I wish to bring a subject before you this morning that has a lot of sub-subjects. I have no pretense that I will either exhaust this subject or do it any justice, but I do want to, I think the way we said it down in Alabama was, recapitulate some things that we have attempted to preach to you now for some years. It seems that from season to season the enemies of all eternal righteousness rise up and begin to sniff about like there was an odor in the air. And usually if you ask them what that odor is, they say; "It smells like an absoluter." Absolute Predestinatation is not my subject this morning but we take the full blame for any error that might be found in an Old School Baptist church or even amongst its friends. The subject I pose to deal with this morning is in my opinion the core and heart of all we'll ever know of spiritual things. And that is our ETERNAL UNION with Christ. If I understand the word eternal, it's just that; eternal. And I know that we have some friends that say eternal means one thing and everlasting means something else. They say, "You can start something and it goes on everlastingly, but if it's eternal it never started and it never stops." Well, I'm not before you to play word games but rather to set before you the necessary view of our eternal union with Christ else all other articles or doctrines we believe would be in serious question.
Just to begin, what do we mean by eternal union? I mean by it that we have always been united with Christ. Who, you say? His children. No one else. I do not have any understanding in the Bible anywhere that all of Adam's family was in Christ in eternity. I believe with all of my heart, and I believe the Bible supports it, that Jesus had a seed that were one in Him. How far back does Jesus go? Well there are those who say that Jesus was created. I believe they are heretics! I believe Jesus is the co-equal of the Father and the Son and He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. That Jesus is the visible fleshly manifestation of God in this world but is as much God as yet He was in heaven. And He always will be. I'm satisfied that the only God we'll only really know in heaven is our Savior who is God. "The Word of God ... and the Word was God" was the language that John used in the first chapter of his epistle. As to whether or not He actually carried His people within Him in heaven let's consider this: If He didn't, where were they? "Well, he's in the mind and prospect of God." God had proposed that He would have the children but did He really have them, or did He just propose that He would have them? If we could be blessed to see what God said when your thoughts are not my thoughts, your ways are earthly and mine are heavenly and therefore are separated. God is the almighty and if we have any understanding of the word God we recognize that there are NO limitations to His power, His goodness, His wrath, His judgment, His mercy or whatever it might be. God reigns supreme over all these things or entities whether they are or are not. I'm satisfied that's it a futile argument but there is nothing that God does not know. As someone said "He knows all of the unknowables." God knows all of the variables and God knows everything! Else He wouldn't be the God of all wisdom. God rules over everything, else He wouldn't be the God of all power. God directs everything, else He might be the God of chance. And we could go on and on and on like that and recognize that if you believe there is a God you believe that He is fully in power and ever shall be. There are two things that I believe to be absolutely and totally vital to the child of God to understand to have any comfort whatsoever. One is his total depravity. You understand what we mean by total depravity I'm sure. That is, that man is incorrigible before God. I hear it said at funerals and at other places; "That was a fine man there or that was a good woman." Yes, in nature and by the standards of man and the laws of the world they may well be. But before God there is nothing that will make them fine and good. But that which is imputed to them by their eternal elder brother and their spiritual God Jesus in whom they were born and by whom they were born again. I've got a lot of texts in my mind that I seriously doubt I'm going to get to, but will you watch with me as we go along here. In Isaiah chapter 53 I'll read one verse. You all know what chapter 53 is about it. It says it pleased the Lord to bruise him. He had put Him to grief. "And thou shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see His seed." Do you believe that? Do you understand what it means that Jesus had a seed and that he would see them? See their understanding was in the olden days of the Jews that every man that died not having seed was somewhat a curse. It was the honor that God conferred upon a man that he would have children and see his seed. Now if a man was cut off in youth and had no children they might have had some exceptions, I don't know. But the thing that we want to keep in mind that the seed was that they would bear the generation that would follow them at a later time. And since it appeared that God had turned His back on His son and since the Jewish hierarchy believed that he was an impostor he had no seed as far as they were concerned. And yet the prophet Isaiah said He shall see them. And how was it that He saw? The answer was fulfilled in the very eternal covenant purpose of God when He was crucified. It was no accident that Jesus died. It was no accident that Jesus was buried in the borrowed tomb and it certainly was the will of God according to the thirteenth chapter of Acts that on the third day He rise again. And He came forth as the Scriptures said in Romans 5, for what? For our justification.
