“According to a well-ordered and unbroken chain of Thy providence” were words used in the introductory wording of a prayer by Eld. J. L. Smith of Lillie, Louisiana that stimulated a sweet chain of meditations on the subject of this treatise. These inspiring thoughts were so sweet and sublime to me that I trust they were God-given. May God grant you to share some of them with me.
We read in I Kings 6:21, where Solomon used “Chains of Gold” in the interior decorations of the Temple. Golden necklaces, or chains of gold, have been worn about the neck by women throughout the ages. We read in Genesis 41:42, of Joseph wearing “A gold chain about his neck.” The lover spoke concerning the beauty or comeliness of His beloved in Songs of Solomon 1:10, thus: “Thy neck with chains of gold.” Chains of gold have been used to confer honor and as a token of love from the beginning of time until now. It is a custom that has not been broken and is yet being used today. The significance of interlinking chains of gold demands awe and amazement from those who seriously consider it! Let us consider the different phases of Truth Divine as golden chains so interlinked together that they cannot be broken nor separated.
A sister said to me some time ago, “A brain is as strong as its weakest think.” I thought, “How weak my brain must be!” It is just as truly said, “A chain is as strong as its weakest link.” All natural and carnal chains are broken because of weak links. If the chain of salvation were contingent, depending upon the volition of righteousness of any carnal natural man as one of its links, it would certainly be broken. Man in his best state is but vanity and the best of his righteousness are as’ filthy rags in God’s sight, according to the Bible. This certainly would not be golden! The chains we want to consider consists only of GOLDEN LINKS.
Gold is considered a precious metal. It is pure because it has been refined and all dross has been burned from it. We want to think of it as lasting. It is figurative of something Divine. It is figurative of something very valuable which is to be greatly desired.
A chain is composed of links interlinked one with another. Each link is endless and so intertwined that each affects the other. One link cannot be moved without moving others. The chains of divine truth are so interlinked that one phase of truth embraces another so that none can be separated. We want to think of chains strong enough to reach down deep into the miry clay of sin and vileness and rescue helpless fallen sinners from their just condemnation. We want to think of chains having their existence in eternity as coming through time and into eternity. We want to consider the Golden Chain of the God-head.
Three golden links compose the chain of the God-head. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are so interlinked that they cannot be separated. “For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and THESE THREE ARE ONE.” (I John 5:7) They are one in purpose, power, and authority. The co-ordination of the God-head is so perfect that whatsoever the Father determined concerning the salvation of poor sinners the Son accomplished completely and the Spirit reveals. The Spirit is just as able to bring to poor sinners the knowledge of the truth as the Father is to determine and the Son to accomplish. They are in strict agreement. Do you think the Holy Spirit could fai1 in any degree to translate from darkness unto light anyone for whom Christ died? If there should be any failure In any sense it would manifest a weak link in the chain. The Father determined certain ones to be saved; the Son was endowed with power to save; and, the Spirit makes the application. These are golden links that cannot be broken or altered. You may ask, “How can poor sinners be encouched in this golden chain?” Let us consider the interlinking of God’s children.
We call your attention to the prayer of Jesus as recorded in St. John 17:21 “- As Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be ONE IN US - “ Here is a three link chain so intertwining the children of God with the Father and Son that it would be just as possible to dethrone God as it would to pluck one from salvation. “I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made PERFECT IN ONE” (St. John 17:23.) This was the prayer of Jesus for those who were chosen IN HIM. We are in the Golden Chain now by being in the link of Jesus. We were chosen IN HIM before the foundation of the world. The answer to this prayer shall have been made manifest to His saints when God shall have perfected the revelation of “CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY.” (Col. 1:27) Much dross must be burned in the fiery furnace of affliction before Jesus takes up his abode in us and we experimentally become a link in this golden chain. Our trust of being in the chain is to be in the link of Jesus. Our hope of being a link in the chain is through the merits of Jesus; When we shall have been purified as gold is purified we shall shine as gold and be a link in that chain.
We are interlinked with God and the son by being in their Hands. Jesus said, “**Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (St. John 10:28-29) I want to ask the question Paul asked in the 8th chapter of Romans, “If God be for us - WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?” May we examine the Golden Chain of Salvation as recorded in Romans 8:29-30.
