BY: ADOLPH E. KNOCH
THE TRANSCENDENT TRUTHS which overwhelm our hearts and surcharge our spirits are too wonderful for mortal minds to master. They may easily lead us to extreme views and eccentric ideas, because humanity is not accustomed to such high altitudes of thought. Like an engine without a governor, it may whirl wildly, or a watch without a balance wheel, it may run erratically, because it lacks control. I have sometimes had to check myself from shooting off at a tangent when probing the depths and soaring into the heights of God’s latest revelations.
But God has not left us without trustworthy checks for this condition. His truth is always balanced. This is most marvelously exhibited in Paul’s latest epistles, especially Ephesians. If our heads are floating in heaven in the first three chapters, yet our feet are firmly fixed upon the earth in the last three. If we are seated among the celestials by faith at the beginning, we are standing in sandals among terrestrials in fact, at the end. Our blessings are above, but our warfare is below. One does not contradict the other. Both are true. One must not be divorced from the other. Let us worship God for the first and walk before men in the last.
I once supposed no one could possibly go so far as to insist that we are actually, literally seated in the heavens, yet I have been severely criticized for my unbelief, because I insisted that we have members which are on the earth. But there is a tendency in all of us to “believe” one passage of Scripture so passionately that we bring it into collision with another. Those who most appreciate the fact that we were chosen in Christ before the disruption, are tempted to lay less stress upon prayer for those who are seeking to make known the secret of the evangel to unbelievers. I was saved from this only because I had such an overpowering desire to make the evangel known after I had rediscovered what it really was.
Incredible as it seems, the insistence on the grand and glorious truths which come to us through Paul may actually subvert the faith. We have just read of such a case. The writer insists that fleshly believers cannot see that we were actually resurrected with Christ. This, he says, is a fact, hence we will never be raised and should not look for the Lord’s coming, for we are already seated with Him in heaven! The very same teaching disturbed the saints in Paul’s day. He condemned it unsparingly. “From profane prattlings stand aloof, for they will be progressing to more irreverence, and their word will eat as gangrene…who swerve as to the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred, and are subverting the faith of some.“ (2 Tim.2:15-18) May the Lord preserve us from confusing figures with facts. In spirit we already are with Him, but not in flesh. And this does not make us fleshly, but spiritual.
May each one of us test our teaching by the rest of revelation. The deportment of the second half of Ephesians is the best balance for the doctrine of the first. The tendency to be puffed up by the transcendence of the revelations can be largely corrected by our failure to walk worthily as judged by the corresponding exhortations. The temptation to think that we are superior to other saints and a distinct body is checked by the exhortation to meekness and humility, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit with the tie of peace. When I was among the Brethren we considered ourselves high above all other saints, a select company because of our knowledge, yet now, as I look back, how little we really knew!
We certainly did not realize God’s grace. May none who read these lines lose their balance as we did!
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BALANCED BELIEFS [Adolph E. Knoch] 1