AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TRUE ECCLESIA
BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
No man that has ever lived and no revelation that was ever given has been able to remotely comprehend the vastness of the wisdom and love of God’s purpose toward us who believe. It is God who filleth the vastness of the eternal heavens. It is God whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. Some time ago I looked in amazement upon an astronomical chart showing what was termed to be “The Sun’s Neighbors.” My poor finite mind was staggered with the thought that thousands of other suns were often more than forty million light years away from our sun. Light traveling one hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second would take forty million years to travel the distance. Such things are too wonderful for me. Though only about six thousand stars are visible to the natural eye, the mighty telescopes show that there are enough galaxies in the heavens to give one to every man who has ever lived. Yet the heaven of heavens cannot contain God!
The time has certainly come for us poor earth worms to raise our sights to the glories He has prepared for us that we might see and know that the body He cloth prepare is a spiritual habitation for Him whom the heavens cannot contain. I pray unto God the Father that exceeding grace may be granted unto you that by the Holy Spirit’s revelation you may know what inspired His eternal call to you, though you be the least of all saints.
The plan and purpose of God for the entire universe was finished in minute detail before the foundation of the earth was laid. With infinite care He charted the course of mankind, knowing in Himself what the end of all labor and travail would be. Inasmuch as God has foreseen the course that every man will take, either in faith or in unbelief, He has foreknown those who will share the likeness of His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and has by His foreknowledge predestined them to be placed as sons of God in the image and likeness of that firstborn Son in every respect-not physical, for we know no man after the flesh, but spiritual, for we know Christ only after the Spirit. Therefore did David say, “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness”, and the beloved John said, “As He is, so are we in the world.” Paul by the wisdom given unto him declared them to be “bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh”, and Peter affirmed, “We have become partakers of His divine nature.” He, being the firstborn among many brethren, is not ashamed to call us His brethren. Such was God’s gracious will and pleasure, and such is the splendor of His marvelous grace, for with such treasures He has enriched us in the Beloved one. This is grace and wisdom as fathomless as God Himself. Should any man speak of the grace of God, let him know that to partake of His body and blood, to drink of His spirit, to partake of His divine nature, and to have His name written in our foreheads is grace beyond the understanding of any man. Having cleansed us from the vileness of our sins through the righteousness and sacrifice of His blood and having given to us the Spirit of His own dear Son, we now cry as did our elder brother, “Abba Father!”
The glorious sonship of which we now partake is in strict harmony with the infinite plan of God – a plan laid before the world began unto His praise and glory. By this plan God shall govern the entire universe in the ages, which are to come, for everything in heaven and in earth must become subject to Him that He might be Lord of all. Everything shall be beneath His feet and everything will bow the knee and do Him honor. In His own mind He has planned the restoration of the entire creation that it may find its one head in Him. God has chosen this company of sons beforehand to carry out this great restoration. The design of His will He is unfolding to them that they might be acquainted beforehand-even now-with the immutable intentions and purposes of God, and might know what hope He had in mind when He called them. It was the hope and unchanging purpose of God that they, being adopted and placed as God’s sons and having learned both good and evil, should no more come under the dominion of evil, but be in the image of God and with Christ their captain restore all things to His righteous government. It was not Adam alone that God intended should be in His image, but man, and thus it shall be, for the purpose of God no circumstance shall alter. Unto you, therefore, who were first to fix your hopes in Christ and to understand the purpose of God for the ages to come special grace has been given, and the Holy Spirit of God has sealed you as His own, the Spirit being a small foretaste of complete redemption which is a state more glorious than Adam possessed-a state exceeding the glories of the transfiguration, a redemption specially designed by God for the manifesting of His glory that the predestined restoration of the entire creation might be accomplished.
