St. Paul Enterprise, May 30, 1916


Chicago, Illinois, May 28 Pastor Russell was here today, and delivered a very practical address, taking for his text, "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6) We report his discourse in part:

Six thousand years ago, away back in Eden, man met with an irretrievable loss. He lost his relationship to God. He lost his right to life, and came under the penalty of death through disobedience. Ever since that time man has unceasingly searched for his lost treasurers, has searched for happiness and for rest of mind and heart. Few have known the truth concerning man's lost estate, and few have found the way back to God. The quest for the fabled fountain of youth has been unavailing. Man has continued to die ever since the death sentence was pronounced upon Father Adam.

At the time when our first parents were driven from their Eden home into the unprepared earth, there to earn their bread by sweat of face until the death sentence should be fully carried out, a vague promise of restoration was made them. Later, this promise was still more plainly stated to Abraham. Four thousand years after the fall of Adam, our Lord Jesus came to earth to lay down the great ransom price for man's deliverance, and to open the way whereby Adam and all his posterity might regain that which was lost, and once more be godly.

Today's text draws to our attention the true gain which man so long has sought in vain, and suggests how that gain is to be obtained. The apostle is especially addressing the saints of God, those who have learned of Him and are seeking to meet the conditions for gaining the true and lasting wealth. Only these are the godly; only these can have true contentment. There is a sort of contentment, however, which even the worldly may possess a slothfulness of mind, a carelessness, an indolence. But this is not [HGL820] real contentment, and can bring no gain. Such contentment is not advantageous to anyone. It is merely an apathy of the brain. But so surely as God has given us brains, just so surely does He expect that we shall use them.


The contentment of our text has a good basis and the best of reasons for its existence. This contentment is born of faith in God, of acceptance of His terms of salvation from death, of study of the Message which He has sent through His Son. Everything that the Word of God directs us to do and to be implies perfect wisdom on God's part. Therefore those who have come to know Him and to trust Him are becoming more and more pleased with everything in that Word. They rejoice to have found the true wisdom. They find, as the apostle expresses it, that "The wisdom that is from Above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and of good fruits." Jas. 3:17

Since the godliness and the contentment which bring great gain come only from God and a knowledge of His Word, whoever has learned this secret can be content under all conditions. To this class the Master said, "Take no thought for the morrow." He did not mean that they should be improvident, making no provision whatever beyond the needs of the present day. By careful attention to His words and to the general teaching of Scripture we see that our Lord referred to the taking of anxious thought, to a failure to exercise faith in our Father's loving care over His children.

God's Word instructs us to take proper thought for the morrow, and gives us the ant as an illustration of thrift and provident care for the future. (Prov. 6:6-8; 30:25) But as children of God, we should be free from worry and anxious foreboding; for these indicate a lack of faith. We are to "do with our might what our hands find to do," and then to trust in the Lord for the rest. He has promised to care for all our needs, and to cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him.

In our text St. Paul puts godliness first. This quality the world does not now possess. When Adam was created, he had this likeness to God in his mental organism. Created in the image of God, he had fellowship with his Creator. But when sin entered, it disturbed the relationship which Adam had sustained to God as His son. (Luke 3:38) Then God cast him off from further communion with Himself. Adam lost all the privileges of a son of God, and was thenceforth permitted to take his own course. He has taken it, with all his posterity; and mankind will see where it will all end. After six thousand years it has brought the world into a very deplorable condition.


We look over into Europe, whose people are supposed to lead the world in intelligence and civilization. There we see them in the most lamentable and abject condition, fighting not like saints, against their own weaknesses and blemishes, but against one another like demons. Oh, what an illustration of what man will retrograde to when God lets go of him and leaves him to his own devices! And this is the great lesson which God designs that man shall learn.

We need to keep ourselves in the love of God in the condition where we shall love God and He will love us. We need to realize that if we thus do, then all things shall go well with us; but that if we fail to do this, all shall go wrong, as they have in the world. As we look back over the past six thousand years of sin and death, and behold the results the sickness, disease, sorrow, insanity, death, the funerals, the cemeteries, the terrible wars and pestilences, etc. we are led to exclaim, "Oh, that our race were back in the original likeness of God, where all could be God-like, where love would dominate instead of hatred, where life and peace would prevail instead of turmoil, strife and death!"


Here the Bible comes in and tells us of God's great arrangement for the recovery of the race of Adam. The image of God lost by the first Adam is to be restored by the second Adam the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King of earth and the new Father of mankind. And since Mother Eve had a share in the sin which brought death into the world, so the second Eve, the Bride of Christ, will have a share in the regeneration of the world of mankind. That second Eve will be the glorified "Church of the First-Borns."

The Church will not give life to the world; for life comes from the Father. The life of the world was originally in Adam; and when Adam was condemned, the life of the world was lost. Adam alone was sentenced to death. His children all go into death, not because of their individual trial and death sentence, but simply because Adam, having failed to maintain his perfection, was unable to give his children what he himself did not possess. By one man the whole trouble came. By another Man the whole trouble will be rectified. This is pointed out by St. Paul, who says, "As by a man came death, by a man comes also the resurrection of the dead; for as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive every man in his own order." 1 Cor. 15:21-23

As Adam was the original life-giver to the world, and as Eve was the nourisher or caretaker of that life, so our Lord Jesus will be the second Life-giver, and the Church, the Bride of Christ, will be their nourisher and caretaker training, disciplining and teaching, and uplifting the world to human perfection. Our Lord Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind, has the right to restore to man the life which was lost in Eden. He will be the great Regenerator of the human race. To his disciples of old He said, "In the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the Throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matt. 19:28

The time of this Regeneration will be the time of the Millennial reign of righteousness. Regeneration means re-creation. Man has gone into death; and God's purpose is that he shall be restored to life, under the provisions which He has made in His Son. Only the finally incorrigible will fail to gain this great gift of God to man. (Rom. 6:23) These will be destroyed in the second death.

