Teaching RSS feed for this section

True Grace and Greatness of Humility

Its Meaning
The English word ‘humility’, and its adjective ‘humble’, are derived from the Latin word ‘humus’, which means ‘ground’, ‘earth’, or ‘soil’. It reminds us all that God formed us from the dust of the ground. After Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, God said to him that he would die, and that, since he was just dust, his body would return to dust again. This is a sobering thought, and one which indicates to us our true condition and position before God. In fact, in Genesis chapter 18 verse 27 Abraham described himself as ‘dust and ashes’ before the Lord when he was interceding for Lot in Sodom. Likewise, the patriarch Job, at the end of his traumatic sufferings and the Lord’s revelation of Himself to him, simply said that he abhorred himself and repented of his rash words against God ‘in dust and ashes’, Job 42:6. The Hebrew word most frequently used for ‘humility’, or ‘being humble’, has the idea of being ‘low’. It is sometimes used of low-lying land, but most frequently has the metaphorical sense of being humble, or humbled by others. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament uses the same word to translate this Hebrew word as the Greek New Testament uses to express the idea of ‘humility’, and ‘being humble’. It, too, basically means ‘low-lying’ physically, but, again, is most often used in a metaphorical sense to mean ‘lowliness of mind and attitude’. It is the opposite of being high-minded, proud, or arrogant. Scripture everywhere commends humility as being a thoroughly right attitude to take towards both God and other men and women around us.

Read more

Righteous Judge

“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

In the 18th chapter of Genesis we find these remarkable words spoken by Abraham to Jehovah, the Self-Existent One: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). God having taken Abraham into His confidence concerning his plans for Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham then pleads with God as to whether He will spare the righteous from the fate of the wicked. Note that Abraham speaks not just of physical death (‘to slay the righteous with the wicked’) but also the prospect of eternal death (‘that the righteous should be as the wicked’). He says, in effect, God forbid that you should do this thing (treat the wicked and the righteous alike), while speaking to very God Himself, so convinced is he of the righteousness of Jehovah.

Read more

Spirit Controlled Ministry

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, throughout chapters 8 to 11, he reveals the encroachments of carnality into their church; in this, chapter 14, he administers a specific rebuke to the evident license given by the saints at Corinth to the flesh, for here true Christian liberty is seen as the Divine control of the Holy Spirit. In this one chapter there are at least seven principles which constitute the Spirit’s control in the assemblies of the saints. The influence of the Holy Spirit is seen to be, not only the power of ministry, but the restraint of ministry as well.

THE QUALITY OF MINISTRY:

All oral ministry must be to edification, exhortation, and comfort (vs. 3). Edification is for the mind, exhortation for the conscience, and comfort for the heart. The first build up the Church in right thinking, the second, to right acting, and the third aspect of ministry binds up the wounds of the discouraged and broken-hearted.

THE COMMUNICATION OF MINISTRY:

All ministry must be in words easy to be understood, “Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood how shall it be known what is spoken?” (vs. 9). The glory of God and the welfare of the saints must ever be before the speaker.

THE MEANS OF MINISTRY:

The speaker must be conscious that he has a message from God. “That I may teach others also,” (vs. 19). It is only in malice that we are to be children. In understanding we are to be men (vs. 20). We must ever guard against a waste of precious time by ten thousand words to no profit, and say as much as possible in as little time as possible.

THE POWER OF MINISTRY:

Ministry in the Holy Spirit is convincing. It flows from the heart to heart. Of the listener we read, “He is convinced of all, he is judged of all” (vs. 24). When the presence of God is felt in the midst of His people the consciences of all are gripped, there is indeed a holy atmosphere, and as the saints engage in their devotions the power of God is felt and known. It is according to the spiritual condition of the Lord’s people whether they bring that power and holiness with them or not when they come together in the Church.

THE APPRAISAL OF MINISTRY:

Ministry is tested by the judgement of the saints (vs. 29). No man is the judge of his own ministry. There is a Divine liberty to minister, but only for those who are so gifted to minister by the Risen Head of the Church. The dignity of ministry is lowered when the assembly tolerates every one who feels that he has liberty to minister. Many a Christian conference and many a Gospel testimony has been ruined by an “every man” ministry. Verse 29 teaches that God-given gift should be acknowledged by the Church.

