GALATIANS 5


1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Liberty


There is something sterile and unsatisfying in the highest of merely human thoughts and attainments. It is not in the nature of life as it now is, to satisfy the mind. The mind is so constituted that nothing short of the infinite can satisfy.

In all merely human projects, it matters not in what direction, riches, power, fame, art, science-there is an end, which when once reached, becomes the grave of enterprise and the seed bed of discontent. There is nothing satisfying in what man proposes for himself. He cannot find peace except in that boundless mental action which lays hold of God for its delight and stay; Christ as the ideal of its affection, and an endless futurity of perfection as the vista of its anticipations.

This, dear brethren and sisters, is what the understanding of the truth has brought to us. It has conferred upon us entire liberty. What remains for us but to stand fast in it? It is a position we may lose if we neglect the conditions of its preservation. We must beware of the enticements suggested to us in the spectacle of cultured men and women

"without God and without hope in the world."

They are interesting in the present desolation, but it is a mere picture-a mere appearance-hollow if we penetrate it-absolutely ephemeral if we follow it to its close. We must beware of the zests and honours and emulations connected with society as it now is. It is a society that is not the friend of God, however amiable and attractive. We must not surrender to its seductions, or accept its embraces. It is written,

"The friendship of the world is enmity with God."

We must beware of the faintness of mind that is liable to overtake the patient continuance in godliness. It is not in vain that we addict ourselves to the ways and the studies of godliness, and decline the leeks and garlic of the Egyptians. The issue of things will justify the choice of wisdom, and reward beyond what tongue can utter or heart conceive, the faithful endurance of the monotonies and self-denials of this time of probation.

"Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come,"

from whose bright presence will fly all clouds and darkness for ever.

Sunday morning 186



3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Circumcision: The token of the covenant


In after times circumcision came to be performed as a mere custom, or ceremony.

An institution of God, that was appointed as a memorial of His promise concerning the everlasting possession of Canaan and the world, and of that righteousness by faith of the promise which could alone intitle to it, and which was to express those who practised it -- degenerated into a mere form which was observed, like infant-sprinkling by "the pious" and most ungodly characters alike.

But it is evident that circumcision, being instituted after the covenant of promise was confirmed, and after Abraham had obtained a title to it by a righteousness of faith, could confer upon the person circumcised no right to possess the things promised for ever, and certainly none to reprobates who practised it. as Turks and wild Arabs do now, because their fathers have done it before them, time immemorial to them.

What obligation, then, did this sign of the covenant, and seal of Abraham's justification by faith without circumcision, impose upon the circumcised? Let the apostle answer the question.

"I testify," says he, "to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to the whole law." (Gal. 5:3).

This was a fearful obligation for a man to be brought under, who sought to be justified, to the end that he might obtain an everlasting inheritance in the land of Canaan, which implies the acquisition of eternal life and glory.

The law was weak through the flesh; and gave only the knowledge of sin. It was an unbearable yoke of bondage, and a law which no man born of the will of the flesh had been able to keep without sin. If, then, a man sought to obtain a right to an everlasting possession of the land by obedience to it, he had undertaken an impossibility; for the law, on account of human weakness, could give no one a right to live for ever; and without life eternal a man could not everlastingly possess the land; and this life no one can attain to who is not justified from all his past sins; for if in his sins, he is under the sentence of death, as it is written,

"the wages of sin is death."

The apostle speaks directly to the point; for he says

 "If there had been a law given, which could have given (a title to) life (eternal), verily righteousness (or justification from past sins to life) should have been by the law" (Gal. 3:21):

"for if righteousness had come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21).

He says explicitly,

"by the law shall no flesh be justified."

A circumcised person is therefore bound to keep that which he cannot possibly keep, and which if he did keep could not benefit him, because justification to life is by faith in the prornise, and not by conformity to the Mosaic law.

Elpis Israel 2.4.



8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.

Him that calleth you


In the natural order of things (that is, if Christ had not appeared and sent out a call to all willing men to become his) we should have been occupied like the Gentiles around, with mere questions of eating and drinking, and being comfortable and merry in this mortality, indulging in Pagan dreams of futurity, doomed to eternal disappointment.

We, therefore, realize this idea that this captain differs from other captains, in that he himself makes his own election.

It is not as if his people were a political party, looking round and choosing the man that happens to suit them best. The movement proceeds from him. He has sent out agents (his apostles) for the purpose of creating a party for himself, and the party so created differs very much from all other parties that ever surrounded a leader.

It is called to a much closer relation to the captain than in worldly parties. Personal loyalty is exacted in the highest degree, and is returned by the captain (as we shall see at his coming) in a far higher form than the affection ever conceived by mortal leader for his partizans. As to the first, the rule of the service is

"Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

As to the second, he has laid down his life for his friends; and has promised that when all shall have proved their faithfulness, he will

"make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."

And what does this making them sit down to meat involve? The most a human leader can do for his supporters, is to distribute mammon among them; his favours leave them the same perishing creatures, who, while alive, are weak and abortive in the functions of their being; and, in a few years, must sink under the law of death, and disappear below the clod, saying farewell to all friendship, honour, and possessions.

