Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Titus 2:13

CHAPTER VII.

 

TWO HOUSES BUILT AND TESTED.

 

EXPLANATION OF MATT. 7: 24-27. THE FOURFOLD BUILDING PROCESS: INSTRUCTION; JUSTIFICATION; SANCTIFICATION; DELIVERANCE. THE THREEFOLD TESTING PROCESS: DOWNPOUR OF TRUTH; A FLOOD OF ERROR; SPIRITUAL WARS. BEREAN QUESTIONS.

 

THE TEXT on which the theme of this chapter is based consists of two parables, that of the wise, and that of the foolish builder. On these our Pastor has given us three interpretations, all of which, we believe, are correct. According to the first, the wise builder is the Little Flock and the house is the true Church (the Church builds itself up; the Bride makes herself ready), while the foolish builder is the nominal church and the house is Babylon. According to the second interpretation, the wise builder is the Little Flock as a class and the house is its faith and character structure, while the foolish builder is the Great Company (crown-losers) and the house is their faith and character structure. The third interpretation is an individualizing of the second: the wise man representing the individuals of the Little Flock and the foolish man representing the individual crown-losers, while the houses represent the pertinent individual faith and character structures. If we remember that it was mainly the crown- losers—the crown-losing princes—who built Babylon, the inner agreement of the three interpretations becomes apparent. In this article we will use especially the third of these interpretations. The language of these two parables is almost as nearly alike as the difference in the thoughts

 

474

between them permits. This will appear from a paralled columned quotation of them:

 

Whosoever heareth these sayings of  mine, and doeth them.

I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain de- scended, and the floods came, and the  winds blew, and beat upon that house:

And it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

 

Every one that heareth these sayings of  mine, and doeth them not,

Shall be likened unto a foolish man who built his house upon sand:

And the rain de- scended, and the floods came, and the  winds blew, and beat upon that house;

And it fell; and great was the fall of it.

 

(2) Certain explanations will elucidate the meaning of these texts. The word heareth occurs here in the sense of understand. To hear is used in at least three senses in Biblical and current language: (1) to take in sound by the ear-drum; (2) to understand and (3) to obey. A good illustration of the use of the first and second of these meanings is found in Acts 9: 7, where Paul's companions are said to have heard a voice, and in Acts 22: 9, where they are said not to have heard the voice that spoke to him. Here a flat contradiction would occur, if we did not give the word in Acts 9: 7, the meaning, to take in sound by the eardrum, and in Acts 23: 9 the meaning, to understand. A good illustration of the third meaning of the word is found in Ex. 6: 12, where it is said that Pharaoh would not hear— obey—the Lord. That the third meaning is not the one in our text is evident from the fact that the foolish builder represents a class which did not obey, though they heard, in the meaning of the word as it occurs in the text. That the first meaning does not here apply is evident from the fact that many hear the Lord's sayings in the first sense who never build at all, while all who hear in the sense of the text do build—"everyone," "whosoever." This leaves the second sense as the one here applicable; for to do the building here

 

475

referred to one must understand the Lord's teachings, at least to the degree necessary to build. The structure here referred to, of course, cannot be a literal one; for neither every one, nor even the majority of those who understand Christ's sayings in the Sermon on the Mount build a literal structure. Hence, it must be a symbolic structure. From 1 Cor. 3: 9-15 this house is from one standpoint shown to be the Church and from another standpoint the faith and character structures that are built upon Christ. Accordingly, the building process means the development of the faith and character structures of New Creatures, which implies the building of the Church.

