Romans 8:22-39: When in the camp, I used to dream that I was at convention and couldn’t find Jack and couldn’t find anyone else to preach so I was left to preach and couldn’t find anything to preach about! Verse 28 “All things work together for good …” and “The earnest expectations of the creature waiteth for the manifestations of the sons of God.” One of the most foolish things we can do is to try to improve upon the creature–the human side.
All of us, no matter who we are, are subject to vanity in one way or another, and in many ways. The reason we are groaning now (verse 23) is that we are bearing fruits of the Spirit in a body subject to vanity, hoping for the day when we will be freed from that vanity. One way to be bad to this body is to pamper it too much so others will admire it and feed that vanity, the very enemy of the Spirit. No matter how you look, it is better to be true than false. Verse 26, that is the way I felt when in camp. I didn’t know how to pray. I didn’t once ask God to take me out of there but only asked to be willing to stay as long as He wanted us there. Sometimes when we can’t pray (we feel we don’t know how to ask), the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.
The next verse is a comfort to read when in this condition (verse 27). That is why we should know these verses that come before the 28th verse. I never once doubted that God would deliver me from the camp in this life because one day shortly after the Japanese took over I sat alone thinking what it might mean and wondered if I would ever see my friends in the States again. Then just as clearly as if a voice had spoken to me, it came to me that some day I would again see you in this life. I never once lost that faith that I would.
One way to tell a true preacher from a false one: A true preacher is natural and human. I believe if we could meet with Christ as He was when on earth, we would meet a very common man. The common people felt near to Him and came to Him. God will never give the words of eternal life to one who gets a sermon out of the concordance only–but He will give to those who wait upon the Lord and who practice living as God’s preachers lived 2,000 years ago.
The best soil in this city can be cleared of weeds, be well worked and watered, but it is of no use unless seeds with good life are planted. We learned that in camp too. For awhile they let us have a garden and seeds to plant but later on when we had no seeds to plant it did no good to work the soil and rid it of weeds. The false prophet tries to take the weeds out of men’s lives by saying “don’t smoke, don’t drink, etc.” but no seeds are planted. Plant some seeds and then stop digging awhile, give the seeds a chance to grow and see what happens. False preachers clean up your human life, God doesn’t. He takes your soil and plants a new life–“Whom He called, He also justified.”
Faith is not only that which makes us believe in Jesus, but mainly the faith of Jesus. We don’t preach salvation by works (as some accuse us of), but works by salvation. If you are doing things right because of the new life that is in you, urging you to do it, then it is right. But if only by self will, human will, the will of the preacher, then your righteousness is no better than that of the Catholics. “Whom He justified, them He glorified.” When God dwells in a life, it becomes as an occupied house, well kept and furnished. A house is not attractive (glorified) when no dweller is there to keep it. And if we have all these things, what need we care if everyone in the whole world is against us, if we have God dwelling within, the seed is growing. LIFE is all that counts.