1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
The doctrinal arguments (ch 3 &4) against the present application of the Law of Moses -- that it was a secondary, temporary arrangement added much later to the basic plan of salvation through faith; that it was, 1) To expose sin; 2) convict all of sin; 3) show to all the impossibility of anyone earning life; 4) to foreshadow and typify and lead up to Christ; 5) that it was the mere elementary, passing impotent shadow of which Christ is the glorious, all-powerful, eternal reality.
To return to the Law of Moses is not, as the Judaizers claimed, a higher step of holiness, but a falling right back down from the things of the Spirit which transforms the heart, to the things that merely regulate the flesh.
Bro Growcott - By Love Serve One Another
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
In all the "times of the Gentiles" the saints are a mixed community, in which are found fish of all sorts, good, bad, and indifferent. The good are answerable to the "few who are chosen, 'and find eternal life (Matt. 20:16; 7:14): while the bad and indifferent are those who "begin in the Spirit" and end in the flesh - those who at the outset of their career seemed to "run well," but were hindered from a "patient continuance in well-doing," or "obeying the truth," in being "bewitched" by the sorcery of designing knaves, who "by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Gal. 3:1,3,7; Rom. 16:18).
In our generation, as in that of the apostles, the ecciesia or general assembly of the many, who are called, is composed of these heterogeneous materials. It has been thus in all generations before and since Satan, in the days of Job, mingled with the Sons of the Deity when they presented themselves in the Divine presence (Job 1:6). The satanic element has ever been among them with its "depths as they speak" (ch 2:24), corrupting and perverting the weak. In the wisdom of the Deity Satan has been permitted to practice, and to deceive the hearts of the simple, who are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:7) without judicial interference.
The Satanic element in an ecclesia is always prompt and vivacious for mischief. If it fears to attack openly the most prominent advocate of the truth, it has recourse to underhanded and secret influences. Handling the word of the Deity deceitfully, deceiving, and being deceived" are its characteristics. While inspired with personal hatreds, it affects zeal destroying it, or making it of none effect by the traditions of its monstrous ignorance and folly. Yet the Judge of the living and the dead" is profoundly silent save in the word of his law and testimony. There are reasons for this. The truth as it is in Jesus is entrusted to the ecclesia, or House of the Deity, which is the Pillar and foundation support of the truth .
The members of this house are held responsible and accountable for their relations to this, as a treasure committed to them to be contended for earnestly, and to be upheld at all hazards in their day and generation. This house being furnished with vessels of' all sorts, some to honour and some to dishonour, the truth receives a characteristic treatment at the hands of each sort The vessels fitted to capture and destruction set forth traditions, or heresies which nullify the Word If men speak or write upon the things of the Spirit, they are commanded to do so as oracles of the Deity;" and if they disobey this injunction is because "there is no light in them " Nevertheless, they will give utterance to their folly.
This cannot be helped, Fools will be fools come what may. From these premises it is inevitable that, as Paul says, "there must be heresies among you" They are permitted to exist , though not approved. Their existence arouses the flagging energies of sterling and faithful men, "who are able to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:2). It sets them to contending more earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 2), which manifests them as the approved, who are grounded and settled in the faith, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel (1 Cor. 11:19; Col. 1:23).
This manifestation of the approved after this process is one reason why Yahweh keeps silence, and permits Satan to continue their Operations among the Sons of the Deity, without any present judicial interference. There is also another very good reason for present non-intervention, and this is, because He has appointed a set time, styled by that infallible and incomparable exponent of the truth the Lord Jesus, "a Day of Judgment," hemera kriseos (Matt. 12:36); and by the no less accurate Paul, "THE DAY when the Deity shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the gospel" Paul preached: "therefore," saith he, "judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come; who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts;" and "who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and kingdom" (Rom. 2:16; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:1) and styled by the earnest and faithful Peter, "the Day of Inspection", hemera episkopes (1 Pet. 2:12) "the time that the judgment begins at the house of the Deity" (ch. 4:17); when, as James testifies, the saints shall be judged by the law of liberty (ch 2:12).
These are two all-sufficient reasons why the Satan should be Providentially tolerated among the sons of the Deity, until the Ancient of Days come. Now is the day of salvation," says Paul; but this, in effect, the Satan denies. He turns it into a day of judgment, saying, that there is no other day of judgment for the saints than this. Satan, of course, exceedingly dislikes the idea of being judged, and rewarded according to his works.
He does not approve of the doctrine of eternal life based upon an inspection of faith and practice after resurrection. He demands resurrection with immortality, not resurrection unto eternal life. He wants to spring out of the dust immortal, and no questions asked; for he knows very well, that neither his faith nor his practice will bear the light. Be this, however, as it may, his pleasure and satisfaction will not be consulted.
