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					 ROMANS
A Courtroom Drama

                   bY
   T O M WESTWOOD
       LITT’.D.,    F.R.G.S.




 LOIZEAUX BROTHERS, Inc.
        NEW         YORK
        FIRST EDITION, OCTOBER 1949




 Copyright 1949, by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc.

     A Nonprofit Organization, Devoted to the
          s
     Lord’ Work and to the spread of His Truth




PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
                       FOREWORD
     Remans-A Courtroom Drama represents a series of radio ad-
  dresses given on the BIBLE TR EASU R Y HOUR, broadcast on many radio
  stations throughout the United States and Canada. They received
  rather wide comment from radio listeners and many listeners sug-
 gested that they should be made available in book form.
     The rather technical treatment given to the Epistle to the Romans
 by some commentators has not infrequently caused it to be regarded
 as a somewhat prosaic statement of Christian doctrines, of particular
 interest only to the theologians. The author has here presented the
 entire Epistle as an impelling courtroom drama with the various char-
 acters springing to life in spectacular legal procedure.
     In this treatise God is the Righteous Judge upon the bench, main-
 taining all the austerity of the divine throne, yet disclosing a heart
 that is bent upon the justification of the criminal. Jew and Gentile
 are arraigned before the Bar of Justice, and Paul is the brilliant at-
 torney for both prosecution and defense. The Lord Jesus is the One
 who mediates the cause and pays the penalty of the condemned of-
 fender. Every moral and spiritual issue is scrutinized carefully; illus-
trious witnesses are presented before the Court; due deliberation is
                                               s
given to every vestige of evidence; heaven’ inviolate throne is vindi-
cated; all religious, racial, national, and moral distinctions are ap-
praised and eliminated; The Court rests its case with the sinner
justified and reconciled to God.
    In these addresses the usual theological phraseology is displaced by
graphic, everyday language that brings a new endearment to the study
of Romans. It is sent forth with the prayer that God may use it to lead
many to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish
Christian people more fully in their confidence in God.

                                                 T OM WESTWOOD
Los Angeles, California
August 1949
                         CONTENTS



                             ROMANS ONE
                                               verses   Page
A Legal Document                                            1
“The Gospel Concerning His Son”                  l-4       4
Marked Out Son of God                            I-4*      6
Saints                                           S-7*      9
Prospered by the Will of God                    s-12*     12
Mutual Encouragement                           11-12      15
     s
Paul’ Debt                                     13-15      17
To Rome Also                                   14-17      20
The Power of the Gospel                        16-18      23
The Principle of Faith                         16-17*     25
The Testimony of Creation                      18-21     28
The Fall of Man                                21-25     31
A Sinful World                                 24-32     34

                             ROMANS TWO
“Thou Art Inexcusable”                          1-4      36
Lead to Repentance                              4        39
Doing Good or Evil                              5-l 1    41
Under Law and Without Law                      12-16     44
The Jew Condemned                              17-29     47
A Jew Inwardly                                 28-29     50
 *                         s
     Indicates J. N. Darby’ New Translation.
                                   vii
 ...        ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
VII1


                     ROMANS THREE
                                       Verses   Page
The Oracles of God                      I-10      53
The Honor of the Court                  l-10      56
Both Unprofitable                       9-18      58
“Fallen Man”                           lo-18      61
The Diagnosis                          13-18      63
“Every Mouth Stopped”                  19-22      66
But Now!                               21-24      68
Righteousness                          21-24      71
Come Short                             24         74
The Mediator                           25-26      76
Faith, Not Works                       27-31      79


                         ROMANS FOUR

         s
Abraham’ Witness                         l-5     82
David’ Witness
      s                                 6-8      84
No Outward Claim                        8-13     87
Of Faith, by Grace                     13-16     90
Apart from Law                         16-18     92
The Fine Paid                          20-25     95


                         ROMANS FIVE

Peace with God                          l-2      98
Christian Assets                        2-6     101
The Ungodly                             6-9     103
Boast in God                            9-11    106
Death                                  12-17    109
Much More Then                         14-17    111
Two Dynasties                          18-21    114
                         CONTENTS                  ix

                        ROMANS SIX
                                      Verses     Page
Baptism                                1-5        116
Newness of Life                        4-6        119
Reckoned Dead                          6-11       122
The Dominion of Sin                   11-14       124
Christian Liberty                     15-23       127


                       ROMANS SEVEN
The Chapter of the Unhappy Man         l-4        130
The Christian’ Two Husbands
              s                        4-7        133
Are We Under Laws or Grace?            7-14       136
The Evil Nature                       14-21       139
Christ the Sovereign Master           21-25       141


                      ROMANS EIGHT
Our Two Identities                     l-4       144
Free from the Law                      2-s       147
The Tragedy of Carnality               5-9       149
Evidence of a Spirit-Filled Life       9-12      152
The Resurrection of the Body          1 l-14*    155
           s
The Spirit’ Witness                   14-I 7”    158
No Dreams                             15-17      161
Suffering                             17-18      163
The Groaning Creation                 18-23      166
We Are Saved by Hope                  22-25      169
           s
The Spirit’ Intercession              26-29      171
“God for Us”                          28-31      174
The Accusers Silenced!                31-35,37   177
The Golden Stairway of Romans 8       33-37      179
No Separation                         35-39      182
X             ROMAN%-A       COURTROOM DRAMA
                           ROMANS NINE
                                                Verses   Page
Paul’ Passion for His Brethren
      s                                          1-5      185
“My Lord and My God”                             3-9      187
“Purpose According to Election”                  6-13     190
The Potter and the Clay                         14-24     193
        s
Israel’ Spiritual Claims                        23-32     196

                           ROMANS TEN
The Solution of the Jewish Problem Today         1-4     199
Law or Grace-Which?                              S-10    202
A Common Basis for Jew and Gentile              11-15    204
God’ Voice to Jew and Gentile Today
    s                                           12-18    207
Has the Lord Cast Off Israel?                   19-21    210


                        ROMANS ELEVEN
Israel Divided in Two                             1-8    213
            s
How Israel’ Failure Has Enriched the Gentiles    8-15    216
The Wild Olive Tree                             13-21    219
The Fulness of the Gentiles                     22-29    222
     s
God’ Faithfulness                               25-29    224
The Real Solution of the Jewish Problem         29-32    227
The World Today                                 32-36    229
God Our Judge-God Our Saviour                   33-36    232


                       ROMANS TWELVE
The Mercies of God                              l-2*     235
A Living Sacrifice                              1-z*     237
How Tall Are You?                               3-s*     240
Working Together for God                        4-8”     243
The Grace of Giving                             8        24d
                           CONTENTS                           xi
                                                 Verses    Page
 Christian Etiquette                              8-11*     248
 Practical Christian Living                      10-11      2.51
 Three Aspects of Christian Service              1 t-13*    253
 Humility-A Rare Christian Grace                 14-19”     256
 Rules of Christian Etiquette                    16-19*     259
 How to Overcome Enemies                         zo-21*     261

                        ROMANS THIRTEEN
Should the Christian Obey the Government Without
   Question                                       l-3      264
The Strong Arm of the Law                         3-8*     267
Should a Christian Go into Debt?                  7-10*    270
‘(NOW Is Our Salvation Nearer”                   11-14     273

                        ROMANS FOURTEEN
Christian Toleration                              1        27.5
               s
“Another Man’ Servant”                            1-8      278
The Sovereign Claims of Christ                    8-13     281
The Kingdom of God Is Not Meat and Drink         14-17     284
Is Healing Included in the Atonement?            19-22     287

                        ROMANS FIFTEEN
Bearing the Burdens of the Weak                   l-4      290
Like-Minded According to Christ Jesus             S-10     293
The Glory of Christ Among the Gentiles            8-13     296
Hope, Joy, Peace                                 13        299
     s
Paul’ Commission                                 14-17     301
Paul-The Pioneer                                 17-25     304
Paul’s Shepherd Heart                           25-33      307
The Challenge of Divine Grace                   33         309
xii          ROMAN%-A       COURTROOM DRAMA
                      ROMANS SIXTEEN
                                          Verses   Page
A Letter of Commendation                   l-2      312
Gratitude Should Have a Long Memory        3-8      31.5
Those Who Cause Divisions                 17-20     31x
Obedience the Mark of a True Christian    19-20     321
                              s
Established According to Paul’ Gospel     25-21     324
             s
What Is Paul’ Gospel?                     25-27     327
The Mystery Now Declared                  2.527     330
     s
God’ Purposes Attained                    25-27     332
                   A Legal Document

