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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

Things That DO NOT Work for Good


J. W. Skaggs.

The Primitive Monitor--November 1908
Elder R. W. Thompson; Dear Brother; - I have not been in the habit of writing for publication and fear this may be too much like the writer; for I find so much imperfection in myself that it makes me hesitate lest I should darken counsel by words without knowledge, but I will submit the following to your riper judgment. For the subject I wish to write about I will quote, Rom. viii, 28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” What does the apostle mean by here saying “all things?” Does he mean to include sin as well as holiness? Some seem to think that he did, but by investigating this subject I find a vast difference between sin and holiness; that there is no agreement between them; that they do not work together, therefore I conclude that the apostle did not include sin in this declaration, since it cannot work together with righteousness and holiness, but works in an opposite direction and there can be no agreement between them. They are just as opposite as light and darkness. And to show what sin does work, the apostle says, “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” This shows a contrast of the two principles, and shows how they work; it shows that instead of working together, they work just the opposite; that there is no agreement between them, and they cannot work together.

    Then in the eighth chapter and following the verse I first quoted are shown some of the things that work together for good: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” I think these scriptures show that sin was not considered with the “all things” in the twenty-eighth verse of the eighth chapter. This apostle had no reference to sin working for our good, for the reason that sin does not work good, but evil – works unto death; it works death in them that follow after it. “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” Rom. vi, 20, 21. I fail to see how two opposites can work together, and for good at that; therefore I conclude that Paul did not consider sin among the all things. In this text righteousness and holiness are so manifestly opposite to sin that they cannot be joined together in any work for good. Holiness is from the Lord, but sin came by man, therefore cannot work the righteousness of God. All our holiness must be from the Lord, for none of our own will do. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord;” Rom. vi, 22,23. This shows that if sin reigns in us, the end thereof is death, but if we have become servants to God, then we have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

    The carnal mind is enmity against God; not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Therefore man in a state of nature cannot serve God. He is dead in sin, cannot see the kingdom of God – must be born again before he can see the kingdom of God. Man cannot serve God with the carnal mind, but must have the mind of Christ. Therefore Paul could say, “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 carnal mind) the law of sin.” It is very evident that the carnal mind is not changed in regeneration, for this reason Paul preaches the warfare, and this warfare Paul sets for the two opposites, good and evil, in the one person, and they are contrary one to the other – work in opposition. This is another reason why I conclude that Paul was not including sin with the other things that work together for good.

    “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.” When men with corrupt minds get into the church of Christ, get to be leaders, they stir up strife and division among them, and seek to draw away disciples after them. This comes of sin, and I do not see how it could work together for good to God’s people, but instead would work evil and therefore cannot be considered among the all things spoken of by Paul. He was speaking of things that work together, and if that is a proper conclusion, sin could not be meant, because sin and righteousness do not work together.

    Now in conclusion I will say, I like the MONITOR very much, and enjoy reading the many good letters and editorials published in its pages, and would not like to do without it.

Your unworthy brother, if one at all,
J. W. Skaggs.
Kansas City, Mo.