Brethren Archive

"He that is Spiritual."

by J. M. Davies

“When iniquity shall abound, the love of the many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24: 11)—the majority will become lukewarm—spirituality will be on the decrease.  It will not be estimated at its proper value. So much was this so in the darkening days of Israel's history, that Isaiah says, "Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil, maketh himself a prey (or, is accounted mad); and the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment.  And He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor" (Isa. 59: 15-16).  Hosea says: "The prophet is a fool, and the spiritual man is mad" (Hos. 9: 7).  To seek to walk with God in Israel's apostate days, was to inherit the ridicule of those who were the professed people of God.  The spiritual had to suffer. They were made a prey and regarded as fools.  Even in Paul's day, this spirit was prevalent.  He speaks of himself as being "a fool for Christ's sake."  Let it be remembered that there is a price to be paid for spirituality, but it has its recompense of reward.  I desire, however, to draw the attention of the reader to four scriptures in the New Testament, which give us the earmarks of true spirituality.
I.  "To be Spiritually Minded is Life and Peace" (Rom. 8: 6).  
The first part of the 8th chapter of Romans is a fit conclusion to the experience so tersely described in the 7th.  The youngest believer in Christ will, according to the advantages he has had in his unsaved days, possibly know a good many things, but there is one thing he will not know, and that is the deceitfulness of his own heart,—the subtlety of the flesh,—the utter futility of trying to improve it, and its absolute enmity against everything that is of God.  He will be able to rejoice in the forgiveness of sins and live in the enjoyment of it, only to realize shortly afterwards, that by obtaining the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, he did not lose his old nature, neither did this old nature experience any change.  He will learn by bitter experience the truth of the words, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," and "the flesh profiteth nothing," for in it "there dwelleth no good thing."  This experience, which the apostle himself had to learn, is described in Rom. 7: 13-25.  It corresponds to the wilderness experience of Israel, where God desired to teach them the perversity and possibilities for sin that lay in their own hearts.  Had they learned this as they should have done, doubtless they would have sought to cleave more tenaciously to the Lord and His Word.  To be deceived as to the true nature of the flesh is calamitous.  In the 7th of Romans, Paul learns the lesson taught in Gen. 6. "The end of all flesh is come before me."  He learned it by seeking to walk with God in carnal energy.  From vs. 14-24, the personal pronouns I, Me and My, appear some 35 times,—but not one reference to the Spirit of God, for the simple reason that God is through with the "old man," and will not waste energy upon it.  The Spirit of God will never lead the believer to be occupied with the flesh, and as long as the believer is trying to live the Christian life in the energy of the flesh, there will be nothing but discouragement.  No song,—but groans,—no shout of triumph, no joy, until he turns away from the corrupt and incorrigibly wicked flesh, to occupation with Christ as the Man on the Throne,—the Man in the Glory.  Once his eye gets fixed on Him, he begins to sing, for he is enjoying peace.  He has learned the secret of spirituality, which is to allow the Spirit to occupy his mind and heart with what Christ is in all His fulness at God's right hand for him,—not with his own flesh, and what he is in himself.
This experience is illustrated in that of Abraham as recorded in Genesis, Chaps. 21 and 22.  The sending away of Ishmael and Hagar, confessed that henceforth, Isaac was to be his all in all.  With Ishmael in the tent, there could not be the enjoyment of peace, as he "mocked" Isaac.  It was a disturbed family until Ishmael was sent away.  To be done with legality and submit to the Spirit is the secret of life and peace.
What is learned in Rom. 7 is what Jacob learned at Penuel,— the futility of struggling,—the smitten thigh,—death to the carnal energy that he had been so guilty of while with Laban.  The clinging soul and the leaning pilgrim now walked in the light and warmth of the Sun that rose upon him as he left Penuel.  When a fugitive, running from his brother's anger, we are told that the sun "set" as he laid his head to rest on his stony pillow in Bethel.  From then to Penuel, he seems to have walked in spiritual darkness, for the first recorded sunrise in his experience after the sunset at Bethel, is after he was left alone at Penuel.  While with Laban, he had walked in his own strength, but after Penuel, he limps, and therefore leans on his pilgrim staff.  Eventually, as he leaned, he worshipped, and blessed both the sons of Joseph.  This is "life and peace," for the Spirit would have us "lean upon our Beloved" as we pass out of this wilderness, realizing that we can only do all things by the strength which He puts into us. (Song of Solomon 8: 5).
In the days of Hezekiah, God granted a gracious reviving to His people.  Hezekiah rose above all the divisions of Israel, and issued a proclamation inviting Israelites to come to the Passover at the appointed time.  But the climax was reached when they offered the Burnt-Offering, for "when the Burnt-Offering began, the song of the Lord began also."  There is nothing that will cause spontaneous songs of praise like the people of God finding their all in the Man in the Glory, having apprehended in Him there seated, the completeness of the salvation that is theirs.  To be able to say from the heart, "Whom have I in Heaven but Thee, there is none on earth that I desire beside Thee," is the secret of "life and peace," the secret of song.  It is the first earmark of true spirituality. Earlier in Israel's history (2 Chron. 20: 22), we read that when Israel sang, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon and Mount Seir. The path to deliverance is occupation with Christ.  To mind the flesh, will mean death and defeat,—it cannot be or do anything else, but "the mind of the Spirit is life and peace." (Rom. 8.)
Nature cannot help in God's things.  Witness it in Abraham,—his father,—his nephew,—his wife,—each in turn hindering.  Progress could only be made as he turned away from that which was of the flesh as manifested in them.  The flesh will only do what Amalek sought to do against Israel.  In the wilderness, they sought to delay progress; at Ai they would defer their possession; while after Israel got into the land, they sought to destroy their produce. (Judges. 6.)  When Israel was faint and weary, Amalek appeared, and smote the hindmost part of them!  The Psalmist speaks of them as one of the confederate nations who had consulted together with one consent against God's "hidden ones" to cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel be no more in remembrance. (Ps. 83.)
Be it remembered that the man "in the flesh" in Romans, is not necessarily the libertine or the drunkard, but the man who seeks to make a "fair show in the flesh,"—the one who stands before God on his own merits—what he is as a man in Adam.  The mind of the Spirit is that we should set the Lord always before us.  May the Lord in grace deliver us from making provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts, and enable us to say in truth, the conscience bearing witness in the Holy Ghost,

"Thou O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find."

"He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself Is judged of no man."—(1 Cor. 2: 15.)
II.  Spirituality in Relation to Sectarianism and Division.—
In Romans, we have the "Gospel of His Son."  In Corinthians, we have the "Fellowship of His Son." The one leads to the other, the acceptance of the one puts the believer into the other.  The latter Epistle is occupied mainly with four things regarding this "fellowship."—
Its Unity,—Ch. 1: 2.
Its Purity,—Ch. 5: 8-9.
Its Ministry—Godward, Ch. 10: 11. 
Churchward, Ch. 12: 14-16.
World-ward, Ch. 15: l-3.
Its Destiny—Ch. 15: 51-58.
The assembly at Corinth, like many another since, suffered from internal strife.  This led to carnality, for where envy and strife is there is every evil work." (James. 3: 16.)
The history of the nation of Israel is prophetic of the history of the Church of God.  The book of Judges gives us the record of the doings of the nations, that were "thorns" in Israel's sides.  One of the first was Midian, who, in company with Amalek, so impoverished Israel that they left nothing for sheep, or ox, or ass.  Midian means strife, and Amalek represents the flesh,—and if these two ghastly figures find entrance into an assembly, they will so effectually impoverish it that there will be nothing left for the sinner, the saint, or the servant.  This is exactly what resulted in Corinth.  In chapter 1: 10, the Apostle beseeches them to be of one mind, "perfectly joined together," and in doing so, he uses the word used in Matt. 4: 21 and Mark 1: 19, rendered "mending."  James and John had been out fishing and the meshes of their net had got torn.  To try to fish without mending them would only mean wasted time and energy,—they would catch no fish.  As the "fishers of men," we need to learn that the power of gospel testimony is lost by division.  Strife and division will impoverish the land, so that there will be nothing left for the unsaved.  Brethren, let us mend our nets, or our Gospel effort will become increasingly fruitless and barren.
In the 2nd and 3rd chapters, the Apostle shows how the spirit of division was robbing the sheep of their portion.  Whereas they should have grown, they were only babes, and could only take in the milk of the Word.  In the Epistle, there is no reference to the High Priestly work of Christ, or to Him as the Man on the Throne.  It is occupied almost entirely with setting right the things that were wrong in their midst.  There is nothing that so impoverishes Christians, individually or collectively, as sectarianism and party strife.  When a hundred years ago, the Lord exercised the hearts of some of His people regarding this, and when, in response to the guidance of the Word, they turned their backs upon that which divides the people of God.  He so taught them His truth, that from that day to this, their ministry has been made a blessing to thousands.
In chapter 4, the Apostle shows the effect of Midian's devastating work upon the fodder of the ox. "To this day we both hunger and thirst, and are counted as the offscouring of all things, naked and buffeted and having no certain dwelling place."  The assembly that was torn by dissensions and schisms, had no heart for the progress of the gospel.  Those who sought to make Peter the head of a party, naturally did not care to remember Paul, and vice versa.  These servants of God were not party leaders, but the carnal Christians would seek to make them so.
The origin and course of division is given in chapter 3: 3: Envy—Strife—Division.  Envy gives birth to strife, and strife to division.  That which existed merely in germ form in Corinth, is fully developed today in the multiplied sects.  These schisms in the assembly were formed by making the servants of God "Party Leaders," instead of regarding them as the "Ministers of Christ and Stewards of the Mysteries of God," and recognizing that whether it were Paul or Apollos,—all were theirs.  No group had any exclusive right to the one, nor should they refuse the message of the other.  The condition in the assembly had exercised the hearts of the household of Chloe, who were evidently "spiritually minded," and gave evidence of it by refusing to be associated with either section or party, for "He that is spiritual, judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged by no man."  He will judge the error of sectariaism and refuse to be a member of any, for sectarianism is a denial of the one-ness of the body of Christ.  Many there are who recognize the error of belonging to a sect,—that which cuts them off from the fellowship of other believers, and cuts others off from them, but in seeking to escape from the confusing labyrinth, become "inter-denominational,"—prepared to patronize every sect and each denomination,—thus helping that which builds "mud walls” between God's people.  The spiritual will be judged of no man; he will not be open to the accusation of being involved in sectarianism and building up sectarian places.  That which divides the people of God is dishonoring to the Head, and must be turned away from.  The "spiritual" will have the mind of Christ, which in this connection is that given in John 17: "I will that they whom Thou hast given Me may be one."
Not only will spirituality evidence itself by the individual seeking to be separate from that which is openly and avowedly sectarian,—even in principle and ground of gathering, he will also guard against being involved in "division."  The root of all division is the flesh.  Hence, the "spiritually minded" will neither perpetrate nor perpetuate division but seek to recognize as far as possible the one-ness of God's people.  Thus, it is important in this connection to note the catholicity of the Epistles of Paul.
Romans—"To ALL that be in Rome, beloved of God—."
1 Cor.—"With ALL that call upon the name—."
2 Cor.—"With ALL the saints that are in all Achaia—."
Phil.—"With ALL the saints in Philippi—."
How these bear out the words of our Lord.  "There shall be one flock, one shepherd."  The Spirit of God never contemplates anything less than the whole body of Christ, and when the Head gave gifts, they were for the edifying of "the body."  In Colossians, it is made clear that all ministry from the Head will knit together the people of God, so that anything that does not knit them together, has not come from the Head.  The "spiritual" man will refuse all "labels," "appellations" or "designations" that are not common to all the children of God.  He will not accept any names except those that are God-given.
Oftentimes, in an assembly, a brother who is dissatisfied with someone or something, will lead a faction, and gather a group around him, and this, with the pretense of spirituality.  How easy it is to be self-deceived!  May the Lord deliver us from that carnality which evidences itself in building up sectarianism or division,—in preachers being so broad-minded that they can preach anywhere and everywhere.  May He enable us to pattern the assemblies of His saints after that given in His Word. The Saints at Corinth are addressed as the "Church of God," so that in it, we might well expect to find the earmarks of a scripturally gathered assembly.  They are spoken of as—1. Body of Christ (Ch. 12: 27); 2. Temple of the Holy Ghost (Ch. 3: 16),—3. Bride of Christ, or a chaste Virgin to be presented to Christ (2 Cor. 11: 2).  No definite article in front of either, so that none can claim the right to say they are "the" body, temple or bride.  But it will be that which will be the expression of the Church which is His Body, His Bride-Elect, and God's House.  It will own the truth regarding the one-ness of the body and bow to the Scriptures regarding the Headship of Christ and ministry.  It will seek to enforce discipline, in keeping with God’s House, and seek to walk in separation from the world.

"He that thlnketh himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." (1 Cor. 14: 37.)
III.  Spirituality and the Lordship of Christ in Regard to Collective Testimony.—
The difficulties that confronted the Assembly at Corinth are dealt with, each in turn in this first epistle.  After stating the principles regarding its unity and purity, the Apostle is occupied in the 3rd section with the "ministry" of the Church,—first Godward in worship in connection with the Lord's Table, then Church-ward in 12: 14,—the edification of the saints, and lastly, world-ward, in Ch. 15,—the Gospel for the unsaved.  Hence, there is in the third section, several references to the Church "coming together" (Ch. 11: 17, 18, 20; and 14: 19, 26.)
The Saints at Corinth came behind in no gift; indeed, they were zealous of possessing these spiritual gifts, and especially the more spectacular kind.  These were exercised more for personal display rather than godly edifying, resulting in much confusion in their gatherings.  One had a Psalm, another a doctrine, another a tongue, another a revelation, and another an interpretation. The women also seem to have been quite prominent.  Altogether, the confusion was great, sometimes more than one taking part together.  Such confusion was dishonoring to the Lord, for God is not the author of confusion in the assemblies of His Saints.  In order to correct this condition of things that existed when the "whole church came together into one place," there are given in 1 Cor. 14: 26-40, some 13 commandments which are spoken of as the "commandments of the Lord."  Each one commences with the little word "Let."
No man-made arrangements are introduced in order to correct the confusion that existed.  There is nothing in the section to warrant any salaried or stated ministry.  That is the way denominationalism solves the problem, but their solution is a denial of the Lordship of Christ and the prerogative of the Spirit of God to use any to the profit of all.  These "commandments of the Lord" cut at the foundation of that which exists in denominational circles,—the one-man ministry. Scripture gives no warrant for such a system.
In the beginning of Ch. 12, two very important principles are given regarding all ministry which is Spirit-given.  It will glorify Christ (12: 3), and consequently it will be to the profit of all (12: 7).  These two earmarks need to be kept well before us, when considering the subject of ministry.  Of the 13 commandments above referred to, the first is—
"Let all things be done unto edifying."—A cursory glance through the chapter will reveal the importance placed upon "edification."  No less than six times is the word used in connection with the Assembly, and once regarding the man who spoke in a "tongue,"—thus edifying himself only. He that prophesieth, speaketh unto men to edification; the one who spoke with "tongues," was to pray that he might interpret, so that the Church might receive edifying.  They were exhorted that they might excel to the edifying of the Church, and even when one gave thanks, the other was to be  edified.  Self-aggrandizement and display, finds no room here.  That which is merely interesting, entertaining, or amusing is done away with.  Yet how much time is often wasted in relating funny anecdotes!  Spirituality will evidence itself in anyone seeking to minister the Word, when others are "edified" through his ministry.  To be able to occupy time, and interest the Lord's people, is not the full credentials of God-given ministry; but rather to be able to speak a word in season to the upbuilding of the saints.  This "commandment" is intended to control the "singing" as well, and if it did, it would rule out the "jazz choruses" that some are seeking to introduce, for they remind one more of the dance-hall than the sanctuary.  "I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also," says the Apostle by the Holy Ghost.  Read 1 Cor. 14: 15.
The next four are concerning the control of the gift of tongues, which seems to have had such an attraction for many of the saints in Corinth, and alas! to many professing Christians have still.  Even if the gift of tongues was permanent, these four simple commandments would put an end to all the meetings of the present day "tongues movement."  In the companies where the "tongues" (?) are supposed to prevail, these four commandments are completely ignored.  Only two, or at the most three, to be allowed to speak, and that by course,— no two to be speaking at the same time. One was to interpret, and if no interpreter was present then the one with the gift of tongues must be silent.  Add to this the fact that women were to be in silence, and that the spirit of the prophet was to be subject to the prophet, which implies perfect self-control,—a thing unknown in the present- day movement, for they glory in the fact that they must speak with tongues when the power (?) takes hold of them.  Their jaws move and they utter incoherent sounds that they could not stop if they wished to.
1 Cor. 13: 8 is clear that tongues shall cease, the word used when Peter exhorts us in his epistle "—let him refrain his tongue from evil."  It is also used in Luke 8: 24, in connection with the storm at sea.  There was a great calm for the raging waves had ceased.  Tongues were for a "sign" to the unbeliever, more especially the unbelieving Jew, the final sign that He was leaving them, and that henceforth, the salvation of God was to be sent to the Gentiles. (Deut. 28: 49; 1 Cor. 14: 22.)  What a claim to spirituality is made by these false movements, and how simple the Scriptures are that the spiritually-minded will desire to own the Lordship of Christ, by regarding these,—the "commandments of the Lord." (1 Cor. 14: 37.)
