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E G Waggoner Studies on Romans

Waggoner was the messanger of God along with AT Jones around the 1888 Minneapolis conference . God gave them a very important message. Righteousness by faith . Many protestant churches teach righteousness in a false manner as they say there is no law. Yet at the same time they say we are under grace. Why would we need grace if there was no law and no sin ?

This is the true righteousness by faith message . AT Jones and Waggoner also ware the Revelation chapter 18 angel which Ellen g White calls the 3 rd angel s message in verity . It is the angels that lights the world with his glory . This message righteousness by faith message could be the most important bible topic. The most urgent message, the most vital. As someone could have a car, the best mechanics, the best insurance, the best car cleaners. He can have the best route, the best gps for his travels, the best destination, but if he cannot find gas for the car. His car will be useless.

Many christians do the christian rounds like going to church, paying tithes, evangelism but they do it by obligation, not understanding that the works are not saving us. We work because we love God , not to be saved. Hope you will be blessed by reading this amazing book .

Chapter 1

Studies in Romans

October 17, 1895

Under this heading it is proposed to conduct, as nearly as can be done in writing, a class study of the Epistle to the Romans. It is designed to be literally a study, and it is hoped that the “study” will not be all on the part of the writer, but that the readers of The Signs of the Times will be encouraged to acquire for themselves an acquaintance with an epistle that is doubtless the greatest treatise ever written. WOR 4.1

In each number the text for the week will be quoted, in order to facilitate the study. The reader, however, should use his Bible freely. Read the verses to be studied very frequently, and form the habit of questioning each verse, after the manner indicated below, only more closely. In this way the force of the words, used by the apostle will stand out clearly, and the thought will be fixed in the mind, in the exact words of the Scripture. WOR 4.2

Inspiration assures us that in all of the epistles of Paul there are “some things hard to be understood.” 2 Peter 3:16. Perhaps this is the case with the Epistle to the Romans in a greater degree than with any other epistle. But they are not impossible to be understood, and it is only the “unlearned and unstable” who wrest them unto their own destruction who thus miss the point of Paul’s writings. They who have a desire to understand and who read the simple promises of the Bible with profit, will not be among that number. WOR 4.3

In beginning this study it will be an encouragement to the reader if he will remember that it is simply a letter written to the church in Rome. We can not suppose that the congregation in Rome differed from the great body of Christians in general, and of them we read that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” 1 Corinthians 1:26. The truest followers of Jesus have always been among “the common people.” So in the church in Rome there were doubtless shopkeepers, artisans, day laborers, carpenters, gardeners, etc., and many servants in the families of wealthy citizens, together with a few who might hold some position of rank. When we consider that it was confidently expected that people of this sort would understand the letter, we may be encouraged to believe that the same class of people can understand it now. WOR 4.4

Paul’s exhortation and assurance to Timothy form the best guide to the study of all the epistles, and the whole Bible as well. “Consider what I say, for the Lord shall give thee understanding in all things.” “God is his own interpreter.” The words of the Bible explain the Bible. This is why you should closely question the text so as to get at exactly what is said, in connection with what precedes and follows. Nothing can take the place of prayerful meditation upon the exact words of the Bible. By this means the most unlearned in this world’s wisdom may become mighty in the Scriptures. The Lord has said just what he means, and the only way to find out just what he means is to become thoroughly familiar with just what he says, just as he says it. WOR 4.5

The notes that accompany the text in this study are designed to fix the student’s attention more closely upon the word, and for the benefit of the casual reader. That the study of this epistle may be greatly blessed in those who pursue it, and that the word may become more highly esteemed by all, because of the increased light that the Holy Spirit may cause to flash from it, is the earnest prayer of the writer. WOR 5.1

The Salutation—Romans 1:1-17

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God (which he had promised afore, by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures), concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; by whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name; among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ; to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” WOR 5.2

Questioning the Text

What did Paul declare himself to be? WOR 5.3

“A servant of Jesus Christ.” WOR 5.4

To what was he called? WOR 5.5

“Called to be an apostle.” WOR 5.6

To what was he separated? WOR 5.7

“Separated unto the Gospel of God.” WOR 5.8

Was this Gospel first announced in Paul’s day? WOR 5.9

“Which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” WOR 5.10

Whose Gospel is it? WOR 5.11

“The Gospel of God.” WOR 5.12

What is this Gospel, or good news, about? WOR 5.13

“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” WOR 5.14

Who is this Jesus? WOR 5.15

He “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power.” WOR 5.16

What is his power as the Son of God? WOR 5.17

“According to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” WOR 5.18

For what purpose did Paul receive grace and apostleship from Christ? WOR 5.19

“For obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” WOR 5.20

In what blessed condition were the people in Rome? WOR 5.21

“Beloved of God.” WOR 5.22

What were they called? WOR 5.23

“Called saints.” WOR 5.24

What was the request of the Spirit for them? WOR 5.25

“Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” WOR 5.26

A Bond Servant. -“Paul, a servant of Jesus.” It is thus that the apostle introduces himself to the Romans. In several other epistles the same expression is used. Some people would be ashamed to acknowledge themselves servants; the apostles were not. It makes a vast difference whom one serves. The servant derives his importance from the dignity of the one served. Paul served the Lord Jesus Christ. Everybody may serve the same Master. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?”

Romans 6:16. Even the ordinary house servant who yields to the Lord is the servant of the Lord, and not of man. “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Jesus Christ.” Colossians 3:22-24. Such a consideration as this can not fail to glorify the most menial drudgery. WOR 6.1

Our version does not give us the full force of the term which the apostle uses when he calls himself a servant. It is really “bond servant.” He used the ordinary Greek word for slave. If we are really the Lord’s servants, we are servants bound to him for life. It is a bondage that is itself freedom, “for he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman; likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” 1 Corinthians 7:22. WOR 6.2

Separated. -The apostle Paul was “separated unto the Gospel.” So is every one who is really the servant of the Lord. “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye can not serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. No man can serve the Lord and have other service besides that. “What do you mean to say that a merchant or other business man can not be a Christian?” By no means. What I said was that a man can not serve the Lord and at the same time have other service. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:17. If the man is not serving the Lord in his business, then he is not serving the Lord at all. The true servant of Christ is truly separated. WOR 6.3

But this does not mean that he separates himself from personal contact with the world. The Bible gives no countenance to monkery. The most hopeless sinner is he who thinks himself too good to associate with sinners. How then are we to be separated unto the Gospel? By the presence of God in the heart. Moses said to the Lord: “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up thence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” Exodus 33:15, 16. WOR 6.4

But the one who is separated to the public ministry of the Gospel as the apostle Paul was, is separated in a special sense in that he may not engage in any other business for personal gain. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4. He can not take any position, however high under earthly governments. To do so is to dishonor his Master, and to belittle his service. The minister of the Gospel is the ambassador of Christ, and there is no other position that can approach it in honor. WOR 6.5

The Gospel of God. -The apostle declared that he was “separated unto the Gospel of God.” It is the Gospel of God “concerning his Son Jesus Christ.” Christ is God and therefore the Gospel of God, of which the apostle speaks in the first verse of the chapter, is identical with “the Gospel of Christ” of which he speaks in the sixteenth verse. Too many people separate the Father and the Son in the work of the Gospel. Many do so unconsciously. God, the Father, as well as the Son, is our Saviour. “God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten son.” John 3:16. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. “The council of peace” is “between them both.” Zechariah 6:13.

Christ came to the earth only as the representative of the Father. Whoever saw Christ, saw the Father also. John 14:9. The works which Christ did, were the works of the Father, who dwelt in him. Verse, 10. Even the words which he spoke, were the words of the Father. Verse, 24. When we hear Christ saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” we are listening to the gracious invitation of God the Father.

