Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself Likewise took part of the same; Hebrews ii, 14.
In July Sectarian we published an article from the gifted pen of the late Elder J. F. Johnson, of Kentucky, upon this most important subject. We were favored with an intimate acquaintance with Elder Johnson, have entertained him at our old Virginia home, and frequently during his life visited him at his home in Kentucky, as well as travelled over the scenes of his earlier labors in Indiana: have often heard him preach with power, and from such acquaintance regard him as one of the very ablest ministerial gifts in an age noted for able ministerial gifts, an age which produced such men as Gilbert Beebe, Thomas P. Dudley, David Caudell, J. M. Theobald, David Patman, with many others.
Elder Johnson was especially clear upon the subject discussed in our July issue, and we do not propose in any sense to review his very able article, with which we are in full accord. But we have been requested also to write upon this subject, and yielding to this request and our own impression we will make some reference to it.
In discussing the subject it is of primal importance to consider the character of the children that partake of flesh and blood. As Elder Johnson so ably shows they cannot be fleshly children, if so what benefit would accrue from their partaking of flesh and blood, “What more would the child be after such a participation than a fleshly one” – than he was before?
As in any investigation of this or any other Scripture subject our whole desire should be to ascertain the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH, we ask the reader to pause here for a moment and turn to Hebrews ii, where the text occurs and carefully read its connection.
We ask you, kind reader, after such careful perusal it in this connection you cannot clearly see the character of these children? Is not Christ here brought to view as the head, and they the members of his body? Are they not “all of one” verse 11. Identified in one life, in one seed; “He saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians iii, 16.
It is vain for any to attempt to ignore the fact that these children are of God, born of God. If born of God they must necessarily have existed in him before that birth, for one cannot be born of a life in which he had no prior seed existence.
In tracing the testimony of a birth as first recorded in Genesis i, the law of production is distinctly declared to be “after his kind, whose seed is in itself.” “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind.”
Here is a positive declaration in typical creation, where the invisible things of God “from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” Romans i, 20. The testimony requires an indwelling seed producing after “his kind,” a development of kindred character in no wise differing from the producing seed.
To develop earthly (fleshly) life; they much necessarily come from an earthly seed. It is therefore written; “The first man is of the earth, earthy.” and “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy.” 1 Corinthians xv, 47, 48. To develop Spiritual (heavenly) children, there must with equal necessity be spiritual life, spiritual children must come from a spiritual seed: the second man &c.
We have then two different orders of life, the one natural (earthy;) the other spiritual (heavenly:) two different order of headships, the one (Adam,) created; the other (Christ,) uncreated. To which the apostle testifies; “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” 1 Corinthians xv, 47.
The first head (seed) must produce earthly or fleshly children; the second spiritual children, each “after his kind.” The fleshly or natural children must necessarily have been created in the creation of their natural head, could have had no existance prior to such creation. The spiritual children much have been chosen in their spiritual head, must have had an actual existence in him (Christ.) As the head is eternal these last named children must be eternal; their existence in him is necessarily an eternal existence; they are as old as he is, for they were set up in him “from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” Proverbs viii, 23. See Isaiah Lxv, 22.
We are told in Romans v, 14, that Adam “is the figure of him that was to come.” Then as is the development of the natural so we find the development of the spiritual. There was a personal seed existence of each child in Adam, developed by a natural birth, so there must be a personal seed existence in Christ, the second Adam, developed by a spiritual birth; the birth of Adam develops a natural or fleshly child, the birth of God develops a spiritual child.
It is written in I John v, 7; “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Again in John i, 1; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is evident from this testimony that the Word (Christ,) and God the Father are one. And Jesus Tells us in John xvii, 23; “I in them, and thou in me.” “As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” Verse 21. What more can be said in testimony of such unity than that they are born, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John i, 13.
Hence as the Son (Word) exists in the Father: so these children exist in the Son; they are one in him their eternal and living head, as he is one in God the Father. They have never been, as they can never be separated from him. He is their “everlasting Father.” (Isaiah ix, 6;) they are his “everlasting children.” The words Father and child are relative; an everlasting Father certainly calls for everlasting children; in other words as the Father is eternal the children must be eternal, having an eternal existence in the Father; hence we read of the church “which is in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians i, 1.
