by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XVII

August, 1937

Number 1.

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

The epistle known as Paul's letter to the Ephesians should be called "Paul's General Epistle."  The words "in Ephesus," are not in the oldest manuscripts.  

The saints addressed in the general epistle had heard the evangel of their salvation, (1:13), before this epistle was written.  What better place to look for it than in Romans?  What Paul taught orally, he also taught by epistle, (I Cor. 15:1, II Thess. 2:5).  He wrote to the saints in Rome before visiting them, and gave them the evangel of salvation.  It necessarily includes justification.  This is said to be by faith, apart from works, (Rom. 4:1-5), and thus our justification is distinguished from that of the Circumcision who enter the kingdom.  Theirs is by faith AND works, (James 2:24).  We are justified graciously, by His grace, because of the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, (Rom. 3:24).  It is of faith that it may accord with grace, (Rom. 4:16).  The general epistle, (Ephesians), does not tell us we are saved by grace.  It says we are saved FOR grace, (2:8), and unless we are ready to conclude that we are saved by works, we must accept Romans as having been written to some of the same saints addressed here.  

Those addressed in the general epistle are said to be chosen in Christ before the disruption of a world, (1:4).  They have been previously designated for the place of a son, (verse5), and to have part in the administration of the complement of the eras, with Christ, (verses 10, 11).  The Roman saints are chosen ones, previously designated to be conformed to the image of His Son for Him to be the Firstborn among many brethren, (8:29-33).  Nothing is said about any works they are to do, to confirm their calling and choice.  Such IS required of the Circumcision saints who go into the kingdom, (II Peter. 1:10). 

Thus Romans and the general epistle, (Ephesians), are connected, while both are set apart from the epistles of Peter. 

In the general epistle, saints are seated together among the celestials, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the oncoming eons He should be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in his kindness to them in Christ Jesus, (2:6, 7).  The Roman saints are to have Christ as the Firstborn among them.  Those to whom Titus ministers are to be about Christ, (laonperiousion - a people about being, Titus 2:14).  Seated with Christ among the celestials - a group of brethren with Christ in the midst - a people being about Christ.  How can anyone fail to see these connecting links?  

The saints addressed in the general epistle were dead to their offenses and sins, (Eph. 2:1).  The Roman saints had died to sin, (Rom. 6:2).  

Those to whom the general epistle is written are the ecclesia which is the body of Christ, (Eph. 1:23); the Corinthian saints are the ecclesia which is the body of Christ, (I Cor. 12:27, 28).  In each case there is the body of Christ, (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:4).  In each passage there is one baptism.  

Not only is it true that the presence of similar passages forms connecting links; but, strange as it may seem, the absence of certain passages in one, while they are present in the group, also shows a connection.  In the general epistle we find no mention of justification.  Surely no one would conclude that we have no need of justification.  However, this great truth cannot be proven as applying to us, unless the pre-prison epistles, as well as those Paul wrote while a prisoner, are ours.  

In Philippians, another of the prison epistles, we find the term "exanastasin," - out-resurrection, (3:11).  In Romans 1:5 we have the same expression, "exanastaseos."  In each passage the reference is to the resurrection of some, out from among others.  This is the form all resurrections will take, until that day when unbelievers will be resurrected for the judgment.  When the ecclesia which is the body of Christ is called from death at the coming of the Lord in the air, it will be an out-resurrection.  When, later, the saints of Israel are called out of death, it will be an out-resurrection.  In each instance, some will be left dead.  Phil. 3:11 does not set this epistle apart from the pre-prison epistles.  The other three prison epistles are Colossians, II Timothy and Philemon.  

The ecclesia had an organized form when I Corinthians was written.  One was to be excluded from membership, (I Cor. 5).  When Paul wrote his second letter to Corinth, (or the one that is called II Corinthians), he instructed that the excluded one be consoled, but did not say restore him to membership, (II Cor. 2:7).  The reason of this is found when we reach chapter 6, where Paul calls on believers to come out, since the organization had taken in so many unbelievers - the natural result of sectarianism.  In the general epistle, (Ephesians), and the other prison epistles, there is no thought that the ecclesia is other than an organism - certainly it is not an organization.  

