Monday, December 11, 2017

1 Corinthians 3:10,11 – The Right Foundation of Faith

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.” — 1 Corinthians 3:10,11.

(1) The individual faith of each disciple of Jesus is a building, and as such must have both foundation and superstructure. Every principle of truth or error adopted becomes a part of our faith-building. A building made of wood, and thatched with straw, may look well and for a time protect, but it will not endure like a better and more costly structure. So a faith building constructed with man’s traditions, may for a time look passably well, be less costly and more quickly finished than one built from the precious truths patiently excavated from God’s Word. The former is easily swept away with the storm of infidelity which does not even shake the latter. The one will stand the test of fire and protect its owner, the other will but feed the flame and endanger the owner.

(2) God leaves the building of our faith largely with us. He furnishes us the mine of truth. (John 8:31,32) He places tools within our reach. (2 Peter 1:3) He even urges us to build well with enduring materials, adding virtue to faith, knowledge to virtue, self-control to knowledge, patience to knowledge, etc. Thus he would have us grow in his favor and knowledge and love, following examples of building which he has furnished. — 2 Peter 1:5-7; 3:18

(3) “For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) This statement of the importance of Jesus as the foundation of all faith toward God, is in full accord with the statement that “There is salvation in none other, for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, in which we must be saved!” (Acts 4:12) No other basis of faith will do. Yet some are led astray by laying a basis for faith on another foundation, even another Jesus. (2 Corinthians 11:4) Contrary to what many may propose, this faith is not about joining this or that organization, or of placing faith in this or that leader. Some are quickly influenced by works of an organization or a man, and thus may be led to believe that this or that man, or that the leaders of this or that organization, are God’s specially appointed channel for our time, and thereby build their foundation of faith on submission to such men who may claim to have authority to rule over their fellow believers. Some have been led into Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other groups who have presented certain “evidences” that their group is the one true religion. The “evidences”, usually consist of some “works” they are doing, or of works performed by such a favored leader or leaders; the manner in which these “evidences” are presented may appear to have scriptural support, and thus can be very deceptive, for such often appeals to the carnal mind. (1 Corinthians 3:1-4) Beware of these tactics! — Matthew 7:21-23.

(4) Nevertheless, those who build on the rock foundation of Jesus are his disciples no matter how poor their faith may be when they begin to build. Such may be found amongst all the denominations that profess to be Christian. Such may be carried away with many of the traditions of men. Even though they build entirely with the wood, hay, and stubble of men’s traditions, yet, we believe, that many of these are indeed builders upon the Rock, and, as such, they are disciples of Jesus, although they are found to be foolish. Though in the DAY OF JEHOVAH their works will suffer loss, yet such themselves who are true disciples of Jesus will be saved — delivered — so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:14,15) These may suffer loss, but will do so only for disciplining purposes that “the spirit [disposition] may be saved [delivered] in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5) Thus God has arranged for a fierce trial of faith to come upon all who profess to be on the Rock, Christ Jesus. (1 Peter 1:6,7) Everything which is of man and not from God’s Word will be burned up, whether in this age or in the age to come. — Hebrews 12:26-29.

(5) Many Christians have not carried out their dedication to give up worship according to the flesh. (Colossians 3:5-10) Some remain as babes in Christ all their lives, and cannot seem to get beyond thinking in carnal terms. (1 Corinthians 3:1) Whether through ignorance, or having knowledge, many of the Lord’s servants desire to continue in the worship of the traditions of men, the idols of flesh, and thus have their worship adulterated before God. (Luke 12:47,48; 1 Corinthians 10:14; Ezekiel 23:37) Many may base their faith in something created rather than their Creator, as may be evidenced in worship according to the flesh, such as idolizing and attributing power to things made by the hands of man, unauthorized by scripture. (Galatians 5:19-23; 2 Corinthians 6:16,17) Others hold onto certain doctrines which lead them away from preaching the kingdom and its hope for all mankind. (Ephesians 4:14,15) They spend hours and hours (that could have been used in preaching the Good News) trying to prove certain pronunciation of words or names, trying to prove genealogies, chronology, etc., and often demand in some way that others have to accept their conclusions to be saved, to receive the highest reward, etc. — 1 Timothy 1:3,4; 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:14.

ON WHAT ARE YOU BUILDING?

(6) What we have just seen regarding faith structures is important, but our present question is yet more so, because if we are not building on the rock foundation, Jesus Christ, our faith is in vain and our hopes are delusive. — Ephesians 5:5-7; Luke 6:49.

(7) For example, to believe that Mohammed once lived and died on earth does not constitute us Mohammedans, nor give us a basis for faith and hope for a future life. Neither does the simple belief that Jesus once lived and died on earth constitute us his disciples, nor give us a basis for future life. What is needed as a foundation is the belief that Jesus died as our Redeemer. He “died for our sins according to the Scriptures,” “gave himself a ransom for all”; Jehovah “has laid on him the iniquity of us all”, and that “with his stripes we are healed.” Only this conviction will constitute us his disciples and give a firm foundation for faith that our sins are canceled, and that in his due time all may be released from sin’s penalty death. (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Timothy 2:6; Isaiah 53:5,6; 1 Peter 2:24) Upon the foundation, then, we build our works in accordance with obedience to Jesus, even if such obedience, as found in the Bible, should lead us to appear to be disobedient to the religious efforts of man. — John 14:15, 1 John 2:3-5.

(8) In examining how many build on various foundations other than Christ, we find that some build on “right doing” as a basis of hope that God will grant justify them so that they may live forever. These are not building on the Rock, Jesus. Instead they are building upon their own works. Of this class were the Jews, who sought to justify themselves. (Luke 16:15) While faith without works is dead, the works themselves should not be the basis for our faith. (James 2:20) Paul assures us that such are not building on a good foundation, for “by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight.” — Romans 3:20.

(9) Others build their hope of salvation on the love of God. They feel sure that because God has great pity and with tender mercy, therefore he will ultimately, eternally save every one from death. Such seem to forget that God had the same love for mankind for the past six thousand years, yet he has permitted mankind to go down lower and lower into misery and death. We suggest to these that if God has so long kept love subservient to justice, and never overruled his original sentence of death, their hope rests on a sandy foundation. God’s Word declares concerning him: “with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.” (James 1:17; Exodus 34:7) Such are not true Disciples of Jesus because they are building a hope and faith on the love of God and not on the only foundation, Jesus Christ, and his sacrificial death for our sins. The love of God provided the foundation, but the love of God is not the foundation needed to build true faith.

(10) Others build their faith on the justice of God as a foundation, and boldly declare that God is bound by principles of justice to save all men out of Adamic death. Their argument is that God placed man in his present condition of sin, misery and death, and that in justice to his creatures he must restore them. To those who reason in this manner and build their hopes of future life on God’s justice, we would suggest that if this reasoning is correct, then many scriptures which tell us that by grace (unearned favor) we are saved, are all untrue, because if Jehovah is obligated to save men on such alleged principles of justice, then salvation is not of grace (unearned favor), but of justice. We suggest, further, that if God is bound in justice to save all men out of death, it is proper to infer that God has been unjust toward man for six thousand years. The inference, then, would be that God will sooner or later be obligated to change his methods and to do right — to turn from doing injustice to his creatures to doing justly to his creatures. Of course, those who believe the last-mentioned teaching would not state matters as we have presented them. Most have never thought that such theories, when reasoned out, leads to dishonor of the name of God. If they had, doubtless they would not be building their hopes on God’s justice — outside of his plan to redeem through Christ Jesus — for if he has been unjust for six thousand years, he might continue to be unjust indefinitely. Thus faith is left on an untrustworthy foundation.

(11) None of these theories are scriptural, hence none of them are proper foundations for faith. Any building fostered thereon is doomed to destruction. We ask the question: “Can those who build on these sandy foundations be properly termed disciples of Jesus?” It is not for us to determine, individually, if they are actually disciples of Jesus or not; one may be a disciple of Jesus who has agreed, and who has been accepted to reach the goal of discipleship, but who may be, for a time, led astray but many and varied doctrines and practices (Ephesians 4:14); in the end, however, only those who eventually prove that their hope and faith is built solely and only on the rock foundation which God has laid — Jesus Christ — will be shown to be true disciples of Jesus. Thus, Jesus speaks of the time when many of his disciples, having been led astray, are disciplined. (Luke 12:47,48) And Paul speaks of a time when they are tried as by fire, so that the spirit may be delivered in the light of the coming day. (1 Corinthians 3:14,15; 1 Corinthians 5:5) And yet, Jesus also speaks of many who will in that day claim that they did many works in the name of Jesus, but Jesus will then tell them that he never knew them (as his disciples). (Luke 7:22,23) Those of this latter class will be shown to never have been true disciples of Christ.

(12) Paul also declares the foundation of all true faith, saying: “I delivered to you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3) In the two preceding verses Paul tells us that this was the Good News which he preached, which they had received, and by which they might reckon themselves saved. This is not all of the Good News — no, there is much more, but it all comes as a consequence of this fundamental or foundation truth. Without this faith in Jesus as our Redeemer, who died and gave his life a ransom for our lives which were condemned through Adam’s sin, we must see that we are still guilty and condemned before God’s law and could have no scriptural grounds for expecting future life. – Romans 5:18.

(13) It is in vain that any tell us that they are building on Christ because they acknowledge him as a leader and noble pattern. All men — yes, and demons also must acknowledge the grandeur and perfectness of Jesus’ life. All must admit that he is a noble example, but to acknowledge Jesus as the foundation of faith in a future life, is to recognize the fact that all men are sinners, and as such JUSTLY condemned to death, and that Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. (John 1:29) Thus, by paying the wages of man’s sin – death – he procured for all a release from death, a right to life. He justifies them, or makes them righteous, having a right to life, which in his due time he will give them. – Romans 5:18, 8:24; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

(14) Jehovah’s plan, looked at from the standpoint of his inspired word, recognizes the impartially and justness of the trial of Adam, Adam’s deliberate violation of God’s just and easy requirement, and the justice of enforcing the penalty which God threatened, that is, DEATH. “In the day of thine eating of it — dying thou dost die.” (Genesis 2:17, Young’s Literal Translation) God’s foreknowledge of the consequences of Adam’s sin cannot be urged against the justice of his trial, as the trial was the same and had the same results, as though God had not foreknown its result.

