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 XXII

September, 1942

Number 2

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

The non-satisfied state of mankind is pictured in restless, ever moving, non-stopping nature.  Ecclesiastes begins with this theme.  The sun rises and goes down and rises and goes down again; the wind goes in one direction and turns and blows in another direction, only to change again; the rivers run into the sea but find no stopping place there.  In the form of vapor they leave the sea, in the form of clouds they float over the earth, and in the form of water they are soon rushing toward the sea again, only to repeat the process perpetually.

This is a picture of mankind.  All is full of labor.  The eye is not satisfied with what it sees, not is the ear satisfied with hearing.  Nothing new takes place.  History is continually repeating itself.  In a measure we can forecast the future movements of man and of nature, by knowing their past.

The writer of Ecclesiastes gave his heart to seek out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens.  His verdict is: "It is the experience of evil which God gives to the sons of humanity to humble them by it."  To know this is wisdom, indeed.

All the works that are done under the sun amount to vanity and a feeding on wind.  They all leave mankind in a non-satisfied state.  No stopping place is found.  The writer of that book obtained great wisdom.  While this is good in its place, it does not afford satisfaction.  He amassed a great fortune.  Even this proved to be a diet of wind.  He tried madness and folly.  In all this there was the same lack - no stopping place - no satisfaction.  He was still living in vanity, and eating wind.

The creation was subjected to vanity, Rom. 8:20.  And it has no means of eradicating itself from this state.  Century after century it moves in a circle, and after thousands of years mankind is no nearer satisfaction by its own efforts, than were men in the days agone.

I an not denying that many worthy and useful things are done.  Construction work and other matters that help civilization are worthy.  And certainly wisdom is to be greatly appreciated.  The same is true of knowledge.  These can be a great boon to humanity.  I do not want to be understood as discouraging such things.  But the point I make is, they leave something to be desired.  They leave the doer in a non-satisfied state.

If the restlessness in nature is a picture of the restlessness in man, in the doing of material things, the latter is a picture of man's religious life, and of the religious life of humanity as a whole.  God did not intend that Israel should find satisfaction and perpetual rest in performing the ritual He gave the nation.  There was nothing permanent about it.  The same things had to be done over and over again and again, throughout the lifetime of each individual.  And when one came to fullness of years and looked back he was conscious that very little had been accomplished, religiously.  No resting place had been reached.

The religion of the nations (Gentiles), was along the same line.  God did not give this religion by a public declaration.  Yet, who can doubt that He did give it?  It was very similar to the ritualism of Judaism - a constant round and grind of sacrifices and ceremonies, year after year, with no resting place to be found.  In the Galatian letter Paul classes the Gentile ritualism with that of the Jews.  The Gentiles had turned from their own religion and had followed Paul, afterwards they had adopted the religion of Judaism.  Paul said they had gone back to the infirm and poor elements of the world.  We know they had not turned back to Paganism.  But they had turned to something of the same nature.

The sum of what I have tried to say is, every activity, whether in religion or otherwise, leaves man in a not-satisfied state.  He may not be dissatisfied with what he has done.  But he in conscious of something lacking in his heart and his life.  This is true even if he is performing worthy projects.  It is even more true if he turns, as Solomon did, to folly.  There are those who follow a life of frolic and revelry.  They seek for one thrill after another.  None of them completely satisfies.  There is an internal loneliness and misery.  Something is lacking.

Even those whom we call professional hoboes - those who are constitutionally opposed to work - are not satisfied.  These "weary Willies" are constantly on the move, however slow.  They do not stay long in one place.  In the place where they are going there is nothing they did not have in the place they left.  But that not-satisfied state drives them on and on.

