Devotedness to Christ

Rev. 3:7-12.

T. Oliver.

The features of devotedness to Christ are clearly presented in the scripture cited. The real relations between Christ and the Church receive emphasis in the words (a) "I will make them (the subversive claimants of being in the lineal descent of traditional religion) to come to do homage before thy feet and to know that I have loved thee" (v. 9). (b) "Thou hast kept My word and has not denied My name" (v. 8). So that in His absence faithfulness to His interests is not escaping His recognition! The components of the Church are not here to achieve fame or acquire reputation for consistency but to present the features of Christ. Consequent on the reception of the truth they are responsible to keep His word not by mere bull-dog pertinacity, but by apprehension of the preciousness of the One of Whom all Scripture speaks. So by the heart becoming the cultured garden of spice-bearing plants with pleasant fruits (Cant. 4:12-14), the fragrance of Christ fills the surrounding atmosphere. The sequel to that is they do not deny His name. In this negative statement there is much encouragement. Even if our confession of His name appears negligible, we are going to receive credit, even if we are merely on the right side of the clear plane of demarcation between the world and the sphere in which Christ's name is held in honour! That involves separation from the world, otherwise we shall compromise the significance of the Lord's name. He who is holy and true cannot tolerate what would be subversive of His name.

Therefore to maintain that character we must be exclusive of the methods and ambitions of the world, being content to follow in His pathway, which is clearly marked out for us, in a four-fold way in the Gospels. Those manifesting such features and maintaining the Scriptural standard render a real service to the whole church. The erstwhile disgruntled insignificant band of adventurers in the Cave of Adullam held together by the magnetic power of their leader formed the real defence of Israel against the Philistines. The numerous followers of Saul were powerless against the enemy. So today the bulwark against the flood tide of rationalism and Satanic agencies is not found on the line of compromise and expediency of orthodox religion, but through those who have gone forth unto Him without the camp of orthodoxy consequently bearing His reproach or the peculiar stigma attaching to the pure profession of His name. What is wanted is not only more intelligence as to the meaning of Scripture, but devotedness to Christ through coming under the benignant influence of His love. We are necessarily in the world as a physical entity, but we are not to be of it, i.e., not to partake of its character as a moral entity! That there is a day of reward and subsequent display in the coming glory is evident. There will be an integration of all the promises to the overcomers in the various churches made good for all the Church in association with Christ.

In this particular church the promise to the overcomer is to be made a pillar in the temple of my God and to go no more out. Inscribed pillars are usually the memorials of the past, but the eroding influences of time efface the inscriptions and ultimately the pillars themselves crumble and disappear under the sands of the ages. Such is the record of human greatness! So the props on which we have leaned also pass away. But the overcomer is introduced to something which will last for time and eternity. The inscription is threefold. (1) "The name of My God" is relative to creation both in the physical and spiritual spheres. (2) "The name of the city of My God" is relative to administration and that must carry us on to the world to come, when perfect administration of righteousness will be displayed. (3) "My new name" must assuredly be relative to the Church. It is said that an enthusiast sought to forestall that inscription by having Christ's name tattooed on his chest! His earnestness cannot be doubted, but his idea fell far short of the apprehension of the Scriptural meaning which says, "I will write." The writing of Christ is in an indelible fluid, the Holy Spirit, and is much deeper than the skin. What will be rendered apparent in the day of declaration is proceeding now in a spiritual way!