INTRODUCTION This booklet by Malcolm W. Biggs (1875-1941) was referred to, in some meetings in Northern Ireland, published in my ‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’ series (Not yet on-line). Also referred to was a book by the same author ‘Fellowship, its Nature and Possibilities’. Neither are available on-line. The former is published […]
Christians have differed as to the subject of everlasting punishment.
Simple Bible-believing Christians accept that the consequence of rejecting the gospel is eternal punishment in hell. Unfortunately, many modern teachers proclaim lies:
Eternal does not mean ‘without end’
Everybody, including unbelievers, will be saved – Universalism
The wicked will be consumed and annihilated – Annihilationism.
Souls will return in another body – Re-incarnation
The essence of my current view of fellowship is that it is experience and not a membership system. I seem to discern believers amongst ban elaboration of Paul’s statement that the Corinthians had been called into the fellowship of God’s Son with which I am uncomfortable. It suggests that this is a calling, which is additional to the call in the gospel, and that there are those who have responded to the call in the gospel but have failed to respond to the call into the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I don’t accept this. It implies a division in the body of Christ between those who have entered into this fellowship and those who have failed to do so.
In a brief article entitled ‘What is a Sect’ – Collected Writings Volume 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) p. 362, John Nelson Darby distinguishes those who gather to the Lord’s Name in the light of the One Body, and those who are members of a sect, or church, or ecclesiastical corporation. The latter is based on held opinions.
The judgment seat of Christ will be the first thing that the believer in Jesus will experience following the rapture. It is a great blessing that we shall be with Jesus and have exactly His view on everything in our lifetime.
What’s upsets me, is that Christians sometimes confuse the judgment seat of Christ with the Great White Throne. The two things are totally different – the Greek word is also different The Great White Throne is for unbelievers – people who have refused the glad tidings.
People speak about a ‘moral law’, but they have only a vague idea of what is meant by the expression. They say, ‘Live by the ten commandments’ or, ‘Do to others what you would have them do to you’ (Matt 7:12 NIV). They quote scripture, but in so doing put themselves and others under bondage. That is not Christianity. The Christian has been delivered from the law.
In this creation, man had the capability of voluntary thought, which put him into a position of responsibility. He could therefore obey or disobey. We know that he disobeyed, and the motivation was not the fruit, but ‘self’. The fall was total: man gave up God. In new creation it is different, man now has the knowledge of what God is, having been created ‘in righteousness and holiness of truth’ (Eph 4:24). We have a powerful, intimate relationship in communion with God, by the Holy Spirit. We have been redeemed.
Darby and the brethren held to all the fundamentals of the Christian faith:
There is one God, eternally blessed – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,.
The Lord Jesus was and is human and divine. He was born of a virgin and was raised from the dead and is now glorified at the right hand of God.
The Holy Spirit, having descended on the day of Pentecost, dwells in believers who are waiting for the promised return of the Lord Jesus.
The Father in His love has sent the Son to accomplish the work of redemption and grace towards men. Jesus, the Son, finished the work on earth which the Father gave Him to do. He made propitiation for our sins, and ascended into heaven. Now He is the great High Priest, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
As to the brethren, nobody would be received into fellowship who denied any of these fundamental truths, and any who undermined them would be excommunicated. They are essential to living faith and salvation, and to the life which all Christians live as born of God.
People confuse what Christ builds with what man builds, physically and metaphorically. Christ said to Peter in Matthew 16:18 that He would build the Church and that the gates of hell (Satan’s deadly power) would not prevail against it. Resurrection was the proof of that. Peter’s confession, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (v. 16), was the rock on which Christ would build his church. Peter was the first stone in importance, but he was not the builder.
There is often confusion between obedience to rule and conscience: in fact one is the opposite of the other.
When we have rules there is an obligation to obey, without any consideration of right and wrong. On the other hand, conscience gives us a instinctive sense of right and wrong, following some inscrutable law