Submitted by Elder George L. Weaver.
To the Elders and Messengers of the Indian Creek Old School Baptist Association of Ohio, in session with the Pleasant Hill Church in Delaware County, Ohio, on August 30th, and 31st. and September 1st., 1901, unto the several churches composing her body and to all of like precious faith with us, sendeth love and greeting:
For a foundation of a few remarks for the comfort of a least a few of God’s dear people, we call your attention to the 2nd chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 1st to 6th verse: “And you hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein, in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversations in times past, in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. But God who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together WITH Christ. By grace ye are saved.”
Now, my brethren, quite a number of us are from different parts of the country. Why are we here? Can any of you look back to the time when you would not have crossed the road to hear what you expect to hear at this time? Yes, no doubt you can say, “I desired letters of authority to bind this people, and hail them to prison.” “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood,” - Galatians 1st chapter, 15 and 16th verses. Now to come to the text, the apostle says, “And you”; who is the “you”? The “saints at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus.” Now let it be understood that this epistle is addressed to God’s people and to no body else, these very ones who were dead in trespasses and in sin. Some have gone so far as to say that God’s people never sinned and were a spiritual people from birth. But the Apostle did not carry this idea, for he says they were. Not are but were dead in sin, also that they walked (past tense) according to the course of this world; not that they do now, but in “times past” they did. Now these same ones, Paul says, “hath He quickened.”
Now the critic will say the foundation of the Indian Creek Association is based upon three supplied words in those Scriptures, so we will ask Paul again if he meant what he said. We will leave out the italicized or supplied words. In the fifth verse he says: “when we were dead in sin that He quickened us together with Christ,” also when writing to the Colossians 2:13; “And you, being dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” and not a supplied word have we put in that citation. Now then as circumcision under the law did not take place without pain and suffering, so when God applies the law to His people’s hearts there is pain and suffering endured by them. This He does not do until He first quickens them to life, then brings them experimentally from under the law into Gospel liberty. Then He commands them to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and being made free from sin they become servants to God, and have their fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life; and this life which the Savior said “I give unto them and they shall never perish.”
While, we find these very ones that by nature were like all the rest of nature, children of wrath even as others, children of God, heirs of promise which God has loved with such a great love that He sent His Son into the world to save His people from their sins, yet they being guilty sinners of Adam’s race they are made to realize that in their flesh dwells no good thing. Here we find a child of God having two standings, hence the warfare. On the one hand chosen in Christ, on the other the predestinated heirs of the Kingdom; on one part holy never under condemnation, needing no redemption; yet on the other a vile and polluted sinner, a subject of God’s grace. Thus we find that in the great and wondrous work of salvation it was and is done for the sinner. God has saved them by His grace; called them with a holy calling; redeemed them from sin, death and hell; quickened them by His Spirit; translated them from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son. Says He, “I will put My laws in their mind and write them in their hearts; I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people; I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” All of this work done for us poor weak ones, even when we were dead in sin, every one who has been brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus is brought experimentally to realize this.
In the new birth the laboring soul is set at liberty, is born into light, love and peace into a new element, new joys, new desires, and new exercises. Old things have passed away and all things have become new by the eye of faith. He is permitted to look into some of the unsearchable channels of love, and can say as one of old, “I know that wherein I was once blind, I now see,” and the hope that God hath given him as an anchor of the soul enables him to hope that after death his vile and corrupt body shall be finally changed and fashioned like His own glorious body. There the glorious work will be consummated. There in that place of eternal joy where sin, the flesh and the devil shall no more bother them forever, but as the poet has expressed it:
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to praise His name,
Than when we first begun.
“And to sing the song of Moses,
And the Lamb thanks be unto Him,
Who giveth us the victory,
Through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Finally, Brethren, farewell, may God be with us all and guide us in that straight and narrow way that leads to life eternal, and enable us to ascribe all the honor, power, might, majesty and dominion unto Him for ever and ever. Brethren, farewell.
Transcribed by Stanley Phillips, Dec. 23, 2008