(15) God is not responsible for all the mental and physical imperfections of our race. These are traceable as results of sin to Adam our first parent. Here is a thought not generally recognized, that God creates only sinless intellectual beings such as Adam was before he sinned. He who is born of God is without sin. All of the fallen, mentally and physically imperfect men and women, are not God’s creation, but the offspring of disobedience, and are thus sons of disobedience, children of wrath. (Ephesians 2:2,3) These imperfections, therefore, are not chargeable to God, but to Adam’s sin. All die, therefore, as a result of Adam’s unrighteousness and not of God’s injustice. If, then, God was just in condemning Adam, and was in no way responsible to Adam’s offspring, it must have been as the Bible says: “By grace [unmerited or undeserved favor] have you been saved.” (Ephesians 2:5,8) Yes, while we were in just condemnation as enemies and sinners, God so loved and pitied us that he gave his son, that he “by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9) To this agree the words of other scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12,17,19 and 11:32,33. If, then, the Scriptures are true, the theory that Jehovah has dealt unjustly toward the race in condemning all to death, and the argument that he is bound in justice to restore them to life, falls.

(16) Let us look at matters from the standpoint of the divine revelation instead of purely human reasoning. Love is a prominent factor in all of God’s plans and an element of the divine nature. Yet his foreknowledge and omnipotence make it unnecessary for his love to come into conflict with his justice. God had justly condemned man as unworthy of life. God could not do otherwise without denying himself, who he is, for his very character forbids him to allow anything that does not reflect Himself to be considered fit for life. His very nature would demand that the wages of sin would be death. (Romans 5:23) Nor could his Love step in and reverse the decision and set the prisoner free without first satisfying the claims of justice. Should God do so we would properly consider him changeable, and his word untrustworthy. (Malachi 3:6; Isaiah 55:11) Not only so, but, in considering the idea that God’s justness must save everyone, if so, we should realize that either the first or the last decision would be unjust. If the first decision was just, then the reversing of it was unjust. Likewise, if the last decision was just, then the first must have been unjust. God is just and true. In him is no variableness. (James 1:17) He does not simply clear the guilty without exacting satisfaction of their guilt. (Exodus 34:7) The real method God used was to place the guilt of the whole race in one man, so that guilt could be removed by its being placed upon one man. (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:fc21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) The claims of justice were satisfied in the sacrifice of the one man, Jesus. If we say we have no sin [and hence no need of a savior to deliver us from the consequence of it: death], “we make [God] a liar,” for he declares regarding all offspring of Adam condemned in Adam's sin, “There is no one righteous. No, not one.” – 1 John 1:8,10; Romans 3:10; 5:12-19.

(17) All of us who are the offspring of Adam enter life in this condition of sin and condemnation. (Romans 5:12,18) We can neither help ourselves nor each other, because all of us are descendants of Adam. (Psalm 49:7) All of us have received the same condemnation from Adam. But God’s love has provided a means by which he could clear the guilty race and restore them to life and at the same time do it justly. (Romans 3:26) He so loved the sinner, whom he had justly condemned, that he gave his Son that he should taste death (our penalty) for every man. (Romans 5:8; Hebrews 2:9) He was a propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins (the believers’ sins), and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 12:47,48; 1 John 2:2) Thus God’s love and wisdom, operating in harmony with his justice, have succeeded in clearing the guilty without any injustice. Only by means of the sacrifice of Jesus could God be just and yet the justifier of sinners. (Romans 3:26; 1 Timothy 2:4-6) An earthly judge could not justly set a convicted and sentenced prisoner free. He could not declare the guilty one guiltless in the eyes of the law. But suppose someone came forward and paid the imposed penalty for the prisoner. The Judge would be just in justifying, or declaring right in the eyes of the law, the one whom he had formerly been just in condemning.

(18) Very few have actually seen into the “depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God.” (Romans 11:33; 1 Corinthians 2:10) Everyone of us have been condemned in Adam. (Roman 5:15-18) If we had been judged individually, more than likely we would have failed even as Adam did. Then each one of us would have needed an individual salvation. In other words, if 50 billion people had been tried individually, and 50 billion people had failed and were thus condemned, then 50 billion more totally obedient and sinless individuals would have been needed to offer up their lives as sacrifices for the 50 billion who had sinned.

(19) How much more economical is God’s wisdom. All of us were condemned in one man’s disobedience. (Romans 5:19) God concluded all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all. (Romans 11:32) By allowing all to be condemned in one, only one perfect human life would be needed as a sacrifice to buy back all the condemned. How grand, how marvelous is God’s wisdom! “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22, New American Standard Bible translation) “As through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. . . . . but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:17-21, New American Standard Version translation) “For what the law couldn’t 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.” (Romans 8:3) “God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all.” (Romans 11:32) “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! . . . For who has known the mind of [Jehovah]? Or who has been his counselor?” “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.” – Romans 11:33-36.

(20) In conclusion: On what are you building your faith? Is it on the sands of men’s opinions and theories beyond what is actually written in the Bible? (1 Corinthians 4:6) Or is it on the one rock foundation which Jehovah himself has laid — Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” — the one “who died for our sins”? — John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 15:3.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

John 1:29 – The Lamb of God

John 1:29 – The Lamb of God

Filed under: Jesus' Sacrifice For Sin, Justification, Seed of Abraham, Spiritual


John 1:29
On the next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" — World English.
John 1:36
and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” — World English.

(This study is not yet completed and many edits still need to be done)

The words of John the Baptizer as recorded in John 1:29 do not refer to the sins of the world in the plural, but to the sin of the world in the singular. “Sin” nevertheless, in the singular, refers to the sin that is in the world which, from the Divine standpoint, that sin had its beginning in one act of disobedience on the part of Adam, resulting in the wages of sin being exacted upon the whole world of mankind. (Romans 5:12-19; 6:23) “Sin” has gradually affected and undermined mankind’s powers, mental, moral and physical, until -- as a result -- imperfection, weakness, depravity, sin, is somehow associated with almost every word and deed of the children of men. For instance, one cannot watch most TV shows without some form of depravity, whether in words, such as cursing, swearing, lying, gossiping, or in other deeds, will presented by the actors. Indeed, for most people, they have become so accustomed to hearing and seeing such conduct, that they may not actually realize that any “sin” is involved. Since most people tend to imitate that which they see and hear, they may find themselves performing the same sins to which their minds have been accustomed to hearing and seeing in TV programs, music, literature, etc. In some measure the world is responsible for this general depravity but in the general sense it is not responsible, because these tendencies toward sin were inherited.
Nevertheless, the first man Adam did not have any inherent tendency to sin, and yet God gave him the freedom to exercise his will to either obey or disobey; God told him what the wages of disobedience would be, that is, death. (Genesis 2:16,17) The command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad shows that Adam had a choice; he was not born so that he HAD to sin, as some have claimed.

We should note that in the original creation of man, the first man was not a living soul until after God formed his body from the dust of the ground, and then blew into that body the spirit, the breath, of life, and then Adam became a living soul (Genesis 2:7); before Adam became a living soul, he had no consciousness. Adam, thus, knew what death would mean: the absence of life; he knew that -- if he disobeyed, he would become a “dead soul” (Hebrew, transliterated, “meth nephesh” – Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6; 9:10; 19:11,16; 2 Chronicles 20:24; Psalm 79:2; 110:6; Haggai 2:11), a soul that no longer has sentiency. We should note also that God did not say that Adam would be dead for a few days, or for a few years, or even for many thousands of years, and that then he would be brought back to life. Nor did God say to Adam that the wages of sin would be to spend an eternity in conscious torture. The death sentence would bring Adam back to the very condition that he had been in before Adam was created, a condition of oblivion. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10; 12:7) The sentence was, transliterated from the Hebrew, “muth temuth” – to die, you will die.
See the study:
Was Adam Sentenced to Spiritual Death?
The Wages of Sin -- Spiritual Death?

We know from the Biblical record that Adam and Eve did disobey (Genesis 3:1-6), and thus, in that very day, God took them away from the trees of life that were in the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24), so they began to die until they finally died (Genesis 5:5), and their flesh returned to the dust, while the spirit of life – the spark of life – that God had given to them returned to God who had given it. (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7) As a result of Adam’s disobedience, sin came into the world, the whole creation of mankind that had been made through Logos, as spoken of in John 1:10, were made sinners in Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-19), bringing the death sentence upon all mankind. Romans 5:12-19 also shows that there was no sin the world until Adam disobeyed, thus there was a period of time that Adam was sinless. God had made man upright [just, straight – Ecclesiastes 7:29], and man could have remained in that upright condition had he chose to obey, but man, as represented in the first man, Adam, chose to disobey, and thus did not remain with that original sinless upright condition.

Mark the apostle’s words on the subject – “sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.” (Romams 5:12) Note again the statement of the Psalmist, which reflects upon us all: “I was brought forth in iniquity. In sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5) We, as Adam’s offspring, are not individually responsible therefore for the general fact that we have inherited these blemishes, but we are responsible to the extent we may have cooperated with sin, and intensified its blight in our own persons and in our children.

Thank God that the light of divine truth, which light was expressed earlier in the Law Covenant with Israel (Proverbs 6:23), and then which was expressed in the sinless life the one the Baptizer applied the symbol of “the Lamb of God”. (John 1:4,5,9; 9:5; 2 Timothy 1:10) To whatever extent that light has had any effect amongst the people, it has had the effect of blessing in proportion as its influence has been accepted. Civilization as we know it would certainly have become much worse than it is had it not been for such influence of the Bible. But, alas, how unsatisfactory our civilization is! How far from purity is the kind of “Christianization” that we generally see! How few there are today who could say with the apostle, brother, “Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Indeed, how few there who are even reckonedly, in the spirit of their minds, in their daily life, in their daily course, are walking not after the flesh but after the spirit. (Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16-26) Today, with the great influx of non-Biblical philoosphies, the Bible exerts very little influence on the greater masses of people at all!

General Sin and Personal Sin

The scripture says that “through the one man’s disobedience the many [the entire human race in Adam] were made sinners.” (Romans 5:19, New American Standard) Thus, we should discern that there is a general sin in the world, that it is common to all from the very time of conception, and that the embryo and the child of but a day is a participant in this sin, in this sinful condition that God disapproves and has declared to be unworthy of eternal life – worthy of death. In other words, from this standpoint, our race is not worthy of perpetuation. The general penalty against this universal condition of sin is the one originally pronounced against father Adam, and still resting upon the world of mankind in general — “dying you shall die.” (Genesis 2:17, Green’s Literal Translation) Death is upon all because all are counted as sinners under this general sentence pronounced in Eden. As already intimated, it is possible for the individuals of the race to either strive against this downward tendency in which they were born or to fall in line with it, and hurry down the broad road of destruction more rapidly. (Matthew 7:13) The responsibility before God that one has as related to sin varies, depending on the degree of light that the sinner has. Even the heathen, the apostle tells us, has some light in his conscience regarding what is right or wrong. (Romans 2:15) Thus, as such run in the way of sin, practicing iniquity, there is additional responsibility, which will need to be accounted for in the coming day of judgment. (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 2:16; Jude 1:14,15) For some in that day of judgment, the chastisements will be easier to endure than for others, and, in that judgment day, for some who set their heart upon willfully sinning, they will not be able escape coming under the second judgment of the lake of fire. (Matthew 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36; 23:3; Mark 6:11; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 20:15) However, in this age, sowing to the flesh reaps the rewards of their wrong course under what we sometimes term “natural laws”. As, for instance, the licentious man in many instances brings upon himself temporal and distressing sickness, which hastens his death and increases his sorrows and troubles.
For more regarding the “day of judgment”, see:
Day of Judgment Resource Page

In many other instances, however, the innocent suffer through laws of heredity as much as do the willful transgressors; it is still true today the proud are set up on high and given greater privileges than are those who do not exalt themselves; indeed, the proud often seem to escape much of the sorrow and anguish of the humble, and the prosperity of the proud is often at the expense of those upon whom they trod. (Job 21:7-15; Psalm 49:18; 73:3-12; Jeremiah 12:1; Malachi 3:15) Yet, God has promised that these things will always be so. (Isaiah 40:4; Ezekiel 21:26) There could be no evening up of matters to an exact point of justice were there no provision for a future life, a future probation, that is separate from the judgment and general condemnation that is upon mankind through Adam. – Romans 5:12-19.

