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    September 25, 1907

    “The Everlasting Covenant Is not ‘Obey and Live’” The Medical Missionary, 16, 39, pp. 309, 310.

    ATJ

    BY ALONZO T. JONES

    (Continued)

    AGAIN I ask, What were the angels and what was Adam when they began their existence? Intellectually, morally, and spiritually were they mere bodies of pulp? people that could receive impressions and take shape only by pressure from without?MEDM September 25, 1907, page 309.1

    What saith the Scriptures? Adam was created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26, 27. He was clothed and crowned with glory and honor. Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7. In the very first hours of his existence he stood in a mind of such compass, of such penetrative power, of such flexibility, and yet of such precision, that he could read instantly each created thing, and run in succession through the whole realm of beast and fowl and at sight catch the secret of the very nature of each, and express the thought of God as therein manifested. In heart and mind, in thought and will, he was so at one with God in the Spirit of God that every faculty was but the faculty of the divine mind; and all this upon his own free choice. Genesis 2:18-20. And even he was ye “lower than the angels.” Hebrews 2:7.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 309.2

    Surely such splendid intelligences as those were not held up by God for a bargain, for a “compact,” for a promise, upon condition and proviso that they would obey so that they could have life, and that “God promised them life only on condition of obedience!”MEDM September 25, 1907, page 309.3

    No, eternally, no! They already had life from the Author of life. They dwelt joyously in the very presence of Him who of himself was their life, and with whom is the Fountain of life. Deuteronomy 30:20; Psalm 36:9. They beheld the face of Him who is also the Fountain of light, and in whose light they saw light. And as they with open face thus beheld his glory they were changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Matthew 18:20; 2 Corinthians 3:18. Their life was from him; and since “righteousness and life go together,” their righteousness was from him. They lived, from him and by him and in him and with him; and they were righteous, from him, and by him, and in him. Thus their righteousness was the righteousness of God, and not of themselves; not their own righteousness which was of the law, but the righteousness of God which is by faith.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 309.4

    They knew no such things as “obey and live.” No; they lived. And they knew one to live from God and in God. They lived from him who was their life. They lived by him and in him and with him who is the Fountain of life. And in the very living thus, obedience was manifested in the very manifestation of the life and righteousness of God in them. It was not an obedience of outward compliance, nor of legalistic form. It was an obedience of the inspiration of the life and love of God; an obedience freely and unconsciously flowing from within because of the possession of the life and love and righteousness of God in the fulness of the possession of the holy Spirit of God.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 309.5

    I am not in any way either saying or intimating that Adam and the angels did not keep the law of God before they sinned. What I am saying is that not one of them ever did it in order to be righteous, nor in order to get life, nor to have life; not one of them ever promised to obey or keep the law in order that he might have righteousness, nor in order that he might have life for any other purpose, nor for any reason whatever; God never held them up on a bargain or agreement or any “condition” requiring of them a promise of obedience before they could have life.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 309.6

    The universe of God is not a universe of bondage, but of perfect freedom. It is not a universe of the works of the law, but of grace through faith by the promise of God alone and altogether and forever.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.1

    But why was the covenant at Sinai a covenant of bondage? Didn’t they promise to obey and keep his law,—the Ten Commandments?—Certainly.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.2

    And is not obedience to God in the keeping of his law a good thing?—Unquestionably.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.3

    Then wasn’t it a good thing that they promised?—Most assuredly.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.4

    Then what was the difficulty? Where was the fault?—The difficulty was not in the thing that they promised to do, but in their promise to do that thing. The covenant from Sinai is declared by the Scriptures to have been faulty; that it was faulty in the promises, and that the fault was found “with them.” Hebrews 8:7, 8. Yet all that they did was to promise that they would obey the voice of God and keep the Ten Commandments. Therefore by the plain word of the Scriptures it was a fault for the people at Sinai to promise to obey God’s voice and keep his law in order to have God be their God, and they to be his people. And this simply for the reason that they could not do it. It was, therefore, a fault for them to enter into a compact of “obey and live.”MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.5

    It will doubtless be said, “Of course, this was true of them because they were sinners; but it could not be true of angels and of Adam at the beginning of their existence and before they were sinners.”MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.6

    I say deliberately that it is a fault for any person in the universe, either angel or man, at the beginning of his existence or at any other time, to promise to obey the law of God in order that he may have life or righteousness, or for any other purpose or for any reason whatever. It is a fault for either angels or men ever to enter into any compact of “obey and live,” or to offer to God obedience as the satisfaction of a “condition” upon which “only” they can secure the promise of life. And this for the reason that under such “compact” and upon such “condition” their obedience and therefore their righteousness would be only of themselves and of the law. And self-righteousness is no more true righteousness, and no more acceptable to God in a heavenly angel than it is in an earthly Pharisee.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.7

    Why, the Lord Jesus himself, the Creator and Lord of all, the glory of God and the Light of the universe, when he came down to this world and took “the form of a servant,” could not manifest his own righteousness, righteousness of himself; but must “empty himself” and must “do nothing” of himself; and this in order that the righteousness of God might appear—the righteousness of God by faith. Philippians 2:5-7; John 5:30; 12:49; 14:10. And when the Lord of glory “in the form of a servant” could not do this, then no angel (all of whom in fact are but servants, Revelation 19:10; 22:9) could, or can, ever do it. And when the Lord of glory himself could not do it in “the form of a servant” on earth, no angel could ever do it in heaven.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.8

    What then?—Just this: The Lord of glory emptying himself, and doing nothing of himself, in order that not even his own righteousness should appear, but only the righteousness of God,—as the mighty and glorious “Leader” that he is, he has, in this, revealed the way, has set the pace, and has lifted the true standard, to all the universe, of the only way, to the only righteousness that can ever be acceptable to God—the righteousness of God alone; the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.9

    For when in truth did God give Christ, and give himself in him? When, in truth, did Christ offer himself? When did he “empty himself”? The answer is, “Before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20); before there was any creature, yea, even before there was any creation. Creation itself rests upon the grace of God who denies himself, who gives himself, who empties himself, who gives himself, who empties himself, for the life, the joy, and the good of his creatures. And the divine thing of emptying himself, that God might appear all in all, this divine thing that was done in truth before there was any creation, and that was done in very fact on the cross of Calvary—this divine thing it is, that is the only way of righteousness anywhere in the wide universe, or in eternity.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.10

    Righteousness, whether to men, to angels, to bright seraphim, or to exalted cherubim, comes not by obedience of their own. It comes only from the grace of God through the faith of Jesus Christ; never their own righteousness which is of the law, but always only “that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.11

    And in this word “faith” I mean not a mere theoretical notion, but “faith” in its only true meaning of the will submitted to him, the heart yielded to him, and the affections fixed upon him. This only is faith; and this itself by the grace and gift of God. And this faith, of the will submitted to God through Christ, of the heart yielded to God in Christ, and the affections fixed upon God by Christ—this is the faith of angels as truly as of men. And by this faith and in this faith of the Lord Jesus, all the glad array of holy angels, bright seraphim, and beatified cherubim, as well as men, empty themselves of all thought of self, of all thought of any righteousness of self or of law, and receive the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, through his boundless grace.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.12

    And “obey?”—Of course they obey. But the obedience is not an outward compliance, or of law; but the inward, free-flowing service of love, which is the only true obedience in heaven or earth. And in this obedience, of course, they live; for it is the very expression of the life and righteousness of God which is in them by the faith of Jesus Christ through the grace of God.MEDM September 25, 1907, page 310.13

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