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    December 29, 1892

    “The Church of Christ” The Present Truth 8, 26, pp. 405, 406.

    ATJ

    IN the Scriptures the Christian’s relationship to Christ is described under the symbol of the marriage tie: “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.” Romans 7:4. “I have espoused you to one husband.” 2 Corinthians 11:2. And the individual Christian is in this represented as having been espoused “as a chaste virgin to Christ.”PTUK December 29, 1892, page 405.1

    Such individuals gathered in fellowship form the Church of Christ. And the relationship to Christ of such collection of individuals is also described under the symbol of the marriage tie: “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.... So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.... For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:25-32.PTUK December 29, 1892, page 405.2

    In accordance with this idea the church of Christ is represented in the Scriptures as the purest and fairest of women, leaning upon the arm of her beloved; drawn to Him with the drawings of His love; her only thought being of her beloved; to her the chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely, whose banner over her is love, and who would present her to Himself “a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Such is the church to Christ; such is Christ to His church; and such is the relationship between Christ and His church.PTUK December 29, 1892, page 405.3

    To such a church as this Christ committed His gospel to be by her made known to every creature. It is only such a church as this that can make known the Gospel of Christ. That Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Romans 1:16. No one can make known that power who does not know that power for himself and in himself. And the church could make known the power of God only by knowing the power in and for himself. And that power being known only by faith, in the nature of things it is only by abiding faithful to her Lord that the church could fulfil the work of the Gospel committed to her trust.PTUK December 29, 1892, page 405.4

    Again: The Gospel is Christ in men the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27. This is what the church of Christ is to make known to men. No one can make known Christ in men who for himself does not know Christ in himself. It pleased God “to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him.” Galatians 1:16. But Christ dwells in men only by faith: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” Ephesians 3:17. It is evident, therefore, that the only way in which the church can make known Christ in men the hope of glory, is to have, and to know Christ revealed in herself. And as this is only known by faith it is evident that it is only by abiding faithful to Christ that she can know Christ in herself or make Him known in men.PTUK December 29, 1892, page 405.5

    Once more: In the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed; and the righteousness of God only. And it is the righteousness of God only which the church of Christ is to know, and which she is to make known to all the world. This is the ministry of the Gospel which is committed to the church of Christ. This righteousness is known only by faith, and revealed only to faith. “Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” Romans 1:17, and 3:22. As, therefore, this righteousness is known only by faith, and is revealed only to faith, it is plain that it is only by abiding steadfast in faithfulness to Christ that the church can known or make known the righteousness of God which is revealed in the Gospel. And the sum of all these counts, and of many more that might be given, is simply to demonstrate over and over that it is only by abiding wholly in Christ, by trusting in Him entirely, by depending upon Him completely, by perfect faithfulness to Him, that the church can be what she must be in order to do what she is established to do.PTUK December 29, 1892, page 406.1

    Such was the church of Christ in the beginning. Such is always the church of Christ indeed. But such neither is nor has been the professed church of Christ. For there has been an apostasy from Christ and from the true church of Christ. In the apostles’ days the warning was given, “Of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30. And there shall come “a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.... For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7.PTUK December 29, 1892, page 406.2

    The Lord exalted His church, and clothed her with the beautiful garments of salvation and righteousness, and the power of godliness, before the eyes of all the nations. He made her exceeding beautiful, and she prospered, and her renown went forth to all the world for her beauty; for it was perfect through His comeliness which He had put upon her, but not satisfied with the exaltation which the Lord gave, which could come and remain only through her own humility, the church grew haughty and exalted herself. Not content with the beauty of the Lord, which He had put upon her, she prided herself upon her own beauty; and instead of trusting in Him for her beauty, she trusted in herself. Not content that God alone should be glorified in her, she glorified herself and lived deliciously. Then, trusting in herself, priding herself upon her own beauty, magnifying her own merit, and satisfied with her own sufficiency,—this in itself was to put herself in the place of God. Then it was natural enough that she should seek to draw disciples to herself rather than to the Lord. Not only this, but having exalted herself, and magnified herself, and trusting in herself, it was impossible for her to draw disciples to anybody but herself. Thus came the apostasy. And thus, instead of remaining the church of Christ in truth, manifesting to the world the mystery of God and of godliness, she became, though still professedly the church of Christ, only the manifestation to the world of the mystery of self and of selfishness, which is the very mystery of iniquity.PTUK December 29, 1892, page 406.3

    A. T. JONES.

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