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    July 8, 1886

    “Comments on Galatians 3. No. 1” The Signs of the Times, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    There is probably no portion of Scripture which is more commonly supposed to give “aid and comfort” to the enemies of the law of God, than the third chapter of Galatians. It is true that there are in this chapter, as in other parts of Paul’s writings, some things “hard to be understood,” but only the unlearned and unstable will wrest them to their own destruction. The student of the Bible may rest assured that the law of God stands fast forever and ever (Psalm 111:8), and cannot be overthrown. And he may also remember another thing: those texts which are the most depended upon by antinomians in their opposition to the law, will be found, after careful study, to be strong bulwarks in its support. No weapon formed against God’s law can prosper. “Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them forever.” Psalm 119:152.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.1

    There is not a point in the third chapter of Galatians that has not been explained in our study of other texts; therefore in our brief study of this chapter we shall only emphasize facts already established. The reader will recall our remarks in a previous article on the particular errors into which the Galatian brethren had fallen, and the object of the epistle to them. It will not be necessary to give more than an outline of the statements there made. Men had come from Judea saying to the young converts, “Except ye be circumcised.... ye cannot be saved.” This was teaching them that their salvation depended on their own works, and was directly contrary to Paul’s teaching, that works outside of Christ amount to nothing. Paul taught that sinners can obtain justification only by the grace of God, through faith in the blood of Christ; those Jews taught that circumcision was the true means of justification. It can readily be seen that the latter teaching was directly subversive of the former, and that the acceptance of it was equivalent to the rejection of Christ.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.2

    In harmony with the above idea are the opening words of the third chapter: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Christ and him crucified had been set forth among them, and Christ is “the truth.” Through faith in him they had begun the Christian life, and now they were in danger of turning from him and endeavoring to be “made perfect” by their own works. For such a proceeding they justly merited the epithet “foolish.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.3

    Abraham is next taken as the model for Christians. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Verse 6. Nothing else but his faith could be counted to him for righteousness, that is, for his past life; for any work that he could do could not take away a single sin. Abraham did works, as it is written, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:5); but these works were done only through his faith. Works are necessary, but they are of no avail outside of Christ. Paul says:-SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.4

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.5

    The patriarch was justified by faith, and then by works his faith was made perfect, or shown to be genuine. James 2:22. Having shown that even Abraham was not justified before God by his own works, Paul shows that the promise is to none but the children of Abraham; and since the children of Abraham are those only who have the same faith that he had, only those that are of faith can receive the promise. These are his words:-SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.6

    “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Galatians 3:7-9.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.7

    Following this statement, the apostle emphasizes the fact that we can be justified only by faith, and not by works. He says:-SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.8

    “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Verse 10.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.9

    This verse is the cause of much stumbling, and is often wrested from its true meaning, but its explanation is simple, and is contained within the verse itself. It is written, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” These words are quoted from Deuteronomy 27:26, and Jeremiah 11:2-4, in both of which places they have unmistakable reference to the ten commandments. The law contains the whole duty of man, and the transgression of it brings death, and therefore the man who fails to obey it comes under the curse of God. But there is no man who has kept the law perfectly. Consequently if any are saved they must have recourse to something outside of the law; for the law cannot justify the sinner. Or, to use the words of Paul, “As many as are of the works of the law [that is, as many as depend upon the law], are under the curse.” They are “under the law;” condemned to death.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.10

    “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.” Verses 11, 12.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.11

    This is a repetition of the thought already presented, showing that no man can be just except through faith. It is parallel to Romans 10:4, 5. W.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.12

    “The Doctors Disagree” The Signs of the Times, 12, 26.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Baptist Flag has been publishing some articles by one Dr. Dobbs, who claims that the ten commandments are not moral, and are not to be obeyed by Christians. This has called out an emphatic protest from Rev. W. A. Jarrel, author of “Old Testament Ethics Vindicated,” who writes to the editor of the Flag as follows:-SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.13

    “Permit me to enter my emphatic protest against the position of Dr. C. E. W. Dobbs that the ten Commandments are not the moral law, and that the Sabbath of to-day, is not the same Sabbath which was ordained in Eden, but now put upon the first day.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.14

    “Dr. Dobbs’ position, while intended to meet Seventh Dayists, only plays into their hands. Besides, it positively contradicts the Baptist position, and is Campbellism. Campbellites argue as he does, while Baptists say of the Sabbath: it “is a positive, moral and perpetual commandment binding on all men.... to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection was changed into the first day of the week,” etc.-London Conference of 1689, chapter 22. The Scriptures are fearfully tortured into the support of Brothers Dobbs’ and Smith’s position. Had it not been to refute Seventh Dayists, no one would ever have dreamed of sawing off the limb we are all sitting on.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.15

    “Whenever I cannot refute heresy without destroying the Ten Commandments, I will, as the lesser of two evils, become the heretic. I have had much to do with debating with Seventh Dayists, and well know they are successfully met only by the old Baptist position, in the above quoted confession. I have not now time to give my reason. But if, when I get some work off my hands, the Flag will give the room for a series of articles, I will do so.”SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.16

    Good! We hope Mr. Jarrell will cling to his determination never to attempt to refuse heresy by the ten commandments, and to accept any “heresy” that cannot be overthrown except by destroying them. We heartily thank him for his noble stand for the commandments of God, and for rebuking his brethren in the church who would treat them with contempt. But we are anxious to know how he reconciles this acceptance of the ten commandments with his observance of Sunday. We know him to be a gentleman and a scholar, one who does not believe in “torturing” Scripture into the support of any theory, and is to wise to saw off the limb on which he sits. He is, moreover, a direct and forcible writer, and therefore whenever his work will allow him to write an article showing how first-day observance can be reconciled with the belief that the fourth commandment is a “Moral and perpetual commandment, binding on all men,” we will gladly give it a place in the SIGNS. We hope to hear from him soon. Meanwhile let it be noted that scarcely any two leading first-day writers are agreed as to the authority for Sunday-keeping.SITI July 8, 1886, page 406.17

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