Let increasing thanks be continually rendered to God for the faith that is rising among His people as they embrace His purpose and conform their lives to that predestined plan of God. Let continual prayer and intercession be made to God that by the spirit of wisdom and revelation a divine insight might be given us into these most glorious mysteries. The inner eyes of the understanding must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit that we may see why He called some first and acquainted them with His will for coming dispensations.
Unto the elect first God reveals His will and purpose and shows them that the Almighty, who possesses all, hath an inheritance in His saints. The purpose of universal government in them He first made manifest when He raised His first-begotten Son from the dead and set Him far above all principality and power, all might and dominion – above every name and sovereignty in this age or in the ages to come making Him supreme head of all things everywhere, including His body which is the completeness of Him who fills the universe. To join that forerunner, even Jesus Christ, our Head, we have been made alive and quickened by the Spirit. We have rejoiced in a foretaste of that same resurrection. Once we were servants of the prince of the power of the air and were the sons of disobedience motivated by the same evil spirits now at work in the world and among those who, though they have believed, are still governed by their lower nature. It was through the grace of God and His intense love wherewith He loved us, though we were completely dead in our sins, being foreigners to divine citizenship, hateful to God and hating each other, that we have been made partakers of resurrection life and have received a foretaste of complete redemption, even now sharing His life, being raised with Him and seated by faith with Him where He sits, high above all principality and power and every ruler and authority, where all things are under His feet. In these heavenly realms in the Spirit we sit enthroned with Him, His purpose and will being that in coming ages He might display the transcendent riches of His wisdom and grace to all creatures when they behold and understand the goodness of God which was displayed in us who first believed and were seated with Him.
This glory is all of grace. No meritorious work of man has helped us to partake of it. Our heavenly enthronement with Christ was given us in Him before the world began. Even the faith by which it is received is the gift of God. Let no man boast or pride himself in works or think himself above another, for we are all God’s workmanship, designed before the world began. For His glory He predestined us to perform His work and fulfill it. Let us not forget that we were an uncircumcised and an unholy people, that neither God nor the things of God had any part in us. Because we changed the glory of God into images of four-footed beasts and creeping things, we were given up to uncleanness. Because we worshipped the creature and not the creator, we were given up to vile affections. Because we did not want to retain God in our knowledge, we were given up to a reprobate mind to do those things that were not convenient. What merit have we then to offer? None! Yet God’s grace is shown to be the greater, for without works His grace has been brought nigh to those who were far off, bringing them near to Him and enthroning them in heavenly rulership with Christ, our Lord and elder brother.
So through the grace of God those who had nothing have attained and those who had much merit have fallen short. His grace then puts all men on equal footing, destroying every dividing wall, those who have the law having no advantage over those who trust in His mercy. By His grace, then, the great divisions are united and the enmity is slain, bringing peace to all, for it is only in Him and through His grace that we have access to the Father and mutual citizenship in the heavenly realms. Through God’s mercy and His predestining purpose we have become foreigners to the course of this age, and have been placed as sons of God. We are members of His family and our citizenship is in the heavenly sphere. Foreigners are excluded from the civil rights of other countries, but we, having become members of the family of God, share citizenship with Christ in the heavenly realms of the Spirit.
When Christ departed from the world, He declared, “In My Father’s house there are many mansions (abiding places). I go to prepare a place for you.” The Father’s house is the mystical body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit. “For I will dwell in them and walk in them and I shall be their God and they shall be My people.” This mystical body of Christ, the Father’s house, the habitation of God through the Spirit, is rising on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in union with whom the whole body, bonded together by the Spirit, is rising to form a holy habitation for God in the Spirit. We as living stones are built up a spiritual house where sacrifices acceptable to God are offered. This is precious to those who believe, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to all who believe not and are disobedient.
