Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 14, 1960
NUMBER 48, PAGE 4-5a

Loyalty To The Lord


H. Leo Boles

To be loyal is to be constant and faithful in any relation implying trust or confidence. "Loyalty" is defined as the quality or state of being loyal; devoted allegiance, hearty service in friendship or love. To be loyal to the Lord, one must be devoted and faithful. This means that one must be jealous for the interest of the Lord and for his institutions. No one can worship the Lord without being loyal to him. No one can be loyal to the Lord without being loyal to his church. It is impossible for one to be loyal and at the same time be disloyal to his church.

God has taught his people under all dispensations to regard his institutions as holy. Under the Jewish dispensation, which was an earthly type of the spiritual kingdom, the law of God was engraved upon stone and placed within the ark of the covenant. In order that this law might be kept pure and sacred from any human alterations, none but the high priest was permitted to touch it. The ark containing the tables of stone had to be carried by staves or poles which passed through rings on the corners of the ark; and the priests who carried the ark could not touch the ark, but had to carry it by the staves. In the wanderings and journeyings of the children of Israel toward the promised land, a family of the Levites was set apart to bear the ark. So jealously was it guarded that whosoever of the family at any time touched the ark that contained the law should be smitten dead. (Num. 4: 15.)

These lessons and restrictions were given to the Israelites, but not alone for them. The sacredness which the law of commandments engraved upon stones required became an example to us. The Jews were thus prepared by these examples to appreciate the higher sanctity and holiness of the law which was sealed by the precious blood of the Son of God. They were written "by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come." (1 Cor. 10:11.) Again: "For if the word spoken, through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. 2: 2, 3.) And again: "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not when they refused him that warned them on earth, much more shall not we escape who turn away from him that warneth from heaven." (Heb. 12:25.) The law of Christ which was given through the Lord and confirmed by God with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven was placed in the spiritual body of Christ as the ark in which it was to be borne and by which its purity was to be maintained. As Jehovah had threatened those who touched the old law with physical death, so he plainly tell us that whosoever touches the spiritual law shall die the spiritual death. "I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of his prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city which are written in this book." Rev. 22:18, 19.)

When David prepared to move the ark up to Jerusalem on a certain occasion, he had it placed upon a cart. Ahio and Uzza were along with the ark: The oxen stumbled and the ark toppled, and Uzza stretched forth his hand to steady the ark and prevent its defilement by falling to the earth. He touched the ark with his hand and was smitten dead on the spot. (1 Chron. 13:10.) God was the guardian of his ark, and he needed no human hand to aid in its protection. His spiritual ark, with its spiritual covenant, is as much more sacred in his eyes than the earthly ark, with its laws, as the blood of the Son of God is more precious in his sight than the blood of bulls and goats. We should learn that the spiritual ark, the church, or the law of Christ, needs no human aid in order to preserve it. It may seem to many that in many places it will topple, over, but we may be sure that God's wisdom has given it and that his power will maintain it. We need not think, as did Uzza, that it needs our assistance. We need not stretch forth our puny hands through some human device to save the word of God or his church from the disgrace of falling. Such is disloyalty to God and to his truth.

One of the common sins of the age is to think that the church is insufficient to do what the Lord has ordained for it to do. Such an attitude toward the church betrays a lack of loyalty to the Lord, as it shows a lack of loyalty to his institution. There is great danger in our failing to appreciate the all-sufficiency of the church and the completeness of his word. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." (2 Tim 3: 16, 17.) These Scriptural lessons were impressed upon the hearts of our older brethren, and they gave great emphasis to these lessons in their preaching; but the younger brethren are not stressing these things as they should be stressed, and the young people in the church are not being taught to regard the sacredness of the church of our Lord. Many young people in the church today have no more regard for the church than they have for denominations and other human organizations.

Those who claim to belong to the church of Christ and claim to be guided by the word of God need to know that God's word enjoins upon them loyalty to Christ by being loyal to his work. They need to learn that the word of God is complete and that it furnishes completely every one unto every good work. Church members need to learn that God will not tolerate any addition to his word or to his church; they need to learn that any salvation made by human hands merits the condemnation of God and will be punished by the anathemas of Jehovah. It is a presumptuous sin on the part of man to touch, alter, or attempt to amend the word of God at any point. When man attempts to change the word of God, he is disloyal to God and has impeached the wisdom and goodness of God. We should regard the church as "the pillar and support of the truth," the temple in which God through his Spirit dwells, and "the body of Christ." We should remember that the God who gave to us the Bible is the same One that built the church. The church has the holy mission of converting, training, and saving the world. The church is as perfectly adapted to this work for which it was made as his word is for the work for which it was given. It is as great a sin to question the sufficiency of the church for its work as it is to question the sufficiency of the word of God.

The people of God should be taught today that, in order to be loyal to Christ, they must be loyal to his troth and his institution. It is as great a sin in man to add to, subtract from, or in any way change the functioning and working of the church of God as it is to interfere with the word of God by adding to or taking from it. We need to keep this constantly before members of the church so they may continue in loyalty to the church. There can be no difference between the sin of adding to the word of God and adding human devices to the church; there can be no difference between the sin of taking from the word of God and taking from the church the items of worship which God has placed in it. There can be no difference between adding a creed or discipline to the teaching of the Scriptures and adding human organizations to the church to aid and facilitate its work. The same all-wise and powerful God who gave the Bible to us gave to us the church. Why not amend one part of God's word as well as another? Young people need to know these things, and preachers should be diligent and faithful in teaching them. We cannot be loyal to God without teaching them.