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03 July 2022

Meditation – Eternal Praise (The Eternity of God – Part 10)

by Isaac Overton

Q. How does the eternity of God come as a summons to give to God unending praise?

A. In the revelation of the excellency of God’s eternity, we come to see that in no way is God limited by time as we are, but that with God all things are possible, and no thing past, present, or future is able to frustrate, spoil, or undo his good and perfect will. For these reasons, and ten thousand more beside, we see that the God of all eternity is worthy of our everlasting praise and worship.

The doctrine of the eternity of God is not just some dusty, boring, theological idea. When you start to get it, it’s actually amazing. As in, breathtakingly astoundingly amazing. Here, let’s do a thought-experiment to try to open this up. Imagine if none of the limits of time applied to you. Take a moment to think about that, because it takes a little bit of thinking to start to get it. Let’s put it this way: in what kind of ways does time normally limit you? Let’s try and explore that question.

To start with, it takes time to get things done doesn’t it? Time limits us in terms of what we can achieve. I’ve got a list of things that I need to achieve on my day off each week and – frankly – the list keeps growing, and there are only so many things I can get done on a given Tuesday (that’s the day I take off). I’ve got to fix the fence, mow the lawn, patch up a couple of plasterboard holes, and try and figure out what’s going on with my printer. On top of that, there are other jobs to do too. But imagine if you were not limited by time. You’ll get every single one of those jobs knocked off, and then you’ll read for a few hours, and then have a family outing – what a great day off! God doesn’t have a limit on what he can get done. He can get it all done anytime he wants. There is no limit on what he can achieve!

What else? Time comes with possibility. Thinking forward about how to use my time on any given day, there’s a range of possible things I can choose to do, but I can’t do them all. Should I try and knock off the Sunday morning sermon today? I’ll try and squeeze in some time to read up on that area that I’m struggling with in life. Should I play with the kids for half an hour? Or should I do some research on that new thing we need for our house? The possibilities are endless! And that doesn’t even take into account the possibilities that I haven’t thought of yet. Whoops! I think I’m coming down with something, that just changed everything about what’s possible today. We are so limited in the range of possibilities we can choose, and we’re limited in our ability to even know what those possibilities are. As an eternal being, God knows no such limitation. Possibility? “With God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). He can and does choose every possibility that pleases him, and he sees all possible eventualities. Hollywood seems to be enamoured with the idea of a multiverse at the moment. God’s mind is the real multiverse, and within himself he grasps and sees all possibilities and he then directs history on the course that he sees to be best.

In what other ways does time limit us? It limits us from undoing what has been done. We can’t go back in time! How many things in your life would you go back and change if you could? It’s kind of a scary question! God doesn’t go back in time, per se, but at all times he exists and is bringing his good and perfect plan to pass. He sovereignly and perfectly executes every single second, and is free from being bound by the flawed and sinful decisions we so often make. In fact, he ordains and uses even the mistakes and failures of our past to bring about his good and perfect plan. He is not limited by the past, but rather has sovereignly and perfectly ordained all that comes to pass. The past perfectly conforms to his good and perfect plan. Imagine being able to look back on your life without a single regret? Without wishing to change a single thing? Only God alone is able to do that. Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

As we consider the fact that God is free from all the temporal limitations that we experience, even the barest insight that we glean begins to show us the glory of his eternity. God’s eternity is a neverending summons and call to worship (Beeke and Smalley, RST Vol 1, p.670). In Ephesians 1:6 we thus read that God “predestined us for adoption according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.” The past, and everything about it, has been wonderfully designed by God for our salvation, and ultimately for the display of his glory in our salvation. The eternity of God reveals a foundation stone of his glory! The glory of a thing is the sum total of its excellencies, and the eternity of God is certainly one of his excellencies. In Nehemiah 9:5 the sons of Israel said: “Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting.” And so too we should, from everlasting to everlasting, for such is his glory, and such also ought to be the praises that we bring. “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever” (Eph 3:21), “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim 1:17). SDG.