1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The condemnation in Rom. viii. 1 refers to literal death to which all men are hastening on account of sin. This condemnation is alluded to in other places in the epistle: "End of those things is death," "Wages of sin is death," "Fruit unto death," "Sin hath reigned unto death."
The condemnation is removed in the relative sense when the sinner's destiny is changed, which is at baptism, when his sins are forgiven and he becomes related in Christ to eternal life.
In the actual sense the condemnation is not removed till his mortality is vanquished by the transformation of his body. This Paul tells us in 1 Cor. xv. 54-56:
"Then shall be brought to pass the saying, death is swallowed up in victory. . . .
The sting of death is sin."
To keep these two senses (prospective and actual) in mind is very necessary, otherwise discrepancies are created. For example, a believer is said to possess eternal life (Jno. v. 24) whilst only a seeker of it (Rom. ii. 7); to be in the kingdom (Rev. i. 9), whilst only an heir of it (Jas. ii. 5).
He is similarly said to be "quickened," "saved," "redeemed," whilst actually his realisation of these blessings is future.-A. T. J.
The Christadelphian, Jan 1899
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
The law of sin and death is hereditary, and derived from the federal sinner of the race; but the law of the mind is an intellectual and moral acquisition. The law of sin pervades every particle of the flesh; but in the thinking flesh, it reigns especially in the propensities.
In the savage, it is the only law to which he is subject; so that with his flesh he serves only the law of sin and death. This is to him "the light within;" which is best illustrated by the darkness of Egypt, which might be felt. It was this internal light which illuminated
"the princes of the world, who crucified the Lord of glory."
It shined forth in the philosophy of Plato, and in the logic of Aristotle, who walked in it, while "dwelling in the land of the shadow of death" (Isaiah 9:2); and, it is "the light within" all babes who are born of blood, of the will of the flesh, and of man under the constitution of sin, in all countries of the world.
Elpis Israel 1.4.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
It is the grace of God then, -- the act of God -- that we see in the introduction of Christ upon the scene to open a way for mercy conformable with wisdom and justice. This required that he should appear in the nature of Abraham and David, which was sinful nature. How then, some say, was he, with sinful flesh, to be sinless?
God's relation to the matter is the answer.
God did it.
The weak flesh could not do it. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, that the glory might be to God.
....who can contemplate the superhuman personage exhibited in the Gospel narrative without seeing that the Father is manifest in him? When did ever man deport himself like this man? When spoke the most gifted of men like this?
Is he not manifestly revealed to be the moral and intellectual image of the invisible God?
THE BLOOD OF CHRIST - 'The Gracious Act of God'.
"The primitive sense of sin is 'the transgression of the law, and the derived sense, that of evil in the flesh. Transgression is to this evil as cause to an effect; which effect re-acts in the posterity of the original transgressors as a cause, which, uncontrolled by belief of the truth, evolves transgression in addition to those natural ills-disease, death, and corruption, which are inherent in flesh and blood. Because he transgressed the Eden law, Adam is said to have sinned. Evil was then evolved in his flesh as the punishment of sin; and because the evil was the punishment of the sin, it is also styled sin. 'Flesh and blood' is naturally and hereditarily full of this evil."
Clerical Theology Unscriptural, p 9.
It is a first principle of the truth that Jesus, at his first appearing among men, was of the identical flesh of all men-the flesh derived from the condemned transgressor in Eden. His mission required that it should be so, both that he should conquer sin morally by obedience (which he could not have done in "pure flesh," as Renunciationism teaches), and that he might nullify its hereditary condemnation by offering it up in sacrifice on Calvary as required.
Those who teach otherwise unwittingly make void the sacrifice of Christ. They intend to honour Christ perhaps: but it is only as Peter honoured him in saying, "Lord, this shall not be unto thee," which evoked the Lord's prompt rebuke: "Get thee behind me, Satan."
The Christadelphian, June 1894.
Sin, literally and primarily, is transgression of God's law. That is the root meaning, from which others flow. The term "sin" is scripturally extended by the process called "metonymy" (extending a name to include a related thing) to include the evil, corrupt, death-bringing principle in every cell and particle of human flesh - the diabolos - that causes all diseases and death and disharmony with God: and which normally (unless there is direct Divine interference, as in the unique case of Christ) will inevitably bring forth its fruits of actual transgression.
