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CHAPTERS 20, 21, 22, AND 23

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Chapter XX. Standing and State

There are “Three Classes” of Professing Christians.

1. Those who are saved and KNOW IT.

2. Those who are saved and are NOT SURE OF IT.

3. Those who are not saved but THINK THEY ARE.

            When asked if they are saved, some Christians say, “I hope so,” others say, “I trust so,” while many think it presumptuous to be positive and say we cannot know until we die. The reason why so many Christians are not sure that they are saved is because they do not distinguish between their “STANDING,” their “STATE,” and their “EXPERIENCE.


            The only place we can find out as to this is in the Word of God. What does the Bible say about it? It says that the Christian’s “Standing” is that of a SON. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the SONS OF GOD.” John 1:12-13. We become a “Son of God” by receiving Christ as our personal Saviour. And we are a “Son” NOW. “Beloved NOW are we the Sons of God.” 1 John 3:2. And this “Sonship” makes us HEIRS. “And if ‘Children,’ then HEIRS; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:17. And this “HEIRSHIP” guarantees our PRESERVATION, for we are kept by the “POWER OF GOD,” unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, “RESERVED IN HEAVEN” for us. 1 Peter 1:4-5. And no man shall be able to pluck us out of our FATHER’S HAND (John 10:27-29), for we are “SEALED” unto the Day of Redemption (Ephesians 4:30), and our “life” (Spiritual Life) is HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD. Colossians 3:3. If my “life” is “hid in Christ” by God for safe keepingIhave it not and therefore cannot lose it. But I think I hear some one say, “How about the words ‘fall way’” (Hebrews 6:4-6), and if we sin wilfully’ after that we have received the knowledge of the truth? Hebrews 10:26. Are you a JEW? Then those words are intended for you, but if a Gentile, then not. Those words were spoken to apostate Jewish professors of Christianity and are not intended for Gentile believers. The moment the Children of Israel put the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorposts of their dwellings the inmates were safe, and the promise of God that “when HE (not them) saw the BLOOD,” He would “pass over them,” (Exodus 12:13), made them sure. So the “Blood of Christ” makes us SAFE, and the “WORD OF GOD” makes us SURE. See the Chart “Standing and State” Here.


            While the Christian’s “Standing” is SETTLED and SURE his “State” is VARIABLE. This is owing to the fact that after our “New Birth” we have “TWO NATURES” where before we had but one. We do not lose the “Old Adam” or “FLESH Nature” when we receive the “New Adam” or “SPIRITUAL Nature,” for that which was born of the “Flesh” is still FLESH, and only that which is born of the “HOLY SPIRIT” is SPIRIT. John 3:6. This explains the “SPIRITUAL WARFARE” so vividly portrayed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-25. This was the Apostle’s own experience after his conversion and reveals the fact that the Believer has a DUAL NATURE, and he is sinless or sinful according to which nature is uppermost, for that which is “born of God” in him, his “Spiritual Nature,” CANNOT SIN. 1 John 3:9. But as long as we permit our “FLESH Nature” to control us, we cannot say “we have no sin,” if we do we “deceive ourselves,” and the “truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10. Here we must distinguish between “SIN” and “SINS. “ ”SIN” is that disposition to do wrong that we inherit from Adam called “Original Sin” or “Natural Depravity.” “SINS” are the specific acts of sin that we commit due to the disposition to sin in us. Jesus died on the Cross to remove the disposition to sin from us, and by accepting Him as our personal Saviour we get a NEW NATURE in which there is no disposition to sin. It is that Nature therefore that cannot sin. See the Chapter on “The Two Natures.”

            But you say does not the Apostle Paul say that we are “dead to sin,” and ought not to live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2. Yes. But what he means is that we are JUDICIALLY DEAD. That is, we are in our “New Nature” dead to the “LAW OF SIN,” that “Law” has no further power over us, therefore, the Apostle adds, we should “RECKON OURSELVES DEAD” (Romans 6:11), that is, we should consider ourselves dead to sin and live and Acts like a man who had died to his old manner of life. How is it to be done? “Walk in the SPIRIT, and ye SHALL NOT FULFIL THE LUST OF THE FLESH.” Galatians 5:16. We are told not to let sin “REIGN” in our mortal body, and the promise is – “sin shall not have DOMINION over you.” Romans 6:12-14.

            We see from all this that while a “Believer’s Standing” is “Settled” and “Sure,” his “State” is VARIABLE and will be sinful or sinless according to whether the “Old” or “New Nature” is in control.


             As to “Experience” the Believer may be in any one of three places. (1). He may be in EGYPT, the “Type of the WORLD.” (2). He may be in the WILDERNESS, the “Type of the FLESH.” Or (3) he may be fighting for the possession of CANAAN, the “Type of the DEVIL.

            The “Children of Israel” were safe in Egypt the moment they sprinkled the “Blood” of the “Passover Lamb” on the doorposts of their dwellings. So the Believer is Saved the moment he applies the “BLOOD OF CHRIST” by faith to his soul though he may in experience be still living in the world of which Egypt is a type, though he should not be content to dwell there. Some Believers have left Egypt behind, but as to experience they are still wandering in the Wilderness, sometimes on the Egyptian side of the Wilderness longing for the leeks, onions, and garlic of their old Egyptian life, at other times on the Canaan side longing for the new corn and wine and figs and pomegranates of the Promised Land, but mostly wandering in the centre of the Wilderness, in a state of murmuring, restlessness and unfruitfulness.