When we see Christ taking the little children up in his arms, and blessing them, we are witnessing the tenderness of the Father. When we see Christ receiving sinners, mingling with them, and eating with them, forgiving their sins, and cleansing the hideous lepers with a touch, we are looking upon the condescension and compassion of the Father. Even when we see our Lord upon the cross, with the blood streaming from his side, that blood by which we are reconciled to God, we must not forget that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” so that the apostle Paul said, “the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28. WOR 7.1

The Gospel in the Old Testament. -The Gospel of God to which the apostle Paul declared himself to be separated, was the Gospel “which he had promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures” (Romans 1:2); literally, the Gospel which he had before announced or preached. This shows us that the Old Testament contains the Gospel, and also that the Gospel in the Old Testament is the same Gospel that is in the New. It is the only Gospel that the apostle preached. That being the case, it should not be thought strange for people to believe the Old Testament, and to refer to it as of equal authority with the New Testament. WOR 7.2

We read that God “preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Galatians 3:8. The Gospel preached to the people when Paul lived was the same Gospel that was preached unto the ancient Israelites. See Hebrews 4:2. Moses wrote of Christ, and so much of the Gospel is to be found in his writings that a man who does not believe what Moses wrote, can not believe in Christ. John 5:46, 47. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43. WOR 7.3

Paul had only the Old Testament when he went to Thessalonica, “and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.” Acts 17:2, 3. Timothy had nothing in his childhood and youth but the Old Testament writings, and the apostle wrote to him: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14, 15. Then go to the Old Testament with the expectation of finding Christ and his righteousness there, and you will be made wiser unto salvation. Do not discriminate between Moses and Paul, between David and Peter, between Jeremiah and James, between Isaiah and John. WOR 7.4

The Seed of David. -The Gospel of God is “concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Romans 1:3. Read the history of David, and of the kings who descended from him, and who became the ancestors of Jesus, and you will see that on the human side the Lord was handicapped by his ancestry as badly as anybody can ever be. Many of them were licentious and cruel idolaters. Although Jesus was thus compassed with infirmity, he “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” 1 Peter 2:22. This is to give courage to men in the lowest condition of life. It is to show that the power of the Gospel of the grace of God can triumph over heredity. WOR 8.1

The fact that Jesus was made of the seed of David means that he is heir to the throne of David. Of David’s throne the Lord said, “Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee; thy throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:16. David’s kingdom is therefore coextensive with the inheritance promised to Abraham, which is the whole world. See Romans 4:13. The angel said of Jesus,

“The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32, 33. But all this involved his bearing the curse of the inheritance, and suffering death. “For the joy that was set before him” He “endured the cross, despising the shame.” Hebrews 12:2. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:9. As with Christ, so with us; it is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom. He who fears reproach, or who makes his lowly birth, or his inherited traits, an excuse for his shortcomings, will fail of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus Christ went to the lowest depths of humiliation in order that all who are in those depths might, if they would, ascend with him to the utmost heights of exaltation. WOR 8.2

Power by the Resurrection. -Although Jesus Christ was of lowly birth, he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:4. Was he not the Son of God before the resurrection? and was he not so declared to be? Certainly; and the power of the resurrection was manifested in all his life. To speak of nothing else, the power of the resurrection was shown in his raising the dead, which he did by the power dwelling in him. But it was the resurrection from the dead that settled the matter beyond all doubt for men.

After his resurrection he met the disciples, and said unto them, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18. The death of Christ shattered all the hopes that they had centered in him; but when he “showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days” (Acts 1:3), they had ample proof of his power. Their sole work thenceforth was to be witnesses of his resurrection and of its power. The power of the resurrection is according to the Spirit of holiness, for it was by the Spirit that he was raised. The power given to make men holy is the power that raised Jesus from the dead. “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” WOR 8.3

The Obedience of Faith.-Paul said that through Christ he had received grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among all nations. True faith is obedience. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom He hath sent.” John 6:29. Christ said, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46. That is, a profession of faith in Christ which is not accompanied by obedience, is worthless. “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead.” James 2:17. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Verse 26. A man does not breathe in order to show that he lives, but because he is alive. He lives by breathing. His breath is his life.

So a man can not do good works in order to demonstrate that he has faith, but he does good works because the works are the necessary result of faith. Even Abraham was justified by works, because “faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” WOR 8.4

“Beloved of God.” -That was a most comforting assurance that was given “to all that are in Rome.” How many people have wished that they could hear an angel direct from glory say to them what Gabriel said to Daniel, “Thou art greatly beloved”! The apostle Paul wrote by direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and so the message of love came as directly from heaven to the Romans as it did to Daniel. The Lord did not single out a few favorites by name, but declared that all in Rome were beloved of God. WOR 9.1

Well, there is no respect of persons with God, and that message of love to the Romans is ours as well. They were “beloved of God” simply because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3. And this everlasting love to men is not shaken, although they forget it; for to those who have turned away, and fallen by their iniquity, he says, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4. “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He can not deny Himself.” WOR 9.2

“Called Saints.” -The reader will notice that the words “to be” in Romans 1:7 are indicated as supplied, so that instead of “called to be saints,” we may read literally, “called saints.” God calls all men to be saints, but all those who accept him he calls saints. That is their title. When God calls people saints, they are saints. These words were addressed to the church in Rome, and not to the Church of Rome. The Church of Rome has always been apostate and pagan. It has abused the word “saint” until in its calendar it is almost a term of reproach. No greater sin has ever been committed by Rome than the distinction it has made between “saints” and ordinary Christians, making practically two standards of goodness. It has led people to think that laboring men and housewives were not and could not be saints, and has thus discounted true, everyday piety, and has put a premium on pious laziness and self-righteous deeds. But God has not two standards of piety, and all the faithful people in Rome, poor and unknown as many of them were, he called saints. It is the same to-day with God, although men may reckon differently.

Debtor to All

October 24, 1895

The first seven verses of the first chapter of Romans are the salutation. No uninspired letter ever embraced so much in its greeting as this one. The apostle was so overflowing with the love of God that he could not write a letter without covering almost the whole Gospel in the salutation. WOR 10.1

The next eight verses may well be summarized in the words “debtor to all,” for they show the completeness of the apostle’s devotedness to others. Let us read them carefully, and not be content with one reading:- WOR 10.2

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto), that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Romans 1:8-15. WOR 10.3

Questioning the Text

For whom did the apostle give thanks to God? WOR 10.4

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all.” WOR 10.5

What does he say is the chief characteristic of the Romans? WOR 10.6

“Your faith.” WOR 10.7

How prominent was their faith? WOR 10.8

“Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” WOR 10.9

What did the apostle always do for them? WOR 10.10

“Make mention of you always in my prayers.” WOR 10.11

How often did he pray for them? WOR 10.12

“Without ceasing.” WOR 10.13

How emphatically does he make this statement? WOR 10.14

“God is my witness.” WOR 10.15

How did he say that he himself served God? WOR 10.16

“Whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of his Son.” WOR 10.17

For what did the apostle pray concerning the Romans? WOR 10.18

“Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.” WOR 10.19

Why was he so anxious to see them? WOR 10.20

“I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift.” WOR 10.21

Why did he wish to impart a spiritual gift to them? WOR 10.22

“To the end ye may be established.” WOR 10.23

What had he often purposed? WOR 10.24

“Oftentimes I purposed to come unto you.” WOR 10.25

Why had he not gone? WOR 10.26

“But was let [hindered] hitherto.” WOR 10.27

Why had he purposed to go to them? WOR 10.28

“That I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other gentiles.” WOR 10.29

How did Paul hold himself as related to men? WOR 10.30

“I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians, both to the wise, and to the unwise.” WOR 10.31

What was he therefore willing to do? WOR 10.32

“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.” WOR 10.33

A Great Contrast.-In the days of the apostle Paul the faith of the church in Rome was spoken of throughout all the world. Faith means obedience; for faith is counted for righteousness, and God never counts a thing so unless it is so. Faith “worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6. And this work is a “work of faith.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3. Faith also means humility, as is shown by the words of the prophet, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4. The upright man is the just man; the man whose soul is lifted up is not upright or just; but the just man is such because of his faith; therefore only the man whose soul is not lifted up has faith. The Roman brethren, therefore, in the days of Paul, were humble. WOR 11.1

But it is far different now. An instance is given by the Catholic Times of June 15, 1894. The pope had said, “We gave authority to the bishops of the Syrian rite to meet in synod at Mosul,” and had commended the “very faithful submission” of those bishops and had ratified the election of the patriarch by “Our Apostolic authority.” An Anglican paper had expressed surprise, saying, “Is this a free union of equal churches, or is it submission to one supreme and monarchical head?” To which the Catholic Times replies: “It is not a free union of equal churches, but it is submission to one supreme and monarchical head.... To our Anglican pleader we say, You are not really surprised. You know well what Rome claims and always will claim, obedience. That claim is now, if it ever was, before the world.” But that claim was not before the world in the days of Paul. In those days it was the church in Rome; now it is the Church of Rome. The church in Rome was famous for its humility, and its obedience to God. The Church of Rome is famous for its haughty assumption of the power of God, and for its demand for obedience to itself. WOR 11.2

Praying without Ceasing.-The apostle exhorted the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He did not exhort others to do that which he did not do himself, for he told the Romans that without ceasing he made mention of them always in his prayers. It is not to be supposed that the apostle had the brethren at Rome on his mind every waking hour of the day, for in that case he could not have thought of anything else. No man can be consciously in prayer every moment, but all can continue “instant in prayer,” or, as Young translates it, “in the prayer persevering.” Romans 12:12. This is in harmony with what the Saviour said, that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint,” or grow weary. Luke 18:1. In the parable that follows, the unjust judge complains of the “continual coming” of the poor widow. That is an illustration of praying without ceasing. It is not that we are to be every moment in conscious prayer, for then important duties would be neglected, but it is that we should not grow weary of praying. WOR 11.3