This evil principle in the flesh is both the result of sin, and the cause of sin, and therefore the Scriptures go to the root of the matter, and give the name "sin" to it (just as they call hate, "murder"; and lust, "adultery") - and they deal with all sin as an inseparable totality....To say it is "metonymy," doesn't change the fact that God (the Supreme and All-Wise Authority) gave the name "SIN" to the evil principle in all human flesh.
Purifying of The Heavenly - Metonymy
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The new form of God's wisdom in Christ is that "the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit" (Rom. 8: 4). The meaning of this is practical, and not mystical and ceremonial as some people make it. Paul interprets for us thus:"... Love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this (the ten commandments), Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13: 8-10).
The position of the matter is therefore perfectly clear. The law, so excellent in itself, would have given life, if men had been able to keep it, as Christ and Paul unitedly declare (Luke 10:25-28; Rom. 7:10), but because they were unable to keep it in the absolute perfection required, it condemned them, and stopped every boasting mouth, and made all the world guilty before God (Rom. 3: 19), establishing such a situation that if salvation was to come, it could only come by the kindness of God, in the particular form He might appoint, which indeed was the result aimed at, as Paul declares in Rom. 5:20-21.
The law was unable to confer life because men were unable through weakness to keep it; it became instead a cause of death (Rom. 7: 10; 8:3; Gal. 3: 21). Salvation, therefore, could not come by the works of the law, but had to come in another way, namely, by forgiveness through grace (or favour); but not unconditional forgiveness. Through Christ forgiveness was preached and offered: that is,
"By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13: 39).
Law of Moses Ch 3
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
The things of the flesh are almost the universal subject of solicitude and affection. The things of the Spirit are regarded with varying degrees of aversion. In every grade of society they are cast out.
The wealthy and refined rank them with the story of Aladdin's lamp. The educated and scientific compassionate them as the probable dreams of mankind's moral infancy. Theatre-goers and pleasure-hunters vote them unmitigated rubbish. The man of business says they are visionary, and out of his line.
...It is a situation calling for much circumspection. We are liable to be influenced against our own better judgement by the universal infatuation. The sheer weight of numbers is apt to incline the mental scale in the direction opposite of true enlightenment.
...Creatures of sense, as we are, however, the spectacle of universal life, as it now is, is liable, every now and then, to override the perceptions of wisdom, and make us doubt if the narrow way is the right way. We do wisely, therefore, to turn our eyes often to the historical picture symbolized by the bread and wine on the table.
Christ and his friends were a very small and despised company, even in the days of Jewish sacerdotal splendour, not to speak of Rome's imperial grandeur, and the world is not more divine now than it was then.
If we find ourselves with very few, and those the poor, the illiterate and the despised, let us remember that this was the situation of the friends of God ages before we were born.
...If we find our position in the present life a position of self-denial, endurance, monotony and want of entertainment, let us call to our recollection that even David, surrounded by royal splendours, declared that he dwelt in a dry and thirsty land, wherein there was no water, and moped like an owl in the desert for lack of the love of God among men.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
We see it in society around us. What is this carnal mind but the mind resulting from the operation of the brain flesh without enlightenment. We see this mind in every variety of development-mere natural mentality acting upon the objects of nature-upon what can be seen, felt, tasted, and physically enjoyed: mentality not open to the deep reason of things: insensible to God's existence: shut off from all knowledge of what God has already done in the management of the earthy, and from all faith of the glorious purpose He has revealed.
To a mind so moulded, the things of the Spirit are distasteful-worse, they are hateful, while the things of the flesh are congenial. The service of God is a hateful myth: the service of natural desire, a delightful reality. Christ's description of the case is as pithy as it is simple and true:
"They savour not the things that be of God but those that be of men."
Bro Roberts - O SEND THY LIGHT FORTH AND THY TRUTH
Paul makes it very clear in these words that there are two ways of living, two kinds of character and disposition - the natural and the spiritual; and further, that one leads to death and one to life.
One way takes no effort, no knowledge, no ability. It is just acting naturally, pleasing ourselves, doing what we want to do, following nature.
