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    February 18, 1886

    “Jurisdiction of the Law. (Continued).” The Signs of the Times, 12, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Continued).

    While we have been making the claim and proving it, that the law of God covers every possible act or thought, and that no responsible being is outside of its jurisdiction, some one has been looking for the verse which says that the Gentiles do not have the law, but are a law unto themselves. Perhaps this is as good a time as any to consider that text. An answer to it will also involve the consideration of the question why the ten commandments, since they have such universal jurisdiction, were spoken from Mount Sinai only to the Jews. Let us now read the passage above referred to.SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.1

    “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.)” Romans 2:12-15.SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.2

    A brief examination of Paul’s argument in this chapter will be necessary in order to get a proper understanding of this text. It will be noticed that the 13th, 14th, and 15th verses are parenthetical, and are therefore secondary to the main argument. Therefore in stating the argument, we shall omit those three verses. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul has shown the terribly immoral condition of the heathen world; and in the second chapter he proceeds to show that whoever condemns the heathen, condemns himself; for all are guilty. God, he says, “will render to every man according to his deeds.” To those who patiently persevere in well-doing, he will render eternal life; but to those who are contentious, and do not obey the truth (see Psalm 119:142), he will render indignation and wrath. And these rewards of good or ill will be rendered to every man, whether he be Jew or Gentile. “For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.3

    In the first two chapters of Romans, the apostle brings out the fact which is plainly stated in the third, that “both Jews and Gentiles” are “under sin,” and that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” In the passage under consideration, he states that, as a consequence, all who do not repent shall suffer “the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds.” This will be done without regard to nationality; “for there is no respect of persons with God;” that is, it is not a man’s birth, but his character, that gives him favor with God. It is the doers of the law whom he justifies, whether they be Jews or Gentiles, and not those who, as did many of the Jews, hear the law, but do not obey. All who sin, whether with the law or without it, shall perish.SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.4

    In the 12th and 14th verses, we have the two classes brought to view-those who have the law, and those who have it not. There is no question but that the Jews had the law; they rested in it (Romans 2:17), and by breaking it dishonored God. Verses 23, 24. And the 14th verse tells us plainly that those not having the law are the Gentiles. Before considering their case, we must not fail to note the fact that both the Jews who had the law, and the Gentiles who had it not, had sinned. They were alike guilty before God. Romans 3:9, 10. Now “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4), and “where no law is, there is no transgression.” Romans 4:15. Therefore it is beyond controversy that both classes here mentioned had transgressed law, and more than that, had been conscious of the fact; for “sin is not imputed when there is no law.” So it is certain that the Gentiles had transgressed the law; yet the text says they had not the law, and that they “sinned without law.” How shall we explain this seeming contradiction? Let us see. Read again verses 14, 15:-SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.5

    “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.6

    When God made man in his own image, he made him upright. Ecclesiastes 7:29. Not alone in his physical form, but also in his moral nature, he was in the image of God. While Adam continued in this upright, sinless condition, the law of God was in his heart. We know this from Psalm 40:8, where David, speaking for the Messiah, says, “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” The existence of the law of God in the heart is manifested by the willingness to obey that law; and he who, as was the case with Christ, has the law perfectly formed within his heart, will render perfect obedience to the law. This was the case with our first parents in the garden of Eden.SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.7

    But man fell from his high estate; he sinned against God, and thus marred the perfect copy of the law which had existed in his heart. The tendency of sin is to multiply itself; like the tares sown among the good grain, it will grow without any attention. So the first sin prepared the way for many more, till at last nearly all the world became wholly given up to sin. In Hebrews 3:13, the apostle says that men become “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin;” that is, the more men sin, the less heinous does sin appear to them, until at last evil appears to be only good, and good evil, and they sin without the slightest compunction of conscience. This principle is something with which everybody is familiar. Now this progressive love of sin, and the indifference to it, is nothing else than the obliterating of the copy of the law which exists in a more or less perfect state in every heart. This work is not done instantaneously; it takes time for men to so completely obliterate the law from their hearts that they will feel no restraint. But when it is entirely gone, then man is in the condition in which he was just prior to the flood, when “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. So long, however, as any portion remains in the heart, the Spirit is enabled to strive with man, and, by means of that law, to convict of sin; and this whether the individual knows anything of the written revelation or not.SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.8

    Now the Gentiles did not have the law written on stone and in books, as did the Jews; they only had that portion which still remained unobliterated from their hearts. Of course the Jews, having much more light than the Gentiles had, were far more responsible. The former would necessarily be judged by the fullness of the law; for they could not plead ignorance of any portion of it. If they sinned, justice required that the condemnation of the law should be visited upon them in full measure. But the Gentiles could be judged only by the light that they had. Since they had not the written revelation, that, of course, would not be brought up against them. They knew, however, the difference, in many things, between right and wrong; and by this they are judged. Had they lived fully up to the light which they had by nature, they would have been counted as doers of the law; but since they did not, since their own conscience condemned them, they must suffer the consequences. The Jews, having the written law, are judged by the law; and the Gentiles, not having the written law, perish without being brought into Judgment by it.SITI February 18, 1886, page 103.9