Inspection and its consequences begin at the house of the Christ: and Satan, who had received the one talent, and was afraid of the truth, and hid it in the earth, is purged Out as a wicked and slothful servant from among the sons of the Deity; and cast into the darkness of the outer world, where weeping and gnashing of teeth are the order of both day and night (Matt. 25:14-30; Apoc. 14:11).
This day of inspection is "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of the Deity; who will render to every one according to his deeds" (Rom. 2:5,6). It is a day in which He will separate the satanic goats from the sheep who have heard his voice, and done the Father's will.
Those slothful, unprofitable, and wicked professors are "cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone," in which are destroyed the beast and the false prophet, by that portion of the last plagues which is executed by the Second and Third Angels, who have power over fire. In other words, the judgment given to the approved, who enter into the joy of their Lord, affords scope in the execution of it upon the Diabolos and Satan of the world, for the punishment also of the unprofitable servants of the house of the Deity; who are "condemned with the world" to the calamities of the last plagues, which to them will be "a sorer punishment" than to the adversaries at large (Heb.10:26-30).
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
The State to be founded by the ELOAHH of the Heavens, who clothes the Saints with fine linen pure and bright, and girds them around the breasts with golden girdles, for their cooperative performance of the work, is "the kingdom which is to come to the daughter of Jerusalem" - "the first dominion which comes to Zion;" in the setting up and establishment of which, halting, and exiled, and afflicted, Israel, in all her tribes, is being gathered, and made a strong nation, for Yahweh to reign over thenceforth even during the Olahm (Mic 4:7,8).
This kingdom, with its secondary dominion, which is coextensive with "the whole heaven" (Dan. 7:27), must first be established before it can be entered upon administratively by any one. "The end of the matter" was declared to Daniel, as consisting in all dominions, or rulers, serving and obeying the Most High.
This universal submission of nations and dominions to the King of Israel, is the result of the entire exhaustion of the Seven Plagues of the Seven Angels; or the conclusion of the judgment given to the Saints to execute under the whole heaven. The Saints themselves cannot "enter into rest from their labours" (ch.14:13) until "their labours" are finished; and as to the world of nations while those labours are in progress, "they have no rest day nor night" from the operation of the smoking plagues, whereby they are being tormented.
But when the judgment is over; when the wrath of the Deity is all filled up; when the great and marvellous sign has passed away from the heaven; when the end of the "thousand six hundred furlongs" "time of the end" hath been reached; when smoke no longer fills the Nave from the glory and power of the Deity - after the forty years of Micah are all in the past; and the kingdom hath been restored to Israel; what will then obtain, and be the economy of this fullness of the times?
The Millennial Day of Christ will have come; the strong nations, recently so terribly rebuked, will be awaiting their conqueror's law; and the Saints resting from their judicial military labours, are henceforth blessed with the peaceable and glorious possession of the kingdom, without a disturbing element within or from without, to ruffle the glassy sea, over which is extended, for a thousand years, their righteous and almighty rule. Then their wars shall have ceased to the ends of the earth (Psa. 46 and 47), and they are exalted over the subject nations; then the new law will be proclaimed from Zion and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem (Mic. 4:2).
By this law, "a New Heaven and a New Earth" is created, in which Jerusalem is created a rejoicing, and her people a joy. Israel is admitted into the bond of the covenant, the truth and the mercy sworn to their fathers Abraham and Jacob from the days of old.
Henceforth the voice of weeping will be heard no more in Jerusalem, nor the voice of crying. Longevity will bless her citizens, whose lives shall be enduring as a tree; and they shall long enjoy the work of their hands. Peace will be extended to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like a flowing stream. The Bride the Lamb's wife will be there, as the Queen arrayed in the gold of Ophir, whose beauty will be greatly desired by the King, and her favour entreated by the rich among the peoples (Mic. 7:20; Isa. 65:17-24; Psa. 46).
Such will be the blessedness of the Firstborn of the nations. The brilliant and precious living stones of fair colours, the immortal constituents of the Bride, will be kings and priests in all the earth. The nations, freed from the dominion of thieves and robbers, and enlightened in the truth, which they will heartily believe, will be permitted to enter into the covenant of the Most Holy; and thus to be joined to Yahweh, and to become his people in fellowship with Israel.
One economy, or administration, will rule the world in righteousness, all of whose nations, being justified by faith, will be blessed in and with faithful Abraham, as the gospel of the kingdom preached to him has long declared. There will then exist a world of enlightened nations, ruled by the ONE BODY in perfect harmony with the truth, or word then proclaimed from Jerusalem. This is "the world to come;" the future constitution of things upon the habitable, which no one is able to enter into until the Seven Plagues of the Seven Angels are fulfilled" (Isa. 54:11-13; Zech. 2:11; Gal. 3:7-9).