A Man of Prayer.-This is what Paul was. He made mention of the Romans in all his prayers. To the Corinthians he wrote, “I thank my God always on your behalf.” 1 Corinthians 1:4. To the Colossians, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” Colossians 1:3. Still more emphatically he wrote to the Philippians, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” Philippians 1:3, 4. Again to the Thessalonians, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith,” etc., 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 3. And further, “Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith.” 1 Thessalonians 3:10. To his beloved son in the faith he wrote, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.” 2 Timothy 1:3. WOR 11.4

“Rejoice Evermore.” -The secret of this is to “pray without ceasing.” See 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17. The apostle Paul prayed for others so much that he had no time to worry about himself. He had never seen the Romans, yet he prayed for them as earnestly as for the churches that he had raised up. Recounting his labors and sufferings, he adds that they are “beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:28. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” He fulfilled the law of Christ by bearing the burdens of others. Thus it was that he was able to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ suffered on the cross for others, but it was “for the joy that was set before him.” They who are wholly devoted to others, share the joy of their Lord, and can rejoice in him. WOR 12.1

“A Prosperous Journey.” -Paul prayed earnestly that he might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to visit Rome. Read the twenty-seventh chapter of Acts, and you will learn just what kind of journey he had. Most people would say that it was not a prosperous journey. Yet we do not hear any complaint from Paul; and who can say that he did not have a prosperous trip? “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Therefore it must have been prosperous. It is well for us to consider these things. We are apt to look at matters from a wrong side. When we learn to look at them as God looks at them, we shall find that things that we regard as disastrous are prosperous. How much mourning we might save if we always remembered that God knows much better than we do how our prayers should be answered! WOR 12.2

Spiritual Gifts.-When Christ “ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Ephesians 4:8. These gifts were the gifts of the Spirit, for he said, “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7. And Peter said on the day of Pentecost:

“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Acts 2:32. These gifts are thus described: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. WOR 12.3

Established by Spiritual Gifts.-“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” What is the profit? “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12, 13. The gifts of the Spirit must accompany the Spirit. As soon as the early disciples received the Spirit in accordance with the promise, they received the gifts. One of the gifts, speaking with new tongues, was manifested that very day. It follows, therefore, that the absence of the gifts of the Spirit in any marked degree in the church, is evidence of the absence of the Spirit, not entirely, of course, but to the extent that God has promised it.

The Spirit was to abide with the disciples forever, and therefore the gifts of the Spirit must be manifest in the true church until the second coming of the Lord. **As before stated, the absence of any very marked manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit is evidence of the absence of the fullness of the Spirit; and that is the secret of the weakness of the church, and the great divisions that exist. Spiritual gifts establish the church; therefore the church that does not have those gifts can not be established. Who may have the Spirit?-Whoever asks for it with earnest desire. See Luke 11:13. The Spirit has already been poured out, and God has never withdrawn the gift; it only needs that Christians should ask and accept. WOR 12.4

“I Am Debtor.” -That was the keynote of Paul’s life, and it was the secret of his success. Nowadays we hear of men saying, “The world owes me a living.” But Paul considered that he owed himself to the world. And yet he received nothing from the world but stripes and abuse. Even that which he had received before Christ found him was a total loss. But Christ had found him, and given himself to him, so that he could say, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. As Christ’s life was his life, and Christ gave himself for the world, Paul necessarily became a debtor to the whole world. This has been the case of every man who has been a servant of the Lord. “David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep.” Acts 13:36. “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” WOR 13.1

Personal Labor.-There is a foolish notion prevalent that ordinary labor is degrading, especially to a minister of the Gospel. It is not all the fault of the ministers themselves, but largely the fault of the foolish people about them. They think that a minister must always be faultlessly attired, and that he must never soil his hands with ordinary manual labor. Such ideas were never gained from the Bible. Christ himself was a carpenter, yet many professed followers of him would be shocked if they should see their minister sawing and planning boards, or digging in the ground, or carrying parcels.

There is a false dignity altogether too prevalent, which is utterly opposed to the spirit of the Gospel. Paul was not ashamed nor afraid to labor. And this he did not merely occasionally, but day after day while he was engaged in preaching. See Acts 18:3, 4. He said, “These hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” Acts 20:34. He was speaking to the leaders of the church when he said, “I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Verse 35. WOR 13.2

Slandering Paul.-At the second international convention of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, February, 1894, the main address for one evening was on the subject of “Paul, the Great Missionary.” The speaker said that “Paul had a faculty for dividing up the work so that he undertook very little of it himself.” It was a foolish and wicked idea to present before young volunteers for missionary service, because it was an utter falsehood, and it was anything but a compliment to the apostle. In addition to what has been cited above, read the following: “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for naught; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:8.

“I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:15. “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent.” 2 Corinthians 11:23. “But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10. The grace of God is manifest in service for others. The grace of Christ led him to give himself for us, and to take upon himself the form and condition of a servant. Therefore he who has the most of the grace of Christ will labor the most. He will not shun work, even though it be the most menial service. Christ went to the lowest depths for the sake of man; therefore he who thinks that any service is beneath him, is altogether too high for association with Christ. WOR 13.3

Gospel Liberty.-Gospel liberty is the liberty that God gives men through the Gospel. It expresses His idea of freedom. It is the freedom seen in nature and in all the works of His hands. It is the freedom of the winds, blowing where they list; it is the freedom of the flowers, scattered everywhere through wood and meadow; it is the freedom of the birds, soaring unrestrained through the heavens; the freedom of the sunbeam, shooting from its parent orb and playing on cloud and mountain top; the freedom of the celestial orbs, sweeping ceaselessly on through infinite space.

This is the freedom which flows out from the great Creator through all his works. It is sin that has produced what is narrow and contracted and circumscribed, that has erected boundary lines, and made men stingy and niggardly. But sin is to be removed, and then perfect liberty will be realized once more in every part of creation. Even now this freedom may be tasted, by having sin removed from the heart. To enjoy this freedom through eternity is the glorious privilege now offered in the Gospel to all men. Who that claims to love liberty can let this opportunity pass unimproved?

The Great Gift

November 7, 1895

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. WOR 14.1

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. WOR 14.2

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. WOR 14.3

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. WOR 14.4

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. WOR 14.5

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. WOR 14.6

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. WOR 14.7

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. WOR 14.8

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. WOR 15.1

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. WOR 15.2

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. WOR 15.3

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. WOR 15.4

“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.

The Righteousness of God

November 7, 1895

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. WOR 16.1

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 next WOR 16.2

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.” WOR 16.3

Questions on the Text

What had the apostle declared himself ready to do? WOR 16.4

“I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome.” Verse 15. WOR 16.5

Of what was he not ashamed? WOR 16.6

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” WOR 16.7

Why was he not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ? WOR 16.8

“Because it is the power of God.” WOR 16.9

In what respect is it the power of God applied? WOR 16.10

“It is the power of God unto salvation.” WOR 16.11

To whom is the Gospel the power of God unto salvation? WOR 16.12

“To every one that believeth.” WOR 16.13

In what order? WOR 16.14

“To the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” WOR 16.15

What is revealed in the Gospel? WOR 16.16

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed.” WOR 16.17

How is it revealed? WOR 16.18

“From faith to faith.” WOR 16.19

Of what is this an illustration? WOR 16.20

“As it is written, The just shall live by faith.” WOR 16.21

“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. WOR 17.1

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). WOR 17.2

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. WOR 17.3

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. WOR 17.4

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. WOR 18.1

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. WOR 18.2

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.” WOR 18.3

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. WOR 18.4

“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. WOR 18.5

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. WOR 19.1

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. WOR 19.2

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. WOR 19.3

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. WOR 19.4

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. WOR 19.5

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.” WOR 20.1

“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.

God’s Revelation to Man

November 14, 1895

Let us not the student forget that it is from the very words of the Bible that one is to learn. All the real help that any teacher can be to any one in the study of the Bible is to show him how to fix his mind more clearly upon the exact words of the sacred text. Therefore, first of all, read the text over many times. Do not do this hastily, but carefully, paying particular attention to every statement. Do not waste one moment in speculating as to the possible meaning of the text. There is nothing worse than guessing the meaning of a text of Scripture, unless it is the acceptance of somebody else’s guess. Nobody can know any more of the Bible than the Bible itself tells; and the Bible is just as ready to tell its story to one person as to another. WOR 21.1

Question the text closely. Probe it again and again, always in a reverent, prayerful spirit, to make it reveal itself. Do not be discouraged if you do not at once see all that there is in the text. Remember that it is the word of God, and that it is infinite in its depth, and that you can never exhaust it. When you come across a difficult statement, go back and consider it in connection with what precedes. Do not think that you can ever get at the full meaning of any text apart from its connection. By constant application to the words of the text, in order to be sure that you know exactly what it says, you will soon have them constantly in your mind; and it is then that you will begin to reap some of the rich fruits of Bible study; for at unexpected times new light will flash from them, and through them from other scriptures as you read. WOR 21.2

Our last lesson covered verses 16, 17, which contain the statement of what the Gospel is, and what it reveals to men. The remaining portion of the chapter may be summarized thus:- WOR 21.3

The Justice of Judgment. Romans 1:18-20

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his external power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” WOR 21.4

How Men Lost Knowledge. Romans 1:21-23

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” WOR 22.1

Result of Ignoring God. Romans 1:24-32

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves; who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful; who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” WOR 22.2

Questioning the Text

From what place is the wrath of God revealed? WOR 22.3

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” WOR 22.4

Against what is the wrath of God revealed? WOR 22.5

“Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” WOR 22.6

What is done to the truth by ungodly men? WOR 22.7

“Who hold down the truth in unrighteousness.” Revised Version. WOR 22.8

What is the justice of the revelation of God’s wrath against all ungodliness of men? WOR 22.9

“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them.” WOR 22.10

How is it that the knowledge of God is manifest in them? WOR 22.11

“For God hath showed it unto them.” WOR 22.12

Since what time have the invisible things of God been seen? WOR 22.13

“Since the creation of the world.” Revised Version. WOR 22.14

What are these invisible things? WOR 22.15

“His everlasting power and divinity.” Revised Version. WOR 22.16

By what are the everlasting power and divinity of God made known? WOR 22.17

“Being perceived through the things that are made.” Revised Version. WOR 22.18

What, then, is the condition of all who sin? WOR 22.19

“They are without excuse.” WOR 22.20

When they knew God, wherein did they fail? WOR 22.21

“When they knew God, they glorified him not as God.” WOR 22.22

In what respect did they fail to glorify him? WOR 22.23

“Neither were thankful.” WOR 22.24

What caused their ingratitude? WOR 22.25

They “became vain in their imaginations.” WOR 22.26

What was the result of their vain imaginings? WOR 22.27

“Their foolish heart was darkened.” WOR 22.28

In what sad condition were they? WOR 23.1

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” WOR 23.2

What did they then do? WOR 23.3

“Changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” WOR 23.4

To what were they left as a consequence? WOR 23.5

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts.” WOR 23.6

How did they pervert the truth? WOR 23.7

They “changed the truth of God into a lie,” “exchanged the truth of God for a lie,” Revised Version. WOR 23.8

What false worship did they introduce? WOR 23.9

They “worshiped and served the creature more [rather] than the Creator.” WOR 23.10

What was the result of this self-exaltation and creature worship? WOR 23.11

“For this cause God gave them up to vile affections.” WOR 23.12

What was the result of their refusing to have God in their knowledge? WOR 23.13

“God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” or “a mind void of judgment.” WOR 23.14

With what were they therefore necessarily filled? WOR 23.15

Being filled with all unrighteousness,” etc. WOR 23.16

All Unrighteousness Condemned.-The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. “All unrighteousness is sin.” 1 John 5:17. “But sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Romans 5:13. Therefore enough of the law of God is known in all the world to deprive all people of any excuse for sin. The statement in this verse is equal to that in the next chapter, that “there is no respect of persons with God.” His wrath is manifested against all unrighteousness. No person in the world is so great that he can sin with impunity, and no person is so insignificant that his sin will be overlooked. There is strict impartiality with God. He “without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.” 1 Peter 1:17. WOR 23.17

Restraining the Truth.-The statement is that men “hold down the truth in unrighteousness.” Some people have superficially read Romans 1:18 as though it said that men may possess the truth while they themselves are unrighteous. It does not say so. Sufficient evidence that such a thing is not meant is found in the fact that the apostle is speaking in this chapter especially of those who did not possess the truth, but had exchanged it for a lie. Although they had lost all knowledge of the truth, they were in condemnation for their sin. WOR 23.18

The statement is that people restrain the truth by unrighteousness. We might note the fact that when Jesus went into his own country “he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:58. But the apostle in the text before us means much more than this. He means, as the context plainly shows, that people by their perverseness restrain the working of the truth of God in their own souls. But for their resistance of the truth, it would sanctify them. And herein is seen the WOR 23.19

Righteousness of God’s Wrath.-The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, and justly, too, “because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them.” Note particularly the statement that that which may be know of God “is manifest in them.” Although in the common version the margin gives “to them” as an alternative reading, the Greek gives no warrant for any such rendering.

No matter how blindly men may sin, the fact remains that they are sinning against great light, “because that which may be known of God is manifest in them.” With such knowledge not only before their eyes, but actually within them, it is easy to see the justice of God’s wrath against all sin, no matter in whom it is found. Even though it should not be perfectly clear to us how the knowledge of God is really placed in every man, we may accept the apostle’s statement of the fact. In the wonderful description of the foolishness of idolatry, given in Isaiah, we are told that the man who makes an idol lies against the truth which he himself possesses. “He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he can not deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?” Isaiah 44:20. WOR 23.20

Seeing the Invisible.-It is said of Moses that “he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27. This was not a privilege peculiar to Moses. Every other man may do the same thing. How? Because the “invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made.” There has not been a time since the world was created when all men did not have the knowledge of God within their grasp. WOR 24.1

Lord, how thy wonders are displayed Where’er I turn my eye! If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the sky. WOR 24.2

There’s not a plant or flower below But makes thy glories known.” WOR 24.3

Eternal Power and Divinity.-The invisible things of God that are known by the things that are made are his everlasting power and divinity. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1. Jesus Christ is “the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24. “For in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16, 17. “He spake, and it was.” Psalm 33:9. He is “the firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 1:15. He is the source, or beginning, of the creation of God. Revelation 3:14. That is to say, all creation springs from Christ Jesus, who is the power of God. He spoke the worlds into existence from his own being. Therefore the external power and divinity of God are impressed upon everything that has been made. We can not open our eyes, we can not even feel the breeze upon our face, without having a clear revelation to us of the power of God. WOR 24.4

“We Are His Offspring.” -When Paul upon Mars’ Hill rebuked the Athenians for their idolatry he said that God is not far from every one of us, “for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” The men to whom he was speaking were heathen, yet it was just as true of them as it is of us. Then he quoted one of their own poets, who had said, “For we are also his offspring,” and placed upon it the stamp of truth, by saying, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Acts 17:27-29. Every movement of men, and every breath, is the working of the external power of God. Thus the eternal power and divinity of God are manifest to every man. Not that man is in any sense divine, or that he has any power in himself. Quite the contrary. Man is like the grass. “Every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” Psalm 39:5. The fact that man is nothing in himself, and even “less than nothing, and vanity,” is evidence of the power of God manifested in him. WOR 24.5

God’s Power in the Grass.-Look at the tiny blade of grass just pushing its way through the hard ground to the sunlight. It is a very frail thing. Pull it up, and you will see that it has not power to stand alone. Even scrape the soil away from it as it stands in the earth, and it will at once lose its upright position. It depends upon the soil to hold it up, and yet it is pushing its way to the surface through that very hard soil. Dissect it as carefully as you please, and you will find nothing to indicate the possession of power. Rub it between your fingers, and you will see that there is scarcely any substance to it. It is about as frail a thing as there is in nature, and yet it will often remove quite large stones that are in the way of its growth. Whence comes this power? It is not inherent in the grass, but is nothing less than the power of the life of God, working according to his word, which in the beginning said, “Let the earth bring forth grass.” WOR 24.6

The Gospel in Creation.-We have seen that in every created thing the power of God is manifested. And we also learned from the scripture studied last week that the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” God’s power is ever the same, for the text before us speaks of “his eternal power.” The power, therefore, which is manifested in the things which God has made is the same power that works in the hearts of men to save them from sin and death. Therefore we may be assured that God has constituted every portion of his universe a preacher of the Gospel. So then men may not only know the fact of God’s existence from the things which he has made, but they may know his eternal power to save them. The twentieth verse of the first chapter of Romans is an expansion of the sixteenth. It tells us how we may know the power of the Gospel. WOR 25.1

The Stars as Preachers.-“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard [or, “without these their voice is heard”]. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4. Now read Romans 10:13-18:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” WOR 25.2

In this text all the objections which men raise against the punishment of the heathen are answered. As stated in the first chapter, they are without excuse.

The gospel has been made known to every creature under heaven. It is admitted that men can not call on one in whom they have not believed, and that they can not believe in one of whom they have not heard, and that they can not hear without a preacher. And that which they ought to hear, and which they have not obeyed, is the gospel. Having stated this, the apostle asks, “Have they not heard?” and at once answers his own question by repeating the words of the nineteenth psalm, “Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” Thus we learn that the speech which the heavens utter from day unto day is the Gospel; and the knowledge which they show from night unto night is the knowledge of God. WOR 25.3

The Heavens Reveal Righteousness.-With the knowledge that that which the heavens declare is the Gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation, we can easily follow the nineteenth psalm through. It seems to the casual reader that there is a break in the continuity of this psalm. From talking about the heavens, the writer suddenly begins to speak of the perfection of the law of God, and its converting power. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Verse 7. But there is no break at all.

The law of God is the righteousness of God, and the gospel reveals the righteousness of God, and the heavens declare the Gospel; therefore it follows that the heavens reveal the righteousness of God. “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.” Psalm 97:6. The glory of God is his goodness, because we are told that it is through sin that men come short of his glory. Romans 3:23. Therefore we may know that whoever looks upon the heavens with reverence, seeing in them the power of the Creator, and will yield himself to that power, will be led to the saving righteousness of God. Even the sun, moon, and stars, whose light is but a part of the glory of the Lord, will shine that glory into his soul. WOR 25.4

Without Excuse.-How evident it is, therefore, that men are without excuse for their idolatrous practices. When the true God reveals himself in everything, and with his power makes known his love, what excuse can men have for not knowing and worshipping him? But is it true that God makes known his love to all men? Yes, it is just as true as that he makes himself known, for “God is love.” Whoever knows the Lord must know his love. This being the case with regard to the heathen, how utterly without excuse are people who live in lands where the Gospel is preached with an audible voice from his written word. WOR 26.1

The Cause of Idolatry.-How is it that if God has so clearly revealed himself and his truth, there are so many who are in utter ignorance of him? The answer is given, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” There is one thing which God has given as the seal and sign of his divinity, and that is the Sabbath. Speaking of men, he says, “Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12.

This is in keeping with what we have learned in Romans; for our text tells us that God’s power and divinity are perceived by thoughtful people through the things that he has made; and the Sabbath is the great memorial of creation. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.... for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11. If people had always kept the Sabbath as it was given, there would never have been any idolatry; for the Sabbath reveals the power of the word of the Lord to create and to work righteousness. WOR 26.2

Vain Imaginations.-Men became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Gibbon says of the speculations of the ancient philosophers that “their reason had often been guided by their imagination, and their imagination had been prompted by their vanity.” The course of their fall was the same as that of the angel who became Satan. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14. What was the cause of this self-exaltation and fall? “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Ezekiel 27:17. Dependent entirely upon God for all the wisdom and glory that he had, he did not glorify God, but assumed that all his talents sprang from himself; and so, as he disconnected himself in his pride from the Source of light, he became the prince of darkness. Even thus it was with man. WOR 26.3

Changing the Truth into a Lie.-“There is no power but of God.” In nature we see the manifestation of mighty power, but it is the working of God. All the different forms of force which philosophers name, and which they declare to be inherent in matter, are but the working of the life of God in the things that he has made. Christ is “before all things, and by him all things consist,” or hold together. Colossians 1:17. Cohesion therefore is but the direct power of the life of Christ. Gravitation also is the same power, as we read of the heavenly bodies, “for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:26.

But men looked upon all the operations of nature, and, instead of seeing the power of the one supreme God in them, they attributed divinity to the things themselves. So, as they looked upon themselves; and saw what great things they could achieve, instead of honoring God as the giver and upholder of all things, the One in whom they lived and moved and had their being, they assumed that they themselves were by nature divine. Thus they changed the truth of God into a lie. The truth is that the life and power of God are manifested in everything that he has made; the lie is that the force which is manifest in all things is inherent in the things themselves. So men put the creature in the place of the Creator. WOR 27.1

Looking Within.-Marcus Aurelius, who is accounted the best of the heathen philosophers, said: “Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.” That expresses the spirit of all heathenism. Self was the supreme thing. But that spirit is not peculiar to what is know as heathenism, for it is very common in these days; nevertheless, it is nothing but the spirit of heathenism. It is a part of the worship of the creature instead of the Creator. It is but natural that they should put themselves in his place; and when they do that, it is a necessary consequence that they look to themselves, and not to God, for goodness. When men look within, what is the only thing that they can see? “Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” Mark 6:21, 22. Even the apostle Paul said, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” Romans 7:18. Now, when a man looks at all this evil which is in him by nature, and thinks that it is good, and that he can get good out of himself, the result can be plainly seen: the vilest wickedness must be the result. He virtually says, “Evil, be thou my good.” WOR 27.2

The Wisdom of this World.-“The world by wisdom knew not God.” Keenness of intellect is not faith, nor is it a substitute for faith. A man may be a brilliant scholar, and still be the basest of men. Several years ago a man charged with half a score or more brutal murders was hanged, and yet he was a scholar and a scientist, and had held a high position in society. Learning is not Christianity, although a Christian may be a learned man. Modern inventions will never save men from perdition. Some modern philosopher has said that “idolatry can not live by the side of the highest art and culture that the world has ever known.” But at the same time men were sunk in such wickedness as referred to by the apostle in the last part of the first chapter of Romans. Even the reputed wise men were such as are there described. It was the natural result of their looking at themselves for righteousness. WOR 27.3

In the Last Days.-Read the last verses of the first chapter of Romans if you wish to have a picture of the world in the last days. The one who believes in a millennium of peace and righteousness before the coming of the Lord will doubtless be shocked; but he needs to be. Read that list of sins carefully, and then see how exactly it tallies with the following: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lover of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5. This all springs from self, the very source of the evil with which Paul charged the heathen. Those things are the works of the flesh. See Galatians 5:19-21.

They are the natural result of trusting in self. In spite of the declaration of the apostle, there are very few who will believe that this state of things will ever be general, and especially among those who profess godliness. But the seed which produces such a crop is already sown broadcast. The Papacy, “that man of sin,” “the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped,” is the strongest force in professed Christendom, and its power is daily increasing.

And how is it increasing? Not so much by the direct accessions as by the blind acceptance of its principles by professed Protestants. It has placed itself above God in thinking to change his law. Daniel 7:25. It boldly adopted the heathen sun festival day, Sunday, in the place of the Sabbath of the Lord, the memorial of creation, and defiantly points to it as its badge of authority. And the majority of Protestants follow in its train, accepting a custom which stands for the exaltation of man above God, the symbol of justification by works instead of by faith. When professed Christians cling to a human ordinance in spite of the express command of the Lord, and support their custom by appeals to the Fathers, men who were learned in the philosophy of heathenism, the road to any evil which their hearts may choose is but a down grade. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Chapter 2

Universal Judgement

November 21, 1895

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:1, 2. WOR 29.1

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6. WOR 29.2

Here we have the secret of the understanding of the Bible: study and meditation, coupled with an earnest desire to know the will of God in order to do it. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” John 7:17. Repetition review is one of the prime essentials to knowledge of the Bible. Not that any amount of study will compensate for lack of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but that the Holy Spirit witnesses through the word. WOR 29.3

A Look Backward

In this study of Romans we wish to carry along with us as much as possible of what we learn. We will therefore take a view of the first chapter as a whole. We have found that it is naturally divided somewhat as follows: WOR 29.4

Verses 1-7, the salutation, containing an epitome of the whole Gospel. WOR 29.5

Verses 8-15, Paul’s personal interest in the Romans, and his sense of obligation to them and to all mankind. WOR 29.6

Verses 16, 17, what the Gospel is, and what it contains. WOR 29.7

Verses 21-23, the corruption of wisdom. WOR 29.8

Verses 24-32, the result of unthankfulness and of forgetting God. WOR 29.9

A careful reading of the chapter shows that the main thought is that God has made himself known to every soul in his creation, and that even the most degraded heathen know that they are guilty and are worthy of death for their wickedness. “Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Verse 32. So “they are without excuse.” This leading thought of the first chapter should be well in mind before beginning the second chapter, for the second is a continuation of the first, and dependent upon it. WOR 29.10

A Wider View. Romans 2:1-11

“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 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 long-suffering; 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; to them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God.” WOR 30.1