Because men's interests and capacities and backgrounds differ, the way of the flesh takes a wide range of courses, some, in fact, very good and commendable from a natural point of view. But all come under the general heading of the will of the flesh, and all end in eternal death at last.
The other way is to realize, from the Word of God, that the whole range of the way of the flesh, from worst to best, leads only to death, and to thankfully accept the life-giving way of the Spirit. This way involves setting the whole life to the task of learning and applying the instructions God has given, and constantly seeking His help in absorbing and fulfilling them-constantly examining ourselves: our hearts, our motives, our desires.
The greatest enemy to our salvation is taking it for granted, being satisfied with ourselves, seeing nothing wrong.
Baptism, and membership in a Christadelphian ecclesia, is no passport to final acceptance. They are just the barest beginning. We are warned that the way of life is narrow and hard and mortifying to the flesh, but that in the infinite mercy of God it is within the reach of all who give their whole lives and energies to obtaining it.
God does not mock men by requiring impossibilities, but - neither does He permit men to mock Him by presumption and complacency. He presents Himself as infinitely tender and eager to help where His help is sincerely and wholeheartedly sought, but a consuming fire against the doubleminded, the careless, the worldly and the insincere. He is a terrible, destroying God, and a wonderful, loving, compassionate God.
And He is no respecter of persons. The Christadelphian name will awaken no response and recognition with Him, if the Christadelphian character - the mind of Christ - spiritual-mindedness - is not present.
Bro Growcott - Mortify the deeds of the body.
Once upon a time we were all in the condition described by the phrase "after the flesh." We knew life and action in the light only of the thoughts and affections belonging to the unenlightened natural man. In those, the days of our flesh, the leading desire of the mind was to have pleasure.
Some of us sought it in one way, some in another; but all of us were alike in being governed by this craving for enjoyment, which is the universal characteristic of those who know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether they be intellectual or sensual, refined or brutal, educated or ignorant, rich or poor, old or young.
Being after the flesh, we "minded the things of the flesh." We had a controlling interest in and regard for the things that tend to the gratification of "the desires of the flesh."
These are legion, and in high esteem everywhere. They begin with the common wants of life, which, while legitimate enough in the subordinate place in which Christ placed them, are evil pursued as an end. We are deeply interested in making a living. Next, it was a supreme object to have a fine house, and to make opulent provision for our families. From that we went on to desire respectability, and the good opinion of the world.
After that we were interested in pleasure in all its endless ramifications, from hunting with aristocrats down to song-singing in the pot-house. Intermediately and more respectably, we were taken up perhaps with some hobby of science or art. But whatever form our taste or affection might take, it was comprisable in Paul's saying that we minded the things of the flesh. We were deeply interested in them; we spent much money on them, those of us who had it to spend. Our lives were moved and formed by them.
But a new chapter has been opened in our lives by our contact with the Spirit's work in the earth. We have been brought into that other state described in Paul's words,
"They that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit."
I will not stay to dwell on the mode of the operation by which this change has been effected, beyond remarking that you are all aware that the gospel is the power employed by God in the bringing of men to Himself. We have abandoned the idea that the change is due to any inspiration or metamorphosis of the sort understood and inculcated by the systems around us.
We have come to recognize that our faith comes from hearing the word spoken by the Spirit, through its appointed instrumentality in days gone by, and recorded in the Scriptures of truth for our learning and comfort.
Keep telling yourself that, over and over. It is vital! It is for your life.
To be fleshly-minded takes absolutely no effort, no study, no thought. It not only just comes naturally -- it comes powerfully, and almost irresistibly.
To be spiritually-minded is the very opposite. It DOES take great effort, and study, and thought. And even that's not enough. It takes constant prayer and constant Divine help. It will never come naturally just by being in the Truth, and "doing the Readings," and "attending the meetings."
Baptism of itself is a passport to nothing except a glorious opportunity to give ourselves joyfully to God, and be accepted by Him. To be spiritually-minded is a constant struggle, a constant self-examination and self-discipline, a constant refreshing and re-cleaning in the water of the Word and the blood of the Lamb. But it alone is "life and peace," intensity of Life Forevermore, and Perfect Peace now and forever, to the depth of the soul.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
The Spirit of Christ
Now Christ says we are to be kind to each other, and if we are not so, however much we may know the truth, we do not belong to him; the knowledge of the truth will then be to our condemnation.
