4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
We do not believe in or practice "coercion."
Submission to the truth is an affair of enlightened free will on all hands. Individually, we claim and exercise the right only that every man claims and exercises (our opponents most of all) - the right of deciding for ourselves and ourselves alone what it is our duty to do or refrain from doing. If others for themselves agree with us this is not our crime, but a happy coincidence which only muddy-mindedness can lay to our charge.
We make no profession to have more ability than others to decide such questions. We are what we are, making no professions one way or other. If others make professions for us, we can only regret the unwisdom, and endure it with many other embarrassments incident to the present headless condition of affairs.
TC Feb 1887
7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
...everything we are and do depends entirely upon God's help and blessing.
Our relationship to God and His Word must be intensely personal and alive, not just scholastic and doctrinal. It is so easy to contend for the truth just because we enjoy contention, without ever getting the spirit of it.
Paul says that prayer must be for others - for all saints. This is divine wisdom. No man "liveth to himself," because such living is not living at all. Prayer for self, at its very best and highest, has some element of selfishness, or at least of self-centeredness, even if it is sincere prayer for the ability to help others.
The flesh enjoys having and manifesting ability. Prayer for others eliminates this flaw. We shall never enter the Kingdom alone. If we have not helped others to enter, we shall not enter at all. And woe be unto us, if we have done, or failed to do, anything that has caused others to stumble or not to enter.
Paul prayed for others and asked them to pray for him. This is the beautiful oneness and interdependence of the Body. This is how a man can loose his life and save it. He prays for others and works for others, and leaves it to God's providence that others will pray and work for him.
If we do not, as a body, attain to this mutual self-suppression and dedication to the service and welfare of others, then we are not the Body of Christ at all. For this, above everything else, is its badge of identification, whatever knowledge we may have.
Bro Growcott - Blessed Is He that Watcheth and Keepeth His Garments
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
"Touch me not!" John 20:17
It was defiling for Jews to touch a thing declared to be unclean by the law. Any thing from the grave was enacted to be unclean, in reference to him who should come out of the tomb, until that he should be 'revived" (Rom. 14:9) or "made a quickening Spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). Christ was "the end of the law," the substance or body of the shadow (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:17); its lines concentred in the things pertaining to his body.
The interdict forbidding it to be touched was indicative of its not then having been changed into spirit; and that it was still earthy and inferior to the substance of the Father. He gave the reason why he forbade his body to be touched; "for," he said,
"I have not yet ascended to my Father".
No one might touch him until that ascent had taken place. It did not occur till after Mary left him; but it had doubtless taken place before his walk with Cleopas and another to Emmaus; for they appear to have travelled very sociably together. The swallowing up of every particle of the earthiness of an earthy body, is an instantaneous operation; the work of
"a moment, or the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:51,52).
It was one of the events that transpired in relation to Jesus on the third day. He "rose and revived" on the third day (Rom. 14:9). He not only rose on the third day, but he revived on the same day. Rising is one thing, reviving is another; and two different words are used by the apostle to express the different ideas.
The Father who is Spirit, had "forsaken" Jesus upon the cross, and left him to die there. Having become a corpse and been laid in a tomb, that corpse was like all other corpses, utterly without intelligence and power; for "the dead know not anything" (Ecc. 9:5,10); and
"the Lord (YAHWEH) is not the Deity (AlL, or Power) of dead, but of living ones, for they all live by him" (Luke 20:38).
When this corpse, named Jesus, opened its eyes, stood upon its feet and came forth from the tomb, it "rose". At this point of time it was neither Lord nor Christ. The Father, who had forsaken him and left him to die, had not yet returned to him; for if he had returned to the corpse while in the tomb in causing it to stand and walk, that risen body after coming forth would not have said,
"I have not yet ascended to my Father".
This was equivalent to saying, I am an earthy, or natural, body just come forth from the unclean place; and have not yet been "made perfect," "justified by the spirit," or "made a quickening spirit".
The Father hath not yet clothed me with my house which is from heaven; so that that which constitutes me earthy and mortal is not yet "swallowed up of life;" therefore, "Touch me not" until I have been
"constituted Son of Deity in power, through Spirit of holiness, out of a resurrection of dead ones" (Rom. 1:4).
I am now simply Jesus born of the tomb, "of the earth earthy;" but when my earthiness of body is instantaneously "swallowed up of life," I shall be Spirit; I shall be of equal and identical substance with the Father; and by this anointing, I shall become Christ, or the Anointed One, and "the Lord from heaven" (1 Cor. 15:47).
This anointing with Spirit and Power was the revival in a greater degree of the former relations subsisting between the Father and the Son.
He had been "anointed with holy spirit and power" after he had been born of water. This did not change his body into Spirit; it only invested the body born of unclean flesh, or "made of a woman," with the wisdom and power of the Father in heaven, who discoursed and worked through it (John 5:19,30; 6:38,63; 8:42,58; 10:30; 14:10,28).
But when the body was anointed again with holy spirit and power, or "spirit of holiness," after it was born of the second unclean place, the tomb, it was not only endued and embued with wisdom and power as before, but it was itself transformed into an embodiment of eternal power, in which there is no weakness, or corruption, or principle of death at all.
It was then "revived," anezese, as well as risen again, aneste. It became "the body of his glory," soma tes doxes autou (Phil. 3:21), "raised in glory" from the earthy body which is "without honour," en atimia (1 Cor. 15:43); and forty days after, "taken up in glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
It is doubtless true that we shall not know of our acceptance with Christ till he himself informs us at the judgment seat. It is this that invests his office as judge with such awful import for us. While it is written that "he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved," it is also written that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord, and that only such as are faithful to the end shall receive the crown.
