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    October 21, 1886

    “The Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus” The Signs of the Times 12, 40, pp. 631, 632.

    “IF any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. As a new creature he lives a new life, a life of faith. “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” But it is a faith that works; for without works faith is dead. “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” James 2:14-18.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.1

    In Christ nothing avails but a new creation; he lives by faith; it is a faith that works, and the work is the keeping of the commandments of God. Thus saith the Scripture:—SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.2

    1. “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” Galatians 6:15.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.3

    2. “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.4

    3. “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” 1 Corinthians 7:19.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.5

    Again, it is “faith which worketh by love,” that avails; and “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:3. And “love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10. Therefore, in Christ Jesus the faith that avails is the faith that keeps the commandments of God, the faith that fulfills the law of God.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.6

    Once more: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. “Created in Christ Jesus,” is to be made a “new creature” in Christ Jesus. But we are created in him “unto good works,” and these good works are those which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. That is to say, God before ordained good works in which we should walk. But we have not walked in them. Now He creates us anew in Christ, so that we may walk in these good works in which before we failed to walk. These good works are the commandments, the law, of God. These commandments express the whole duty of man, but man has failed to do his duty; “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But now Christ is manifested to take away our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. We are made new creatures in Him, that in Him and by Him we may perform acceptable service, and do the duty, keep the commandments of God, which before we failed to do, and which, out of Christ, all must ever fail to do. For He Himself said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” This is according to that which we have before shown: “What the law could not do,” “God sending His own Son” did, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:3, 4.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.7

    Therefore, when the Third Angel’s Message calls, as it now does call, upon all men to “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus,” it simply calls all men to the performance of the whole duty of man—as he now exists. And when, under this message, we urge men to keep the commandments of God strictly according to the letter, we mean that they must keep these commandments strictly according to the Spirit, too. When we press upon all the obligation of keeping the commandments of God, it is always the obligation of keeping them the only way in which they can be kept, that is, by faith of Jesus Christ; it is always the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus; it is that all must be made perfect by His perfect righteousness; and that all our righteousness must be the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, and that righteousness witnessed by the law and the prophets.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.8

    This is strictly according to the teaching of Christ and the apostles. When the young man came to Jesus, asking, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus answered, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,” and cited the second table of the ten commandments. The young man replied: “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow me.” As the record says that Jesus “looking upon him loved him,” and as Jesus asked him to follow him, it is evident that the young man was a person of good intentions and honesty of purpose, and he undoubtedly supposed that he had really kept the commandments. But it is not our own estimate that is the standard of what constitutes obedience to the law; it is God’s estimate that is the standard. We might conform so strictly to the law that, according to our own estimate, we could see no point of failure; yet when our actions should be measured by God’s estimate, weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, we should be found utterly wanting.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.9

    It is not according as we see, but according as God sees, that the question of our keeping the commandments of God is to be decided. And as God sees it, it has been recorded; “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” No doubt the young man, when measured by his own standard, stood at the full stature of moral character. But God’s standard declares that he had “come short.” Even granting all the righteousness that the young man might claim by the keeping of the commandments alone, and there are yet many like him, yet to him and to all who, like him, expect righteousness by the law, the word of Christ is, “One thing thou lackest yet.” All such lack the justifying blood, they lack the sanctifying power of the perfect obedience of the Son of God. In short, they lack the faith of Jesus, and so must ever come short until, by accepting Christ, they attain to the righteousness of God which is by faith. It is in Christ alone that man can reach the full stature of moral character in the sight of God. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13. However hard a man may strive for righteousness by keeping the law, yet, until he accepts Christ and finds in Him the righteousness which is of God by faith, against him the word will ever stand, thou hast “come short of the glory of God,” “one thing thou lackest yet.” So we see then that Jesus taught that those who would be His disciples must keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.SITI October 21, 1886, page 631.10