The formation of the mystical body of Christ to be a habitation for God was the great secret locked up in God’s mind from the beginning of the world, and this is in harmony with His purpose to govern the universe when the time is ripe and the spiritual habitation is complete. As the law of God went forth from the temple in Jerusalem to govern the nation, so shall the law of God go forth from this heavenly habitation that is His body, composed of His elect sons of all ages, to govern the entire universe. Christ, the Head, who is seated far above all principality and powers and might, all rulers and every name that is named, has made us live together with Him and has prepared to enthrone us with Himself far above all powers that the will of God shall go forth to the universe from this heavenly temple till all things everywhere are under His feet and He is Lord of all.
The plan for the government of the world was concealed in the mind of God from the beginning of time. It was first unfolded in a revelation given to the beloved apostle Paul that all races, both Jews and Gentiles, with all their hostility abolished in Christ, should share common citizenship in the Father’s house, the body of Christ, which is the habitation for God through the Spirit. Thus the laws and ordinances of a foreign world have no effect whatever upon our mutual heavenly citizenship. Every rivalry is forgotten and we are fellow-citizens of the household of God. Had we been mindful of that country from which we came out, we might have had opportunity to have returned; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called our God, for He hath prepared for us a city. Even the patriarch Abraham went looking for that city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
In the preparation of this heavenly habitation He left us not without a plan for its erection. When He ascended on high, He gave gifts unto men and ministries whereby the mystical body of Christ might come to perfection. Thus to some He gave the ministry of apostles, to some prophets, to others evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Upon these five ministries rests the entire work of bringing the body to perfection, for they were given to equip His people for serving and to build up the body of Christ till we all come into the unity of the faith and the oneness of the knowledge of the Son of God, reaching the perfection of the full stature of Christ. Who can over-emphasize the importance of such ministries upon whom rests such sacred enterprise? Those ministries in truth proceed forth from God. They are sent of God and speak the words of God. Who cannot see the wisdom of Satan in distorting these five ministries in that he has filled the church system with false apostles, false prophets, false teachers, false pastors, end false evangelists, all speaking contrary things and none having any idea of the plan that lay concealed in the mind of God for the building of the habitation of God through the Spirit? Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this testimony: “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” Jesus Christ warned us long ago that in the same field where good seed was sown the enemy would sow weeds and tares, and in the field where His apostles were sent forth to labor, to minister and teach, a false ministry would arise, speaking all manner of perverse things in their lust to draw away disciples after themselves. He warned the world that false teachers, false apostles, false prophets, and even false Christ’s would arise. As sure as His word is truth and His prophecy much more enduring than this world that is passing away, all things have come to pass as He foretold and even now are evident before our very eyes.
The world today is treated to the sickening spectacle of seeing a harvest field choked with tares, but the awesome tragedy is not that the field is choked with tares, but that the people actually think the tares are the true wheat. The greatest tragedy is not that mystery Babylon exists, but that the people of God actually think that the monstrosity that is Babylon is the true church. They speak of it as the church. They religiously attend its gatherings as the assembling of the church. They reverence it as the church and pay their money to it as the church. But it is not the church. It is a monstrous confusion, a Babel of ideas and doctrines. It has nothing in common with the church of which I now write, no likeness to the church that Jesus described, and no communion with the church, which was founded by the apostles. It is an abominable enormity full of false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, false pastors, and false Christ’s who for the most part are nothing superior to the very prophets of Baal, who were the preachers and prophets of a pagan, backslidden, distorted Israel, worthy only to be destroyed by the fierce judgment of Elijah. Is it any wonder that the Almighty God has declared, “I will send Elijah before that great and terrible day of the Lord?” The ministry of Elijah is as badly needed now as it was in the days of Jezebel, that queen mother of all harlots and lover of false prophets.
The true Ecclesia, the true and holy church, is separate and distinct from this confused and drunken harlot that straddles the whole earth. The true church is the company whom Jesus described when He said, “My sheep know My voice and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) If any man will prayerfully read the tenth chapter of John, he will clearly see the vast gulf between the false church and the true, the false followers and the true, and the false ministries and the true. The true church is the habitation of God, and it is the true and almost invisible ministry that God hath set that is perfecting it upon the true foundation.
