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    June 30, 1890

    “According to His Deeds. Romans 1:5, 6” The Signs of the Times, 16, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “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? But, after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” Romans 2:3-6.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.27

    The last two verses contain that to which we wish to call special attention, the others are quoted in order that the reader may get the connection. The truth that we wish to impress is very clearly expressed, yet it is very generally ignored. It is this, that they who at the last suffer the pains of the second death get no more than they have been working for, and they alone are responsible for it.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.28

    God takes no pleasure in the death of any. But sin when it is finished bringeth forth death, because sin cannot exist in the presence of the glory of God, and the time will surely come when the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waves cover the sea. For a little moment God has allowed sin to flaunt itself and develop its full measure of hideous deformity, but he will soon blot it from existence; and when sin is destroyed, those who have made sin a part of themselves, and are so permeated with it that it cannot be separated from them, must necessarily go with it.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.29

    But God calls on all men everywhere to repent. To all men comes the proclamation, “Be ye reconciled to God.” To all he says, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” No man can serve God and mammon at the same time. He must choose one or the other. But the freedom and power of choice are given to man, so that he need not serve Satan unless he wishes to. The service of God leads to life; but “the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.30

    Now when a man has the choice set before him, and he despises the riches of the goodness and forbearance and long-suffering of God, and deliberately chooses the service of Satan, who can say that when that man dies for his sin he does not get just what he bargained for? He gets simply his wages. Then who can charge God with injustice in punishing the ungodly with everlasting destruction? Whom do we call the unjust man-the one who pays the wages promised? Or the one who withholds them?-The latter of course. Now from the beginning it has been plainly set forth that the wages of sin is death. Paul says that the benighted heathen know that they who commit the crimes of which they are guilty, are worthy of death. Then when a man deliberately chooses that work, the wages of which has been so plainly declared to be death, all must see that to pay the wages promised is the only thing that is consistent with justice. God could not be just and at the same time withhold the wages promised to the worker of iniquity. Many will not admit this now; but at the last day every soul that perishes will acknowledge that it receives but its just due.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.31

    This is perhaps sufficient for this; but how is it with the righteous? Do they likewise get what they earn? The apostle declares that God will render to every man according to his deeds; and Christ himself declares, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. But while this is so, it must not be forgotten that eternal life is a gift. The reward of the righteous is put in direct contrast with that of the wicked. While the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It follows, therefore, that no man earns eternal life by his good deeds.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.32

    And yet eternal life is the reward of righteousness. Not of a certain number of righteous deeds, but of righteousness. And how does righteousness come?-Why, it is a gift, for Paul says: “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17. Now since righteousness itself is a gift, eternal life may be the reward of righteousness, and at the same time be a gift. And thus it is.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.33

    But how about being rewarded “according as his works shall be”? Does not that seem to indicate that individual works come into the account in rendering the reward?-No; not so that the individual works determine the person’s desert. From what do good works come?-From a good heart. Christ says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil.” Luke 6:45. Good works are simply the fruit of the Spirit of God, by which righteousness is created in the man. This simply shows that righteousness dwells within.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.34

    One thought more. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22. John the Baptist was called the prophet of the Highest, because he went before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways, “to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God.” Luke 1:77, 78. Thus we learn that it is through the mercy of God that any are saved. But mercy is that quality which treats an offender better than he deserves. No one deserves eternal life; no one can deserve it. After we have done all, we are still unprofitable servants; we have not by our righteousness added anything to the sum of righteousness, so that God should reward us for it. We have only let shine out the righteousness of God which has been given us through the grace of Christ. And so while God gives the sinners the wages which they have earned, and thus displays his strict regard for justice, he gives to the righteous eternal life, according to the righteousness which his mercy has bestowed on them. E. J. W.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.35

    “‘Now’” The Signs of the Times, 16, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A correspondent writes concerning the note on Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith,” in the Sabbath-school lesson for April 26, where it is stated that the word “now” is not an adverb, and has no reference to time. He says: “It seems to me that to take that view of it destroys the connection in which it stands, for the context certainly refers to a time in close connection with the second coming of Christ. While it is impossible for the just to live in any other way, only by faith, it seems to me there is a special sense in which the word ‘now’ may be rightly used in reference to time.”SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.36

    There is no question but that the word “now” may rightly be used with reference to time, for that is a very frequent use of it. But it is also frequently a conjunction. In the case under consideration it is not an adverb, but only a connective particle. Our correspondent says that “to take this view of it,” seems to destroy the connection. He does not seem to distinguish between a matter of interpretation and a matter of fact. To say that “now” in Hebrews 10:38 is not an adverb, is not to take a certain view of the text, but simply to state a fact. We could no more take another view of it than we could take another view of the sun than to say that it shines. To say that the word “live” in the same text is a verb and not an adjective, is not a matter of interpretation, but a fact.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.37

