End justifies the 'means'
"For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to
cut you off. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For
my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to
another".(1)[Italics for emphasis only] In this passage from Isaiah we read how God withheld His wrath for
His name's sake, as well as for the sake (survival) of the rebellious Israelite Nation. It was for man's sake
that the Father gave His only Son(2) and in turn the Son gave His life at Calvary.(3) It is for the Son's sake
that the Holy Spirit is bringing the Church into perfection(4) as His bride-in-waiting. It is for God's sake that
'His Plan' will be made complete in order that His Glory may be fully manifested throughout all His creation
and for eternity.(5)  As we look across the wide spectrum of the Christian Church in America, there appears
to be a polarity developing between 'believer focused teachings' and a 'doctrine centered gospel'. One camp
emphasizes God's blessings, promises, rewards, favors, gifts, healing and prosperity while the other
concentrates on God's scriptural expectations for obedience, faithfulness, trust, belief, sacrifice, service and
allegiance to religious traditions. This is not to say that all 'Christian' churches do not have a mix of both
camps, rather they seem to lean clearly to one side or the other.  
F. Frangipane makes an enlightened observation in one of his recent books when he states
: "God does not
deliver us for our sakes, but for His. He frees us so we can fulfill His purpose."(6) The church which is
strongly centered on 'believers need fulfillments' would probably have problems squaring this statement with
certain of its practices and orientations. On the other hand, the church that is bent towards 'works and
serving one's way to glory' would also have squaring difficulties. On whichever side of such a dichotomy we
find ourselves, our position partially determines whether we see 'God and His
workings' as the focus of His
Covenants or do we emphasize that God does much of what He does for 'man's sake'? Obviously both are
substantive here, but '
for God's glory' seems to have slipped into the background of much 'Church' teaching,
preaching and exhortation. It is God Himself who will "bring all things in heaven and on earth together under
one head, even Christ"(7) in order for His purpose to be fully served.
We must remain continually focused on Christ as being the 'End'(8) (purpose, object, desire, intention, and
design) of all things in heaven and on earth and man being the 'means' He has selected (chosen) to broadcast
(take) His gospel to all nations
. Let us roll our eyes off any religious-determined 'ends' and refocus on Christ
as the Alpha and Omega(8), Author and Finisher(9), and the Holy and Righteous One(10) who brings all
things together in and for His purpose. For whose sake? "All things were made by Him; and without Him was
not any thing made that was made"(11) and made for His good pleasure. 'God delivered us so we might serve
His good purpose' and a part of that purpose is our full and complete restoration to the 'garden fellowship' we
lost in the Adamic fall. All of man's self-righteous strivings will pale into insignificance at the 'brightness of
His coming', when 'those the Father has given unto the Son shall behold His glory'.(12)
'We (the church) think we know what we are', "but not what we may be".(13) Some in the 'Church' will not
know 'what they may be' until they surrender any vain religious imaginations and forsake any self-conjured
destinations, replacing them with
God's revealed Plan(7) to accomplish all things in His Kingdom through
Christ Jesus. We live for His Name's sake, are the subject of His 'means', believe He is the eternal 'End', and
know His 'End'
justifies our 'means'. We thank you, Lord that we are "justified freely by [your] His grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"(14) who is the "the Beginning and the End"(8) of all things
present and all things to come.(15). If we believe God finished the
End before He began the Beginning then
any effort by us to circumvent His Eternal Plan (Eph. 1:10) is nothing but foolhardiness.

Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin
(1) [Isa. 48:9-11]  (2) [John 3:16]  (3) [1 John 2:2]  (4) [Eph. 5:26-27]  (5) [Ps. 93:1-2]  (6) [F. Frangipane, Days of His Presence, p.89]
(7) [Eph. 1:10]  (8) [Rev. 21:6]  (9) [Heb. 12:2]  (10) [Acts 3:14]  (11) [John 1:3]  (12) [ John 17:24]  (13) [Wm. Shakespeare]  (14)
[Rom. 3:24]  (15) [Rom. 8:38]
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