 

(3) What does the text's rock, on which the consecrated build, represent? We reply, Christ; for St. Paul in 1 Cor. 3:

11 assures us that He is the foundation on which the consecrated build. What, then, does the sand represent? Again we answer, Christ; for, according to the same passage, He is the only foundation on which all the consecrated build, regardless of whether they are crown- retainers or crown-losers (1 Cor. 3: 11-15). At first hearing, the thought that Christ is also the sand seems repulsive. But this is due to a false thought connected with the figurative rock, in contrast with which false thought the sand must be given an evil sense not compatible with Christ. The false thought associated with the meaning of the word rock in this passage is strength of character. Of course such a thought, if true, would by contrast suggest weakness of character as represented by the sand, which, if applied to our Lord, is, of course, repulsive to a sanctified mind. But since 1 Cor. 3: 11 proves that both the rock and the sand represent Christ, evidently neither of these words in this passage suggests anything in His character. When we recognize that, not a characteristic of His, but attitudes and activities of His are represented by the rock and the sand, the thought becomes satisfying to the sanctified

 

476

mind. Accordingly, we understand the rock to represent our Lord as the Stayer and Supporter, the Helper and the Strengthener of the Faithful in their trial time, and the sand to represent Him, not as the Stayer, the Supporter, the Helper and the Strengthener of the measurably unfaithful, but their Forsaker, their Abandoner and the One who leaves them in the lurch during their trial time. Certainly the Scriptures teach the above thoughts as our Lord's attitudes and activities toward these two classes (Heb. 13: 5, 6; Jude 23; 1 Cor. 5: 5).

 

(4) Our remarks above show that our text and 1 Cor. 3: 9-15 are parallel passages, i.e., they treat of the same general subject. While this is true, they present with some identical features some different phases of the same general subject. These identicalnesses and differences will repay noting. The Corinthian passage presents no difference in the foundation, while the Matthew passage does in order to bring out the different attitudes and activities of our Lord toward the two kinds of builders. In the parabolic representation of the Matthew passage no difference between the materials used in the two buildings is brought out, while this difference—gold, silver, precious stones, on the one hand, and wood, hay, stubble, on the other—is very marked. Again, the means of testing, both in the figures— fire and rain, flood, wind—and in the things figured forth, are different. These differences, of course, are not contradictions. They merely emphasize different phases of the one general subject. Hence, these two passages are splendid illustrations of the Scriptural principle that the whole of a subject is not treated in any one place in the Scriptures, but rather each of its subjects is treated "here a little and there a little" (Is. 28: 10-13).

 

(5) While in the parables proper of Matt. 7: 24-27 no difference in the building process is brought out,

 

477

the difference being set forth as existing in the foundations, yet in the words introducing the parables such a difference is brought out. The wise builder is represented as doing "these sayings" and the foolish builder as not doing them. The doing of them is represented as erecting the house on the rock, and the not doing of them as erecting the house on the sand. Among other things, we desire here to point out in some detail how the doing of these sayings is indeed building on Christ as upon a rock, and how the not doing of them is indeed building on Christ as upon sand. The better to present these two kinds of building upon Christ, we desire to draw into our discussion of them 1 Cor. 1: 30: "Who [Christ] is made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and deliverance," because it is in response or non-response to Christ in the four respects indicated in this text that we do or do not these sayings of Christ. This passage is at one and the same time one of the most succinct and yet most comprehensive passages of Holy Writ on the steps of salvation, both for the four elect classes and for the world of mankind. None of our fallen race will ever attain salvation apart from making Christ his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and deliverance. Especially pertinent, therefore, to the explanation of the kinds of building treated of in our text is this passage. We will explain how these two kinds of builders erected their faith and character structures as to these four aspects of our Lord's office functions in the salvation process.

