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Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

Following a lengthy discussion, Brenda Redshaw (of this site), asked me to look into what Fox had to say concerning Romans chapter 7. In searching for “Rom. vi” or “Rom. 7” I turned up very few references. So I turned to searches for the concepts or phrases Fox used when he identified Romans 7 in his writing. There may be a better approach, or I perhaps could have used better phrases. I hope all readers will do their own searches and contribute what they find of significance. Here is what I found.

Fox does not deal with Romans 7 exclusively but brings together concepts from chap. 6 (“newness of life”), chapter 7 (“oldness of the letter”), chapter 8 (“the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”), chapter 10 (“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness’ sake.”), and many other parts of the Bible. Fox’s associations of scripture passages range the full gamut of the scriptures. See for example:

And as Moses in the old covenant sprinkled the people with the blood, the life of beasts; so Christ our high priest sprinkles the hearts and consciences of his people in the new covenant with his blood, his life, from their dead works, that they may serve the living God in newness of life:' and as the blood of the old covenant was the life of the beasts, so the blood of the everlasting covenant is the life of Christ the Lamb, ordained before the foundation of the world, who is the great shepherd of his sheep, through the blood of his everlasting covenant he makes his saints perfect in every good work to do his will, working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight.' (Works, Vol. V, pp.362-363)

Here we have the Pentateuch, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hebrews, and Romans all rolled together to form the picture of the distinction between the newness of life and the oldness of the letter. Fox used this distinction over and over, portraying the contrast between those who live by the law of life in Christ Jesus and those who live by some other law. See his comment in Vol. 7 (pp. 88-89 )

For ye may see, how far many may go, and did go, and were led out of many things; yet did turn again into the world. So mind your present guide, and your present condition, and your call, what ye are called from, and what ye are called to; for whom the Lord hath called and chosen, are the Lord's freemen. And so, abide every one in your calling with God, where God hath called you, and there walk in newness of life, and not in the oldness of the letter; for he that turneth from him that calleth, walks not in the life of God. Therefore, all Friends, walk in the truth and in the love of it up to God; and every one in particular mind your guide, that ye may grow up in wisdom, and improve your own talents, and the gift which God hath given you. And take heed of words without life, for they tend to draw you out of the power to live above the truth, and out of your conditions; which nature will not have peace, except it have words. But every particular submit to that which is of God in you, to guide you to God.

Paul contrasted life under the law (portrayed in Romans 7) with life under Christ who is the end of the law for Righteousness sake (Romans 8 and 10). His rhetorical question and answer, which many quote as proof that man can’t live righteously before God, that sin will be taken care of finally at some future time, is:

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom. 7:24-25)

But for Fox, Romans 7 is not the end of the story. Like Edward Burrough, Fox could say, “But of that birth are we which hath no crown, no glory, nor rest under the sun: a birth is brought forth amongst us which is heir of another kingdom, and possessor of another crown, whose glorying is in the Lord all the day long; and he is our refuge, our rock, and our fortress against all our enemies.” (Vol. III, p. 6) In epistle CIV, Fox exhorts Friends to dwell in the power of God and to know (that is experience) the power of God to keep you. In epistle CV, he spells out how this is to be done.

CV.—Concerning the Light. (To be read amongst Friends.) All Friends every where, keep your meetings waiting in the light which comes from the Lord Jesus Christ; so will ye receive power from him, and have the refreshing springs of life opened to your souls, and be kept sensible of the tender mercies of the Lord. And know one another in the life, (ye that be turned to the light,) and in the power, which comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, who is your light, who is your life; that ye may all in the life see Christ to reign in you, who is the truth, from whence ye have light. Here the old serpent is chained, and put into the bottomless pit, and Christ is known to reign, and ye to reign with him; heirs with him, joint-heirs, and heirs of God. Here is the dominion received and witnessed of the world that is without end, and the promise of life from the Father of life to you, who are turned to the son, who to the Father is the way, who is the mediator between the Father and you. All wait to receive the everlasting priest, the everlasting covenant of God, of light, life, and peace; into which covenant no sin, no darkness, nor death comes, but the blessing of the only wise God, the Father of life, here is known, where no earthly man can approach. But he that is of God knows God's truth; and he that is of the devil, doth his lusts, who was a murderer from the beginning, in whom is no truth, who in it abode not. So he it is that speaks a lie, and speaks of himself, and not God's word; for he is out of the truth. But ye that are turned to the light walk in the light, walk in the truth, where no darkness is; with which light, that never changeth, ye may come to see that which was in the beginning, before the world was, where there is no shadow nor darkness. In which light as ye wait, ye will come to receive into your hearts the word of faith, which reconciles to God, and is as a hammer, to beat down all that is contrary; and as a sword, to divide the precious from the vile; and as a fire, to burn up that which is contrary to the precious: which word is pure, and endureth for ever; which was in the beginning, and is now again witnessed and made manifest. Therefore wait in the light, that ye may all receive it, the same word that ever was, which the scriptures were given forth from.

