NO. 711: JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH AND ACTUAL JUSTIFICATION

by Epiphany Bible Students


No. 711

“Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1)

Justification may properly be viewed in either a narrow or a broad sense. For instance, we can truly say that Abraham was “justified by faith.” God called Abraham to leave Haran and to come into the land of Canaan, promising that then He would make a Covenant with him. Abraham believed and in due time God made the Covenant as promised, assuring him that “in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 28:14) The making of this Covenant implied a fellowship between God and Abraham on the basis of his faith-justification; however, Abraham was not then justified to human perfection and everlasting life, but merely to fellowship. It was necessary that he demonstrate that he had a strong faith.

After many years of faith-testing, Isaac was born giving Abraham evidence of the Lord’s favor and that the promise would be fulfilled. But still he was not justified to life and human perfection. God put a final test upon Abraham’s faith, saying, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Gen. 22:2)

Not until Abraham had shown his absolute heart-loyalty could he be counted of God as worthy of a “better resurrection” than would be given to the remainder of mankind: a resurrection to human perfection, actual justification, actual right­eous­ness. Even when Abraham’s tests were all passed satisfactorily he still was not actually justified or made actually perfect, because he needed to be redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. As a member of Adam’s family he was under a death sentence which must be annulled before he could be actually justified to perfect human life. Abraham had done his part to please God, but he must wait for his perfecting until the great Mediator, the Second Adam, Head and Body, would be complete and the New Covenant sealed. (Heb. 11:38-40)

Some say that Abraham and all the Ancient Worthies were justified when our Lord Jesus died at His first advent. That is true only in the sense that an unconscious, half-drowned child is saved when retrieved by a rescuer. An on-looker might shout, “Hurrah, the child is saved!” Yet the rescuer must actually get the child into the boat and complete the resuscitation before the child is fully saved.

Abraham and the other Ancient Worthies were not even saved (actually justified or made actually or legally right) when our Lord Jesus ascended on high, there “to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:24) Why not? Because the precious blood was not then applied on behalf of Abraham and the other Ancient Worthies, nor on behalf of the world in general. The Apostle declares that He appeared in the presence of God “for us,” that is for the Church.

We heartily agree that Christ died for the whole world, in the sense that in God’s due time the whole world will have the full benefit of the merit of His sacrificial death. We read, “He is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) His death had as its ultimate object not only the cancellation of the Church’s sins, but also ultimately the cancellation of the sins of the whole world. But when He ascended up on high He made application for the Church and not for the world. He will make a fresh application of His own blood for the sins of the whole world at the close of this Gospel Age – this antitypical Day of Atonement.[1]

Notice how distinctly the Scriptures differ­entiate between the Church class (the Little Flock of Under-Priests and the Great Company of antitypical Levites) and the remainder of mankind. “Ye,” “we” and “us” are terms scripturally applied to those who have been “called” during this Gospel Age to be sharers with Christ in the high or heavenly calling. These are “not of the world,” nor are they referred to as the children of Christ, but as His “brethren.” (John 17:16; Heb. 2:11) He is pictured as their Elder Brother and also as their Head or Bridegroom, Christ’s members being the Bride class. (Rev. 21:2)

Israel and the whole world must get life, restitution rights and perfection from The Christ, the Mediator. Thus our Lord Jesus will be the Father or Life-giver to the world. He is not the Life-giver to the Church. Although they were justified through faith in His blood they never received actual earthly life and human perfection from Him. They merely received an imputation of earthly life-rights for the purpose of permitting them to offer themselves “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Rom. 12:1), that they might become members of the Body of Christ, the Mediator, the Priest, the King of glory. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … hath begotten us.” (1 Pet. 1:3) Theirs is a spirit-begetting similar to that of our Lord Jesus, from the same source and for the same reason: their obedience, even unto sacrifice, made acceptable through the great Redeemer’s merit.

