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Question.—We are told that from him who would borrow of us we should not turn away. (Matt. 5:42.) How shall we understand this?
Answer.—There is nothing in this Scripture that says that we should lend to everybody who wishes to ask for a loan, either of goods or money; but we should not turn away with a deaf ear from those in need. The Scriptures say, Do good and lend, hoping for no recompense. (Luke 6:35.) We should also have that beneficent disposition which desires to do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith. But we should use discretion and wisdom. Often the very best thing to do to a person is to lend him something, even if sure that he would not return it; for thus the way to his coming any more would be barred to some extent at least.
Question.—Please give the meaning of the text, "Seek and ye shall find."—Mark 7:7.
Answer.—The above text illustrates a principle to which we have frequently called attention. We find what we seek! Those who approach the Bible with earnest desire to find in it God's Message, will be guided of the Lord. As it is written, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness [Truth], for they shall be filled."—Matt. 5:6.
On the other hand, those who approach the Bible from the standpoint of cavil, unbelief, antagonism, are equally sure to find what they seek—flaws, contradictions, etc. Note how Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll illustrated this principle; and compare their experiences and findings with the blessedness of those who feast upon the Bible as the Lord's bountifully spread table of good things—"Meat in due season" for "the household of faith."—Luke 12:42.
The same principle holds true with the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. As those who so desire can pick flaws with the Bible and turn and twist its statements into unreason, so the same class would surely be successful in similarly picking to pieces "The Divine Plan of the Ages."
Question.—What is meant by the Scripture which says that if one who has been righteous shall depart from his righteousness, his former righteousness shall not count, but that he shall die for his sin? And also the statement that one who was unrighteous and turned from his unrighteousness shall be saved?—Ezek. 33:13-16.
Answer.—This Scripture emphatically contradicts a doctrine held by some Christian people, "Once in grace, always in grace"; or that one who has been favored of God can never lose His favor. The principle of this Scripture applies, at the present time, to those who pass from death unto life as New Creatures. They are on trial for life or death. Adamic sin no longer counts in their cases. If they remain faithful to the Lord they will get the blessing of eternal life; if unfaithful, they will die. If one should make a covenant with God and then fail to keep that covenant, he would lose his covenant-relationship with God as soon as he abrogated the contract. If we are faithful, He will be faithful in giving us life eternal.
But this Scripture specially applies to the Millennial Age; for at that time all are to be brought to an opportunity for life everlasting. People will then realize that "the wages of sin is death." Then it will no longer be a proverb that the parents have eaten a sour grape and the children's teeth are set on edge, but each "shall die for his own iniquity." (Jer. 31:29; Ezek. 18:2.) There will be a test for life or death, just as there is now with the Church. Only those who are faithful in their trial will be granted everlasting life, in either case. All others will be cut off in death.
Question.—Suppose one addicted to the use of tobacco and who began to realize its filthiness should resolve to discontinue it and should really desist from using it for a time, but later should resume the occasional use of it, and thus did not conquer in the matter, the spirit being willing, but the flesh being weak—would this cause the loss of the crown and relegate such an one to the "great company"—or might it lead to the Second Death?
Answer.—The use of tobacco is a very filthy habit; and there are other habits that are esteemed filthy by some people, but not by others. We are not to draw any line which the Bible does not draw. It is not, therefore, for any of God's people to judge another in the meat offered to idols, or in the chewing of tobacco, or in any such matters. We should encourage each other in cleanliness of life. To our understanding, no one would be condemned to death for not controlling the tobacco habit or the coffee habit or the morphine habit. God alone knows how each is struggling; He alone knows those who are fighting courageously day by day to the end. We are not competent to judge. St. Paul says, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of any man's judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self. ...He that judgeth me is the Lord." (I Cor. 4:3,4.) We may not even too hastily judge ourselves to be worthy of the Second Death. It is to be left to God as to whether we are overcomers or not. With this in view it is our duty to strive earnestly and not to be discouraged ourselves nor to discourage others, but rather to uphold them and help them to greater courage, to greater zeal in the service of our Lord.