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Christ was cursed by the law in the mode of his death (v13). He could not be cursed in any other way, for he was not a transgressor of the law. But in this way, he was cursed. And it is probable that this clause was inserted in the law for this very purpose -- that Christ might innocently die under the curse of the law, and so take it away: for the law can do nothing more than kill.
When he died he was no longer under the law, which was made for mortal men, and had dominion over a man only as long as he lived (Rom. 7:1). When he rose, he was free from the curse of the law--redeemed by his death. It is by union with him as a resurrected free man that we obtain this redemption wrought in him. This is what Paul says: "Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead" He was born under the law and redeemed from the law, that we might be redeemed by sharing his redemption.
This view of the matter enables us to understand Paul's allusion to what the death of Christ accomplished in relation to the law: that he "abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of the commandments contained in ordinances" (Eph. 2:15); "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Col. 2:14). But the result was achieved in himself.
This is the whole principle: redemption achieved in Christ for us to have, on condition of faith and obedience. It is not only that Israel are saved from the law of Moses on this principle, but it is the principle upon which we are saved from the law of sin and death, whose operation we inherit in deriving our nature from Adam.
Christ partook of this nature to deliver it from death, as Paul teaches in Heb. 2:14, and other places: "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil". Understanding by the devil, the hereditary death-power that has reigned among men by Adam through sin, we may understand how Christ, who took part in the death-inheriting nature, destroyed the power of death by dying and rising.
We then understand how "He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself". We may also understand how "our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed" (Rom. 6:6), and how he "died unto sin once", but now liveth unto God, to die no more (verses 9-10).
All of which enables us to understand why the typical holy things were purified with sacrificial blood, and why the high priest, in his typical and official capacity had to be touched with blood as well as anointed with the holy oil before entering upon his work. When we say, as some in their reverence for Christ prefer to say, that the death of Christ was not for himself but only for us, they destroy all these typical analogies, and in truth, if their view could prevail, they would make it impossible that it could be for us at all for it only operates "for us" when we unite ourselves with him in whom, as the firstborn, it had its first effect.
Law of Moses Ch 18
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
He was buried under the curse of the law, which "made him a curse for" our benefit: he came forth while that same law was in force and Operation. His coming forth upon the arena of his execution did not relieve him from the curse of that law, which sentenced him to continuous and everlasting death; so that, if they could have recaptured him, the Mosaic authorities would doubtless have returned him into death.
That law regarded him as dead, and its authorities refused credence to the report, that he had come to life. After he had come forth he saw Mary, a Jewess, who mistook him for the gardener, so like other men did he appear. Having convinced her of her error, he checked the impulse of her affection by saying to her, "Touch me not!" It was defiling for Jews to touch a thing declared to be unclean by the law.
Any thing from the grave was enacted to be unclean, in reference to him who should come out of the tomb, until that he should be 'revived" (Rom. 14:9) or "made a quickening Spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). Christ was "the end of the law," the substance or body of the shadow (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:17); its lines concentred in the things pertaining to his body.
The foregoing remarks have dealt mainly with the hereditary death taint derived from Adam, but there was, addition to this, the condemnation of the law of Moses, under which Christ could not be brought by birth; he was born under the law but not condemned by the law unless he broke the law. If he had broken the law, he would have ceased to be an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Yet, if the curse of the law did not come upon him, he could not take that curse away. What we might call the difficulty of this cause was met by the mode of his death, in which, without any delinquency on his part, but rather by an act of obedience, he was brought under the curse of the law by the mode of his death, brought under that curse without fault, but rather by virtue, and redeemed from it by resurrection.
The Blood of Christ - 'The Place of Forgiveness'
It is significant that Paul argues that Christ was cursed by a moral Law (the Mosaic), as it is only by this means that he identifies with us in our condition of transgression, since he was entirely sinless morally.
However, by this unique law in Deu. 21:23, the Lord was brought under a moral curse, whilst remaining free of personal transgression. But Paul goes further: he claims that because Christ was hung on a tree, and thereby cursed by the Law, that the blessing of Abraham could come on Gentiles. What a remarkable connection! What a curious development! Nevertheless the reason why Paul connects the offering of Christ with the Gentile blessing opens a most remarkable logic, and a unique understanding of the purpose of the Law!
Seek the reason and find the powerful connection! It is enormously powerful, and strengthens the true understanding of the atonement...GEM
He had to come under the curse of the Mosaic law, reasons Paul, in order to redeem those under that curse. Is not this parallel with Paul's declaration that he had to be flesh and blood in order to destroy the Adamic curse? He had to come under it in order to destroy it in himself, and open a way out of it for himself, and for all those who united themselves with him in the appointed way.
