In Heb. 11:6 we are told “without faith it is impossible to please God”; and this is further corroborated in 2 Pet. 1:5: “add to your faith” the additional primary graces. Knowledge is the next essential – as Jesus said, “Come and learn of me”(Matt 11:29); and He further informs us that “everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice,” (John 18:37) the hearing of which adds to our store of knowledge. Not only so, but we must receive the Truth in the love of it (2 Thes. 2:10). Any who lose the Truth do so because of their failure to love it.
The fully unfaithful lose all love “of the Truth” – depending on the various degrees of their unfaithfulness. But all the measurably faithful use some of the Truth – that part that is acceptable to them and results in profit to them of one sort or another. The large majority of mankind receives little or none of it at all. St. Paul says it is “foolishness” to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14) – “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Said Jesus, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37) The truth about God’s grand plan of salvation did not put Jesus on the cross; it was the sharp biting criticism of the evils of the ‘clergy’ of His day that brought Him to His death.
The primary fundamentals of Christian character are vividly presented and elaborated in 2 Pet. 1:5-7, the which, if one lacks, “he is blind” (v. 9); but by the doing of which “you will never fall” (v. 10). It is not our intention here to offer analysis of the seven primary graces, other than to state that a sober consideration of such a character structure should be the constant striving of all who are determined “not to fall.” That knowledge (the “know-how”) is the primary requisite herein needs no elaboration. It is not only the beginning; it is the constant companion during our earthly pilgrimage. At the consummation of his ministry St. Paul writes, “for I know whom I have believed.” (2 Tim. 1:12) Following is the clear statement of the matter in Parousia Vol. 5, p. 238, par. 2:
“As we mature, ‘grow in grace,’ we will desire, seek and obtain, in addition to the milk of the word, the ‘strong meat’ which the Apostle declares is for those of fuller development. (1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:13,14) The development in the ‘graces’ of the Spirit, faith, fortitude, knowledge, self-control, patience, piety, brotherly kindness, love, will bring us into closer fellowship with the Father and with Jesus, so that the Lord will be able and willing to communicate to us more and more clearly a knowledge of His gracious plans, as well as of His own gracious character.”
In giving us the seven higher primary graces, as Faith, Fortitude, Self-control, Patience, Piety, Brother-ly love, Charity, The Epiphany Messenger differs slightly from the above; but in E-1:71, he distinctly tells us that knowledge is an ingredient of Wisdom: “The third element of God’s character is His graces. Usually we speak of the main attributes of God’s character as WISDOM, POWER, JUSTICE and LOVE. But, as St. Peter shows us in his famous addition problem, these are capable of being resolved into their parts as follows: Wisdom is a combination of faith, hope (which is the heart of fortitude) and knowledge (V 5). Power (will power as distinct from omnipotence, which is an attribute of being and not of character) is a combination of self-control and of patience (V 6). Justice is a combination of piety (duty-love to God; in God’s case this goes out to good principles, not to any person, which, if it did, would imply that God has a superior – an impossibility) and Brotherly Love (duty love to the neighbor) (V 7). St. Peter does not analyze love; he simply mentions it as charity. These seven graces we call higher primary graces, because they are graces that, acting thru the religious affections as qualities, are the chief and dominating graces. These graces in God are holy; they act in a holy manner and attach themselves to holy objects only.”
We know that none of us can obtain “knowledge of God” without developing it thru the Holy Spirit; that no one, no matter how brilliant – even as brilliant and cunning as Satan – can obtain such knowledge of God without God’s help. God does not help the wicked to secure “knowledge of God.” Nor does He help the Great Company while they are in the hands of Azazel (Hebrew word for the scapegoat Lev. 16:8,10,26). It would only injure them and others, while in that uncleansed condition, so they not only do not receive additional knowledge, but the knowledge they have already received becomes dim, obscure and warped – including many “strong delusions” (2 Thes. 2:11) – such as declaring that Cornelius was not repentant and believing, when Bro-ther Russell said he was consecrated and converted – “an energy of delusion to their believing the falsehood.” (2 Thes. 2:11, Dia.) Here are some Berean Comments on this Scripture: “If we do not cultivate love for the Truth until it outweighs all other things, we will not be fit for the Kingdom.... That which from certain standpoints has the appearance of truth.” Such as quoting Brother Russell’s mistake on the Levites, without quoting his later corrected statement.