 T                                                   s
        HE Epistle to the Romans is one of Paul’ great letters of the
        New Testament. It is altogether different from the other Epistles
 and we find in it truths that are both necessary and inspiring. We
 cannot take up this wonderful book without thinking a little of the
 person who wrote it. It was, of course, like all the Scripture, indited
 by the Spirit of God, but God was pleased to use Paul for the setting
 forth of the sterling truths presented in this letter. God does not
 choose His servants at random. Wherever He has a specific service
 to be done, He will fit the vessel for that service.
     Initially the Epistle to the Romans is a legal document, setting
 forth the foundational claims of the Christian faith. It is a kind of
 tit2e deed to the realm of glory, our future inheritance. Keeping this
 in mind it is not surprising then that Paul should be chosen to de-
 clare these truths. One can see how God reached back into the very
 early training of this man, before he was converted, in order that
 his mind might be cultivated and capacitated for its enlightenment
             s
 by God’ Spirit so he would be uniquely fitted for a task like this.
    Saul of Tarsus is really “the religious lawyer” of the New Testa-
ment. In his unconverted days he was uniquely a theological analyst.
 The traditional faith of his fathers had been thoroughly mastered
by his mental prowess, and he had become a zealous devotee of its
precepts. It was his religious propensities that actually made him a
murderer. It shows to us all, incidentally, how religion can never
save the human soul. Only Christ the Redeemer can do that. Saul’       s
religion drove him into the blackness of a night of antipathy against
the Lord Jesus and against every follower of Christ. His theologi-
cal bigotry impelled him forward by an uncontrollable force, mak-
ing him willing to perpetrate the most diabolical cruelties upon those
who were followers of the Lord Jesus. We see this come out in all
its frightful force as he stood that day on the street of Jerusalem
                                                        s
and watched the stoning of Stephen. When that man’ face shone as
the face of an angel you would have thought it was a sight enough
to melt the stoutest heart-but Saul stood there unmoved, his heart
                                                   s
like the flinty rock, giving consent to Stephen’ murder. It was not
                                  1
  2                   ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  that Saul was essentially a wicked man, a criminal, a man who de-
  lighted in sin. On the contrary, he gives us his religious history in
  the Epistle to the Philippians. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees,
  an exemplary character in the religious world. He lays the claim, in
  his Epistle to Timothy, that he served God from his forefathers with
  a pure conscience. He thought he was doing the will of God when
 he was consenting to put Stephen to death. The crimes which he per-
 petrated were done “ignorantly in unbelief.” Then the mercy of God
 reached him and he was wonderfully converted.
     That is the traditional background of this man Paul, and one can
 see how the Lord allowed him to go into those avenues of religious
 bigotry in order that he might afterward have a proper appreciation
 of the m ighty love of Christ that had rescued him from the perdition
 of such folly. “He who is forgiven much, the same loveth much.”
 Thus Paul comes upon the scene. He is Saul with a new name, a
 regenerated heart, humbled and contrite, but still with the same as-
 tuteness of m ind which he had displayed in his unconverted days.
 Now that great intellect is captivated by the Spirit of God. Paul is
 renewed in the spirit of his mind and his thoughts brought into obe-
 dience to Christ. It is not exactly that he was given a new mind but
 rather that his mental capacity was taken over by the power of the
 Spirit. One can readily see then how Paul is so thoroughly equipped
 by his mental development, renewed and under the guidance of the
 Holy Spirit, to set forth this m ighty legal document of the New
 Testament called “The Epistle to the Romans.”
    NO W w e c o m e t o t h e E p i s t l e i t s e l f . T h e r e a s o n t h i s l e t t e r i s o f s u c h
 great importance in this present day is that largely our feet are set
i n t h e s h i f t i n g s a n d s o f m a n ’s t h e o l o g i c a l o p i n i o n s . W e a r e l i v i n g i n
a day when the enemy of our souls is seeking to instill doubts and
m isgivings into the hearts, not only of unregenerate men, but of
 G o d ’s o w n c h i l d r e n . W e m u s t t h e r e f o r e l a y h o l d o f t h e t r u t h s o f t h e
Epistle to the Romans. Therein Paul, by the Spirit, takes up certain
sterling, foundational questions. They are approached from the legal
standpoint and traced to their logical conclusions in order that these
great moral problems between God and men might be settled con-
clusively and forever.
    Thus we find in the opening chapters of the Epistle to the Romans
both Jews and Gentiles are considered. Their moral and spiritual
qualifications are measured; their actions are duly weighed in the
b a l a n c e o f G o d ’s r i g h t e o u s j u d g m e n t , a n d b o t h t o g e t h e r a r e d e c l a r e d
to be criminals. They are brought in guilty before God, their mouths
                        A LEGAL DOCUMENT                                    3
   stopped,      and they are condemned. The general charge brought
   against the Gentiles is that they have the testimony of creation, wit-
   nessing the power and Godhead of the Creator. Instead ofrespond-
  i n g to i t , according to the intelligence which God has given to the
  creature, they refused its testimony and went into idolatry, fashion-
  ing God in their minds after the order of corruptible man, beasts,
  and creeping things. Then the Jews are taken up as having the tes-
                                 s
  timony of the law, God’ righteous requirements whereby men may
  walk here in this world for the good pleasure of the Lord. On the
  basis of law, they had broken their covenant with God. Thus the
  Gentile without law is brought in guilty and the Jew under law is
  brought in guilty and the third chapter of Romans declares that
  there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory
  of God.
         That is the first question that is settled in the Epistle to the RO-
  mans. It is the sin question, the question of guilt. Now this is a
  means to an end. In chapter three we stand before the bar of God’           s
 justice, Jew and Gentile, condemned unequivocally. But we are not
                                   s
 left there. Immediately God’ righteousness is set forth, and it is not
 a righteousness which is attained by human effort, by good works,
 or by our own doings. It is the righteousness of God which is set
 forth on the principle of faith through the shed blood of the Lord
 Jesus Christ. Thus the second moral question that is settled is God’        s
 righteousness, and that is settled at the Cross of Calvary. Then we
 have the great question of the clearance of the sinner from guilt: ‘(To
 him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the un-
godly, his faith is counted unto him for righteousness.” Thereby the
 sinner is justified. In a sense, the one who has sinned and who has
 thereafter placed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is brought to a legal
status before God where he is accepted, brought into the favor of
God as if he had never committed a single sin. Then, as we travel
across the pages of this wonderful Epistle, every moral and spiritual
problem between the creature and the Creator is taken up and settled
with a finality that silences every accusing voice. In chapter eight
the grand unanswered challenge is proclaimed: “Who shall lay any-
                                    s
thing to the charge of God’ elect? It is God that justifieth.” And
the final conclusion of the matter is that “nothing shall separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 4                              ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




       “The Gospel Concerning His Son”
             Paul , a servant                         [or bondmanl of Jesus Christ, called                        . . .   an apostle,
     separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised                                                             afore       by hi s
     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 de-
     clared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holi-
     ness, by the resurrection from the dead                                                 (Ram.   1 :l - 4).




A    T THE very beginning of this Epistle to the Romans we step to
        a very high eminence in order that we might look abroad upon
 the vast expanse of truth entailed in this term, “The Gospel of God.”
 In these days we have so diluted the gospel in order to make it simple,
 even to the unregenerate mind, that we have altogether failed to
 grasp the immensity of the meaning of the term. Only too frequently
 we think of the gospel only as that means by which we can be saved
 and go to heaven. The reason for such an interpretation is that I
 am so much occupied with the benefits that I get; indeed the capital
 “I” looms so large before the vision of the mind that we usually
 regard self as the center around which everything rotates. It is well
 then for us to contemplate, as we enter the portal of this wonder-
 ful Epistle, the subject it introduces: “the Gospel of God concerning
His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
    Surely we would guard against any attempt to belittle the under-
standing of the average Christian concerning this truth. Yet we must
come face to face with the situation that, by reducing the dimensions
of the gospel to suit our own concept, we rob it of its glory. The
result of this is we cease to be worshipers at the feet of the One who
                       s
is the Center of God’ purposes and we make of the gospel something
to be weighed and measured by our own mental ability. Thus the
Christian is largely inclined to become more occupied with the mer-
cies of God that flow into his own tiny vessel than he is to be occu-
                               s
pied with the Man of God’ counsels, the One who has been ap-
pointed Heir of all things, the One who is the Head and Center of the
universe of God, to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue
confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
   The Gospel of God then is not simply the way whereby I may be
saved; it is far more than that. It is “the Gospel of God concerning
            “THE GOSPEL CONCERNING HIS SON”
   His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” In order to grasp somewhat the
   meaning of this tremendous truth we must travel back, in the com-
   prehension of our souls, to the very bosom of eternity itself, into the
   counsel chambers of the Most High and realize that God the Father,
   God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have planned this wonderful
  scheme of blessing we call Christianity. The central object of all this
  scheme is not “me” and “my blessings,” but “His Son Jesus Christ
  our Lord.”
     It is a reminder to us of the grand truth which John presents in
  his Epistle, “God is Love.” The exercise of that love was eternally
  operative between the Persons of the Godhead. The Lord Jesus, in
  John 17, refers to that matchless love when He says to His Father:
  “Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” The three
  Persons of the Godhead are mysteriously capable of the exercise of
  love One toward the Other. Proverbs 8 gives us a beautiful picture
  of this same truth. Reaching back into the limitless expanse of the
 eternal age, before the foundation of the world, the one who is the
 personification of wisdom says in that wonderful chapter: “The Lord
 possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old.
 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth
 was. . . . While as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor
 the highest part of the dust of the world. When He prepared the heav-
 ens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth:
 When He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the
 fountains of the deep: When He gave to the sea His decree, that
 the waters should not pass His commandment: when He appointed
 the foundations of the earth: Then I was by Him, as one brought up
 with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him;
 Rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and My delights were
with the sons of men” (Prov. 8:.22-31).
    The functions of divine love within the mysterious realm of the
Trinity of the Godhead were operative from eternity. There God de-
vised this marvelous plan-Christianity-according to the counsel of
His own will, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, is
the central Object of those purposes of love. We have this truth
beautifully developed in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where the
apostle breaks forth in acclamation: “Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual bless-
ings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us
in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy
and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:3-4). There you have
                                                 ROMAN%--A C:OURTROOM DRAMA
 an expression of the counsels of the Godhead and it is this marvelous
 scheme of blessing and eternal love that is declared to us in “the
 Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
                                                   s
    I believe a new day dawns in the Christian’ spirit when, for the
 first time, he comes to the realization that he, as an individual, forms
 only a very small part in the great spiritual machinery of the work-
               s
 ings of God’ purposes of love. The glory of Christ is the object. God
will not be satisfied until He has a universe of which the Lord Jesus
Christ is the Head and Central Figure, the One who is worshiped by
every intelligent being to the remotest bounds of creation. It was
with all this in mind that Paul was singled out, a bondman of Jesus
Christ, a called apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God concerning
His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. He was a servant indicating that he
took the lowest place in relation to the One who is the central figure
in this great spiritual drama which he had been chosen to announce.
Then he was an apostle, because he must be given the authority
from the Lord Himself to announce so grand a subject. Then, in
order that his message and his apostleship might be authenticated,
he was separated to this gospel, and how far-reaching that expres-
sion may be is difficult for us to conceive. He speaks of himself else-
                                             s
where as being separated from his mother’ womb, realizing that God
controlled every human and spiritual impulse to bring forth the
herald of so vast a scheme of divine glory and blessing.


                                            Marked Out Son of God
               Paul,                 bondman                           of Jesus Christ,   [al                                 s
                                                                                                called apostle, separated to God’
    glad tidings, (which he had before promised by his prophets in holy writ-
     ings,) concerning his Son (come of Davisd’ seed according to flesh, marked
    out Son of God in power, according to [the] Spirit of holiness, by resurrec-
    tion of                    [the1                dead) Jesus Christ our Lord                             (Ram.             l:l-4   Darby translation).



