027 Hallelujah! For The Lord Omnipotent Reigneth!
"The Relevance Of Calvinism Today"
Delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Sovereign Grace Union, London, July, 1969
Charles D. Alexander
All By Grace
Sola Christus          
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Soli Deo Gloria
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Alexander Page
Our text this afternoon you will find in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Revelation, verse 6 and the concluding statement of this great verse: “Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” This text teaches us two things. First, that creation has a Lord and Governor Who is in absolute control of the creation which He has made. The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The all-powerful, all-mighty, all-wise Creator is Lord over what He has created.

The second division of our text teaches that the outcome of God’s control and government of His creation will be unqualified glory and praise. For the text says, “Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

It is not something we should deplore that God reigns over His own creation, but something that should fill us and does fill us and shall ultimately fill all creation with glory, delight, and praise. For this is the last shout and the ultimate triumph of creation, “Hallelujah,” which means, “Praise be to God,” for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Now I hope if we do not already see it that way now, that we will before the hour is ended, and certainly before the day closes. We shall all of us be thoroughly convinced not only that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, but that it is a good thing that He does. It should fill us with all praise, gratitude, and thankfulness to God and is calculated to fill all creation with joy and gladness. Let this be set against the gloomy view which some people have for the word and subject known as Calvinism. I do not find it so. I find that when the doctrine of God in His sovereignty and omnipotence is truly understood and grasped, hearts are humbled before Him in thankfulness and praise. As John Knox said so long ago, “The doctrine of God’s predestination is so necessary to the church of God that without the same faith can neither be truly taught, nor surely established; man can never be brought to true humility and the knowledge of Himself, neither yet can he be ravished in admiration of God’s eternal goodness and so moved to praise Him aright.”

We propose from our text this afternoon to answer the question, What is Calvinism? and study its relevance for today. Calvinism is that belief founded on what it holds to be the divine revelation of the word of God, that the purpose of creation must and will be fulfilled to the everlasting praise and glory of God. In short, the end of creation will be as the text suggests, all glorious. Creation has an origin and a purpose, and this origin and purpose of creation were determined by the wisdom, the pleasure, of the Omnipotent Creator. The world around us has a meaning. It is not meaningless. It is not a world that is adrift from its moorings, or a world such as modern, materialistic science supposes, which came from nowhere in particular, has no particular aim and nobody knows where it is going, nor what the end shall be. Against that we set our text. “Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” It came from God, it goes back to God. He reigns over it, and it will fulfill His purpose which is altogether and absolutely a glorious purpose. It will bring to God a revenue of praise and glory and adoration as no other device could do. Therefore it has a meaning. It is the field of the development and display of God’s wisdom, a means by which He makes Himself known and understood, a means by which too, not only is God known, but a supreme joy and eternal blessedness will be achieved.

Creation we may say is the means from which is brought forth a new creation, an eternal state, which by means of redemption must realize all grace and glory and beauty. Death shall be overcome, evil shall be seen to have been only tolerated because all along it is only the slave of providence to introduce a higher and greater good than ever could have been, had there been no evil at all.

Calvinism is the only doctrine that can face fairly and squarely the problem and the mystery of evil. We are the only people who have an answer to the question, “Why should there be evil?” Why is it in the universe at all? It is there that there might be realized a greater good than could ever otherwise be the ease without it. All questions will be finally answered in that great day of judgment, the day of the recompense of all things, when all problems will be solved and all mysteries will at last be revealed. We make no apology for saying that in the meantime we are in the region of faith and hope, and not realization. That is not an excuse or an alibi. It is the certainty that all problems will ultimately be resolved, all recompenses will be paid, and all creation will applaud the wisdom, the goodness, the beauty and the grace of almighty God. That cry shall be heard, “Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

We are able to declare our doctrine and our understanding of the divine work in a Calvinistic way, believing that creation as we know it is not an end in itself, but only the means to an end. This world will be abolished the moment its purpose has been fulfilled. As it came so it will go as we have read in our lesson from the first chapter of Hebrews. “As a vesture shalt thou fold them up and they shall be changed.” As though God should divest Himself of a temporary garment and assume in its place that eternal garment of which creation, the visible creation, is only the picture and the foretaste.

In effect, creation neither came from nothing, nor does it lead to nothing, for it came from God and it leads to the full and final exhibition of the divine glory. It is conceived in the heart of the eternal God and we can even show why it was so conceived, for we know the reason for creation, and the meaning and the purposes involved. With all modesty and humility we believe we have the knowledge of the true doctrine of the divine Word, and this is the innermost mystery, this is the secret without which creation cannot be understood, that God made the world for Christ. He didn’t make it for me. He didn’t make it ultimately for my redemption. Even that is only a means to an end. The end for which God has done all things, made all things and is working for all things: that great end is Christ. We have texts in Holy Scriptures which make this so very plain and clear. I remind you of the words of the Savior Himself as we believe them to be His words in the third chapter of John in verse 35, “The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hands.” That is the reason for creation. That is the meaning and purpose for all things. It is an inheritance for the Son—not just the visible creation in itself but what it is designed to bring forth, as it is the field of the divine purposes for the working out of the drama of the divine Life, and the great aim of that glorious redemption by which Christ is magnified and glorified, and receives His glorious and eternal inheritance. “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory and dominion forever.”

Then in the 5th chapter of John, v. 19, we have a very great statement made by our Lord Jesus Christ running over several verses from verse 19 onward: “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do. For what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” Pause a moment. Our first hymn (which I did not choose) was “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” the great hymn of the Holy Trinity. The very heart of all things is this mystery of God in Three Persons, and the relationship of these Persons, and here we have the Lord referring to this : “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do, for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” That is, there is a perfect harmony and concert between the persons of the Holy Trinity. It is proper for the Father to be the First Person, for the Son to be the Second, to the Holy Spirit to be the. Third Person, and each Person equally God, not inferior as touching any attributes, for all the attributes of the Godhead are common and entire in each of the Three Persons, yet there is also that which is proper to the one and proper to the other, and so there is a filial obedience of the Son to the Father, a wondrous outgoing of love of the Father to the only Begotten in the eternal Spirit, that the Father should see in the Son His own image and should love what He sees. So God can love Himself to the uttermost because of the mystery of His Being in Three Persons, for “the Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth and. He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son;” (now listen to these words) : “That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which has sent Him.”

The ultimate purpose of the eternal Father, in all creation and in all His works, is that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. All glory must be given to Christ and because of that, the Father Himself shall be glorified in the Son. This is the mystery of all creation. We are the only people who can say this and say it in this language, because we only believe in an absolute and sovereign God, infinite, surpassing all in His wisdom, Who knows what He is doing, and has this great end to serve. It is impossible that there should ever be a universe in which the God of the universe should not originate all things, and bring all things back to Himself for the magnifying of His own name and the demonstration of His own life in eternal glory. No other universe is credible.

It is of the utmost value and importance to every creature that God should be magnified, and that His honor should be secured for all eternity, and this is done in the Son, to whom the Father has committed all government, and all rule and power that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.

I remind you too of the statement of the apostle Paul in the third chapter of Ephesians and verses 10 and 11: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church (that is by the means of the church) the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There again, the eternal purpose and the meaning of all creation are expressed. The redemption of the church in Christ is the means by which God declares who and what He is. But it is always in Christ: “The eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The eighth chapter of Romans is probably the supreme chapter of all in the Bible on the subject of creation, its meaning, purpose, and destiny. The eighth chapter of Romans, verse 20: “For the creature” (or as it may properly be rendered, the creation) “was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him Who hath subjected the same in hope.” In other words, Paul is telling us that the creation is only a temporary thing. It was never intended to last forever. It was made subject to vanity, subject to loss, subject to pain, subject to a ruinous fall. It is made subject to all these things, “not willingly, but by reason of Him Who has subjected the same in hope. Because the creation itself shall also be delivered, from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, and not only so, but ourselves also which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our bodies.” Creation waits upon this glorious day when the bondage of corruption, of mortality, the three-dimensional world in which we are confined by space and time, shall ultimately be abolished, and there shall appear in its place the glorious liberty of the children of God. For this all creation groans and travails in pain until it brings forth that final day and that final state of resurrection in which God shall be eternally glorified, and the people of God shall themselves be raised in glory and in power.