            Some have visited Kadesh Barnea and taken a journey over into Canaan and tasted of the “Grapes of Eshcol” but have been frightened by the “Giants” and “Walled Cities” and refusing to go in and “possess the land” they have been compelled to wander for many years in the Wilderness to the great loss of themselves and their loved ones, due to their lack of faith. Numbers 13:1-33.

            Other Believers have left the Wilderness and entered Canaan and are now under the leadership of their Joshua (Christ), endeavoring to drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites of their soul that they may get posession of the land, for they have the promise that they shall get “possession” by “dispossession,” and control every portion of territory over which their feet shall tread. Joshua 1:1-3. While Canaan is a type, not of Heaven, for there is no conflict in Heaven, but of the “Rest of Faith” or the “Victorious Life,” it is also a “Type of the Devil,” for the Devil is satisfied to have the Believer remain in Egypt (the World), or in the Wilderness overcome by the “Flesh,” but when the Believer gets over into Canaan the Devil is going to contest every foot of the way, and prevent if possible a “Life of Victory.”

            From what has been said we see that our “Fellowship” with God can be broken, but our RELATIONSHIP never. The Prodigal Son severed his “Fellowship” with his father by going off into a “far country,” but he did not lose his “SONSHIP” for as a SON he was welcomed back. Luke 15:24. “Who then shall SEPARATE us from the ‘Love of Christ’.” Romans 8:35-39.


Chapter XXI. Regeneration and Baptism

            There is more or less confusion as to the relation of Baptism to Regeneration. Some teach that Baptism is a saving ordinance, and that in the administration of the rite the candidate is regenerated or “born again,” and for this reason it is called a “Sacrament.” Because of this belief many parents hasten to have their infants baptized for fear that they will be eternally lost. F.or a proper undertanding of the subject it is necessary that we ascertain the Scriptural meaning of the words “Regeneration” and “Baptism,” and we shall find that one is an “Inner Experience,” and the other is an “Outward Acts.”


            In the third chapter of John’s Gospel we find two “Divine Necessities.” First, “Ye must be BORN AGAIN,” (John 3:3, John 3:5), second, “The Son of Man must be LIFTED UP.” To whom did Jesus utter these words? Not to a gambler, a drunkard, a thief, a libertine, a heathen, a non-church goer, but to a Church Member. To Nicodemus, a Ruler of the Jews, a Pharisee, a Rabbi, a member of the Great Sanhedrin, learned in the “Law” and “Holy Scriptures,” one of the Religious Leaders of his day and a “Master in Israel.” As a Jew he was entitled to all the “Birthright Privileges” of a son of Abraham, and to be told by Christ that all his boasted “Birthright Privileges” did not entitle him to a place in the “Kingdom of God” was startling. “How,” said Nicodemus, “can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Surely not! And if he could there would nothing be gained by a second NATURAL birth more than by the first. If a natural man could re-enter 10,000 times into his mother’s womb and be born he would be naught but a NATURAL man after all, for “That which is born of flesh is FLESH.

            Why must men be born again? Because – “That which is born of flesh is FLESH, and that which is born of the ‘Spirit’ (Holy Spirit) is SPIRIT.” John 3:6. Men are not by nature the “Sons of God,” they are the “Children of the Devil,” (1 John 3:10), and Jesus so informed the Jews. John 8:37-44. There is a restricted “Fatherhood of God” and “Brotherhood of Man.” It is only those who receive Christ as their personal Saviour that can become the “Sons of God.” John 1:12. There is much being said in these days about “Building Character,” which is only another phrase for the “Moral Evolution” of human nature, and by selection, or the intermarriage of the “Physically, Morally and Intellectually Fit,” to produce a race of Supermen and Women. But this is impossible, being contrary to the history of the race and to Scripture.

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Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the Leopard his spots?

 The “New Birth” is not a change of the “Old Nature” into a “New Nature” by either a gradual or sudden transformation, called development or reformation. Religious reformation may very much improve the flesh, but after all it is only religious FLESH. To use a Scriptural illustration, if we were to take a “nettle” from the roadside and bring it into a garden or hothouse, and watch over it, dress and water and warm it, we might be able to produce beautiful and different varieties of “nettles,” but they would only be “NETTLES,” we could never get “FIGS” from them. “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or ‘FIGS’ of ‘THISTLES’?” Matthew 7:16. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” Jeremiah 13:23.

What then is the “New Birth?” “It is the COMMUNICATION OF A NEW LIFE, the IMPLANTATION OF A NEW NATURE by the ‘SPIRIT OF GOD.’”

            There is no such thing as “Spontaneous Generation of Life.” All life must come from PRE-EXISTING LIFE. We speak of the “Inorganic” and “Organic” Kingdoms. The Kingdoms of “No-Life” and of “Life.” A dead stone cannot pass of itself from the “Inorganic” into the “Organic” Kingdom. There is a door between the two Kingdoms, but it opens on the Organic Kingdom side. While the stone cannot open that door the plant can, and by thrusting its rootlets into the soil can disintegrate the stone and take of its chemical constituents and give them of its own life. Likewise there is a door between the “Vegetable Kingdom” and the “Animal Kingdom,” but it opens on the “Animal Kingdom” side. The plant cannot turn itself into flesh, but the animal by eating the plant can change it from “vegetable life” to “animal life.” So there is a door between the “Natural” and “Spiritual” worlds, but it cannot be opened from the “Natural” side. Therefore a man to have “Spiritual Life” must be born from above. A sculptor may take a piece of marble and carve from it a lifelike figure, but it is still MARBLE and LIFELESS.

            In the “Human Kingdom” there can be no life without parentage. There must be a father and a mother. The same is true of the “Spiritual Kingdom.” In the “Spiritual Kingdom” the Holy Spirit is the FATHER, and the “Human Heart” is the WOMB (Mother) into which the “SEED” of the “Word of God” is dropped. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the WORD OF GOD.” 1 Peter 1:23. If seed in the Natural World, either of plant, animal, or man, is lifeless, there will be no new life, and if the “Seed of the Word of God” is not VITALIZED by the Holy Spirit when it falls into the human heart there will be no “New Birth.” This explains how men and women can read and study the Scriptures and not be converted. To illustrate, a man may have heard or read a thousand times the words – “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. But one day on the street he is handed a card on which those words are printed in large letters. Angered by the publicity of the act, and offended at the intimation that he needs to be saved, he tears the card into pieces and throwing it into the gutter with an oath he passes on. But he cannot dismiss the incident from his memory. Do what he will it persists in returning. He finds himself unfitted for business. The evening is spent in a place of amusement, but the words on the card haunt him, and he leaves the theatre to go home and spend a sleepless night. What is the matter? Why that “text” was no longer “lifeless,” it had been “vitalized” by the Holy Spirit, it had fallen into the womb of the man’s heart and was in the process of generating a “New Life” in the man. Leave it alone and it will do its office work and the man will become a “New Creature” in Christ Jesus. If in our experience we can remember or recall the verse of Scripture that was the means of our conversion then we can point to it as the Holy Spirit vitalized seed of the Word that caused the generation of the “New Life” in our heart.


            If I must be “born again,” I may be born again, for God never commands an impossible thing. We have considered the manner and the means of the communication of the New Birth, it now remains to show how it may be secured. In the night interview of Nicodemus and Jesus, Jesus used three illustrations. (1) That of a BIRTH. (2) That of the “BRAZEN SERPENT.” (3) That of the WIND. We have explained the first, let us now consider the second. “AS Moses lifted up the ‘Serpent’ in the Wilderness, even SO must the ‘Son of Man’ be lifted up.” Nicodemus being a “Master” in Israel knew well the incident of the “Brazen Serpent.” Numbers 21:4-9. He knew how that when the Children of Israel essayed to compass the land of Edom and became discouraged, that they murmured against Moses, and the Lord sent “Fiery Serpents,” and they bit the people and many died, and Moses was commanded to make a “Brazen Serpent” and put it on a pole, that whosoever looked upon it should be healed of the poisonous bite. The “Fiery Serpents” were a type of the Devil, and the “Brazen Serpent” was a type of Jesus lifted up upon the Cross to counteract and destroy the work of the Devil. From this we see that it is not Jesus as an example, but Jesus “lifted up” and CRUCIFIED that saves. The “Brazen Serpent” was “lifted up” that all Israel might see it, and Jesus was “lifted up” that all men might see HIM. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This He said, signifying what death he should die.” John 12:32-33. How forcibly that night interview must have been recalled to Nicodemus’ memory as he and Joseph of Arimathea bent over the body of Jesus preparing it for burial. I think I can hear Nicodemus say to Joseph, “Joseph, He told me it would be this way that night I visited Him at John’s house in Jerusalem and He explained to me how I might be born again. He said as Moses lifted up the ‘Brazen Serpent’ in the Wilderness so He must be lifted up, and now He has been ‘lifted up.’ Handle Him tenderly Joseph, for He is our Lord and Saviour.”

            Let us study that Wilderness scene, for if we can grasp its lessons we will know the steps we must take to be saved.

            1. The first thing necessary for an Israelite to know was that he was BITTEN.

            Not until he felt the sting of the serpent’s bite would an Israelite feel concerned about his health. So the sinner has no concern about his spiritual health until he realizes that the “poison of sin” will desttroy his soul.

            2. The second thing for an Israelite to know was that there was a GOD-PROVIDED REMEDY.

            Now an Israelite might have been bitten and not have known about the “Brazen Serpent” and have perished for want of knowledge. So there are many who know that sin is destroying their lives but do not know of the way of deliverance. It is necessary that they learn in some way of God’s “provided remedy” for sin – JESUS.

            3. The third thing for an Israelite to know was that the God-provided remedy was of no account UNTIL APPLIED.

            If a bitten Israelite, knowing of the “Brazen Serpent,” refused to look at it he died. So the sinner, who, conscious of his sinful state, refuses to accept Christ as his Saviour will die in his sins.

            We can imagine a bitten Israelite when asked to look at the “Brazen Serpent,” saying – “Oh! I have got no faith in that piece of brass. I will just try a poultice or drink this medicine that I have in the house.” So men and women today instead of looking to Christ, resort to man-made remedies to soothe the pangs of conscience, such as good works, penances, music, worldly entertainments, and religious fads.

            We can imagine another bitten Israelite saying – “I will not have anything to do with the ‘Brazen Serpent’ until I know how it cures. I want to know the philosophy of the thing. If God had told us to rub the bitten place with a piece of brass in the form of a serpent, or to take a piece of brass and boil it with some herbs and make a medicine that we were to take, then I could understand the philosophy of the thing, but to simply look at a ‘Brazen Serpent’ on a pole that is all foolishness and I will perish before I do it.” So men and women argue today. They say, “I cannot understand the philosophy of the Atonement, and I will not accept the work of the Cross until you make it plain to my reason.”

            Again we can imagine a bitten Israelite saying – “I will wait until tomorrow to see if I am not better, and if I am no better then I will go and have a look at the ‘Brazen Serpent’ to see whether there is anything in it.” So men and women today live in the hope that tomorrow there will be an improvement in their spiritual condition, and if not, they say they will have a “try” at religion.

            Another bitten Israelite comparing his wound with that of his neighbor may have said, “My wound is not half as bad as my neighbor’s, so I will not do anything as long as he lives.” So men and women compare their spiritual condition with that of their neighbors and say, I am not as bad as they are and if they are saved I will be.” But comparing ourselves with others, or looking at the wound will not do, we must look to the REMEDY. It was not the “Brazen Serpent” that healed, it was the “LOOK OF FAITH.” It was because the bitten Israelites believed the “Promise of God” that a “LOOK” would save them, that they were saved. So it is not necessary for us to understand the philosophy of the “Plan of Salvation,” but simply believe what God has said that if we accept the “Crucified Christ” as our Saviour we shall be saved. Let us then take our eyes off of our neighbor, off of ourself, off of the Church, off of the ordinances, off of the Priest, and fix them on the “Cross of Calvary,” and accept the finished work of Christ.

            The Israelites were shut up to the “Brazen Serpent,” so we are shut up to Christ. He is God’s only remedy for sin. There is no salvation in any other. Acts 4:12. As every bitten Israelite who refused to look at the “Brazen Serpent” died, so all who refuse to look to Christ for salvation—“shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the Presence of the Lord, and from the Glory of His Power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.


            This leads us to the consideration of Jesus’ third illustration, that of the WIND. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8. You cannot see the wind, it is in itself invisible. The only way you can tell that it is in motion is by its effects, as seen in the swaying trees and the clouds of dust. So it is with the Holy Spirit, He is invisible and the only way you can tell that He is at work is by His influence on the hearts of men. When we see a vile and wicked sinner changed into a new creature in Christ Jesus, then we know that the Holy Spirit has been at work. Here are some of the “BIRTH-MARKS” of the “New Born” child of God.  

1. He that is “Born of God” hath the witness IN HIMSELF. 1 John 5:10. Romans 8:16.

2. He that is “Born of God” ABIDETH IN HIM. 1 John 3:24.

3.He that is “Born of God” LOVETH THE BRETHREN. 1 John 3:14.

4. He that is “Born of God” OVERCOMETH THE WORLD. 1 John 5 : 4.

5. He that is “Born of God” is LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Romans 8:14.

            He that is “Born of God” will have a new nature and disposition. He will have a “New Tongue.” He will speak the language of Canaan and love to talk about Heavenly things. He will feed on “New Food.” It will no longer be the novel and light literature, but the Word of God. He will have a “New Song.” No longer operatic airs and minstrel melodies, but sacred music. He will seek “New Society.” Old companionships will be broken off and he will seek the society of God’s people.


            Having seen the meaning of Regeneration and that it is an “Inner Experience,” let us now examine the meaning and purpose of Baptism that we may see that it is but an “Outward Acts” that symbolizes the “New Birth,” and is to be observed not as a means to our salvation, but because we have been saved. Right here someone may ask, “Did not Jesus say to Nicodemus – ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of WATER and of the SPIRIT, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God’ (John 3:5), and does not WATER mean Baptism, and does it not therefore require both the ‘New Birth’ and ‘Water Baptism’ to save a soul?” No. The word “Water” does not mean “Water Baptism.” Water stands in the Scriptures for- the “Word of God.” “Of His own will ‘begat’ He us with the WORD OF TRUTH.” James 1:18. “Being ‘born again,’ not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the WORD OF GOD.” 1 Peter 1:23. It must not be forgotten that Baptism is only for BELIEVERS. Acts 8:36-37. Therefore a person must be saved, or “New Born,” before they should be baptized. This forbids the Baptism of infants, but not of children who have reached the age of accountability and are old enough to believe and exercise saving faith.

            What is the purpose of Baptism ? First it is to symbolize the “Death” and “Resurrection” of Christ.

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His DEATH? Therefore we are BURIED with Him by Baptism into DEATH; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His DEATH, we shall be also in the likeness of His RESURRECTION.” Romans 6:3-5.


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Writing to the Corinthians Paul said – “I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you . . . how that Christ DIED for our sins . . . that He was BURIED, and that He ROSE AGAIN the third day.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Here we have the Gospel in a nutshell. It is the proclamation that Jesus DIED, was BURIED, and ROSE AGAIN for our sins according to the Scriptures. So we see that Baptism symbolizes the “Death,” “Burial” and “Resurrection” of Christ, and that only one mode of Baptism can symbolize them, and that is complete


            In the second place Baptism is a public confession that the “Believer” has died to the “old life” and risen to a “New Life,” and what can better symbolize this than the Believer being buried in the watery grave of the Baptistry and rising again from that liquid tomb to walk in resurrection life. And this symbolism can only be expressed by baptizing the candidate backward in the water but once. For we do not bury people face downward, nor three times.

            In the third place Baptism symbolizes our death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. That is, it expresses our union with Him. See the Chapter on “The Reciprocal Indwelling of Christ and the Believer.”

            From what has been said we see that the “New Birth” and “Baptism” are not the same. That the “New Birth” is supernatural and can only be brought about by the Holy Spirit, while Baptism is an “Outward Acts” performed for us by a properly qualified administrator, and that it simply symbolizes what has already taken effect in us by the “New Birth.” Therefore there is no regenerating or saving power in Baptism. Why then should I be Baptized you ask? First, because your Saviour has commanded you to be. Mark 16:15-16. Secondly, because it is the mode prescribed for a public confession of your faith in Christ. Acts 8:36-37, Acts 16:1415, Acts 16:27-33. Thirdly, because as a Believer you should connect yourself with some body of Believers, and the door to such a connection is Baptism. Acts 2:41-42.