How different the favour bestowed by the Captain of our salvation! Having come forth and made his choice, he invests them with a vigour of constitution that shall never decay; clearness of faculty that can never grow dim; purity of nature that will never fade or corrupt; beauty that will never tarnish; life that will never end.

And having thus qualified them, he invites them to his society, and a participation in the glory, honour, riches, and renown, which will be his as the Lord of all the earth.

Sunday Morning 34 - 02/1872



9 A little leaven [judaism] leaveneth the whole lump.


Vital Error


—It is a mistake to suppose that the early ecclesias were guaranteed against error, and that therefore their modern representatives may equally expect to be. The epistles reveal the very opposite to be the case.

That error would creep in was plainly foretold; that in due time it came along, is matter of fact many times referred to in the same writings; that the fidelity of the brethren was thereby put to the test, is equally evident; and that as the result of this, some fell away, while the approved were made manifest, is a thing beyond all doubt.

The only safeguard against error is the daily reading of the scriptures, and a constant and unabated insistence on all they enjoin in faith and practice; for as then, so now, it only takes a little leaven to leaven the whole lump.

The "key of knowledge" is the key that opens the door of faith into the kingdom. To understand aright the gospel of the kingdom of God, and the things concerning the name of Jesus Christ, is to possess the key, which modern theologians, equally with the ancient Jewish lawyers, have taken away.

The Christadelphian, Dec 1888



13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Liberty is a tremendous responsibility. Like matured adults, we have been turned loose from the detailed and mechanical restraints of law. We have been told by God:

"This is what I desire. This is what will please me. If you love me, this is what you will work to do, and you will never feel that you have ever been able to do enough: you will always yearn to do more and better. You will have no interest in worldly rubbish."

The obligations of love are infinitely greater and deeper than the obligations of law. Just as the responsibilities and duties of adulthood are greater than those of childhood.

"For all the Law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" 

Who ever attains to this divine ideal of loving others as themselves? -- of taking on all the joys and burdens of others, and sharing everything we hope with them without restraint?

But this is the ideal to which we must constantly strive to bring ourselves. Anything short of this is ugly, fleshly smallness and selfishness of heart and mind.

Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another



Called unto liberty.

Some understood the Law to be the only restraining power of sin in their lives. They abused the liberties they thought they now had no longer being under the Law of Moses. In reality, they were brought out of one control into another - from the legalistic Law of Moses to submission to the Law of Christ!

The liberties in Christ are

1) Freedom from God's wrath

'Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.'(Rom 5:9).

2) Freedom from sin's mastery over us

'For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace'(Rom 6:14).

3) Freedom from Gentile darkness

'Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son' (Col 1:13);

'But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy' (1Pet 2:9-10)

'Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world' cf. (1 John 4:4).

4) Freedom from the curse of the Law

'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"(Gal 3:13)

5) Freedom from the condemnation of the Law

'There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit' (Rom 8:1).

6) Freedom from the Law as a means of justification

'Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Gal 2:16).

7) Freedom from fear in approaching the Son of God

'According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.(Eph 3:12)

'Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God (Yahoshua HaBen HaElohim)* let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:14-16).

This is the kind of liberty Paul is talking about! This kind of liberty does not ignore our restraints to indulge in fleshly desires. It has nothing to do with serving self, or condoning the keeping pagan holidays by Christ's followers. The liberties we have in Christ have everything to do with love for God, love for one another, and love for neighbour.

Sister Valerie Mello [in isolation, TN, USA] Comment added in 2012



To find our life, we must lose it. To exalt ourselves, we must abase ourselves. To rule, we must serve. To conquer, we must yield. To attain our own welfare, we must seek that of others. Everything is the reverse of the flesh's way and the world's conceptions.

If we pursue happiness and pleasure and satisfaction directly and for their own sake, they mockingly flee from us, and, like the will-of-the-wisp, lead us at last to a bottomless bog. They can be found only where God's infinite wisdom and love has carefully and wonderfully placed them: in sacrifice and service and self-forgetfulness. Forget yourself in outgoing service and love, and you'll be happy. Dwell on yourself in in-turned, self-seeking and self-centeredness, and you'll be miserable.

Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another.



15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

This in the Truth should be absolutely unthinkable. IS IT? We may be a long way from reaching the pinnacle of the ideal, but if we haven't gotten far beyond this, we haven't even begun.*



These are the apostle's words. Wise men remember them and leave off meddling. The love of many may wax cold. Disputations may rage and blight among

"lovers of debate and despisers of those that are good."

But wise men will hold themselves aloof, in the loving service and patient waiting for Christ, knowing that the present hour will soon have vanished and return no more, while beyond lies the day of peace and holiness and love and life and joy for ever.

Seasons 2.31.





16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Man is a very strange contraption. He is like a pair of scales. One side or the other can very easily go up or down. And when it goes down It can very easily go very far down. But he can also attain very high.

