Excerpted from Jesus Is Coming by W.E.B. (William Eugene Blackstone, published in 1878).
In 1 Corinthians 5:6-9, here then we are most emphatically taught not only that the world is growing no better, but that the professing church itself will lose its saltiness, becoming nominal and lukewarm, fit only to be spewed out of the Masters mouth (Revelation 3:16). The entire teaching of the Word of God, we believe, agrees with this.
And we have but to take an unprejudiced survey of the church even now, to see the truth of it. The loss of spiritual power in the different branches of the great nominal church has not resulted from the casting out of truth, but from imbibing and internal workings of false doctrine, which, like leaven, has fermented the mass. Little by little the ordinary Bishop of Rome has developed into an infallible Pope.
Image worship, the confessional, world conformity and post-millennialism have all worked out their enormous growth like the little leaven in the meal. How do the great Papal and Greek churches in their stateliness, formality, popularity and spiritual weakness of today, compare with the despised Nazarene and His followers (1 John 4:7), or the persecuted, consecrated and godly congregations (Ecclesia) of the first two centuries?
And are not the present evangelical denominations, by worldly conformity and creeping doubts regarding the inspiration of the word, etc., dangerously trending in the same direction? How very few of the members in them are today crying out for separation in holiness. Surely, no one can fail to see the corrupting influences of the leaven permeating them. We realize that this is an awful fact.
It’s not even pleasant to state it. But, while Noah’s preaching was not pleasant to them that heard it, still it was true and the flood did come. Likewise the prophesying of Jeremiah was exceedingly unpleasant, but it was true and was followed by the terrible fate of the city, and the Babylonian captivity.
The preaching of Jesus was at times of fearful severity (Matthew 11:20-24, 18:7-9, 23:13-15; 23:27-33), but was it not true? So would we humbly and faithfully proclaim the Word of God. We would cry aloud and spare not (Isaiah 58:1), fully believing that, upon an apostate church (2 Timothy 4:2-4), rebellious and murderers Israel (Matthew 27:25), and a sinful world, the day of darkness is coming (Joel 1:15, Amos 5:18-20, 2 Peter 2:17).
But even in the darkness, so gloomy for the ungodly, there is hope – bright, glorious hope for the faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:4-8). For God always has had, and ever will have a faithful remnant. [Emphasis mine] There were those, in blind unbelieving Israel, who waited for and accepted the Messiah. (Luke 2, see Anna and Simeon etc…) So there will be those in the church who will wait for (1 Thessalonians 1:10) and welcome the coming bridegroom (Matthew 25:10).
And there will be a remnant in Israel, who passing through the darkness and fire (Zechariah 13:9), will you accept their King. (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 9:27; Romans 11: 25, 26). And there shall even be a remnant (residue or remainder) among the Gentiles (ungodly world) who shall seek after the Lord (Acts 15:1, 17).
Words of Grace for Strength
“God always has had, and ever will have a faithful remnant!” This thesis put forth by Blackstone in 1878 is perhaps truer today than it ever has been. For the remnant of Israel is found in its first fruits, those Jewish followers of Christ who are the foundation of the early church in Acts, continuing even today in the Messianic Jews within the Body of Christ, the true church.
And the true church, the church in Acts, is biblically described as believing Jew and Gentile together as a new creation (Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 3:6). And so we find in Revelation 2 and 3 evidence of a remnant true church, His remnant church, which has the attitude and practices of the church in Acts, a church willing to suffer for the cause of Christ, who hold fast to His name and remain faithful, whose love and service and faith and patience are born out in their works, who have kept their lives pure, and have their doors open, teaching the Truth of the Word of God.
Unfortunately, tragically, we find a picture of the “church” today in (Revelation 3:14-22) the church at Laodicea. The pursuit of personal wealth and luxurious living proliferates incessantly while people with poverty-stricken souls are dying eternally because no one shares with them the riches of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Those within this “church” are wearing crowns rather than bearing the cross, they pursue self-satisfaction rather than sanctification, and they teach tolerance and compromise rather than commitment and separation. Today people become more emotionally stirred over politics, television, and sports than they do about Jesus Christ. People are concerned only with temporal things, success and materialism, and having almost no thought of spiritual need they cater only to their bodies, which in a few short years will return to dust.
Accumulating rather than forsaking they lay up treasures on earth rather than in heaven. This is the hallmark of the apostate, humanistic, mainstream, denominational, prosperity, word of faith, emergent, institutional “churches” today. Their attitude is that there is nothing too good for the people of God and if they don’t pamper themselves who will? How heartbreaking it is to see that this is the state of the “church” today on the very eve of Christ’s return.
But, “God always has had, and ever will have a faithful remnant!” And the simple fact remains, ever constant, that God’s sovereignty, power and might, remain undiminished; the glory of His light undimmed. It is humanity, in the form of a failing or weakening “church,” which loses power, which shines less brightly. It is up to the remnant, His remnant church, to remain true and to cast light upon a dim and darkening world. Christ calls us to humbly serve Him in these last days, preferring others before ourselves.
Are you living in light of His soon return? Are you serving Christ as a part of His remnant of true followers today? The Lord’s power is sufficient, and more than so. It is we who will fall short if we waver from His will, His Word and His way. There is no help for us if not from the Lord; there is no hope for us if not for the Lord. Serve Him.
Jesus is Coming Soon!