So the Holy Scriptures in these portions and many others which could be quoted, reveal to us that creation is a thing which came from the hand of God; that wrapped up in creation, in its origin, its progress and in its end, is the great purpose of God in revealing Himself in Christ and unfolding all of His manifold wisdom in such a way that all the glory of creation shall ultimately be bestowed upon the only Begotten, to the glory of God the Father, and He shall be surrounded by a myriad of souls redeemed,—each one of whom acclaim Him as their Savior, their Lord and their everlasting King, and look upon Him with praise, with adoration and admiration, upon His beauty and upon His glory throughout eternity.

I suggest to you that that is an end which is worthwhile —worthy of all the suffering and the pain which creation has illustrated. Creation is not only a material thing, it is a moral thing, and because our great philosophers do not recognize this humanity is in an impass, a dilemma. They have no way out because they do not know the meaning of creation. They can explore by scientific means the natural or material works of God but until they realize that creation also is a moral thing, in which righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost are wrapped up; that it covers an eternal kingdom of God which is invisible to mortal eyes (for the kingdom of God is within us), they cannot understand what they see. Wrapped up in the original creation was the possibility (dare we say the inevitability?) of pain and death, and suffering and ruin and loss. The creation would never have been worthwhile even from God’s standpoint were it not that He was Himself bound up in this pain and travail and ruin. This was the material He employed that by it He should reign anew in that work of redemption, by which His name should be everlastingly exalted by a myriad of praising souls, who should be able to say, “Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity lies deep at the root of all creation and of all history. The love of the Father for the Son and the going forth of the eternal Spirit in providing for the Son a bride, a marriage, an inheritance, the wooing and the winning, the display of His beauty and merits and love, the worship He wins from an elect and a redeemed creation—this is the eternal purpose of God. By this means, His wisdom and glory are shown forth and His Name is made known which otherwise is only an enigma. By this means an inheritance is given to the Son, an inheritance, not of fields and cities, or even of suns and stars, and galaxies and whirling universes. What are these but mere toys to omnipotence. His inheritance is an innumerable host of redeemed souls delivered from the wreck of sin and from the moral curse of a broken law. The Eternal God in the Person of Christ the Son must bow before His own eternal justice; the innocent must assume the curse for the guilty; He must be made sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him—this is the wonder of creation.

It is not possible to consider creation apart from redemption and this is our dilemma today that we cannot separate history from its purpose which is to bring in the kingdom of God. History is a great subject in the universities of the world. It is a very important subject, and a very fascinating subject. But all the world’s historians are astray. They are at sixes and sevens amongst themselves. They cannot agree and cannot tell us what it is all about, what it is and what it is working to. To most of them it is simply a chaos. They try to reduce it to reason, and get it to yield some meaning, but the only reason is in the Bible. The history of the world is the history of redemption.

When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people, according to the number of the children of Israel. (Deut. 32:3) In other words, all the great historic movements in the world only have their relevance as they have bearing upon Israel—Israel in the ultimate sense, or the election of grace, the redeemed people of God. The history of the world is the history of redemption. You cannot separate creation from its purpose, or history from its purpose. And so the problem of evil is involved therein. The apostle Paul speaks in the eighth chapter of Romans of the travail of creation. The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now. The travail of creation and its groan is its sin, the heavy burden of its guilt, and the curse and the condemnation under which it labors because it has lost its way and rebelled against God. Man is a failure. There is no way out of his dilemma by his own efforts. He is doomed only to grow worse whenever divine Providence relaxes the restraint upon human society.

Let me give you a brief picture of the failure of man in creation. It can no longer be concealed from any intelligent and thinking person that man is a total moral failure. All his grandest achievements in science and culture notwithstanding, he has shown in his long history and notably in our own day, that he can by no means deliver himself from the moral dilemma which he himself has created. Preaching only the other day in his cathedral at Canterbury, Archbishop Ramsey declared, “The world has gone astray.” Now we do not usually quote the archbishop on our side, but he certainly is quotable upon this point. The world has indeed gone astray. Moral standards are subverted, belief in God with its attendant observance of public worship is in a state of general decline. We are glad his eyes have been opened so far. May the Lord open his eyes a little more to see the remedy for it all.

In the light of existing circumstances and of such statements as these, from sources which are not known to be favorable to our teaching there is no longer any need—if ever there was need—for those who are called Calvinistic to apologize for the Reformed doctrine of man’s total depravity by nature as a consequence of his shameful and ruinous fall.

Everywhere are to be found the same tokens of man’s betrayal of his own nature and destiny, so that the minds of thinking people everywhere are now filled with alarm and foreboding. It is agreed that we have in the last 25 years reached the point of almost complete anarchy, in all the accepted standards of decency and moral behavior. We are educating and nurturing a generation today in the belief that there are no fixed standards for anything. Art, beauty, music, even law, disciplines which lie at the base of all true culture and of order, all are being undermined and denied. Religious belief in God as the Creator and the Originator and Governor of all things, is everywhere being subverted. We are witnessing in our own time the culmination of a process which almost overnight is turning the whole world into an atheist. The torrent of demoralizing legislation coming on to the statute book at Westminster is terrifying in its character, and limitless in its potentiality for harming the human race.

Even the sacredness of human life is being openly or subtly impugned. The bringing of more children into the world is being openly spoken about, even in parliament, as a dubious proceeding, if not an act of positive criminality. A materialistic economic theory which might well have been hatched in Bedlam has invented the danger of overpopulation. The world is running short of resources to support its population, they say, without any statistical facts to support it, or any scientific inquiry into the situation. Even Christians are being seduced into believing the lies.

They are legalizing a surgery which in a few months has made London the abortion capital of the world. The British government has let loose upon the community a plague which will destroy us as surely as imperial Rome was destroyed, or Sodom and Gomorrah overwhelmed. And at the other end of life a serious conspiracy is developing to terminate the existence of the aged, the infirm, the incurable, according to the whims or the convenience of society. A threat is hanging over the heads of the old persons, and the socially unwanted, and on top of all that we are breeding a new race of surgeons, who like the Aztec priests of the demon gods of Mexico, are eager to snatch the living hearts from bodies not yet dead, excusing themselves of the charge of murder by the alibi that death is inevitable anyway, and it is all meant for the public good. They have invented a new definition of death to cover themselves: “clinically dead,” they call it, whatever that may mean, to take the place of that only true definition of the solemn mystery of death which the Bible teaches, that is, the separation of soul and body, when the spirit returns to God Who gave it. Neither doctor nor theologian can tell when that moment takes place, and it is a crime not only against man, but against God for anyone to put himself in the place of the Most High and terminate life contrary to the divine law.

But it is not only human life that has ceased to be sacred. Sacredness has been banished, or is being banished from every sphere of human life and thought. Gambling is given an open door. Druggism is encouraged. Sodomy is legalized, promiscuity is permitted and condoned, if not openly advocated. Pornography and indecency are increasingly forcing their way on to stage and screen and bookstall. Our very language is being defiled and debased by the permission of bestial words never before heard in public places. Nothing now is sacred, for when the God of the Bible is banished from human thought as the great Creator and Lawgiver, all moral values naturally become relative—a matter of convenience or custom to be overturned according to the fashion of the times. The holy becomes vile, and the evil becomes good, and soon it may be said of contemporary mankind as it was said of an apostate people of old times, “Thou hast a harlot’s forehead, thou refusest to be ashamed.”

What else can be expected from a humanity which for the most part, has substituted blind and arbitrary forces in creation for the mind and purposes of God? We have been taught by the Darwins and their successors for the last hundred years and more, that society and indeed creation itself can get on quite comfortably without any God at all, without any morals, without any intelligence behind it. We are the product of blind forces pushing up from the primeval slime. Man is a sheer accident, just an animal like any other beast of the field. And certainly he is behaving like it! Or must we apologize to the beast of the field!