It is the only way. We must give ourselves wholly to the Spirit of the Word. We can choose -- we can choose what we throw onto the scales. We can choose the guidance of the Spirit as revealed in the Word of Life, or we can choose the guidance of the thoughts and desires of the flesh.

No one can plead inability. We can do whatever we want to do, if we want it badly enough, and will seek the help and guidance in the right place.

We can "walk in the Spirit." If we couldn't, we would not be told to do so. God does not mock us, any more than He lets us mock Him. Of course we cannot reach perfection. Of course we shall repeatedly stumble, and have to try again. But the basic portion of our life can be purity and love and kindness and service and holiness and spiritual-mindedness, if we really want it to be.

Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another



Mortify The Deeds Of The Body


"To be fleshly-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace . . ." (Rom. 8:6).

Paul makes it very clear in these words that there are two ways of living, two kinds of character and disposition-the natural and the spiritual; and further, that one leads to death and one to life.

One way takes no effort, no knowledge, no ability. It is just acting naturally, pleasing ourselves, doing what we want to do, following nature.

Because men's interests and capacities and backgrounds differ, the way of the flesh takes a wide range of courses, some, in fact, very good and commendable from a natural point of view. But all come under the general heading of the will of the flesh, and all end in eternal death at last.

The other way is to realize, from the Word of God, that the whole range of the way of the flesh, from worst to best, leads only to death, and to thankfully accept the life-giving way of the Spirit. This way involves setting the whole life to the task of learning and applying the instructions God has given, and constantly seeking His help in absorbing and fulfilling them-constantly examining ourselves: our hearts, our motives, our desires.

The greatest enemy to our salvation is taking it for granted, being satisfied with ourselves, seeing nothing wrong.

Baptism, and membership in a Christadelphian ecclesia, is no passport to final acceptance. They are just the barest beginning. We are warned that the way of life is narrow and hard and mortifying to the flesh, but that in the infinite mercy of God it is within the reach of all who give their whole lives and energies to obtaining it.

God does not mock men by requiring impossibilities, but-neither does He permit men to mock Him by presumption and complacency. He presents Himself as infinitely tender and eager to help where His help is sincerely and wholeheartedly sought, but a consuming fire against the doubleminded, the careless, the worldly and the insincere. He is a terrible, destroying God, and a wonderful, loving, compassionate God.

And He is no respecter of persons. The Christadelphian name will awaken no response and recognition with Him, if the Christadelphian character - the mind of Christ - spiritual-mindedness - is not present.

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 27



17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.


THE CONSTANT BATTLE


The agency which God has appointed for bringing about the indwelling of the word is based upon the fact of human forgetfulness. There is a constitutional need for bringing it to remembrance. Every man of reflection experiences this need. Even in human knowledge, the memory has constantly to be refreshed; how much more in the things of the Spirit, for which there is not only no natural affinity, but to which there is a constitutional repugnance.

We should make a great mistake if we were to rest on our oars at all. The achievements of the past are only valuable to us if we preserve our connection with them by means of an unbroken line of similar action. This refers to present profitableness and divine approbation: we must in many ways "endure to the end."

We know the truth, it may be, but it does not follow that we can afford to let the study of it alone. Even as respects knowledge, the word of God is so constituted that we cannot become acquainted with all its teaching apart from daily reading and thought; but what shall we say as to the personal views, tastes, and affections which it is intended to engender? It is here where our greatest need exists.

The current of the natural mind is in the opposite direction to the mind of the Spirit, and that current is strengthened by all the circumstances to which we are related in life, whether in business or at home. We cannot hope to make headway against this current apart from the daily reading and meditation of the testimonies of God.

If we suspend this process -- if we become lax in our attention to them, we shall as surely drift in the wrong direction as a boat set loose will drift down the stream. We shall slowly but surely come under the dominion of the carnal mind, in all our sentiments . and "to be carnally minded is death."

Bro Roberts - Christ and nature, Seasons 1: 34.



The flesh lusteth against the Spirit 


(that is, against the Spirit of God, as active towards us, through apostles and prophets, in doctrine, precept and command),

and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that we cannot do the things that we would."

Here are two opposing forces in those who have become enlightened in the things of the Spirit. Our problematic relation to them is clearly defined in Romans 8:13,

"If ye walk after the flesh ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

Here is the fight; the flesh in a thousand ways says, "Follow me," and the Spirit also, in manifold ways, says, "Follow me." The one goes east, the other goes west. We cannot follow both at the same time.

"Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

The overcoming lies in making a successful choice and holding to it-casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

There is every incentive to overcome.

"Godliness is profitable for the life that now is as well as that which is to come,"

for a man who suffers himself to be guided by the precepts of the Spirit of God is happier and nobler and better in every way than the man who obeys the promptings of the lower instincts. Sin will blight and ruin a man even now; righteousness will confer a crown of glory upon a man even now. Righteousness exalteth a nation - let alone a man.

"Great peace have they that love Thy law; nothing shall them offend."

There is more joy in the exercise of the understanding and of the higher faculties than can ever be found in the pursuit of mere secular aims of life. The service of God, the love of God, the opening out of the mind in the daily contemplation of God in prayer and reading, open out sources of peace and joy unknown to the man who knows not God and obeys not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But the chief incentive relates to prospect.