Chapter XXII. Election and Free-will

            There is no question but that the “Doctrine of Election” is taught in the Scriptures, and that it applies not only to “service,” but to “salvation.” It is equally true that the “Doctrine of the Freedom of the Will” under certain conditions is also taught. We may not be able to reconcile the “Sovereign Will of God,” with the “Free-will of Man,” but that is no proof that they are not reconcilable. They are the corresponding halves of the Doctrine of Salvation, “Election” is the Godward side, and “Free-will” the manward side. The perversion of the “Doctrine of Election” leads to the “Doctrine of Inability” or Fatalism, which denies the freedom of man’s choice, and therefore his accountability or responsibility for his salvation. It was this Doctrine that the Revelation. Charles G. Finney thundered against during all his evangelistic ministry.

            Election does not mean that God has chosen some to be saved and others to be lost. The Scriptures clearly teach that all men are lost. “For there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:22-23. Election simply means that God for some purpose best known to Him, and for which He can justify Himself, has chosen certain ones to be saved, but as we shall see He has not limited the number that shall be saved to those, for the door is left open for the “Whosoevers.” The Election of God is seen all through the Scriptures. God chose Abel instead of Cain, Shem instead of Ham and Japheth, Abraham rather than Nahor, Jacob the crafty rather than Esau the generoushearted, Ephraim the younger is preferred before Manasseh the elder, and so all down through the Old Testament we see the selecting hand of God, not only in the choice of individuals but of nations. As proof texts we have “For He saith to Moses,Iwill have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:15-16. “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Romans 9:18. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” Romans 9:21. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” John 15:16. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed,” Acts 13:48. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world . . . having predestinated us unto the adoption of children . . . according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:4-5. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world was.” 2 Timothy 1:9.

            From these scriptures we see that God has “elected” some even before the foundation of the world. The passage in Acts 13:48, “As many as were ordained to eternal life, BELIEVED,” is most striking. It shows (1) that “Believing” is the consequence, and not the cause of God’s decree. (2) That only a limited number are ordained to eternal life. (3) That this ordination is to salvation and not service. (4) That among those hearers all who were ordained believed, no more, no less. [Larkin has a Calvinistic interpretation of Acts 13:48 that does not consider the very words of Acts 13:46 which plainly state that salvation had been offered to this specific group of Jews who had rejected the offer and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. Acts 13:46 does not say that the Jews were FOREordained to everlasting death. Nor does Acts 13:48 say that these Gentiles were FOREordained to everlasting life. Was that whole group of Jews predestined to hell individually? No, because if they were then it would be a waste of time to preach to them. Acts 13:48 makes it plain that all Gentiles who believe are ordained to eternal life. By direct inference both Acts 13:46 and Acts 13:48 indicate that all Jews who reject the offer of salvation are ordained to hell. This whole passage in Acts 13:44-52 is not focused upon particular individuals, but rather on the eternal destiny of both the Jew and the Gentile who either accept or reject the gospel. Here, Larkin also pushes the doctrine of Limited Atonement. God has not limited the atonement to a specific number. However he has limited the application of the atonement only to those that believe. For a thorough and complete refutation of the doctrines of Calvinism see Dave Hunt’s book “What Love Is This” and Laurence Vance’s book “The Other Side Od Calvinism”. ]

            On the other hand we have the “Freedom of the Will” taught. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them |that believe on His name.” John 1:12. “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. The last call of the Bible is a general call. “And the Spirit (Holy Spirit) and the bride (the Church) say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.

How are we to reconcile these apparently contradictory statements of Scripture? The “key” is the use of the word –


            Elect according to the FOREKNOWLEDGE of God.” 1 Peter 1:2. “For whom He did FOREKNOW, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the ‘Image of His Son,’ that He might be the first born among many brethren.” And the Apostle goes on to add – “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them He also CALLED; and whom He called, them He also JUSTIFIED: and whom He justified, them He also GLORIFIED.” Romans 8:29-30. One important step seems to be here omitted, that of SANCTIFIED, which belongs between the last two, but it is implied in the phrase “to be conformed to the Image of His Son” of the preceding verse, and is supplied in the first reference from Peter – “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit.” [We would strongly state that the predestination here is NOT to salvation but to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.]

            In the Epistle to the Ephesians Paul uses three words: “Chosen,” “Predestinated,” “Foreordination” (before ordained). The word “Chosen” refers to our choice in the “Eternal Past” (Ephesians 1:4), the word “Predestination” to our inheritance in the “Eternal Future” (Ephesians 1:11), and the word “Foreordination” to our “good works” in the “Living Present” (Ephesians 2:10), and links us with the first two, thus showing the co-ordination of “God’s Will” and “Man’s Will” in the actual process of salvation. All prophecy is based on God’s Foreknowledge, but it does not predetermine human conduct or events. God’s Foreknowledge of what men will do does not compel men to do those things. God foreknew that Adam would fall, and that Judas would betray Jesus, but His foreknowledge of what they would do did not compel them to do what they did. They did those things because’ they wanted to do those things, and God held them responsible for their choice.

            From what has been said it is clear that God’s choice or predestination of individuals is based on His foreknowledge or prescience of what they would do when the Gospel was offered to them. It is therefore no arbitrary or compulsory choice and does not conflict with the “Freedom of the Will.” For illustration God foresaw in eternity past, before the creation of this earth, that on the 28th day of October, 1850, the Author of this book would be born, and that on a certain evening in May, 1869, in a Y. M. C. A. prayer meeting, he would accept Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, and because of that foreknowledge He ordained him unto Eternal Life, and had his name recorded in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” Philippians 4:3. Revelation 3:5. More, He foresaw that the Author would have certain temperamental and artistic gifts that would fit him to present Scriptural truth in chart form, and to that end He imparted to him, through the Holy Spirit, the needed wisdom to “Rightly Divide the Word,” so that he might write and publish such books on the Holy Scriptures, as he has by the Grace of God been permitted to do.

