A person’s “ability” is what he is able to do, what he can do. What we need here is to understand how this word is used in its immediate context, because some confusion may result if various verses are not harmonized. For example, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” (Phil 4:13) and, “Yahshua said unto him, ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’” (Mark 9:33)
And then there are verses that read, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Cor 10:13)
And again, “And over it the Cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.” (Heb 9:5)
And famously (for our ministry), “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for His Seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1John 3:9)
The first verse from Matthew, and various others like it, tell us that Yahweh will give men gifts according to their “ability.” But then there are verses that tell us we can do “all things” through Christ as we believe. And then we followed that up with several statements that would indicate there are limits to what we are able to bear, what we are able to understand, and what we are able to do.
In a more general sense, we read that there are things even Yahweh “cannot” do. He “cannot” be tempted by evil, or even behold it without covering Himself, (James 1:13, Hab 1:13) for example. So how do we understand this?
In the Scriptures, the word “ability” is used according to one’s sphere. By that I mean, when it says that we “can do all things,” this is within the sphere of Christianity. We can do all things necessary to maintain the standard Christ has set for us…it is not promising unconditional omnipotence to those who believe some arbitrary thing. For example, a man who believes he can fly may injure himself before too long. A man who believes he can swim across the ocean may find that his body disagrees with him when he is a few miles from shore.
But a Christian who believes, he is capable of doing all that is necessary to perform the will of the Father in Heaven. If Yahweh wishes us to fly, He can take us up to Heaven in a whirlwind. (2Kings 2:1) If He wishes us to cross the ocean from one continent to another, He can place us where He wishes. (Acts 8:39, 40) It is not the will of the Father that humans should sin, therefore abiding in Christ we “cannot” sin; and of course we will cover that more fully when we discuss what sin is. We are “able” to overcome every sin, but not in our own power, because our sphere is limited by our humanity (as was Christ’s in human form) but… just as He did it, so may we, by constant connection to the Father, and by trusting in the providences of His grace as described in 1Cor 10:13.
Now from the perspective of Yahweh, He is certainly “able” to do all things, but He restricts Himself based on His Own character. In other words, His character is holy, therefore He will not act in a manner that is unrighteous. His character is love, and He will not act in any way motivated by hatred. His character is so opposed to evil that there is no possibility of Him being “tempted” to do something contrary to His nature.
Ability, therefore, in regard to both men and Yah, is never used Biblically in an absolute sense, but always with consideration for the character of those involved, and the sphere of power in which he or she operates.
Now, I had considered writing “Anger” here, but I will cover that under Wrath later on. So we move on now to a word that was mentioned in our first entry: