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    November 7, 1895

    “The Great Gift” The Signs of the Times, 21, 44.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Divine Arithmetic

    “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you,” says the apostle Peter, “according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” 2 Peter 1:2, 3.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.1

    Have we, then, all things that pertain to life and godliness? If we believe that, there isn’t the like of it anywhere in the world as to possession. It discounts everything. “All things that pertain unto life and godliness.” They are all ours.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.2

    I can claim it all, and know it is mine, and yet not rob you in the least. It is all yours too. Grace is not divided; it is multiplied, the apostle says. It is not, “Grace and peace be divided among you.” The Lord’s arithmetic is always in progressive ratio. Having his grace and righteousness, we may take for the multiplier just as many people as there are in the world, so that every one of us has the whole of it.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.3

    Not only so, but it is multiplied to every individual as well. How can anybody believe that and be gloomy, or despondent and discouraged? He has given to you by His power all things that pertain to life and godliness. If you believe that and always believe it, there will be steady progress in divine life.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.4

    Prayer with Thanksgiving

    All the time is the time to believe the Scriptures. But many professed Christians do not believe the Scriptures when they pray. They go to the place of prayer, and leave the promises behind. They go to the bank, and leave the check book at home, and then wonder that they get nothing. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.” Hebrews 11:6. His divine power hath given unto us all things, and they are ours to possess now.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.5

    He who believes that he has been given all things, righteousness and life, and holds to that belief, finds in it righteousness. This is our victory; for “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” The man who believes this word will never g... the Lord and be disappointed. All that he has to do is to take, and take, and keep taking.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.6

    By this we can understand what the apostle says, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6. But can a person who believes the word of God contain himself for thankfulness? It can not be otherwise than that thanksgiving will accompany every prayer of faith, and that which is not a prayer of faith is useless.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.7

    We have as good a title to life and godliness as the Lord Jesus Christ himself, because it is his by divine right, and he gives it to us. He has as good a right to give it to us as he has to possess it. Then we have as good a right as he has. No one can convey to another a better title than he himself has; but in this case the Lord has given us himself, and so we have his right and title.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.8

    We do not come to the Lord, then, in some uncertain, halting way, to ask for we know not what; not as the Samaritans, of whom Jesus said to the woman, “Ye worship ye know not what.” “We know what we worship.” Instead of coming to the Lord, and praying and going away without knowing that we have received anything, feeling as in a fog, we can walk in the sunlight all the time, thanking God in all of our petitions that he has given us all things, and finding strength in our knowledge of the fact.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.9

    But there are so many professed Christians who are always living in a fog bank. Clouds are always over them. They do not know whether they have anything or not, and are always talking about how needy and helpless they are. But it is a true and faithful saying that God’s divine power hath given us all things pertaining to life and godliness. Then take of the Lord’s free gift.SITI November 7, 1895, page 689.10

    Exceeding Great and Precious Promises

    The apostle Peter goes on from the words with which we began, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” O, the wonder of the promises of God. We take the promises and by them become partakers of the divine nature. All we have to do to be partakers of the divine nature, is to believe that he has given it to us.SITI November 7, 1895, page 690.1

    How can there be any dull thankless prayers? How can there be any half-hearted, lifeless testimonies? Every heart that believes must sing for joy, for this same apostle says that, believing, we “rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” We have been groping in darkness, wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and he comes to us with all things, and says: “All are yours. Take them. Buy without money.” It is because the things that he gives can not be purchased with money. They have been bought by the precious blood of Christ.SITI November 7, 1895, page 690.2

    “Unto you that believe he is precious,” because his promises are precious. All the promises of God are in him; and so by believing his promises we are simply laying hold upon Christ. Christ dwells in the word. “Christ liveth in me,” is the cry of the believer. There is power in that to put the devil to flight. Maintain it in the face of the enemy, and that Name that is above every name,—that Power that has spoiled principalities and powers,—dwelling in you will accomplish the same thing for you that it did before in the world. That is resisting the devil steadfast in the faith; and when we resist, he flees. E. J. W.SITI November 7, 1895, page 690.3