Just as the ten tribes of Israel became lost to the eyes of the world after the Babylonian captivity, so also the true church has largely become lost to human view since the captivity began in the days of Constantine. God still knows what has become of the ten tribes of Israel, and God still knows the members of His true and holy church. This pearl of great price, though remaining hidden and buried from the prying, curious eyes of an unbelieving world, stands far beyond the comprehension of a church system that has worshipped and honored the works of its own hands. It is still known and loved of God as a treasure hid in a field. Century after century, year after year, day after day, and hour after hour it is the object of His continual care as He strengthens, establishes, and keeps each precious member. In His love He causes them to grow in stature by secretly feeding them the milk of the Word, the bread of life, the strong meat of revelation, and the rich corn and wine of the coming kingdom. With loving paternal care He unerringly brings them to sonship. The chastening rod of correction falls upon them until they suffer such dire loss in all things of the world that their sinking souls seem to be beyond hope of recovery. But in the greatness of their distress they learn to sing with the joy of God in their hearts, “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Beneath the rod of His correction they learn to know true values. They come to know the transient nature of all earthly things,. They see them rise like a green bay tree, which, after it is grown, has no known value. They see them grow like the grass which today is and tomorrow is withered with the east wind. They see all earthly things as the flower of the field that blooms today but tomorrow is cast into the oven to wilt with the burning heat of summer. He makes their gold and silver canker and lose its value that men may see that only in Christ are true values to be found. Men of earth have no understanding of true value. They are much like Jonah who was very angry that God had destroyed the gourd, which grew up in one night and upon which he bestowed no labor, but was unable to see the value of one hundred twenty thousand souls whom God had spared from judgment by his preaching. Such is the understanding of carnal man.
Those blessed people whom God is creating to bear the image of His son must sooner or later learn that they can depend only upon the Lord. Our heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom knows how to teach His children that the man or woman who puts his trust in man will be utterly disappointed. He will soon learn the meaning of the words, “Cursed be he who maketh flesh his arm, but blessed is he who maketh God his strength.” The life of the great apostle Paul was lived beneath the shadow of the cross of Christ, but let no one think that this was a glorious experience for the flesh, for it was not. He knew the bitterness of unfaithful friends. Hear him as he says, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world,” and “At my first answer no man stood with me.” He knew what it was to weep as he warned God’s people of false teachers. He was betrayed by friends and delivered up to prison and to the stocks. By the time the earthly life of this man of God was ended, God had taught him that only Christ was all in all.
Have you often wondered why it was that the further you went in your walk with God the fewer friends you had? You may have wondered times without number if perchance you were walking the wrong road because your companions in travel were so few. Why did Jesus say, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword?” Is He not the Prince of Peace? Did He not say, “They that take the sword will perish with the sword?” Certainly He did. But all who would be sons of God must learn that peace between the flesh and the Spirit can never be, not even for a moment. They two are mortal enemies ever warring against each other, never declaring an armistice, never proclaiming a truce, never enjoying peace. The flesh is an implacable enemy of God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So they who are in the flesh cannot please God. Cain, who was of the wicked one, slew Abel, who was of the Lord. God hated Esau, who was after the flesh, and loved Jacob because he was after the Spirit. Joseph’s brethren hated him because his father loved him. Ishmael, who was the son of the bond-woman, mocked Isaac, who was the son of the free woman, and thus the war goes on forever. Jesus said He would divide a house against itself two against three and three against two. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.