1 Be ye therefore followers of God [imitators of His ways - (R.V.)], as dear children;
Christadelphians are to be distinguished from mere pretenders by their works. True Christadelphians are a virtuous and upright people. The truth believed and obeyed has separated them, and keeps them separate, from the world, and inspires them to exhibit in their daily life the moral excellence of their Father in heaven (1 Pet. 2:9; Phil. 2:15).
They are God-like-imitators of His ways; holy (1 Pet. 1:15, 16); the enemies of unbelief and all unrighteousness (2 Cor. 6:14-18). This standard is said by some to be unreasonably high, but the objection is evil, and proceeds, as a rule, from those who make no attempt to reach the divine requirements.
It is not in the perfect sense that God-likeness is expected, but to the best of our human capability. Who is there that cannot, with determination and effort, exhibit to a degree in their daily life the mercy, kindness, patience, justice, and moral purity of God?
Yea, it is those only who do so, who are God's children, or true Christadelphians. "But," says someone else, "God is a consuming fire-He is not always forgiving, but very avengeful. Are we to copy Him in this?" No, for good reasons. God has particularised this matter, and commanded us to make it an exception in imitating Him.
He has done so, not because vengeance and punishment, when infallibly applied, are wrong, but because of our frailty, and inability to judge righteously, and because of the good, as regards our probationary and moral development, that abstention from these things brings. The time will come when, even in the matter of punishing and visiting vengeance, we shall be God-like.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Oct 1906
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
These are things which waste and burn up the mind. There are indulgences in common follies which dry up the spiritual sap and engender aversion to spiritual things. Let us avoid them.
Bro Roberts - Present suffering, Seasons 1:32
Giving of thanks
Closely associated with prayer are praise and thanksgiving.
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
To recognise and acknowledge that all that we receive comes from God is a means of glorifying Him. God requires of us something more than formal lip-service. He wishes us to attune our hearts to His.
-"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
It is pleasing and acceptable to God to hear His children, when they meet together, lift up their voices in praise to Him. It is customary when a number of young Gentiles assemble for them to indulge in foolish talking and jesting. Sometimes these follies take the form of conversation, sometimes of song. Put all this away, says Paul, and substitute in its place the giving of thanks (Eph. v. 4).
Let our praise on all occasions be comely as the praise of saints should be. It is grievous to hear, as we sometimes do Zion's songs interspersed with giggling and nonsensical talk. This results, no doubt, from thoughtlessness. But God does not countenance thoughtlessness when His will and pleasure are in question.
The utterances of those who approach God rashly, unintelligently, and thoughtlessly, are styled the sacrifices of fools. God has only invited praise from those who are able and willing to praise Him with understanding (Ps. xlvii. 7).
"My lips shall utter praise when thou hast taught me thy statutes."
God calls upon us to first taste of His goodness, and then as a result to praise Him. A faithful dependence on Him should generate within us a well of thankfulness and praise. It should cause us to recognise the reality of God's overshadowing care, so that we can, as did the Psalmist, make our boast in God.
The Christadelphian, July 1887
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Refuting the resurrection responsibility error (Andrewism).
Baptism is obedience, and to say that wrath is limited to those who are baptised is to exclude "the children of disobedience" from its operation.
If we prove, as the passage certainly proves, that the wrath of God awaits the children of disobedience, we prove that they will come forth to receive it at the resurrection; for that is the revealed time for its infliction. It is here where those other passages come in, which declare that the day of Christ is "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Rom. ii.5, 16; 2 Thess. i. 8; Rev. xiv 19; xix. 15).
TC July 1894.
7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
No person who is by habit any of the things condemned, will enter the kingdom, for such behaviour would constitute him one of the children of disobedience, for whom wrath only is reasonably reserved. There were "vain words" in Paul's day which would cover these things over, and neutralise sin by an artificial theory of the imputed righteousness of Christ. There are not wanting many such vain words in our day, from the "Salvation Army" upwards. They are deceiving words, against which Paul warns us. "He that doeth righteousness is righteous."
