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 XXVII

August, 1947

Number 1

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

The last sentence in my July article, "Grace in Administrations," says, "The idea is, we have learned to not count on our service for God's approval."  Lack of space caused me to stop there.  I was trying to say that we are not under law, and God does not barter so much approval for so much service.  In the first place, pure grace forbids such an arrangement.  In the second place we have learned that there is so much imperfection mixed with all that we do, that we do not feel that our service merits His approval. 

Perhaps one of the greatest failures in history is the ecclesia.  Paul taught the evangel, that now may be made known to the sovereignties and the authorities among the celestials, through the ecclesia, the multifarious wisdom of God, Eph. 3:10.  Yet the ecclesia has not learned much about this wisdom, much less has it taught it to the celestials.  The wisdom of God is such that He so appoints everything, that it may serve the best end.  Any other arrangement would show a lack of wisdom.  Yet the ecclesia, for the most part, has believed that God is so managing that He will lose a large part of His creation.  The scriptures teach that He will save all. 

The wisdom of God is no les manifest in the things that appeal to the five senses.  Only infinite wisdom could so arrange the heavenly bodies that they serve their purpose, and yet appear to dwellers on earth, as "diamonds in the sky"—all except the sun and the moon, which are placed in a position to be of special service to the earth.  There is almost infinite variety on earth, in the way of beauty, good food, pleasant drink, splendid clothing, work, play, fun, delights, etc., and just enough of the unpleasant things to enable us to appreciate the good.  Yet we have, in large measure, ignored these, or have not thought of them as indicating His wisdom.  

The ecclesia has been a very backward group.  It has challenged and rejected, for a while almost every claim of science.  Not until certain truths were universally accepted, did the ecclesia grudgingly accept them, when it could have found almost, every known scientific fact in the word of god, and it should have been the first to discover and proclaim them.  

The sovereignties and authorities among the celestials—the leaders in the governments on other planets—seemto be equipped to watch us and to know what we are saying.  If so, they have learned very little from us about the multifarious wisdom of God.  For we have learned practically nothing about it, ourselves.  The text says this truth MAY be made known through us—it does not say it SHALL.  Humanly speaking, the word, "may" leaves the matter in uncertainty.  Not that it is uncertain with God; it is so only with man.  And it seems that the "may" has failed to become a "shall," for, as I have said, the ecclesia has failed to recognize the wisdom of God.  

One of the statements of scripture that shows very clearly god's wisdom, is that all is of god, through God and for God.  The ecclesia has not seen this truth, except that a very few have seen it.  By the way, there are readers who are afraid that if I insist that all is of God, some saints will take it as an excuse for sinning.  I wonder what kind of saints they have in their community.  I don't find any in "these parts" who are looking for an excuse for sinning.  Don't my readers know that God can take care of the SINNING question, as well as the SIN question?  Only a few readers have manifested such a fear.  Most of them seem to know that nothing can occur outside God's purpose, and that He is not at a loss for ways to keep people from doing that which He intends that they shall not do. 

If all is of God, why has the history of the ecclesia been a record of failure to recognize the multifarious wisdom of God?  If the saints had maintained a perfect record.  God would have been deprived of one of the greatest privileges that He will ever have—the privilege of displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in the oncoming eons.  

To bring an unbelieving sinner into touch with Christ so that he is made a believer and a saint, is great grace.  But to take a saint who has had a life almost filled with failure, and who has sinned against the instructions found in the evangel, and rouse him, and vivify him and seat him with Christ among the celestials, and set hem to the task of doing what he failed to do here, and so equip him that he will not fail again, is much greater grace.  And this is so certain to be done, that, in God's reckoning, it is ALREADY done.  He vivifies us together in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2:5-7, and blesses us with every spiritual blessing among the celestials in Christ, Eph. 1:3.  Our service for the celestials will be done AMONG Them, after the body of our humiliation has been transfigured to conform with the body of His glory, Phil. 3:21.  What grace it is—what transcendent riches of grace—to give us the opportunity of doing perfectly what we have failed to do here!  

I think that the secret of our failures lies in the fact that, now we have a body of humiliation, and that, while we have SOME spiritual blessings, we do not have, as a present possession, EVERY spiritual blessing. After these lacks have been supplied, there will be no more failure.  

It seems evident that there will be distinction made in the conditions of different saints in the heavens, not for endless duration, but for the eons, and that these distinctions will be based on the degree of failure in their earth-life.  This is necessary, in order that people shall be found to fill every celestial position.  I am sure that there will be no distinction in the happiness of the different saints, for I can not think of dissatisfaction on the part of any of us in heaven.  Each one will be aware that his spiritual blessings are of pure grace, and that he does not deserve them.  God, on the other hand, will applaud each one, because each will be filling the place to which he is assigned.  Only multifarious wisdom can so arrange it that awards are based on service, and yet so that our celestial opportunities are given to us through transcendent grace.  We must not become worthy by our own efforts.  This would spoil God's desire to display grace.  

We who know what it is to fail, feel very unworthy.  We cannot think that there is enough merit in our poor efforts, to bring God under obligation to approve of us.  Even what service we do render is so mixed with imperfection, that we do not count on our service for God's approval.  I am reminded of the way a dear brother recently closed his letter to me.  He said, "Complete in Him; absolutely nothing in myself."  I find sweet fellowship in my heart for such a person, for that is the way I regard myself.   I cannot enter into the apparent feelings of the one who is always afraid that some saint will take the scripture as an excuse for sinning.  We ALL sin. There is not a day that we are clear of it.  We need grace to sustain us, and transcendent grace to give us the celestial opportunities for which we are pining. 

Not only do our failures give God an opportunity to display the riches of His grace in the oncoming eons, but they serve a good purpose now, at the same time that they fail to delight God.  If I could live a perfect life, I would become vain.  But, being constantly conscious of my failures, I am almost constantly humbled, I deeply feel my unworthiness, and I spend much time in solitude with God talking to Him about it all, and reveling in His word, "Happy the human to whom the Lord should by no means be reckoning sin," Rom 4:8.  I am sure that God is more pleased with a attitude of humility and of trust in Him, than He could possibly be with the attitude of a Pharisee.  I do not believe that He reckons sin to me.  But this does not make me love sin.  I am happy, however, in the thought that I will not commit more sin than He can use for His glory. 

I love to serve Him.  I praise Him that, at times, He operates in me to will, as well as to work, for the sake of His delight.  Since all depends on Him, I am not afraid that I will not serve Him.  He knows how to obtain service.  And this does not constitute a doctrine that a real saint will use as an excuse for sinning, or for not serving. 

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