"Ho every one that thirsteth, come to the waters . . . come to me. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. Hear and your soul shall live. I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."

Season 2.95




There are some who believe that innate goodness dwells within us, and that if we allow it free development it will ultimately find expression in our lives. But if this were true why then did Paul speak of "fighting to keep his body under and bring it into subjection" (1 Cor. 9:26-27)? And why did Jeremiah, speaking by the Holy Spirit, say-

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. "

Is it not because of the indwelling principle of evil which induces us to obey the flesh rather than God's commands?

Studying carefully Rom. 7:17-23 (where Paul speaks of the "law of sin within his members" that inclined him toward evil), we cannot deny that this innate principle leading to sin is within everyone of us.

Hence there MUST be continual warfare in order that the "New Man," or mind of the Spirit, may conquer the "Old Man," or mind of the flesh.

Bro HA Sommerville




The flesh is always there, and always strong. We shall never accomplish fully what we desire in love to do for God. But in interpreting these words, let us remember that Paul falls within their description. He could say "Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ." He could say "God is witness how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you" (1 Thess. 2:10). But still he would be the first to recognize that, having done his utmost, he himself came under this description:

"Ye cannot do the things that ye would,"

Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another


WE must be constantly aware of flesh and spirit, and of the death and life distinction between them. Whatever we do naturally and thoughtlessly is of the flesh, and is not pleasing to God, even though it may be "good" in itself - for it is not of faith, nor done unto Him. All we do must be done unto Him, for spiritual purposes, and in some way contributing to His glory, and His people's eternal welfare.

Bro Growcott - Search Me O God


Let us now look at the works of the flesh—this good flesh—for we are asked now to believe that the flesh is a good thing. This is one of the most abhorrent features of this [clean flesh] heresy. Here are the works of this good flesh:

"Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like."—(19–21.)

It is only those who sow to the Spirit that shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Those who sow to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption. The flesh is weak, unclean, and sinful.

...Now Christ took part of the flesh and blood of the children, that he might extirpate in it that which was destroying them. This is the apostolic testimony:

"Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil" (Heb. 2:14)

—the serpent principle, the death-power in us. Christ took on him the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature. How, then, some say, was he, with sinful flesh, to be sinless?

...God did it. The weak flesh could not do it. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, that the glory might be to God. The light in his face is the light of the Father's glory. If you ask me how the Father could be manifest in a man with an independent volition, you ask a question not truly founded on reason.

Do I know how the Almighty causes substance organized as brain to evolve thought? No; do you? No. But do we doubt the fact the less because we are unable to comprehend it? By no means. Do we know how the Father performs any of the myriad wonders of His power? Know we so small a matter as the modus operandi of the germination of grain in the field, to its multiplication twentyfold?

Nay verily; though we know a thousand things as facts, you will find, on a close scrutiny, that we are utterly ignorant of the mode of invisible working by which these facts have their existence. If it be so with things in nature, why must our inability to define the process be a difficulty to our receiving a heavenly fact, not only commended to us on the best of all testimony, but self-manifest before us?

For who can contemplate the superhuman personage exhibited in the gospel narrative without seeing, with his own eyes, so to speak, that the Father is manifest in him?

When did ever man deport himself like this man? When spoke the most gifted of men like this? Is he not manifestly revealed the moral and intellectual image of the invisible God? Is he not, last Adam though he be—is he not "the Lord from heaven?" But what are we to say to the plain declaration emanant from the mouth of the Lord himself, that the beholder looking on him, saw the Father, and that the Father within him by the Spirit—(for as he said on the subject of eating his flesh, it is the Spirit that maketh alive: the flesh profiteth nothing)—was the doer and the speaker?

The answer of wisdom is, that we must simply believe; and true wisdom will gladly believe in so glorious a fact. What if our understanding be baffled? Shall we refuse to eat bread because we fail to comprehend the essences in which flour subsists? A childlike faith is alone acceptable in this matter. The words used by Jesus to his disciples we may presume to be applicable to us, if they are true of us:

"The Father himself loveth you because ye believe that I came out from God."

Those who make the mistake of the Pharisees, and "judge after the flesh," stand back in gloomy quandary and talk of "mere man;" others who think to make a great mystery "simple" and plain, speak of the flesh of Christ as a mixture of human with "divine substance."

Wisdom takes her stand between the two, and seeks to dive no deeper than the testimony that God was in Jesus manifest in the flesh: she troubles not herself with the impracticable question of "how?" Seeing the fact and the reason of the fact, she rejoices and gives praise to God, from whom "the dayspring from on high hath visited us."

As for the question asked, that "if God gave Jesus greater power than we, has He not dealt unjustly with us?" it is not the question of a child of God. What was done by Christ was God's work out of love to us; that we, subject to His will, and recognising His supremacy, should become Heirs of his nature. Such a question as the one referred to is enough to secure for the questioner the grave of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.