...Now besides kindness, the spirit of Christ was a spirit of worship. He often retired to pray; and he told the woman of Samaria that the Father sought a certain class (in spirit and in truth) to worship Him. What is the worship of God, brethren and sisters? It is the deferential and reverential concentration of the mind upon Him, intelligently, consciously, lovingly, adoringly, trustingly, and prayerfully, with a deep sense of the things disclosed concerning Him and us in the truth.
...We require to abstract our minds from surroundings and fix them on the mighty Universal Presence in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways.
This mental attitude, whether in an individual or in an assembly, will produce indifference to immediate surroundings. It cannot co-exist with attention to these surroundings. If, therefore, in singing, you see some look about to see what neighbours are doing; or speak and whisper with his neighbours, or attending to any second matter whatever, you are yourself interfered with in the luxury of worship, and perceive evidence of a want of worship in the disturber. This is an evil.
The worship of God requires all our attention -- a complete fixing of our mind upon Him, knowing that His ear is open and that His eye is upon us.
Bro Roberts - Holiness
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
But, we are told that " mortal resurrection is not taught, directly nor indirectly, in the Scriptures." By "mortal resurrection," I suppose objectors mean, the coming forth of bodies from the dust of sheol, whose life is terminable. They deny that the bodies of the just
and unjust, in their coming forth, are alike. Perhaps they would admit that the unjust come forth mortal; but not the just. These, they affirm, are generated in the dust incorruptible and immortal; and come forth as perfect as they will ever be.
But in opposition to this notion, is the teaching of Paul...and in 1 Cor. vi. 14, " He will raise us up by His own power." This is affirmed of all saints of all generations. Did Paul mean the " mortal bodies " called saints, living at the time he penned these words ? If he did, were they ever quickened ? No ; instead of having life imparted to their mortal bodies, they lost even the life they had, in common with all flesh. And where are said mortal bodies now ?
Body is a congeries of organs in the image of Deity. Where are these bodies ? They are nowhere ! Only a little dust remains of them in sheol, and unorganized dust is not body.
What, then, is necessary that Paul's words may come to pass ? Manifestly, that the saints re-appear as mortal bodies ; so that when they have come forth corruptible and mortal, " THIS corruptible" may "put on incorruption, and THIS mortal" may "put on immortality," by the spirit or power of Deity, who quickens.
...But where is the " mortal flesh " of the saints of past generations, in which the resurrection-life of Jesus maybe manifested ? There is no flesh pertaining to them in existence. There is nothing of them remains, but their characters recorded in the divine register, and a little dust. Is it not evident, then, that " mortal flesh" must be created, and pre-resurrectional consciousness flashed upon it, that the saints of Rome and Corinth may experience the life
of Jesus in their mortal flesh ?
...The dust of sheol is not mortal, being devoid of any kind of life. The dust is incorruptible and would continue as it is, and as it has been for thousands of years, without change indefinitely.
It is not the incorruptible that is to be swallowed up of life, but the mortal. It is evident, then, that the thing which comes forth from the grave must be mortal flesh, or body ; and that it is this which is to be " clothed upon," or to " put on incorruptibility and life," in being quickened
after judgment. From these premisses, it may be seen whether " mortal resurrection is taught, directly or indirectly, in the Scriptures," or not.
I have shown that it is ; and furthermore affirm that it is in perfect harmony with all Paul's teaching as exhibited in all his writings that have come down to us.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Our standing before God depends upon whether we are led by the Spirit of God or the spirit of the world. A man led by the Spirit thinks and acts in harmony with the Spirit as our instructor in the word. He may not do this all at once, but if he progress in the Spirit's tuition, he will come to it, and find himself the subject of a process of transformation which ends in making "a new creature."
...this "mind of the Spirit" cannot be apprehended apart from a constant and diligent perusal of the word containing it.
... "Here a little, and there a little, line upon line, and precept upon precept,"
Bro Roberts - Walking worthily, Seasons 1: 39.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Days of refreshing
There is another pleasant side to "the sufferings of this present time"; they prepare a sweet future in a special sense. The joy of our deliverance will be in the ratio of our present sense of trouble.