Today, however, the infant of a day suffering from some loathsome disease often unjustly shares with its parents the penalty upon wrong-doing. The divine law might have left us in this position as a race and have done nothing for us. Justice could offer no plea on behalf of the suffering infant or others, because the decree of justice against Adam and all of his posterity is that by disobedience and by inherited blemishes they are found unworthy of everlasting life – worthy of death. Hence, without some way to balance justice, justice decrees that any and everything which tends to hasten death amongst mankind is working out the sentence of justice, “Dying, you will die.” (Genesis 2:17) If, however, what God has made crooked cannot be made straight, then what hope is there for mankind?
Redemption and Regeneration

It would be a sad state of affairs if our Creator had no good reason for condemning the whole human race in one man. If one does not follow through to see God’s love in his purposes, one might be led by his own reasoning to conclude that God has surely been unjust in condemning all mankind in one man. Nevertheless, the Bible does reveal why God has done this, but, although this not hard to understand and appreciate, God has, in his wisdom, hidden the truth from most of mankind until his due time for the world to understand.

First, we should note that it was never God’s intention to leave the world in the groaning condition as it now is. And this has to do with the expression that the Baptizer used as relayed in John 1:29. If one, with a righteous heart attitude, follows the scriptural presentations carefully and diligently, however, to whatever extent that God desires one to understand, then that one will understand. (Proverbs 2:4,5; 8:17; Mark 4:33) On the other hand, if God does not wish one to appreciatively understand, then, no matter how diligently we may present the scriptures, that one will not appreciate such truths until God permits him to do so. Unless God allows one to the understand in a way that can appreciated, the truth will still be a mystery to that person. – Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10.
See our study:
Understanding Kingdom Mysteries

Many realize that the sacrifice of Jesus, in some way, takes away the sin of believers in Christ, although most do not actually understand how this can be so. We should note that the Baptizer, by the words recorded in John 1:29, does not discuss this matter of taking away the sins of the believers, but on the contrary deals with sin as a whole and the world of sinners as a whole. John 1:29 points us to the fact that our Lord’s mission is to take away the sin of the world – to take away the general blight and curse of death which came upon all mankind through Adam’s disobedience. To accomplish this work two steps were necessary: Justice must be satisfied, and a legal redemption must be effected. When we look out over the world and note the billions living today, and reckon up the thousands of millions who have died without having received an understanding of God’s purposes as found in the Bible, our hearts would fail us as we would think of how a recompense could be made to Justice which would offset the obligation, the sins of all these billions of people.


But man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. As we look into the Bible, we find that divine wisdom and divine love combined had foreseen the entire matter and had arranged for it in advance; man’s sin does not at all thwart either God’s wisdom, His justice, nor His love regarding His creation. (Psalm 89:1,2; 104:24; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 28:29; Acts 15:18; John 3:16,17) In the final end, therefore, we should expect that God’s justice, His wisdom and His love can be seen as vindicated in the plan he has chosen for man. If each individual of our race had been personally sentenced for his own misdeeds, his own shortcomings, then indeed, for God to be found just, it would have required as a corresponding price that some one should die for each individual in order to release that one from death. This would be an awful proposition — that many billions of sinless men would have to die as redeemers for the many billions of sinners. Where would such redeemers be found? Nowhere. Not a man on earth was found sinless, or capable of being his brother’s redeemer. As we read, “There is none righteous, no not one;” and again, “all have sinned and come short;” “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Romans 3:10,23; Psalm 49:7) Where, we ask, is the remedy, the hope?

Giving attention to the divine message as given through the Bible, we hear its statement that our Creator has, in His love, decreed that all mankind were tried and condemned in the sin of one man, Adam, so that only one man would be needed to satisfy his justice, so they He would remain just, while justifying the sinner. (Romans 3:26) Thus, the payment of Adam’s death sentence would not only redeem Adam from the curse, but likewise redeem all who are dying by means of him, due to his having come under that death sentence. How amazing the divine wisdom and love! This very fact, that once in our blindness we supposed was injustice toward us, is really an evidence of divine foreknowledge and divine mercy. God condemned the race as a whole that he might have mercy upon the race as a whole. (Romans 11:32) “As by man came death, so also by man came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.

The meaning is very plain, very simple. From the scriptures already given, we can see that we all inherit sin and death conditions through Father Adam. We see the imperfections all about us, we feel many of them in us; and now we learn that as we have thus inherited blemishes and sins and imperfections and death, another one has acted on our behalf, has paid the penalty; and that by coming into relationship with him, by being regenerated, begotten again, born again, we may inherit eternal life through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

Taking Away the Sin

From the foregoing we should note that there are two steps necessary to the release of humanity from its present thraldom to sin and death: (1) It was necessary that the penalty against Father Adam and his offspring should be paid to justice. (2) It is necessary that Adam and any of his posterity to be blessed must come into relationship to the Redeemer – must be regenerated, obtain a new life. The first father or life-giver, Adam, not only failed to keep the life bestowed upon him in his creation but failed to hand it down to his posterity. His children have been produced under sin-and-death conditions, suffering and dying.

The scriptures tell us that the satisfaction of Justice for the sin of the world was somehow connected with the death of our Lord Jesus Christ – that, “he died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18) He has died, yet, as we can well observe, the world has not yet been brought to God. Indeed, amazing as the proposition may seem, the world as a whole gets farther away from God day by day. Counting all the population of lands often referred to as “Christendom” as though they were Christians — though many of them are really as much without God as the poor, ignorant ones whom we designate heathen — we find that those who are put down in statistics as the heathen people of the world have continued to proportionately about the same for the past two centuries, although over the same time missionary efforts have been the most remarkable of all the world’s history in the endeavor to carry the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth. How shall we understand this matter? Is the Divine plan miscarrying?

No, we answer. Other scriptures must be allowed to assist in clarifying God's overall plan and how is being progressively being brought to its ultimate goal of blessing the whole human race. Other scriptures assure us that before the times of restoration of all, before the time of the blotting out of the curse, before the time when there will be no more curse, no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying (Revelation 21:1-5; 22:3), before that time shall come, God proposes the election or selection of a seed (Galatians 3:29), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), associated with the Redeemer in His work of glory that is to bless all the heathen (Genesis 22:18) during the millennial age. The scripture show that in it that coming age the heathen will no longer be under the influence of Satan. (Revelation 20:3) The members of the seed of Abraham are — in the Scriptures — very properly called a “peculiar people”. (Titus 2:14; Luke 12:32) While many of the time Christ had become justified through faith, the main part of the work of the selection of this seed began with our Lord’s ministry, and especially at Pentecost.

However, those who believed in Christ were, before such belief, still under the condemnation of sin, as all men. Paul says that they “were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 1:3) They themselves needed to first be regenerated; they had to become a new creation, a creation that is not of the world that is condemned in Adam. Thus, before they could be members of that seed in the covenant made with Abraham (Genesis 28:14; Galatians 3:29), they have to first receive the blessings of the one who becomes their head in the seed of Abraham, that is Jesus. (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; ) Jesus is the one who is primary one of that seed (Galatians 3:16), and, as we have seen, it is his sacrifice that counts in giving new life to world, bringing the foretold blessings of the promise made to Abraham. Likewise, before the believer can become members of that seed so as to be co-workers with Christ in the regeneration of the world, they, themselves, must first have received the blessings that is to come upon all nations as given in that promise to Abraham. (Luke 22:20; Galatians 3:6-9) How can this be done, if those blessings do not come to the heathen until the millennial age?

The scriptures tell us that this is done through their acceptance, by faith, in Jesus’ sacrifice now. (Romans 3:25,26; 5:1) Paul tells us that this done in the manner that God calls things that are not as though they were, thus, reckonedly applying the justification through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice to them before it is applied to the world, similarly to the way it was applied to Abraham because of his faith. (Romans 4:17-25) Thus, for the new creature in this age, the old creation condemned in Adam (Romans 5:12-19; 8:20-22) is reckoned as though already passed away, and they are reckoned as of the new creation, as of that millennial age to come, when the old creation will have passed away. (2 Corinthians 5:27; Revelation 1:1-5) To become sons of God in this age, they, in effect, partake of the power of “the [millennial] age to come” (Hebrews 6:5), so that they are a kind of “first fruits” of the new creation. – James 1:18.

Joint-Heirs With Christ

The purpose, however, of calling people to be of the seed of Abraham, is that they may attain the resurrection from dead, being found in this age worthy of that resurrection, that they may become joint-heirs with Christ. (Luke 20:35; Philippians 3:11; Romans 8:17) While all who believe in Christ become sons of God through faith, and while all of the sons are therefore heirs according to the promise through Abraham (Galatians 3:29), not all the sons of God become joint-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi that he believed he had not (at the time of the writing) yet attained the “mark of the prize” of their high calling. (Philippians 3:12-14) Thus, he indicates that there are two levels of those who are justified believers: (1) those who are sons of God, but who had not yet obtained the mark of the prize, and (2) those who have obtained that mark, and thus receive the prize for which they had been called. Evidently, very few believers actually ever make the second level, and therefore only a very few actually become joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom. Such as who reach that goal, however, Jesus says will sit with him on his throne, just as he, Jesus, has overcome so as to sit down on the throne of his God. – Revelation 3:12,21.

Long and Careful Choosing

The selecting work has since progressed, and we have reason for believing that the number of the joint-heirs is almost complete, that the time of the permission of evil for their testing in faith and obedience is nearly at an end. When completed the joint-heirs as the bride of the lamb will be glorified as joint-heirs with Christ, to sit upon His throne. – Revelation 21:9.

