1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Here let us learn from Christ that men "ought always to pray," and even on behalf of such men and such works as may seem the strongest. He asked the prayers of his disciples on behalf of a work which he himself had in hand. Thus, also, Paul entreated: "Brethren, pray for us."
The dependence of all things and creatures on the Eternal Father, through his boundless spirit filling and upholding the universe, and through which His will can affect the subtlest and the smallest conditions, would teach us, if we could but have our eyes open at all times, that prayer is a necessity for all work that is to prosper in the Lord'.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
The unjust Judge (Luke xviii, 1-8). This parable is directed against the view of some, that prayer is of no use. The indicated lesson of it is that "men ought always to pray, " which is the frequently inculcated precept of Scripture. That men should think it is of no use is natural in the absence of immediate apparent results, and in the absence of any power on their part to feel how God regards prayer. It is because of this that it was necessary that the Spirit of God should teach us, as He has done, by Christ and the apostles and prophets, what the truth is on the subject, that in the faith of it we might do what is wise and needful in the case, "Pray without ceasing."
Jesus gives us to understand by this parable that it is not only regarded by the Father, but that it is effectual in leading to results -- always pre-supposing that the prayer is by an acceptable supplicant. The argument of it evidently is -- if an unjust man is moved by continual entreaty to do what is requested, that he may get rid of the troublesomeness of importunity, how much more will God, who is kind and just, be moved by the continual requests of those he loves.
But there is a caution against impatience. He may "bear long" with those who are afflictions to his people. There are various reasons for this. God may by them be accomplishing the very purposes of his love in subjecting his people to needed chastisement. But whatever the reason may be, we are not to be discouraged at the apparent want of response, but to persevere, praying and waiting, in the confidence that God will do what is best, and cause "all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose."
It will at last happen that God will refresh his people by a great and visible interposition on their behalf, delivering them from all enemies, and bestowing goodness upon them, above all that they can ask or think.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 31.
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
In the nineteenth century, when the times of the Gentiles are nearing their end, and the era of the Lord's return has approached, there has been a revival of the original apostolic faith, through the agency of Scriptural study and demonstration. This work has been perfectly natural in its proximate features (see Life and Work of Dr. Thomas), but thoroughly spiritual and apostolic in its results.
It has been unaccompanied by any visible manifestation of the Spirit, such as characterised the apostolic era, but is none the less the evolution of the Spirit's work in its individual and collective achievements. There is no reason to expect any recurrence of this manifestation of the Spirit until the Lord's actual re-appearance in the earth. On the contrary, there are reasons for believing the divine programme to be such that it cannot take place.
The Ecclesial Guide
The truth has been providentially revived in the earth by the labours of Dr. Thomas, and our eyes have been opened to it. Let us then refuse to join hands with any who seek to hide or destroy the truth.
Our danger in this respect lies not so much with the alien, but with those who, having been in our midst, are using their influence (it may be unwittingly) to take us back to the land of unbelief-there are the upholders of renunciationism, of immortal immergence, of partial inspiration, of no resurrectional responsibility for enlightened rebels, of present possession of the Holy Spirit, etc.
We cannot do much for the truth, but this we can do, we can refuse to compromise it by extending the hand of fellowship to men who leave or deny it. But strength to do this will only exist where the Bible is recognised in the light in which Paul puts it-as the inspired and unerring Word of God.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Aug 1900
The history of the Truth throughout all time exhibits always the tendency after revival, to go back to the weak and beggarly elements of apostasy. We anticipate that the present endeavour to promote purity will only find a few adherents, and that while there may be many in the day of Christ's coming who bear the name of Christadelphian (as there are many who bear the name of Christian) yet there will be very few of them who will have "the faith in its purity."
Christ's words are a solemn warning. Let us heed them.
The Berean Christadelphian, May 1923
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
This is Christ's rule. If a man have any merit, it will shine out in the midst of his fellows, while he himself seeks to be hid. They will not fail to drag him from obscurity, when his value makes itself felt.
But unfortunately men who are the least fit for exaltation are the most anxious to attain it. And these are the very persons whose petty ambition should not be gratified. "Before honour comes humility." Self-seekers are intense embarrassments for the truth.
