1 JOHN 2
1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
God heareth not sinners, but he hears Christ, and through him, will forgive unto life eternal. We are, therefore, says Paul, having such an High Priest (one who sympathises with our infirmities, from having tasted them), to
"come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."-(Heb. 4:16.) "He ever liveth to make intercession for us."-(Heb. 7:25),
and he intercedes for those who come to avail themselves of his intercession, but none else. It was only for those transgressors who brought the typical sacrifice to the priest at the door of the tabernacle that the priest interceded. So it is only for those who make confession in prayer, and supplicate the divine forgiveness in the name of Jesus, that Christ's mediatorial function will be exerted.
Israel did not worship the High Priest: they sought the Increate God of their fathers, through the High Priest, worshipping without, while he interceded within; so the people of Christ worship not Christ, but, in the name of Jesus, worship God; and Jesus, in the presence of God, maketh intercession, and God hears him, and through him-by the means of his personal will-vouchsafes the blessings sought.
There is nothing in all this to clash with the fact that God is gracious to our worthless race. His love is shown in establishing an arrangement by which we have access to His favour and life for evermore. His love could not be allowed to violate any other attribute of His being; it must work in harmony with all His rules and methods of operation; and this is what it does in the work of Christ.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, but the method of reconciliation was by sacrifice and mediation. God advances to us through Christ, but yet His advance takes the form of appointing a mediator
"to make intercession according to His will."
It need not be urged that the present forgiveness of sins interferes with the operation of the judgment seat. If we were now made immortal in answer to our prayers for forgiveness, such a reflection might arise, but all that is done is the obliteration of our offences from the divine mind. If they were not so obliterated, they would be disclosed against us at the judgment seat to our condemnation.
Unpardoned sin will be fatal, and the pardon is to be sought now in daily prayer without ceasing. Yet practically, the judgment seat will witness and administer the results of prayer. We know not till then if our prayers are heard. God knows now. He knoweth them that are His, but it is not permitted to us to know the secrets of His counsel towards ourselves until the Day which he hath appointed for the disclosure of them by the mouth of Jesus Christ, whom He has constituted judge of the quick and the dead.
It would be a fatal mistake to overlook the priesthood of Christ, as now accessible to his household by prayer. The truth would be of no use to us if we did. The intercession of Christ is necessary to our salvation: and we can only set it in motion in our individual behalf by individual prayer.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Jan 1869
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
A Higher Love
Now, love in the truth is a very different affair from all these [The World's Love Ephemeral] ; it is quite a higher thing, in every respect; higher in the conditions it requires for its activity-higher in the nature of its action. It is at once a more delicate and more enduring thing, more refined, and more tough.
It lays hold of, and has relation to, a much higher aspect of being. It deals with higher things. It mounts to God, stretches to futurity, and strikes root deeply into the very foundations of being while the love of the world ignores God, fixes on the present only, and has relation to the mere surface of things.
Bro Roberts- Exhort 6.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Proof is better than assertion: seeing is better than hearing: fruit better than blossom. If any man saith that he is a brother of Christ, he ought to be able to satisfy others as well as himself. Men do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles. Good trees do not bring forth corrupt fruit.
If the fruit is all the time nauseous, the tree is bad, notwithstanding a fair appearance of the leaf. If any man say he is a brother of Christ and walk not as Jesus walked, his profession of truth is a lie. It would be better for him not to know anything of the truth, than knowing it to disgrace it with a sin-polluted life.
Now there are many commandments for the ordering of our conversation in the sight of Him who has called us from darkness to light. All of them have an equal claim on our consideration and obedience; but some are larger and more urgent than others.
First stands the necessity of living and acting for the good of other people. This is the strongest feature in the example set by Jesus, who went about doing good, ministering instead of being ministered unto, and finally laid down his life for us. Jesus and his apostles command our imitation of their characteristics. They are the opposite of what we see in the world, where all is cold, selfish, unkind and cruel.
They are the virtues that the natural man is slowest to learn; sacrifices which he is the most liable to excuse himself from making on all sorts of virtuous and philosophic grounds; yet qualities, the very existence of which is indispensable to an enjoyable state of society, and without which, this at all times dishonourable flesh-state becomes irredeemably vile and uninteresting.