The Christadelphian, Oct 1873



19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,


Man in Society - Law or Liberty

Now, by comparing the savage and social conditions of man, it will be perceived that, in his transition from the savage to the social state, he sacrifices, as he ascends the scale of being, more and more of what the natural man calls "his liberty." The nearer his approximation to primeval excellence, the more is the liberty of the flesh restrained, and reduced to a minimum. Between society divinely constituted, and the purely savage state, there are many intermediate social conditions.

Greek, Mohammedan, Papal, and Protestant Socialisms, are sin, or the flesh, variously displayed-incorporations, in other words, of "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," in which the works of the flesh are manifested with little rebuke. It is for this cause that they are glorified by the multitude which is religiously tolerant only of that which condemns "what they have no mind to." Still we see in these barbarisms the liberty, or rather licentiousness of the savage state considerably retrenched. Law and legal administration are recognized and obeyed; for experience has proved that without these human society cannot exist.

The practices tolerated in the ecclesiastical organizations of the world, cannot be permitted in a society constituted of God. Variance, jealousies, strifes, envyings, and so forth, must be abstained from. No member of such a society is at liberty to indulge in these, or in any thing tending to them. The law of love that proceeds forth of Zion positively and absolutely forbids them.

The savage, the barbarian, the Papist, the Protestant, are free to serve sin; but not so the Christian; he is free only to serve righteousness, as a humble and faithful servant to God, who esteems that man most highly who is the least subservient to the lusts, passions, and instincts of the flesh.

Therefore it is written: "Mortify [or put to death] your members which are upon the earth;" "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another." "Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." "Be ready to every good work; speak evil of no man; be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness with all men;" and "Let all things be done unto edifying."

Absolute liberty, which is licentiousness, does not belong to God's society. The members of it surrender some of their individuality for the benefit of the whole, of which each person is a very small part. This is a first principle, and there can be no society without it. Now, that portion of individuality which each foregoes, he transfers from himself to the functionaries of society in assenting to their appointment, or in applying for admission, and in being received, into a community where they exist; so that he consents that he has no right to do individually what pertains to them officially. Functionaries, then, are the acting members of the body, administering to its social requirements-its eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet; while the body in which they are placed itself is constituted of the generality of its constituents.

The Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Oct 1854



20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Wickedness of Witchcraft


Witchcraft is in Paul's category of sins that exclude from the kingdom of God.-(Gal. 5:20.)

It was also condemned under the law so much that a witch was not to be allowed to live. The language of the prohibition is very distinct:

"There shall not be found among you . . . an enchanter, a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord".-(Deut. 18:10-12.)

Not only were the witches and wizards themselves an abomination, but all who consulted them were objects of the divine anger, as thus expressed:

"The soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits and after wizards, and goes a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul."-(Lev. 20:6.)

That any one professing the truth should be found in the attitude condemned in this last citation is matter for surprise. It does not mend the matter that the practice of the "black art," is regarded and resorted to from a scientific point of view. This is merely a change of name. It is the thing, and not the name, that is condemned in both Old and New Testaments.

The "thing" is an imposture, with certain misunderstood adjuncts of natural influence. The nervo-vital energy is powerful in some to temporarily affect the volitions of others, when voluntarily submitted to, as illustrated in the facts of mesmerism: but this natural property in the hands of ignorance, has been made the basis of the preposterous pretences involved in witchcraft, credence accorded to which leads away from God.

Mesmeric experiments may be innocent enough, when contemplated as phenomena of nature; but we overstep the bounds when we begin to believe that man or beast can be cursed and blighted by the will of a human being, and still more, when we believe in the efficacy of the miserable incantations prescribed by way of cure by the disreputable pretenders who make a gain of imposture.

Even if the power were real, which it is not, it would be sin to resort to it, because it is forbidden. The eating of good fruit brought sin, because of disobedience; and the curing of cows, if it could be effected, would be no less disastrous to the individual concerned in it, if brought about by resort to what has been emphatically interdicted.

The Christadelphian, Aug 1872




21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Among the works of the flesh are some terrible things that hopefully none of us would ever dream of. But also there are some other terrible things that, sadly we do not always realize are so terrible in God's sight, but to Him they may be the most terrible, because they violate and profane and tread underfoot the very essence of love for one another, which is the basic principle of the law of life:

"Variance, hatred, wrath, strife, envying, and such like."

"They which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" (vs. 20-21).

Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another



‭"‬They which do such things‭" ‬are those who go on doing them.‭ ‬Certainly such shall not inherit the Kingdom.‭ ‬Paul cannot mean that single acts repented of will not be forgiven:‭ ‬for,‭ ‬in‭ ‬2‭ ‬Cor.‭ ii. ‬7,‭ ‬also‭ xii. ‬21,‭ ‬he distinctly recognises the possibility of forgiveness in the most flagrant of the offences enumerated.

The Christadelphian, Oct 1894. p391-393.



