Dear Brethren Of The Signs, And All Who May Be Interested: – The article entitled “A Quandary” in August 15th number of the Signs was the outcome, humanly speaking, of years of study and comparison with the inspired word or text of the Scriptures, that I might come to a just and true conclusion as to what the teaching of the Spirit is concerning salvation, and the use of gospel ordinances with relation to the evidences thereof, consequently I have had to meet many opponents at every step of the way of advancement. But I must not say too much along this line to occupy your time needlessly.
I will say here that I have before me the August 15th number, which is the second received by sister Smith, of Riffe, Wash., sent her at my request.
My purpose in writing is to continue my remarks along the line of the former letter, and I will proceed without further apology. The Acts, as I have before said, are history, they are not the direct testimony of the Spirit as given by the apostles, but are the exact and reliable record of that testimony of the Spirit by the apostles, and other chosen and ordained writers who were in the Spirit which came upon the apostles upon the day of Pentecost, and afterwards also, until the prophecy and vision and testimony were sealed up among the apostles as a finality in the revelation to John by the Spirit upon the Lord’s day (not Sunday). Now to the subject, and the question, and answer, “What must I do to be saved!” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Then follows the promise, “Thou shalt be saved.” The spirit of the promise is that it is through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; the inheritance of salvation is through Christ by faith; therefore when the jailor believed he was sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, as was Abraham before he was circumcised, or long afterwards had offered up Isaac by faith, he was justified by faith, and the testimony is on record with precision and certainty. So also it came to the jailer as one given case, and it must be the same in all other cases where the soul of man is involved as regards salvation. It must be the same, and by the same Spirit of the living God, and not of man, in all cases as well as in this case. If it were not so, the Scriptures would be hard to understand and apply, either in faith or practice. If this be true and applicable in the case of the jailor, we have here an established rule of judgment in all the Scriptures given by inspiration of God, else nothing at all is reliable, so “that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” All beside this will not measure with this infallible rule of faith and practice, as will be acknowledged by all save detainers of the faith and practice, both ancient and modern. But now to the testimony of Paul and Silas, as to the matter of salvation and the means of its attainment. This is all that we have anything to do with so far as relates to this sixteenth chapter of the Acts. Their answer is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou [the jailor] shalt be saved, and thy house.” This was first to him personally, and then to his house individually. Now Luke says that he was baptized that same hour of the night, calling on the name of the Lord, with all his house. Now if the answer is not full to the question, it devolves upon the disputant to show the deficiency. Are the writings of the Spirit lacking in fullness through Paul and Silas in not saying one word about baptism or other conditions? No, the testimony accords with the word of promise which was made to Abraham and all nations in him, “Sarah shall have a son.” And, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Says the same Paul, “Now Ave, brethren, as Isaac was, are all the children of promise.” This takes in the jailor with his house, as they were the children of faith, and the children of Abraham according to the promise, and having Abraham’s faith they were blessed with faithful Abraham. When the jailor believed, he received the promise, and was sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance.
Why did not Paul tell all about baptism being material to salvation, if it were needed? In the minds of the Philippians it was a personal question, with all the means of its attainment. Or why did Luke leave the answer indefinite when he recorded the testimony of the Spirit in the words of Paul? Paul spake by the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven, in mighty deeds and gifts of the Spirit, shaking the walls of the prison house, and so accompanying the words with signs following. Paul said that he was set for the defence and confirmation of the gospel, then let us take Paul for it.
Your brother, I. N. NEWKIRK.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 74., No. 23.
DECEMBER 1, 1906.