The St. Paul Enterprise, July 23, 1915


Toronto, Ont., July 18 Pastor Russell spoke here today on the text, "The Father Himself loveth you." (John 16:27) Among other things he said:

This is one of the most wonderful texts in the Bible. When we think how great God is and how little man is, when we consider that sin has blotted out in very large measure whatever there was of God's image in humanity, we are constrained to wonder what this text can mean. We are not surprised that the Father loves the angels, who are perfect, without blemish in any sense of the word. But how could He love mankind? We read, "God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) This text tells of some kind of great love that God had for the whole world of mankind.


God had a sympathetic love for humanity, not an affectionate love; for there was nothing in fallen man worthy of Divine love. He felt just as we would feel for some poor injured dog or cat we would bind up its paw and give it something to eat. So God's sympathy for the world takes notice of the fact that mankind have gotten into a great deal of trouble through the curse which came upon Father Adam through disobedience to his Creator's command. Divine mercy and sympathy have gone out toward our race to such an extent that God has provided a great Plan of Salvation for mankind. He has provided the death of our Lord Jesus Christ to be our Redemption-price not to recover us from eternal torture, but from death. Unless we were rescued from that perishing condition of death, we would have no future life whatever.

His first great step on behalf of mankind turned our dying condition into a sleeping condition. Instead of perishing as do the brute beasts, men merely fall asleep, to wait for the morning of the New Dispensation, when our Lord will call forth those sleepers from the tomb. (John 5:28, 29) They will be called forth to an opportunity for restitution to human perfection in a world-wide Paradise a restitution for which God has made provision based upon the death of our Lord Jesus Christ a restitution lifting mankind out of sin, misery and death back to all that was lost in Eden. St. Peter tells us that this Restitution is mentioned by all the Holy Prophets. (Acts 3:19-21) In their writings are repeated references to the time when all the willing and obedient shall be brought back into fellowship with God, and all the wicked shall be destroyed in the Second Death.


Over and above Divine love for mankind in general comes the love mentioned in our text. God so loved the world that He provided for their redemption from sin and death. But to the Church our Lord Jesus says, "The Father Himself loveth you." No one belongs to this class except the saints those in covenant relationship with Him through Christ. (Psa. 50:5) It does not include those who merely have turned from sin to say, "I will not lead a wicked life any longer." To these the Father is paying no attention. They are still of the world, still condemned, still children of wrath, even as others; for they have not taken the only step which will transfer them from being children of wrath to being children of God.

We are not to think of the Heavenly Father as exercising no discretion in bestowing His love. If He loves any one, He loves that person for some reason. So in the character of those to whom our Lord Jesus referred there must have been something which constituted them worthy of the Father's love. The commendable thing in their character was that they had given themselves to God to do His will. they had come back into God's family as sons. John 1:12, 13


Adam had been a son of God; but he sinned and forfeited the Father's love. When he came under the sentence of death, "Dying, thou shalt die," he was cut off from fellowship with God. He and all his posterity became sinners under the death sentence, unworthy of Divine notice or care. While God has permitted certain blessings to come to mankind the sunshine, the rain and other material favors yet He has kept Himself aloof from our race, and has treated mankind as aliens and strangers. Their claim upon Him was forfeited when disobedience came in.

Since all mankind were born in that condition which would not be pleasing to God, and since the Church are still in very much the same condition, why does the Father love those who have given themselves to Him in consecration? It is because from the Bible viewpoint a very great change took place when they came into the family of God. There is only one way back into harmony and fellowship with the Father. Jesus is the way; for, as the Bible points out, in harmony with the Father's Plan our Lord gave Himself sacrificially, with all the rights which He had as a man; and in due time the merit of His sacrifice is to be applicable to Adam and all his race. Christ's death is the satisfaction-price for the sin of the whole world. And although it has not yet been appropriated for the whole world, God is inviting a certain class to come out of the world in advance of the remainder of our race.

Of these our Lord said, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." John 17:16


Those disciples whom Jesus was addressing had come out of the world. They had left everything that they might be His pupils and do just the right thing in the right way. Thus to be children of God was their chief aim and ambition. The first step in this direction is justification'the being made right, just. Justification and righteousness mean the same thing; they are different ways of expressing [HGL726] the same thought. We must be made right with God before He will deal with us at all.

God has permitted six great Thousand-Year Days for the world to have experience with sin and death. During all this time He has let mankind see what they could do to help themselves out of sin and death conditions. We have made a sorry failure of it. The wisest people in the world have been unable to deliver themselves from the bondage of sin and death that is upon the whole world. God's time for delivering mankind is the great Sabbath of the Lord our God, when Jesus and His Church will be associated in the blessing of all the families of the earth.

During man's Work Week the race has had a severe lesson of what sin is and what it will do. As we look over into Europe, we see what evil passions can accomplish. Yet the savagery there is only beginning; it will be far worse. With all our preaching and teaching, with all our surgery and medicine, we have not bettered our race very much. When we perceive that sin has accomplished this evil work, we dread sin; we realize that it is the most terrible thing that can befall any one. When the whole world come to realize the true situation, men will know that the entrance of sin is the worst thing that can happen.


According to the Divine Program for human salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ was to do a sacrificial work for the race; next the Church was to be gathered out from amongst mankind, and then the Millennial Age was to begin. When our Lord Jesus gave His life freely and unreservedly to the Father in consecration at Jordan, God started a New Creation, by begetting the Son with the holy Spirit to the Divine nature. As he was coming up out of the water, the holy Spirit came upon Him, anointing Him to all the glorious work which He is to accomplish as the great King and the great Priest for the world of mankind.