In all such discussions it should be kept clearly in mind that none of these graces – except agape love – can be developed to perfection in ourselves or in others. During the Gospel Age the only grace required in perfection is agape love; therefore St. Paul admonishes, “Put on love, which is the bond (or seal) of perfectness.” (Col. 3:14; Heb. 6:1) It is the crowning top stone of character structure – just as the extreme tip of a pyramid is itself a perfect pyramid; and, if severed from the pyramid’s top would in itself still present a full and complete and perfect pyramid. This is also grandly portrayed in the personality of Jesus, who is “above all” (except the Father Himself), Lord over all, but Himself a perfect unit, even tho embracing the whole saved contingent of the human family in a perfect structure under Him.
Although we believe there are but seven higher primary graces – as that is the number for Divine perfection – yet God’s attributes are: Wisdom, Justice, Power and Love. He promises the faithful that He will give them this – as much as they are able to receive. So Love (Charity) is what we call a perfect character, the end of all the development of the graces. Perfect love (agape) in the heart, and that crystallized, is all God requires of His saints. When we attain that and crystallize it, then we have actually “attained the mark” while yet in the flesh.. But God tells us that He will give us the spirit of “power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). Here are His four great attributes: Power, Love, Sound Mind – a sound mind would include Justice and Wisdom; and He gives us these attributes because of our faithfulness in developing Faith, Fortitude, Knowledge, Self-control, Patience, Piety, Brotherly Kindness – which if we develop and practice, will give us that (Agape) Love desired to the extent of our capacity.
The Saints all have the capacity to develop that Perfect Love; other-wise, none of them would be “more than conquerors”; and the Great Company – after their cleansing – will also have to develop that Perfect Love if they gain eternal life, although theirs will be forced by their adverse experiences during their abandonment process; otherwise, they would go into the second death. The Epiphany Messenger tells us that some of the Youthful Worthies will be able to develop that Agape Love and they should do it if they are able. But no doubt some of them won’t be able to do that in this life, although they should do it as much as it is possible for them. However, they are not on trial for life – Character Perfection – even as the Ancient Worthies were not on trial for life, but on trial for their faith (their faithfulness in obedience to His Word and Providence). So some of the Youthful Worthies can and will be faithful who do not have the capacity to develop perfect (Agape) Love, although all of them should develop perfect Love to the extent of their ability. God does not give the unbegotten the crucial experiences that He gives the New Creatures who are on trial for life, hence perfect (Agape) Love is not crystallized in the Worthies. The faithful Youthful Worthies will develop (Agape) Love to the extent of their ability and be rewarded with a Better Resurrection and Kingdom Princeship (Psa. 45:16). God does not expect us to do anything we are unable to do, although He does expect us to be “faithful and obedient” in developing all the graces we are able to develop.
There is this in Parousia Vol. 5, p. 239: “Each should ask himself whether or not he has this witness of the Spirit, this testimony to his growth as a New Creature in Christ Jesus, and whether or not he is developing and maturing the kind of fruit here specified. Let us remember also that our growth in love and in all the Spirit’s fruits is dependent largely upon our growth in knowledge; and our growth in knowledge of Divine things is dependent also upon our growth in the Spirit’s fruits. Each step of knowledge brings a corresponding step of duty and obedience, and each step of duty and obedience taken will be followed by a further step in knowledge, for so, the Spirit witnesseth, shall be the experience of all who shall be taught of God in the school of Christ. If we have this witness of the Spirit of growth, both in grace and in knowledge, let us rejoice therein, and let us follow on in the same pathway until it shall bring us, under Divine guidance, to perfection, both in knowledge and in grace,”
However, no one will ever reach perfection in Wisdom, which has as its ingredient Knowledge, because God reserves such Wisdom and knowledge for Himself alone; even His only begotten Son will never achieve all knowledge. Nor will any of the Saints receive the Justice, Wisdom and Power that is inherent in God only. However, they will receive sufficient of these three attributes to do the Father’s will. But in the attribute of Love, they will achieve that in its perfection for them; they will develop (receive) perfect (Agape) Love while in the flesh, because no one will be of the First (chief) Resurrection (to Divine nature) unless they have developed a perfect character (perfect love). We are told that God will give “it” (this perfect character) a “body as it has pleased him.” (1 Cor. 15:38) Of course, we all know that the Saints have varying degrees of knowledge, but each one has sufficient knowledge to develop in himself Perfect (Agape) Love: each one during the Harvest came into the Parousia Truth and received enough developing Truth to perfect himself in Love (the “end of the command-ment”); however, some of the Saints needed no more knowledge than enough to develop their characters, as they were given further knowledge for the purpose of the work the Lord had for each of them. We cite Brother Russell as having more knowledge for the work the Lord gave him to do. Brother Johnson and others in the Epiphany were given additional Truth for the work the Lord gave them to do (which they would do, because they were in complete heart-harmony with the Lord’s plans and purposes for them).
