Faith in Christ is the only condition of salvation. Then the objector speaks up, and says, “Then what is the use of the law? If the inheritance is only by promise, what do men gain by having the law? Is it not rather a detriment to them?” There was need of asking and answering this question; for thousands are today asking the same question, and in so doing they imagine that they are making an unanswerable objection against the law.
Although the law “was four hundred and thirty years after” the covenant with Abraham, it was nevertheless in existence at that time, and long before, and was the basis of that covenant. Said God to Abraham, before making the promise: “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” Genesis 17:1.
Ellet J. Waggoner
Men had come from Judea saying to the young converts, “Unless you are circumcised. . . . you cannot be saved.” Paul taught that sinners can obtain justification only by the grace of God, through faith in the blood of Christ; those Jews taught that circumcision was the true means of justification. It can readily be seen that the latter teaching was directly subversive of the former, and that the acceptance of it was equivalent to the rejection of Christ.
The great characteristic of faith is, that it works. We do not mean that works are attached to it, but works come from it. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26. Faith “works by love,” says Paul. There may be that which is called faith, but if no works proceed from it, it is not faith.
Ellet J. Waggoner
Yet when we consider the matter further, the command to build the sanctuary, together with the statement of the reason why it was to be built, is one of the most sorrowful things to be found in the Scriptures. “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them!” What a sad thing! That God’s people, whom He had delivered from bondage for the express purpose of dwelling not simply among them, but in them, had to have a house made with hands in order that His glory might be seen among them.
“Your number of March 11, in ‘Notes on the International Lessons,’ says the doctrine of the eternal torment is contrary to the word of God. Will you please explain Matthew 25:41, Christ’s own words?
The Scriptures give abundant evidence of the fact that the tabernacle built in the wilderness was but a pattern of “the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man;” that the high priest was a type of Christ; and that, in short, the whole service was typical, or figurative.
We learn, then, that when a man willfully violates one commandment, it is not respect for the law, nor for the Lawgiver, that restrains him from violating all of them. He has shown his contempt for the authority that gave them, and thus becomes guilty of all. Now when we recall the fact that each one of these commandments reaches the thoughts and intents of the heart, we may have something of a sense of what it takes to be a doer of the law.
Now why was it that only the Jews had the written law? Did the giving of the law to them indicate partiality on the part of God? Not by any means: “For there is no respect of persons with God.”