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 XXIV

April, 1945

Number 9

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

"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit with the tie of peace," Ephesians 4:3.  That is, trying to keep the unity which the spirit has created.  That unity is sevenfold: "One body and one spirit, according as you were called also with one expectation of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through al and in all," verses 5-6.  

Loving, or pretending to love all saints, irrespective of doctrinal differences is not keeping the unity of the spirit.  Holding meetings in which confusion reigns, is not doing it.  If we truly love all saints, in spite of doctrinal differences, (a thing greatly to be desired), it is communion of spirit, Philippians 2:1.  All saints are supposed to have this, as well as consolation in Christ, comfort of love, compassion and pity, same verse and verse 2.  These, however, are not sufficient.  To this should be added a mutual disposition.  

But keeping the unity of the spirit is a different matter.  The unity of the spirit is a unity that the spirit of God has created.  Keeping it is recognizing and practicing it. 

ONE BODY.  If we recognize and insist on the fact that all saints are members of one body—the body of Christ—we are keeping one seventh of the unity of the spirit.  The ecclesia is a body, in the sense that any group of persons is a body, figuratively.  It is the body of Christ, because it belongs to Him.  The spirit of God, in creating this seven-fold unity, begins by creating one body.  

ONE SPIRIT.  Closely allied to the body is the one spirit.  The word is used here to denote an intelligent principle of action.  We are not to regard the one spirit as the holy spirit.  The spirit mentioned here means that all saints are to be actuated by the spirit of honor to God and His Christ, which is the spirit of trying to be well pleasing to the Deity, and trying to honor His word in every respect.  Thus we are keeping two-sevenths of the spirit.  

CALLED WITH ONE EXPECTATION OF OUR CALLING.  This must be subdivided.  First, we must recognize the fact that we become saints, not by "accepting Christ," but by being called, First Corinthians 1:2: Those who are saints accept Christ Jesus THE LORD, Colossians 2:6.  They accept Him as LORD, because He is their Savior.  Speaking of lost sinners becoming saved by accepting Christ, is not using a pattern of sound words, Second Timothy 1:13.  Paul, who is a pattern of us, did not accept Christ.  On the contrary, Christ CALLED him, and made him a saint.  Salvation is in the hand of God, and does not depend on a sinner changing his will and deciding to "let Christ save him."  God does the changing of the sinner's will, when He calls him.  

Second, we must recognize that there is one expectation of this calling. It is not true that some saints will be included in the rapture of the ecclesia, and that others will be left here to go through the "tribulation," because they did not progress in knowledge and service as did the others.  I have recently seen literature to this effect.  Saints were besought to study and learn, and serve, so as to not be left out of the rapture.  If this were the case, our expectation would be based on our faithfulness.  

Paul sets us right of this score in First Thessalonians 5:9, 10: "God did not appoint us to indignation but to the procuring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for our sakes, that, whether we may be watching OR DROWSING, we should be living at the same time together with Him."  While we ought to be very watchful, yet a failure to do so will not imperil our rapture at the same time other saints are snatched away for a meeting with the Lord in the air, for our expectation is of our calling—it is not based on our faithfulness.  

Those dear brethren who believe some saints will be left here to endure the indignation because they have not been sufficiently faithful are not keeping this part of the unity of the spirit.  But if we recognize that our expectation is of our calling, we are keeping three-sevenths of the unity of the spirit—that is, we are sound on the first two parts, also.  

ONE LORD.  It is manifest that this refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.  A failure to see, and contend for, the fact that He is our only Lord, would be unfortunate, indeed. There is no other from whom we may take orders—no other on whose unerring wisdom we may rely.  But this is not the whole story.  We must recognize His division of the word of truth.  The words spoken by Him while He was on earth, are not spoken to us.  They are to Israel.  Paul is the minister of Christ Jesus for the nations, Romans 15:16.  We must regard his words as those of the risen and glorified Christ Jesus, Who is our Lord.  In the scriptures written by Paul we find the teaching that is specially for us. We are not recognizing Christ as Lord, unless we also recognize His right to partition His word of truth, giving some of Israel and some to us.  No one who "applies" to the ecclesia which is the body of Christ, the promises made to the Circumcision saints, is recognizing, in the fullest sense, that Christ is Lord, for he is denying His right to apply His own scriptures.  Being sound as to all the foregoing, we are keeping four-sevenths of the unity of the spirit.  

ONE FAITH.  This is a figure of speech, and indicates that body of truth that is given to us through Paul.  Much of the scripture outside Paul's writings is tied up with this, since, to disbelieve any one of hundreds of other passages would be to disbelieve something Paul wrote, also.  But THE faith, as used by Paul, indicates, especially, that body of scripture penned by him.  Given in the new revision of the Concordant Version of the Sacred Scriptures, this faith is about as easy to read as a daily newspaper.  In a growing rebellion against priest craft, saints are going to the opposite extreme of placing all emphasis on "studying," and none on learning.  Round table discussions are the vogue, notwithstanding that about all that is done at such meetings is the expression of each one's idea about the scripture, and the meeting breaks up without anyone having learned anything.  I think the scripture rebukes the practice of always learning and never being able to come into a realization of the truth.  

Christ, Whom we are supposed to recognize as the one Lord, has given to the ecclesia, evangelists, and pastors and teachers, after having given apostles and prophets to write the text.  These gifts are to herald the word, Second Timothy 4:2.  Unless we recognize those to whom God has given the ability to teach, we remain in the wilderness of "investigation" by those who are not capable of investigating, and we never come to a definite conclusion about the scripture and its teaching.  In this same chapter where our text is found, we find that the gifts are "toward the readjusting of the saints for the work of dispensing, for the up building of the body of Christ, unto the end that we should all attain to the unity of the faith and of the realization of the son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the complement of the Christ, that we may by no means still be minors, surging hither and thither and being carried about by every wind of teaching, by human caprice, by craftiness with a view to the systematizing of the deception," verses 12-14.  

If we are "straight" thus far, we are keeping five sevenths of the unity of the spirit.  To reject evangelists, pastors and teachers is to fail to recognize the paramount need of unity of the faith.  

ONE BAPTISM.  I discussed this in the December issue.  Suffice it to say, baptism is in spirit, which is another figure of speech.  Recognizing this, with all the foregoing, we are keeping six-sevenths of the unity of the spirit. 

ONE GOD AND FATHER OVER ALL AND THROUGH ALL AND IN ALL.  Not much needs to be said about this. Recognizing this as well as all the others, we are keeping seven-sevenths of the spirit's unity. 

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