1 PETER 4
1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
The inutility of ordinary human pursuits becomes apparent even now. After forty, people begin to look at the serious side of things, though truly some persons never look at that side at any age, as some do at an earlier age. But taking the ordinary run of mankind, when the meridian of life is passed, things in general begin to appear in their true colours, and the result is generally dispiriting.
Most men live for transient purposes, and the consequence is, as the interest of those purposes wears off -- having nothing to fall back upon -- they sink into an insipid state, which, having no purpose or hope, has no nobility and no joy. On how many thousands of countenances is this condition depicted? The practical bearing of this is obvious.
Nothing profits in the end but the truth. A life in this will be ever green and flourishing -- even now. While the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day. But if secular objects only are pursued, there will be no inward man to renew, and all will be desolation when the inevitable period arrives for the decay of all pertaining to the outward man.
The truth is the only thing whereby we can be discharged from the grave, ever remembering, of course, that this deliverance will not be given to those merely knowing the truth... as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, we are to arm ourselves with the same mind, for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
There is no, ambiguity about this. The meaning is plain. Those who are heirs of life, in so far as they acquire a title by connection with Christ, are to make their heirship sure, by walking after the course indicated. Their time, after coming to the knowledge of the truth, is not to be spent in "the lusts of men," but in doing the will of God.
Great stress is laid in all the Scriptures on this feature -- the doing of the will of God. Jesus brings it out forcibly when he says to certain,
"Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? He that DOETH the will of my Father, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Seasons 1: 46.
6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
"For this the gospel was preached to dead ones, that they might be condemned by men for flesh, but live by God for spirit."-I Pet. 4:6.
This is not difficult to explain. The dead referred to were persons who, previous to the time Peter was writing, had heard the gospel and obeyed it. The truth they believed caused them to cease any longer to work the will of the Gentiles, in practising their vices and abominable idolatries. This caused their. former companions to speak evil of them, and to persecute them even to death; which Peter terms condemnation for flesh. Their refusal to gratify the flesh, and their reproof of fleshly gratification in others, was the ground of their condemnation.
But their work shall be rewarded; for having put to death the deeds of the body, they shall live "for spirit," πνευματι.
The gospel was preached to them with a view to this result-that they might become spirit "in the day of the Lord Jesus," being born from the dust of the spirit by resurrection: for "that born of the spirit is spirit."
The gospel was not preached to them after their decease. Peter does not say that it was. But that the gospel was preached to persons, dead indeed while he was writing, but alive when they heard and became obedient.
Preaching the gospel to dead men! If that does not beat everything! What piece of tomfoolery will not the clergy teach, and their dupes believe, after this. Why
"a living dog is better than a dead lion;"
yet the dogs of the apostacy are both deaf and dumb. What would not their corpses be in respect of truth!
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857
9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Pleasure, even in the matter of duty, is an uncertain star to steer by. If we steer by it, we are sure to go wrong. What we have to do is to consider the things that are right, and to do them. Do not do them because it will please anybody else; but in your own mind cultivate the habit of seeing Him who is invisible, and acting from the force of that consideration.
If you do that, you will keep always at work, from one year's end to another, under all circumstances. If the principle of your action is the love of God, you won't be driven off the line. If you are driven off by a wrong twist of affairs, you are not the right sort of man: you were acting from some side consideration.
The truth in its naked force was not your bond, and you will have no ground of complaint if Jesus tells you at the last, that as you were unfaithful in that which is least, you are not fit to be entrusted with the great things of the age to come.
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Everything a man has, he is indebted to God for, inasmuch as by whatever means he has acquired it, those means have been bestowed upon him, in one way or another, by the permission or action of the Deity.
If a man procure a position through his talents, he is as much indebted to the source of his being, as if the position were conferred without the interposition of those talents leading to it; for those talents have been bestowed upon him; he did not create them himself.
If, again, he has favourable connection with trade, or is related to opulent people, by whom he gets position and substance, he is again a beneficiary of God, for the circumstances leading to the substance were not his own contriving.
If he accumulates a fortune by industry, there is no more ground for boasting than if God had put the money in his hand, because he has been fortunately constituted upon a principle that has enabled him to be industrious. Everything a man has he has received, and therefore he ought to be modest in his use thereof, and kindly in his attitude to the less fortunate.
This a brother of Christ will be, acting as a good steward in those things that constitute to him the favour of God. In everything in which he can do good, he must do good without grudging. Well- doing begrudged is absurd. A man brings nothing into the world, and can take nothing out. He is only a steward of what belongs to God. A cheerful exercise of his stewardship is sensible and well-pleasing to God. Nothing else will be accepted.
