2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
Such experience, in the absence of forewarning, would have been liable to lead them to think, in the bereavement of Christ's absence, that something was wrong: that God had forsaken them: that the work in some inscrutable way had miscarried. His telling them beforehand prevented this.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
We do not require to live in the first century to fellowship the sufferings of Christ. We may have thought so in the first days of our spiritual childhood. We all, no doubt, had the idea that we required to be put in prison, and to have the officer of the law come into our houses and take our things, or that we should be led forth to the stake or have our heads cut off, before we should suffer with Christ.
The age of true martyrdom has not passed away. We are invited to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God, and that is a far more difficult kind of sacrifice to offer than that which is at an end almost as soon as the pain is felt. Death by the sword or at the stake is sharp, short, and decisive, but a living sacrifice is a living martyrdom.
It is a living mortification -- a tedious and protracted suffering; it is a waiting for God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; it is an obeying of commandments which are irksome to the natural man it is submitting to a trial which is not joyous, but grievous.
How is that?
Because God forbids those who are invited to be heirs of His kingdom to be friends with the world, or to seek for pleasure in the present time. Those who are at liberty to be friends with the world, and to seek for pleasure in the present time, have a great deal to entertain them; and those who accept the calling to which God has called all who have ears to hear, experience the deprivation; though I admit that after a while, the deprivation is felt in a different direction.
What I mean by that is this: they do not feel the deprivation of present gratifications such as they are called upon to leave, for they learn to hate these, seeing that they are built on the wrong foundation.
The world disregards God; they follow pleasure for its own behoof, and a saint learns to have no pleasure in anything from which God is absent, so that if he could, he would not take part; but he feels the deprivation in another way. He learns not only to hate those things, but to love another set of things, and the things he loves are not present to him except by faith...the deprivation, therefore, relates to our being cut off, for the time being, from the things that are to come.
Bro Roberts - Present Suffering, Seasons 1.32.
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
We may see how all this was done by considering what was effected by the co-operation of the Spirit with the apostles after the day of Pentecost. It demonstrated to the entire Jewish community (1) that they had sinned in the rejection of Jesus; (2) that Jesus was righteous, and also the appointed righteousness of God for men, as shown in his being taken by the Father to the Father's own presence; and (3) that the present world-rulership was God-rejected in Christ's acceptance after crucifixion.
These things would not be intelligible to the disciples at the first. There were many aspects of the truth as it is in Jesus which they were, in fact, incapable of discerning, and would not be capable of discerning till they should become the subjects of that illumination and guidance of the Spirit which He promised.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?
Did this refer to the three days' separation about to ensue as he spoke, ending with his resurrection? or did it refer to the larger separation ending with his coming again? It seems more naturally to have the larger as its meaning. The two "little whiles" are then apparent.
The first "little while" -- from the moment he was addressing them to the 44th day afterwards, when he was taken from them into heaven, when the time commenced, and is still current, during which the words are fulfilled, "ye shall not see me." The second "little while." -- from the 44th day after his crucifixion to the day of his reappearing in power and great glory, when it will be true of all the saints, "ye shall see me."
If we suppose the words to refer to the short separation, to be ended by his resurrection, the facts would be difficult to fit to the words, and the words themselves would have a pettiness of scope quite unusual to the large and exalted style of Christ's utterances.
...This limited application would be quite out of keeping with the style of divine language which calls two thousand years "a small moment" (Isa. liv. 7), and a thousand years "one day" (2 Pet. iii. 8). Besides, it would fail to provide a suitable place for the two ideas that Jesus associates with the ending of the second little while -- the permanent turning of the disciples' sorrow into joy [v20], and the going to the Father as the cause or explanation of their joyful re-union.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Ask me nothing
which we can understand as applicable to the day of his second appearing; for then, being changed into the Lord's own nature -- even the glorious spirit nature, they will, as Paul expresses it, "know even as they are known" (1 Cor. xiii. 12). When the disciples "know even as they are known," they will understand all things with a thoroughness and a translucency that will render the asking of questions unnecessary.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 54
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
The modern habit is to deprecate this feature as sentimentalism. This is only one of the symptoms of the false culture that prevails at present upon the earth. Joy is the oil of life. It makes existence sweet, and makes men beautiful in each other's eyes. There is little of it at present because the conditions out of which it springs are violated everywhere.
