St. Paul Enterprise, February 1, 1916


Pastor Russell delivered an able discourse here today, from the text, "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps!" (1 Pet. 2:21.) He said in part:

The Call of the present Gospel Age has been unique. In this Age there is a different kind of justification from what the world will have in the next Age. They will have actual perfection of body, mind and morals. But now, in His manifold Wisdom God has a different arrangement, so that from the time we hear the Lord and accept His conditions we receive justification by faith imputed justification, not the real thing. This does not make us perfect. We have the same brain, the same mind, the same body. It is merely a matter of reckoned righteousness.

But why will God reckon us right when we are wrong? Because we have an Advocate with the Father, and His robe of righteousness covers us. The world is to have a Mediator by and by; but we have an Advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous. We come to the Father through Him. We give ourselves by consecration to God, realizing that God's arrangements are all in Christ. When we have done this, the merit of Christ is imputed to us and covers all our blemishes. The robe which God's children now wear is called a wedding garment. This pure, white robe is put on by all those who become the disciples of Jesus. We are not appearing in the filthy rags of our own righteousness, but in the perfect robe of our Lord's furnishing. When we gave up our own wills and God accepted our sacrifice, and we received the Spirit of begetting, we became New Creatures in Christ. Old things passed away, all things became new. This robe covers our flesh, which is imperfect. The New Creature needs no covering, because it is begotten of God. It is only because the New Creature has not yet its new body that it needs this old body as a tabernacle and as an instrument of service. "In this tabernacle we groan, being burdened."

This was not so with you before you became a Christian. It is only since we became New Creatures that we are not at home in the body. God has prepared a Heavenly, spiritual body for every one of us who are His people. He will give us this spiritual body in due time; but not until we develop the necessary character in these old bodies. The Father says, Just keep this old body for a

while, and let Me see how you will make out with it. Let Me see how you will fight against the flesh. Remember, however, that you are not to fight with carnal weapons, but with the weapons of My Spirit.

We have the whole armor the helmet of salvation, the girdle of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the Sword of the Spirit, and the sandals of preparation of the Gospel of Peace with which to fight against the Adversary and the imperfections of our flesh and to resist their encroachments. Our mind is our great battle-ground. We are surrounded on all sides by the imperfections of the old nature, and we are also surrounded by temptations and besetments from without. This makes it necessary for us to wage a continual warfare, to fight a good fight, that we may come off conquerors, yea, "more than conquerors, through Him that loved us and gave Himself for us."


God is not looking on coldly and indifferently, but "as a father pitieth his children," so the Lord pities those who have become His children and are seeking to walk in the footsteps of His Son. He is deeply interested in them. "The Father Himself loveth you." Oh, that is one of the most precious texts in the Bible, and one of the most wonderful ones as well! We might see how God could feel an interest in us His offspring, but to think that God loves us, if we have become members of the "us" class!

"God so loved the world (with a sympathetic love) that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." But this love that God has for the Church is a special love, such as He had for His Only Begotten. These are as dear to Him as the apple of His eye. He sees that nothing shall hurt these. The eye has the attention of the whole mind when it is in trouble. So it is with God's care for the members of His Church. We are so glad of this special love which has led God to put the robe of Christ's righteousness upon us! Our Father is not looking upon us as sinners now. Our imperfect flesh is covered by the robe, but the flesh is not to be preserved. Our bodies have been presented as a living sacrifice. They are to be consumed.


It is a wrong thought to suppose that God will give us the best of everything for our mortal body, and will so guard us as to prevent any injury to our body. It is the New Creature that the Father is preparing for glory, not the natural man; and He is doing this by means of His precious promises. The old man is perishing. God will not give us Restitution; that is for the world in the future.

We who have received the High Calling cannot get Restitution. It is like the child who went to buy a cake with a penny. He wanted the cake, but wanted also to keep the penny. But he could not both keep the penny and get the cake. If he got the cake he must give up the penny. So we cannot get the glory of the High Calling and at the same time hold on to earthly things and earthly blessings. We have become heirs of the Heavenly things, and have been begotten again as spirit beings, like the Lord Jesus. Therefore let us not think that God is offering us also Restitution. We are to sacrifice our humanity. If you find that you have no sufferings for Christ, you have every reason to question whether God is dealing with you as a son.