They've had a big up to do about it over the years about eternal justification. Some of our so-called Calvinist friends say, "God justified his children in eternity." And some of our primitive friends say, "God saved His children in eternity." He didn't do either one! And I say with all reverence. First off, tell me why the children of God in heaven before they ever sinned and fell in Adam would ever need any justification? For what would they be justified from? And tell me second, why they would need to be saved in heaven when they hadn't got lost yet? If they were in heaven, if they were somewhere there chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, they certainly stood in no need of any of the things that would happen to God's fallen race in Adam. Do you understand what I am saying there? Now, they say the children weren't really there. Well if they weren't there, where were they? Well, back they go again to "in the mind and purpose of God." I don't understand that, and I reject it fully and completely. Everything was in the mind and purpose of God, but we must understand it that with God there is no yesterday, there is no today and there is no tomorrow. God is the great, as He spoke to Moses, the I AM. Not the "I was, and the I am and I shall be." But the "Great I AM" and He was always the same and He said "You sons of Jacob are secure because I change not." God didn't have one mind today and another one tomorrow and if somewhere as they say, "In the beginning He determined that He was going to save His children out of Adam's fallen race." Then wasn't this a perspective, something that God had to wait on in the chronological series of times in order for it to come to pass? Tell me how He could plan to do this if it hadn't been actually His purpose and will and fulfilled as they stood in Christ? Now I haven't got to the reasons why we believe they stood in Christ, but what I want you to see is this. God's children were not stacked up like card-wood somewhere or bottled up somewhere as a little teeny seed they would sprinkle on the ground someday and then some arminian preacher sow the word and they would grow. It says we were born of incorruptible seed. Do you know what the incorruptible seed is? I understand it to be Jesus Christ. "Well," they say, "you don't need to be born again if you were already in Christ." Well you see they do not understand anything whatsoever about the doctrine in the scripture of the old and the new man. About the inward an the outward man. About the man in Christ and the man in Adam.
Now, Paul plainly stated "as in Adam, all die." Do we understand what that means? When Adam sinned, exactly what God said would take place, did take place. In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. And he die and all of his seed died with him, they were born dead. From thenceforth every son of Adam, the book of generations of Adam; Generations, plural as we know, each generation succeeded in propagating another generation, they were born in trespasses and sins. They were shapen in iniquity, they came forth from their mother's womb speaking lies, they were dead and alienated from God. Even as God said about us, "And you hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." They were born dead. Now if they were born dead, they certainly didn't have the spirit of Jesus Christ in them did they? Now here we find as we contend a union with Christ from everlasting. And here we find also a union with Adam that goes back to the beginning of the entire human race. And when the entire human race fell in Adam then every one of them were vessels as they were born. And as God stated through the Apostle Paul, out of one lump he had prepared some vessels to mercy and he had prepared other vessels to wrath. You say does that mean He chose all of them out of the same lump? It doesn't mean He chose any of them there. That is speaking about the deliverance of God's children in their fleshly or tabernacle or clay form. Out of the same lump. Here one comes into the world and he is a vessel of mercy and what takes place? He is born of the Spirit of God, Christ is born within him. And he becomes that treasure that's hid in this earthen vessel. The world can see the vessel and occasionally the world being thrust off by the vessel because the vessel has something within it that is repelling that which is natural to the dead man. But did that vessel become a spiritual vessel because Christ was born in it? Explain why you still sin! It's contended by most people that when one is born again he is born all over. From his toes to the top of his head, and that when he is born again God has quickened the whole man. You see they don't believe there is an old man and they don't believe there is a new man. But anyone who has ever experienced the work of spiritual quickening within them knows that they have to cry out occasionally with the Apostle Paul when he said, "Oh, wretched that I am," not that I was but that I am, "who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" He still is in the body of death, he still is tormented daily by his sins and by the convictions that he finds he cannot do the things that please God and he cannot do the things that he knows would please himself. And it causes him to cry out as a man who is wretched and wants deliverance.