Thus, with Fox’s admonition, we do not find ourselves in a state of impotency having to wait for some future time when Christ will take away sin. Neither are we consigned to struggle and failure until some further work of grace descends upon us. Fox wrote in Vol. III:

Every man that cometh into the world, though they be in the first Adam, have a light from Christ the second Adam, the bishop of their souls. So every one being turned to the light which Christ the second Adam hath enlightened them withal, they shall see the bishop of their souls, Christ the power of God, which is immortal, and brings the immortal soul into the immortal God. Christ is their sanctification, who sanctifies their spirits, and bodies, and brings the soul up into God, from whom it came, whereby they come to be one soul. For in the lusts of the world, and the affections of it, is the war against it, and there are the powers of wickedness. The soul must be in the higher power, higher than the flesh, which stains the man, spirit and body, and the powers of wickedness. So the light being turned to, man receiveth the spirit of God, which sanctifies him, the spirit of sanctification in Christ Jesus the sanctification and redemption. So every man that cometh into the world has a light from Christ Jesus, the way out of the fall, the second Adam, and receiving the light he receives his redemption and sanctification, whereby his spirit, body, and soul are sanctified. (p.168)

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Comment by Ellis Hein on 2ndMo. 2, 2018 at 11:25

If you know Christ, you know the power, experience the power, to walk in obedience to him.

Comment by Brenda Redshaw on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 11:17

Ellis wrote: "If you know Christ, you know the power, experience the power, to walk in obedience to him."

Indeed it is true. Galatians 5:16 says "this I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Those who do not walk in the Spirit are professors without possession (thank you George), they are not unbelievers who have never known Christ, as they are not said to 'walk'. They are dead in tresspass and sin and cannot walk in the scriptural sense of the term.

As believers we either walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit otherwise Paul would have not found it necessary to write that verse as they would have walked in the Spirit without commendation. George Fox distinguished the two camps also:

"All those outward things Christ abolished, which served but until the seed came to reform it; and in the time of the reformation of Christ, the heavenly and spiritual man, he reforms his believers and followers out of the natural, outward, and carnal, into the heavenly, inward, and spiritual. And so the new and living way, and the new covenant and testament, and the new time of reformation, are not according to the Jews' old covenant and testament, and old time and way. Volume 6, The Works of George Fox, Doctrinal Books III"

Fox says it is believers who are reformed from a carnal state, in line with what Paul wrote concerning them in Romans 7. The old way was the way of the Jews and applies today for those who try to serve God in the flesh. They are however without the Spirit and the anointing and do not have a pure heart, even though they think they are followers and think they know God. There is a clear dividing line: those who sin and those who have been completely delivered from sin and walk in sinless perfection as did George Fox and testified to it.

Frankly I would be very afraid to be one of those who are blind and in darkness and think they can preach a gospel they do not possess. If we say we walk as Jesus walked and have a pure heart with no sin within then it better be the truth rather than self deception. These ones have more judgement heaped on them than the pagans. These are the ones that Fox railed against the most.

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Comment by Brenda Redshaw on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 11:46

I suppose believers include those who know they are not walking in the Spirit and are seeking it. Those who deny it are the professors.

Comment by Ellis Hein on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 13:06
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:28-36)

The first thing to notice in this passage is Jesus’ statement, “...but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” Moses told the Jews how God had humbled them and let them be hungry and fed them with manna, which they did not know, in order that they might be made to understand that “man does not live by bread alone. But by every word proceeding out of the mouth of God shall man live.” (Deut. 8:3) In Deut. 18: 15-19, Moses explained how the people of God are to have this “every word proceeding out of the mouth of God.” God promised, “I will raise up a prophet [like Moses], I will put my words into his mouth, all that I teach him, he will speak to the people.” The passage closes with a stern warning to hear, i.e. give heed, to all this prophet speaks. In Jesus’ statement, he is announcing that he is that prophet who speaks all the words of God.