    It must be remembered that the word “now” is not a Greek word. The word which is rendered “now” in this instance is de, a conjunctive particle (not participle) which has no reference whatever to time, but is used to introduce an additional thought. The use of the word “now” to introduce a sentence is very common. “Now of the things which we have spoken” (Hebrews 8:1); “Now Barabbas was a robber” (John 18:40); “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly” (1 Timothy 4:1); “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1); “Now I say” (Galatians 4:1); “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples” (1 Corinthians 10:11); “Now it was not written for his sake alone” (Romans 4:23); “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made” (Galatians 3:16). Scores of similar instances might be given. The word is rendered “for” in Luke 23:17, and “but” in 1 Corinthians 7:29, where, as in Hebrews 10:38, the coming of Christ is mentioned in close connection. In this latter place it might as well be rendered “but” or “for” or “nevertheless.”SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.38

    It is impossible to regard “now” in this instance as an adverb of time, without concluding that there is a certain especial time when the just shall live by faith. To say, “Now [at this time] the just shall live by faith,” is to imply that at some previous time they did not live by faith; but that would not be true. It requires no more faith to live a just life at the present time than it did in the days of Moses or Enoch. Abraham had the righteousness of faith; and the highest position to which any Christian can attain, is to “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham.” This of itself is sufficient to settle the question concerning the force of the word “now,” even though a man knew nothing of grammar. Let us guard against the idea that we are so much better than the ancient worthies; that we have faith and works to a far greater degree than they; for in so doing we charge God with partiality, and run the risk of losing that which we have.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.39

    “The Righteousness which Is in the Law” The Signs of the Times, 16, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A friend sends us the following question, which we are glad to have the privilege of answering:-SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.40

    “What does the apostle mean by being blameless concerning the righteousness of the law, as we read in Philippians 3:6? Is not the righteousness which is in the law the righteousness of God?”SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.41

    The further question implied is, “Was not Paul therefore perfect before he came to Christ?” Let us see if this is what he meant to convey. To do this we will first recall to our minds a few principles concerning the law.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.42

    1. The law of God is righteousness. Psalm 119:172. It is the expression of God’s righteousness. Isaiah 51:6, 7. It is the expression of his will. Romans 2:17, 18. Being the standard of righteousness, anything that is unlike it is sin. 1 John 5:17. And since it is a transcript of God’s character, the perfect expression of his most perfect righteousness, it follows that nothing more can be required of a man than perfect obedience to it. Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. “It shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us,” said Moses. Deuteronomy 6:25. This is self-evident. If we should do the righteousness of God, we should make that righteousness our own. And since nothing more than obedience to the law, or conformity to God’s righteousness, can be required of any man, we can readily see that “the doers of the law shall be justified.” Romans 2:13.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.43

    2. But “there is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10. “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Verse 12. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Verse 23. Consequently, all are guilty before God. Verse 19. Now a good law cannot justify a wicked man. To justify means to make righteous, or to show that one is already righteous. But a righteous law cannot do this for a wicked man; for if it should say that he had done no wickedness, it would bear false witness, and thus show that it was not good itself; and it cannot take away his sin, so as to make him righteous. Therefore since “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:2), and since all men have broken the law, it is very evident, as Paul says, that “no man is justified by the law in the sight of God.” Galatians 3:11; Romans 3:20.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.44

    3. Further; not only has there been no man since the fall who has not broken the law, but there has not been a fallen being who in his natural condition, out of Christ, could by any possibility keep the law. Whoever reflects that the law is the complete expression of God’s perfect righteousness,-that it is a statement of his way-,will readily admit this statement; for what fallen man is so presumptuous as to claim that he can of himself do any act that is as good as though God himself had done it? But not to multiply words, we need only quote the positive declaration of Inspiration: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7, 8.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.45

    4. Yet there will be some who will be saved, because, like Enoch, they will have the testimony that they please God. Now how will they do this? How can they stand justified before God? Here is the problem to be solved: The law of God is the standard of righteousness; it is God’s righteousness. Whatever does not conform to that standard is sin, and is displeasing to God. None can be counted just except those whose lives conform to it. But there is no one whose life has perfectly conformed to it, and there is no man who can perfectly keep it. And yet there will be some righteous, even as thousands have been. How?SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.46