22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

'...every enlightened man's conscience,‭ ‬that with all his attainments,‭ ‬the clog of this corruptible nature,‭ "‬in which we groan,‭ ‬being burdened,‭" ‬lies heavily upon him,‭ ‬and prevents that uniform and steady faith which he admires and desires in his heart,‭ ‬and that fulness and fervency of divine communion after which he longs,‭ ‬and that constant conformity in all particulars with the beautiful law that requires continual meekness to man,‭ ‬and continual worship to God in that‭ "‬love,‭ ‬joy,‭ ‬peace,‭ ‬and long-suffering,‭" ‬which are the indispensable‭ "‬fruits of the spirit‭?"

‭Exhort No ‬280 TC 10/1896



Joy and peace follow Love here, even as they always do. Without Love, Joy is fleeting and peace precarious. Any "Joy" that is not the result of true spiritual Love is at best a vain and transitory pleasure. Temporary Joy, the effect of some present occurrence or circumstance of this present life is of no value, for soon it is over and its impression, if any, is negative upon our permanent peace of mind. It leaves a void, a longing, an empty, sad retrospect.

Conversely, the Joy that is a state of mind resulting from true divine Love fully pursued, and the knowledge of effectual service lovingly performed, is ever fruitful, for it can be enjoyed whenever a few quiet moments afford opportunity for meditation. Time does not dim it but rather enhances it, because it is related to glorious futurity and eternity.

And peace, too, that is not the fruit of Love, is valueless and vain. The peace we are taught to seek, disregarding and even avoiding any other, is that which follows the unvarying service of God -- the peaceful and comforting assurance that there is, if we are faithful--

"Laid up for us a crown of life."

Present peace we are not to Hope for. It is insidiously disarming, and weakens our Hope and prayer for Christ's early return. There is an ever-present danger in snug security, and present satisfaction and gratification, for it robs the glorious promised Peace of that attraction which should spur us on along the weary path to the goal of eventual perfection.

Future peace must be our goal, as must also be future Joy. For the Joy that was set before him, Christ endured all things, and unless we in our lesser degree do the same, we shall be cast aside and forgotten in that day when "peace on earth" is at last an accomplished fact.

There is but one way to assure for ourselves that strengthening peace of mind which elevates our vision above this life's temporary ills -- the peace that Paul must have known when he said--

"I have fought a good fight, I have kept the Faith."

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."

What a wonderful way to end this life! All his sufferings and sacrifices and losses and disappointments were now seen in their true and beautiful light as jewels in his crown. This crown of life, we are told by James, the Lord has promised to them that Love him.

Bro Growcott - The Fruit Of The Spirit



Love


Love is the first and greatest. It is the power and spirit of them all. It must radiate like light from us toward everyone and everything. In defining what love is, and how it acts, John lays the very clearly-defined foundation which we must constantly keep in mind-

"This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." (1 Jn. 5:3).

If we get away from the commandments, we are not loving in the scriptural and acceptable sense, however affectionate our feelings or good our intentions. There must be a careful adherence to divine commandments to keep love in a sound and healthy path.

But there is far more to love-infinitely more-than a cold, technical compliance to command. In our necessary opposition to the wishy-washy sentimentalism of the world's religion, we may tend to lose sight of some of the immeasurable depths and beauties of love.

Love is far more than any technical definition can encompass. Love is a transformation of the mind from the cramped self-centeredness of the natural man to the universal beneficent goodwill of the man of God. Love is complete and glorious newness of life.

In our defense of sound doctrine, in our condemnation of evil, in our opposition to looseness and laziness and compromise and declension, let us never-never-belittle or betray love.

Let us never crush love, or cast it aside, even momentarily, on the pretext of any other virtue or necessity. What cannot be done in love and kindness should not be done at all. It is so easy to let self-righteousness and natural antagonism and contentiousness trample love underfoot on the pretext of duty.

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 27



JOY


The second fruit of the Spirit is Joy. The command to rejoice is repeated over and over. It is a vital ingredient of godliness. It is essential to pleasing God.

It may at first thought seem strange to be commanded to rejoice, for we think of joy as something that comes naturally as a result of joyous things and events.

But deeper thought will reveal the wisdom and necessity of the command. The brief spontaneous giggle of a temporarily pleased and gratified infant has no relation to the steady, unchanging, intelligent, spiritual "Joy" here referred to.

We are commanded to rejoice in everything in our lives, good or bad, for all is of God and all is for a wise and loving purpose. We rejoice in the fundamental, unchanging realities that God is good, and that God is great, and that all things work steadily forward toward eternal joy.

A sour, complaining, self-pitying attitude is purely of the smallness and evilness of the flesh. If we are not fundamentally, basically joyful, we cannot please God-rather we insult and dishonor Him.

Paul "rejoiced in tribulation." The disciples rejoiced that they were considered worthy to share in the sufferings of Christ. Jesus said-

"Rejoice and be exceeding glad when men revile and persecute you" (Matt. 5:11-12).

The infinite goodness of God and His purpose must overwhelm and overshadow every other consideration in our mind. Paul had the sound, sensible, balanced perspective when he said-

"Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17).

Paul realized the vital importance of this spiritual fruit of thankful joyfulness if we are to be of any constructive use in God's purpose. Nehemiah exhorted the rebuilders of Jerusalem, at a time of trouble, and in a day of pitifully small things-

"The joy of Yahweh is your strength" (Neh. 8:10).