    “Studies in Romans. The Righteousness of God” The Signs of the Times, 21, 44.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The two lessons that we have already had, have covered the introduction to the main body of the epistle. The first seven verses are the salutation, the next eight treat of personal matters concerning the apostle and the brethren in Rome, the fifteenth verse being the link which unites the introduction to the directly doctrinal portion of the epistle. Let the reader note carefully the verses referred to, and he will readily see that this is not an arbitrary division, but that it plainly appears. If in reading any chapter, one will note the different topics touched upon, and the change from one subject to another, he will be surprised to find how much easier it is to grasp the contents of the chapter, and to hold them in mind. The reason why so many people find it difficult to recall what they read in the Bible, is that they try to remember it in bulk, without giving special thought to the details.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.1

    In expressing his desire to meet with the Roman brethren, the apostle declared himself to be debtor to both Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise, and therefore ready to preach the Gospel even in Rome, the capital of the world. The fifteenth verse, and the expression, “preach the Gospel,” give the keynote to the whole of the epistle, for the apostle glides from this naturally into his theme. Accordingly, we have nextSITI November 7, 1895, page 691.2

    The Gospel Defined. Romans 1:16, 17

    “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.3

    Questions on the Text

    What had the apostle declared himself ready to do?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.4

    “I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome.” Verse 15.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.5

    Of what was he not ashamed?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.6

    “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.7

    Why was he not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.8

    “Because it is the power of God.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.9

    In what respect is it the power of God applied?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.10

    “It is the power of God unto salvation.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.11

    To whom is the Gospel the power of God unto salvation?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.12

    “To every one that believeth.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.13

    In what order?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.14

    “To the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.15

    What is revealed in the Gospel?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.16

    “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.17

    How is it revealed?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.18

    “From faith to faith.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.19

    Of what is this an illustration?SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.20

    “As it is written, The just shall live by faith.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.21

    “Not Ashamed.” —“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” There is no reason why any man should be ashamed of the Gospel; nevertheless, many men have been and are ashamed of it. Many people are so ashamed of it that they could not think of lowering themselves so much as to make a profession of it; and many who do make a profession of it are ashamed to let it be known. What is the cause of all this shame? It is that they do not know what the Gospel is. No man who really knows what the Gospel is. No man who really knows what the Gospel is, will be ashamed of it, or of any part of it.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.22

    Desire for Power.-There is nothing that men desire so much as power. It is a desire that God himself has planted in man. Unfortunately, the devil has deceived the most of mankind, so that they seek for power in the wrong way. They think that it can be found in the possession of wealth or political position, and so they rush to secure those things. But these do not supply the power for which God has created the desire. This is shown by the fact that they do not satisfy. No man was ever yet satisfied with the power that he obtained by wealth or position. However much they have, they desire more. No man finds in them just what he thought he would; and so he grasps after more, thinking that he will find his heart’s desire farther on; but all in vain. Christ is “the desire of all nations” (Haggai 2:7), the only Source of complete satisfaction, because he is the embodiment of all the real power there is in the universe the power of God “Christ the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.23

    Power and Knowledge.-It is commonly said that knowledge is power. That depends. If we take the statement of the poet, that “the proper study of mankind is man,” then certainly knowledge is anything but power. Man is nothing but weakness and sin. All men know that they are sinners, that they do things that are not right, but that knowledge gives them no power to change their course. You may tell a man all his faults, and if you tell him nothing more, you have weakened rather that strengthened him. But he who with the apostle Paul determines to know nothing “save Jesus Christ and him crucified,” has knowledge that is power. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3. To know Christ is to know the power of his endless life. It is for lack of this knowledge that men are destroyed. Hosea 4:6. But since Christ is the power of God, it is quite correct to say that power is the one thing that men need; and the only real power, the power of God, is revealed in the Gospel.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.24

