptures, they have been of the greatest value in my spiritual development.

These give a list of each word in Greek or Hebrew and all of its occurrences in English. This has been my lexicon, for the usage of a word is the only safe index of its meaning. These also showed how discordant our English translation is and led me to go back to the original.
The Brethren claimed to be unsectarian, but when I persisted in having fellowship with all of good conduct in the body of Christ they put me out, though this was the original basis on which their movement was founded. This proved a great blessing, for I was now free to believe what is in God’s Word apart from all religious restraint.

I had two objects before me: to believe all of God’s Word, and to suffer the persecution which must necessarily follow. I was conscious that there were quite a few texts in the Word which made me uncomfortable. I knew the so-called “explanations,” but they appeared to be only a form of unbelief.

All-In-AllThe salvation of all troubled me from the very first. The Brethren changed God wills all men to be saved, to God wishes, but my concordance showed me that it was the Brethren who wished it so, not God. He works all things according to the counsel of His will. They also altered “the Saviour of all” to “the Preserver of all.” Since it was necessary for them to corrupt God’s Word on this theme it was clear that they did not have the truth. Romans five and First Corinthians fifteen and Colossians one contained statements which I could not believe because they contradicted many other passages dealing with the fate of unbelievers. It was only after the truth as to the eonian times was opened up to me that I was able to exult in their glorious unfoldings.

I now found myself able to accept and approve of those statements in the Bible which stumble so many saints, and cause so much unbelief, which may be concentrated in the one case of Pharaoh. God hardened his heart, and will judge him for doing that which he was forced to do. Is this right?

Not only that, but God was greatly glorified by Pharaoh’s opposition. How then can He judge him? A believer in eternal torment finds it impossible to charge God with such an atrocity, and refuses to believe it, or “explains” it away. But once we see God’s ultimate and that judgment, in God’s Word, sets matters right, all is clear and acceptable. God’s glory demands expression. Pharaoh, earth’s highest, is the best means. He is too soft, so he must be hardened. Eventually, at the consummation, he will be reconciled. But that is not possible until he has realized the enormity of his sins, and suffered their just penalty, set by God Who is just, not vindictive.

But even then I was not satisfied. There were still passages in God’s Word which did not receive my hearty acquiescence. I had a horror of implicating God in sin, so how could I echo the apostle’s words “all is out of Him” (Rom.11:36)? All out of Him–the evil, the misery, the opposition to His will? Yet the passage itself insists that He locks up all in stubbornness (Rom.11:32). Other passages, such as the sixth of Isaiah, boldly tell us that He blinds men’s eyes so that they cannot see. Pharaoh’s is no isolated case. It is very evident that God uses these things in order that His glory may be manifested. Is it then God’s will that men should sin? That cannot be. What is sin?

Once I found out that sin is failure, I saw that I had been making God the greatest of all sinners, so long as I believed that He could not save all, or that He had not been able to keep sin out of the universe, or that it was contrary to His purpose. Failure is sin, and if we imagine that God has failed in any particular we make Him the Sinner of sinners. God will not fail, and has not failed.

The first thought which came to me then was, “shall we, then, do evil that good may come?” Never! But immediately I was reminded that this is the very charge that was hurled at Paul! Could there be any better proof that I was on the right track? God does evil that good may come, for He is wise and powerful and loving. But men are foolish and weak and hateful, so cannot use evil, except in the most limited degree. A father may be trusted to put his child’s finger near enough to the hot stove so as to teach it to fear the fire, for he loves the child. Otherwise it is a most dangerous and erroneous doctrine. But God is not a man. That is the trouble with theology. It is always deifying man and humanizing God.

So it was that I arrived at my goal: to believe all of God’s Word and to suffer persecution like Paul. He was falsely charged with teaching men to do evil (Rom.3:5-8), and he was reproached for saying that God is the Saviour of all mankind (1 Tim.4:10).

But, above all, I now have a real God, Whom I can worship and adore without the least reservation. He harms, but He heals, and both together, the harming as well as the healing, is a blessing to His creatures as well as a glory to Himself.

It is our object to lead our readers to this same goal, where they can accept all of God’s words and give Him all the adoration of their hearts.


By A E Knoch

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *