St. Paul Enterprise, March 21, 1916


Brantford, Ont., March 19 -Pastor Russell gave an able address here today, based on 1 Pet. 1:16 - "Be ye holy; for I am holy." We give a condensed report:

The word "holy" is related to the word "whole," which signifies complete, unbroken. Viewed from this standpoint, our text is a wonderful exhortation. Our Lord Jesus also exhorted us, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) Very properly we note who are thus addressed. It is not the world; for the Bible is not addressed to the world. In their fallen condition, out of harmony with God and not seeking to know His will, mankind are not in a position where God can thus address them. They are aliens, strangers, foreigners, as the Lord speaks of them through St. Paul. At present they have neither lot nor part in the things of God. So far as they are concerned, His great Plan is yet future. The Father loves the world sympathetically, and has made provision that ultimately they shall have a glorious place, rich blessings, but not yet. Eph. 2:11, 12; 1 Cor. 1:21-25; John 3:16

During the long period from Adam to the making of the Covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, God recognized no nation. Mankind were cut off from fellowship with Him because of Adam's transgression. God did, indeed, speak through a few; such as Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, to whom He made certain declarations not clearly understood by any at that time. No one was permitted to come into covenant relationship with God except in the sense that Abraham did, and through animal sacrifices, which typified the great Sacrifice for sins yet to come.

Then came God's dealings with the one nation of Israel. He separated them from all other nations. (Exo. 19:3-6; Amos 3:2) He gave them His law, and promised that if they would keep that law they should have everlasting life and should exercise those gracious privileges which God mentioned to Father Abraham; namely, that through them all the families of the earth might be blessed. They thought that they could keep God's law; but they found that they could not do so that they could not be holy.

This holiness was briefly comprehended in the command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; and thy neighbor as thyself." (Luke 10:27) But Israel could not attain to this holiness, this completeness; for, like all of the Adamic race, they were imperfect. No imperfect man could keep a perfect law. Year by year, for over sixteen centuries, God permitted Israel to offer typical sacrifices; and they renewed their covenant annually on the day of atonement. Thus they were made acceptable to God for the ensuing year, and were kept in covenant relationship with Him. Over and over again they tried to keep the law, but failed continually. The Apostle Paul tells us that [HGL805] during all those centuries not one Jew was justified through keeping the law. Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:15-16


Then came the Gospel Dispensation. Our Lord Jesus, by His life and by His preaching gave forth a message of mercy and peace, even to those Jews who could not keep the law, saying still to them, "Be ye holy." During all those many centuries the Israelites had tried to be holy, but had failed; and how could those of our Lord's day expect to be holy, complete lacking nothing, any more than could their ancestors? Ah, there was a secret which Jesus disclosed to the earnest and sincere, the "Israelites indeed!" The reason why any could keep the law after Jesus came, was that Christ accomplished an important work, applicable to those who became His disciples. The Jews could not succeed in keeping the law of God, but Christians can do so. This is not because they are better born than the Jews; for naturally we are all "children of wrath, even as others." Eph. 2:3

In the absolute sense, Christians cannot keep God's law any more than could the Jews, and for the same reason. Doubtless we have all proved to our own satisfaction that we cannot keep that perfect law in the sense of having no imperfection of thought, word or act. When the Apostle says that righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4), he means that God has made an arrangement through Jesus by which our imperfections are legally canceled, made as though they did not exist. Thus, by keeping the law in spirit and by having our Lord Jesus cancel our infirmities of body, we are perfect before God. As Christians, we keep His law.

According to God's plan, our Lord Jesus laid His life down as a ransom, a corresponding price, for the life of Father Adam. Adam sinned, and must meet the penalty of sin death. He died; and all of his posterity have been born under the conditions of sin and death which his disobedience entailed upon them. Mankind die because sin entered into the world through one man's disobedience, as the Apostle explains. (Rom. 5:12) But through His death our Lord Jesus secured the right to annul Adam's death sentence and to take possession of all mankind. Thus Adam and all of his posterity will be awakened from death; otherwise the entire human race would suffer eternal death; for the penalty of sin was not the mere act of dying, but remaining dead forever. 1 Cor. 15:21-22; 1 Tim. 2:5-6.

At the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom our Lord will take possession of the world. Mankind are something like a scrap heap of old machines, engines, boilers, etc., all rusted and twisted out of their original shapes. But the One who will take control has infinite power and ability to repair and to reconstruct all these defective beings. During the thousand years of His reign this will be His work. It will affect the dead as well as those having a measure of life when that reign begins. The Messiah will bring all who will out of sin and death conditions back to the perfection lost in Eden, redeemed at Calvary.


God purposed, before the foundation of the world, to permit sin to bring forth its evil fruitage for six thousand years, and then to usher in a great Sabbath day, the Millennial Sabbath, during which He would do, through Jesus, His appointed channel, a work for mankind which they cannot do for themselves. Meantime, He has been selecting and preparing the classes that will be His agents, under Christ, to accomplish His great work for humanity first, an earthly class (enumerated in Heb. 11), and then a spiritual class, the Church.

Jehovah God has also purposed that our Lord Jesus shall be the great King of the world during the Millennial Sabbath, and that this spiritual class shall be associate kings under Him; moreover, that Jesus and the Church shall be a royal priesthood to bless and instruct the world of mankind, their subjects; and that this great High Priest and His under priests shall also be the judges of the world. These different features of the work of Christ were shown in type in the anointed priesthood of Israel, their anointed kings and in their judges. The Apostle Paul says, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2) The Christ, Head and Body, will also be the world's great Prophet, the antitype of Moses. Acts 3:22-23

All this shows us that the Church of Christ is separate and distinct from the world at large, as Jesus said. (John 17:14; 15:16-19) What God will do for the world through our Lord Jesus during the incoming age, by restoring whosoever will to all that was lost in Adam, bringing them back to human perfection, something very different from what He is now doing is for the Church. The inheritance of the faithful Church is to be spiritual, not earthly; and it is the Church that are now called upon to be holy.

During the millennial age all mankind will be called upon to be holy; for then the standard of holiness will be set before them, and by the assistance of the Christ all the willing and obedient may attain human perfection. Whosoever will may become holy, as the Father Adam before he sinned. While on earth, our Lord Jesus was holy in the perfection of human nature. (John 1:14) During the Millennium the whole world will be expected to come up to the standard of holiness, of completeness nothing lacking, nothing imperfect. The merit which our Lord has, by virtue of His faithfulness to the Father even unto death, gives Him the right to purchase the human family and to help them back to that condition of completeness, of holiness, in which they can be holy, as God is holy.


The difference between the call to holiness now extended to those who have an "ear to hear" God's present Message and the call to holiness to be extended to all mankind during the Millennium is this: It's not the flesh of the Christian that is holy, but the New Creature. His human imperfections are covered with the robe of Christ's imputed righteousness. This unique dealing with the Gospel Church is for a specific purpose. We understand that God, who had already created various ranks of spirit beings, and who then created man "a little lower than the angels," had planned before the foundation of the world that in due time He would have a New Creation, different from anything created before then, and the greatest, the most wonderful, of all His creations. 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:4; 2:10 [HGL806] This New Creation, God tells us (2 Pet. 1:4), is to have the Divine nature, His own nature. It will not only be higher than the human nature, which in perfection is the image of God. It will be the spirit nature in its highest form.

God first began to develop this New Creation in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ at the time of His baptism in Jordan. The Father's purpose in sending the Son into the world was: (1) That He might be the Redeemer of the world; (2) That He might become the leader of the Church. (Heb. 2:9-10) God has made our Lord to be Head over the Church, which is His Body in the same sense that Congress is a body. The work of the Gospel Age has been the gathering of the members of this Body. The blessings promised to the world cannot begin until this work of gathering and developing the spiritual Body of Christ shall have been completed. We believe that this work is now almost accomplished.


Now we see what the Apostle means when he says, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1) We should rejoice to know that if we offer our little all to God, Jesus will make up what is needed to render our sacrifices fully acceptable to the Father. When the holy spirit comes upon one, an unction for on High, it constitutes him a son of God, on a new plane. He is no longer counted as a human being. He has been begotten as a spirit being; but he has no spirit body as yet. He still has the old body, the old brain, although a new will is there, a new mind, "the mind of Christ." He had the mind, the disposition, of Christ to present himself as a sacrifice; but when he was begotten of the holy Spirit he received from God the start of a new nature. He became a New Creature in Christ.

During the present life the New Creature must dwell in this earthly tabernacle. (2 Cor. 5:4) If he continues to walk humbly and faithfully before the Lord, seeking to do the Divine will, as the consecrated have agreed to do, he will be more and more filled with the holy Spirit, until eventually God will complete the matter by giving the resurrection "change," the birth of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 15:51-53; John 3:5-7) Then the new mind will be transferred to a Divine spirit body, and the New Creature will be complete.

The fallen human body of the saints cannot do perfectly the things that the New Creature would have it do. But the merit of Christ, imputed to each spirit-begotten child of God, covers them as a robe, constituting them acceptable to God. If any of these should take off this "wedding garment," he would lose his life as a New Creature. But so long as the merit of Jesus covers the unintentional blemished of the fallen nature, those which the New Creature is not able to overcome, the Father regards them, not from the standpoint of the flesh, but as New Creatures. Rom. 8:9.


It is the New Creature that is to be holy, perfect, as the Father in Heaven is holy, perfect. This does not give any one liberty to sin with the body, however. "How shall we who have died to sin live any longer therein?" asks the Apostle. (Rom. 6:2) If we consecrated ourselves voluntarily unto death in opposition to sin, how shall we find pleasure in sin? Whoever enjoys sin thereby manifests that he has not the holy Spirit. The mind of the Lord does not enjoy sin. We are to make a clear distinction, however, between the impulses of the flesh and the desire of the heart. Through the impulses of his fallen human nature, any one of God's people might be overtaken in a fault, and under stress of circumstances might do or say something that he did not approve. But so surely as he is a New Creature, he will make amends for his fault, in order to return to full harmony with the Lord.

God is judging His people according to the heart. (1Sa 16:7) The world cannot know all about god's people. They look at things from the natural man's standpoint; and when they see a child of God do or say something unkind or improper, they draw their conclusions accordingly. But we must not judge them. Our heart attitude must ever be to wish to do the Lord's will. Should any of God's people willingly consent to sin, he would be a partaker of that sin. If overtaken in a fault, he must correct it. Whoever as a New Creature in Christ is seeking to be holy as God is holy, will watch his words and conduct and will try to keep a strict rule over his mortal body; and if that body should temporarily get from under control, he will discipline it by way of punishment, will correct it in order to make it remember for the future. 1 Cor. 11:31-32

All true Christians should be on the alert to note God's providences. Nothing can come to the Lord's people by accident; for all things must work together for their good. Should one of them meet with what would appear to be an accident, if he should have some peculiar experience, he should think, "Is this something to teach me a special lesson, or is it a chastisement from my Father for wrong-doing?"

Every child of God must receive discipline, in order that his character may be developed. Even our Lord Jesus had disciplining. But in His case these experiences were never punishments; and it is for the Lord's people to be on guard to see that their disciplinings are not in the nature of punishments, so as to get the greatest benefit from them. Heb. 12:6-11; 5:8

The Lord's people should also study the character of God, to see His wholeness, His completeness, that they may copy His example. They are to have the "spirit of a sound mind." Our minds are not sound, being blemished by the fall; but the mind of the New Creature is always loyal to God. The Scriptures tell us what God's will for us is, what His mind is; and we are to copy Him. God is LOVE But He will not be loving at the expense of justice. So let us copy God in His Wisdom, Mercy, Justice and Love. All these noble qualities will be manifest more or less in the Church of Christ.

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