That everyone who thirsteth for the truth may obtain it, these publications are, as a Christian service, provided without charge. They levy but one exaction: the soul's obligation to itself to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. The only strings attached to this free proffer are the golden strands of Eden and the crimson cords of Calvary - the ties that bind.
STUDIES IN GALATIANS 1:3-5
by A. T. Jones
Review and Herald 1899/08/29
"Grace be to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
"Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ." Such is the salutation in every epistle by Paul, except that to the Hebrews; and, slightly varied, in both by Peter.
Yet it is not by any means a mere form. These epistles have come to us as the word of God, which they are in truth. This salutation, then, though often repeated–yea, even because often repeated–comes to us as the word of God in greeting and full assurance of His favor and peace everlastingly held forth to every soul.
Grace is favor. This word of God, then, extends His favor to every soul who ever reads it or who hears it.
His very name is Gracious–extending grace. His name is only what He is. And what He is, He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." With Him is "no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Therefore by Him grace, boundless favor, is always extended to every soul. Oh, that all would only believe it!
"And peace." He is the "God of peace." There is no true peace, but that of God. And "there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." "The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest."
But all the world lieth in wickedness, yet the God of peace speaks peace to every soul. For Christ, the Prince of peace, "our peace," hath made both God and man one, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, to make in Himself of two–God and man–one new man, so making peace–"making peace through the blood of his cross." Eph. 2:14, 15; Col. 1:20. "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross," He "came and preached peace to you which were afar off and to them that were nigh," peace to you all. Therefore, always and forevermore, His salutation to every soul is, Peace to thee. And all from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ!
Oh, that every one would believe it; so that the peace of God which passeth all understanding could keep his heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts." Let it; that is all He asks of you. Don't refuse it and beat it back; let it.
"Who gave himself for our sins." O brother, sister, sinner, whosoever you be, laden with sins through you be, Christ gave Himself for your sins. Let Him have them. He bought them–your sins–with the awful price of His crucified self. Let Him have them.
He does not ask you to put all your sins away before you can come to Him and be wholly His. He asks you to come, sins and all, and be wholly His, sins and all; and He will take away from you, and put away forever, all your sins. He gave Himself for you, sins and all; He bought you, sins and all; let Him have what He bought; let Him have His own; let Him have you, sins and all.
He "gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world." Notice that to deliver us from this present evil world He gave Himself for our sins. That shows that all that there is of this present evil world to each one of us, is in our sins.
And they were "our sins." They belonged to us. We were responsible for them. And so far as we were concerned, this present evil world lay in our own personal selves, in our sins. But, bless the Lord, He gave Himself for us, sins and all; He gave Himself for our sins, ourselves and all, and this He did in order that He might deliver us from this present evil world.
Would you like to be delivered from this present evil world? Let Him have yourself, sins and all, which He bought and which therefore by full right belong to Him. Please do not rob Him of what is His own and so still remain in this present evil world when at the same time you would like to be delivered from this present evil world. Please do not commit the additional sin of keeping what does not belong to you.
As they were our sins and He gave Himself for them, it follows plainly enough that He gave Himself to us for our sins. Then when He gave Himself for your sins, your sins became His, and when He gave Himself to you for your sins, He became yours. Let Him have your sins, which are His, and take for them Him, who is yours. Blessed exchange, for in him you have, as your very own, all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and all "according to the will of God." Thank the Lord.
Why should there not be to Him "glory forever and ever"? and why should not you and all people say, Amen?
by A. T. Jones
Review and Herald 1899/10/24
"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."
It may not be amiss to emphasize what this scripture does say, by noting what it does not say.
It does not say, I want to be crucified with Christ. It does not say, I wish I were crucified with Christ, that He might live in me. It does say, "I am crucified with Christ."
Again, it does not say, Paul was crucified with Christ; Christ lived in Paul, and the Son of God loved Paul and gave Himself for Paul. All that is true, but that is not what the scripture says nor is that what it means, for it means just what it says. And it does 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."
