IF BY ANY MEANS
R. E. NEIGHBOUR, D.D.
Expositions Of -
The Glories of Grace
The Judge at the Door
Missing the Kingdom
CONLEY & SCHOETTLE PUBLISHING Co., INC.
Originally published by Gems and Gold Publishing Co.
The trend of this book is two-fold. First to clear away the debris that has all but covered the Glories of Gods Grace, and second to place Service and Rewards in their Scriptural position.
The pulpit is presenting a plan of salvation that minimizes grace - a plan based upon the prowess of man.
The pew is pleased with the pulpit and joins heartily in the new message.
Even where Grace is presented it is often crippled by the counter doctrine of Works.
The childish idea of be good and be saved is all too prevalent with adults. The maturer idea of be good and keep saved is even more prevalent.
The plan of salvation is sufficiently plain. There is no need for such confusion. The woeful worthlessness of the works of the law; the marvellous merits of grace, and the righteous rewards for service are all set forth in the Word of God.
Our purpose is not to cast light on these fundamental fixtures of the faith, our purpose is to lift up the light of Gods Truth that it may shine anew upon the darkness of false teachings - that all who will, may find the Way of Life and walk therein.
Not by the works which I have done,
Not by the race which I have run
But through the blood of Christ, the Son;
His grace is all my plea.
Naught could I boast of word and deed,
No goodness of mine own could plead;
Christ on the cross met all my need
By grace He set me free:
I fell a sinner at His feet,
I pled His sacrifice replete,
His grace and mercy did entreat:
By grace He rescued me.
* * *
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1. What About the Glories of Grace. Page 5
CHAPTER 2. What About Winning Christ?, The Out-Resurrection,
and The Prize Of The Up-Calling (Phil. 3: 7-15)? Page 40
CHAPTER 3. What About The Judge At The Door? Page 63
CHAPTER 4. What About Missing The Kingdom? Page 84
* * *
THE GLORIES OF GRACE?
THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE WORKS OF THE LAW
Grace is the immeasurable and unmeritable favour of God. Grace is God assuming all of guilty mans responsibility. Grace is offered to those who were dead in trespasses and sins, who walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, and who, by nature, were the children of wrath. It is offered through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace is Gods great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, which quickened us together with Christ ... raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Grace super-abounds when it passes into the ages to come. There God has in store for us the unfolding of the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us, in Christ Jesus.
We can never fathom Grace until we can fathom Sin - Sin in its present pollution and Sin in its finished future - consummating in the endless mournings and miseries of the damned.
We can never fathom Grace until we can fathom Salvation - Salvation not only in its present privileges, but Salvation in its future glories consummating in the endless joys and rejoicings of the redeemed.
Grace grants no place for our worth in any of its operations.
Gods grace must end where mans worth begins. If salvation is by grace it is not of works, otherwise grace is no more grace. He who would be saved by works is fallen from grace.
Grace calls sinners, not the righteous, to repentance - Works, trusting in self-righteousness repudiates Scriptural repentance.
Grace accepts Gods annunciation: There is none righteous no not one; Works calls clean, that which God calls filthy rags.
Grace proclaims a righteousness of God, apart from the law; Works seeks to establish its own righteousness not submitting itself to the righteousness of God.
Foolish is the man who strives to build his house on the sands of his own doings. God says: Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Vain is the man who walks in the way of Cain, seeking approach to God on his own merits, and apart from any recognition of blood atonement. God says: They that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Deceived is the man who, accustomed to do evil, madly imagines that he can learn to do good. God says: Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Will the race never learn that Gods Grace presents salvation as a free gift, without money and without price; and that it is foolish to offer pay for that which cannot be bought?
Will the race never discover that Gods Grace ends where mans worth begins; and that it is vain for man to seek to merit grace, when grace is operative alone on the merits of Christ Jesus, the Son of God?
Will the race never understand that Gods Grace is Gods Glory; and that it is madness for man to magnify his own works?
If righteousness comes by the law, Christ died in vain.
If justification comes by the law, we are divorced from grace.
If redemption is dependent on works, then grace is no more grace.
A salvation by grace through faith imparts a present [Page 7] peace; a salvation dependent on works postpones peace until the works of the law are completed. Works can never say Beloved, NOW are we the sons of God.
A salvation by grace and through faith lets Christ do the saving; a salvation by works makes man his own saviour, and claims salvation as a reward reckoned not of grace but of debt.
A salvation by grace through faith, glories in the Cross; a salvation of works makes the Cross of none effect. Grace says: Without the shedding of blood is no remission; Works says: Away with the Cross of Christ. Grace says: Neither is there salvation in any other; Works says: My saviour is myself.
Grace gives God all the glory. Her language is Unto the only wise God our Saviour be glory ... forever. And again, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive glory. Works, forgetting that no flesh should glory in his sight still sings its own praises.
Grace accepts the atonement of Christ as both efficient and sufficient, never as deficient. Grace sings: Wherefore he is able also to save them to, the uttermost who come unto God by him.
Works, if it recognizes the atonement at all, at least reckons that God requires two payments for sin; forgetting, that Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us.
Works denies the sole efficiency of the crucified Christ to save, the supreme sufficiency of the living Christ to keep, the sublime sufficiency of the coming Christ to glorify.
Grace concedes salvation as both sure and secure. Grace shouts: They shall never perish neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Works concedes that salvation is uncertain and insecure. Works whines: We may perish for we hold the Father with our hand.
What perfect peace there is to those who are justified [Page 8] by faith in Him; to those who look wholly and lean fully to the glories of His grace! What lack of assurance, what misery is there to those who look to the works of their own hands, saying, Ye are our gods. Surely the way of peace they have not known.
Can Satisfaction come to those who lean upon the works of the law? Can peace be theirs who trust in the works of the flesh? Salvation is of faith that it might be of grace to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed. Works makes salvation sure to none of the seed. He who seeks salvation by works can never know when he has obeyed enough, or done enough, or prayed enough, or wept enough, or given enough, or repented enough, or kept the law enough.
What is salvation worth if it can be purchased by the puny penury of the flesh? Thy money perish with thee! Thou that hast thought that the gift of God can be bought with gold! In what gall of bitterness, in what bond of iniquity is he who places eternal life upon a humanly purchasable basis.
Grace counts mans best robe of righteousness
as filthy rags, his
unregenerate services as refuse. Grace magnifies
the gift of God. Grace reckons salvation as of such
inestimable value as to be purchasable only at the infinite cost of
Grace counts every effort of unregenerate man as utterly useless. It refuses to recognize any value in the valour of Christ rejecting men. It repudiates every form of self-righteousness as stepping stones to salvation.
Grace knows no other gospel and receives no other message than Christ Jesus, crucified, risen, and coming again - the one and only hope of sinners.
Grace says: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Beware! If any man climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
THE SECURITY OF THE SAVED
SAFE IF SAVED SAVED IF SAFE
The Glories of Grace demand the Security of the Saved.
If a man is saved by grace he cannot be kept saved by works. If salvation has its beginning in the Spirit, its completion is not made possible in the flesh.
The raptured redeemed ones render all glory to the Lamb. Their song is: Worthy is the Lamb to receive power and riches and strength and honour and glory and blessing. A saint saved by grace and kept saved by works will find need of changing heavens Redemption Hymn.
Fannie Crosby wrote:
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story saved by grace!
Some, who have fallen far below such an one in works, will want to divide glories with the adorable Lord and sing:
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story saved by grace - plus
my own sacrifice and service.
If salvation is, in any sense, dependent upon the walk or the work of a seeking soul, is not the grace of God made of none effect?
If a sinner is not saved by works, can a saint be kept saved by works? It is finished is the voice from
The salvation of sinners is not by the works of the law. The presentation of saints is not by the works of the law. Salvation is of grace and the keeping is also of grace. The law could not save us because it was weak through the flesh. The law cannot keep us saved, for the same reason.
The saved are not under law but under grace. Why [Page 10] should saints who died with Christ from the rudiments of the world turn back again and be subject to ordinances?
Does the Holy Spirit minimise the grace of God by saying: God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him (and keeps faithful, or keeps on believing, or lives right, or pays his debts, or keeps the law, etc.) should not perish but have everlasting life?
Does the Holy Spirit magnify the works of the flesh by saying: He that believeth on him that sent me and doeth good works and liveth by the law hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment? Does the Holy Spirit say: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, providing thou shalt hold out faithful unto the end?
Surely salvation does not save a sinner from his sins, merely to suspend him by the easily broken rope of his own doings, over a gaping hell.
Suppose the saved one sins (and who sins not?) would the snapping rope land such an one in hell?
If the security of the saved depends on the works of the law what standard of perfectness must one adopt to assure his heart before God?
If the security of the saved depends on service, what limit of toil must one recognize to satisfy his passion of peace?
If a sinning believer is in danger of losing his salvation, how much sinning is needed? He who sins in one point has he not sinned in all?
If a serving believer must serve to be saved, how much must he serve? Can service save one who is already saved? God places salvation before and not after good works. Saved unto good works.
The SAVED are SAFE because salvation is the free gift of God. A gift not dependent upon what a sinner is or does - a gift demanding no subsequent specialties to retain it. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. God [Page 11] promises eternal life apart from any remuneration on the part of the receiver. The only condition to its reception is faith. There are no conditions as to its continuance.
The SAVED are SAFE because the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE. A life that one possesses today and loses tomorrow is not eternal. Eternal life is an abiding life - an unending life. This gracious gift is to the believer, a present possession. He that believeth hath everlasting life. A believer who has passed out of death and into, life everlasting cannot come into judgment - he cannot pass out of life and into death and the judgment.
The SAVED are SAFE because the gift of God, the life that is eternal, is a life begotten of the Spirit. A believer becomes a son, born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. A believer, therefore, is a member of his body of his flesh and of his bones. The second birth joins us to the Last Adam, as vitally as the first birth joins us to the First Adam. Once born into the human family we cannot lose our human identity; once born into the heavenly family we cannot lose our divine identity.
The believers life is hid with Christ in God. What marvellous security! Safe while this double-proof security of all-power is safe. Secure as long as Christ in God is secure.
Because I live ye shall live also. It is as though Christ had said: I have passed through death and hades and up through the air. I was dead and am alive forever more. I have the keys of death and of hades. I have passed through and am seated above principalities and authorities and the world-rulers of darkness. Fear not trusting ones. I live ye shall live also. I conquered ye shall conquer in me. No wonder Paul could say: I know whom I have believed ... He is able to keep ... [Page 12] unto that day. Christs promise is not in vain. If He lives, the believer must live also. Christ Jesus said so.
The believers life is secured by the faithfulness of God. They shall never perish ... no one can pluck them out of my Fathers hand. Kept by the power of God. What blessed preservation is this. Who, fear to commit their souls unto Him, as unto a faithful Creator? God is faithful by whom ye were called.
The believers life is sealed by the Holy Spirit. In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. This sealing is until UNTIL UNTIL the redemption of the purchased possession. Satan cannot in any wise steal away that which bears the seal-mark of the Holy Spirit of God.
When your heart questions whether a child of God can be lost, ask yourself, Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
When your heart trembles for fear of falling, encourage your heart with: I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When your heart doubts your own ability to hold out to the end, then remember it is not your holding out but His holding on; not your perseverance but His preservation. Ye shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand. Your salvation is not your care, but His. Your salvation is not your works, but His. Your salvation is not of your failures, but of His faithfulness.
It is the will of Christ that His own be with Him where He is. Who can break His eternal purpose?
It is the promise of Christ, My sheep shall never perish. Who can disannul His Word?
It is the assurance of Scripture: God hath chosen us [Page 13] before the foundation of the world ... unto the adoption of sons ... unto a dispensation of the fulness of times. When God puts forth His hand who can draw it back?
If a saved soul is not safe, then salvation is not of grace but of debt.
If a saved soul is not safe, then the atonement was not a complete work, wrought out for us.
If a saved soul is not safe, then, the enemy can lay something to, the charge of Gods elect - something not covered by the blood of the Christ.
Can a child of God be lost - then, the new man, begotten of God; the new man that cannot sin; the new man which is a member of Christs body, of His flesh and of His bones; the new man which is indeed Christ in us; the new man which is Christ our life - then this new man can be lost. Then Christ who is our life can be lost. Then Christ in us, the hope of glory, can be lost. Then, Christs flesh and body and bones can be lost. Then, the man begotten of God, the man that cannot sin, can be lost. Then a child of God can be lost.
Can the child of God perish - then, the purpose of God to people heaven can perish; then the names written in the Lambs Book of Life call be blotted out; then God can mourn the loss of His own sons, born of His Spirit, begotten by the Word of His Truth, through the infinite cost of His crucified Son. If a child of God can perish, the new man created after God in righteousness and true holiness can perish.
Can a child of God die in his sins? Not until God denies His oath, breaks His honour, and loses His character. Yea, let God be true, and every man a liar. In that day Christ Jesus can say of all the redeemed ones what He said once of His twelve: Those that thou has given me, I have kept and none of them is lost, save the son of perdition, - and this son of perdition was never a son of God.
Toward those who hold or who teach the possibility of a saved soul being lost, my heart burns and yearns as it writes: Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.
SATANS SUBTILES AGAINST THE GLORIES OF GRACE IN SEEKING TO SWERVE THE SAVED FROM THEIR SAFETY IN THE SAVIOUR
A matter so fundamental as the Safely of the Saved should be settled alone by the sure statements of Scripture.
It is not enough to present some concrete example in daily life which, to all import, contradicts the Word of God. Too often alas, what is supposedly a real work of grace, is, after all, but seeming grace.
It is not enough to argue and aver this or that because it appeals strongly to the human mind. Alas, mans ways are not Gods ways, mans thoughts are not Gods thoughts. Man looks on the outward appearance - God looks on the heart.
It is not enough to build a doctrine upon any fancied interpretation of Scripture - upon scriptures taken entirely out of their setting - when, many clear and concise scriptures speak the other way. If the Word of God definitely declares that the saved soul is safe and cannot perish then we can know assuredly that the Word of God, rightly divided, can never teach any other word than this.
That there are striking examples of those who seemingly were saved and who afterward departed from the faith into open sin, and into utter repudiation of salvation, we need not deny. We need but remind the reader that Judas was only to all appearances a saved soul. The Lord was never deceived as to his true state of heart, although the disciples were. When Christ said, One of you shall betray me, [Page 15] the eyes of the eleven were not turned upon Judas. Each said in turn, Lord, is it I? not Lord, is it Judas?
What appears regeneration may be no more than reformation. It is quite possible, in these days when there is so much of salvation by works in the air, that some may honestly, but deceptively, have felt saved, who in reality never knew the saving power of the Cross.
It is true that a day, is coming when, many will hear the words, I never knew you, depart; many, who were trusting in their labours and in their mode of living. Many regarded by self and others as the very best - the most ardent church members, the most liberal givers, and apparently the most consistent in conduct - many who will say, In thy name we have cast out demons, and in thy name have done many wonderful works. Yet these will hear His word, I never knew you, depart. Seeming grace is not saving grace.
If this is true, it is also true that some of these supposed saints, who have builded their hope of heaven upon the labour of their own hands, may fall back from their own integrity into immorality or infidelity.
Of such as these it is safe scripturally to say: They went out from us because they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they had doubtless continued with us.
Of such as these, we may be sure that while they may have spoken loud, swelling words during the days of their Christian profession, yet, they never were in reality trusting in the blood alone, they never were truly the children of God.
Of such as these are they that build their houses on the sands, but fall in times of storm, because they built not on Christ, the only true and rock foundation.
It is impossible for one of Gods children to be lost. Impossible, because God says it is impossible. Impossible because the Glories of Grace make it impossible. A child of God may backslide, but a child of God cannot be [Page 16] unborn. He may fall into sin, but he will not lie down in sin. OBJECTIONS? Yes, there are objections. Objections to the Glories of Grace. Objections that often stagger saints.
A. Says one: If the Bible proclaims the security of the saved, it puts a premium upon careless and thoughtless Christian living. Let the objector remember:
The Bible, never, never, never places the fear of hell [i.e., the lake of fire] before a [regenerate] believer as an incentive to continuing in the faith, nor as an incentive to holy living.
[* NOTE. It is (we hope) unnecessary to say that Hades / Sheol are located in the underworld, where disembodied souls of the dead are awaiting the time of Resurrection. The the lake of fire, on the other hand, can only be entered after the time of resurrection: the two places are totally sundered locations. See Rev. 20: 11-15. For more on this, see in the website: The Abode Of The Holy Dead.]
Had the A.V. translators been consistent throughout their English translation from both Hebrew and Greek MSS, there would not exist within Christendom the confusion we see today!]
The Word of God does clearly state that the believer who sins will he chastened. This is Gods call to fidelity.
Sonship is dependent upon birth.
Fellowship is dependent upon behaviour.
Not every son keeps himself in the love of God. Not every son basks beneath the sunshine of his Fathers favour. If a believer sins, what then? My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou are rebuked of him.
There may be union without communion.
You thought because once saved and always saved you would revel in sin? Beware! Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
You thought because, once in grace, always in grace, that you would neglect the things of God? You thought therefore, you would fail to walk in fellowship with the Father? Beware! Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.
You thought because your salvation was secure in him, that you would drink unworthily of the cup and fail to discern the Lords body? Beware! For this cause many are weak and sickly and not a few are fallen asleep.
B. Another objects: If salvation is wholly of grace and the works and conduct of the believer have nothing to do with his obtaining eternal life, then the Bible has removed [Page 17] a resourceful call to consecrated services and sanctified conduct.
Hold! The Bible never, never, never places the hope of eternal life before any one, saint or sinner, as a reward. The believer serves God neither to escape hell nor to gain heaven.
The Bible does give abundant promises of rewards. This is a mighty call to fidelity.
Eternal life is dependent on birth.
Rewards are dependent on behaviour.
Every born one has eternal life, but not every, born one will have the well done of the Father.
You thought that once saved, always saved left no room for special rewards? If you were going to heaven anyway - why should you toil in the vineyard? You forget there are crowns which only the saved can win. For him who fights a good fight, who keeps the faith, who finishes his course, and who loves His appearing - the crown of righteousness.
For him who wins souls for God - the crown of rejoicing.
For him who feeds the flock of God ... not for love of money ... not as ruling it over Gods heritage, but as examples to the flock - a crown of glory.
For him who is faithful unto death - a crown of life.
For him who keeps his body under, and runs and fights not as uncertainly - the incorruptible crown.
You thought once in grace, always in grace left no call to consecration? Not so. Ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory ye shall sit on twelve thrones. This was given to the twelve - the same spirit of reward is to all.
Whosoever shall confess me him will I confess, before my Father.
If we suffer, we shall reign.
You thought that because the saved are safe that their [Page 18] crowns and rewards were also safe? Hold fast that thou hast that no man take thy crown. Saved so as by fire ... his works shall be burned ... he shall lose his reward.
A child of God should not serve God to become a child. One who has received the free gift of eternal life can not so live that he may obtain eternal life.
A child of God may run his race with a reward in view. One possessing eternal life may seek the life more abundant.
C. Another contends: There are many scriptures which teach the possibility of a child of God losing his sonship, and with his sonship, his eternal life.
Let us carefully note some of these supposed passages.
1. 1 Cor. 9: 24-27: Lest ... I should be a castaway. Paul was running for the crown, verse 25. He strongly avers that he knew whom he had believed and was persuaded that he would keep that which he had committed unto him against that day. Paul was not running for [eternal] salvation. He had to be saved in order to run. He was running for an incorruptible crown. He so ran, he so fought ... he kept his body under ... lest he should be a castaway - more clearly translated, Lest he should be disapproved. The verse has to do with rewards, not with [eternal] salvation.
2. Matt. 24: 13: But he that endureth unto the end, the same shall he saved. Certainly. But, endureth
unto the end of what? Shall be saved how? The context is speaking of the Great
Tribulation. The Jewish people [and saints left to
endure the Great Tribulation (1 Thess.
4: 17)] are in
question. If the days are not shortened
no flesh will be saved. So fierce are
the onslaughts of the enemy, so mad the carnage of battle with attending
judgments, that should God permit the full sweep of the Tribulation the whole race would be
swept away and His own elect people, Israel, with them. Gods promise, to
An additional thought may have
been in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit. It is true that at the Coming of our Lord,
There is no reference here to saved souls keeping saved, but to a hated and persecuted people being saved into the millennial kingdom.
3. 2 Pet. 2: 21-22. It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to its own vomit, and the sow that was washed to wallowing in the mire.
There is no description of a saved soul,* one born of the [Holy] Spirit, in these verses. The context (see verse one) is speaking of False Prophets, and of those who follow their pernicious ways. Dogs, in fact represent False Prophets. In Isaiah these prophets are greedy dogs that never have enough, they are dumb dogs that cannot bark. In Philippians we read: Beware of dogs.
[* On the contrary, it is only possible for a saved soul to have known the way of righteousness, and only saved souls can turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them! Furthermore, the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in verse 20, is much more than a basic scriptural knowledge.
This mature knowledge is obtained by the Holy Spirit enabling a saved soul to understand responsibility truths! He seeks Gods help in arriving at the TRUTH by prayerful study: and this is given to encourage other believers to run the Race, to win the Prize, and the Crown in the Age yet to come.
God expects all who have this knowledge to be in the business of making use of it for His glory: and if this is not being done - as and when opportunity arises - Satan will soon find ways and means to blot it from the mind through unbelief, and replace it with a multitude of other less important interests.]
These False Prophets are wells without water. They speak great swelling words of vanity.
They had the knowledge of Jesus Christ, they knew the way of righteousness.
They seem, on the one hand, to have escaped the pollutions of the world, through their knowledge of Jesus Christ; while on the other hand they are like Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.
On the one hand they promise liberty, while on the other hand they themselves are slaves of unrighteousness. But after all, in verse twelve, they are like brute beasts (the dog and the sow of verse 22) made to be taken and destroyed.
The doctrine of falling from grace cannot be* based on this scripture.
[* NOTE. The author has mistakenly thought only the unregenerate are described here, but that is not the case! Here is apostasy from the faith; and only those who are mature in the faith can be described as: falling from grace! See this subject expounded on the website. Also, listen to Pastor K. Gilberts sermon.]
4. Phil. 2: 20-22. Work out your own salvation. This does not say work for your own salvation. The whole setting describes saints. The Philippian Christians were among Gods holiest and best. Paul rejoiced in them, thanking God for them. The Holy Spirit reminds them, however, that God is working in them to will and to perform His own good pleasure; and that they must work out what God is working in. Work out with fear and trembling because it is so easy to miss Gods best. There is no working here in order to establish a credit in heaven that will buy [eternal]* salvation. Salvation is a gift that cannot be purchased by man.
[* It is
necessary to place the word eternal before
salvation here (and in other places through this writing), simply because
throughout the Scriptures the word salvation
does not always refer to eternal salvation! That is, the salvation
which Christ Jesus has purchased for us in full at
5. Luke 11: 24-26. The latter state of that man is worse than the first. What have we here? A possessed man. A man with the demons driven out. A house swept and garnished and empty. A house re-entered by seven additional demons.
The whole reference here is to
[* On the contrary the context shows clearly that it is
the man and not
This possessed condition occurs after ones anointing and their subsequent disobedience by wilful sin. If repentance is not forthcoming, the empty house will be reoccupied by evil spirits. See Judges 16: 20; 1 Sam. 16: 14; Psa. 51: 11. cf. 1 Tim. 4: 1; 3 John 9, 10; Jude 11-13.]
If the matter in question did refer to individuals it certainly could not be made to teach that a saved soul could perish, for while the demon was cast out, Christ never entered in.
6. Heb. 3. This whole chapter is often used to establish the possibility of a child of God being ultimately lost.
The matter under discussion is not salvation from hell nor eternal life. The Holy Spirit is speaking of Christ, the imperial Christ. Of the House of this Imperial One. Of the members of that House. It is clearly stated that if we are members of that house, we must as believers hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the Hope firm unto the end. Not the hope of Salvation from hell but the hope of Christs Coming. The House has to do with the coming of the Lord Jesus. This is fully set forth in this book, under Missing the Kingdom.
The chapter furthermore
The matter under discussion is the Millennial Rest. There are nations there to be judged, the Anakim, to be put down, failures to be confessed.
The fear [of saints loosing the inheritance in the Age to come] the Holy Ghost holds forth is real. The danger is vital - but it is not a fear of missing heaven. It is not a fear affecting sonship or eternal life. It has to do with rewards, it has to do with Christ and His House, it has to do with the thousand years. It has to do with missing the [Sons] Kingdom Reign. Neither Hebrews chapters three nor four can possibly teach the doctrine of Falling from Grace.
GALATIANS, OR THE WORKS OF THE LAW
There is a system of false teaching that may be called Galatianism.
Galatianism is that conception of Salvation that makes the Works of the Law supplemental to, the Grace of God.
In Apostolic days, Judaizers
were common among both the Jewish and the Gentile believers: and the churches
In the letter to the Galatians, the Holy Spirit is very careful to differentiate between the works of the law and the glories of grace.
The illuminating answer to Galatianism is in the TWO COVENANTS; and is illustrated in Abraham and his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.
The FIRST COVENANT is seen in Ishmael; it is the COVENANT OF THE LAW.
The SECOND COVENANT is seen in Isaac; it is the COVENANTOF GRACE.
Ishmael was the son of the bondwoman.
Isaac was the son of the freewoman.
Ishmael was born of the flesh.
Isaac was born of the Spirit.
Thus the TWO COVENANTS are set forth in allegory:
Ishmael symbolizing the COVENANT GIVEN THROUGH MOSES and
Isaac symbolizing the COVENANT GIVEN TO ABRAHAM.
The MOSAIC COVENANT is the law, contained in two tables of stone, but also, inclusive of the moral and ceremonial laws which follow in the record given in Exodus.
The ABRAHAMIC COVENANT, first given as recorded in the twelfth chapter of Genesis, was enlarged with specific earthly seed blessings (chapt. 13) and with specific heavenly blessings (chapt. 15), then the covenant was made an everlasting covenant (chap. 17).
The believer who desires to be under the law, had better study carefully the meaning and the intent of the law before he consummates his wish.
