Plan of the Ages

The Plan of the Ages

There is one goal towards which God is causing all things to move, and He so controls the actions of men that those which subserve His purpose become details of a system which is the outworking of that Sovereign divine plan.  God’s purpose is that in the consummation of the ages all things shall be headed up in Christ (Eph.1v10) who is the Son of His love (Col.1v13).  The two particular principles under consideration  (inter alia) co-exist and work together for that accomplishment of that divine purpose.  With that end in view, adversity and prosperity, though the one is contrary to the other, often exist side by side (Ecc. 7v14).  Man’s wrongdoing is not allowed to frustrate the accomplishment of God’s purpose (Rom. 8v35).  Although God will not change his ultimate purpose, yet as Hammond says: ‘Whilst it is true that Scripture teaches that it would be just and lawful for God to do what he wished with His own, the the whole scripture is against the notion of any rigid arbitration of God.’  Accordingly, at times His intermediate sand temporary purposes are altered (Jonah 4v3), and His promised blessing is withheld (Amos 4v7) or conversely imminent threatened judgment is postponed suitably to the attitude of those with whom He tis dealing (Jonah 3v10).  threatened judgment, for example, was long deferred because of its related principles, so that what we do not 'understand may not be repentance, and Abraham's intercession for Sodom proceeded from allowed to shake what we do.' his understanding of God's ways in this respect (Gen. 18. 16 ff.).

‘Is it not lawful.’ asked the householder, ‘for me to do what I will with mine own?’ (Matt. 20. 15). 'Whiles it remained was it not thine own, and after it was sold was it not in thine own power enquired Peter (Acts 5. 4). It is an elementary principle in human affairs that the owner has unfettered rights of disposition over his own property, although such rights have, from time to time, been invaded and limited by man-made laws and regulations. None, however, can deprive the Supreme Lord over all of absolute unfettered rights concerning His own handiwork. 'The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof' (Psa. 24. 1). If, therefore, He is pleased to make the blessing of His creatures conditional He does so in exercise of His own essential rights.

He alone has the right to determine individual and national destinies (Acts 17. 26). He it is who decides what shall be the temporal and territorial delimitations of empires (Deut. 32. 8). The details of His actions are as 'wheels within wheels' (Ezek. 1. 16) move, and He so controls the actions of men that those which and one whole 'cycle' of events may be a complete microcosm of God's vast eternal plan which throughout time is being wrought out.  In such small 'cycle' there may be temporal divine purposes and displays of His superintending and irresistible control, which are anticipatory examples of His ultimate triumph.  Yet there is no caprice in God's sovereign purposings, but rather a perfect goodness and justice are hidden therein. How this is so reason cannot determine: that it is so is faith's assurance.

The blending of these two principles in God's government of man and in the history of man is illustrated in every earthly kingdom.  The fact that the ruler makes laws in his realm serves to remind his his subjects that he is sovereign, whereas the holding of courts of law where offenders are punished    indicates that his subjects are accountable to him for their conduct.  The one is complimentary to the other.  God’s right to impose law arises from His sovereignty (Exod. 20.2): man’s duty is to observe it flows from his responsibility as a created being.


© Douglas Carr 2021