The Adamic curse he came under by birth as we all do. The Mosaic curse he came under, as Paul says, by the manner of his death-both without the loss of his personal righteousness.
Bro Growcott - By his own blood
This is true, and is one of the marvellous details of the working out of God's wonderfully intricate plan, but here again it was sin, and not the Law, that was to blame. This particular ordinance of the Law was perfectly just. But sin banded together and hanged an innocent man. The Law did not contemplate the hanging of the innocent. Only sin could do that.
And here is one of the places where we can legitimately make a distinction between the spirit and the letter. The obvious spirit and intention of the Law was,
"Cursed is everyone that is deservedly hanged on a tree."
Christ, personally in character, was free from the slightest shadow of a stigma of this curse in its true intention.
Did he then just come under the letter and not the spirit of the curse, and forfeit the life to which the Law was ordained by an unjust legal technicality? This would not be a fitting ingredient in God's great and glorious plan. His death was to declare the righteousness of God, and this could not be done by merely fulfilling the letter in violation of the spirit. God's arrangements are not technical and mechanical, but living and in harmony with truth.
As a strong, sinless, voluntary representative and covering for his weak but humble and repentant brethren, Christ's sacrifice was beautiful and just. He became a curse for us, not merely when the technicality of the breaking of the Law was fulfilled in the actual crucifixion, but when he freely presented himself in obedience to the Father's will as the Redeemer on whom the history and destiny of the race was centered.
"Our old man is crucified with him" (Rom. 6:6).
There was no technicality about the curse on this old man. The crucifixion on the cross was the symbol and climax of a life-long victory in the crucifixion of the flesh. That flesh came under the just condemnation of the Law, and hung upon the tree in perfect justice.
Bro Growcott - We know that the law is spiritual
16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
...the plural is not used in the promise, and that the singular form employed is applicable to an individual seed, as illustrated in that other promise:
"Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies" (Gen. xxii. 17).
...Abraham had many seeds in the family sense; for the sons of Keturah founded tribes and nations in Arabia. The singular form of the noun covered the one national seed and the one personal seed in the same way that in another prophecy, the one national "son"-"Israel my first-born"-covered the one personal son-first-fruits-who was also brought out of Egypt.
The Christadelphian June 1894. p233.
Here, then, we suppose, stands before us a man, be he Jew or be he Gentile matters not, he is a man who has been sprinkled by the ever living testator with the blood of his covenant or will; and by this constituted one of His heirs or legatees.
Now, concerning such a man we ask. What is the legacy to him bequeathed? This question will admit of but one answer, and that is, The things promised in that covenant and its testimonies to Abraham and his Seed, which is Christ.
But then, it may be inquired, How can a thousand other people be entitled to a legacy willed to these two?
The explanation of that difficulty is that the covenant testimonies expound the word "Seed, " as expressive of One Person indeed, but of that one also in a federative sense; just as if 144,000 individuals were regarded as one person, and he were called Christ: thus it is written,
"If ye be Christ's (that is, by having put him on) then are ye the Seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise," or covenant.
This is styled being "one in Christ Jesus." But this "One" is not restricted to a few thousands; it comprehends the whole Twelve Tribes, who are termed "the children of the covenant," or its Seed. But, it might be objected that the Twelve Tribes are not Christ's, having never put him on; and therefore, they cannot on this showing be Abraham's Seed in the covenant sense.
True they are not Christ's yet; but when the testimonies we have produced are fulfilled; and the New Covenant is made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, they will be both Ammi and Ruhamah; for
"I will have mercy on them, and they shall be called the sons of the living God."
Will they not be Christ's then? Clearly so.
To Abraham and the Christ were the promises made, says the apostle. To Abraham, as the federal father; and to Christ, his son, as the federal elder brother of the great family, or nation, was the inheritance bequeathed.
The Will, however, was not to come into full force until
"the dispensation of the fulness of the times appointed,"
which dispensation, or economy, will be introduced when
"the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled."
When this Administration exists as an accomplished fact, the united Jewish nation will be existent in the covenant-land, solely constituted of the Sons of Abraham, and brethren of Christ by nature and by faith.
But the nation inherits only by faith, and not by virtue of the Mosaic law, or its natural descent. If by law and by nature, then all the generations of the nation's dead would rise, and possess the land under Christ; but the inheritance being by faith, they only will possess it of the dead and the living, who believe the things of the covenant and are sprinkled by its blood.
