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    Grace and Truth

    March 26, 1896

    In studying the two remaining verses of the fifth chapter of Romans, it will be sufficient for our present purpose if we remember that the main thought running through the chapter is life and righteousness. Sin is death, and righteousness is life. Death has passed upon all men, because all have sinned, and the gift of righteousness has come to all men in the life of Christ. Sin is not imputed when there is no law, yet sin was imputed to Adam and to all who lived after him, even till the time of the giving of the law, in the days of Moses.WOR 95.1

    “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20, 21.WOR 95.2

    Questioning the Text

    Why did the law enter?WOR 95.3

    “The law entered, that the offense might abound.”WOR 95.4

    What took place when sin abounded?WOR 95.5

    “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”WOR 95.6

    Where did sin abound?WOR 95.7

    Wherever the law was; because the law entered that sin might abound, and sin is not imputed where there is no law.WOR 95.8

    Then when did sin abound?WOR 95.9

    When “the law entered.”WOR 95.10

    Then when must grace have superabounded?WOR 95.11

    At the entering the law.WOR 95.12

    Why did God provide that where sin abounded, grace might much more abound?WOR 96.1

    “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”WOR 96.2

    How has sin reigned?WOR 96.3

    “Unto death.”WOR 96.4

    How does grace reign?WOR 96.5

    “Through righteousness.”WOR 96.6

    Unto what?WOR 96.7

    “Unto eternal life.”WOR 96.8

    Through whom?WOR 96.9

    Through “Jesus Christ our Lord.”WOR 96.10

    “The Law Entered.” -This statement indicates that there was offence before the particular time spoken of as the “entering” of the law. Taking into consideration verses 13, 14, we have no difficulty in seeing that the giving of the law upon Sinai is the time referred to. “Until the law,” the time of Moses, and the entering of the law, evidently refer to the one event.WOR 96.11

    Sin Abounding.-The law entered that the offence already existing might abound. “But sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Therefore we must know that the law was in the world before the time spoken of as the “entering” of the law, that is, before it was spoken from Sinai. This is what we learned from verses 13, 14. It was not possible that the law should actually make any more sin than already existed. It could only emphasize it, that is, more plainly show its true nature. It was, as stated in chapter 7:13, it was “that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” There was not one whit more of the law of God in the world after it was spoken from Sinai than there was before; neither was anything that was right before, made sinful by the giving of the law; nor was any act that was sinful before, made more sinful by the giving of the law. But the circumstances under which the law was spoken, tended to show the awfulness of sin, and to impress the hearers with a greater sense of their sinfulness than ever before.WOR 96.12

    Grace Superabounding.-It would be well if every person knew this fact. We should hear less talk about being discouraged because we are so sinful. Is the heart full of sin? Know that where sin abounds, there does grace much more abound. This is shown in the fact that Christ, who is full of grace, stands at the door of the heart that is sinfulness itself, and knocks for admission. See Revelation 3:15-20. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15. When Wesley sang,WOR 96.13

    “Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
    Grace to cover all my sin,”
    WOR 97.1

    he had the authority of Romans 5:20 for it!

    Grace at Sinai.-Since the law entered that the offence might abound, it is evident that at the very time of the entering of the law the offence must have greatly abounded. There never was a time when the awfulness of sin was made to stand out more prominently. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Therefore it is as plain as the Scripture can make it, that grace was superabounding at the giving of the law from Sinai. It is a mistake, therefore, to suppose that God designed that any should think that righteousness was to be obtained by their own works of obedience. On the contrary, the law was spoken to emphasize the boundless grace of God, in pardoning sin, and in working righteousness in men.WOR 97.2

    The Law and God’s Throne.-We read that “righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” Psalm 97:2. Righteousness dwells in his throne. It is the foundation of it. That the law of God is righteousness, even his own righteousness is shown by Isaiah 51:6, 7, where God speaks of his righteousness, and says, “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.” That is, only they in whose heart is God’s law, know his righteousness. Therefore his law is his righteousness. And the statement that righteousness is the habitation or establishment of his throne, indicates that the law of God is in his throne. He sits upon the throne of righteousness.WOR 97.3

    Evidence from the Tabernacle.-The tabernacle built by Moses was for a dwelling place for God. “Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8. In that sanctuary, in the most holy place, was the ark of the testament. This ark is described in Exodus 25:10-22. The cover of the ark was called the mercy-seat. Upon this mercy-seat were the two cherubim of gold. Within the ark, under the mercy-seat, were the tables of the law. See Exodus 25:16-21; Deuteronomy 10:1-5. Between the cherubim, upon the mercy-seat, and above the tables of the law, was where the glory of God was seen, and where God spoke to the people. Exodus 25:22. In 2 Kings 19:15 and Psalm 80:1 God is addressed as sitting between the cherubim. Therefore we learn that the ark of the testament, with the mercy-seat, or the cover, was a representation of the throne of God. As the Ten Commandments were in the ark in the earthly tabernacle, so the Ten Commandments are the very foundation of the throne of God in heaven. We may note, in passing, that since the earthly tabernacle was a figure of the true tabernacle in heaven, therefore we are taught that the law as it stands in heaven, in the throne of God, is identical with the law as spoken from Sinai, and written on the tables of stone that were placed in the ark.WOR 97.4

    God’s Throne and Sinai.-We have learned that the law of God is the very basis of his throne. This is no more than might reasonably be expected, since the basis of any government is its law, and the throne simply stands for the law. Mount Sinai, when the law was spoken from it, was the seat of God’s law. It represented the awfulness of the law, since no one could touch it without dying. The Lord was there with all his angels. See Deuteronomy 33:2; Acts 7:53. Therefore Mount Sinai, at the time of the giving of the law, was designed to represent the throne of God. Indeed, it was for the time the throne of God, the place whence the law goes forth, out of which proceed “lightnings and thunderings and voices” (Revelation 4:5), and around which stand “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” of angels. Here again we learn that the righteousness which is the habitation of the throne of God is the righteousness described by the Ten Commandments, just as they were spoken from the top of Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 20:3-17.WOR 98.1

