By: Elder R. M. Thomas
The Elders and Messengers of the churches composing the Western Corresponding Association of the Old School Predestinarian Baptists of Missouri, in session with Unity Church, Platte Co., Mo., on the 5th, 6th, and 7th days of October, 1877, to the several churches whose messengers we are, and the associations and conferences with whom we correspond, Greeting.
Beloved In The Lord: - In this our Circular address we will try to present a few thoughts on the subject of
Union signifies the act of joining together two or more, or of two or more being joined together; concord; conjunction of minds or interests; hence, to unite, is to join together two or more into one; to make to agree; to make to adhere; to be cemented together; to be consolidated; to grow into one. Therefore the apostle to the church at Ephesus would say, “There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Consequently Paul would say, in regard to the calling, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling; not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Hence, when we refer back to where and when this grace was given, it was in Christ before the world began. “God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” “There are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these Three are One.” This is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” There are none who dare say man was not made in the image and likeness of God. Man was made without sin, but susceptible of receiving sin. Therefore, by disobedience man became a sinner; yet grace being given in Christ before the world began, and before man was made, that Christ should be made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. Hence, Christ “gave Himself for it (the church), that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word;” that He might present it unto Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. “Therefore ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular;” “and every one members one of another.” Hence Jesus said, “I in them, and they in Me;” I in the Father, and the Father in Me.” Therefore, “both they who are sanctified, and He that sanctifieth, are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them “brethren.” She is “Bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Hence, whom God did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son; and whom He did predestinate, them He also called; “not according to their works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given them in Christ before the world began;” and whom He called, He also justified. Christ bare their sins, and their iniquities were laid on Him.
“In union with the Lamb,
From condemnation free,
The saints from everlasting were,
And shall forever be.”
Those whom He justified, He also did glorify. “Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” Now, “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me,” elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit. Born of the Spirit, born of God; fell in Adam, reproduced in Christ, who is the express image of His Father’s person, the brightness of His glory. When He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the throne of God, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father; and no man knoweth the Son but by the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” Therefore we read of the Son, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.”
“Jesus, thou Son and Heir of heaven,
Thou spotless Lamb of God,
I see Thee bathed in sweat and tears,
And weltering in Thy blood.
“Yet quickly from these scenes of woe
In triumph Thou shalt rise;
Burst through the gloomy shades of death,
And shine above the skies.”
Therefore, who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? I is God that justifieth, it is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again.” Hence Christ says that “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
Brethren, from the foregoing sentences, or thoughts, we have the following conclusion: that Christ did save that which was lost; that is all He ever did or ever will save, which is His body, the church, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. The church is the fullness of Christ; the Head, the life, the light, the joy, peace and every other grace, bestowed.
Finally, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, “To write the same things to you, to us is not grievous; but for you it is safe. Beware of dongs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision; for we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.”
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
R. M. Thomas, Moderator,
W. A. Lowe, Clerk.
Transcribed by Stanley Phillips – January 2009