Anointing with Oil and Prayer (1)

Brother Sewell: Please give us your views on James 5:13-15. Is not that portion of his letter as applicable to us in this age as any other portion of it? If not, how can we know where to draw the line? In verse 17 he refers to Elijah’s being a man subject to like passions as we are, and then speaks of the efficacy of his prayer. Is not the want of faith and works on our part the reason why our prayers are not efficacious in cases like those mentioned in the verses referred to above?

Verse 13 is plainly applicable to Christians at the present time. All Christians suffering afflictions should pray to God for help in these afflictions — in fact, all Christians should pray to God at all times, and then when afflictions come their special prayers will be regarded. People that are merry should always sing psalms rather than go into frivolity. But as to the matter of praying for the sick, with the full assurance that they will be restored, there are differences of judgment regarding this. Some think this pertained to the miraculous age of the church, and that the raising up of the sick had special reference to miraculous healing; and to this idea I am inclined. But, at the same time, anointing with oil is a good remedy in many things, and would be no bad thing to do in any case where oil could be beneficial. Calling the elders together and praying for the recovery of the sick, praying that the efforts made to cure the sick may be made effectual, is also a good thing to do at any time. And in all such prayers there should be the meek and humble expression: “Thy will, not mine, be done.” Then after all these things are done, if our sick do not recover, we should confidingly submit, Job-like, and still praise the name of the Lord. And while these prayers are going on for the recovery of the sick, if the sick member has committed sins, he should sincerely repent of and confess his sins to God and all pray together for their forgiveness. All this, I think, would be proper and right. But to expect speedy and certain cure of the disease of the sick, I think, belonged to the age of miracles. Prayers for healing, through the general laws of healing, for the success of our efforts to heal, I think, are in order all the time.

Elisha G. Sewell

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Angels Rejoicing and Future Recognition

Please explain through the Gospel Advocate the following verse: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:7.)

In 1 Cor. 13:12, does Paul mean that we shall see each other face to face and know each other?

 

The passage in Luke, we think, means just what it says. There is, doubtless, joy in heaven over a sinner that truly repents, truly turns from sin into the service of God. The angels of heaven, doubtless, know what is going on in earth, as angels are ministers for those who shall be heirs of salvation. This passage shows the interest that is felt and manifested in behalf of men by those in heaven.

As to the passage in Corinthians, we cannot speak definitely. Some think that Paul in this passage had reference to the perfected state of the church and to the completeness of the revelation of all matters pertaining to the new institution, so that they could comprehend at once the whole scheme of human redemption. In the days of the apostles these things were only given in parts—just so much at a time as was needed at a certain place or time or occasion; but finally, little by little, the whole was fully given, until they could comprehend the whole matter, as a friend knows his friend when face to face with him. Others, however, think Paul had reference to heaven, when all the fullness of God’s mercy and love will be fully and clearly disclosed before our eyes, and that then we shall know all things pertaining to eternity. And if this idea is correct, then the passage certainly includes the idea that we shall know each other there. We do not think that either interpretation would do violence to other passages on the subject; and we, therefore, will not say definitely, but have generally inclined to the first-named interpretation.