Thus this verse is a beautiful and solid foundation of Christian faith for every soul in the world. Thus it is made possible for every soul to say, in full assurance of Christian faith, "He loved me." "He gave himself for me." "I am crucified with Christ." "Christ liveth in me." Read also 1 John 4:15.
For any soul to say, "I am crucified with Christ," is not speaking at a venture. It is not believing something on a guess. It is not saying a thing of which there is no certainty. Every soul in this world can say in all truth and all sincerity, "I am crucified with Christ." It is but the acceptance of a fact, the acceptance of a thing that is already done, for this word is the statement of a fact.
It is a fact that Jesus Christ was crucified. And when He was crucified we also were crucified, for He was one of us. His name is Immanuel, which is "God with us"–not God with Him, but "God with us." When His name is not God with Him, but "God with us," then who was He but "us"? He had to be "us" in order that God with Him could be not God with Him but "God with us." And when He was crucified, then who was it but "us" that was crucified?
This is the mighty truth announced in this text. Jesus Christ was "us." He was of the same flesh and blood with us. He was of our very nature. He was in all points like us. "It behooved him to be made in all points like unto his brethren." He emptied Himself, and was made in the likeness of men. He was "the last Adam." and precisely as the first Adam was ourselves, so Christ, the last Adam, was ourselves. When the first Adam died, we, being involved in him, died with him. And when the last Adam died, we, being involved in Him, died with Him. And when the last Adam was crucified, He being ourselves and we being involved n Him, we were crucified with Him. As the first Adam was in himself the whole human race, so the last Adam was in himself the whole human race, and so when the last Adam was crucified, the whole human race–the old, sinful human nature–was crucified with Him. And so it is written, "Knowing this, that our old man IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Thus every soul in this world can truly say, in the perfect triumph of Christian faith, "I am crucified with Christ"; my old sinful human nature is crucified with Him that this body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth I should not serve sin. Rom. 6:6. Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. Always bearing about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus–the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, for I am crucified with Him–that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in my body. For I who live am always delivered unto death, for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in my mortal flesh. 2 Cor. 4:10, 11. And therefore 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.
In this blessed fact of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, which was accomplished for every human soul, there is not only laid the foundation of faith for every soul, but in it there is given the gift of faith to every soul. And thus the cross of Christ is not only the wisdom of God displayed from God to us, but it is the very power of God manifested to deliver us from all sin and bring us to God.
O sinner, brother, sister, believe it. Oh, receive it. Surrender to this mighty truth. Say it; say it in full assurance of faith and say it forever. "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." Say it, for it is the truth, the very truth and wisdom and power of God, which saves the soul from all sin.
by A. T. Jones
Review and Herald 1899/12/19
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
The curse of the law, all the curse that ever was or ever can be, is simply because of sin. This is powerfully illustrated in Zech. 5:1-4. The prophet beheld a "flying roll; the length thereof . . . twenty cubits and the breadth thereof ten cubits." Then the Lord said to him, "This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth." That is, this roll represents all the curse that is upon the face of the whole earth.
And what is the cause of this curse over the face of the whole earth? Here it is, "For every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it, and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it." That is, this roll is the law of God and one commandment is cited from each table, showing that both tables of the law are included in the roll. Everyone that stealeth–everyone that transgresseth the law in the things of the second table–shall be cut off as on this side of the law according to it, and everyone that sweareth–everyone that transgresseth in the things of the first table of the law–-shall be cut off as on that side of the law according to it.
Thus the heavenly recorders do not need to write out a statement of each particular sin of every man, but simply to indicate on the roll that pertains to each man the particular commandment which is violated in each transgression. That such a roll of the law does go with every man wherever he goes and even abides in his house is plain from the next words: "I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts and it shall enter into the house of the thief and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name and it shall remain in the midst of his house." And unless a remedy shall be found, there that roll of the law will remain until the curse shall consume that man, and his house "with the timber thereof and the stones thereof"; that is, until the curse shall devour the earth in that great day when the very elements shall melt with fervent heat. For "the strength of sin" and the curse "is the law." 1 Cor. 15:56.
But thanks be to God, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." All the weight of the curse came upon Him, for "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." He was made "to be sin for us, who knew no sin." And whosoever received Him, receives freedom from all sin and freedom from the curse because free from all sin.
So entirely did Christ bear all the curse, that, whereas, when man sinned, the curse came upon the ground, and brought forth thorns and thistles (Gen. 3:17, 18), the Lord Jesus, in redeeming all things from the curse, wore the crown of thorns and so redeemed both man and the earth from the curse. Bless His name. The work is done. "He hath redeemed us from the curse." Thank the Lord. He was made a curse for us, because He did hang upon the tree.
And since this is all an accomplished thing, freedom from the curse by the cross of Jesus Christ is the free gift of God to every soul on the earth. And when a man receives this free gift of redemption from all the curse, that roll still goes with him; yet, thank the Lord, not carrying a curse any more, but bearing witness to "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. 3:21, 22. For the very object of his redeeming us from the curse is "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ." That blessing of Abraham is the righteousness of God, which, as we have already found in these studies, can come only from God as the free gift of God, received by faith.
And "as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse"; and as "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law," then He has also redeemed us from the works of the law, which, being only our own works, are only sin, and has, by the grace of God, bestowed upon us the works of God, which, being the works of faith, which is the gift of God, is only righteousness, as it is written: "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." John 6:29. This is rest indeed–heavenly rest–the rest of God. And "he that entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." Heb. 4:10.
Thus "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law" and from the curse of our own works that the blessing of Abraham, which is the righteousness and the works of God, "might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ." And all this in order "that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith." And "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." And "what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." Rom. 8:1-4.
Thanks be unto God for the unspeakable gift of His own righteousness in place of our sins and of His own works of faith in place of our works of the law, which has been brought to us in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who "hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."
by A. T. Jones
Review and Herald 1900/08/21
"For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law."
"Debtor to do the whole law." It is curious that many, in considering this statement, have made it mark a distinction between two laws and have made it exclude the law of God from the the subject under consideration by allowing to the word "debtor" only the sense of "obligation."
They know, by the scripture, that it is the whole duty of man to fear God and keep His commandments. They know that there cannot be any other scripture to contradict that. They know that every man is under obligation to keep the whole law of God, whether he is circumcised or uncircumcised. And, allowing that this term implies only obligation–that if he is circumcised, he is under obligation to do the whole law, they conclude that this must exclude the law of God; they conclude that it must be some law that no person is under any obligation to do unless he be circumcised and that therefore the "whole law" here under consideration must be only the whole ceremonial law of sacrifices and offerings.
On the other hand, there are those who hold themselves under no obligation whatever to keep the law of God, who bring in this text to support them in their disobedience and opposition. They will have it that only those who are circumcised are under any obligation to keep the law of God, and that it is only by being circumcised that the obligation comes, and they know that they are not under any obligation to be circumcised. From this they argue that they are under no obligation to keep the ten commandments.
But both of these are wrong; both of them fail to see the thought that is in this verse. And the cause of this failure is in their allowing to the word "debtor" only the sense of "obligation."
It is true that the word signifies "obligation." But in this place and in every other place in its connection with men's moral obligations, the word has a meaning so much broader and deeper than that of mere obligation that the sense of mere obligation becomes really secondary.
The word "debtor" in this verse–Gal. 5:3–signifies not only that a person is in debt and under obligation to pay but that, beyond this, he is overwhelmingly in debt, with nothing at all wherewith to pay. If a man is debtor and so under obligation to pay one thousand dollars and yet has abundance or even only the ability to pay the one thousand dollars that is easy enough. But if a man is debtor and so under obligation to pay fourteen millions of dollars ($14,000,000) and has not a single cent wherewith to pay and is in prison besides and has no ability whatever to make a cent wherewith to pay his debt to that man the word "debtor" signifies a great deal more than mere "obligation to pay."
And that is precisely the case here. That is the thought in this verse. That is the meaning embodied here in the word "debtor." This because the word "debtor," when used in connection with morals, implies and can imply only sin, that the man is a sinner.