THE METHOD OF MINISTRY

God lays down principles, rather than rules and regulations, for the guidance of His people. Here an important principle is stated, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (vs. 40). We may, and do, adopt methods to carry out the principles of Holy Scripture, but these must be in keeping with the dignity and holiness of God’s testimony. Let us ever remember that God has given no legislation for methods, He has given His people wisdom instead. Methods may change in every generation and in every country, but principles never change. Consequently, God never meant that we should look in the Scriptures to find methods, for the simple reason He never placed them there. The grace and ability to distinguish clearly between principles and methods would save the Lord’s people from many a heartache and the Spirit of god from being grieved by vain wrangling.

THE PURPOSE OF MINISTRY

The aim of the Spirit in the assembly of the saints is to unveil Christ to every eye. In chapter 11, verses 10 to 16, the Spirt of God uses a simple exercise and custom to accomplish this end. Here he treats of the subject of Headship. “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (vs. 3). Men appearing in assembly capacity uncover their heads. Why? Because the head of every man is Christ. He must not be covered. The unveiled head of the man teaches what the aim of the Spirit is, the unveiling of Christ to that His glory fills every vision. (vs. 7).

Women appear in the Church with their heads covered. Why? Because the head of every woman is the man, he must be covered; put out of sight. The woman is the glory of the man (vs. 7). That glory must be veiled. The glory of Christ must have no rival in the assembly of His people. Every act of the flesh has its rebuke in the covered heads of the sisters. Thus, our very deportment teaches angels and ourselves that all flesh should be silent before God, that reverence and Godly submission to the control of the Spirit becomes us lest we in some way hinder His revealing of Christ in all His beauty to the hearts of His own.

We conclude by pointing to three verses the summarize these seven Divine principles:

“Let all things be done unto edifying.” (vs. 14:26)

“Let all things be decently and in order,” (vs. 14:40)

“Let all your things be done with love,” (vs. 16:14)

Editor’s Note: Robert McClurkin was the founding editor of Counsel Magazine. This articles was reprinted from the May 1955 issue of Food for the Flock

Read more

Advice or Command

While reading a commentary recently I was struck by a comment that emphasized that since Christians are not under the law but under grace that the commands of the N.T. are instruction or advice, not law. Is that true? Now it is true that believers today are not under the law of Moses as a basis for salvation. “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom . 3:21, 24 NKJ).” We are saved through faith in the Lord Jesus and His finished work on Calvary. We glory in the grace of God and the gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). But believers acknowledge Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10). He is our Sovereign, our King. A man in the army does not view his officer’s commands as advice which he feels free to ignore. It is sad that too many who profess to be Christians take the commands of our Lord simply as advice which they may choose to follow or to ignore. Many marry unbelievers, ignoring the warnings of Scripture (2 Cor. 6:14). They divorce freely, disregarding Jesus’ warnings (Matt. 19). They trample under foot the verses which stress moral behavior and holiness.

Read more

Editorial: What is in Thy Hand?

This was the Lord’s question to His reluctant servant Moses1. What was in his hand? A rod it seemed an ordinary thing to Moses. He was likely familiar with it and it undoubtedly had served him well. But this ordinary rod became something quite extraordinary. It proved to demonstrate the supremacy of the God Moses served. It was soon to be called ‘the rod of God’2

Read more

The Christian and the Mosaic Law

Dating back to the early church believers have questioned their relationship to the Mosaic Law (Acts 15:1-31, Gal. 2:1-21). While Bible believing Christians would agree that the Law cannot save them, some still believe that we must follow the Ten Commandments as our rule of life for sanctification.

To fully grasp our relationship to the Law we must first understand the Law’s characteristics, origin, and purpose.

The Law’s Origin and Scope

Scripture refers to the Jewish people “as those who are of the law” (Rom. 4:16). In showing that all are sinners, the Bible includes Gentiles who have sinned without the law and Jews who have sinned in the law (Rom. 2:12-16). Speaking of Christ the Holy One, it states that He was born a Son of Abraham, born under the law (Matt. 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, Gal. 4:4).

This tells us that the Law was given to one nation and did not exist in the time period between Adam and Moses, though sin and death certainly did (Rom. 5:13-14). But shortly after their redemption from Egypt God gave it exclusively to Israel on Mount Sinai, its stipulations encompassing every aspect of their lives.

First, revealing God’s holiness and distance from them its terms provided a way for a sinful people to approach Him both as individuals and as a nation. The offerings and feasts provided a temporary covering for sin, opportunities to worship, and a time to remember His goodness to them.

Second it instituted their judicial law, transitioning them from slaves to a nation about to inherit its own land. It instructed them how to govern themselves, on their relationships with each other, its precepts also providing remedies for any wrongs committed.

Third, the Law was one of Israel’s many privileges (Rom. 9:4-5), that uniquely set them apart as a special nation. A separate people, they were to distinguish themselves as the nation that worshipped one God and obeyed His law (Deut. 4:8). Being God’s revelation, the Law set a higher standard for them then the Gentile nations who governed themselves by their own consciences and laws.

The Law, a Greater Revelation

In Scripture we find that with each revelation God builds on what was known before. This progressive revelation culminates in God’s complete and final revelation, the coming of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the express image of God (Heb. 1:1-3).

At Sinai the Law revealed God’s holiness and righteousness in written form (Psa. 12:6, Rom. 7:12), a greater revelation than what was known up to that time. It gave Israel a clearer picture of right and wrong, a knowledge that the nations being guided only by their conscience did not have (Rom. 2:12-14, 3:20). Though all have sinned by missing the mark, falling short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), Israel’s sin took on the nature of transgression because they stepped over recognized boundaries, breaking known precepts and commands. Every year they faced a continual reminder of sins (Heb. 10:3) because the Law revealed sin as a transgression (Rom. 4:15; Gal. 3:19).

The Law’s Conditional Terms

Visibly demonstrating His distance, God gave the Law through the agency of angels (Acts 7:53; Heb. 2:2) with Moses mediating upon behalf of the people. A conditional agreement between two parties – God and Israel – it required a mediator (Gal. 3:19-20, Deut. 5:5).

God promised Israel that if they would follow Him with all their heart He would bless their nation with many earthly blessings. If they failed to do so, many curses would fall upon them (Deut. 28). The Law could never bring personal salvation to the Israelite. Even in the Old Testament personal salvation was always by grace through faith (Gal. 2:16, 3:1-9), both to the Jew and to individual Gentiles such as Rahab and Ruth.

Contrast this with how God appeared and spoke directly to Abraham, the Abrahamic Covenant requiring no mediator, being an unconditional promise (Gal. 3:20).

It was common in Abraham’s day to ratify a contract by having both parties walk hand in hand between divided offerings, each party promising to fulfill their end of the agreement. But in the Promise a smoking oven and burning torch went through the offering signifying God alone was responsible to fulfill it (Gen. 15:5-6, 17; Gal. 3:6-9).

The Law’s Timing

Though added 430 years after the Promise (Gal. 3:17) the Law did not retract God’s earlier guarantees to Abraham (Gal. 3:17-18, 21). Neither did it add to or enhance the Promise but instead was supplementary, a separate covenant, a parenthesis within the eternal Promise.

A clause within the Abrahamic covenant promised that through Abraham’s Seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:3, 22:18; Gal. 3:16, 17, 19). Here God swore that it was through Christ, Abraham’s Seed, the whole world could be saved. The Bible says that the Law functioned only until Christ came, using the phrase “till the Seed should come,” (Gal. 3:19), affirming a new standard for the Jew when faith in Christ was revealed (Gal. 3:23, 25; John 1:17).

Paul, a Jew includes himself by using the pronoun “we” when he says “we (Israel) were kept under guard by the law,” (Gal. 3:23) and then again in verse 24 “Therefore the law was our (Israel) tutor to Christ, that we (Israel) might be justified by faith.”

Staying true to both the passage and the letter’s context Paul is expressing the thought that the Law was Israel’s custodian or guardian until Christ came (Gal. 3:19, 23-25, 4:4). Later when he’s referring to both Gentile and Jewish believers and their oneness in Christ he uses the pronoun “you” (Gal. 3:26, 28-29).

The Law’s Purpose

In Paul’s day a tutor (custodian, guardian, child-conductor), normally a slave, looked after a child’s moral and physical well-being, providing a restraining influence on the minor. He helped train the children both in their behaviour and in their studies. He did so until the child came of age becoming an adult son (Gal. 4:2). Until then the child was expected to obey his guardian, having no more rights than a servant (Gal. 4:1).

Similarly the Law functioned as a guardian of the Jewish nation. When obeyed, it had a preserving influence on them, protecting them from the immoral practices, idolatry and unrestrained behaviour of the nations around them. It helped them in their studies – their knowledge of God’s righteousness and their own sin. Preserving them was necessary because it was through them the Old Testament was revealed and kept, and it was through them the Messiah would come (Gal. 3:23). Therefore even though Israel was apostate throughout most of their history God always preserved a remnant. The coming of Christ, elsewhere referred to as the “fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) is Israel’s coming of age.

Since Christ has come, the Jew is no longer under their “law guardian.” Instead upon trusting Christ they become adult sons, fully entering into the rights and privileges of sonship that God has bestowed on all believers. They have died to the Law (Rom. 7:1-6), their past relationship to the law having ended. Though they were never under the Law, Gentiles also faced the same condemnation for their sins, but upon believing Christ they too become adult sons. Both Gentile and Jewish believers are one in Christ.

Christ, The Law’s Theme

Yet the Law and Israel’s experiences still have spiritual value today. For it is God’s Word and all scripture is God breathed and profitable (2 Tim. 3:16).

The Holy Spirit can use any portion of scripture to lead a lost soul to salvation because Christ is the theme of God’s Word. Responding to the Jews the Lord confronted His accusers by telling them that the scriptures testified of Him (John 5:39). After His resurrection, while travelling on the Emmaus road, He expounded from the Old Testament beginning with Moses, the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).

Knowing this we can meditate upon Christ in the Pentateuch, seeing Him foreshadowed in the feasts, offerings and different personalities of the Law. The examples of Israel’s failures in the wilderness were written for our admonition and instruction. Appealing to our conscience, mind, and will they exhort us to learn from their example (1 Cor. 10:11). The entire Old Testament can instill patience, comforting us with hope, fortifying us with an unshakeable trust in a faithful God (Rom. 15:4).

Christ, God’s Definitive Revelation

After Calvary some significant changes occurred demonstrating that we are not under law but grace (Rom. 6:14).

First the church, a separate entity from Israel, was born at Pentecost. The Mosaic Law was given to an earthly people, a national identity whom God promised earthly blessings upon their obedience to the law. Christians are a heavenly people comprised of Jews and Gentiles, citizens of heaven, spiritually blessed by God because of our union with Christ Who both fulfilled the law and bore its curse (Eph. 1:3, 19-23).

Second there was a change in the law of priesthood. The Old Testament priesthood functioned according to the order of Aaron while Christ is now Priest according to the greater order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek (King of Righteousness) is an Old Testament type of the eternal Christ in that his genealogy is unknown. He was the Priest King of Salem (peace) who met Abraham upon his return from rescuing his nephew Lot. The fact that he blessed Abraham and received a tithe from him gave evidence that his priesthood was greater than the Levitical priesthood that would begin with Abraham’s great-grandson, Levi (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 7:1-17).

In the Mosaic Law one became a priest by genealogy because the priesthood was restricted to the tribe of Levi. In the church all believers are priests with the opportunity to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God (1 Pet. 2:5).

In addition to being from the tribe of Levi, the Old Testament High Priest also had to descend from Aaron. On the other hand God appointed Christ, born of the tribe of Judah, to be our great High Priest.

The Aaronic priesthood had a continual succession of priests because eventually each one died. Christ has an eternal priesthood, living forever to make intercession for us. The Law prohibited combining the offices of priest and king. But Christ is the Priest who is now appointed to someday rule the entire earth.

Third, Christ is God’s consummate and final revelation. In the past God spoke at numerous times and in many diverse ways through prophets like Moses, bringing greater understanding to Israel. Giving the Law God visibly demonstrated His transcendence over all creation, including His distance from separated sinners. But the law not only demonstrated God’s distance but also pictured the good things to come (Heb. 10:1).

With the coming of the eternal Son God Himself came to earth and spoke (Heb. 1:1-3). Equal to the Father Christ is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person. God’s grace has brought us near to Him through Christ (John 1:17-18, 14:21-23) without diminishing His unchanging transcendence. Seeing Christ exalted above all, brings greater clarity and understanding of the High and lofty One who invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace.

While one may separate the Mosaic Law into three parts: civil, ceremonial, and moral, and because nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament, some may be tempted to believe that while the ceremonial and civil have passed the Ten Commandments are now the believer’s standard. But we must remember that when it comes to its adherence the law is an integrated seamless whole that must be fully followed (Gal. 3:10, Jam. 2:10).

Instead Christ must be our rule of life. He brings greater light for guidance, superior strength for service, and abundant power for practical holiness. We must foster our relationship with Him, abiding in Him, seeking His direction, wisdom, and power.

Measuring our spiritual health by the Law may lead some to legalism, self-reliance, and a sense of self-righteousness that hinders the Spirit’s work in their lives.