Abraham, Christ, and the Twelve Tribes in the fulness-of-times dispensation, are the legatees under the will, which bequeathes to them the Holy Land for an everlasting possession. It says to Abraham and to Christ ye shall possess the land for ever. This was equivalent to saying, Ye shall live for ever; for without immortality they could not possess the land for ever.
Hence this promise of the land is the promise of eternal life; so that if any one Jew or Gentile attain to immortality it will be as a legatee of this will, and of this only.
Mystery of the covenant of the holy land explained
Herald Jan 1853
The promised inheritance was before the law
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
18 For if the inheritance <the land of Canaan and its attributes> be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
"Faith," says the apostle, was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness when he was in uncircumcision;"
... a question agitated the congregations of Galatia, namely, that it was necessary for the disciples from among the Gentiles to be circumcised, and to keep the law of Moses as well as to believe the gospel and be baptized, or they could have no part in the inheritance covenanted to Abraham and Christ.
The apostle styles this judaizing, and preaching "another gospel." It was the beginning of that awful apostasy the fruit of which we behold in the ecclesiastical system of our day, He contended strenuously against this perversion of the truth in all places. The Judaizers argued that a right to Canaan when made a heavenly country under Christ, was derived from the law of Moses; the apostle denied this, and maintained that the law could give no title to it -- that it could only be obtained
"through the righteousness of the faith, for the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham or to his Seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith". - (Rom. 4:13,16,17)
...The Judaizers claimed a right to the inheritance because they bore the seal of the covenant, marked in their flesh by circumcision ; the apostle, because he believed the same things that Abraham did, and was the subject of God's righteousness through the faith of Jesus Christ, without any title derived from the law of Moses.
Elpis Israel 2.2.
There would seem to be an individual seed and a multitudinous seed mentioned in the Promises.
57. No doubt it is so, just as there is an individual Christ and a multitudinous Christ in the 'One Body' of his people, when perfectly made one with him at the resurrection.
But I suppose that the promise that his seed should become numerous refers to the Jews in the past?
58. No doubt it includes them, in their past increase, but it also extends as far as the Promise itself is intended to reach, and we have seen that that goes into the endless future.
I can see that that must be so, so that the Jewish nation is destined to become a very numerous people.
59. When you consider the great multitude of them destined to be raised to inherit the Kingdom under Christ, and the great increase that wilI take place among the Jews after the flesh when their Kingdom is restored, it follows that the Promise to Abraham of an incomputable progeny will be fulfilled in the absolute sense. This will appear in a still stronger light when we come to consider what will take place beyond the Kingdom.
The immediate question I wished to bring under your notice was this: When Israel was settled in the Land of Promise as a nation, did that settlement have its basis on the Promise made to Abraham?
No; I should scarcely say it had, although God did promise that they should be released from the bondage of the Egyptians. Their settlement in the Land took place under the Law that came into force by Moses, and the stability of it was made dependent upon obedience to that Law.
When they were obedient, they prospered; when they disobeyed, they were driven out. This was the very bargain that was made between them and Moses. It seems to me that if it had taken place under the Promises to Abraham, there would have been no such conditions, and no failure in the blessings promised.
60. You reason rightly in the matter, and I should like to call your attention to the exact coincidence between your reasoning and that of Paul in Gal. 3. He says "if the inheritance be of the Law, then it is no more of promise, but God gave it to Abraham BY PROMISE." You perceive how completely this proves that the Promises to Abraham are to be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God?
Of that I have not now the slightest doubt. I have noticed that Paul says the Gospel was preached unto Abraham, and I can see -- with the new view I have received of the Gospel -- how the Promises made to Abraham are in reality the very Gospel preached by Christ and the apostles, only in a more condensed form.
The Good Confession
19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
"It was a schoolmaster until Christ";
but when the things of the Name of Jesus Christ were manifested for faith, or, as he expressed it, "after that faith is come," Israel is "no longer under a schoolmaster.
Elpis Israel 2.2.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
The very object of God's dealings with Israel through the Law of Moses for a thousand years was to establish this conception of sin as the cardinal element in the present relations of God and man. We find Paul saying,
"I had not known sin but by the law," and again, God-"hath concluded all under sin that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."
Hence we must either bear a reverential attitude towards the central fact, or take our place among the fools who, saying in their heart "There is no God," make a mock at Him. There is no rational middle ground.
... "This is my body," "this is my blood," it was with reference to the offering of the body and blood in sacrifice. And why offered?
To what intent?
"That sin might be condemned in the flesh."
With what effect?
"That he might 'put away sin by the sacrifice of himself'-that the body of sin might be destroyed-that henceforth we should not serve sin."
... It was for "the sins of many," that we might be forgiven because of our faith in what was accomplished in Christ in this matter.