T    HIS is the threshold upon which we step before we advance
     into the vast realm of truth set before us in this letter. Paul is
both a “bondman” and a %alled apostle” here, reminding us that he is
delivering a message from God Himself, as a servant, yet with all the
                                                                 s
authority of his apostleship. As such he is separated to God’ glad
tidings concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
   We have been noticing that the Lord Jesus is the central object
of the entire plan of divine purpose as set forth in this wonderful
                   MARKED OUT SON OF G O D                                7
  Epistle. Its truth ranges all the way from the settlement of the sin
  question to the ultimate thought in divine purpose, namely, “Christ
 and the Church,” with which the last chapter closes. All of these
  truths however have as their central theme the glory of the Lord
 Jesus Himself. It is not simply the glory of Him as the Creator, as
 if He stood off in the aloofness of Godhead greatness. It is more
 than that; it is that every truth of the gospel revolves around Him
 as the One who became Man, and who, in weakness, went to the
 Cross of Calvary as the sin bearer, and there settled every moral
 issue, solved every spiritual problem. There He Himself, as risen from
 the dead, became the Head of a new race, in whom life and incor-
 ruptibility are brought to light and announced in these glad tidings. I
 think all of this is entailed in these verses in the opening of the
 Epistle.                                                                _._.-   _i
     Now further, in relation to these glad tidings, the second verse
 says, “Which He had before promised by His prophets in holy writ-
 ings.” Let us remember that this letter was written to Gentiles and
 it is therefore most striking that Paul should bring in the thought
 of holy writings, or, as the authorized version says, “the holy Scrip-
 tures.” Perhaps it helps us to realize that God’ Book is not a reli-
                                                   s
 gious document that has to be handed down traditionally from one
 generation to another by any particular company or people. God’       s
 Book, the Bible, is universal in its appeal. It announces truths which
 apply to all mankind generally and no race or nation can lay partic-
 ular claim to its universal truths. It is a reminder of the universal-
ity of the Lord Jesus Himself. “The same Lord over all is rich unto
all that call upon Him.” He is God over all, blessed forever. He is
the Mediator, for “there is one God and one Mediator between God
and men, the Man, Christ Jesus.” These are the thoughts of univer-
sality that are presented in the gospel and surely this must have its
appeal to everyone.
    In plain language it means just this: If you are unsaved, it is not
because God has not offered to save your soul. The death of the Lord
Jesus Christ on Calvary was for all. It might have been for one par-
ticular nation on the earth, for many of the Old Testament blessings,
remember, were for Israel only. The characteristic of the glad tidings
                               s                               s
of God, the gospel of God’ grace, is that it presents God’ way of
salvation, and presents the very ultimate of blessings to all men, even
as Paul says in his Epistle to Titus: “the grace of God that bringeth
salvation has appeared to all.” “For God so loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him,
 8             ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That is the universality
                          s
  of the gospel of God’ grace, and it brings us back to this point: if
  you are unsaved, you will never be able to lay the charge of your
  damnation to anyone but yourself. “How shall we escape, if we neg-
  lect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the
  Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him” (Heb.
  2:3). This great salvation that has come through and in the Lord
  Jesus Christ proposes the redemption of every man who will accept it
  by faith. If you are not a Christian, that is, if you have never been
  born of God, if you have never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as
  your Saviour, then the guilt of your rejection or your neglecting of
  Him will lie at your own door. That is the universality of the gospel.
     Then Paul says in verses 3 and 4, “Concerning His Son come of
         s
  David’ seed according to flesh, marked out Son of God in power,
  according to the Spirit of holiness by resurrection of the dead.” There
  are four marks of distinction that point unmistakably to the Lord
  Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The first is that He came of David’   s
 seed according to flesh; the second is that he was marked out as Son
 of God in power. The miracle power of Godhead glory followed the
 Lord Jesus all through His life; it was made manifest at every step
 of His pathway, and even at the Cross; and, finally, in His rising
 from the dead. Then there is the thought that He was marked out ac-
 cording to the Spirit of holiness, that is, He was separate from sin-
 ners. The Lord Jesus was unique as a man in this world, but His
 uniqueness was not brilliance of intellect, it was not tyrannical domi-
 nance of those around Him like a world dictator. On the contrary,
 the Lord Jesus did everything to detract attention from Himself.
Had He set Himself forth in overbearance, taking advantage of every
miracle He wrought to secure for Himself a place of prominence
or popularity, then He would have followed along natural, human
lines. This verse in the first of Romans points out, however, that He
was marked out “according to the Spirit of holiness.” That is, it was
His holy life that marked Him as the Son of God. He did everything
just the opposite to what self-seeking man would do. The great dis-
tinction between Him and every other man was that He was sinless.
This was proven at the very outset of His history when He was taken
                                             s
into the wilderness and tested by Satan’ temptation according to
the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life; and
no response was found in His heart. It is not simply that He behaved
differently from other men, but He was radically different. Basically,
you and I are sinners and our natural impulse is toward sin. On the
                     MARKED OUT SON OF GOD                                         9
 contrary the Lord Jesus had no impulse toward sin, but every im-
 pulse of His being was toward holiness. His meat and His drink
 was to do the will of Him that sent Him. He could say: “I do always
 those things that please the Father.” He said: “The prince of this
 world cometh and hath nothing in Me.” He said: “Lo, I come, in the
 volume of the book it is written of Me, to do thy will 0 God, yea
 thy law is within my heart.” He was marked at every step of His
 journey “according to the spirit of holiness” as the Son of God. And,
                                                        s
 finally, that which marked Him conclusively as God’ Son was that
 He broke asunder the bars of death and rose triumphant from the
 grave. There He proved Himself “the living One.” Thus He was
 marked in a fourfold way as the Son of God with power.



                                    Saints
       Jesus Christ our Lord . . . by whom we have received grace and apos-
    tleship in behalf of his name, for obedience of faith among all the nations,
    among whom are ye also Ithel called of Jesus Christ: to all that are in
    Rome, beloved of God, called saints: Grace to you and peace from God
    our Father and [our1 Lord Jesus Christ (Ram. 1:5-7 Darby translation).



T                                                               s
      H E R E is a sweeping excellence to the very words of God’ Book
      that is utterly overwhelming to the human intellect. The Bible
 is like a great fountain of truth that gushes forth in such profusion
 that, like a flood, it breaks down every barrier of human limitation
and gives to the renewed mind the sense of boundless waters in which
to swim. The grandeur of the phraseology of Scripture, as well as
its truth, leaves man in his highest attainment puny and insignifi-
cant.
   We sense this in the above passage. Paul in this section of the
inspired New Testament is describing for us the limitless fulness of
what he calls “the Gospel of God concerning his Son Jesus Christ our
Lord,” and we must notice how the thought of God’ calling is so
                                                       s
wonderfully emphasized.
   In verse one Paul speaks of himself as a called apostle. In verse
six those to whom he writes are in the nations “among whom also ye
are the catled of Jesus Christ.” Then in verse seven, “beloved of God
called saints.” These are the blessings that accrue from God’ call.
                                                                s
   “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” When God
       10           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
        calls, if we are obedient to His call, then He never retracts that call.
K--     He never  goes back on His Word. That is the primary truth in rela-
         tion to the thought of calling. The truth of God’s call is beautifully
        exemplified in Abraham. He was in a land of idolatry, in the Meso-
        potamian country, and the God of glory appeared to him and called
        him. God’s call was not an indefinite, ethereal affair like a dream or
        a mirage; it was peremptory and to the point: “Get thee out of thy
        country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house, to a land
        that I will shew thee.” Abraham heard the call and by faith he obeyed
        it, going out, not knowing whither he went. In these few statements
        I believe we have in embryo the central truths concerning God’s call.
        This call comes to you and me in the proclamation of the gospel.
        Paul speaks of it in Romans 10: “The word of faith, which we
        preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord
        and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead,
        thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteous-
        ness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom.
        10:9-10). Today God is calling men out of this present evil world,
       out of their associations according to flesh, out of their own pride of
       heart and selfish pursuits, to bow the knee in deep reality before the
       Lord Jesus Christ; out of thy country, out of thy kindred, out of
                            “
       thy father’s house to a land I will shew thee.” It is the same test
       that was put to the life of Abraham in Mesopotamia. It is proclaimed
                                                                      to
       in the gospel to you and me, and the one who surrenders all- the
       impelling love of Christ in sovereign grace finds that he is traveling on
       “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not
       away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God
       through faith unto salvation” (1 Pet. 1:4-S).
           Keeping these thoughts in mind in relation to God’s call, we return
       again to our passage in Romans 1. There we find that Paul, first of all,
       is a called apostle. He was definitely called from out the shadows of
      his own fleshly religion and his own religious pride to take his place
      as an apostle, or a “sent one,”a messenger from God to the nations.
      That was his position by calling and he was seeking to fuhil it, in the
      Epistle to the Romans. Then, in verse 6, he says to these Romans,
      “among whom a%e ye also the called of Jesus Christ.”
           These Roman believers were by natural citizenship part of the
      great and proud nation that had practically conquered the known
      world of that day. They had every reason to be proud of their back-
      ground, for by the conquest of the Caesars the world had been laid
      low before their national sovereign might. But the gospel had reached
                                 SAINTS                                 11
  them, and they had been called out of all that into a new realm where
  the Lord Jesus was the Sovereign of their lives. They were no longer
  famous as Roman citizens, taking pride in the indomitable power of
  their nation. Now they were part of the kingdom of the Son of God’        s
  love and they could look beyond the Caesars and see that the Person
  upon      the throne of the universe, Jesus Christ, was their Lord. All
  this had been brought about by the call which they had heard from
  God Himself in the gospel.
        Paul says in verse 7 concerning these same Christians at Rome,
 they were beloved of God and they were called saints. Now this is a
 great advance upon that which he had been setting before them
 hitherto. This is not simply indicating that by calling they had be-
                                                      s
 come followers of the Lord Jesus. But in God’ estimation they had
 been separated from the entire course of this present evil world as a
 sanctified people, called out of this world and called by the name of
 the Lord Jesus Christ. As such they were saints or sanctified ones.
        This word “saints” is very .much abused in our so-called Christian
 economy. Men have all kinds of thoughts about the word itself. In
 the language of some religions it is altogether impossible for a person
 to be a saint until after death. One can hardly accept this, however,
 as being scriptural, because Paul is writing to his brethren at Rome
 who were very much alive in the body, and yet he insists they were
 already saints by calling. This truth is so frequently asserted in the
New Testament one wonders why anyone can possibly go astray in
relation to it. All of the Lord’ people are saints by calling. They are *
                                    s
saints because they are sanctified in Christ Jesus. This is not what
we are as men or women in the flesh; it is what God has constituted
us in His reckoning in Christ. It is that God has looked upon man-
kind, and, by the gospel, He has separated certain individuals and
placed upon them by the power of the Holy Spirit the mark of
destiny. They are set apart for Him as fit companions for the Lord
Jesus Christ in the day of His glory.
       It is as though an army commander musters his men before him.
From their ranks he asks for a hundred volunteers to undertake a
particular task to be performed at the end of the training period.
The volunteers come forward, their names are registered, a.nd the
commander himself keeps the book wherein their names have been
written. They fall back into rank and they are trained with all the
other soldiers. Within their hearts they carry the secret all the time
however that they are ‘      (separated ones,” destined for special duty in
a day yet to come. As the thousand men go through their training,
 12               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
it might be impossible to single out those who are separated and those
who are not, but the commander knows all about it. His hundred
men are set apart in his reckoning.
   God in heaven knows whether in your heart you have accepted
the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour. In the gospel He
has asked you to do this. If you have done it, your name is written
in the book of life, and you are destined for a world of joy and
beauty hereafter. If you have not done it, the commander of the
universe knows it and your name will not be found in that book in
the day of judgment. That briefly is the thought of saints by calling.
May God enlarge our thoughts concerning these mighty truths that
are set forth for us in His Book!



           Prospered by the Will of God
          First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith
       is proclaimed in the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve
      in my spirit in the glad tidings of his Son, how unceasingly I make men-
      tion of you, always beseeching at my prayers, if any way now at least I
      may be prospered by the will of God to come to you. For I greatly desire
      to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to establish you;
      thot is, to have mutual comfort among you, each by the faith [which is1
      in the other, both yours and mine (Ram. 1:8-12 Darby translation).



T    HE central theme of this Epistle is maintained in these verses as
     it has been so distinctly in the previous passage. It is ‘<the Gospel
of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” Even in these
personal salutations of Paul to the Christians at Rome, he maintains
this as the focal point of their spiritual contact together. He says in
verse 9, “whom I serve in my spirit in the glad tidings of His Son.”
   We cannot emphasize too much the fact that the gospel concerns
      s
God’ Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the great magnetic Center
around which every divine purpose rotates. Even in our personal
relations one with another as Christians our personal attachment
to the Lord Jesus Himself must be the bond that unites Christian
hearts. As Paul says in the first chapter of First Corinthians, “we
                                                 s
have been called into the fellowship of God’ Son Jesus Christ our
Lord.” This striking point of similarity between the two Epistles
enforces upon our hearts the tremendous importance of having “God’       s
             PROSPERED BY THE WILL OF GOD                           13
  Son Jesus Christ our Lord” as the epicenter of every divine relation-
  ship into which we have been brought through the grace of God.
     Thus Paul says in verse 8: “First I thank my God through Jesus
  Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”
  The universality of the Name of Christ is presented to US in verse
  5, where Paul says his apostleship is “in behalf of His name, for
                                                          s
  obedience of faith among all the nations.” So in Paul’ thanksgiving
  on behalf of the personal faith of these brethren at Rome, he is care-
  ful to express it to God through Jesus Christ, and the reason for his
  thankfulness is that their faith is known or proclaimed in the whole
  world. What a splendid testimony for the Lord, that there in the very
  center of the vortex of the power of Rome, which was so adamant
                                        s
 in those days, a company of the Lord’ people should so conduct them-
  selves that the fame of their faith in God should be spread abroad
  throughout the known world! It is indeed a happy reminder of the
 universality of the Name of Christ. The fame of the Lord Jesus
 takes wings and spreads itself across the world just in the proportion
 to which each individual Christian lives in accordance with the will of
 God.
    Unlike the Christians at Corinth, the behevers at Rome did not
 seem to be unduly laden with spiritual gifts, yet their testimony
                         t
 spread abroad. I don’ think it was attributable to their preaching,
 but rather to their manner of life. They were living in the midst of a
 realm where military might was the accepted symbol of dominance.
 Rome was the great world dictator on the international scene of that
 day and the very mention of the power of Rome made the nations
around tremble. Here was a company of people in the city of Rome
itself, however, and they had been emancipated from the so-cahed
glory of the tyrannous regime of the Roman Empire and brought
                                   s
into a kingdom of which God’ Son Jesus Christ our Lord is the
Sovereign Name. Their hearts had become so subjugated to their new
Lord that His fame in turn was spread abroad throughout the realm
and their faith in the Living God through Christ burned like a bril-
liant torch amid the darkness of the Roman world. We do not begin
to estimate the mighty power of a living faith in God through Christ.
A man who fears God and who believes in the sovereign authority of
the Lord Jesus is much more to be reckoned with than any other
man in all the world. The Lord Jesus is the universal Sovereign, God
over all, bIessed forever, and he who places his confidence in Him will
find that he can walk humbly superior to every other force and
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  authority in the world, for Christ Himself is the Head of all prin-
  cipalities and powers.
      Then Paul goes on in this passage to indicate his own personal
  yearning to see these Roman brethren face to face. He saysin verse 9,
  “For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the glad tidings
  of His Son, how unceasingly 1 make mention of you, always be-
  seeching at my prayers, if any way now at least I maybe prospered
  by the will of God to come to you.” Paul is not outlining the diffi-
  culties that stood in the way of his reaching Rome. The Roman
  Empire represented all that was contrary and definitely opposed to
  the gospel of Christ in that day. The Caesars were the pretenders
  to the throne of the world. Universal dominion was their aim. All
  other empires had been subjugated before them. The only competing
  power that now battered against the citadel of Roman supremacy
  was the power of the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul was
  conscious of it. He was not however shouting in defiance against
  the Roman Empire or anything it placed in his way. He took his
  stand before God as one whom he served in his spirit in the glad
  tidings of His Son and as such he was subject only to one power, and
 that power was the will of God.
     I wonder if every one of us realizes that, in the ultimate, the power
 of the will of God in our ways is the only power that we have to
 reckon with. We are living in a world of surging influences that flow
 and ebb in the confusion of our everyday life, yet the Christian may
 stand serenely in the midst of it all, knowing that no power in
 heaven, earth, or hell will present the slightest opposition to him un-
 less permitted by the Lord Jesus Christ according to the will of God.
That is one reason why it is so vital for each one of us to see to it that
                             s
we are in the path of God’ will. This will not make dreamers out of
U S, but will, on the contrary, help us put our hand to the service of

 Christ wherever we find it and, being found diligent in that service,
we shall be daily waiting upon the Lord Himself to give direction.
He is the One who opens and no man shuts; He shuts and no man
opens. Paul stood face to face with the power of Rome, that, humanly
speaking, had the authority to direct his every movement; but he
bent his knee, not to Caesar, but. to the Person whom he called “My
God.” Why did he do this? It was because he had the sweet con-
sciousness in his soul that he served his God in his spirit in the glad
tidings of His Son. It is as we are found consciously in the service
of Christ-whether that be in public or private, on the preaching
platform, in the office, at the bench, in the kitchen, or anywhere-
              PROSPERED BY THE WILL OF GOD                            15
 that we can rely upon the direction of our Lord according to H i s
 will. He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will”
 (Eph. 1:ll).



                Mutual Encouragement

 T     HE largeness both of the heart and the intellect of this great
       apostle is plainly set forth in Romans 1: 11-12. Far too fre-
   quently we think of Paul merely as a church dignitary who towered
  above his fellow believers in distant aloofness. The opposite is the
  case. Like all largehearted men of faith Paul was a very humble
  man, yet he was not for a moment diffident to set forth the purpose
  for which the Lord had called him in relation to his brethren. He
  has been telling us in these previous verses that the regulation of all
  his affairs is dependent upon the will of God, who alone is Master of
  his life and destiny. He is not however an automaton who moves
  about like an inanimate object at the behest of his master without
  any desire on his own part.
     The fellowship of Christianity involves not only the sovereignty of
  the Lord, but it involves fellowship, so that you and I are brought
 into conformity, in our own desires, to the will of God. So Paul says
 here, “for I greatly desire to see you.” He was in fellowship with the
 Lord in the truest sense, for he had subjugated his own desire and
 brought his thoughts .into obedience to Christ. This reminds us
                          s
 beautifully of our Lord’ own words in John 15: “Ye are my friends,
if ye practise whatever I command you. I call you no longer bond-
men, for the bondman does not know what his master is doing, but I
have called you friends, for all things which I have heard of my
 Father I have made known to you.” The Christian, by the power of
 the Spirit, is brought into intimacy of fellowship with the Lord, even
in his desires, so the Christian life is not a question of constantly
surrendering what we want ourselves and being forced into what
the Lord wants. On the contrary, Paul has the deepest desire to see
his brethren although he is willing to be guided entirely by the will
of the Lord. That is normal to Christianity. The Lord is not a
dictator who keeps hidden from us the purposes of His love. He de-
lights to make known to us His desires so that we should intelligently
follow what He wants and be very happy in doing it.
                 ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
     That is what I see reflected in Paul in this chapter. N OW in keep-
  ing with that, notice the unselfishness of the purpose of Paul in desir-
  ing to see his brethren. He does not want to see these Remans in
  order that he might tell them of his own spiritual triumphs. There is
  a mutuality of purpose in his desire to be with them. It is thus he
  says, “That I may impart to you some spiritual gift to establish you,”
  and then he amplifies this: ‘  (that is, to have mutual comfort among
  you each by the faith that is in the other, both yours and mine.”
  There is something exceedingly exquisite in these two thoughts.
     I have just said that Paul had no diffidence in declaring the purpose
  for which God had sent and called him. He was, after all, an apostle,
  a servant of Jesus Christ, and his definite purpose in coming to see
  the Christians at Rome was that he might impart to them some
  spiritual gift, that they might be established. There was nothing
  apologetic about the apostle in setting this forth, for there was no
  feigned humility about the man. He knew God had called him; he
  knew God had given him a message for his people and that message
  was for their establishment in the faith of the gospel. How good it
 would be if every servant of Christ would but stand under the
 shadow of this great apostle! There is often much lack of definiteness
 about our service for Christ. If the Lord has given you a particular
 service to do in His vineyard, and He has definitely equipped you to
 do it, then the teaching of this passage would seem to indicate there
 is no need to hedge about the purpose of your movements. If the
 Lord has gifted you as a soul winner, do not then let man or demon
belittle your service to give you an undue sense of incompetence.
If God has gifted you as a preacher of the gospel or a minister of
His Word, or in any other of a thousand ways has entrusted a
definite service to your hand and equipped you for it, then let your
procedure be definite, unashamed, humble but without apology,
knowing that YOU serve the Lord Christ. Paul had a great treasure
in an earthen vessel, as he tells us in the Epistle to the Corinthians.
It was his treasure, and he was unashamed of it; now he wants to
come to these Romans and impart to them a spiritual gift. He wants
to share with them some of the treasure which he has in his own
heart, which is none other than the excellency of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus his Lord.
   Now Paul amplifies a little further that impartation of gift and
he shows it is not a one-way process, it is that they might have
“mutual comfort each by the faith which is in the other, both yours
and mine.” That is, Paul does not want to come into their midst as a
                     MUTUAL ENCOURAGEMENT                                        17
 great pulpiteer or lecturer, to look down upon them as if they were
 a congregation and he their head. That was not the attitude of Paul
 nor should it be the attitude of any Christian minister. He wants to
 come into their midst more like an enriched guest who will impart
 to them something of real spiritual value and receive from them
 mutual encouragement. He says: “Each by the faith which is in the
 other.” You see how livingly the people of God are knit together, not
 only in an abstract way, but in a very practical way.
    The service of Christ is a constant two-way system of impartation.
 If you impart something of the knowledge of God and of the en-
 couragement of the Lord Jesus Christ to other believers, they in turn
 will encourage your heart by the very existence of faith in their
 hearts. Again I refer to the Corinthian Epistle where Paul says:
“Encourage one another with the encouragement wherewith ye your-
selves have also been encouraged.” We are all treading a heavenward
way. You have your experiences and I have mine, and it is by the
mutual exchange of our appreciation of Christ in the pilgrim pathway
that we encourage one another from day to day. I think we have the
same thought in the Epistle to the Hebrews, “Not forsaking the
assembling of ourselves together as the custom is with some; but en-
couraging one another, and by so much the more as ye see the day
drawing near” (Heb. lo:25 Darby). Christians should get together
as much as possible in order that they may encourage one another
“each by the faith that is in the other.” It all resolves itself to that
                    s
fellowship of God’ Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, which is the outflow
and purpose of the gospel of God concerning His Son, Jesus Christ
our Lord-the central theme of our Epistle.


                                 s
                             Paul’ Debt
      Now I would not hove you ignorant, brethern, that oftentimes I p u r -
    posed to come unto you, (but wos let Ior hindered1 hitherto,) that I might
   hove some fruit among you also, even OS among other Gentiles. I am
   debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and
   to the unwise. So, OS much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel
   to you that are at Rome also (Ram. 1:13-15).



A   LTHOUGH we believe surely that every word of Scripture is
     indited by the Holy Spirit, yet we can hardly fail to sense the
personal attitude of the Apostle Paul in these verses. This bespeaks
               ROMAN&-A         COURTROOM DRAMA
  one feature of the beauty of Christianity. Unlike the teachings of
                                             s
  any philosophy or religion, the Christian’ faith has a transforming
  power upon the human personality that makes him more real and
  transparent, more candid and honest. This is because of the attraction
  of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and is a reminder to     US all of what
  John says in his Gospel, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light,
  that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in
  God” (John 3:21).
     Here Paul is intimating to these brethren at Rome that he had
  laid plans again and again to come to see them, but he had been
  hindered. He does not make much of this because Paul had implicit.
  confidence in the overruling power of his Lord. He was neither agi-
  tated nor unduly disappointed that his plans had been frustrated,
  and here we touch one of the elemental truths of Christian conduct.
 We are living in a nervous age, when Christian people are caught in
  the tide of agitation that is overspreading the world. One of the
  foundational truths of Christianity is that our times are in God’    s
 hands and that He is, in a very practical way, our Lord and our
 Master. “We know that all things work together for good to them that
 love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” A
 Christian who is agitated and excited about the frustration of his
 plans has failed to grasp this elemental truth of the Christian faith.
 Nothing ever betides the Christian except by the permission of our
 gracious Lord and He always has our ultimate blessing in view.
     Perhaps you find yourself deeply perplexed about your plans that
 so often seem to go awry, and you wonder why the Lord allows these
 frustrations. The One who loves you perfectly looks down upon you
               s
 from heaven’ high eminence and He sees the end from the beginning.
From your viewpoint the outlook is exceedingly limited, and often-
times, if the Lord did not intervene to allow hindrances to come in
your pathway, you would wander on towards disaster. Do not then be
impatient with the Almighty, but seek to understand that “He works
all things after the counsel of His own will.” The underlying cause of
those counsels is His deep, eternal love.
    So Paul in this verse sees that even the hindrance that had kept
him from coming to see his brethren at Rome was that he might
have some fruit among them, even as among the other nations. I
have mentioned previously that Christianity is not a one-way affair.
Paul was willing to impart to these brethren spiritual benefits but
he was hoping God would work in their hearts so they might be im-
pelled to impart of that which they had toward others. Paul was not
                             PAUL’ DEBT
                                  S                                     19
   looking for a gift for himself, but rather that he might see fruit in
   the lives of these brethren, and that such would make itself evident
   in their generosity towards the support of the gospel of Christ or
   towards the support of his fellow laborers. Tt is a reminder to us that
   one of the basic features of Christianity is generosity. “God loveth a
   cheerful giver.” If the Lord has, through His mercy, endowed you
   and me with some of this world’s goods, He holds US responsible to
   use our material wealth for the furtherance of His kingdom, for the
   support of His servants, for the carrying on of His work. One of the
   first privileges of the true Christian is to be generous with his funds.
   Paul looked for that from the Romans, not necessarily on his own
   behalf, but as an evidence from them that the grace of God was
  bearing fruit in their lives.
      Then, as if this very thought reminded Paul of his own debt, he
  says, “For 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.”
      So magnificent had been the grace of God towards this man Saul of
  Tarsus, in rescuing him from his mad career of rebellion against his
  God, that, from the moment of his conversion onward, he was a
  debtor to the grace of God. That debt was not something ethereal,
 calling only for flowery words of thanksgiving; it spurred him on
  to action always. The discharge of that debt could never be paid back
 to God directly. Paul realized that in his unconverted days he had
 spewed out enmity against the Name of Christ; he had persecuted
 and caused the death of followers of the Lord Jesus, and, in doing
 those wickednesses, he had accumulated a mighty debt. God had
 forgiven him that debt and he would never have to pay it back to
 the Almighty. All his indebtedness had been borne by Christ on the
Cross and paid in full. But it had incurred in his heart, and in his
life, an indebtedness toward those around him which a whole life-
time could never pay back. If you have been rescued by the grace of
God from sin and shame, then you are in debt to all those around
you to display in your life, and to tell with your lips the magnificent
grace of God in Christ.
     Paul says: “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians.”
That is, he was under obligation both to the civilized and to the
uncivilized. He was debtor both to the wise and to the unintelligent.
National barriers were laid low; intellectual barriers were laid low;
and Paul was in debt to announce the glad tidings to all. I wonder
if you and I think for a moment that we are being virtuous or making
 20               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
a sacrifice by spreading the fame of the Lord Jesus. I wonder if we
who are Christians actually realize that, by proclaiming the Name
of Christ in our lives and in our speech, we are simply discharging a
debt, as we would pay an installment that is justly due at the bank.
Too many of us think we are doing God a favor by witnessing for
Christ. Paul had no such thought. To him it was a debt he was seek-
ing to pay back, with all the urgency of past-due payment, because
of the infinite grace that had been shown to him when he was a
sinner bound for a lost eternity.




                           To Rome Also
         I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; 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. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of
      Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that be-
      lieveth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the right-
      eousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just
      shall live by faith (Ram. 1:14-17).



AS very pointedly this is a greaton thisdocument,I asought oftolawyer’s
   WE began our meditations
                                  legal
                                         Epistle
                                                     kind
                                                                 suggest

 brief, setting forth the entire governmental and legal processes by
 which the sinner is reconciled to God. We can hardly forget, as we
 go from verse to verse, it is a theological argument and we seem to be
 constantly ascending a stairway where each verse marks a step.
   You will notice how many of the verses begin with the“for”word
or “because,” showing a sequence of legal steps toward the conclusion.
I venture to say, if all Christian people would lay hold upon the
truth of the Epistle to the Romans, our doubts and misgivings in
relation to our title to heaven itself would at once be dissipated.
Paul is here laying the legal foundation whereby God can justify the
sinner and bring him, in all the acceptability of the finished Work
of Christ, into His very presence with rejoicing. That is the under-
lying reason that the gospel is presented here as “the gospel concern-
ing God’s Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” Embraced within the term
“the gospel” is the entire range of divine truth from the settlement
of the sin question to the full blaze of the glory of God in a redeemed
creation in an eternity of bliss. It seems essential we should keep
                           TO ROME ALSO                                21
  this in mind, as we travel from verse to verse in this EpistIe, otherwise
  we shall learn its truth only in a very fragmentary way, and fail per-
  haps to grasp something of the vastness of the purposes of God in
  relation to His beloved Son, of which purposes you and I, through
  infinite grace, form a very small part.
     In the light of all this Paul says he is debtor to the entire world,
  regardless of lines of demarkation, national, racial, intellectual, or
  social. As a last gesture of the overwhelming grace of God in this
        s
 man’ life, he says (verse 15) he is “ready to preach the gospel to you
  that are at Rome also.”
     Now let us catch something of the significance of this, in the light
 of the day in which Paul lived. Let us remember Saul of Tarsus, the
 former name of this same great apostle, had been a proud religionist,
 a Jew who had been devoted with virulent zeal to the traditional
 faith of his fathers. The power of Rome stood like a giant rock amid
 all the fluctuating experiences of his own people, the Jews, and much
 of the persecution in his day could be laid at the door of the ruthless
 power of the Caesars. Rome represented to the heart of Saul of
 Tarsus the very center of usurped world dominion that had en-
 slaved his own people, the Jews. On that account it was the last place
 on earth to which Paul the apostle by natural desire would ever have
 cared to go. He might more readily have carried the gospel anywhere
 else in the world than to Rome itself. It took a special dispensation
 of the grace of God in the heart of this man to write this fifteenth
 verse.
    I wonder if you and I realize the full mellowing process of the grace
of God in the human heart. The mind and heart of Saul of Tarsus
must have been like a living fountain that gushed forth with veri-
table hatred against all that Rome represented. His people after the
flesh, the Jews, were custodians of the covenants of God, and as such
                   s
they were God’ princes in the earth descended from Israel, “the
Prince with God.” It was Rome that had trampled them under foot
in ruthless disdain. What was it that could impel the heart of this
man Saul to be changed so completely that he would carry the
glad tidings of the Christ, the One whom he had formerly hated and
now loved with all his heart, to the very people whom he had once
hated aIso? You remember when the streams in Israel were bitter
                         s
and defiled in Elisha’ day, Elisha took a cruse of salt and put it in
the waters, and they became sweet and nourished the people. It is
the salt of the truth of God as it finds an entrance into the heart
of man that sweetens the polluted stream of his impulses. His heart,
 22             ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 at one time a fountain of iniquity gushing forth with hatred and
 prejudice and crime, now becomes a springing well of grace and
 lovingkindness. That is what I see in this fifteenth verse.
                                                exc
    That is the background against which this e l l e n t s i x t e e n t h
 verse is set: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:itfor
                                     to
 is the power of God unto salvation 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.”
    One can hardly believe that these words could come from this man
 Paul. To me they are a prime exhibit of the marvel of the accom-
 plishment of the grace of God in a human heart. He had literally
 been turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto
 God, andas I think of Paul I am not unmindful of ourselves. We all
know our own hearts to a certain extent. We know the pride and
prejudice that are resident there; we know the natural haughtiness
of spirit that characterizes every one of us by nature. To me it is a
great encouragement to see how God reached Paul, the one who, as
Saul of Tarsus, was a towering citadel of human pride and religious
zeal, and brought him so low in his own estimation that he could
say: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” This was the Name
that he had hated with all the virulence of his proud Pharisaic char-
acter. The tradition of his fathers for centuries back had filtered
down through generations and instilled in his spirit a veritable caprice
of religious self-sufficiency that constituted him “the chief of sinners.”
It was this man that God leveled in the dust, enshrined in his heart
the very name of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is the man who
breathed out threatenings against the Name of Christ who now says:
“I am not ashamed of the glad tidings of Christ.” What a triumph
of grace!
                    THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL                                          23




              The Power of the Gospel
       For I o m 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 foith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God
    is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
    man, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Ram. 1:16-18).




