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

July, 1948

Number 12

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

You, then, child of mine, be invigorated in the grace which is in Christ Jesus,
II Tim. 2:1.

This is among Paul's last recorded words. He was taking his leave of his beloved child in the faith, Timothy. It was a matter of deep concern that this young teacher should be gracious. He was to be strong in this respect, as well as in others. Since Paul had learned and since he had taught Timothy, much about the grace that is in Christ Jesus, he was solicitious that grace should be manifested strongly in the life of, not only his beloved child, but of all other teachers of the gospel, as well.

Is not the present administration the greatest of all? And does not its greatness lie in the fact that it is the administration of the grace of God? Who, knowing grace, has not felt a thrill in his heart, every time he has read that precious word anywhere in the scripture? To me, the sweetest passage in Genesis is the one that tells that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And wherever else I find that sweet word I have felt like bowing my head in thanksgiving to the God of grace.

Nothing less than grace will suffice for sinners. And, inasmuch as we continue to be very imperfect as long as we live, nothing less than grace can take us through life. Moreover, in view of the fact that no two persons can continually associate together without some friction, nothing can possibly be a substitute for gracious dealings in our endeavors to live together. Without it, our course will generate more unsavory situations, than an un-oiled bearing or axle will generate squeaks and destructive heat.

If I speak of myself it is not to praise myself. I know more about my own life than about that of others. And I know the result of an ungracious attitude. Also I know the opposite, and I thank God that I do. I take no credit for any favorable results in my life, for all is of God. But I do thank Him for making me gracious to some extent. Let me recite before you people in Glennville who know me, some results of graciousness, that has enhanced my opportunities for serving the saints in the name of the Lord Christ Jesus.

You well know that, a few years ago, well-meaning people were saying many things against me. I was teaching the unlimited love of God, and the ultimate salvation of all mankind. This was too much! There HAD to be a hell of never-ending duration! In a large measure I had been ostracised. And, I repeat, the people meant well. Most of them were honest. To them I was an infidel.

I could have forever destroyed any chance of reaching them, by an ungracious attitude, and by ungracious words. I am ashamed to say that I did start out on just such a course. Thanks be to God! He arrested me, and showed me that the attitude of ungraciousness that I was employing was the very thing necessary to convince them that I WAS an infidel, and unworthy of the respect of the people. I could no more attract them than you could catch flies with vinegar.

My gracious Father changed my attitude. You know how, through His mercy, I have endured thousands of hard words and sneers, and have showed kindness to my detractors. Perhaps this was not what they deserved. But it is GRACE. Exercising grace is giving people BETTER than they deserve. Through His help I have refused to take into account their offenses toward me. I strove to do good for evil, to show kindness for unkindness. You know the result, and I can mention it without boasting, except in the Lord. Today, whether or not the people in this vicinity agree with my teaching, they, without even one exception, honor me and are confident of my honesty of purpose.

I can remember with joy how I showed grace to one who mentioned my name in the pulpit, and told his congregation that I was bound for an eternal hell. That man never came to believe as I do, so far as I know, but he is my friend.

I can imagine that the aged Paul was very anxious that Timothy should never show an ungracious attitude. He wanted to leave this teaching as a legacy worth more than millions of dollars. Timothy, be strong! Strong in knowledge? Yes, that is necessary. But knowledge without a gracious attitude can be destructive, rather than constructive. Timothy, do not tear things all to pieces because you know more than does some other person. Do not wreak vengeance on those who are weak enough to do you harm. It does not require a strong man to do you harm. A really strong one will not do it. Trying to harm another is a sign of weakness. Timothy, be gracious toward not only those who would do YOU harm, but also toward all weak individuals, all erring persons. Be strong to stand by the word, yes! Be strong to be not led away by false teachers, yes! Be strong to not be tossed about by every wind of doctrine, yes! But also be strong enough to pity the erring, pray for those who despitefully use you, and cast your name out as evil. Be strong enough to show that you love and cherish the very brand of grace that lifted you out of your state of condemnation, and placed you in spiritual touch with the blessed Christ, when you did not deserve it--nay, when you deserved the direst doom! Also be strong in grace so that you can even love those who believe different from yourself.

If you knew of a resort where the atmosphere is absolutely pure, and extremely invigorating, and if you had the opportunity to be in that place, would you bring in a lot of impure things to pollute the atmosphere? You would not be so foolish. Well, you are in Christ, and the atmosphere is one of grace. It is in this respect that Christ is distingulished. He is FULL of grace and truth. Grace and truth comes through Him. It is in Him that God operates in bringing about the conciliation.

Forms, ceremonies, creeds, organizations, by-laws, poison the pure atmosphere of grace. These breed a feeling of superiority on the part of those devoted to them. And this, in turn, breeds an ungracious attitude. Paul spent a long time in the ministry, getting all these noxious things out of the way. Not until we reach Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Second Timothy, do we find the pure atmosphere of graciousness, unmixed with that which would hinder the free outflow of graciousness, although the announcement of the conciliation in Second Corinthians. There we find that God is at peace with the world, and that those who are conciliated are at peace with God. Alas! Few have ever heard of the conciliation! In Romans we find that saints, if they have obtained the conciliation, have peace. The gospel is one of conciliation.

However, man-made religion, like the religion of the Israelites, deny that God is conciliated to either believer or unbeliever. Men, under its debilitating influence, are seeking to do hurt to those whom they don't like, even to the saints who displease them, being totally unaware that God is in a friendly attitude toward all, and has placed us where we are not under ANY law, religiously speaking.

Paul desired to be found IN CHRIST. He did not want law. He wanted no religion. He would have no forms or ceremonies. He wanted no pay from the Lord for what he did, nor did he want any kind of law telling him what he must and must not do. In Christ, his mind was on Christ. His thoughts were in accord with His thoughts. His attitude was one of graciousness, because that is the attitude of the Christ.

Laws, "discipline", creeds, forms, ceremonies, have never produced an obedient saint. They have produced hypocrites, for there are many who seek to cicumvent these directives of man, by secretly doing those things for which they would be "turned out of the church" if it should become known that they do them.

What strength graciousness is! It is God's recipe for good health, spiritually.

[Return to main indexpage]