God delivered up Jesus freely for us all, and He allowed His enemies to smite Him, to spit upon Him, to put a crown of thorns upon His head, to mock and crucify Him. Jesus truly said, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air" [HGL793] "have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." The Father permitted all this because He was dealing with Jesus as His Son, whom He had begotten to a new nature, and who was demonstrating His worthiness by obedience in the things which He suffered. It will be so with us if we are true to the Lord, even as it is written: "My Son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."


God did not choose angels for this wonderful High Calling; but all who have received this Call and the begetting of the Spirit, that they may become joint-heirs with Christ, must every one receive chastening, disciplining, testing, because of the great and honorable and exalted position to which God has called them. It is such a wonderful thing that God wishes to test the loyalty and faithfulness unto death of every one who will be of that glorious company. So then, instead of thinking that you are having such great trials, that you are always in some kind of trouble, that you are peculiar in this respect, you will rather think, I wonder how it is that the Lord lets me have so few of these terrible trials; I should think He would want to prove me more.

Not many will prove themselves worthy. "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom," said the Master. It is only a "little flock" that the Father is calling out now. He is the Chief Shepherd of this "little flock," who walk in the narrow way. "Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto the life, and few there be that find it." The Heavenly Father is the One who has called us. We are following Jesus because God has appointed Him to be the Captain of our salvation, our great Under-Shepherd, whom the Father made perfect through suffering. Every one who follows Jesus must first be called, then proven and found faithful through sufferings, even unto death. The Father is deeply interested in all this.


I remind you, dear friends, you whom God has called, if indeed it be that you have heard His voice, that Jesus did nothing but what He heard from the Father. He said, "My word is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me." So the Message that Jesus gave us is the Message of the great Chief Shepherd, the Father. This Message coming to us from the Father has been for the purpose of calling us now to be His sheep. "Gather My saints together unto Me," saith Jehovah, "those who have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice." So then, as the Apostle puts it, "Ye see your Calling, brethren." (1 Cor. 1:26-29.) We are not called to be Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc., but called to be sons of God.

The Message is not, Gather them together unto the Pope of Rome, or unto Luther, or Calvin, or Wesley, or any other human leader, but "Gather them unto Me" Jehovah. These are called to sacrifice. There are no exceptions. If you are not a sacrificer, then you are not of them. These have heard the Father's Call, and have presented their bodies to be living sacrifices acceptable unto God. Jesus our great High Priest has made an atonement for our sins and made this possible. He has become our Surety, our Advocate with the Father, and makes us acceptable as sacrifices.

Jesus at the age of thirty came to John at Jordan. He came as soon as it was possible under the Law. He presented Himself to the Father. What He did on that occasion we all know. The Prophet, speaking for Jesus and telling what were His heart sentiments, says, "Lo, I come to do Thy Will, O God!" everything written in the Book. What book? The Book of the Law and the Prophets. Everything which God had caused to be written respecting the Messiah, Jesus was ready to do.

There was a serpent lifted up in the wilderness by Moses. And it was written, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up." There was the bullock slain by the high priest, Aaron, on the Day of Atonement, in connection with the Tabernacle service. And there was the lamb that was slain every spring at the Passover. All this was written in the Book concerning Him, the Lamb of God. Also it was prophesied that He would be led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He would open not His mouth.

And so Jesus said, at the time of His consecration, "I come to do Thy will, O God, as in the volume of the Book it is written of Me!" He could not then understand all that was written, but He said, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God!" Whatever Thou hast written in the book, show it to Me, dear Father! I cannot see it clearly now, but whatever is there I will delight to do it, no matter how severe or how great the sacrifice. And then Jesus symbolized His consecration unto death by His baptism in the river Jordan, showing forth both His death and His resurrection.


This same figure of baptism in water is for you and me, and it becomes an outward confession that whatever is written in the Book concerning us we will be glad to do. We rejoice to do the will of God, and desire that His will may be done in us, even as it was done in our Master. This is the only kind of sacrifice that God will accept. One says, I have consecrated myself to my church. Others say, I will consecrate myself to God and then will try mission work. Another says, I will consecrate myself to work for God in the temperance field. God did not ask them to do any of this. That is not acceptable sacrifice. God says that we are to consecrate ourselves to Him only, and put no restrictions around our sacrifice. "Thy will be done in me, whatever that may be," should be our heart sentiment.

So then we see what God has arranged for us, and how reasonable it all is that we have been invited to become partakers of Christ's sufferings now in order that we may become sharers in His glory to follow. It has been an invitation, not a command. A command to sacrifice our lives would not have been just. God set before us a great prize. He made no threat, used no force. If we do not wish to come without being forced we cannot come at all. He [HGL794] has merely sent forth His Message, and wherever that Message goes it appeals to certain hearts, and to those only.


It is like the wireless messages that go forth from the telegraph instrument. Waves of sound go out miles and miles, clear across the Atlantic ocean. They go from New Jersey clear over into Germany. It is not every one that can catch the message. The send-ing instrument is tuned to a certain key. If you have a good co-hearer, or receiving instrument, and yet do not have your co-hearer properly tuned, you cannot receive the message at all. If you have a good co-hearer and get it in line with the message that is coming in, you can get the message. It is often necessary to tune the receiver up higher and higher before it gets in tune with the sending instrument.

And so you and I must have been in tune with God before we could hear His Message; and we must continue to keep in tune with Him if we would continue to receive messages from Him. God's messages pass over the heads of millions of people and they do not hear. "Eyes have they, but they see not; ears have they, but they hear not." "Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears, for they hear!" Many in Jesus' day had co-hearers that were not properly attuned to receive the Message of the Son of God, and they refused the words of Jesus. Their thoughts were not in tune.

So it is today. God is finding the humble and sincere, those who are in tune with Him. I trust that we are in tune to receive the Message which our great Shepherd has sent forth; that we have true co-hearers, and are keeping our instruments in tune with the infinite One, so that we shall be able to hear the Message more and more fully, and are continuing in that love that rejoices to lay down life itself in His service. In the 8th Chapter of Romans we read that God has foreordained that all who would be of the Church class in glory must be copies of His dear Son; otherwise we shall not receive the "prize" no others can obtain it.


Now, dear friends, I cannot tell you when we shall reach the end of our race course. As far as I can see, judging from the Word, we must be near, very near, even at the door. We are certainly down in the time referred to by Jesus when men's hearts would fail them for fear. Every financier and statesman is fearful respecting the future. The things coming upon the earth are causing great perplexity. But when we, the Lord's true people, see these things beginning to come to pass, we are to lift up our heads and rejoice, "knowing that our deliverance draweth nigh."

The time for the glorification of the Church is close at hand. When the door shall once shut, no one else will ever enter therein. The door of mercy for the world will then be thrown open wider than ever, but the door which has been open for the Bride to enter in to her marriage with the Lamb will be closed forever. So then, if we hope to be joint-heirs with Christ, to suffer now and to be glorified shortly, now is the time to make our calling and election sure.

Is your election sure, brother? It is sure upon the terms which God has made. Have you met these terms. If so, God will never fail you. It is absolutely certain with Him. The only uncertainty is with ourselves. If you are faithful to the best of your ability, God asks nothing more. All things are yours if you abide in Him. Continue in the spirit of the Master, growing in grace and in knowledge, and becoming stronger and stronger. His grace will be sufficient for you, for His strength is made perfect in our weakness; and all things the trials, the sufferings, the persecutions and misunderstandings shall work together for good to those who abide in His love, "the called ones according to His purpose." This applies to us, if we are His. So, as we see the terrible trouble drawing nearer, I trust we are becoming stronger in the Truth, and will be pledged to lay down our lives in God's blessed service.

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