"Have a pattern of sound words
which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
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at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.
will of God, good, and well pleasing, and mature"
The context shows that the passage has reference to the will of God for
believers, in connection with their every-day life and experiences, and
I wonder if the reader has ever thought about the strangeness of the
idea held by many, in regard to the will of God. In the majority of
cases when one says, "Thy will be done", it is said in a spirit of
resignation, rather than enthusiasm. It is as if they said, "Since we
can do no better, we might as well be resigned to the will of God".
There seems to be a wide-spread idea that His will is something to be
endured rather than enjoyed.
I think this attitude can be explained on the ground that people usually
speak of some unpleasant experience, as the will of God. We hear it in
funeral sermons, more, perhaps, than on any other occasion. I don't
remember to have heard, many times, the expression, "It is the will of
God", concerning some happy experience.
Strange as it may seem, there are those who, we would judge by their
words, actually object to prayer. They rarely ever tell you that your
prayer will be granted if it is the will of God; in most cases they say,
"You won't get what you ask for, if it is not the will of God that you
should have it". Negative, you see! Why there should be more negative
than affirmative thought concerning prayer, I cannot understand except
to say that it is because God's will is more often than otherwise,
thought of in connection with some painful happening. Shall we regard
our God as a sadist? Is it His pleasure to afflict us, to deny us, to
deprive us of happiness---this God Who has said in His word that He does
not delight in the suffering and death of animals used in sacrifices in
the Jewish ceremonies?
There are religionists who believe that God will sacrifice a great
portion of humanity to His hatred. Christ answers this accusation by
quoting His Father as saying, "I will mercy, not sacrifice", Matt. 9:13.
Then He adds, as proof, "For I did not come to call the just, but
sinners, to a change of mind." David, who is supposed to have said,
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints", really
said, "I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all
people---valuable to the Lord, instead of the death of His saints", Ps.
116:14, 15. In this Psalm David is celebrating his recovery---God's
healing. It would be a strange place to speak of how God loves to see
His saints die. A living saint is valuable to the Lord, instead of a
dead one. When God healed him, did He pass up an opportunity to do that
which was precious in His sight, and do something, instead, that was not
so precious to Him? I have quoted from the Septuagint Version.
If the will of God is good, it is not bad.
If the will of God is well-pleasing, it is not displeasing.
If the will is mature, it has been well thought out, and is not subject
Paul says that the spirit pleads for the saints in accord with the will
of God. Is the spirit pleading that something bad shall take place in
our life and experience? All will admin that the spirit desires good for
us. Well, that desire is in accord with the will of God---not contrary
Let it be understood that we must differentiate between God's will and
His intention. That humans die in accord with His intention, cannot be
denied. That is, He said that death comes as a result of man missing the
mark. He was taken from the tree of life, when he was driven from the
garden. "To die, thou shall be dying", is the sentence. This is a
necessity, for in a world where people are being born constantly, others
must get out of the way. But we are not told that His will is death. It
is life, whatever His intention is.
"I shall be prospered in the will of God to come to you", said Paul in
writing to the Romans. When one who teaches the truth of God comes to
you, it is in accord with the will of God. When Paul was hindered from
going to Thessalonica, he said it was Satan who hindered him. He does
not say his failure was in accord with the will of God. If the man who
has planned to speak the well-message to you next Sunday gets there, it
is God's will. If something hinders him, it is Satan who did it.
"Often I proposed to come to you, (and was hindered hitherto) that I should be having some fruit among you also, as
among the rest of the nations", Rom. 1:13. Nothing is said here about
God hindering him. Surely it was in accord with the will of God that
Paul have some fruit among the saints in Rome.
This is not to say that God never prevents us from doing what we have
purposed. But it seems certain that when we will good, God does not
reverse it and will bad for us. If He does not grant what we think is
good, He grants that which is really IS good. Paul thought it good to
preach the well-message in Asia. God willed for him to not go there.
Then the apostle willed to go to Bithynia, but again the Lord
intervened. Did He will something bad for Paul? No; He let him know that
Macedonia was where God will for him to go. And he went.
Paul says, time after time, that he is an apostle through the will of
God. It is impossible for any of us to know how many millions of people
have been blessed by this apostleship. Yes; God will is good and
It is the will of God that we should serve Him and others, by giving
ourselves to the Lord and to each other. When people did that, Paul said
that this is through the will of God. It is not said that it is His will
for us to refuse to give ourselves to the Lord and to each other. Again,
let me insist that His will is good for us, and well pleasing to us, as
well as mature, and not subject to change.
