Can something limitless be limited? In the truest sense, no. God is the only limitless One in existence and He cannot be limited. So, why bring up the subject? When we attempt to gain a proper understanding of limitless power, holiness, justice, grace, and love it helps to recognize the limitations we each bring to the table. What limitations?
I bring a limited mind to the task. How can the finite grasp the infinite? Understanding God’s lack of limits is hampered by my own physical limitations. Then there is my point of view and my prejudice. God’s limitless attributes are in no way bound by my expectations of what He should be or should do. When I think He is somehow bound to my expectations, I am truly thinking of myself more highly than I should (Romans 12:3). Then there is the matter of sin. I cannot perceive all God is, or all He wants to do, because of my sinfulness. The Apostle Peter is a good illustration of this point.
In Luke 5, Jesus approaches the disciples after they have been fishing all night without a catch. They are tired and frustrated. Our familiarity with the story doesn’t allow us to see the irony in it. Jesus, a carpenter, tells a bunch of experienced fishermen where to throw their nets. Peter, as usual, talks first and in essence tells Jesus, “I know this isn’t going to do any good (I’m the expert here), but because it’s You talking, I will let down a net.” The limitless power of God was about to be limited by Peter’s sinfulness. The limitless, loving desire of God to give to His children was about to be limited by Peter’s sinfulness. You know the story. They let the net down and couldn’t haul in the fish. What they did get nearly sank the boat. Our Father tells us what He wants to do for us has not entered our eyes, ears, or imaginations. The blessing Peter got was almost unimaginable yet he only did part of what Jesus told him to do. What would he have gotten had he been totally obedient? Can’t imagine, can we? How that thought convicts me and at the same time encourages me! It also leads me to other questions.
Is partial obedience really obedience? It’s a tough question as illustrated by Peter’s example. Jesus’ own example is one of total obedience. He didn’t go halfway to the cross. He didn’t pay the penalty for 90% of our sins. And His resurrection wasn’t partial. Because of these things, all creation will bow to Him for all eternity (Philippians 2). My obedience pales in comparison. Even though God can, and sometimes does, bless partial obedience, only God can calculate the blessings I have missed in partial obedience. How about you?
Soli Deo Gloria!
(NOTE: I am thankful to Dr. John Phillips for making the distinction between nets and net in his commentary.)
- Losing Our Desire To Be Like Jesus In An Aggressive World (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)
- God’s Grace (anointedplace.wordpress.com)