THE MUCH NEEDED INCENTIVE
THAT IS SO RARELY TAUGHT
By A. G. TINLEY
Our Lord (it is agreed) is the Nobleman going into a far country, to receive for Himself a Kingdom - and to return (Luke 19: 12-28, with the command to His ten servants: Occupy till I come (erchomai). Left on their own - on probation, to test alike their loyalty and fidelity, their devotion and industry, in making the most, by trading, of the ten pounds entrusted to them, they were to be rewarded on His Return with positions of authority - ruling with Him - in His Kingdom. When He was returned, having received the Kingdom, then He commanded these servants to be called unto Him, to whom He had given the money, that He might know how much every man had gained by trading. This is the adjudication Parable, a Pre-view of the Bema (or Judgement Seat) of Christ.
This parable of the pounds in Luke is parallel in Matthew by the very similar parable of the talents in chapter 25: 13-30. Here we have the introduction of the investigation and adjudication with a reference to the Lords long absence, now very close on 2,000 years (or 2 thousand year days by the parable of the Good Samaritan: Luke 10, where the penny or denarius, represented in the wherewithal of life for the morrow, for the reward or wage of the Labourers in the Vineyard was a denarius, the livelihood of the coming day: Matt. 20: 2 - earned by the determined and energetic 11th hour workmen in the little time left at their disposal). In Luke 19: 16 we hear the industrious servant confessing: Lord, Thy pound hath gained ten pounds - and his reward was authority over ten cities (cf. Decapolis); in Matthew 25: 20 we hear the corresponding enterprising servant saying - without boasting, for the reward is not of grace, but of works: Behold, I have gained five talents more. The Lords Well of Luke 19: 17 is rightly rendered in Matthew 25: 21, 23 by Well done! Rule over many things, and entrance into the joy of the Lord (for which He put up with the terrible Cross and the Agony in the Garden: Heb. 12: 2) - the joy of enthronement at the Right Hand of the Father in Heaven: Rev. 3: 21-22. The Race of endurance is set before us, and The Good Agony (Greek) with its love of His appearing, and the Crown of Righteousness, awarded by the Righteous Judge, the Umpire and Adjudicator, Who has Himself already been awarded Crown and Throne and Sceptre: Heb. 1: 8, 9; Ps. 2: 6-9; Rev. 2: 26-27; 3: 21-22. He has also been anointed (in Messiahship) with the oil of gladness (Joy) above His Fellows.
Here, then, is the much needed Incentive that is so rarely taught, to spur [regenerate] believers on; it is a Prize indeed, a Heavenly Calling - inspiring the Apostle Paul: Phil. 3: 10-14, to intense and all-absorbing concentration of devotion. So very many Christians drop out of the race (and even get off course) because they fancy all is of grace, and that they will be alright, though mere babes, born again, indeed, yet as being saved without works, and without hope - or knowledge - of this special Joy of the Lord - His Joy, set before Him, as the Incorruptible Crown - that [the Apostle] Paul strove for - is set before us: 1 Cor. 9: 24-27 (where castaway - rendered rejected in Heb. 12: 17 - means disqualified for the Crown as Israel - our danger-signal in the following chapter: 1 Cor. 10: 1-12 - forfeited the Kingdom).
Here, then, also, is the much needed Caution, Warning, Threat - The possibility of positive Loss at the Judgement Seat of Christ, His Bema of adjudication, that most evangelists and Bible teachers avoid.
the two parables quoted from, more space is given to the fearful and
unprofitable, the wicked and slothful servant (whom most Expositors declare was
no Servant at all!) who, again perhaps relying on all
of grace, hid his Lords money, fancying it would be acceptable, when
it represented to Him serious loss. The
Lord Who gives the increase of harvest, is Hard - upon the lazy,
presumptuous, cowardly, profitless servants: but very few Christian Teachers
will agree with this, or with me (who do not matter, except that I have to be
faithful as a steward, and not a mere man [or woman]-pleaser. So I repeat,
disagreement with me will not prove you are right!! The coming Kingdom is a
1 Jn. 2: 28, tells us of the possibility of our being ashamed away from Him at His Appearing, if we do not abide in Him, with His words abiding in us.