It is written that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be the children of The Christ; they will receive earthly life and full restitution privileges directly from the Redeemer “in due time.” (Psa. 45:16; 1 Tim. 2:6) The world has not yet received life in any sense. As the Apostle says, “The whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1 John 5:19) Jesus, the appointed Mediator between God and the world of mankind, has not yet taken up His work for them. They must wait until He has finished the preceding work of gathering the elect Little Flock from the world.

When the time comes for our Lord to make application of His merit on behalf of the world of mankind in general – for all not included in the Household of Faith – Abraham and all the Ancient Worthies will constitute the first-fruits on the earthly plane. Their justification will be made actual, vital, by a “better resurrection” than the remainder of mankind will enjoy. (Heb. 11:35) Having been approved of the Lord in the past they will be granted restitution instantly; whereas the world will come up to that plane of actual justification or human perfection by the slower processes of the Millennial Age. The Ancient Worthies, like the remainder of mankind upon reaching human perfection (actual justification), will be the children of Messiah. “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.” (Psa. 45:16) As the Apostle says, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect [actually justified to life].(Heb. 11:38-40)

As Abraham heard the call of God to leave his father’s house, so the Household of Faith during the Gospel Age is called of God to leave the world, to turn aside, to become His people under such exper­iences of joy and sorrow as He may see best for them. If after reasonable time these decline to make the sacrifice, it demonstrates that their faith and loyalty were insufficient. Such, the Apostle implies, receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Cor. 6:1) Their justification to fellowship with God lapses and their peace and joy correspondingly diminish.

But some left the world behind during the time of the call of the Gospel Age and came into relationship with God through faith and were “justified by faith.” They were courageous to the degree of presenting their bodies living sacrifices, after the Redeemer’s example. (Rom. 12:1) These were accepted and begotten by the Holy Spirit to membership in the New Creation – sons of God on the spirit plane, as members of Messiah’s Body, the Church. These did not receive actual justification – they were not made actually perfect, yet their rights to human perfection all terminated when God accepted their sacrifice. Their reckoned justi­fication was vitalized at the moment of conse­cration. By this we mean that at that moment God treated them exactly as He would have done had they been like Jesus, who was actually “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) Those who received the begetting of the Holy Spirit but misused it, losing it entirely in the Second Death, could have no claim upon the Lord for human restitution. Their full share of Christ’s merit had already been granted, and “Christ … dieth no more.” (Rom. 6:9)

We have shown the different features of faith-justification and the necessity of a full test of obedience before the justified could be acceptable to God, either for the “better resurrection” to human perfection of the Ancient Worthies, or as the ground or basis of the Church’s acceptance to the new nature. Next let us notice that if our Lord, when He ascended on high, had appeared in the presence of God for the whole world instead of merely for the Church, then the whole world would have been brought into relationship to God just as the Church was, at once and not at the close of a thousand years of uplifting. Would such a cancellation of the world’s past sins and such an introduction of them to the Father as imperfect beings have been to their advantage?

No, it would have been an advantage to comparatively few. All of Adam’s children are weak, imperfect, and only such of these as turn to the Lord with all their hearts and exercise faith and obedience could possibly be acceptable to Him – even through Christ. Consequently, all the remainder, thousands of millions, would have been unacceptable and their justification through Christ’s merit from the original sins would merely have put them on trial afresh for everlasting life or everlasting death. They would have been con­demned as enemies of God and of righteousness – not merely enemies through wicked works of the flesh, which they could not control, but enemies at heart, “carnally minded … not subject to the law of God.” (Rom. 8:6-7)

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS

The world needs something entirely different from what God’s grace accorded to the Church, the Household of Faith. What the world needs is just what God has provided for them:

(1) A strong Kingdom to crush the power of Satan and set mankind free from his blinding and enslaving influences.

(2) A Kingdom of righteousness to mete out rewards and punishments promptly.

(3) A merciful, sympathetic High Priest, whose merit will be applied on their behalf, giving them fully into His control to be uplifted mentally, morally and physically.

(4) Natural Israel to be the channel for dispensing the blessings of the New Covenant in accordance with God’s promise.

This Mediatorial Kingdom will begin at the close of this Gospel Age, when the members of the Body of Christ have all been found and glorified. The New Covenant with Israel will then be inaugurated through the Ancient Worthies. Their sins will be atoned for by the same precious blood which atones for the Church. As a result, the Ancient Worthies will come forth perfect and will gather to them not only Israel, but all nations. “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:27; Jer. 31:33) Sodom, Samaria, and all nations shall be given unto them for daughters, but not by their old Law Covenant, but by a New Law Covenant. (Ezek. 16:60-63)

Under the new regime of the New Covenant and its Millennial Kingdom (in the hands of the antitypical Moses, the Mediator of the New Covenant), the Law will go forth from Mt. Zion (Spiritual Israel) and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Natural Israel). (Isa. 2:3; Mic. 4:2) The result will be wonderful blessings – mental, moral and physical uplift, freedom from disease, etc. The world will start on the Highway of Holiness and the blessings of the Lord will fill the whole earth. (Isa. 35: 8) Many nations will perceive and take note and desire to share those earthly good things with Israel.

The New Covenant will be made only with Israel. The other nations can only receive a share of those restitution favors by becoming Israelites – coming under the laws, regulations and disciplines of the New Covenant. The restitution blessings will be so attractive that we read, “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we [like the Jews] will walk in his paths.” (Isa. 2:3)

Thus the Highway of Holiness will be opened up through Israel, through the Ancient Worthies, through the New Covenant made with them. The Highway of Holiness will lead from imperfection to perfection – actual justification – and restitution of all that was lost in Adam and redeemed at Calvary. As famine gradually drew the Egyptians to Joseph for the bread of life (Gen. 41:55), so those Millennial Age conditions will draw all nations to Israel to obtain perfection and everlasting life. All refusing to come into harmony with the Kingdom arrange­ments will first fail to receive the special blessings that will then be given to the willing and obedient; and if they persist in their wrong course, they will ultimately be cut off in the Second Death with no hope of recovery. (Rev. 21:7-8)

At the end of the Millennium all mankind will have reached actual justification or perfection through the merit of Christ applied as Mediator of the New Covenant, through Israel as the channel. And all the world of mankind then perfected will be Israelites, just as all nationalities come to the United States and here may become citizens. Thus all nations during the Millennium will gradually flow to Israel and come under obedience to the New Covenant regulations and thus become Israelites indeed on the earthly plane. (Isa. 2:2)

When at the close of His Mediatorial Kingdom our Lord turns over the control to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:24), He will deliver only Israelites – the seed of Abraham: “As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations.” (Rom. 4:17) “The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea,” a multitude. (Hos. 1:10) Delivered over to the Father perfect and thoroughly able to keep the Divine Law (without any allowances), that great host of Abraham’s seed, will then be tested by the liberation of Satan for a little season. (Rev. 20:3)

The Adversary will go up on the breadth of the earth to deceive all – “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (Rev. 20:7-9) How many will prove unfaithful and fall into the snare is not indicated; but God will not fully receive any into eternal life without first testing their loyalty to Him and the principles of His righteousness. One of the very tests which He put to the Church in the Gospel Age, a test according to the intents of the heart, is the test of obedience to His Word and Providences. Only the submissive will pass the inspection. All the heady and high-minded and self-willed will surely be rejected. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Pet. 5:6)

(Based on Reprint 4574)

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CONSCIENCE FOLLOWED, DUTY FULFILLED

The official withdrawal of Bro. Regan Balman from the LHMM

To my dear brethren in Christ within and without the LHMM, and to those in other Truth groups or isolated or merely interested: Peace to you all in the name of our Present King and Lord Yeshua who is the Messiah!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1)

Although I’m not a pilgrim or evangelist with the LHMM, I must be absolutely clear that I do now publicly withdraw from their organization, thus ending any opportunity to serve among them now or in the future.

As both an elder in our local ecclesia and as a husband and father it is my duty to make my position clear, to show my friends the proper way as I see it, through both the Scriptures and through Brother Russell’s advice. I don’t speak for our whole class.