Well, deliver yourself Paul, that's what conditional salvation is all about. I've never heard a greater oxymoron as they call it. A conditional salvation, a conditional salvation! Now we are not talking about him and somebody else. We're talking about a God and a sinner. What kind of conditions can a sinner meet in order to get himself saved? You say, "Well, he's born again so God's given the equipment, He gave the ability and He gave him what's necessary in order that he might do right in this world." Well, isn't that strange? How many of them are doing it? I will challenge any human being in this world if they would go out and look about with all of their friends and all of their acquaintances or anyone else they might come in contact with. And say, "Are you living a sinless and perfect life?" Sometimes I wonder if I am living anything else. It's all sin, it's all corruption. Then how can you claim to be born again if you've been born all over? If the flesh has been born of the Spirit? Remind you once again of the words Jesus used to Nicodemus. He said that "which is born of the flesh is flesh." Always was, always will be. "That which is born of the spirit is spirit." If we are born of the Spirit of God, we are spiritual. And I cannot find anything spiritual in these members. In fact I can find that the only way it could ever be spiritual is exactly like Christ instructed us when He had Paul write to the Corinthians. That we must be "sown in corruption," we die and were buried corruptible people, and it's there in the grave that the corruption is thrown off. When we are raised again, when Christ is the first-fruits and then the seeds that follow after, and when He gathers His people together from the graves and the four corners of the earth, from the seas and from all other places and brings them together as one in His body, pure clean and white; all that corruption will be gone. Then will be fulfilled that which he spoke of through Paul in Romans for he said we groan and travail together in our bodies waiting for what? To be born again? No! Waiting for the redemption of the body! To wait the redemption of the body and what did he call it? Our adoption. "Our adoption means the same thing as election." It doesn't mean any such thing! God's children, God's eternal children, those in Christ never needed to be adopted. They were already one in Him, and they always were one in Him, and they shall always be one in Him! But that which fell in sin, the old man in Adam, this natural being was corrupted and it stood in a disastrous condition and the only way it could be in the family of God was for it to be adopted because it could not be born again. Only the spiritual individual man from Christ could be born again and the old man be adopted. Then you find a union of the spiritual man and the natural man brought together in one complete and perfect and whole. "Fool," they say, "No, it's one complete man." I wonder what the Apostle Paul meant then when he said, "For me to live is Christ." I'm going to read something there lest I forget it and you can pardon me for the delay but my mind is not well synchronized sometimes. "I'm crucified with Christ." Oh, what a blessed thought that is. I don't know exactly how to explain what I feel there, but when I see in Jesus the holy, harmless Son of God who was rich and who abandoned all of his wealth and came to this earth and partook of poverty that we who were poor might be made rich. I can think that there's nothing more beautiful and satisfying to the child of God to know then that it has always been God's will for Jesus to die for sins. When the angels came to Joseph what was it he said? "Thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins." Now let me ask you, was there any contingencies there? Were there any conditions there? Were there any propositions there? Was it certain that there would be a time salvation and a conditional or eternal salvation all mixed up and that if you would save yourself in time then God would save in eternity? As far as I am concerned if you're saved, you're saved by God! I believe that is what Jonah meant. When he was in the belly of the whale. He was in a fix, he wasn't getting out. He didn't have a pocket knife with him to carve his way through or anything else. And he was in the bottom of the ocean, in the belly of the whale. He had been there for three days and three nights and he was made to cry out that "salvation is of the Lord." I believe that first, last and always! If there is a salvation in time or eternity it's by grace and not by works. It's not by something we'd have done. It's not by something that we're going to do or that we've been baptized or we've believed or we've joined the church or added something to our spiritual prestige before God so that He can like us better than He did. Have you ever heard the expression, "God's disobedient children." All of God's children are disobedient! All of them need daily washing; all of them need daily crying before God. But I may tell you this that you cannot have any of that nor do any of that without the unassisted Spirit of God to work in you both to will and to do that which is God's pleasure and not yours. Back to the text I have started to read, "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me." I see far too many I's there for that just to be one man. "I" am crucified. "I" live. Yet not "I" but Christ liveth in me. Can you not see then that Paul recognized that it's not him but Christ? It's not what he does that God honors but Christ in him. And the crucifixion that he feels in the flesh is not because of himself but because Christ is there. And there is a spiritual groaning and there is a spiritual growing. We do grow in grace but we grow up to the speed and direction that God has provided for us, not faster and not slower and when we come to the fruition and the tree has become ripened and the fruit falls, God has gathered His harvest and not before. Brethren I am not going to be capable to continue much longer, but I would like to touch a few other thoughts if you can bear with me.