    The Glory of Power.-All men honor power. Wherever power is manifested, there will always be found men to admire. There is no one who does not admire and applaud power in some form. Powerful muscles are admired and boasted of, whether they be those of man or of beast. A mighty engine that moves vast weights with ease always attracts attention, and men honor the one who constructed it. The man of wealth, whose money can command the service of thousands, always has admirers, no matter how his money is obtained. The man of noble birth and position, or the monarch of a great nation, has multitudes of followers who applaud his power. Men desire to be connected with such an one, because they derive a certain dignity from the connection, although the power is not transferable. But all the power of earth is frail and but for a moment, while the power of God is eternal. The Gospel is the power, and if men would but recognize it for what it is, there would not be any who would be ashamed of it. Paul said, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Galatians 6:14. The reason for this was that the cross is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18. The power of God, in whatever form manifested, is glory, and not for shame.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.25

    Christ not Ashamed.-Concerning Christ we read, “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:11. “God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16. Surely if the Lord is not ashamed to be called the brother of poor, weak, sinful mortals, man has no reason to be ashamed of him. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” 1 John 3:1. Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ! Could there possibly be a worse case of the exaltation of self above God? For to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, which is the power of God, is an evidence that the man who feels thus ashamed really thinks himself superior to God, and that it is a lowering of his dignity to be associated with the Lord.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.26

    “Ashamed of Jesus! sooner far
    Let evening blush to own a star;
    He sheds the beams of light divine
    O’er this benighted soul of mine.
    SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.27

    “Ashamed of Jesus! just as soon
    Let midnight be ashamed of noon;
    ‘Twas midnight with my soul till he,
    Bright Morning Star, bade darkness flee.”
    SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.28

    Saved by Faith.-The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Mark 16:16. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” Romans 10:10. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29. Faith works. Time would fail to tell of those “who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, ... out of weakness were made strong,” etc. Hebrews 11:33, 34. Men may say, “I can not see how it is possible for one to be made righteous simply by believing.” It makes no difference what you can see; you are not saved by sight, but by faith. You do not need to see how it is done, because it is the Lord who does the work of saving. Christ dwells in the heart by faith (Ephesians 3:17), and because he is our righteousness, “he also is become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2). We shall have salvation by faith illustrated more fully as we proceed in our study, because the book of Romans is devoted wholly to this one thing.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.29

    “To the Jew First.”—When Peter, at the request of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and the command of the Lord, went to Cæsarea to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, his first words when he heard the story of Cornelius were, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:34, 35. This was the first time that Peter had ever perceived that truth, but it was not the first time that that thing was true. It had been a truth as long as God had existed. God never chose anybody to the exclusion of anybody else. The wisdom that comes from above is “without partiality.” James 3:17. It is true that the Jews as a nation were wonderfully favored by the Lord; but they lost all their privileges simply because they assumed that God loved them better than he did anybody else, and were exclusive. All through their history God was trying to make them see that what he offered them was for the whole world, and that they were to pass on to others the light and privileges which they shared. The cases of Naaman, the Syrian, and of the Ninevites to whom Jonah was sent, are among the many instances by which God sought to show the Jews that he was no respecter of persons. Then why was the Gospel preached “to the Jew first”? Simply because the Jews were nearest. Christ was crucified at Jerusalem. It was from there that he commissioned his disciples to preach the Gospel. At his ascension he said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. It was most natural that they should begin to preach the Gospel in the place and to the people nearest them. This is the secret of all missionary work. He who does not labor in the Gospel in his home, will not do any Gospel work although he goes to a foreign country.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.30

    The Righteousness of God.-The Lord says: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.” Isaiah 51:6, 7. “My tongue shall speak of thy work; for all thy commandments are righteousness.” Psalm 119:172. The righteousness of God, therefore, is his law. Let this not be forgotten. The term “the righteousness of God” occurs frequently in the book of Romans, and much confusion has resulted from giving it arbitrary and varying definitions. If we accept the definition given in the Bible, and do not abandon it in any instance, it will simplify matters very much. The righteousness of God is his perfect law.SITI November 7, 1895, page 691.31