            Now the Author confesses that he would not have naturally done this, though he was born with a religious temperament, but that it was the outward or external influence of the Holy Spirit that led him to accept Christ. In that sense he admits that he was called or elected of God. On the other hand he disclaims that he was in any sense forced or coerced to take the stand, against his own will. The step was voluntary on his part and was in harmony with his desire. Therefore he holds that there is a harmonious relation between the “Sovereign Will” of God, and the “Free-will” of man.

            This leads to some remarks on the “Human Will.” The “Will” is the faculty of choice. The will does not originate. It is not the mind. It is simply the instrument that decides the course that is to be taken. The governing part of man is the heart. If a man’s heart is bad, his will is bad and vice versa. In the natural man there is no good thing, the disposition of his heart is to do evil continually, therefore if his will is to Acts contrary to the natural tendencies of his heart it must come under the governing control of some power outside of himself. This power is that of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the unregenerate man cannot come to God until his will comes under the power of the Holy Spirit. When it does the man of his own free will will turn to God. In unfallen Adam the will was free, free to choose good or evil. Adam was created in a state of innocence. He was neither holy nor unholy. His will was in a condition of “Moral Equipoise.” There was no bias toward good or evil. But it is not so with fallen man—he has a bias toward evil, his will is not in a state of “Moral Equipoise.” His heart is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9. The “will” of the “Last Adam” (Christ) was not like that of the First Adam, in a state of “Moral Equipoise,” but it was the reverse of the will of the natural man, it had no bias toward evil, but only a bias toward “Holiness,” therefore there was no possibility that the will of Christ would have permitted Him to sin..

            Because the choice of the human will, governed by a bad heart, is toward evil, nothing can prevent the Natural man from going to the bad but the “Grace of God.” And by badness is not necessarily meant wickedness, but a hardening of his heart against all good influences and a yielding to the carnal desires of the flesh. The nature that is under the dominion of sin, cannot of itself originate that which is holy. Jesus said – “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” John 6:44. And Paul said – “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Corinthians 12:3. From this we see the impotency of the natural man. But this does not excuse the natural man from seeking salvation. For the moment he realizes that if he is to be saved it must be by a power outside of himself, it is his duty to inquire where that power may be found. That is why we are commanded to preach the Gospel, for it is the “POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH.” Romans 1:16. But as “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD” (Romans 10:17), a man cannot believe unless he knows what to believe. The instrument the Holy Spirit uses to convict a man of his need of salvation, and to produce a “New Nature” in him is the “Word of God.” John 3:5.

            It is right here that a man may exert his “Free-will” by resisting the tender wooing of the Holy Spirit. Stephen’s charge against his persecutors was – “Ye stiffnecked (stubborn) and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the HOLY GHOST.” Acts 7:51. .Therefore it is true that a man in the exercise of his “will,” governed by a proud and stubborn heart, may refuse the pleadings of the Holy Spirit to his own destruction. This refusal of some men to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit, shows that they cannot be saved against their will.

            If the “forgiveness of sins” is preached through Christ to all men (Acts 13:38), and God now commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30), and we are to beseech men to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20), surely the work of Christ on the Cross was not limited to the elect only. God does not mock men. When an offer of salvation is made to “whosoever will come” it is a “BONA-FIDE” offer. It is not true that because God has chosen a certain person to salvation that he will be saved whether he believes or not. He must be saved through the God-ordained method of salvation. You cannot be elected unless you are a candidate. As it has been well put – “The elect are the “whosoever wills,” and the non-elect are the “whosoever won’ts.”


1. A Consciousness of the New Birth.

2. The Fruits of the Holy Spirit in the life.

3. A progressive Sanctification.

4. A consistent walk.

5. A perseverance in the faith.


Chapter XXIII. The Reciprocal Indwelling of Christ and the Believer

            The thoughtful and observing reader of the New Testament will notice a number of paradoxical statements that clearly teach a “Reciprocal Indwelling.” First of the Father and Jesus. “I am in the Father and the Father in Me.” John 14:8-11. “The Father in Me, and I in Him.” John 10:38. “That they all may be one ; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee.” John 17:21. Secondly as to Christ and the Believer. “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” John 6:56. In the Parable of “The Vine” we read – “Abide in Me, and I in you . . . He that abideth in Me, and I in him . . . If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you.” John 15:4, John 15:5, John 15:7. It is botanically true that the branches abide in the vine, and the vine in the branches. As the two grow they grow into each other. Any attempt to separate them will tear the fibres that interlock with each other and mutilate both. This “Reciprocal Indwelling” is beautifully illustrated in nature. Take the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. The plant is in the soil, and the soil is in the plant. The bird is in the air, and the air is in the bird. The fish is in the water, and the water is in the fish. The iron is in the fire, and the fire is in the iron. The mutual interrelation of the plant to the soil, the bird to the air, and the fish to the water, is necessary to their life. So the mutual indwelling of Christ and the Believer is necessary to the Spiritual life of the Believer. When Jesus was about to depart He said – “Because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.” John 14:19-20. Let us look at these two “Cardinal Facts” of the mutual indwelling of Christ and the Believer.