    5. The answer comes in the words of Paul. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” Romans 3:21, 22. A seeming paradox, yet exceedingly simple when we consider that in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and that therefore the law, which is the righteousness of God, is the righteousness of Christ. The law came from the Son as well as from the Father, for they are one. But grace, as well as truth, came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17. By his divine, creative power all things are given to us that pertain to life and godliness. He can and will, in response to our faith in his sacrifice, impart his own righteousness to us. For Paul continues: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 3:24, 25.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.47

    Let us talk familiarly about this for a moment. The law came from Christ as well as from the Father. It is his righteousness. Now the law has only condemnation for us, because we have broken it; but Christ is full of grace, and came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Herein is the wonderful, inexplainable love of Christ, that while the righteousness that is in the law is in him, yet while the law condemns sin, he, the originator of righteousness, will justify. So when the law cannot give us righteousness, we turn to Christ and get it; and this righteousness is such that the law will witness to its genuineness. It cannot be other than the genuine article, for we get it at the same place that the law gets its righteousness. This is righteousness put upon us and created in us.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.48

    6. This is the righteousness which Paul said that he wanted to have when Christ should appear. His anxiety and labor was, “That I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Philippians 3:8, 9. Now we have all the points necessary to an understanding of the sixth verse. Note particularly.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.49

    7. That the apostle says that the righteousness which is of the law, is his own righteousness. But Isaiah declares that “all our righteousnesses are filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6); and that which Paul calls “mine own righteousness” must be the same, for it is that which he did not dare be found having when Christ comes.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.50

    8. Now it was “touching the righteousness which is in the law,” or Paul’s “own righteousness,” that he was blameless. In other words, Paul was blameless from a human standpoint. So far as the natural man could discern, Paul was perfect. With this agree his statements elsewhere concerning himself. He said before Agrippa: “My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” Acts 26:4, 5. And again: “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Acts 23:1. When he, a Pharisee, though, like his brethren, that he could establish his own righteousness by the deeds of the law, he was scrupulous in the performance of duty as far as he understood it. He did no violence to his conscience. So far as any man could see, he kept the law perfectly. As Calvin says: “He was therefore in men’s judgment holy, and spotless from all legal blame. A rare praise, and almost singular; yet let us see how much he esteemed it.” He counted it loss. Why?-Because God sees not as man sees; man looks upon the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.51

    9. Note further that this righteousness which is in the law, touching which Paul said that he was blameless, is one of the things concerning which he says, “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:4. Ah! The righteousness which is in the law, touching which he was blameless, was simply that righteousness to which the flesh may attain. But by Paul himself it is said that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God;” “because the carnal (fleshly) mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” So then, actually, in its spiritual depth, Paul did not, before he knew Christ, keep the law at all. He was blameless in the eyes of the natural men, by whom spiritual things are not discerned; but compared with the true righteousness of Christ, his righteousness was a dead loss-a minus quantity.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.52

    So we find that while the law is the exponent of perfect righteousness, it has none at all to impart to sinners. The only righteousness that there is in it for an unrenewed man is an empty shell of dead works. Yet when the individual loses confidence in the flesh and its feeble attempts at righteousness, and comes to Christ, who is the source of righteousness, as he is the source of the law, that law will bear witness that the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, is the genuine righteousness of God. E. J. W.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.53

    “Notes on the International Lesson. Lawful Work on the Sabbath. Luke 13:10-17” The Signs of the Times, 16, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (July 6; Luke 13:10-17.)

    The story of the lesson may be told in few words. Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and saw a woman in the congregation, who through infirmity was bent so that she was forced to go in a stooping position. For eighteen years she had been thus afflicted. Jesus called her to him, and saying, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity,” he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. This miracle, instead of calling forth praise, only aroused anger in the heart of the ruler, who harshly told the people that if they wanted to be healed, to come on one of the six working-days, and no on the Sabbath. Jesus put his adversaries to shame by pointing out that this was an act of mercy, of far greater importance than the watering of stock, which they themselves would attend to on the Sabbath-day.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.54

    The title of the lesson suggests the statement that Jesus made on another occasion when he had performed a miracle of healing on the Sabbath. Said he, “It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath-days.” Matthew 12:12. This recognizes a law for the Sabbath, and that law is the fourth commandment. All that Jesus had done was in the direct line of his mission. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. The binding of the poor woman was one of the works of Satan, and in loosing her, Jesus was destroying Satan’s work. It is lawful to undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free on the Sabbath-day.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.55

    Inasmuch as the official lesson notes “the Sunday-sabbath” is made the subject of comment. It must receive attention here, although the lesson does not hint at any question as to which day is the Sabbath. We quote the following from “Peloubet’s Select Notes on the International Lessons“:-SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.56

