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    October 1, 1892

    “Christian Growth” The Bible Echo 7, 19.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Christian life is a continual growth. Peter says: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:17, 18. The only way to keep from falling from that which we have, is to grow. David says of the righteous man that “he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” Psalm 1:3. This means continual growth.BEST October 1, 1892, par. 1

    We read of the path of the just, that it “shall be as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. But “the just shall live by faith;” therefore it must be that their faith increases.BEST October 1, 1892, par. 2

    To the Hebrews, the apostle wrote: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.” Hebrews 6:1. And in the epistle to the Philippians Paul said: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14. Here is set forth a continual reaching out for some higher attainment. The calling of God in Christ Jesus, is a calling to holy or righteous living, for we read: “But like as he which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15, 16, Revised Version.BEST October 1, 1892, par. 3

    That faith is susceptible of growth, is plainly declared by the Scriptures. Paul had hope that when the faith of the Corinthian brethren was increased, he should be helped by them to preach the gospel in the regions beyond them. 2 Corinthians 10:15, 16. To the Thessalonians he wrote that he prayed exceedingly night and day, that he might see them, and might perfect that which was lacking in their faith. 1 Thessalonians 3:10. And still later he wrote: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3.BEST October 1, 1892, par. 4

    This last text contains the whole of the argument that we have made. Their faith grew, and as a consequence their charity abounded. Charity, or love, is the fulfilling of the law. It is the manifestation of the righteousness of God, and is a result of true faith, for faith works by love, and the only righteousness which will be accepted when the Lord comes is that which is by the faith of Christ, “the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Such being the teaching of Scripture, there is no reason why we should not understand Romans 1:17 just as it reads: The righteousness of God is revealed, or manifested, from faith to faith.BEST October 1, 1892, par. 5

    One or two notable instances recorded in Scripture will illustrate this. The apostle records that “by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” Hebrews 11:31. This case has been a cause of stumbling to some who have not given careful thought to it. It is well known that Rahab lied to the men sent by the king of Jericho to seize the spies (see Joshua 2:2-6), and they imagine that in saving her God placed a premium on lying, and that it is right sometimes to lie. Neither is true. Rahab was saved, not because of her lie, but because of her faith. She, in common with all the people of Jericho, had heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea, and how he had led the Israelites; but she alone, of all the inhabitants of Jericho, believed that the hand of the Lord was in the matter, and that he had given the land of Canaan to the Israelites. She had simple faith, but was totally ignorant of God’s law. In the code of heathen morality, lying was accounted a virtue, and she knew nothing better. But her faith made it possible for her to be saved, and brought her into a place where she could learn righteousness. As a natural consequence her faith in God would increase when she learned more of him. In her case we have a clear instance of the revelation of the righteousness of God from faith to faith.BEST October 1, 1892, par. 6

    The sum of the whole thing is that it is faith that brings God near to us. If we first believe that he is, he will reveal himself to us more fully. If we rejoice in that light and walk in it, our faith will be increased, and that will bring more light. As with Rahab, so with all. God does not grant us a blessing because we are righteous, but in order that we may become righteous. When our faith brings us to Christ, it is that we may learn of him. To our faith we add virtue and knowledge. But as faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, it follows that the more we really know—accept—of the word of God, the greater will be our faith. And so, increasing daily in faith, the just go on from strength to strength, until the dawning of the perfect day ushers them into the immediate presence of God.BEST October 1, 1892, par. 7

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