To do it, requires determination. Such a man will often have to act against his feelings. If we wait till a duty is pleasant before we do it, we shall often fail, and arrive at the end of the journey with a barren life to look back to.
11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
"If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."
Therefore, dear brother, be earnest; avoid affectation and mere showing off, and, above all, talk sense. Remember that your theme is momentous and sacred, and calls for honest, humble, and painstaking effort.
Aim at arresting with edifying matter. Forget not that a good, sound thought, however roughly expressed, is worth a score of high-sounding phrases with nothing in them. In view of this, seek to enrich your mind with ideas.
Ideas are the product of study and thought. If they exist, words will quickly be found to convey them. Be fair; be logical. Neither strain meanings, misrepresent, nor indulge in clap-trap. Preach for the enlightenment of your hearers, not for self-glorification. Hide self, and let God be seen and heard.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, March 1899
This is the true communion of Spirit. Man has no Spirit in himself, except his physical power of subsistence. He has not the Spirit in that relation that would connect him with the divine intelligence as the children of God will be connected in the perfect state. He must, therefore, attach himself to the only channel in which in our age the Spirit flows. The ideas of the Spirit of God are for us at present in the Bible and nowhere else.
There was a day when they flashed and sparkled by inspiration direct from the Spirit of God to the prophets and apostles; but, in our day, that refreshing operation is in abeyance, as foretold. In this respect our position is less privileged than the position of the saints in the apostolic age. All the more reason why we should avail ourselves to the utmost of the privilege which is ours in possessing the written Oracles of Yahweh's Truth.
...As we sit at our reading of "the Law and the Prophets," we receive the messages transmitted ages ago to distant times. By those messages we are brought into touch with many things that were living realities in their day, and that arch over our head to another day, when they will be greater realities still.
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Although the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will be amongst our experiences, our comfort will be somewhat tried by the social penalties involved. Doing the will of God means being a social hermit, for the friend of God is necessarily isolated from "society" in all its pursuits and pleasures; he is thrust into a corner; he has to occupy himself with work and with people that yield no present gratification; his endurance is much put to test; he has no continuing city.
This has been the position of all the servants of God from the beginning: he has to think of this and take courage.
These Elohim or Sons of Power, are to be developed from the earth-born seed of Abraham, upon the great moral principle of the intellectual universe, expressed in the two words "faith" and "obedience" -- an obedient faith, tested by trial.
This principle necessitates the existence of evil in the system where the development of God is in progress; for there can be, no trial where evil does not exist. The Eternal Spirit has, therefore, wisely created evil -- first as the punishment of sin and secondly, to afford scope for the manifestation of the approved.
Upon this principle, Abraham's faith was tried and perfected; and upon the same principle, though not in the same way, the faith of all scripturally recognized as "his seed," is tried and perfected to this day.
Phanerosis - Elohim developed from the seed of Abraham
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian [Christ follower - name coined by the unbelievers - Acts 11: 26], let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God [in this name Yah, the Anointed Saviour] on this behalf.
Christadelphian is the word of five euphonious [agreeable sound] syllables expressive of this exalted privilege. The privilege of being a brother of the Sun of Righteousness, transcends in honour and dignity any title borne by the most ancient and proud nobles of the world.
The Emperor of China would be, if he could, "brother of the sun and moon;" but there is no adoption to place him in that celestial rank!
Not so with the believer into the Christ-name. There is an adoption for him which makes him a son and a brother of the Word, by whom the sun and moon were created.
But, the word that reminds the intelligent believer of this marvellous truth is an offence to you; and you prefer to glory in a name, which signified something honourable and distinctive in the days of the apostles; but now means anything you please, and nothing definite. "I find," say you, "that Peter says, 'If ye suffer as a Christian, happy are ye, and glorify God in this name.'" (Emphatic.) Now, I find no such saying of Peter in his epistles. He says
"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye" (1 Pet. 4:14);
and "if anyone suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God for this portion."-(verse 16.)
The recent editors would substitute in this name for on this behalf, as equally good, if not a better reading. But Christian is not the name of the Word-flesh. His name is Yah, the Anointed Saviour, or Jesus Christ the Deity, manifested in sin's flesh by holy spirit.
"If in (this) the name of Christ ye be reproached, happy are ye."
