by faith" according to the import of the phrase
under the law, is as impossible to us as "justification
through the faith" before the resurrection of Jesus
was to them. Jesus preached the coming faith, but his
hearers none of them understood it, because it was hidden
from them. For this cause, it was styled "the wisdom
of the Deity in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom".
(1 Cor.2:7) Their justification was not predicated upon
what was purposely hidden from them; for God is not an
austere master reaping where he hath not sown, and gathering
where he hath not scattered. Men's justification, whether
Jews or Gentiles, is predicated on their belief of what
He hath revealed. When the hidden wisdom was revealed,
then "the faith came", (Gal. 3:23. See also
verses 24 and 25) and men were required to believe it in
addition to what the apostles believed when they
were "justified by faith", before the cutting
off of the Prince of the Host. Our justification does
not depend on our believing what will be revealed to
the nations in the millennial dawn, when the law shall
go forth from Zion, and the word of Jehovah [Yahweh]
from Jerusalem, as testified in Isaiah 2:3. This is to
us "hidden wisdom". Secret things belong to
God, the things that are revealed to us, and to our children
(Deut. 29:29). This was the rule for Israel, and the
rule for us who would find the "righteousness of
God". (Rom. 1:17; 3:21)
The revelation of the hidden wisdom or mystery of the Deity,
styled in Acts 2:11 "the wonderful works of God",
was the grand distinctive peculiarity of the apostolic preaching
on Pentecost and forward. Nothing less than the belief of
the teaching of the apostles can now justify a single son
or daughter of the first Adam. He that hears them so as to
believe and do what they taught, hears the Deity; and he that
hears them not is not "taught of God", (John 6:45;
1 Thess. 4:9) and cannot therefore be saved, however pious
he may be in his own estimation, and that of his contemporaries.
This is evident from the words of Jesus, who said to the apostles, "It
shall be given you what ye shall speak; for it is not ye that
speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh by you:
and he that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth
you, despiseth me" (Matt 10:19,20; Luke 10:16). And speaking
of those who come to him as the result of the attracting influence
of the Father, Jesus said, "It is written in the prophets,
And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that
hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me" (John
6:45). To hear the apostles, then, is to hear Jesus and the
Father; and consequently to be taught of God; and all that
are so taught have heard and learned of the Father, and are
drawn or attracted by what they have heard and learned to
None else "come to Jesus" in the scriptural sense
of the word. All who come to him are intelligent in "the
faith". There are no ignoramuses among the genuine disciples,
for these are "all taught of the Deity"; and when
the Deity ''teaches, His teaching "opens the eyes",
turns the taught "from darkness" "into the
marvellous light" of the gospel of His glory (Acts 26:18;
1 Pet. 2:9). How different this from the result of clerical
teaching, preaching, ministration, or by whatever name they
may designate the wordy outpourings of their cracked and truly
earthen vessels! Those who "come to Jesus" in the
clerical sense, are those who come to the clergy, and become
members of their synagogues. They are brought to this, not
by the teaching of the apostles, but by the "enticing
words of man's wisdom ", (1 Cor. 2:4) which leave them
in darkness as profound as the craftiest soul-dealer could
possibly wish. Any intelligent believer conversing with such
can easily discern that they are not taught of God, but only
of the clergy; for he will find them entirely ignorant of
the first principles of the oracles of God. With the prophets
they have nothing to do; for the apostles they have as little
use; of the gospel of the kingdom they have never heard; and
the revelation of the mystery might as well have never been
revealed, for any use they have for it in their system of "getting
religion", and saving immortal souls from the death that
In such a system "marvellous light" is out of the
question; for in every corner of it can be discovered only
the murkiest gloom, and darkness that may be felt. The Father
and Jesus are despised by the adherents of the clergy, because
the apostles are not heard. The whole establishment is Laodicean,
and the voice of the Deity finds no utterance within its pale.
These are incontrovertible facts. The teaching and mandates
of the apostles are not regarded in the kingdom of the clergy,
and therefore, we know that the spirit of their establishments
is not the Spirit of the Deity; but "the Spirit of Error" and
of "strong delusion", which is the spirit of their
revivals, and the spirit of which their "religion" comes
(1 John 4:5,6; 2 Thess. 2:11,12).
The Pentecostian "truth as it is in Jesus" (Eph.
4:21) is "righly divided" (2 Tim. 2:15) by that
skilful workman, the apostle of the Gentiles, in Rom. 16:25.
In ascribing glory to the only wise Deity, he refers to the
word of truth in a three- fold relation of things which may
be thus stated:
-- "My Gospel",
2. -- "The preaching of Jesus Christ", and
3. -- " The revelation of the mystery concealed
from the times of the ages" - the times of the law
and of the periods that preceded it.
1. -- These are the triple elements of the whole system of
faith Jesus called "the gospel" and which
he commanded the apostles to go forth and preach,
and declared that whosoever believed it and was
baptized should be saved, but whosoever believed
it not should be condemned. (Mark 16:16) The "one
hope" of this system Paul styled "my gospel",
(Rom. 2:16;16:25; 2 Tim. 2:8) or "the gospel
of me" -- the gospel preached of me, Paul.