Because of the denial of what we please to call the Calvinistic doctrine, that is, the true doctrine of Holy Scripture concerning creation, its meaning and purpose, and the sovereignty of God over it all, we see before us today the failure of modern science and philosophy. Increasingly the product of science today in its present drive is threatening the very existence of the human race. Philosophy itself should be the last to object to the teaching of the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination. A modern philosopher should be the last to object to the teaching of a Sovereign Creator Who predestinated and decreed all that He intends to do, and Who has guaranteed thereby that creation shall not be in vain, but that its end shall be as fixed and sure as its origin. For modern philosophy increasingly is built upon a crude determinism which excuses sin and deprives man of all responsibility for his actions. It abolishes the distinction between good and evil, on the very account that man is claimed to be subject to forces which are beyond his control. The Calvinistic doctrine, on the other hand, says that the determining factor in creation is the holy, righteous, wise and good will of God. His purpose and His pleasure are the government and the control. The greatest of all ends is in view, and that end is Christ. The fixing of ends in creation ought to be the most reassuring of an doctrines in a world like ours. It all depends of course upon who fixes the end, and to what purpose and by what means. If the character of the Creator is one of goodness, righteousness, truth and love, we can rely upon Him to use His omnipotence for the highest purpose conceivable and this we will be assured is the case, and we will applaud it when we see it to be the case, when around the throne we shall cry, “Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

If He were less than omnipotent, or if He allowed evil to develop and multiply itself in His own domain of creation, without His prior decree and permission, and purpose, then He is not God, and cannot be God. If evil there must be, let us be in the hands of God, and not of chance, for if evil comes from outside the divine decree, otherwise than by the will of God, then there must be another god beside God. And that other god is greater than our God, because God the Creator has become the prisoner of His own creation. And He is the most pitiful object in all being.

Here we see the failure of Arminian evangelicalism. Though we may have good friends among our Arminian acquaintances, we believe them to be very mistaken, and when they get a little more education in these matters, we feel sure that many of them will see it differently.

The kind of evangelism which opposes the truth that the saved are the election of grace from before the foundation of the world, does so only because it supposes that if the thing were left to man, and especially to themselves, the job could be managed better than if it were left to God. By their enterprise, their consecrated energy, activity, faith and their wielding of God’s power (not God’s power wielding them), they would get more people into Heaven than God would do by His choosing of them in the essence of His holiness and almightiness. We do not exaggerate. This is their philosophy. But we are now seeing sorry examples of what man can do.

In these last ten years, literally millions of pounds have been poured out in a form of Arminian mass evangelism. We are not here to say that this money should not be spent, or that people should not organize and do many things. What we are saying is this: That the product of it all is now filling thinking people with dismay. Despite all this immense activity, this out-pouring of treasure, this organizing, this spotlighting of personality, this exalting of means and measures, in order to get results; the churches are emptier, the world isn't getting converted, and far from it. Things are worse morally. There are fewer people going to church. There is less and less interest, less and less genuine worship. The failure of Arminian evangelism now requires no statement from this platform. Evangelism which denies predestination is shot through and through with hopeless contradictions.

Our friends propose to fill Heaven with converts by their own use of divine resources. They say we must produce the conditions for revival. We must pray down the power. God will work, if we let Him. But just as false scientific philosophy makes God the prisoner of His own creation, so this false evangelical philosophy makes God the prisoner of His own Church. Christ can do nothing to save souls for whom He died except by the permission of our will. That is the doctrine. He would save, but our unfaithfulness prevents. Revival would surge around the world but we will not fulfil the conditions. To use a once popular expression, “He is counting on you; if you fail Him, what then?”

In the one hand this belief holds that God has the power to save, but only in answer to our prayers and pleading. But if God is more interested in the salvation of souls than we are, why does He not use that power? Why does He anchor it to man? In view of all our fallibility and sinfulness, what is He waiting for? For me? For you ? The question is only to be stated to show how shot through and through it is with folly and contradiction. God has the power to save but only in answer to our prayers and pleading. “O Lord, save! O Lord, send the power,” we used to pray, sometimes all night. Eventually the Lord opened our eyes to what was the real truth about the matter.

They maintain that God cannot use His power to save, because He has made the elementary mistake of binding Himself to the human will. Now we make no apology for dissenting from such a philosophy as this. And we turn for relief to such statements in Holy Scriptures as John 6: 37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me. And him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.” John 17: 2: “That He (the Son) should give eternal life to as many as Thou has given Him.” “Except the Lord of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom and we should have been like to Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:9) To Elijah the Lord said, “I have reserved to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” (Romans 11:4) It is of the church, the heavenly Israel, the spiritual Israel, that God speaks in Ezek. 37:26: “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them and I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.” Notice the “I wills” in this passage. “I will,” (that is, God will) make a covenant of peace, I will place them, My tabernacle also shall be with them. Yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” That is a spiritual picture unless you are going to make the sanctuary a building of stone and lime.