The next three are intended to control the prophets in their ministry.  They should "speak by two or three," for if three have spoken profitably, the Lord's people should have had as much as they can carry away with them.  This prophetic ministry is described in Ch. 14: 3, "He that prophesieth, speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort."  To build up, stir up, and cheer up the people of God, is the purpose of the prophetic ministry.  There was doubtless a gift of prophecy in the early Church which is not to be had today, for the simple reason that the Word of God is now complete,—which was not the case then.  Yet, considering the prophet as one who gives us the mind of God as revealed in the Scriptures, fulfilling the three-fold ministry referred to in verse 3, they are still here.  They were not to be their own judges.  Others were to judge, and if the "others" judged a man's ministry to be unprofitable, then he should be content to be quiet.
The next two commandments are regarding the women.  They were evidently quite prominent in Corinth, taking part in one way or another.  But to do so, after receiving this word from the Lord would not be a sign of spirituality, but the reverse.  The Spiritual will acknowledge these commandments as from the Lord and will naturally desire to honor the Lord by obedience to them, for "obedience is better than sacrifice."  As to public prayer, 1 Tim. 2: 8 is clear enough.  "I will therefore that the men pray everywhere."  In verse 5, when speaking of the Lord Jesus as Mediator between God and men, the word for mankind is used, but when exhorting regarding prayer, the word for man in contrast to woman is used.  The Apostle is clearly giving instructions as to who should pray in the public gatherings, and what character of men should be those who were to pray—"lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting."  As spirituality is evidenced in the individual submitting to the Mind of the Spirit, the spirituality-minded sister will obey the commandment, "Let your women keep silence in the churches."
The next one, (verse 37) gives the earmark of the true spirituality when judged in relation to these commandments.  To acknowledge Him as Lord, means we are to carry out His Word.  "Why call ye me Lord and do not the things that I say?"
The next one is very caustic.  "If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."  If we do not desire to know the will of God, we will be allowed to go on in ignorance.  In contrast to this, we have John 7: 17.  "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know the doctrine—."  The heart of a disciple is necessary if we are to be taught the Mind of God regarding these things.  May we have teachable spirits, and submissive wills.
The last one, "Let all things be done decently and in order."  Like the first, it seems to cover the whole portion.  Everything is to be done becomingly, with grace, and with order.  If grace rules, good order will characterize all our gatherings.  To suggest everything is to be done by arrangement, seems to nullify the force of all the preceding commandments.  The "order" referred to is what should have characterized their assemblies in contrast with the confusion that had characterized them in the past.  When the "shout of a King was in the camp" even the false prophet was forced to acknowledge "How goodly are thy tents O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!" When Gideon defeated Midian, and was asked to accept the honor of kingship, he refused it, saying "The Lord Himself shall rule over you."  That was Theocracy,—the rule of the Lord,—and has its counterpart today in the Church, where these "commandments" given in 1 Cor. 14, are being acknowledged and obeyed.  Well it will be for us if we do not depart from them.
IV.  Spirituality in Relation to the Overtaken One.—
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted."—Gal. 6: 1.
Alas! how many "overtaken" ones there are in the Church of God, whether in Paul's day or ours; whether in dark India or in more favored lands,—like the poor, they are always with us.  The question of restoring such to the fellowship of God and His people is of great importance, yet often they are allowed to drift away from the assemblies with little prayer, and less effort made to restore them.
In the message of the later prophets, we are given very clearly to understand how the Lord Himself feels toward such.  He will chastise, but judgment is his strange work.  Listen to Hosea's plea: "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?  How shall I deliver thee, Israel?  How shall I make thee as Admah?  How shall I set thee as Zeboim? (11: 8), while Isaiah cries to Israel to "look to Abraham their father and Sarah their mother."  Seeing God called them when they were alone and helpless, and blessed them so that they became a mighty nation, surely, he would be able to restore them.  He exhorts them to "look to the hole of the pit from whence they had been digged, and to the rock from whence they had been hewn," and thus to encourage themselves in God.
