By J.B. Stoney
There can be no real work for Christ if one be not in the path with Him, and the effort to work for Him without being in the path with Him betrays itself in the character and intention of the work.
If I am not in the path with Christ, I must be in the path of man which, be it ever so good, is after all only a human path. It is not of the divine character of the path of "the Son of man who is in heaven", and who in His work has always declared the Father. There is a carnal character about the work instead of a divine character. The mere work may be right in itself, but it cannot be Ffor Christ, if one is not with Christ. People insist on the goodness of the work; that may be undeniable. But the question remains, is it carried on in the path with Christ, or in the path with man?
If the latter, man can bear me company in it. If the former, man, as man, can find no place in it; and the exclusiveness of Christ marks one, and this of itself is obnoxious to the natural mind. I believe it impossible to be a Philadelphian individually, and to submit to an ecclesiastical position which denies all that should characterize a Philadelphian (see Revelation 3).
The danger is of being in a position avowedly Philadelphian, and yet unexercised and untaught in soul in the moral status of one. But it would be glaring inconsistency to have learned and accepted the status of one and then consent to an ecclesiastical position which would deny it. On the contrary, when I am one, when I purge myself from the corruption of the great house, I seek those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2: 19-22. It is said to be assumption to take the place of a Philadelphian; all I can say is, that if we are not Philadelphians the sooner we learn our lesson the better. If we are the church of God, that is the highest position, and it is greatly to our disgrace if we are not of the faithful remnant. It is only an exceptionable character who adopts an alias. If I am honest and true I abide by the family name, and if it be a high one, I only labour the more not to tarnish it, but to act worthily of it, especially if the other members of my family have compromised it. Like Jacob at Peniel I must go to God's side, if I would have my name of Israel (a prince with God) come out in its true strength and value.
It is God who has made me great, and as I am near Him, I am sustained in keeping with His greatness. If I turn to my own side I am no match for the flesh and it supports, and I have to compromise my name in order to suit my company.