Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "undefined".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    September 16, 1886

    “In the Law” The Signs of the Times, 12, 36.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The expression, “under the law,” occurs twelve times in King Jame’s version of the New Testament, in the following verses: Romans 3:19; 6:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 9:20 (three times), 21; Galatians 3:23 (the equivalent expression “under a schoolmaster,” is found also, in verse 24); 4:4, 5, 21; 5:18. In previous articles we have considered all these instances of the use of the term, except Romans 3:19, and 1 Corinthians 9:20, 21. In every case thus far we have found that it indicates a state of sin, and consequently of condemnation by the law. The one who has violated the law is under sentence of death, and so the law is represented as being upon him, holding him down to death.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.1

    Now in Romans 3:19, a different thought is presented to one who reads the text carefully. We will read it: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” On reading this some one will say, “Your idea that ‘under the law’ means condemned by the law certainly cannot hold here, for that would make the text of no force; it would be the same as saying, ‘What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are condemned by the law, in order that every one may be condemned,’ and that would be nonsense.” The point is well taken, and we should have to conclude that the term “under the law” does not always indicate a state of sin and condemnation, if it were not for the fact that the expression does not really occur in Romans 3:19 at all. In all the texts which we have heretofore considered, the Greek words which are rendered “under the law” are, hupo nomon, which should be rendered, as they invariably are, by the phrase “under the law.” But in Romans 3:19 the Greek words which in King James’s version are rendered “under the law” are, en to nomo, which cannot properly be translated in any other way than “in the law.” The same expression is found in the Greek of Romans 2:12, where the translators have correctly rendered it “in the law.”SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.2

    The text under consideration should therefore read thus: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are in the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before [margin, subject to the judgment of] God.” That is, the law speaks to those who are within its jurisdiction, or, as Professor Boise renders it, “within its sphere,” and as a consequence it declares that all the world are subject to the judgment of God, because it shows that all are sinners.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.3

    The expression, “that every mouth may be stopped,” is very forcible. When a man is brought into court, and charged with any crime, he begins, through his counsel, to plead his own cause, and to try to establish his innocence. But sometimes the evidence of a man’s guilt is so overwhelmingly clear that he has no defense to make; his mouth is stopped, and he is forced to acknowledge the justness of the charge against him. So the law of God speaks to those over whom it has jurisdiction, and charges them with sin; and the evidence is so clear that no one can speak a word in self-defense, but all the world stand condemned before God.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.4

    By this rendering of Romans 3:19, and it is the correct one, we are taught an important truth concerning the extent of the law’s jurisdiction. Note these points: The law speaks only to those who are within its sphere; if any such have violated it, it condemns them, and it can condemn no others. The law has no power to condemn any who do not owe allegiance to it, or who are outside its pale. Now Paul has shown (Romans 3:9-18) that there is not a person on earth who has not sinned, and he therefore emphatically declares that the law, speaking only to those within its jurisdiction, stops every mouth, and condemns the whole world. There could be no more forcible way of saying that every individual in the world is amenable to the law of God. Jews and Gentiles are all in the same condemnation, because they are all within the pale of the law, and have all violated it.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.5

    Perhaps some may think that this makes a contradiction between Romans 3:19 and Romans 2:12, but there is none. It is true that Romans 2:12 speaks of those “without law” as distinct from those “in the law;” but those who are spoken of as without law, are also spoken of as having sinned, and we have already learned (1) That “sin is the transgression of the law,” and that “where no law is there is no transgression,” and (2) that Paul, in verses 14, 15, shows that these same ones who are in one sense without law, “show the work of the law written in their hearts,” and that they therefore do have the law. Some sin in the face of the full light of the law, while others sin against only that knowledge of the law which they have by nature; but all are counted as sinners in God’s sight, and they could not be so reckoned if they were not amenable to the law; hence he declares that all are in reality “in the law.”SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.6

    Let us now read 1 Corinthians 9:20, 21: “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them that are without law.” In this text the term, “under the law,” occurs four times. In the first three instances, reference to the same thing is made in each case. In the fourth instance, however, in verse 21, the Greek is en to nomo, as in Romans 3:19, and should be rendered “in the law.” Then the verse would read, “To them that are without law [I became] as without law, (being not without law, but in the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.”SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.7

    In order to get the full force of this text, we must note the verse immediately preceding, and the two following: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” “To the weak become I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.” These verses, taken in connection with the 20th and 21st, show Paul’s meaning to be that in his ministerial work he sought to adapt himself, as far as possible, to the condition of those for whom he labored. He did not approach all men in the same manner, but adapted his teaching to the different classes of people whom he taught. He took every one upon his own ground.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.8

    To the Jews, he became as a Jew. This he could easily do, for he was himself a Jew, and knew all their habits and customs. The book of Hebrews is an instance of how he became as a Jew to the Jews. From their own history, their Scriptures, and their religion, he demonstrated the Messiahship of our Saviour, and also his whole work in connection with the plan of salvation.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.9

    To them that were under the law, he became as under the law, that he might gain them that were under the law. That is, he drew on his own experience as a sinner, that he might successfully labor for those who felt the condemnation of God’s law upon them in consequence of their sins. The seventh chapter of Romans is an instance of this. If Paul had not felt the terrible anguish which comes from the knowledge of an offended God, and the sense of impending doom, and the wondrous peace which comes from believing in Jesus, he could never have written a chapter so full of encouragement to the convicted sinner.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.10

    To them that were without law, that is, to the Gentiles who had not the written law, and the full knowledge of God, he became as without law, that he might gain them that were without the law. An instance of this is given in his dealing with the Athenians, Acts 17:22-31. He took them on their own ground, and from their own heathen worship, and their own heathen literature; he demonstrated to them the existence of a great Creator, and the certainty of a future general Judgment.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.11

