St. Paul Enterprise, March 28, 1916


Roanoke, Va., March 26 -Pastor Russell delivered a very impressive address here today, from the text: "God hath given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature." (2 Pet. 1:4)

God designs that the elect Church, the Royal Priesthood, shall, when completed and glorified, occupy positions of great honor and responsibility. They will be kings, judges, priests, throughout the thousand years of Christ's reign. Moreover, they are to be the honored associates of the Lord Jesus throughout eternity, spirit beings of the very highest order -the Divine. We trust that many of those who hear us are of this class. Do we realize what all this means, dear brethren? Unless we have thoroughly tested characters we shall not be fit for so great an exaltation. If we have any sympathy for sin, it would be unsafe to trust us; for the sin might spread and make us in time emissaries of evil, whose influence would be disastrous. God is looking for those only who truly love righteousness and hate iniquity. He does not expect perfect works in an imperfect body; but He seeks a perfect heart and an overcoming spirit, with as nearly perfect conduct as we are capable of by His grace.

If those of this class do anything wrong, if they are overtaken in a fault, they are very repentant. They have a feeling of sorrow and regret, and go quickly to the Throne of Grace for forgiveness and cleansing. This shows that the heart is fully loyal. So the Lord tells us for our information and consolation that He judges us not according to our unavoidable weaknesses, but according to our hearts and our earnest endeavors. Surely in this merciful arrangement the blessings of the Lord have made us rich! While God has not given us perfect righteousness as yet, He has imputed it to us. Every blessing we have comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.

How rich indeed the Lord has made His children, even in this present life, while we are only heirs of all this wealth laid up for us in Heaven; while we have only the earnest, or hand payment of the wonderful things which we shall inherit when we enter into the glory with Christ! The Spirit of the Lord gives rest of heart to His people and sounder judgment than they every had before (2 Tim. 1:7) It often increases their physical health and their mental efficiency. As a business man a Christian is more capable, more conscientious, and hence more valuable, whether he be an employer or an employee. Those of this class who are housewives know better how to keep the home, how to keep things in order, how better to exercise common sense, than before they accepted the Message of Truth and began to live its spirit. Common sense is not a common article, even though it is so called.

The Lord's Truth brings a rich blessing wherever it is received into a good and honest heart. Many of you are parents. If you are faithful, obedient children of God you are better parents than you were before. When you brought your children into the world you assumed a responsibility for them in the sight of God. This thought is sobering, strengthening. It helps you to watch your example, to see that you carefully train these children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as well as caring for their material needs.


Many of the Lord's faithful are amongst the humble and obscure. They are largely from the poorer walks of life. "Not many great, not many wise, not many noble are called, but chiefly the weak ones of this world." Why has God chosen these? We answer, the people who are naturally poor and ignoble realize that they are nothing in themselves; they feel their weakness and long for something better that God can give. Men who are rich and learned and influential note this, and sometimes say, "This Gospel is a good thing for these people. They need something to lift them up." Those who are thus high-minded are not in the proper attitude of heart to realize their own need and to come to God. No matter how rich, how learned, how noble a man is, according to human standards, he must come to the point of acknowledging that he is a sinner, wholly dependent upon God for forgiveness and for every blessing. All such self-righteous ones miss the special blessing the Lord is now offering, for they do not realize their need.

This is why Jesus said of these, "Woe unto you that are rich; for ye have received your consolation! Woe unto you Pharisees!" for you are not anxious to know about God. It is as we would say, "Alas! alas! for they will lose this great privilege of the Kingdom!" Only those who will humble themselves will ever be exalted. It is not advantageous to be rich in this world's wealth, either socially or financially. Those who are rich now in these things will in the next Age have difficulties that the poor will not have. "Blessed be ye poor!" if your poverty leads you to Christ, or assists in this direction. Few are willing to walk in this way of humility and self-abnegation; but to those who do, a great blessing comes the blessing of the Lord which maketh rich. A work of transformation is going on in them. From the Divine standpoint, these poor and lowly ones are the truly rich, the only ones who are rich.

The Apostle Paul says that the Truth of God which illuminates the mind gives a better mental poise, the spirit of a sound mind. The minds of all fallen men are unsound, just as their flesh is unsound. Our minds are more or less twisted and warped. But God has a sound mind; and He tells us of His will, His plans, His ways. If we accept these, then we have the mind of God, the mind of Christ. We direct our conduct by the Divine instructions. We receive from Christ these riches of God's grace which become a transforming power, working in us to WILL aright.

Should a Christian make a mistake, then he will go to the Lord for forgiveness, and resolve. "I will endeavor so to live that henceforth this difficulty shall never overtake me again." But if it should again overtake him, he will go again to the Lord, with deeper contrition. So the mind of [HGL808] Christ continues to work in God's children to will and do all His good pleasure, and they become richer and richer in character.


This class are not only the richest people in the world, but the most learned'learned in Heavenly wisdom, the only true wisdom (Jas. 3:17) Many have said of the Bible Students, "These people have a general knowledge of nearly everything." Whoever knows the Bible from Genesis to Revelation understanding God's great Plan for both the Church and the world is highly educated, whether he has been instructed in the world's schools or not. He is educated in the best and most thorough School in all the universe the School of Christ. Many of the enemies of present Bible Truth admit the unequaled knowledge and understanding of the Bible which even the humblest of these Bible Students possesses. And they say that these have a wonderful knowledge of right principles, in every direction. This was true of our Lord Jesus and His immediate followers; and these children of God have been instructed by them.

We read that when St. Peter and St. John were preaching in the temple, the people perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men; and "they took knowledge of them that had been with Jesus and learned of Him." (Acts 4:13) They had not been in the school of the Scribes and Pharisees, but they had been with Christ. Whoever attends the School of Christ receives the best education for the present time and for the life eternal.


