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The Clarion Herald

    In the eighth century B.C. Isaiah wrote: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined", (9:2). Hundreds of years later Matthew declared this prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ, (Matt. 4:13-16).
    In the prologue to his Gospel, John unmistakably referred to Jesus as the One in whom "was life", and said that this life was "the light of men". John the Baptist was not that light, but came "to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe ... That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not", (John 1:4-10). That these words were firmly rooted in the messianic claims of Jesus Christ will be evident when one examines those claims. And it is significant that this same John later declared that "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all", (I Jn. 1:15).
    Jesus unequivocally declared His deity when He said: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but

shall have the light of 1ife", (Jn. 8:l2). This record was true, even if He did speak of Himself; the Father verified it, (Jn. 8:18). He declared: "As long as I am in the world, I AM the light of the wor1d" (Jn. 9:5). And, having spoken these words, He verified their validity by a Messianic "sign"; He bestowed sight on a man who had been born blind. This was something unique in the realm of religious experience. The rabbis could not point to the healing of a single case of congenital blindness before this.
    Again Jesus showed Himself to be devastatingly practical. His words and deeds were always compatible. As a light He had come to banish spiritual darkness, superstition, and fear. His ability to do this in the spiritual realm was demonstrated by a physical act -- and in such a way that all but the willfully ignorant might understand. Nor is it insignificant that this work was performed on the Sabbath day.
    In contemplation of His coming passion, and exaltation to the Father's right hand, Jesus spoke the words recorded in John 12:35-36: "Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light".
    There is another passage in which Jesus spoke of MORE than the gracious OFFER of spiritual light. Attached to such grace there is an OBLIGATION. "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should NOT ABIDE IN DARKNESS. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the words that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day", (Jn. 12:46-48).
    When Jesus spoke of His church as being the "light of the world" (Matt. 5:14), He did not mean that His people would be light-SOURCES, but light-REFLECTORS. When He comes into our hearts to reign He lightens us by His very presence. The light of His knowledge illuminates

our understanding, (2 Cor. 4:6); the light of His love warms our hearts, (Psa. 27:1); the light of His joy gladdens the spirit, (Est. 8:16); the light of His grace strengthens the soul,(2 Sam. 23:4); the light of His Word guides our feet, (Psa. 89:15); and the light of His presence satisfies our minds (Rev. 21:23).
    Paul linked the "light" with the Gospel of Christ. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ", (2 Cor. 4:3-6).
    Come! Let us walk in the light of the Lord!!                   E.G.

    Our hearts were deeply saddened with the passing of Bro. Roy Hill on Tuesday, May 13. He was a very faithful member of our body -- loved by all. His body was interred at the Trinity Memory Gardens, Hillcrest, on May 16. But his spirit was already rejoicing in the Lord's presence.
    Our sincere sympathy goes to all his family. And it is our prayer that each of them will find the Lord's comfort -- through faith.

(Continued from last issue)

    Jesus never taught individual members of His body to consider the promised blessings of the kingdom their inalienable rights; the Word of God ever attaches CONDITIONS to inheriting. Lives of slothful, careless indifference will not be acceptable to God, (Matt. 25:26; Heb. 6:11-12; comp. Lk. 21:34-36). Each of us is a steward of the manifold grace of God; stewardship always involves great responsibility, (I Cor. 4:1-2; 9:17; Col.1:25; Eph. 3:2; Matt. 24:45-51). In the purpose of God, we have a definite ministry to fulfill, (Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 3:8-12). Our calling and election are to be "made sure" -- secured as a beachhead in wartime, (2 Pet. 1:10).     Nor are the blessings of the kingdom automatically bestowed upon members of Christ's body. The experience of the kingdom, in its fulness, is conditioned on diligence, fidelity and suffering for Jesus' sake, (1 Tim. 2:12; 2 Pet. 1:5-12; Rev. 2:10, 25-26; 3:11).
    This does NOT imply that a saved person may lose his salvation. It is, rather, a warning against the presumptuous foolishness of highmindedness and unbelief (Rom. 11:18-22; I Cor. 10:12-13). It IS possible for one to lose: his STANDING as a member of Christ's body -- forfeiting any claim to New Covenant blessings. And he may lose his CROWN, or reward, (comp. Matt. 18:17; I Cor. 3:14-15; 5:5; Jn. 15; Gal. 5:4; Rev. 2:25-26; 2 Jn, 8).
    Various terms are used of the

church which reveal its true nature -- in God's holy purpose. Peter describes it as:
    1. "AN ELECT RACE" -- spiritual, not natural, (I Pet. 2:9; 2 Thes. 2:13).
    2. "A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD", (I Pet. 2:9; Rev. 5:10). This is a New Covenant ministry involving the offering up of spiritual sacrifices, (Rom. 12:1-2; I Tim. 2:l-4; Heb. 13:15; I Pet. 2:5; comp. Jer. 33:11). There is no scriptural reason to apply this to "all the saved"; nor can one do so and still consistently reject the "universal church" heresy.
    3. "A HOLY NATION", that ought to exhibit such purity of heart and life as will exalt and magnify the name of a righteous God, (I Jn. 3:3 Rev. 22:14; comp. Isa. 26:1-2).
    4. "A PECULIAR PEOPLE" -- a very significant expression, (Tit. 2:11-14). This does NOT mean that these alone are saved, it DOES suggest that this people holds a special relationship to the covenant-God; they are the special objects of His covenant promises and blessings, (Ex. 19:5; Psa. 135:4; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Mal. 3:17; Eph. 1:14; Tit. 2:14; I Pet. 2:9).
    Other figures are also used to describe the standing and work of the Lord's church. (1) It is a BRIDE, (Eph. 5:21-33) -- closely corresponding to the position of Israel under the law, (Isa. 54:1, 5-7; 62:1-4; Jer. 3:8). (2) It is a HOUSE or dwelling-place (I Tim. 3:15; I Pet. 2:5) -- again corresponding to Israel under the Old Testament economy, (Heb. 3:1-6; Acts 2:36; Ezek. 36:22, 32, 37; 45:6).

    The position of the church, in this present age, corresponds to that of Israel before the coming of the Christ -- whom the nation rejected. They were cut off from this position of nearness to God because of their high-mindedness and unbelief. The Kingdom-POSITION has been taken from them and given to a people who will "bring forth the fruits thereof". But this must NOT be used as a basis for PRESUMPTION. Individual participation in the blessings prepared for a kingdom people is determined by the response of the individual HEART to the WORD and WILL of God.
Such as serve the Lord with gladness, in the "order" that He has established for this age, are truly NOW a "kingdom PEOPLE"; but to designate them a "kingdom" (or "the kingdom") does injustice to the kingdom-concept as set forth in the Word of God.                    E.G.


    It was this editor's privilege to spend the week of May 5-11 with Pastor James C. Byrd and the Faith Baptist Church, of Fernandina Beach Florida. It was a very pleasant, and (I trust) profitable, week.
    It is not difficult to make one's self at home in the Byrd house. And the hours spent in the Word with the church, pastor Byrd and son, Bruce, will long be remembered. I was blessed; and many of the brethren bare testimony to the experience of true revival in their hearts.
    May the Lord continue to bless these brethren -- uniting their hearts to serve Him with gladness, and making them a blessing to others!                         E.G.

Did Christ o'er sinners weep,
    And shall our cheeks be dry?
Let floods of penitential grief
    Burst forth from every eye.

The Son of God in tears
    The wondering angels see;
Be thou astonished, O my soul,
    He shed those tears for thee.

He wept that we might weep;
    Each sin demands a tear:
In heaven alone no sin is found
    And there's no weeping there.