The apostle says we are to be testing what is the will of God. We are to
learn what it is, and then test it, to prove that it is workable---that
it is the best for us; yes, that it is well-pleasing to us. He wants us
to know that we run no risk when we say, "Thy will be done". He would
have us understand that we do not subscribe to something that is
hurtful, when we say we desire that the will of God be done.
We are in position to be testing His will when our mind has been
renewed. One of our greatest troubles is the improper use of the mind.
Worry, anxiety, fear---these are a state of mind that is not at all
prepared to stage a test. Any negative state of mind is a deterrent.
To be transfigured to this eon is to be concerned about business and
social activities more than about the state of the spirit and the mind.
We are to be transformed, and the way for this to be accomplished is for
our mind to be renewed. a renewed mind is one that is in tune with our
best interest---with the spirit and with the Father Who is over all,
through all, and in all, and with Christ, Who is dwelling in our heart
Thus we are in position to be testing what is the will of God.
if the spirit of Him Who roused Jesus from among the dead is making its
home in you, He Who roused Jesus from among the dead will also be
vivifying your mortal bodies because of His spirit making its home in
you. Consequently, then, brethren, debtors are we, not to the flesh, to
be living in accord with the flesh; for if you are living in accord with
flesh, you are about to be dying. Yet, if, in spirit, you are putting
the practices of the body to death, you will be living", Rom. 8:11-13.
The spirit of Him Who brought Jesus from among the dead may be called a
rousing spirit. Can you imagine the amount of energy that was required
to bring life back into the body of Him Who had lain in the tomb for
three days? It was no small amount of energy, we may be sure. There is
no limit to such power. God, through that spirit, is certainly able to
be vivifying our mortal bodies.
Paul is not discussing the Resurrection in this chapter. In the passage
under consideration he is telling about the enlivening of mortal bodies.
He figuratively calls it vivifying. He sets before us the matter of
being about to die, on the one hand, and living, on the other. Any
person who has tried it, knows what is means for the body to be
vivified, and yet remain mortal. It means health of body. It means
strength. It means the ability to be active, enthusiastic.
We know something about the enlivening effects of electricity. We are in
the very midst of this strange power. With the proper equipment it is
conducted into our homes, and even into our bodies. We can see and feel
the effect of its power. But there is another power in the very midst of
which we live, move, and exist, and which is in us, as well. But we know
so little about it that it seems a pity. There is equipment to bring it
into our use. Alas! we know practically nothing about this equipment.
This lack of knowledge is due to the fact that we are configured to this
eon, which places great stress upon the inferior, and ignores the
superior. The equipment for using this power that roused Jesus from
among the dead, is faith, quietness, conscious connection with the great
Mind that plans and carries on the universe. "According to Thy faith, be
it unto thee", has been true in every administration. "Be still and know
that I am God", has not lost its potency because we are not living in
the day of David. "In quietness and confidence shall be thy strength",
is as true today as it ever was.
Let us suppose that you are distraught by many things that needs to be
done. Since you cannot do much about it in five minutes, I prescribe for
you five minutes of quietness, meditation, trust, three times a day. You
can, if you practice it, cause your thoughts to get away from
distracting matters, and think only of God and His good, His power, His
interest in you and in others, for five minutes. Be where you can be
quiet. Let everything that distracts you be shut out for the time.
Think, and meditate, and trust, and love, as I have indicated in this
paragraph, for at least five minutes. You have no idea how much this
will make strong your body and mind. The rousing spirit takes possession
of you . You are exhilarated. If this blessing does not come to you at
first, remember that in order to do anything efficiently, we must
One of the greatest blessings is to come into the atmosphere that is
supposed to prevail among those who have met to worship God. Sixty
seconds of quietness with everything except God shut out, just before
the beginning of a "sermon", will perform wonders. I think that the one
who is going to speak in the meeting will do his congregation much good
if he will practice having a one-minute period of silence just before he
begins his talk.
Living in accord with flesh is depending on flesh for succor. People who
do this may find themselves "about to be dying". They who, in spirit,
put to death the doings of the body, will find themselves living, in all
that this word implies.
I am not writing about warding of death indefinitely. There is no reason
why people should be afflicted and about to be dying, while still
holding on to life. Many people die without going through a state in
which they are about to be dying. They just die. But until they do die,
it is the privilege of people to be LIVING---not to be enduring pain and
affliction that gradually bring them down to death by sheer exhaustion.
This is brought about---this happy state of health---by the body being
vivified through the spirit that roused Jesus from among the dead. It
depends on that spirit making its home in us. Remember, this is a
special spirit. Like us, this spirit makes its home where it is