OUR ACCESS TO GOD THROUGH THE ONE
"Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." Heb. 10:19.
"No man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6.
From the foregoing it will be plain, we trust, that the mediation is all in the past, that it is not the living, glorified Jesus who is now mediating between God and men and propitiating God as toward and for us, but that the mediating and propitiating work, is all completed, finished, ended by the Mediator who gave himself as the mediatory or propitiatory sacrifice --the man Christ Jesus.
This being true, it is evident that there is no longer any barrier or hindrance to prevent any sinner who accepts of that mediation--the ransom--from having access to the Father without any one to intercede further on his behalf. It is evident that to obtain the forgiveness of sins provided for by that propitiating ransom, the sinner for whom it was given has only to go to God and claim the forgiveness, and needs not to bring any other sacrifice for sins than that ONE, and needs no Mediator either in earth or heaven. This simple truth is beautifully expressed by the poet:--
"In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to The cross I cling."
Alas! how humanity would bar the way which God through Christ has made so open and free. How the traditions of men would hinder and obstruct the way of the sinner. Papacy set the example, saying by actions and practices, God is not fully satisfied with the ransom: He must be approached by Jesus and pleaded with to receive you; and Jesus loves his mother, say they, and would make special effort for the sinner if his mother requested it, and the Virgin Mary, say they, would not take special interest in the sinner's plea for mercy and forgiveness unless she were importuned by a regularly ordained priest, and the priest would not spend his effort for the sinner unless it paid either in money or influence. Protestant sects obtained much of the same spirit of error from the false doctrine that the penalty for sin is everlasting misery instead of everlasting extinction --death. This false doctrine has produced an awful dread and fear of God which love cannot cast out, while life and this error lasts. Of this the Lord speaks through the Prophet, saying, "Their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men." Isa. 29:13. Having such a fear of Jehovah and not seeing clearly that the ransom given cancelled all the claims of justice against the race, and silences forever the condemnations of the curse against those who, by faith, lay hold of that ransom, they still feel a need for some one to stand between them and Jehovah and plead forgiveness for them. And this wrong idea leads to other wrongs of action. Teaching an unwillingness on God's part to receive the sinner freely and fully, without being urged to do so by Jesus, is the foundation of what is known among some of God's children as the "mourner's bench," where the repentant sinner, seeking forgiveness, is taught, by practice and example at least, that tears and groans and entreaties of himself and others must precede any forgiveness of sins or acceptance with God. To thus represent him as requiring entreaty is to misrepresent God and the teaching of his Word, and to undervalue the efficacy of the precious ransom sacrifice by which we have full, free and uninterrupted access to the Father. The way to life does not need to be opened by groans and pleadings; it was opened more than eighteen centuries ago by the Mediator--the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a RANSOM for all.
The custom of so-called Revival Meetings to call upon sinners to arise, and thereby request an interest in the prayers of Christians present, is a part of the same error. It is virtually saying to sinners that they need the intercession or pleading of saints with Jesus, and of Jesus with the Father, before they can be at harmony with God. It thus deceives the sinner and helps to fix an error in his mind, which even though he should become converted, will for years be a stumbling block to him, and through him to others, preventing many from correctly apprehending God's character and plan.
Doubtless from this error, in conjunction with others, has sprung the erroneous but common custom of praying for the conversion of friends. While it is proper for us to make known to the Lord our interest in our friends, and in sinners in general, yet it is not proper for us to request God to change his plan and arrangements and to adopt our plans. Rather, we should listen to his word, and learn what is his way and then reverently say, Not my will but thine be done, and not my way and time but thine.
For an imperfect human being to attempt to direct the all-wise Jehovah, is the very extreme of presumption. It is evidently born of the idea that we love the sinner more than God loves him; that our love is deeper and stronger than that of the Father, who so loved the world, while all were yet sinners, as to send his Son to mediate and ratify the New Covenant, which would bless all the families of the earth; or that our love is deeper than that of him who declares, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend." Those who feel that their love for sinners is greater than this, should reflect that they have shown less love and made less sacrifice for sinners.