In keeping with the foregoing, the expression is often heard, “He knows too much for his own good!” While this may sometimes be true, it was certainly not true of St. Paul, or of the Star Members – or of any of the Gospel-Age fully faithful. Brother Russell has well stated that we should esteem most highly those whose zeal for the Truth – “as the hart panteth after the water brook” – goads them constantly to the acquisition of more of that blessed Truth. It is a true observation that “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Often do we read of novices crippling themselves and others by attempting to construct bombs and the like with their meager know-ledge? Thus, instead of knowing too much, they actually know too little. Quite often the Truth is injured also by those who know too little, yet insist upon appearing “wise.” The ideal, of course, is to possess the virtues and graces in perfect balance, something which only Jesus Himself was able to do. But, by a system of checks and balances, to be found in Holy Writ, all the fully faithful achieve enough of balance to gain the inheritance they seek. Thus, the Scriptures tell us, “Knowledge puffeth up (in one not properly balanced), but love buildeth up.” (1 Cor. 8:1) In similar vein, “the generous heart shall be made fat,” and “God loveth a cheerful giver”; but generosity carried to extreme, may make one a spendthrift or an “easy mark” for the world’s greed. Therefore, the admonition for “stewards is they should be found faithful.”
It needs no argument that our Heavenly Father is perfect in generosity – even to the ungrateful – and He has the wherewith to be generous – “the gold is mine, and the silver is mine; and the cattle on a thousand hills are mine.” (Psa. 50:10) Yet we find Him also perfect in economy – nothing wasted. Some years ago we were talking to a Government supervisor in one of the large national parks in the West. “When we first moved in here,” he said, “we thought we’d improve upon nature; so we made war on the mountain lions because they were eating the deer. Before long we had so many deer that great herds of them died by winter starvation; there wasn’t enough food to go round. We also cleaned up the fallen logs, only to learn there was no breeding ground for bugs, which deprived the birds of their food, and drove them from the park. Now the only thing we regulate here is Man; everything else keeps in perfect balance if we just leave things alone.” Yes, generosity needs economy to give it perfect balance.
And what shall we say of the virtue of courage! God’s army is no place for the cowardly; yet it is a proper observation that “Prudence is the better part of valor.” We once knew of a man who boasted he had never felt fear at any time in his entire life. Yet one night he heard a marauder at his back window, rushed right out the door with the light at his back, affording a perfect target for the gun in the burglar’s hand. His courage that night was actually a liability, as it resulted in his death. Just a little prudence would have prompted a different approach to his problem. God never requires His people to be “show-offs”; and we never need fear we are lacking in courage if we attempt a sound and prudent evaluation of any difficulty before rushing to grips with the problem.
But the worldly philosophy that “He who fights, and runs away, lives to fight another day,” has no standing here either. We are often admonished in the Bible to “fight the good fight”; but no place does it tell us ever to be “good runners.” The poet has well said, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant only taste of death but once.”
Much more might be said, but we offer now the words of St. Peter: “These things (the graces enumer-rated) being in you and abounding, they will not permit you to be inactive (ever ready to “preach the word, in season and out of season”) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus.” Here is a clear conclusion that growth in the other graces must of a certainty yield growth in knowledge; and each advance in knowledge increases and crystallizes all our other graces – if that knowledge is received in “the love of the Truth.” Knowledge is the first requirement to come into God’s Household; and it must continue prominent in our progress until we hear that final “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joys of thy Lord.”
“SANCTIFY THEM IN TRUTH”
“Sanctify them in truth; thy word is the truth.” (John 17:17, Dia.) These words of Jesus contained in His prayer the night before He was crucified stress God’s Word (the Bible) as the Truth. “I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:15) “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine... Precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isa. 28:9) “I desired... the knowledge of God (the Truth) more than burnt offerings.” (Hos. 6:6—More than service not according to His Word – the service of those who have forsaken the “knowledge of God,” the Truth “once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)
Clearly enough, knowledge is a fundamental requirement for anyone to be a “good soldier” of Jesus Christ. We must know what a true Christian is, and how he arrived at that state. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” (1 Thes. 4:3) And further, 2 Thes. 2:13: “We are bound always to give thanks to God for you, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation thru sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth.” (The knowledge of God as found in the Bible.) He who offers himself to God will not at first have a full knowledge of himself or of sin. He is only a babe at the beginning, but is helped onward by the power of the revealed Word – the message of Truth.
