CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Slowly by surely the truth of the believer’s responsibility, with its sequence of tangible awards favourable or unfavourable, is permeating the ranks of the true-hearted of God’s people.
also was the case in past years, as these extracts taken from Mr. Panton’s evangelical mid-monthly magazine: "all but one written within the last twelvemonth,
prove. That these sincere and gracious writers may not have generally
agreed with each other’s contentions is exactly what would happen with a
landscape slowly emerging from a fog, and reported on by observers standing at
different angles and with differently-powered glasses. We have no doubt at all that the spiritual anemia of the
- D. M. Panton, M.A.
There is a marked tendency among Christian workers to discount a man’s faith if his life is not consistent with his profession. Particularly is this true in a case where one who has professed to be a believer falls into grievous sin. It is based on the assumption that if one is really converted he cannot live in sin, or, as some would put it, he cannot go in certain forms of sin. God’s Word does not teach such a doctrine as this. On the contrary, it plainly tells us the story of the heart-breaking sin into which David fell after a most protracted period of growing faith and most intimate fellowship with the Lord. If this man, of whom, because of his faith, God said that he was a man after His own heart, could fall into grievous two-fold sin of adultery and murder, what right have we to say of others who fall into like sins, "We cannot believe they were ever converted"? If it were not possible for God’s children to fall into sin - gross, hideous sin - why does God’s Word so constantly warn them against doing so? For the epistles, which are addressed to ‘believers,’ are full of such admonitions.
Is not this teaching that man cannot really be a believer unless his faith is evidenced in a godly life, after all, only a subtle aspect of the teaching of salvation by works? Many who would not say "You cannot be saved if you do not maintain good works." Let us have done with such teaching! Let us recognize that God’s children can and do sin, but that they are His sons nevertheless; and when we find a believer who has lost his touch with the Lord and drifted into grievous sin, let us not discount the reality of his salvation, but let us earnestly seek to bring him back to the Lord, to cry with David,
"Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit,"
- Grace and Truth.
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Since all the sons and daughters of the family have been made partakers of the divine nature, they have been made "free from sin, and become servants to God." As servants they must give an account of their stewardship. Those who are faithful with their talents, are "made ruler over many things," and those who are faithful with their pounds, must have rule over ten, or over five cities, in the kingdom which their Lord has received during his absence. The rank of the slave is thus exchanged for the rank of the sovereign. Service is followed by Viceroyship, yet, in each sphere, the subject continues to serve his master. In each parable there is a servant who refused to render any service, and in each case he was disqualified from further possibility of service, whether of the lower order or the higher. One was "cast into outer darkness," the other simply discharged from possible usefulness, as wholly unprofitable to his master. Paul imposes the divine necessity of it in the words "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." We Christians, of course; and ‘all’ of us, without exception: "that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5: 10). It follows, therefore, that every day we live on the earth we are formulating for ourselves the high rank of honour, or the low rank of disapproval, awaiting us when we meet our returning Lord. Deeds and their controlling motives, words and their truest meanings, conduct and its helpful or hurtful influence, loyalty and disloyalty to Christ, the confession or shamefulness shown for Him before men, sacrifice or indolence; all will come under His searching eye, all will feel His holy burnings within.
- The Intercessor.
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The ‘prize’ and the ‘call above’ are one, being in the Genitive of Apposition (Phil. 3: 14). This ‘prize’ must be something other than eternal life, which is the free gift, and for which no pressing on or striving after was needed by the devoted Apostle. We have seen that it seems to be set before as many as be perfect, and thus is the special, the out-resurrection from among the dead, the earlier resurrection. It is a call from above, or a call upwards, to which Paul pressed on. The special resurrection of a unique class is indicated in Rev. 14: 1-5. Equally so in Rev. 20: 4-6, and there is nothing in Scripture to bar the belief that the resurrection of all the saved may not happen at the same hour. There may be intervals.
- The Christian Fundamentals Magazine.
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Now we will boldly suggest that ‘the Rapture of the Church’ is not a Scriptural, not a justifiable expression. Unlike the term ‘Trinity,’ which, while found in no specific passage, has many a chapter and verse to support it, the phrase, ‘Rapture of the Church,’ implying that the Church is a whole, which must be raptured, ‘caught up’ as a whole, - all together and at once, - occurs nowhere, and is nowhere implied in the Word. The word ‘Rapture’ assumes, independently of proof, that there is, and virtually declares that there can be, but one rapture. From the view-point of earthly development and readiness for heavenly elevation and serviceableness, rapture is likened by the Lord to reaping of white barley and golden-brown wheat during ‘all the days of harvest.’ The field is the wide world, with its differences of latitude and altitude, of soil and climate. Not all grain ripens or gets reaped together - hence firstfruits, general harvest, and corners of the field. Surely the parallel is in the successive mowings, serial gatherings, in each man’s own order during the ‘Parousia’ - the Presence of the waiting Husbandman. Is there anyone bold enough to deny that the Revelation shows us a number - some say seven, others ten - of companies of saints called towards the throne? This brings us to the misunderstood, but clear and definite, declaration of ‘one taken, one left.’ This ‘taking,’ as the Greek shows, is entirely different from the ‘taking away’ by the flood in judgment. It is a taking to favour and honour, as in the threefold section of Peter, James, and John. And such a rapture has already occurred. For Enoch was taken, Methuselah was left; Elijah was taken, Elisha left. The context proves it is a matter of warning for readiness, for watchfulness against earth-stains and earth-chains. Only disciples were addressed or concerned. If we are even now fully prepared and fit, warning can do us no harm, and if we are holy, humble, and cautious, we will not resent or reject it.