A proper view of the matter would lead to some such conclusion as the following:--
Here is a friend whom I love; I desire that he shall come into harmony with God--be converted from ways of sin and unbelief to ways of righteousness and faith. What shall I do about it? Shall I pray to God and entreat him to love him and to provide for his welfare? No; because I realize that he already loves him more than I do, and that he has already made provision for him at great cost. What then can I do for my friend? First of all, I can inform myself of what plan and arrangement God has made for him, assured from the very outstart that that plan must be as much more wise, loving, and just, than any I could design, as God is more wise, just and loving than I am.
When I find in God's word that a full ransom has been given for all, and that a New Covenant, a new way and arrangement, was thereby opened for all, I realize that my friend, myself, and all others are sure to be given an opportunity for life everlasting under its bountiful provisions. Thanking God then, that my friend has been redeemed, and that "in due time" he will be brought to understand the conditions of the New Covenant, and helped to comply with those conditions, I rejoice in this.
Then, I inquire of the Lord through HIS WORD, whether, in order to partake of the New Covenant blessings, my friend must recognize and accept of its provisions now; and I find the answer there, and in the facts of life, that only a few of the whole race, who shall be blessed by that covenant, learn anything of it in this present time, that the vast majority die in infancy and in almost total ignorance of it, but that whoever hears of it and receives it now, during the Christian age, has the opportunity and privilege of sacrificing, and thus of receiving the additional favor promised to such. Now I say to myself: I know that my friend will be blessed through the ransom, and brought to a knowledge of that blessed truth, and to the enjoyment of the favors thus opened up--some time. There can be no doubt of this. But now, I wish that he could see it and receive the truth now, that thus he might have the honor and blessing to be conferred on the overcomers of this age. The fact that God says that some are so blinded by the ruler of this world (John 12:31) that they cannot see the truth, suggests at once that there is a strong possibility that my friend might be one of these, whose mind is so prejudiced and blinded that he cannot receive the message of redemption and reconciliation until the next age shall have removed the obstacles and hindrances, when all the blinded eyes shall be opened. Isa. 35:5.
But desirous of doing all I can for my friend, and, if possible, of getting him upon the race course for the grand prize of the divine nature, I inquire again of God's Word--Lord, according to thy wise and gracious plan, are all who may run for that prize arbitrarily called? or is the call for all who can hear and receive it? The answer is, "He that hath an ear, let him hear;" "To-day, if ye will [or shall] hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Heb. 4:7); for whosoever cometh unto the Father by the Mediator is accepted, and has every privilege and opportunity of any other. So then, all that I can do in the matter is to try in every way to reach the "ear" of my friend with the good tidings. Some have less ear to hear than others, therefore the Lord tells us that we should use wisdom and prudence, not in what we shall tell him, for we must tell the truth and nothing else; but we should use wisdom and prudence in how we tell it; that time, circumstances and manner may be favorable for reaching his ear with the truth concerning God's love, God's plan and the favors now obtainable. Therefore, if I go to God in prayer concerning the matter, I may not pray for my friend, that God would change his plan, and do the work of reaching his ear; for if that were best, he would do so without my asking. But I may well pray for wisdom to guide me in my endeavor to proclaim the good tidings, so that if my friend have "an ear to hear" I may be able to reach it and "let him hear."
The Apostle declares, that it has pleased God by the foolishness [i.e., seemingly slow and unsuccessful method] of preaching [teaching--declaring] to save them that believe. (1 Cor. 1:21.) He does not say anywhere that it is God's plan to save people because people pray for them; nor is there an instance in Scripture where Jesus or the Apostles prayed for the conversion of any one. Whence then comes the practice to-day, except, as we say, it is born of erroneous views of the love of God and a failure to appreciate the fullness of the ransom and the ultimate breadth of its results, under the provisions of the New Covenant? The bringing of men into harmony with God in the next age, will be by the same means as in this age--preaching--but under circumstances more favorable to their hearing [i.e., believing or accepting] than at present.