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            This is the position of the soul that has accepted Christ as its personal Saviour, and has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This particular phrase with its equivalent “In Christ Jesus,” or “In Him,” or “In Whom,” etc., occurs over 130 times in the New Testament, and means organic union with Christ, as the vine to the branches, and the head to the body. In the Diagram, just above, this union is illustrated in concentric circles, but a better illustration would be that of a sphere. If you should draw a circle on the floor and step within it, it would surround you, but only on one plane, but if you were to take a position in the centre of a spherically shaped room you would be surrounded on all sides, and equally protected in every direction from all external foes and perils, and dependent upon the atmosphere of that spherical room for your life and safety. To illustrate, the unborn infant is encompassed within the mother, and is protected from all outside perils, and its life is sustained from the mother’s life, as, her life blood flows through it, and it can be said of it that it is in the mother and the mother in it.

 This phrase, “In Christ,” is the “Key” that the “Heavenly Interpreter” uses to unlock every separate book in the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation. For illustration take the Epistles of Paul, counting the Epistles to the Corinthians as one, and the Epistles to the Thessalonians as one:  

Romans – “In Christ JUSTIFIED.” Romans 3:24.

Corinthians – “In Christ SANCTIFIED.” 1 Corinthians 1:2.

Galatians – “In Christ CRUCIFIED.” Galatians 2:20.

Ephesians – “In Christ ASCENDED.” Ephesians 1:3.

Philippians – “In Christ SATISFIED.” Philippians 1:11.

Colossians – “In Christ COMPLETE.” Colossians 2:10.

Thessalonians – “In Christ GLORIFIED.” 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12.

The Believer’s POSITION “in Christ” is the same as that of Christ Himself. Believers “In Christ” are –

1. CRUCIFIED together “with Him.” Romans 6:6.

2. BURIED together “with Him.” Colossians 2:12.

3. QUICKENED together “with Him.” Ephesians 2:5.

4. RISEN together “with Him.” Colossians 3:1-3.

5. HEIRS together “with Him.” Romans 8:17.

6. SUFFERERS together “with Him.” Romans 8:17.

7. GLORIFIED together “with Him.” Romans 8:17.

            This does not mean that when Christ was crucified, like one of the thieves, I was crucified on a separate cross with Him, or that when He rose from the grave I also arose from a nearby grave, but it means that when He was crucified and arose I was so identified as a Believer in His Crucifixion and Resurrection as to be said to be crucified, etc., with Him. When Adam sinned he died to God, and as I am by nature the child of Adam, I died “in Adam” to God. But the very moment I accept Christ as my personal Saviour I am born into the family of the Second Adam (Christ), and thus become a partaker of the Christ life, and it follows that whatever was done by Christ was done in and for me, so that when He died on the Cross I died with Him, when He was buried I was buried with Him, when He arose from the grave I arose with Him, when He ascended I ascended with Him, when He was glorified I was glorified with Him, and when He shall come again I will come with Him.

            When a child is born into a family the law of heredity entitles that child to all the past history, tendencies (good or bad), social and political rights and privileges of the family as far back as the lineage can be traced. And there is another law, the law of inheritance that guarantees to that child the future possession of the family inheritance. So the person who is born by the Holy Spirit into the family of God, and thus becomes a “partaker of the Divine Nature,” is not only entitled to the future inheritance of a Child of God, but to all the past experiences of Christ.

            Christian experience is the making real in our life of what is true as to our standing in Christ, and means that we are to make actual in practice that which we in the Scriptures are declared to be. That is, we are to Acts in accordance with our standing. A king will Acts like a king, a millionaire like a millionaire, a beggar like a beggar, and a child of God like a child of God. When our Lord arose and came out of the tomb He had no further use for grave-clothes and so He left them behind. They would have been unbecoming and hindering to the risen body of Christ. But He went not forth naked, He was clothed upon with garments befitting His Resurrection state. Have you been crucified, buried and risen with Christ? Then leave in the grave the garments of the “Old Man.” “PUT OFF all these, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing ye have PUT OFF THE OLD MAN WITH HIS DEEDS ... and PUT ON therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, . . . and above all these things PUT ON CHARITY (love) which is the bond of perfectness.” Colossians 3:8-14.

            How am I to get into this “Sphere of Life” in Christ Jesus? By regeneration. But it is not. enough to get into this sphere, I must have capacity to live and breathe in its atmosphere. Every form of life has its sphere for which it is adapted, as the bird to the air, the fish to the water. To live in these spheres there must be conformity to their laws. To pass from one to the other needs a new creation. So if I am to pass from the Natural.to the Spiritual I must be recreated. “Therefore if any man be ‘in Christ’ he is a NEW CREATURE.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. It is a great privilege to be “Insphered in Christ” – to have the security that position insures to the Believer, and to be sure of the glorious inheritance that awaits us in Christ, and to know that “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him IN GLORY.” Colossians. 3:4.


            While the “New Life” is conditioned on our being “In Christ,” the manifestation of that “Life” is dependent on “Christ being in us.” The only way we can manifest life is by activity or fruitfulness. The test of true Discipleship is FRUITBEARING. “By their ‘FRUITS’ ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16, Matthew 7:20. To illustrate this Jesus spake His last and Master Parable of “The Vine.” John 15:1-8. As much as to say—“What that vine is in the ‘Vegetable World,’ I am in the SPIRITUAL WORLD.” The first thing that the vine suggests is UNITY, not mechanical unity but organic unity. From the lowest root to the tip pi the highest branch, the root, the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the blossoms, and the fruit are ONE. Jesus said – “I am THE VINE, YE are THE BRANCHES . . . WITHOUT ME (apart from me) ye can do NOTHING.” The mission of the vine is to bring forth fruit. The mission of the child of God is the same. Here we must distinguish between “Works” and “Fruit.” “Works” are external, such as Christian service of various kinds. “Fruit” is internal and is the work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer. “The ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22-23. Here we have nine kinds of “fruit” that the “Child of God” is expected to bear. To some of God’s dear children the effort to be good and fruitful is a continuous strain, but they have not learned the secret; it is not trying to be good, but it is to let the Holy Spirit have His way with us. It is His business to bring forth fruit in our lives if we will let Him. The branch is not responsible for fruitbearing, that is the work of the Vine. It is the “sap” that produces fruit. All the branch has to do is to let the “sap” flow through it and do its office work and fruit will of necessity follow.” But if something prevents the proper flow of the sap then there is little or no fruit. So the obstruction of worldliness, pride, covetousness or other things may prevent a child of God from bearing much fruit. This leads to the use of the “Pruning Knife.” “Every branch that beareth fruit, He PURGETH (pruneth) IT, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Vs. 2. Here we have the secret of chastisement. Notice that the pruning is not because the branch bears no fruit, but that it may bear MORE fruit.

