[All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Version translation. Note. This tract has alink attached which should be opened.]
"And He spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow ; and as he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured them : and others fell upon the rocky places, where they had not much earth : and straightway they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth : and when the sun was risen, they were scorched ; and because they hath no root, they withered away. And others fell upon the thorns ; and the thorns grew up, and choked them : and others fell upon the good ground, and yielded fruit, some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty"(vv. 3-8).
". . . Hear then ye[ ‘disciples’, v. 10, that is, "Christians" (Acts 11: 26) for this Sermon is addressed primarily to them. See (5: 1, 2)] the parable of the sower. When any one heareth THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM, and understandeth it not, [then] cometh the evil [one], and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart. This is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it ; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while ; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth. And he that was sown among the thorns, this is he that heareth the word ; and the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. And he that was sown upon the good ground, this is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it ; who verily beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty.
Another parable set He before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field : but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares [or, darnel] also among the wheat, and went away. But when the blade sprang up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. And the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? Whence then hath it tares? And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he saith, Nay ; lest haply while we gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. Let both grow until the harvest ; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, gather up first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them : but gather the wheat into my barn"(vv. 18-30).
" . . . Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house : and His disciples came unto Him, saying, Explain unto us the parable of the tares of the field. And He answered and said, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man ; and the field is the world ; and the good seed, these are the SONS OF THE KINGDOM ; and the tares are the sons of the evil [one] ; and the enemy that sowed them is the devil : and the harvest is the end of the world [Gk. "age" ]. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of HIS kingdom all things that CAUSE STUMBLING, and them THAT DO INIQUITY, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall THE RIGHTEOUS shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears, let him hear."(vv. 36-43.)
[Note. In Matthew the words : "the word of the Kingdom" (13: 19); and in Luke the words used are : "The word of God." (Lk. 8: 10) In Matthew, we read the words: "the Kingdom of Heaven" (13: 24, 31, 33); and in Luke, we read: "the Kingdom of God" (Lk. 8: 10). These terms are shown in these Gospels to be synonymous.]
What are "tares"? The following definition is found in Black’s Bible Dictionary:-
"Any variety of vetch, but in the N. T. probably bearded darnel, a pestiferous weed which spreads of itself, yet is capable of having its seeds sowed by an "enemy" of the farmer (Matt. 13: 25-52). Not until the seed of the tares ripens and grows yellow can this weed be distinguished from the wheat among which it grows : hence the practical advice of the householder in the parable to allow both to grow together until the harvest. Farmers assign to their wives and children the tedious task of pulling out the tare kernels one by one from the good grain after the harvesting. If tares are ground into meal they spoil the flour, and often cause dizziness and nausea when eaten. The bundled tares are burned (v. 40) or fed to chickens."
And in W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Bible Words we read:-
"A kind of darnel, the commonest of the four species, being the bearded, growing in the grain fields, as tall as wheat and barley, and resembling wheat in appearance. It is credited among the Jews with being degenerate wheat. The Rabbis called it "bastard." The seeds are poisonous to man and herbivorous animals, producing sleepiness, nausea, convulsions and even death (they are harmless to poltry). The plants can be separated out, but the custom, as in the parable, is to leave the cleaning out till near the time of harvest,Matt. 13: 25-27, 29, 30, 36, 38, 40. The Lord describes the tares as "the sons of the evil one :" false teachings are indissociable from their propagandists."
It has been said:-
"the importance of Matthew, chapter thirteen has been recognized by students of Scripture over the years"
". . . from the standpoint of prophecy, the most important chapter of all the New Testament" (A.W. Pink).
"If this one chapter could be rightly understood by the professing Church, the consequences would be most far-reaching" (Arno C. Gaeblein).
As a young believer, I soon became dissatisfied, and at times disturbed by many of the popular modes of interpretation of this particular section of the Word of God. It is generally believed that ‘the word of the kingdom’ is another expression for the Gospel of the grace of God ; the ‘tares’ represent all the unregenerate ; the ‘good seed’ includes all the people of God ; the words ‘kingdom of their Father’, means His eternal kingdom ; the ‘righteous’ are all who are justified by faith in Christ Jesus ; and the burning of the tares is understood to refer to the eternal doom awaiting the lost in the ‘lake of fire’.