...this breaking of bread brings home to us the fact that before his exaltation, he was truly our brother- born of our common nature, a partaker of all our afflictions, standing in our position, bearing our sins, tasting our death, made in all things like unto his brethren. There is comfort in the thought that he trod the same path we are now treading, coming through the same experience of weakness, trial, faith and hope.
There is force in the declaration that we have not an High Priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. There is strength for us in the fact that his sympathy is real and active; that though now exalted, he has not lost the memory of his woes, but remembers the time when he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Were he still a man, he might have forgotten this long ago. The human brain is so feebly retentive of impressions that restoration to health soon wipes out the recollection of pain. The spiritual nature differs from the natural in this. Being the Divine nature, its powers of recollection are like the source from which it springs - the Eternal Spirit, to whom nothing is ever forgotten. Here is, doubtless, one cause of the Deity's principle of prefacing eternal good with a period of trial and suffering.
A distinct memory of that evil will be an element in the everlasting joy that is promised. The keenest enjoyments are those that immediately succeed the greatest sufferings. Take for illustration (inelegant perhaps, but forcible) the common case of toothache. A person suddenly relieved from this experiences a degree of pleasure which the man who has no toothache does not feel, and which the sufferer himself will lose when the memory of his pain subsides.
So long as the memory of his pain continues, the sweetness of relief is keen to the taste. If the memory of pain could be perpetuated, the delightful sensation of relief would be continued also; but because the pain-memory fades, the pleasure of relief fades also. There can be little doubt that in the spirit-nature, the memory of the present evil will be perpetuated, and thus the joy of salvation be ever fresh and delightful. It is on this principle that Jesus can after so long a time be touched with the feeling of our infirmity.
Bro Roberts - Breaking of bread
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
"Adam's offence entailed upon us subjection to vanity, or to the ills that the flesh inherits in the present state which are terminated in death and corruption. . . . Infants die because they are born of mortal flesh, and not because they have committed sin, or are responsible for Adam's sin. If this were remitted in baptism, they ought not to die; for when God remits sin, He also remits the punishment or consequences it entails."
Clerical Theology Unscriptural, p. 10.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
We can take any country--any nation, any man to witness that man is subject to vanity everwhere--that the healthiest and wealthiest are no exception, though they have certain momentary mitigations. The fact of the matter is unquestionable. The history of the matter may be varied by different imaginations, but the truth of the matter is one.
Law of Moses Ch 22
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
If we merely have knowledge of Christ without obedience, we shall find when the time comes that the consolation of Christ does not belong to us. It is well, therefore, to try ourselves in the moments of our anticipations. It is well to ask ourselves the question, if we occupy the position entitling us to rejoice in hope of the coming glory.
The position is plain; it is not attractive to the flesh; it involves self-denial as to worldly ways and honours. There is, therefore, a temptation to avoid it, or modify it to an extent, interfering with our acceptance. The consolation of Christ is for those who accept the sufferings of Christ; and every man will have his part of this suffering, even in this free country, who courageously and openly acts the part of a true disciple in obeying the commandments and taking part in the affairs of Christ, as existing at the present time in his truth and his brethren.
The rewards of Christ are only for the faithful stewards; and faithful stewardship means the use of ourselves and our substance as the property of Christ and not as our own -- a policy of life which interferes with all the ordinary aims and pursuits of men, but which brings with it a great present advantage of peace and joy, secures an inheritance which the wealth of the world could not purchase, on which no rules of human valuation can put a price, and with which no human glory can compare.
Bro Roberts - Remembrance
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
From Adam, we have the law of sin in our members, and we are also all sinners ourselves:
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
It is God's law that (Heb. 9:22):
"Without the shedding of blood is no remission -- forgiveness -- of sin."
Why? Because sin is a destructive, infectious plague that cannot be ignored. It must be dealt with and eradicated. The sacrifice of Christ is God's way of dealing with this plague, and eventually removing it completely from the earth.
It is not a magic wand, or just a technical ritual. It is not just a form of words, or an arbitrary arrangement, or a rubber stamp. It is a practical method, an orderly procedure, a beautiful, effective contrivance of divine love and wisdom.
Christ -- that is, of course, God in Christ -- laid the essential foundation: something we ourselves could not do. He was specially provided and specially strengthened to do that work. We are required to build our own salvation on that foundation--
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12).
The promise of life is to "him that overcometh" (seven times in Revelation 2 and 3). Whatever that means, it clearly means that we must do something, we must accomplish a certain task, we must achieve a certain victory -- on Christ's foundation, and with God's help.
The eternal principles of holiness, righteousness, justice, and truth required a perfect sacrifice for sin, a perfect condemnation of sin and upholding of holiness, to lay a sound foundation for the extention of God's mercy to fallen mankind. God and His holy law of life had to be honoured and vindicated openly, publicly, eternally. This was done in the crucifixion of sin's flesh on the cross -- a voluntary cooperation and manifestation of joint love by God and Christ for mankind.
Christ's perfect life - long obedience and sacrificial death provided one real, sound, holy, perfect man out of the whole race of fallen mankind, in whom and upon whom God could build His divine family. Until Christ destroyed the devil in himself on the cross, he was not the completed, purified, victorious man that God required as the foundation of His plan--
"That through death he (Jesus) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14).
All his life he held the devil within himself completely powerless by the strength of his perfect love and perfect obedience. But that war had to be brought to a climax and settlement. Sin, the devil, had to be not only held off, held powerless, but utterly destroyed.
It must be a sacrificial death -- a voluntary, obedient submitting to a death that was otherwise escapable. If Christ had just lived a perfect life and then died a natural death, he would not have been voluntarily giving up his life, laying down his life, pouring out his blood, choosing in obedience to be a purifying sacrifice for mankind. Nor would it have clearly and dramatically and openly and publicly manifested God's holiness and the repudiation and condemnation of sin.
In Christ -- THE man, the perfect sacrifice, the complete example, the central reality of the whole divine purpose --the body of sin had to be put to death, really and truly and literally and actually, as it was typically and figuratively in the Mosaic shadows. It had to be lifted up before all the world in condemnation and repudiation.
The crucifixion of Christ is the most public event of all time. All mankind's history is dated from Christ -- forward and backward -- AD and BC. This present entire heathen, pagan world in international dealings dates every act according to his birth. Diverse as they are, it is their common point of reference. This is no coincidence, no mistake, no accident or oversight. It is a providential, condemning witness. From God's point of view, Christ's life and death form the pivot of all human history; all radiates from it, all revolves around it.
Sin, the Devil, the Diabolos -- in the Romans, in the Jews, in the world of mankind --openly rejected him, openly rejected the perfect Son of God who had never done anything but good, and put him to a cruel death, cut him off violently from the land of the living. The Seed of the Serpent and the Seed of the Woman -- the eternal enmity -- begun in Eden, brought to a climax at Calvary, finally resolved when the last enemy, death, is destroyed, and God is all in all.
Christ, in his death, did not appease or satisfy or put away God's anger. Rather he manifested God's love and holiness and goodness. God's anger against sin is never appeased. He will be angry with sin till sin is eliminated from the earth. But anger is more properly applied to responsible living creatures, not inanimate principles. God's anger at sinners is appeased when they repent and change and put away and repudiate their sins, and wholeheartedly serve Him.
Christ's sacrifice was not to appease God's anger. The whole conception was all of God's Own love and wisdom and initiative, for man's reconciliation--
"God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not imputing their trespasses unto them... We beseech you, be reconciled to God ... He (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor. 5:19-21).
There is nothing here about anger being appeased, but rather God and Christ working together in love to manifest Truth, and to open a way of holiness for man to escape death and achieve the divine nature. THEN, with the flesh of sin condemned, and holiness upheld and vindicated, mercy could be soundly extended without violating righteousness -- as long as the perfect Christ-foundation is always kept prominently in view and recognition as the only doorway to life. Therefore, we always pray, always approach God, always seek His attention and help and communion "in Jesus' Name."
Bro Growcott - Living Sacrifice
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
There is no error or caprice with Him; for He is long-suffering, patient and benevolent to a degree beyond our knowledge; that kindness is the first quality of His being - that God is love.
When we feel all that, we are solaced in the midst of life's uncertain experiences. We come to realise by the meditation that comes with the daily reading of the Word - that things will go right; that however wrong they appear to be, they will go right in the end, if we do those things that are well-pleasing in His sight.
"All things work together for good to those who are the called according to the purpose of God."
Though things may seem to shape adversely, Eternal Goodness guides the current to a beneficent end, even when the beneficence is not realised in the present state.
Bro Roberts exhortation - 'Without faith it is impossible to please God'.
29 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.
...there is nothing like the actual performance of well-doing for quickening of the heart towards God, and keeping us in a right frame and attitude.
Let a man accustom himself to doing good -l et him ponder his daily surroundings in the light of the commandments of Christ, and aim to adapt himself to those surroundings in accordance with those commandments, and he will be wonderfully helped. The combined result of this mode of life will be realised in a state of continual mental sympathy for divine ideas and things, otherwise expressed in apostolic phrase as being
"conformed to the image of the Son of God."
It is, in fact, the growth of the new man, after the image of Him who has begotten him by the word. The outward man may perish from many causes, but by such a course, this inward man will be renewed from day to day, and manifest his increasing vigour by the increasing burden we shall feel with the present sinful state of things, and increasing desire for the change that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
It is one purpose, one work, one hope from the beginning. Our wisdom is to hold close and fast to it, giving ourselves daily to the reading of the word and to prayer, and addicting ourselves to those varied services which, though bootless in the eyes of men, the Scriptures assure us are precious in the eyes of God, and will at last be acknowledged and rewarded by Him in circumstances of great honour and joy everlasting.
Bro Roberts - APPLYING OUR HEARTS UNTO WISDOM
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
We can afford to give. We have the limitless resources of the universe behind us. We have no need to worry about the consequences. We cannot lose. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him, also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). "Take no thought-freely have ye received: freely give" (Matt. 10:8). If only we can summon the courage and the vision to throw ourselves upon this promise-if only we can rise to the free and unrestricted heights to which we are invited-far above the petty, grovelling levels of anxious earthly care. Cannot we see here another major aspect of John's assurance, "Perfect love casteth out fear?" (1 Jn. 4:18). How perfect is our love and faith in this respect?
"If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31). Our only concern is to make sure that God is for us. Everything else will take care of itself.
Bro Growcott - Self examination.
THE NATURE OF MAN AND THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
1. -That death entered the World of mankind by Adam's disobedience.
"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin" (Rom. v. 12). "In (by or through) Adam all die" (1 Cor. xv. 22). "Through the offence of one many are dead" (Rom. v. 15).
2. -That death came by decree extraneously to the nature bestowed upon Adam in Eden, and was not inherent in him before sentence.
"God made man in his own image . . a living soul (a body of life) . . very good" (Gen. i. 27; ii. 7; i. 31). "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife . . . unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. iii. 17, 19).
3. -Since that time, death has been a bodily law.
-"The body is dead because of sin" (Rom. viii. 10). "The law of sin in my members . . . the body of this death" (Rom. vii. 23, 24). "This mortal . . . we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened" (1 Cor. xv. 53; 2 Cor. v. 4). "Having the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead" (2 Cor. i. 9).
4. -The human body is therefore a body of death requiring redemption.
-"Waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our body" (Rom. viii. 23). "He shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His own glorious body"-(Phil. iii. 21). "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. vii. 24). "This mortal (body) must put on immortality" (1 Cor. xv. 53).
5. -That the flesh resulting from the condemnation of human nature of death because of sin, has no good in itself, but requires to be illuminated from the outside.
-"In me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. vii. 18). "Sin dwelleth in me" (Ib. vii. 20). "The law of sin which is in my members" (Ib. 23). "Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights" (James i. 17). "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts" (Matt. xv. 19). "He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal. vi. 8). "Put off the old man which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts" (Eph. iv. 22).
6. -That God's method for the return of sinful man to favour required and appointed the putting to death of man's condemned and evil nature in a representative man of spotless character, whom he should provide, to declare and uphold the righteousness of God, as the first condition of restoration, that he might be just while justifying the unjust, who should believingly approach through him in humility, confession, and reformation.