    But while he became to them as without law, he says that he was in reality “not without law to God, but in the law to Christ.” That is, he all the time recognized his obligation to keep the whole law of God, and that Christ was to him the end of that law for righteousness,-he did all things only by the aid of Christ.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.12

    This closes up the consideration of the expression “under the law.” Taking out 1 Corinthians 9:21 and Romans 3:19, in which texts, as we have seen, the term does not really occur, we can arrive at this positive conclusion, that in every instance of its occurrence, “under the law” indicates a state of sin and condemnation. And since it is everywhere stated that only those who are in Christ are free from the condemnation of the law, and that all who are not in Christ and have not his Spirit, are under the law, the fact that the law is still in active operation is everywhere demonstrated. W.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.13

    “The End Near” The Signs of the Times, 12, 36.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “How do you explain the many passages in the New Testament that speak as if the end was close at hand? If the translators got the hang of those passages, those who first read them must have understood that the day of the Lord was at hand. Can it be that they spoke only of the persecutions shortly become? or did they think the interval between the persecutions and the advent shorter than it proved to be?SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.14

    1 Corinthians 7:29 seems to many to teach that the end was near; yet from verse 26, and from Dean Alford’s translation, I understand him [Paul] to mean that the time of trouble was near, and that he is not speaking of the end; but many texts, such as Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 1:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:14; Hebrews 10:34, 36, 37; 1 Peter 4:17; Revelation 1:1, 3, seem to teach those to whom they were written that the end would be in their day.” W. D. C.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.15

    1. As to the passages that speak of the coming of the Lord and the end of the world, we don’t explain them; we simply take them just as they read, and believe them. And we do not doubt but that the translators got the “hang” of those passages; in fact, we are glad to know that they got the correct idea of them, because we love the Lord and rejoice in the assurance that he is coming. We should be in a deplorable condition, indeed, if there were no passages in the Bible assuring us that the Lord is coming.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.16

    2. We cannot allow that the New Testament writers were deceived as to the coming of the Lord. If we could think that they were to the slightest degree mistaken on this point, we could not be sure that they were not mistaken on every point. We believe that the whole Bible was written by inspiration of God, that it is equally inspired, and all equally true. If they text seems to us doubtful, or difficult to be understood, we lay it to our own ignorance, and not to the ignorance of the holy men of God who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.17

    3. It is a fact that some of those to whom Paul wrote got the idea that the coming of the Lord was going to take place in their day. But they did not get it from Paul’s sermons or letters. There were some who were attempting to deceive the brethren by a pretended epistle from Paul (See 2 Thessalonians 1:3), and this led Paul to repeat what he had told them while he was with them,-that Christ would not come until after the Papacy had arisen, and had run its course of persecution and blasphemy. Certainly, then, we have no chance to be deceived, and suppose that the immediate coming of the Lord was preached in the first century; for although there are some passages which, taken alone, might seem to indicate that such was the case, we have the whole Bible, and are not obliged to take any one passage by itself. The Bible is one harmonious book. It was written by many men, but they all had the same Spirit, and so in every part it bears uniform testimony.SITI September 16, 1886, page 566.18

    4. 1 Corinthians 7:29 does not say that the Lord’s coming is at hand, and therefore we do not need to go to any commentary to find out that Paul was writing of the then “present distress.” So that passage, with other similar ones, doubtless refers to impending persecutions, and all were so understood by those to whom they were addressed. The instruction, however, which they contain is directly applicable to those who live when the coming of the Lord is close at hand.SITI September 16, 1886, page 567.1

    5. When the New Testament writers speak directly of the coming of the Lord, as in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10; Revelation 1:1, 3, we have no right to suppose that they had reference to persecutions, or to anything but the coming of the Lord. The two texts to which we have just referred may be taken as a sample of all. The first one reads thus: “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” This brings to view the coming of the Lord as the Christians hope. Death is nowhere set forth as the object of the Christian’s solicitude.The coming of the Lord is the blessed hope, the consummation of all things, and nothing else could be set before Christians of all ages to stimulate their energies.SITI September 16, 1886, page 567.2

    As to such texts as Revelation 1:1, 3: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; ... Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand;” or Revelation 22:20: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly;” they were literally true when written. The things which John wrote did begin shortly to come to pass. More than that, it could truly be said that the Lord’s coming was at hand. We must acknowledge this when we remember that the day of Pentecost was in “the last day” (See Acts 2:16-21), and that Paul wrote in the last days. Hebrews 1:1, 2. It was true then that the coming of the Lord was “at hand,” although not immediately at hand; it is a thousand fold more true now.SITI September 16, 1886, page 567.3

    6. Everything in the New Testament was spoken or written to individuals then living, and was applicable to them; but it is also applicable to us. Comprehensiveness is a characteristic of the words of inspiration. Yet many things have a more direct application to us than to them. Suppose that the Bible had been only partly written centuries ago, and that all reference to the mere coming of the Lord had been left to be written at the present time; what evidence would we have that it was a divine inspiration? If reference were made to certain signs already fulfilled, everybody would say that was conjecture. But the Saviour gave us ground for the firmest assurances of faith, when centuries ago he foretold his coming, and the signs which would indicate its nearness. The fact that those signs were then foretold, made it possible that any one who accepted the words of inspiration just as they are recorded, should be deceived. Let us, then, not spend time in “doubtful disputations,” but let us believe that “yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry;” and “let us holdfast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” W.SITI September 16, 1886, page 567.4

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents