God and All the Saints

"In the beginning GOD" (Genesis 1:1).

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with ALL THE SAINTS" (Revelation 22:23).

We ask our readers to pay very special attention to the fact that the Bible begins with GOD and ends with ALL THE SAINTS. It is an arresting fact, a fact with a great thrill in it for everyone to whom the purposes and grace of God are of any account, for we may be sure that there is design in this as there is in every part of the Book that lives by the breath of God.

Of course we must think of the saints in the Bible sense of that word. The Romish church has its saints, but they have been dead for centuries, it has no living saints, among Protestants the term is commonly applied to people of grave appearance and unblemished and unworldly lives, but the Bible gives it to all who are in Christ Jesus, to all the children of God on earth, they are all sanctified in Christ Jesus and are by calling saints (1 Cor. 1:2). The Bible then begins with God, and at the end of it it embraces all the saints on earth, it does not leave one of them out A father of a large family, a true father, who loves and cares for all his children without partiality, makes sure that all his children are safely within before he bars the door at night, so the Holy Spirit does not close the divine Word upon a divided family, some inside and some outside, but He enfolds all within the sacred enclosure and puts this great benediction upon all.

As we dwell upon it, we are persuaded that it could not be otherwise. God can have no prejudices, He has no favourites, all His children must be equally precious to Him. To secure them for Himself was His purpose from the beginning. Before He made the worlds by His word He chose them in Christ, and the creation of which Genesis 1 tells us had as its ultimate purpose the gathering of them all together in one, it was to be the sphere in which this was to be accomplished. Much had to be done before this great purpose could be realized, for a great enemy kept a ceaseless watch to check every move that God made to His desired end. But step by step God's purpose marched on, and is still marching to its goal, and His triumph rings out in these final words of inspiration, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with ALL THE SAINTS." And it is a dead heart, and alienated from God, that does not add a fervent "Amen" to that benediction.

But not without cost to Himself has this victory of God emerged; it could not have been gained by power only, God's bright designs sprang forth from His heart of love and He desired to possess all His saints because He loved them, and love must suffer. The greatest principle in the moral universe is that suffering love has a right to the objects for which it suffers, and we shall miss the blessedness of "GOD AND ALL THE SAINTS" if we overlook this. Think of the interpretation that the Holy Spirit put upon the words of the high priest in John 11. "And this spake he not of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that JESUS SHOULD DIE . . . THAT HE SHOULD GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE THE CHILDREN OF GOD THAT WERE SCATTERED ABROAD." It was to this great event that the ages looked forward, apart from this God must have remained alone — Father, Son and Holy Ghost — but no saints thronging the courts of light pouring forth their rapturous praise. But in the Cross of Christ we have the very heart of the Bible. God — the beginning, "all the saints" — the end, and the cross of Christ between. Yes, the cross is the heart of the Bible, throbbing with love, and if the lesson has to be writ clearly the cross must not be left out.

GOD — THE CROSS — ALL THE SAINTS. That is the order, and in it is summed up the wonderful, divine Story. All the saints are grappled to the heart of God by the cross of His beloved Son. Self-sacrificing and suffering love has accomplished the purpose of God. O, wonderful is the story! All the saints are God's family, from another point of view they are spoken of as "ALL THE FLOCK" — the church of God, and we are told that He has purchased them by His own blood — "or the blood of His own" (N.Tr.) (Acts 20:28.)

Is it not a wonderful thing, the veritable triumph of God, that now He can speak of "all the saints"; that they are here now and in this world of which the devil is prince and god, and in which they must have tribulation? We should have looked onward to the consummation of God's work of grace and talked of "all the saints "in connection with the great home-gathering, when dangers will all be past. But God sees them now and speaks of them here, and the Holy Ghost, who loves them with the same love with which Father and Son love them, says in the last God-breathed word, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints," and blessed be God, that grace is sufficient.

We have no desire to spoil these blessed facts by any reference to our own narrowness of heart. It is the truth that will set us free, and then shall we be free indeed; and the truth is this, that the Bible begins with GOD and ends with ALL THE SAINTS.