The Christadelphian, October 1870
The Pharisee and the Publican.
This immediately follows the other parable about the duty of prayer, and seems designed to bar the way against the extravagance that might be run into with regard to the subject, and that as a matter of fact has been and is run into. Though "men ought always to pray and not to faint," there are qualifications to be observed. Men are not to suppose they will be "heard for their much speaking" (Matt. vi. 7); neither is the mere offering of prayer acceptable unless it is offered in an acceptable mind. What constitutes this acceptability of mind is variously revealed.
This parable is one of the revelations. It was spoken we are told in the verse introducing it, concerning "certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others;" and it is concluded by the declaration on the part of Christ, that "everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
The language of the two men in the parable shows what is meant. The Pharisee, who had a powerful backing of favourable human reputation, was well pleased with his attainments; the publican, whom the Pharisee and Jews in general regarded in an odious light, realised his dependence on the divine clemency for permission even to live. Their prayers were tinged with these sentiments respectively; and, in consequence, the one was acceptable, and the other obnoxious.
Why did the Pharisee think so well and the publican so ill of himself? We get the clue in that other expression of Christ's, "Thou blind Pharisee." A man whose eyes are open -- a man who understands things as they are -- has such a sense of the eternal power, greatness, and holiness of God, and the ephemerality and weakness and sinfulness of man, that his own attainments, however excellent by comparison with bad men, must always appear as nothing in his eyes.
His own righteousness must appear to him as filthy rags in the light of the purity and power and correctness of the Spirit-nature. This is the estimate that the Scriptures always put into the mouths of acceptable men. And it is the language of reason and not of cant, though canting use has been largely made of it in the ecclesiastical ages.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 31.
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
Sin's flesh of which Yahoshua partook in not good.
The spirit of Yahweh that filled him was grace and truth.
The Person of Christ and the Mission of Christ...
These cannot be disjoined. Yet the popular practice which you think we should copy uses the one to destroy the other, without intending it. The personality of Christ cannot be too vividly realised or too strongly cherished, but our love of Christ as a person must always be based on a knowledge of him as the manifestation of the divine purpose.
He comes before men styling himself The Truth, and the man who does not comprehend the truth, is not prepared to offer acceptable love. Christ will not accept love except on the basis of knowledge as to who he is, what he has come into the world for, and what his will is. These in summary are "the truth."
Men must believe the Gospel before they can be saved, and the Gospel is made up of the facts about himself, in his first and second appearings, or "the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ."
A faith that lays hold of "him," but ignores the truth, is not a faith that will be of any avail. The "him" used in the epistles, must always be read as expressive of the truth of which he is the embodiment.
To read it in the personal sense as distinct from the doctrinal, is to fall into the mistake of the young man who came to Christ with personal admiration, but doctrinal ignorance. Styling him "Good Master," which Christ refused to receive on the basis on which it was tendered
The Christadelphian, March 1898
28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
They must separate themselves from "the churches," both state and non-conformist, which have a name to live, but are dead in trespasses and sins. The whole system is rotten, and awaits only the manifestation of the Lord's presence to be abolished with signal marks of His displeasure. Therefore, let all honest men, lay and clerical, who shall believe the truth, come out from among them, and be separate.
Better stand alone for the kingdom of God's sake, than be numbered with the multitude in the day of Christ, who will be denied permission to "eat of the tree of life and live for ever."
Elpis Israel 1.5.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
Though faith was a desired and suitable accessory to miraculous operation, it was not indispensable to the exercise of that power on the part of either Christ or his apostles.
...The power of God is irresistible, and "needs not help from man." But there is nothing in this inconsistent with the requirement that men who are to be benefited by the exercise of that power should honour God by putting faith in the operation.
No doubt the exercise of faith predisposes for its effectual working; but it has no more power to produce the effects than favourable soil has to bring forth choice plants without seed or planting.
Men have only to try to produce the miracles of Christ by faith to see how incapable faith is without the co-operation of the power of God.
And as for those who say they could work miracles if people only had faith, let them try their hand on their own lame, blind, and dead, and their mistake will be apparent. Though Christ asked for faith and esteemed it highly, he did not have to wait for it in order to be able to show forth the power of God.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 20.