Birth is simply the developing of the prior existing child; the birth does not make the child, but it is the child that causes the birth; and the birth in no sense changes its nature, but simply changes its surroundings, developing it in a new chapter of life; but we can trace the child back in a continuous similar line of life to its prior seed existence; identifying it as a personal unit in that seed. If the seed is earthy (Adam,) the development must be of that nature; if the seed is Spiritual (Christ,) the child born must be spiritual; hence the Saviour says; “That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” John iii, 6.
The children of Adam were created in his creation, existed in his life, the birth of each developing his prior existence as a personal unit in Adam the seed or head of the whole development; which must be quickened, born, and developed; necessarily manifesting no more, nor less than what existed in the original seed; and in each personal unit in that seed to be so quickened, born, and developed.
The Children of God eternally existed in God the Father, were set up in Christ their spiritual head; a spiritual seed to develop spiritual children, each spiritual child existing as a personal (spiritual) unit in Christ the seed; to be brought forth or developed by a spiritual birth; manifesting a different order of life from the Adamic development; one is called the “breath of life” (Genesis ii, 7:) the other, the “Spirit of life” (Romans viii, 2.)
One of these orders is not made up out of the other; but each is separate in seed and development; each retaining its particular characteristics; the spiritual (man) a seal of the natural (man) Ephesians i, 13, an evidence of the eternal salvation, glorious change, and redemption of the body or outward man. This seal, however, does not change, but simply holds under such mortal body unto the glorious change in resurrection immortality.
Having clearly established the character of the children which are (not were) partakers of flesh and blood, let us consider the manner in which they so partake. Upon this point the testimony is as clear as upon the other. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Christ) also himself likewise took part of the same.” Christ partook as they they partake, therefore if we wish to find how these children partake of flesh and blood it is only necessary to see how Christ partook of flesh and blood.
Upon this point the Scriptures are very clear. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew i, 18. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.” Luke i, 35.
Does not this testimony show the existence of the son of God before his manifestation in a mortal body; and as he was the “first-born among many brethren.” Romans viii, 29; “the first-born of every creature.” Colossians i, 15; and as we have previously shown one with them in eternal unity, with equal assurance we claim that each and all of these children had with him, in him, and like him an eternal existence, and were manifested like him, and he like them (Hebrews ii, 14,) in mortal flesh. It is written in Hebrews x, 5; “Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.” The marginal reading is a body “thou hast fitted me.” As surely as a body was fitted or prepared for him, so surely a body is fitted or prepared for each one of these dear children which come “down from God out of heaven.” Revelation xxi, 2.
The existence of these children prior to their manifestation in mortal bodies is clearly demonstrated in Scripture. “And it came to pass, that, when Elizebeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizebeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.” Luke i, 41. Will any one from this testimony question the prior existence of him who was afterward name “John the Baptist.” “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah i, 5. Do we not have here evidence of the prior existence of Jeremiah not simply in a natural, but in a spiritual identity, as a sanctified, called, and ordained prophet of God. “The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Romans ix. 11, 12, 13. The love of God referred to in the last verse of the quotation could never have been bestowed upon any but a spiritual child.
It is “the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” referred to by the apostle in Romans viii, 35-39, and from which nothing shall be able to separate the children of the Regeneration. It does not flow from a natural fountain, nor is it bestowed upon any but a spiritual subject. It is the love which is of God, like the ointment upon Aaron’s head which descended to the lowest member of his body; the immortal love which identifies in its eternal embrace only those who are born of God.
The children that partake of flesh and blood, are not therefore made up out of flesh and blood; that is, it is not the natural man born again that forms the spiritual child, as surmised by Nicodemus, and held by Clark and others in 1852-56; by Durand, Chick and others in 1886-89; but the previously existing eternal, spiritual child existing in God the Father, and born of God, whose “seed (Christ) remaineth in him.” 1 John iii. 9. The mortal flesh (body) of which he partakes composes every thing that comes from Adam; an entire mortal man, born of the flesh, and remains flesh after the spiritual child takes up its abode in such mortal body. The spiritual child comprises all that is produced by the spiritual birth. It can be well called a spiritual birth, because it is the birth of a spiritual child, which “cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The natural man can do nothing but sin, hence comes the Christian warfare between “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and the “new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians iv, 22, 24.