 

(6) First of all, Christ is made of God unto us wisdom. What does this mean? It means that He makes the consecrated wise. This is done by His acting as their Teacher. To teach means to cause another or others  to know and understand. The teaching process implies two things: a teacher and a learner. No one teaches another unless he makes him know and understand. One may explain, prove,

 

478

compare, contrast, argue and illustrate ever so well; but if he does not cause another to know and understand, he does not teach him. As our Teacher, our Lord does cause us to know and understand those features of God's Word and Plan that are due to be understood. The Faithful do take Him as their Teacher and do this especially in two ways: they learn from Him to know and understand the subject matter of His teachings—the various phases of the Truth that He teaches them—and they learn to know and understand these by the proper tests of Truth. Of course, He presents only Truth to them. Satan, however, presents to them a mixture of Truth and error. How may they know what things those are that come to them from Christ and what things those are that come to them through Satan? The Lord gives them certain axioms or criterions whereby the Truth or error on any religious subject can be recognized by the Faithful. Harmony of thought is the heart of these axioms or criterions. This harmony must be established in seven respects; and if it is, a faithful follower of the Lord may be sure that he has the Truth on the subject so harmonized. A teaching, to be true, must be harmonious (1) with itself; (2) with every Scripture passage; (3) with every Scripture doctrine; (4) with God's character; (5) with the Ransom; (6) with facts and (7) with the objects of God's Plan. If any religious teaching impinges against any one or more of these axioms, it is thereby proven to be untrue. We know that an understanding of a subject is given us by Christ, our Teacher, when it is in harmony with these seven axioms, as we also know that an understanding of a subject is given us by Satan when it contradicts one or more of these axioms. The Faithful build upon Christ in wisdom as the Rock by subjecting every thought that is presented to them for acceptance to the acid test of these seven axioms and only then accepting it, if it stands

 

479

this acid test (1 Thes. 5: 21; 1 John 4: 1-4; Ps. 45: 1; Is. 8: 20; Matt. 4: 3-10; John 17: 17). Thus they build the faith part of their structure in the right way and out of the right materials, and thus and thus only do they build upon Christ in wisdom as the Rock. Accordingly, they do His sayings as to their taking Him to be their Teacher in wisdom.

 

(7) But crown-losers fail to do His sayings as to their taking Him as their Teacher and that in two respects. They fail to seek His teachings in the right way and frequently take as His teaching things that He does not teach. The Lord guarantees to give the meek (Ps. 25: 8, 9), the hungry (Matt. 5: 6), the humble (Matt. 11: 25), the honest and good (Luke 8: 15) His Truth; but He will not give it to others. It is because the Faithful have the above-mentioned qualities and then use faithfully the seven axioms as the tests of Truth that they are freed from error and taught the Truth by the Lord. Those who do not do these sayings of His on teaching lack one or more of the five qualities just mentioned as pre-requisites of obtaining the Truth. Hence the Lord allows them to imbibe more or less of error. Their unhappy heart condition has a blinding effect on their minds, so that they are often prone to accept error  for Truth. Moreover, they are not particular to scrutinize every thought presented for their acceptance with the seven axioms as tests of Truth and error. Consequently, they imbibe more or less of error. Some of them go to the extreme of receiving with blank and unquestioning minds whatever a real or fictitious channel of the Lord presents to them. It is even required of them in the Catholic wards of Great and Little Babylon to shut their eyes, open their mouths and swallow whatever is presented to them on the ground that it is not their, but God's business to keep the channel clean, while it is their business to drink whatever comes, through the channel. Despite his teachings and warnings

 

480

to the contrary, some have even treated the real human channel, that Servant, in that way. Instead of heeding his instructions to build a personal faith structure, whose existence needed not to depend on any human being for its integrity under trial, some made a crutch out of him; and when he died, not having an independent faith structure that could stand in trial by its own inherent strength, they had to have another crutch, which Satan gave them in the form of the Society as "the channel," which they have been blindly following in its multitudinous errors of doctrine and practice against those that they swallowed from that Servant, and whose many changes prove it to be a rubber crutch that, bending in all directions, does not hold them erect, but as they lean upon it, makes them fall often. Of course, such built, as to wisdom, upon Christ as Sand, i.e., they built such a faith structure as is in its trial time being forsaken by Christ; just as sand forsakes the building erected on it as a foundation when exposed to floods, etc.

