Bible Student Ministries

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" - 1 Peter 3:15

As A Man Soweth So Shall He Reap

2770“Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Tim. 6:12

During this present time the merit of Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the church class in order to permit them to become New Creatures in Christ, of a different order from the world. The sins of those who now leave the world to follow Jesus are covered by the imputation of His sacrificial merit, that they may join Him in sacrifice and thus be accounted worthy to reign with Him in the coming time of blessing for the world the Millennial Age. They are to be a distinctly new creation. This covering of their sins lasts from the time when they become Christians until the end of their journey here below.

During this period each one will have a battle against the downward tendencies of his flesh a severe conflict; and by the close of his earthly life he will have demonstrated to the Lord to what extent he has been loyal and true in the striving against sin; for that which constitutes our battle as children of God, as soldiers of the Cross, is not merely a campaign against error. In times past we have all been under a cloud of error. It is important indeed to have recognized this condition and to have come out into the light of God’s Truth. We are not to minimize the value of correct doctrine. But this is not the main thing; it is only a means to an end. The most important thing is to get rid of sin.

There are errors of mind, of doctrine, of thought, of morals, of character. From childhood all these things had been going on in our life. We did not realize just what they were. As to errors of doctrine, few preached about them. Ministers of the Gospel said nothing about them; in fact, many of the clergy did not recognize these things as errors. But now we see very clearly what the Bible has to say about doctrine. Now we see that God wishes His people to be free from doctrinal errors. But especially does He wish them to be free from any sympathy with sin, unrighteousness, iniquity, injustice.

In other words, God wished His people to be very loyal to the golden rule. This is the first proposition; and to learn this lesson requires sometimes the experience of years. Very many have never practiced justice. They are unjust in their dealings with their families. Husbands deal unjustly with their wives, parents with their children, wives with husbands, and children with parents. With some people injustice would seem to be the rule of life.

But from the time when we become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and see how justice is written in the law of God, we begin to perceive that God expects us to observe the golden rule. We should begin to do right in our own families with our parents, our children, our companions in life. This golden rule will affect all the affairs of life. It applies everywhere and in everything. “Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.” As we learn to consider carefully, in our dealings with others, to do for them and toward them as we would wish them to do for us and toward us, we shall find a great transformation going on within us. Gradually the whole course of life is changed.

GREAT DILIGENCE NECESSARY
If we could get this rule thoroughly worked into our hearts and lives, it would prove to be one of the greatest possible blessings, not only to ourselves, but also to others. No part of God’s instruction to the church is more important than this exhortation to justice. Nothing that He ever does is out of line with absolute justice; and He has invited His people to copy His character-likeness. He wishes us to cultivate and develop in ourselves the great qualities which He possesses and which He has illustrated to us.

There are brethren in Christ who from outward appearance are seemingly not so far advanced as they might be in this respect. Measure not yourselves by the world; for the world does not heed the golden rule. We are not to measure them as we measure ourselves; we are not to expect as much from them. Neither should we measure ourselves by other Christians. (2 Cor. 10:12) Some who are called Christians are only morally inclined people who have never been begotten of the holy Spirit, who have never come into the School of Christ. We appreciate their characters, but we are not to measure ourselves by them. We should measure ourselves only by the Word of our Lord, which asks, “What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and Godliness?” 2 Pet 3:11

This pointed question of the Apostle Peter implies that the Church of Christ are a special class, different from all other people in the world a peculiar people, as the Apostle Paul puts it not peculiar in dress, but zealous of good works, zealous for everything that is right, laying down their lives for the Truth, in the service of others. Titus 2:14

In other words, God wishes His people to be very loyal to the golden rule. this is the first proposition; and to learn this lesson requires sometimes the experience of years. Very many have never practiced justice. They are unjust in their dealings with their families. Husbands deal unjustly with their wives, parents with their children, wives with husbands, and children with parents. With some people injustice would seem to be the rule of life.