Who can judge of holiness and faithfulness but Christ? We may have our views on the matter, but we may form a mistaken judgment. It is especially true in this relation of things, that the Lord seeth not as man seeth.
Not he that commendeth himself is approved but whom the Lord commendeth.
"Observe (that is, perform) all things that I have commanded"
-this is the command by which we shall be judged. There is forgiveness for shortcomings on confession and supplication if Christ be pleased to intercede; but who can know his pleasure in this till he declare it? And where will he declare it but at the judgment seat?
~The Christadelphian, Feb 1886
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
This relation of experiences will consume time; and one would conclude no little time. Some will doubtless be very brief, having little to say, while others will be even "speechless;" but some will have a longer account to give, as in the case of Paul and others like him.
Then there will be the verdicts with all their attendant circumstances; for after the accounts given, come the personal recompenses; for they appear at the tribunal that they may
"receive in body the things according to that they have done whether good or bad."
For what a man sows in body he must reap in body --
"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."
Saints who have sown to the flesh, and there have been many such, will, in this "time of the dead," be left in the body recently created from the dust; and of that body they will reap corruption that will utterly and finally destroy it.
"This is the Second Death."
In this there is an element of terror to those who are obnoxious to that judgment seat; but who are they? The disobedient and the unforgiven. The friends of Christ are not disobedient; it is their obedience that constitutes them his friends. Their life, as a whole, is a life of obedience.
There may be slips, and faults, and frailties, and shortcomings, but for these there is forgiveness, where there is love. This is one of the elements of the Gospel, that if any man in submission to the Gospel sin thus, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.
The obedient friends of Christ do not feel that these frailties stand between them and the friendship of Christ. The frailties belong to the weak flesh of which they are at present constituted. They themselves remember what is written, that "He knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust." Also, "If thou Lord shouldest mark iniquity, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared;" that is, in the selection of sons for everlasting life, God proceeds upon the principle of forgiveness, that they may be humbled in the sense of benefaction conferred and He exalted, in the exercise of merciful prerogative.
Exhort 276 The Christadelphian, April 1896.
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
There is a present life in true discipleship which contrasts strikingly with the state of mind which lives only on the sensations of expectation. We see the features of this life reflected in all the writings of Paul and David by the Spirit. God is an every-day fact in such a life.
To thank Him and praise Him and trust Him are its every-day exercises and luxuries. Christ is a reality in such a life, as the priest who ever liveth to make intercession for us, and who is able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto God by him. His mastership is recognized every moment, and wisdom sought in doing his commandments.
Joy is experienced in the contemplation of his excellence, and sobriety and purification acquired in the realization of his holiness. Prayer and meditation in solitude are the natural reliefs of a life based on these foundations; and the benefit of others in temporal ministration and the work of the truth, its congenial expression.
All pleasure following, and politician-mongering are alike foreign to its vital bent. It finds adequate sphere in the jog-trot monotony of everyday life, enduring as seeing Him who is invisible, and
"choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season."
The signs of the times, to a mind modelled thus after the image of the new man in Christ, afford gratification, but do not supply motive. The motive exists independently of them. It is drawn from the fact of God's proprietorship of all things, and His purpose disclosed in the Gospel, to glorify His name on the earth and abolish all curse by Christ.
Indications of the near approach of the fulfilment of this purpose are reviving and stimulating to those who are the subjects of this motive; but they are not essential to its life or continuance. Abraham and all the prophets walked acceptably before God under its power, while seeing the day afar off; consequently, their true children are everywhere characterized by a patient and warm-hearted continuance in well-doing, without respect to the tokens in the political sky.
Bro Roberts - Signs and traditions, Seasons 37.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Live much in the Bible, and you will not be troubled much at the confusions that prevail among men-whether those men are called brethren or not. These confusions have existed from the very beginning, and they are not going to end till Christ himself arrive to put things in order. So you must not look for hope of rest in that direction.
Reading, prayer, and kind deeds will bring you peace in the strifes that destroy many. Remember the quietus that is waiting every hot human tongue a short way ahead, and it will help you to bear and to "follow the things that make for peace."
23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
...the only true standard of measurement is God's standard, and we must go to God's Word and ask- What is wickedness and what is righteousness? What is right; what is wrong?
What is sound, and true, and everlasting; and what is false, and corrupt, and passing?
We must begin at the right place. We must begin with God, and work out from there, taking nothing for granted that we do not measure from Him.
God is the foundation and center of everything. There are no standards of anything apart from Him. Right and wrong, good and bad, mean nothing apart from Him. He alone is stable and fixed and unchangeable in the universe.
He is eternal and perfect in beauty, wisdom, goodness and love. Everything is to be measured according as it is in harmony or disharmony with Him. All that is out of harmony with God is wickedness, foolishness, unhappiness, corruption, and death:
"Sin is transgression of the law" (1 Jn. 3:4).
The Scriptures put the same truth into a broader and more sweeping form when they say-
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23).
That is, everything-every human activity-outside of an Intelligent comprehension and acceptance of God's law, is SIN. Everything that is not done within the framework of a conscious enlightened effort to be in harmony with God, is SIN, either ignorant or presumptuous.
Why is the definition of sin so broad? Why is everything weighted against us? Why can we not just as likely be right as wrong?
If we think about it, we shall see that it could be no other way. If God has commanded us to consciously frame our whole life in obedience to Him, then ANY independent action which is done in ignorance, thoughtlessness, or disregard of this command, is sin, even though in itself the act is not specifically forbidden.
It is the self-will, the self-pleasing, the ignoring of God's command and sovereign supremacy-that is sin.
Bro Growcott - Our call to holiness