In I Cor. 13, the ecclesia is a minor, but maturity is promised.  In the general epistle maturity has come.  All are sons, having been previously designated for this position.  The purpose of the readjustment is that all come to the realization of a son, (Eph. 1:5; 4:11-16).  The things of a minor have been discarded.  Some of these were the gift of healing, the gift of tongues, the ability to work certain miracles.  

These gifts appeal to the soul - not the spirit.  Therefore soul is mentioned often in those epistles written to the in its minority.  In the late epistles soul in not found.  Minority having passed, saints are supposed to be interested more in spirit.  

In I Tim. 3:15 the ecclesia is seen as a house, no doubt denoting its organized form.  There it is declared to be the pillar and base of the truth.  In II Tim. 2:21 the same house is seen as containing vessels for honor and dishonor.  It has become a great house.  Alas! how much greater it is now!  Paul declares that if any one would be a vessel for honor, useful to the Owner and ready for every good act, he should purge himself from the vessels for dishonor.  

In the pre-prison epistles the ecclesia is a body in which the Jew has an advantage over the man of the nations.  Hence, we find, "to the Jew first," (Rom. 1:16).  In the general epistle the body becomes a joint body, in which the Jew has no preeminence, (Eph. 3:6).  This is the secret mentioned there.  The one body is not the secret; it was known long before, (I Cor.12:13).  

Another secret in the same chapter is the secret administration, which had been concealed from the eons in God, (verse 9).  The saints who were addressed in the previous epistles were not in the secret administration when those early letters were written.  But they were brought over into it, bringing with them the same teaching concerning salvation, justification, etc., and now in the general epistle they are informed as to the "why" of things.  

Here they learn that while they were saved BY grace, (Rom. 3:25), they are also saved FOR grace, (Eph. 2:8).  Were they learn that while they had been designated before hand, to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, (Rom. 8:29), they are also designated before hand to occupy the place of a son, and also to have part in the administration of the complement of the eras, when the universe is headed up in the Christ, (Eph. 1:4-11).  

In the era preceding the secret administration believers among the nations were apart from Christ, being alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and guests of the promise covenants, having no expectation and without God in the world, (Eph. 2:12).  All this statement, beginning with the words "being alienated," tells in what respect they were apart from Christ.  They were connected with Him in spirit, but they were aliens so far as Israel was concerned, and what blessings they received were gotten as guests of Israel.  While it had been reveled that they have a heavenly destiny, no service among the celestials had been revealed.  Therefore they were without expectation in this respect.  On the other hand, they had no expectation of blessing on earth.  They knew what the God of Israel would do for the covenant people.  God would not do this for the ecclesia.  They were without God in the world.  

In the general epistle all this is cleared up; they are to render service among the celestials.  Also the middle wall of the barrier was broken down.  The ecclesia of Israel is temporarily set aside, and the ecclesia which is the body of Christ is a joint body.  The Jew has no more preeminence.  

So far as present service is concerned, that is revealed in the Philippian letter.  It consists of testing things that are final, (1:10).  In other words, things of minority are gone.  Only that dignified service of maturity remains.  

All are sons now, but, because of the need of re-adjustment, many do not realize it, (Eph. 4:13).  Because of false teaching and a lack of correctly partitioning the word of truth, the effects of the re-adjustment Paul mentioned have long been lost.  Efforts of those who teach concordant truth is to re-adjust the saints.  

ACTS 28:30, 31

"Now he remains two whole years in his own hired house, and he welcomed all those going in to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God, and teaching that which concerns the Lord Jesus Christ, with all boldness, unforbidden."  

Have you ever read an article based on these two verses? 

The editorial in the September issue will deal with this.  Be sure to read it, and order extra copies at once. 

Five copies for a dime; 15 for 25 cents. 

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