If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him—Heb. 10:38.
The drawing back may at first be a very slight departure from the narrow way of sacrifice—only a looking back perhaps, with a sigh for the things behind; a little slowing up of speed in the race set before us; then a little disposition to compromise the Truth in favor of the cravings of the fallen nature. Thus the way is prepared for the arts of the Tempter, who is quick to note our weak points, and to take advantage of them in a manner best suited to our case. Subtle errors are brought to bear against the judgment; pleasing allurements, with a show of righteousness, are presented to the fleshly mind; and, almost imperceptibly, the soul forgets its "first love" for the Lord, and its first zeal for His service, and drifts away from the Truth and the spirit of it, being no longer led of the holy Spirit of God—Z '95, 93 (R 1798).
To draw back signifies to withdraw one's consecration, and to return to a life of sin, error, selfishness and worldliness. One's leaving an evil life and consecrating himself to God cause Jehovah much pleasure, as it is written, "The Lord taketh pleasure in all his saints." Accordingly God is more displeased with those who have known the way of life and have forsaken it than with those who never knew it. They are in the hands of the living God for destruction—P '20, 71.
Parallel passages: Gen. 19:26; Psa. 85:10; 125:5; Hos. 11:7; Luke 9:62; 17:32; Matt. 5:13; 6:23; John 17:12; 2 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 6:4-9; 10:26-31; 2 Pet. 2; 3:17; 1 John 5:16.
Hymns: 13, 130, 136, 20, 95, 196, 198.
Poems of Dawn, 130: Be Vigilant.
Tower Reading: Z '12, 278 (R 5093).
Questions: What have been my temptations along the lines of this text? How did I overcome therein? What are my resolutions as to these experiences?
UP then, and linger not, thou saint of God,
Fling from thy shoulders each impending load;
Be brave and wise, shake off earth's soil and sin,
That with the Bridegroom thou mayst enter in.
O watch and pray!
Clear hath the voice been heard, Behold I've come—
That voice that calls thee to thy glorious home,
That bids thee leave these vales and take swift wing,
To meet the hosts of thy descending King;—
And thou mayst rise!
Here's a thick throng of foes, afar and near;
The grave in front, a hating world in rear;
Yet flee thou canst not, victory must be won,
Ere fall the shadows of thy setting sun:—
And thou must fight.
Gird on thine armor; face each weaponed foe;
Deal with the Sword of heaven the deadly blow;
Forward, still forward, till the prize Divine
Rewards thy zeal, and victory is thine;
Win thou the crown.
ONE WHO is down cannot fall. Originally Father Adam was up; that is to say, he was perfect, created in God's likeness, free from sin. He was in God's favor, and while in that condition, he was on trial for life or death. He sinned and fell from favor into disfavor—condemnation, death. His posterity, the whole human race, have been born in God's disfavor. They are fallen. As we read, "I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psa. 51:5.) By nature mankind are all children of wrath. They cannot fall any further down; for as it is written, "The whole world lieth in the Evil One."—I John 5:19.—Diaglott.
But something occurred which has raised a portion of the race of mankind from the fallen condition. Christ came into the world, gave His life a Ransom-price, and ascended into heaven "to appear in the presence of God." (Heb. 9:24.) Thus far, however, He has appeared only for us, not for the world, but for all those who have trusted in the precious blood of Christ. His appearance for these enables them to approach God, to become disciples of Christ and to receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit.
This is the attitude in which we stand: we have accepted the Redeemer, we are seeking to walk in His steps, we are lifted up out of condemnation, we are no longer dead in Adam. "You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Eph. 2:1, 2.) Once we were strangers and foreigners, but having been "made nigh by the blood of Christ" we are now members of the Body of Christ. (Eph. 2:12, 13.) So, then, we are children of God by adoption.
After Adam had fallen, he was regarded as an enemy of God. But we have come near to God through Christ. We are "accepted in the Beloved," accounted worthy of life everlasting, if we are faithful; for eternal life is the gift of God. (Eph. 1:6; Rom. 6:23.) The Church, then, have come back from the fallen state; but the world remains in that condition and, therefore, cannot fall. The only ones who can do so are those who are the recipients of the Holy Spirit.
The manner of life here during the present existence may indeed affect the opportunity and future destiny of the world. If they knowingly violate obligations, they sin against light and they injure their characters; but they cannot sin away their share of the merit of Christ's sacrifice, for they have not yet received that share. Only the consecrated children of God are in the position to do so; as the Apostle points out, "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance."—Heb. 6:4-6.
This thought will well bear repetition: The only class that can fall away are those who have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit; but if any of those who have been brought into full harmony with God, through the begetting of the Holy Spirit, neglect or misuse their blessed privilege, there remains for them no more an interest in the great Atonement; because they have received their portion in Christ's redemptive work.
KNOWLEDGE BRINGS RESPONSIBILITY
The only evidence there is at the present time that we are begotten of the Holy Spirit is the fact that we have "received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom. 8:15.) The world, having had no life in them, cannot lose what they never possessed. But as for us, "If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' Law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden the Son of God under foot and hath counted the blood of the Covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace?"—Heb. 10:26-29.
Only those who have been sanctified through the blood of the Covenant can do despite to it. Only those who have a knowledge of the Son of God can "trample Him under foot." The world in its ignorance cannot do these things. So, "If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth" (not if the world sin wilfully, but if we sin wilfully), there remaineth no longer a share for us in the sacrifice of Christ.
For the others, there would still remain their share in the sacrifice of Christ, and their responsibility will be in proportion to their knowledge. We have large responsibility, because we have large knowledge. We have tasted of the Holy Spirit, we have been made partakers of it. The Apostle says that "those who despised Moses' Law died without mercy." There was nothing more for them then. They did not get eternal torment for disobedience to Moses, but theirs was the death penalty. Those who thus died will, nevertheless, have their share in the redemptive work of Christ.
Those who died under the Law will eventually have an opportunity to receive God's grace in Christ Jesus. But if they were cut off from life under the typical penalty of death, how much more severe would the penalty be upon those who have the understanding and enlightenment through the antitypical Moses—Christ! The intimation of the Scriptures is that such will die the Second Death for wilful disobedience. For such there is no hope of recovery whatever. Let this solemn thought be made emphatic. There will be a recovery from the death by Moses' Law. But for those who die the Second Death, there will be nothing further. They have had their share in the Atonement. They have counted the blood of the Covenant with which they were sealed an unholy thing. "Christ … dieth no more!"—Rom. 6:9.