“ Matt. 10:35 This is a conclusion that is unavoidable, not that God rejoices in division, but that wherever men will walk with God they will always find opposition from those who walk after the flesh. How many million times have children seen the glorious light of revelation from heaven only to be opposed and hindered by parents who see nothing at all but the traditions of their fathers! How often has a wife embraced the glory of Christ’s salvation only to find herself at sudden and bitter variance with a Christ-rejecting husband! How often have we seen men who loved God and longed to walk the green field of God’s ever expanding truth only to be hindered and thwarted by the pettiness of a worldly minded wife who could never see beyond the circle of her friends and the luxuries of her home. The faithful followers of Christ will never find it necessary to pick quarrels with the worldly-minded. They will always find the Cains ready to murder, the Ishmaels ready to mock, the Shimeis ready to curse and throw stones (2 Sam. 16:5-7), the Absaloms anxious to rebel, the authorities waiting to plot their destruction (Dan. 6), and the high priests and religious leaders ready to crucify. They will be misunderstood by the people who profess to know God and hindered by those who should give them help. But all this is for their great eternal benefit t, for it will cause them to come to know Him separate and apart from all people and all things, and that is a blessing of untold value. Once a man learns by experience that it is impossible to put confidence in any human being, then for the first time that man will begin to throw all his weight upon the Lord. Then will he lean on the Lord. He will learn that those who put their trust in the Lord are never disappointed nor ashamed. Experience will teach him as David was taught that, “when my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” He will learn not to trust in the advice of men, for earthly minded men, even though they be Christians, do not know the mind of the Lord. All who have learned to reject the mind of men have at last reached the place where they can let the mind of Christ dwell in them richly. The mind of man will always lead astray, for it knows only earthly counsels, but the mind of Christ is omniscient, and brings into the innermost being all the counsel of God.
In the light of these things can we not clearly see the universal benefit bestowed upon God’s sons because, when all earthly dependencies are taken away, we grasp like a drowning man for things eternal that we may depend on them forever? When our tried and trusted friends fail us and turn away from us, reject us for no apparent reason, even becoming our bitterest enemies, then the pain and travail of this most bitter experience causes us to flee away to Him who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Experience has taught me the bitter pain of seeing men turn back just when the mountain peak was in sight. I have felt the traitor’s kiss and have seen the toil of years vanish as a whiff of perfume in the breeze. But these apparent tragedies are not tragedies at all, for they teach us to put our trust only in the faithfulness of God, and by such temptation we are abundantly able to succor all others who are tempted in like manner. It was for this very reason that Jesus Christ was tempted in all points as we are, and of Him Paul has written, “We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4:15 It is only because He has suffered all the temptations known to the human family that He can now be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things pertaining to God.
Bitter though it may be for a man to learn that he cannot trust in men, nor put his trust in leaders regardless of their strength, yet there is still a lesson to learn which is even more bitter, but more essential. You must learn above all things that you cannot trust yourself. The greatest enemy is the enemy within the gates, the fifth columnist, the quisling, the traitor within. It is always human and natural for us to say like Peter, “Though all men deny Him, yet I will not,” or “Though all men forsake you, yet I will never forsake you!” But all who will be sons of God must learn by experience that they can no more trust in themselves than they can trust any other man. Your flesh is just as weak as your neighbor’s. Furthermore, your flesh is just as much the enemy of the Spirit of God as the flesh of any other man that ever lived. Well did Paul say, “When ye think ye stand, take heed last ye fall.” only the flesh has the audacity to think it stands. The spirit is ever fleeing away to take its refuge in the Lord, knowing that He alone is a rock and a fortress. The righteous runneth into it and is safe. While I trust in myself. I am just as capable of sinning as any man on earth. I am just as capable of being deceived, of falling into error, of being snared and destroyed by a lust of flesh. Bitter has been my disappointment in many men I deemed worthy of trust, but bitter as gall has been my disappointment in myself for I have found by experience that I am not a whit different from any other man. It is the mercy of God that we are taught these things that we should no longer trust in man or in ourselves, but in God who giveth liberally of His grace and strength to all men who will forsake the arm of flesh and trust no longer in themselves, but in Him who maketh us after the image of God.
The moment we begin to see that we cannot trust ourselves, our self righteousness begins to disappear. When we realize that we are made of the same substance as the worst of God’s enemies, we lose our power to criticize those who are our enemies. There are far too many men in the world who, like the Pharisee, thank God that they are not like other men, but far too few Christians who, realizing they are like other men, bow their heads and beat their bosoms crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner. “
By these methods then does the Almighty God deal with His elect and chosen though they be hidden from the eyes of a gazing world. It is this hidden gem that is the true church. This is the pearl of great price. This the treasure hid in the field. Men of the world and Christians likewise look on the vast fields of tares and imagine in their ignorance that it is wheat. They look on the pastures teeming with endless flocks of goats and they say, “Behold the sheep.” They look on the assemblies of Babylon with all her confusion of doctrines and traditions, her sects and creeds, her endless ceremonies, her bitterness and strife, and say, “Behold the church,” knowing not at all that the true church is one of God’s greatest mysteries. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, for circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Rom. 2:28, 29
As the true church is a great mystery and her members are known to God alone, so also is the true ministry a great mystery known and set by God alone. The ministries named by Paul in Eph. 4:11 are not to be confused with the vast array of reverends, right reverends, very reverends, doctors of divinity, priests, cardinals, bishops, and popes, together with a host of lesser lights in existence today. These for the most part are no more New Testament ministries of the church than the prophets of Baal were the true ministries to Israel and Judah. They are part of the confusion of Babylon. When, oh when, are people going to realize this fact and withdraw from all such confusion, settling in their hearts that he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit, but he who is joined to an harlot is one flesh?
The true church and the true ministry are like the tabernacle in the wilderness whose boards of wood and gold were joined by five hidden bars, also of wood and gold. This is the true church with its hidden ministry, seen and known of God. Though the tabernacle in the wilderness had a value of $1,500,000 in gold, silver and precious stones, yet all was covered with badger skins so that no one knew the treasure beneath it. This is the true church; this is the treasure hid in the field. There is a ministry today known unto God It is for the perfecting of the mystical church till we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure and stature of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us then approve ourselves as the servants of Christ in patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left; by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet known, as dying and behold we live; as chastened and not killed, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
When the body of Christ is complete in the Spirit, it will have one faith, for all men moved by the same Spirit speak the same thing. The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God searcheth all things and reveals to us the deep things of God. There in one Spirit are we all of one mind, one faith, one body. The work of perfecting the body is given to these ministries. They will continue till we all arrive at oneness in faith and oneness of the knowledge of the Son of God, till we attain maturity in Christ and are no longer babies but full grown men in Christ. This is the sonship and adoption for which the whole creation is groaning. This maturity is the fore-ordained purpose of God. It is the beginning of righteous government and the reign of Christ on earth. In it is the hope of all creation… that they might be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. With this maturity the will of God begins to be done on the earth as it is done in heaven. With it all nations come under a blessed and righteous government. It is the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus Christ who prayed, “That they all may be one: as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they all may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me.” This is the body through which God will reign in the millennial kingdom when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters the cover the sea. This is the body that will subdue all enemies and bring all things under His feet. The last of all enemies that shall be destroyed is the most notable-death itself Then, when death is defeated and all things are under the feet of Christ, He shall be subject to the Father that God may be all in all. By man came death. By man also comes the resurrection of the dead. Oh, the depths of the wisdom of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
These five ministries will exist until unity is gained, until the full measure and stature of Christ has been attained and we no longer resemble babies, for the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all. Neither shall we resemble mariners on the sea, tossed to and fro with every changing wind of doctrine that blows. The things cleverly preached by unscrupulous and cunning men to draw away disciples to themselves will have no effect. Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, let us hold with love to the truth, growing up into union with the Head, even Christ. Let no shifting device move you from the purpose devised in God’s mind before the world was, for the purposes thus ordained of God, though long in fulfillment, are sure and steadfast, God counting those who have fallen asleep in death while waiting as though they still lived; for He will raise the dead in Christ to join the living when the time comes.
