Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 14, 1960
NUMBER 10, PAGE 1,12-13a

God's Revealed Will To Man

D. L. Williams

We presume it will be conceded by all who believe the Bible to be God's revealed will to man, that knowledge of the way of salvation is of the highest importance to mankind. It is essential to the happiness of all human beings in this life and in the life to come. The enjoyment of life in any age depends upon the state of civilization. The highest state of civilization that can be reached by man, is based upon the directions of the divine standard. But this divine standard cannot be used as a basis for civilization without a knowledge of its teachings. It will add nothing to our happiness simply to claim to believe in its teachings, without a knowledge of them. Hence the importance of studying the word of God is readily seen. But in considering the above facts, we are led to the thought, that it is surpassingly strange, so many persons living under the light of the gospel of Christ, neglect one of the most important duties devolving upon them in this life. Every person should study the revealed will of God with a view to knowing just what it contains. They should study it in order to learn just what God requires of them, what he has promised them, and the conditions upon which the promises are made. They should study it for themselves, and not depend altogether upon others, as many do, to teach them their duty to God. A failure to study the word of God with a proper motive creates division; division creates parties, and parties create confusion and strife. Hence, we find the civilized world teeming with religious creeds and parties warring one against the other, each claiming to be right, and claiming to be guided by the same book. Such work is detrimental to the cause of Christianity, and is daily food for skeptics. How can such confusion be avoided We answer, it cannot be avoided so long as men differ so widely with reference to what it takes to constitute acceptable service to God. But if all will measure their claims by the divine standard, study it with the same confidence in what it teaches that they have in many other histories, many conflicting theories of worship will cease to exist, and the church of God will be exalted rather than debased.

We understand the Bible to contain all that is revealed to man with reference to salvation. This being true, all the instructions necessary to a knowledge of the way of salvation may be obtained from the holy scriptures. They were commended by Paul in his epistle to Timothy as follows: 'But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 3:14, 15.

From the above we learn that a knowledge of the holy scriptures is wisdom unto salvation. But we understand that there is but one way of salvation revealed to man; hence any wisdom not derived from a knowledge of the holy scriptures will not lead unto salvation.

Paul further states, that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 16th and 17th verses.

In view of the above facts, it is quite evident that salvation from sin is procured only through a knowledge of, and in obedience to, God's existing law of inspiration revealed to man, which is the gospel of Christ. True faith in Christ comes only through a knowledge of his gospel. A faith predicated upon a false theory may be imbibed by persons who refuse to study the word of God. It is, therefore, the duty of all who claim to be worshipers of God to examine themselves whether they be in the faith. They should measure their faith by the divine standard. This is the only guide by which to be directed into everlasting life.

The holy scriptures are divided into what are known as the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is composed of history, law and prophecy, including, instructions in righteousness, admonitions, etc. In this Testament we have the history of creation, of the garden of Eden, of the fall of man, of the flood, of the Tower of Babel, of Abrahams call, of his journey into a strange land, of the life of Joseph, of the bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt, of their deliverance through Moses, who was appointed and directed by the power of God, and of their travels in the wilderness unto the land of promise. We find the law of God, as revealed unto them, by which they were to be governed, and many instructions by which they were led to obey God. In this Testament we find many prophecies concerning the great blessings that were to be revealed and enjoyed in the future.

The New Testament is also composed of history, law and prophecy, including many admonitions and instructions in righteousness to all who are required to worship God under the gospel dispensation. In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we have the history of John the Baptist, who was a prophet sent from God, and whose mission was to prepare the way of the Lord by making ready a people to receive the glad tidings of salvation which was at hand and ready to be revealed to the world according to the promise of God. "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." .. . "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." Matt. 3:1-6. Hence, Johns' mission was not to establish the kingdom which he preached, but it was to make ready a people prepared to receive it, when it should be stablished through the true Light. John was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. See John 1:6-9. In these books we have the history of the birth of Christ, the only begotten Son of God, who is that Light which was to come, of his life and ministry, of his death, burial and resurrection, and of his directions to his followers. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, we have a history of the establishment of his church after his ascension to the Father. We have his law of induction into his church, and the law by which the members are to be governed. Then follow the letters of advice and encouragement to the various congregations. After which we have "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show his servants things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signifed it by his angel unto his servant John; who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.' Rev. 1:1-3.

By reading the words of this prophecy we learn that it is necessary to overcome evil in order to receive everlasting life. See 2nd and 3rd chapters. We learn that it is necessary to do the commandments of God in order to have right to the tree of life and enter in through the gates into the city. See 22nd chapter, 14th verse. And in the 7th verse we have the following: "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.' But as the sayings of the prophecy of this book require obedience to God's law. and as his law is the gospel of Christ, it is evident that those who refuse to obey the gospel of Christ fail to keen the savings of the prophecy of this book. If any man teach that salvation from sin is obtained without obeying the law of God ordained to this purpose, he takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy. "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy. God shall take away his Part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." 19th verse.

