SIN AND ITS REMEDY.
September 8, 1900.
Rom. 5:12: “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Rom. 3:9: “What then? are we better than they?--No, in nowise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.”
Rom. 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Rom. 3:19, 20: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under [literally in, within the sphere of] the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified [made righteous] in His sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Rom. 3:21, 22: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference.''
Rom. 3:24: “Justified [made righteous] freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Rom. 6:1, 2: “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?''
Rom. 6:6, 7: “Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
1 John 3:5, 6: “Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not.”
1 John 3:8: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
Rom. 7:9-11: “I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.”
Rom. 7:4: “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Every one of the following questions may be answered in the exact words of some one of the foregoing texts. Study the text until you can find all the answers, and can see them plainly.
- Although in this lesson there is no reference to the Epistle to the Galatians, it comes in naturally as a part of the study of that book. These texts are brought in here by themselves in order that the lesson on the actual text of Galatians may not be made too long by references to other scriptures. If these are carefully studied, so that they become fixed in the mind, any reference to them later on will not distract the mind of the student, but will only make his way clearer. It is true that every portion of Scripture is complete in itself for the purpose for which it was given; yet in studying any book of the Bible we get help from every other part with which we are acquainted, just as two lamps yield more light than one, although each one is complete by itself.
- The texts quoted are simple statements of fact. All that is needed in order to understand them is to believe them. No attempt will be made to explain them, but we will simply direct attention closely to them, that each one may well observe what they tell.
- That all are sinners is self-evident. Even though a man has not been sharply and definitely convicted of sin by the Spirit of God, every one has this much of conviction, that he knows that he is not as good as he ought to be, or as he might be.
- Sinners of the Jews are no better than sinners of the Gentiles; that is to say, a professed Christian who knowingly commits sin is no better than an avowed unbeliever who does the same thing. The professor may indeed be much worse than the other, in doing the same act, since his knowledge and profession demand much more of him. To profess to be a Christian does not put one under the special protection of God, so that one may sin with impunity. God has no special favorites, whom He will shield from punishments for their sins, while others must suffer for the same things. God does not grant indulgences to Christians.
- Rom. 3:19 is one of the two places in the Bible where the expression “under the law,” as translated in our English version, does not mean condemned by the law. This is not an arbitrary difference from the same expression in other places, but arises solely from the fact that it is from an entirely different expression in the Greek. This text tells us that the law speaks to those who are in it, that is, within its range, and that as the result of what the law says to them, all the world are guilty before God. Then, indeed, they are under the law. Jesus said of the unbelieving Jews, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” John 15:22.
- Therefore buy the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be made righteous before God. Why not?--Because the law declares all the world to be guilty. By the law is the knowledge of sin; by Christ is the knowledge of righteousness.
- But now a righteousness comes to us, apart from the law,--apart from our efforts to keep it. This righteousness, however, is not a different righteousness from that of the law, but the very same, as the law itself bears witness. It is the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus Christ, in whose heart was God's law in its fulness. It is a righteousness, not in word merely, but in action. It is not a righteousness which one strives to get from cold, lifeless stone, but the righteousness that is lived in the man by Christ, the living stone. It is all of God’s grace; for “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Rom. 5:20.
- Because God is so gracious as freely to forgive our sin by imparting to us His righteousness in its stead, that is no reason why we should continue in sin. Exactly the contrary; for how is it possible to live in sin when we have God’s righteousness in and upon us through the abounding grace of God in Christ? Christ ministers righteousness, not sin.
- We become joined to Christ, sharers of His life, by being sharers of His death. It is in death that we are united to Christ. Therefore death can not separate us. Being dead with Him, we necessarily live with Him; and since He dies no more, the life which we live with Him is a life over which sin, and, therefore, death, has no power.
- “Our old man” is crucified with Him. That is, we are crucified as sinners. But “in Him is no sin,” and therefore when we rise with Him it is to “walk in newness of life.” No sin rises in Christ. “The body of sin is destroyed,” swallowed up, in Him, and has no resurrection. If, after having been thus united to Him, we again commit sin, it is not He who does it, but it is of ourselves, because we have not held fast to Him in faith.
- The law convicts us of sin, and condemns us to death. But, instead of waiting to be driven to execution, we willingly and gladly suffer death with Christ, who gave Himself willingly, and who was “reckoned, among the transgressors.” It is in Christ that we receive the penalty of the law--death. So when we rise with Him, we are “dead to the law,” so long as we “reckon” ourselves dead. So long as the “old man,” which the law condemned to death, remains destroyed, and a “new man” lives in his stead, the law has nothing against us any more than it has against Christ. We are to remain dead to the law, but alive unto God.