How happy we are to know all this to know that God has a plan whereby the race which has gone down into death is to be restored to life! In Acts 3:19-23 the Apostle Peter [HGL821] tells us of this glad time for the world, and styles it "Times of Restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began."


How happy this knowledge makes our hearts! We can now sing "the song of Moses and the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints! Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name; for Thou are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy righteous acts are made manifest." (Rev. 15:3-4) They are manifested to the saints now, but not yet to the world.

By the eye of faith the Church can discern that this is God's great Plan. Others do not see because they have not this eye of faith. But we do not berate them for their blindness. On the contrary, we are sorry for them. And so with the world of mankind. They perceive not, neither do they understand. We rejoice, however, that this blindness will not be an injury to them in the future, but that in God's due time all the blind eyes shall be opened, all the deaf ears unstopped. Then they shall have a share in the restitution work. Isa. 35:5

The glorified church of Christ will have a most blessed work in the succoring of the world of mankind. How glad we are that we have such a high and heavenly calling! We should rejoice in this, not only because we are to be made partakers of the Divine nature, but because we are to be made partakers of the Divine nature, but because we are to be used of the Lord as the great Mother Eve, to be the caretaker of the world. We can think of nothing that would give us more pleasure than what God has provided for us. In past years, when we were taught that when raised to the Heavenly condition we would sit upon a cloud and play a harp, we used to wonder what it was all for. We guessed a few things; and we generally guessed wrong. Now we see that our Heavenly Father has a much more profitable way for us to spend our time when we reach the Kingdom. Now we see the rich provisions of grace which God has in reservation for His people.


However, in our text the apostle is not speaking of the future, but of the present. It is to those who are now God's consecrated people that he declares, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." In what sense is the church now godly? We have not been restored to perfection. We have not had the original godliness in flesh brought back to us, such as Adam originally enjoyed. But there is a feature of God's plan now operating by which He provides for the class called to be the church. He is working all things according to the counsel of His will and in an orderly way. He has made an especial arrangement in Christ, whereby during the Gospel Age those who desire to avail themselves of His great offer to leave the world and to join with Christ in His sacrifice may be able to do so.

By nature the church class are of the condemned race of Adam, as are all the world. But God has arranged that these may be justified by faith, may have a reckoned standing with the Father through the imputation of the sacrificial merit of Christ, and thus may be counted as perfect, all their weaknesses and blemishes being covered from God's sight through this merit. Thus they may present themselves to God as sharers in Christ's sacrifice, and be accepted of Him. Christ imputes to each one whatever that one lacks of perfection.

We are justified through the blood of Christ. Thus we can give up our little all to God, who accepts us and begets us with His holy Spirit; and we are then made members of the Body of Christ. But we must present all that we have. We must hold nothing back. Our dear Lord Jesus gave all that He had, when He came to earth to die for mankind. He gave everything in order to purchase the "field" the world and the treasure hid in the field the church. (Matt. 13:44) If we are to join Him in His sacrifice, we must have the same spirit. We cannot give as much as He did; but if we give all that we possess our will, our time, our affection, our influence we are doing just as He did. We cannot give more than we have.

We are to have "the mind that was in Christ Jesus." (Philip. 2:5) If we had perfect bodies, we would give perfect bodies; but we give what we have. We come to the Father, not in our own name, but through Christ our great Advocate. When we present ourselves, Jesus, our great High Priest, offers us to the Father, and guarantees that we shall be sacrificed. Then the Father accepts us and begets us with His holy Spirit. We are now new creatures, with new hopes, new aims, new ambitions and prospects. (2 Cor. 5:17) We have a new mind a desire to do God's will and to have His will done in us. Now we are to go on and develop more and more of the mind of Christ, growing in character-likeness to our Savior.


Day by day we are on trial as new creatures. We are to overcome the old nature with its tendencies. Daily the Lord our God proves us to see the depth of our loyalty to Him and to the principles of righteousness. He tests us as to our love for Him, for our brethren, for our neighbor. Are we daily putting on more and more the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love? If so, we are progressing favorably; and continuing thus to the end of our course, we shall attain the prize. If we are doing the best we can, this is all that the Lord will require of us.

The matter of godliness is in our minds the harmony of our mind with the mind of God. As the apostle assures us, we find a continual warfare between our new mind and our fallen flesh. (Gal. 5:17) If we have no such warfare, something is wrong; for every true child of God has this warfare. Our flesh was born under sin, and is in accordance with the world. Our new mind is begotten from Above, and is in accordance with God and Heavenly things. So we are continually striving to keep the body under, to bring it into subjection to the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 9:27) It is a fight to a finish. One or the other must die. Rom. 8:13

It is well to note that the apostle does not say that contentment alone is great gain, but that godliness with contentment is great gain. Truly, he who is God-like, whose heart is content, resting in the precious promises of [HGL822] God's Word, serving the Lord with gladness, is rich. If, as children of God, we are looking to Him for His providential leadings in all life's affairs, trusting Him while we endeavor to do our best to please Him, then we have learned that "Godliness with contentment is great gain."

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