In others it may lead to despair as the Law awakens their sinful flesh, accusing and condemning them. This was Paul’s experience. He had a sense of self-righteousness before he met Christ (Php. 3:4-6). Yet trying to fulfill the Law after his conversion he experienced something new – its condemnation. Now the law accused him, awakening in him evil desires which conflicted with his new life in Christ (Rom. 7:7-25). In this he recognized his utter helplessness to please God in his own strength. God subsequently revealed to him the liberating truth that there is no condemnation for the believer and that by living a spirit-filled life, God’s righteous moral law could be fulfilled not by him but in him (Rom. 8:1-4).

The Bible states unequivocally that one does not achieve spiritual growth by following the Law (Gal. 3:1-3). Instead it exhorts the believer to live by a new law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2). This law exhorts us to live by the Spirit, walking with our eyes solely fixed on Christ (Gal. 5:16; Heb. 12:1-2).

The Lord promised His disciples that after His ascension the Holy Spirit would remind them of truths He taught them, introducing also new doctrine specifically for the church (1 Cor. 11:23, 1 Thess. 4:15), bringing greater clarity to the Old Testament. Christ has removed the old and brought in the new (Heb. 10:9). With Him all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17).

Read more

Priests and the Priesthood

Priests and the Priesthood

In Exodus chapter 19 the children of Israel find themselves encamped in the Wilderness of Sinai. Moses ascended the mountain, and God gave him a message for the people. He said, ‘Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant…. ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.’ Exodus 19:5-6. God indicated that His ideal was for the entire nation of Israel to be priests, subject to the conditions being observed. It is well known that Israel did not ‘obey His voice and keep His covenant,’ and that the priesthood was confined to Aaron and his sons. This continued throughout the dispensation of law until Christ came. However, now that Christ has made His once-and- for-all sacrifice, all of the terms and conditions of law and its priesthood have been set aside in this Dispensation of Grace. God has now realized His original ideal in the Church, by bestowing upon all believers the honour and privilege of priesthood. It is the purpose of this article, to show how the priesthood functions in a personal and collective way.

PERSONAL ACTIVITY OF THE PRIEST
Every son of Aaron was a priest by birth, and once he attained the age of 30 years, he was able to take up the responsibilities of priesthood, which primarily involved worship, in the presentation of sacrifices. Positionally, he was a priest the day he was born, but practical function required maturity and experience. It should be noted that some of the activities of the priest involved things that could be exercised personally, and others which required that his activities, should be coordinated in conjunction with other priests, and we will address the latter, later in the study.

Read more

The Glories of Christ – His Pre-Incarnate Glories

In the early chapters of the book of Revelation, the apostle John emphasizes the critical importance of having their focus directed upon the glorified Christ. In Revelation chapter one the Lord is seen in all of His awesome glory in the midst of the golden candlesticks – the seven churches. When we come to chapters two and three, the apostle John looks into each of the seven churches in turn, and without exception, he shows that the panacea for all of their ills, or the source of encouragement midst their trials, can only be found in a fresh focus on the glorified Christ. Undoubtedly this is the much needed, highest priority, in the assemblies today, and with this in mind, we will consider the glory of Christ in three different aspects.

Read more

The Grace of God in Salvation

The boundless grace of God is one of the great themes that permeate scripture. When we speak about ‘grace’ in this context, we refer to the lavish, unlimited, unmerited favour that God has been pleased to bestow upon sinful man. This is something that will never cease to fill us with wonder and worship whilst here in this world, and it is the theme that will be song for all of eternity. As is found in the well-known hymn ‘Amazing grace’ of the onetime slave-trader JOHN NEWTON,’

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing his praise,

Than when we first begun.

In our day, one feels that we are in grave danger of losing sight of the grace of God in relation to the salvation. Perhaps this is due to an over-emphasis on the sovereign purposes of God, to the exclusion of the grace of God in the matter of a truly universal offer, or opportunity. This has created a deep divide among the Lord’s people, where the issue is seen to be one of sovereignty versus grace. This is unfortunate, because each has its place in the matter of salvation. One has no desire to acerbate the divided that exists, but one feels compelled to emphasise the involvement of the grace of God in relation to salvation, to protect the integrity of the gospel.

THE SOURCE OF GRACE:

The grace of God in relation to the salvation of man, finds its source in the eternal counsels of God. Scripture gives us to understand that even before the universe had been created, God, anticipating the Fall, conceived the plan of salvation for ruined man through the giving of His only begotten Son to the Cross of Calvary. Not only so, but ever since the first man sinned, it is God in His grace who has reached out to man with a view to restoring fellowship with Him. Man in his unregenerate condition has no thought of God, nor does he seek after him. It is God who takes the initiative to reach out to man in salvation. The hymn writer JOHN KENT put it well when he wrote:

A monument of grace,

A sinner saved by blood,

The streams of love I trace,

Back to the fountain God,

And in His sovereign counsels see,

Eternal thoughts of love to me.