We show our faith in having been "baptised into his death," and thus assuming "the fellowship of his sufferings," we receive forgiveness of sins for his sake, and stand justified in him, in hope of eternal life to which otherwise we had no access. Forgiveness is at root of the whole transaction-forgiveness by favour, yet not relaxing the law of God's supremacy.
Christ died that God might forgive; yet forgiveness in the case is an act of favour - not of claim. Christ did not substitutionally pay a debt for others, from which they might then claim freedom. He submitted to the "righteousness of God" in crucifixion that God might be just, and, at the same time, exercise the prerogative of forgiveness without the compromise of His supremacy.
"Sin hath reigned unto death;" even so "grace (favour) reigns through righteousness" in the death and resurrection of the sinless Jesus, who partook of our nature for the purpose. It is all an operation of righteousness (there is no unrighteousness in it), and it is all an arrangement of favour (there is no debt in it, either as regards the ransomer or the ransomed). The triumph is fittingly celebrated in the song put into the mouths of those who are saved at last:
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood."
The matter is high and holy, and has no benefit for those who treat it in a flippant or indifferent spirit. God's own declaration governs all.
"To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word."
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
... we find in Rom. 4:11 that the apostle reasons thus as to the fatherhood of Abraham: Abraham
"received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised that he might be the father of all them that believed, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed unto them also."
"His faith was counted to him for righteousness,"
being at that time 85 years of age and uncircumcised.
Now, you see there was a reason why God justified Abraham before he was circumcised. It was that he might be the father of those who are not circumcised, that he might be the father of all Gentiles, as well as all Jews, upon the principle of believing what God says, and doing what God commands:
"that righteousness might be imputed to the Gentiles (or the uncircumcised) also."
[Dr. Thomas then went on to argue that the Jew must be justified by faith notwithstanding his fleshly connection with Abraham.]
So that both Jews and Gentiles will be justified on the same promise. Paul speaks of that in Rom. 3:29, 30,
"Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which should justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith."
We do not see the distinction in the common version as well as in the original. It should read—
"Seeing it is one God who shall justify the circumcision by faith, And the uncircumcision through the faith."
You will see that distinction argued out by the apostles in his letter to the Galatians (3:21),
"Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promises by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe;"
that is, to them that believe the promises, for that is what the apostle is writing about. "But," he says, "Before faith came;" that ought to be
"before the faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed" (Gal. 3:23).
So that the apostle, reasoning as a Jew under the law, considers that, at a certain time, the faith had not come; that, under the law, they were shut up from the thing that was afterwards to come, called "the faith."
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ."
Here are three words inserted—"to bring us." What we have is simply "wherefore the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ.'
Until Christ, they were shut up to the law, and had to exercise their minds in studying that pattern of things, and had to wait for the substance, which is of Christ, until Christ came. Until Christ came the faith did not come; so that they were shut-up from the faith, and could not get at it. Now John says—
"The law came by Moses; the grace and the truth came by Jesus Christ."
When you make yourselves acquainted with the truth which came by Jesus Christ you have that thing called "the faith," to which all under the law were shut-up till Christ came.
Now Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, presents those two things before the mind of the reader. Men were justified, under the law of Moses, by faith; and, after the law had waxed old and was ready to vanish away, by the faith.
Under the law they had merely the premises of justification laid in their minds; for, if Jesus Christ had never come and suffered death, Daniel and all the prophets would have perished.
Bro Thomas 1869, reproduced from Shorthand Notes - The Christadelphian, Jan 1888
*'premises of justification - belief in the Messiah as the coming redeemer written in the prophets and taught by the law - sacrificial offerings, ordinances and types.
The Apostles Justified by Faith Before "The Faith" Came
The point of difficulty in our correspondent's mind is this—if the "defective faith" of the apostles did not necessitate their reimmersion, why should the defective faith of our contemporaries? In other words, if the ignorance of the apostles in regard to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the things founded upon these facts, did not invalidate their baptism administered by John, why should a baptist, Campbellite, or other immersionist's ignorance of the kingdom of God and his righteousness, make invalid the immersion to which they have been subjected?
Is not their immersion the "one baptism" although their "faith" is defective of many things embraced in the "one faith" and the "one hope of the calling?"
This appears to be the difficulty for us to consider. Let us see, then, if it be real and insuperable or not.
In the first place we remark that the case of the apostles is exceptional. They were Israelites under the law, which was then in full force, the Abrahamic covenant not having been confirmed by the blood of its Mediator, the Christ. They were not required to believe in the mystery of its confirmation any more than the prophets were until the confirmation were established. They were under a dispensation of "justification by faith," not of
"justification through the faith;"
because when they were justified "the faith" had not come—Rom. 3:30; Gal. 3:24.
