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
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
"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
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
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
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