Now the Lord Jesus Christ - the Messiah, and Jehovah - informs us as to those of whom He Himself will be ashamed at His Return. He Who is the Word of God identifies Himself with His words concerning the historicity and Creation (not Evolution!) of Adam and Eve (Mk. 10: 16), concerning His Lordship, and the everlastingness of His utterances.
Do we make the Word of God of none effect through our (evangelical) traditions, and our denominational slogans? (all of grace; by faith alone)
What does hiding in a napkin mean? or Light under a bushel? or under a bed?
Could it mean that we have kept the sacred deposit of salvation to ourselves, never using our testimony to win others to the Lordship of the Messiah? or that we allowed business interests and advantages to seal our lips, and stop our witness? We ought to be proud of God, and of His Word; we ought, too, to qualify ourselves to defend it, make it known as error-free - even free of alleged scientific mistakes, declaring it to be worthy of fullest acceptance, in view of the erroneous theories, and changing opinions of men, in these dark days of despair, uncertainty, apathy and fear.
It is very clear that not all believers will win Christs Kingdom of Reward, and earn His approval at His Judgement Seat: there are repeated catalogues of excluding sins: sexual impurity, anger, sectarianism and erroneous separatism that will shut [these guilty and unrepentant] believers out of the Kingdom of Reward for suffering and good works: 1 Cor. 6: 9-10; Gal. 5: 19-21; Eph. 5: 3-7; 1 Tim. 1: 9-10. The teacher who asserts that these are impossible to [regenerate] Christians is, consciously or no, a deceiver, or even worse. Once a [regenerate] believer gets out of touch with God, he/she can become guilty of almost anything. Be not partakers implies that we can partake of sins, and of judgment. Where are the informed and fearless teachers who dare proclaim these warnings? The watchmen who are afraid to declare the whole counsel of God may suffer loss because of their lukewarmness, timidity, and disloyalty.
[* I have included the word regenerate throughout the authors writing, to distinguish genuine born-again believers form all others. Ed.]
Will any one - any regenerate believer presume when about to be beaten with many, or with few, stripes, to oppose all of grace, boast of his/her freedom, by new birth, or at a great price, and his/her citizenship of the Heavenly Jerusalem? But if so, will his/her threatened beating be averted? (Luke 12: 45-48). We mostly use a little Bible within a Bible - full of promises, devoid of warnings, whether specifically to believers, or awful examples given in Old Testament; therefore, unhappy surprises - as well as happy ones - are in store for us. But how little do we know the full revelation of God! Why did I have to leave typewriter for concordance to get the reference to degrees of stripes? Thank God for the exceeding great and precious promises - but do let us note any conditions attached, and make sure we qualify to inherit the blessing!
And why is all this indisputable Scriptural teaching unpopular, and unpalatable?
Why do we call the righteousness filthy rags, when they are nothing of the kind? These words were spoken on behalf of Jewish religious hypocrites two or three thousand years ago (Isa. 54); in contrast the good deeds of the people of God are called fine white linen; Rev. 19: 7-9. Did the Lord call Marys deed a good work - or a filthy rag? Surely that would hardly be an incentive or an encouragement to doing good - which we can do, and many Christians actually do, some occasionally, some all the time, as the Word of God repeatedly affirms. (As empowered by the Holy Spirit, when we seek to walk in obedience to our Lord.) Teachers have no right - in fact they are quite wrong, to declare, stretching Romans 3: 12 unwarrantably and limitlessly, that no one ever did, does, or will do - indeed cannot ever do, good.