In another place he terms it "the hope of Israel",
on account of which he was a prisoner in chains
(Acts. 28:20). Elsewhere he alludes to it as "the
gospel preached to Abraham", and which announced
the justification of all the nations through faith,
and the blessing of them in company with faithful
Abraham. It was therefore his gospel in an especial
sense, because he was separated by the Deity to
declare and teach it authoritatively to the Gentiles;
and whoever taught any thing perversive or subversive
of it, he pronounced "accursed" (Gal.
1:6-9; 3:8,9). The clergy do not preach this gospel.
Indeed, how can they! For they are as ignorant of
it as though it had never been apocalypsed or revealed.
Paul, then, whose image they set in niches for the
ornamentation of their bazaars, not we, though we
approve his sentence, pronounces them "accursed".
Let the reader, then, renounce these men- pleasers
whom the world hears and glorifies, and study diligently
Paul's gospel of the approaching government of the
habitable by the resurrected and anointed King of
Israel (Acts 17:31).
2. -- When Paul's contemporaries had come to comprehend the
purpose of the Deity with respect to the nations existing
in the age to come -- that he intended to rule them by the
Christ -- he next proclaimed to them that Jesus was that Christ.
This he styles "the preaching of Jesus Christ".
(Rom. 16:25) Their belief of the gospel of the kingdom and
name of Christ abstractly from Jesus, would not have justified,
or saved them from their sins, and given them a right to the
life of the age, after Pentecost. They were required to recognize
him as the Son of David, Son of the Deity, and King of the
Jews; for if they rejected, or did not accept him as Lord,
and received not his words, their fate was to be destroyed
from among the people" (John 12:48; Acts 3:23). This
arrangement has not been altered by the authority of heaven
since Paul's day. The clergy have abolished or superseded
it by their traditions; but God has no respect for them or
their institutions. They are elements of a power "that
thinks to change times and laws" (Dan. 7:25), and which
speaks great things, and blasphemies, and opens its mouth
in blasphemy against the Deity, to blaspheme His name and
His tabernacle, and them that dwell in the heaven (Rev. 13:5,6).
The influence of this clerical power in all its Laodicean
developments is self- deceptive, and destructive of the people
who obey its behests. In relation to them "the times
and laws" are changed, and a way of salvation which,
in verity, is no salvation at all, established, that makes
the truth of God of no effect. But all this with God is nothing.
His plan of salvation is unchanged; and if any man of this
generation be saved, he can be saved only as men were saved
in the days of the apostles. They must believe Paul's gospel,
and the preaching of Jesus Christ.
3. -- But a man may believe the hope Paul proclaims, and that
Jesus is the Christ, and yet not believe enough to save him.
He must believe, in addition, the revealed mystery in its
facts and doctrine. Suppose he believe that all nations shall
be blessed in Abraham and his seed; that Abraham shall inherit
with his seed, Jesus and the saints, the promised land for
the millennial period and beyond; that David's throne shall
be established and exist in all that period; that the twelve
tribes, then an obedient and faithful nation, shall occupy
the land; that Jesus and his holy brethren shall possess the
government of the world, as Jehovah's (Yahweh's) anointed
kings and priests, incorruptible and deathless - suppose he
believe all this, what benefit would it be to the man if he
denied, or did not believe that Jesus died, was buried, and
rose again -- that he was delivered for the sins of his people,
and raised again for their justification? These facts, and
the teaching predicated upon them, are indispensable elements
of "the faith" through which men are justified.
It was in the preaching of Jesus Christ and the revealed mystery,
that Paul's Israelitish fellow countrymen needed to be especially
indoctrinated. The gospel preached to Abraham was well known
to them, for it was "the hope of Israel", (Acts
28:20) and had been preached to them in the reading of the
prophets for many centuries. Not so, however, with the Gentiles.
These were ignorant of the whole subject, and had to be taught
everything from the beginning.
The apostles, then were "justified by faith", and
preached "justification through the faith"(Rom.
3:30) to all who should "obey the truth". (Rom.
2:8; Gal. 3:1; 5:7) "Ye have purified your souls",
says Peter, "in obeying the truth." (1 Pet. 1:22)
The truth cannot be obeyed unless it be believed. In other
words, if a man have not the faith in his understanding and
affection, he cannot yield "the obedience of faith" (Rom.
16:26) "or obey "the law of faith". (Rom. 3:27)
The burial of a true believer with Christ in immersion is
the act of faith which constitutes obedience. None but a true
believer can enact it. The immersion of an ignorant sinner
is altogether out of the premises of the gospel. He that does
it knowingly is a wilful, blasphemer of the name of the Deity;
and the person dipped only adds to his sins by his presumption.
The one faith and the one hope of the calling must precede
the immersion to constitute the "one baptism", (Eph.
4:4-6) if either, or both, be wanting, the immersion is invalid.
Fifty immersions will not supply the want of the faith; but,
on the other hand, if the subject's faith be apostolic, one
immersion is sufficient, and ought, on no account, to be repeated.