From This Point Forward
It’s WHO You Know
by David Jeremiah
When Edith Galt, a preacher’s daughter from Wytheville, Virginia, was living in Washington, D.C., her husband died and she took over his jewelry store. Edith had little formal education. She wasn't interested in politics and didn't even know the names of the presidential candidates in election years. But she was a savvy business woman who made enough money to retire early, travel widely, and enjoy her leisure.
No one—not even she herself—could have dreamed that within a short time she would be the most powerful person in Washington, a woman who was virtually running the United States of America.)
It happened because of who she knew.
Edith was great friends with Alice Grayson whose husband, Admiral Cary Grayson, was the naval officer assigned to President Woodrow Wilson. Through them, Edith met Helen Bones, the President’s cousin who had been serving as surrogate White House hostess since the death of First Lady Ellen Wilson.
One day Helen invited Edith to the White House for tea. As Edith stepped out of the elevator, she found herself face-to-face with the President of the United States, whose golf game had been canceled by a rain shower. President Wilson, still grieving for his deceased wife, was smitten with Edith. Two months later, he led her out to the South Portico of the White House with its breathtaking view of Washington Monument, and there he proposed.
Woodrow and Edith were married on December 18, 1915, and the President began telling Edith all the secrets of his job. Before long she was decoding State Department messages for him from nations embroiled in World War I.
In 1919, Wilson suffered a series of debilitating strokes. Edith hid his condition from the nation and even from Congress. She assumed many of his duties and referred others to his Cabinet. Between 1919 and 1921, Edith virtually ran the country. Because of that, she’s been called the “Accidental First Lady,” the “Secret President,” and even the “First Female President of the United States.”
Her rise to power didn't come because of her education, skill, ambitions, career, or personality. It was simply because she knew a friend who knew a friend who knew a friend.
Sometimes it’s all about who you know.
Most of us may never know a president of the United States. We may not even know anyone who knows a president. But we have a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. We know whom we have believed.
One of the wonderful things about Bible study is finding and tracing simple phrases through the Bible, such as The Lord is my . . . , or Blessed are . . . . Well, let's trace these two little words HIM WHO . . . . They occur over and over in Scripture, introducing us to some of the Lord’s greatest attributes, attitudes, and activities.
This study is too exhaustive for this brief article, so let’s confine ourselves to the letters of Paul. Apparently the apostle sometimes felt in the context of his writings that the words “God” or “Lord” were inadequate to communicate all he wanted to say about the grace and glory of our Lord Jesus, so he kept coming up with different phrases that began with HIM WHO . . . .
HIM WHO Fills All in All (Ephesians 1:23)
According to Ephesians 1:23, Jesus is “HIM WHO fills all in all.” How incredible to know that our Lord is present everywhere throughout the universe, filling everything in every way.
In recent years, scientists have determined that the observable universe is 156 billion light years wide. That means if we started on one edge of the universe and traveled nonstop at the speed of light, it would take 156 billion years to get to the other side. I can’t begin to wrap my mind around that figure, but here’s one that is a little more understandable. If we shrunk our entire universe down to the size of planet earth, our particular solar system with its sun and planets would be the size of a single microscopic bacterium.
We know that our earth is revolving around the sun, one time every 365 days. But did you know that the sun itself (and thereby our whole solar system) is also revolving around something? The sun, planets, and all the stars in our galaxy are revolving around the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Just as our planet makes a trip around the sun every 365 days, our sun will make a revolution around the center of the galaxy once every two hundred million years. What’s at the center of the Milky Way? I don’t know. A teacher one day asked her class that very question—what’s in the center of the Milky Way? A little boy answered, “Chewy nougat and caramel.”
Well, I've got a better answer. Jesus himself is at the center of everything, everywhere, in every way. He is HIM WHO fills all in all.
HIM WHO Knew No Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus is also called “HIM WHO knew no sin.” The eternal Christ who fills the universe is as pure and holy as freshly fallen snow. And yet, despite His purity and our poverty, He is . . .
HIM WHO Loved Us (Romans 8:37)
Paul wrote: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through HIM WHO loved us.” Many people today struggle with a sense of rejection and loneliness.
HIM WHO Died . . . and Rose Again (2 Corinthians 5:15)
Because of that forever-love, our Lord Jesus entered into human history, became a man, and offered himself on the cross to die for us. Paul said, “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for HIM WHO died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). And Romans 7:4 adds that we have been joined “to HIM WHO was raised from the dead.”
But how many times -- what frequency? As often as is needed in order to see increasing maturity, joy, security, stability, knowledge, humility, and love in the child. There is a sense in which we have to do some, and we could never do too much. But numbers aren't the point—consistency and growth are.
At Calvary’s Cross, there converged all the sins of all humanity, the drama of all the ages, the wrath of all God’s justice, and the needs of every individual. And three days later, the hopes and dreams of human history were illumined in the light of our risen Lord.
HIM WHO Justifies the Ungodly (Romans 4:5)
As a result, He is HIM WHO justifies the ungodly by faith. Romans 4:5 says, “To HIM WHO . . . believes on HIM WHO justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
When tornados struck Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, causing the dormitories to collapse, one trapped student, Kevin Furniss, later described being buried beneath the debris. “We screamed a lot. We panicked a lot. There was a lot of pain,” he said. “We began praying a lot and asking each other questions about salvation.”
Eventually Furniss was able to punch his hand through a wall, and a worker grabbed it on the other side. When he felt his rescuer’s hand, Furniss said, “It felt a lot like when I prayed to receive Christ. He pulled me out of a lot of sin. As deep and hopeless as I was, Christ pulled me out. In the same way, it felt like that when [the rescuer] grabbed my hand and pulled me out.”
What a graphic picture of salvation! Jesus is HIM WHO justifies us. By His nail-pierced hand, He rescues us and lifts us into a glorious relationship with himself.1
Space won’t permit me to talk about Romans 16:15 (“HIM WHO is Able to Establish You”), Ephesians 3:20 (“HIM WHO is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”), or Ephesians 1:11 (“HIM WHO works all things according to the counsel of His will”). You can look those up for yourself, but I just want to remind you that this Lord, this Friend, this Omnipotent God is HIM WHOM we know.
Have you forgotten how great He is? How close? How loving? How powerful? Has this age of uncertainty left you rattled and discouraged? Remember, it’s WHO you know.
1 Brittany Howerton, “Rescued Student Felt Redemption Anew,” Baptist Press, February 9, 2008.