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 XXI

April, 1942

Number 9.

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

"A thousand years in Thy sight are as yesterday when it is past," Ps. 90:4.  Time with God, has not the limitations it has with us.  The future, to Him, is as vivid as is the past.  Not only so, but, as the poet said: "God holds the future in His hands."  

I will be generous with my figures, and say the whole course of the eons will comprise 30,000 years; and that the average life of man is 50 years.  These figures are much too high, but I will let them stand, so there will be no cause for complaint that I have undershot the mark.  Even if it were true that every moment of the life of every person is devoted to sin and suffering, this would be but one hour and twelve minutes each in God's sight. 

From 942 to 1942—myriads of events occurred.  A few of the outstanding ones are: the discovery of America by the Norsemen; the discovery of the West Indian Islands by Columbus; the war between England and France, that made the former supreme on the Atlantic seaboard in North America; the Revolutionary War that saw the birth of the United States; the career of Napoleon which ended in disaster for this would-be world ruler; the War of 1812; the War with Mexico in the 1840's; the War Between the States; the War with Spain in which we acquired possessions in the Far East; the First World War; the beginning of the Second World War.  That period saw our own country grow from thirteen colonies on the Atlantic coast, to a powerful nation that borders the Pacific on the west, and extends from the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico on the south, to Canada on the north. 

These and all other great events were not only known to God-before any of them occurred, but they were the same as in the past, with Him.  

During the same period there were millions of small events that attracted no world-wide attention.  There were the wails of widows; the cries of orphans; blunders and mistakes, (sins), on the part of everybody; the hunger of paupers and the affluence of millionaires, to mention only a few.  The wind blew in one direction one day and in the opposite direction the ext day.  There were floods, droughts, earthquakes, suffering on every hand.  All these, too, were known to God beforehand, and, in effect, were past with Him.  

Did God truly know all these things would take place?  Surely, no one will dispute it.  Suppose they had not taken place.  In that case, God did not know it; He just thought it.  If He KNOWS anything is going to occur—knows it so well that, in effect, it is as the past yesterday—is there any power in the universe that can keep it from occurring?  

"But," argues one, "knowing that it would occur is not the same as causing it to occur.  Not all these events are of God."  

People argue thus, with full assurance that they are correct. But the assurance does not come from the word of God.  It originates in their own minds.  The scripture says: "All is out of Him and through Him and for Him," Rom. 11:36, (Concordant Version).  what does the King James Version say?  "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things."  Does that make it any "better?"  

I am indebted to Brother D. Mann of Los Angeles, Calif., for the reminder that the scripture does not tell us all is out of God until we are first instructed as to His goal.  The reason is plain.  If God has in store for part of the human family, eternal ruin, He is the worst of fiends, if all that occurs is out of Him.  But if He will to save all mankind, and has provided vivification and justification for them in Christ, then the "all" that is out of God is intended by Him to eventuate in His glory and in the blessing of His creatures.  

True, we are told that God hides the truth from certain ones, Matt. 11:37; and that Israel did not believe because God had blinded their eyes and calloused their hearts, John 12:39, 40.  But this is not saying that all is out of God.  In the former cast we are told that it delights God to hide His truth from some, and in the latter we are assured that when Isaiah used the words quoted by John, he perceived the glory of Christ.  Man, in his unbelief, has nullified both these passages by saying, in the first instance, that God did not hide the truth form any one, but merely did not reveal it to them; and in the second instance that God blinded Israel because He could not get them to believe!  These examples show how impossible it is for any one to believe that any evil is out of God, unless that one knows what God's goal is.  

In I Cor. 15:22-28 we are told in detail that all shall be vivified in Christ, and in Rom. 5:18 we are assured that through one just award there is justifying of life for all mankind.  Both these passages were written before Rom. 11:36.  If we believe what they say, we can easily believe that all, both good and bad, is out of God, and that none of it is brought about with a view to eternal ruin.  It is all a prelude to salvation in its fullest sense.  

The difference between God's will and His intention should be emphasized.  Paul did not ask, in Rom. 9:19, "Who hath resisted His will?"  He asked, "Has anyone withstood His intention?"  The word for will is not in that passage.  It is BOULEMA, intention, which is the effect of counsel.  The farmer's own counsel tells him that if he is to realize the fulfillment of his will in the fall, and have an abundant harvest, he must do much laborious work in cold and heat, in making the crop.  It is not his will to do this, but he forms an intention to do it, in order to have his will fulfilled when harvest time comes.  God takes counsel with Himself.  It is His will that His creatures shall respond to His love in fullest measure, so as to satisfy His loving heart.  His counsel tells Him that they must first taste the dregs of sin, suffering and ruin.  It is not His will that these things should, for a while, mar His creation; but it is His intention that such shall be the case, for in this way only, can His will be fully realized.  

It pained God to make the fugitive serpent—he whom we call Satan Job 26:13.  That passage says, "His hand travailed with the fugitive serpent."  Satan was a necessity, but God found no pleasure in creating him.  Neither does He find pleasure in his deeds.  But all of it is in accord with His intention.  He who says all good is out of God but all evil is not, expresses, not faith, but unbelief.  God is the source of all, whether it be brought about by Satan, or Christ, as the immediate cause.  Satan was the immediate cause of Job's miseries, but the scripture tells us that Job did not charge God foolishly, when he said God was the Cause, Job 1:20-22.  

It is not hard to see the beneficent outcome of the evil committed by Judas in betraying Christ, and of that committed by those who crucified Him.  Faith will accept the statement that ALL, whether good or evil, is out of God, and will eventuate in god at the consummation.  There is much more evil than good during the eons.  It is the experience of evil which God gives to the sons of Adam, to humble them, Eccl. 1:13.  Surely all will admit that humility is good.  Well, it requires evil to bring it about.  

 God creates light, darkness, peace and evil, Isa. 45:7.  While evil by itself, has no moral tinge, yet, many times, a person sins in doing evil, I Chron. 21:17.  Sin is one of the "all" that is out of God.  He provided for it when He created Satan, and He set the stage for its entrance into the human family when He put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden and gave Satan access to man.

We can see that unbelievers need much humbling.  But the same is true even of saints.  Without evil we would be "lifted up," II Cor. 12:7.  Paul was not the only with a thorn in the flesh.  The thorn is a messenger of Satan, given to us to buffet us.  Grace does not remove it,  but saves us in spite of it. 

Yes, all is out of God.  Not only so, but all is through God—He is the channel of all, whatever might be the immediate cause.  And all is for Him.  Nothing shall be wasted—not the slightest pain or sorrow or evil or sin.  He will make use of it all.  

But there is also good during the eons.  This has been the case all along.  It, too, is out of God, through God and for God.  If we do anything good, God is the Cause of it, using Christ as the immediate Cause, just as He is the Cause of evil and sin, using Satan as the immediate cause.  Whatever faithfulness to God and His truth we may find in ourselves or in others, let us give God the glory for it, through Christ.  We probably would not do this if we were not conscious that sin yet makes its home in us, and that we are in a body of death, Rom 7:7, 24.  

God forbids sin.  This is because it is not in keeping with His will.  But He does not punish sinners.  He chastens them.  This is for their good and His glory.  If we say He should not chasten them, since all is of God, then let us be consistent, and say He should not give happiness to His saints when they serve Him, for this, too is out of Him.  "It is God Who is operating in you to will as well as to work for sake of His delight," Phil. 2:13.  Yet we find delight of spirit, ourselves, in working for the sake of His delight.  

Does it seem that sin, evil and suffering last a long time?  With God, it is but a month, even if the eons comprise 30,000 years.  And it is much less than an hour, in the average individual case.  Matters seem so terrible to us, because we wee, during our whole lifetime, but a small fragment of the eons.  God sees all at a glance.  Taken as a whole, He is justified in causing so much sin and suffering, for it is necessary to His glory and the good of His creation.  And it is on this ground that sinners shall all find that their lives are justified.  Doing sin with a sinful motive is extremely bad.  But, as it is all necessary for God's glory, each sinner shall find justification in Christ.  

God knows the outcome of the present world conflict.  We wonder why this and that was not done.  The appalling inefficiency of our own government in defense preparations, should not be astonishing to us.  Quick preparation and sufficient management would shorten the sufferings that the nation must endure.  But the War is already ended, so far as God is concerned.  It is as if had occurred yesterday. 

What does it mean to have faith?  Abraham, one great example of the man of faith, believed God.  Paul said the faith that counts is the faith that operates through love.  If you believe God, and love Him, you have the faith that operates through love. 

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