But it remains in the constitution of things as the beneficent possibility "all the world o'er" -- latent for the time, but ready to spring into activity when its fountains are opened and cleared by the Master hand that will make and proclaim "all things new" in due time -- establishing peace on earth and good will among men.
Meanwhile, it is an individual experience where the mind of Christ prevails -- an experience in measure -- small measure, but true -- joy in God, joy in Christ, joy in the promises and the prospect, and joy in the present path of blessing and well-doing, which on the whole is a pleasant path, though much beset with flesh-tearing bramble growth.
As one of the fruits of the spirit, it is accessible now, but cannot be tasted in its fulness till the day when
"the redeemed of the Lord shall come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads."
'Mere Manism' in Britain
The following was in answer to a second letter:
"I think you misunderstand the issue. It is not whether the substance of the body of Christ was human, which I firmly believe. It is as to the phenomenon or manifestation called Jesus Christ as a whole.
'Mere man' means only man, and as applied to Christ, is a direct negation of the testimony that he is God manifest in the flesh, and no more to be shelved as an innocuous private opinion than a denial of the gospel of the kingdom. It assails the foundation.
What though mere-manists say they believe God was in Christ, and profess an endorsement of Paul's statement that "great is the mystery of godliness"—God manifest in the flesh? It comes to be discovered that they understand these words in a sense which they make applicable to the prophets and apostles, and, therefore, not in the sense in which they are affirmed of Christ.
If they understood the matter, they never could use the dishonouring and blasphemous form of words which creates the present difficulty. Jesus was a man, but not a mere man. He was the Lord from heaven, in contrast to Adam who was of the earth earthy. This is Paul's distinction.—(1 Cor. 15:47.)
It is not in my power to work in unison with teaching, which, if only in words, subverts this fundamental truth, on the reception of which, Jesus lays great stress, saying to the disciples,
'The Father Himself loveth you, because ye have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world, and again I leave the world and go to the Father."—(John 16:27, 28.)
He commends one of the seven ecclesias because they had held fast this faith and had not denied his name. His name embodies a declaration of who he is; and to say he is 'a mere man,' is to deny this name. My standing from this saying is not so much from 'zeal for the honour of Christ' as you suggest, though I hope I am not lacking in this, as from a sense of what I must do from fear of compromising myself in his sight.
Supposing those in question understood the matter aright, even then the use of such words as 'mere man' would interpose a barrier. What an advantage would it not give to the adversary in these days of difficult warfare, if it could be said we countenanced the affirmation that Christ was a mere man.
How could I answer such an accusation if it were thrown in my teeth in any of the public assemblies convened for the advocacy of the truth? Anyone comprehending the matter would gladly abandon such a misleading form of words; for, although you might say as to the nails, 'mere nails,' and the hair, 'mere hair,' and the skin 'mere skin,' the term is inapplicable when you come to speak of the whole living man Christ Jesus.
The Spirit which used the nails, hair, skin, &c., is the essence of what is expressed in the name 'Jesus Christ.' That Spirit was God. Jesus Christ could not have been without it; therefore, to use, on the strength of the natural, a phrase which conceals from view the spiritual, which is the principal and most glorious truth concerning the Christ, is altogether a mistake and offence against the truth with which I cannot implicate myself".
The Christadelphian, April 1873
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
"I am," said he, "in the Father, and the Father in me. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works."
This mutual indwelling, dated from "the anointing," and was suspended "about the ninth hour" of the crucifixion, when the Father forsook the Son of Man. He continued, however, to live after the Father had forsaken him; for after he proclaimed his abandonment, he said, "I thirst." Vinegar was then given to him, which he received.