“For whom He did FOREKNOW, He also did PREDESTINATE to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also CALLED: and whom He called, them He also JUSTIFIED: and whom He justified, them He also GLORIFIED.” This could be properly called the five interlinking golden links in the chain of salvation. Foreknowledge, predestination, effectual calling, complete justification, and ultimate glorification are the five golden links of the strong chain which reaches from before time in eternity embracing all events relative to salvation in time, which continues on into eternity with the final glorification of His saints. Each link is so intertwined that there can be no idea entertained of contingency. This is a perfect chain of salvation with no missing links to be added. It is strong because God is in each link. No link is dependent upon the volition or acts of puny man. It is God who predestinated, foreknew, called, justified, and glorified. Is there anything else necessary? God foreknew them by choosing them in His Son. God predestinated their salvation by decreeing all things necessary thereto. God calls by the direct operation of His Holy Spirit. God justifies through His son. God glorifies by the work of His Spirit. This Three-one God perfects salvation for each and every subject of His Love. We stated that God decreed all things necessary unto the salvation of His people. Can you tell me one thing that has been, is now, or is to be, that is not necessary? This question brings me to consider this chain of salvation interchaining with the “well-ordered, unbroken chain” of ALL THINGS.
Permit us, Lord, to glance at THE GOLDEN CHAIN EMBRACING ALL THINGS. Rom. 8:28 reads, “And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” All things are linked together, so we must consider them as in the chain. Some people suggest that if we add anything to the five things mentioned in the next two verses we are liable to the plagues mentioned in Revelations 22:18. May I suggest to those who would try to take away the remaining things catalogued in the remainder of the 8th chapter of Romans that they read Revelation 22:19. Paul is showing here in the 8th chapter of Romans the interchaining of all things with the Golden Chain of Salvation that we treated upon in the paragraph above. We have briefly considered the things mentioned in the 29th and 30th verses. Let us catalogue the remainder. They are tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth, and any other creature. These are all specifically mentioned. Can you think of anything else? These are all included in the chain of all things. They all work together for good. Let us prove it by taking up one of the things mentioned in the 35th verse that man would surmise as being terrible and able to separate us from the love of Christ. Tribulations (which are severe afflictions) becomes a golden link in the Golden Chain of Experience according to Paul in Romans 5:3-5.
“- We GLORY IN TRIBULATIONS also: knowing that TRIBULATIONS worketh PATIENCE; and patience, EXPERIENCE; and experience, HOPE: and hope MAKETH NOT ASHAMED - ” One is necessary unto another. One is the effect of another. One works another. This is a five linked golden chain of experience in which the link of tribulations is glorious or golden because it is necessary in order to affect the other links. Space will not permit giving the many passages of the Bible that prove each and every child of God shall have tribulations. Have you ever been brought to thank God for these severe afflictions and fiery trials, knowing they were necessary in order to turn your trust from self unto His righteousness? When they have been revealed to you as blessings in disguise, you are made to glory in them and consider them golden. Just as certain as tribulations are experienced by a child of God, patience will be realized. They cause you to submit your case into His hand, and make you realize He is able to save. They cause you to “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” This effects an experience of grace. Through much tribulation you are made to be patient. In this state of patience Jesus comes to you as your Saviour. He takes up His abode in you. This surely is a gracious experience. When this is your experience you are made NOT ASHAMED. You are not ashamed to own Him as your Lord. You readily and anxiously confess Him as your Hope and salvation. This Hope has been wrought in you by this experience. Is not this a golden hope? A hope that is based upon the finished and complete work of Christ is wonderful. A hope that is not dependent upon the puny works of a sinful man is an “Anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Heb. 6:19) You just as surely confess this hope as you are possessed with it. This chain cannot be broken. You must be brought through all five stages. Do not ‘tell me that the link of confession is based upon the option of the creature. It is a certain work of the Holy Spirit. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10) “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.” (Prov. 16:1) Then, surely the Lord is in each of the five links in the golden chain of experience and must each be wrought by the God of Heaven! Is any part of the blessings relative to salval4on dependent upon the option of the creature? Your answer is, “No.” It is grace from eternity; it is grace in time; and, it is grace unto eternity. You sing praises unto Him for every particle of your experience realized here, and for the hope you have of being ultimately delivered from sin.