As the body of Christ comes into maturity, every muscle and ligament in it will begin to contribute to its growth. Thus shall those other ministries-too numerous to speak of now-come into being and operation, that the body may be built up in love by that which every joint supplieth, by the effectual working in the measure of every part. Since such a hope is left us of entering into His glory, let us no longer walk in rebellion and perverseness of our mind; for while some seek freedom and liberty that their own thoughts may be established, they become slaves to their own corrupt ways of thinking and in bondage to every hateful doctrine and commandment of men that robs them of their place in Christ’s body where there is one faith, one Lord, one Spirit, one baptism. The understanding of the natural mind is darkened and insensible to the revelation of the Spirit of God. Man, thinking he knows God’s plan, goes about to establish it and finds himself to be fighting against God. If our understanding of God’s purpose is darkened, we are bound to live as the Gentiles live. By reason of our deep-seated ignorance we become subject to human programs and doctrines, supposing that gain is godliness. Man’s ways are always opposite to the ways of God. Man honors the rich; God blesses the poor. Man loves great crowds of followers; God chooses the remnant. The Jews demand miracles and the Greeks insist on philosophy; we preach Christ crucified-a thing revolting to the Jews and to the Greeks sheer nonsense, but to us who are saved the wisdom and power of God.
The man who bears about with him this hope of partaking of a heavenly citizenship has a tremendous price to pay. He must begin at once to put away his carnal nature and his earthly inclinations. There is no good thing found in the camel nature. All its influences are misleading and blind us to the true purposes of God. Love of crowds, love of money, love of programs, love of eating and drinking and all manner of luxury spring from the carnal nature and are at strict enmity with the will of the Lord. Anger, wrath, evil speaking, corrupt communication with each other, together with all malice and unrighteous judgment must be put away. There must be a renewing of the spirit of our minds. The judgment of the sons of God must not be with bitterness, malice, and unrighteousness, for God’s judgment is with longsuffering and righteousness.
To become a son of God and be a member of the body of Christ a walk in the Spirit is of greatest necessity, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God. The Spirit leads us to walk in love. Fornication, uncleanness, covetousness and all such like are the opposite of love and should not be named among the saints of the Lord. Neither should we practice foolish talking nor low unclean jesting, for this is not conducive to grace and sonship. To be a son of God is to be a partaker and ruler in the kingdom of God; but let us be assured that unclean persons, idolators, railers, drunkards, and extortioners shall have no part whatever in that kingdom. Let us do none of these things, neither let us speak evil one of another as some are given to doing. Evil speaking comes from evil surmising, and evil surmising comes from a corrupt mind. The wrath of God falls upon the disobedient because of all these things. How much more shall it fall upon the members of the family and household of God if we walk in their ways! In times past, when you were children of darkness, you walked in darkness, but now that you are light itself no darkness should come from you. The darkness you see in the world coming from camel Christians should not be allowed to find reflection in you. The light that proceeds forth from the sun of righteousness is the light that should glorify our faces. It is the light that makes manifest the works of evil, and that which is made manifest should be reproved.
Since we are given such understanding of the will of the Lord, let us walk circumspectly and as befits our call from heaven, redeeming the time, for the days of preparation are few and we are encompassed with evil. If we are led by the Spirit of God, then are we the sons of God To be filled with wine is mockery, but to be filled with the Spirit is to walk in the Spirit. This, at least, was God’s intention and purpose when He filled us-that, having received of the Spirit, we should walk in the Spirit, not fulfilling the lusts of the carnal mind, but, being led by the Spirit, we should be manifested as the sons of God. Woe to us that, after being filled with the Spirit, we have walked after the lusts of our former nature. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is manifested in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is acceptable to the Lord.