We’re living in times when the teachings of men are shown to be contrary to the teachings of the Word of God. Nowhere is this more evident than ‘in the realm of Bible prophecy’. It has been rightly stated : "The church has been associated with the kingdom to such an extent that many times one is thought of as a synonym of the other. Through this one error alone confusion reigns supreme in the minds of many Christians, and, consequently, the entire future program of God as set forth in His Word remains sealed to these same Christians" (A. L. Chitwood).
All the parables of Matthew chapter thirteen are closely linked to each other, and they have nothing whatever to do with eternal salvation, the gospel of the grace of God, being justified by faith, ie., declared righteous by the imputed righteousness of God. This should be evident at a glance by the numerous statements made by Christ in this parable.
(1)"Then cometh the evil one and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart" (19) ; (2) "Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while ; (3) and when trouble or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth" (21) ; (4) "The care of the world and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word" (22) ; (5) "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity" (41).
Let it be stated from the outset that the teaching of this chapter has to do with those whobear fruit and those who are unfruitful (vv. 22, 23): and regenerate believers can fall into either one of these two categories!
Salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, DOES NOT DEPEND UPON THE FULFILMENT OF ANY OF THE ABOVE FIVE STATEMENTS. If it did, our eternal salvation would be by our works, and we could be saved today and possibly lost tomorrow! Eternal salvation cannot be snatched away ; nor attained by our endurance. Nor is it choked by our unwatchfulness, our care of the world, or the deceitfulness of riches. None of these things, or our attitude toward them, can have any effect upon the free gift of God - our eternal life (Rom. 11: 29): but they most certainly have everything to do with a believer’s fruitfulness and his reward. (Eph. 2: 8, 9. Cf. Col. 3: 23, 24. ; Eph. 2: 10 ; - "we should walk in them".).
In the following exposition* of the tares (called ‘weeds’) the importance and need of divine grace throughout the Christian life has rightly been recognized and emphasized; but the adoption of a popular mode of interpretation by teaching the ‘tares’ are all unregenerate, and the ‘good seed’ are all ‘sons of the kingdom’, is very misleading.
[* From Watching and Waiting Magazine, January/March, 2003.]
by Philip I Beeman
(Mr Beeman wrote this article for an early issue of 'Watching and Waiting' in 1919).
The dictionary explains that the word ‘weed’ is ‘the general name of any plant that is regarded as useless or positively troublesome’.
It may be remarked that useless things of any kind are generally troublesome, but that some troublesome things can be trained to be useful. This is a great mercy, and it is a mercy for which all God’s people have reason to be thankful. They know there have been periods in their lives when they have been exceedingly troublesome to God, but He in great mercy has dealt with them by His gracious Spirit and they have reason to hope He has not left them to be utterly useless ‘weeds’ waiting to be gathered up and cast away.
But to return. There is a saying which passes for wisdom amongst men, that, ‘Ill weeds grow apace.’ Those who devised this saying spoke from experience. In the spring of the year there is evidence that this statement is absolutely true. Those who tend their own gardens know that whilst it is often extremely difficult to induce a plant to take root and grow and thrive, it is, on the other hand, a matter of an almost impossible character to prevent weeds growing. Weeds grow anywhere and everywhere without the least trouble, and sometimes in spite of all effort to prevent their growth.
It cannot be denied that some gardeners, by great care and attention, succeed in keeping down the growth and spread of weeds, but let such relax their efforts and the ill weeds will quickly make their existence manifest.
The stubborn perseverance of the Dandelion and similar weeds is well known. Nothing short of the complete extirpation of each individual plant seems to have any success in checking its growth. The leaves and blooms may be severed from the root, but fresh ones spring up to take their places. The root may be severed, but beneath the surface it gathers fresh strength and the portion thus left expands and presently the weed shows itself again, stronger, if possible, than before. The vitality in this weed is remarkable, and even when the root is buried beneath stones or gravel it will force itself through. The power of the root is so great that it can dislodge stones of considerable size.
