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 XXIX

June, 1950

Number 11

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

"It is by faith, that it may accord with grace"
Rom. 4:16

Since the transgression of Adam became a fact, humans need to be made right. This is called justification. Man became dead to God, so far as his ability to commune with Him is concerned. The posterity of Adam was born in this condition.

But God was not dead to humanity. In His reckoning the blood of the Lamb availed from the casting down of the world, so that God has been able to see the human family as right, all the while. The trouble was, humans could not see themselves as right.

In the fullness of time Christ actually shed His blood. When He did, He made a manifest fact, that which was already a fact in the reckoning of God. Even before the blood was actually manifested as shed, there was not only justification from God's viewpoint, but there were people who, by faith, appropriated this fact and rejoiced in it.

In the chapter of our text Abraham is discussed. He BELIEVED God, and it was reckoned to him into righteousness, says Paul. This blessedness that Abraham experienced, came, not by acts, but by his attitude toward God---He BELIEVED God. It might be said that one key expression in the scripture is: "The just shall be living by faith". This shows that ATTITUDE is the important thing.

The happiness of not having sins reckoned to us is not for the Circumcision only, but also for the Uncircumcision. Abraham received it while he was uncircumcised. When he received the rite, he merely had the zeal of the righteous of faith.

All who have this faith are right, even though they are not circumcised. Non-Israelites, to whom this rite was never given, are just as much right as Abraham, even though God does not require circumcision of them.

Justification is in the blood of Christ, and, since He died for the sake of all, it necessarily follows that all are right in the sight of God. But none are right in his or her own consciousness, until faith is in that life. The rightness that is in the blood of Christ will benefit all in the glory, but it is of no benefit to us in this life, until we believe. This is why justification by faith is what places us in position to have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The allotment mentioned in verse 14 of our chapter is to be enjoyed here in this life. If the enjoyment of it is through keeping the law of ritualism and forms and ceremonies, faith has been made void. But salvation is in grace. This being so, the enjoyment of it must be in grace. This being so, the enjoyment of it must be in grace. Faith is the medium through which this grace serves us now. Faith is not work. It is the opposite. We have the experience of rightness through faith. This accords with the fact that it is a free gift.

Abraham is held up here as the outstanding example of rightness by faith. Promise was made to him and his seed that they should be enjoyers of the allotment of the world. In this chapter the seed of Abraham are defined as being those who have the faith of Abraham whether or not they are related to him in flesh. And it should be remembered that the world is to be enjoyed by them. What John says about the world in his epistles, referring to a time when the enemies of Israel so completely hold the nations that it is treason to collaborate with them, must not be "applied" to us, now. Paul says that the world is ours, and here we find that by faith we may enjoy the allotment of it. God does not intend that we shall be poor and suffer for the necessary things of the world, just because we have faith.

There would be no point in discussing the strength of the faith of Abraham, if it were understood that it is beyond our reach. Abraham believed God Who vivifies the dead. If we believe that God can do this, why should we doubt Him at all? He did something for Abraham that was akin to vivification---he enlivened, or rejevenated him so that he became a father when he was a hundred years old; and this rejuvenation lasted, so that, after Isaac was a grown man, and Abraham had a second wife, she, too bore children by him.

Paul tells us plainly that it was faith that gave this power. Abraham fully understood how old he was, and he knew all about his physical condition. Yet his faith laid hold of the fact that God is not limited, and, behold! he saw unfoldment of the power.

Paul, knowing how prone we are to say, "These things are not for us", takes great pains to assure us that they are for ALL believers. We would not say that Abraham's experience will be literally duplicated in our life, for there may be no need of it. But that there is strengthening of the body to perform its functions, seems certain. Otherwise, Paul's words would be but to fill space. And God does not give us words for this purpose.

The enjoyment of the allotment of the world comes while we are in the present life. It is not something that can be had apart from faith. Men may have lands, money, food, and all other material things, without faith. But this does not necessarily mean the ENJOYMENT of these things. It is impossible for us to have the enjoyment without seeing all of them as coming to us like justification comes---in grace. So long as we have two departments of life we shall enjoy neither in the real sense. We must be able to see that what are called "worldly" things came by grace, and we are conscious of this graciousness by faith. So the enjoyment is by faith, and this accords with grace.

Whatever was rekoned to Abraham by faith, something similar is rekoned to us by faith. When Abraham believed God he had the assurance of what he needed in this life, and also the assurance of a supply for all duration in the future. There was no time when he divorced present good from future good. They are both from the Lord.

When we believe God; we also believe ON Him. And Who is He? He is the one Who roused Jesus our Lord from among the dead. And why is this fact important? Its importance lies in the fact that Jesus Christ was given up by the Father because of our offenses, and was roused because of our justifying. In other words, because we were offensive the Father gave Him to die for us. And because His dying---the shedding of His blood---justified us, the Father roused Him from the dead.

When justification becomes a fact in our consciousness, by faith, it is then that we experience being saved in grace, through faith. Man will have salvation and all its benefits in the glory. But he gets none of its benefits here, until he believes.

Being right by faith, it is possible for us to see that the afflictions that are inevitable produce endurance. This ability to endure assures more fruitfulness. A stalk of cotton, if it remained as tender as when it first came through the surface of the ground, would bear no fruit. It must be toughened. Endurance produces testedness. No one knows what he can do, until he is tested. The experience of being tested produces expectation. If we have been tested, we know what to expect. Expectation is not moritfying, seeing that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the holy spirit which is being given to us.

We must remember that from God's viewpoint we are made right in the blood of Christ. But from our viewpoint we are made right by faith. It is when we believe , that we are made conscious of being right through the blood.

The blessedness of being with God in the glory is assured to all, whether or not they believe, in this life. But the happiness of being right in our own consciousness, not come by believing.

Faith is in the heart. This is the sense in which Christ dwells in our heart---by faith. In other words, if you have faith, it is Christ manifested in your heart. It is a blessed fact that He dwells in us.

If He is in us by faith, we have the spirit of Christ. This marks us as His.

We also have the holy spirit. This is the power that roused Jesus from among the dead. Its power is a "rousing" power. Its function in our life is to enliven the mortal body. The body has power to serve God because of the indwelling of the holy spirit.

To live in accord with flesh is to recognize no power beyond that of flesh. Then our dependence is on flesh---we forgot spirit. In that case, we are about to be dying, Paul says. But if we recognize spirit, and, in its power, put to death the doings of the body, we are living, and will be living.

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