We would like to think of the chain of fire for a few moments. Seven interlinking experiences that are grievious while being experienced, prove glorious and golden for the purpose God has in them. Seven stages of the fiery furnace is mentioned in Romans 8:35. Tribulations, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword are all links in the chain of fire which are decreed to burn the dross from His people, - “Purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14) Jesus is to purify unto himself this peculiar people. He gave himself for this purpose and the application will surely be made. All dross shall be burned from them. These severe afflictions work a distress. God’s people are persecuted while distressed. This brings about a famine. Have you ever been in this famished condition when you could find nothing to quench your hunger and your thirst? Figuratively speaking, all children of God come to this stage. The reason why they become so hungry and thirsty for righteousness is because in this condition of distress they can find no righteousness of their own to satisfy. This famished condition is necessary in order to cause you to look to Him for food and drink. He is the bread and water that quenches their thirst. You must not only be brought into this famished condition but you must also be stripped of your clothing. A man clothed with his own righteousness is clothed with filthy rags. These distresses burn these filthy rags from you and you find yourself hungry, thirsty, distressed, and naked. This indeed brings about a peril. You are in close contact with the sword. The sword kills. Paul said, “We are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” He said again, “The commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Romans 7:9) We must be brought by the way of the sword. No wonder it is contrary to the will of the natural creature to come unto Jesus, because the flaming sword is turning every way. It is placed at the entrance gate which makes it a STRAIT GATE. Jesus said, “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (St. John 6:44) They must be drawn through the sword. In the song of Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 32:39, we read, “I kill, and I make alive: I wound, and I heal.” The sword is necessary in order to be made alive in the Spirit. Sword of man cannot frustrate nor separate us from His Love. Granting that man can kill the body, he cannot kill the soul. The soul of man is solely in the hands of God and cannot be touched by any other; but He is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. God operates upon the soul in the transition of His children from walking after the flesh to walking after the Spirit. The work of God upon the soul of a child of God causes it to faint. (See Psalms 107:5.) Then He restores the soul as we find in the twenty-third Psalm. My son prefaced a statement not long ago with, “When God saved my soul.” It is indeed a glorious experience of the soul to be delivered from death unto life immortal! There must be a death experienced in the STRAIT GATE. This strait gate and narrow way leadeth UNTO LIFE. (Matt. 7:13-14) The chain of fire is certainly necessary in applying the Life of Christ to his people. This chain is necessary in order to bring about REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS, which is the first link in the chain of the first principles of the oracles of God.
The golden chain of the principles of the doctrine of Christ is composed of the following links: Repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, Laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (See Heb. 6:1) These six principles are so interlinked that one is intwined with another so that one begets the other.
The golden chain of baptism consists of: baptism of the Holy Ghost, baptism of fire, baptism of repentance, baptism in Jesus, baptism in His death, baptism of the soul, and baptism of the body. We were all baptized by one Spirit into the body of Jesus when we were chosen IN HIM. We are baptized by fire in the Furnace of Affliction. We were baptized into His death by being in Him and going into the grave with Him - being crucified with Him. The Spirit envelopes or baptizes the soul while being born of the Spirit: The Spirit will baptize the body in the resurrection from the dead. We are baptized with repentance when God grants or gives us repentance. You see this golden chain of baptism begins before time in eternity when God’s people were immersed, enveloped, submerged, elected, chosen, or baptized in Christ; experienced by His people from the beginning of the work of the Holy Spirit upon them in time unto the end of their sojourn here; and, finally completed when their mortal bodies are baptized with immortality in the resurrection. This is the chain of ONE BAPTISM because it is performed by God with ONE spirit into ONE body. Each link (or phase) is golden because it is the work of God. Baptism in water is figurative of this ONE baptism which is essential unto salvation including all the links or phases. This chain of baptism of the Spirit interchains with the Golden Chain of the Fruits of the Spirit.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) This nine linked golden chain of fruit is manifested in the walk and conversation of all who have been wrought upon by the Spirit. Each are golden because it is the work of God’s Spirit. God’s Love given unto us produces this chain: love of God - love to God - love to the brethren. This great godly love produces joy unspeakable and full of glory. This produces peace that passeth understanding. It is a peaceful calm following a surging storm. The peace treaty that God stamps with the seal of the Holy Spirit makes manifest this chain: peace from God - peace to God - peace to the brethren. The undeserved peace from God begets longsuffering. We forbear because God has been so forbearing with us. We endure injuries for a long time because we found that God has been more merciful to us than we could be to others. This is interlinked with gentleness. If we love our brethren - if we manifest the joy that is in our soul, if we strive for peace; if we are in possession of a forgiving, forbearing, longsuffering spirit, surely, we are gentle, kind, not harsh in our dealings, - turning away wrath with a soft answer. This is good. The character so inspired manifests a good walk and conversation, because God has been pleased to work the chain of TO WILL AND TO DO OF HIS GOOD PLEASURE in this character. All this results in the chain of faith: faith in God - faith in Christ - faith in the brethren as being objects of God’s love. This abiding faith in God’s mercy and grace begets meekness. One so possessed is made to be humble, submissive, and not proud nor haughty in his dealings and conversations. Our walk and conversation has been tempered with the work of the Holy Spirit. Our disposition has been decidedly affected. One is not radical nor fanatical but moderation is evidenced in his demeanor. His temperament has been changed from serving the law of sin to crying for and desiring the law of the Spirit in Christ which is the law of LOVE.
Time and space forbids us writing our thoughts on the chains of the law, love, steps of a good man, growth in grace, deliverance, and other GOLDEN CHAINS OF DIVINE TRUTH that have so flooded my mind for the past few weeks. I trust God will bless the reader with GOLDEN CHAINS OF SPIRITUAL THOUGHTS to meditate sweetly upon His wonderful care for you. - E.J.L.
Elder E.J. Lambert
Signs of the Times - Editorial
Vol. 122, No. 7 – July, 1954