Why is attention drawn - in a magazine such. as ‘Watching and Waiting’ - to a matter of this kind? The answer is simple. The Lord Jesus has spoken of the evil of ‘tares’ - a noxious and hurtful weed - and therefore it must be in accordance with the spirit of the gospel that a gospel magazine should witness against the same evil.
In accordance with the manners and customs of the country, the Lord Jesus was in the habit of using figurative, or illustrative, language. When He spoke of ‘tares’ He did not imply that actual and material weeds were planted in the human mind, but by way of explanation He pointed out to the people that as ‘tares’ or ‘weeds’ injure the growth of the wheat, so false professors injure the growth and prosperity of His own people - His vineyard. They are sown there by the wicked one. They introduce false worship, false ways, false doctrine. They often work and grow ‘underground’ before showing themselves. The underground growth of some weeds is remarkable. These weeds can send their ‘tendrils’ for long distances beneath the ground before a suitable spot is found for forcing a way to the light, and it is most difficult to trace their turnings and twistings when seeking to discover and eradicate the growth. How characteristic this of the ways of those who creep in amongst the ‘disciples’ in order to strangle the true, seed of the Word.’
As the assembly of believers needs to watch against the introduction and work of ‘tares,’ so every individual Christian needs to watch himself. The growth of ‘weeds’ is incessant. They crop up in the most unlikely places. They are apt to take deep root before the believer is aware. The old divines knew what they were speaking of when they referred to, root sins. Many an ill weed has a long strong root. It is difficult to ‘uproot’ these. The root may be cut, but it will shoot forth again, and thus it is with sin. If left unchecked undisturbed, sin takes deep root. It spreads. It crops up when least expected. It needs, therefore, to be fought, resisted, watched, prayed against. It often presents itself in an attractive form and seems so like something good. A little relaxation of watchfulness here, a little carelessness there and before one is aware ill weeds have sprung up. A little indulgence in sloth, some sin unconfessed, some neglect of prayer, some growing weary in the reading of and meditation upon the Word, and sure enough there will be a rapid spread of ‘weeds.’
Those who know the most about gardens and farms will acknowledge that any yielding to the growth of weeds means lessened crops, or else a very great effort to recover lost ground. In suitable weather weeds grow with remarkable rapidity. Ground may seem to be cleared of them at night, but more will appear the following morning.
And thus it is with the ‘garden’ of the soul. The Lord Jesus did not give unnecessary warnings. He said ‘Watch and pray.’ To watch is to observe - to keep a vigilant outlook, and this is what all need to do. Unless a vigilant outlook is kept the enemy is sure to gain a footing. Unless a vigilant outlook is kept the ‘weeds’ will grow amazingly fast.
God is pleased in His Word to use many outward and material facts to illustrate spiritual realities and when He gives warnings as to the danger of ‘tares’ it is for all to seek to profit by such warning.
The ploughman can only plough straight furrows as he looks ahead. If he looks down at his feet the furrows will be crooked. In like manner we can only run with success the race set before us as we look to the Lord Jesus and wait upon Him for wisdom, grace. patience and understanding.
Notice the words: "As tares or weeds injure the growth of wheat, so false professors injure the growth and prosperity of His own people." And again : "Those who creep in amongst the disciples". Here it is implied that the ‘weeds’ are composed only of unregenerate people. And I suppose the statement by our Lord : "The tares are the sons of the evil one" (13: 38), would be presented as a proof for such a supposition. But let us remind ourselves of our Lord’s other words: " The good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom" (v. 38).
Now it has been pointed out above that these words cannot be linked to the Eternal Kingdom of God, for eternal life is a free gift, and is not dependant in any way upon a believer’s works : the word "kingdom" in this place must therefore refer to our Lord’s Millennial Kingdom.
Here is a question of great importance for every Christian to ponder : ‘Can all believers in Christ be described, at all times, as "good seed" that is, as being fruitful toward God: in other words, actively righteousness? Was it not when addressing His disciples, Jesus said: "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 20). And the apostle Paul warning ‘the church of God’ at Corinth, said : "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived : neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6: 9-10).