Everything that God has to bestow is designed to be a blessing. He has provided a great blessing for all the families of the earth. He declared to Abraham that this blessing should come through his Seed. The opportunity to become of Abraham's earthly seed will come to every member of Adam's race; and every one will have an individual opportunity, except those who get their full opportunity now. There is only the one class who have this opportunity during the present life.

The vast majority of those who live in so-called heathen lands have no knowledge of Christ at all. Very many in Christendom so-called have very little or no real knowledge of Christ. Some of these attend meetings with more or less regularity where Christ's name is spoken and where hymns are sung, and they join in the singing, though many who do so know not what they say. There was a similar class in our Lord's day, and it was these who joined in crucifying the Lord of Glory. St. Peter says of them, "I wot that in ignorance ye did it." Acts 3:17

So everywhere today there are many who do not understand. Having eyes, they see not; having ears, they hear not. But the Spirit of God gives wisdom, quickens the understanding. Jesus said of this class who see and hear, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven." It is this class which is now on trial for life or death everlasting. The world is not now on trial for life or death, though their present course will have a bearing upon their future. For the world now to know these things that the children of God know would only increase their responsibility. The class that really knows does not include one thousandth part of even the church membership of the world.

Those who know are those who have accepted the terms of discipleship laid down by the Master- "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matt. 16:24) This means that he must give up his own will to take instead the will of the Lord Jesus Christ who represents the Father. Whoever has not done this has not been accepted by God at all. Much more is necessary than abandoning sin. Nobody ever had a right to live a wicked or immoral life. We come into the family of God in only one way. Jesus is the Way. The first step in consecration is to deny one's SELF The second step is to adopt the will of God, to take up the cross and follow in the Master's footsteps. These are the only steps.

Once we had the impression that the Bible taught that whoever would be saved must get into this Church of Christ, otherwise he would go to hell to suffer torture forever. And in sympathy for our own we said, "John and Mary must join the Church!" But getting their names on the roll of one of the church organizations did not get them into the true Church, "the Church of the Living God, whose names are written in Heaven," not on earth. We get into God's Church by accepting Christ as our ransom from sin and death and by fully giving up our minds, our hearts, our wills to God.


For all who become His disciples Jesus become the Advocate. He accepts them to be members of His Church and presents them to the Father. Then the Father receives them by begetting them of the holy Spirit. They are then members of God's family, sons of God. They are New Creatures in Christ and constitute the true Church. It is this class who are to go on from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge. The Father, through Christ, deals with them as with sons, giving them the chiseling, polishing, disciplining, refining, necessary to make them ready for their great inheritance in the Heavenly Kingdom. Heirs of glory are these. If faithful unto death, they will enter forever into the joys of their Lord.

But if any who have once been begotten of the holy Spirit and have tasted of the Heavenly gift shall draw back from God, it will be impossible to renew such to repentance, seeing that they have crucified unto themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame. There is no further hope for those who have had their opportunity and have misused it. They will die the Second Death.

The great mass of those in the churches of today have not been begotten of the holy Spirit, and cannot die the Second Death without further knowledge and opportunity. They are still to have their share in the future blessings coming to the world at large. But in proportion as any shall have been closely in contact with the Truth, and have seen and rejected it, to that extent matters will be unfavorable for them in the future. However, all will have an opportunity except those who have been made partakers of the holy Spirit and have fallen away through wilful sin. If these fall away, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins; for Christ dieth no more. "But we" [HGL809] "(who are faithfully following Jesus) are not of those who draw back into perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul." Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-31

God's promises to His faithful ones are so rich, so precious, so wonderful, that were it not that they are given by Jehovah Himself, in unmistakable terms, they would be beyond belief. "But," says one, "can we believe that God really meant that we might have a part in His own nature, the Divine nature?" Surely! Of what use would the Bible be if it does not say what it means? The Apostle Peter, one of the inspired mouthpieces of the Lord, has so declared. Our Lord said to him and to the other Apostles, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven." Matt. 16:19; John 20:22-23

The Twelve Apostles were supernaturally guided in their utterances. Jesus promised them that after the holy Spirit should come upon them, they should be guided into all Truth. (John 16:13) So we may have full confidence in St. Peter's words. The intent of God's wonderful promises is that they shall work in us, day by day, to will and do the perfect will of God. "According to your faith be it unto you." If you let go your faith, you lose all. The greater your faith, the greater your blessing. God seeks only those who will trust Him in everything, whether they can trace Him or not.

Whether we shall be of this blessed company is for us to decide. Our Lord Jesus has promised us the needed help. He will make all our trials and difficulties work good for us. He will make us meet for the glorious station to which the Father has called us. But He expects us to cooperate with Him, to have faith, trust and the spirit of loyalty and obedience. We are to be true to our covenant, true to all the principles of righteousness. He wishes all of His people to gather under the same banner the banner of truth and love and of faith in God.

But, as we have said before, not many of the professed children of God are of this mind. Not many of the great and mighty and wise are thus obedient and teachable, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith. But to those who appreciate the glorious High Calling of God, the call to the Divine nature, to jointheirship with Him who has been exalted far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named, next to the Father, we would say, Having tasted of the exceeding riches of God's favor, are we not determined to go on and obtain the full inheritance promised?

The things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, which God hath in reservation for them that love Him, are for those who love God more than they love father or mother, brother or sister, children or friends, houses or lands, wealth or fame or pleasures of earth. If we are of this class, let us rejoice and be of good courage! God is for us. He has been blessing us all along the way; and if we continue thus to follow on, the end will be glorious. We shall be made partakers of the Divine nature!

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