    Again, in His sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:19, 20. Happily, we have the record of the best Pharisee that ever lived, and in his experience we have the inspired illustration of these words of Jesus. Says Paul of himself, “As touching the law, a Pharisee; ... touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Yet this was not enough; for as he says in another place, “I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified; but He that judgeth me is the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 4:4. So even though he might, so far as he could see, be blameless, yet that was not proof that he was justified; for it is God who judges; it is God’s standard of righteousness, and not our own, that we must meet, to be justified; and that standard is the righteousness of Christ, to which we can attain only by faith. So says Paul, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: ... and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Philippians 3:7-9. This is a righteousness which he had not when he was a Pharisee. This, then, is the righteousness which exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees; and this righteousness of faith we must have while doing and teaching the commandments. In his sermon on the mount, therefore, Christ positively taught the keeping of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.SITI October 21, 1886, page 632.1

    James says, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.... If ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well; but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said [margin, that law which said], Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now, if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.... What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? ... A man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” Thus James shows that the faith of Jesus is shown by works, and that these works are the doing of the law of God. He declares that we are not to have the faith of Jesus with respect of persons; and respect of persons he declares to be sin, the transgression of the law. We are not to have the faith of Jesus, therefore, with the conscious breaking of the commandments of God, even in a single point. In other words, James teaches as strongly as it is possible to teach, that those who have the faith of Jesus keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.SITI October 21, 1886, page 632.2

    John says, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?1 John 5:1-5. The beloved disciple therefore also teaches that Christianity, the love of God, is the keeping of the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.SITI October 21, 1886, page 632.3

    We have not the space and time would fail us to give all the scriptures even in the New Testament which teach the same thing. We shall close by simply saying that Christ said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do HIS [God’s] commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:13, 14. He also said, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ said, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments;” he also said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” The Third Angel’s Message, the last message from God that the world will ever hear, embodies in a single sentence these sayings of Christ: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” In the Third Angel’s Message is embodied the very gospel of Christ, wherein “is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16, 17. When the Third Angel’s Message shall be finished, then the mystery of God—the gospel—shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. And those who truly obey the Third Angel’s Message will get the victory over the beast and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, and will, at the last, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God; and without fault before the throne of God; and it all will be through “him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Unto him be glory and dominion forever and ever. J.SITI October 21, 1886, page 632.4

    “How Sin Is Condemned” The Signs of the Times 12, 40, p. 633.

    [CD-ROM Editor’s Note: This article has no initials tagged to it. However, it appears in the editorial columns. Both EJW and ATJ were co-editors of the Signs for this date. It is attributable to ATJ or EJW.]

    A CORRESPONDENT of the Congregationalist writes to that paper as follows:—SITI October 21, 1886, page 633.1

    “There is one thing which I cannot comprehend, and that is, why, if the New Departure doctrine of probation after this life is not true, it is not more distinctly condemned in the Scriptures.”SITI October 21, 1886, page 633.2

    We don’t propose to make to the comment on the doctrine of future probation, which many professed Christians have recently borrowed from the Papacy and Paganism, but to clear up the very common difficulty, which is implied in the above quotation. That is, the plea that a thing is our wrong unless the Bible distinctly names that thing in terms of condemnation. This is a grave error. The Bible condemns error in two ways. First, by prohibiting it in express terms. By this means we know that it is wrong to steal, to lie, break the Sabbath, etc. Second, by inculcating something which is directly the opposite of the objectionable thing. One of these ways is really no stronger way of condemning error than the other. If the Bible tells us that a certain thing is true, it by that means just this forcibly tells us that everything which in any way differs from the thing commended is wrong.SITI October 21, 1886, page 633.3

    Thus the Bible does not say in express terms that it is wrong to keep the first day of the week; but it plainly says: “Six days shalt thou labor and all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work.” The command to keep the Sabbath is a prohibition against keeping in the other day. And so we might go through the whole list. One thing, however will be notice by everyone who was carefully and conscientiously studies the Bible, and that is, that in reality both methods of teaching are used on almost every subject. While by the commendation of good all evil is condemned, it is a fact that there is no form of evil that is not in some place in the Bible distinctly condemned.SITI October 21, 1886, page 633.4

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