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

May, 1943

Number 10

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

"For by grace are ye saved trough faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast," Eph. 2:8, 9, King James Version.  This is a very emphatic statement.  The negative is stated, Salvation in not of works.  In other words, it is not BY works. 

However, it is in Romans that we find HOW sinners are saved.  Ephesians tells us, rather, of our standing.  The beginning of the above quotation should be, "For you have been saved IN grace, through faith."  Let us study Romans to find how we are saved. 

"Therefore it is by faith that it may accord with grace," Rom. 4:16.  Faith is not of ourselves—it is nothing of ours, it is God's oblation, Eph. 2:8.  In other words, a person does not originate or manufacture faith.  If he has it, it is because God gave it to him.  And God gave it in order to win that person's love.  Grace is the unmerited favor of God.  He gives it to the same ones to whom He gives faith.  The two go together.  Indeed, love goes with the other two.  "The grace of our Lord overwhelms with faith and love in Christ Jesus," I Tim. 1:14.  

Grace—faith—love!  These constitute the experience of the saved.  Neither comes through our efforts.  God gives all three.  Grace is a favor.  Faith accords with it; it is also a favor.  Love is one of the emotions that overwhelms when we have grace and faith.  So it is a favor.  

"But not as the offense, thus also the grace.  For if by the offense of the one, the many died, much rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of the Man, Jesus Christ, superabounds to the many," Ron. 5:15.  "Gratuity" means something given without a cause.  "The gratuity in grace," emphasizes that salvation is not bestowed on us because of any merit found in us.  

The certainty of salvation is spite of all sin, is taught in verse 20: "Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds," or, as it is in the King James Version, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."  There may be mountains of sin, but there are a greater number of mountains of grace.  Sin may be as plentiful as the water in the ocean, but grace is more plentiful.  

When Paul cries out in agony and desperation, "A wretched man am I!  What will rescue me out of this body of death?"  The answer comes with emphasis: "GRACE!", is omitted from this verse.  Perhaps it was omitted by a copyist of the Greek manuscript on which the Version is based.  But the word is in the best manuscripts.  The reasonableness of its inclusion is apparent.  If Paul had no answer to his question, how could he have said, "Now I am thanking God through Jesus Christ our Lord?"  Since he knows that Grace is to rescue him out of the body of death, he thanks God through Jesus Christ.  

In II Tim. 1:9, Paul says, "....God, Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His own purpose and grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before eonian times."  Yes, before the eons began, this purpose was formed, and the grace was ready.  This was long before there was a sinner.  We hear much from pulpits, about it being too late for God to save certain ones.  How could it be too late, when the remedy was ready before any person ever needed it?  

Paul says that the method of his being shown mercy is a pattern of those who are about to be believing, I Tim. 1:16.  Let us study the pattern.  

He was not praying.  He was not seeking Christ.  He did not make up his mind to accept Christ.  He did not decide to do better.  He went to no mourners' bench.  This the negative side.  What is the positive?  He was a hater of Jesus Christ.  He hated His word.  He was foremost among sinners.  He deserved the direst doom.  

Christ changed his heart in an instant.  In less time than it takes to tell it, he was changed from a persecuting tyrant into a praying man—one who was really praying.  He suddenly learned that he had never known what to do, so he cried, "Lord, what will You have me to do?"  Paul did not have any hand in saving himself.  There was not any latent goodness in him that led the Lord to love him.  

Quite the reverse was true.  Paul says, "Faithful is the saying and worthy of all welcome, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, foremost of whom am I.  BUT BECAUSE OF THIS WAS I SHOWN MERCY," I Tim. 1:15, 16.  It was not Paul's righteousness that attracted Christ; it was his unrighteousness!  

This is not so strange as it may seem at first thought.  Who attracts  the skilled surgeon—the whole, or the ailing?  The surgeon's business is to perform operations.  A well man has few attractions for him, unless it is one who has been made well by his surgery.  But tell him that a man needs an operation, he immediately says, "Let me get to him."  This is not true of those who make money their god.  But it is true of those who love their profession more than money.  A case in point is my own experience in a hospital last year.  The surgeon had never seen me or heard of me.  But when a staff, physician phoned him about me, he said, "Put him in the hospital.  I'll take the case without fee."  It the physician had called him and said, "We have a man here who is perfectly well," the reply would probably have been, "Why tell me about it? I'm looking for those who need surgical help."  

Conditions that repel me, attract the surgeon.  If a man has been in a wreck, and his face is disfigured, his arms broken, and his body mangled, and the blood flowing, I try to get away.  I can't bear to see such a sight.  But the surgeon will crowd in and say, "Let me have him."  There is nothing else so attractive to him.  

Christ loves His profession—that of Savior of sinners.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10.  If there had been a man on earth that needed no salvation, I dare say Christ would never have looked at him.  He would have been entirely without attraction for the Lord.  He came to call sinners—not the righteous.  

This is why Saul of Tarsus was so attractive.  The surgeon who never has an opportunity to do any work except pick out splinters, has no chance to show his skill.  He wants a case that is really bad—one that is considered hopeless.  If mankind just needed a little help, to enable them to save themselves, Christ would never receive any glory as a Savior.  His skill is shown in the salvation of hopeless ones.  In Saul He found a condition that would do credit to His ability.  

There is no one whom the Lord cannot save.  If He saved the one who was foremost among sinners, what is to keep Him from mastering lesser cases?  We are foolish to think any person can ever be beyond the power of His skill, after we read that He saved Saul of Tarsus.  

God has saved by grace in every period of man's history.  But during that period in which He was demonstrating, through law, man's failure, He did not make grace prominent.  He chose to use Israel for this demonstration.  He gave them the old covenant.  They broke it.  If salvation had been dependent on their ability to keep it, all would have been hopelessly lost.  During that time God was saving by grace.  Those who did honor the covenant, did so because grace enabled them to do it.  But few ever understood this.  At that time He was saving by grace, IN law—not BY law.  

What Paul tells us in Eph. 2:8, is that God now saves, not in law, but in grace.  He is not operating in the realm of law.  It is in the realm of grace that He moves.  All mankind now live in that realm.  For the conciliation is a fact, II Cor. 5:18-20.  In Christ God was conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses them.  

So, not only is it true that we are saved BY grace; we are also saved IN grace.  This is the secret of God's attitude of peace toward the world.  Mankind may be ever so offensive to Him, but He ignores it.  At present, He has no quarrel with any person or nation.  

It is not true that He is calling all mankind into an experience of salvation at present.  Only the chosen are being called, Rom 8:28-39; Eph. 1:4, etc.  What a wonderful chain is found in the former passage!  Whom He foreknew He also predestinates or designates beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son for Him to be the Firstborn among many brethren.  Whom He designates before hand, He calls.  Whom He calls He justifies.  Whom He justifies He glorifies.  

God is for us; who is against us?  No one can be!  He spares not His own Son, but gives Him up for us.  How shall He not, together with Him, be graciously granting us all?  He shall!  Since God is the Justifier, no one can indict us.  Christ is the only One who has the power of indictment—and He is on our side!  He died.  He was roused.  He is at God's right hand.  He is pleading for our sakes—not against us.  Nothing that never be imagined, shall separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.   

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