2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
If you want to be of service to a man in trouble, put yourself in his place, and speak sensibly and sympathetically. A man in this position doesn't want to listen to a flood of unfeeling, unpractical utterances; he needs wise counsel and comfort.
Take pains, therefore, to enquire into the ins and outs-the drawbacks and trials-that surround his case, and then advise as a brother.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, May 1900
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
He has planned life a certain way. We must do it His way if we hope for satisfaction and success. How stupid of us to think that we can outwit Him - prove Him wrong - find satisfaction and peace where He says there is none!
Men of the world spend years of self denial to obtain a corruptible crown that soon ends in the grave. Peter exhorts the brethren and sisters to constantly keep their minds centered on the eternal, incorruptible joys of their great destiny of God-manifestation throughout eternity.
Foolishness, fleshliness, worldliness, are a degrading of that which was made in the image of God - a debasing and prostituting of the high calling to which we are called - a mockery of God's great and holy purpose of forming a pure spiritual Temple to His everlasting Honour and glory. Therefore, intensely and prayerfully-
"Gird up the loins of your mind!"
Bro Growcott - Grow in Grace
The human mind and body are incredibly marvellous creations of wisdom and capability. We do not use one hundredth of our potential. It is probably safe to say we do not use one thousandth of our potential. What the body can be trained to do in the lines of acrobatics and balance would be incredible if it were not proved by the accomplishments of some, as multiple somersaults in the air from a narrow bar, landing in perfect balance on the bar again.
And as to the mind, some have memorised the whole Bible. Men spend a lifetime of effort and practice, and accomplish unbelievable marvels -- all for a corruptible crown. These people are nothing special in themselves. It's all a matter of effort and determination: of total love and zeal for some one thing in life: of working and thinking while others are playing and being amused like babies (which most people are).
It's all a matter of setting a course and sticking with it singlemindedly, day in and day out. What would we be able to accomplish, if we really had a total, all-consuming love for God! What effort are WE making to obtain an incorruptible crown? Do we imagine the riches of the universe will be just handed to us on a platter? Why US, and no one else? What is so special about us?
And yet we profess to be in the "race" for life -- "striving" toward the mark -- earnestly preparing ourselves to the best of our ability for eternity with God. But we tend to just drift through life in ease and comfort, and unprogrammed, day-to-day meandering self-pleasing -- absurdly assuming that because we happen to be fortunate enough to have "learned the Truth" in its bare essentials, and have gone through the motions of baptism, and show up at some of the meetings, we thereby are guaranteed eternity, while the "heathen" world perishes.
What do we think we are given seventy years preparation time for? -- just to play and accumulate and please ourselves? What unutterable, tragic folly! As we sow, so shall we reap: God is not mocked.
The same dust, once living, then demolished, and afterwards built up again as before, is the same person, though a thousand years may have intervened between the demolition and rebuilding. It is the same person with his old habits of thought and action revived; so that when he comes to give an account of himself, he will be like Adam before the Lord God, a faithful witness against himself; unable, however willing, to conceal the truth.
"The Spirit of God shall make alive your mortal bodies," says Paul: their immortalization will be by transformation in the twinkling of an eye, and subsequently to their post-resurrectional appearance at Christ's tribunal "in the air," where the sentence of blessedness will be consequent on their presentation as "holy, unblamable, and unreprovable in God's sight;" otherwise, they will retain their terminable nature, and, like Cain, as exiles from the Divine presence, become "cursed from the earth; and fugitives and vagabonds" in the dominions of the Beast, and the False Prophet, and of the Kings of the earth, styled by Jesus, "the Devil and his angels."
...To be exiled with shame into the land of the enemy, and there to be subject to poverty, pain, vagabondism, hunger, pestilence, and death, without hope of deliverance, will doubtless extort from each one the lamentation imputed to Cain,
"My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth; and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me."
Thus, "the wicked and the sinner shall be recompensed in the earth; but shall not inhabit it;" "the righteous shall never be removed."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1854
If we are fortunate, and if God has patience, and sees something in us worth working with, the punishment will be in this life, like David's. If we appear to escape punishment in this life, then woe betide us indeed - it is reserved for the judgment seat of Christ.
It is beautifully appropriate, and fully in harmony with the deep wisdom of the ways of God, that this sin is made the foundation of future blessing and is turned into a stepping-stone in the purpose of God.
Bro Growcott - BYT 4.7.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Now, as there are two natures, there are also two sorts of lives. The life of the lower nature is an inferior life, which depends upon the natural laws for its precarious continuance. It partakes of the quality of the nature or body through which it is manifested. This being corruptible, the life is only temporal, or for a time. This is our present life, intermitted at death, and restored when we awake from our sleep in the dust of sheol. We are then as Adam was when he came from the Creator's hand.
The life is organic and terminable ; and liable to disturbance from any cause operating judicially. In the case of " the unjust," his judicial operation will develop in their flesh certain morbid phenomena, which will ultimate in the cessation of the life, and the entire disorganization of the body ; a consummation, styled by Paul in 2 Cor. ii. 15-16, perishing, or " death unto death " ; and in Gal. vi.8, "of the flesh reaping corruption."
