May 2, 2011

Time Salvation - Dalton, Tolbert S.

Obedience to God, is one of the absolute essentials to Christian life. A most beautiful lesson is taught us in 2d Peter 1st chapter, in which Peter first sets forth the work of God in giving us ALL THINGS that pertain to life and godliness, such as faith, repentance, remission of sins, and a blessed assurance that we shall at last be delivered from the power of sin, into the glorious home of the blest, and then changes the subject by saying, "besides this," which shows very conclusively that there is something else separate and apart from the work that God does for us. "Besides this giving all diligence, add to your faith, (not add faith but add to your faith) virtue." One of the most beautiful Christian graces that ever adorned one of Adam’s fallen apostate race, that is, live virtuously to the Lord as your only husband. Suppose that we, for instance, were married to a lady, and we leave her and go into a far country to prepare for her a home, and after we had been gone for some time we at last return, and inform her that all preparations are now made, and I am now ready to carry you to that delightful home I have prepared for you, and lo! and behold she has married several other men while we were gone, would you think that she added virtue to her pretended faith in me? Methinks you would say "no," and we doubt not that you would AT ONCE enter suit for divorce, and never live with her again, on earth. How my brethren, let us remember, that Jesus, our husband, has gone to prepare a place for us and said he would come again and receive us unto himself, that where he was there we should be also. Now suppose, when he comes he finds us, (his bride) married to every little institution in the world, instead of devoting our whole life to him, and endeavoring to show forth his praise, can we expect to receive his smiles? Can we expect Him to bestow upon us His precious jewels? Surely, we can not expect it. What else could we look for but to receive the chastening of His hot displeasure? Could we expect Him to bestow upon us the great blessing of temporal, or timely salvation? Surely we can not expect it. But was it true that Jesus was a changeable being, as we are, he would sue for divorce and have us to sink down to irretrievable woe and misery; but blessed be His holy name, He is not as one of us, for he declares, "though my children forsake my laws, and keep not my statutes, then will I visit their transgressions with a rod, yet my loving kindness will I not utterly take from them nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." Therefore seeing the great and unchangeable love our husband and Saviour has for us; Oh! how diligent we ought to be to obey all of his commands, and observe all of his precepts, and not go out of the church into the world and join the institutions, and marry and intermarry with all the abominations of earth, for when we do this we show our disregard for our husband. Should you wish to observe the rules of a Masonic fraternity, observe the rules Jesus has laid down for the government of His church, and you have it in full. Should you wish to be a temperance man, observe the laws of the church of God, and you have all there is in any temperance institution. Therefore we can see no need of a church member joining any secret order, in order to do good in the world, or to enable him to let his light shine, for if he does what the Lord commands him as a member of his church, he has all that is claimed for any secret order on earth, therefore we would say as did Peter, "Add to your faith, virtue," and don’t stop here, but add to virtue, knowledge." Suppose we were to leave our wives, and go into a far country, and before we left, we write a long letter, giving them full directions about how we wanted everything attended to while we were gone, and after we were gone she should lay it away in the desk, and never take it down to read, and see what we instructed to be done while we were gone, but would depend on some one else to read it, and tell them what to do, and then they do not know whether they have told them correctly or not, but they will depend upon them and do as they say, right or wrong, and we return and find everything different to what we instructed, and we ask, did you "add knowledge," to your faith? "Well no," I didn’t have time to read your letter of instructions, and let one of our neighbors read it, and tell me how to do, and I done as he said; I thought that would do. Do you suppose that we could smile in love upon them and say, well done my love? We imagine that almost any of us would fly into a rage and perhaps discard our companions because they had no more respect for us than to treat our letter of instructions with such disregard.

Jesus has left us a book (or letter) of instructions and has commanded us to search it. While he is gone, and thereby to "add to our faith knowledge." Shall we treat it with disregard, and lay it aside and follow our own notions, or conscience instead, or shall we hire a preacher to read for us, and tell us what it says, and then let him tell us what to do, and do as he says right or wrong? Or shall we obey the command of our Saviour and husband, and search it ourselves, and thereby "add knowledge" to our faith, and show our regard for His Word and live under His continued smiles, and save ourselves from the lash of a guilty conscience? As for us, we would join in with Peter, in saying, "Add to your faith knowledge, and to knowledge temperance," not by joining some institution but add this as one of the Christian graces, that should necessarily grow out or a renewed heart, "add to temperance patience;" that is, learn to be patient in whatsoever condition of life you may be placed, realizing that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Therefore, we ought to "Glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Therefore let us "add to our faith patience, and to patience Godliness, that is to be God-like in our everyday deportment, and to "Godliness add brotherly kindness." That is, should we see a brother over-taken in a fault, or in an error, let us not take him by the throat and demand full payment of all that he owes, but let us treat him with brotherly kindness, and try to restore him in the Spirit of meekness; and to brotherly kindness, "add charity," for if we see a brother have need, and shut up our bowels of mercy, and not administer to his necessities, how dwells the love of God in us? Therefore, let us consider that one of the important features in working out our time salvation is to "Add to our faith charity." "For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and can not see a far off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." Oh I how often we hear Christians say, "I am so dark and gloomy. Surely, it can’t be that I was ever purged from my old sins. If I was a Christian it would not be thus with me. Now my brother, you have only failed to add to your faith the above mentioned Christian graces, and therefore fail to enjoy the time salvation that God has promised on condition that you do these thing; therefore you are blind, and have forgotten that you were purged from your old sins." Then Peter came forth with his exhortation, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall."

You will observe that he does not tell them to elect themselves or call themselves, neither to act in away to get the Lord to elect them or call them, neither are they to make it sure to the Lord, for He knows all about it already, but make it sure to yourselves, and to your brethren, by adding all of the above named Christian graces, and if they do these things they shall never fall." He is not talking about falling from grace, but the Christian that does all of these things is never to fall into these dark old gloomy places, in which we are so often found, but by doing these things we are to enjoy the blessings of this time salvation, and to live in the enjoyment of the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit, and be able to rejoice continually in hope of heaven and immortal glory at God’s right hand, and not only so, but Peter says: "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lords and Saviour Jesus Christ."

From this we draw the conclusion that the obedient Christian, that is the one that has been diligent in "adding to his faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and knowledge temperance, * Godliness, Brotherly kindness, * Charity, will, when he comes to press a dying pillow, have a more abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of God, than the one that neglects these things. We have heard some say when they carried to meet death, "that I have but one thing to regret, that is, I have not done my duty while I lived; I look beyond death, I have nothing to fear, but on this side, I have not added to my faith as I should have done. Therefore the obedient Christian has the more abundant entrance, Let us then endeavor to discharge our whole duty as followers of the Lord in this life that we may enjoy the sweet blessings of the time salvation, and when we come to die, we may have that abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of the Lord.

A very striking lesson is given us in the epistle of Jude. He begins the epistle with this language: "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God, the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called. Mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence, to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the Saints."

This Jude spake to his brethren in view of the fact that none could enjoy this common salvation except those who strictly observed and contended for the faith which was delivered to the Saints. Not that Jude would teach that everyone must believe in some doctrine here in order to be saved in heaven, but this common salvation grew out of their strict observance of the truth of the faith (or doctrine) which was once delivered to the saints. And this Paul had reference, when he said to Timothy: "Take heed unto thyself, and the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

Of course, Paul would not teach Timothy that he was to save himself with an eternal salvation, nether was he to save his hearers with an eternal salvation, for Paul had just taught him differently; he said to him: "Be thou therefore not ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me, his prisoner, but be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God, who hath saved us, and called us not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which, was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." And surely Paul would not now turn and teach Timothy, the very reverse of that, and tell him that by giving heed to himself and to the doctrine, that he would thereby secure to himself the very same salvation that Jesus worked out for him while he was here on earth. We presume that none will believe that, therefore we must conclude that Paul had reference to time salvation when he said: "Take heed to thyself and to the doctrine, continue in them, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee." And none of us would presume for a moment that Timothy was a Saviour and could save his hearers with an eternal salvation for we have shown in, previous articles that this was alone the work of God. And Paul says in Eph. 4:10-11-12-13-14: "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens; that he might fill all things. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Till, we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of, the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in alt things, Which is the head even Christ.

All of the above Paul wrote as the object for which God gave his ministers, and not a single word said about them saving sinners with an eternal salvation, but a great deal said about their tenaciously contending for the true faith which was once delivered to the saints, that God’s people might be built up and established in the true faith of the gospel, and no more as children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Hence the preaching of the gospel, and their strict adherence to the faith, was to save them from the many lying wonders, and false signs, and cunning traps set by men of design to ensnare the poor unsuspecting child of God, Oh! how necessary then that the ministers of the Cross of Jesus be particular, about what they preach, lest they teach some erroneous doctrine, and thereby cause some dear little child to be entrapped by some false theory, and in the event come short of the enjoyment of this time or common salvation, We are living in a fast age, and an age in which we have many lo heres and lo theres, and if there ever was a time in the history of the world when God’s ministers should deal in plain, simple matters of fact, it is now. Look around you, dear reader, and see how many you can call to mind that you have every evidence to believe they are children of God, that are ensnared in the clutches of Arminianism, and are thereby failing to enjoy the blessings of that time salvation. What is the matter? Is it true that God sent them there? Surely it can not be true that God by His Holy Spirit has influenced one of His dear children to disobey Him, and join in with some other sect, and now calling for them to come out. He says: "Come out of her my people, that ye be no partaker of her sins."--And He commands us again to "touch not, taste not the unclean thing of which all are to perish with its using." Surely, God does not influence His dear children to go contrary to His commands. Nay, but some of us have got so straight, that we are like the Indian’s tree; we lean back a little, and instead of exhorting God’s people to a full discharge of their duty, we have rather told them to "stay away from the church just as long as they can," and never come to the church and discharge their duties as long as they can possibly keep from it, and many of the dear saints have been discouraged by such talk as this, and gone to other sects, because they thought the Old Baptist did not want them.

Now, my dear brethren this is wrong, you are not thereby contending for the faith which was once delivered to the saints, but it is rather denying the doctrine taught by Christ and his Apostles, and causing many of the dear saints to fail of the enjoyment of the blessings of this time salvation, Therefore we fail to save ourselves and them that hear us. Oh! my brethren, let us be careful how we teach, let us be found faithful in exhorting God’s people "to love and good works" let us endeavor with the ability that God gives us to show them the blessings that grow out of our obedience to the commandments of our dear Lord.

T. S. D.

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