It is a fact that many disciples of Christ do fit into one or more of these categories; and regenerate believers today, living lives in disobedience and wilful sin, are presently lying under this same condemnation? It is a matter of fact, that there are many who refuse to face up to this truth ; and others imagine they are exempt from such a warning, on grounds of faith in Christ alone. While some, righteous in their own eyes, cannot see they are the ones being targeted : ‘We are Christians, this is for "false professors" : no regenerate believer is capable of acting in this manner!’ But, according to the Scriptures, we can and ARE capable of acting like tares:-
1. "I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators ; not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters ; for then must ye needs go out of the world : but now I write unto you not to keep company, if any man THAT IS NAMED A BROTHER be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner : with such a one no, not to eat. For what have I to do with judging THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT? Do not ye judge THEM THAT ARE WITHIN, whereas them that are without God judgeth? Put away the wicked man FROM AMONG YOURSELVES" (1 Cor. 5: 9-13. Cf. "wicked" - Exek. 3: 18 with 1 Cor. 5: 13).
2. "For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God. Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, in the which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feed the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. I know that after my departing grevious wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock ; and FROM AMONG YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20: 27-30).
3. "Howbeit with most of them" - [ i.e., redeemed Israel in the desert as they journeyed toward their inheritance in the land of Canaan]- "God was not well pleased ; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. NOW THESE THINGS ARE OUR EXAMPLES to the intent WE should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted" (1Cor. 10: 5, 6).
4. "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to LIE TO THE HOLY GHOST . . . How is it that thou hast conceived this thing in thy heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. . . And great fear came upon the whole CHURCH" (Acts 5: 3, 4, 11).
Mr. Beeham has rightly written:-
"So every individual Christian needs to watch himself", and "if left unchecked undisturbed, sin takes deep root. It spreads. It crops up when least expected. It needs therefore, to be fought, resisted, watched, prayed against. It often presents itself in an attractive form" [like many today within God’s church who push themselves forward and ignore responsibility truths and conditional promises.] "and seems so like something good. A little relaxation of watchfulness here, a little careless there and before one is aware ill weeds have sprung up. A little indulgence in sloth, some sin unconfessed, some neglect of prayer, some growing weary in the reading of and meditation upon the Word, and sure enough there will be a rapid spread of ‘weeds.’ "
But, on the other hand, his words: -
"They [‘God’s people’] know there have been periods in their lives when they have been exceedingly troublesome to God, but He in great mercy has dealt with them by His gracious Spirit and they have reason to hope He has not left them to be utterly useless ‘weeds’ waiting to be gathered up and cast away"
- are misleading because they imply that none of ‘God’s people’ will be ‘cast away’.
It is true, and thanks be to God for this truth, that none of us can be cast away relative to our eternal salvation. That is as secure as the righteousness of Christ, and His precious blood; but, is that the only inference where similar words of rejection are to be found in the Word of God? No, it is not!
1. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot" - [says the Spirit to the church at Laddicea] - : "I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I WILL SPEW THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH" (Rev. 3: 15, 16).
Not many years after the Apostle’s initial warning to the church at Ephesis we read: "I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, AND REPENT and DO THE FIRST WORKS ; or else I will come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, EXCEPT THOU REPENT"(Rev. 2: 4, 5. Compare with Acts 20: 17, 25-32).
To remove a church’s ‘candlestick’, is to stop its witness to the truth concerning ‘the kingdom of God’. This can be done individually either by physical death or by spiritual blindness.¹ It appears to have been the case that Paul’s prophecy had then taken effect . The "whole counsel of God" was not being declared, and, from among their own selves, some were teaching "perverse things", and drawing "disciples after them". Numerous conditional promises and divine threats to disobedient disciples were ignored, or transferred to someone else. Responsibility truths and the importance of good works were seldom - if ever - talked about. Selective rapture and selective resurrection were disbelieved, and everything may well have been offered unconditionally on bare faith alone. The time of death had replaced the time of resurrection (2 Tim. 2: 18); and the "prize" for those ‘accounted worthy’, was changed into a "free gift" to be received by all alike. (Phil. 3. Rom. 5.)