When the Father planned this New Creation in connection with human salvation, He arranged that the New Creatures should be those who would give up all their own rights as men, laying everything at His feet, and desiring to know and to do the Divine will. As our Lord was the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14), the Father wished Him to have the highest place in this New Creation. The angels never had such a test of loyalty as came to Jesus; they never laid down life on one plane and passed to a lower plane, as He did. Although they have been loyal in everything which God has asked of them, He did not put this test upon them.

When at the beginning of His ministry our Lord, then thirty years of age, gave Himself unreservedly to the Father, saying, "Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me), to do Thy will, O God," the Father manifested His special love for the Son by anointing Him with the holy Spirit, making Him a member of the Divine family on the highest plane of being. Then for three and a half years the Father tested Him, proved Him and found Him worthy to receive the honor, the glory, the power, the might. (Rev. 5:12) How we rejoice in our Savior's victory! How we love and admire Him, for the same reason that the Father does! There is something of character there.


The Apostle tells us that there was one feature of God's Plan for human salvation which was not made known in the past; that is, the fact that there was to be a Body of Christ not merely one individual, but a company. This figure of speech we use when we speak of the body of Congress, of which the chairman is the head. So we speak of the Body of Christ, of which Christ Jesus is the Head. God gave Him to be Head over the Church, which is His Body. (Eph. 1:19-23) Nobody knew beforehand that The Messiah is to be composed of many members, and that the members were to be selected from amongst mankind. The Jews simply expected Messiah to come. They read of the glory, and thought only of the glory and of one person, not realizing that they themselves would have an opportunity to be of this Messiah class just what the Jews are still expecting.

Through St. Paul the Lord tells us that in this Body of Christ there would be both Jews and Gentiles; and that the twain were to become one New Man, one complete Christ Jesus the Head, and the Church the Body. (Eph. 2:11-16; 4:11-16) The first members of this Body came from the Jews, to whom the call was first to be made, because they were the natural seed of Abraham. God had told Abraham that He would give the first chance to the Jews. It is wonderful to contemplate how many were ready for this call. Probably twenty-five thousand Jews responded quickly to the Gospel Message, thus showing a wonderful condition of consecration to God and His ways.

Then the door was thrown open to the Gentiles. There were not many of these ready for the call; and so it has taken eighteen hundred years to gather from amongst the Gentiles enough to complete the exact predestined number. If the Gentiles had been as thoroughly consecrated as were the Jews, the required number might have been found during the first century. But the Gentiles had not had the previous instructions of the Law to assist them, and therefore it has taken a much longer time to take out the proportionate number. Thus we were called out of the world to be followers of Jesus invited to make the same kind of consecration to God which He made, and to receive and to manifest the same holy Spirit the Spirit of anointing.


During this Gospel Age the Father is calling only those who have the spirit of His Son, whose disposition was one of faith and obedience. These cannot have the same degree of obedience because their flesh is imperfect; but they can have the same degree as far as the mind, the will, is concerned. We can will to be whatever we like; and God is looking at the will. He knows far better than we do that we cannot do the things that we would. The Apostle said, "Yea I judge not mine own self. . . He that judgeth me is the Lord." (1 Cor. 4:3, 4) St. Paul did not know how much allowance to make for even himself; and we do not know how much allowance to make for ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, our brothers. Therefore the Lord instructs us not to judge one another; for whatever kind of judgment we mete to others will be the standard of our own judgment. [HGL727] The ability to criticize others manifests knowledge of just what constitutes the wrong act or word, and renders the one aspiring to be judge the more responsible. We are to render all the help we can to others, and leave the matter of disciplining to the Lord. He alone knows what experiences His people should have. Therefore His people should avoid all judging, condemning and fault-finding. Let God do the judging and any punishing which He may see necessary.

In the Millennial Age mankind will simply put away sin and try to live as nearly right as possible. Then God will bring them up to perfection. But now it is different. To those who come trusting that Jesus has made satisfaction for their sins, a certain measure of His merit is imputed as soon as their consecration has been accepted by the Lord. To illustrate: Suppose the one who offers himself to God in full consecration represents twenty percent of a perfect human being. Since he is willing to give his little all to God, our Lord Jesus imputes to him eighty percent. Thus the person has the one hundred percent representing the perfection of human nature- "complete in Him." Then our Lord, the great High Priest, takes His own eighty percent and the person's twenty percent and presents it all to the Father. Just when we take the same step that Jesus took, then the Father begins to love us with a special love.


The Father's love, which began when He begat us with His holy Spirit, continues with us as long as we are loyal to Him and in proportion to the degree of our loyalty. Should we at any time prove disloyal, like Judas Iscariot, the holy Spirit would be taken from us. There is forgiveness for errors made through weakness of the flesh; but disloyalty to the Lord will not be forgiven. A sin against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness.

We should all be very careful not to have the Judas spirit not to barter off the Lord or the Truth or the brethren for thirty pieces of silver of any kind. Some betray the Lord by saying, "For business reasons I must do thus and so." Others betray the Lord by declaring, "I know that I am not preaching just as I should that I am slandering God's character and His Word, as well as misrepresenting myself; but I must make a living." Why should such persons be acknowledged before the Father and the holy angels? But only the Lord could determine whether such were worthy of the Second Death. They could not be of the Body of Christ, however.

What a wonderful honor is this to which God has called us! Those who have been begotten again by His holy Spirit have been anointed from the day of their begetting to be kings and priests unto God and to reign with Christ a thousand years. There are tribulations identified with all their experiences; nevertheless, while they have tribulations, they also have the peace of God, which passes human understanding. As the Bible declares, all things are theirs; for they are Christ's, and Christ is God's. He has promised grace sufficient for every trial; and even the adversities of life shall work together for good to them, because they love God and are the called according to His purpose.

"Love Divine, all Love excelling, Joy of Heaven to Earth come down."

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