 

(8) Early in our career as a pilgrim, a sister remarked to us, "Brother, I am sure that I am going to attain the Kingdom." On being asked how she was sure of this, she replied, "Bro. Russell as that Servant is going to get into the Kingdom and I will hang on to his coat tails, and in that way I will attain the Kingdom." On being asked what she meant by that, she replied, "Bro. Russell is that Servant. Accordingly, I will believe everything that he teaches and do whatever he says and that will bring me into the Kingdom." Instead of subjecting his teachings, as he frequently exhorted, to the acid test above described, and only then accepting and practicing them as they were proven by that test to be right, she blindly bound herself to him in angel worship, instead of binding herself to the Lord, and thus failed to build an independent faith structure that would stand every test, regardless of the agent through whom she learned

 

481

the Truth. This course always led to the forfeiture of one's crown, as the type of Gideon's selection of his 300 shows. The 32,000 who rallied to his call type all who during the Gospel Age accepted the Lord's invitation to enter the warfare of Truth and righteousness. The 22,000 who, fearful and afraid, turned back, represent those justified ones who, from fear of the battles ahead in consecration, do not go forward to consecration. The 10,000 who remained type the consecrated. These were subjected to a test as to how they would drink the water. Those who drank it on their knees, in which position they did not and could not look upward and did not and could not examine the water, were set aside by themselves, while those who drank it standing upright, lapping it out of their uplifted hands, which required them to look upward, were also put aside by themselves. The former—9,700—type the crown-losers, who, not looking wholly to the Lord while partaking of the waters of Truth, bowed down in human servility to the messengers and, as worshipers of angels, did not and could not while so doing clearly examine the Truth presented to them, and thus, swallowing it without proper examination, forfeited their crowns. The 300 type the Little Flock, who were very active (raising the water in their hands) in their study of the Truth, grasping a firm hold of it, who looked upward to the Lord as the Giver of the Truth as they imbibed it, who little by little but rapidly took it as it clung to the tongue of Biblical truth already theirs, and who did not worship the messengers, the stream's channel, though they properly came to them for the Truth and got it from them. Hence the latter built upon Christ in wisdom as the Rock, while the former built upon Him in wisdom as Sand.

 

(9) The second respect in which new creatures build on Christ as Rock or Sand is expressed in the word righteousness in 1 Cor. 1: 30. Christ is made

 

482

of God to us righteousness in the sense that He justifies us (Rom. 3: 20-26; 4: 1-25; 8: 1-4; 10: 4; 2 Cor. 5: 19, 21; Gal. 2: 16, 17; 3: 24; Phil. 3: 9). God's grace provided Him to become our righteousness. His perfect human obedience worked out this righteousness. Our faith receives it, as He imputes it on our behalf to Divine Justice and God's grace then imputes it to us. Thus tentatively it was imputed to every believer and vitalizedly it was imputed to every consecrated believer who was about to be Spirit-begotten. Accordingly, every crown-retainer and crown-loser has Christ as his righteousness, i.e., as his Justifier. Unless one had truly repented and believed, he could not at all have attained tentative or vitalized justification. Therefore, from this standpoint there is no difference between the two classes referred to in our text. Would it, therefore, be right to say that both alike build on Christ in righteousness? We answer, No. This answer must be given for at least two reasons. First, the building of our text does not begin until after one is a new creature, while Christ's merit is both tentatively and vitalizedly imputed before the begettal. Secondly, the implications of justification are a building work as to justice before and after the begettal. Hence both the crown-retainers and the crown-losers build upon Christ in righteousness. A little consideration will prove this. Christ's righteousness adjusts us reckonedly with Justice. It makes up whatever we lack of 100% of justice. But it implies that we practice justice as best we can, which doing progressively we need less and less of Christ's righteousness to make us 100% righteous. Therefore, God requires that we practice justice as much as we can, all the time covering our failures therein due to weakness and ignorance through Christ's imputed righteousness. Hence, the Faithful seek to develop a righteous, just character, i.e., they seek in duty good-will to love God with all the heart, mind, soul and strength, and their neighbor

 

483

as themselves. If in any measure of willfulness they temporarily fail to do this, they by stripes and amendment make this up, so that they do develop a just character. This is the first feature of the character part of their faith and character structure, they in wisdom having built the faith part of their faith and character structure. Accordingly, we see that these do build upon Christ in righteousness as the Rock—yea, the Rock of Ages.