As the "good seed" in the parable must represent all "the sons of the kingdom" (v. 37), that is, all who bear fruit by doing good works in obedience to Christ; "the righteous" (vv.23, 43); so the tares must represent all the unregenerate, and must include all the disobedient from amongst the regenerate who are here described as "unfruitful" (v. 22) and "the sons of the evil one" (vv. 38, 39)
Note the word "one" in italics. This indicates that it has been added by our translators to give us, as they suppose, a better understanding of the text. But, on the contrary, the inclusion of this word infers that only the unregeneate do Satan’s work. Is that a fact? No. It is NOT!
"And He [Christ] began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He spake the saying openly. And Peter [i.e., the disciple who had previously disclosed Jesus’ true identity as the Messiah.] - took Him and began to rebuke Him. But He turning about and seeing His disciples, rebuked Peter, and saith, GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN : for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men" (Mk. 8: 31-33).
Peter, on this occasion, was actually being used by Satan as a human instrument to do his work in seeking to deter our Lord from the path of obedience, suffering, and death. Are there none within the church today, who act and give similar advice to those who are seeking to obey the Lord’s commands at all costs? Most certainly there are, and they are disciples of Christ!
An ounce of evidence and practical experience, is worth more than a ton of theory and assumption: and since this type of behaviour is typical of the tares in this parable, we conclude that many disciples of Christ shown themselves, by their attitude and behaviour, to be tares.
Tares do not understand "the word of the kingdom", they bear false testimony concerning it ; their conduct has a strong tendency to restrict one’s growth in holiness; they seek to deter believers from suffering "for righteousness sake" (Rom. 8: 17b cf. Matt. 5: 10) ; Tares have no concern of being "accounted worthy" of the kingdom (Lk. 20: 35); tares interpret everything in the light of eternal verities, and, generally speaking, have no faith in a Millennial Kingdom of Christ upon earth; tares fail in their ministry regarding the consequences of wilful sin in the life of a believer( Heb. 10: 26). As far as the tares are concerned all is secure on bare faith in Christ. (see also Matt. 13: 38 ;Heb. 10: 26 ; 2 Pet. 3: 17 ; Jude 4, 5, 11, 16, 19. 23).
There is coming a time when, according to numerous unfulfilled prophecies of God, Christ’s glory will be displayed on earth in the coming age, and a conditional offer is now extended to each and every Christian to participate in that glory and kingdom. When this age ends, and before the next age begins, there will be a separation of ‘the righteous’ from ‘them that do iniquity’ , and only those who are actively righteous will ‘shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.’ "He that hath ears, let him hear" (Matt 13: 43).
It has rightly been stated : "The restoration of THE EARTH was linked to man and his rule, not to Satan and his rule. The earth under its present curse however, is linked to Satan’s continuing rule emanating from man’s inability to rule in his present former condition. God restored the earth for man to rule over. But following man’s disqualification at the hands of Satan, God placed the entire creation under a curse. Adam fell as the federal head of the restored creation, and Satan continued to rule. But God will not allow Satan to rule over a restored earth out from under a curse. So long as Satan continues to rule, the earth will remain under a curse. Only when he is deposed will the curse be lifted (cf. Rom. 8: 19-22)
Satan’s success in bringing about the First Adam’s fall necessitated the appearance at a later date of the Second Man, "the last Adam" (1 Cor. 15: 45, 47). As the First Adam had a confrontation with the incumbent ruler, so must the Last Adam (Luke 4: 1-13). Jesus not only showed He was fully qualified to take the governmental reigns of the earth, but He, as the Lamb of God on Calvary’s Cross, paid the price to redeem what the First Adam forfeited in the fall." (A. L. Chitwood).
However, Jesus did not immediately remove the creation from its present reigns of government. Satan and his angels continue to rule. During this time - the present age - the Holy Spirit is seeking "they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world [Age]," - that is, the Millennial Age. (Luke 20: 35 ; Rev. 20: 4-6). Only those judged to have qualified will rule during that time, the remainder will remain in Hades ; and from there there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" : particularly from those who have lost their birthright, that is, "the recompense of the inheritance" (Col. 3: 24) as firstborn sons of God (Heb. 12: 17). Then "the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears, let him hear" (Matt. 13: 42, 43. Cf. Matt. 7: 21-29 ; 1 Tim. 4: 8 ; 2 Thess. 1: 4, 5 ; 1 Thess. 1: 12 ; Phil. 3: 14-17. Etc.).
