Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 50, PAGE 2-3b

Walk In The Light Of God

W. P. Risener, U. S. S. Norfolk

The above caption is suggested by the passage from Isaiah, which ably expresses the petition of every sincere Christian. "0 house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." (Isa. 2:6.)

That for which the prophet here so earnestly entreats was urged upon their father Abraham, in his search for the city of foundations, by these words; "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." (Gen. 17:1); and was exemplified by the seventh from Adam, as is indicated by these words; "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Gen. 5:24.) The life of God's children in every age has been likened to a "walk." "He hath shewed thee, 0 man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8.)

But we walk by faith, not by sight. (II Cor. 5:7.) Nor should our faith be grounded in the wisdom of men, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men." (I Cor. 2:5.) Man created in the image of God is fully able, once divine directions have been given, to walk well pleasing to his Maker; for he is able to receive and be guided by the "wisdom of God" as it is communicated to him through the medium of words. But let us never foolishly conclude that because we have the ability to walk we also have the wisdom to direct. The words "0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps," (Jer. 10:23), should dwell perpetually in the heart of every man. From the dawn of his creation God has undertaken to direct him according to His own infinite will and wisdom. As physical light did not appear until the word of God broke the stillness of Creation's morning so, also, there is no spiritual light without the word of God. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105.) Romans 1 shockingly portrays where the steps of man will lead when guided by his own will and wisdom. The end of the way which seemeth right unto a man is truly the way of death. (Prov. 14:12.)

The Israelites were very zealous in many things, but careful study discloses that they were cursed by a constant tendency to reject the guidance of Jehovah in favor of their own. Such action does not glorify God. Such a course denies to God the part He pleases to play, would bind in heaven the will of man, and manifests contempt for the sovereignty and fatherhood of God.

The New Testament reveals that the early Christians were beset by this same tendency, and they were admonished to labor "lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Heb. 4:11.) They were exhorted to "walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham," who "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief." (Rom. 4.) Paul taught them thusly, ".... let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." He warned them, "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ." (Phil. 3:16-18.) He publicly rebuked those who "walked not uprightly according to the truth of thegospel," (Gal. 2:14) "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Gal. 6:16.)

To walk by the same rule with the apostle Paul is to walk by faith, "(For we walk by faith, not by sight,)," according to Paul. (II Cor. 5:7.) Moreover his commission was "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." (Acts 26:18.) This he did by preaching the wisdom of God. "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11-12.) "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth." (I Cor. 2:13.)

The decision of our fathers to walk by this rule of faith gave birth to the Restoration Movement of the Nineteenth Century. They knew that two cannot walk together except they agree (Amos 3:3), so they determined to find that common ground which all men could occupy by faith.. "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." (Jer. 6:16.) But because men love darkness more than light many replied, "We will not walk therein." By and by the ship of Zion floundered upon the sandbar of institutionalism because men substituted "liberty of opinions" for the rule of faith, as every student of Restoration History well knows.

Now alas, in our own generation this insidious tendency once more rears its ugly head to threaten the peace and tranquility of God's people, in spite of all the revelation and history by which we should be admonished. Under the bold leadership of human ingenuity, churches are exhorted to forward funds to another which is not in a condition of want with respect to its own exclusive need; such as South Fifth and Highland, Abilene, Texas, (to help finance the Herald of Truth program), and other such churches which have presumed to "assume" so far beyond their own means to finance. Other churches have been induced to support from their treasuries human benevolent corporations which secured their charters for the express purpose "to establish and maintain" means and facilities for doing that which it is acknowledged the churches are obliged, (within divine limitations) to select means and methods to accomplish in the discharge of their own responsibilities. Thus under the direction of ambitious men churches have been led into hitherto untraveled paths unlighted by eternal truth, where justification is now feverishly sought by every artifice of human wisdom and logic. Such men and churches "may," but surely have no "right" to stubbornly pursue such a perilous course and so lay waste the peace and unity of God's children and cast such a pall of sorrow and gloom upon the happiness we have known. I do not see how either men or churches, having a sincere desire to restore the pure apostolic order, can in harmony with such desire turn aside to walk no more with their brethren until and unless they can and do first fully enlighten and earnestly admonish them with respect to the divine requirement which so compels them thus to act.

So to my brethren the Israel of God I make appeal in the words of the prophets, and plead; "0 house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein." For as the beloved John has taught, "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:7. )