 

(10) Do the crown-losers build upon Christ in righteousness? We reply, Yes; but not on Him as the Rock, but as Sand. A little reflection will make this manifest. For the reason given above, we see that these, like the others, do not build at all in the sense of that word as used in our text before the Spirit-begettal. But a little reflection also shows that they were before their consecration loyal to righteousness; otherwise they would never have consecrated; for it is only those who are faithful in justification who proceed to consecration. Hence it is impossible that any building on Christ as Sand could have taken place before Spirit-begettal. But sometime after consecration, with some sooner, with others later, an increasing degree of disloyalty to righteousness sets in, which makes them build upon Christ as Sand. The sensitiveness of their consciences becomes dulled. Their hatred of, and revulsion at sin becomes less keen. Presently they become more or less indifferent to some calls of righteousness and more or less open to those of sin. Instead of retiring each night with a proper reckoning made with God, which gives them a clean slate for the next day, they leave some sin or sins unsorrowed for, unconfessed and unamended. This goes on with increasing failures of giving supreme love to God and equal love to man and with the commission of violations of these. Thus a more or less unjust, along with a more or less just strain of character

 

484

is developed; and this is a building of their character structure upon Christ in righteousness as Sand.

 

(11) Next 1 Cor. 1: 30 brings to our attention Christ as our sanctification. This office of His has three separate functions, according to which He works upon us. In the  first place, as our Sanctifier Christ enables us to consecrate ourselves to God. This He does by holding before our minds and hearts, through such animate or inanimate agencies as are at His disposal, for the purpose, such parts of God's Word as work a consecrating faith and love in our hearts, whereby we are enabled to consecrate ourselves to God. Thus He consecrates us in the sense that by the Word He works in our hearts the two graces that enable us to consecrate ourselves to God; and in so doing He exercises the first function of His office of Sanctifier. But on this point of making their consecration there can have been no difference between those who retained and those who lost their crowns; for whoever did not make a whole-hearted and unreserved consecration could not have attained the Spirit-begettal; for God never begat of the Spirit any whose consecration was not whole-hearted and without reservations. Thus, again, we see that the building referred to in our text can be done by new creatures only. Therefore, it must be in the steps of sanctification following consecration and Spirit-begetting that we are to look for the differences between building on Christ as a Rock and as Sand in sanctification. And there, in deed and in truth, we find them.

 

(12) Our Lord's second function as our Sanctifier is His work, after our consecration and Spirit-begettal, of enabling us to keep our wills dead selfward and worldward and to sacrifice our human all unto death on behalf of God's cause. This He does by imparting through His Spirit, Word and providences all the enlightenment to the intellect, all the energy to the heart and all the external conditions to enable us to keep

 

