Job 37:14-16; Job 38:47; 1 John 3:8; John 17:4; John 6:27-29.
Notes of an address by J. S. Bertram at Galashiels, 23/11/40.
The outstanding feature in all these Scriptures is that of works! In the first a halt is called and Job is instructed to hearken, stand still and consider the wonderful works of God. Whenever God has something important to communicate He calls man to stand still and listen. The wonderful works in creation (revealing God) are described in Job 37-39. Everything in creation is an evidence of God! In Romans 1 we read that the things that are made evince His eternal power and Godhead, so that men everywhere are left without excuse. No one can plead ignorance. Every whit in creation declares the Glory of God. Nothing has appeared by chance, but by design and that of God. Gen. 1:2, shows that chaos and darkness were everywhere and the Spirit of God brooded upon the face of the waters and everything was brought into order by the word of God, and finally life appeared. God's power is shown in every line of creation and as a copestone to creation, God formed man. His work being accomplished He rested on the seventh day. "The sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). From Ezekiel we learn that there were other created intelligences. Satan was presented in the guise of the King of Tyre. In such a dignified person pride was resident and as a consequence he fell and with him vast hosts of angelic beings. In an early moment in the world's history that mighty being had introduced himself into God's fair creation and inserted a lie in the minds of our first parents and they succumbed to his temptation. The beautiful harmony which had been established was spoiled by Satan. The devil's ingenuity has always been directed to securing his own glory! The seed which he sowed in men's minds was soon manifested by the fruit thereof. Creation came to be marked by the works of the devil. Murder and general wickedness were rampant, so that God had to sweep His creation with a flood; but that did not eradicate the works of the devil. The earth which emerged from the cleansing power of the Flood soon manifested a continuance of the features which had permeated the antediluvian world.
The Son of God was manifested to annul the works of the devil, and not only so but ultimately Satan himself. Satan tried his wiles on Christ. He suggested "if Thou be the Son of God, etc.," but the latter's power was not to be in evidence to please Satan. He was here dependent on God and was an overcomer! Immediately the Lord commenced to relieve those under the power of Satan. Relative to His power there is love shown, e.g., in the relief of the demoniac and the woman with the issue of blood. He relieved the captives of Satan; but while on earth his work had relation to time. Yet when He came forth from the Father He had an eternal work in view. "I have finished the work that Thou gavest me to do" (John 17:4). This work outshone creation's glory. That will redound to the Glory of God for all eternity! His own glory was in harmony with that glory. He set his face steadfastly to go to the Cross and the work was completely accomplished at Calvary as distinct from the works which bore witness to the Father. On His last journey from Jericho to Jerusalem He was dispensing blessing to His creatures although the Cross was before him and He knew all that would befall Him at Jerusalem.
The whole prophetic word of the Old Testament pointed forward unmistakably to that moment. To what indignities He was subjected! The callous indifference, the gambling and jibing manifested the bitter hatred residing in man's heart. What meekness and love were manifested as He went forth bearing His cross! Satan thought that he had secured a permanent triumph. But when man had done his worst, that last word "finished" was the triumphal shout of a victor and He dismissed His spirit. That finished work was that by which propitiation has been made and sin removed from the eye of God, while a universe of bliss can be formed on the sure basis of that redemption. The work completed and God glorified, in virtue of the value of His work He has taken His rightful place at the right hand of God. What a rich revenue of glory has accrued to God in consequence! A mercy seat has been established as the only meeting place of the sinner with God and the Holy Ghost has come down to make good the truth in souls and so effect the wondrous work of God. The work of God is to believe on Him whom God has sent (John 6:29). That belief produced by the Holy Spirit brings life and salvation. (There is also a belief which is purely mental!) Faith cometh by hearing and that by the word of God! The Holy Ghost is brooding over the darkness and chaos in the souls of men, working in a moral way, awakening them to their true condition before God. The result is a new condition which answers to God. If we have been freed by His power, there is also that created which will withstand all the wiles of Satan's ingenuity and abide as an everlasting witness to the wondrous work of God.