Questioning the Text

What declaration does the apostle make to man? WOR 30.2

“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man.” WOR 30.3

What man is it that is inexcusable? WOR 30.4

“Whosoever thou art that judgest.” WOR 30.5

Why is the man that judges inexcusable? WOR 30.6

“For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself.” WOR 30.7

How is it that he condemns himself? WOR 30.8

“For thou that judgest doest the same things.” WOR 30.9

Of what may we be sure? WOR 30.10

“We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.” WOR 30.11

Therefore what is the man who judges evil-doers not to think? WOR 30.12

“That thou shalt escape the judgment of God.” WOR 30.13

What leading question is asked of the self-righteous judge? WOR 30.14

“Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering?” WOR 30.15

Of what is such an one ignorant? WOR 30.16

“Not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” WOR 30.17

What do such treasure up for themselves? WOR 30.18

“Treasurest up unto thyself wrath.” WOR 30.19

In accordance with what is this wrath treasured up? WOR 30.20

“After thy hardness and impenitent heart.” WOR 30.21

Against what time is this wrath treasured up? WOR 30.22

“Against the day of wrath.” WOR 30.23

What will then be revealed? WOR 30.24

“Revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” WOR 30.25

What will God then render? WOR 30.26

“Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” WOR 30.27

To what class will he render eternal life? WOR 30.28

“To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality.” WOR 30.29

What will he render to them that are contentious, and that do not obey the truth? WOR 30.30

“Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.” WOR 30.31

Unto how many will this be rendered? WOR 30.32

“Upon every soul of man that doeth evil.” WOR 30.33

In what order? WOR 30.34

“Of the Jew first, and also of the gentile.” WOR 30.35

Is God as impartial in his rendering of rewards as of punishment? WOR 30.36

“But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” WOR 30.37

What is not found with God? WOR 30.38

“For there is no respect of persons with God.” He “without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.” 1 Peter 1:17. WOR 30.39

Acknowledging their Guilt.-The truth of the apostle’s statement is easy of demonstration concerning the heathen and their deeds, that they know that they are worthy of death. When Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, they were afraid to meet God, and hid themselves. Fear is a necessary accompaniment of guilt, and a proof of it. “Fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1. “But the fearful ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire.” Revelation 21:8. If the heathen did not know that they were guilty, they would not expect punishment for murdering or stealing, and would not arm themselves for defense. WOR 31.1

An Unanswerable Charge.-There is wonderful shrewdness in the way that the apostle works up the charge made in the first verse. The first chapter is confined to the heathen. All will agree with the apostle’s statement that they are guilty of most abominable wickedness. “They ought to know better,” is the almost involuntary exclamation. “They do know better,” is the apostle’s reply, or, at least, they have a chance to know better, and they do know that they are not doing right. “They are without excuse.” Whatever men may think about the responsibility of the heathen, all agree that their practices are to be condemned. Then comes the crushing rejoinder: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” We are caught, and can not escape. If we know enough to condemn the unrighteous deeds of the heathen, we by that very judgment acknowledge ourselves to be without excuse for our own misdeeds. WOR 31.2

All Alike.-“Thou that judgest doest the same things.” It is clear enough that anybody who knows enough to condemn evil in another is without excuse for his own sins; but all will not at once see that the one who judges another does the same things. Read, therefore the last verses of the first chapter again, and compare the list of sins with that found in Galatians 5:19-21, and it will be seen that the things which the heathen do, and for which we can readily see that they are guilty, are but the works of the flesh. They are the sins that come “from within, out of the heart of men.” Mark 7:21-23. Whoever is included in the term “man” is subject to just such things. “The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sos of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” Psalm 33:13-15. WOR 31.3

Self-condemned.-Therefore, since all men are alike sharers in one common human nature, it is evident that whosoever in the world condemns another for any misdeed thereby condemns himself; for the truth is that all have the same evil in them, more or less fully developed; and the fact that they know enough to judge that a thing is wrong, is a declaration that they themselves are worthy of the punishment which they see that the other one deserves. WOR 31.4

Sympathy, Not Condemnation.-The robber often cries out, “Stop thief!” after some other man, in order to direct pursuit away from himself. So people condemn sin in others, in order that it may not be suspected that they are guilty of the same things. Often, too, people WOR 31.5

Compound for sins they are inclined to By damning those they have no mind to,“ WOR 31.6

but of which they are actually guilty by reason of their human nature. Since all flesh of man is the same, we ought to be filled with humiliation, instead of contempt, when we hear of a gross sin that is committed; for it is really a picture of what is in our own hearts. Instead of saying, “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men,” we should bear the burden of the erring, considering ourselves lest we also be tempted. Very often the man whose weakness we feel inclined to condemn, has not failed so badly as we should have done if we had been tempted in the same way, and to the same degree. WOR 31.7

Outcry Against Sin.-When Talkative left Faithful to decide upon the subject of their conversation, Faithful proposed this question: “How doth the saving grace of God discover itself when it is in the heart of man?” And then Bunyan proceeds thus:- WOR 32.1

Talk. I perceive then that our talk must be about the power of things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to answer you; and take my answer in brief thus: First, where the grace of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin. Secondly- WOR 32.2

Faith.-Nay, boldly let us consider of one at one I think you should rather say, it shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor sin. WOR 32.3

Talk. Why, what difference is there between crying out against and abhorring sin? WOR 32.4

Faith. O, a great deal! A man may cry out against a sin, of policy; but he can not abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who can yet abide it well enough in the heart, house, and conversation. Joseph’s mistress cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very chaste; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him. WOR 32.5

A keen perception of right and wrong, and a vigorous denunciation of sin, will never justify any man. On the contrary, they only deepen his condemnation. It is a sad fact that too many of the so-called reformers of the present day seem to think that Gospel work consists largely in the denunciation of evil practices. A detective is not a minister of the Gospel. WOR 32.6

Judgment According to Truth.-“But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.” “Hold,” says one, “I am not sure of that.” Well, you may very easily assure yourself of it. 1. God exists. We are agreed as to that. 2. He is the source whence every created thing comes. 3. Every creature is absolutely dependent upon him. “In him we live, and move, and have our being.” 4. Since all life depends on him, it is evident that the continuation of man’s life depends upon his agreement and union with God. 5. Therefore God’s own character must be the standard of judgment. 6.

But God himself is truth. “There is no unrighteousness in him.” 7. But he has made a revelation of himself and his righteousness to all men. “His righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen.” Psalm 97:2. 8. Therefore all men, from the least to the greatest, are without excuse for their sin. 9. Then it is plain enough that when God judges all men, without exception, his judgment is according to truth. And earth will be constrained to join with heaven in saying, “Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.” “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” Revelation 16:5, 7. WOR 32.7

No Escape.-No one need think that he can escape the righteous judgment of God. It is usually the most enlightened who flatter themselves that they shall escape. It is so easy for us to think that our great knowledge of right and wrong will be counted for righteousness, to persuade ourselves that our condemnation of the sins of others will make the Lord believe that we could never be guilty of such things. But that only makes our condemnation the more clear. The first chapter of Romans knocks all the props from under every man. If the lowest are justly held guilty, there is no escape for the “higher classes.” “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14. WOR 32.8

God’s Goodness Leads to Repentance.-“Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” God is the perfection of purity and holiness; man is altogether sinful. God knows every sin, yet he does not despise the sinner. “God sent not his Son into the world tocondemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17.

Christ said, “If any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not.” John 12:47. In everything that he said and did, he was simply representing the Father. God “is long-suffering to usward;” and “the long-suffering of our God is salvation.” 2 Peter 3:9, 15. Now it is impossible that one should consider the goodness and long-suffering of God without being humbled and moved to repentance. When we consider how tenderly God bears with us, it is not possible that weshould deal harshly with our fellow-men. And if we do not judge, we shall not be judged. Luke 6:37. WOR 33.1

Repentance Is a Gift.-“By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:30, 31. But it was not to Israel alone that God gave repentance through Christ. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43. And so plainly did God make this appear that even the exclusive Jews were forced to exclaim, “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18. WOR 33.2

Incentives to Repentance.-The goodness of God leads men to repentance. Therefore the whole earth is full of incentives to repentance, for “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Psalm 33:5. “The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy.” Psalm 119:64. God may be known through his works, and “God is love.” All creation reveals the love and mercy of God. And we need not try to improve on the Scriptures, and say that the goodness of God tends to lead men to repentance. The Bible says that it does lead them to repentance, and we may be sure that it is so. Every man is being led toward repentance as surely as God is good. But not all repent. Why? Because they despise the riches of the goodness and forbearance and long-suffering of God, and break away from the merciful leading of the Lord. But whoever does not resist the Lord, will surely be brought to repentance and salvation. WOR 33.3

Treasuring up Wrath.-In the first chapter we learn that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Therefore all who sin are treasuring up for themselves wrath. It should be noted that in the judgment God is clear. Men receive only what they have worked for. God is not arbitrary. He has not fixed arbitrary decrees, and declared that whoever violates them shall be visited with vengeance.

