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

October, 1942

Number 3

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

My readers often minister to my spirit without knowing it.  In their letters they say things that come from the heart, never thinking that these expressions are gems, and lighten my burden and refresh my spirit.  Not only do they send money for subscriptions and more besides, to aid in the work, but their simple words are a tonic to me.  

The letters from which I take extracts in this editorial are no different from hundreds of others.  I select them almost at random. 

One refreshing thing is the fact that several have ordered extra copies of the September issue, never reminding me that part of it is printed so badly as to be almost unreadable.  The bad printing was not my fault.  Nor do I censure anyone else for it. 

My kind friends do not remind me of these bad spots in paper.  They see good in what they can read, and want their friends to read it.  God bless them for this kindness! 

One brother sends his own renewal and a new subscription for a friend, and says, "Start it with the September number if possible."  Others have written me of receiving great blessings while reading that issue.  As will be remembered, it was on the topic, "The Experience of Evil."  God gives this experience to the sons of Adam to humble them.  And we need not think it will not be so.  The time will come when all humanity will stand humbly in the presence of God, loving Him with their whole being and responding fully to His great love, because they have known evil and good - the greatest of all good, the salvation that is in Christ.  

"I have told some of them how wonderfully helpful it is to have such a REALIZATION of their POSITION in Christ."  This is from another letter, and lifts my spirit.  It reminds me anew, that our position in Christ is one thing, while our walk may be something else.  True, our walk should reflect our position.  But it does not always do so.  And certainly our position in not always in accord with our feelings. The trouble is, the church has put too much stress on feeling.  Such is a soulish religion.  

But our position in Christ does not depend on our conduct, or our feeling.  Faith, which is God's oblation, or His gift to us to win our favor, operates through love.  We may wonder if we believe as we should.  Perhaps our faith is weak.  But we know we love the Lord , and we want to be well pleasing to Him.  This shows that we are complete in Him, Col. 2:10.  

One of the most pitiable characters is the saint who does not know his position in Christ.  He thinks it depends on what he does, and is conscious of his failure to measure up to the standard.  This makes him miserable, and he never has the assurance that is the portion of the one who realizes his position in Christ.  

In Christ!  No one is literally in Him. The phrase is a figure of speech - a short way of telling truth.  It is equivalent to saying that in God's reckoning, Christ's merits, His virtues, are ours; His death and resurrection are ours; His completeness is ours.  Yes, it means all that and much more.  This is why it rejoices my spirit when I remember that I am in Him, I have no virtue, no merit.  I have not actually died to sin; I have not actually been roused and seated with Him among the celestials.  I am far from complete.  But He has virtue, merit, and if I am in Him, God sees me as having these.  I am to reckon myself dead to sin, because God so reckons.  Faith tells me that in the stripping off of the flesh of Christ I am circumcised; that in His death, burial and resurrection I am baptized.  This makes me complete in Him.  Why should not my spirit exult when I read the sentence copied from the letter afore-said?  

And here is a letter in a different vein.  It is easy to see what the writer thinks of himself.  He says. "No one besides myself knows me as well as you do.  Please deal graciously with me.  I don't know what I would do if I thought you were offended at me.  I feel nearly enough that I am a cast-away, without thinking that you are against me."  Does this letter minister to my spirit?  It most certainly does.  The saint has no privilege that is greater than the privilege of dealing graciously with a brother who loathes himself and feels that others loath him.  I deal graciously with this brother, not because he has asked me to do so, but because God is constantly dealing graciously with me.  Col. 3:12,13.  There is not a day that I do not need the grace of God.  Neither is there a day that I do not need the gracious dealing of my brethren and sisters.  I am so "blundersome," that I am almost always afraid I will offend someone. If grace characterizes God and His Christ, why should not gracious dealing characterize the saints?  Those who do not know God, can be hard.  Shall we imitate them, or shell we be imitators of God, as beloved children, and be walking in love, Eph. 5:1,2?  

We do not have to condone wrong doing, when we deal graciously with our fellow-saints.  What follows the verses above referred to, should constitute much of our teaching.  But if we do not teach in love, and manifest a real sympathy for the erring, our teaching is in vain.  

"I have almost finished my journey," writes an aged saint.  And my spirit soars with delight as I read these words.  Why should this be so?  For one thing, I am thinking of my own father and mother, who died last November.  They delighted in thoughts of the coming of the Lord, and were waiting for Him.  But the years had pressed hard on their bodies, and they were tired.  As the Lord tarried, the next best thing for them was to lie down and rest until His coming.  They wanted to rest.  They had no fears, except that human trembling as death approached.  Now, with the world like a boiling pot of filth, they are blessedly unconscious of it all, and lie in calmness and peace, and nothing except His gracious call is needed, for them to enter into endless bliss.  Then my mind formed a picture of the one who wrote the words with which this paragraph begins.  Like my own dear ones, she is tired.  Yes, my spirit exulted as I read her words.  

But she immediately added that she expects to be roused and be fashioned in the likeness of Christ's body of glory.  When she spoke of nearing the finish of her journey, she was not unmindful that it was only her earthly journey.  She looks forward to the beginning of a new career that shall never be impaired by age, or cut short by death.  

"To be together with Christ," Phil. 1:23, will be the solution, not only of the problem that confronted Paul as he wrote these words, but of all problems, as well.  Come to think of it, how many real problems have any of us ever solved?  Oh, the problems and perplexities that confront us!  Problems of life, living, conduct, food, clothing, homes, friends, service, health, transportation, society, death.  If we think we have solved one or more of these, they do not "stay solved."  It has to be tried over and over.  Here we have no career worth mentioning.  But His blessed coming will not only solve all problems, but it will also start us on our real careers.  We shall then really render service.  The things that hinder us will be absent.  My spirit is lifted up when any one mentions "the Lord's coming." 

But while waiting for His coming, I need food, clothing, means of transportation, and funds with to publish the Messenger.  The saints are not unmindful of this.  The ecclesias I serve are made up of poor people, in large part, and their donations to me are supplemented by saints in other places.  It is not unusual to receive a letter bearing a dollar, saying, "Renew my subscription for a year, and keep the balance for the work."  Many of these letters are from people who have never seen me.  Paul says such giving is IDEAL, Phil. 4:14.  This is a ministry, no less than the words of cheer concerning spiritual matters.  I am deeply grateful for such gifts. 

And while waiting for His coming, there is something else I need.  We all need it, and there is danger of losing it, amid the trials of life.  That is a sense of humor.  It is as needful as many other things we have.  So the following, which came through the mail today, is a real ministry to me: "Keep you balance with a sense of humor, remembering that he, who laughs last didn't see the joke in the first place." 

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