No wonder that called to a reign of benevolence (administered in subjection to law of course,) we should be called upon to cultivate that character in advance, at a time when evil prevails, and when its cultivation and practical exemplification are more meritorious on that account. It is quite certain that a character destitute of active benevolence will not meet with approval at the judgment-seat of Christ.
We are, of course, to be on our guard against the perversion of this truth which is common in the world. There we see philanthropy exalted at the expense of truth. We see it put forward as a means by which men shall be saved, teaching inferentially that condemned man can attain to eternal life by the things he may devise to do for himself, thus shutting out the gospel.
Then the good deeds that are done, are associated with a peculiarity that was strongly reprobated by Jesus. They are much more frequently prompted by a desire to be considered good than a desire to benefit fellow creatures, or perform a duty to God-ward. These two features of current philanthropy are equally false, if not equally odious.
The truth has taught us to see this strongly, but may we not be carried too far in the opposite direction? There is no doubt about the liability. The concern is to avoid the danger. Because the world falsely makes salvation securable by kind deeds, irrespective of our relation to Christ, there is a tendency to exalt purity of doctrine to the exclusion of godliness of character in the matter in question.
This were as fatal a mistake as a denial of the gospel itself. We must continually remember that although the truth doctrinally is the beginning, and nothing can be done without it, that though we must, without fainting, contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, there is a fruit-bearing of personal holiness and well-doing, without which our knowledge of the truth will be to condemnation and not to salvation.
The object of Jesus in the truth is, to purify unto himself a peculiar people, and their peculiarity consists in this-that they shall detest sin in every shape and form, and have a hearty affinity for matters pertaining to his will, and an active zeal for "good works."
Such will be known among the common run as "peculiar;" but know them well, and if they are the right stuff, they are admirable. They are men of kindly word and deed, whose patience you don't soon get to the bottom of. You, by and bye, get to know the difference between a real man and a buckram man in this respect.
There will come times in everyone's experience-even in the relations of the best friends, when a divergence of view on some little matter may cause a hitch. If your friend is a moral Buckramite-or you yourself happen to be so, which, of course, is not impossible-or worse still, both-the hitch is "ungetoverable." A breach in base metal cannot be repaired. The Buckramite, once off the rails of good fellowship, can never be hoisted on again. He is formal and unfriendly for evermore.
The true man is different from this. He forgives, and starts again, as the law of Christ requires. He works by that law in all things. His friendship does not so entirely depend, as the other's, upon the qualities of those to whom it is extended. It is based in great part upon divine considerations. It is drawn from a deeper source than the friendship of the carnal man. It is drawn by an invisible process from the deep profound of God.
He is consequently not easily discomfited. He pursues his steady way without deviation. He will be found in the path of duty, whatever may come, whatever disruption may arise, whatever evil winds may blow-alike through evil as through good report. This is the characteristic of Christ's true people.
Sunday Morning 23 - TC 08/1870.
13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
John speaks of children, young men, and fathers in Christ. The matter is one admitting, in the same discipleship, of great variety of mental relation to it -- the utmost profundity of understanding on the one hand, and the simple exercise of child- like and uncomprehending faith on the other.
Yet these varying conditions in believers have a common basis -- faith and obedience. They all believe the testimony of God, and are all distinguished by "the doing of His commandments." This is the family likeness.
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Love in the truth must start with the truth; it cannot make a beginning without it. You will find, as a matter of religious experience, that our love is bounded by the truth. It cannot be bestowed in a very warm form where the truth is unknown, and still less where it is opposed and rejected.
Where the truth is received there is a starting point; but even after that, the degree of its intensity is determined by conditions. Personal love will exist in the ratio of the love existing for the truth itself. You have only to pass in review the different classes of people professing the truth to see the truth of this.
Bro Roberts- Exhort 6.
It can surely be only those whose consciences are not void of offence toward God and men, who contemplate their appearance in His presence with affright. They are, doubtless, conscious of disaffection and disloyalty to the truth ; of not walking worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called ; of conformity to the world upon the things of which their affections are placed, and of glorying in pursuits of which they ought rather to be ashamed.