Prior to Sinai,
The COVENANT OF THE LAW was not unto [Page 23] [eternal] salvation, but unto privilege. Ye shall be a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
The COVENANT OF THE LAW became operative when the people answered: All that the Lord has spoken, we will do.
The COVENANT OF THE LAW was consummated mid
thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, with the voice of a
trumpet, exceeding loud. In fact, the
Word of God says that:
The COVENANT OF THE LAW was broken even before the law was delivered. When Moses came down the mountain side with the two tables of stone he heard music and dancing, and he beheld the golden calf that Aaron had made. No marvel that the Lord said, They have turned aside quickly out of the way, which I have commanded them. Let my wrath wax hot against them.
You WHO WOULD BE UNDER THE LAW, beware! The law is holy and the commandment is holy, just and good, but man is sinful. Truly, there is none righteous, no not one. They have all gone out of the way. There is not a just man on the face of the earth that doeth good and sinneth not.
Let him WHO DESIRES TO BE UNDER THE, LAW, beware! The law worketh wrath. As many as are under the works of the law are under the curse.
The Law is a ministration of death. Would you step beneath its jurisdiction?
The Law is a ministration of condemnation. Would you seek its justice?
The COVENANT OF THE LAW is conditioned on mans perfect obedience. The man that doeth the law shall [Page 24] live thereby. The man offending ill, one point remains guilty of all. Therefore by the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness had come by the law. However. The law,
could not give life, in that it was weak through
the flesh. The law was spiritual,
but man was carnal, sold under sin. God kept His part of the Law Covenant, but
The COVENANT OF GRACE is not
conditioned on mans obedience. The second covenant
given unto Abraham (the covenant which was Isaac, born of the freewoman, the
son of promise, answering to
The FORM OF THE COVENANT was the cutting up of a heifer, a she-goat and a ram (each of them three years old), and a turtle dove and a young pigeon.
All were divided except the birds. The parts were laid over against each other, and so, arranged that the contracting parties could pass between and seal their covenant. In this instance only God passed through. He made the covenant with Abraham, in the which Abraham was a witness but not a partaker.
ABRAHAM BY A SIMPLE FAITH RECEIVED THE COVENANT OF GRACE. He believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. In this covenant, Abraham found nothing as pertaining to the flesh. If aught in the covenant had depended upon him or his works he would have had reason to boast. As it was, everything was reckoned unto him of Grace and not of Debt.
SUCH ARE GODS TWO COVENANTS, the one of Law, the other of
Grace. The one which worketh wrath and the other which worketh peace. The one which condemns and the other which justifies. The one which kills and the other which makes alive. The one
given only to
UNDER WHICH COVENANT WOULD YOU STAND - under Law or under Grace: under the Law which brings the knowledge of sin, or under Grace which brings the knowledge of life; under the Law which separates from God or under Grace which brings us near to God; under the Law which condemns the best, or under Grace which justifies the worst?
WHICH COVENANT DO YOU PREFER - the Law that says: The soul that sinneth, it shall die, or Grace which says: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures?
Thank God that Christ took the curse of the Law for us, for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on the tree! If He was made a curse for us, then we are not under the Law. The Holy Spirit saith: Christ is the end of the Law to every one that believeth. Rejoice, in that Christ hath blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us. He hath taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the Cross.
LET US NOT TENT BENEATH SINAI burning with fire, wrapped in darkness and blackness and smoke, insomuch that it was commanded: And if so much as a beast touch the mountain it shall be stoned or thrust through with a dart.
LET US COME TO JESUS, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.
For by Grace are ye saved. - LET US TRUST His Grace.
The Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared - LET US FOLLOW the call of His Grace.
Being justified freely by His Grace - LET US SEEK then to be robed in the righteousness which is by faith in Christ.
The Glory of His Grace, wherein He hath made us acceptable in the Beloved - LET US GLORY then in the glories of His Grace, and so approach His throne.
In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace - LET US KNOW no other Gospel [relative to our eternal salvation other] than this.
God never placed the Gentiles under law - Therefore why should they seek to place themselves there?
For by Grace are ye saved.
ANTINOMIANISM - THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH
There is a false teaching that is called Antinomianism. Antinomianism is that conception of salvation that turns the Grace of God into lasciviousness.
In Apostolic days there were those who made the Grace of God an excuse for all forms of licentiousness. They taught that since a soul is saved by grace through faith, apart front the works of the Law, and secured by Grace through the sealing of the Holy Spirit even unto the Day of Redemption, that therefore a saved soul could give loose reign to fleshly desires and lusts.
The Spirit of God anticipated this spirit of Antinomianism and the Scriptures clearly reveal its folly.
In the epistle to Titus, chapter two, verses eleven and twelve, we read: The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, TEACHING US that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.
Thus God safeguards the Glories of His Grace. Grace [Page 27] brings us sonship, and sonship leads us to honour the Father.
There is no license for lasciviousness in Grace.
There is no excuse for carnal excesses in Grace.
Instead of Grace letting down the gateway of conduct. Grace guards the gate.
When Grace brought salvation it brought to the heart of the saved a new life, a new love and a new light.
When Grace proclaims how Christ died, it proclaims; also that He gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people zealous of good works.
Grace speaks the things which become sound teaching.
Grace teaches the aged men that they be sober, grave, temperate, sound in the faith, in love, in patience.
Grace teaches the aged women that they be in behaviour as becometh reverence, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.
Grace teaches the young women to be prudent, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, diligent at home, good, submitting themselves to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.
Grace teaches the young men to be sober-minded; in all things showing themselves a pattern of good works; in teaching showing un-corruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned.
Grace teaches servants that they submit themselves, to their own masters, and please them in all things; not contradicting; not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the teaching of God our Saviour in all things.
Who then for one moment can conceive any ground for Antinomianism?
Instead of Grace opening the flood gates of our evil nature, Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
If certain men, if ungodly men, if men marked out unto condemnation, if men denying [even the master that bought them (2 Pet. 2: 1)*] our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, have crept in turning the Grace of God into lasciviousness, then, beware!
[* NOTE. Here again we have mention made of the acts of the apostates - regenerate believers, fallen from grace: False teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying the master that bought them, bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of (2 Pet. 2: 1, 2, R.V.).]
Such men walk after their own ungodly lusts; they are sensual, having not the [Holy] Spirit. For such men God hath reserved the blackness of darkness forever [for an age]. Of such men, Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied saying: Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds, which in their ungodliness they have committed, and of all the ungodly things which ungodly sinners have spoken against HIM.
Gods saints acknowledge the Lordship of Christ; they pray in the Holy Ghost: they build themselves up in the faith; they seek to keep themselves in the love of God. They know there is One who is able to keep them from stumbling, who, will present them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
Grace presents no permit to impiety.
Grace teaches soberness. Soberness suggests inward righteousness. Soberness is sound-mindedness. Be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer. A lover of good men, sober, just, holy.
Grace teaches righteousness. Righteous towards those without. Righteousness is rightness. He that walketh righteously. Increase the fruits of your righteousness. The fruit of tile Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.
Grace teaches godliness. Godly toward Him who is above. Godliness is reverential piety. To live godly is to live worthily toward God. Exercise thyself unto godliness. All that will live godly in Christ Jesus. Godliness is profitable.
Grace is married to truth. Christ Jesus dwelt among us, [Page 29] full of grace and truth. Grace lends no excuse for error.
Grace quickens us, and raises us up and seats us together with Christ. Grace does not save us and then lend us license to wear the grave clothes of our past pollutions. It quickens us together with Christ and raises. us up together with Him. Grace does not lead us captive to a false fellowship with the world; it causes us to sit with our risen Lord in the heavenlies.
There is no excuse for Antinomianism in Grace. There is a tremendous plea for consecration and separation; there is a mighty call to holiness and sanctification, We thus judge that if One died for all ... He died for all that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him. Thank God the love of Christ constraineth us. The appeal of Grace is Godward, not manward; upward, not downward.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
Sin reigned unto death, grace reigned through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that Grace may abound? God forbid! Are we not dead to sin in the body of Christ? Have we not been raised with Him to walk in newness of life? Were we not baptized [being buried in the baptismal water, and raised again] in such a likeness?
Grace does not encourage, yea, it does not permit sin. Were we not crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from henceforth we should not serve sin?
Because we have been saved by free Grace, by a Grace that makes us sons, shall we let sin reign in our mortal bodies, that we should obey it in the lusts thereof?
Because Grace has brought us the full assurance of [eternal] salvation, because we know He will save us unto His eternal kingdom, shall we therefore yield our members as the instruments of unrighteousness unto sin?
Because Christ has kept the law for us, and paid our debt in full, because He has washed us and justified us, [Page 30] because we are not under the Law but under Grace, shall we therefore continue in sin?
Are we not servants of Him, to whom we yield ourselves servants to obey?
When we were freed from sin did we not become servants of righteousness?
In reality grace sounds the death knell of Antinomianism, For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are under grace.
THE REWARDS OF THE RIGHTEOUS
DISTINCT FROM GRACE.
No difficulty presents itself in the relation of Rewards to Grace when the scriptural position is accorded to both.
Rewards are distinct from Grace.
Grace is unmerited favour; Rewards are always merited.
Grace is a free gift; Rewards are wages.
Grace is without money and without price; Rewards cost labour and sacrifice.
Rewards depend wholly on the [regenerate] believer; Grace depends wholly on Christ.
Rewards look to the believers faithfulness; Grace looks to Gods faithfulness.
Rewards recognize the least service; Grace ignores the best service.
The language of Grace is, Not of yourselves; the language of Rewards is, Your labour of love.
The message of Grace is, To him that worketh not; the message of Rewards is, ye serve the Lord Christ.
The voice of Grace is, Herein is love; the voice of Rewards is, Thou hast been faithful over a few things.
Grace places us upon the race course, Rewards lure us to so run.
Grace introduces us into the games, Rewards urge us to so fight.
There is no such word in Grace as Lest I myself should be disapproved; such expressions belong to Rewards.
There is nothing in Grace that presses us to obtain an incorruptible crown - crowns belong to the realm of Rewards.
There is no stretching the neck toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus in Grace; prizes belong to Rewards.
Well done thou good and faithful servant ... have authority over ten cities is quite distinct from Not by works of righteousness which we have done.
They cannot recompense thee, for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just is quite distinct from The [free] gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ, is quite distinct from If thou knewest the gift of God ... thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Grace is to him that worketh not, but believeth ...; Rewards are according as his works shall be.
The disciples said: Lord we have forsaken
and followed thee, what shall we have therefore? Jesus quickly answered: Ye shall sit on twelve
thrones judging the twelve tribes of
[* NOTE. Does the literal fulfilment of this divine promise,
not point us forward to the
Jesus Christ placed before His disciples the picture of a [Page 32] whitened harvest. He sent forth a call for labourers. He promised wages. And every one that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal. Those reaping are saved by Grace, the wages are the Rewards for service.
The Holy Spirit bears witness that other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. Grace places the believer upon that foundation. Grace does more, The Grace of God, which is given unto me as a skilled architect. Grace imparts skill for building purposes. Then follows a distinction: Let every man take heed HOW he buildeth thereupon. No man can lay other foundation than Jesus Christ, but every man in Christ Jesus, skilled as an architect, can build upon that foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood hay or stubble. And he should take heed how he builds, for every mans work shall, be made manifest for the day shall declare it. In that day only he who has builded well, and whose work abides shall receive a reward. Other builders shall be saved, but their works burned. They shall, suffer loss.
The Word of God is clear. Grace is the unmerited, the free gift of God, received by faith, without money and without price. In Grace the best service is worthless, obligation is not recognized, worth is not considered.
Rewards are merited, they are the wages for service, received by works, through toil and sacrifice. In
Rewards the least service is remembered, obligation is recognized and worth considered.
Grace is offered to the unsaved; heavenly [and earthly] Rewards are offered to the righteous.
In Grace the kindness of God reigns in Christ Jesus.
In Rewards, the justice of God reigns, based upon our worth.
When Rewards pass beyond real worth, just wages, they enter the realm of Grace.
Grace always super abounds over any worth or merit of its recipient.
Grace operates in salvation, For by grace are ye saved.
Grace operates in the daily walk of the believer, That we may find grace to help in time of need.
Grace operates in the prayer life. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.
Grace is to be brought unto us at the Second Coming of Christ. The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace passes into the eternal ages. That in the ages to come he might show ... grace.
Rewards operate only among the saved. God recognizes no spiritual worth in the unregenerate. There is none that doeth good no not one.
Rewards begin to operate here and now. Ye shall receive manifold more in this present time.
Rewards, however, meet their glorious fruition at the Second Coming of Christ. Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me. There is laid by for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day. Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just [i.e., the righteous].
While in their operations, Grace and Rewards may cover the same periods in the life of the believer, they ever remain separate and distinct in their workings.
Grace is ALWAYS operative by virtue of the atonement of Christ, and is therefore the same to all and upon all who believe. Rewards are ALWAYS operative upon the worth of the believer. They are additional to, and separate from Grace and bestowed only upon those who win their laurels.
The blessings of Grace are assured to all believers in Christ Jesus. God hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. He chose us in him, before the [Page 34] foundation of the world ... Having predestinated us for adoption as sons through Christ Jesus. In whom we have redemption according to the riches of his grace. In whom we also have obtained an inheritance* being predestinated according to the purpose of him ... In whom ... having heard ... having believed in him, ye were sealed ... UNTIL the redemption of the purchased possession.
[* Note. This inheritance in (Eph. 2: 11) which is obtained is eternal; it will be enjoyed after the thousand years in a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21: 1). It is Gods will, for all of His redeemed people, and therefore it is described in Scripture as an inheritance we have obtained by grace.
But, in the same epistle the inspired Apostle Paul warning - the same redeemed people of God, and us today - says: Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye were sealed UNTIL the DAY of redemption. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 4: 30-5: 5, A.V.) .
This latter inheritance is not the same as (synonymous with) the former: the
context makes this perfectly clear; for the inheritance in chapter four of the
epistle is based upon the nature of the regenerate believers works. That is, works done after saalvation
for the glory of God, will decide, at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ,
who amongst His redeemed people will enter into this inheritance
All of the blessings noted above are gifts of Grace, given to all and upon, all who, believe. They are ours in Christ; they cannot be lost. They are fixed in Gods eternal purposes; secured in His predestinating grace.
The blessings of Rewards are assured the believer upon his own merit.
The Father who without respect of persons, judgeth every mans work.
Take heed ... otherwise ye shall have no reward.
He refused ... choosing rather ... affliction
esteeming the reproach of Christ as greater
riches ... he forsook
Look to yourselves that ye lose not those things YE HAVE WROUGHT, but that we receive a FULL REWARD.
Blessed is that man that endureth ... he shall receive the crown of life* ... promised to those who love him.
[* NOTE. The life here, in this context, is clearly in the category of REWARDS; it is distinct from eternal life, which every regenerate believer presently has - the free gift of God (Rom. 6: 23, R.V.).]
All of these passages clearly show, that Rewards - [and life to come for the dead in Christ, after Resurrection, will be given by Messiah when He returns to establish His kingdom here and claim His earthly inheritance (1 Thess. 4: 16; Psa. 2: 8)] - are offered to all believers, but dependent upon their fidelity. Rewards, therefore, may be lost.
Grace affirms that the believer hath everlasting life, that he shall never perish. Rewards plead Hold fast that thou hast that no man take thy crown.
Grace assures: I know WHOM I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to KEEP that which I have committed unto HIM, against that day. Rewards [Page 35] remonstrate: Lest I should be disproved, and again No one is CROWNED except he strive lawfully.
Grace says: And if children, then heirs of God
Rewards add: And [But] joint-heirs with Christ, If so that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together.
Grace rejoices in being found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God through faith.
Rewards continue to say: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Laying the comparisons between Grace and Rewards aside for the moment, listen to a word of admonition.
1. Be inspired to greater tasks for God by the promise of Rewards:
Love your enemies do good ... your reward shall be great.
A cup of cold water shall in no wise lose its reward.
I know thy works ... love ... faith I will give to everyone of you according to his works.
2. Be inspired to greater sufferings for the Master:
When men shall hate you separate you ... great is your reward in heaven.
I know thy works and tribulation ... and poverty I will give thee a crown of life.
I have fought the good fight ... kept the faith ... finished my course ... HENCEFORTH ... the crown of righteousness.
3. Be inspired in serving and suffering because the time of Rewards draws near as Christs coming draws near.
The Lords return is hastening on apace. He will bring His Rewards with Him.
For the Son of man SHALL COME ... THEN shall he reward ...
Blessed is that servant ... WHEN HE COMETH he shall make him ruler over his house.
The time hath come that thou shouldest give REWARDS unto thy servants, the prophets, and to the saints.
AND THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS.
THE GRACE OF THE GLORY
In revelling in The Glories of Grace we must not forego the joy of considering The Grace of the Glory.
If Grace, all Grace, is based upon the work of the Cross, it at least radiates from that Cross with increasing lustre as it reaches into the ages to come.
The Word of God bears witness: That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in
his kindness to usward us in Christ Jesus. Such words are weighty. They doubtless mean that the outworkings of Grace which
begin at Calvary, and which were made possible through
We have shown that when Christ comes He brings His Rewards with Him. These Rewards are wages and are not of Grace. Rewards will be well worth the toil they cost. They have much to do with the raptured believers position in heavenly places during the Millennial glory. To what extent they pass beyond the period of the personal reign of Christ we may not know - the Word of God does not reveal.
One thing we do know - that the Grace of God passes beyond the resurrection, beyond the Day of Rewards, beyond the millennial Age and into the Ages to Come.
The finite cannot grasp the
infinite. The Holy Spirit gives a few fore-gleams
of coming glories - but they are brief.
He tells of the
There is much in the Bible about the Millennium, because that age is still in the realm of things earthy, and can he understood by those of us who tabernacle here. The Ages to Come are beyond us. Our minds cannot grasp them. The glory is so great that if we were told we would not now be able to receive it. Its lustre would blind us, its magnificence would stagger us.
Our God has not told it all. Yea, the half has never yet been told. The head could not contain the facts, the heart could not contain the glory, the world could not contain the books had God told it all.
God has His secrets. Secrets of what He has in store for the Redeemed. Gods one brief sentence makes us wonder, That IN THE AGES TO COME he might shew THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE in his kindness toward us, through Jesus Christ.
These words are unfathomable. We know that we can not know - that we cannot know NOW what riches, what exceeding riches of Grace lie ahead of the Redeemed.
Death will not reveal more than the first instalment of these riches.
The Second Coming of Christ will not reveal more than another instalment.
The riches will not ALL lie open before us, when the Son delivers the kingdom unto the Father.
The manifestation of these exceeding riches of Grace passes into the ages to come.
There is an ever increasing revelation of these riches.
Anticipation will be a vital note in the language of heaven.
There will always he more to follow.
Each successive manifestation of the Glories of Grace will increase the lustre of the Cross.
Age upon age will bring to light Grace upon Grace, while Christ Jesus is ever and increasingly magnified.
Our praises and our testimony, our songs and our sermons, will ever find enlarged expression as the blessings of the ages to come unfold the Glories of Grace.
In those ages we will begin to fathom the eternal purposes of God.
In those ages we will begin to understand that now almost inexplicable My God! My God! WHY hast thou forsaken me.
In those ages we will begin to appreciate the tremendous energies put forth by the Father and by the Son and by the Holy Spirit in behalf of the salvation of men.
Let us think of Calvary as the
ground, the basis of all Grace, but let us not think of
The believer needs this forward look.
The believer needs the vision of the ages to come.
The believers citizenship, his abiding place, his complete heirship lie beyond the things earthly and temporal.
We are strangers and pilgrims travelling home.
Satan seeks to centre the mind and fasten the affections of men on this present evil age.
Satan blinds the minds of the unbelieving lest the light of the Gospel of the GLORY OF GOD should shine in upon them and convert them.
Satan employs the deceitfulness of present riches and the lure of present pleasures to deaden the lustre of the Gospel, of coming glory.
Gods Grace hath appeared teaching us to LOOK for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing [appearing of the glory R.V.] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
While praising God for the Glories of Grace, let us not fail to praise Him for Grace of His Glories.
By grace, through faith, and that alone,
Im saved from sin set free;
Not by the works which I have done,
Salvation came to me.
By grace, through faith, Im justified,
No boastfulness I know;
Christ died, and God is reconciled,
Peace doth my heart oerflow.
He died, I live: I trust His grace;
Near by His cross, I stand;
He died, I sing; I take my place,
Yield Him my heart and hand.
[NOTE. It is hoped after reading this first chapter, we will be better equipped and enabled to make a correct distinction between Gods grace and our works; and the importance of taking care not to place works where they do not belong! For example, we often hear it said (in various ways and contrary to the teaching of the Word of God), that our works are necessary to keep hold on the eternal salvation which we presently have!
If this practise is not forsaken, divine judgment must sooner or later descend upon false teachers. The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10: 30, 31). God wants His redeemed people to hear and understand ALL truth; and He wants them to know what the dangers and consequences are if we ignore it by disclosures of those sections of if, which are unrelated to our justification by faith. Let us see to it that: We are not of them that shrink back unto destruction; but of them that have faith UNTO THE SAVING OF THE SOUL (Heb. 10: 39).]
* * *
THE PRIZE OF THE UP-CALUNG?
AN EXPOSITION OF PHILIPPIANS 3: 7-15.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, - God shall reveal even this unto you.
Forgetting all the things which are behind,
With fixedness of mind
I seek the things which are before,
Beyond the portals of Gods door;
The heavenly prize
Of Gods up-calling in the vaulted skies.
Not that already I the prize have gained,
Nor that I have attained [Page 41]
Unto the cherished goal
Of all that God has purposed for my soul;
And yet, I follow on beneath His blest control
That I the prize may gain
And with Him in His earthly kingdom reign.
With growing conviction, it comes to us that the grasp of the epistle to the Philippians, 3: 7-15, must centre around an expression recorded in verse thirteen. Here it is: THIS ONE THING I DO.
There are three statements in which the chapter definitely sets forth the consuming aim of Paul. First, there is the expression: That I may WIN Christ. Second, there is this: That I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Thirdly, there is the statement: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
When the Apostle said, This ONE THING I do, he may have meant that in view of the first two stated longings of his soul, he was centering every effort in a third and climactic ONE THING. On the other hand, the Apostle may have meant, that the three longings of his soul were all summed up in ONE THING; and that each of the three was an integral; part of that ONE THING.
We believe that our second suggestion is the correct one. Let me show this by an outline of the scripture before us. This outline is given that you may at once catch our conception. Our treatise will follow the outline and enlarge upon it.
ONE THING I DO
1. PAULS CONSUMING PASSION EXPRESSED
IN THREE DISTINCTIVE WAYS.
1. That I may win Christ.
2. That I might attain unto the out-resurrection.
3. That I might obtain the prize of the up-calling of God.
(1) In order to WIN CHRIST, Paul stated one act in three ways,
(a) What things were gain, I COUNTED LOSS.
(b) I count all things BUT LOSS.
(c) I have suffered THE LOSS of all things.
(2) In order to attain to the OUT-RESURRECTION, Paul expressed a four-fold desire:
(a) He would know Christ.
(b) He would know the power of His resurrection.
(c) He would know the fellowship of His suffering.
(d) He would be made conformable to His death.
(3) In order to WIN THE PRIZE, Paul would do three things:
(a) He would follow after, to lay hold on full growth.
(b) He would reach forth toward the things before.
(c) He would press toward the prize.
2. PAULS CONSUMING PASSION WAS ONE IN SUBSTANCE,
BUT THREE THINGS IN EXPRESSION.
1. To win Christ was the climax and capstone of both the out-resurrection and the obtaining of the prize.
2. To attain to the out-resurrection, was the resultant of winning Christ,
and the condition by which he might obtain the prize of the up-calling.
3. To obtain the prize of the up-calling was the unfolding of the deeper meaning of winning Christ,
and of attaining to the out- resurrection.
3. PAULS CONSUMING PASSION ANALYZED.
1. The analization negatively stated.
(1) Winning CHRIST is not winning redemption.
(2) Attaining the OUT-resurrection is not being raised outof the dead once. *
[* NOTE. This statement is the first indication we have of the author saying that (in his opinion) the out-resurrection is itself not a selective resurrection out from amongst the dead! We will discover later in this exposition what our author understands by the use the word ek OUT (found in the Greek text) before the word RESURRECTION. By the underlined words above, he indicates that there will be a standing up out from those who will be resurrected at this time! In other words, the out-resurrection is supposed to include ALL regenerate believers: and they will be resurrected at this time, regardless of how they lived after regeneration: then, after being resurrected at this time, there will be a selection a standing up out from amongst those who will be resurrected!
This theory runs contrary to our Lords words found in Luke 20: 35, where He appears to make the out-Resurrection to be conditional by the words: They that are accounted worthy to attain to that age In other words, only those accounted worthy to attain (i.e., gain by effort - a dictionary definition) entrance into the age yet to come, will be RESURRECTED OUT FROM THE DEAD. That is, from amongst those presently in Hades / Sheol the place of the Dead: the remainder of the dead must wait a thousand years. Then, we read: If any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15, R.V.). Undoubtedly this statement indicates the fact that there will be names found in the book of life who will not be cast into the lake of fire!
Who might these be? Undoubtably, those not accounted worthy by Christ, to be resurrected at the First resurrection: for, the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection (Rev. 20: 5, R.V.). Let us now proceed with the authors interpretation of what he believes the Apostles words mean. ]
(3) Obtaining the PRIZE of the up-calling is not obtaining the up-calling.
2. The analization positively stated.
(1) Winning Christ
is winning an intimate place of power and honour in Christ at His coming.
(2) Attaining the out-resurrection out of the dead ones
is attaining a selection out of the raised dead: at His coming.
(3) Obtaining the prize of the up-calling,
is obtaining a designated reward, distinct from the rapture of saints, at His coming.
With the outline before us, we have much to consider. You will immediately grant that the subject matter will prove vital to all believers, inasmuch as it deals with distinctions in rewards which Christ will bring with Him, [Page 43] when He comes. Those rewards will depend upon the Christians earthly work and walk.
Let us begin, by considering the first main division of our theme:
1. PAULS CONSUMING PASSION EXPRESSED
Whatever else may he said of the Apostle Paul, he was one hundred per cent for the things of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was no spiritual derelict, floating with aimless and reckless impotency, upon the sea of life. His ship was one all-unfurled, and all-a-tremble for the sail.
Three things express his purpose and passion toward Christ.
He sought to win Christ.
He sought to attain to the out-resurrection.
He sought to obtain the prize.
As we group these three things, we see how high and holy, how lofty and far-looking was the ambition that consumed Paul. His ambition did not lie in the low-lands of carnalities; he pressed toward the uplands of spiritual conquest.
There was not so much as one longing glance toward the things he had left behind. These were all forgotten in the things before.
There was no regret because of
things forsaken; no longings to return to the flesh-pots that lay back in the
channels of his old life and walk. Paul
knew nothing of the spirit that swayed Lots wife and caused her to look back
There were no bridges left when Paul crossed his Rubicon. The vista before him enthralled his eyes. He bent his back, set his pace, and fixed his gaze toward the call from the skies.
With Paul the spiritual outweighed the carnal, the [Page 44] future outvalued the past, the prospect was more filled with glory than the retrospect.
Paul counted the things UNSEEN as greater than the things which are SEEN. He reckoned the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, of far more worth than the cities of earth. He gave preference to the things of God, over the things of man. He delighted in the things above, more than in the things beneath. He followed after the things which are not, instead of after the things which are.
Let us now look more deeply into the first, of Pauls three aspirations. He wanted to win Christ.
(1) In order to win Christ, Paid did one thing - thrice stated.
(a) He counted gain, but loss.
(b) He counted all things but loss.
(c) He suffered the loss of all things.
Three times in two verses, (7 and 8), the apostle writes the word LOSS over all that he once knew and loved. The things that he had formerly reckoned his chief assets, he now counted loss. Nothing of the old life, with its ambitions, were kept by Paul in the credit column - all were transferred to the debit side. In this step out of the old, and into the new reckoning, Paul, saw much of suffering. The new life, and the decisions which it involved, were not entered apart from outside persecutions.
As the days came and went, however, Paul became the more and more determined to press on his upward way. He even came to the conclusion that he, after all, had, by way of comparison, given up nothing worthy of retention. As the glory of the new life, - and its blessings in the heavenly places, dawned upon him, Paul counted the old life and its acquisitions as no more than refuse.
Under the dazzling splendour of the glory of God, Paul saw that the glories of earth, which he once loved, were but baubles: therefore he thrust them all into the garbage can. Let us do, as did he.
And shall I give thee up, 0 world,
A world with banners all unfurled,
With pomp of glory, pride of gold,
With matchless treasures all untold,
With fields all filled with ripened grain,
With ships that sail a stormy main?
Shall I give up the joys of sin,
The very things men seek to win?
The pleasures, pastimes, frolics, fun,
And all thy things beneath the sun?
Yes, I will gladly count all loss
To follow Christ, and bear His cross;
Yea, I will count my loss, but gain,
So I, with Christ, may live and reign.
(2) In order to attain the out-resurrection Paul desired four things.
The far-flung purposes of Paul are steadily enlarging before our view.
(a) Paul wanted to know Christ.
Perhaps, in that first moment, when
the light from heaven stopped Saul of Tarsus in his mad career, and cast him
down, blinded, upon the
Perhaps, in those fifteen days that Paul afterwards spent with Peter, he learned more of Christ and His ministry, of Christ and His message, than most theological; students learn in a full course in the seminary. All of this, however, only spurred Paul on to know Christ.
Perhaps, in the years spent in
Paul wanted to know Him - not to know about Him. Paul sought a fellowship with Christ, but he sought more; he sought a knowledge of Christ, but he sought more.
It was not concerning the Babe
of Bethlehem; not concerning the child Christ of the
It was not concerning the Christ who worked miracles, who taught the people, who went about doing good - it was not concerning the Christ of Galilee, that Paul wanted to know.
It was not concerning the Christ of Gethsemane, nor the Christ of the cross, nor the Christ of the empty tomb, that Paul wanted to know.
Paul wanted to know Christ. He was not satisfied with that which merely concerned Him, he wanted HIM. He wanted to know Christ the God-man. He wanted to dwell in Him; to walk with Him; to talk to Him.
Paul wanted to know the springs of the life and ministry of his Lord. He wanted to enter into the holy of holies, which safe-guarded the inner impulses and promptings of Christ.
Paul wanted to know Christ, who was God-incarnate as He lay in the manger: Christ, who, in His twelfth year, held such an intimacy with the Father that He could say, I must be about my Fathers business; Christ, who, at His baptism, received from the Father the plaudit My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Paul wanted to know not the miracles of Christ, but Christ who healed the sick, raised the dead, cured the leper. He wanted to know not the teachings concerning Christ, but the Christ who taught the people, and who spake as never man spake.
Paul wanted to know not about
[* NOTE. See what confusion this word out caused amongst the three disciples who believed in a resurrection, but had never before heard of an out-resurrection. As they descended from the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, He said: Tell the vision (i.e., the vision on the Mount of the Son of man coming in his kingdom, Matt. 16: 28b. cf. 1 Pet. 16-19.) to no man, until the Son of man be risen out from the dead (Matt. 17: 9b, Lit. Gk.). Here is further proof that the preposition ek before the word translated resurrection indicates the select resurrection of One who was the First to be risen out from the dead, - leaving all the remaining dead in Hades / Sheol to await the time for their Resurrection. 1 Cor. 15: 20; Acts 2: 31; Matt. 3: 13; 12: 40. cf. Acts 7: 5 with Acts 2: 34 and Luke 16: 23; Tim. 2: 18.]
The passion of Paul was not to capture a creed, to delete a doctrine, or to conquer a catechism. Paul sought a personal knowledge of Christ; he wanted to know the height, and the depth, the length, and the breadth of the love of Christ, and the Christ of love.
Theres a yearning for Christ in my dreams of the night,
Theres a longing to meet Him when cometh the light,
Theres a cry in my heart throughout all the long day,
Theres a prayer for His presence wherever my way;
My Beloved is Chief among thousands all fair,
He is bright as the morning, His hands drop with myrrh;
He is love altogether, this One all divine,
I would know Him forever, 0 lord, I am Thine.
Theres a spot in my heart which my Saviour doth own,
Theres a love in my soul which is His all alone;
Theres a place in my life which He only can fill,
For I seek but to know Him, to do all His will;
I would take me away to His heavenly place,
I would live in the glory and smile of His face;
Oh, I am my Beloveds, and He, too, is mine,
I will dwell with Him ever, 0 Lord, I am Thine.
(b) Paul wanted to know the power of Christs resurrection.
Into the empty tomb (into which Peter rushed, and John entered with temerity) Paul cared not particularly to go. Paul did not desire, to go as a tourist, visiting a shrine: nor as a scientist, seeking to solve the philosophy of the mysteries. Paul knew and accepted the fact of the resurrection, for he had known personal contact with the One who had been raised [out] from the dead; however, Paul wanted to know the POWER of that resurrection.
Paul sought to know the power of the resurrection toward us who believe. He wanted to translate that power into his every-day experience. He wanted to discover in the empty tomb of his Lord, the power of the believers victorious life.
Paul wanted to know, moreover, the power of the resurrection of Christ, as it is yet to be manifested, when all [accounted worthy] who are in their graves shall come forth. He wanted to know the force of the words; I am the resurrection and the life. In Christs resurrection he saw his own; in Christs life, he saw his own life forevermore.
Thus it was that Paul saw in the empty tomb of Christ both a present and a far-reaching power. The resurrection was, to him, the climactic note of redemption. It was full of power. He wanted to know that power.
The resurrection held a large place in Pauls GOSPEL. Apart from the resurrection of Christ, Paul saw the cross of Christ helpless to save to the uttermost. He knew that saints, with Christ in the tomb, would remain forever of all men the most miserable. Therefore Paul wanted to know the power of the resurrection.
The resurrection according to Paul, played a full part in the believers present hour victory over sin and Satan. The resurrection of Christ to him was the stepping-stone to the believer's present moment exaltation, with Christ in the heavenlies. To Paul, Christ raised, was Christ exalted far above all principalities and power. To Paul, Christ raised, was Christ leading His saints in the upward train of His triumph, and made more than conquerors through Him.
The resurrection of Christ, according to Paul, was the key to the up-calling and change of saints. Into, the skies they yet shall go. Changed in a moment they shall be. The vile body of their humiliation shall yet be changed into the likeness of the glorious body of His glorification. Paul knew that all of this would be accomplished in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at Christs coming, therefore, Paul wanted to know the power of His resurrection.
Do you marvel that Paul wanted to know the power of the empty tomb? It was not of facts, nor of historical data that Paul desired knowledge. He wanted to know the power [Page 49] which lay back of those things. He wanted that power to become a potent factor in his daily experiences.
0 risen Lord, I truly live in Thee,
Thy life throbs now in me.
Its power strengthens me,
It gives me liberty Eternally.
(c) Paul waned to know the fellowship of Christs sufferings.
Having caught the power of His risen life, Paul was prepared to press his way into the fellowship of His sufferings.
Having known the power of His resurrection, Paul was more than willing to pass with Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
And why not? Paul, knowing that the power of Christs resurrection would lead him into the everlasting joys of both the earthly and heavenly glory of Christ, was happy to press back into fellowship with Christs earthly sufferings.
Paul knew that the way of the cross, was the way to the crown. He was not willing to press back from his resurrection ground, into the old life of his own pre-conversion experiences; yet he was more than willing to press back from that ground into Christs poverty.
Where is he, who, with ungrateful soul, would seek to wear the crown, without sharing the cross? Where is he who would press his way toward the reigning with Christ, without being willing to enter into suffering with Christ?
When once the power of the resurrection grips the soul, the yearning of the heart will be to know the travails of His cross.
These died in faith: they died a martyr's death,
Were tortured, stoned until they gave their breath;
Were mocked, and scourged with stinging pain,
With cruel sword were madly slain;
Some wandered all about
Tormented, did not doubt; [Page 50]
All, through their faith, a good report obtained,
In evry testing were by grace sustained.
To them God gave a martyrs lasting fame,
Amid His heroes, didst enroll their name.
What glory shall these victors share,
When they His matchless image bear
In heavens blessed light:
Beyond all pain
With Christ theyll reign,
When passed is earths dark night;
God, then their martyrdom will recompense
And crown their worthy names with excellence.
(d) Paul wanted to be made conformable to Christs death.
Paul had now reached the climax
of the Christians aspirations. The
world is ever calling the believer to conformity to its conceptions and ideals;
Christ is calling the believer to conformity to
Surely, if men have called the Master of the house, Bee1zebub; how much more will they call them of His household? Paul knew no greater glory than to bear in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus. He could say:
I bear in my body the marks of the Lord,
These are my credentials, which I would record;
Diplomas and scholarships count I but dross,
I boast but the stigma and joy of His cross.
I seek not position, nor honour from men,
Be my recognition the scars which I ken
Are stamped on my body; these prove I am sent
From God an apostle to spend and he spent.
Let no one now trouble me, whateer they say
Of good or of evil concerning my way;
The marks in my body full proof do declare
That I am the Lords - His stigma I bear.
(3) In order to win the prise Paul would do three things:
(a) Paul would follow after to lay hold upon full growth. It was for perfection in spiritual development that Christ had laid hold upon him; therefore Paul wanted to enter heartily into what the Lord had purposed for him.
The Holy Spirit came to dwell in the believers heart, that He might transform the believer into the image of Christ, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Paul, therefore, would walk after the [Holy] Spirit. He would yield himself to the [Holy] Spirits conforming work.
Paul would not remain a babe. He would reach that high altitude which God is pleased to call a perfect man, grown unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
(b) Paul would reach forth unto the things before.
We realize that Paul; had already reached much; he had climbed many a height of spiritual development and power in Christ Jesus. Paul, however, did not feel that he had gone all of the way. He wanted to know more of the riches of the grace and glory of his Lord. He wanted to ascend still higher up in the scale of spiritual attainment. He did not by any means say that he had already apprehended all that there was for him to apprehend in Christ Jesus.
In order to reach Gods best, Paul was willing to forget Gods better. Paul had much, but he pressed on for more. He said, Forgetting those things which are behind, because he would not forever dwell in the region of blessings already attained.
The children of
Paul saw room for advancement, for added growth, for an enlarged place in Christ.
Paul, saw what
(c) Paul would press toward the prize.
The prize was precious to Paul, not because it carried something of mere intrinsical value, something that would pamper the flesh and satisfy a pride of attainment. The prize was precious to him because the prize centered in winning Christ. It was Christ, Himself, who was the great inspiration and aspiration of Paul.
Paul lived, looking to Christ, working for Christ, and walking with Christ. He said, For me to live is Christ. Then he could add: To die is gain, because to die was Christ, in a newer and larger fellowship.
Paul was on the earth, but he was not earth centered; he was in the world, but he was not a world lover.
Paul cast behind him the glitter
and glare of
Onward and never back,
My eyes look on for aye;
Onward and never back,
I press a forward track;
May I the joy not lack
At break of day.