            There are two things peculiar to the vine. (1) It has the largest capacity for producing SAP, and (2) the largest capacity for producing WOOD. If you would have fruit, then you must prevent the sap from producing wood, and compel it to produce fruit. This is done by pruning. That is, pinching off the end of the stem back to,the bud. So the “Divine Husbandman” when He would produce “More Fruit” in our lives, pinches off by chastisement the excess of woody growth of riches, undue love of worldly things, etc. This is a very precious thought, that while our fruitfulness depends on our abiding in the vine, the AMOUNT of our fruitfulness is largely due to the careful pruning of the “Divine Husbandman.”

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 But not only is our “Fruit-bearing” dependent on “Christ being in us,” but also our “Prayer Life.” “If ye abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7. Here are two conditions of prayer and one promise. The conditions are – “If ye abide in me,” and “My words abide in you.” The Promise is – “Ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” Here is the “Magna Charta” of prayer. The first condition then of answered prayer is that we be IN CHRIST – “If ye abide in Me.” The second is that “CHRIST BE IN US” – “My words abide in you.” The Apostle John tells us – “That if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL He heareth us.” 1 John 5:14. Now how can we know the “Will of God” or the “Mind of Christ,” or the “Mind of the Spirit” unless we know the “Word of God,” the Holy Scriptures. We cannot pray for a certainty unless we know what God has promised to give. Jesus promised His Disciples that after His Ascension He would send the “Holy Spirit” to them and that He would bring all things to their remembrance. That is He would recall to their memory all the sayings and promises of Christ. Then they would be able to pray with certainty and whatsoever they should ask the Father in “Christ’s Name” at that Day (the Day of Pentecost), He would give unto them. John 16:23-26. So we not only have the Scriptures to tell us what we may ask for with certainty, but we have the “Spirit of Christ” (the Holy Spirit) to make intercession for us. In Romans 8:26-27 (we read – “26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the MIND OF THE SPIRIT, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the WILL OF GOD.’” [We removed a quote here from the Revised Standard (per) Version for Romans 8:26-27] “Now we know that if we ask anything according to HIS (God’s) WILL, HE HEARETH US, and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know THAT WE HAVE the petitions that we desired of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15. To pray the “Prayer of Faith” then it is necessary that not only shall we be IN CHRIST, but that CHRIST SHALL BE IN US.

There is a promise that all Christians love to quote for their assurance in prayer—“If TWO of you shall AGREE ON EARTH as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:19. The common opinion of this promise is, that when two or three persons mutually agree to pray for a certain person or object, that their prayer will be answered. But that is not the idea at all. The word here translated “AGREE” is a very suggestive one. It is the Greek word from which our word “SYMPHONY” comes. The thought is, if two shall “ACCORD” or “Symphonize” in what they ask they have the promise. Ananias and Sapphira “agreed together” to tempt the Spirit of the Lord. Acts 5:9. There was mutual accord, but guilty DISCORD with the Holy Spirit, for as in tuning a musical instrument all the notes must be keyed to the standard, pitch, else harmony were impossible, so in prayer, it is not enough that two persons agree with each other, they must accord with a third – THE LORD, and the Holy Spirit the “Divine Tuner” must put them in accord. The “key” to the promise is found in the next verse—“For where two or three are gathered together IN MY NAME, there amIin the MIDST OF THEM.” Matthew 18:20. That is to say, if there are two persons present and praying, there is also a third, if there are three persons present, there is a fourth. But this fourth person is invisible and is no other than the Lord Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit, who causes the supplicants without previous agreement to symphonize and thus accord with the “Divine Will” and the condition of “My Words abide in you” being fulfilled the prayer is answered.

            When Jesus said – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father ‘IN MY NAME,’ He will give it you” (John 16:23), and the expression “IN MY NAME” is six times repeated, it was a new teaching. No one in Old Testament times asked in “JESUS’ NAME,” neither had the Disciples up to that time, because the unity of Jesus with His Disciples had not yet been revealed, and it was not until Jesus spake the “Parable of the Vine” that the Disciples understood. their union with Him. When I ask anything in another’s name, not I, but they are the Asker. It follows then that when I ask in “Jesus’ Name” He is the suppliant and not I. But Jesus is not supposed to ask anything that is not according to the “Will of God,” therefore to have my prayers answered when I ask in “Jesus’ Name” I must not only be “In Christ,” but He must be “In Me,” or our wills will not be in accord. To illustrate, if I am to paint like Raphael, it is not enough for me to copy his paintings and try to imitate him, I must have him in me and it must be he who uses my brains and hands. And if I am to pray as Christ would pray I must have Christ in me to enlighten me how to pray as He would pray, otherwise my prayer in “His Name” will be of no avail.

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