THE SCOPE OF GRACE:

Such is the love of God for His benighted creature man, that He has placed the possibility of accepting His grace within the reach of all, without exception. Scripture abounds with insights to the will of God in relation to man’s salvation. We read “The Lord… is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Again, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.’ Again, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Perhaps one of the most eloquent statements regarding the grace of God in salvation is contained in the statement of the Lord Jesus when He said “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” In this latter verse, two words emphasise the limitlessness of the grace of God. We learn that it embraces the ‘world,’ and that the offer is made to the ‘whosoever believeth.’ These few statements regarding the grace of God must dispel any idea that any human being on the face of the earth is excluded from receiving God’s grace in salvation. SIR ROBERT ANDERSON has written “There is no shuffling of the cards; There is no deception in it; If forgiveness is preached to all, it is because all may share it.” And again he writes “He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son – and he adds, not as a cold formula which the initiated know to be overshadowed by the doctrine of election – ‘ that WHOSOVER believeth in Him should not perish by have everlasting life.”

THE RECEIVING OF GRACE:

We have already shown that the will of God is that all men should be saved, and we have shown the work that God has done in order that the ‘whosevers’ can have eternal life through believing in Him.

In other words, such is the grace of God, that He has done all that He can do to bring men salvation, and now man is responsible to believe, to accept, to receive, the terms of the Gospel. The New Testament abounds with exhortations to men to do so. Indeed the exhortation to ‘believe’ is predominant in the evangelical gospel of John. From this we learn that while it is the will of God that all should be saved, man must now bend His will to the will of God in order to be saved. Unfortunately, man can, and does, resist the will of God, and the same freedom given Adam to cede to, or resist the will of God in the garden of Eden, is still in vogue today. Men, like Adam, have been given freedom of choice, and the ability to accept or reject the grace of God in Salvation.

A word must be said about the role of the Holy Spirit in the matter of salvation. Scripture makes it clear that no one can be saved apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit leading to conversion, and those of us who have been saved can testify to this fact. However, we must avoid the notion that the Spirit of God is selective in His dealings with men, thus giving opportunity to some, whilst denying it to others. This would be a reprehensible thing. One can testify from personal experience in evangelizing, that we have seen some come under the conviction of the Spirit, yielding to it, and being saved. We have also seen others come under the deep conviction of the Spirit, and then sadly turn away from it, and to be lost.

PRAYER AND THE RECEIVING OF GRACE:

One of the important factors in relation to the salvation of the lost is to engage in prayer for them. In doing so we are in harmony with the will of God who desires that all men should be saved, and our prayers must be offered with this in mind. The apostle Paul could say “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” We remember the story about the paralytic whom the Lord Jesus healed. His friends made valiant efforts to bring him before the Lord, to the extent of letting him down through the roof. We then read, “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”   So also we must make valiant efforts to bring the lost before the Lord, and to do so with the confidence the Lord will respond. One recollects hearing the late HARRY BELL of Jarrow, UK telling how that he prayed for his sister’s salvation for over 40 years. Upon receiving news that she was dying he hastened to her bedside, only to be told that she had passed away just minutes before he arrived. His heart sank upon hearing this. However, those present told him, that just before she died she made a clear confession of Christ as Saviour. Prayer had been answered. Brother Bell told this story as an encouragement to the saints to continue in prayer for the lost.

In concluding, the mysteries relating to the interaction between sovereignty and grace may only be fully understood when we have the capacity to do so upon reaching heaven. But in the meantime, we must never limit the scope of the Gospel nor flag in our efforts in both preaching and prayer on the understanding that both of these are an essential part of our responsibility before God, and to the lost around us, and to do so with the understanding that the ‘whosoever’ may come.

The grand word, whosoever,

Is ringing through my soul,

Whosoever will may come.            W.H.BURNETT, Oakville, Ontario

Read more

Editorial: Follow Me

John’s gospel opens and closes about words.  The profound and majestic opening words of the gospel declare in clear and unmistakable terms, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ 1   The bold, declarative statement leaves us in no doubt that the living Word is none other than the eternal Son of God. The statement demolishes the twisted notion of cults and false teachers that deny or dethrone our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read more