In this, the last issue for this year, I am putting
in a variety of matters that weigh on my mind and stir my spirit.
DO YOU WANT TO GIVE?
The Lord has greatly blessed my evangelistic efforts,
and in a community not far from Kite, Johnson county, Georgia, an
ecclesia has been called out. Now they want a meeting house.
They will put in it all the money they can, but they are poor.
They will do all the building; so there will be no expense for
labor. A modest house will satisfy them. I am not asking for
money, but I am giving an opportunity to all my readers who WANT to give
something on this project, to do so. The meeting house will be in
a community that has never had a church of any denomination. It is
in the middle between churches that are a few miles away in every
direction. So the new meeting house will be called Middle Ground.
It is a rare opportunity. Those who want to have a part in this,
will please send the money to me, and state that it is for Middle Ground
Meeting House. How happy it will make those saints! I hope
that those who want to donate will not delay, as we want to get the work
started. They have no place in which to hold meetings.
WE LEARN SLOWLY
Someone has said that what we learn from history is,
that we learn NOTHING from history. It is sadly true that we do
not learn much from scripture, either. The Book abounds in the
story of the failure of man. Not all in it is righteousness and
success. All is of God, however. If anyone could live a
perfect live without god, God would be disappointed. The failures
of man give God the opportunity He seeks. Before the eons He had
stored grace in Christ Jesus, and had a purpose to save mankind, II Tim.
1:8,9. If Adam had not failed, God would have had grace which He
could never use, and a purpose that could never be carried out.
Yet the religious world spends its time bemoaning Adam's failure.
If mankind after Adam had not failed, God would have had no occasion to
call Israel; and if the nation had not failed, He would have had no
opportunity to call the ecclesia which is the body of Christ. If
there were not considerable failure among saints of the present
administration, God would not be able to bestow on them the grace that
is for saints, nor to perfect His power for them, II Cor.
No "commandment" is more forceful than the
one God gave to Adam. He was told to not eat the fruit of a
certain tree. Yet, long before Adam, God had made provision to
take care of the situation that would arise when he DID eat it.
For God knew that he would. Not only so; He wet the stage for
it. The tree was of easy access, and the serpent was there to see
that the commandment was disobeyed. And God put him there.
He did not slip in without God knowing it.
The injunctions given by Paul are not more positive
than was the one in Eden. Even Paul failed to live up to them, for
to do so would have lifted him up and he would have thought that the
revelations given to him were because of his perfection, II Cor.
12. He had to endure the messenger of Satan in his flesh, in order
that grace might be given to himthe grace that is for saints.
God does not intend to waste any of it. There is in us, the spirit
of Christ to make us WANT to do the correct thing, and there is in us
the messenger of Satan to cause us to fail sometimes. God's supply
of grace for saints makes it necessary. And one kind of failure is as
bad as another, as God sees it.
PARDON AND JUSTIFICATION
The grace of pardon seems to be scarce.
It is not likely to be extended a second time. Hence, it is
sometimes accompanied by the statement, "Go and by no means longer
be sinning," or some similar statement, John 5:14; 8:11. This
injunction is absent from the grace of justification. The spirit
of Christ causes the justified ones to desire to not be sinning.
But they DO sin. The injunction is not absent to encourage us to
sin. It is to assure us that the grace of justification is inexhaustible.
Nothing can separate us from the love of god in Christ Jesus, Rom.
We do God an injustice when we assume that He has
given an injunction that mercy and grace cannot get around.
Knowing mankind, He has made provision for that meaning of
"expedient." It was any provision to take care of a
temporary need. This is the meaning of "expedient."
It was contrary to law for anyone except priests to eat showbread, Matt.
12:4. Yet David and others ate it when they were in need, and
Chris absolved them of all blame. He also called attention to the
fact that it is absolutely necessary for priests to profane the
sabbath. They are blameless in so doing. The disciples who
gathered corn on the sabbath when they were hungry, were likewise
This was under the scarce grace of pardon. does
the grace of justification have less provision? It has more.
Paul says, "All is allowed me, yet not all is expedient," I
Cor. 10:23. If an expedience is used, it should be with the
welfare of others in view. We may be sure that Paul did not fail
to use that which would fill a temporary need, that he might go on and
be a blessing to others.
GRACE WILL FIND YOU OUT
In an era when the grace of justification was
unknown, it was declared to some, "Be sure your sin will find you
our." Now we may be sure GRACE will find us out. Where
sin increases, grace superexceeds, Rom. 5:20.
None of this is given for the propose of encouraging
saints to sin. They would not want to sin, even if someone DID
encourage them to do so. The spirit of Christ within makes them
hate sin. But, since they DO sin, many words are given that they
may not become discouraged.
BALAAM WAS EXASPERATED
One of the most exasperated men in scripture was
Balaam, Num. 23. He was hired to curse those whom the Lord had not
cursed. In stead, he was forced to bless them. He said,
"The Lord has not seen lawlessness in Jacob, nor perverseness in
Israel." Balaam could see this lawlessness and perverseness,
but God did not se it. He had a purpose concerning Israel., and
much of what they did, while lawless and perverse, so far as God's
revealed injunction was concerned, was, nevertheless, in accord with His
Often we try to curse those whom we don't like.
But God exasperates us, by continuing to bless and use them. We
just can't get Him to see things our way! It is far better to
leave all the cursing in the hand of God. what we are to do is,
deal graciously with others, Col. 3:13.
When Paul was so hard on Mark, Acts 15:38,39, he had not been
drinking deeply of grace, himself. But as the years rolled by, and
Paul became more acquainted with his own failures, Rom. 7:7-24, and with
God's grace that He has for saints, Col. 3:13, he became very gracious
toward Mark, Col. 4:10. He had cursed Mark, and God had answered
by having Mark write the Story of the Perfect ServantMark's Account
of the ministry of Christ. Thus did Paul learn the lesson which
Balaam learned. No doubt he asked as did Balaam, "How shall I
curse whom the Lord has not cursed?" Do we see those whom we
have cursed, still serving under God's blessing? May we learn a
lesson! Much of the harshness in Paul's earlier epistles is absent
from the later ones.
GOD OPERATES IN US
We find in Phil. 2:13, that when we do that which delights God,
we do it because He is operating in us to will and to do. Not that
He merely makes us willing. He makes us DO. He blessed us in
the doing, even though it is all of Him.
No happier experience can be had in this life, than that of knowing
that we are doing that which delights Him. And the fact that all
the willing and the doing is of god, does not detract from the blessedness
and the happiness of being in His service.
God is operating in the very ones whose life is so much fraught with
failure. The fact that one makes a misstep does not cause God to
not use him later. I see, every day, the failure and the service
of saintsthe very same saints. They fail at one time; they
serve at another time.
REALISM VS. IDEALISM
Christ, in the sermon on the mount, stated the Ideal. But
in His dealing with humanity afterwards, he showed Himself to be a
Realist. Paul likewise, showed what the Ideal is. But
neither he nor anyone else ever attained it. So in his writings he
deals with Realism.
If we try to be an Idealist we disappoint ourselves and others.
We must be a Realist, if we are to be a benefit to those whom we