The "spiritual" are exhorted to restore the fallen.  As James and John mended their nets, so souls that have become leaky, need spiritual repairing.  As the Lord "perfects praise" (same word) out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, so the overtaken one needs to be restored to the Lord, and his fellow-believers.  Only then will there be a harmonious song in the life.  A soul out of touch with God is like a musical instrument out of tune, producing discordant notes that jar on everyone's ears, instead of a melodious song that charms. Who of us does not need the skillful hand of the perfecter of praise to tune our "instrument of ten strings''?  Instead of rejoicing, the heart grieves, and instead of the stringed instrument vibrating with the music of the "new song" (Ps. 33: 3, 21; 144: 9), there is moaning because of failure, and sorrow for sin.  Oh, for skillful tuners—spiritual men—in the assemblies, who will know where the discordant notes come from, and who will be possessed of spiritual skill to restore the overtaken one, so that "the chords that are broken may vibrate once more."
An interesting and illuminating story is told of Paganini, the celebrated Italian violinist.  One evening, so the story goes, he was walking through a London street, when he saw sitting in the pouring rain, a beggar, seeking to play his violin so as to attract the attention of passers-by, and arouse their sympathy sufficiently to get a few pennies.  But his violin was wet and he was no musician; consequently his instrument produced the most weird and hideous noises, aggravating all who heard him.  Paganini, seeing the plight the poor beggar was in, asked him for his violin. With his skillful hands, he tightened the strings, and in his own inimitable way, he began to play, producing the sweetest music out of the wet old violin, to the astonishment and amazement of all. People forgot the rain, and the traffic policeman forgot his duty, while all listened with rapt attention to the wonderful music proceeding from the beggar's violin.  Presently, the musician's silk hat was put down, and the people dropped their coins into it.  The beggar was poor no more,—all because he had committed his instrument into the hands of one who could perfect praise,—even out of the old violin.  Our souls would not be impoverished, and our lives would not be so full of discordant notes, if the "perfecter of praise" had full possession of our hearts!
The life of Abraham furnishes us with an apt illustration of the responsibility of the spiritually minded, in this connection.  In the mercy of God, Lot had left Ur of Chaldees with his uncle, thus escaping "the corruption that was in the world through lust."  But the famine proved too hard a test for Abraham, and to Egypt he went,—Lot accompanying him.  Having been made a blessing to Lot in the beginning, Abraham is now a stumbling-block to him.  What Lot saw in Egypt left an indelible impression upon him.  He became "envious at the prosperity of the wicked," and when, on his return, he separated from Abraham; he chose the well-watered plains of Sodom, which was "like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar."  Poor Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, and soon forsakes his tent for Sodom's dwellings, only to be impoverished and imprisoned by Chedorlaomer. (Gen. 14: 12).  The news of this reached Abraham.  It came as a challenge to him to deliver his nephew,—his once fellow pilgrim.  Lot, 'tis true, was reaping the sad consequences of his own foolish choice, and Abraham might have left him in his predicament, but being "spiritual," he could not rest without seeking to deliver his brother.  The valley of Siddim, where the battle was fought, was full of slime-pits, full of danger.  Hence, when in the New Testament, the "spiritual" are exhorted to restore the fallen, he is warned to consider himself, lest he also be tempted,—and fall into the slime-pits.  Only warriors trained in the art of self-examination and armed with "the spirit of meekness" can be victorious in such a conflict.
But, before the scene closes, we find Abraham in the "Valley of Shaveh," which is the "King's dale," where he received the blessing of Melchizedek, the Priest of the Most High God, and where he received a new revelation of God as "El-Elyon,—the Possessor of Heaven and earth."  This was followed again by a vision of the Lord as his "shield," and "exceeding great reward."  Thus, blessing after blessing, and reward upon reward were his, for his faithfulness.  Even though he failed to deliver Lot from Sodom, he did what he could for him by delivering him from Chedorlaomer.  Abraham's spirituality was again revealed when the news of Sodom's destruction was imparted to him.  He fell on his face before the Lord to plead for Sodom, though not for Sodom's sake, but for the righteous in Sodom.  God remembered Abraham and delivered Lot from the overthrow.  Abraham dogged the footsteps of Lot with unceasing, prevailing prayer.  He might fail to fully restore him, but he would continue to plead for him!  Indifference toward the wayward and overtaken is not a mark of spirituality but the reverse.  Spirituality will reveal itself in a godly shepherd-care for the flock of God.  May writer and reader alike, bear the marks of true spirituality. Occupation with Christ in glory,—disassociation from sectarianism, and party strife,—recognition of the Lordship of Christ in the Church, and a godly care for the "overtaken,"—seeking to "restore" him to the Lord.
“Our Record” 1929

Add Comment: