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Waggoner on Romans

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    Chapter 15

    The Law of Christ

    September 3, 1896

    The fourteenth chapter of Romans presented to us our duty towards those who are weak in the faith, and who have excessively conscientious scruples with regard to things that are in themselves of no consequence. We are not judges of one another, but must all appear before one judgment seat. If we have more knowledge than our brother, we are not arbitrarily to bring him to our standard, any more than he is to bring us down to his. Our greater knowledge rather throws upon us the responsibility of exercising the greater charity and patience. The sum of it all is contained in these verses: “For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offense. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God.”WOR 216.1

    Duty of Helping One Another

    “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” Romans 15:1-7.WOR 216.2

    Questions on the Text

    What ought the strong to do?WOR 217.1

    “To bear the infirmities of the weak.”WOR 217.2

    What ought such not to do?WOR 217.3

    “Not to please ourselves.”WOR 217.4

    What are we exhorted to do for our neighbor?WOR 217.5

    “Let every one of us please his neighbor.”WOR 217.6

    In what way are we to please our neighbor?WOR 217.7

    “For his good to edification.”WOR 217.8

    Who has set us an example in this respect?WOR 217.9

    “For even Christ pleased not himself.”WOR 217.10

    What scripture is cited to show this?WOR 217.11

    “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fall on me.” See Psalm 69:9.WOR 217.12

    For what purpose were the Scriptures of the Old Testament written?WOR 217.13

    “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning.”WOR 217.14

    With what special object?WOR 217.15

    “That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”WOR 217.16

    In view of the example of Christ, what exhortation is given?WOR 217.17

    “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.”WOR 217.18

    For what purpose?WOR 217.19

    “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God.”WOR 217.20

    In concluding this portion of the subject, what exhortation is repeated?WOR 218.1

    “Wherefore receive ye one another.” See chapter 14:1.WOR 218.2

    How are we to receive on another?WOR 218.3

    “As Christ also received us.”WOR 218.4

    To what end?WOR 218.5

    “To the glory of God.”WOR 218.6

    The verses composing this chapter supplement the instruction given in chapter fourteen, and are a continuation of that. Thus, that chapter opens with the exhortation, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye.” The last verse of our present study is, “Wherefore receive ye one another,” etc.WOR 218.7

    How Are We to Receive One Another? The answer is, “As Christ also received us.” This again emphasizes the statement that the apostle had not the slightest intention in any way of depreciating any one of the Ten Commandments when in the fourteenth chapter he said: “One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Christ did not in the slightest degree make any concessions in the commandments in order to accommodate those whom he would receive. He said, “Think not that I came to destroy the law, or the prophets.” Matthew 5:17. Again, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10. Christ’s commandments and those of the Father are the same, because he says, “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30. When a young man wished to follow him, he said to him, “Keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17. Therefore it is evident that in making concessions for the sake of peace and harmony, no concession is to be made in respect to keeping theWOR 218.8

    This is still further shown by the exhortation, “Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.” We are never exhorted to aid a brother to sin, in order to please him. Neither are we exhorted to close our eyes to a brother’s sin, and allow him to go on in it without warning him, lest we displease him. There is no kindness in that. The exhortation is, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him.” Leviticus 19:17. The mother who would be so fearful of displeasing her child that she would not stop it from putting its hand into the blaze, would be exhibiting cruelty instead of kindness. We are to please our neighbors, but only for their good, not to lead astray.WOR 218.9

    Going back to the first verse, we find this lesson still more strongly emphasized: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” “For even Christ pleased not himself.” Compare this with Galatians 6:1, 2: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such on one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” In bearing the infirmities of the weak, we are fulfilling the law of Christ. But to bear another’s burdens does not mean to teach him that he can safely ignore any of the commandments. To keep the commandments of God is not a burden; for “his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3.WOR 219.1

    Christ bears our burdens, not by taking away the law of God, but by taking away our sins, and enabling us to keep the law. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Romans 8:3, 4.WOR 219.2

    One blessed thing in the service of the Lord is that he does not say, “Go,” but, “Come.” He does not send us away to labor by ourselves, but calls us to follow him. He does not ask anything of us that he does not himself do. When he says that we ought to bear the infirmities of them that are weak, we should take it as an encouragement, instead of a task laid upon us, since it reminds us of what he does for us. He is the mighty One, for we read, “I have laid help upon One that is mighty; I have exalted One chosen out of the people.” Psalm 89:19. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4, 6.WOR 219.3

    This is what makes it easy to bear one another’s burdens. If we know that Christ bears our burdens, it will become a pleasure for us to bear the burdens of others. The trouble is that too often we forget that Christ is the Burden-bearer, and, being over powered with the weight of our own infirmities, we have still less patience with those of others. But when we know that Christ is indeed the Burden-bearer, we cast our own care upon him; and then when we make the burden of another our own, he bears that too.WOR 219.4

    God is “the God of patience and consolation.” He is “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4. He takes upon himself all the reproaches that fall upon men. “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” Of the children of Israel it is said, “In all their affliction he was afflicted.” Isaiah 63:9. The words of Christ are, “Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor.” “Reproach hath broken my heart.” Psalm 69:19, 20. Yet in all this there was no impatience, no murmuring. Therefore, as he has already borne the burdens of the world in the flesh, he is fully able to bear ours in our flesh, without complaining; so that we may be “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” Colossians 1:11.WOR 219.5

    It is this lesson that is taught us throughout all the Scriptures: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” In the book of Job this is made manifest. “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11. In the writings of Moses it is as clearly set forth. Christ says: “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not the writings, how shall ye believe my words?” John 5:46, 47. If the Gospel according to Moses is neglected, it will be of no use to read the Gospel according to John, because the gospel can not be divided. The Gospel of Christ, like himself, is one.WOR 220.1

    Finally, “Receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” Whom does Christ receive? “This man receiveth sinners.” How many will he receive? “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” How will he receive them?-“All day long have I stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” And if they come, what assurance have they?-“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Let us learn of him; and remember that, wherever you may open the Scriptures, they are they which testify of him. WOR 220.2

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