But from the time when we become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and see how justice is written in the law of God, we begin to perceive that God expects us to observe the golden rule. We should begin to do right in our own families with our parents, our children, our companions in life. This golden rule will affect all the affairs of life. It applies everywhere and in everything. “Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.” As we learn to consider carefully, in our dealings with others, to do for them and toward them as we would wish them to do for us and toward us, we shall find a great transformation going on within us. Gradually the whole course of life is changed.

JUSTICE IN THE HOME
We should endeavor not only to say nothing to our families that would injure them, but rather to study to be a blessing to them. And so with our dealings with all. Every human being calls for justice. As followers of Christ, we are to be foremost in exercising justice toward all. There should be nothing less than this in our intentions. If with our heart we are recognizing the golden rule, we shall continually seek to think as generously of our neighbor as we would wish him to think of us, and to speak as kindly of him as we would wish him to speak of us. The principle of doing good to others would be exercised toward all.

Some who seem to be exact in their dealings with the world, who would not keep even one cent back from the person to whom it was due, appear to be very careless in dealing with their loved ones, treating them very unjustly. This should not be. Justice is the foundation of the Throne of God; in practicing the golden rule we become more and more like our Heavenly Father. He does to others only what He would wish them to do to Him. As He would not wish others to roast Him or torture Him, so He does not roast or torture them.

Let us ever keep the golden rule in mind, and it will furnish us with the very essence of the spirit of justice. First and always, let us treat others as we would wish them to treat us. Afterwards, let us do a little more; but let us strive never to come short on this fundamental principle. We should indeed, as Christians, give more than justice, but never less. Love will lead us to do more, even as it led our Lord Jesus. He kept the golden rule inviolate in every instance. He never did less than justice; but He did more, much more. He gave His life for others.

And this is what His followers have engaged to do. This is our covenant. We are to follow the golden rule, and then do more. We are to lay down our lives for the brethren and to do for the world as we have opportunity. This is the Bible thought for Jesus’ disciples. It is one which should appeal to us even from the human standpoint as being the highest ideal of Christian living.

FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
There is no place where we can better learn to rule our own spirit than in our own home. With husband and wife, with parent and child, with brother and sister, the constant practice of the golden rule is an important matter. The battle with self is the greatest battle the Christian must fight; for in it he learns to exercise his will in the right direction in the direction of control of self. It is only after we have conquered self, only after we have become master of our own flesh, only after we have subdued anger, malice, hatred and strife in our own hearts, that we are enabled, by means of these severe battles with our own weaknesses, to assist others, to aid them by our example to overcome their own besetments and infirmities.

No matter where this conflict may begin, we find entrenched within ourselves many armed and opposing powers. These have possession of us by heredity; they are there as the result of Father Adam’s fall. If, when we begin the battle, we have passed the days of youth, these imperfections and weaknesses are all the more strongly entrenched; and it requires the greater conflict to rout them. But he that would win the prize of the high calling must fight the good fight of faith down to the very end of his earthly existence.

This continual battle of the new mind against the fallen flesh is a good fight in the sense that the New Creature is fighting against the weaknesses and besetments of the fallen human nature, against temptations from within and from without, that appeal to us as human beings. It is a fight of faith because the entire course of the New Creature is one of faith; for “we walk by faith, not by sight.” In this battle we could never succeed without aid from on High. Hence, we must watch and pray. We must put on securely “the whole armor of God.” Eph. 6:12-18

INSPIRATION OF GOD’S PROMISES

All of use who have become true followers of Christ have had these thoughts come before our minds. As we progress, we learn better what God wishes for us. When first we gave our hearts to the Lord we did not know all that is included in full consecration. Many things were hidden from the eyes of our understanding. But as we have gone on step by step, the Lord has brought us to the clear realization that we must suffer with Christ. Let us, then, progress along this way of sacrifice sacrificing our lives for the Truth, following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Although we have learned that it is our privilege to sacrifice our lives with Christ, yet the greatest lesson for us to learn is what God is to do for us. He is the One who is doing the really great things. Our hearts are stirred within us by His great and precious promises. We feed upon them and meditate upon them. We are enamored of the things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard.