This post-resurrectional conclusion of the existence of the unjustified, is referable to their not being deemed worthy of quickening by the Righteous Judge. He rejects them as not being fit and proper characters to have incorruptibility and life imparted to them. In His good pleasure, therefore, He leaves them naked, and exposed to shame and contempt (Dan. xii. 2 ; Rev. xvi. 15) : but the wise, who inherit glory (Prov. iii. 35), their lamp shall not be put out thus
(Prov. xiii. 9): they will be quickened.
This judicial throne is what Paul terms in Rom. xiv. 10, and 2 Cor. v. 10, " the judgment
seat of Christ " ; and in writing to the saints therein, he says we must all appear and stand before it. He includes himself among the appearers, and declares that on that occasion, as Yahweh has sworn in Isa. xlv. 23, " every one of us shall give account of himself to
Deity" : in order that according to the account rendered " every one may receive the things through the body according to what he hath done, whether good or evil " : according
to his works, as they may be adjudged good or evil, by the gospel rule.
This rule declares that " whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption " (Gal. vi. 8). Now sowing to the flesh is for a saint
to live after the flesh; and Paul tells them that " if they live after the flesh, they shall die ; but if, through the spirit they mortify the deeds of the body, they shall live " (Rom. viii. 13).
Now, this reaping corruption of the flesh, and dying, is receiving " through the body," evil. It cannot be evil received in ordinary death; for this evil is common to all mankind, whether righteous or wicked. No ; it is evil received through the body which comes out of the grave ; and it is evil inflicted after the Righteous Judge has heard the account rendered, and pronounced His disapproval of it.
Saints who have thus sowed to the flesh must come forth corruptible and mortal, or they could not reap corruption of the body. But, it is objected, that these are not the righteous. True ; but the righteous appear at the same time and place ; and for the same purpose: and the good rendered to them through the body is subsequent to the account given. It is understood, that the good to be rendered through the body is incorruptibility and life-a reaping of
the spirit, life everlasting.
How could this be reaped, consequent upon an account given and approved, if the saint had incorruptibility and life before he appeared at the tribunal, and before any account
were rendered ?
Clearly, then, he appears in body for judgment; and in one that is neither incorruptible nor deathless : but his historical character being approved, the body upon which that character has been flashed, is perfected ; and he lives for evermore.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
The publication of the Truth is only one part of the sowing. The sowing is a larger sowing. It is the sowing of Paul's declaration, that
"he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
It is a sowing done in tears. Sorrow is inseparable from a life of waiting on God and doing His commandments: because such a life is a life of self-denial - a life of reproach, a man who earnestly identifies himself with the hopes and principles and duties of the Truth in this generation (who lets his light in these things "shine before men") is certain to be hated by those who belong to this world, and he is certain to be isolated from much in this world that gives comparative joy.
It is, as Jesus said,
"Ye shall weep and lament but the world shall rejoice."
Our comfort in the midst of it is that it is not for ever.
"I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." "If the world hate you," said the Lord - (and he says it will do so if we are faithful to him, and that it will only love us if we make ourselves of the world, for the world loveth its own).
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you-"
It is surely an honour and almost a pleasure to be hated in the company of the Lord Jesus. -"Now are we sons of God," says John,
"therefore, the world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not."
If a man is content to be a Son of God, he will be content to be regarded as Christ was regarded; he was regarded as a madman, and certainly, in all points, a man in whose ways the world could find no pleasure. To be so regarded is a deep affliction; it is part of the "tears" that belong to the sowing of the precious seed.
Let a man love God with all his heart and strive to act on all divine principles in all his ways, and he will experience the bitterness of being ignored as Christ was "despised and rejected of men." But God's ways are beautiful and wise. It is only for a time. There is such a thing as "reaping in joy." They are no vain words. The day of bountiful sheaves will come - a day in which the exact outcome of present dishonour borne for Christ and present profitless work done for his name will be experienced in joy that will fill our mouths with laughter and our lips with singing.
It will seem a dream, but it will be a very practical reality which, once come, will never fade away. Not only the circumstances causing joy will remain, but the appreciation of them will be perennial. This will be something new in all senses. If we have joy now, it subsides, whatever its cause and however good. Mortal mind gets accustomed to all circumstances, and so at last loses the power to be glad about that which gave great joy at first.
But it will not be with mortal powers that we shall rejoice in the goodness which God hath laid up in store for them that love Him. "This mortal" will have ceased to be mortal. It will have put on the immortal, and this must necessarily mean a great change as regards capacity for enjoyment.
The analogy of present experience points to this. We know what it is in the present state to be in different conditions of physical vigor, and we know the great difference between the weak, cloudy, vapid, unhappy times of low health, when "the grasshopper is a burden," and the times of comparatively joyous health and elasticity. In these latter times, we get joy out of what is a trouble to us at other times.
