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A Misunderstanding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lee Hanks   

The Gospel Messenger, February 1913

It may be where good brethren differ on some points there is more of a misunderstanding than a real difference in sentiment. It is well for all of us to be cautious in the expressions we use, and not use any expression that is misleading or would cause a weak brother to stumble. We should have more love, kindness, and tenderness in our dealings toward the saints than to press unscriptural expressions to the alienation of good brethren, one from another. Many good brethren oppose the expression "conditional time salvation" as used by some, yet preach practical godliness just like those who use it. Paul in his letter to the church at Colosse, 3d chapter, starts out by exhorting those who are risen with Christ to seek those things which are above, and tells them all through this chapter how they should live as Christians, and tells them that "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." I like the expression as Paul used it here, calling our enjoyment in the service of God an "inheritance."

Many good brethren think those who use the expression "conditional time salvation" mean by it that they get so much pay for so much work, and that it has a tendency to cause them to boast. The children of God know by experience that they can not live in open rebellion against the Lord and enjoy His approving smiles that they can in humble obedience, but at best they feel unworthy, and that they are but unprofitable servants. They enjoy the blessings of God in His service as an inheritance, and they miss that inheritance here by disobedience. The faithful son enjoys the care and protection of father and mother who feed, clothe and furnish him with a home and whatever is adapted to his wants. This is not pay as they would pay a hireling, but the son enjoys it as an inheritance as a dutiful son. Suppose that the son leaves home and disregards the tender care, love, protection, and commandments of his father. He soon realizes that he has made a sad mistake, and now he has no home, no one to feed and clothe him as before; and, trying to work his own way, many a time the child will soon become ragged and have but little to eat, and no father and mother to care for him. Now with a heart full of regret he exclaims, "Oh, that I had remained at home!" He sees now what he is missing. Who is to blame? Nobody but himself. He has missed that inheritance since leaving home. He now goes back to father and mother and confesses his wrongs. He was their son all the time, and they loved him. They now receive him back with open arms, and he again enjoys the care and protection, love and communion in his father's house. These blessings he enjoys now as an "inheritance" in his father's service. Paul speaks of out-breaking sins, and says that they that do such things shall not "inherit" the Kingdom of God. God's people received the land of Canaan with all its fullness while in obedience, but they did not receive it as pay, but as a reward of inheritance. God gave that land to Abraham and his seed by promise. The houses, the wells, the vineyards, the olive yards, and all the good things of that land were provided for the Lord's people. They did not have all these things to prepare after they got into the land. They were already prepared for them. They received this land in obedience as an inheritance.

"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isa. 1:19, 20). The willing and obedient enjoy the inheritance now, while the others who are rebellious and disobedient rob themselves of it and experience the chastenings of the Lord as the result. Grace has prepared the church of God and all of its ordinances, and we are prepared by grace for the service of the Lord. Grace gives us every spiritual desire and fills our souls with love, gives us eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand. While grace gives us feet to walk with, grace does not do the walking. We are commanded "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." But when we walk in humble obedience and find rest to our souls, we obtain this as an inheritance of grace for us. It occurs to us that our dear brethren very nearly all mean the same, but there is a difference in expression. I feel that we should labor in all tenderness to unify our poor afflicted people, and see how close together we are. We are all agreed on the fundamentals, I think. We should eliminate everything that is unscriptural and offensive, and use Scriptural expressions on controverted points.

All of the Lord's people that are properly taught believe that God is a sovereign over all worlds; that He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Immutable, and upholds all things by the word of His power; that He predestinated His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, and unto the adoption of children, chose them all in Christ, gave them to Christ and all of them are redeemed by Christ, and perfect satisfaction was made for all or their sins; that all the redeemed shall be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, preserved, resurrected, and glorified in Heaven independent of means or instrumentalities. All believe that life must precede action. In regeneration we are passive, and in obedience we are active; and we all need the grace of God continually. We all believe that we should stand aloof from the world with all of its institutions, religions or secret oath-bound orders. We all believe that sin is man's act. God's relation to holiness is causative, and His attitude to sin is overruling and permissive. God is not the efficient cause, author or approver of sin. Sin is of the Devil. The experience of the Lord's children teaches them that when they do wrong it is their fault. When we experience the chastening of the Lord, God dealeth with us as with sons. How many will labor in love to unity our people and leave off all offensive unscriptural expressions? We need each other. Let us be tender, kind, forbearing and forgiving, and love the fellowship of each other better than any hobby or worldly practice. If I am wrong in the above, I beg forbearance of the brethren. May we all in love strive for the things that make for peace.

L. H.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 September 2006 )
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