The punishment that will come upon the wicked is the necessary result of their own choice. God is the only source of life. His life is peace. Now when men reject him, the only alternative for them is wrath and death. “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of my counsel; they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Proverbs 1:29-32. Trouble and death are bound up in sin; they are what men choose when they refuse the Lord. WOR 33.4

“According to His Deeds.” -Unbelievers often say that it is not just for God to condemn a man simply because he does not believe a certain thing. But he does not do so. Not a word can be found in the Bible about judging a man according to his belief. Everywhere it is said that all will be judged according to their works. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27.

“Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. He “judgeth according to every man’s work.” 1 Peter 1:17. The man who says that his work is all right, sets himself up as judge in the place of God, who says that every man is all wrong. God is Judge alone, and he judges strictly according to a man’s work, but a man’s work is decided by his faith. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29. It is not for any man to judge himself, and say that his work is all right. It is for him simply to trust the goodness and mercy of the Lord, that his work may be wrought in God. WOR 34.1

Immortality and Eternal Life.-God will render eternal life to them who seek for glory and honor and immortality. Christ “hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10. Life and immortality are two different things. Whoever believes on the Son of God has eternal life. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3.

We have eternal life as soon as we know the Lord; but we can not have immortality until the Lord comes, at the last day. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. We are to seek for immortality; that of itself is proof that no man has it now. Since Christ has brought it to light through the Gospel, it is evident that immortality can be found in no other way than through the Gospel. Therefore those who do not accept the Gospel will never have immortality. WOR 34.2

Tribulation and Anguish.-Those who sin are the children of wrath. Ephesians 2:3. Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, are sure to come upon evil doers. But tribulation and anguish will have an end. The fact that none receive immortality except the ones who are Christ’s at his coming, shows that all others will eventually cease to exist. There will be torment in connection with the punishment of the wicked, but the torment, however long it may continue, will come to an end in the utter destruction of the wicked. God’s indignation will come to an end. “

For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.” Isaiah 10:25. The call is: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” Isaiah 26:20, 21. “He will not always chide; neither will he keep his anger forever.” Psalm 103:9. His anger will cease, not because he will become reconciled to iniquity, but because iniquity will come to an end with its workers. WOR 34.3

“To Every Soul.” -Tribulation and anguish will come upon “every soul of man that doeth evil,” and “glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good.” None will be left out. There is not a soul so poor and ignorant that he will be passed by, nor one so wealthy and learned that he will be allowed to escape. Wealth and position will have no influence in that court. God has made the revelation of himself so plain that every man has had an opportunity of knowing him. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold down the truth in unrighteousness.” Note well that his wrath is revealed against sin. Only those persons will suffer who cling to sin, and will not allow God to take it from them. In the final blotting out of sin, they are necessarily blotted out with it. WOR 35.1

To the Jew First.-This statement is sufficient to show that God is no respecter of persons. Indeed, the apostle states as a necessary conclusion that “there is no respect of persons with God.” “First” does not always refer to time. We speak of a man as being the first man in the country, not because there were no men before him, but because he is the chief man. In school a certain one is the first one in his class because he is the best scholar. The Jew is the one who has had the greatest revelation made to him, and therefore it is just that he should be chief in the judgment. The text shows, however, that God has no special favor to the Jew over other men. If glory, honor, and peace come to the Jew first, so also do indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. The question is not, “What is the man’s nationality?” but, “What has he done?” God will render to every man according to his deeds, “for there is no respect of persons with God.”

The Law and Judgment

December 5, 1895

A few words may suffice to bring to mind what we have already studied. The first chapter of Romans may be briefly summed up as setting forth the condition of those who know not God, and the way in which they lost their knowledge, together with the fact that they are wholly without excuse. Then, just as we are ready to hold up our hands in horror at their wickedness, and to launch forth severe condemnation upon them, the apostle turns to us, and shuts our mouths with the stinging words, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” And so the second chapter proceeds to show that all will be subjects of God’s righteous judgment, “for there is no respect of persons with God.” Thus we are brought to a confirmation of the fact that God is impartial, by a comparison of the WOR 36.1

Two Classes in the Judgment. Romans 2:12-16

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.” WOR 36.2

Questioning the Text

What proves that there is no respect of persons with God? WOR 36.3

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” WOR 36.4

What is to become of the ones who have sinned without law? WOR 36.5

They “shall also perish.” WOR 36.6

How shall those perish who have sinned without law? WOR 36.7

“Without law.” WOR 36.8

What of those who have sinned in the law? WOR 36.9

They “shall be judged by the law.” WOR 36.10

When shall this be? WOR 36.11

“In the day when God shall judge the secrets before God.” WOR 36.12

What will simply hearing the law not do for men? WOR 36.13

“For not the hearers of the law be just before God.” WOR 36.14

Who alone shall be justified. WOR 36.15

“The doers of the law shall be justified.” WOR 36.16

But what of the men who have never heard the law? WOR 36.17

“These, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.” WOR 36.18

What do they show by their actions? WOR 36.19

“Which show the work of the law written in their hearts.” WOR 36.20

What shows that even without the law they have some knowledge of what the law requires? WOR 36.21

“Their conscience also bearing witness.” WOR 36.22

How do they regard the different actions done by themselves. WOR 36.23

“Their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.” WOR 36.24

By whom will the secrets of men be judged? WOR 36.25

“God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” WOR 37.1

In accordance with what will the judgment be? WOR 37.2

“According to my Gospel.” WOR 37.3

Without Law, and in the Law.-Although it is quite certain that when the Lord comes the second time there will be no people on the earth who have not heard the preaching of the word, it is a fact that thousands and millions have died without ever having seen or heard of the Bible. They are the ones to whom the apostle refers as “without law.” Yet it is plainly set forth that they are not absolutely without law, but only without the written law. The fact that they have some knowledge of the law is stated in the verses following, and is proved by the fact that they are counted sinners; but “sin is not imputed where there is no law.” Romans 5:13. WOR 37.4

All Sin Punished.-Whether we have had the written law or not, all are alike counted sinners. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Romans 1:18. The heathen are declared to be without excuse; and if they who have not the written law are without excuse, they who have the law in their hands are of course far more inexcusable. God is just.

“We know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.” Yet all who sin, whether in the law or without the law, are to be punished. This is sufficient to show that “without law” does not mean without any knowledge of God. The first chapter settles that. The trouble with too many who read this statement that all shall be punished, and who think that it does not seem just, is that they forget, or are ignorant of, what is contained in the first chapter. It is a great mistake to take any single verse of the Bible and separate it from its connection. WOR 37.5

They Shall Perish.-That is declared to be the fate of the wicked. The apostle Peter tells us that the world is “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7. What is meant by “perish?” It means just the opposite of living forever. On one occasion some people told Jesus of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, and Jesus replied, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-3. Again we read, “The wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs; they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” Psalm 37:20. Therefore the statement that those who sin shall perish means that they shall die, that they shall be utterly extinct, that “they shall be as though they had not been.” Obadiah 16. WOR 37.6

Strict Impartiality.-That means strict justice. Sinners will be punished, whether they live in heathen lands or in so-called Christian lands. But no one will be judged by that of which he knew nothing. God does not punish men for violation of a law of which they knew nothing, nor does he hold them accountable for light that they have not had. It is very plain that those who have the law must know many things that are not known to those who do not have it in written form.

All men have light enough to know that they are sinners; but the written word gives those who have it a knowledge of many particulars of which those are ignorant who do not have it. Therefore God in his justice does not hold the latter accountable for many things for which the former will be judged. “As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” The man who has rejected light, whether it be little or much, is obviously guilty. WOR 37.7

The Root of Sin.-To some it seems unjust that those who have had but comparatively little light should suffer death for their sins, the same as those who have sinned against the greatest light. Their difficulty arises from the fact that they do not consider what sin really is. God alone is good. Luke 18:19. He is the source of goodness. Whatever goodness ever appears in man is only the working of God in him.