485

our wills dead selfward and worldward and to sacrifice our human all unto death on behalf of God's cause. The Faithful submit themselves to Him in His exercise of this His second function as our Sanctifier, i.e., under His tuition they study the Word to get all the enlightenment needed to enable them to see what, why and how to do to remain dead to self and the world. And that Word so studied under His ministry is received into their responsive hearts. So received, it is charged, as an electric wire is charged with electricity, with the energy—the Spirit—that gives the responsive heart the power to keep the human will dead self ward and worldward. Moreover, it also gives the responsive heart the power, through its above described enlightenment and energy, in the various circumstances of life, to keep on serving God's cause unto the expending, little by little and more and more, of one's human all in that service even unto death. Thus seen, it is recognized that our Lord as our Sanctifier, in His second official function as such, always takes the first steps in the acts whereby our wills are kept dead and our bodies are put to death sacrificially; and, thus seen, it is also recognized that the Faithful make a loyal response to His advances, and thus enter into the work of keeping their wills dead selfward and worldward and of laying down sacrificially unto death their human all. This they do in good report and in evil report, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in pleasure and in pain, in victory and in defeat, in toward circumstances and in untoward circumstances, in prosperity and in adversity, in gain and in loss, always and everywhere, as the Lord indicates His will for them. If they are guilty of any imperfection in this work, they take recourse to the Throne of Grace for forgiveness and, as well as they can, seek to make amends in their thoughts, motives, words and acts. They let nothing make them give up such deadness to self and the world and such

 

486

laying down unto death of their human all. Faint, yet pursuing, they persevere unto the end, and thus they build their house upon Christ in this feature of His sanctification office as the Rock.

 

(13) With the crown-losers the matter ultimately is different. The momentum that the will to consecrate gathers is so great that, even if not reinforced, it pushes one on for awhile to remain dead to self and the world and to sacrifice of his human all. But unless reinforced this momentum peters out; and one is ere long brought to a standstill in the two respects just mentioned. Some crown-losers run well for a long while; others do almost nothing after the momentum of their faith and love-produced consecration comes to a standstill, and between these two classes of crown-losers there are all sorts of variations, for some crown-losers come within the skin of their teeth of gaining the crown, and some within the skin of their teeth of going into the Second Death. But all crown-losers, whether sooner or later, fail to respond whole-heartedly to Christ's enlightening, energizing and providential works exercised on them to enable them to remain dead to self and the world and to lay down their human all sacrificially unto death. Instead, they allow some selfish or worldly motives, along with some unselfish and heavenly motives, to control them; and this makes them "double-minded" (Jas. 1: 8). As a result, they do not bring forth fruit unto perfection (Luke 8: 14). They do not wholly give up their consecration; for this would make them sink into the Second Death class; but they are more or less compromising in their consecration. They do not like the unpopularity, or the reproach, or the weariness, or the painfulness, or the hardship, or the privation, or the loneliness, or the exclusiveness, or the peculiarity, or the inconvenience, etc., of the narrow way of sacrifice. They seek so to serve as to endure, if possible, a minimum of these. They shun what the world calls

 

487

the extremes of the Faithful and draw back from them. They are the greatest of fence straddlers, facers in two directions, carriers of water on two shoulders, riders on horses going in opposite directions-in a word, they are double-minded. They have been well described in the words, "Let not a wavering heart be mine, that is the world's, and would be Thine." This course of theirs prevents their performing an acceptable sacrifice, and results in their building upon Christ in this aspect of sanctification as Sand.

 

(14) The third part of Christ's office work as Sanctifier is developing the new creature unto perfection in all the features of a Christ-like character. This implies the development of heavenly affections and of the resultant heavenly graces, which after being developed must be strengthened, balanced and finally perfected—crystallized. It also implies the cleansing of one's-self from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit. This also is a work which in all its features. Christ initiates and in which He takes the leading part as to its accomplishment. In this work He avails Himself of the Spirit, Word and providences of God. But He does not do it without the co-operation of the New Creatures involved. It is for them to respond to His helps: to listen to His instructions, to submit themselves to the influence of His teachings and to exercise themselves along pertinent lines amid the providences that He sets into operation for their assistance. This, too, must be done in good report and in evil report, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in pleasure and in pain, in victory and in defeat, in toward and in untoward circumstances, in prosperity and in adversity, in gain and in loss, always and everywhere, as the Lord indicates His will for them. By so doing they grow in grace, knowledge and fruitfulness in service. In varying degrees the Faithful do these things, and thereby become in character more and more like our Lord, even unto crystallization of character; and

 

488

by so doing they build a part of the character part of their structure upon Christ as the Rock.