T      HESE verses present a very large subject. They find their cen-
       ter in the expression with which the Epistle opens, “the gospel
  of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul is the great
 herald who is preaching the Name which he at one time trampled
 under foot, the Name of the Anointed One of God, the Lord Jesus
                                                  s
  Christ. Now Paul speaks of this gospel as God’ power “unto salva-
 tion to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the
 Gentile.” Notice the power of the gospel.
    We live in a world of power. These powers are divided into two,
 the powers of good and the powers of evil, and we are all constantly
 subject either to the one or to the other; we have the power of God
 on one hand; we have the power of Satan on the other. Man is an
 intelligent being, and he willingly submits himself either to God’   s
                     s
 power or to Satan’ power. Satan is called “the god of this world who
 has blinded the minds of them that believe not lest the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ should shine unto them.” Satan is
 called “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”;
he is called “the prince of the power of the air.” He has many emis-
saries who are called demons, and the entire chapter of Ephesians 6
                                                                s
is taken up with the armor of God that is supplied to the Lord’ peo-
ple in order that they “might withstand the wiles of the enemy and,
having done all, to stand.” Thus there are abroad both in the spiritual
and in the material realm certain powers of the evil one to which we
may subject ourselves in disobedience to God, and such conduct is
called unrighteousness. This is the subject in the passage before us.
   On the other hand we have the power of God, and this is just as
real as, and far more potent than any other influence or power that
                                                         s
is manifest in the world. Now the gospel is called God’ power unto
salvation to everyone that believeth. I have already mentioned that
 24           ROMAN%A COURTROOM DRAMA
 man is an intelligent being, and within the realm ofchoice lies the
                                                      his
 decision as to whether he will subject himself to the power of God
  or the power of Satan. All he has to do to subject himself to the
   power of Satan is to follow the natural instinct of his corrupt heart,
  for “the heart is deceitful above all things and irrecoverably wicked.”
   In other words, if he lives a negative life, setting at naught the
  claims of God upon him, and giving no recognition to the sovereign
  authority of the Lord Jesus in his life, then he is submitting himself
  to the power of Satan. He is a sinner, and if he continues as such,
  he will find himself in a lost eternity. Such is the teaching of the
  New Testament. “If ye die in your sins, where I go, ye cannot come.”
     On the other hand, in the gospel a heraldic note is sounded in the
  ears of men, calling them out of darkness into light, out from the
  power of Satan into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love. Man who
  is an intelligent being has the option as to whether he will listen to
  the gospel or whether he will refuse or neglect it. If he listens to it,
  that is, if he believes it as it is presented from God through His
  servants, then that gospel becomes to the one who believes the power
 of God unto salvation. He is saved by it. Paul says in First Corin-
 thians 15:“I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,
 which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also
 ye are saved.. . . For I delivered unto you first of all that which I
 also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the
 Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third
 day according to the Scriptures; And that He was seen of Cephas,
 then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred
brethren at once” (1 Cor. 15: l-6).
    That is a very plain statement of what the proclamation of the
gospel really is. It is the presentation of the truth of the death, burial,
and manifest resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on account of sin.
It is not simply that the Lord Jesus died as a martyr, or even as the
Son of God, as if it were a historical fact that has no bearing upon
my life. I say it is not simply that the Lord Jesus died. The truth
that is presented in the gospel is that Christ died for T h a t
                                                      OUY sins.
is the first truth that I have to accept on my own behalf, otherwise
I am unsaved, and on the way to a lost eternity. I would like to ask
you, my friend, very candidly: Have you believed the gospel which is
God’s power unto salvation to every one that believes? Perhaps you
say : “I am not sure whether I have or not.” You need be uncertain
no longer; the question is this: Have you put your own name in
First Corinthians 15, verse 3, “how that Christ died for my sins”?
                     THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL                                          2.5
  Have you been brought to the realization that it was your sins that
                                                   s
  caused the Lord Jesus Christ to die on Calvary’ Cross?
     We are not now thinking of the Lord Jesus as dying because of
  the hatred of men or because of the opposition of Satan; we are
  thinking of Him as going willingly to the Cross of Calvary as the
 sin bearer. You remember He said, “No one taketh my life from me,
  I lay it down of myself.” The prophetic Scripture said concerning
 His death, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised
 for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.”
 In other words, He died for our sins. If you and I realize that the
 Lord Jesus died for our sins, then we shall confess before Him we
 are sinners, deserving eternal judgment, but the Lord Jesus took
 our place and made atonement for us on Calvary so we might go
 free. That is the gospel by which we are saved. He who accepts this
gospel, believing also that Christ was buried and that He rose the
 third day according to the Scriptures, triumphant over death, will
 find in it the power of God unto salvation. The way of salvation is
exceedingly plain and simple, but it is definite and challenging. This
is the gospel of which Paul was not ashamed and it is presented to
the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. God comes in marvelous grace,
presenting the first opportunity for salvation to the people who had
so trampled under foot the grace of God, presented in Jesus Christ
                                                      s
their Messiah. It reveals the magnificence of God’ grace. If that
gospel has never reached you, my friend, be you either Jew or Gen-
tile, may it reach you now!



                  The Principle of Faith
       For I a n n o t oshamed of the glad tidings; for it is God’ power to
                                                                       s
    salvation, to every one that believes, both to Jew first and to Greek: for
    righteousness of God is revealed therein, on the principle of faith, to
    faith; according as it is written, But the just shall live by faith (Ram. 1:16-
    17 Darby translation).



I   T SEEMS as though we cannot take a single step in this Roman
    Epistle without being reminded it is a legal document setting
forth divine truth. The righteousness of God is now revealed on the
principle of faith, to faith. This is the groundwork upon which the
                                                          s
truth of the gospel rests. It is the setting forth of God’ righteous-
   26                   ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  ness, or what is right in the sight ‘>od. Sometimes theselarge
                                              of
  words in the Scriptures may bewilder us, but they are exceedingly
  si m pl e     i n their elements. Righteousness means just what is right. In
  the gospel, therefore, is set forth God’s requirements of His crea-
  tures, or what is right in the sight (God.  oi
                                     of
            The moment you speak righteousnessthere are many who think
  of the ten commandments as the setting forth of God’s righteousness.
  The ten requirements of the law of Moses outlined for men what
  they should do irrespective of what they might believe. They were
  God’s legal requirements on the principle of works.
            In the gospel, in contrast to all of this, we have the righteousness
  of God on the principle of faith, not on the principle of works. It is
  a question of what I accept by way of belief as the revealed mind of
  God.
            Therein the righteousness of God is revealed in two ways, first “on
  the principle of faith,” and secondly “to faith.” It is on the principle
 of faith in contrast to the principle of works; it is what I must
 accept as the truth of God by believing it. Secondly, it is revealed to
  faith, that is, the one who has faith in God has his eyes open to see
 what this righteousness is that is revealed in the gospel. The under-
 lying reason for all of that is given to us in the close of this seven-
 teenth verse, “the just shall live on the principle of faith.”
          Now let us consider a little further what this means. The gospel
 or the glad tidings of God entails all the truth that has come to light
 in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This first chapter of Romans
 insists that it is the gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ
 our Lord. It is not concerning the prolongation of life here on the
earth and the happy state of man in his present condition, such as
was presented in the law of Moses; it is not the improvement of this
present world; it is not the amelioration of conditions among men by
social or intellectual uplift. By way of contrast to all that, it is the
glad tidings of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. It is
that God has devised, in the counsel chambers of eternity, a great
system of divine blessing, of which the Lord Jesus Himself is the
Center; and that He, as such, is surrounded by all those whom He
has redeemed by the purchase price of His own precious blood. It
is that which God Himself has devised and has wrought by the
death of the Lord Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, on Calvary’s Cross.
How can man get the blessing of all this? It must be accepted on the
principle of faith and not on the principle of works. You can never
earn a place in that system of blessing which God has devised for
                    THE PRINCIPLE OF FAITH
   you. It is presented to you in the gospel for the acceptation of faith.
   That is, you must believe it and not try to work your way into it.
      That glorious scheme of divine blessing devised by God Himself,
   which is set forth for us in the gospel on the ground of the finished
                                                       s
  work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is called here God’ righteousness, It
   is what is right before God. God has not in some devious way set
  aside any of His own divine attributes of glory and honor and holi-
   ness and truth. It is not an escape route out of the realm of sin into
  the realm of light. The entire system of the Christian economy has
  been based upon God’ righteousness, what is righ.t before God. O n
                            s
  the Cross of Calvary the attributes of the Godhead were harmonized.
  God did not sacrifice for a moment His eternal holiness. On the con-
  trary, because God is holy, the Lord Jesus became the sufferer on
  account of sin and He bore the penalty of a holy God against sin.
  By executing judgment upon the head of His beloved Son, God main-
  tained the attribute of His love, because it was on account of the
  love of God that He gave His Son as a gift, and on account of the
  love of God that Christ gave Himself. The economy of Christianity is
 not a compromise affair but one in which God is vindicated in every
 attribute of His being. Man by sin, at the behest of Satan, had
 dragged the name of God in the mire of human disdain and dishonor.
 On the Cross of Calvary everything was rectified. Satan was put in
 his place by being defeated. Man was put in his place by being
 given the choice of accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and
 being blessed eternally, or of refusing the grace of God in Christ and
 being banished from His presence to a lost eternity. The Son of God
 Himself was glorified because He manifested absolute obedience to
 the will of His Father. The divine attributes of the Son of Man were
manifested and God was glorified in Him. The Name of God the
 Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit was placed on the
highest pinnacle of glory by the work of Christ on the Cross. Thus
             s
it is God’ righteousness revealed in the glad tidings, but it is re-
vealed to man on the principle of faith, not on the principle of
works. You and I cannot attain our title to heaven by good works,
however desirable these may be. You will never get to heaven by
doing the best you can. You can get to heaven only by accepting
       s
God’ righteousness, as it has been declared in Christ on Calvary’      s
Cross, and as it is announced in the glad tidings.
     But all men do not see this, because all men do not have faith; and
SO it is revealed, not only on the principle of faith, but to faith.
Faith is that which opens the eyes of man and makes him see God’       s
 28               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 righteousness in Christ. In other words it makes him come as a
 guilty sinner before God and see that the Lord Jesus on the Cross
 took his place and died for him and brought him to God Himself.
 Thus the declaration comes forth that the just, or the one who is
 justified before God will live on the principle of faith and not on the
 principle of works. By faith alone we can come to God. “He that
 cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of
 them that diligently seek Him” (Heb.11:6).



              The Testimony of Creation
         For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
      and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Be-
      cause that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God
      hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the crea-
      tion of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that
      are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without
      excuse: Becausethat, 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 (Ram. 1:18-21).