Concerning the Apostle Paul, probably it truthfully can be said that there was only one like him in the Truth of his day. He was an “example of the believers”; yet of himself he said he could not live the way he wanted to live; to bring into captivity every thought of the obedience of Christ. Yet he could honestly say of himself, “I have fought a good fight; I have kept the faith” – even though he did things he would not have done had he been perfect, physically and mentally. He had walked in the same narrow way as did Jesus, in the same general direction and did it sufficiently well that he could say, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” – “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for those kept by the power of God, thru faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet. 1:4, 5) This illustrates very forcefully how important is the Word of Truth, the Bible, the good word of God that maketh wise unto salvation. This would apply whether we read the Bible or study what other capable teachers have written; in fact, it would be anything that increases our measure of the Holy Spirit.
THE METHOD OF SANCTIFICATION
In Heb. 10:10 the Apostle tells us that by God’s will “we are sanctified thru the offering of the body of Jesus once for all.” We were not always set apart for God’s service, but were “children of wrath even as others.” It was the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of His untainted life, which gives us the whereby we may be set apart as God’s favored people. It was His sacrifice that opened the way; it was His merit that made us acceptable to the Father. There are two parts to sanctification – we set ourselves apart, and if acceptable to God, He sets us apart.
When Jesus entered into a covenant with God, it was by offering of Himself in baptism at the River Jordan, the same being finished in His death on Calvary.
“He hath poured out his soul unto death”; there was no other way He could have done it.
“Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission... Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands... the figures of the true; but into heaven itself – to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:22, 24
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Often we are criticized for attacking the teachings of others, but we say with St. Paul – “necessity is laid upon me” (1 Cor. 9:16) if we would be faithful to the Lord, the Truth and the brethren. That Servant was definitely a man of peace, yet his entire life was very much involved in controversy. Jude 3 tells us of the “common” salvation (the salvation for Restitutionists), which was completely lost during the Dark Ages. That Servant restored it and made crystal clear the doctrine of the Two Salvations – the “great” salvation mentioned in Heb. 2:3 for the Faith Age, and the “common” salvation mentioned in Jude 3, for the Kingdom when the New Covenant is inaugurated.(Jer. 31:33-35) These salvations are separate and distinct – the elective salvation for the Faith Age, and the salvation for all Restitutionists for the Millennial Age.
However, since the death of That Servant there are those who were a part of his Movement who give him great lip service, but at the same time grossly perverted the Truth on the Two Salvations – the “common” salvation (Jude 3) and the “great” salvation (Hebrews 2:3). These teach that the Restitutionists are now on trial for “faith and obedience,” while walking alongside the Gospel-Age elect. Such perversions of the Truth on the “common” salvation and the “great” salvation cannot be accepted by those who “continue in His Word” and faithfully follow St. Paul’s advice: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2 Tim. 3:14)
When Jude tells us “ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” he mentions one Truth we should earnestly contend for – the “common” salvation, which we believe is specially applicable to our day: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith (the Truth) which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) We continue in the faith which was once delivered unto the saints on the Two Distinct Salvations. If Restitutionists resolve, or consecrate, in this Faith Age to “seek righteousness, seek meekness” (Zeph. 2:3), they will be better prepared than the rest of the world to walk up the “Highway of Holiness.” (Isa. 35:8) However, those who make a consecration to “follow in His steps” during this Faith Age, and that consecration is accepted, if faithful they will be rewarded above Restitution. God is faithful that promised. God does not require Restitutionists to sacrifice – “take up the cross.”
The Apostle Paul declares (Acts 17:31) that “God hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he hath ordained (The Christ, Head and Body); whereby he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” That ‘appointed day’ was future in the Apostle’s time, and it is still future, though now about to dawn. The Gospel of Christ (good tidings) is to the effect that he who bought the world with his own precious blood is to become the Judge of all men, the living and the dead. “All in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth” – and “they that hear shall live.” (John 5:28, 29)
So far as we know, the above-mentioned people who claim the truth and are still perverting the doctrine of restitution – the two Salvations, as given to us by That Servant – Jude 3 stresses especially the “common salvation,” and is an open rebuke to those who now pervert it during “the brightness of his coming” (2 Thes. 2:8) “the appearing (Epiphaneia) of his presence (Parousia).” (Diaglott) Note the following from E-3:107:
“The Christ cannot receive from the hands of Divine Justice the release of the imputed merit for use on behalf of the world until all under the covering of that Imputed merit are by the High Priest taken out from thereunder.” Christ’s merit cannot extend to the Camp until all the Elect are completed.
“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the Truth, and the truth shall make you free.” —John 8:31, 32
The foregoing is from our paper Number 275, dated May 1978, penned by Bro. John J. Hoefle.
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