This happened about 150 years ago when the Civil War was getting fierce in America. At that time, Abraham Lincoln, who had advocated emancipation of slaves, presided over the North (the Union), confronting the South (the Confederacy). But he couldn’t easily subdue the Confederates commanded by Colonel Robert E. Lee. Rather, the Unionists were fiercely attacked by them. It grieved Lincoln to see soldiers die, and he realized keenly that the war would not end by man’s power and prayed to God more than three hours a day.
Then his officials, seeing the president pray earnestly, told him that they would also pray God to be on their side. With a straight face, however, Lincoln said no, asking them not to pray that way. The officials, who had expected the president to say yes, became confused. So they asked him how to pray, and he said: “Do not pray God to be ‘on our side,’ but to let us be ‘on His side.'”
There seems no difference between the two prayers. But considering seriously, we can see that there is a striking contrast between the focus of those two prayers: The prayer that the officials would offer focused on themselves, but the prayer Lincoln wanted them to give focused on God. “Not a few soldiers of the South may also believe in God. Then, whose side would they pray for? And which side would God be on-the South or the North? If everybody wants God to be on his own side, numerous Gods will be needed. And if anything is fulfilled according to one’s will, it will cause trouble.
We ought to pray God to let us be on His side, that we will not give offense to the providence of God who leads mankind. If it is God’s will to emancipate slaves, surely God will let it be done. So, do not pray God to be ‘on our side,’ but to let us be ‘on His side,'” Lincoln said.
This story deserves attention for our faith in this age. When we do not ask God to be on our side but pray Him to let us be on His side always, we will triumph, overcoming all temptations and persecutions.
Let’s see why we seek and believe God, through the word written in 1 Peter.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet. 1:8
We are leading our life of faith with joy, for the salvation of our souls. When Jesus came into this earth 2,000 years ago, He said: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
In our life of faith, the Savior (Christ) is the most important. Since the goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls, we must diligently seek the Savior who gives salvation and must follow His will.
To save us, God Himself came in the flesh. We ourselves have no wisdom or power leading to salvation. That’s why the Bible gave us this warning: “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes” (1 Cor. 4:5). If we judge for ourselves, we come to face many difficulties. Concerning this, let’s trace the history of the apostles 2,000 years ago.
so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” John 13:4-8
In the Gospels, we often see Peter making mistakes. Peter loved and honored Jesus, but he seemed to have a somewhat self-centered way of thinking. So whenever he said or did something wrong, Jesus corrected him.
Peter said this word, “You shall never wash my feet,” out of reverence for Christ, thinking, ‘Teacher, you are highly exalted. Why are you going to wash the feet of this humble man. It is proper for me to wash Your feet.’ But it was just his own thought. “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me in salvation”-this was God’s answer.
Here is an important thing to see. At that time, Peter was self-centered in his faith. He wanted God to be on his side rather than realized God’s will and obeyed Him. Jesus corrected his mistake, saying sternly, “You have no part with me.” From this, we learn a lesson-We ought to be on God’s side, not wanting God to be on our side.
The Savior in the Father’s age was Jehovah. In that age, no one could be saved if he had no part with Jehovah. In the Son’s age, the Savior was Jesus and nobody could be saved if he had no part with Jesus.
This is the Holy Spirit’s age, and now the Savior is the Spirit and the Bride, who will save the 144,000 children. If the Spirit and the Bride say to anyone, “You have no part with us,” how can he be saved? Can he save himself?
If we want to have some part with the Spirit and the Bride, we ought not to ask Them to be on our side-to follow our own thoughts, but to let us be on Their side-to let us follow Their thoughts.
It’s already been months since we greeted a new year. Now the day is drawing near. Our faith should become more complete day by day. Keeping it in mind that salvation depends on God, we ought to trust in the Spirit and the Bride in everything and follow Them to the end wherever They go. Think of Peter. He took his thought right, but it was against Jesus’ will. After Peter realized that he was mistaken, he followed Jesus’ thought, taking it as best. We, too, should become like him in faith.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Jesus said that no one could come to God-to the kingdom of heaven-except through Him. In the Son’s age, nobody could go to the kingdom of heaven except through Jesus. And in the Holy Spirit’s age, no one can enter the kingdom except through the Spirit and the Bride. Jesus made Peter realize that he judged from his own standpoint, saying, “You have no part with me.” This word makes us realize the point to see.
“No one can enter the kingdom of heaven except through Me.” We should realize this word so that we can keep having some part with the Spirit and the Bride to the end. In the Early Church, the apostles and the prophets never stopped preaching Jesus; for He was the only way to the kingdom of heaven. It is only the Spirit and the Bride who lead to the eternal kingdom. We ought to look at Them from Their viewpoint and love and follow Them, not from our own standpoint.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers (you who practice lawlessness, NASB)!'” Matt. 7:21-23
“I never knew you.” By this word Jesus meant they had no part with Him. They prophesied in the Lord’s name and in His name performed many miracles; but actually they had no concern for the things of Jesus and did everything with their own thoughts. And standing before God’s judgment seat, they are making a boast of what they have done, getting intoxicated with their zeal.
They are like Peter who judged by his own thought and said to Jesus, “You shall never wash my feet.” Though they performed many miracles in the Lord’s name, throwing their energies, Jesus sternly said, “You have no part with Me. Away from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
“You have no part with Me.” This word might be met in us, as it was in Peter. That’s why the Bible puts great emphasis on obedience.
We must not commit such a folly. God is the center of our salvation. If we come to know the God and believe Him, we shall live in the will of God all the time. What God asks of us is our faith. We ought to have an absolute faith in God.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Rom. 10:1-3
The above verse in Romans tells us that those who do not submit to God’s righteousness to establish their own have no part with God and with salvation. So was Peter, who was corrected by Jesus.
Now the saints of Zion are living a faithful life of faith, following the gracious word of truth. To keep the faith to the end, we should continually have some part with God. “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Like this word, though we keep the laws and proclaim the word diligently, if we neglect the word of the Spirit and the Bride, we have no part with God. Even Peter would not have been saved if he had insisted on his own way and not corrected himself when Jesus pointed out his mistakes.
In Revelation 14, it is written that 144,000 are those who follow the Lamb to the end wherever He goes. God has been leading all the history of truth. Cherishing the will of God in our hearts, looking ahead into the future God foresees, let’s run in the same direction with all our strength. Then we will be worthy to be called ‘the 144,000 who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.’
‘… follow the Lamb wherever He goes.’ This word shows that the 144,000 follow God unconditionally. All the family members of Zion all over the world are the very 144,000.
All our family in Zion! Let’s think of Jesus’ prayer once again-“Not my will, but yours be done”-and follow the Spirit and the Bride to the end.