My Dear and Beloved Brother Beebe; As I have written nothing for the SIGNS in a long time, and being confined to the house by reason of the heavy snow that now covers the earth, and having lived to witness the beginning of a new year, and having noticed with interest your reply to sister R.A. Phillips, with your further reply to Eld. J.R. Martin, it seems to me that surely all will be satisfied on those important subjects; namely, the Regeneration, the New Birth or Spiritual Birth, and the Adoption; unless there be some who wish to know more on those subjects than God has revealed in his holy word, or in the experience of his children. If we could all be satisfied with what God has revealed in his holy word, agreeing with what he has taught us by experience, and could we be delivered from a disposition to speculate, and labor to bring spiritual things to the comprehension of [even our own] carnal reason, it no doubt would be more to the peace of the church, in this day of great delusion, and opposition to plain, simple gospel truth, by such a large majority of professed preachers and christians, in their conformity to the world. O that all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity might labor constantly and carefully to adhere strictly to the following language, Rom.12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed, by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
I have concluded with this to give such views as I have on Matt. 9:12,13. “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
There is no circumstance that occurred, while Jesus was here in the flesh, that is recorded in the scriptures, but what he controlled for his glory, and for the instruction of his people. The pharisees who murmured because he ate with publicans and sinners, were self-righteous, and felt that they, religiously, were whole, and needed no physician or mercy. Then, to offer mercy to them would be like offering medicine to one in good health, or like a poor man offering a little pittance to a millionaire; it would be an insult, and a sacrifice or waste of the medicine or pittance. The publicans and sinners with whom he ate may have felt no more need of medicine or mercy than the complaining pharisees, but it opened the way for Jesus to let them and us know that he did not come to scatter mercy at random, without an eye to justice; hence he said, “Go ye and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The great Savior of sinners had not come to give repentance or bestow mercy upon any sinners but such as were his by gift of his Father in the eternal covenant of redemption, whom he came to seek and to save from their sins; and to call and give repentance to any others would be a sacrifice of both mercy and justice. Mercy is extended to sinners upon the strictest principles of justice. “Wherefore when he cometh into the world he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me; in burnt offerings and sacrifice for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come, [in the volume of the book it is written of me] to do thy will, O God.” Heb.10:5-7. In doing the will of his Father, as the Head of the body, the church, the Surety and the Husband of his bride, and the Shepherd of the sheep, [his people] in that body he met every demand that justice held against him, as the embodiment and representative of the whole church of God. By one offering [or sacrifice] of himself he has perfected them that are sanctified [or set apart] by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called. Jude 1. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, [prevailers with God only by and with Jesus Christ] and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31. While here in the flesh, Jesus said, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” John 6:37-39. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Again; “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Verse 44. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” John 17:2. From the foregoing we are taught the subordinate character in which Jesus came to this world to do the will of the Father, in his Mediatorial office. We are taught also the certainty of his saving and calling all that the Father gave him, and the everlasting truth that no man can come to him except drawn by the Father. So we plainly see the principle upon which he could have mercy, and not sacrifice. Then, away with the false, yet popular doctrines, of the present day, such as, that God is offering salvation to all men, through the preaching of the gospel, and a host of other means, upon conditions of faith and repentance on their part. If sinners, by complying with conditions on their part, could be saved, then the following language [expressive of the feelings of every believer in Jesus Christ] would not apply to them: “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph.2:8. If sinners are to be saved by complying with the smallest condition on their part, then all would be lost together; because no condition can be acceptable with God unless it is entirely righteous; and how can unrighteous sinners comply with righteous conditions? They can no more do so than one who is ten thousand talents in debt, and having nothing to pay, could pay his debt. But Jesus, having already saved his people, calls them by grace, quickens them, gives them faith and repentance, and reveals to them his finished salvation. Thus sinners receive mercy on their part, and on the part of Jesus there is no sacrifice, waste or violation of justice, but all in perfect accordance with the stipulations of the glorious covenant of redemption. All such as are thus saved continue in warfare as long as they remain in this imperfect state; the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that they cannot do the things they would. Yet they continue to receive repentance and forgiveness of sins from him who is exalted to give them to Israel. The Spirit of Christ in, or by David, said, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” Psa.17:15. The same Spirit in his children causes them to groan within themselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of their bodies. Jesus, the Head of all his members, [his body, the church] ever lives to intercede and advocate their cause, beholding his Father’s face in righteousness, and shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied when the last enemy [death] is destroyed, and the whole kingdom be raised in his likeness and delivered unto the Father.
Yours in brotherly love,
Near Lexington Georgia, Jan.3, 1877.