I do use the word organization because it’s become apparent that it is too sectarian for us to the point where we can’t seek the Truth nor speak the Truth within the confines of that sectarianism.

I also represent other consecrated brethren in our class who came to similar conclusions based solely on their impressions and observations.

We have always remained free from sectarian groups, denominations etc., and we wish to continue to remain free in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. (Gal. 5:1)

They may say there is no organization to withdraw from. It is the sectarianism and the subsequent errors creating the atmosphere of an organization that I withdraw myself from.

1. SECTARIANISM = ERRORS AGAINST THE LORD’S ARRANGEMENTS

“Organization, as commonly understood, and as illustrated in the various sects to-day, we could in no sense commend; it is a bondage contrary to the spirit of Christ and the apostles, as well as to their words. Such organization prevents growth in knowledge, as well as hinders the rejection of errors of wood, hay and stubble, already received. It selects by purely human election certain men as the only authorized teachers, and so binds them to traditions, that they can neither walk nor teach others to walk in the path of the just, ‘which shineth more and more unto the perfect day,’ while they remain in such organizations. Hence, such organizations are not only not of God, but are radically opposed to God’s methods.” Pastor C.T. Russell Z836

“We are not forming an organization of any kind; for the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement is not an organization; it is a movement, a voluntary activity in which the Lord’s people cooperate in service to people outside the Truth.” PSL Johnson

I love all the brethren affiliated with the LHMM dearly and wish them no offense. I was asked by members of our class to look into recent controversies within the organization over a year ago. Their kind request led me on a research trip of discovery into the very origins of what was once a movement to service people outside the Truth, but now is much more an organization serving those inside the group.

Among many things, one item stands out: We cannot agree with having a “Spiritual Leader” (sic) in the person of their Executive Trustee. And by claiming to be “God’s chosen organization earthly” they very much resemble the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Those within the movement may beg to differ, however Russell and Johnson were the only ones authorized to be “Pastor and Teacher “as the only remaining “Star Members” to the churches of Revelation. (Rev. 3:14)

Certainly no self-confessed crown loser and Great Company member should ever take upon himself such a role as “Pastor”, even if he is the rightful successor to Bro. Johnson as “Executive Trustee”. This could be a dual office only in the days of Brothers Russell and Johnson. No specially chosen Pastor/Teacher can bring forth meat from the storehouse in the same manner as they did because they were little flock members. (Luke 12:32)

The LHMM are certainly in legal and Scriptural accord to have someone hold this office and may choose whomever they wish to do so. The research proves that the office of Executive Trustee must be a business office only. No one can claim to be “leader” of the Lord’s people!

From E Vol 9 134: “It will be noted that while God has given the non-starmembered teachers of the General Church and the more prominent local elders visions and dreams, He has never given them to see a thing as a new doctrine. This privilege is limited exclusively to our Lord acting in the star-members. Any attempt on the part of a non-star-membered teacher or of a non-teacher as the first one to work out a doctrine would be speculation, and would, therefore, not result in uncovering a new truth, but would result in error.” PSL Johnson

2. “PASTOR” JOLLY = RUTHERFORD = ERRORS AGAINST THE TRUTH

My research clearly details that, just as J.F. Rutherford perverted the movement of Pastor Russell, so Brother Johnson’s ministry was similarly corrupted after he left the scene.

There is enough troubling evidence against “Pastor” Raymond G. Jolly that I personally do not read articles from the Present Truth or Bible Standard magazines unless they were written before October 22, 1950 when Brother Johnson was changed to glory.

Neither do I accept that Brother Johnson was the last Saint on Earth, which is something impos­sible to be proven through the Bible, yet is a key doctrine of the LHMM today, essentially becoming the entry point doctrine to accepting another un­provable doctrine – that of “consecrated Epiphany campers” – similar to the Jehovah’s Witnesses “Jonadabs” error.

Arguments for the existence of “consecrated Epiphany campers” as a class are bereft of Biblical substantiation. It was never taught at all by Pastor Russell nor by Brother Johnson. The scant efforts made to defend it are largely incoherent. There is little need to defend the doctrine as criticism is unthinkable in the current climate.