Onward with mighty stride,
The joy I almost see;
Onward with mighty stride,
All else I cast aside
To win, whateer betide,
Gods joy for me.
2. PAULS CONSUMING PASSION WAS ONE IN
SUBSTANCE, BUT THREE IN EXPRESSION
To win Christ.
To attain to the out-resurrection.
To obtain the prize.
Three things, yet three things summed up in This one thing I do.
Let us seek to grasp the inter-relationship of each of these holy ambitions, which led to one great attempt.
1. TO WIN CHRIST WAS THE CLIMAX, THE CAPSTONE OF BOTH THE OUTRESURRECTION, AND THE PRIZE OF THE UP-CALLING.
(1) No one can sever his winning Christ, from his obtaining the out-resurrection. The two are indissolubly linked. To win the one is to attain to the other. There could be no winning of Christ, without the out-resurrection; and there could be no out-resurrection, without winning Christ.
(2) No one could sever winning Christ, from obtaining the prize of the up-calling. They also are indissolubly linked. To destroy the hope of the one, is to destroy the possibility of the other. In fact, we may truthfully say that winning Christ made certain the attaining to the out-resurrection, even as the out-resurrection made sure the obtaining of the prize.
2. TO ATTAIN THE OUT-RESURRECTION WAS THE RESULTANT OF WINNING CHRIST AND THE CONDITION UPON WHICH THE PRIZE OF THE UP-CALLING WAS BASED.
(1) Christ is the resurrection; and to all* who are in Christ He will be, at His coming, the resurrection out of the dead ones. What we mean is this, that all of those saved by grace through faith, and therefore linked with Christ in His saving power, are, by virtue of that fact, made partakers of the resurrection out of the dead ones. Christ said: Because I live, ye shall live also.
[* NOTE. Here the author by the word all has neglected the conditional element within the text! He has interpreted the word all to include all the regenerate with Paul!
By comparing Scripture with other Scriptures, we will soon discover the mistake! (1) Others were tortured (Lit. Gk. beaten to death), not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection (Heb. 11: 35b). (2) The souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Rev. 20: 4). (3) They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain - (worthy of taking part in - N.I.V.) to obtain resurrection out of dead Lit. Gk. the resurrection from the dead (Lk. 20: 35, A.V.). (4) Thou shalt be recompensed - (for fulfilling the fore-mentioned conditions, vv. 7-13) - at the resurrection of the just (or righteous) (Lk. 14: 14).
See 1 Cor. 15: 22: For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive. Here the first ALL is not the same as the second ALL! The first all includes all who have died (and all who will die); but the second all is limited in numbers and different in the time they will be made alive! But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christs at his coming. R.V.]
(2) Christ is, however, the OUT RESURRECTION, out of the dead ones, only to those who WIN CHRIST. They alone will have a part in the out-resurrection, out of the dead ones. There is, as we see it, a distinction therefore, between [Page 54] the out-resurrection, and the resurrection out of the dead ones.* Just now we merely wish to state this fact: winning Christ is the basis of obtaining the out-resurrection. The details of this out-resurrection will be developed later.
[* NOTE. This is another way of saying that ALL Christians will be judged and raised out from the dead at the same time - after the out-resurrection; and then, the words out of the dead ones, indicates a further judgment from amongst those raised in the out Resurrection! If this is correct - (which I believe is not) - where do those not accounted worthy to rule with Christ in the Age to come go, after their resurrection and judgement? They cannot return to the death state or the place of the dead, for Jesus says: Neither can they die any more being the children of resurrection (Lk. 20: 36, A.V.). The above theory presents a major problem for all those who, like the author, make this distinction after the time of the out-resurrection. Of course, a distinction will be made, as to who will be resurrected at that time to rule and inherit the coming kingdom of Christ and of God; but that judgment, which will make that distinction, must take place either, close to the time of Death, or after the time of Death BUT NEVER AFTER the time of Resurrection.
It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this - (i.e., after the time of death, and relative to who will attain unto the out-resurrection out from the dead Phil. 3: 11, Lit. Gk.) cometh judgment, (Heb. 9: 27, R.V.).
Keep in mind, there are more judgments than this mentioned throughout the Holy Scriptures. See 2 Cor. 5: 9, 10. cf. 1 Cor. 5: 3-5; 6: 1- 4, 7, 8.
Cor. 6: 11 Paul rebukes the carnal Corinthians
for their behaviour and neglect of responsibility truths. He warns them of the possibility of the loss of
inheritance in the
Here Paul is making a distinction in time and behaviour, from what they once were before conversion, such were some of you; to what they then were immediately after faith in Christ as Saviour: but ye were washed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God; then, afterwards, by their immoral behaviour and wickedness as regenerate believers, at the time of writing his epistle. Therefore, judgment is on-going during the lifetime of a Christian. See Acts 5: 1-11 and compare with 5: 32.
Hence importance of repentance: - Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen and repent (Rev. 2: 5). As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (Rev. 3: 19). Repent therefore, of this thy wickedness (Acts 8: 22); Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3: 2). Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance (verse 8). Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13: 3, 5, R.V.)!]
(3) Attaining the out-resurrection was correlated [i.e., systematically connected] with obtaining the prize of the up-calling; because the first established the certainty of the second. All who attain to the out-resurrection will, therefore, obtain the prize of the up-calling. Had Paul been assured of a part in the out-resurrection, he would have been assured of the prize of the up-calling.
3. OBTAINING THE PRIZE OF THE UP-CALLING UNFOLDS THE DEEPER MEANING OF WINNING CHRIST, AND ATTAINING THE OUT-RESURRECTION.
In our next consideration we will enlarge upon these very things. Just now we want to get clear in our minds a mere outline of two facts.
(1) Obtaining the prize of the up-calling unfolds the meaning of winning Christ, inasmuch as winning Christ was the very essence of the prize itself.
(2) Obtaining the prize of the up-calling, likewise unfolds the meaning of the out-resurrection, because the out-resurrection was the stepping stone to the prize. The fact is that Paul plainly linked the attaining to the out-resurrection, to obtaining the prize when he said, If by any means I might attain unto the out-resurrection adding Not as though I had already attained ... but I press toward the mark for the prize of the up-calling. With all of this before us, let its go in deeper.
3. PAULS CONSUMING PASSION ANALYZED
1. THE ANALIZATION NEGATIVELY STATED.
We need to know what some things are not, as much as we need to know what they are. If we understand what they are not, and what they could not be, we will the better be able to know what they are, and must be.
(1) Winning Christ is not winning redemption.
We are saved by grace, through faith. Grace ends where worth begins. No one knew this better than Paul. The Holy Spirit, through him, placed stress upon salvation as a free gift - a gift in no wise dependent upon any thing other than the sovereign grace of God, made possible through the blood of Christ, and the believers faith.
When Paul counted all things but loss, he did it that he might WIN Christ, but not that he might be saved. Paul was saved by grace. He said, When it pleased God who separated me from my mothers womb, and called me by his grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
Paul was saved from death and
hell on the
When Paul spoke of winning Christ, he did not, and could not mean, therefore, that he was desirous of winning redemption, for he was already redeemed.
(2) Attaining the out-resurrection, is not attaining the resurrection out of the dead ones. This is quite as impossible, as it was for winning Christ to mean winning redemption.
There are several facts relative to the resurrection which are clearly outlined in the Word of God.
(a) All the dead are to be raised - both the just and the unjust. Of this there is no need for argument. The Word of God is plain and final.
(b) All of the dead are not to be raised at one time. With the first resurrection concluded we read, The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.
(c) All Christians will be raised out of the dead ones.
One of the startling things in the Word of God is the frequently recorded statement of the resurrection (ek nekron) OUT OF THE DEAD. The very expression out of the dead, precludes the resurrection of all of the dead at one time.
Who then are the ones who will be favoured by being raised OUT of the dead ones? Once again there is no room for misgiving.
Let me give a few of the scriptures where, ek nekron, out of the dead, occurs:
Matthew 17: 9: Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be raised again from the dead (ek nekron - out of the dead ones).
Mark 6: 14, 16: Herod said, John the Baptist is risen from the dead (ek nekron - out of the dead ones).
Luke 20: 35: Christ said, But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world [age], and the resurrection [out] from the dead (ek nekron - out of the dead ones).
Acts 4: 2: Being grieved that they taught ... through Jesus the resurrection [out] from the dead (ek nekron - out of the dead ones).
1 Cor. 15: 20, 21: Now is Christ risen from the dead (ek nekron). By Man came also the resurrection of the dead (ek nekron - out of the dead ones).
Hebrews 11: 19: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead (ek nekron - out of the dead ones).
The apostolic preaching of the resurrection out from among the dead, was a message that startled the world in the day of the early church. It was a blessed hope that lay before all saints. The saints were to be raised from among the dead, - and live and reign with Christ a thousand years; while the wicked* dead were not to he raised until after the thousand years were finished.
This resurrection (ek nekron), was the hope of the church.
It was the resurrection unto life of John 5: 29.
It was the better resurrection of Hebrews 11: 35.
It was the resurrection of the just in Acts 24: 15; and in Luke 14: 14.
(d) From among those who would partake of the resurrection from among the dead, Paul speaks of another class. Here are his words, That I may attain unto the resurrection (ek - anastasis- out resurrection) from the dead (ek nekron - out of the dead ones).
Here only, in the New Testament, do we find this peculiar Greek combination, combining ek with anastasis. Upon this single Greek phrase some have based the conception that Paul was pressing on to attain to the resurrection out of the dead ones, and therefore was teaching what is known as A Partial Rapture. We cannot accept this for the following reasons:
a. The Word teaches that the dead in Christ shall rise first, it does not say that a limited number of the dead in Christ shall rise first.*
[*NOTE. Neither does the text say: ALL the dead in Christ shall rise first! Here is an example of adding to the word of God. Its like saying Absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5: 8, R.V.), and then adding the words IN HEAVEN! Is Gods presence not everywhere? even If I make my bed in Sheol the place of the dead (Psa. 139: 8. cf. Gen. 37: 35; Psa. 16: 10)!
The use of the Greek preposition ek OUT, when used before the word Resurrection is always selective even when speaking of the dead in Christ, - the Lords own redeemed people! See Matt. 17: 9 (above), where Jesus is speaking to Peter, James and John of His own resurrection - which was both selective and limited to one Person Himself: and years later John writes: No man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man. Can any Man who has died in Christ, rise out from the dead in a glorified, immortal body of flesh and bones before the time of our Lords return to this earth? Search the Scriptures and see. What does Luke 24: 39; 1 Thess. 4: 16; Rev. 6: 9-11; 20: 4-6 tell us?]
b. Tribulation saints who are saved and slain after the resurrection* of the dead in Christ, will be raised at the end of the Great Tribulation (See Rev. 20: 1-6).
[* NOTE. Scripture never connects the word resurrection to the words body, soul or spirit: it always speaks to us of the resurrection of the dead. We never read in scripture of the resurrection of the spirit soul or body! Why? Because they are all severed at the time of Death. What Death separates, Resurrection will one day unite: the whole man is to be rescued from its curse, not just a part of the man: O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting, (1 Cor. 15: 54b, 55, R.V.)
Therefore, since the dead in Christ - (not all at this time as is often assumed) shall rise first (1 Thess. 4: 16), the authors words above, - Tribulation saints who are saved after the resurrection of the dead in Christ, are misleading! There will a translation of living saints, whose bodies will be changed, and raised into heaven before the Great Tribulation; but not all who are regenerate and alive at that time will be included! Why? Because they failed to fulfil the divine condition: Watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass (Lk. 22: 36, R.V.). And again, - Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3: 10, R.V.). Here is mention made of a select rapture or translation of those who are alive, and who will be judged worthy to escape the coming Great Tribulation; but it is not said they will be amongst the dead saints who will be resurrected at that time.]
c. The Word teaches that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, whether we have done good or bad. Not only the good shall appear.
[* NOTE. This statement is made by disregarding the divine conditions attached to the First Resurrection: The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years are finished Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. (Rev. 20: 5, 6, R.V.).]
d. The Word does not teach that resurrection out of the dead ones is a reward, but that reward will be meted out after the saints are raised.*
[* NOTE. What will be the Reward meted out after the saints are raised? A loss of their inheritance in the age to come: For ye know that even when he (Esau) afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected (for he found no place for repentance), though he sought it diligently with tears, (Heb. 12: 17. cf. Luke 20: 35. Esau, being a true member of the family, had no respect for his position as the firstborn son, and all that he would one day have had! Regenerate believers, are likewise warned here against losing their birthright as firstborn sons of God!]
e. If Paul, so true and so victorious a saint, were not sure of his own [out]-resurrection from the dead, then the resurrection and rapture of saints would be open to but very few* of the redeemed.
[* NOTE. Is it not written: For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth UNTO LIFE, and few be they that find it (Matt. 7: 14, R.V.)? If this life refers to eternal Life as the free gift of God (Rom. 6: 23, R.V.), then we have a major problem, for these words of Christ are addressed primarily to His own disciples: His disciples came to him; and he opened him mouth and taught them saying (Matt. 5: 1, 2, R.V.). Are we to believe only a few are given eternal life? I should think not!