The other way round, the broad way - easy, crowded, popular, pleasant - is removed from Christian possibility, together with stripes and darkness, and every threat and warning that even a blind outsider can clearly see are needed for regenerate believers. The broad way is made non-applicable to the Church [of God], so that she is robbed of challenging sanctions, as well as of stimulating incentives, and so that every encouragement is given to harmless backsliding and unattractive drop-outs, yes, spiritual drop-outs, who once ran well! The Pharisees will be offended at that saying; yes, but what was the Lords reply? What was Pauls example?
I for one, I hope, am taking no risks. Paul was not sure of his Crown or Sceptre, or Throne - when the angelic heads abdicate (Rev. 4: 10; Heb. 2: 5), in favour of Christs Fellows and Joint-Heirs, I shall certainly not cast that Crown down; so I have tried to encourage our people to sing: Till we TAKE our crowns before Thee.
My Incentive or Prize is thus approval at Christs Judgement Seat, it is being accounted worthy to live and reign with Him for The Thousand Years BEFORE Eternity proper begins: Heb. 4: 11; 2 Thess. 1: 5-7; 1 Cor. 9: 24 to end; Phil. 3: 13-14; Rev. 2: 25-27; Rev. 3: 21.
My Sanction of Deterrent is that no man take thy Crown. The rest of the dead lived not again till The Thousand Years were finished: Rev. 3: 11; 20: 5.
First Advent of our Lord has been called a Reconnaissance visit, brief, but
searching and revealing, in preparation for the Adjudication of the
This world-wide but temporary Kingdom, which the prophets [of God] foresaw and described, and which was heralded by John Baptist, by our Lord Himself, and by His Twelve Apostles, is itself but a foretaste - and sample in the Age to Come, of the Everlasting Kingdom of God: in the Ages of the Ages, or, for ever and ever, on the New Earth, in contrast to the reigning for ever, for an Age to come, on this (restored) earth.
As in the Millennial Kingdom of Reward for good works, for devotion and suffering, faithfulness unto death by all the martyrs (chronic and acute), there will be both Rulers and subjects, and a 3-fold division of mankind as Jews, and Gentiles, and the Church of God, so apparently will it be in the Everlasting Kingdom of Grace on the New Earth, with its Metropolis, the New Jerusalem, descending from Heaven.
So must we reconcile any seeming discrepancy between Free Gift and Reward, which are taught so clearly, so emphatically, and so repeatedly, in the Gospels and Epistles, though so rarely distinguished by Christian teachers and evangelists.
The latter, often out of quick decisions often secure superficial and temporary results, unable to prove either incentive or sanction, since they make sweeping promises without conditions, warnings or threats, and ignore the cautionary tale and awful example of Israels history, and their failure to enter (or retain) their inheritance in the Promised Land.
Where is the challenge (taken up by the Apostles, especially Paul) to forsake all, and follow the Christ, the King?
Where is the distinction, indeed, the contrast, between faith and works, between gift and reward, between the shaken and the unshakable Kingdoms: Heb. 12: 28, in our evangelical campaigns?*
INFORMATION ON THE AUTHOR
Albert George Tilney (1891-1976)
Some of the works of A. G. Tinley include The Glories Of The Messiah and The Kingdom is the Gospel.
Albert G. Tinley, B.A. Hons. (
Tinley: Merit (or worthiness) it must
be maintained in the teeth of all denial, as a condition and qualification for
the First Resurrection
(Luke 20: 35).
Priests of God and Christ, they shall reign with him a thousand years
instead of eternally, but Millennially before eternity
proper begins. Others - proud,
indulgent, cowardly are judged unworthy of Christ
and of aeonian life. Now we know from
several epistles that SOME BELIEVERS WILL BE EXCLUDED FROM THIS
[* The writings in this small booklet are based, as we trust, upon the Word of God alone, to instruct and correct, to stir and stimulate ministers of the Gospel, and the Lords redeemed people who love His Word with its teachings, wonders and truths. May the Word of God (who cannot lie), encourage and strengthen us in a life of holiness before Him in these apostate and last days.]