    The Throne of Grace.-But although the throne of God is the habitation of his law, that law which is death to sinners, yet it is a throne of grace. We are exhorted to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. Note that we are to come to obtain mercy. Note also that the top of the ark of the testimony, in which were the tables of the law, was called the mercy-seat. It was the place where God appeared to speak to his people, so that the ark of the earthly tabernacle not only represented the throne where God’s law is enshrined, but it represented that throne as the throne of grace.WOR 98.2

    The Law and the Mediator.-We are told that the law was ordained “in the hand of a Mediator.” Galatians 3:19. Who was the Mediator in whose hand the law was ordained? “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all.” 1 Timothy 2:5, 6. The law, therefore, was given from Sinai by Christ, who is and always was the manifestation of God to men. He is the Mediator, that is, the One through whom the things of God are brought to men. The righteousness of God is conveyed to men through Jesus Christ. The statement that the law was given in the hand of a Mediator, reminds us that where sin abounded grace did much more abound. The fact that the law was in the hand of a Mediator at Sinai shows us this: (1) That God did not mean that any one should suppose that he must get the righteousness of the law by his own power, but only through Christ. (2) That the Gospel of Christ was displayed at Sinai as well as at Calvary. (3) That the righteousness of God which is revealed in the Gospel of Christ, is the identical righteousness that is described in the law as given from Sinai, without the alteration of a letter. The righteousness which we are to obtain in Christ is none other than that.WOR 98.3

    The Fountain of Life.-In Psalm 36:7-9 we read: “How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life.” It is because with God is the fountain of life that he makes those who trust in him to drink of the river of his pleasure. What is that river?-“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1. Think of it! A river flowing out of the throne of God. He is the fountain of life. The invitation is to every one that is athirst to drink of the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17, John 4:10-14, and 7:37-39, will help to an understanding of the matter. We take the living water by receiving the Holy Spirit.WOR 99.1

    Drinking in Righteousness.-The Saviour says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. If one is thirsty, how only can he be filled? By drinking. Therefore the Saviour means that we can drink righteousness, if we thirst for it. Remember that God’s throne is the seat of righteousness, and that from it flows the river of life, and we shall see the fitness of the assurance that we may drink in righteousness. Since the throne is the seat of righteousness, the river that proceeds from the throne must, so to speak, be charged with the righteousness of the law. Whosoever therefore believes on Christ, and drinks in of his Spirit, must drink in of the righteousness of the law as it is in the throne, or as it was spoken from Sinai.WOR 99.2

    Drinking at Sinai.-Whoever will read Exodus 17:1-6 together with Deuteronomy 4:10-12 (which show that Horeb and Sinai are the same), will learn that at the very time when the law was spoken from Sinai, there was a river of water flowing from its base. That river flowed from Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4. Christ, the living Rock, stood upon that rock in the desert, from which the water flowed for the thirst of the people, and he it was from whom it came. With him is the fountain of life. And so we have the complete likeness of the throne of God in Sinai. It was the embodiment of the law of God, so that no one could approach it without death, and yet they could drink the living water that flowed from it. And in this figure we again see that the righteousness which those who accept Christ’s invitation are to drink in, is the righteousness that is described in the Ten Commandments.WOR 99.3

    The Heart of Christ.-Through David Christ spoke thus of his coming to this earth: “Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:7, 8. He said that he had kept his Father’s commandments. John 15:10. So closely did he keep the commandments that he observed the seventh-day Sabbath, which is sometimes stigmatized as “the Jewish Sabbath.” Canon Knox-Little says, “It is certain that our Lord when on earth did observe Saturday, and did not observe Sunday.”-Sacerdotalism, p. 75. This is not true because Canon Knox-Little said it, but it is true because the Bible teaches it. It is so clear a fact that there is no chance for discussion about it. We have never yet heard of any one who had the hardihood to assert that Jesus ever kept any other day than the seventh, the day enjoined in the fourth commandment. The keeping of “the Sabbath day according to the commandment” was part of the righteousness which was in the heart of Christ. And since Christ is the same to-day that he ever was, it is in his heart still.WOR 99.4

    Eternal Life through Christ.-“Even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Christ’s life was given for us and to us on the cross. It is by being crucified with him that we live with him. Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:8. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. In his heart was the law, so that the heart of Christ was really the throne of God. Thus we sing of “Christ enthroned within.” When Christ hung upon the cross, “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” John 19:34. This was the fountain of life, that freely flows for all. It flowed from the heart of Christ, in which the law of God was enshrined. So we find that Sinai, Calvary, and Mount Sion all present the same thing. Sinai and Calvary are not in opposition, but are united. Both present the same Gospel and the same law. The life which flows for us from Calvary, bears to us the righteousness of the law that was proclaimed from Sinai.WOR 100.1

    Grace Through Righteousness.-Thus we see how grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. Eternal life is in Christ, because his life is the life of the self-existent God, who is “from everlasting to everlasting.” But the life of God is the law. The grace of God flows to us through the life of Christ, and bears to us the righteousness of it. Thus in Christ we receive the law as it was ordained, namely, to life. To accept the unspeakable gift of God’s grace, therefore, is simply to yield ourselves to him, that Christ may dwell in us, and live in us the righteousness of the law as spoken from Sinai, and treasured in the throne of God. From Christ that living stream still flows, so that, receiving him, we shall have in us that well of water spring up unto everlasting life. WOR 100.2

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