We see, then, that it is the divine purpose that these joint-heirs, now being selected from among the world shall have the spirit of Christ – the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of love for righteousness, the spirit of hatred for sin – to such an extent that they will rejoice to lay down their lives with their Master, in his cause, in cooperating with Him, under His direction and guidance. Thus we believe that, while the merit was in our Lord and in His sacrifice for sins, nevertheless, the world is waiting for the completion of, and the revealing, not just of the joint-heirs with Christ, but all the sons of God. (Romans 8:19-22) Nevertheless, before any son of God can receive the glory of joint-heirship, they must be tested, they must be also joint-sacrificers with Christ.

In harmony with this is the scriptural exhortation, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [in providing the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, including your sins, and in giving you a knowledge of His grace in advance of the world], that you present your [sinless] bodies [reckoned as being given from God in heaven as new creatures, having a crown of glory on the same level as Adam before Adam sinned – Psalm 8:4,5; Luke 3:38; 1 Corinthians 15:38,39,40; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 2:6-8] living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God and your reasonable service.” Therefore, we conclude that before the believer can have the glory of joint-heirship, he has to sacrifice the glory as a human that has been provided by means of the sacrifice of the Lamb.

God’s Permission of Evil

More importantly, however, before the blessings that have been secured through the sacrifice of Jesus can be applied to the world at large, it is God’s purpose to allow man to try out all of his own schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:29), which is why the scriptures tell us that God has subjected man to vanity. (Romans 8:20) Paul also stated: “we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now”. (Romans 8:22) Does this mean that God himself is the cause of all the suffering now taking place? No, but it does mean that God has lifted his protective care so that he is allowing mankind to experience what it is like to be estranged from him. It was no idle pessimistic exclamation when Solomon expressed the fact: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) He was expressing the simple truth as can be seen all around us.

Nevertheless, if one has not comprehended the divine purpose behind God’s allowing the present  evil conditions, again, one might reason that God has certainly been unjust in allowing the misery and suffering of his human creation. Many have often compared God’s work in his human creation to the work of a building under construction. If one is has no knowledge of how such a building is constructed, as that one sees a crew as they begin to construct the building, it may appear that they destroying rather than building. It may appear that the building crew is in chaos, rather than working toward a common goal. Likewise, God’s wisdom is making use of the present permission of evil to teach, not only his human creation, but all present and future creation, a lesson that will stand for all eternity as a touchstone relating to any desire to again strike out into disobedience to the Creator, and try their own schemes.

At present, however, the human creation is still in the condition that Solomon expressed, when he stated:

Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Is there a thing of which it may be said, “Behold, this is new?” It has been long ago, in the ages which were before us.

The world that was made through Jesus (John 1:10), although it was originally created upright — straight, not crooked, good – soon was taken over by the rulership of the serpent, Satan the Devil. (Genesis 1:31; 3:1; Revelation 12:9) As a result, the world of mankind in general have become the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:2) Only through faith in God’s promises have any been reckoned as having been justified – made straight – in the sight of God, He who calls things that are not as though they were. (Luke 20:38; Romans 4:3,6,17-22) Only the justified walk in a path that is different from the path of the world that is around them. (Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 26:7; Matthew 7:13) Thus, there are two seeds that are spoken of in Genesis 3:15, the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, the serpent representing Satan and His works (Revelation 12:9), the woman representing God’s promise (covenant), especially as expounded upon in God’s covenant with Abraham for a seed. – Galatians 4:22-25; Revelation 12:1,17.

The Salvation of the World

Returning, however, to the sacrifice of Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Jesus tells us that he did not, at his first advent, come to the judge the world, but rather that he had come to save the world. (John 3:17; 12:47) The prophecies speak of the promised Messiah as being a judge. (Psalm 72:2,4; Isaiah 11:1-4) Paul tells us that God has appointed a day in which to judge the world by means of the one whom he has ordained. (Acts 17:31) This is an reference to Psalm 96:13 and Psalm 98:6, wherein we read that Jehovah comes to judge the world. Thus, from Acts 17:31, we understand that Jehovah comes to judge the world in that appointed day by means of Jesus. That it is Jesus whom Jehovah has ordained can be seen from John 5:22,23.

Nevertheless, we also read that, with Jesus, the saints will also judge the world. (Daniel 7:22; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) Thus, many Bible students believe that the “man” whom God has ordained is a figurative composite man, made up of Jesus as the head and all the saints who rule and judge with Jesus as the body of the one ordained. – Romans 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 4:12; 5:23; Colossians 3:15.


God's Perfect Way

Early it was pointed out that had not the divine plan made provision for a resurrection of the dead, there would have been no evening up of accounts as between those who in the present life have sought to live justly and honorably and those who on the contrary have deliberately violated right principles. But in the arrangement which we find scripturally set forth there is a provision whereby those who now seek to walk in the ways of righteousness will then find their blessing for having so done, while those who have wilfully transgressed will now find a retribution. Not merely believers in Christ and consecrated followers in his footsteps have sought to stem the downward tendencies of the fallen flesh and to rise to higher and nobler conditions of mind and deed. Yet only the church, the sanctified believers, get the blessing for which the Heavenly Father is now calling the seed of faith, the peculiar people.

Even amongst the heathen there have been some wonderfully noble characters- Confucius, for instance, as an illustration, an example. Likewise in so-called civilized lands many noble people have never seen with clearness the reasonableness of a full faith in and a full consecration to the service of the Lord Jesus. Such, having sought to live justly and honorably in the world, will be advantaged in the coming age; they will come forth on a higher plane proportionately; mentally, morally, every way they will be superior to what they would have been had they not put forth efforts for righteousness. It still shall be required of them that they go on to perfection, but they will have fewer rungs of the ladder to climb than if they had misused their opportunities and privileges. Similarly those in the present life who have misused their opportunities, and degraded themselves and brought degradation upon others, in proportion as they knew better they will undoubtedly, as the Master declared, receive stripes or punishments, or as those of the world, will find the day of judgment to more severe. (Matthew 10:15: 11:22-24; Luke 10:12-14; 12:47,48) That is to say, they will find themselves that much nearer the foot of the ladder, and with that many more efforts necessary to be put forth to gain its topmost round, eternal life, perfection.

How much mom reasonable this scriptural view is than would be any of the usual thoughts on this subject among most Christians. Roman Catholics, with their view of purgatory and varying terms of incarceration and varying degrees of suffering, have gone outside of anything that is set forth as a basis of faith in God’s word. Besides, their thought that the saying of prayers will relieve from these and cancel years of suffering is inconsistent with anything found in the scriptures. Protestant views, that only those fit for heaven go to heaven and that all others go to an eternity of woe, are thoroughly inconsistent, especially when they claim that there is no hope of relief, no hope of mitigation. If only those who are fit for heaven are received there, how few will enter in! It will be a little flock indeed.
Contrast such unreasonable propositions with the simplicity of the divine plan: The church, the sacrificers, the bride of Christ, glorified with him in his kingdom, rewarded for all their sufferings and self-denials, exceedingly and abundantly more than they could have asked or thought. The world, coming forth to a fair and equitable trial, in which the conduct of the present life will have its weight and bearing on the advantages of the future life, and all with the prospect, if they will, of reaching life eternal through the merit of him who, as the figurative Lamb of God, died for the cancellation of their guilt, and shall at his second coming under the blessed influences of His kingdom, lift them out of sin and degradation and death conditions up to full human perfection, restoring to them the Edenic home and utterly destroying in the second death such as will not hear and obey the laws of His kingdom.

The Lamb of God

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It is not the sacrificing of the church that takes away the sin of the world. We have nothing to sacrifice that would be acceptable at the bar of justice except those blessings which are counted ours through faith in Christ. Our sacrificing therefore, is merely a test of our loyalty and devotion; the merit of the sacrifice for sins is all in the Lamb of God-all in our Lord Jesus. And so the scriptures everywhere differentiate between the Lord and His perfection and the Church, which comes into Divine favor through Christ’s robe of righteousness, under His merit. The highest honor declared respecting the church is that she shall occupy a position which figuratively is described as that of a bride and joint heir. She is to be “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Having attested her loyalty to principles of righteousness by suffering with her Master now in the present time, she shall be counted worthy to share with him the honors of his throne, as he declared, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” ‘Rev. 3:21.
The expression, “Lamb of God,” is a very forceful one. Man would not choose such a symbol as Divine inspiration has chosen. Look at all the emblems of heraldry and note how various ferocious beasts and birds are used as symbols of the earthly great; some have the lion, some the unicorn, some have dragons, others eagles, others foxes, others wolves, tiger’s heads, etc., emblems indicating the ferociousness and rapaciousness of the character behind, when it even did not intend to tell of its ungainly qualities, but sought rather to glorify itself. But look at our Lord’s emblem, a meek, innocent, gentle lamb. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, tells us that he was specially commissioned of God to bear this witness at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry-that Jesus was the “Lamb of God,” that he was the gentle, patient, unmurmuring one who would die on our behalf, that we by his stripes might be healed; that through his paying for us the death penalty, ultimately the whole world of mankind would be released from death, and so many of them as will would be brought up out of sin and death conditions to the full perfection of life everlasting.
John cried, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Let us behold him-not as the Pharisees and Scribes did with eyes of malice and envy and hatred. Let us look at him in the light of the Divine revelation, and perceive that he was without spot or blemish- that “in him was no sin” -that “he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” How came it that all this perfection should be found in Jesus?
The scriptures answer our query, and assure us that he was not born like others of the race-that while he received his human organization from his mother, the life principle was from above, and that by the selective processes of perfection even in his embryo condition he maintained himself in mind and every attribute perfectly. The scriptures tell us that he was thus born of a woman, separate from sinners, was previously with the Father, from before the foundation of the world- indeed that he had been the Father’s special representative in the creative work, as it is written, “All things were made by him, and without him was not one thing made that was made.”
The more we look into the Divine word the more astonished are we with the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love and wisdom, justice and power of God which are being revealed to us through his Son and through the great plan of salvation. It will do us good, dear brethren and sisters, not only for the week beginning, I trust, but for the remainder of life, to frequently hearken to thew words of the prophet, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Day by day we may behold him, more hilly more completely, as the eyes of our understanding open more and more widely and as we become more and more informed respecting the Divine plan of which he is the hub, the very center. And as we learn of him. and come more to admire him, let us not forget that all who are to be members of his bride clan, joint-heirs with him in the kingdom, must in order to attain this position, become copies of God’s dear Son.
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Who Offers the Lamb in Sacrifice to God?

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased Yahweh [Jehovah] to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. – World English

It has been claimed that Isaiah 53:10 shows that it was Jehovah (Yahweh) who offered up his son in sacrifice. Thus, it is claimed that since of other scriptures show that Jesus gave himself in sacrifice for our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2,25; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Titus 2:14), that Jesus is therefore Jehovah (Yahweh).

The fact is that Jehovah (Yahweh), the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:14,15), speaks of things that he allows, or permits, as being his work. Thus, we read, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11) Did Paul mean that God Himself would personally delude people? No! The statement is made in the sense that God permits Satan to delude people, as can be seen from 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

Jehovah also said concerning bringing the children of Israel out of Eygpt:

Exodus 1:7 Yahweh said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.
Exodus 1:8 I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Thus, Jehovah spoke of Himself as the One who was deliver them out the hand of the Egyptians. However, a few verses later, Jehovah said to Moses:
Exodus 1:10 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

And we read of Jehovah:

Exodus 12:51 It happened the same day, that Jehovah brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.

And further:

Deuteronomy 32:12 – Yahweh alone did lead him [Israel/Jacob – verse 9].

However, of Moses, we read:

Acts 7:36 This man led them forth, having worked wonders and signs in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

Exodus 15:22 Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

Does this mean that since both Moses and Jehovah both delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, that this must mean that Moses is Jehovah? No one seriously claims that Moses is Jehovah, yet according to the reasoning of those who wish to use similar arguments to prove that Jesus is Jehovah, it would seem that these scriptures should definitely prove that Moses is Jehovah. Of course, in reality, Jehovah often takes the credit for what his servants do in his name. (see scriptures below) Just because one scripture says Jehovah did this or that, and another scripture says that Moses, Gideon, Jesus, or another of God’s servants did the same, does not mean that any of these are Jehovah.
So how is it that it can be said that both Moses and Jehovah delivered Israel? Taking the Bible as a whole we learn:

Psalm 77:20: You [Jehovah] led your people like a flock, By [by means of] the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Hosea 12:13 – By [by means of] a prophet Yahweh brought Israel up out of Egypt, And by [by means of] a prophet he [Israel] was preserved.

In the same way that Jehovah provided Moses to deliver Israel, so he also has provided His Son to deliver us from sin. This does not mean that Jesus is Jehovah (Yahweh).

It was Satan who, through his lie to Eve, led man into sin. (Genesis 3:1-6) It was man who sinned, and brought death into the world. (Romans 5:12) And we read that God turns man to destruction, and yet, he also brings them out that destruction. (Psalm 90:3) This God did by preparing a sinless body of flesh for his Son to offer, to offset the sin of Adam. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Hebrews 10:5,10) Thus, it was God who provided the sacrifice, but it was not God who offered up the sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2.

The sacrifice itself had to be that of a sinless man, not God, since it was a man — not God — who sinned. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) To prove God just (Romans 3:26), that sacrifice could not be “God in the flesh” as some claim, for if the man was “God in flesh”, it would have proven that Adam would have needed to have been “God in the flesh” in order to obey God. (Genesis 2:17) Since Adam was certainly not “God in the flesh”, such an offering of “God in the flesh” would have, therefore, justified — rather than condemn — sin in the flesh. – Romans 8:3.

Nowhere do we read that God “gave himself” to God for our sins, or that God offered the lamb to himself for our sins. Rather than proving that Jesus is Jehovah, the fact that Jesus gave himself as a the man Christ Jesus to God (Ephesians 5:2; 2 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 9:24; 10:10,12) for our sins shows that Jesus is not Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – Exodus 3:14,15; Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:13-26.See the study:
Is Jesus the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
Was Jesus His Own Shepherd?

It is being claimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and that therefore Jesus was his own Shepherd and was his own sheep. In the expression, “the Lamb of God”, the word “God” designates only one person, and the Lamb is designated as being of that one person. We read, “to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things [literally, “the all”]” (1 Corinthians 8:6) Jesus, as the Lamb “of” God, is therefore “of” the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and therefore being the Lamb “of” Jehovah, it is Jehovah who is his shepherd. Indeed, as we have pointed out before, in Psalms 23:1, David is prophetically relating the words of the Messiah, in that is the Messiah who states, “Jehovah is my shepherd.”

Thus, the Lamb of God is led by his Shepherd through God’s spirit. – Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1.
The Lamb of God always obeys his Shepherd (John 8:29), is therefore spotless, without sin. – Hebrews 4:15; 2 Peter 1:19.

The Lamb of God was obedient to the words – the voice – of his Shepherd even to the point of death. – Isaiah 53:17; John 15:15; Acts 8:32; Philippians 2:8.

It is claimed that Jesus was the Shepherd of Israel. We can agree that Jehovah did send His son to shepherd His people, Israel, if that is what is meant. – Ezekiel 34:23; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6.
The sheep of Jesus are given to him by the unipersonal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jehovah, in effect, is the Most High Shepherd; Jesus, as opposed to the false shepherds, is the “genuine” (Greek, transliterated, Kalos, Strong’s #2570) shepherd appointed over the sheep by the Most High Shepherd. The Most High Shepherd Jehovah shepherds His sheep through, by means of the genuine shepherd whom he has appointed. — Psalm 23:1; 96:13; 98:9; Ezekiel 34:2-24; John 5:22,23; 10:11-17,29; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 2:16; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

However, only a remnant of Israel proved to be sheep in this age. – John 1:11,12; Romans 11:5.

It is claimed the Shepherd, Jesus, became one of his own sheep. We, of course, have no scriptural reason to agree with this.

It is claimed that in John 1:10, it is clear that Jesus is presented as becoming one of his own creation..

John 1:10 states:

He [the Logos] was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.

Actually, there is nothing in John 1:10 that says that Jesus became one of his own creation. John 1:10 is clear that Jesus came into the world of mankind that God made through Jesus, that is true. It does not say that he became one of his own creation; elsewhere, however, we are told that Jesus is not of this world that was made through him, nor are those who become new creatures in Christ of this world that was made through him. – John 8:23; 15:19; 17:14,16; 2 Corinthians 5:17.

If Jesus had been a part of this creation, then he would have been under the same condemnation that this world has come to be under. – Romans 5:12-19.

Likewise, the new creature in Christ is not of this world, else the new creature would also be condemned in the sin of Adam. – John 3:18; 17:14,16; Romans 5:6; 8:1.

Additionally, if Jesus did become a part of the creation that was made through him (John 1:10), he would have been under the same subjection to vanity that this creation has been subjected to, and he would be just as crooked as all other men, and he could not have justified himself. – Ecclesiastes 1:1,14,15; 7:13; Romans 3:20; 8:20; Galatians 2:16; 3:11.

Nevertheless, Jesus, while in the days of his flesh, did take on the outward appearance of being a slave to sin, in that he suffered as though he was under the same condemnation as all mankind, as though he were under the bondage of corruption, and yet proving himself obedient even to death, that he might pay the wages of sin for Adam and all who are dying in Adam. – Philippians 2:6-9.

If Jesus had become part that creation, he would have then been under that condemnation; he would have been “made” a sinner as all mankind (Romans 5:19), and he could not therefore have been an offering for sin. Jesus, therefore, did not at all become part of the creation that had been made through Jesus, but his God prepared a body for him, and he was not begotten in the womb of Mary without the taint of Adam’s disobedience. (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 1:10) His being created as a new human creation, in other words, was actually totally apart from that creation that had come into existence through him, for, since God has subjected that old creation to vanity, there is no new creation that can come from that source. – Ecclesiastes 1:2,9,10,13-15; 8:20.
See:
The Seed of David
http://www.rlbible.com/atonement/?p=224
One tells that Jesus is still the Lamb after he was raised. Does this mean that Jesus took back his sacrifice, or that God gave back to Jesus that which he had sacrificed?
No, the word “Lamb” is a symbol, not actually Jesus Himself. Jesus is not literally a “lamb”, neither while he was in the days of his flesh, nor after his resurrection. John the Baptizer used the masculine form of the Greek word for “lamb”, “he”, in reference to the symbolism of a Lamb that was yet to be sacrificed; in the Revelation, however, the Greek form used for the word “lamb” is neuter, “it”, rather than “he”. Jesus was raised from the dead, not in the flesh, but in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18); nevertheless, Jesus was still himself, but he was then the lamb that had been slain. – Revelation 5:6.
We read:
Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 10:2 Or else wouldn’t they have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins?
Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a memory made of sins year by year.
Just as the sacrifices made each year continued to typically cover sins for each year, so the sacrifice that Jesus gave of his human body is eternal, as we read:
Hebrews 10:10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever.
Thus, Jesus is forever the symbolic lamb that was slain for our sins, the lamb representing the sacrifice that Jesus gave once. Just as the passover lamb could still be referred to as the passover lamb even after it had been slain, so Jesus is the eternal lamb that was slain, for there is no more sacrifice for sin. Nothing in this means that God gave back to Jesus what Jesus sacrificed; the sacrifice itself was Jesus’ human soul, his human body, his human flesh, his human blood. Indeed, he has no reason at all to retain being a human being, since there is no need of any more sacrifice for sin. Thus, “Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.” (Hebrews 9:28) He does not appear as a human being, since he has already “offered one sacrifice for sins [his human body – Hebrews 10:10] for all time,” (Hebrews 10:12). Indeed, we read, “there remains no more a sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) Thus, there is no need for Jesus to retain the body that he sacrificed.
Does this mean that Jesus will never appear again in a physical form? We cannot answer this either yes or no; we can only say that, as best as we can determine from what God has revealed through his spirit by means of the Bible, we see nothing that indicates that he will ever again he been seen in his former body, since, after his ascension, Jesus presented his body and its blood (representing his human soul) to his God and Father in heaven. Thus, if Jesus appears again in physical form, we should not expect that he would take back what he had sacrificed, but that he would appear in a form of man in the same way that angels did so as we find recorded in the Bible. Those angels, being spirit creatures, were not actually men, but they had appeared in a human form, and thus, because they appeared as men, were called “men”.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Ecclesiates 7:13 - How Could Crooked Mankind Be Made Straight?

Solomon stated:

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a chasing after wind. That which is crooked can't be made straight; and that which is lacking can't be reckoned as straight. -- Ecclesiastes 1:15, RLIV.

And later he says:

Ecclesiastes 7:13 - Consider the work of God, for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked?
-- World English.

In other words, man, under the present sun of crookedness and vanity, cannot make himself straight; he cannot justify himself. Mankind came to be under this sinful, crooked condition when Adam sinned. Mankind has been in a dying condition ever since that disobedience. Since none could justify himself, none could acceptable as a sacrifice to Jehovah to redeem mankind from his dying condition.

Psalms 49:7-9 - None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give God a ransom for him. For the redemption of their life is costly, No payment is ever enough, That he should live on forever, That he should not see corruption.
-- World English.

Sinful man, having been subjected to vanity and a crooked condition by God due to Adam's sin, cannot provide the price needed to redeem even one of his brothers, thus the sacrifice of any sinful human being, no matter how young or how innocent that human being made appear to be to man, would be an abomination before Jehovah.

As bleak as the words of Solomon and Psalmist may appear, neither said that there was no way for man to be redeemed. Both, however, in effect, stated that sinful man cannot redeem himself.

Paul agreed with Solomon, when he wrote:

Romans 8:20-22 - The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

The "creation" Paul speaks of is not in reference to angels. Neither the Hebrew scriptures nor the Christian New Testament ever speak of the angels as being under a bondage of corruption, or having been made crooked, etc. Thus the 'whole creation' that Paul speaks of is the old human creation (as contrasted with the new creation, the sons of God that Paul spoke of in Romans 8:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; mankind, being under subjection as sun of crookedness, cannot free himself from that crooked condition.

The Psalmist declared that man's redemption is costly; it is some far beyond the ahility of sinful man to provide. However, Genesis 3:15 indicates that it was God intention to reverse the condemnation that had come upon man due to Adam's sin. According what is stated, however, taht seed was to bruised in the heel, while serpent was to bruised in the head. This indicates the costly price needed to redeem mankind. The redemption price would be a man, but it could not be a man of Adamic stock, for such a man cannot even justify himself. That man would have be born separate from the condemnation in Adam, so as not be crooked, sinful. Since man, under the present sun of crookedness, cannot produce a new creation, a creation that is not under the present sun that upon man through Adam. Such a man would not be under the subjection to the crooked condition of mankind.

Isaiah foretold of such a man, speaking as the children of Israel after that man had come:

Isaiah 53:2-10 - He has no form nor magnificence that we should see Him; nor form that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and abandoned of men, a Man of pains, and acquainted with sickness. And as it were hiding our faces from Him, He being despised, and we did not value Him.
4 Surely He has borne our sicknesses, and He carried our pain; yet we esteemed Him plagued, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His wounds we ourselves are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have each one turned to his own way; and Jehovah made meet in Him the iniquity of all of us. 7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a ewe before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from justice; and who shall consider His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; from the transgression of My people, the stroke was to Him. 9 And He appointed Him His grave with the wicked, but He was with a rich man in His death; though He had done no violence, and deceit was not in His mouth. 10 But Jehovah pleased to crush Him, to make Him sick, so that If He should put His soul as a guilt offering.  -- Green's Literal.

He further says that this one "shall justify [be a means of justification, being made straight] for many, and He shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11)

And, "He poured out His soul to death; and He was counted with those transgressing; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for those transgressing." -- Isaiah 53:12.

Here we have the description of the one who was be sacrificed -- cut off out of the land of the living -- for our sins. It is indeed a costly price for one who sinless to pay.

The NT tells us that it was God who prepared Jesus' body. (Hebrews 10:5) Thus, he was not born into this world under the condemantion that is in Adam that Paul wrote about. He had the costly price acceptable to God needed to redeem mankind, and he did so. -- Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.









Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The True Gospel

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ”
Romans 1:16

God's Promises to Bless All Nations.
Bible card by Providence
Lithograph Co., 1906.
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
(1) SINCE the scriptures speak of those who preach a “different gospel” — an alleged good news — than that taught by the apostles (1 Corinthians 11:4), no apology seems necessary for our subject — “Which is the true Gospel of which the Apostle was not ashamed?” If time and thought may be profitably expended in the study of the earthly sciences — sociology, finance, etc., etc., built largely upon human inferences and conjectures — surely none could dispute the propriety of studying the science of divine revelation. If it is profitable to investigate the physical diseases of mankind and their causes, and the laws of medicine and of sanitation for the offset of these, it surely cannot be disputed that the Gospel which God has presented as the antidote for soul-sickness and soul-death, and as the science pertaining to life eternal, is worthy of still greater and more profound consideration.

(2) The greatest minds, the noblest specimens of our race, have admitted our topic to be the one above all others in importance; and have weighed it carefully — whether as a result they accepted or rejected it. We are not now discussing the weight of mental acumen enlisted for and against the Gospel. We are merely noting the fact that all men of ability have recognized that the subject is worthy of their careful consideration, and as having claims upon their attention paramount to any and all others. Indeed, it may be set down as a fact that whoever has given the subject of religion no consideration is one of three things, — a novice in mental exercise, or a near relative to “the fool who has said in his heart there is no Yahweh,” or a coward, preyed upon by fears, instigated by Satan to hinder honest investigation of the divine message of love and mercy. — Psalm 14:1.

(3) The fact that you are reading this indicates that you have given some thought to our theme; — though experience assures us that comparatively few have ever reached fully satisfactory conclusions on this subject. Hence your faith and love and zeal toward God and your zeal for the Gospel may be less strong than you could desire. We hope that this scriptural presentation many more, by God’s grace, will see more clearly than ever before which is the true Gospel — the one of which the Apostle was not ashamed, and of which, therefore, none of us need feel ashamed, — the Gospel, therefore, which should more and more move and energize us, as the power of God for salvation. — Romans 1:16.

(4) No one of intelligence will dispute the meaning of the word “Gospel;” it signifies “good/glad tidings,” good news, — a good message. According to Luke 2:10, the angel declared it to be "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people." (American Standard Version) Nevertheless, often what many consider “a real gospel sermon” is understood to signify bad tidings — tidings of eternal misery to the great mass of our race — to all except the little flock of God’s faithful people who respond to a “gospel” of accepting Jesus or spending eternity in miserable suffering. As a consequence the preacher of a “gospel sermon” is expected to figuratively shake the congregation over an abyss of everlasting torture, making as strong an effort as possible to intimidate them thereby to a thorough reformation of life, in hope of thus escaping an awful eternity.

(5) True, this that we might term “the Gospel (?) of damnation” is not so generally preached as it once was, because more enlightened minds of cultured people repudiate it as a fetich of the past. Yet this perversion of the Gospel may still to be heard in some country places, at camp meetings, occasionally in the city pulpit, and universally in Salvation Army meetings. Nothing is further from our intention than a criticism of the consciences and honesty of intention of those who thus preach. And yet other preach a general gospel of damnation that is alleged be for most of the people that they will be eternally destroyed in Armageddon (or some other way) is they do not conform thier claims of leadership, etc. It is no part of our mission to criticize persons and motives, but with malice toward none and with love toward all we consider it not only our privilege but our duty to criticize doctrines, that thereby the truth may be more firmly established, and error brought into disrepute.

(6) Before we proceed to the consideration of the Gospel of which the Apostle was not ashamed — the Gospel set forth in the Scriptures — it will be expedient for us to take a glance at the different Gospels set forth by the various denominations of Christendom. It is not our thought that each denomination represents a different Gospel, for the differences in many instances are chiefly respecting ceremonies, forms, methods of government, name, etc., and not in respect to the message or Gospel held forth. Nevertheless, there are three distinct lines of faith, or doctrine — three distinct Gospels set forth in Christendom, all recognized as “orthodox,” because these all contain as their fundamental the doctrine of the eternal torment of many, or most, of mankind, except the comparatively few “saved.” Each of these three Gospels have millions of supporters, divided into numerous denominations. These in point of numbers are:

-1- The Roman Catholic faith, or Gospel, in which concur the Greek Catholics and Arminian Catholics, and some of the high-church Episcopalians.
-2- The Calvinistic Gospel, which is held by the various Presbyterian denominations, the Congregationalists, Baptists, and many Lutherans and Episcopalians.
-3- The Arminian Gospel, held and chiefly represented by the Methodists of various names and connections, and by the Free-Will Baptists: however, many of other denominations at heart accept the Arminian Gospel, while their church connections identify them with the Calvinistic Gospel. Hence we may say, so far as Protestantism is concerned, that the Arminian and the Calvinist Gospels are about equally supported.

(7) It may not be possible for us to handle our subject properly and thoroughly without offering some criticism of these three Gospels which for centuries have entrenched themselves in Christian minds, each fortified by the decisions of its own Councils, backed by voluminous opinions from their several theological seminaries, but we can and assuredly will strenuously avoid saying one solitary word in criticism of those who we believe conscientiously uphold these several conflicting Gospels. We call you to witness that we are all Scripturally enjoined to “Contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (the true Gospel), at the same time that we are enjoined by the same authority to “Speak evil of no man.” (Jude 1:3; Titus 3:2) We shall endeavor to keep strictly within these admittedly proper lines, and, additionally, as the Apostle admonishes: ‘Speak the truth in love.’ — Ephesians 4:15.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ROMAN CATHOLICISM

(8) The Gospel according to traditional Roman Catholicism is that man was created with a body and an immortal soul, that all men fell into sin and their immortal souls are condemned to eternal torment — that Christ accomplished a redemptive work which, supplemented by the sacrifice of the mass, and by prayers and penances, permits all believers (Roman Catholics) to escape that eternal torment, which will be the sure portion of most non-Catholics (with few exceptions) and heretics, regardless of their good works or morals. As for its own people, it holds that even many its highest officials, including bishops and popes, go to purgatory for refinement, purification from sin and to be prepared for heaven. It claims that some will spend only a short time in purgatory, assisted out of it by the merit of prayers, masses, etc., on their behalf by their friends after death. But their expectation is that ultimately purgatory will be no more, its thousands of millions being prepared for a better and happier condition. But according to all the great theologians of papacy, and according to all the earlier papal bulls, the vast majority of protestants, rejecters of papacy’s teachings, will suffer endless torment. (Some have claimed that the Catholic Church has changed their attitude in the last century or so.) This is the traditional Roman Catholic “gospel” fairly presented, as we understand it. It does not seem to us to be very good news — not very good tidings, even to those who get the very best it has to offer, and it certainly would be very bad tidings to all out of harmony with papacy.

THE GOSPEL PRESENTED BY CALVINISM

(9) Let us next look at the great protestant doctrine represented in the word Calvinism — the doctrine of the election of the church and the reprobation of all others. Calvinism claims that faith in Christ is essential to salvation and it admits that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) Calvinism requires more than a mere knowledge of Christ and belief in him as a good and exemplary man, who died a martyr to his too extreme convictions. It requires faith in Christ’s death as a sacrifice for man’s sin, and at least some manifestation towards righteousness of life before any could be recognized as being of the elect church. Consequently, according to Calvinism, the elect church could not include the heathen of the present time and all the way back through the past, who have never heard of the only name given under heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) Stretched to its very broadest, Calvinism could not include more than one in twenty of earth’s fifty thousand millions that are estimated to have lived from Adam’s day until the present time. In other words, according to the broadest possible estimate of this view, more than forty-seven billions of humanity were, in the language of the “Westminster Confession of Faith”, “passed by” as non-elect in the divine plan.

(10) And what does this mean — “passed by” or “non-elect?” It means, according to Calvinism, that God, who knew the end from the beginning, before creating this world and mankind upon it, determined that he would “pass by” and not elect the great majority of those billions of his creatures to life and happiness, but would predestine them to an eternity of torture, and that carrying out this diabolical plan, he prepared a great place large enough to hold billions, and fuel sufficient to produce the necessary combustion there to all eternity — did all this with a full appreciation of all the awful facts and circumstances of the case.

(11) Moreover, we remember the statement of Calvinism to the effect that God’s favor toward the elect is not because of any worthiness on their part, nor because of any works which they had done, but “of his own sovereign grace” he saves them from all the horrible conditions which he has predestined shall be upon the others. Now if the salvation of the elect is not because of their works or worthiness, but because of God’s sovereign grace only, the simplest mind can see that God might without any violation of principle have extended that sovereign grace to others — to all, since it was not because of worthiness nor because of works, but merely of his own volition that any are saved, — according to Calvinism.

(12) It is reported that the celebrated Jonathan Edwards, when preaching upon this subject in New England years ago, after picturing the awful torment of the non-elect, was asked the question: “Would not the thought of the anguish of the lost mar the bliss of God’s people in glory?” His answer in substance was: “No; you will be so changed that such matters will not affect you; you will look over the battlements of heaven and see in torment your neighbors and friends, and yes, your own parents and children, brothers and sisters, and turning round will praise God the louder because his justice is made manifest.”

(13) We are glad to note that many of our Calvinistic friends are repudiating this doctrine, realizing that there is in it a serious lack, not only as respects divine love, but also as respects divine justice. We are glad some years ago to note that some of our Presbyterian friends were so moved by higher and nobler conceptions of the Almighty that they wished to rid themselves of any part in so blasphemous a statement respecting his character and his plan. We are sorry, however, that when the matter of “the revision of the Presbyterian standards” was taken up it was found that only a minority was in favor of revision, and we are still more sorry to note that that minority of intelligent, godly people was willing to continue to confess to such a horrible mis-statement of their true views — willing to continue to “blaspheme that holy name” because a majority of their brethren were unwilling that such blasphemous misrepresentations should be discontinued.

(14) We are prone to believe that if this matter were brought to the intelligent attention of Presbyterians in general, a large majority would be found willing, nay, anxious, to undo the wrong and to make such reparation as would be within their power, by way of honoring the great Yahweh and attesting their appreciation of his love and his justice, as well as of his wisdom and of his power. This is just the point: Calvinism, in its anxiety to establish the wisdom and power of God, his foreknowledge and his ability to carry out his plan, has conceived of a plan which is far from the correct one, lacking both in justice and in love.

(15) It may be argued that Love is a virtue and that its exercise is not incumbent upon Jehovah; that all that could be asked or expected of him would be simple Justice, and some might be ready to claim that for God to eternally torment these untold billions “passed by” would be in strict accord with Justice. This we deny! We claim that having the power to create mankind would not justify their creation if the Creator saw that the result would be the everlasting torture of a single creature. Justice would say that power is not to be exercised to the injury of another, and that to exercise the creative power under such foreknown conditions would be injustice. And Wisdom attuned to Justice would say, Better a thousand times never to have created anybody than to have created one being to suffer eternally, for such eternal suffering would not be just, but unjust.

(16) We have endeavored that this statement be a fair representation of the Gospel according to John Calvin, and of the beliefs of those who subscribe to the Westminster Confession and their allies. This surely is not the Gospel of which the Apostle Paul, in our text, declared, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Paul would assuredly have been ashamed of such a Gospel, and so are all enlightened Christians, who have the spirit of love and justice, and also a developed knowledge of God's plan. Nevertheless, there are those who unfortunately, through circumstances of birth, etc., and hitherto without realizing what it meant, have been lending their name and influence to this great blasphemy against the divine character.

THE ARMINIAN VIEW OF THE GOSPEL

(17) Let us now examine the Arminian view. This view is growing in popularity. Its message or Gospel is: God is love — he loves you; he loves everybody; he is doing all that he can to save everybody; if you are lost it will not be God’s fault, but your own. On the surface, at least, this theory seems much more loving and much more just than the one already examined, but before we go far we will also find it very defective, very far from being either a reasonable or a Scriptural Gospel. We will find it inconsistent with its own statement — illogical.

(18) For instance, while it sounds nice theoretically to say that God is doing all that he can do to save the whole world at the present time, everybody knows that this is not true; that on the contrary you or I or any other intelligent human being if possessed of the one-thousandth part of the divine power and wisdom could speedily accomplish the evangelization of the whole world. Nor will it do to say that God has committed himself to a certain mode of procedure through his Church, and that if the Church fails to contribute with sufficient liberality both money and evangelists the heathen will not hear of “the only name given under heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved,” but will go to eternal torment, etc. Neither will it do to say that God is doing all that he can do and is hampered by the lack of interest in the Church; because his wisdom and foreknowledge foresaw all these conditions as they are, and he could not justly be excused from the real responsibility of the matter, since he is the Creator, and in him is vested the all-power as well as the all-wisdom. Such a claim as this would be tantamount to saying that God has erred in wisdom when he thought to leave the conversion of the world to the Church, seeing that the Church has not accomplished this. Such a claim would be merely excusing God from doing all that he can do, instead of showing that he is doing all that he can do.

(19) But let us look more critically into this matter. If this view we are criticizing is correct, if God is doing all that he can to save the world, and if he has been doing this during all the past ages, then without question the world’s conversion is a hopeless thing, and we can never expect to see better results than at present. This theory presupposes a race or battle between the Almighty and Satan, each seeking to capture the human family, and to the discredit of the theory it shows Satan the victor thus far. Starting out with one pair, both on Jehovah’s side, the first 1656 (according to the Masoretic text) years ended with a flood in which the whole world of mankind was blotted out because of wickedness, and only eight persons reckoned sufficiently righteous to be preserved. Starting again with those eight persons counted sufficiently righteous for preservation, we find that there are in the world today over five billion people, and that out of that whole number there are about two billion professing Christians, and a very much smaller number of true “saints of God.”

(20) What would be the lesson from this if the Arminian theory be correct, that God is doing all that he can do to save the world? The lesson would be that with all his good intentions of love and mercy our God is thoroughly incapable of the work he undertook to do. In effect, this theory presents God as a very weak God. And if these are the results in six thousand years, what could we hope for in the future? How many hundreds of millions of years would it be before the whole world would be converted? We answer that according to statistics it would never be, for statistics show that the natural increase of population throughout the world is far, far beyond the proportion of even nominal conversions from heathendom. Indeed, according to some good reckonings, the percentage of Christians every year is decreasing, the births of heathen lands so far outnumbering the births of Christian lands — even counting all the children born in Christendom as Christians.

(21) Is any Christian, in view of these facts, prepared to claim that our God has been doing all that he could do for the conversion of the world? If so, that Christian may as well write upon his hopes at once the word “Ichabod” (meaning "There is no glory"). If we saw that the Calvinistic view magnifies the wisdom and power of God at the expense of his justice and love, we find on the other hand that the Arminian view magnifies the love of God at the expense of his wisdom and power. The true Gospel must show divine Wisdom and Power in full accord with divine Justice and Love: of any other we must needs be ashamed.

DISTINCTIONS WITHOUT PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE

(22) But we may as well now as at any time concede that there is comparatively little difference in the outcome of these two popular Protestant Gospels — the difference is merely a theoretical one respecting how the results are to be reached. The results themselves are the same in both cases — the eternal doom and torment of over forty-seven billion of human creatures. For our Arminian friends no less than Calvinists agree that there is no salvation aside from faith in Christ, the only name given; and they admit also that of those who believe in Christ only the sanctified are of the real Church; and their Gospel is also that only the real Church is to be saved and that all others are to be eternally and most horribly tormented; — some claim in literal flames, others say by the torments and gnawings of conscience and remorse, which they proceed to say will be worse than the literal flames, — and we respond, if worse, so much worse for the argument.

(23) All will surely agree as respects these two theories or Gospels held out to the world by Protestant Christendom that it would make no difference to the forty-seven thousand millions, whether they got into that awful state of hopeless woe by divine predestination and lack of love and justice, or by divine incapacity and lack of foreknowledge and proper arrangements. We believe that no true Christian will be ready after examining the subject thus far to say that he fully approves either of these theories, and that he is not ashamed of both of them.

CONSIDER NOW THE TRUE GOSPEL

(24) Let us now proceed to examine what is the true Gospel, presented to us in the Word of God — the Gospel of which the Apostle was not ashamed. The word “gospel” itself should be the clue — should save the intelligent Christian from being misled by the various theories of bad tidings of great misery for nearly all people, miscalled “gospel.” He who thinks it good news that one out of a thousand of the human family is to be saved and the remaining 999 to be eternally tormented, is either not a Christian at all, or he is decidedly undeveloped in Christian character, in mercy, in love, in justice. In our opinion he is at most only a “babe in Christ” who has need first of the milk of the Word and subsequently of the “strong meat” thereof, that he may grow up into Christ in all things, and be able to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God which passeth all understanding. — Ephesians 3:18,19.

(25) When occasionally we come across some one who gives evidence of being a Christian, and who still entertains such horribly blasphemous views respecting the Heavenly Father’s character, we feel like quoting to him Jehovah’s words through the Prophet, “My ways are not as your ways, nor my thoughts as your thoughts, for as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my plans higher than your plans.” (Isaiah 55:8,9) And part of our object in this study is to have those, whose eyes are anointed of Yahweh, that they may see spiritual things, discern some of Jehovah’s higher ways and higher plans which he presents to us in his Word under the name “gospel” — good tidings.

NOT “UNIVERSAL SALVATION TO IMMORTALITY”
BUT A SALVATION OF ALL DYING IN ADAM TO
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ETERNAL LIFE

(26) The Apostle tells us that God preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham, “beforehand” signifying before it was due to be preached with its full understanding; please note that the actual preaching of the Gospel did not begin with Abraham, but with our Lord Jesus Christ, as the apostle again declares, this salvation “began to be declared by our Lord and was confirmed to us by them that heard him.” (Galatians 3:8; Hebrews 2:3) All that ever went before our Lord’s preaching was not the actual full preaching of Gospel, but merely types and promises which foreshadowed it. Let us notice next what, according to the Apostle, constituted this forestatement of the Gospel to Abraham: he says that it was couched in the words, “In you and in your seed all nations will be blessed.” (Galatians 3:16,29) Note this carefully: it does not say, In your seed one out of a thousand out of the families of the earth will be blessed, and the remainder be doomed to an indescribably horrible eternity, but that the whole Gospel is a Gospel of blessing, applicable to all the families of the earth — through Christ, the true seed of Abraham.

(27) When our Lord Jesus was born into the world, the Heavenly Father sent a message respecting him, and the angels who bore that message declared that it was a Gospel message. Let us hearken to what the angels said about the eternal torment of the vast majority of our race. They said to the shepherds, “Behold we bring you good tidings [gospel] of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10) Let it be distinctly noted that the Gospel of the angels, like the Gospel communicated to Abraham, contains no reference to the damnation and eternal misery of any of Yahweh’s creatures, and that consequently our friends of the Salvation Army and others, who in ignorance preach eternal damnation and call it the Gospel, are doing so in utter violation of the meaning of the word and of all the uses of that word throughout the Scriptures. However well they may mean, they are in this certainly committing a wrong, a grievous wrong, and we long to see the light of the knowledge of the goodness of God shine into their hearts and relieve them of this blindness which comes not from God nor from his Word, but from the prince of darkness. — 2 Corinthians 4:4.

(28) It will require all the Millennial age (the age to come -- Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Hebrews 6:5 -- which is to follow this Gospel age in which we live) to bless all the families of the earth with the joyful knowledge of divine grace in Christ. Just so surely as the estimated more than forty-seven thousand millions went down into death without hearing of the Saviour, without coming to a clear knowledge of the truth, without the good tidings of great joy reaching their ears, — just so surely must they all come forth from the grave that this very Gospel message of “good tidings” may be declared to them, and that they may be tested thereby and either be accepted to eternal life or destroyed, as unworthy of life, in the Second Death. We say just so surely, for three reasons:

-1- The announcement of the Gospel to Abraham says, “In your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” and all of these forty-seven billion belong to this very class specified, the families of the earth — and they have not yet been blessed with this knowledge of the only name wherein is the blessing.
-2- The same is true of the message by the angel, — the good tidings of great joy is for all people, and these forty-seven thousand millions of humanity are surely the great bulk of all people.
-3- We are sure that this testimony must be given to them in the future because the Scriptural declaration is that “Christ died for the ungodly;” “he tasted death for every man,” and as a consequence every man must have an opportunity granted him for benefitting by that death, and of availing himself of the privilege of eternal life which was secured by our Lord’s ransom sacrifice.

DID CHRIST DIE FOR THE CHURCH ONLY?

(29) But some one would perhaps say: “Christ died only for the sins of the Church and not for the sins of the world, and consequently the sins of the world cannot be forgiven them.” We answer, No; the Scriptural declaration most positively is that “Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man,” “to be testified in due time.” (Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:6) And, additionally, the Apostle says, “He is a propitiation [satisfaction, atoning sacrifice] for our [the Church’s] sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) The "world" in 1 John 2:2 is the same "world" spoken of in John 12:47, where Jesus says that he came not to condemn the world (which has already been condemned in Adam -- Romans 5:12-19), but save the world (from the condemnation in Adam -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22).

(30) What could be plainer than this? If the price for the sins of the whole world has been paid to satisfy God's Justice, we may rest well assured that His Justice will furnish opportunity through the Redeemer whereby all these whose sins were atoned for may come to a knowledge of Christ, and to an opportunity of accepting divine grace through him.

(31) But some one will say, Why should God adopt a plan which would necessitate a resurrection of the dead, and a post-resurrection trial for eternal life except for all the elect Church of this Gospel age? We answer, 

-1- It is not for us to inquire why Jehovah adopts certain plans which differ from those which our poor finite minds might arrange for him: rather it is for us to acknowledge that our wisdom is insufficient on such a subject and that we should come humbly to Jehovah to hear from his Word whatever he may be pleased to inform us respecting his purposes. 
-2- As a matter of fact only those who approach the question from this standpoint need expect to see the truth or to “comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God.” — Ephesians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 2:12

(32) God has been pleased, however, to reveal to us some of his reasons for arranging his plan as we see it. He assures us of his full wisdom and power to manage every feature of his own work according to his own good pleasure, assuring us that he knows the end from the beginning, and that the end will fully justify every step that he has taken. His Word, no less than observation, shows us that during all these six thousand years the world has been getting a lesson respecting the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its wages of sorrow and death. His Word assures us also that during the next age, the Millennium, the whole world will be brought to a knowledge of the way of righteousness and love and peace, and will see the divine law in practical operation, and witness its beneficent results in all those who will come into harmony with the great Mediator.

(33) Thus mankind learns the lesson of evil and its consequences first in the present life, and the lesson of righteousness and its blessed results under divine providence, in the Millennium; and when thus fully equipped with knowledge on both sides of the question and instructed by the Royal Priesthood, (the completed and glorified elect Gospel Church), mankind will be ready for the tests, that will be applied by the Lord Jesus, under which the obedient and faithful will be granted full perfection and eternal life, and the disobedient and incorrigible will “be destroyed from amongst the people.” — Acts 3:22,23

“IF YOU ARE CHRIST’S,
THEN YOU ARE ABRAHAM’S SEED AND HEIRS”

(34) Another matter, really the key to the whole question which we are discussing, is revealed in God’s Word, viz., that in the divine purpose the promised “Seed of Abraham” that should perform the great work of blessing all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Romans 4:13,16; Galatians 3:8,16,29), is to be one, in the sense of one kind, but not in the sense of one person — that is to say, that the seed of Abraham will consist of all who believe the promise in faith (Luke 20:37,38; Romans 4:3,13,16; Galatians 3:6; Hebrews 11:13,17,39); in this Christian age, it thus includes all who belong to Christ. — Galatians 3:7,29.

(35) This Gospel age intervening between the time of the great sin offering and the time when the blessing of earth’s billions will commence, God has set apart for the work of selecting or electing the seed of Abraham who are to bless all the families of the earth. The scriptures speak of those being selected as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), “the church” (Acts 2:47; 5:11; 20:28 — King James Version), the “little flock,” (Luke 12:32) the “royal priesthood,” (1 Peter 2:9) the spiritual “children of Israel” “by faith,” (Revelation 7:4; Romans 4:16) “heirs of God” (Romans 8:17) and “sons of God.” (Galatians 3:26) The salvation provided for these heirs and sons of God is higher than that which God purposes for the world in general, as they all, if faithful, receive an inheritance in the kingdom. But an even greater purpose is also revealed in selecting these heirs of God, and that is the selection of “joint-heirs” with Christ. (Romans 8:17) The ones who receive joint-heirship receive the highest rewards in the kingdom. The selecting of these heirs and “joint-heirs” and trying them and proving them, fitting them and polishing them for service in the Kingdom, and it is to these, as the Apostle Peter declares, God has given “exceeding great and precious promises [far beyond any promises given to any other of his creatures] that by these [promises] we might become partakers of the divine [Strong’s Greek #2304 – godlike] nature [Strong’s #5449 – growth],”* and receive the inheritance of the kingdom in order to bless all the families of the earth.
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*See our study on The Divine Nature

(36) This true view of the calling and election of the Church is another feature of the Gospel — the true “good news (gospel) of great joy which will be to all the people.” (Luke 2:10) If it is splendid, good news to know that ultimately all families of the earth are to be blessed with opportunities for salvation through the Christ, it is still an additional feature to the good news to know that God has invited us to become members of the Christ company, “members in particular of the body of Christ.” — 1 Corinthians 12:27.

(37) This is the true Gospel, the one we find set forth in the Scriptures, set forth by Paul himself, and of which he was not ashamed. This Gospel shows the character of our Creator in a most wonderful light, — his Wisdom, able to discern the end from the beginning (Acts 15:18; Isaiah 46:9,10); his Power, able to accomplish that which he pleases (Isaiah 55:11); his Justice, squaring every feature of the plan from first to last (Acts 15:18), according to the most absolute features of righteousness (Psalm 145:17; Revelation 15:3); his Love, whose lengths and breadths and heights and depths we have not yet been able to explore (Romans 11:33); a love which sympathizes with his creatures in their fallen estate (John 3:16,17; 12:47,48); a love which provided a Savior, and “who is the Savior of all men” (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:10); a love which prompted that Savior to give his life as our ransom price (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Romans 5:8; 1 Timothy 2:5,6); a love which met all the requirements of divine justice for us (Romans 6:18); a love which still pursues mankind, and in this Gospel age calls many to heirship as sons that they may share in blessing the world in the kingdom age. — Romans 8:14

(38) “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.” (1 John 3:1) This divine love, still pursuing its original plan for man’s salvation, will use the “elect” glorified house of sons, of which Christ Jesus is the Head (Ephesians 1:22), in blessing all families of the earth with full opportunity of knowledge and full assistance up the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) that so many as will may attain to the restoration of all that was lost in Adam by coming back into harmony with God through the great Mediator. — Acts 3:19-23

NONE NEED BE ASHAMED OF THE TRUE GOSPEL

(39) Surely of this Gospel we are not ashamed, “for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) It has in our hearts a transforming and renewing power, a sanctifying power which no error could possibly have, and which all the theories of eternal torment have never equaled and never will. Let us more and more “show forth the praises of our God, who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light,” by renouncing all God-dishonoring creeds and theories, and instead hold forth the Word of life, and witness the good confession — the “good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” — 1 Peter 2:9; Colossians 1:13; Luke 2:10 (KJV)

(40) All who will declare the true Gospel will need to be well shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (gentleness, patience, meekness) for, strange to say, they will find bitter opposition from professed servants of Christ who have been blinded and prejudiced by Satan’s misrepresentations of the Gospel, — by which he seeks to drive from Jehovah all who have a remnant of reason in their religious thinking. (Ephesians 6:13-18; Galatians 5:22,23; 2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:20; 1 Peter 5:8) All who have ears to hear, and who do hear the true Gospel, will quickly distinguish it from the miserable counterfeits which for so long have passed current among God’s people. (Matthew 11:15; 13:9,16) Let all such remember that ability to hear is an evidence of divine favor in this regard, and let them not be ashamed, but glorify God on this behalf. (1 Peter 4:16) Let such remember, also, that their acceptance of truth as due, in the face of unpopularity, is a part of their testing. (Revelation 2:10; 1 Peter 1:7) Jehovah puts his plan, his Word, as his representative, saying — He that is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with his holy angels. — Mark 8:38.

(41) The call still goes forth, then, to “repent, and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 2:38) If you are not already a disciple of Jesus, are you ready to count the cost of being a disciple of Christ? (Luke 14:25-35) Are you willing to give yourself in full devotion to Jesus and his Godin appreciation of what he has done for you? (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:6-8) Then go to God in prayer and tell him of your desire to turn away from all that he hates and your heart’s desire to serve him through Jesus. — Hebrews 13:21.

Presented by Ronald R. Day, Sr., Restoration Light Bible Study Services (ResLight, RlBible). Much of the above has been adapted from a sermon by Charles Taze Russell