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

November, 1942

Number 11

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

"If then you are roused together with Christ, be seeking that which is above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  Be disposed to that which is above, not that on earth, for you died and your life has been his together with Christ in God.  Whenever Christ, our Life, should be manifested, the you, also, will be manifested together with Him in glory," Col. 3:1-4

This passage completes the argument that begins with verse 8 of chapter 2.  It has to do with the fact that we are complete in Christ, 2:10.  It does not deal with our moral conduct or our attitude toward each other; a discussion of that begins with 3:5.  Every thought expressed in the passages between 2:8 and 3:4, inclusive, centers in the fact that "you are complete in Him."  

We have not experienced actual rousing, such as will be the portion of saints who are brought from death at the advent of the Lord.  Rousing, at that time, will mean a return to consciousness, as resurrection will denote the upstanding of the body, and vivification will mean life beyond the reach of death.  I repeat, we have not experienced rousing in that sense.  But we have something which is like it, in that we now have a consciousness of God and of Christ, such as unbelievers do not have.  This come because the spirit of Christ has touched our spirits, (Rom. 8:10), and our spirits have become life through righteousness.  We experience this figurative rousing through faith in the operation of God Who rouses Christ from among the dead, Col. 2:12.  

God reckons Christ's death as our death and our circumcision, 2:11.  He reckons Christ's burial and resurrection as ours, and also as our baptism.  He reckons Christ's vivification as ours.  We have not experienced any of this.  But, as I have said, we do experience a consciousness of God and of Christ, and this is figuratively spoken of as having been roused together with Him.  We are in position to enjoy God and His blessed Son, and to render divine service.  Being conscious of God, we love Him.  Faith operates through love.  

That Christ died to sin, is not emphasized in our present study.  He died from the elements of the world, 2:20, and we died with Him.  When Paul mentions the elements of the world he has reference to the ritual of Judaism, Gal. 4:9.  Those who demanded His crucifixion were ritualists.  Not only sis sin kill Him; ritualism had a big hand in it.  

The uselessness of ritual is emphasized in our study.  We do not need circumcision, for we are circumcised in the stripping off of the body of flesh of Christ, 2:11.  Baptism is useless, for we have been baptized in His burial and resurrection, 2:12.  The law under which the Jewish ecclesia put saints, Acts 15, has been erased, 2:14,15.  This law is part of the Mosaic ritual.  We are forbidden to let any ritualist judge or control us in the matter of food, drink, festivals new moons and Sabbaths, for they are a shadow of things that were future at the time they were imposed on Israel, 2:16,17.  Willful humility—an appearance of great humility—grows out of a fleshly mind which is puffed up.  In other words, a person who is willfully jumble, is proud of his humility.  Even the ritual which says, "You should not be touching, nor tasting, nor having the slightest contact," is a willful ritual, and is in accord with the direction and teaching of men. If we have died together with Christ from the elements of the world, why do we notice such teachings and directions for a single moment?  

Ritual produces present manifestation.  The "Church" observes it for this reason. Christendom is very much interested in being manifested to the world, now.  Not only so, but interested in receiving the applause of the world of mankind—especially the religious world.  Ritual brings no persecution from ritualist.  Great crowds will gather to witness the ritual of baptism.  All religionists approve it.  No one faces persecution because he "has taken p his cross and followed Christ in baptism."  The one who is persecuted, is the one who ways that, since we are baptized with Christ in His burial and resurrection, water baptism is useless.  Other ritualistic observances by the "Church," such as the festival of Easter, sabbath days, etc., bring only praise from religionists.  The one who says that Easter is a Pagan ritual., and that the sabbaths belong to Judaism, is the one who is persecuted.  

I heard a man say that he had prayed much for God to manifest the Church to the World in a way that it would appeal to the judgment and good sense of mankind.  He wanted the church to have great glory.  Finally, he said, he decided that if the church was to be thus manifested, preachers must get busy and make it what it should be.  God has left it in the hands of His servants, he declared.  It reminds me of the colored preacher who said, "I prayed the Lord to send me a turkey, but He wouldn't do it.  Then I asked him to send me after a turkey, and He sent me the very first night."  

In our study Paul is warning the saints against truing to be manifested now. We are to wait until Christ our Life, is manifested.  It is the utmost selfishness to desire recon-(missing text) of Him.  There is coming a time when we will be manifested in glory.  Then we shall be manifested together with Him.  We should be careful to not be manifested before that time, for it will be immature, and will be based on ritualistic observances in which the ecclesia which is His body should have no part.  

At the present, we are, in God's reckoning, merely corpses, so far as ritualism is concerned.  We have died from the elements of the world.  Trying to find solace and happiness in ritualism, is as unreasonable as a corpse walking about trying to communicate with, and associate with the living.  Don't forget that Paul said, "You died."  He had already explained that you died from elements of the world.  And don't forget that this phrase means ritualism.  

Be disposed to that which is above, not to that on earth.  By the words, "that on earth," is meant the Jewish church or ecclesia, with all its ritual.  Its destiny is the earth, and its glory shall be during the millennium.  "That which is above," is where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  Our destiny is there.  In God's reckoning we are already there, for Paul tells us in Eph. 2, that God vivifies us together in Christ, and rouses us together and seats us together among the celestials in Christ Jesus.  There is where we will find our glory, for in the oncoming eons He will be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  

The Jewish ecclesia failed, but will be brought into manifestation in the future, and will have its place on earth.  The ecclesia which is the body of Christ has no glory here, neither does it have any ritual to perform.  It should not practice baptism, nor any other ritual.  It should not be concerned about manifestation for the admiration of men now.  Our Lord has no place on earth.  When He was here ritualism demanded that He be put to death.  I repeat, it is the utmost selfishness to desire the be manifested before His manifestation.  

We can do no better than remembering that we are complete in Him.

It is interesting to contemplate the hidden conditions of the sons of God at present.  Even those who render divine service openly, such as on with contempt, if they steer clear of ritual.  The religious world concedes that they are "good men" but what a pity it is that they do not join hands with (missing text of sentence) entail!  They teach small crowds, when they might be pastors of large, fine churches.  It looks a little like they are "touched in the head!"  And there are others, who are mere attendants at places where saints rejoice in their completeness in Christ, and do not practice any ritual.  Such ones attract no attention.  

But, by far the greatest number of saints are hidden altogether.  Yonder engineer, covered with grease, may be manifested when Christ is manifested in glory.  The poor farmer who makes no pretensions to religion may be one of that number.  The tired housewife, the ragged scrub woman, the homeless tramp, the respectable citizen, the rich man, the soldier, the office holder—some of these will be among those manifested in that day.  And many ritualists will be among the number—and hoe astonished they will be to find that their religion marked them as Israelites, when, in fact they are members of Christ's body.  

Many precious brethren and sisters with whom I was formerly associated in the "church," ask me to "come back."  I would be very ungrateful if I did not appreciate their love.  But I have found such satisfaction so spirit in non-ritualistic service, that I can never even consider their requests.  

In carrying on part of the ritual of Israel, they are living beneath their privilege.  The greatest privilege any saint has, is that of being obscure until the manifestation time comes.  Let us not manufacture our own recognition, but wait until Christ is manifested.  

The most blessed experiences found in being disposed to that which is above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  Through His grace, that is our place.  May we long for it until we are actually there with Him.  On earth, where He is rejected, let us be content to be rejected also. 

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