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


May, 1954

Number 10

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

"Of Him and through Him and for Him is all", Romans 11:36.

All scripture passages should be considered in the light of their contexts, otherwise we may go far astray in our interpretation of them. The one quoted here is no exception, Let us consider Romans 11---the entire chapter.

God does not thrust away His people whom He foreknew. Israel is under consideration. That God did thrust away the nation of Israel is evident. They are His national people. But among them are a people whom He foreknew. These He does not thrust away.

It is in chapter 8 that Paul speaks of this foreknowledge. Those whom He foreknew as believers are to be a company of brethren among whom Christ is Firstborn. This is the church which Paul calls "the church which is His body". Paul was an Israelite of Abraham's seed. He was not thrust away.

In the days of Elijah, when the prophet thought himself the only one who had not been discarded, God assured him that there were seven thousand who were in the same class. So, in Paul's day there was a remnant according tot he choice of grace. It must be very displeasing to God, to so interpret the text that we think that God does bad things to those of His own choice. Those who were thrust away did not belong to the class that Paul says are according to the choice of grace.

What Israel as a nation sought, she did not encounter. The nation was seeking salvation by works. The chosen ones encountered it --- the others did not. They were calloused. Notice that none of the believers were calloused, for God does not do bad things to believers. God had put the unbelieving part of the nation into a state of stupor, according to the words of David. "Let their table become a trap and a mesh, and a snare and a repayment to them; darkened by their eyes, not to be observing, and their backs bow together always". Is it not evident that the unpleasant things that were to happen, were to happen to unbelievers? Yet I have observed that in many cases when one says, "All is of God", he thinks immediately of some unpleasant thing that God will bring on believers.

It is the nation of Israel that has tripped. But even the nation has not fallen. Her offense results in the enriching of other nations called Gentiles. But the nation of Israel is to be recovered, and yet be a greater blessing to the nations. Think not that this applies to those individuals who were blinded in Paul's day. It refers to the nation---Israel shall yet be a praise to God and her faithfulness shall be so grand that it will be as if the nation had risen from the dead. The tripping of the nation is a repayment David says so. It is not arbitrary act on the part of God. Usually when we say that all is of God it is thought by some that God sets cruelly without regard to the acts of people. Their tripping was of God, but it was not without a cause on the part of Israel. Their recovery will not be without a cause, either, as we shall see later.

Paul was the apostle---not merely to the church, but --- to the nations. When this words, "nations," is used, it refers to non-Israelites. We call them Gentiles.

Israel is the olive tree. Part of Israel was broken out, because of unbelief. The nations are a wild olive tree. They were grafted into the root, which was Israel. Olive oil was for lighting. The nations became the light bearers, and are so yet. It is among the nations that evangelism is carried on, while Israel is in a state of stupor. It is not true that merely the church among the nation is grafted into the root of the olive tree. The nations as such are grafted in. This is not without a cause. There is a national faith which Israel has lost, and the nations have acquired. The grafting in of the nation is of God, and yet it is based on national faith. There is a threat that if the nations do not remain in this faith, they will be taken out. We have seen this occur in some instances. There are nations today that bear no light for God and Christ. If all the nations are ever out of the olive tree, it will not be an arbitrary act on the part of God, yet the cutting out is of God. The phrase, "All is of God", does not mean that He acts without regard to human behavior.

Israel will not be grafted back into the olive tree without respect to their attitude. Notice this statement: "And they, also, if they should not be persisting is unbelief, shall be grafted in", verse 23. When Israel is grafted in again, it will be of God, yet it will be based on the fact that Israel turned again to the faith.

Callousness, in part, on the part of Israel, has come, until the complement of the nations may be entering. "And in this matter all Israel shall be saved, according as it was written. "The Rescuer shall be arriving out of Zion. He will be turning irreverence away from Jacob, and this is my covenant with them whenever I should be eliminating their sins", verse 26, 27. The Rescuer, Christ shall come to Israel after he has been seated in Zion in Jerusalem, and it is then that He shall "convert" the nation. This conversion shall be of God. If the nations are cut out of the olive tree, not a single believer among them shall be cut off. Try to get rid of the idea that, in carrying out His schedule, God must set unkindly, and without regard to what people think and do.

"All is of God". What all? The things mentioned in the context. We have not found that in any of it, God is doing something bad to His believing children.

There is another passage in which we are told that all is of God, and yet not a thing is said except of those who are in the new creation: "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; the primitive passed by. Lo! it has become new"; yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself through Christ," II Cor. 5:17, 18.

Is there any mention of suffering and afflictions and privations for those who are in the new creation? No; there is mention of the glorious things that God does for us. All is of God. What all? making us a new creation, and conciliating us to God.

When the context shows that God is talking about absolutely all, we have the right to interpret it so. In Colossians 1, Paul says that in the heavens and that all on the earth is created in, through, and for Christ, and that all in the heavens and on earth are reconciled to God through the blood of the cross. We are justified in saying that reconciliation is universal. But the word, "all", is not universal where the context does not justify us in saying it is.

The attitude of God toward His children is shown by the fact that, to them. He is not merely God, but their Father. He does not arbitrarily lead them into wrong doing, nor does He do other things to them, that are not becoming to a father to do. The "all" things that He does as mentioned in Romans 11, are not done as Father. They are done as God --- the Placer.

But in I John 2:16, we have a picture of Him as Father. Let us see how He treats His children; "For everything that is in the world, the desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the ostentation of living. IS NOT OF THE FATHER, but of the world". Ostentation is "pretentious parade, display dictated by vanity". Let us suppose that a believer has a desire for fleshly things, and is influence and guided by the desire of the eyes, and is making a pretentious display and parade of his living, dictated by vanity. Shall we say that this is of the Father? Does God lead His children so? Is He the One Who dictates to them this course? It is NOT He Who does this. These things are of the world. The things mentioned include all sinfulness. Is God the "Cause" of sin in the acts and attitude of His children? John says that He certainly is not. He is the Father of His children, and no Father would so treat His children.

We often accuse God of inconsistencies when we read "To whom He will He is merciful, yet Whom He will He is hardening", and try to interpret it. But let us consider that He hardens Pharaoh, the unbeliever --- not Moses, the believer. No child of God is hard hearted because God has made Him so. As John says, it is of the world.

Suppose one of His children is bound by some disease, so that he or she is not free to go and serve God, and be useful and happy and at ease. Are we to conclude that the expression, "Of Him and through Him and for Him in all" means that God has bound him or her, and rendered the sufferer unable to serve Him? Christ met such a case, and HE said that adversary had bound the patient, Luke 13:16. He did not accuse God of it.

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