Limiting God

James Smith, 1860

Right views of God's nature and character are of the utmost importance; for if we have not correct views, we shall not have correct feelings; and if our views and feelings are wrong — so will our conduct be. Let us therefore frequently compare our views with his Word, that we may correct what is wrong, and confirm what is right. Israel often mistook God's character, and therefore sinned grievously against him. These sins are brought forward against them, and charged upon them; and psalms, containing those charges, were prepared and set to music, to be employed in their religious services, that so their sin may be ever before them. Among the charges brought against them is one that may with as much truth be brought against us, "They limited the Holy One of Israel." Psalm 78:41.

Now there are no limits to the power of God — for he is omnipotent;

nor are there any limits to the grace of God — for he is infinitely gracious;

nor are there any limits to the wisdom of God — for he is all-wise;

nor are there any limits to his goodness — for he is good to all, and his mercy is over all his works.

Neither is there any limit to the Savior's mercy, or merit, or love:
his mercy reaches unto the Heavens,
his merit is infinite as his Divine nature, and
his love makes him willing to save all who are willing to be saved by him.

Yet we find lost sinners will limit the mercy of Jesus — and doubt if it will reach to them; and they will doubt his merit — and question if it is sufficient for them; and they limit his love — and fear whether he is willing to save them.

Believers also will sometimes limit the Lord, especially when providence . . .
crosses their wills,
frustrates their plans,
and blights their hopes.

Then they give way to unbelief, indulge distressing fears, and are frequently filled with gloom. So also sometimes in grace they limit the Lord, and then their faith is feeble, they are often discouraged, and consequently they do little for God, and get but little from God.

We are all very apt to limit God in reference to his own special work in the church, and in the world.

Sometimes we limit him as to time — and if he does not work just when we wish — we conclude that he will not work at all.

Sometimes as to means — and if he does not work by the means we employ, we set it down that he will not work at all.

Sometimes as to numbers — and if great numbers not are wrought upon, we doubt whether it is God's work or not.

Sometimes as to places — and rashly conclude that God will not work in such or such places.

Now all this is utterly wrong! It is no less than presumption. God will work . . .
in his own time,
by the means he selects,
to the extent he chooses,
and just where he pleases.

It is not for us to attempt to set a limit to the Lord; and if we do, he will resent it, for he is a jealous God. He is free to work . . .
he will,
he will,
he will, and
he will.

"Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him! The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths! All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does as He pleases with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have You done?"

But God will be true to his Word, and will do as he has said. He will be faithful to his people, and will honor those who honor him. He will never do less than he warrants us to expect — but he will often exceed our hopes, and do far more and abundantly above all that we ask or think. He is able to subdue all things unto himself, and therefore more than once he proposes the question, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

Brethren, let us beware how we limit the Lord; he can do all things; he will do all that is necessary for his own glory, or our good. Let us therefore,
exercise faith in his Word,
rely on his power,
trust in his grace, and
rejoice in his goodness.

Lost sinner, beware how you limit the Lord, as if your sins were too great to be pardoned, or your case too bad for the Lord to take up. He loves to take up desperate cases, and wondrously displays the freeness and power of his grace. The merit of Jesus is infinitely above the demerit of your sin. The ocean is not so full of water, nor the sun so full of light — as the blood of Christ is full of merit; so that if there is water enough in the ocean to wash your person, or light enough in the sun to enlighten your little room–then there is merit enough in the blood of Jesus to save your soul. And as, after near six thousand years, the ocean is still full of water, and the sun is still full of light — so there is still a fullness of merit in the sacrifice of Jesus. Do not limit his ability, or his love. No soul was ever more welcome to him than you are; and as sure as he ever saved any soul, so sure will he save you, if you apply to him, and trust in him.