These points of truth from a Gospel stand-point are self evident, that these are two men, not two principles in one man, as held by the Means’ Baptist, and is an absurdity, congenial only to carnal reason; but two men, distinct in seed existance, in quickening, in birth, and in development; the natural or outward man (born of the flesh:) the spiritual or inward man (born of the Spirit.) Each of these two in the Scriptures is called a man, neither is either designated as a principle merely. The outward man is the temple for the indwelling, heavenly child.
Proceeding from a discussion of the manner in which these children partake of flesh and blood we pass to consider the effect of such a partaking. It is held by our adversaries that this Gospel doctrine does nothing for the natural man. The fact is that it does everything essential to his eternal redemption. “In whom after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians i, 14.
The indwelling child seals the mortal body (natural or fleshly man) in which he dwells, unto eternal redemption, as the treasure hid in the field (Matthew xiii, 44.) secures the purchase of the field.
It is the “Spirit of adoption.” (Romans viii, 15; Galatians iv, 5) that seals the earthen vessel, and wherever this seal is found it is the sure evidence of the salvation of the mortal man (body) which is so sealed.
We have not yet received the adoption, but we have received the “Spirit of adoption.” The natural man does not cry “Abba, Father,” by the spirit as held by some, but the Spirit itself cries “Abba Father.” We are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans viii, 23. “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans viii, 11. And when the adoption shall have been consumated “then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians xv, 54. Assuredly here is something done for the natural man – the sinner. In fact the entire economy of the Gospel is for the salvation of the sinner; but there is an order in such salvation.
The indwelling, spiritual child (that partakes of flesh and blood,) is the one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness, after “true holiness;” and longs to be delivered from a body of sin and death; “we ourselves groan within ourselves.” Wonderful relationship this! Tis I in the flesh, and I in the Spirit; but it is certainly not the same I in each instance. It is not the same man that is black as the tents of Kedar, and at the same time white as the curtains of Solomon. It is the new man, the new creature in Christ Jesus (the indwelling, spiritual child) that groans being heavily burdened while in this time state; and who “shall be delivered from this bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans viii, 21. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Verse 19. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Colossians iii. 4.
Of what we have written this is the sum, that the children who partake of flesh and blood, are, every have been, and ever will be spiritual, as chosen in an eternal spiritual seed: developed by a spiritual birth, and made manifest in mortal bodies, that are born of Adam: the life of Jesus manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians iv, 11. That these heavenly children seal the mortal body or bodies in which they dwell as subjects of eternal redemption; to be consumated in the “resurrection of the dead.” But in their mortal pilgrimage, the indwelling child is antagonistic to the fleshly man, the mortal temple in which they dwell, revealing the wonderful mystery of two separate and distinct *men dwelling in one character. “Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.” Son vi, 13.
That the heavenly child is the stronger man who binds, and holds in subjection the strong man, Luke xi, 21, 22, that the outward man is but the servant of the inner man, as it is written “the elder shall serve the younger.” Romans ix, 12. The inner man gives color to the life of this dual character, and bends the earthly man to unwilling subserviency. That there is no change in the nature of the outward man until he is born from the dead, as born in “the resurrection of the dead” whereby he is changed and fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians iii, 21. That this entire and glorious Gospel economy was for the salvation and eternal redemption of the “vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” Romans ix, 23. These children of God in their pilgrimage here wander in a world uncongenial, nay hostile to all of their holy instincts; in a land of desert and drouth; “in the wilderness in a solitary way;” They cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivers them out of their distresses. Psalms Cvii, 4, 6.
“Pilgrims they are, and heav’nward bound;
Their journey lies along this road;
This wilderness they travel round,
To reach the city of their God.”
Oh the depths of sorrow, the keen bitter, fierce temptations that often assail them in their dark and dreary way; but at “evening time it shall be light.” Zechariah xiv, 7. Blessed and glorious anticipation this! that at the end of their journey here they shall awake with his likeness. Psalms xvii 15: they shall enter unending rest; purified and glorified; Divinely prepared to dwell forever in the presence of their God.
Then let us who are “of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Who died for us that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
“Wherefore, comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
1 Thessalonians v. 8-11.
Elder William M. Smoot
The Sectarian August 1914
* The outward or natural is certainly called a man in the Scripture; and the inward or spiritual is also called a man; and both of these constitute the dual character named.