- The Prophetic News.
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If we believe in the resurrection of the dead and the rapture of the living, we should be prepared to consider, without difficulty or prejudice, whether these are all at one time, or in groups. As to resurrection, the answer is plain. There are successive ones. (1) The resurrection of Christ and those who rose with Him. Matt. 27: 53. (2) The out-resurrection from among the dead of Phil. 3: 11, which the apostle Paul desired to "attain unto." (3) The resurrection of "My two witnesses," in Rev. 11: 11. (4) The resurrection if 1 Thess. 4: 16, which, however, may coincide with No. 3, and (5) the final resurrection of Rev. 20: 12 for the great white throne judgment.
So also we have fairly definite indications that the first translation is selective, or partial. This is not a matter for pressing some particular theory. The question is - "What saith the Scripture?" The definite promise given to the Philadelphian church in Rev. 3: 10, of escape "from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth," seems almost to necessitate translation. This agrees remarkably with the earnest words of our Lord in Luke 21: 36, for He exhorts believers, "Watch ye therefore (don’t be entangled with Laodicea), and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass (the coming tribulation), and to stand before the Son of man," as the 144,000 stand with Him on mount Sion. It is hard to reconcile this warning from the lips of the Lord Jesus with the view that all [regenerate] believers do, as a matter of course, escape.
- The Friends’ Witness.
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The foolish virgins were born-again believers. They even believed in the doctrine of the second coming, but they were not ready. The wise, Spirit-baptized, expectant virgins will be admitted to this feast. The [regenerate] believers who possess the virgin life of Christ in their hearts and are prepared, knowing as they do the prophecies which relate to His coming - this body of believers "shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." "Watch therefore."
- The Defender.
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The dishonour of the disobedient Christian will be great in the day of Christ. It was the clear apprehension of both honour and shame at the Judgment-Seat of Christ that made the saints and martyrs of the first centuries of the Christian era. While, in the notes of a popular reference Bible, we are told that "the Day of Christ relates wholly to the reward and blessing of saints at His coming," there is a startling contradiction from John, who was better fitted to speak with authority. "And now, dear children, abide in Him, in order that when He may be made manifest we may have confidence, and not be put to shame from him in his presence" (1 John 2: 28, literal translation) - shame before the Lord, the Angels, and unaccounted millions of believers. The Scriptures inform us that there is a salvation of the real Christian, though a place in the First Resurrection be lost.
- The King’s Herald.
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The coming of the Lord becomes, through watchfulness, both a deterrent and an incentive. It rebukes sin of every kind and inspires to the deepest consecration and devotion. Not only is blessing promised to the prepared but likewise loss is threatened to the unprepared. "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee" (Rev. 3: 3). Christ’s coming will be sudden and unexpected to the watchful and unwatchful alike. But the warning is that He will suddenly come as a thief to the careless. Though surprised, the watchful will not be unprepared. To the unwatchful, however, His coming will be like the visit of a thief, in its resulting loss and sorrow (Matt. 24: 42-44, 48-51; Mark 13: 32-37; Luke 21: 34-36). How dare we [who are His redeemed people] deny such solemn warnings? If there is nothing for us to fear at the coming of the Lord, if all will have the same experience, then such warnings are not only meaningless; they are false and misleading. Some might object that such warnings have in view the loss that will be sustained by the careless Christian after the rapture, at the judgment-seat of Christ. It is true that the Christian’s unfaithfulness will be judged at the judgment-seat of Christ and that for all such failure he will suffer loss. But the important point of many of these Scriptures is that, for the living believers at least judgment will begin at the rapture. This is clearly brought out in the parable of the virgins. Their judgment began at the appearing of the bridegroom. As the reward of the watchful and faithful will begin with their participation in the rapture, so the judgment of the careless will begin with their rejection from the number of the first raptured and their consequent participation in some of the horrors of the [great] tribulation.
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Crowns are given for what? In order that we might become rulers
in the [Millennial]
Christ as Lord is competent to adjudicate matters of the world. He is
going to associate with Himself co-rulers, statesmen, who are to regulate
things in ages to come in all parts of
the world. God does not want hot-house plants to be rulers over His kingdom.
Those who have stood the test are to be rulers in His kingdom. What
kind of folks did present
- Christ Life.
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There is a tremendous truth of the New Testament, a truth so vitally important that the correct understanding of the Bible is impossible without recognizing it: salvation is by grace, a free gift to all who trust the merits and substitutionary work of Christ; rewards are offered by God for faithful service of the saved. One of these special rewards offered by Christ to His people is that of reigning with Him during the [millennial] kingdom. Only those who suffer with Him will reign with Him. Here is the passage which says so: "If we suffer (with Him), we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He will also deny us" (2 Tim. 2: 12).
This magnificent reward is spoken of by Paul as ‘the Prize.’ Those who attain to a certain spiritual level are to be privileged to reign with Christ during the [millennial] Kingdom.
- The Christian Victory Magazine.