This word "debtor" in Gal. 5:3 is precisely the word that is used in Luke 13:4. "Those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?"–where the word "sinners" in the text is "debtors" in the margin.
It is the word used in the Lord's prayer (Matt. 6:12), "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," and which in Luke's version of the prayer plainly expresses the thought of sin in the words: "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us." Luke 11:4.
It is the same word also that is used by the Saviour in Luke 7:41, 42: "There was a certain creditor which had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pence and the other fifty. And when they had nothing [ with which] to pay, he frankly forgave them both."
It is the same word also that is used in the parable in Matt. 18:23-35. Indeed, from the verse, Luke 13:4, where the word "sinners" is used in the text and "debtors" in the margin, the reference is direct to this parable in Matthew 18. That is the parable in which it is said that when a certain king "had begun to reckon" with his servants, "one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents"–about fourteen million four hundred thousand dollars–and he had nothing with which to pay. Then the Lord "forgave him the debt." But when the servant found one of his fellow servants who owed him about fifteen dollars, he would not forgive him the debt but cast him into prison until he should pay the fifteen dollars. Then the king called up his debtor "and delivered him to the tormentors till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." Matt. 18:23-35.
That thought of delivering the debtor to the tormentors until he should pay all that was due to his lord belongs with the word, for "the use of the word involves the idea that the debtor is one that must expiate his guilt." And "sin is called 'opheilema,' because it involves expiation and the payment of it as a debt, by punishment and satisfaction."
From these scriptures the attentive reader can begin to see that in the words of Gal. 5:3–"he is debtor to do the whole law"–there is far more suggested than that he is merely under obligation to accept the claims of the law upon him and do his best to meet them. All this shows that he is not only under obligation to recognize the binding claims of the law of God but that he is actually debtor to render to that law all the claims that it has upon him. And in this it is further shown that, of himself, he must everlastingly be debtor, because he has absolutely nothing wherewith to pay, and of himself has no means of acquiring anything with which to pay.
And this indebtedness lies not only in his obligation to do the law from this time forward; it also lies in obligation to make satisfaction for all that is past–for all the accumulations of the past up to the present time.
Accordingly, of himself, every man is everlastingly as debtor in all that is implied in this thought in Gal. 5:3 and the kindred texts that we have here cited, because "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." And whosoever would be circumcised in order to be saved and thus seek to be saved by works of self-righteousness, thereby takes upon himself the obligation to pay to the law of God his whole debt from the beginning of his life unto the end of it. And in that he also takes upon himself the obligation to expiate all the guilt attaching to his transgressions and accumulated thereby.
That is what it is to be "debtor to do the whole law." That is what is stated in the words, "I testify again to every man that is circumcised that he is a debtor to do the whole law." He is not only debtor but by that transaction he himself voluntarily assumes of himself to discharge all that is involved in his indebtedness.
Now it is true that every man in the world is, of himself, that kind of a debtor. It is also true that any man today who seeks justification by his own works, even in the doing of the ten commandments or of anything else that the Lord has commanded does thereby assume and bind himself to pay all that is involved in the indebtedness. But he cannot pay. There is not with him the first element of any possibility, in himself, to pay any of the debt. He is overwhelmed and lost.
But thanks be to God, whosoever has the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, whosoever depends only on the Lord Jesus and that which Jesus has done, though he be of himself debtor just like any other man, yet, in Christ, he has wherewith abundantly to pay all the indebtedness. Christ has expiated by punishment and satisfaction all the guilt of every soul and by the righteousness of God which he brings, Christ supplies abundance of righteousness to pay all the demands that the law may ever make in the life of him who believes in Jesus.
Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift of the unsearchable riches of Christ. Oh, believe it! Oh, receive it! Poor, overwhelmed, lost "debtor," "buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed." "Yea, come, buy . . . without money and without price."
by A. T. Jones
Review and Herald 1900/09/18
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
"If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law," because "as many as are led of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." As sons of God, these have the mind of the Spirit, the mind of Christ, and so with the mind they "serve the law of God." Accordingly, whosoever is led of the Spirit of God and thus has the mind of Christ fulfills the law, because by that Spirit there is shed abroad in the heart the love of God, which in itself is the fulfilling of the law, in whomsoever has it.
