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 XXX

August, 1950

Number 1

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

Paul says that God makes us competent for a part of the allotment of the saints in light, and rescues us out of the jurisdiction of darkness, Col. 1:12, 13.

It seems evident that darkness and light are figurative. Light speaks of understanding, while darkness reminds us of the opposite. Unbelievers are under the jurisdiction of darkness, or ignorance of the truth.

They can't avoid being that way. But those who have faith are rescued from such jurisdiction. This does not necessarily mean that they henceforth walk in light, although they might do so. As it is in literary teaching, so it is in matters of God's truth---some prefer to remain in ignorance, or, at any rate, are content with just a "little learning". But, unlike literary teaching, those who remain in ignorance are not aware of it. They usually think they have learned it all, and are, therefore, very intolerant of those who have learned more.

Saints are competent of being in the light. God has made them so. But making them competent to learn, does not guarantee that they will do so. The bane of every organized religion is in the fact that when a group adopts a creed, learning stops. It is unlawful to study anything, except within the framework of the creed. This is true, not merely of organized groups, but some nonorganized ones are that way, for they have adopted an unwritten creed. A writer can get in the bad graces of such people, by saying something that is contrary to what has been said by one whom they regard as the authority.

Not that knowledge is sufficient, for it puffs up, and does not necessarily carry love with it. You may hear any number of preachers holding forth, or read their productions, and see that is is all bristling with hatred. The person who gives out such, has very little understanding, however much knowledge he may have. No one has ever improved on the saying in the Proverbs, "With all thy getting, get understanding". Without this, knowing things is of little avail.

Understanding is always couped with love. The more we understand God, the more we love
Him. Many are trying to serve Him under a sense of fear. This is poor service, because such a person thinks it is his job to pacify an angry God. Others accept the saying that God is love, and that Christ is the Sone of His love, and their service is one of gratitude, rather than slavish fear.

In the matter of rightly dividing the word of truth, we are very lacking in understanding, if we draw two lines and say, "All scripture within these is for us, and all else is for the Jews". That which has to do with our heavenly destiny is for us, and that which has to do with the allotment of Israel in the future kingdom of the Jews, is for them. But all saints , in every period, have had faith, expectation and love, and these remain. We do not trust in the blood of Christ any more ardently than did Abel, and many other "Old Testament" characters. The faithful Jew expected to enjoy the kingdom on earth, and we expect our celestial home. Love was the experience of the saints of old, and it is one thing that characterizes us. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine", is just as true of us as it was of Solomon. "God creates the heaven and the earth", is as good when we read it, as is was when Moses wrote it. "The just shall live by faith", in every period. "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength", is so in our case, as many have found. "Be it to thee according to thy faith", builds me up in spirit, as much as it did those to whom Christ spoke these words.

"Happy the human to whom the Lord by no means should be reckoning sin", describes me, as much as it describes saints in other periods. "I shall no want", written by David, and "My God shall be filling your every need in accord with His riches in glory in Christ Jesus", written by Paul, accords with each other. I can truly say, as did David, that I shall not want. When Paul wrote to the Phillippian saints, "I am seeking fruit that is increasing for your account", he could very well have been thinking of that passage in the Proverbs, "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth".

"I know that thou are merciful and compassionate, long-suffering and abundant in kindness, and repentest of evil", Jonah 3:2---this passage I believe as strongly as the prophet believed it. In his every exhortation to prayer, Paul showed that he agreed with Jonah.

In my boyhood days a new denomination began to grow up in our community. It was based on an understanding that was not shared by the popular churches. But I have lived to see that group stop, and "stick down a peg", and say, "Thus far we will go, and no further". They believed they had learned it all. And when they reached this conclusion the love that had characterized them began to wane. They became intolerant of any teaching that went beyond them. They are now as much creed-bound as any other denomination. A preacher of that church saw other things in the scripture, and had to sever his connection with the "line-up", in order to teach it.

I do not think that God has given to any one man all the truth. When people reach the conclusion that their teacher has "mastered" all the scripture, they become bound by an unwritten creed, and there is not only confusion, but a very marked lack of growth in graciousness and love.

I have said that one purpose of light is to produce fruitfulness. This is based on understanding---not only of God, but of our fellows. We try to mold the thought of each one in our connection, even to the use of the very words that WE use, and to the interpretation of scripture just as WE interpret it; and the result is a suppression of growth on our part, and the cessation of fruit-bearing. People dread to be with us. they are expecting criticism. A lady told one of the teachers that she taught a Sunday School class in a certain church. She regarded it as an opportunity to teach truth. The teacher asked, in horror, "How can you stand it?"

There is some truth in all churches. If we listen to their sermons, and exercise wisdom and understanding, we will get some good from every sermon. This is true of reading literature. Understanding will enable us to choose the good, and we will find many nuggets of truth that will help us along through life. We do not have to get our understanding from any one human source.

Fruitfulness pleases God, and benefits people. Additional truth does not require you to leave previously-learned truth, even as the study of multiplication does not mean that you have given up what you learned about addition.

We should start the day with thought of Who God is, and what He is to us, and Who the Lord Jesus Christ is, and how the Father makes Him a blessing to us. In this connection, we should pray to God in the early morning, for help during the day. This insures that what is ahead of us in the way of work will be done with more ease.

And before we glance at a newspaper, let us first read God's Paper---the Bible: In it we find encouragement to fortify us against what discouraging news the papers carry.

Christ is the same to us that He has been to His people in other periods. Let us use Him by faith. This is His will concerning us.

My birthday is coming around soon. I will be sixty-six years old on August 30.

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