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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ques.—Please explain Gal. 3:28, „There is neither male nor female … in Christ Jesus.”
Ans.—Paul is explaining how free the gospel is, bringing God’s favor to all. Before, under the law, there were distinctions made between Jew and Gentile, between bond and free, between male and female; but now that Jesus has died, all of those typical distinctions are at an end. No distinctions are recognized between classes now. All who have „an ear to hear” may come, and when they have become Christ’s are all on the same level in God’s sight. No distinction is recognized, for he regards each as not in the flesh but in the spirit—all one in Christ—if so be that the spirit of Christ dwell in you. No difference who you are, or what your standing or birth as an earthly being, your only standing in God’s sight is as a member of Christ. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
Ques.—DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: In these perilous times, when Satan is so busy with his deceptions, allurements and sophistry, and when human agencies are so often the disguised emissaries of the adversary, is it not the Christian’s safest plan to discard all human exposition and take the Word of God alone, expecting the Lord to open up its truths to each of us personally, unaided and unhindered by each other? What think you? In this idea, can there be any of the adversary’s art to beguile and mislead?
Ans.—We should ever bear in mind that our great adversary, the devil—not a myth, but a real, personal foe—is specially anxious and attentive to those who aspire to be of the body of Christ, that he may capture, mislead, maim or hinder them. He knows the weaknesses of our flesh, and is ever ready to take advantage of our peculiar and trying circumstances. He will either try to so confuse us with Babylon’s many voices, and so have us lose the voice of Christ, or else he will try to so cut us off from our supply of heavenly food and support, as to leave us weak and unable to resist the assaults of error. The apostle counsels the church to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together, and so much the more, as we see the day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25.) And again, „Build one another up on your most holy faith.” The Lord foresaw these perilous times, and knew how much more than ever we should need each other’s sympathy, encouragement and help. Surely, then, we must recognize in any opposite suggestion the attempted deception of the adversary.
He would have you believe you are strong and that you have no need of assistance from any other member of the body. But the Lord warns us again—Shall the hand say to the foot or eye, I have no need of thee? Hath not God set the various members in the body? and if so, has he not given, especially to some members, eyes to discern the truth with special clearness; and has he not given to some members special ability to express it forcibly? and likewise various other gifts among various other members?
Did he not do this in order to the perfecting of the saints, till we all come to the measure of the full stature of Christ? If this be true, we cannot ignore the provision which the Head of the Church has made, and hope to profit by disregarding his way. According to the testimony we should find that all the members of the body are profitable to each other. Were it not for an eye among our members some would never have seen truth which they now see; and were it not for tongues (exposition) some could never have understood things which they now understand; and were it not for helping hands few would now occupy their present advanced position on the pathway to glory. Yea even the most feeble members are necessary.—1 Cor. 12:22.
It is not reasonable then to suppose that God will change his plans and vest in each of us, all the diversified gifts heretofore appointed to various members of the body, and thus make us independent of each other, and so divide the body. No, rather will he use a brother as an index finger to point out to you the will of God in this matter. And had you not looked among the various members for an index finger, possibly you might not have noticed the Master’s teaching and the deception aimed at your overthrow.
It may and does require close observation to distinguish the real members of the body, but we are told that by their fruits we shall know them. The spirit of the Head controls the entire body of Christ; and notwithstanding the weaknesses of the flesh with which we are still encumbered, that spirit is always discernible.
Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. It may not be possible to all to do this personally, but in these days through the mediums of the mails and the press what blessed communion and interchange of thought the saints may have. Thank God for such blessed privileges in this time of our special need.
— April, 1886 —