According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.—2 Peter 1:3
Nothing is as important to the true Christian than copying the character of his Lord and Master. The very purpose of Christianity is to develop those fruits and graces of the spirit which will enable the “overcomers” to assist their Lord in the uplifting of the billions of humanity who have ever lived.
This issue of THE HERALD is dedicated to the theme of living the Christian life. The scope of the character which represents the standard for a follower of Jesus is so broad that it is impossible to do much more than scratch the surface in a single issue of the magazine. Therefore the articles in this issue cover only a few of the topics we would like to highlight.
In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews the author lists outstanding heroes of faith from the Old Testament. He then draws out lessons for the Christian church in the first verse of the twelfth chapter: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
Some of the giants of faith were kings, others were nomadic sheep herders, and others warriors. Their lives were diverse but they had faithfulness in common. In our opening article, “Seven Threads of Faithfulness,” the author traces seven fundamentals in the development of faith and living a life of faithfulness.
A true Christlike character is kind and polite toward all. Such social graces, however, can be little more than an exterior polish. The “Question Box” feature deals with this very question, probing the distinction between assumed politeness and the true polish of a developed character.
The next two articles concern themselves with the grace of love. “Joy and Love“ compares the development of these two graces, which are the first two of the fruits of the spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22, while “Anger and Love“ shows how the negative characteristic of anger can be controlled by the positive one of love. The author also touches on the proper use of anger.
Another condition that often besets the Christian is discouragement. Scriptural methods of combating this foe of the new creature are discussed in a verse by verse Bible study in Job 23. “When God Hides Himself“ notes how that Old Testament hero of faith handled the discouraging experiences in his life.
Whatever experience the Christian is sent in his walk, one lesson may be learned from it—sympathy with others who go through the same thing. The Apostle Paul put it simply in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The article “Bearing the Griefs of Others“ demonstrates the need for the active development of sympathy. A primary purpose for the experiences of today is to develop the sympathetic priesthood for mankind’s experiences of tomorrow.
One of the training grounds in life is the condition of marriage. The relationship between husband and wife not only demonstrates the unity of Christ and his church but is also an ideal condition for developing a loving and considerate attitude toward all others. In “Privileges and Responsibilities of the Christian Couple,” the author elaborates on opportunities for Christian growth in the marriage relationship.
A Message from 1929
The final article, in the Echoes from the Past feature, dates back to the year 1929. That year was a year of tumult and uncertainty in the Bible Student community. As more and more of the brethren saw the deviations from the original vision of the Bible Student movement, they began dissociating themselves from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Bewildered and confused, they were looking for a sense of direction. A number of these brethren gathered in a convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for their mutual benefit. One of the talks given at that gathering directly confronted the issues. Bro. I. I. Margeson of Boston, Massachusetts, addressed the audience on the subject, “God’s Instructions; Go Forward!” We are reprinting the notes of that discourse in this issue.
Our hope and desire is that all will become motivated to renew their consecration vows to the Lord and redouble our efforts to make “our calling and election sure.” What a joy it is to know that once the church of Christ is fully developed and taken home, the next stage of God’s plan, the resurrection of the dead, can take place. How fervently we all need to keep praying, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”