On the other hand, whosoever is led of the flesh and so has the mind of the flesh does the works of the flesh and so serves the law of sin.
And the two ways, the way of the Spirit and the way of the flesh are always open before every man. As certainly as the flesh is there, it "lusteth against the Spirit" and as certainly as the Spirit is there it "lusteth against the flesh." Whosoever is led of the flesh cannot do the good that he would. He serves the law of sin and so is under the law. But whosoever is "led of the Spirit is not under the law."
And every man is always free to choose which shall be his way– the way of the Spirit or the way of the flesh. "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die, but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Rom. 8:13.
Note that, in the text of Galatians now under consideration and its kindred texts in Romans and also in Colossians, it is stated in words and constantly held in view that the flesh, in its true fleshly sinful nature, is still present with him who has the Spirit of God and that this flesh is warring against the Spirit.
That is, when a man is converted and is thus brought under the power of the Spirit of God, he is not so delivered from the flesh that he is actually separated from it with its tendencies and desires so that by the flesh he is no more tempted and that with it he has no more contest. No, that same degenerate, sinful flesh is there with its same tendencies and desires. But the individual is no longer subject to these. He is delivered from subjection to the flesh with its tendencies and desires and is now subject to the Spirit. He is now subject to a power that conquers, brings under, crucifies, and keeps under, the flesh, sinful as it is, with all its affections and lusts. Therefore, it is written that "ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body." "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Col. 3:5. Note that all these things are there in the flesh and would live and reign if the flesh were to rule. But since the flesh itself is brought into subjection to the power of God, through the Spirit, all these evil things are killed at the root and thus prevented from appearing in the life.
This contrast between the rule of the flesh and the rule of the Spirit is clearly shown in Rom. 7:14-24 and in 1 Cor. 9:26, 27. In the seventh of Romans is pictured the man who is under the power of the flesh, "carnal, sold under sin," who longs to do good and wills to do good but is subject to a power in the flesh that will not let him do the good that he would. "For the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do." "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" That describes the man who is subject to the flesh, "to the law of sin" that is in the members. And when he would break away from the power of the flesh and would do good, that power still brings him into captivity and holds him under the dominion of the flesh, the law of sin, which is in his members.
But there is deliverance from that power. Therefore, when he cries out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" there is given instantly the answer: "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." There is the way of deliverance, for Christ alone is the Deliverer.
And now this man, though he is thus delivered, is not delivered from a contest; he is not put into a condition where he has no fighting to do with the flesh. There is a fight still to be carried on and it is not a make-believe fight. It is not the fighting of a phantom. Here is the man of 1 Cor. 9:26, 27: "So fight I, not as one that beateth the air." What does he fight? What does he beat? Read: "But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
Thus, in the battle that the Christian fights is his body, is the flesh with its affections and lusts. The body is to be, by the Christian, kept under and brought into subjection by the new power of the Spirit of God to which he is now subject and to which he became subject when delivered from the power of the flesh and the law of sin.
This is made yet more expressive by the fuller rendering of the Greek word translated "keep under," in 1 Cor. 9:27: "I keep under my body." It means, literally, "to strike under the eyes, hit and beat the face black and blue." Accordingly, Conybeare and Howson translate this passage thus: "I fight not as the pugilist who strikes out against the air, but I bruise my body and force it into bondage."
Thus the seventh of Romans shows the man subject to the power of the flesh and the law of sin that is in the members, but longing for deliverance. the ninth of first Corinthians shows the flesh subject to the man through the new power of the Spirit of God. In the seventh of Romans, the flesh is ruling and the man is under. In the ninth chapter of first Corinthians, the man is ruling and the flesh is under.
And this blessed reversal of things is wrought in conversion. By conversion the man is put in possession of the power of God and under the dominion of the Spirit of God so that by that power he is made ruler over the flesh with all its affections and lusts and through the Spirit he crucifies the flesh with the affections and lusts in his fighting "the good fight of faith."