He then cried again, with a loud voice, "It is finished." And after this he cried,
"Father, into thy hands I deliver my life; and, having said thus, he bowed his head, and yielded up the life." "I have power," said he, to lay down my life, and power to take it up again;"
and after this manner he delivered it.
From this testimony it is evident, that when the Son spoke of his procession from the Father, he was not alluding to his natural birth, but to his anointing with the Spirit of the Father, and to his mission. Peter says, that "God sent word to the of Israel by Jesus the anointed;" and having come into the world-the Jewish world, into which only he was sent-he declared that he was anointed to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.
He "came out from God" to do this by that which "came forth from the Father"-by the Spirit with which the Father had sealed him, and which was bestowed upon him without measure.
When men heard the doctrine and saw the miracles, they perceived the Father; but when they saw Jesus between the ninth hour of the crucifixion and the bowing of his head, they did not see the Father, but Jesus, forsaken of the Spirit.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, February, 1855
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
If the world enticing to sin, be fitly represented by the serpent-entwined tree, imparting death to its victim, Christ, who "has overcome the world ", as the giver of life to His people, is well set forth by the other tree in the midst of the garden; which was a beautiful emblem of incarnated power and wisdom (Prov. 3:13-18; 1 Cor. 1:24) of the Deity, planted as the Tree of Life in the future Paradise of God (Rev. 22:2).
Elpis Israel 2.11.
Here is another aspect of the subject-godly holiness and separateness is not a negative quality-not just a refraining, not a sterilized vacuum of self-centered isolation. It is a positive, complete, wholehearted absorption and dedication to spiritual ACTIVITY-a filling of the life and heart and interests with work for God. We can't be holy by just lying in bed, if we have the power to get up and do something for God. We must clearly realize that this is an essential aspect of holiness.
In true holiness, there is just no room or time for worldliness. True holiness will fill the life completely with godly activity and will crowd everything else out. It is the only thing that has the power to crowd it out and keep it out. Holiness is not fulfllled in passive standing aside, no matter how complete that standing aside may be.
The parable of the talents clearly teaches us that true, living, holiness is not a self-satisfied sitting back from all the world's activities and enjoying ourselves indolently in our own little isolated world, which-being to the gratification of the flesh- is just as worldly as the world itself.
Holiness is work, effort, activity, service, self-sacrifice, devotion to a purpose and a goal.
The slothful, unfaithful servant who buried his talent in the earth certainly kept it separate from the world. He faithfully fulfilled the negative part of the command. But he was no example of true, living holiness.
Bro Growcott - Our call to holiness
What is the world? Evil. "Overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21). And the battle is right inside ourselves between the spirit that purifies and the flesh that defiles.
We are locked up all our lives in a small room with a deadly enemy. We can't get away from him, though many wander far in the attempt, seeking rest and finding none, blaming their disquietude on their circumstances. We can have no peace unless we destroy this adversary (Rom. 8)—
"If ye, through the Spirit, do put to death the deeds of the body, YE SHALL LIVE".
And we can have no hope of putting him to death if we permit anything to distract our attention from the task. Paul declares (2 Tim. 2:4)—
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life."
This is the Spirit's counsel and illustrates the urgency of the case. Paul further says:
"I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, WHICH IS YOUR REASONABLE SERVICE. And be not conformed to this world" (Rom. 12:1-2).
And he sums up the issue in the stirring words at the end of the 13th chapter of Romans:
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
"Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and MAKE NOT PROVISION FOR THE FLESH, to fulfill the lusts thereof."
Truly an exalted calling—worthy of all our attention. Nay, even more, demanding all our attention. The whole teaching of Christ and the Apostles is that this is a big battle, a lifelong struggle.
Was Paul an exception when he found that ceaseless effort and constant watchfulness was necessary to a successful overcoming? Are we stronger than Paul? If Paul found that his success demanded that he cut himself off from the entanglements of this life and devote all his energies in one direction, can we possibly think that it is unnecessary in our case? Can we fight two battles successfully when he found that one taxed all his powers?
Bro Growcott - BYT 4. 32