    “Sunday is just as really the seventh day and the Sabbath-day as is the Saturday-Sabbath of the Jews. All the difference lies in beginning the count from a different point. Bush well says: ‘All that the commandment expressly requires is to observe a day of sacred rest after every six days of labor. The seventh day, indeed, is to be kept holy, but not a word is here said as to the point from which the reckoning is to begin. The seventh day is not so much the seventh according to any particular method of computing the septinary cycle, as in reference to the six working-days before mentioned; every seventh day in rotation after six days of labor.”SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.57

    That those who offer this excuse for not keeping the seventh day of the week do not regard it as valid is shown by the fact that they reject the Saturday-Sabbath. If their theory be true, then they must admit that Saturday is just as much the Sabbath as Sunday. This they will not do. Further, they would accuse a man of being a Sabbath-breaker if he paid no attention to either Sunday or Saturday, even though he rested regularly every Tuesday. This shows that they do not at all believe that the commandment requires simply one day in seven, and that it makes no difference where we begin to count.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.58

    If this theory were true, then it would follow that there is in reality no Sabbath-day; one day of the week would be the Sabbath just as much as any other day. But the commandment is not indefinite. It speaks of “the Sabbath-day,” literally, “the day of the Sabbath,” and says that “in it thou shalt not do any work.” Now what day is it in which no secular work is to be done? It is the seventh day that God blessed and sanctified after he had rested upon it. See Genesis 2:1-3.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.59

    Did the Lord rest on one particular day, or not? Or course he did. He could not rest on no day in particular. So there must have been a definite place from which to count. And that all men have always believed that there is a definite place from which to count, is shown by the fact that everywhere, in all countries, and in all ages, they have counted from the same place. Even those who argue that the Sabbath is any seventh day after six days of labor, agree with the rest of mankind in calling the day on which they rest, the first day of the week. How can a day be both the first and the seventh?SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.60

    But the folly of the idea that we can begin to count where we please, and so make the seventh day come just where we want it, and that the commandment warrants this course, may be shown by trying it on something else. Who would claim that if a man has seven sons you could make the first-born the seventh, simply by beginning with the last one and counting backwards? If a question of property were involved, would any court listen for a moment to such nonsense?-No; for no pettifogger would have the audacity to insult the court with so puerile a plea. But men will juggle with divine precepts in a way that would do discredit to the intelligence of a child.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.61

    The indignation of the ruler is an example of hypocrisy that is very common. It was not because he was so zealous for the Sabbath, for if he had been he would have known that in healing the woman, Jesus was fulfilling the highest design of the Sabbath; but he hated Jesus, and took this means to arouse the prejudices of the people against him. Religious prejudice is easily aroused, and is a bitter thing to have to meet; but, as in this case, it is almost always aroused where the individual has done no wrong. All the religious persecution that has ever disgraced humanity, whether by pagans or professed Christians, has been directed against those who were doing right, but who did not bow to the false standards set up by the persecutors.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.62

    The significance of the miracle of healing the deformed woman should not be overlooked. Jesus was anointed “to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” His miracles were done that men might know that he was the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, they might have life through his name. John 20:30, 31. When the woman whom Satan had bound in body for eighteen years was loosed from her infirmity, it was designed as a striking object-lesson, illustrating his power to release men from the bondage of sin, in which Satan has held them for years. His compassion for the woman in her infirmity should cause us to come to him with boldness, because he is touched with the feeling of our spiritual infirmities. E. J. W.SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.63

    “A Timely Reminder” The Signs of the Times, 16, 25.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We have made a little comment in another item, on the word “now” in Hebrews 10:38, showing that the text does not mean that the just shall live by faith at one time more than another. But while this is so, we would not be understood as claiming that there is not special significance in the fact that the statement, “The just shall live by faith,” occurs in close connection with the announcement of Christ’s soon coming. The Scripture has foretold that just before the end the attention of the world would be called in an especial manner to the law of God, and to the necessity for observing it intelligently as a whole; and the warning against rejecting the commandment of God is the burden of the message of warning is now being given. Thousands have heeded it, and have acknowledged their obligation to keep the whole law of God. And now comes the great danger, for wherever there is great light there is also great danger. The danger in this case is that those who have seen their error in neglecting important duties, will, like the Jews of old, make their boast in the law, instead of in Christ. Filled with delight at the wondrous beauty of the law, many are led unconsciously to truth in their own works for salvation. The tendency of the human mind is to go to extremes, and in matters of religion Satan is always ready to help them along. When there is a revival on one point, the tendency is to lose sight of everything else. So the apostle reminds us in these days that the just shall live by faith, and not by works. He would not have us forget in our zeal for the law, that the only real obedience is “the obedience of faith.”SITI June 30, 1890, page 375.64

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