Faith in Christ avails for "the forgiveness of sins that are past" but not as a substitute for personal obedience. All will be judged "according to their works" at last, but this does not mean that the sins and shortcomings of saints will not be forgiven. If they were not, no flesh would be saved, and the priesthood of Christ would be without an object. But the testimony is explicit that they are forgiven.
"If we confess our sins (and forsake them), he is faithful and just to forgive." "He shall have mercy." "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 Jno. i. 9; ii. 1; Prov. xxviii. 13).
The Christadelphian, Oct 1894. p391-393.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Naturally, the heart of man has no affection for God's ways, because they altogether run counter to the desires and pleasures of the flesh, they deprive the flesh of that which is dearest to itself. What flows naturally from the heart of man is clearly enumerated by the firstborn Son of God thus: -" Evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matt. 15: 19).
This is darkness, the native element of all flesh, "to which at one time, all the children of God, with but one exception, belonged...
Growing, extending, developing in the knowledge of God is the course that lies before the one made "just" in the sight of God by the clear shining into the mind and heart of the glorious gospel of Christ, followed by an affectionate obedience to the will of God by baptism into the saving name of His Son.
Paul's unceasing prayer for those belonging to the family of God at Colosse was, "That they
might be all filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. That they might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1: 9- 10).
Leaving the word of the beginning of Christ (margin) let us go on unto perfection (Hebrews 6:1). Growing up into Him in all things which is the Head, even Christ (Ephesians 4: 15.)
It is not possible that a state of inactivity can prevail for any length of time in the pathway of
Divine life. It must either be an onward march to perfection, or a declension from that way, and a consequent return, in some degree, to the elements of darkness from which the start was made.
The mind and heart must be in constant sympathy with the Divine ideal, drawing nearer to the glorious perfection that shines forth in "the image of the invisible God." It might seem laborious to the flesh to maintain a continuous application of thought to the contemplation of the wondrous secrets of Divine wisdom laid out in the word of God. It might be irksome and even obnoxious to the natural mind to be ever under the restraint of Divine discipline; but this very experience supplies evidence of the superiority of the spirit of Truth over the desires of the flesh, it discloses the upward direction of the path of life.
The ease and relaxation that might come with a step in the opposite direction is deceptive, and sooner or later will reveal a drift in the direction of darkness, and bring discomfort. This does occur, without doubt, in every case, more or less, but the heart that is spiritually sensitive will quickly discover its error, and struggle to regain its former position of harmony with the high standard ofspiritual life.
Experience of this kind, arising from a departure, or a fall, brings to the son or daughter of
God whose heart has learnt to delight itself in the Law of God, seasons of depression, and grief, periods of remorse and suffering. But, scripturally speaking, this is the "trial of faith" and is more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire (1 Peter 1: 6- 7), because the "victory" that has been gained by a return to obedience through repentance has added Strength and joy to the victor, and has thus increased the brightness of the prospect held out to him at the appearing of Jesus Christ, and is an essential part of the process by which "the path of the just is made to shine more and more." JE Jarvis
Berean Christadelphian, June 1923
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
The analogy of nature is often referred to in the Scripture in illustration of the deep things of the Spirit. It is reasonable that the one should be laid under contribution in expounding the other ; because the beings to be taught are natural beings ; and the exponent is the Creator of them all. The explanation I have given of the manner in which consciousness of identity is impressed upon newly created beings, was suggested by the remarkable effect of lightning recently observed upon the bodies of a man and his son, killed by a flash while sheltering under a tree.
A perfect likeness of the tree was flashed upon them.
" Whatsoever doth make manifest is the light."
The lines and shadows of the tree had been imparted to the subtle fluid, so that, when it touched their bodies, it flashed upon them a likeness identical with the original; and thus the likeness was transferred from the lightning to the bodies.
