MISS Nettie Cooper, of Mansfield, Ga, requests us to write on the sixth, eighteenth and nineteenth verses of the fourteenth chapter of John. Any one of these verses involves matter enough to occupy us for the length of a long article, but we forbear out of consideration for the patience of our readers, and will try to present simply a few thoughts along the line of each of the passages asked for. John xiv. 6, reads: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Jesus is here particularly addressing Thomas. In the fourth verse Jesus had told the disciples: “Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know,” but Thomas had replied, saying that they did not know where he was going, nor did they know the way. To this Jesus insisted that the way, the truth and the life were none other than he, Jesus, himself, so that if Thomas knew Jesus he must be acquainted with the way. There is such a thing as the children of God knowing things and not knowing that they know them. Thomas knew the way, but was not aware that he knew it. One may have an experience of grace and not know that he has it. Not until the Preacher, Jesus, opens up the spiritual understanding, do the subjects of grace know where they stand. This is the function of preaching: to tell God’s people the things they know, but do not know that they know; not to tell them that which they do not know. When Jesus spoke of his going from them, and of the way of that going, Thomas thought he must mean something altogether different from anything he knew about, but Jesus assured him he was speaking no new thing, that even this Thomas knew, though he was not aware of it. We are so apt to think that the doctrine and Jesus are distinct and separate things; that the experience and Jesus are distinct; that hope and Jesus are distinct; that faith and Jesus are distinct; and so on. The doctrine is Jesus. Abstruse dogmas and articles of a creed are not doctrine. The experience is the life of Christ manifested in the mortal flesh of his people. Christ is the hope of glory. Our imagination runs away with us at times, and we picture Jesus as away off in space, somewhere in a place called heaven, and his people as down here on earth. Christ and his people cannot be separated in any such fashion. Where the one is, there is the other. “Know ye not that the kingdom of heaven is within you?” So Thomas thought the way and Jesus must be two different things; so Mary thought the resurrection and Jesus were distinct and separate; but Jesus told Thomas, “I am the way,” and to Mary he said, “I am the resurrection.” “The way,” not a way. The word “the” shows that the way, the truth and the life, are definite things, that there are not several of them, not more than one, but just one way, one truth, one life. These things cannot be twisted and wrenched about to suit the whims of mortals, they will not be accommodated to the “say sos” and “think sos “ of men, but those whom God chooses out of the world are, through grace, reconciled to this one way, one truth, one life: Jesus. Often one hears worldly professors say it does not make any difference what church one belongs to, as they are all aiming for the same place anyway. There is no “anyway” to get to heaven ; there is just one way, the way of the cross of Christ, through his death, his resurrection and his merits alone. Furthermore, no one yet ever attained the presence of God by aiming for it. “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Never by works of their own can mortals enter heaven. The headstone shall be brought forth with shootings of, “Grace, grace unto it.” The highway of holiness, the way of salvation, Jesus, no fowl knoweth, the vulture’s eye sees it not, the lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor fierce lion passed by it. The vulture is a carrion-bird, he feeds on dead things, has no appetite nor craving for living things. His eye, while said to be the keenest of all birds, is ever on the watch for death. No wonder the vulture never sees Jesus, the way of salvation, for he is the living way; there is no death, no separation from God, in him. The natural man is a vulture. He feeds on death, and is himself dead in sin. The natural man cannot discover the way into the presence of God. Neither the whelp of the lion nor the lion himself comes into this way. No matter how strong a man may he, no matter how resolute and determined, he cannot storm the heights of heaven and take them by main force. “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” One thing let there be everlastingly fixed in us the conviction that Jesus is the truth, and there is absolutely no truth apart from him. Not in philosophy, not in logic, not in science, only in Jesus is the living, eternal truth. He came into the world to bear witness of the truth, and his testimony is faithful and true. All that disputes him is a lie. In coming into the flesh to bear the burden of his people’s guilt, he showed in his deeds that man was everlastingly unable to save himself”. The dreadful load of their guilt which he bore was testimony to the truth of their entire depravity and corruption; their guilt deserved death and he must pay the penalty. The shedding of his blood, his death and resurrection, brought salvation and justification to light. Any one who denies these things, the total depravity of man and the sole efficacy of Christ’s work, let him be angel, human or devil, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. And, also, He is the life. There in him only is the never-ending, undying life, the eternal life. Immortality is in him. We have said before, and we say it again, that there is not a spark of anything in man by nature that can outlast death, that can endure forever. Man is mortal, every bit of him. Only in Jesus is the life eternal, the life that death can- not interrupt, nor even touch. This Jesus is the very life of the church. it is he insures her immortality and eternal blessedness. We could quote any number of passages to prove that Christ is the way, the truth, the life, but to do so would lengthen out this article intolerably. If interested, the time of our readers could not be more profitably spent than in hunting out these Scriptures for themselves. “No man,” he says, “cometh unto the Father, hut by me.” Could anything be more plain”? is there any Scripture that less needs exposition to the spiritually-minded? No words of ours could make this statement of Jesus more plain than it is as he says it. Notice, please, he says, “Cometh unto the Father,” not cometh unto God. No sinner of Adam’s race can come into relationship with God as son unto a father, except by Jesus Christ. All the elect are predestinated unto the adoption of children unto God, and that adoption comes but one way, and that by Jesus Christ. No man is ever a child or a son of God, and God is the Father of no man, except by and through Jesus Christ; Through Christ, the only begotten Son of God, comes into the hearts of the elect the Spirit of adoption or sonship, and when it does thus come, they say, “Abba, Father.” Thus is power given them to become the sons of God. The way into the Fatherhood of God, therefore, is through Jesus.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” This is the only place in the Bible where the word, “comfortless,” occurs. The word in the Greek is orphanos, and means “orphans.” To be an orphan is to be without one or both parents, parent-less, bereaved. Jesus says, therefore, I will not leave you as orphans, without father or mother, bereaved, and immediately follows this with: “I will come to you.” His coming to them is to cancel their bereavement, is to end their parent-less condition. David says, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” When every earthly prop is gone, the spider’s web of creature works, an ineffectual covering, the refuge of lies swept away, all confidence in an arm of flesh destroyed, then the appearing of Jesus as the messenger of the new covenant in his blood ends the bereavement of the convicted sinner and makes good the promise: “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” During the three days that Jesus lay in the tomb the disciples were truly orphaned, the church was widowed. By the death of Christ she was free from the law, her former husband; but her new husband, Christ, had not yet arisen from the dead and dis covered himself unto her. However, he promises not to leave his disciples in such a state of orphanage or widowhood, but will again come to them, and when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, they shall also appear with him in glory. No more thence are they widows and orphans, but married unto him and take his name: “The Lord our righteousness,” and by adoption are the children of God. “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that We should bring forth fruit unto God.” The appearing of Jesus, no matter when it comes or how, is all that is needed to satisfy every longing of the quickened soul. To realize the presence of Jesus here or hereafter, in this World or in the world to come, is to be in heaven. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire be side thee.” Comfort to the full is in his appearing. “In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are please tires for evermore.”
“Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” it was only as a. man among men that the world ever did behold him. His chosen ones saw him by faith as the incarnate Son of God, but to the world he did not so appear. His true personality was withheld from the gross perceptions of natural men, and it was only for a little while that the world knew him and saw him as one man among many, and when that “little while” was ended he departed, nevermore to come again as he came then. “The world seeth me no more.” No more forever will Jesus come humiliated, bruised, persecuted, forsaken, the bearer of sins, as he name then. His coming the second time is without sin unto salvation, not a sacrifice for sin, not wearing the image of the transgressor, nor the badge of mortality. “But ye see me.” Yes, the called and chosen of God do always behold, him, for to them is he revealed.
Their faith always embraces him. “When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” They shall see him, and seeing him, shall he like him. He appeared to them after his resurrection, and, bestowing upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost, received them up into the gospel heavens by the power of his resurrection, thus making them sharers in his victory over death, hell and sin. So did he fulfill his promise unto them: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may he also.” In his light they were given to see light. Spiritual understanding comes only by the operation of the power of his resurrection. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” This is the only guarantee whereby there can be life for any of the elect in the presence of God. This word cuts like a sword. It excludes everything of the flesh and of the natural man. Solely because Christ lives, and for no other reason, is there life for the church. The church can perish no less than the Godhead. The life of one is the life of the other. God himself must as soon cease to be as that one, even the feeblest of his fold, fall and die. Our welfare is not furthered by our goodness nor hindered by our wickedness. The eternal life of God is the perseverance of the saints and their final preservation unto glory. L.
Elder H. H. Lefferts
Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 21
November 1, 1914