THIS phrase is taken from Paulís second letter to the Corinthians. Chapter 5, and verse 18, and we quote the Concordant rendering as being nearest to the original Greek. In the King James version, it reads, "All things are of God", but there is no word for "things" in the original. The literal translation is, "All (is) out of the God."
Here Paul uses this phrase in connection with the great doctrine of conciliation, but elsewhere he employs it in other connections. For instance, in 1 Cor. 8, 6, he writes, "To us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is", and again, in chapter 11, verse 12, we find the same expression. "All is of God."
Could we find a more fitting text than this to summarise the whole Scriptures? "All is out of Him, and through Him, and for Him." It seems evident that the apostle is repeating a fundamental truth, and applying it in different ways to the particular themes he is developing. We would like to connect it with Romans 11, verses 33-36, where he seems to enlarge upon it. Here we read, again from the Concordant Version,
"O, the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For who knew the mind of the Lord? Or became His advisor? Or who gives to Him first and will be repaid by Him? Seeing that all is out of Him, and through Him, and for Him; to Him be glory for the eons!"
Here we have commencement, continuance, consummation! From the far distant time when His purpose was first conceived through every stage of its development until it is fully achieved, all is of God! His mind and His workmanship are seen in every step towards its fulfilment.
"ALL is of God." Do you know what is meant by the word, "All?" Suppose, to use an illustration, a meeting has been called, at which 100 delegates were to be present, and the chairman asks, "Are all here, may we begin?" Someone replies, "No, Mr Smith has not yet arrived." From this example, we can see that, even though ninety-nine out of the hundred were present, it would not be true to say that all were here.
In 1 Cor. 15, 22, we read, "As in Adam all are dying." Does this mean all, or almost all? One hundred percent, or ninety-nine? Surely it includes everybody, and so, we maintain, does its companion phrase, "thus also in Christ shall all be vivified (or made alive)." And yet how often has this text been twisted to read, "All in Christ shall be made alive", in an endeavour to rob it of the comprehensiveness of that word, Ďallí.
Again, in Romans 3, 23, "All sinned and are wanting of the glory of God." Does this mean all, or almost all? If there had been only one exception to this universal truth, just one man able to redeem his brother, where would have been the necessity for God to have sent His own Son from heaven to save mankind?
Other instances of the word Ďallí readily spring to mind. Gen. 12, 3 (Godís promise to Abraham), "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." All families, or almost all? 1 Timothy 4, 10. "We rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind." All, or only those who believe? The context clearly shows that Ďallí means all, for the full passage reads, "We rely on the living God, who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of those that believe." Similarly, in Gal. 6, 10, "We are working for the good of all, yet specially for the family of faith." Here the words "all" includes those outside the family of faith as well as those inside, just as in the previous passage, it included the unbelievers as well as the believers.
Is the phrase, Ďalmost allí, ever used in Scripture? Yes, just once. In Heb. 9, 22 we find this, "Almost all is being cleansed in blood according to the law." Here we are entitled to use the word Ďalmostí, for it is in the original Greek, but do not let us mentally insert it in other places, where it does not occur.
Going back now to 2 Cor. 5, verses 17 and 18, and remembering that the division into numbered verses is not inspired, we read, "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive (or old) passed by. Lo! It has become new. Yet all is of God."
Yes, the new creation is just as much out of God, and in Christ, as was the original, and when this new creation, of which we believers are part of the firstfruits, is extended to encompass the whole universe, then assuredly all will be out of God, and through Him, and for Him. God will then be All in all.
What part have we in the fashioning of ourselves as a new creation? We read in Eph. 1, that God chose us in Christ before the disruption of the world, in love designating us beforehand for the place of a son for Him through Christ Jesus. What part had we in this transaction? Where were we at the disruption of the world? Yet God, Who sees the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, actually chose us then. Surely no one would suggest that the clay has any say in the manner in which it shall be fashioned by the potter? No more have we in the hands of God.
To use another illustration, our position is something like that of a passenger on a ship. He has no say whatever in the guiding of the vessel. His course and his destination are decided and controlled by the captain; the most useful thing that he can do during the voyage is to minister to the comfort of his fellow passengers, especially those in his own class. Likewise, our privilege on earth is to work for the good of all, yet specially for the family of faith, and to leave the guidance of the ship to the Captain of our salvation.
Where our position differs from that of the passenger is that he can usually choose which vessel he will board. We do not even have that choice. The original creation had no choice whatever as to the form in which it would be made; neither has the new creation. It would not be a creation if it had, but merely a reforming, a transference of hopes, powers and mode of life from one form of existence to another. Instead, these things have been created anew, and we accept and appreciate them now by faith, which is itself the gift of God, knowing full well that in His own due time, and without any peradventure, they will become ours in glorious reality. Then God will give us a body as it pleases Him, but in His sight, we are already new creatures, for He is "vivifying the dead, and calling what is not as it if were." (Rom. 4, 17). And if God chooses to call us new creatures now, we are surely entitled to think of ourselves as such.
Finally, we come to the sublime passage of Romans 8, 28. The King James version begins by saying, "Now we are aware that all things are working together for good." But why leave God out of it, when God is most definitely in the Greek original? The C.V. rendering is,
"Now we are aware that God is working all together for the good of those who are loving God, who are called according to the purpose, that, whom He foreknew, He designates beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be Firstborn among many brethren. Now whom He designates beforehand, these He calls also, and whom He calls , these He justifies also, now whom He justifies, these He glorifies also."
What then shall we declare to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Surely, He Who spares not His own Son, but gives Him up for us all, how shall He not, together with Him also, be graciously granting us all?."
"All is of God." All, or almost all? The only thing that God desires on our part is that we should be loving Him for all the good that He is working together for us. And remember, when we love God, we are loving Him who first loved us.