Professors who are making for themselves a record of this sort, have reason to be affrighted ; for, " if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him " ; and the world's friends are God's enemies (1 John ii. 15 ; James iv. 4) ; hence, for such, the expectation of standing before Christ in full angelic assize, is " a certain fearful looking-or of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries " (Heb. x. 27)...
...If it be His purpose to demand account from every one, of himself, before he confers upon him, through the Spirit, life everlasting, that purpose will assuredly stand. And that it is His pleasure so to do, is emphatically and explicitly taught in the word. Paul, who testifies it among others, did not view it with dismay, although he says that evil as well as good is then to be dispensed. He was conscious of having done well, and he knew that such would be accepted (Gen. iv.7).
...Surely, they who are keeping the faith, and earnestly desiring " the appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ," may view the judgment of that day, now so close at hand, as cheerfully.
It is only evil doers that have reason to be afraid.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
... that is, these sentiments are not such as the Father approves as the motives of action in those whom He has formed in His own image.
...When we attain to any growth in Christ, we see this clearly, and more clearly every year. At first, to youth and inexperience (and always to the carnal mind, whether old or young) it seems not so bad. Things seem fair and harmless, and the apostolic portraiture overdrawn, and the scruples of such as are guided by the apostles over strong.
But at last, with maturer judgment of all things and enlarged appreciation of things that are truly "good," the world looks all that it is, and if we are wise, we stand aside as God's friends have always stood aside from the enemy of God. We get to see that the world in all its ways is wrong, at the root. What root is that? God.
The world sprang from God; and in a right state of the world, God would be its highest honour, its highest concern, its highest pleasure. But in the actual state of the world, God is not there at all.
He is unknown, unregarded where professedly recognized, sneered at where not actually denied in words -- blasphemed everywhere in the actions of men. His Word neglected where admitted, dispised where not avowedly cast out, spurned and denounced where the carnal mind openly unfurls the flag of its rebellion.
Bro Roberts - Danger, Seasons 37.
We are not to love the world...
The world is radically bad: it is opposed heart and soul to God. And this character it will retain until Christ come to reform it. Our duty in regard to the world is plain: we are to keep ourselves unspotted from it-Jas 1:27. Unless we do this we are not brethren or friends of Christ-our profession is a farce.
To preserve this purity is a mighty task: it is a killing one. But with God's help it is one that can be accomplished. God's help comes only to those who tremble at the Word-not to scorners. Those who sneeringly say that it is necessary to quit the world in order to obey the divine precepts in regard to it shut themselves off from help, and therefore from success and reward.
Such are blasphemers-mockers of God-though they may not think so. Glory is only to be reached through tribulation, and tribulation is the outcome of a recognition of and an earnest endeavour to observe the divine conditions. The truth would, doubtless, be more congenial if dis-united from its stringent requirements. But God has good reason for enforcing these requirements.
He has made salvation contingent upon our keeping ourselves separate from the world, and this it is folly to ignore. The matter resolves itself into a very simple question: will we or will we not comply? If we will, our course is plain-we must keep our eye upon Christ and follow in his steps.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Jan 1888
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
"THE MAN OF SIN, the Son of Perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself over every one called god, or an object of fear" -- sebasma -- into the Lawless One, ho Anomos, who, Daniel was informed, would "think to change times and laws;" and "whom the Lord will consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and destroy in the manifestation of his presence" -- te epiphaneia tes parousias autou (2 Thess. ii. 3,4,8).
This lawless deity of the court, who sets himself above all law even in his decrepitude, while he has to be supported upon his tottering throne against "the Earth" by French bayonets, claims to be the successor of the apostle Peter, and Vicegerent of Jesus Christ -- in other words, THE ANTICHRIST -- anti, instead of, christos, Christ.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
-"Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."-(Rev. 3:18).
Hence for one to be anointed is for him to be taught the truth as the Spirit has exhibited it in the Scriptures of the prophets and apostles, which are
'profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, completely furnished for every good work."-(2 Tim. 3:16.)
This is the true anointing in the absence of "spiritual gifts."
Bro Thomas scraps from his writings
The Christadelphian, June 1872
28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.