Christian! Let us take great care against disqualifying ourselves from this great honour ; let us see to it that we do not act like TARES. We bring glory to God by beingfruitful. If we abide in Christ and His words abide in us, then we will bear fruit, and be likened to a branch abiding in the vine. (John 15: 1-8)
Unfruitful Christianswill not inherit the millennial kingdom ; they will be cut off. ²
It has been said that our Lord was hated by those who taught trifles because He taught the TRUTH. Let us now have a look at one of these truths which He taught HIS DISCIPLES:
"Every branchin me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away" (Jn. 15:2) Every regenerate believer has a responsibility to abide in Christ so as to bear fruit unto God. "Apart from me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered ; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. . . Abide ye in my love. If YE KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, ye shall abide in my love" (vv. 9, 10).
No comment is required to understand this plain statement. We either believe Jesus, obey His word and bring forth fruit, or we disbelieve Him and remain barren - that is, like tares - ‘propagandists’ spreading their ‘false teachings’! IF we obey His commands, we will remain in His love (V.10) ; and when we speak the truth of His word, we will be hated by the world (vv. 18-20). Is this not a fact of life? It is the believer who teaches the truth who is hated, ostracised, and persecuted by ‘worldly Christians’?
So teaches the apostle Paul also :- "Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well: by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not high minded, but fear : for if God spared not the natural branches, neither will he spare thee. Behold then the goodness and severity of God : toward thee, God’s goodness, IF THOU CONTINUEIN HIS GOODNESS : OTHERWISE THOU ALSO SHALT BE CUT OFF" (Rom. 19-22a).
"Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer SERVICE WELL-PLEASING TO GOD with reverence and awe . . ." (Heb. 12: 28).
‘How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith IN HIS EXCELLENT WORD!’
". . . and others fell upon the good ground, and yielded fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He that hath ears, let him hear" (13: 8, 9).
1. To open : "Blindness Within The Church", click here
2. To be "cast into the furnace of fire" (Matt. 13:42) as a withered branch is cast into the fire (John 15: 6), does not imply the loss of eternal life. It is a loss of "the prize of the high calling of God", which the Apostle Paul sought to attain (Phil 3: 14), and for which faithful believers "were tortured [‘beaten to death’ Gk.] not accepting their deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection" (Heb. 11: 35b ; Phil. 3: 11 ; Rev. 20: 4-6 ; Lk. 14: 14. Etc.).
During work on this tract, an interesting television programme was shown on BBC 2, Jan. 14th, 2003. It was a "documentary focusing on road transport in Britain which claims eight lives per day, and 800 injuries". The documentary was called : "COLLISION COURSE", and featured three drivers involved in fatal car crashes. One of these drivers was interviewed, and during his interview, we were shown several alternative routes and options he had before the crash. It was pointed out to driver and audience alike, that if he had taken an alternative route to travel to his destination the horrific fatal accident would have been avoided.
As I watched this programme, based on true facts and circumstances leading up to a fatality, I could not help but think on the "collision course" which many people of God are presently travelling along. These people appear to be ‘wilfully ignorant’ and some of them may even ‘snear at what confessedly they do not understand’. Like the unforeseen and impending danger which lay ahead for the car driver, they too are unaware and blinded to impending danger; others may have a consciousness of the danger, but have decided to doggedly pursue their present course of neglect to conditional promises and divine threats. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that many more lives than eight per day are being lost within the family of God in this way, which may well have been saved if only these ignorant and disobedient Christians would have taken more care, and exercised true repentance and found divine restoration. (Rom. 2: 2-6) For if a regenerate believer, after receiving knowledge of the truth, continues to pursue such a "collision course" of wilful sin without repentance, it will inevitably lead to a loss of life in the coming age. (Heb. 10: 26, 27 ; Rom. 6: 16 . cf. 1 John 3: 24 ; 2 Pet. 3: 8, 9; Rev. 2: 9-11 ; 3: 21).
W. H. Tindle.