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 XXVI

October, 1946

Number 3

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

"For His achievement are we, being created in Christ Jesus for good work, which God makes ready beforehand, that we should be walking in them," Ephesians 2:10.

We are saved in grace, through faith, not of works.  Our good works do not save us, nor do they help in doing so.  As I showed in a recent issue of the Messenger, we are saved to expectation.  Our present salvation is a matter of faith.  Good works are to follow, not produce, salvation.  

That which is good has pleasurable and useful qualities.  Theology teaches that good works consists of ceremonies.  Since these are neither pleasurable nor useful.  I cannot agree with this theory.  Good works may be done daily, in a hundred different ways, and in what religionist call little, insignificant deeds.  Paul said that he was working for the good of all, yet specially for the family of faith.  Those who are not of the family of faith cannot appreciate any spiritual service that we may render.  This shows that we may do good works in deeds that are not regarded as spiritual, for those who are outside the family, and we may do the same, together with spiritual service, for our relatives in the faith, that is, we are doing for them what we are doing for others, and also are doing for them what others would not appreciate. 

I love the thought that God makes good works ready beforehand.  This does not necessarily mean that He made them ready in the long ago when He chose us in Christ.  No; He makes them ready before we do them - it may be just before.  I remember a day recently when I was driving home from "uptown," talking to the Lord about the fact that He did not seem to have made ready any good works for me that day.  Just then I saw a crippled man coming on crutches.  Stopping the car, I went to him and said, "Joe, I'm glad to have the privilege of giving you some money in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He loves you far better than I do, and you are included in His endless plan of blessing.  Temporarily you are in need, so that I and others can have the opportunity of doing some good works.  Don't thank me; thank God."  Joe looked at me with tears in his eyes, and said, "I thank God, and also you."  This is what I understand in regard to God making ready good works before hand.  I thank Him that He has so led me, that I am constantly looking for the evidence that He has made ready something for me to do in His name.  Happy is the saint who searches for opportunity to do good, as earnestly as a prospector looks for gold.  

We may do good to others in word, as well as in deed.  I well remember Uncle Irving Kersey, with whom I was associated when I was a boy.  When I visited his home he would read the scriptures to me, stopping occasionally to make some comment, or to ask me for comment.  I learned much about the word of God in this way.  My congregations are benefited to this day, by things I learned at the feet of that dear old saint.  

I am impressed with Paul's instruction in the phrase: "Your word being always with grace, seasoned with salt, perceiving how you must answer each one," Colossians 4:6.  Not every person will be benefited by the same words, any more than all people desire the same amount of salt on their foods.  Much wisdom is required, that we may say the correct thing to those who inquire of us.  We ought to try to know the person to whom we are talking.  Once, in Augusta Georgia, a company of girls came to me and asked, "Do you think we are going to the devil?"  I inquired why they had asked this question.  They replied that a certain preacher had just told them that they were going in that direction.  I replied, "No, I don't think so.  You are young, and are gushing with fun.  This is because the creator has made young people that way. I was a boy, once, and I had plenty of fun. As a matter of fact, I yet have lots of it.  God has not yet laid on you the burden that you must bear in later years.  I am sure that you are decent girls.  Go ahead and have your fun."  The preacher had driven them from him; they were drawn to me.  They became frequent visitors at our meetings.  Today they are mothers, and all of them attend our meetings, and take an active part.  They are devoted to the truth.  The reply to their question might have driven them away.  

One of the girls, in an endeavor to show her appreciation, said to me, after I had answered the question: "You are good."  To this I replied, "No, I am not good.  I am just a poor sinner, saved in the grace of God.  If I thought myself very good, I might say, as did the preacher, that you are going to the devil. i am satisfied that you are as good as I am."  I have noticed that the very good, (in their own estimation), hardly know what to say to folks who have faults, except to insult them. 

Not the "goody-goody" people, but the wise ones, draw folks to them.  In the same passage that I have just quoted from Paul, we find, "In wisdom be walking toward those outside," Colossians 4:5.  Walking has reference to our conduct.  It is a lifetime study, to know how to so apply our knowledge, so that it will bear the most desirable fruit in the lives of our associates.  Our chief aim ought to be to so act that God will receive all praise for whatever is commendable in our lives.  It is not glorifying to God if I impress people with MY goodness.  Such a course might glorify ME, without even turning the thoughts of my associates toward God. Wisdom dictates that people must be impressed with the goodness of GOD—not my own.  

Whatever I may do that is good, I want those who behold it, to know that, but for the grace of God, there would be no good in my conduct.  If I do a kindness, let me do it in a way that the recipient will know that the motive as well as the ability to do it, is from God through Christ.  Of course, saints who have reached a degree of maturity know this to be the case.  They are acquainted with the fact that when one is doing good works it is because God is operating in that one to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight.  In Glennville we have saints who delight in looking after Mrs. Screws when I am away.  They tell her, "Let me know if there is any errand I can do for you.  I'll gladly do it." We know that it is God working in them that gives them this disposition.  And they are doing good works.  

Since God has not given us jurisdiction over our fellows, we must not try to interfere with their lives.  There are many things that they do, perhaps, that we do not do.  But the fact that we do not do them is no proof that they are wrong.  A critical, bossy disposition has blasted many a saint's chances of doing someone good, and leading him to attend our meetings, where, if God gives him the "hearing ear," he will be benefited by the teaching.  

Smile!  I know of nothing that is more contagious.  Who wants to associate with one who has "soured on all creation?"  A pleasant " Good morning," accompanied by a genuine smile, has brightened the day for many a weary soul.  We have something to smile about, too.  We have learned that there is not a doleful future, but a most happy one, for all mankind.  We know, also, that, while waiting for that future, every judgment, all suffering, will be for the good of those who are thus exercised.  We know that God is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will.  

Suppose enemies to the truth do try to destroy what we have built up.  Don't we know that God is able to take care of the situation?  Why should we become angry about it?  Why become sour?  Why get nervous aver it?  Why worry, in the face of Paul's injunction, "Let nothing be worrying you?"  May we still be pleasant and gracious, even to the enemies: It will pay handsome dividends in the end. 

Let your face be like the daybreak,

When you pass your neighbor by.

Let your heart brim o'er with music,

Like the songsters of the sky.

Be a merry beam of sunshine.

Be a lily pure and fair,

Be a jewel bright and precious.

Be a blessing everywhere.


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