Christendom today is engaged in the treadmill of ritualism that never has a resting place.  Having adopted part of Judaism and some of Paganism, church meetings are, in large measure, composed of one form and ceremony after another - intended to secure either salvation or some other blessing.  But no ritualist has ever learned just where to stop.  When has he done enough to secure rest and feel secure?  He does not know.  There is a feeling of uneasiness n his mind.  So the weary grind continues year after year, until he lies down to die, and even then he in not sure he has done enough to secure salvation.  He cannot rest, either during his active years, or when he is old and facing death.

It is all the outworking of the fact that the creation was subjected to vanity.  It is the carrying out of the experience of evil which God gives the sons of Adam, to humble them.  There is rest and ful assurance, but it is found in Christ.  So long as mankind is proud and haughty, and self trusting they will never trust Christ or find rest in Him.  They must be humbled.  The experience of evil will continue until it does this.  This experience will follow some even to the judging before the great white throne.

In Colossians is a wonderful lesson for the saint of the present day.  We are told that we are complete in Christ, chapter 2.  If we are aware of our completeness in Him, it will be hard for religionists to despoil us through philosophy or empty seduction.  The former is in accord with the traditions of man; the other in accord with the elements of the world.  Philosophy tries to find rest without regard to religion or ritual.  The elements of the world is another name for religion.  It may apply to Judaism or Paganism.  As the ritualism of Christendom is a mixture of the two, it can well apply to the feverish and non-consummated activities of Christendom - the grind that keeps its devotees chained to the treadmill.

Circumcision is declared in that chapter to have been accomplished by the stripping of the flesh of Christ.  This has reference to His crucifixion, which is true circumcision.  Israelites had a bit of flesh stripped off.  This should have shown them that flesh has no standing with God.  Instead, they felt proud over the rite, and believed that they, in flesh had a standing above that of other men.  Now, that we know that even the flesh of the precious Sod of God had to be stripped off, and in as much as we believe we ire in Him, and that His crucifixion was our true circumcision, we can no longer have confidence in flesh.

In the same chapter we are told that baptism has already been performed in the death, burial and rousing of Christ.  Finding ourselves in Him, we know we have been truly baptized.  We need no other baptism. 

If we are aware of these things, we have had the experience of evil to an extent that we trust Christ, and find rest in Him.  We have learned that our works—even our religious works—can never make us complete.  But we do not need to make ourselves complete, for this has been done for us.  

We have learned that we are not subject to any religious decrees.  Those that the Jerusalem Council brought the Gentile saints under, have been abrogated.  They do not burden us in the least.  Knowing this, we are not concerned with doing the ritual of Judaism, Paganism or Christendom.  We regard Easter as any other day.  For us there is no new moon festival.  The so-called Christian Sabbath is not our Sabbath.  We observe it as a day of cessation from work because the State tells us to do it.  But we have found our Sabbath in Christ.  The first day of the week is as any other day to us.  There is no religious prohibition concerning foods or drinks, that we are bound to observe.  

As flesh has no standing before the Lord, so are the things produced by flesh of no importance to us, except as a matter of convenience and physical comfort.  A fine church house means nothing.  A convenient, comfortable one is welcomed by us; but in the absence of one, we feel just as much liberty rendering service to God under a brush arbor or out on the hillsides under the blue canopy of the heavens.  Gaudy clothing does not make one seem any nearer the Lord.  Many Saints are clad in poor raiment, but they are precious to us.  We have passed the point where we delight in parading that which is seen.  We thank God for it.  In the matter of devotion we have found a stopping place in Christ.  We rest in Him, while we render homage to Him and to the Father.  For us the treadmill of ritualism does not exist.  We have been humbled, and henceforth we want to abide in and enjoy Him who is our Completeness.  

The experience of evil will continue until it has disgusted man with all his efforts to save himself.  As I have said, with some this will not be true until the day of the great white throne judgment.  But it will take place.  And, in due time, the grace of God, through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, will save all, and the entire human family will find rest and peace in Christ, the Savior. 

If You Move

Notify me at once, please giving old and new address.

This will save me a lot of trouble and expense.

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