I   N THE previous verses Paul has been setting forth the revela-
     tion of the righteousness of God on the principle of faith,
 whereby the creature is reconciled. Now he states the wrath of God
 is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness
 of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Every verse in this
 chapter marks a new step in the logical argument that is bringing
in the whole world guilty before God. This reaches its consumma-
tion in chapter three. First then, we have the righteousness of God
revealed on the principle of Eaith. The way by which the creature
may come into the presence of his Creator must be on the principle
of faith and not on the principle of works. The reason for this is
that he has failed in his obligation to do those things which God
commanded him to do.
   Since he has failed, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against ungodliness. In other words, man cannot make the excuse
that he is traveling on in ignorance; he is traveling in unbelief. Two
pathways are open to him and he must make his choice. Either he
                                                            im-
will come to God through Christ in the righteousness which is
                THE TESTIMONY OF CREATION                            29
 puted to him by grace, or he will go his own way in rebellion against
 God.
      In order that we might see that God has given man every evidence
  of His power and Godhead, the apostle here goes back beyond the
  Cross of Calvary, beyond the pathway of our Lord Jesus, beyond
  Bethlehem, receding into the dim past and taking up the question
  from the evidences in creation itself. The underlying reason for this
  line of argument on the part of the apostle is that the Gentiles might
  be brought in guilty before God. It would be little use to condemn
  them by the law of Moses, or by any of God’s revealed relationships
  with His earthly people Israel, for they were outside the pale of that
  privileged company. Hence the Word of God takes us back to cre-
  ation itself, and, regarding the visible creation, it is stated: “That
  which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath
  showed it unto them.”
     In other words, the condemnation of the Gentile is not because
 he has refused the law of Moses, because he was never under law,
 but rather that he has refused the testimony of the visible creation.
 He may lift his eyes to the heavens by night and see that multitude
 of heavenly bodies traveling like millions of lighted torches through
 the limitless vault of creation’s depth. God has endowed him with
 intelligence that gives the capacity of observation so he can behold
 the order of the heavens, and realize they are a testimony to a hand
 that is not only almighty but all-wise, the hand of God. In Psalm
 19 we have it stated unequivocally: “The heavens declare the glory
of God; and the expanse showeth the work of His hands. Day unto
day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There
is no speech and there are no words, yet their voice is heard. Their
line is gone out through all the earth, and their language to the
extremity of the world” (Psa. 19: 1-4 Darby). God has presented a
testimony to the eyes of all men so they may look up and learn
from the visible creation that there is a God in the heavens, al-
mighty, all-wise, and that they themselves, together with all the
other created beings, stand in relation to their God.
    It is remarkable that it is in connection with this display of testi-
mony on the part of God that the apostle speaks here of the wrath of
God being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness. I think
perhaps the thought is that as man, by the intelligence God has given
him, watches the marvelous order of the visible creation, the glory of
                                                            s
God is declared to him, and he must perforce hear God’ voicein it.
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   That voice must necessarily indicate to him that God is a God of
   order, and the rebellion which is found in his own heart, expressed
   in ungodliness, is contrary to God. God’ harmonious order in cre-
                                               s
                                     s
   ation is a silent reproof to man’ discordant life. Thus the wrath of
   God is revealed against all ungodliness.
      Then we come to that excellent verse 20, which ought to be written
   upon the conscience of every man, whether he has ever heard the
   gospel or not: “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 eternal power and Godhead; so that they are with-
   out excuse.” This presents a truth that I realize is often denied by
   fairly well-informed Christian people. There is a convincing testi-
   mony concerning the true God in the visible creation, and no human
   is beyond the range and power of that testimony. To me it is one of
   the most marvelous truths of the Bible that men may learn from the
  creation what Scripture calls ‘(the invisible things of Him.” We must
  remember creation is made after a pattern, and the pattern is the
  Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. ‘The eleventh of Hebrews
  tells us so: “By faith we apprehend that the worlds were framed
  by the Word of God, so that that which is seen should not take
  its origin from things which do appear” (Heb. 11: 3 Darby) .
      Behind the material creation there is a blueprint of divine pur-
 pose of which the material creation itself is an expression. The blue-
 print of purpose is called “the invisible things of God.” It is what
 God had in mind when He made the worlds. It is put in cryptic
 language in Hebrews 1, speaking of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ,
 “by whom He made the worlds.” And in the Colossian Epistle we find
 the Lord Jesus is the One “by whom the worlds were made” and“for
whom the worlds were made.” So the Word of God, which is personi-
fied in the Lord Jesus Christ, is the great pattern from which the
material universe was framed. God has endowed all men with intelli-
gence enough to look upon the visible creation and discern therein
this marvelous pattern of divine purpose, sufficient to lead their
hearts away from sin and bring them to a knowledge of the true God.
The great argument then is that since men have not taken note of
this testimony of God in creation, and have turned from their evil
ways, then they are without excuse. This is one of the most necessary
                                                     s
foundation stones in the entire structure of God’ righteous dealings
with mankind.
                          THE FALL OF MAN                                        31




                       The Fall of Man
       Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not OS God, nei-
    ther were thankful; but become vain in their imaginations, and their fool-
    ish heort wos dorkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they become
    fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into on imoge
    mode like to corruptible mon, and to birds, ond fourfooted beosts, and
    creeping things. Wherefore God also gove them up to uncleanness through
    the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between them-
    selves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and
    served the creature more thon the Creotor, who is blessed for ever. Amen
    (Ram. 1:21-25).




AS His creatures,this settingthisforth theletreasons fortheGod’s dealings
with
      WE pursue
     legal document,
                       solemn subject

                   and in
                                               us remember that it is a

                                    passage we have         tragic indict-
 ment of the natural man in his departure from God down the dark
 declivity of sin and unbelief.
    We are living in an age when it is thought profitable to be con-
 stantly saying nice things to each other. Well, courtesy is a primary
 Christian grace! It therefore comes to us as somewhat of a shock to
 read the candid truths of such verses as these. It is more plausible
 in these days to speak in high-sounding phrases of the upward climb
                                               s
of man towards godlike greatness, but God’ Word recognizes no
such theorizings. The Spirit of God speaks to us through the divine
record in words of candor and clarity, so that the wayfaring man,
though a fool, may not err in the way.
   Paul has set forth the mighty testimony of the visible creation to
both the power and the Godhead of the Creator. The Creator of the
universe is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Person who died on Calvary’   s
Cross. Such a claim is made for Him over and over again both in the
Old Testament and in the New. The very beginning of Isaiah’s
prophecy presents Him to us in no uncertain terms: “Unto us a child
is born, unto us a Son is given: and His Name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
Prince of Peace.” Then, as we travel on down through that Old
Testament prophecy, the prophetic arrow narrows down to a point
of unmistakable exactitude in the fifty-third chapter: “He shall
grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry
  32                                           M
              R O M A N S - A C O U R T R O OD R A M A
                                           . .
  ground: Hebath no form nor comeliness . there is no beauty that
                                                         man
  we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, aof
  sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He is as a lamb to the
                                                  “led
  slaughter” and “numbered with the transgressors” and He “bears
  the sins of many.”
                   Thus the Old Testament prophet designates the
  coming Messiah as none other than the Man of Calvary.
     The theme is taken up in the New Testament in the Gospel of
  John, who tells us this Person who died on the Cross is called the
  Word, theLogos, and, as such, He is the eternal God and “the Word
  became flesh and dwelt among us.” In Luke’s Gospel we see the child
  born! In John’s Gospel we see the Son  given1 Thus Old Testament
 and New intertwine to declare that this Person, called the Word of
  God, the Son of the Living God, is the Creator of the universe. John
 says: “By Him were all things made and without Him was not any-
  thing made that was made.” Thus we stand in the very presence of
  God Himself by being brought nigh to the Lord Jesus Christ; you
 and I, who are in the light of the gospel, have no excuse for our un-
 belief. Why then, with all these advantages of divine revelation, do
 we find the world steeped in unbelief today?
    For the reason we go to this passage in Romans one. Having the
 testimony of the Creator set forth in colors of such unmistakable
 grandeur in the visible creation, man, impelled by a fallen nature,
 chooses to glorify himself rather than to glorify the God who made
 him. So God says here: “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. Pro-
 fessing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the
glory of theuncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible
man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them   up,”
    We are living in a world God has given up! This is the tragic
truth. It is not that every individual in the world has been aban-
doned by God. On the contrary, we can still say, “For God so loved
the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever be-
lieveth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” On the
other hand, God has given up the great world system, as an economy
of man’s machinations, and it is headed for the doom of the pit.
How can anyone escape from the destiny of so tragic a condemna-
tion? John tells us in unequivocal language: “He that believeth on
the Son hath everlasting life; he that believeth not the Son shall not
see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Again he says: “He
                        THE FALL OF MAN                               33
  &at believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not
  is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of
  the only begotten Son of God.” This sinful world is doomed in its
  totality under the judgment of God. You and I may escape only by
 placing confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer who died
  to save us.
     But let us look again at the sorrowful moral declension that is
  outlined in this passage. First of all, having the opportunity to know
  God in the visible creation, men turn their backs upon Him. They
  do not glorify Him. They make light of God. They drag His Name in
  the mire and murk of sin and shame. This is their first indictment:
 they belittle the God who made them! The second is that they are
 not thankful; the third, they are vain in their imaginations; the
 fourth, their foolish heart is darkened, the fifth, professing to be wise
 they become fools; the sixth, they go headlong into idolatry, wor-
 shiping images to corruptible men, to birds, to beasts, to creeping
 things. As a result of all that, God has given them up.
    Man after the flesh is a ruined creature. As he came from the hand
 of God he was a majestic being of spirit and soul and body. His
 spirit was the highest part of him. By that spirit he communed with
 God. His soul was the seat of his affection and his emotion, a glorious
 entity of beauty and unspeakable bliss. His body was the vehicle
                                                        s
 by which he could move within the orbit of God’ desired plan for
 him. Then in the garden of Eden, man, this majestic being, fell. He
was very much like a three-story structure, built in ordered gran-
deur, his spirit on top, his soul second, and his body on the ground
floor. When he fell, not only was he separated from God, but some-
thing radical took place in his being. The third story literally fell
into the basement. His body became the predominant entity for lust
and self-gratification. His soul took second place, making him
predominantly an emotional being, and his spirit became subjugated
to his feelings and his desires. That is the man depicted in Romans
chapter one. That is you! That is I! Only the grace of God can re-
construct that majestic being, and it is done by the new birth on the
basis of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
                 ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA



                          A Sinful World
        Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the II& of
     their own hearts . . . Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and wor-
     shipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed
     for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections. . . .
     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 conven-
     ient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, COV-
     etousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, deba:e, deceit, malignity;
     whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inven-
     tors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, cov-
     enantbreokers, 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 thot do
     them (Ram. 1:24-32).