And so, when this mortal is no longer a fragile organism, depending for vigor upon the precarious supplies of the electrical fluid yielded by stomach and blood, when it is so changed that Spirit is latent in every atom and aglow in every fibre, available for every exertion, and for any amount of continuousness of exertion, it must needs be that mental relish will be always at its keenest, and its joy necessarily a thing "everlasting."
Part of the joy of deliverance is the memory of peril. From this, we may conclude that the lessons and recollections of this our stormful probation will be permanently fixed in the mental mirror, and yield the perpetual satisfaction that results from the contrast which mortal memory is incapable of long enjoying.
...The Spirit of God will show us wonders in this way that we have not dreamt of, and fill our mouth with laughter and our lips with singing. We shall never be tired of the gladness or forgetful of our indebtedness to God for the goodness which will be ours through Christ in those happy days.
IT is good to come here. It is good to get another glimpse of the facts upon which we stand and out of which our hopes arise. The facts are apt to get out of sight somewhat. Our faculties are dim at the best and our lives are apt to make them dimmer in divine directions.
Our lives now, in fact, may be compared to a day of fog and rain in which it is very difficult to realise the sun and the glorious blue of heaven. The meetings act as a rift in the cloud. They show us the smile of heaven behind all the unfavorable aspects of the moment. They help us to feel again the reviving strength of the things most surely established by the testimony of God, and to resume the journey with renewed determination.
We are like the children on the road to a house to which they have been invited. Our stature and our strength are small, and though the prospect of the party is attractive, our little steps grow tired. What do we say to the children in such a case? We comfort and encourage them by telling them they will soon be at their journey's end, and that they will forget their weariness when once they get there.
Our journey is not long though it seems so. We look at our future in perspective and think it longer than it is. It cannot last above so many years, and perhaps not even one; and when it is over, it is over for ever. The toils of this mortal life will never return. The anxieties, and weakness, and disappointments of this state will be replaced by comfort, strength, and gladness for ever.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
The tone of Paul's treatment of the Law in Galatians was influenced by his sense of urgency for his converts. False teachers had come to "trouble," and "bewitch" them (Gal 1:7; Gal 3:1; Gal 5:12). They taught that salvation through Christ may only be received by becoming sons of Abraham through circumcision; that faith in Christ was of no value without it. Paul, realizing that his entire apostolic identity and mission in Galatia was jeopardized by the Judaizers, he responded by hurling some of his sharpest daggers of his verbal arsenal.
Paul did not deny the importance of being a son of Abraham, he did not downplay or deny the importance of the covenanted promise God made with Abraham, but argued that this covenant was based on Abraham's faith before circumcision was given (Gen 15:6; Gal 3:6; Gen 17:9-14). Paul's argument was based on the premise that Abraham was justified by his faith and not circumcision, and those of the same faith of Abraham are his sons (Rom 1:17; Rom 4:3,6-7; Gal 3:7-10).
If salvation was by way of faith and not of the Law, what purpose did the Law serve? Again, the Law revealed the sinfulness of transgressions. By revealing what God forbids, the Law showed the sinfulness of certain actions, which otherwise might have passed without recognition. In this context, Paul speaks of the Law in its narrow, negative function of exposing sin, in order to counteract the exaltation of the Law by the Judaizers.
The Law was a temporary custodian until the coming of Christ. The Law protected them from harm, the circumcision being a constant reminder of their covenant commitment to God (cf. Josh 5:2-8). God gave them the Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, that they might see the sinfulness of sin, and also gave the ceremonial, religious Laws, a divine plan for forgiveness of their sins.
These Laws, indeed, had the function of protecting and guiding the people until the day of their spiritual deliverance through Messiah. With the coming of Messiah, the ceremonial, sacrificial Laws ended, but the Decalogue covenanted moral Law remained (but without the curse of being guilty of all over one offense (James 2:10), written in human hearts (2Cor 3:3; Heb 8:10; cf. Mark 10:19).
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Gentiles become Jews upon obeying the truth. This is implied in the words
"If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. iii. 29).
Believing Gentiles together with believing Jews form the "Israel of God" (Gal. vi. 16). Connection with Israel is a glorious privilege; separation from her means a dark future-"No hope" (Ephes. ii. 12). How the religious world scorns this precious truth! The hope of Israel-that or none-is the choice which the Scriptures hold out.
Let a man intelligently and affectionately embrace the "One hope" (Ephes. iv. 4.) and a supreme interest in all the things of Israel will follow. The past, present, and future of the Jews will each and all be matters of concern. A Gentile believer lays hold of God's promises to the Jews in the past-shares the Jews' present degradation, dispersion, and suffering-and is heir to the honour, glory, exaltation, and peace that belong to their future.
It is this bond of union that makes the natural and adopted seed of Abraham one. If the natural Jews were faithful, they would be doing what the grafted ones are doing: diligently praying for the peace of Jerusalem: fervently yearning for salvation to come out of Zion.
The Christadelphian - June 1887