But there is something else which is very important, which we must always keep in mind: God is a righteous Judge; and therefore He will not give EVERYTHING to those of His redeemed people who are not accounted worthy! There is an undisclosed standard of worthiness demanded by our LORD JESUS, for our ENTRANCE into HIS Kingdom: For I say unto you - (disciples), - that EXCEPT YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS shall EXCEED the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, YE SHALL NOT ENTER into the kingdom of heaven [s], (Matt. 5: 20, R.V.).
And if this life is a REWARD for our obedience in doing the work He has called us to do, (as undoubtedly it is), we read in another place: And he (Christ) said unto them (His appointed seventy) The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few (Luke 10: 2, R.V.).]
What then did Paul have in view when he wrote of attaining unto the OUT-RESURRECTION OUT OF THE DEAD ONES?
If we are right in our conclusion, Paul meant that out of the saints who partake of the resurrection out of the dead, [Page 58] there will be some who will attain to a special placing; this placing he called, the OUT-RESURRECTION out of the dead.
This OUT-RESURRECTION was a grouping together of certain ones from among the raised believers, a grouping made possible by virtue of their having known Christ, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable to His death.
The Apostle, himself, tells us plainly what he means by the OUT-RESURRECTION. In one breath he says, If by any means I may attain unto the out-resurrection out of the dead; in his next breath he says, Not as though I have already attained ... but I press forward - toward what? Certainly it was toward the out-resurrection of saints out from the dead. He said it was toward the PRIZE OF THE UP-CALLING. Therefore, we conclude that the OUT-RESURRECTION and the PRIZE of the up-calling are one and the same thing.
We now come to our final conclusions - a summing up of what has gone before. These we will group under three heads.
(1) Winning Christ, is winning a place of intimate honour and power in Christ at His coming.
This was Pauls great ambition. Paul knew, by the Holy Ghost, that not all saints would reign with Christ in positions of honour.
The whole Book of Hebrews carries such a message, and gives, withal, abundant warning to the saved, lest they miss that glorious heirship.
Other Scriptures corroborate the [Holy] Spirits message in Hebrews.
In Romans 8: 17, we are Joint-heirs with Christ; IF SO BE that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together.
In 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27, we are taught to so run that [Page 59] we may obtain the prize. We are also urged to so run, and to so fight, lest by any means we should be a castaway - that is, lest we should be disapproved.
In 2 Corinthians 5: 9-11, we are urged to labour that we may be accepted of him - for, We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ:* that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. The [Holy] Spirit adds: Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.
[* NOTE. Keep in mind, this judgment, as it applies to all those presently within the Church of God (who are now awaiting the time of Resurrection out from the dead) - their JUDGMENT must take place BEFORE the time of that First Resurrection in order to determine who will be accounted worthy to attain to that AGE, and the resurrection from the dead (Luke 20: 35, R.V.). The First Resurrection is therefore a select resurrection of the Blessed and holy, out from amongst the members of Gods redeemed family - presently waiting as disembodied SOULS in Hades the place of the dead in the heart of the earth, (Matt. 12: 40). John was given a vision of these: I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they had: and they cried with a great voice, saying, How long, O Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And there was given them to each one a white robe; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow-servants also and their BRETHREN, which should be killed even as they were, should be fulfilled, (Rev. 6: 9-11, R.V.).
Therefore, ALL the dead in Christ have to WAIT for judgment of things done in the body whether it be good or bad. This future judgment of their fellow-servants and their BRETHREN, will take place in Hades under the alter upon which they had been slain: and it will determine who, out from the dead, will have attained unto the out-resurrection, out from the dead (Phil. 3: 11, Lit. Gk.).
If the Out-resurrection (Phil. 3: 11), which Paul wanted to ATTAIN through the fellowship of His sufferings, will include ALL of the redeemed from all ages both Old and New testament saints alike then the MILLENNIAL Kingdom of Messiah is not what HE and the HOLY SPIRIT speaking through HIS chosen apostles say it is:- He that OVERCOMETH, I will give to HIM to sit down with me in MY throne, AS I ALSO OVERCAME, and sat down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH TO THE CHURCHES, (Rev. 3: 21, 22, R.V.). Are these words not conditional upon the regenerate believers behaviour, whether it be good or bad? Those who believe they are not, contradict their Lords words which parallel those of Pauls and of His Apostles: They that are ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ATTAIN to that AGE, and the RESURRECTION from THE DEAD, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: for NEITHER CAN THEY DIE ANY MORE: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of THE RESURRECTION, (Luke 20: 35, 36, R.V.). ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS WILL NOT ENTER INTO MESSIAHS COMING MILLENNIAL KINGDOM.]
In Galatians 6: 9, we are instructed that we shall reap if we faint not. We are, accordingly, urged to not be weary in well doing and to do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
In Hebrews 3: 6, we are told that we are His house, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
In Hebrews 3: 14, the [Holy] Spirit continues, We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.
In Hebrews 4: 1, is this word: Let us therefore fear lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
In Hebrews 4: 11, is this word: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
In 2 Peter 1: 5-11 are these suggestive statements: And besides this, giving all diligence add **add, **add. He that lacketh these things. If these things be in you and abound. So an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom**.
Scriptures such as the above certainly have no reference to losing eternal life, or to any possible failure in being finally saved. They do, however, have much weight along the line of winning Christ. They do show that [the abundant entrance and] crowns and rewards and positions in the [millennial] reign of Christ may be lost.
Certainly winning Christ is related to winning His well done, thou good and faithful servant; it is
related to Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration
when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit
upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
If with Christ you would reign,
You must suffer His pain,
And follow Him bearing His cross;
You must share in His shame,
Bear His stigma and blame,
And count the world nothing but loss.
If the Lord you deny,
And His sufferings defy,
You will fail in obtaining the prize;
Out the camp you must go,
Bear His burden of woe,
If you seek for rewards in the skies.
(2) Attaining the out-resurrection from the Lord, is attaining unto a select group from raised [dead] saints, at His coming.
Some may desire to place all of the raised saints into one glorious class. This cannot be scripturally done.
There is life, and there is life more abundant.
There is entrance [into the eternal kingdom;] and there is an abundant entrance [1,000 years before that].
There are the disapproved, and there are the overcomers.
There is the resurrection out of the dead, and there is the out-resurrection out of the dead.
Paul had [eternal] life, but sought [the better resurrection and] the life more abundant.
Paul had entrance, but sought an entrance abundantly.
Paul had a place in the race, but sought to be not disapproved but crowned a victor - an overcomer at the end of the race.
Paul had assurance of his resurrection from the dead,* but sought to attain to the out-resurrection out of the dead ones.
[* NOTE. According to Scripture ALL the dead are to be resurrected; but NOT ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and DEATH and HADES gave up the dead which were in them: and they were judged EVERY man according to their works. And DEATH and HADES were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And IF ANY WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE, he was cast into the lake of fire, (Rev. 20: 12-15, R.V.).
Is there not reference here to redeemed people who will miss the First Resurrection and therefore have to remain in the place of the dead for a further 1,000 years?
Is this not what Peter warns Christians against - the possibility of losing a future salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. even the salvation of your souls (1 Pet. 1: 5, 9, R.V.): and the glories that should follow (that future salvation) that is to be brought unto you AT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. (1 Pet. 1: 11b, 13b, R.V.)?
Is there not here also an understanding of Pauls words: Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6: 7)? That is, the flesh of some - (for a thousand years after the resurrection of the righteous) - appearing in immortal bodies of glory; while the flesh of others will remain in the grave under corruption, until the book of life is opened (Rev. 20: 15).
If there is a difference in being IN Christ, and in winning Christ, why may there not be a difference in the resurrection, and the out-resurrection?
If there is a difference in being raptured, and being rewarded, why may there not be a difference in being raised out of the dead ones, and being in the out-resurrection, out of the dead ones?
There must be, some word for differentiating the raised up saints who will merely be raised out from among the dead ones to be forever with the Lord; and those who will be raised from among the dead ones to reign with Christ in places of honour and power.
Shall God be unfaithful to forget our labour of love, our diligence in hope, and our fidelity to the faith?
Shall all believers - the lukewarm and the hot; the carnal and the spiritual, the idle and the active all stand alike after the resurrection? Impossible! Impossible!
If it is right to so run, and to so fight then the prize may be obtained at the Bema; if it is right to count all but lost, to win Christ; if it is right to suffer, that we may reign; then, it is also right to seek to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable to His death, in order to attain unto the OUT-RESURRECTION.
Strive to appear before His face
Confessed a victor ever:
Seek but to run a winning race
And wear a crown for ever;
Press toward the prize which lies before,
The prize of His up-calling;
Then when you reach the other shore,
Youll have no fear appalling.
(3) Obtaining the prize of the up-calling is designated as distinct front the rapture of [all] saints at Christs Coming.
The up-calling and the rapture are one; however the PRIZE of the up-calling is distinct from the up-calling which is the rapture.
It is one thing to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; it is another thing to be rewarded at the Bema of Christ.
It is one thing to be in the up-calling, it is another thing to obtain the prize of the up-calling.
With what rejoicing did Paul finally write: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.
Shall we chide Paul because he stretched every nerve as he pressed on to win Christ, to attain unto the out-resurrection and to win the prize? God forbid! Let us, the rather, follow on even as he followed on. Let us have the same mind, as that which possessed him.
Not that alone, but let us seek to stir up others, by way of remembrance, that they also may lay hold on all of that for which they have been laid hold upon by Christ.
Still pressing on, Through flood, fire and danger;
Pressing the fight on the battles long line,
Keeping the faith, till His glory doth shine
Still pressing on: To earth but a stranger.
Still pressing on,
With faithful endeavour
Never to stop till His will we have done,
Never to lag till the victorys won,
Still pressing on, Oer moor, fen and heather.
* * *
WHAT ABOUT THE JUDGE
AT THE DOOR?
What would I do
If Christ should come, ere comes the morrow?
Would I pass to
The realms of light, all decked and bright,
Beyond the strife of mortal life,
And stand before my judge in sorrow,
Mid heavens blue!
How would I feel
If I should meet my judge, my Saviour?
Would I there kneel
Before His face, in sad disgrace,
My life all spent, on pleasure bent,
And all my shameful past behaviour
The coming of the Lord draweth nigh!
The Signs of the Times are unmistakable.
The way is paved throughout the whole world for the advent of the Antichrist.
The last days with their immoralities and vice are here.
The political world is ripe for the rising of the ten-horned federated empire.
The sweep of modern inventions proclaims that the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Over all, and to the writer, above all, the cry is being made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh, while Gods book of prophecy, scaled unto the end of times, is now being opened.
With these signs of Christs return to the earth so rapidly and assuredly unfolding, we know that the rapture of the saints, with their skyward march, is doubly near.
How soon we do not know;
It is far better so;
And yet, the hour is late -
Expectantly we wait.
Be it at morn or noon,
His coming must be soon;
In gloom the world doth grope,
While ardently we hope.
He told us he would come,
And upward take us home;
We sing an even song.
As yearningly we long.
As, for the moment, we pause to ponder the glorious fact of Christs imminent coming, we are held captive by the words of the seventh angel in Revelation 11: 15-18. His words stand out before us in bold review.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, 0 Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thon hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants thy prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy the earth.
The angel foresaw and announced that the kingdoms of this world have become, the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. Then the angel gave an epitomized review of the events which immediately usher in that glorious consummation. He said:
The nations were angry.
Thy wrath is come.
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged. (is come).
And (the time) that thou shouldest give rewards unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great.
And shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Stop and consider! God is not unrighteous to forget, your work and labour of love. He comes and His reward is with Him to give to every one as his work shall be.
What we would impress concerning our Lords return is all summed up for us in a startling statement in the hook of James:
THE JUDGE STANDETH AT THE DOOR
First of all, God comforts persecuted and impoverished saints with the fact of Christs soon coming:
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord, Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh (Jas. 5: 7-8).
Afterward, God warns grudging saints with the words:
Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned (Jas. 5: 9).
Then God says:
BEHOLD, THE JUDGE STANDETH AT THE DOOR.
In these last days we need an enlarged and scriptural conception of Christ as JUDGE, at His Coming.
Saints should live more cautiously and consistently if they grasped the fuller meanings of The Judge at the Door.
1. Christ at His Coming will judge the saints at His Bema in the air (2 Corinthians 5: 10).*
2. Christ will judge the inhabited earth for its wickedness, during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11: 18).
Christ will judge living
4. Christ, after He steps on Olivet, will judge the nations for their treatment of the Jews (Matthew 25: 31-46).
5. Christ will judge the world during His reign on Davids throne: (Isaiah 9: 6; Acts 17: 31).
Thus we see, undoubtedly, the judge-ship of Christ. However, in our present study we must narrow ourselves [Page 66] down to one consideration: The Bema Judgment, or the judgment of all believers at Christs Coming. His judgment Seat will be set, neither on the earth nor in heaven, but in the air. Thither all in Christ both the dead and the living, will be raptured at Christs coming for His saints.
We now propose, by Gods aid, to dwell more especially upon that phase of Christs Judgment Seat which has to do with His unprofitable servants.
