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

May, 1942

Number 10.

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

A person who has been promised a large sum of money, might say, "I have several thousand dollars, in prospect."  He means that, while he does not actually have the money, he is expecting it, and has no doubt it will be given to him.  This, evidently, is Paul's meaning when he says: "For we were saved, in expectation," Rom. 8:24.  What is being expected is mentioned in the preceding statement.  It is "the sonship, the deliverance of our body." 

We often speak of a person as already saved.  While it is true that salvation is a fact from God's standpoint, and has been ever since Calvary, yet no one is actually saved so far as fully experiencing salvation is concerned.  Those of whom we speak as already saved, are merely in touch with Christ in a way that they are expecting salvation.  Such ones have the first fruit of the spirit and are groaning in themselves, awaiting the sonship, the deliverance of their bodies. 

I said they are in touch with Christ.  In other words, they have a contact with Him.  Others do not have this contact.  What is it—this contact with Christ?  

"Now if anyone has not Christ's spirit, that one is not His.  Now if Christ is in you, the body, indeed, is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is life because of righteousness," Rom. 9, 10.  Putting these two sentences together, we are forced to conclude that if Christ is in you, it is His spirit that is in you, and not His body.  A human has a spirit, and it is life, but not because of righteousness.  As a matter of fact, it is life in spite of unrighteousness.  But when the spirit of Christ comes into a person, the human spirit becomes life because of righteousness.  Life apart from righteousness is a very poor specimen of life.  It does not lead one to seek God, not does it make one desire to turn away from sin.  

But the spirit of Christ comes into us and makes contact with our spirit, and then we do seek God.  We do desire to run away from sin.  No one accidentally acquires a yearning for God.  No one changes his own desires in the matter.  "Those who are in accord with flesh are disposed to that which is of the flesh, yet those who are in accord with spirit, to that which is of the spirit," verse 5.  Paul tells us further that the disposition of the flesh is death, yet the disposition of the spirit is life and peace.  Those who are in accord with flesh, have a spirit that leads hem to seek only that which is of the flesh.  But if a person is in accord with the spirit of Christ, (for that is evidently the spirit under consideration, since the spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus is mentioned in the preceding paragraph),  that person's spirit will act differently; it will dispose hem to that which is of the spirit.  The inability of mankind to be disposed to the spirit, is emphasized in the following words: "The disposition of the flesh is enmity to God, for it is not subject to the law of God, for neither is it able.  Now those who are in the flesh are not able to please God," verse 7, 8.  

Putting it more plainly, the person whose spirit is not touched by the spirit of Christ, has neither disposition nor ability to please God.  On the other hand, the spirit of Christ enlivens the human spirit, so that it leads one to turn toward God, and gives that one the ability to conform his thinking to accord with God.  

The disposition, as mentioned by Paul, should figure largely in our teaching along this line.  It is often said by preachers, that all a man has to do, to be saved, is to change his disposition toward God.  A little reflection should teach us how impossible this is.  The disposition is controlled by the spirit in us.  If that spirit is not in contact with the spirit of Christ, it is merely a human spirit, separated from God by sin, and, therefore, unable to alter the disposition to accord with God.  The spirit of Christ changes the disposition, because it makes our spirit life, because of righteousness.  

Going backward to the first of the chapter, we find: "Nothing, consequently, is now condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.  They are not walking according to flesh, but according to spirit."  Why are they walking according to spirit?  Is it because they chose to do so?  Is it because they changed their own disposition?  No!  "The spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus frees you from the law of sin and death," verse 2.  The law of sin and death so binds and hampers one that he is as unable to change his disposition, as he is to "take wings and fly."  The sinner must be set free from this slavery.  The spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus does this.  

The word, "law," in that passage, means a principle.  We speak that way of the law (principle) of gravitation..  Christ is the life Giver.  He is the One Who will finally abolish death.  The law (Principle) of life is in Him.  It is His spirit.  Its first act in our experience is to cause our spirit to be life because of righteousness, so that our disposition is changed.  When this is done, we are said, in a figure of speech, to be "not in flesh, but in spirit."  

I must refer to the two kinds of "not" in this chapter.  One is the absolute negative, and is expressed by the Greek word, OU.  It is used several times.  NOT yet one is condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, verse1.  The disposition of the flesh is NOT subject to the law of God; NOT yet is it able, verse7.  Those who are in the flesh are NOT able to please God, verse 8.  You are NOT in the flesh, verse 9.  If anyone has NOT Christ's spirit that one is NOT His, verse 9.  We are NOT debtors to the flesh, verse 12.  You did NOT get slavery's spirit again to fear, verse 15.  The sufferings of this current era do NOT deserve the glory about to be revealed for us, verse 18.  The creation was subjected to vanity, NOT voluntarily, verse 20.  The creation is groaning and travailing together until now; yet NOT only so, but we, etc., verses 22, 23.  And so on.  