But stop, here is another consideration: There is a limit placed upon the time, "To-day if you will [or shall] hear his voice." Yes, to-day limits it in two ways; it is to-day, or during the Christian age, that there is any if about the hearing, for in the coming age all shall hear; for this is the will of God, that all shall come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4); and one of the provisions of the New Covenant, ratified by the blood of the Mediator, is, that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, and then none shall need [R791 : page 5] "say to his neighbor, know thou the Lord, for all shall know him." Yes, it is shall hear and shall know then, but it is if any man have an ear, and if he come in contact with the truth, and if he hear, now. The "if" is limited to "to-day" --the present Christian age; it has no place beyond.
But further, the "if," and the to-day, limit it in another way. If we hear to-day, i.e., during the Christian age while the CALL to the divine nature is being made; if we hear that call, to both suffer and reign with Christ. But "if" we do not hear it "to-day" we will not again hear that call; for the "little flock" to be joint-heirs with Christ and partakers of the divine nature will have been completed, and the call will be different thereafter, though it will be grand [R791 : page 6] also. It will have all the blessings and promises contained in the New Covenant, but not the added blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. None will then be called to be of the "seed"--the Christ which shall bless the world (See Gal. 3:29) for that company will be complete, but the call will then be to share the blessings of the New Covenant, and be thus blessed by the "seed" now being selected through suffering and sacrifice.
And since we find the Scriptures teaching clearly that the CALL to the divine nature is now at an end, we must not in preaching express that call to our unconverted friends, but should point them to the New Covenant blessings of restitution. We may say to them, See the goodness of God, the breadth of the salvation, the ransom fully as far reaching as the curse; let it lead thee to repentance; give thy heart to God, let him at once begin to write upon you his perfect law, and at once begin to restore you, both mentally to his image, and to physical perfection. It took 6,000 years to blot out that law and bring you to your present unlikeness to him, but it will not take so long to restore you. He promises that it shall be done, for all who will accept it, within the 1,000 years of the reign of Christ. Begin at once to taste the fellowship with God, and to express by obedience your appreciation of his great love as manifested in his great and loving plans.
We see, then, that ALL and the FULLEST MEDIATION between God and man, was accomplished in the death of the Mediator--the man Christ Jesus, though God did not formally accept of it for several days after it was made, and though all mankind will not even have ability to accept its provisions until some time in the millennial day. Reconciliation on God's part was deferred until Jesus had ascended on high and formally presented the ransom given for his formal approval and acceptance. It was accepted by God, and this was indicated by marked manifestation of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. So many of the race then living as had ears to hear and eyes to see, and who accepted of the ransom and the New Covenant which it ratified, were then brought into harmony and fellowship with God. So many of the race as have since heard and accepted have had the privilege, while others, the great mass of the race for whom the ransom was given, will come to "see" and "hear" only after the Prince of darkness shall be bound and the Sun of righteousness shall have risen with healing in his wings, bringing blessings and restoration, mentally and morally as well as physically, to all the blind, deaf and lame. Then they shall hear and all shall know, and thus be enabled to avail themselves of every blessing provided under the New Covenant, even to life everlasting, as a reward of obedience everlasting.
Thus seen, the ONE Mediator, the man Christ Jesus was sufficient, and the mediation accomplished by him when he gave himself a RANSOM was abundant, and therefore the way of access to God and to everlasting life, stands open wide to every sinner who shall either now, or in the next age, see by faith the sacrifice, and grasp by faith the ransom and the mediation accomplished in it.
Then take away the hindrances and let sinners come to God. Put away the false idea of Jesus standing before the throne of God pleading for the sinners as though God were unjust and unwilling to grant the favors which he himself had arranged for by the sacrifice of his Son. Take away priests, and saints, and virgin; take away your mourners benches and your unscriptural prayers which only hinder the sinner. And instead of praying with him or for him instruct him; point him to the strait road, the open way to life. Give him full assurance of your faith, making very plain to him the greatness and all-sufficiency of the ransom given and the mediation completed, FINISHED at Calvary.
Dear dying Lamb thy precious blood,
Shall never lose its POWER,
'Till all the RANSOMED ones of earth
Are saved from Satan's power.