 

(15) Those who become crown-losers had this same ideal set before them; and Christ exercised this third function of His work as Sanctifier upon them in order to enable them to make their calling and election sure to the Kingdom. Some of them responded well for a long time; some of them responded well for some time; and some of them made almost no response at all. But finally all of them made but a feeble response. They grew weary of taking from our Lord the whole pertinent enlightenment; they failed to submit themselves loyally to the influence of the transforming Word; they failed to exercise their New- Creaturely powers enough unto becoming thoroughly heavenly in their affections and in their resultant graces; they failed to avail themselves sufficiently of the helping and hindering providences that our Lord set into operation on their behalf; and they wearied of the work  of purging out the old leaven of sin, selfishness and worldliness sufficiently to become a new unleavened lump. Their blending with their heavenly thoughts, motives, words and acts, selfish and worldly thoughts, motives, words and acts, not only hindered their developing the New Creature in every good word and work, but produced a mixture of heavenly and worldly mindedness and a mixture of the graces of the Spirit and the faults of the flesh that gave them the quality called in Scripture double-mindedness. This could not result in their building upon Christ in this third feature of sanctification as the Rock, as was the case with their faithful brethren, but did result in their building upon Him as Sand in sanctification.

 

(16) According to 1 Cor. 1: 30 Christ's fourth official work toward us in the salvation process is deliverance, which He has been made by God for us. His being made deliverance to us means that He has been given the work of saving us from all our enemies. He

 

489

does this partly in this life and partly after this life, when He will deliver us from the grave—the death state—in the resurrection. This phase of our deliverance does not belong to our subject; for it is something in which we will be entirely passive, and that long after the building work is completed. Therefore, we will not discuss it further here. Accordingly, we will limit our attention to His delivering work performed upon us in this life. In delivering us now our dear Lord, on condition of our following His directions, does two things: (1) He rescues us from all of the snares that the devil, the world and the flesh lay for us; and (2) He gives us victory in all our conflicts with them. In doing these two things He fulfills His present office functions as our Deliverer. But His doing these two things is conditional on our following His directions. He will not so act as Deliverer for those who disregard His plans and arrangements for deliverance. He is the cause of deliverance to those who obey Him and to them only (Heb. 5: 9). Naturally, He cannot deliver those who will not obey Him.

 

(17) This will become manifest as we glance at the things implied in His delivering work. These are those of warfare, which implies that two hostile armies are engaged in campaigns against one another. Of one of these armies Satan is commander-in-chief. He has two lieutenant- commanders under him, the flesh and the world. His army consists of four corps. The first corps is that of error, whose soldiers are erroneous thoughts, motives, words and acts. The second corps is that of sin, whose soldiers are, sinful thoughts, motives, words and deeds. The third corps is that of selfishness, whose soldiers are selfish thoughts, motives, words and acts. The fourth corps is that of worldliness, whose soldiers are worldly thoughts, motives, words and acts. Of the other of these armies, Christ is Commander-in- chief. He has

 

490

under Him two lieutenant-commanders, the Spirit and the Word. In His army there are five corps. The first is that of wisdom, whose soldiers are the New Creature's wise, Truth, thoughts, motives, words and acts. The second is that of justice, whose soldiers are the New Creature's just  thoughts, motives, words and acts. The third is that of love, whose soldiers are the New Creature's loving thoughts, motives, words and acts. The fourth is that of power, whose soldiers are the New Creature's self-controlling and patient thoughts, motives, words and acts. The fifth is that of heavenly-mindedness, whose soldiers are the New Creature's heavenly-minded thoughts, motives, words and acts. As His soldiers fight obediently and courageously, Christ delivers the army from every ambush, trap or snare that Satan arranges for their undoing. And as they so fight Christ gives them victory, enabling them to come off more than conquerors.