These errors long ago concocted a strange brew causing a general drowsiness to set in among the brethren. Current leadership is not without blame for accepting, promoting and creating new errors to support past errors regarding justification and consecration even flirting with Ransom denial though they must be unaware of it. Frankly that is why today among the LHMM there are so many milk toast, lukewarm, watered down sectarian talks with far too much focus on their Executive Trustee. Conventions became a virtual sales pitch to support the E.T. These errors entered after 1950, so their creed bed of today was made way back then. While still cozy because of retaining much Present Truth, it is a bed far shorter than the honest, objective Truth seeker can comfortably stretch him or herself out upon. (Isa. 28:20)

BROTHER RUSSELL’S ADVICE

Brother Russell once advised a certain Methodist who rejoiced to read Present Truth in Zion’s Watchtower, but who wanted to complain about sectarianism within Methodism. He wanted to go back to that church and explain it to them. Brother Russell said to this man that his course was incorrect. He advised this brother he needed to leave the organization, otherwise he would look like a grumbler.

“Let us remember that grumbling and talking against sectarianism while sticking to it, and avoiding the real issue, is not the honorable straight-forward course in the sight of our fellow men; and yet more important, such a course is not approved of God.” Z849

He also advised him to request that his name be “blotted out” of their book, and while letting them know that he still loved them, he was to explain he was leaving the body of Methodists, not the body of Christian believers.

And as he explained what Jesus taught us in Matt. 9:16 that putting a new patch on an old garment would only rend it, I realized that to change the LHMM from within will be just as impossible.

Christian duty requires me to post my research online, however I do not wish to appear as a grumbler. So in accordance with Brother Russell’s advice I’m signing off from whatever affiliation I may have had with the LHMM, and cancelling all subscriptions, but not intent on closing any friendships.

I credit the LHMM with dispensing much Truth around the world. Indeed when learning the Truth back in the 1980’s my favorite tracts were the older LHMM tracts as they were always closer to what Pastor Russell taught than the other Truth groups were able to publish.

My family and I are greatly fond of the brethren in the LHMM, and other Truth groups we’ve encountered. But while filled with wonderful Truth people, the teachings have enough leaven to ferment the whole mass of Present Truth. (Gal. 5:9) We are simply interested only in studying the Truth. (Matt. 24:28)

Again I will be posting my report in the coming days and weeks. My door is always open for discussion and fellowship.

Meanwhile my advice is for every ecclesia to separate from all sects and divisions, and to make Pastor Russell the chief elder of your ecclesia, with Jesus as the Head.

“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, 2013 Seattle LHMM Convention text)

Still and always your brother in Christ,

Regan C. Balman V.D.M.

John 4:23-24: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

WHY SAY ANYTHING?

Errors must be corrected because the Truth matters most of all. The Truth is the one thing that draws us together. It is the only thing that up-builds us in grace, faith and knowledge. The chief lesson is that of mutual helpfulness, “building one another up in the most holy faith.”

We must not nurture a false peace for the sake of unity! (Jas. 3:17) It’s important to say what you believe and why. That’s what builds true character. We should know full well what elect classes are available to us and what are not. (2 Tim 2:15) We need to know who we are as a class as the Lord’s people of faith during this “Time of the End” (Dan 12:4)

Great Company bunglers and errorists have robbed the Lord’s heritage of their understanding, and possibly of their class standing. How will you respond? With the desire only to help and never to hurt, I present this in the spirit of peace and goodwill, to whom it may concern, and come what may. (Rom. 12:14-21) What could be more crucial to our understanding as we hurtle through this present anarchy phase and onward rushing toward the long promised Kingdom of God in its blessing phase?

Bro. Regan C. Balman,

June 14, 2016

 

[1] Pastor Russell later came to see that the Antitypical Day of Atonement includes both the Gospel and Millennial Ages. See Tabernacle Shadows, page 130, Note II.