-"God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. viii. 3). "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same, that through death he might destroy that having the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. ii. 14), "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body to the tree" (1 Pet. ii. 24). "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed" (Rom. vi. 6). "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. iv. 15). "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the World" (Jno. xvi. 33). "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus" (Rom. iii. 26).
7. -That the death of Christ was by God's own appointment, and not by human accident, though brought about by human instrumentality.
"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all" (Rom. viii. 32). "Him being delivered by the determinate council and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts ii. 23). "Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done" (Acts iv. 27). "No man taketh it-my life-from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father" (Jno. x.18).
8. -That the death of Christ was not a mere martyrdom, but an element in the process of reconciliation.
-'You that sometimes were alienated in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death"-(Col. i. 21). "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (Rom. v. 10). "He was wounded for our transgressions: He was bruised for our iniquity: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah liii. 5). "I lay down my life for my sheep" (Jno. x. 15). "Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say his flesh, let us draw near" (Heb. x. 20).
9. -That the shedding of his blood was essential for our salvation. "Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Rom. 5:9). "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even for the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:14). "Without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). "This is the new covenant in my blood, shed for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28). "The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" (Jno. 1:29). "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Rev. 1:5). "Have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lanb" (Rev. 7:14).
10. -That Christ was himself saved in the Redemption he wrought out for us. "In the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared. Though he were a son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became that author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:7-9). "Joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17). "By his own blood he entered once unto the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb. 9:12). "Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect, &c." (Heb. 13:20).
11. -That as the anti-typical High Priest, it was necessary that he should offer for himself as well as for those whom he represented-"And by reason hereof, he ought as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest, but he that said unto him, &c." (Heb. 5:3). "Wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer." (Heb. 8:3). "Through the Eternal Spirit, he offered himself without spot unto God" (Heb. 9:14). "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people's: for this he did once when he offered up himself" (Heb. 7:27). "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens (that is, the symbols employed under the law), should be purified with these (Mosaic sacrifices), but the heavenly things themselves (that is, Christ who is the substance prefigured in the law), with better sacrifices than these" (that is, the sacrifice of Christ-Heb. 9:23).
The Christadelphian, Sept 1896. p339-341.
I have seen the 102-page pamphlet put out by Mr. Cornish in connection with this subject, entitled, "The Editor of the Christadelphian Unmasked." I know not how to characterise it as it ought. It is not for me to judge or condemn, but rather to have in view the precept which enjoins us to "Pray for" those who despitefully use and afflict us. At the same time, the necessity for a correct understanding sometimes calls for rejoinder where silence would seem preferable. My rejoinder shall be very brief.
The venom of Mr. Cornish's production is self-manifest. Its venom is only equalled by its untruthfulness. That Mr. Cornish is a conscious liar, I cannot tell. I rather think a good deal must be put down to his infirmity of hearing, which prevents correct impressions; and (if reports are correct) to another infirmity which would go far to account for a virulence approaching insanity.
However this may be, I repudiate his report of the meeting between us as a tissue of misrepresentation and mendacity. Of course, there is a framework of fact in his account, as there is in all false versions, but as regards those details on which the character of an action or a speech depends, two-thirds of them are distortions, and some of them inventions. I disown questions put into my mouth. I disown answers I am represented as giving. I deny the calumnious version of my connection with the proposed refinement of sugar by electricity which Mr. Cornish has raked up from the extinct embers of past animosities. I do not admit that livelihood by pure literature is a just cause of reproach.
God has raised up this Shimei to curse me, and I must bear it. It comes at a time when I have many other sorrows. There is a Divine meaning to it all, without doubt, which will be manifest in due time. It may be said, if Shimei cursed, David sinned. Be it so: "What man is he that sinneth not?" But Shimei's cursing was short-lived, and David forgiven was re-instated. We live in a time of trouble. We live in the developing crisis of the time of the end. Evil goes forth from nation to nation, and from so-called brother to brother. In such a time, the answer of a good conscience inspires resolute endurance. God guides the whirlwind, and will at last save His own out of all affliction. Wherein this man may mean well in his personal antagonisms to me, I pray God to forgive him. Wherein he fights against God, in adding to the afflictions of the Gospel, at a time when it fights an almost single-handed battle against the hosts of darkness, he is in God's hands and may have to answer for it.