 

(18) As our Pastor in Studies, Vol. V says, the Spirit's battle ground is the minds of the saints. Here it is  where this spiritual warfare goes on and must go on until complete defeat overwhelms the unfaithful, temporary defeat the partially faithful and full victory crowns the Faithful at the end of the war, while incidental victories crown their every faithfully fought battle. God's oath (Gen. 22: 16, 17) pledges the Faithful victories in all the incidental battles of this war and final victory at its end. These victories are not achieved by simply wishing for them, nor by perfunctory fighting, nor by half-hearted defense or offense. They are the rewards of wise bravery, undiminished loyalty, true obedience to orders and persevering following in detail of the plan of campaign mapped out by the Commander-in- chief. Moreover, the sentinels of this army must watch in all faithfulness; and the soldiers must endure the hardships of camp life, the weariness of long and forced marches, the heat of torrid summers and the cold of frigid winters. They

 

491

must rise above the bribes of self-indulgence, world indulgence and sin indulgence, offered them as the price of treason, and maintain the optimism of hope in victory. In temporary reverses they must be undaunted and undismayed. In drilling they must be persevering. In sickness and wounds they must be hopeful of cure; and in all things endure hardships as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, as they fight the good fight of faith. Those who so do, Christ's righteousness compensating for all unwillful weaknesses and all ignorance, come off more than conquerors through Him who loves them, their Commander, in this the best of all wars. And in so doing they build their faith and character house on Christ in deliverance as a Rock.

 

(19) But as Christian soldiers the crown-losers do not so wage war. For awhile all of these fight; but some sooner, some later, relax their soldierly qualities. They look too much at their enemies' advantages and too little at their own; too much at their reverses, sickness and wounds and too little at those of their enemies. They dread too much the hardships of the sentinelship, drilling, marching, fighting and enduring of their warfare. They think too little of the superiority of their officers, cause, equipment, drills, position, plan, prospects and booty, as compared with those of the enemy. This results in the chilling of their courage, the dampening of their ardor, the arresting of their perseverance and the acceptance of the defeatist mental attitude. They attempt to act out and often do act out, in many a fight the couplet of certain cowardly earthly soldiers:

 

"He who fights and runs. Away Lives to fight another day."

 

(20) However such a sentiment may occasionally be true in earthly wars, it certainly is not true in our warfare of the Spirit. To yield in, and flee out of its battles, leads to discharge from the army of the King's

 

492

Own. Moreover, such yielding and fleeing expose one to greater danger than facing the foe; for it exposes one's unarmored back to the darts and thrusts of the enemy, who is sure to take advantage of this state of affairs to the fleer's discomfiture, wounding and possibly death. It is only by always presenting an armored front to the enemy that the soldiers in this warfare continually prove invulnerable. The other course results in damage to the person and morale of the pertinent soldier; and only too often his bad example spreads the contagion of his cowardice; and when it does not so do, it always makes it harder for the Faithful to hold their position and to push on to victory. But as such a soldier perseveres in such a course of warfare he more and more disqualifies himself and ends in ruin as a soldier. He is not delivered from the ambushes of the enemy. He is captured and loses much valuable time and many valuable opportunities of participation in the war. And even if he is finally delivered from such captivity, he fails to become more than a conqueror in the war. Therefore, in deliverance he has failed to build upon Christ as the Rock, but has built on Him therein as Sand.

 

(21) We have now considered from the standpoint of the two kinds of building presented in our text, in relation to the four steps of salvation, the building processes of the crown-retainers and the crown-losers. Throughout this study we have seen that the crown-retainers built their faith and character structure on Christ as the Rock and that the crown-losers built their faith and character structure on Christ as Sand. We have seen that in each one of the four salvation steps the former built upon Christ the Rock by practicing His teachings—"whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them." And we have also seen that in each one of the four salvation steps the latter built on Christ as Sand by not practicing His teachings—"every one that heareth these sayings of