ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
May 1, 2003
(Authors Note: This monthly newsletter is dedicated in memory of my older brother: Edmond Lee Oliver, August 1925-April 2003, as a follower of Jesus, he lived what he believed.)
Recently, a world-renowned Evangelist emphasized the uniqueness of his own message by saying, "I am tired of hearing messages which use ministers of a hundred years ago as authority. What I have to say is current; what they had to say is outdated. I don't have time to familiarize myself with their teaching because I have revelation of my own."
In deference to such thinking, it seems appropriate to use a minister from the early 1700's, which keeps him out of the hundred year circuit. The work of Theodorus Jacobus Freylinghuysen (1691-1748) teaching the text of I Peter 5:8 ("and if the righteous are scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?") is an authoritative treatise indeed.
Without taking the time to detail every aspect of his writing, it is necessary to review a few of his thoughts. Seemingly, he was addressing the lethargic church of his day. A church that believed in an "easy" salvation:
"Is it true, my hearers, that the righteous are scarcely and with so much difficulty saved? It becomes us then not to esteem salvation so lightly and of such easy attainment. Unless we would directly oppose the Word of God, we must acknowledge salvation to be a quite different thing from what is supposed by most men who yet hope to be saved; for they imagine that it is entirely well with them, and that they shall be saved provided they avoid outward and gross sins, live honest and correct lives, perform the external duties of godliness, and diligently pursue the business of their calling. 0 wretched men! Can that be true godliness and the narrow way of life? No! Oh, No! Outwardly to forsake sin, pursue virtue, and live correctly is only in accordance with the practice of the heathen, as said the Saviour, 'Do not even the Publicans so?' (Matthew 5:47)."Further he states:
"They do not carefully examine whether they are righteous and are not concerned whether they are in a state of grace and have an interest in Christ, but satisfy themselves with a bare and unfounded persuasion and place dependence upon the external propriety of their conduct. They rely upon the fact that they are baptized, that they have made confession of their faith, that they partake of the Lord's supper, that they attend the house of God and read His Word, Upon these things, I say, they rely and, in the meanwhile, are groveling as very motes, and this but to acquire some earthly goal and entertain not the slightest doubt that they shall be saved. This they regard as certain! But know, 0 vain man, that thou shall not thus attain salvation! These things must indeed be done but are not in themselves sufficient. The Spirit of God declares by the mouth of Peter that the righteous are but scarcely saved. Do you expect so easily to secure it? Oh, no! You lamentably deceive yourself and greatly err."Frelinghuysen was saying what must be said today, "Redeemed man must be made righteous through faith in Jesus." He believed in "imputed" righteousness (the right standing with God which comes in salvation), but went on to emphasize that it manifested itself in the believer actually being "righteous."
"The righteous are such as also conduct themselves agreeably to this righteousness and do what is right and proper according to the law of God and thus are "filled with the fruits of righteousness" (Philippians 1:11). They are such as are hereupon also justified in their own consciences through their good works and that holy frame of mind of which they are conscious, as a fruit of their uprightness and faith; with whose spirit the Spirit of God beareth witness, that they are the children of God (Romans 8:16). They also show, by their holy lives, that they are righteous and thus are justified in the consciences of others and recognized as such. These are the children of God-believers and such as are in covenant with God."
Is it strange that he alludes to the witness-triangle of scripture to verify a person as "righteous?" The world, the church and God himself must know and testify through inward and outward testimony of that reality. Too long clerics and theologians have given credence to that which is not verified in the Spirit.
This appears from the fact that the righteous are acquitted from guilt and exposure to divine wrath and made heirs of eternal life and, thus, saved in hope.
Believing this salvation is accomplished by great difficulty (his definition of "scarcely"), he makes several points worth noting:
1. The righteous are those who are "in" faith with Jesus Christ.
2. The righteous are those who are sanctified by the Spirit of God, "who do righteousness" (First John 3-.7), "follow after righteousness" (First Timothy 6:11), and "walk in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord" (Luke 1:6).
3. It is then certain that the righteous are saved, and they only.
4. (paraphrasing) Great difficulty comes when man realizes he is a sinner and he can bring nothing to the equation. If they be saved, they must exercise repentance in accordance with Luke 13:3. And what does this act of the soul include? It includes a turning from sin to holiness, from Satan to God, from ourselves and all creatures unto Christ. Given the massive affront of ungodliness in the world, this is with great difficulty.
5. ... a work of great difficulty to cause a sinner to entertain that confidence in God without which he cannot be led to repentance; thus, he is scarcely saved. If he shall be saved, he must be made holy; for without holiness no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12-.14). And what a work this is! What energy and skill must the Holy Ghost employ to sanctify the elect sinner. (This smacked the "easy believism" of his day in the mouth.)
6. "Thus he must not only be sanctified in all that he does and leaves undone, yield his members as instruments of righteousness, and to this end forsake all things (cutting off a right hand and plucking out a right eye (Matthew 6), that is, abandoning his dearest bosom sins), but he must be inwardly sanctified, his heart must be changed (entirely transformed), and the image of God impressed upon it. He must be holy in all his motives in order to glorify God in all things. And oh! How great the work to sanctify a heart so habituated to sin, vanity, and folly and to impart to it true wisdom. To effect this, naught less than divine power is adequate..."
7. "Inasmuch as he must be heavenly minded and willing to part with all that is seen for that which is unseen, if he be saved it must be with difficulty. With Paul he must count all things but dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ (Philippians 3:8). He must despise the favor of men, the treasures, riches, and delights of the world, and seek only those things which are above, where Christ is, thus exalting the Lord Jesus above ten thousand and so proclaim Him to the world. But oh, the magnitude of such a work!"
8. He continues by pointing out that God sometimes tests the righteous. He seemingly abandons them to bring them to a greater understanding of Himself. The righteous are the only ones who care about the closeness of God or yearn for His presence, herein is the difference garnered between those who are and are not!
9. The world is diametrically opposed to the righteous: Hence their wrestling, their watching, their praying against sin, their tears, sorrows, and complaints, with Paul, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). "...for many are the afflictions of the righteous (Psalm 34:20) through which, it is declared, they must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22)." "Thus also must a child of God, in the work of salvation, strive against enemies so numerous and with violence assault the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 11-2); run in the Christian race (First Corinthians 9:24); follow after perfection (Philippians 3:12); and exercise himself unto godliness (First Timothy 4:7). This last, literally expressed, is wrestling."
(quotes taken from "Salvation In Full Color" Written and complied by:Richard Owen Roberts Published by: International Awakening Ministries PO Box 232 Wheaton, IL 608189)
Those to whom the adjective "righteous" applies know, without doubt, that every aspect herein pointed is true and relevant as well as distant from what most describe as "the modern Christian."
Taking assurance from the inner witness, they comprehend that the character, promises, and commandments concerning the "righteous" apply to saints in this world and supercede the theological excuse which declares that these are only for those who have perfected their righteous state by death.
Review one scripture in each category and rejoice greatly that working within the redeemed heart is the righteous spirit.
The Character of the righteous: Luke 1:5-6 5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
The Commandment to the righteous: Ps 97:11-12 Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
The Promise to the Righteous:
Ps 34:17-20 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He guards all his bones; Not one of them is brokenRighteous Saints need to be visible and declare their state of being so myriads of Christians will have a valid example and satan will tremble.
Until Next Month,
Dr. C. R. Oliver, PhD.