Thus we grow stronger, taller, as Christians day by day. With our desire to grow ever increasing, we see the necessity for meeting together with others of like precious faith in order to build each other up in the most holy faith. We see the Heavenly things more clearly. Other things pass away from our vision. We see the great basic principles of justice and love, and realize their bearing upon our lives in every respect.

NATURAL TRAITS REQUIRE ATTENTION
We note that after we have made our consecration and have learned that God has justified us freely from all sin through our Lord Jesus Christ, there is a tendency with some of the Lord’s people to violate unintentionally the fundamental principles of justice and love as existent in the Divine character and manifested in the Divine dealings with the people of God. It is not enough that we should have to walk in the ways of the Lord, and that we should recognize the downward tendencies of sin. If we have the spirit of the Lord, we shall be anxious to do right. We shall meditate upon God’s character; and as we see these basic attributes, we shall endeavor to copy them. Thus the work of grace in our hearts will continue and increase, more and more transforming us into the character-likeness of God’s dear Son.

We are not to judge one another in these things, however. “The Lord will judge His people,” according to His knowledge of their abilities. Mercy will be granted for every unintentional defect; but no mercy will be extended toward those things which we could avoid. Whatever ability we possess we are responsible for; and God will hold us responsible if we do not do our best with what we have. Those who are living up to their opportunities and privileges should go on with courage, doing their best, exercising full faith and confidence in the Lord; for He has promised a sufficiency of grace to cover every imperfection. But there is no excuse for any one to live in careless neglect of his duties and responsibilities. Such are not fighting the good fight of faith.

It is the New Creature who will be held responsible for carelessness respecting conduct, for indifference to the requirements of the golden rule and to the additional exercises of love; and it is he who will fail to receive the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” unless he exercise great care respecting these important matters. God will have none in that special class of overcomers [HGL814] except those who measure fully up to the standard of His requirements. If we are to be the future judges of the world, we must cultivate justice as well as love, so as to be fit to occupy positions of influence and power, in which we shall be able to bless all the families of the earth.

IN THE NEW DISPENSATION
During the Millennial Age, the Lord Jesus will deal with the world. As He declared “All that are in their graves shall hear His voice (‘the voice of the Son of Man’), and shall come forth.” (John 5:25, 28, 29) Those who thus come forth will be the same imperfect beings that they were when they died. Justice will turn them over to Christ imperfect just as they went down into death. The lifting up to human perfection of all who are willing and obedient will be the work of the incoming age. The lower down they were, the more steps will they be required to take in order to climb up to perfection. Some will have much more to overcome than will others. But in every case the test will be the same.

The Messianic reign will be the world’s judgment day. As the Master said, it will be more tolerable in that day for those who during this life had less opportunity than it will be for those who had more. (Matt. 11:20-24) The latter class will come forth more tainted in mind, weaker in character, less inclined to hearken and obey; whereas those who had not heard the message of God’s love will be all the more inclined to give heed. The judgment day will be a tolerable time for all mankind, but more tolerable for those who have never before heard and have never known.

Confucius, for example, will come forth in the Messianic Kingdom, and will be a towering giant morally amongst the people in that day. Many who see him will be surprised at what a strong character he will be a heathen man, who lived without our opportunities, who heard no church bells, who attended no church services. As they behold him, some will say, “If only we had availed ourselves of the privileges and opportunities that we had, we might have attained a place even amongst the glorified saints in Heaven.” But when they consider themselves in the light of their past lives, they will conclude that they are in their proper position; and, stimulated by the example of various worthy characters, as well as encouraged by the assistance afforded them at that time, they will strive to progress as rapidly as possible. Gradually they will learn the rules of the Kingdom the laws of righteousness, based upon justice and love. Those who are willing and obedient will attain unto life everlasting; but the unwilling and disobedient will be cut off in the second death.

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