The life of the Holy Spirit manifests itself by an overflowing life of praise-speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Eph. 5:19. The fig tree does not bear olives nor the vine figs. Neither cloth a fountain give forth fresh water and brackish. Let it be, therefore, that the mouth that speaks psalms and hymns and songs in the Spirit will refrain itself from evil and its lips from speaking guile otherwise its sacrifice of praise will be a putrid odor and its prayer an abomination to the Almighty. The life in the Spirit will manifest itself by thanksgiving for all things, for all things are working together for good to those who love the Lord and to them who are the called according to His purpose. It is the carnal nature that complains and frets over the difficulties of the way that grieves over losses and crucifixion. The things God takes from us are the things that hinder us in the Spirit and in our progress toward sonship. Therefore let us not mourn our apparent afflictions nor turn back when we are forsaken, for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we look not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal. Therefore, knowing the end of our calling, let us give continual thanks to God, for all things are working together for our manifestation with Him.
The life in the Spirit is manifested further by submission. Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God. This is the order of the coming government of the universe. Without it there can be no kingdom. Children must obey their parents. Wives must obey their husbands, Husbands must love their wives and themselves submit to all authority God has placed over them. The world is full of false ministries. To them we should neither give heed nor submission, but the Spirit of God will reveal His true servants. To their kind and loving authority we may safely and joyfully give heed. Likewise must ministries be in obedience and submission to Christ, for “surely the Lord will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets to His servants, the prophets.” Let us, therefore, follow the example of Him who came not to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him, whose words were not His own, but the Father’s, and whose works were those given to Him to do. These three things, then, manifest a life in the Spirit: praising, thanking, and submitting to authority. Without them there is no hope of sonship.
All our submission and all our authority must be in the love, which the Spirit gives. He who said, “Wives, obey your husbands,” also said, “Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them.” He who said, “Children, obey your parents,” also said, “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath lest they be discouraged.” There is no room in God’s program for disobedience. Neither is there room for carnal despots. Paul who said, “Be ye followers of me,” said also that He was a follower of Christ. As dear children let us walk in love, for he that walketh in love is made perfect. An obedient wife is a crown of glory to her husband, and an obedient church is bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. She will extol His glory in the coming ages and the nations will bring their glory and honor into her. Let every person obey those who have the rule over them, and let those who rule love those who are subject to them. There can be no Spirit-filled life without obedience to authority. The mystery of this obedient and Spirit-filled church is most glorious, for she is made bone of His bone and flesh His flesh. She has partaken of the divine nature and has drunk of His Spirit.
In the armies that war against flesh and blood on earth the warriors must first learn discipline, submission, and obedience to all authority from the supreme command to the most inferior officer. Much more those who now wrestle to attain the mastery over the spirits that now govern the world and are masters of the air and the heavens surrounding us should learn obedience. Satan and all his forces of darkness are not in hell, but are princes and rulers of the air above us. The disobedient and unsubmissive church has killed her apostles and prophets and put the elders from their seats of oversight. Wives have been disobedient to their husbands and children to their parents; therefore, no weapons of warfare have been given us. We have no armor to withstand the evil, no girdle of truth, no breastplate of righteousness, no gospel of peace, but division, no shield of faith, no helmet of salvation, nor sword of the Spirit. The prayer and supplication of the disobedient is not heard.
The great warfare against the powers of the devil is about to begin in desperate earnestness. It will be accompanied by the evil day of great tribulation when the sons of God with Michael the archangel shall wrestle against the principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places until that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, with all his host shall be cast down into the earth. Then shall these mighty warrior sons of God, these obedient and submissive children, be caught up to literally sit in heavenly places with Christ, having cast Satan out of the heavens.
This great and terrible warfare will be the beginning of the great day of restitution when all things everywhere shall finally bow and confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. How unsearchable are the plans and purposes of God! How inexhaustible His resources! From Him everything comes. Through Him everything exists. In Him everything ends. Glory to Him forever! Amen and Amen!
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TRUE ECCLESIA [George R. Hawtin] 1