Men are not saved by being delivered utterly from the flesh but by receiving power to conquer and rule over all the evil tendencies and the desires of the flesh. Men do not develop character (in fact, they never could) by being delivered into a realm of no temptation, but by receiving power in the field of temptation exactly where they are to conquer all the temptation.
If men were to be saved by being delivered utterly from the flesh just as it is, then Jesus need never have come to the world. If men were to be saved by being delivered from all temptation and set in a realm of no temptation, then Jesus need not have come into the world. But never, by any such deliverance as that, could man have developed character. Therefore, instead of trying to save men by delivering them utterly from the flesh just where they were, Jesus came to the world and put himself IN THE FLESH just where men are and met that flesh JUST AS IT IS, with all its tendencies and desires, and by the divine power which he brought by faith, He "condemned sin in the flesh" and thus brought to all mankind that divine faith which brings the divine power to man to deliver him from the power of the flesh and the law of sin, just where he is, and to give him assured dominion over the flesh, just as it is.
Instead of Jesus' trying to save men in a way in which they would be limp and characterless by setting them in a realm of no temptation, He came to man just where man is in the midst of all his temptations. Jesus came in the very flesh such as man has and in that flesh He met all the temptations known to that flesh and conquered every one of them, and by that conquest brought victory to every soul in the world. Bless His name.
And every soul can have in its fullness that victory, who will receive and keep "the faith of Jesus." For "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
by A. T. Jones
Review and Herald 1900/10/02
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another."
We have seen somewhat of the essential evil and deceitfulness of the works of the flesh. But, thank the Lord, there is a better picture.
The Spirit of God, which, in His fullness, is freely given to every believer, lusteth against the flesh, so that in Him who is led by the Spirit of God the flesh cannot do the things that it would. In such the Spirit of God rules, and causes to appear in the life "the fruit of the Spirit," instead of "the works of the flesh."
And though it be true "that they which do such things" as are described in the list of the works of the flesh, "shall not inherit the kingdom of God," yet in the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the grace of Christ, God has made full provision by which every soul, in spite of all the passions, lusts, desires, and inclinations of the flesh, can "inherit the kingdom of God."
In Christ the battle has been fought on every point, and the victory has been made complete. He was made flesh itself–the same flesh and blood as those whom He came to redeem. He was made in all points like these; He was "in all points tempted like as we are." If in any "point" he had not been "like as we are," then, on that point he could not possibly have been tempted "like as we are."
He was "touched with the feeling of our infirmities," because He "was in all points tempted like as we are." When He was tempted, he felt the desires and the inclinations of the flesh, precisely as we feel them when we are tempted. For "every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts [his own desires and inclinations of the flesh] and enticed." James 1:14. All this Jesus could experience without sin, because to be tempted is not sin. It is only "when lust hath conceived," when the desire is cherished, when the inclination is sanctioned–only then it is that "it bringeth forth sin." And Jesus never even in a thought cherished a desire or sanctioned an inclination of the flesh. Thus in such flesh as ours He was tempted in all points as we are and yet without a taint of sin.
And thus, by the divine power that he received through faith in God, He, in our flesh, utterly quenched every inclination of that flesh and effectually killed at its root every desire of the flesh and so "condemned sin in the flesh." And in so doing He brought complete victory and divine power to maintain it to every soul in the world. All this He did "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."
This victory in its fullness is free to every soul in Christ Jesus. It is received by faith in Jesus. It is accomplished and maintained by "the faith of Jesus," which He has wrought out in perfection and has given to every believer in Him. For "this is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith."
He "abolished in His flesh the enmity" that separated mankind from God. Eph. 2:15. In order to do this, He took the flesh and must take the flesh in which that enmity existed. And he abolished in his flesh the enmity," "for to make," in order to make, "in himself of twain," God and the estranged man, "one new man, so making peace."
