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    April 17, 1893

    “The Life of the Word” The Signs of the Times, 19, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The life of the word is the life of God, for it is God breathed, and the breath of God is life. Its life and power are thus attested: “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12, Revised Version. The Saviour, also said of the words of God, “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. Let us see what gives the word its life.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.7

    The thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy follows the account of the curses for disobedience to the law, and the blessings for obedience. In it the people are again admonished to keep the law, and are told what the Lord will do for them, even after they have been disobedient if they will repent. Then Moses continues: “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” Verses 11-14.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.8

    Now compare carefully with this passage the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 10:6-10: “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.9

    The careful reader will readily see that this latter passage is a quotation of the former, with additions in parentheses. These additions are comments made by the Holy Spirit. They tell us just what Moses meant by the word “commandment.” Or, rather, since the Holy Spirit itself dictated the language in each case, it, the latter passage it has made more clear what it meant in the first instance. Notice that bringing the commandment down from heaven is shown to be the same as bringing Christ down from above, and that to bring the commandment from the deep is the same as to bring Christ up from the dead.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.10

    What is shown by this?-Nothing more nor less than that the commandment, the law, or the entire word of the Lord, is identical with Christ. Do not misunderstand. It is not meant that Christ is nothing more than the letters and words and sentences that we read in the Bible. Far from it. The fact is that whoever reads the Bible, and finds nothing but mere words, such as he may find in any other book, does not find the real word at all. What is meant is that the real word is not a dead letter, but is identical with Christ. Whoever finds the word indeed, finds Christ, and he who does not find Christ in the word, has not found the word of God.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.11

    The apostle Paul says that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. But he says also that Christ dwells in the heart by faith. Ephesians 3:17. So faith in the living word of God brings Christ into the heart. He is the life of the word.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.12

    This is also shown in the same chapter in which we find the statement made by Christ that the words which he spoke were Spirit and life. In the thirty-fifth verse of that chapter, we read, “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life.” Again, in the fifty-first verse, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” And again, “Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Then in the sixty-third verse he added, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” Here we find the plainest declaration that the word of God, received in faith, conveys Christ actually to the soul of man.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.13

    In the statement, “the flesh profiteth nothing,” we have the Romish “sacrifice of the mass” effectually undermined! Suppose that it were actually possible for the priest to perform the feat of turning the bread of the sacrament into the body of Christ; that would not amount to anything. If Christ himself had divided the actual flesh of his body, while on this earth, into portions large or small, and had given a piece to every man in the world, and each man had eaten his piece, that would not have affected the character of a single man in the world. Christ himself said that “the flesh profiteth nothing.” The only way that any man in the world can eat the flesh of Christ is to believe his word with all his heart. In that way he will receive Christ indeed, and thus it is that “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” for Christ is righteousness. And in this, the only way, any man in the world may eat the flesh of Christ, without the services of a priest or bishop.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.14

    This is a meager presentation of the theme, but who can do justice to it? No one can do more than take the simple statements of the Scriptures and meditate on them until the force of the fact begins to dawn on his mind. The fact that Christ is in the real word, that the life of the word is the life of Christ, is a most stupendous one. It is the mystery of the gospel. When we receive it as a fact, and appropriate it, then we shall know for ourselves the meaning of the words that man shall live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.SITI April 17, 1893, page 356.15

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