All that is required in resurrection is, identity of form or image, and identity of likeness : so that the intellectual and moral likeness of a pre-resurrectional man be not flashed upon the post-resurrectional image of a woman. This would be confusion.
From this view of the development of identity, it will be seen how futile are all human efforts to circumvent resurrection. The enemies of the saints in various ages have thought to prevent their resurrection by burning their bodies, and scattering their dust to the winds ! But, the Lord in heaven holds all such enterprises in derision. Any other dust may do as well; the power of identity not residing there ; but in the character already formed being flashed by the spirit upon the new creature.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the ecclesia.
This is the aggregate of those, who, believing these things, have been introduced into Christ through the laver of the water; according to the saying of the Scriptures, "ye are all the children of God in Christ Jesus through the faith. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have entered into Christ," (enedusasqe). * * * ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and HEIRS according to the promise" (Gal. 3:26-29).
A community of such individuals as these constitutes the mystical body of Christ. By faith, its elements are "members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." Hence, they are "bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh;" and, therefore, the beloved Eve of the last Adam, the Lord who is to come from heaven, and make her of the same spiritual nature as His own.
Thus, the ecclesia is figuratively taken out of the side of her Lord; for every member of it believes in the remission of sins through His shed blood; and they all believe in the real resurrection of His flesh and bones, for their justification unto life by a similar revival from the dead. "Your bodies are the members," or flesh and bones, "of Christ and he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:15-17). "I have espoused you to one husband," says Paul, "that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).
It will be perceived, then, that the ecclesia as defined, is in the present state the espoused of Christ, but not actually married. She is in the formative state, being moulded under the hand of God. When she shall be completed, God will then present her to the Man from heaven, "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" (Rev. 19:7-8). This is she of whom the poet sings,
"Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for He is thy Lord and worship thou Him. The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto Thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought they shall enter into the King's palace"(Psalm 45:10-15).
The presentation of Eve to the first Adam was the signal of rejoicing to the Morning Stars; and we perceive that the manifestation of Messiah's Queen will be attended with the "Alleluia" of a great multitude, sounding like the roaring of many waters, and the echoes of mighty thunderings, saying, "let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to the Lord God omnipotent: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His betrothed hath made herself ready."
Such is the relationship and destiny of the true ecclesia, styled by Paul, "the One Body." It is forming by the word; or, taking it as formed in the apostolic age, but not presented, the apprehension of the apostle has been sadly realized. "I fear," says he, "lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." The tempter has seduced the betrothed.
The simplicity in Christ is no longer characteristic of a community. It is corrupted on every side; and the ruin of the transgression alone prevails. Nevertheless, although there be no hope for the professing world, seeing that it is too "wise in its own conceit;" too self-satisfied with its supposed illumination; glorifying itself, and saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knows not," and will not be persuaded, "that it is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" (Rev. 3:17) -- seeing, I say, that this is the irremediable condition of the religious public, yet there remains scope for the deliverance of those who are disposed to obey God rather than men.
If they would become bone of Christ's bone, and flesh of His flesh, they, must "leave father and mother, and be joined unto the wife."
They find themselves now, perhaps, members of denominations as they happen to be led. These are their parentage according to the fleshly mind. They must be forsaken, and men must become "one flesh" and "one spirit " in the Lord, if they would inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 10:37). "This is a great mystery," says Paul, "but I speak concerning Christ and the ecclesia" (Eph. 5:22-32).
Elpis Israel 1.2.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
THE SECRET OF A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE
(The Basis of Love v.21-33)
1. It must be a sacrificial love v.25
2. It must be a purifying love v.26-27
3. It must be a caring love v.28-30
4. It must be an unbreakable love v.31
5. The whole relationship must be "in the Lord" v.32-33
Marriage in the Lord has not 2 but 3 partners (God in the middle)
Bro Peter Dulis [toronto west] Comment added in 2010