"He that committeth sin is of the devil." That's a scary text isn't it? For the devil sinneth from the beginning, for this harvest the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil. The sin, the transgression, the iniquity and all. Paul says "For as in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive." All that were in Adam did die and all that were IN Christ were made alive. They didn't dance around somewhere hiding in the corner waiting till God said I'm going to choose you now and you're going to get to become one of my children and I'm going to put you in Jesus. No! Just the opposite! Jesus was going to put himself in you, "Christ in you the hope of glory." That which you did not have previously as you had fallen in Adam and that came down from the glory of God himself and it opened up light. And those that were walking in darkness saw the great light of God and they did not always understand nor feel nor know what it was but they could recognize this one thing like the blind man said; "One thing I know whereas I was blind now I see." He didn't have a head full of knowledge did he? But he had that one thing and he knew it.
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." Well brethren that pretty well thins out the crowd doesn't it? "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." There you see the two distinct natures. The spiritual man cannot, does not and will not sin! The old man cannot, does not and will not do good! It must take the creative work of God to bring Christ into him and then the corrupted work of the grave to take the sin out of him and then the power of God to raise him from the dead incorruptible. And there He redeems His adopted one and brings them together in glory and presents them to the Father. And they are clean and white and none of them, none of them, none of them are bragging about what they did to assist God in this life!
I had the occasion to ask an old conditional preacher one time, he was a wonderful old man, but he got his doctrine somewhere other than the Bible. I will just call his name, you don't know him, "Brother Vandelure."
I said "Do you believe in conditional time salvation?"
He said, "Oh yes I do."
I said, "And you have done many things that blessed you for doing them?"
"Oh yes I believe that with all my heart."
And I said, "Well, I thought you did and now I want to ask you this. Do you believe there has ever been a time when God just blessed you by pure free grace? It was nothing that you had done, God just blessed you."
"Oh yes," He said, "Many times, many times!"
"Well then a couple of questions I would like to ask you on top of that. Of those two kinds of blessings you get, those of works and those of grace. Which gives God the most glory?"
Well, he stammered around a bit and said, "Well, I suppose that the ones that He gives you by grace."
I said, "All right, the second question is which one do you appreciate the most?"
"Well those that come by grace."
I said, "Why do you bother with all that conditionalism!?! Preach, live and enjoy the free grace of God and leave that rotten doctrine behind. God's children can't feed on it, they starve."
The children of God want to hear about God's glory not man's. They don't want to hear about what man did or what man ought to do. They want to hear about what God has done and what He will do. They want to see their Saviour and not try to consider themselves in that number of those that have done something for God to enhance their standing. Brethren the only standing I want is that which is in Jesus! When He stands before me and between me and the Father and God views Him and views me as in Him and we are one entirely and completely and fully one. Always have been and always will be.