He "abolished in his flesh the enmity," in order "that he might reconcile both" Jew and Gentile–all mankind who are subject to the enmity–"unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in himself." Eph. 2:16, margin. "The enmity" was "in himself" by being "in his flesh." And there "in his flesh" He slew it and abolished it. And He could do this only by its being indeed "in his flesh."
Thus Jesus took upon Him the curse in all its fullness, precisely as that curse is upon mankind. This He did by "being made a curse for us." but "the curse causeless shall not come" and never came. The cause of the curse is sin. He was made a curse for us, because of our sins. And to meet the curse as it is upon us, He must meet sin as it is in us. Accordingly, God "hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." and this "that we might be made the righteousness of God IN HIM." 2 Cor. 5:21.
And though He thus placed Himself entirely at the same great disadvantage as are all mankind–made in all points like us and so "in all points tempted like as we are"–yet not a single tendency or inclination of the flesh was ever allowed the slightest recognition, even in thought; but every one of them was effectually killed at the root by the power of God, which, through divine faith, He brought to humanity.
And thus, "as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb. 2:14-18.
And this victory which Christ wrought out in human flesh is brought by the Holy Spirit to the rescue of everyone in human flesh who today believes in Jesus. For by the Holy Spirit the very presence of Christ Himself comes to the believer, for it is His constant desire to "grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Eph. 3:16-19.
Thus the deliverance from the guilt of sin and from the power of sin which holds the believer in triumph over all the desires, the tendencies and inclinations of his sinful flesh, through the power of the Spirit of God–this is wrought today by the personal presence of Christ Jesus in human flesh in the believer, precisely as it was wrought by the personal presence of Christ in human flesh eighteen hundred and seventy years ago.
Christ is ever the same–"the same yesterday and today and forever." The gospel of Christ is ever the same–the same yesterday and today and forever. The gospel of Christ today is the same that it was eighteen hundred and seventy years ago. Then it was "God manifest in the flesh," and today it is the same–"God manifest in the" same flesh, the flesh of sinful men, human flesh, just as human nature is.
That gospel is "Christ in you, the hope of glory,"–Christ in you just as you are, sins, sinfulness, and all; for He gave Himself for our sins and for our sinfulness. And you, just as you are, Christ has bought and God "hath made accepted" in Him. He has received you just as you are and the gospel, "Christ in you, the hope of glory," brings you under the reign of the grace of God and through the Spirit of God makes you so subject to the power of Christ and of God that "the fruit of the Spirit" appears in you instead of "the works of the flesh."
And the fruit of the Spirit is–
LOVE-the love of God which is shed abroad in the heart by the Spirit of God. And instead of hatred or any of its kin ever being allowed, even in thought, no man can possibly do anything to you that can cause you to do anything but love him. For this love, being the love of God, is "the same yesterday and today and forever" and loves not for reward but for the mere sake of loving; it loves simply because it is love and being only that, it cannot do anything else.
JOY is "ardent happiness arising from present or expected good." But in this case, the alternative "or" is excluded, for this joy is ardent happiness arising from present AND expected good, for the cause of it is eternal. Accordingly, it is everlastingly present and is everlastingly to be expected. And therefore it is "exultant satisfaction."
PEACE–perfect peace that rules in the heart–"the peace of God which passeth all understanding," and which "keeps the heart and mind"' of him who has it.
LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH–This faith– pistis, Greek–is "firm persuasion; the conviction which is based upon trust, NOT upon knowledge [the faith of "the heart," not of the head; the faith of Christ, not of the creed]; a firmly relying confidence cherished by conviction and bidding defiance to opposing contradictions."
MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE–Temperance is self-control. Thus, the Spirit of God delivers the man from subject to his passions, lusts and habits, and makes him a free man, master of himself.
"Against such there is no law." The law of God is against nothing but sin. In human lives the law of God is against everything that is not the fruit of the Spirit of God. Therefore it is certain that everything in human life that is not the fruit of the Spirit of God is sin. And this is but stating, in another way, the eternal truth that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
Therefore "if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." And because we do live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit, "let us not"–yea, we shall not; yea, we cannot "be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another."