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    June 16, 1890

    “Unrighteous Judgment, Self-Condemnation” The Signs of the Times, 16, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The epistle to the Romans is like a grand epic poem, in which the author gives in a few lines at the beginning an outline of the whole subject, and then proceeds to develop it. In the salutation and introduction, comprising the first seventeen verses of the first chapter, the apostle has given the whole gospel in a nutshell. From the statement that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, he naturally proceeds to show, in the remainder of the chapter, the necessity for the plan of salvation. This he does by portraying the deep darkness of the heathen world. In this arraignment the Jews would most heartily acquiesce; and the Gentiles could not gainsay it, for it was corroborated by their own writers.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.4

    But while the professed worshiper of the true God is contemplating the awful wickedness of the heathen, feeling a sort of contemptuous pity for their blindness, and congratulating himself because of his superiority, his complaisant meditations are rudely broken by the abrupt charge of the apostle:-SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.5

    “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:1-4.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.6

    “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest.” What a wonderful antidote to pride this would be if it were only borne in mind! The apostle has shown (see chap. 1:19-21); that the heathen are without excuse, and now he extends the same remark to all mankind. If the heathen are without excuse, how much less excuse can there be for those who are sufficiently enlightened to sit in judgment upon the abominable practices of idolaters? Why does the mere fact of condemning the wicked practices of the heathen show a person to be without excuse?-Because he shows that he knows better than to do such things, and yet he himself does those very things. Let us see if this last charge can be sustained.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.7

    That all people in the world stand in the same condemnation before God is difficult for many to believe, because they see such a great difference in men. But it must be remembered that it is not charged that all are equally guilty, but that all are in the same condemnation. It must be remembered, also, that men can look only upon the outward appearance, while God looks upon the heart. Now the inspired word says:-SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.8

    “The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” Psalm 33:13-15.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.9

    This does not mean that God is responsible for all the wickedness that is in the earth, nor that he has made the hearts of men all alike evil; but it does mean that human nature is the same everywhere. The natural impulses of the heart are just the same in America that they are in darkest Africa. It is a truth of Scripture that “all men are created equal.” The differences in men are due solely to surroundings and education.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.10

    Moreover, we have the testimony of Scripture that the same evils are common to all. Christ said: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” Mark 7:21, 22. Compare this list with that enumerated by the apostle in Romans 1:29-31, and it will be seen that the vices of the heathen are simply those which spring from unregenerate human nature. Compare, also, “the works of the flesh,” mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.11

    Let no one charge the existence of these evils upon God, because it is stated that he fashioneth all hearts alike. “God made man upright;” it is man that is responsible for the evil. God made all men with capabilities for the highest good or the greatest evil, and man has corrupted his own way. It is man that treasures up to himself wrath; and in the day of wrath the sinner will receive only the wages that he has earned. The fact that the evil comes from the man, and that goodness comes from God, will appear more fully in the next article. Notwithstanding the evil that is in the world, God’s goodness and justice are unimpeachable.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.12

    The law of God is spiritual; it deals with finer things than gross acts. “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and morrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. Therefore, as our Lord showed in the sermon on the mount, the law may be transgressed by a thought. “The thought of foolishness is sin. So the man who meditates murder, or who cherishes hateful, revengeful thoughts, is guilty of murder just as surely as the man who strikes down his fellow with the assassin’s knife. The comparative degree of guilt can be determined by God alone.SITI June 16, 1890, page 343.13

    From this standpoint there is not much chance for anybody to boast. Every man is guilty, and every time a man condemns any wrong in another, he shows the inexcusability of his own guilt. Infidels, and non-professors generally, often take delight in pointing out the follies and short-comings of professed Christians, forgetting that they are thereby passing severe condemnation on themselves; for they show that they well know what a person ought to do, and yet they do not do it.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.1

    But there is another practical thought to be considered in this connection. It is contained in the words of Christ: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1, 2. That the word “judge” is here used in the sense of “condemn” is evident from the parallel record in Luke 6:37. This shows not only that those who judge others condemn themselves, as stated by Paul, but also that those who do not condemn others will not be condemned. Harsh judgment always comes from an evil heart. From the scriptures before us we are warranted in saying that when a man sits in judgment upon another, it is evidence that he himself is to some degree guilty of the same sin. The guilty soul loves to proclaim the guilt of another, that he may divert attention from his own. Let gossips and scandal-mongers make a note of this. Let not those who are ever ready to pronounce indignant sentence against evil think that they can thereby escape the righteous judgment of God.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.2

    In this connection we should also read James 4:11, 12: “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law; but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; who art thou that judgest another?” This puts in a most forcible light the evil of judging and condemning. To do this is to put one’s self in the place of God. God is the only lawgiver, therefore he alone has a right to judge.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.3

    Not only do we assume the authority of God, when we pass condemnation upon others, but we judge the law, and thereby put ourselves above God. How do we condemn the law?-In this way: The law is the standard of right and wrong; it alone, or its Maker, has the right to condemn. But when we condemn, we declare ourselves the standard, thereby judging the law to be wrong; for when we do not leave condemnation to the law, we virtually proclaim that it is not to be trusted. And since we are evil, and our judgment faulty, our condemnation is according to a faulty standard. Thus we in reality speak gross evil of the law by implying that it is inferior to our poor judgment.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.4

    It should be a caution to us, also, against judging our brethren, to know that in so doing we are working in the same line with Satan. He was cast out of heaven as the accuser of the brethren, “which accused them before our God day and night.” Revelation 12:10. Really, it is no small thing to pass condemnation upon others; it is nothing less than partaking of the spirit of antichrist.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.5

    This does not mean that we are not to exercise our judgment as to what is right and what is wrong. The law of God is given to us for the purpose of enlightening our minds on this very point. But we are to decide for ourselves and not for others. A lesson should be learned from the Master, who, while he hated sin as man never hated it, could say to the sinful one whom guilty man would condemn. “Neither do I condemn thee.” They who do not condemn will not be condemned, because it is only the souls that are filled with the Spirit of the Master, who will not be condemned, and such ones have first been filled with so great a sense of their own unworthiness that they thought themselves the chief of sinners; and the constant sense of God’s mercy-unmerited favor-to them depends on the acknowledgment of their own fallibility. E. J. W.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.6

    “The Sabbath-School. Trust in Our Heavenly Father. Luke 12:22-34” The Signs of the Times, 16, 23.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Notes on the International Lesson.
    (June 22; Luke 12:22-34.)

    “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for your body, what ye shall put on.” Verse 22. The “therefore” implies a reason based on what has gone before. Why take no thought for these things?-Because “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” It is evident that the most anxious thought should be bestowed on that which constitutes the chief part of life, and that excludes the things that are merely physical. When Jesus said, “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life” (John 3:36), he showed that he who lives only in this short life does not live at all. He knows nothing of life. Only the immortal life is worthy of being called life. It alone is life indeed. When one looks at the matter in this light, it is easy to see that food and raiment are very small items in life.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.7

    “Take no thought.” This gives no encouragement to improvidence and laziness. One part of the Bible does not cross another part, and the apostle Paul says that “if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8. See also 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Dr. Marvin R. Vincent, in “Word Studies in the New Testament,” says of the word rendered “thought,” that, being derived from a word meaning part, it “was explained accordingly as a dividing care, distracting the heart from the true object of life. This has been abandoned, however, and the word is placed in a group which carries the common notion of carnal thoughtfulness. It may include the idea of worry and anxiety, and may emphasize these, but not necessarily.” He cites as instances of the use of the word in the sense of the laudable care, 1 Corinthians 7:32; 12:25; Philippians 2:20, where the sense of worry would evidently be out of place. He then adds:-SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.8

    “In other cases that idea is prominent, as, ‘the care of this world,’ which chokes the good seed. Matthew 13:22; compare Luke 8:14. Of Martha: ‘Thou art careful.’ Luke 10:41. Take thought, in this passage [Luke 12:22; Matthew 6:25], was a truthful rendering when the A.V. was made, since thought was then used as equivalent to anxiety or solicitude. So Shakespeare (‘Hamlet’):SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.9

    ‘The native hue of revolution
    Is sickled o’er with the pale cast of thought.’
    SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.10

    And Bacon (Henry VII.): ‘Hawis, an old man of London, was put in trouble, and died with thought and anguish.’ Somer’s ‘tracts’ (in Queen Elizabeth’s reign): ‘Queen Catherine Parr died rather of thought.’ The word has entirely lost this meaning.... It is uneasiness and worry about the future which our Lord condemns here, and therefore the Revision rightly translates, be not anxious.”SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.11

    “Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have store-house nor barn; and God feedeth them; how much more are ye better than the fowls?” Here, again, the Lord, while chiding worry and useless anxiety, and teaching implicit trust in God, uses an illustration which precludes the idea of idly waiting for something to turn up. The birds do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns, as did the rich man who trusted in his possessions and forgot God, yet God feedeth them, while his anxiety profited him nothing. But God does not feed the birds while they sit on a limb of a tree with open mouths waiting for him to bring the food along. The psalmist, in praising God for his wonderful care for the dumb creatures, says of them: “These all wait upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather.” Psalm 104:27, 28. They gather what God provides for them, and are content with that which suffices for the present. Since men are of far greater value than the birds, there is every reason to think that God will take far greater care of them than of the birds. Therefore men have far less cause for anxious care and worry than the birds have. If God does not forget the birds, how much more will he not remember man, whom he has made in his own image? The fact that Christ commended us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is proof that God designs for to give us each day the food that is necessary for that day.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.12

    In the same line, but stronger, is the reference to the flowers. Jesus said: “Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to-day in the field, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” The clause, “Which is to-day in the field,” is better as in the Revised Version: “The grass in the field which to-day is.” That is, the grass in the field which to-day lives, and to-morrow is destroyed.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.13

    There is nothing more frail than the flowers of the field; and upon nothing else has God lavished a greater wealth of beauty. In the early spring the California plains are fairly dazzling with the brightness of myriads of flowers of different variety; yet in one day I have seen a plot of flowers so trodden down by men and cattle that no one would imagine that a flower had ever bloomed on the spot. What should we learn from this?-The infinite wealth of the resources of God. He can afford to clothe nature lavishly. And since it is in creation that the power and divinity of God are made known to us (Romans 1:20), he designs that from this we should learn to trust him. We may thank God for the birds and the flowers; not simply because they please our senses, but because they are object lessons of God’s tenderness. He who does not look at them in this light, does not derive from them half the comfort that he ought.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.14

    “Beneath His watchful eye,
    His saints securely dwell;
    That hand which bears all nature up
    Shall guard his children well.”
    SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.15

    From all this, the practical, common-sense question is asked, “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?” This is in effect, “Do not worry about that which you cannot affect.” All the worrying in the world never accomplished a single thing; how foolish, then, to indulge in it, especially since it is an implied denial of God’s care for us.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.16

    “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good-pleasure to give you the kingdom.” That is the one thing of worth. “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” How foolish, then, for men to waste valuable time worrying about that which is but for a moment, and neglect that which is for eternity. Yet the worldling is far wiser than the professed Christian who plans chiefly for this world. The former has not had his eyes opened to see the world to come, and he plans as far ahead as he sees; but the latter has had opened before him an eternal inheritance, yet he plans only for the present. Truly, the children of this world are wiser in their generations than the children of light.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.17

    But although the kingdom of God is the one thing of worth, we are not to have anxious care and worry even for that. We are to seek it, yet with loving trust in the heavenly Father, who provides everything. We are commanded to “fear not,” because it is his good-pleasure to give the kingdom. And right here, to strengthen this assurance, comes in God’s care for us in this present life. Surely he who cares so kindly for our temporal wants, will not neglect the greatest of all. Thus even the lilies become to us a pledge of God’s love, and of his faithfulness to give us eternal riches; for the lilies are a pledge that God will care for our temporal wants far more than for theirs; and if he will do that which is least, he surely will do that which is greatest. And so we can say, with the psalmist, “For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands.” E. J. W.SITI June 16, 1890, page 359.18

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