Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 19, 1959

"Ye Shall Know Them By Their Fruits"

Howard S. McCutcheon, San Francisco, California

That the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ was necessary to the salvation of the world is admitted by all who accept the Bible as God's final word to mankind. Why they should have treated him so, we do not propose to say. The word of God teaches that it was impossible to save us any other way. "The way of the cross leads home," and "the old rugged cross" is the power of God unto all who are saved. He was betrayed and crucified in fulfillment of the prophetic predictions which said that he would be the Redeemer and Savior of all men. Besides him there is no other. He came, therefore, "by the door into the sheepfold," and all that came any other way were thieves and robbers. These things do not concern us so much in this article, however, but rather that this betrayal was in the house of his friends. No others seem to have been in position to render this service to his enemies, except those who were closest to him and had been favored most by him.

It may seem strange that Judas Iscariot had no more appreciation of the blessings with which Jesus had favored him than to betray his Lord for thirty pieces of silver. But while we marvel at that, let me remind you that those "who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come," are those who have crucified "the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Any man who preaches or practices anything the Savior never taught, or lends encouragement to anything in the work and worship of the church he has not authorized, either to hold his job or to obtain the favor of certain brethren in the church today, has sold his Lord for money as did Judas of old. Jesus is "put to an open shame," therefore, in the house of his friends today again and again. The infidel cannot touch him, but those who have been redeemed by him can and do.

Those whom God had favored above all other people were the principal actors in the drama of his crucifixion. The Jews were those to whom God had sent John preaching in the wilderness, and from among them he chose his disciples. The adoption pertained to them, the giving of the law, the promises, and the covenants, and yet this is the treatment that the Son of God received at their hands. He had delivered them from the cruel bondage of Egypt in the long ago. He brought them through the Red Sea as upon dry land. He fed and clothed them during the entire wilderness wanderings, over a period of forty years. He delivered them from kings and kingdoms and gave to them the land of promise. They were all thoroughly familiar with these facts, and yet this is the treatment Jesus received at their hands. They bit the hand that fed them. They were a most ungrateful people, but no more so than some brethren today whom God has favored. God has blessed them with all spiritual blessings in Christ, yet they are so unthankful as to purposely and willfully encourage others today to betray him and crucify him afresh. Those who are nearest to him now, and whom he has favored most, are those who can and do give him the greatest trouble. They are dividing his church which he purchased with his own blood and bringing into disrepute his glorious name. No one else can. How careful God's children should be, then! If the church is ever disgraced, we will have to do it. If Christ is ever wounded, it will be in the house of his friends.

Let it be observed that the Romans did not take the initiative. They never tried to influence the Jews to do this dastardly crime. Neither did the Greeks or any other Gentiles. But the Israelites, the favored and blessed, took the initiative and influenced the Romans to do this terrible thing. It is a terrible thing to see the church today making overtures to the world and taking steps for an armistice of peace. The world is impotent to compromise with the church, for it has nothing to compromise, but the church can compromise with the world. This is being done in the adulterous practice of encouraging churches and brethren to play the harlot with worldly, human, manmade institutions in doing the work of the church. The doctrine of compromise is vicious and dangerous. The world does not want to fight it out, but to compromise, any time the church will lay down its arms. The world makes no offer of compromise, but will persuade the church to make the offer so it can quickly accept.

It is now as in the days of old when Balaam came to curse the people of God and could not. A compromise was proposed by his counsel to Balak, and was all too successful. Twenty-four thousand Israelites fell on account of it. Peace is a great thing to have in the Lord's body, but not at any price. Jesus said: "I came not to send peace, but a sword." Peace with sin is nothing more than a compromise, and a betrayal of Christ again, and a re-crucifixion of him. Any church or any individual Christian who is not willing to fight sin and the world is not a friend of Christ. That church or that individual Christian who casts the olive branch to the enemy is an enemy of the world's Redeemer. The world is waiting for the church to offer its terms of a compromise. It is quite evident today that the church is rapidly rounding into this state of mind. The New Testament writers are plain on this point. One of them said: "Be not conformed to this world." Another said: "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Still another said: "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Jesus said, "You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you." Which will it be, my brother, a friend of Christ or a friend of the world? You must make that decision and no one else can do it for you. Yes, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."