Until the resurrection of Jesus they were "under the law" as Jesus was himself under the law, which was the schoolmaster of Israel who were
"shut up to the faith which should afterwards be revealed."
This was a position which could only be occupied by Israelites previous to the revelation of the faith. After that faith came, they were no longer "shut up." The apostles were shut up as Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel were "shut up to the faith." Their faith was the faith of these prophets, with the addition that they believed that Jesus was the Son of David and Son of the Deity whom he had anointed with holy spirit; in other words, "the Christ the King of Israel" whom he had covenanted to Abraham and David to inherit the land and to occupy the throne.
This was their faith. They believed the things covenanted to Abraham and David, and that Jesus was the Christ; but they did not understand nor believe, though it was told them, that Jesus should be put to death and rise again, they did not know, in any sense of the word know that there should be remission of sins to the prophets and themselves through the death and resurrection of Jesus; that is, through the crucificial outpouring of his soul as the blood of the Abrahamic and Davidian covenants in the promises of which they believed. This is evident from Luke 18:31, 34, where it is written that Jesus said to the twelve,
"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on; and they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things that were spoken."
John tell us that their ignorance of this class of truths continued until Jesus was glorified. Jno. 12:16. Then they received the holy spirit, the spirit of truth, which guided them into all the truth; and showed them many things which in the beginning of the week of confirmation, Daniel's seventieth week, they were not able to bear.—Jno. 14:4, 12, 13, 25.
The apostles, then, were justified by faith in the gospel of the kingdom, and in Jesus as its anointed king. This is positive. They were not justified by faith in a Christ who they believed would suffer death and rise again. This is negative. That they were justified before the death of Jesus is evident from John 15:3, where it is written,
"Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
This word which Jesus spoke to them was "the word of the kingdom, also styled "the Gospel of the Kingdom," and "the kingdom of God"—Luke 18:17; 9:60, 2, 6; 8:1; 4:43, 18; Mat. 13:19, 23; 4:23. Faith in it and Jesus was justifying. It cleansed, or purified them all from sins, except Judas. He was excepted, and pronounced "unclean;" for he had not received "the word" into an honest and good heart.
The apostles believed all they were required to believe. They were not required to believe what was purposely hidden from them. They had honored God in accepting his counsel preached to them through John the baptizer. They had been baptized with "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins," predicated on faith in the promises covenanted to Israel's father's, and the approaching manifestation of the Christ.
When he appeared they recognized him. He preached the same gospel as John, but amplified in detail. They believed it, and Jesus completed what John had begun in washing their feet, and without which they could have no part with him in the joy that was set before him—Jno. 13:8. They had washed in John's baptism, therefore they needed not save to have their feet washed by Jesus, who thus
"shod them with the preparation of the gospel"
and made them clean every whit—verse 10; Eph. 6:15. Things being thus ordered, it only remained "to redeem them from the curse of the law;" to redeem them by the same act that should purchase Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and all the saints under the law, from its curse. This redemption was effected by Jesus submitting to be made a curse for them.
This was accomplished, not by his wilful violation of the law, but by his enemies nailing him to a tree, or cross; and so forcibly bringing the curse of the Mosaic law upon him, which says, "Cursed every one that hangeth on a tree." Thus the nature crucified was cursed, eternally cursed; and therefore can never occupy the kingdom of God and the earth for ever.
The life of the nature that transgressed in the person of the first Adam, became a covering for sin in the sinless person of the second Adam. When glorified the crucified nature was transformed into holy spirit-nature, styled by Paul, "spiritual body," or the body consubstantial with the Father. This is the nature Jesus now possesses, and to which he attained at the price of "the crucifixion of the flesh" in every sense of the phrase.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Apr 1861
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto [prepare the way for] Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The law was a schoolmaster (not "to, bring unto" Christ as the interpolated words of King James' version of Gal. 3:24 expresses it, but to prepare the way for Christ). Without the preliminary effects engendered by the long previous currency of the law of Moses, the situation would not have been suitable for his manifestation.
...THE Tabernacle...was "holy unto the Lord", and no one could intrude without being guilty of sacrilege on pain of death. Not even the priests could approach the altar without washing at the laver, or the inner holy without sacrificial blood.
It is all meaningless mummery to a mere naturalist. To the enlightened state of mind that comes from taking all facts into view, and not those of nature merely, it must appear as a powerful means of creating and developing the sentiment of reverence and the conception of holiness. This is the highest grace of which human character is capable.
To the merely natural mind, there is nothing to revere: no holiness to cultivate--but only things to know and sensations to feel--under the bias of which, human character sinks into coldness and grossness and barrenness.
