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 XXXII

November, 1952

Number 4

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

We may read the Scriptures for years without knowing some things that they contain. Few of us ever read them with an open mind. We have an idea what they contain, and we read to find it, and whatever else we find is ignored. Nothing is truer than the statement often made, that prejudice is the bane of religion.

I served in the ministry more than twenty years before I knew that the Scriptures teach that God will save and glorify all mankind. When, at length, I did find this, I wondered why I had not seen it before. It had not been revealed to me in earlier years, and God, the Author of the Scriptures, is the One Who could reveal to me any part of His truth. This is why I had never studied His word with an open mind.

For years I was committed to the theory that nothing in the "Old Testament", and especially nothing of God's dealing with His ancient nation, has any value for us, other than as a record of what God does for others. I held the same theory concerning all the Scriptures, except the writings of Paul. I thank God that I have at last, SEEN I Cor. 10:1-13. While it is in the Pauline Scriptures, the passage meant nothing to me except as a record of God's dealing with the people Moses was leading in the wilderness, in the long ago---until god breathed life into it for ME. I praise His name!

Let me quote it: "I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, that our fathers all were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank of the Rock following the food. Now the Rock was Christ.

"But not in the majority of them is the delight of God, for they were strewn along in the wilderness. Now these things became types of us, for us not to be lusters after evil things, according as they also lust. Nor yet by becoming idolaters, according as some of them even as it is written, 'Seated are the people to eat and drink, and they rise up to sport'. Nor yet may we be committing prostitution, according as some of them commit prostitution, and fall in one day, twenty-three thousand. Nor yet may we be putting the Lord on trial, according as some of them put Him on trail, and perished by serpents. Nor yet be murmuring, even as some of them murmur, and perished by the exterminator. Now all this befalls them typically.; Yet it was written for our admonition, to whom the accomplishments of the eons have attained".

The accomplishments of the eons means salvation. Salvation has already attained to us, in spirit.

This is a picture of many of us, as well as of Israel in the wilderness. "But not in the majority of them is the delight of God". If the believer does not delight in God---if it is not in him---he has little else in which to delight permanently. He may put on a "brave face", but it won't work. It must be inside, or else it will give way to worry and dissatisfaction, which is bad for, not only the spirit, but the body as well. They lusted after evil things. Do not many of us? Evil is hurtfulness. Do we not undermine our health and spirit by running after those things that injure us. They became idolaters. Are we not idolaters when our trust is in some other power than God's? It seems that their idolatry consisted largely of eating, drinking, and carousing. Do we receive our food with thanksgiving, and follow the eating by the proper course in conduct? Or do we carouse in connection with our enjoyment of God's bounty? The commission of prostitution, in their case, consisted of both, physical enjoyment of forbidden association, and the worship of other gods. Is it not true of many in this day? They put God on trial---in modern parlance, they tempted God. Are not the days of many, now spent in dangerous activities that seem to dare God? They murmured against God. Most of our complaining and worrying consists of murmuring against Him.

The story of all this, written in the "Old Testament", is not there merely as a matter of history. It is a solemn admonition to us. There is less excuse for us, for while they were, figuratively baptized into Moses, we are baptized into Christ---into His death. While their expectation was "the promised land", and ours is the celestial realm, yet they had spiritual food, and drank of spiritual water---Christ. We are under the care of God in Christ, as they were. We are akin to them.

God was not unmindful of the health of His people. He Who had made provision for never-ending health through the sacrifice of Christ, saw no benefit in consigning them to a life of suffering here. So He said to them, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments and keep His statutes, I will put upon thee none of the diseases which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord thy God Who healeth thee". The fact that they were "strewn along in the wilderness," is proof, not that God was callous, but that they did not obey. In His dealing with them through Moses, He often made provisions for their healing. One notable case was His placing the brazen serpent upon a pole, that they might look upon it and be healed.