The other "not" is expressed by the Greek word, ME.  It is not the absolute negative.  It means "comparatively speaking."  I might say to a six-foot man who is standing beside a seven-foot one, "You are not (ME) tall."  I mean he is not tall as compared with the other. But if I were speaking to a four-foot man, I would say, "You are not (OU) tall."  In the latter case, it would be an absolute fact that he is not tall.  In the former, he is not tall, comparatively speaking.  

This word is used in the chapter under consideration, in connection with the walk of those who are in Christ Jesus.  They are not walking according to flesh, verse 2, compared with those who are unbelievers.  But we would be mistaken, and would discourage thousands of saints, if we should say it is absolutely a fact that they never walk according to flesh.  They do, many times.  But not as unbelievers do, for the latter walk all the time in this way, while believers walk much of the time according to spirit.  The word is used again in verse 4, where the phrase is repeated.  

It is not in vain to call attention to this difference.  God used the two words, and he certainly had a good reason for so doing.  And all saints who are acquainted with their own weakness, are glad to learn that an occasional step according to flesh is not to be taken as a sign that they are not in Christ.  Nay, the fact that they do walk at times in accord with spirit, shows that, however grievous may be their failures at other times, they are, nevertheless, saints. 

Simultaneously with the spirit of Christ, we also obtain the spirit of God, and it makes it home in us, verse 9.  This is the spirit of Him who rouses Jesus from among the dead.  The spirit, anticipating the resurrection of our bodies, gives to them even now, a practical vivification, so that they are able to respond to the disposition of the spirit, which disposition now actuates us in thought and desire.  This is why our bodies, although dead to God, actually engage in serving Him.  An electric current, applied to the tendons of a dead fowl, will cause the toes to move as if alive.  The current of God's spirit it is able to cause a body that is dead to Him, to respond to the disposition of the spirit that is in touch with Christ's spirit.

Let it be understood that we are not saved because we chose God.  He is the One doing the choosing.  In our chapter we find that saints are called "God's chosen ones," verse 33.  When we find one desiring to choose Christ, this is proof that God has chosen that person.  Not only so, but it proves that the spirit of Christ has already come in contact with His spirit.  Many people take the effect for the cause.  A love for God, a longing for Christ, a desire to live righteously because it will please God, etc., are evidences that Christ is already in the person having these emotions.  Teaching is needed, so he may understand just what has taken place.  This is the function of the evangel.  It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who is believing.  

One who is saved, in expectation, is one who is being saved.  I Cor. 1:18.  To such a one the word of the cross is the power of God.  To one who is not being saved, the same word of the dross is stupidity.  This shows that God must prepare the heart to receive and appreciate the evangel.  One is not saved in consequence of voluntarily becoming interested in the evangel.  If he has this interest, it is evidence that he is being saved.  

The message for today is: "God holds nothing against you.  We are beseeching for Christ, 'Be conciliated to God,'" I Cor. 5:18-20.  We should not try to frighten sinners.  We should not represent God as a heartless tyrant.  He is love.  This is a day of conciliation.  Our plea should be for conciliation on the part of mankind.  There is no restrictions, so far as we are concerned.  It is our privilege to proclaim this message to all who will listen, and beseech all to be conciliated to God.  He will take care of the results.  We know that no one will be thus conciliated, except those who "obtain the conciliation," Rom. 5:11; and we know this is entirely in the hands of God.  But we should preach and beseech, as if we expected every person to respond. 

I think most of my readers are already believers.  If any are not, I beseech them, "Be conciliated to God."  I do not beseech you to accept Christ, since He has given me no such message.  "Be conciliated."  He holds nothing against you; you should hold nothing against Him. 

Brother W. H. Bundy of Kissimmee, Fla., will, the Lord willing, hold services at Grace Tabernacle, Glennville, Saturday night and Sunday, March 28 and 29 and in Augusta, April 9 and 12, inclusive. 

Brother Bundy is a very precious brother.  He and Sister Bundy are devoted to the cause of God.  They are doing a great deal in securing new subscribers for the The Messenger.  I am deeply appreciative of this. 

Slaves of God who are courteous and kind to each other are to be greatly appreciated.  Brother and Sister Bundy are of this type.  They would never think of trying to build themselves up at the expense of others, nor would they use any advantage they might possess, to hurt others. 

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