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    September 11, 1907

    “The Everlasting Covenant Is not ‘Obey and Live’” The Medical Missionary, 16, 37, pp. 294, 295.

    ATJ

    BY ALONZO. T. JONES

    IN a recent publication it is said, “We have found the condition of the covenant between God and his creatures to be, “Obey and Live,” and, “The compact, or covenant, under which Adam began his existence was that God promised life only on condition of Adam’s obedience.”MEDM September 11, 1907, page 294.1

    Now as a matter of fact, is it true that Adam began his existence under an agreement between him and God? The only possible way in which it could be true that Adam “began his existence” under an agreement of any kind whatever, would have to be that he entered into that agreement before he existed. For if his existence began before the agreement was made, then it is plain that he did not begin his existence under that agreement. And if it be true that Adam began his existence under that agreement, then it is equally plain that the agreement existed before he did, and the only way that the agreement between him and God could exist before he existed, would, in the nature of things, have to be that he entered into that agreement before he existed.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 294.2

    Note also that according to this statement this agreement was that “God promise life only on condition of Adam’s obedience.” As certainly then as life was promised him only on a condition, so certainly he did not already have life; and not having life, he agreed to obey in order that he might have it; as it was “only” on that “condition” that he could have life. This statement would demonstrate that Adam entered into this agreement before he had life; that is, before he existed; and did really “begin his existence” under that compact. Does anybody need to be told that such a thing as that is, in every conceivable sense, an absolute impossibility?MEDM September 11, 1907, page 294.3

    Since Adam and every other intelligence must necessarily be alive before they could possibly enter into any compact, it follows in the nature of things that each one began his existence with life, and not with any such thing as an agreement to do something in order to get life or to have it. Therefore, the simple and plain fact, and the plain Scripture truth, is that Adam and angels began their existence with life; and that this life was, by the gift of the grace of God, in creating them living souls; and was not, in any sense, under, nor was it by virtue of, any compact or bargain or condition or anything of the kind.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 294.4

    According to the statement noted above, God promised to give to them life provided that they would obey; and on their part they promised to obey so that they could have the life, and had to do it before they could have the life. Then when they did do it and so got the life, how was it in fact and in truth that they got the life? There is only one possible answer, and that answer is perfectly clear—it is that they got life by their own works.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 295.1

    When God promised life only on condition of obedience, then it is positive and plain that their hope of life rested only on their obedience. And since God’s part could not come in till their part was fulfilled, since God’s promise could not com in till their promise was made good in obedience, it follows that their hope of obedience rested only on the virtue of their own promise to obey. And thus God’s everlasting covenant is made to rest on the promise of creatures.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 295.2

    In perfect consistency with this is the suggestion often met with of God’s eternal or everlasting covenant being “broken,” and “renewed,” “broken” and “renewed.” But if the covenant were God’s indeed and rested on God’s promise only, then it never was broken and never could be broken. For God neither will nor can break his own promise; and no creature can break God’s promise. And hence it never could require renewing. An everlasting covenant would be unbreakable.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 295.3

    Righteousness and life truly go together. But if Adam and all men and angels could have life only by their own works, in fulfillment of their own promise to obey, it is plain that they got righteousness by their own works in fulfillment of their own promise, and so this righteousness was absolutely and exclusively their own righteousness. It was absolutely righteousness by works and not by faith; it was exclusively their own righteousness, by their own works, upon their own promise and not in any sense the righteousness of God, which is by faith.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 295.4

    Since God’s covenant is identical with his law of Ten Commandments, this theory suggests that God’s law must be renewed when it is broken! Why should not the real gospel thought be recognized that it is the sinner, and not the law, that needs to be renewed? that it is the person who fails, and not the covenant Continued on page 296 Continued from page 295 that cannot possibly fail, that needs to be renewed.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 295.5

    Such conception presents to us God as one who did not have enough confidence in his own goodness or the merit of his own truth or the worth of his own grace, to lead him to trust to this to win their free confidence and loving obedience; but, to secure it, he must put them under bonds of a legal system of bargain and “compact,” of “condition” and proviso!MEDM September 11, 1907, page 296.1

    But that is not God at all. That is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The very inherent name of the true God is “The Lord, the Lord God; merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” And he has enough confidence in his own mercy and grace, and long suffering and goodness and truth and forgiveness, to depend upon this alone to secure eternally the spontaneous free-flowing, grateful service of his created intelligences. And this was settled for all eternity before ever there was settled for all eternity before ever there was a creature or any creation at all.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 296.2

    Intelligence is essential to virtue. Freedom of choice is essential to intelligence, and freedom of choice is essential to virtue. God made angels and men intelligent. He made them to be moral. He therefore made them free to choose; and he eternally respects that freedom of choice. He made all intelligences free to choose him. This perfect freedom of choice to glorify him, carries in itself the freedom of choice not to do so. But for any intelligence to choose not to glorify God is sin. Therefore, in the nature of things, freedom of choice involves the possibility of sin.MEDM September 11, 1907, page 296.3

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