Therefore, on that basis, those who take up their habitation in his teaching know the truth that sets them free from the slavery to sin. On that basis they become sons who remain in the house, who have their heavenly bread that gives them life. The two groups of people are those who will hear and make his teaching their abode, and those who won’t hear. Thus Jesus told his disciples, “The flesh profits nothing, the words I have spoken/am speaking to you, these are spirit, these are life.” (John 6:63)

Comment by Ellis Hein on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 13:07
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:28-36)

The first thing to notice in this passage is Jesus’ statement, “...but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” Moses told the Jews how God had humbled them and let them be hungry and fed them with manna, which they did not know, in order that they might be made to understand that “man does not live by bread alone. But by every word proceeding out of the mouth of God shall man live.” (Deut. 8:3) In Deut. 18: 15-19, Moses explained how the people of God are to have this “every word proceeding out of the mouth of God.” God promised, “I will raise up a prophet [like Moses], I will put my words into his mouth, all that I teach him, he will speak to the people.” The passage closes with a stern warning to hear, i.e. give heed, to all this prophet speaks. In Jesus’ statement, he is announcing that he is that prophet who speaks all the words of God.

Therefore, on that basis, those who take up their habitation in his teaching know the truth that sets them free from the slavery to sin. On that basis they become sons who remain in the house, who have their heavenly bread that gives them life. The two groups of people are those who will hear and make his teaching their abode, and those who won’t hear. Thus Jesus told his disciples, “The flesh profits nothing, the words I have spoken/am speaking to you, these are spirit, these are life.” (John 6:63)

Comment by Ellis Hein on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 13:08
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:28-36)

The first thing to notice in this passage is Jesus’ statement, “...but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” Moses told the Jews how God had humbled them and let them be hungry and fed them with manna, which they did not know, in order that they might be made to understand that “man does not live by bread alone. But by every word proceeding out of the mouth of God shall man live.” (Deut. 8:3) In Deut. 18: 15-19, Moses explained how the people of God are to have this “every word proceeding out of the mouth of God.” God promised, “I will raise up a prophet [like Moses], I will put my words into his mouth, all that I teach him, he will speak to the people.” The passage closes with a stern warning to hear, i.e. give heed, to all this prophet speaks. In Jesus’ statement, he is announcing that he is that prophet who speaks all the words of God.

Therefore, on that basis, those who take up their habitation in his teaching know the truth that sets them free from the slavery to sin. On that basis they become sons who remain in the house, who have their heavenly bread that gives them life. The two groups of people are those who will hear and make his teaching their abode, and those who won’t hear. Thus Jesus told his disciples, “The flesh profits nothing, the words I have spoken/am speaking to you, these are spirit, these are life.” (John 6:63)

Comment by Ellis Hein on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 13:11

I am sorry that this comment appeared three times. I can seem to delete any of them.

Comment by Brenda Redshaw on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 14:08

"The two groups of people are those who will hear and make his teaching their abode, and those who won’t hear. Thus Jesus told his disciples, “The flesh profits nothing, the words I have spoken/am speaking to you, these are spirit, these are life.” (John 6:63)"

That is error for the scripture says there are sinners and saints and saints are those who are not sinners, not those who intend to not sin :

1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

If we are hearing Christ, we will hear that we are to come to the cross and crucify the flesh so that we may walk in the Spirit. If we walk in the Spirit and as Christ walked, we do not sin. There is no category that says 'if we would like to not sin or if we would like to be holy' The devil is in the tomorrow. NOW is the day of your salvation if you believe that Christ can save you from ALL sin in this life.

Comment by Brenda Redshaw on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 14:09

"The two groups of people are those who will hear and make his teaching their abode, and those who won’t hear. Thus Jesus told his disciples, “The flesh profits nothing, the words I have spoken/am speaking to you, these are spirit, these are life.” (John 6:63)"

That is error for the scripture says there are sinners and saints and saints are those who are not sinners, not those who intend to not sin :

1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1 John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

If we are hearing Christ, we will hear that we are to come to the cross and crucify the flesh so that we may walk in the Spirit. If we walk in the Spirit and as Christ walked, we do not sin. There is no category that says 'if we would like to not sin or if we would like to be holy' The devil is in the tomorrow. NOW is the day of your salvation if you believe that Christ can save you from ALL sin in this life.

Comment by Brenda Redshaw on 2ndMo. 3, 2018 at 14:12

If you do not trust Christ to deliver you instantly from all sin, and are trusting in something else, like your ability to listen and obey His voice then you are not a believer in Fox's doctrine nor Christ's way of salvation.

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