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    September 5, 1905

    “Religious Liberty No. 4” The Watchman 14, 36 , pp. 571, 572.

    ATJ

    IT is not ourselves only, it is not the Lord’s side alone, that is to be considered. It is also the man himself. Read the next verse: “For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my word [which in the previous verse he has recognized his freedom to do] hath one that judgeth him.” Who is this “one” that judgeth him who believes not? It is not Christ, not is it God. For Christ, in whom God is manifest and who is “God with us,” plainly says that he judges him not. Who then is that “one”? Note it: the words that he spoke are the words of eternal life: “Thou hast the words of eternal life.” Whether by him as it is in the Bible, or by his true ambassador to-day, when that word is presented, eternal life is presented; because the word is the word of eternal life, bringing the life of God to every soul who receives it. That being the word of eternal life, whosoever rejects it, rejects eternal life. And when he chooses to reject eternal life in that he chooses eternal death. Then who judges him to death? Who puts him in the way of death? Only himself, by his own free choice.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.1

    There can be no other way of it. For when God holds forth to me the word and the way of life, and beseeches me by every possible consideration to receive eternal life; and against it all, I choose to exercise my freedom in rejecting that life, in so doing I do choose death. When life is gone, death is the only thing that remains. When eternal life is rejected, eternal death is chosen. And he who makes that choice, does himself put himself in the way of death. He himself judges himself worthy only of death.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.2

    And so says the Scripture. In the thirteenth chapter of Acts, when Paul and Silas had preached at Antioch, and the Gentiles besought that the same words might be preached to them the next Sabbath day, and almost the whole city came together the next Sabbath “to hear the word of God;” and the Jews, filled with envy, “contradicted and blasphemed,” then Paul and Silas waxed bold and said: “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Who judged those people unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Who judged those people unworthy of everlasting life?—Only themselves. How?—By persistently rejecting the word of God, which is the word of everlasting life, contradicting and blaspheming.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.3

    In yet anther scripture, Romans 1:16-19, this same story is told: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.4

    The Revised Version gives a stronger translation: “Who hold down the truth in unrighteousness.” The truth comes to them, but they refuse to accept it, they hold it down; again it comes to them, but they beat it back in unrighteousness. And the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold down, who beat back, the truth in unrighteousness.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.5

    You note that even then the wrath of God is not primarily against the men. The word does not say that his wrath is against ungodly and unrighteous men, but against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man. The eternal love of God is manifested to every unrighteous man. And every unrighteous man who will accept the word and gift of the love of God will be saved from all unrighteousness and all ungodliness. The wrath of God is against, and will smite, the ungodliness and unrighteousness of the man; but the man himself will be eternally saved.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.6

    The wrath of God is not against the man; but against the ungodliness and unrighteousness that is in the man. And when the man rejects the word of God’s salvation, that would save him from all ungodliness and unrighteousness, and so identifies himself with the ungodliness and unrighteousness that when the wrath of God smites that, it cannot miss the man because he has persistently identified himself with it, then only himself is responsible for that, and by his own confirmed choice.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.7

    Then when the finality comes, you know it is written to those on the left hand he says, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire”—prepared for you?—Oh no, not prepared for a single man that was ever in this world—“prepared for the devil and his angels.” Whosoever gets there, goes because he chooses to go there rather than to be with God in heaven. For when they do go there, they go to a place prepared for somebody else, not for them; and it is of their own free choice that they are there. They made the choice, and struck to it, and that is the only place where they can land. And when they find themselves there, they should be just as glad of it as when they made their choice.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 571.8

    Thus from the beginning to the end, from the creation of the first creature until the destruction of the last creature that shall ever exist, man is upon the foundation of absolute freedom; free to use his freedom in such way as he chooses. And through it all God presents himself in every possible way that even he can, to persuade the man to see and walk in the right way; to use his choice as he should. When against it all, the man uses his choice in the wrong way, he gets at last simply what he has chosen, and he himself is the only one responsible for it. And that is freedom, that is religious liberty.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 572.1

    Thus we have found that when Jesus came as the representative of God—presenting God again to the world—he presents religious liberty on the same foundation as in the beginning. A. T. JONES.SOWA September 5, 1905, page 572.2

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