As he said also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.…
Irrespective of the particular application of this prophecy by Paul there are certain fundamental and abiding principles that are worth attention.
I. COMPLETENESS. "As for God, His way, His method of operation," is perfect. From the atom to the sun there is no flaw in His handiwork. It will be found to be the same when we review the course of history from the standpoint of eternity. Things are fragmentary now, but the very fragments are complete, and when fitted into each other as a compacted whole we shall say, "Thou hast done all things well." "He will finish the work " —
1. Why? Because —
(1) His calculations are infallible who sees the end from the beginning.
(2) His resources are inexhaustible who has all power in heaven and earth.
(3) His determinations must take effect who "doth according to His will in the armies of heaven," etc. Men fail because they neglect to take all the factors into account; because their resources are limited, or because they are irresolute. But there can be no failure when we take into account God's omniscience, power, and sovereign will.
2. In spite of what?
(1) The cunning, malice, strength, and determination of His enemies. These are many, and to any other than God would be formidable.
(2) The ignorance, feebleness, apathy, and irresoluteness of His professed friends. These would lead any other than God to give up in despair.
3. What in?
(1) Creation, which when "finished" was pronounced very good.
(2) Providence. This is now in progress, but when "finished" no flaw will be detected in its procedure.
(3) Redemption. Redemption by price was "finished" on the Cross; redemption by power when heaven's courts shall echo with "It is done."(4) Judgment. No one shall be missing from the great assize, and nothing will mar the completeness of the final awards.
II. PROMPTNESS. "Cut it short." In creation, where God had only to deal with inert matter, this finds a perfect illustration. "He said, and it was done." In dealing with men it is somewhat different, yet the same in the end. God is patient, is willing, and can afford to wail; but when the hour of destiny is struck His action is decisive and irrevocable. This is seen in —
1. The history of redemption. "When the fulness of the time was come," when the preparatory work was "finished," God sent His Son. "Down from the shining seats... He fled." What a "short work," too, the redeeming ministry was, and the expiating act.
2. The history of nations. The method of the Divine procedure with the antediluvians, the Canaanites, Babylon, Israel, and the Roman empire was first long-suffering, forbearance (chap. Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3.); and then, when the cup of their iniquities was full, how suddenly was it emptied and destroyed.
3. The history of men —
(l) In ordinary life. How long matters often are in coming to a climax, but how sharp and short is the decisive hour which determines temporal destiny.
(2) In salvation. The preparatory process may be protracted, but the soul passes from death into life in a moment.
(3) As regards the future. We may slumber in the dust for ages, but "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," we shall awake.
III. RIGHTEOUSNESS. Without this the other two methods might fill us with terror. But it reassures us to know that in His providential government of the world, or in the salvation or judg-ment of men, God always acts —
1. From a right motive.
2. In a right way.
3. At the right time.
4. With right results.
(J. W. Burn.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.