Now, in view of the above facts, it is quite evident that all responsible beings to God should carefully study his revealed will to them, and confine themselves to its requirements. They have no promise of a blessing for any worship that is contrary to the teachings of the gospel of Christ. There are various classes of worshipers who are devoted to the cause they advocate, and earnestly strive to exalt their theory of worship. Many kind and benevolent persons may be found among all these classes. They perform many deeds of kindness in their liberality toward those who stand in need of assistance, which is God's order when performed as he has directed. His blessings will surely rest upon them in their work, when performed in this manner. But in view of the fact that many persons perform many deeds of kindness while in a state of rebellion against God, it is quite evident that a person may perform many deeds in this life in a manner that they will fail to receive the blessing promised, because they fail to perform the work as God has directed. When Moses brought forth the water of Meribah from the rock in Kadesh, he performed an act which God required of him, and in this act his people received a blessing; yet Moses did not perform this act in the manner in which God had directed, and for this act of rebellion he was not permitted to enter the land given unto the children of Israel. (Num. 27:12-14).

In view of the above fact, we conclude that it is necessary to obey God as he directs in order to secure his blessings. Then how important to study the word of God in order to know what he requires us to do and how it is to be done.

We desire to impress upon the mind of the reader the importance of searching the scriptures in order to know the will of God with reference to salvation. Jesus said upon one occasion to the unbelieving Jews: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." Jno. 5:39.

We also desire to place before the mind of the reader, the place where God has recorded his name and blessings, and the way to reach them. And in order to accomplish our task, it is necessary that we confine ourselves to reason and the revelation of God, regardless of any theory to the contrary, although it may earnestly be advocated by many kind friends. A knowledge of the way of salvation. as revealed in the scriptures, must be received into honest and good hearts, that they may be purified by faith. By this we understand that the mind must be fully prepared to receive the teachings of God's word, although they may condemn some cherished theory that may have been imbibed through the influence of man.

We understand that the leading, or primary object of God's dealings with man is to bring him to perfect obedience to his divine law. Man was created for the purpose of honoring his creator by rendering implicit obedience to his will, and not for the purpose of sinning against him and then obeying law simply to receive a blessing. When he was created, he received the law of God, and implicit obedience to this law was required and there was no law of pardon connected with it; for he violated the law and was expelled from his first estate. We therefore conclude that the nature of obedience to this law given to man in his primitive state was similar to that of angels.

After man fell from his primitive state of purity, God devised a means for his redemption, that he might be restored to the privilege of serving him, but not to the privilege of dishonoring him by refusing to obey his laws with impunity. But, as perfect obedience is the primary object of God's dealings with man, and, as man became a sinful being, wholly incompetent to render such obedience, a mediator became necessary between God and man, which was given in Christ, and a law of pardon was instituted to meet the requirements of the weakness or inabilities of man. Had it not been for this merciful act, all humanity would have been forever banished from the presence of God and his holy angels, because of the offense of Adam. Hence we find the promise of salvation through Christ made prominent in connection with the law of God, as revealed to man.

Faith in God and his promises, is the legitimate source of encouragement that prompts mankind to obey him. While persons should endeavor to obey the law of God, and should do so with a desire to honor him as their creator and preserver, yet it is quite evident that his promises are valid inducements to acceptable obedience to his law, and that faith in his promises is made necessary to such obedience.

It is his promise with reference to the salvation of poor fallen man, that testifies to his love for them, and it is his love that constrains us to honor him. "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." 2 Cor. 5:14, 15. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 20, 21. Hence Christ became mediator between God and man, by which man's obedience is made acceptable and counted unto him for righteousness. "Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 6:1. We therefore conclude that it is necessary to obey the laws of God with a desire to honor him, and with full faith in his promises.

Viewing the subject of salvation in this light, we are unable to decide that a person may acceptably obey any requirement of God's law as revealed in the gospel of Christ, in the absence of either of the above purposes. Both are explicit requirements of God, connected with acceptable obedience. Salvation from sin and salvation in heaven are promised in obedience to law through faith made acceptable by the blood of Christ. Hence, works without faith are dead; and as hope depends upon faith, obedience without faith is without hope. But faith without works is dead also. Hence a hope of eternal salvation predicated upon faith without works is vain. It is evident, therefore, that true hope is predicated upon faith which worketh by love, and is made sure and steadfast by the promise of salvation through the blood of Christ.

(More to follow)