The brethren down in some parts of the south advocate that here's where we come from. "We were chosen out of Adam's fallen race." You know they have even had that as part of their articles of faith, and I even united with an association down there that had that for their articles of faith: That the children of God were chosen out of Adam's fallen race. Would that bear the test of the Scriptures? Can we find anything to indicate that that was so? I'll read first, if you will follow me here in the book of Romans the ninth chapter. It would be wonderful if we could read the whole thing, but you can at home. In chapter nine of the book of Romans he says, "not as though the word of God hath taken none effect, for they're not all Israel which are of Israel." He said that was self evident wasn't it? Here's all of the Israelite tribes and yet God has as far as eternal people were considered, a royal priesthood, a holy seed and so forth only those that were born of the Spirit of God were of the true Israel and the rest of them were dispersed. When He said, "You shall not see me henceforth until you say blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." He certainly meant the Jewish nation would never again see Jesus except as they saw Him as the Messiah, the Prince, the Savior. As Jesus, the eternal Son of God come to deliver His people and if they were not one of them they would never see Him except in torment and torture. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God. You would think if that was so unusual you would think it would be so today. The children of the flesh are not the children of God! But the children of the promise are counted for the seed! The children of promise! God promised a seed to Jesus and God saw fit to honor His promise that all of His seed would come forth and He shall see His seed as Isaiah said. For this is the promise; "at that time will I come and Sarah shall have a son." And not only this but when Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our Father Isaac, for "the children being not yet born neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand." I won't read any further, I just wanted to point out something. What were they called before they were born? Perspective children? They were children before they were born! "The children having not yet been born." I just wanted you to see that one in connection with another that I would like to read in Hebrews. I am fully aware that you know this one also but we will glance at it. In Hebrews chapter 2 it says, "for both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Saying I will declare thy name unto my brethren in the midst of the church when I sing praise unto thee. And again I will put my trust in Him and again behold I and the children (I and the children), which God hath given me." What did God give Jesus? Children! Not perspective children. He didn't promise Him a little box of tin soldiers under a christmas tree somewhere. He promised Him children and that's exactly what he gave him. He didn't promise him a certain number or a lesser number dependent upon how many he could get or how many would follow him. They were ALL promised and they ALL came. "And of them that were given, none were lost." Children! "For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood." You see they were children before they were ever in Adam. The children partook of flesh and blood. They didn't become children when they were born out of Adam's loins, they were children and partook of the fleshly body of Adam himself. "Ye also likewise took part of the same that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death. That is, the devil." On and on we might go looking at all of the scriptures that teach this one and the same thing. God is God and He changes not! God is ALL powerful and God's purposes will ripen fast unfolding every hour as the fool hath said. And we can rest assured that whatever, if we may call it, that the plan of God is, it will be consummated in time in Jesus Christ exactly as it was purposed in what we call eternity. And I wish that we might be blessed to see that this little ball we live on here and on either side of it is eternity. What we call past eternity, what we call future but there really is but one eternity as there is but one God. When there shall be no more time, all of this will be seen to be nothing but the fulfillment of God's eternal wisdom and it will then be seen what we were in Christ and not we might have been if someone had had their way about the work system and trying to put us under the law again. Saying, "If you will just work a little harder God would be more pleased with you." I am reminded there, and I will stop here, of those that came out and worked in the harvest. It's in the twentieth chapter of the gospel according to Matthew. He went out early in the morning and hired laborers. He promised them a penny. He then went out the ninth hour, the eleventh hour, and so on down through the day and he promised each a penny. Then at the very last when time was almost over, there were those others that he brought in. They all worked, some worked all day and some worked only a few minutes obviously. It is now time to be paid. Here they come. Jesus gave to every man that which he promised him. But now there were some that came and belly ached. They said, "Lord, Lord we have born this burden in the heat of the day and here is these others over here who hadn't done anything and you have given them just as much as you gave us." If I ever heard a conditionalist arminian complaint, that's it. "We've done more than they have so we ought to have more than they have." Then Jesus said this, "Friend I do thee no harm. Have I not the power to do with mine own as I will?" It is not for us to determine what is right or wrong with God or Jesus His Son. All that is right is for us to say, "Not my will but thine be done." And brother when God's will is done you may rest assured it's done exactly as He intended it to be. If it's not exactly as one would think it was intended to be it wasn't intended at all. You may think along those lines and may God bless you. Thank you.
Elder James F. Poole
Snow Hill Meeting House
Transcribed April 20, 2006