A Comparison between the Great Pyramid and the Tabernacle, continued
Having passed beneath the first vail we pass beyond the spiritual divide and enter into the “holy or spirit begotten condition, hence forth we are no longer recognized according to the flesh, but as new creatures in Christ Jesus. Such, as the apostle explains, are forthwith in THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST, to be taught of him, the lessons and experiences necessary to their attainment of the glory, honor and immortality promised to the faithful.
However it is important to understand, “It is not the flesh that has entered the school of Christ. Our acceptance of the divine call to spirit nature meant the renouncement of the earthly nature in every sense of the word.” R2439:5
“It is the new creature, the new mind, the new will, that is in the school of Christ that is to be brought into full accord with the divine will, to become a copy or likeness of the Lord. R2439:5
“Those who have become the Lord’s “peculiar people” by making a “covenant of sacrifice’ —surrendering earthly interests and prospects for the heavenly—are admonished by the Apostle that they are specially in the school of Christ for the development of character, so as to constitute them “copies of God’s dear Son” in their hearts, though they cannot come up to his likeness in the flesh because of their imperfections.” 2H898
“This schooling may be longer or shorter according to our zeal or faithfulness, but in any event the lessons to be learned are meekness, gentleness, kindness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love. Only those who learn these lessons will ever be what the Lord calls, “Fit for the Kingdom.” (2H1157) “Moreover those who learn their lessons in the school of Christ must subsequently pass examination—be tested, be proven, because the joint-heirs of Christ are all to be copies of God’s dear Son.”
“It is not sufficient that we consecrate, that we be sure that we have made a consecration—it is required of us that we demonstrate character, loyalty and faithfulness to that vow. The Lord’s peculiar people are for this reason subjected to peculiar tests, “fiery trials”—not for their destruction, not for their injury, but for their development. We are to remember, too, that it is not the flesh that is being tried but the spirit, the intention, the will, the heart. True, the flesh is very intimately associated with every thought and word and deed, but the Lord knows that in our flesh dwells no perfection, and hence he is not searching for perfection of the flesh. He has accepted us as New Creatures from the time that the flesh was reckoned dead. There the New Creature begotten of the Spirit was recognized as God’s child, and it is this New Creature that is under discipline, testing, trial. To the New Creation the Apostle appeals, urging that we make our calling and election sure by obedience, by conformity to the divine will.”
Although the obedience required is that of the heart and not that of the imperfect flesh, nevertheless the Lord expects of his children that they will keep their bodies in subjection, under restraint, in harmony with the new will, to the extent of their ability. Anything less than this would seem to imply disloyalty to that extent—unfaithfulness.
The test then is this; to what extent will the New Creature strive for the mastery against the inclinations of the fallen flesh? Only the faithful, only the loyal, will ultimately constitute the “very elect.” To make our calling and election sure, therefore, means that we will to the extent of our ability live up to the covenant of self-sacrifice in the Lord’s service, which we covenanted when we accepted his call. “Called, chosen, faithful,” describes the attitude of these pupils in the school of Christ who graduate with highest honors.” 2H746
“The apostle assures us that we may advance more rapidly in the school of Christ by giving attention to the lessons set before us, by not waiting to have these lessons impressed upon us by divine corrections and chastisements, by not waiting for the pain of affliction, but instead by coming so fully into accord with the divine will that we will be watching our own characters, conduct, etc., scrutinizing and correctively, seeking that the words of our mouths and meditations of our hearts and so far as possible, all the conduct of our life may be such as would have the divine approval.” 2H328
“The meek will he guide in judgment, the meek he will teach his ways.” (Psa. 25:9)
We are in the school of Christ; disciples, pupils, he is our teacher, instructor and discipliner. When we require corrections, the Lord Jesus attends to that matter. Q383: T
NECESSARY CHARACTER TRAITS IN SAINTS
It is very important that we heed the Apostle’s words in our text, “Seeing, then, that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” We hope to be copies of God’s dear Son. He had the Father’s spirit in all things. He made the Father’s will His own. So we are to have the Father’s spirit and to make His will our own. We are to have the mind that was in Christ Jesus, the mind of the Apostles and all the true saints.
The Scriptures tell us how the Lord’s Spirit manifests itself. It is manifested in meekness in our intercourse with the brethren, in a humble appreciation of ourselves; in contentment with everything our God gives, in a delight to have Christ as our Teacher. It is manifested in gentleness. There are some people who are gentle because, naturally so, they do not know how to be anything else, because they have not a sufficient character to be anything else. These “putty people” (easily molded) will gain the proper character during the Millennium; but presently God desires those only who have a strong individuality and a love of righteousness. Others are not appealed to by the Lord’s Message.
The class that appreciates the Lord’s Word are those who have a real or distinctive character, something of a will of their own by nature. You could not give up your will to God if you had none. The condition upon which we may become Disciples of Christ is to surrender our wills. From that time on we must keep them surrendered. There is no harm in a person’s having a strong will. He will make one of the best soldiers in the Lord’s army if that will is turned in the right direction. The class that God is calling has a good, strong will. But this will must be trained to full obedience to the Lord. It must die to self. We are learning this daily in the School of Christ.
If you are inclined to practice patience for a while and then get tired, remember “you have need of patience that having done the will of God you might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36) The Lord has been patient with you. The prize-winners must become like our Father and like His Son. We must learn patience, if it is not there naturally. You may feel inclined to say, “The Lord must accept me just as I am.” But the Lord will not take you into the Kingdom just as you are. Yes it’s true he accepted you at first as you were; but He expected you to overcome, to develop as a New Creature. If you wish to be in the Kingdom class, you must attain the character-likeness of Christ.
“When first we entered the School of Christ, we were babes and acted like babes. But the Apostle says that we are not to remain babes. We are to put away childish things, to be no longer children tossed about by every wind of doctrine. As babes we were fed upon “the sincere milk of the Word,” (as was typified by the “laver” in the courtyard) that we might grow thereby. (1 Pet. 2:2) But as grown men we no longer desire milk as a steady diet, although we enjoy a glass of milk occasionally. (Heb. 5:12, 14) We prefer to come to our Father’s table, the table of the Lord (typified in the “Table of Showbread” in the “Holy”), and receive the Truth the strong meat that belongs to such as are of full age, the meat that will make us strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
But someone may ask, “Why does not the Lord make us perfect by His own power, without such painful effort on our part?”
We answer, the character you develop is stronger for your struggles, and it is your own. It is a necessary part of our schooling to develop character. Why do we send children to school? It is because by the lessons there learned they will be exercising their mental faculties, thus making their minds stronger for every subject, fitting them for the responsibilities awaiting them later in life. So it is with us.
Meekness, patience, long-suffering these are some of our lessons. To be long-suffering means to bear long and be kind, to have the quality of endurance toward others, to be very kind in your home toward husband or toward wife, toward your children, toward mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. This is sometimes hard. But remember, “There is none righteous [perfect], no, not one.” If you have not found that you yourself have many imperfections, you have not learned the first lesson in the School of Christ.”
We each have heads of different shape, and brains whose quality varies. But when we give ourselves to the Lord we all need a course of vigorous training; for we are very defective. We must have experiences that will reveal to us our own individual weaknesses and faults, that by Divine help they may be corrected as far as possible. The Lord desires every one of us to know how much and where we lack, what we need in order to build ourselves up into Christ. We should each know what part of our own character needs the most attention. In order thus to build ourselves up we look to that perfect Law which shows us just what a perfect character is–gentle, meek, loving, forgiving, patient, etc.” 3H768
In our next posts we shall take a look at what specific aids are made available to the student in the school of Christ.