In early times they who renounced the idols were styled by the Pagans Christians, or followers of Christ; and multitudes rushed to martyrdom calling themselves Christians, who were no more followers of Christ, than the worshippers of the beast now, who style themselves Christians, while they blaspheme that worthy name by which are called 'those who put it on-mere sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.
Christian does not now signify a follower of Christ, but the very reverse. It does not indicate a man in Christ, nor one bearing any relation to him; but simply one who happens to have first inhaled the breath of life in Europe and America, absurdly enough styled "christian countries!"
The name Christadelphian has never been desecrated and prostituted to the cloaking of every species of crime, hypocrisy, and abomination, as hath what you term "the good old Scriptural name of Christian."
It is neither better nor more Scriptural than Christadelphian. Satan is as Scriptural a name as Christian, and older too: but what of that? The idol-worshipping children of Satan called the sons of God "Christians;" they gave this name reproachfully, but the spirit of the Eternal Father styles them the brethren of His Son.
...Permit me to remark that the Brethren of Christ are not now a new sect. They were a new sect in the last days of Mosaic law, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes, being the old and "orthodox denominations."
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, April 1869
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Christ makes much of his servants being faithfully watching and alert at the moment of his return. This is not in the sense of by chance being caught out, as in musical chairs or something, but in the sense of day-in, day-out consistency and constancy. If we are not spiritually minded at all times, and ever abounding in the work of the Lord, then our service and spirituality is just a part-time hobby and a sham. Unless our life is a totality of watching and prayer, we are not watching and praying enough.
So many act as if they have their salvation all sewed up and guaranteed, and they can engage in all sorts of unnecessary enterprises and activities, and still easily make it. Can we possibly be so foolish in the face of scripture, when eternity is at stake? Are we so sure of our salvation? Doesn't just plain common sense wisdom demand that we give the race for life every possible ounce of effort and attention?
So much to learn; so much to do. This attitude is understandable with the shallow religious world, with their easy substitute magic carpet salvation, but brothers and sisters of Christ SHOULD KNOW BETTER.
"The righteous shall scarcely be saved,"
"When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants."
What shall we answer at the judgment seat, if we have not done all? If we have frittered away our time? Jesus said of the ecclesia at Sardis,
"Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain."
Bro Growcott - Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments
The rest of the dead are those who never came under a constitution of righteousness; not because they did not know how, but because they refused to do so. Having been enlightened, but preferring darkness to light, they will arise to judgment...
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1855
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Sinners and Life in Christ
Q. T.-("If there is no life out of Christ, where do sinners get the life from that they are punished in at the resurrection?")
You reason from a fallacy. It is not true that there is no mortal life out of Christ. There is any amount of mortal life out of Christ, as you well know. If you say you mean immortal life, the bottom is out of your question. Sinners never do receive immortal life, but only the accepted after judgment.
Sinners raised to be punished at the resurrection get their life from where every living creature gets it: they get it from God. Only they get it direct by the hand of Christ who is the resurrection power, whereas ordinary creatures get it indirectly from the thousand processes that God has originated in nature.
The Christadelphian, Dec 1898
This judgment begins with the judgment of the saints in the presence of Christ; and as they are now exhorted to " work out their salvation with fear and trembling " ; and however excellent their Christian character, are not judges in their own case ; for even Paul said, " I
judge not myself " : so they appear at his tribunal with more or less of the feeling of misgiving Daniel had before he was strengthened, consequent upon peace being pronounced upon him.
Because of the certainty of this state of mind being that of the most excellent of the
saints in the Divine Presence, the beloved apostle exhorts the faithful to a certain course of spiritual life in the present world ; that " when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming " (1 Jno. ii. 28). "
By loving in deed and in truth," says he, " we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure
our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, the Deity is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, THEN have we confidence towards Deity " (1 Jno. iii. 19-21).
The only way, then, for the righteous to approach the dread tribunal in the spirit evinced by Paul in 2 Tim. iv. 7-8, is to "walk so as we have Him for an example " ; and he walked " in
the steps of Abraham's faith," and after the example of Jesus Christ. In this way we may attain to the degree of excellence which will give us " boldness in the day of judgment " (1 John iv. 17) ; otherwise, not only timidity, but a vivid apprehension of being put to shame before Him and the angelic apparitors of His court, will be the enervating feeling attendant upon us, when we report ourselves in the presence of the Judge.
Now, this judgment, which begins at the House of the Deity, is styled by Paul, in Heb. vi. 2, aionian judicial trial. It is termed aionian, because the great spiritual assize is opened for the examination of cases aspiring to the glory, honour, and immortality of the kingdom " in the last day."