It is admitted that their deliverance from Egypt is typical of our salvation in Christ. He, Christ, not only cares for us in the matter of salvation, but He has a commission that embraces healing, as well. Isaiah is his beautiful fifty-third chapter, shows this in a way that should cast out all doubt. He says that healing, as well as salvation, is His work. When He came, Christ seemed in a hurry to get started on His mission. It is said of Him, Matt. 8:16, 17: "And all those who have an illness He cures, that it may be fulfilled which is declared through Isaiah, the prophet, saying, 'He, our infirmities got, and the diseases He bears'". The actual cures He affected show that this language does not mean that He, too, was sick, but that He actually bears our diseases away, so that we are healed of them. Let it be noticed, also, that He did this to prove that He is the One of Whom Isaiah spoke. Healing is part of His mission. A non-healing Christ is not to be thought of, any more than we would think of a non-saving Christ.

Much of our sickness is due to sins. Not necessarily immorality. Sin means mistake. It is not immoral to not delight God, and idolatry may be practiced without doing that which is morally wrong. Some of the most correct people, morally, worry a great deal. But all of these things are mistakes, and, therefore, sins. That sickness is sometimes caused by actual immorality, I do not doubt. But I am making the point that not all sin is immoral. Paul, when he had "outside fightings, inside fears", II Cor. 7:5, was sinning, fir he was making a serious mistake in his worrying, which he, later, warned against. What was his physical condition at that time? He says, "Our flesh had no ease, but we were afflicted in everything". I know of many cases sickness that was brought on by worry. Murmuring is one kind of worrying.

Lusting after evil things will bring sickness, especially if we obtain and use that for which we lust. Putting God on trial is courting disease and death.

That there are cases of sickness that are clearly a visitation as a penalty for sinning, is evident.

I am not saying that sin is the immediate cause of all illness. Paul sometimes suffered affliction in the flesh, that it might be manifest to those about him that, in the healing, the life of Christ was manifest in his mortal flesh. This seems to be the exception---not the rule. Even in such cases, healing is also provided in the sacrifice of Christ.

In view of the fact that Jesus often said to those whom He had healed, "Go and do not still be sinning", should cause us to presume that there is sin of some kind at the root of our diseases. We ought to not ask for faith healing in a casual manner as if we were asking for a drink of water. Such requests should be made only when we are willing to humble ourselves and ask God to pardon us of all that is wrong in our life, whether or not we are conscious of anything wrong.

Paul says in regard to sickness, as a result of mistakes, "Therefore, many among you are infirm and ailing, and a considerable number are reposing. For if we would adjudicate ourselves, we would not be judged". The sickness and deaths of which he was speaking were certainly the judging of the Lord and Paul assures us that if we would adjudicate, (or judge), ourselves, we would not be judged. It is highly important, therefore, that we who ask for Christ's healing, shall judge ourselves, and not try to justify ourselves.

That you might see this more clearly, I call attention to a young preacher who made the mistake of preaching loud and exhausting himself during a sermon, as if the success of it depended on physical exertion. The result was, a hernia. He might have found healing in Christ, had he thought to judge himself and acknowledge that there was no use of his exertion, and that it was a mistake, and, hence a sin.

A lady nursed her father who had cancer. In a few years she had cancer also---not because the disease can either be "caught" or inherited---but because she made the mistake, (committed the sin), of seeing, in her metal image, the awful calamity that had befallen her parent, and fearing that it would be her lot also.

A person who worries for years because of his belief that he is certain to have a stroke, IS certain to have it. His worry is a sin---a mistake. It is the opposite of trust.

The one who lives in dire fear of germs, is apt to fall victim to them. The fear is a sin. Germs are scavengers of the body, and serve a good purpose, so long as the body is not weakened by fear and misgiving, and a lack of trust in God, Who made the body, and is able to sustain it. A buzzard is a scavenger to eat dead pigs, but will sometimes attack and kill a living pig that is too weak to escape him.

It is well to always pre-suppose sin, whenever sickness strikes. And the safe course is to judge the sins, confess them penitently, (whether they are sins of immorality or not), and depend on the living God to heal as a free gift in His grace.

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