Recently I was asked to preach as a visitor at a local church. The vicar is a friend of mine. He asked me what I intended to preach on.
“All things,” I said.
“That’s far too broad a subject!”
“No, Allan, not everything. ‘All things.’”
Many years ago God had drawn my attention to the constant repetition of the phrase “all things” in the NASB Bible that I used. I began to compile a list of Scriptures containing this phrase. They speak powerfully about God and our response to Him. I would like to share some of them with you.
All of them, I believe, will challenge us.
Some of them have to do with Creation. No matter where we stand in the Creation-Evolution debate, as Christians we need to submit ourselves to the Word of God. And Scripture makes it very clear that Jesus is intimately involved in Creation.
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:3 NASB)
Colossians 1:15-16 is even more explicit. Not only has everything been created through Jesus, but also for Him.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether they are kings, lords, rulers, or powers. All things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16 ISV)
Hebrews confirms this:
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things…. (Hebrews 2:10a NASB)
Colossians 1:17 goes even further, pointing out that without Jesus everything would fall apart.
And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17 NASB)
Again this is confirmed by the unknown author of Hebrews, a third witness in addition to John and Paul. Not only is the universe created through Jesus (… through whom also He made the world. Hebrews 1:2c NASB), but, again, without Him everything would fall apart.
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3a NASB).
It is this Jesus, the transcendent Creator of the Universe, who as a helpless baby enters our world, His world, in order to rescue us.
In order to get us back, He identifies with us completely.
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things… (Hebrews 2:17a NASB)
This identification includes the suffering experienced when temptation is resisted. When I first came to Christ, I remember how I began to struggle and suffer as I tried to resist a temptation that I had previously given into without a thought. Then I read Hebrews 4:15:
For we do not have high priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
When I realised that Jesus had been tempted to commit the very sin that I was struggling to resist, I wept. I felt such love for Him as I realised His love for me.
“All Things” is a very all-encompassing phrase.
Precisely what do we think is not included by it?