July /August 2016 Volume 98, Number 4
Righteous Living Always Commended
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
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In addition to the consecrated, there are many individuals in our fellowship who love God and his truth, but have never professed consecration. They love God, they look forward to Kingdom blessings, and they love being with the brethren. In fact, they often serve in various tasks, such as convention preparations. Pastor Russell comments on Paul’s description thus:
“These words — Household of Faith — are broad enough to include not only those who are fully in the way, but also those who have made more or less of an approach unto the Lord and the Truth. The very fact that any one is drawing near to the antitypical Tabernacle is a strong reason why we should wish to encourage him to press on. He has come a part of the way, even if he has not made a consecration. In a strict sense, the Household of Faith, of course, includes only those who are consecrated. But the words of the Apostle justify us in believing that those who are considering the matter, counting the cost, would in a broad sense be counted as of the Household of Faith. And we are to give these special assistance — all in whom we see any prospect of consecration. Our constant desire and effort should be to point men directly or indirectly to the Lord. Thus we shall be showing ‘forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light’ ” (Reprint 5358).
In Jesus’ ministry, there were those who were friends, but not perhaps disciples. “And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready” (Luke 22:10-12). We can reasonably assume that the “goodman of the house” may have been a faithful Jew rather than a disciple. Although not a disciple, he rendered great assistance to the Lord and his apostles – providing a quiet place for their gathering, and perhaps suitably arranging the furnishings for them. It is likely that his family assisted in food preparation and other services.
In the ecclesia arrangement, we may view companions of the brethren as those who are providing a “cup of cold water” to the New Creation. “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:40-42 NIV). Jesus says that anyone who assists God’s people during this age will be rewarded in the Kingdom Age. Those who love God, His plan of salvation for all, and embrace His truth, should be welcomed, without reservation, by the ecclesia.