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Volume 23 - Page 176 of 207 Index | Zoom | |
This series of articles upon practical themes we have entitled: What manner of
persons ought ye to be, from II Pet. 3: 11; and a consultation of the context will show
that Peter's exhortation is based upon doctrine:--
"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye
to be in all holy conversation and godliness."
We therefore hope in future, not only to put before our readers the glorious doctrine of
the Scriptures, trusting that they themselves will seek the grace to translate all into terms
of practice, but also, in this series, to re-inforce this teaching with more definite
exposition of the practical issues involved, and a fuller opening up of the ways and means
revealed in the Scriptures for the attaining of that coveted condition where doctrine is
balanced by practice, where the walk is worthy of the calling, and where the life
manifested here sets forth in some measure that life which is hid with Christ in God.
His service is perfect freedom (Chrysostom).
pp. 41, 42
We trust that no reader expects us to launch out into a system of legalism, setting out
what he is to do, and where he is to go, as though the epistles of the mystery were
addressed to servants instead of sons, and as though Sinai had not given place to the right
hand of God. The closing verses of Col. 2: should preserve us for all time from this
reprehensible misunderstanding of our position in Christ. There will be, we trust, no
approximation to "touch not, taste not, handle not", in this series.
The apostle Peter has asked what manner of persons ought ye to be, and the
introduction of that word "ought", so often on the lips of believers when dealing with
"another man's servant", is rare in the Word of God. The apostle Paul used the word
"ought" (opheilo) but once in the epistles of the mystery when he said: "So ought men to
love their wives" (Eph. 5: 28), and even this passage is no exception to the rule that
practice flows from doctrine, for the exhortation beginning with the word "so" cannot be
isolated from the preceding glorious doctrine concerning Christ's love for His church.
The first item that we feel constrained to bring forward is the fact that all service
rendered to God, if it is to be acceptable, must be "reasonable service". This is stated by
the apostle in Rom. 12: 1:--
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
We are immediately faced with the necessity of making sure that every term used in
this important passage shall be understood and appreciated--but that will be to leave the
practical issues for the doctrinal, the very thing we here seek to avoid. We trust,
however, that this very persistence on the part of doctrine, meeting us again and again,