    Perhaps this can be made plainer by illustration. The Jews had every one of the ten commandments in such shape that they could constantly be reminded of them, and know the extent of their claims. Now when they came into Judgment, it is no more than justice that the whole law should be held up before them, that the enormity of their guilt may be manifest. But here is a poor, ignorant barbarian, who, we will suppose, knew by the light of nature, only two precepts of the law,-that it is wrong to kill and to commit adultery. His knowledge of the sinfulness of those acts is shown by his trying to conceal the fact when he has done one or the other of them. His own conscience accuses him. Now it is not necessary, in order to convict him of sin, that the whole ten commandments be held up beside the record of his life. In the Judgment let the two precepts with which he was familiar be recalled to his mind. By these alone he stands condemned as a sinner; and since “the wages of sin is death,” he justly perishes, without ever having seen the written law. Thus we see that all men, whatever their condition, are amenable to, and are to be judged by, the law of God. When Paul says that the Gentiles have not the law, he means that they had not the written revelation, but not that they did not have some knowledge of right and wrong, as defined by the moral law. E. J. W.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.1

    (To be continued.)

    “What Is Faith?” The Signs of the Times, 12, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    This question presented itself very forcibly to our mind a few days ago, when we read in a religious paper the following quotation from an eminent minister: “Faith is the true anesthesis of the soul.” We do not propose to enter into a fine-spun theological discussion as to the exact definition of faith, but simply to cite a few instances of true faith, that we may see how the possession of it affects people.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.2

    Let us first get the meaning of the quotation. An anesthetic is something which is administered to produce insensibility, so that surgical operations may be performed without pain to the patient. Anesthesis is the state of insensibility which is produced by the administration of an anesthetic. The meaning of the quotation, then, is that faith is that condition in which the soul has no sensibility, no consciousness. That is, it is a state in which the individual feels perfectly secure, having no care for surrounding circumstances.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.3

    “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith is active; it is keenly alive to all the dangers that surround, yet is confident, because it has a clear perception of certain evidence. Take the case of Caleb and Joshua. When the ten spies brought back an evil report, and said, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we,” these two men said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:26-33. Was it because Caleb and Joshua did not understand the danger, that they were so confident? No; they had seen the walled cities, and the giants, before whom they were as grasshoppers. But they had faith in God. They said; “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; ... and the Lord is with us; fear them not.” Numbers 14:8, 9. This was true faith.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.4

    When David went forth to answer the challenge of Goliath, he knew that the giant had for forty days defied the army of Israel. He did not in the least underestimate the giant’s strength and skill. But he believed that the One who had delivered him in his encounters with the wild beasts of the forest, would help him now. So the stripling went boldly toward the giant, saying, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:45, 46. David knew the power of the giant; but he believed the evidence which he had received, that the Lord is stronger than all, and willing to help those who trust him. This was true faith.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.5

    But it is worthy of note, that although David said to Goliath, “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand,” he did not sit down and wait for the Lord to deliver the giant into his hands. He made use of the means which the Lord had provided, believing that the Lord would bless them.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.6

    Take the case of Paul on his sea-voyage to Rome. Among the two hundred and seventy-six souls on board the vessel, Paul alone was calm and unmoved amid the terrible tempest. Could it be that he was insensible to the danger? By no means. He had many times been on the sea, and he realized the danger of the situation better than any one else did. When the sailors thought the prospect was favorable, Paul had told them that the voyage would end disastrously. Acts 27:9-11. What was the source of his courage? Hear his words to the passengers and crew: “There shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Cæsar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Acts 27:22-25.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.7

    Paul’s belief in the promise of God, however, did not keep him from putting forth every possible effort for the safety of himself and his fellow passengers. He exhorted them to eat, that they might retain their strength, and he hindered the sailors from leaving the ship, declaring that if they should leave, the rest could not be saved. The sailors were needed on board the ship, to do all that they could towards managing it. It is worthy of note, also, that because these people were saved in answer to his prayers, Paul did not set up in the life-saving business, and advertise that he would deliver from shipwreck all sailors who would take him along to pray for them.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.8

    The definition which we quoted is incorrect, because anesthesis, indifference to danger, leads one to make no effort for self-preservation; and faith which is unaccompanied by works is no faith at all, for “faith without works is dead.” That which is dead has no existence.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.9

    Sometimes that which is called faith is only blindness or negligence. For instance, there are many professors who, no doubt, pray for their children, and who therefore have, as they think, faith that they will be saved. Yet they do nothing more than pray occasionally for the children, and leave them practically without restraint. Now is it a manifestation of faith for the parents to believe that their children will be saved? Not at all; for the “evidence” is all against such a result. “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame,” says the Bible. Self-deception and careless security are altogether different from faith.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.10

    Thousands have no thought but that they will enter Heaven at last. Under certain circumstances it is proper to have faith that we shall be saved; but if the conditions are not met, there is no ground even for hope. What are the conditions? “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,” says the Saviour. Again: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. We may believe in Christ after a manner, that is, we may believe that he is the Son of God; but unless our belief leads to obedience, it is not true faith in Christ, because Christ suffered for us in order “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.”SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.11

    “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 2:18. E. J. W.SITI February 18, 1886, page 104.12

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