The ordinances of the law were designed to draw the mind up to a higher level, on which worship in holiness warms and expands and beautifies the character. Its typical nature was a secondary element reserved for the later elucidation by the Spirit of God in the apostles.
Its immediate object was to bring Israel near to God in holiness. It succeeded in this as regards a class in all their generations; and even as regards the unsanctified bulk, it kept them in a certain outward shape and attitude of separateness, which was subservient to the Divine purpose in calling them out of Egypt and organizing them as a nation on the basis of the law.
Law of Moses Ch 20.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Faith in Messiah means to know him as the character image of his father clothed upon with sins' flesh and to believe and obey his teaching.
Faith is a very precious commodity
Our existence as children of God depends upon the possession of it. Let faith go, and we quickly waste and die (2 Cor. 1:24: 5:7; 1 Jno. 5:4; Rom. 11:20) To see a brother or sister perish in this way is a pitful sight, yet it is not an uncommon one.
...Where are they all? Dead-alive enough in one sense, but spiritually dead. Why have they died? Is the truth any less real? Are the divine promises any less beautiful? Is prophecy any less reliable? Is the moral teaching of the Bible any less unique and grand? No.
Then what is the reason? Because they have allowed their faith to go. When faith went, the germs of Diabolos (inherent in all, more or less) speedily did their fatal work-ambition, covetousness, lust of power, pride of intellect, love of pleasure, envy, &c., killed.
Moral-Neglect not the appointed means for the sustenance of faith, viz., the sincere, reverential, daily reading of the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; Acts 20:32; Psa. 119:104).
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Sept 1902
...he is not the Jew who is the seed of Abraham in the sense of being heir of the promise, who is only a Jew by accident: to be the seed of Abraham, a man must be a Jew inwardly; he must be sealed in the forehead with the truth which is Deity's seal: in other words, addressing both natural Jews and natural Gentiles, Paul says:
"Ye are all sons of Deity in Christ Jesus through the faith;"
and here follows the reason:
"For as many as have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ." In whom "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
'...they are the sons of God by the faith, because as many of them as have been baptised (or immersed) into Christ, have put on Christ; and though before Jews and Gentiles, bond and free, male and female, yet now having been baptised into Christ, they are all one IN Christ Jesus;" and therefore "sons of God in him."
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
But this truth is misapplied if it is allowed to interfere with the social relations of the present mortal state. While we are all called to be co-workers unto the kingdom of God, yet in relation to each, and in our dealings with men in the flesh, our positions in life may be widely different.
Paul, for instance, acknowledges the relationship of master and servant among the saints. He does not direct a man when he receives the truth to cease being a master, neither is he who is called, being a servant, to cease his service on that account.
They who have believing masters are to count them worthy of more honour because they are brethren; and a brother who finds himself in the position of a master, has it enjoined upon him to give to his servants that which is just and equal, dealing considerate with them, always remembering that he himself has a master in heaven.
The Virtuous Woman
The Christadelphian, Apr 1872
The Sisters in the Kingdom of God
"To what office will the sisters be appointed in the kingdom of God?"-H. K. M.
Answer.-In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female.-(Gal. 3:28). When that position-(the position expressed in the words 'in Christ Jesus') is consummated, in
'the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body' (Rom. 8:23),
-the functions and relations of sex will have been abolished.
"In the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels of God."-(Luke 20:35).
Hence, the men and women of the present probation, who are accepted as the companions of the Lord in his glory, will stand on a common footing of acceptance, to be united in a common work, differing only in the amount and honour of the work allotted to each, all "vessels unto honour," but differing in the degree thereof according to the account rendered.
Every one will receive "according to their work." The sisters may have less natural capacity and opportunity than the brethren, but a faithful use thereof will ensure recognition and reward in the day of account. The rule of judgment is expressed by Paul thus.
"It is accepted according to what a man (or woman) hath, and not according to what he hath not."-(2 Cor. 8:12).
Will accepted brethren be made immortal? So will accepted sisters. Will accepted brethren reign with Christ? So will accepted sisters, and some sisters higher than some brothers; for some sisters are more faithful stewards of the "few things" of this present order than some brothers.
Let not wives and husbands begrudge the change that will come over their relations in the glorious day of their perfected calling. Present love will not be violated; this vile body will be changed, and present narrow loves will disappear like the fears of night before the sweetness of the morning.
Let them not think of it as a divorce. They will love each other no less; but they will take every one else into their love on a foundation that will have no earthly alloy. It will not be abolition, but change and extension.
It will be the compact of conjugal love, purified and broadened so as to include every member of the glorious family, on the basis of a nobler nature than it is permitted us now to possess.
And in that purified nature, faithful sisters will hold as honourable rank as those of the harder sex who may find themselves by their side in the kingdom of God.
The Christadelphian, May 1872