All who are sorry for themselves or difficult to please or given to complaining or always wanting something they haven't got, or in any way dissatisfied with their lot are barren of this spiritual fruit, and are not only making themselves and others unnecessarily unhappy in this life, but are cutting themselves off from the life to come.

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 27

 


LONGSUFFERING

The fourth fruit is long-suffering-patience toward others. This is the first and basic aspect of love that Paul enumerates in 1 Corinthians 13-

"Love suffereth long" (v. 4).

This is certainly the most important aspect of love, and for most of us it seems to be the most difficult. How often does our "love" break down at this first testing point! Love-true divine love-suffereth long, and is kind.

We may find we can make quite a fair show of our spiritual fruit if we are allowed to display them in attractive and pleasing circumstances at our own convenience, but the enumeration of "longsuffering" faces us with the problem of irritations, obstruction, opposition, provocation.

How does our long-suffering stand up? Our patience and long-suffering are the measure of the depth and sincerity and spirituality of our professed love for others. If our works are marred by impatience and irritation, then our motive is exposed as not spiritual love but fleshly self-gratification.

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 27



GENTLENESS

That is mildness, sweetness of character.

James says the wisdom from above is "gentle and easy to be intreated," quick to adjust and conform and conciliate where comfort or convenience or the desires and well being of others is concerned. Never harsh, or abrupt, or willful, or selfish. Jesus said-

"Blessed are the peacemakers . . . agree with your adversary quickly" (Matt. 5:9, 25).

And the Spirit through Paul instructs us to be at peace with all men, to the fullest extent that is possible in harmony with faithfulness. Some bearing the name of Christ glory in conflict and harshness and antagonism to mankind, thinking thus to manifest their "zeal for the Lord." But the Spirit of Christ is the spirit of gentleness.

This "gentleness" is the same word Jesus used when he said-

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly. . .

"My yoke is easy" (Matt. 11:28-30).

"Easy" here is "gentle." His yoke was gentleness-a loving, but all-powerful yoke.

Paul, who had full authority to condemn, appealed in love to the proud and self-satisfied Corinthians-

"I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:1).

And God said through Hosea, of backsliding Israel-"I drew them with bands of love" (Ho. 11:4).

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 27



Gentleness of character is an essential ingredient of peace of mind. We are apt to think of patience and gentleness as virtues practiced for the sake of others, but actually they have an even greater and more basic value to ourselves.

They are part of the invincible armament of internal peace. They make and keep peace within ourselves even more effectively than they contribute to peace with others. We cannot have peace unless we develop gentleness and patience.

"Let your patience and gentleness be known to ALL men."

Here again a word of completeness and perfection—one of those extreme words, which frighten the half-hearted. Unless these attributes are applied consistently and indiscriminately to all, and in all circumstances, they are not the real thing, and they will never produce peace. They are then just cheap subterfuges for personal advantage and self-satisfaction.

If we are building for perfect peace, our building materials must be solid and true, and not just surface veneer for outward appearance.

Why are patience and gentleness essential for peace? The answer is obvious immediately if we consider what the absence of these characteristics mean—impatience and irritation. Clearly no peace could blossom in that soil.

If we examine every cause of impatience or irritation, one or both of two things will be found at the bottom of it—having our pride hurt, or having our desires frustrated. If our pride and desires are related to the esteem of men, and to earthly things that men can jeopardize or in any way effect, we shall never have peace.

But if our glorying and desires relate wholly to eternal things that men cannot touch, our peace can never be disturbed. The peace of the godly man is secure, for it rests in things beyond the reach of mortal hands.

Bro Growcott - BYT 3.4.



23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

WITH all his meekness and gentleness, Christ could address his pious and pompous antagonists as "whited sepulchres", "hypocrites", " fools", "blind guides", "blind leaders", "children of hell", "serpents", "vipers", and so on.

He could describe Herod as "that fox"; and Peter, and James, and Jude, in perfect imitation of Christ's " style", could speak of the false teachers of their time as "natural brute beasts", "wandering stars", "clouds without water", " lovers of the wages of iniquity", "evil beasts and slow bellies ", and a good many other terse things.

We, therefore, do not sympathise with the squeamish objections of popular "Christianity " on the subject of style.

Honesty of utterance, even if erring on the side of severity, so far from being incompatible with true Christian character, is a distinguishing feature of it.

Bro Roberts - Christadelphian Facts


24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

To find our life, we must lose it. To exalt ourselves, we must abase ourselves. To rule, we must serve. To conquer, we must yield. To attain our own welfare, we must seek that of others. Everything is the reverse of the flesh's way and the world's conceptions.

If we pursue happiness and pleasure and satisfaction directly and for their own sake, they mockingly flee from us, and, like the will-of-the-wisp, lead us at last to a bottomless bog. They can be found only where God's infinite wisdom and love has carefully and wonderfully placed them: in sacrifice and service and self-forgetfulness. Forget yourself in outgoing service and love, and you'll be happy. Dwell on yourself in in-turned, self-seeking and self-centeredness, and you'll be miserable.

Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another.



25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 Paul gives two lists of characteristics which are in direct contrast to each other - the "works of the flesh," and the "fruits of the Spirit."

We need not dwell on the first list. They are the negative, natural aspect. They do not come under the description of "whatsoever things are lovely, pure, of good report," etc., which we are exhorted to meditate upon - to feed our minds upon. If we concentrate on absorbing and developing the beautiful fruits of the Spirit, the works of the flesh will be choked out and put to death.

Let us then, briefly, once again consider the fruits of the Spirit, one by one, remembering that the apostle is here spelling out the "living according to the Spirit" which is essential to obtaining salvation.

Let us constantly remember that these are not just beautiful and desirable and pleasant-to-think-about things. The Scriptures warn us repeatedly that they are vital and essential things -not just hazy ideals but definite requirements - that there is no hope of life without this spiritual character. Let us call to memory the very striking and searching expression of the Spirit to Ezekiel, concerning those who crowded to hear him -

"They sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them, for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

"Lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear Thy words, but they do them not" (Eze. 33:31-32).

They got so much satisfaction and enjoyment and relief from sitting piously before Ezekiel and listening to all his teachings and warnings that they could go out for another whole week and live according to the flesh before they need to come back and ease their conscience by dutifully sitting and listening to him again.

They would have been terribly hurt and offended to hear the Spirit's evaluation of them. They would say, as so many of the flesh say when presented with the true facts, "How discouraging!"

James gives the same picture when he speaks of a man looking at himself in the searching mirror of God's perfect law, and then going right out and forgetting what he saw. Forgetting is our great problem. We see everything so clearly and beautifully when we sit listening to an exhortation, and then we go and straightway forget and act like the rest of the natural, fleshly human animals of the world.

We need helps to our memory. We need systematic daily, even hourly, reminding. At the turn of each hour we should stop for a quiet moment and get our spiritual bearings, check up on where our minds and interests and attitude have strayed.

There are nine of these fruits of the Spirit that Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23-three threes. That's a simple, easy pattern to remember-

Love Longsuffering Faith

Joy Gentleness Meekness

Peace Goodness Temperance

The last should be, more properly, not "Temperance" but "Self-Control." We should memorize this list (as we should many important lists in God's inspired Book of Life) - go over it often in our mind - check our characters and actions repeatedly on each item in order. This is a matter of life and death, like finding the way out of a burning building while precious seconds remain.

Aid the memory by some phrase using the initials, as-

"Let Joy Prevail: Let God's Grace Fill My Thoughts."

When Jesus came to the fig tree and found no fruit when there should have been fruit, he cursed it, and it shriveled to the roots, as a terrible and impressive lesson to all his professed servants.

When the divine husbandman in the parable came seeking fruit on his tree, and found none, he said (Lk. 13:7)-

"Cut it down! Why cumbereth it the ground?"

And when the vine-dresser examined the vine and found branches not bearing fruit, he cut them off, and had them gathered and cast into the fire and burned.

All will depend in the end upon whether or not we are found bearing fruit: these Fruits of the Spirit.

Bro Growcott - Mortify the deeds of the body



If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit


Writing to the Galatians, chapter 5, Paul gives two lists of characteristics which are in direct contrast to each other - the "works of the flesh," and the "fruits of the Spirit."

We need not dwell on the first list. They are the negative, natural aspect. They do not come under the description of "whatsoever things are lovely, pure, of good report," etc., which we are exhorted to meditate upon - to feed our minds upon.

If we concentrate on absorbing and developing the beautiful fruits of the Spirit, the works of the flesh will be choked out and put to death.

...Let us constantly remember that these are not just beautiful and desirable and pleasant-to-think-about things. The Scriptures warn us repeatedly that they are vital and essential things - not just hazy ideals but definite requirements - that there is no hope of life without this spiritual character. Let us call to memory the very striking and searching expression of the Spirit to Ezekiel, concerning those who crowded to hear him -

"They sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them, for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

"Lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear Thy words, but they do them not" (Eze. 33:31-32).

They got so much satisfaction and enjoyment and relief from sitting piously before Ezekiel and listening to all his teachings and warnings that they could go out for another whole week and live according to the flesh before they need to come back and ease their conscience by dutifully sitting and listening to him again.

They would have been terribly hurt and offended to hear the Spirit's evaluation of them. They would say, as so many of the flesh say when presented with the true facts, "How discouraging!"

James gives the same picture when he speaks of a man looking at himself in the searching mirror of God's perfect law, and then going right out and forgetting what he saw. Forgetting is our great problem. We see everything so clearly and beautifully when we sit listening to an exhortation, and then we go and straightway forget and act like the rest of the natural, fleshly human animals of the world.

We need helps to our memory. We need systematic daily, even hourly, reminding. At the turn of each hour we should stop for a quiet moment and get our spiritual bearings, check up on where our minds and interests and attitude have strayed.

Bro Growcott - Mortify the deeds of the body