Isaiah 53: “He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.” Again, “I will divide him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong.” You see, it is all signed and sealed in the everlasting covenant from before the foundation of the world. It is a covenant between the Father and the Son in the love of the Spirit. God is guaranteeing that the Son shall not die in vain, but shall receive the utmost of that for which He died. This must be regardless of man and his failure, and regardless of the failure of the church on the human level. Anything else would be inconceivable.

And so we come now in the concluding moments, to the all-glorious result of the Lord’s reign. The entire burden of creation and its glorious outcome is borne by the eternal Son. By the appointment of the Father all is His and for Him, and when the work is at last accomplished, and all foes are made His footstool, redeemed creation will give back its Hallelujah, its praise and thankfulness in gratitude that it is the Lord God omnipotent Who reigns, and Who has achieved the utmost triumph at the utmost price.

Why are not all elected? Why are not all redeemed? There are devils and deceivers whose mocking of God and blasphemy against His goodness we only endorse when we question any of the divine acts. What! Is there no salvation for devils? Are our friends not concerned about devils as well as men? Yet we have only to mention this to show that God is selective in His love. Whole worlds have been excluded in the divine wisdom.

In the demon world we see a picture of the final and absolute hatred of light and truth on the part of fallen beings whose fate we too would share if grace had not been free and sovereign. Put it this way: It is not we who belittle the sacrifice of Christ, but those who make it dependent upon man. A limited atonement you must have. Either you limit the atonement by saying, “It cannot avail unless we provide the conditions, and give God a chance to work,” or it is limited in scope and its area is defined and fixed according to the righteous wisdom and purposes of God, and if there is a choice between the two, let us fall into the hand of God, and not into the hand of man. This is what the Calvinist teaches. This is the profound truth which is displayed in the Sacred Volume and nowhere else. There we clearly see that only He who made man can redeem man. He does it by the incredible sacrifice of Himself. It is the wonder and the glory of all creation that the omnipotent, the allwise, the eternally Blessed One Who in three glorious Persons made all things after the pattern of His own life, should Himself stoop to bear the intolerable burden of guilt and sorrow which sin has brought into creation; that in the weakness of that human nature which He loved so much and which He formed after the pattern of His own likeness, He should, without the advantages of Godhead, bear the load of it and the shame of it, wear its crown of thorns and carry its cross, and submit Himself to the awful mystery of death, that in Him there might be a re-birth of the moral creation, this time founded not upon the fallible determination of the creature, but upon the unmovable foundation of the eternal rock of His own divinity.

It is clear that before sin appeared God would not so act. To become man and bear all evil and sin before evil has arisen, through the disobedience of the creature was not morally feasible. There could be no cross without the need for it. There could be no dying without the awful penalty of death having first been incurred. Yet the fact of God as dying for man is so stupendous a thing, and the welfare of all creation and the stability of moral law so utterly dependent upon it, that it is inconceivable to consider the cross in any other light than as being the eternal purpose of God. In other words, to quote words we first heard from the lips of the late Tydeman Chilvers, “The world itself was made for Calvary.” That is why every true and informed Calvinist must in the last analysis be a supralapsarian by which we mean that when God created the world He did so with the ultimate intention of dying for it; that the death of Christ did not, in the intention and wisdom of God, follow the foreseen lapse of creation, but preceded it. The remedy was in advance of the disease. The fall was the occasion of redemption, but redemption was always and first of all the ultimate intention of God, that thereby He might accomplish that which could not otherwise be achieved, namely, the display of His nature in all its manifold beauty of holiness and patience and longsuffering. By this means He achieves a creation which will not only be filled with an intelligent admiration of His almightiness, but with a rapture of praise, an ecstasy as upon an eternal marriage day, when long delays are consummated in the fulfillment of desire, when mourning is turned into joy, an innumerable company of blessed beings wear the garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness, where they obtain beauty for ashes, when they come to the heavenly Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, where they obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing flee away. Then brethren and sisters, shall a new creation burst in universal song, the meaning of all things be unfolded, all mysteries unveiled, all truth known, all evil forever put down, and that one great cry will fill all things, ‘Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

Amen.