Correspondence: Isa. 28:23-29; 1 John 3:6; 1 Cor. 15:58

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Answer: This lesson teaches us where the husbandman gets his wisdom. It is a picture of God’s dealings with His people Israel, and so for us also.
There is a time of plowing and harrowing, and of planting and sowing; and God doth instruct him. Here we get discipline and chastisement, and grace also. Then there is a time of reaping and threshing, when the results are reached. Jehovah sifts Israel, but will not destroy. This also cometh forth from Jehovah of hosts: He is wonderful in counsel, great in wisdom, (See Rom. 8:2828And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28), for us.)
Answer: John’s Epistle presents Christ as the Eternal Life, and the children of God as having Him as their life. It unfolds to us what is characteristic of Christ and of the children of God; and in contrast, what characterizes the children of the devil.
Sin is in us (1 John 1:88If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)), and while told not to sin, provision is made “if any man sin” (1 John 2:11My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1)). But as children of God, we are identified with the divine life and character. These traits of character are looked at separately, enabling us to judge what we should avoid.
The children of the devil, are in darkness, practice sin, say they have not sinned, practice hatred and unrighteousness.
The children of God are in the light, they practice righteousness, love, and truth. All this is seen perfectly in Christ.
The true Christian feels sin in him, and learns from this epistle not to allow its action. Having eternal life, and the Holy Spirit, he can see how inconsistent it is to allow sin in practice.
Now look at 1 John 3:66Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (1 John 3:6), “Whoever abides in Him does not sin.” This is the character of Christ and of the children of God. “Whoever sins has not seen Him or known Him.” Here you get the unbeliever’s character. It is not some action, but the character of the man.
Question 53: What are to be the qualifications of a child of God in order to work for the Lord? Would the failures of the past disqualify him; or would his being young in the faith hinder him? How could the Apostle Paul give the exhortation to the Corinthians to be “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:5858Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)), in face of the severe rebukes he had to give them in previous chapters? J. H. J.
Answer: The first qualification needed to serve the Lord is full assurance of acceptance in the Lord, and fellowship with the Lord. Without this, souls are self-occupied.
Second, we need hearty willingness to do His will— true service is obedience. Service is to be the fruit of communion with the Lord. It is not quantity the Lord seeks, but quality. A stack of hay looks big, but after it goes through the fire it will be small enough (1 Cor. 3:12-1312Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:12‑13)).
The Lord fits each believer for his special place and path, and each should own the Lord as His Master, and receive his orders from Him. The slave doing menial service to his earthly owner, serves the Lord Christ, if he does all for Him (Col. 3:22-26). The believer, enjoying his place in Christ, is also serving (Rom. 14:17-1817For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. (Romans 14:17‑18)). If failure in the past could disqualify us, then none of us could serve. Timothy was young, but he was to be an example to the believers (1 Tim. 4:1212Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)). Moses failed in his service, Aaron failed, Peter failed, but when he was restored, the Lord said to him publicly, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-1815So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. (John 21:15‑18)).
The Apostle Paul does not discourage the saints; he rebukes their evils and encourages their true service. 1 Corinthians 15:5858Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58) encourages them, pointing out to them that as surely as Christ is risen, so surely their labor is not in vain in the Lord. This laboring takes in their whole life, sisters and brothers alike. (Compare 1 Thess. 1). Christ is our object, all the day and all the night.