    Righteousness and Life.-But the ten commandments, whether engraved on tables of stone or written in a book, are only the statement of the righteousness of God. Righteousness means right doing. It is active. The righteousness of God is God’s right doing, his way. And since all his ways are right, it follows that the righteousness of God is nothing less than the life of God. The written law is not action, but is only a description of the action, but is only a description of the action. It is a picture of the character of God. The very life and character of God are seen in Jesus Christ, in whose heart was the law of God. There can be no righteousness without action. And as there is none good but God, it follows that there is no righteousness except in the life of God. Righteousness and the life of God are one and the same thing.SITI November 7, 1895, page 692.1

    Righteousness in the Gospel.—“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed.” Wherein? In the Gospel. Bear in mind that the righteousness of God is his perfect law, a statement of which is found in the Ten Commandments. There is no such thing as a conflict between the law and the Gospel. Indeed, there are not in reality two such things as the law and the Gospel. The true law of God is the Gospel; for the law is the life of God, and we are “saved by his life.” The Gospel reveals the righteous law of God, because the Gospel has the law in itself. There can be no Gospel without law. Whoever ignores or rejects the law of God, has no knowledge whatever of the Gospel.SITI November 7, 1895, page 692.2

    The First View.-Jesus said that the Holy Spirit should convince the world of sin and of righteousness. John 16:8. This is the revelation of the righteousness of God in the Gospel. “Where no law is, there is no transgression.” Romans 4:15. Sin can not be known except by the law. Romans 7:7. Therefore it follows that the Spirit convicts of sin by making known the law of God. The first view of the righteousness of God has the effect of making a man feel his sinfulness, just as we feel our littleness when gazing upon a lofty mountain. And as the grandeur of the great mountains grows upon us, so God’s righteousness which is “like the great mountains” (Psalm 36:6) appears greater the more we look at it. Therefore he who looks continually at the righteousness of God, must continually acknowledge his own sinfulness.SITI November 7, 1895, page 692.3

    The Deeper View.-Jesus Christ is the righteousness of God. And “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17. God does not reveal his righteousness in the Gospel in order to cause us to cower before him because of our unrighteousness, but that we may take it and live by it. We are unrighteous, and God wishes us to realize it, in order that we may be willing to receive his perfect righteousness. It is a revelation of love; for his righteousness is his law, and his law is love. 1 John 5:3. So “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. If when the preaching of the Gospel reveals to us the law of God, we reject it and find fault with it because it condemns our course, we are simply saying that we do not desire that God should put his own righteousness upon us.SITI November 7, 1895, page 692.4

    Living by Faith.—“As it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Christ is “our life.” Colossians 3:4. We are “saved by his life.” Romans 5:10. It is by faith that we receive Christ Jesus, for he dwells in our hearts by faith. Ephesians 3:17. Dwelling in our hearts, he is life, for out of the heart are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23. Now the word comes, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith.” Colossians 2:6, 7. As we receive him by faith, and we walk in him as we have received him, we shall “walk by faith, and not by sight.”SITI November 7, 1895, page 692.5

    “From Faith to Faith.” -This seemingly difficult expression, which has been the subject of so much controversy, is very simple when we allow the Scripture to explain itself. In the Gospel “the righteousness of God” is “revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Note that “from faith to faith” is said to be parallel with “the just shall live by faith.” Just means righteous. The reader has noticed that some versions have “righteous” in 1 John 1:9 where the KJV has “just.” Both are the same. God’s life is righteousness; he desires that our lives shall be righteousness also, and therefore he offers to us his own life. This life becomes ours by faith. That is, just as we live naturally by breathing, so we are to live spiritually by faith, and our whole life is to be spiritual. Faith is the breath of life to the Christian. So just as we naturally live from breath to breath, we are to live spiritually from faith to faith. We can live but one breath at a time; so we can not live spiritually except by present faith. If we live a life of conscious dependence upon God, his righteousness will be ours, for we shall breathe it in continually. Faith gives us strength, for those who have exercised it “out of weakness were made strong.” Hebrews 11:34. So of those who accept the revelation of God’s righteousness “from faith to faith,” it is said, “They go from strength to strength; every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.” Psalm 84:7. E. J. W.SITI November 7, 1895, page 692.6

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