But he is also the source of life. With him is the fountain of life. Psalm 36:9. God’s life is righteousness; therefore there can be no righteousness apart from the life of God. Now it is evident that if a man rejects God, he effectually cuts himself off from life. It matters not that he has had but comparatively little knowledge of God, if he rejects that light he rejects God, and thus rejects life. And by rejecting the little that he has seen of God, he shows that he would reject God in any case. Sin is simply separation from or rejection of God; and that means death. WOR 38.1

Justified.-Here is another term the meaning of which should be settled once for all. We have seen that righteousness means conformity to the law of God, and so we shall understand it throughout the book of Romans and the whole Bible. Romans 2:13 shows that “just,” or “justified,” means the same thing. Who are the justified ones?-They who do the law. We need not here stop to consider the fact that is stated later, that there are no doers of the law; all we are concerned with now is the statement that to be justified means to be in a condition of harmony with the law of God. The matter of how men get into such a condition will be considered later. Let is not be forgotten that “just means “righteous,” and that both mean a state of harmony with the law of God, which is his life. WOR 38.2

Hearing and Doing.-“Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” That is, it makes no difference how much a man knows; his knowledge will not justify him. People who have had great advantages are very prone to look with contempt upon those who have been less favored, and to feel pride because of their own superior knowledge, forgetting that their superior knowledge only makes their own shortcomings the more marked.

The man who knows much and does wrong is obviously more blameworthy than the one who knows only little. “Take heed therefore how ye hear.” Luke 8:16. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25. WOR 38.3

A Law unto Themselves.-“These, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.” They have not the written law, and so they are their own law. “Which show the work of the law written in their hearts.” So the law that they are unto themselves is nothing different from the written law. This statement is the same as that in the first chapter, namely, that “that which may be known of God is manifest in them.” God has revealed himself, and therefore his law, not only to every man, but in every man. Christ is God, and he is “the true light which lighteth every man that comet into the world.” John 1:9. In the judgment even the heathen will stand self-condemned. WOR 38.4

Accusing and Excusing.-“Their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.” The French have a proverb to the effect that “he who excuses himself accuses himself.” This is a true proverb. No man thinks of excusing himself if he does not think that he is at fault. If a thing be right, it needs no excuse. And so in the statement that the heathen either excuse or else accuse one another for the things that they do, we find evidence that their conscience continually condemns them. Even in the things which they try to make themselves believe are right, they show that they know that they are wrong. WOR 38.5

A Parenthesis.-The reader will note that verses 13, 14, 15 are thrown in by way of explanation, to show that, although the heathen are said to sin without law, and to perish without law, they are not absolutely without law, but only without the written law. This needs to be noted in order not to become confused in following the apostle’s statement about the judgment. The connection is found by reading verses 12 and 16 together, thus: “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;” “in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.” WOR 39.1

Judged by Jesus Christ.-God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Christ is the representative of the Godhead in all things,-in creation, in redemption, and in judgment. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” John 5:22, 23. “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:31. The fact that the judgment will be conducted by Christ, “who gave himself for our sins,” who died to redeem men, and who is our Advocate with the Father, the propitiation for our sins, “and not for ours only, but also for the whole world,” is assurance to all men that the judgment will be conducted with the utmost fairness. WOR 39.2

According to the Gospel.-The judgment is according to the Gospel. This is additional evidence that love is always combined with justice. In fact, the justice of God is always love itself, for God is love, and he can never be anything else but love, for he can not deny himself. And he is always just. His mercy appears even in his judgments.

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.... To him which divided the Red Sea into parts; for his mercy endureth forever; and made Israel to pass through the midst of it; for his mercy endureth forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea; for his mercy endureth forever.” Psalm 136:1-15. Since the righteousness of God-the law-is revealed in the Gospel, and men are judged by the law, it is plain that the Gospel is not omitted in the judgment. The Gospel is in reality nothing else but the law of God in Christ. WOR 39.3

“My Gospel.” -Paul says, “God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.” What does he mean by “my Gospel”? Is it that he has a Gospel that is peculiarly his own, or from himself?-By no means. Let him explain himself. “But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11, 12. The Gospel which Paul preached was the word which he had received from the Lord Jesus Christ himself; and therefore his statement in the text before us is the same as saying that this judgment will be according to the word of the Lord.

Form and Fact

December 12, 1895

In the first chapter, it will be remembered we have a representation of the case of the heathen. In the second, as far as already studied, we have the case made general. Now the verses immediately before us, we have in unmistakable language the direct, personal charge. WOR 40.1

“Thou Art the Man.” Romans 2:17-24

“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest they boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles through you, as it is written.” WOR 40.2

Questioning the Text

To whom does the apostle now address himself? WOR 40.3

“Behold, thou art called a Jew?” WOR 40.4

in what does the one called a Jew rest? WOR 40.5

“And restest in the law.” WOR 40.6

Of what does he boast? WOR 40.7

Makest thy boast of God.” WOR 40.8

What does he know? WOR 40.9

“And knowest his will.” WOR 40.10

How is it that he knows God’s will? WOR 40.11

“Being instructed out of the law.” WOR 40.12

Knowing the will of God through being instructed out of the law, what is he able to do? WOR 40.13

“Triest the things that differ,” marginal reading. WOR 40.14

Of what does his knowledge of the law give him confidence? WOR 40.15

“Are confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes.” WOR 40.16

What, and what only, does he have in the law? WOR 40.17

“Hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” WOR 40.18

What questions imply that he has not the fact or the truth of the law? WOR 40.19

“Dost thou steal?” “Dost thou commit adultery?” “Dost thou commit sacrilege?” “Through breaking the law dishonorest thou God?” WOR 40.20

What shows that these leading question are really positive charges of breaking the law? WOR 41.1

“For the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles through you, as it is written.” WOR 41.2

A Professed Jew.-Are professed Christians to throw away this portion of the book of Romans as not applicable to them, since it is addressed to a professed Jew? By no means. Professed Christians are the very ones who are meant by the apostle. Read the description: Thou “restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Whom does he address? Every one who professes to know the Lord, no matter by what name he is called; every one who thinks himself fully qualified to instruct others in the way of the Lord. WOR 41.3

“Called a Jew.” -It should not be overlooked as a trifling matter that the apostle does not say, “Behold, thou art a Jew,” but, “Behold, thou art called a Jew.” People are not always what they are called, nor what they call themselves. Beginning with the seventeenth verse the apostle settles the question of who are Jews. Before we have finished the chapter it will seem that by using the word “called” he meant to intimate that the one addressed and described in the following verses is not really a Jew, and is not considered so by the Lord. WOR 41.4

Claiming to Be Jews.-In Revelation 2:9 we read, “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” And again, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” Revelation 3:9. From this we see that to be a Jew indeed is so high an honor that many will falsely claim it. Yet the people called Jews have been held in contempt by the greater part of the world, for many hundred years. At no time and in no part of the world, since the New Testament was written, has it ever been an object for anybody to claim that he was a Jew, in the common acceptation of the term. The Jews as a class have never been in such honor that it would benefit one’s prospects to be called one. But it has been and is very often an advantage for a man to be known as a Christian, and very many have falsely made the claim, in order to better their business prospects. WOR 41.5

Jew and Christian.-It is not straining the text at all to say that when “Jew” is used in these verses, it means what is now known as “Christian.” This will be apparent if we consider what a real Jew is. We may quote enough to show that from the beginning a true Jew was one who believed in Christ. Of the head of the race the Lord Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” John 8:56.

He believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness; but righteousness comes only through the Lord Jesus. Moses, the leader of the Jews, esteemed “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” Hebrews 11:26 The rebellious Jews in the wilderness tempted and rejected Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:9. When Christ came in the flesh, it was “his own” that received him not. John 1:11. And to crown all, Christ said that no one could believe the writings of Moses unless he believed on him. John 5:46, 47. Therefore it is evident that no one is or ever has been a real Jew unless he believes in Christ. He who is not a Jew indeed is of “the synagogue of Satan.” WOR 41.6

“Salvation Is of the Jews.” -Jesus said to the woman of Samaria at the well of Jacob, “Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22. Christ himself was “made of the seed of David according to the flesh,” and was therefore a Jew; and there is no other name than his “under heaven ... whereby we must be saved.” No other people on earth, besides the Jews, have ever had so high a name. No other people have been so highly favored of God. “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” Deuteronomy 4:7, 8. WOR 42.1

Resting in the Law.-As stated in the verse last quoted, the Jews had committed to them the most perfect law in the universe, God’s own. It was called “the testimony,” because it was for a witness against them. They were not taught that they could get righteousness out of it, although it was perfect, but the contrary. Because it was so perfect, and they were sinners, it could have nothing but condemnation for them. It was designed only to drive them to Christ, in whom alone they could find the perfect righteousness that the law requires. “The law worketh wrath” (Romans 4:15), and Christ alone saves from wrath. But they “rested in the law,” and therefore rested in sin. They “trusted in themselves that they were righteous.” Luke 18:9. They found no righteousness, “because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.” Romans 9:31, 32. WOR 42.2

Boasting of God.-This is something different from making one’s boast in the Lord. Psalm 34:2. Instead of rejoicing in the Lord’s salvation, the Jews boasted over their superior knowledge of God.

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