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    June 18, 1891

    “The Gospel of God” The Present Truth 7, 13.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    In his introduction to the epistle to the Romans, Paul declares himself to be “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord,” and he throws in, by way of parenthesis, the statement that this gospel of God “He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy Scriptures.” These two verses bring out two points that are too often overlooked or denied, to which we wish to call attention.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.1

    First, the gospel is “the gospel of God, concerning His Son Jesus Christ.” It is not only a mistake, but a grievous error, and a grave charge against the goodness of God, to separate Him from the gospel. To make God the Father the hard, vindictive, unyielding Judge, who is moved to compassion only by the entreaties of the Son, is as grievous a sin as is that of the Catholics in making Christ the angry Judge, and the virgin Mary the one who interposes to shield sinners from his wrath. That God the Father has the deepest interest in the salvation of sinners, and is filled with tender love and pity for them, is proved by the following most familiar words of Jesus:-PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.2

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.3

    Here is shown the depth of God’s love for us. It was so great that He allowed his Son to die that we might live. So fully was God concerned in the gospel plan, that the beloved disciple, without designating whether He referred to the Father or the Son, said: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.” 1 John 3:16. “God did not selfishly send his Son to die. The Father was bound up in the Son, for they were one. The Father permitted the Son to come to earth to die, yea, He “delivered Him up for us all,” but in so doing He gave all that heaven had to bestow. Every sorrow and suffering that our Saviour bore for us pierced to an equal extent the great heart of God.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.4

    It is true that the apostle Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, speaks of the final destruction of them “that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8. But this simply shows the unity of the Father and the Son in the work. The Father and the Son are one. In every act and thought they are united. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” yet of Christ it is said that “He gave Himself for us.” Titus 2:14. And this agrees with the words of the prophet:-PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.5

    “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord; even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.6

    “The man whose name is The BRANCH,” is Jesus Christ. He sits upon His Father’s throne (Revelation 3:21) and both together are counseling for the peace of those who are enemies and alienated in their minds by wicked works. Still further, read those most expressive words of Paul, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. The humble birth, the life of poverty, and want, and temptation, and suffering, the agony in the garden, the reproaches and insults in the judgment-hall, and the cruel death upon the cross, were all manifestations of God’s good-will to men, and desire for peace among them.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.7

    And this gospel was preached from the very beginning. Abel believed it, and by his faith he “offered unto God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.” Hebrews 11:4. Noah believed it, and so “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Verse 7. Likewise “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Galatians 3:8. This was when Abraham had no child, and when there was no human possibility that he ever could have one, yet “he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.8

    So it was with the Israelites, the lineal descendants of Abraham. The apostle says, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them.” Hebrews 4:2. “Unto us as well as unto them!” That seems a strange way of putting the things, doesn’t it? If he were asserting that the Jews had the gospel, he would have said that the gospel was preached unto them as well as unto us. But that is not his point. He has already shown that the gospel was preached to them. They had it first, and rejected it, and now we are warned lest we, having the same privileges that they had, should “fall after the same example of unbelief.”PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.9

    This gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ for the deliverance of man from sin and death was promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures. Time would fail to enumerate the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and we can only sum them up in a few New Testament statements. Peter, speaking of the salvation of our souls, says: “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:10, 11.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.10

    Paul, when permitted to speak for himself before Agrippa, said: “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come; that Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22, 23. This does not mean that Christ should be the first person, in point of time, that should rise from the dead, for the prophets themselves raised the dead, and Christ raised many before his death; but it meant that he should be the first in eminence. He is the first-fruits of them that slept. Among all that shall rise from the dead He is first, because it was His resurrection that made it possible for any others to be raised from the dead.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.11

    Peter also declared to the people who were astonished at a notable miracle: “But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” Acts 3:16. And then he added, “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” Verse 24.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.12

    Not only did the prophets foretell of these days, but they enjoyed them, not simply in anticipation, but in reality. Jesus said to the Jews, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” John 8:56. And the prophet David said of the same day,-the day of salvation: “I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:21-24.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.13

    How could they rejoice in the day of salvation, and be saved by Christ’s blood, hundreds of years before it was shed? Because God’s promise made it real before it took place. He “quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Romans 4:17. A thing which God has promised is just as sure as though it had actually taken place. There was not the slightest possibility that Christ should not suffer, after he had once been promised; and that Christ should redeem men by his blood “was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” 1 Peter 1:20. Then, since He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, it follows, as a matter of course, that those who lived in the first year of the world could derive the same benefit from His sacrifice that we can. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.” “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” E. J. W.PTUK June 18, 1891, page 200.14

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