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22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
It is not possible for man to sit in judgment on the divine character, or to say what God ought to do or not-to require or not require. It is for man simply to receive the testimony that God has given of Himself and His Ways. And we must receive the whole testimony, and not only those parts that may be agreeable to our natural characteristics.
God has declared Himself kind and loving and gracious, but He has also declared Himself jealous and holy and intolerant of any infringement of His supremacy (Ezk. 20:5; Lev. 11; 10:3; Psa. 46:10). He has practically exhibited what we might call this stern side of His character in such incidents as the striking dead of two priests who dared to deviate from His directions (Lev. 10:2) and of Uzzah, who profanely touched the ark, even with an apparently good intention (1 Chron. 13:10).
The expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden and the requirement of sacrifice is of the same character, and also the drowning of the whole world, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the burning of Jerusalem and the Temple. We have nothing to do but what Paul says-
"Behold therefore the goodness and the severity of God" (Rom. 11:22).
If we are tempted to think the death of Christ inconsistent with His love, we must look all round it, and consider what it was intended to secure-the reconciliation of men on the basis of justice and declared righteousness. Do read and ponder Romans 3:21-26.
Consider what comes out of this at last - the removal of death and all evil from the earth and the populating of the planet with a race of joyous immortal intelligences who will ascribe to God the glory of their redemption through Christ.
WE MUST ACCEPT THE PLAIN TESTIMONY
Surely there is no difficulty in understanding that love has sometimes to employ painful expedients to reach its aims. Difficulty or no difficulty, the testimony is explicit, and we are bound to receive it on pain of God's displeasure-that the shedding of the blood of Christ was essential to the forgiveness of our sins unto life eternal (Matt. 26:28), that faith in the power of his blood in this respect is necessary to our justification (Rom. 3:25; 5:1-9); that his death was necessary to the putting away of sin (Heb. 9:26); that we are redeemed through his blood (Col. 1:14), washed by his blood (Rev. 1:5; 7:14)-that is spiritually made white therein.
Though there was no talismanic power in his blood, as a physical agent, yet the shedding of it in the special connection in which God required it, was a part of the righteousness of God which a man denies at his peril. It was a literal act in its occurrence-
"He poured out his soul (life-which is in the blood-Lev.
17:11) unto death."
He thus "made his soul an offering for sin" (Isa. 53:10-12).
"By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb. 9:12).
Therefore, "If the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of the heifer, sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh (under the Mosaic law) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God.
For this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:13-15).
The Lord himself was brought again from the dead through this blood of the everlasting covenant (Heb. 13:20). He himself, "as the seed of David according to the flesh," was a sufferer from the evils that came from the entrance of sin into the world. From these he was the first to be redeemed by his own obedience. It was part of his obedience to submit to death (Phil. 2:8). This commandment he received from the Father (John 10:18). The reason was that sin might be condemned in the flesh and the righteousness of God declared (Rom. 8:3; 3:25-26). He is the firstfruits of the work thus accomplished and the first begotten of the dead (1 Cor. 15:23).
DENIERS OF THESE TRUTHS BELONG OUTSIDE THE BODY
These things are testified and they are presented to us for faith. There can therefore be no agreement with those who, from whatever cause, nullify them by maintaining that the death of Christ was a mere tragedy in which the malice of men triumphed over a righteous man; that it was no necessity in the Father's plan for our redemption: that it was a mere example of obedience, and a reformatory moral influence by the power of sympathy; that the shedding of his blood was not necessary; that "Christ died because he was killed;" and that he might as well have died in his bed!
Such doctrines destroy the Truth as foreshadowed in all the sacrifices of the Law, and testified in the Prophets. It is not possible for men faithful to divine obligation to give any quarter to them. Such doctrines belong to the outer darkness and not to the fellowship of the Gospel. The men who hold them are not in their place at the table of the Lord. They are men to be antagonized without reservation; and fighting belongs not to the house of God, except in a united and earnest contention for the Faith delivered to the saints. When men have to be fought on the first principles of the Truth, their place is outside-not inside. There must be the one Faith, before there can be the one Body.
Second Voyage to Australia June 18, 1898
Reprinted in the Berean Christadelphian, May 2018.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
The destruction of Jerusalem was the breaking off, not of Israel, but of "some of the branches" of "the Good" Israelitish "Olive Tree," whose stock is rooted in Abraham "the
friend of God;" and these branches, which lie withered on the ground, will, like Aaron's Rod,
become full of sap and bear much fruit, by being again ingrafted on the parent tree;" for God
is able to graft them in again"-Rom, xi.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, 1860 - The Olivet Prophecy.
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Tim 6:16).
For in him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28)
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (Psa 139:6)
All things must be embraced in the power from which they have sprung, and which sustains them in being. We must be in the presence of God. ...
...Well, then, if that is beyond us, how inscrutable is the other point presented to our faith, though its truth is evident as a matter of reason, viz., that there is, in relation to that universal element of power or existence, a personal controlling centre, from which it is but an eternal emanation, and with which it is ONE indissoluble-the First Cause-the Eternal Antecedent of all things-the seat of Ineffable Wisdom and power-the Father, who is above all and through all by his diffusive spirit, and yet personally resident at a point
of the universe, variously described in the Scriptures as "light unapproachable," "heaven of
heavens," "heaven thy dwelling place." ....
For instance, Jesus says "Our Father, who art in heaven."-(Matt. 6.) David says, "Unto thee I lift mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens."-
(Psalm 123:1.) Solomon, at the dedication of the temple, makes frequent use of the phrase "Hear Thou in heaven, Thy dwelling-place, and when Thou hearest,forgive."
These are illustrations of the statements that teach the localization of the Father in central light-the sustaining principle of creation, in, as it were, what you may style focus, or intensity of development. They teach that though that principle is universal, the Personal Intelligence from whom it emanates, dwells in local habitation; yet that He has conscious relation to infinitude, He fills all because He is The Spirit and you cannot divide spirit from spirit. You cannot divide any one part of God from Himself.
The Christadelphian, May 1870 - The Operations of the Deity