The songs of those who received rewards for having done good, is the more pleasant theme. The sorrows of those who have done bad, is the more needed theme.
Think for a moment! Are the majority of saints, the spiritual or the carnal? the good or the bad? the serving or the slackers?
It is good to cheer on the faithful, it is likewise necessary to warn the weak. This latter we will seek to do.
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brothers way.
Three statements are forcefully set forth:
1. We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Not one can escape.
We may absent ourselves from the assembling of saints down here, but we must stand before Christ up there.
2. We shall bow the knee, and confess with the mouth to God.
There is nothing covered that shall not he revealed; or hid, that shall not be made known. The whole story of our lives, as Christians, must be laid bare.
3. We shall every one, give in HIS OWN ACCOUNT.
Our records must be spread before Him. The statement of our Stewardship must be rendered.
It is easy to display anothers evil deeds. At the Bema we will be held to our own deeds, and ours only.
In view of these three divine SHALLS as set forth above, the [Holy] Spirit does two things:
1. He asks, Why dost thou judge thy brother? or, Why dost thou set at naught thy brother?
If we lived in the light of the coming judgment seat of Christ where we must pass in our own record, we would do more sweeping at our own doorstep, and less at our brothers.
CONCERNING THIS PHASE OF THE BEMA JUDGMENT CHRIST GAVE US SOME STARTLING REVELATIONS.
2. He admonishes, Let us not therefore judge one another any more.
And why should we? Wherein we judge another, we, alas, too often condemn ourselves, for we do the same thing.
1. Christ established a basis of judgment relative to offences.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brothers eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brothers eye. (Matthew 7: 13).
This scripture needs no comment. It means what it says: Our Lord will judge us, after the manner in which we judge others.
2. Christ set forth a condition of divine forgiveness.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespass, neither will your Fattier forgive your trespasses. (Matt. 6: 14-15).
A wayfaring man, cannot mistake the meaning of this quotation. It is this: If we do not forgive, we will not be [Page 68] forgiven. If we are not forgiven, then what? Simply this, we must pay the price.
3. Christ fully revealed the results of an unforgiving spirit.
(a) He gave orders as to our attitude toward a brother who trespassed against us.
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matthew 18: 15-16).
Observe that our dealings with an offending brother must first be between him and thee alone. We dare not publish anothers sin to the winds.
(b) He gave us a criterion on forgiving our brother who trespasses against us.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18: 21-22).
We who seek forgiveness may do well to remember this seventy times seven as Gods standard, transmitted to us for our obedience.
(c) He gave a parable setting forth the method in which God punishes the unforgiving saint.
This was given in answer to Peters query How oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Here is the parable:
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his [Page 69] fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. (Matthew 18: 23-28).
That was a poor way for one who had just been forgiven, to talk. Pay me!
And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him in prison, till he should pay his debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18: 29-35).
People who become angry at others, often boast about it, and pat themselves on the back, saying, It is a way I have. They think it is funny, Do you justify yourself when you fly into a rage and harbour a bitter heart, and an angry spirit toward your brother?
Your Lord forgave you so great a debt. You never could have paid Him what you owed. He went to the Cross, and died for you. Having taken the punishment due you, and having borne your stripes, He freely forgave you. He opened the prison bars and set you free. Will you in turn, seize your brother who owes you so little, and cast him into prison?
The servant in the parable, who cast his own servant into prison till he should pay all that was due, was in turn cast into prison. Hear Christs conclusion: So likewise shall your Heavenly Father do unto, you. Think you, that you can be unforgiving, and escape Gods condemnation?
Remember, grace is no license to licentiousness. Grace never gives any man a leeway for hatred against his brother.
How oft shalt thou forgive thy brother?
How often has thy Lord forgiven thee?
[Page 70] Thy debt was great; it could not greater be,
And yet, thou art forgiven and set free!
Wilt thou not then forgive thy brother
Or, wilt thou thrust him in the darksome jail,
And cause him at thy ignominy to quail
Until he pays thee all thou dost entail?
If thou wilt not forgive thy brother,
As thou hast done, thy Lord will do to you:
Hell punish thee till thou hast paid His due;
In all His dealings God is righteous, true.
There is a vital connection between the final warning of Christ in Matthew 18: 34-35, and the words in Romans fourteen. Mark the last verse of the parable:
And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to his tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. (Matthew 18: 34).
Then, you remember, there followed these shocking and solemn words:
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18: 35).
Evidently the Lord severely punishes the unforgiving saint - but when and where?
In this life, beyond a doubt - for it is written:
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou are rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Hebrews 12: 5-7).
However, suppose the Lords child does not profit by his Fathers rod? Suppose he does not profit by his Fathers correction, nor afterward yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness - then what? Suppose he continues in his evil way?
It is just here that Romans fourteen takes up the warning: Let us read again verse ten,
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14: 10).
We are first questioned about judging our brother in view of the fact that we must answer for our own deeds: then in verse 13, we are urged not to judge one another any more.
On the other hand in Romans 15: 7 we are admonished:
Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
Forgive? Ill go my foe one better:
If he hungers, him Ill feed.
If he thirsts, Ill meet his need,
Ill forgive, as God to me
Didst forgive iniquity.
Forgive? He owes me but a little:
How can I Gods love forget,
And refuse to pay my debt?
Help me Lord, Thy love to know,
Unto all Thy mercies show.
2. THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST AS SEEN IN 1 COR. 3: 8-15.
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: Ye are Gods husbandry, ye are Gods building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every mans work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every mans work of what sort it is. If any mans work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any mans work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet, so as by fire.
The day shall declare it, (1 Corinthians 3: 13) evidently looks on to the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is there that we shall give our account. It is there that every one [Page 72] shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
In the scripture before us:
1. The saved are labourers together with God. We are labourers not for God, so much as with God. We are labourers building upon Jesus Christ, the divinely laid foundation.
As labourers we should take heed how we build.
2. There are two classes of material set forth, the one is gold, silver, precious stones; the other is wood, hay, stubble.
The first class stands for spiritualities, as set over against carnalities. The one is the service of saints who live after the spirit, and sow to the spirit; the other is saints who live after the flesh, and sow to the flesh.
3. There are two results in building.
The one who builds gold, silver, precious stones, receives a reward; the one who builds wood, hay, stubble, suffers loss.
Let us follow the sad estate of the latter, the one who suffers loss.
(a) His judgment is a judgment of fire.
The fire shall try every mans work of what sort it is.
The fire does not destroy the gold, silver, nor the precious stones.
The fire utterly consumes the wood, hay, and stubble.
Carnal Christians stand before the Lord empty handed, saved, so as by fire. They have no trophies to lay at their Masters feet.
(b) The one whose works are burned suffers loss.
Paul ill his early life suffered the loss of all things that he might win Christ. His sufferings because of his worldly loss, were intense; his joys will, by and by, be entrancing.
The carnal believer saves his life from suffering for Christ; he shuns the cross, while he pampers the flesh: thus he loses his life in its possibility of rewards. At the coming of Christ he suffers loss. His suffering, in the realm of lost [Page 73] rewards, will be just as real and intense as was Pauls suffering loss, in the realm of earthly gains.
Once more let us turn aside to two of our Lords messages on the faithful and unfaithful servants; even as a moment ago we turned back to examine our Lords message concerning the unforgiving servant.
A. We will consider Christs parable of the talents. This is found in Matthew.
And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lords money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them (Matt. 25: 15-19).
We have read a simple and yet sublime parable of the present day occupation of saints.
Christ has gone to heaven for an indefinite period. When He comes again He will call His servants for reckoning. We have time only to consider the slothful servant who went and hid his talent in the earth. He was wicked and slothful, nevertheless, a servant.
To each man, the pounds were allotted according to his ability. The Master went away, and returned after so long a time. It was then that the servants were called for their reckoning.
It is easy to say that this evil servant in the parable represents those in the church who are not saved, instead of the saved; the professor instead of the possessor.
The simple facts are these: First of all our Lord does not place His talents in the hand of the unregenerate; secondly, there are many among the truly saved who are hiding their talents* in the earth.
[* NOTE. What is meant by hiding their talents in the earth? ANSWER. Refusing to disclose scriptural truths to others, what the Holy Spirit has disclosed to them!]
Besides, this judgment of works takes place at Christs return when only the saved are judged for their works. The [Page 74] judgment of the works of the unregenerate [and regenerate] wicked,* take place at the Great White Throne one thousand years later.
[* See Psa. 1: 5. cp. 2 Pet. 3: 17; Num. 16: 26; Matt. 18: 32; 1 Cor. 5: 13.]
What then was the lot of the wicked and slothful servant? In 1 Corinthians 3: 15 he suffers loss. In Matthew 25: 28 he loses his talent first of all, and then, in verse 30, he is said to be cast into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Beyond doubt so serious a sentence as outer darkness and weeping and gashing of teeth startles us.
We therefore immediately ask several things:
(a) Will Christians at Christs coming be judged according to their works? They certainly will be so judged, according to many scriptures.
(b) Will negligent Christians suffer loss? Certainly, yes.
B. Christs parable of the pounds. This is found in Luke.
It was given because the people thought that the
Here is the parable:
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well done, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art in austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow. Wherefore [Page 75] then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by. Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds). For I say unto you, that unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me, (Luke 19: 12-27)
The nobleman who goes to the far country is Christ. The servants are the saints who occupy between the interim of Christs going to be with the Father, and His return to receive His own unto Himself.
At His coming the Lord will seek to know how much every man has gained by trading.
The rewards have to do with and centre in the reign of Christ about to be inaugurated. They will he given out according to each mans gain.
The wicked servant who laid up his pound in a napkin is reproved for his slothfulness, and his pound is taken from him.
We may well dread the day of His coming, if we have failed to use our pound.
Remember, the wicked servant of this parable is not accused of but one thing - a failure to occupy, to trade, to do business for God.
It is no small matter that so many [regenerate] believers waste their time. They sit around as though they had nothing to do, forgetting that God hath said: And to every man his work.
We are labourers together with Christ Jesus. How then can we sit idly by while the fields are white unto the harvest?
Nothing to do! There is everything to do. Millions have never heard of Christ [or of His Millennial Kingdom upon this earth, when the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8: 21).]. Every city and village and community, even in our own land has its un-reached and even un-solicited populace.
God pity those Christians who are mere seat-warmers, with their pounds wrapped up in napkins.
The do nothing servant had [will have] no easy lot, in the day of the kings return.
Sin hastens. Let me haste,
I have no time to waste;
Up let my motto be,
And on across the sea
Until salvations word,
By evry soul is heard:
May I no duty shirk,
Lord, may I truly work.
Oh, Saviour let me be
From loitering set free;
Be this my faithful vow,
To do Thy bidding now;
To go where Thou dost say,
To follow in the way,
And then Gods praise to share
In His great overthere.
3. THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST AS SEEN IN 2 COR. 5: 9-11.
Wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it is good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (2 Corinthians 5: 9-11).
We have considered the Bema Judgment in its relation, first, to the unforgiving servant; second, in its relation to service. We now consider it, in its relation to conduct according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Solemn things lie before us. Christian people the country over, have an idea that the saved can live as they like, and that it will not matter when they stand at the Bema.
1. Gods call is to holy living.
Grace is full and free in [eternal] salvation. However, according to Titus 2: 11-12 The grace of God that bringeth salvation ... teaches us that, denying ungodliness and worldly [Page 77] lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Christians may walk after divers lusts, but they should crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof.
Christians may sin, however, God has written, Little children, I write unto you that ye sin not.
Christians may stumble and falter by the way, however, God has said Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling (stumbling).
Lord, may I live what I profess;
The faith I hold, may I possess
In life, and words, and holiness:
Lord, keep me true.
To doctrine I would give due heed,
Yet, may my life adorn my creed,
Thus meeting all my brothers need
In what I say, and do.
2. Pauls ambition was to be accepted when he stood at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He said:
Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted. (2 Corinthians 5: 9).
Do we labour to stand approved?
In First Corinthians 9: 24-27 Paul, in speaking of so running that he might receive the incorruptible prize, said:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should he a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9: 27).
Do we purposefully and determinately so run?
To labour that we may stand approved of Christ at the Bema, is a hallowed ambition.
Peter spoke in the Spirit, of giving all diligence to adding spiritualities, For, said he:
So an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1: 11).
Let me so fight that I may stand confessed,
All robed in white, among Thy very best:
May I a crown of radiant glory wear,
And enter in with Thee Thy joy to share.
Let me so run that I may stand approved,
By all the foes which battle never moved;
And then may I a victors laurel wear,
A wreath both incorruptible and fair.
3. At the Judgment Seat of Christ we will receive according to that we have done in the body, whether good or bad.
May we quote again a part of our scripture:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Cor. 5: 10).
(a) We shall receive for the GOOD we have done.
No one will hesitate to say a hearty Amen! Yea, all will even add an enthusiastic, Hallelujah!
We all believe in, and we all rejoice in rewards for our good.
(b) We shall receive for the BAD we have done.
Now we hesitate. I hear no Amens! Instead, many begin to tremble. What think you - shall saints at the judgment in the air receive for the bad they have done? According to our scripture - yes.
You ask at once - what will they receive? Certainly not crowns, and kingdom glories.