By Joseph L. Watkins
We have been sharing with our readers our method of "dividing" the Word of Truth. We take great care to identify each of God's many messages; we also seek to identify for whom each of these messages were intended. This way we uncover the divine message that can be rightly identified as God's own Truth for Today given with this one in view.
Much divine truth is universal, that is, it was given to, and intended for, all of mankind, in all ages. Our interest here and now is of a dispensational nature; we seek to know just what is "Truth for Today." The words of God that reveal His purpose in His workings in the world today - A.D. 2000 - what hopes, what positions, what vocations, what inheritable rights, what Holy venture - yes, what our Lord has in view for us to do for Him, both in this present age and the ages to come.
Most of the Bible came down to us through God's workings with that one chosen People Israel. We can uncover a number of things He had in view for that one nation of people to do for Him, however, as they were cut-off from being His people all such things were put on hold. One day they will yet do each of these things. After He put this working "on hold" at Acts 28:28, He gave the world a new beginning and sent us eight written records which reveals to His saints just what is on His heart concerning this present age.
The One Spirit of all truth came to His beloved son, John, and moved upon him to record His greatest life-giving message of all time for all, yes, all men dying in father Adam could now have "life" in Christ Jesus. All that was required was to believe the Gospel message recorded in the Book of John.
The other seven portions of God's Word for today only came to us after He dismissed that People from being His chosen instrument of blessing to this world. Even as the Lord moved in John to write his message of Life to the world of mankind, He also moved in the Apostle Paul to bring to the saints of God His new message of their salvation. And we here at T.F.T. have come to view the seven epistles as seven chapters of one book, so to speak, with chapters one, two and three being Philippians, Ephesians and Colossians. In "chapters" two and three we find the principal theme of our book set forth - The Great Musterion Truth - concerning Christ Jesus and His Out-Calling (Church). This glorious revelation would not, yea, could not, have come to him until after Israel and God's earthly purpose with that People was put on hold.
Chapter One, or the epistle to the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, we see as a very vital key to a right understanding, and a full appreciation of our book as a whole. For it is in this epistle that Paul must first deal with The Great Rejection of his new dispensation - his message offering a new hope - a hope and a salvation that would be fully realized in heaven. Such a thing was heretofore unheard of. And not only was heaven to be the hope, but a blessed position and portion in that Heaven above Heaven. Yes, such a message was unbelievable for most saints.
It is our intention in the coming issues of TruthFor Today to share with our readers an in-depth study of our understanding of this Great Message, but now our lesson is Right Division.
In the 26 years of Paul's Acts-time ministry, a great number of both Jews and Gentiles had made "The Promise of the Messianic Kingdom" their personal hope, and as that message and that hope was put on hold, many, many saints of God found themselves in a deep state of confusion. Paul and Peter both addressed their concern (see 2 Peter 1:10-14;3:15-17). A precious few "faithing ones" could, and did, make this new message their hope and their calling - but most did not, choosing rather to keep their kingdom hope. Paul refers to those folks in Philippi as "the otherwise minded" (Ph'p. 3:15). This set the stage for the next 2,000 years. As this great message goes out few can, and few do, find faith in it.
There are "seven" chapters that together make our book. The other "four" were, without question, written after Paul had made known his new message to all saints. But they, having largely rejected it in unbelief, the Spirit of Truth moves Paul to address these folks' more imminent needs. After all, they must carry on without Paul or Peter, and without the evidential sign gifts that many had grown dependent; for God was no longer "confirming the word with signs following" (Mark 16:20 and I Cor. 12:1-31). All such workings had been suspended at Acts 28:28.
Also, moving beyond that protracted age just after Acts-times into the Age we now live, we find most said of God in Christ Jesus to be totally oblivious to the Lord's "Musterion Truth of His Out-Calling." And we can still see that most remain in need of much of the spiritual instructions and words of encouragement addressed of Paul in these "four" epistles.
Yes, those "seven" chapters of our one book set forth much need truth besides what we have come to love and appreciate as The Great Musterion Truth concerning Christ Jesus and the Out-Calling - that Living Body of Faithing Saints which He chose unto Himself before "founding" the earth.