 I  N THIS twentieth century we stand amid the debris of the havoc
      that has been wrought in the world by sin, The Spirit of God in
 this passage touches at the root of the whole thing, the very heart
 of man himself, which is corrupt in its inner spring. It begins with
 an abandonment of the retention of God in our knowledge. Man
 endowed with the intelligence with which God had graced him chose
 rather to follow Satan into paths of rebellion against his Creator.
 Too often we think of our career as a one-sided affair in which we
 shall not be answerable to any outside force or person for the things
 we do. Surely men are freewill agents, but they are also creatures
 and they have a Creator. God made man in His own image and like-
ness and He endowed him with a conscience whereby he should be
aware of his responsibilities to his Maker. That sense of responsibility
is resident in every intelligent human heart. Man chooses the way of
sin, but that is not the end of the story. Sin and unrighteousness are
rebellion against God and God Himself has something to say to us
when we depart from the channel of His will.
   These are some of the things God has to say to those who are
rebels: “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness”; ‘LFor this
cause God gave them up unto vile affections”; and in verse 28, “God
gave them over to a reprobate mind.” The first statement has to do
with our bodies: “He gave us up to uncleanness.” The second has
to do with our soul, the seat of affection and emotion: “For this
                            A SINFUL WORLD                                   3.5
       cause God gave them up unto vile affections.” The third has to do
       with our spirit, our capacity to know God: “God gave them over to
       a reprobate mind.” Thus the creature in every entity of his being,
       because of self-will, is now at a distance from God, and we stand in
       the midst of a world that has been wrecked, ravaged, and ruined by
       the depredations of sinful man.
              To follow this indictment word by word and line by line in the
      first chapter of Romans brings into sharpest focus the sheer desola-
      tion-moral, spiritual, and material-that exists in our world today.
      Never in all history has man stood so helplessly amid the ruins of
     his own handiwork. The unqualified indictment is that when he
      knew God, that is, when he had the opportunity to grasp the knowl-
     edge of God by the testimony of the created things around him, he
     glorified Him not as God, but debased the Name of his Maker,
     setting up graven images and bowing down in worship even before
     reptiles. Do not let us think this refers only to heathen nations where
     the gospel of Christ has never penetrated. Idolatry is rampant amid
    the proud edifices of what we call our Christian civilization. Just as
                     s
    in Daniel’ day in the land of Babylon they set up a great image to
   which every knee must bow, so it is in the enlightened age in which
   we live. Man has deified himself and, in the act, he has forgotten the
                                           s
   true God. Concurrent with man’ exercise of religious pride and idol
   worship, the world around has gone with frightening speed down
   the dark declivity of moral and spiritual disintegration, until today
   the tide of evil carries everything before it and sin is rampant in the
  world.
              Do not let us be too objectve in thinking about it. It is true, not
  only across the seas, but also in the very community in which we
  live. Here in our own fair land, where the sun shines and where every
 prospect of the handiwork of God in creation pleases the senses, only
 man is vile. Our law enforcement agencies are totally incapable of
 stemming the rising tide of iniquity and lust and immorality. Crime
 and lawlessness are everywhere. The jails are filled to capacity and
 far beyond it. Obnoxious social diseases are so rapidly on the increase
 that hospitals cannot house the cases. The unspeakable bestial prac-
 tices that are cited in this very chapter, Romans one, are becoming
 so prevalent they are out of control. I know a jail chaplain who not
long ago gave up his position because he could no longer bear to
witness the bestiality that came to his notice. He became physically
ill in the midst of all the moral filth he saw. Such is our present
civil zationf
 36                                        ROMAN!%A C O U R T R O O M D R A M A
   Then as we look across the world and see the political unrest, the
 pride and prejudice and suspicion that exist between nations, and the
 forward march of anarchistic forces in a world that is bruised and
 bleeding from the ravages of war and famine and disease, every
 Christian heart cries out, “Lord Jesus, come.” Here is the dread
 category in Romans 1: 29: “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, im-
placable, 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.” That is the indictment of
sin that lies at the door of every human heart, for we all have our
own part in making this world a sinful world, because “all have
sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “This is a faithful say-
ing and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the
world to save sinners.”



                                        “Thou Art Inexcusable”
                Therefore thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever thou art that            judg-
       est: 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, 0 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 longsuffering; not
      knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?                (Ram.           2:
      l - 4).



I  N READING the dark catalog of offenses which are outlined for
    us in the closing verses of chapter one, and noting the debasement
of iniquity into which the creature has sunk, there might easily be
the tendency on the part of many of us to feel that we are exceptions
to the rule. Yet, if we go over the passage carefully we shall find
that it gives us almost the entire range of sins! and it is not difficult
for any of us to find our own guilt in the catalog. It may very well
be that some of these iniquitous practices do not apply to us, such
as “fornication, murder, haters of God, inventors of evil things,
                   “THOU ART INEXCUSABLE”                            37
  without natural affection.” These are some of the grosser evils that
   are presented to us, but you and I are not guiltless when we look at
   some of the other charges: “covetousness, deceit, whisperers, back-
  biters, proud, disobedient to parents, covenant breakers.” It is not
  difficult to find our own guilt somewhere in these expressions, and
  each one of our hearts ought to be really humbled before God, as we
  hear again the words that were spoken to David, the sinner, “Thou
  art the man.”
     Let us remember the Spirit of God is here writing the catalog of
  charges God brings against His rebellious creatures, in order that we
  might all be brought in guilty before God. This is not to the end that
  we might be condemned and banished from His presence for all
  eternity, but that we might come to God confessing our sins and
  receive from His hand forgiveness and justification from all things.
 This is the end in view, but, during the process, let us each be sure
 we take our place “condemned” before God.
     There is no room for the Pharisee here. Your heart and mine have
 exactly the same impulses as those of the murderer, or the malig-
                                      s
 nant criminal. It may be, by God’ wonderful mercy, we have been
 preserved from some of the grosser sins, but the impulse is there, for
 the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
 If I have been preserved by God Himself from becoming a murderer,
 do not let me for a moment think I can point in disdain at the
 criminal who has been caught in this temptation of Satan. Paul in his
 unconverted days could rightly make his boast that, as touching the
law, he was blameless, but it was when he came under the indict-
ment, “thou shalt not covet,” that he found his place as a hell-de-
serving sinner and found in the Lord Jesus a heaven-sent Saviour.
Saul of Tarsus belonged to one of the strictest sects of his day. H e
was a righteous man if there ever was one. But when the Lord Jesus
Christ apprehended him, Saul made the discovery that his righteous-
ness was self-righteousness, its object to make much of Saul, to make
Saul a man of eminence in his traditional faith. Acquaintance with
the Lord Jesus laid him low in the dust of self-abnegation and
humiliation. Then he discovered, away down in the very depths of
his being, the primary spring of his self-righteous life was ‘Lcovetous-
ness.” This brought him in as a condemned criminal before God,
and he found forgiveness. He says later: “But I obtained mercy,
because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
    That is the background against which we must consider this sec-
ond chapter, for the indictment here includes each one of us. “Thou
              ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  art inexcusable 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest, for wherein
  thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest,
 doest the same things.” Let us never stand upon the pinnacle of self-
 righteousness and look at the sinner who has been caught in the act
 as if he were made of different moral fibre than ourselves. Y OU re-
 member that poor sinful woman (in John 8) who was brought to the
 Lord Jesus, and who languished at His feet condemned. Her guilt was
 proven. There was not the shadow of a doubt that she WM guilty of
 one of the grossest sins. The proud Pharisaic multitude brought the
 sinner to the Lord Jesus, reminding Him that Moses commanded she
 should be stoned, but they wanted to know what He had to say. It
 is one of the episodes that draw from our heart the greatest admira-
 tion and worship for the person of our adorable Lord. He said: “Let
 him that is without sin first cast a stone at her.”
    There was only one person in that multitude who was without sin.
 Only one person had the right to stone that woman. That person
 was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. But He had come to be her sin
 bearer. He knew He was going to the Cross to bear the penalty of
 sin, to go into the dark chasm of God-abandonment under the judg-
 ment of a holy and a righteous God. On account of that atonement
 which He was going to make, He could say to her, “Neither do I
 condemn thee, go and sin no more.” It was not that He did not con-
 demn what she had done; He refused to pronounce condemnation
 upon the woman herself, because He had come to bring her forgive-
 ness. “He came not to condemn the world, but that the world through
Him might be saved.” Little wonder the multitude who had stood
complacent in their self-righteousness found their way rapidly out
of His presence in ignominy and shame!
    So Paul says in verse 2: “We are sure that the judgment of God
is according to truth against them which commit such things.” In
other words, there is no defense of the criminal; he is unequivocally
condemned by God, although you and I cannot raise our voice in
that condemnation, because we are sinners also. So the challenge
comes: “Or thinkest thou this, 0 man, that judgest them which do
such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment
of God?” Although you may not be a murderer, do you think you
                           s
are going to escape God’ judgment? There are many other sins of
which you are guilty, so both you and the murderer stand together
condemned at the same bar of judgment. The extent of your guilt
may not be the same, but you are both criminals. That is the thought
here. But in juxtaposition to this condemnation the question is then
                   “THOU ART INEXCUSABLE”                              39
 asked : “Or despise& thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance
 and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth
 thee to repentance?”




                   Lead to Repentance

 T     HE ponderous importance of the truths presented to US in the
       opening of this Epistle can never be properly estimated. The
  Apostle Paul is dealing with eternal questions, the answer to which
 will determine whether the soul of man will eternally dwell in the
  realm of the blest or in the lake of fire. The issues are everlasting in
  their import! There is no attempt to be overdramatic in the setting
 forth of these great truths in this passage, but, like all Scripture, the
 facts are presented with arresting simplicity, so not a shadow of
 doubt is left as to their meaning.
    When we recall the black catalog of iniquitous practices that is
 set forth in the close of the first chapter, it is most surprising to see
 in Romans 2:4 such words as God’ goodness and forbearance and
                                        s
 longsuffering. The cesspool of sin which is so eloquently described at
 the end of the previous chapter would seem to leave no room for
 anything but the swiftest judgment. Man has departed so far from
 God and has sunk so deeply into iniquity, that God would be very
well justified in committing him to abandonment forever. If you and
I would only search our own hearts in view of the black list of sins
presented to us in this passage, we would have to admit we are de-
serving of eternal judgment. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for
His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in
sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved)”
                                                    s
 (Eph. 2:4-S). That is the story of redemption’ excellent goodness.
What striking words are used to set it forth here! They are words of
wondrous grace, yet words of warning too: “Despisest thou the riches
          s
of God’ goodness and forbearance and longsuffering?”
    When we think that God, who is holy and just and righteous, has
witnessed the dark flowing tide of sin that has rolled on through the
centuries, becoming more and more murky and black, we wonder
at the forbearance of God. Oftentimes when we ourselves see in-
justice and wickedness, we are most impatient to protect the weak,
               ROMAN%-A         COURTROOM DRAMA
   to rectify wrongs, and to bring vengeance upon the perpetrator with-
  out delay. Does it not give us some idea of the goodness of our God
  to think He has seen all the dark deeds that have been done through
  the generations, yet he forbears. His all-seeing eye penetrates every
  den of vice and iniquity, every house of shame. “All things are
  naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Not
  only does he see all the acts that are committed, but He sees the very
  intent of the heart that commits those acts. You remember Psalm 139
 where David realizes that he comes under the searching scrutiny of
 the Almighty. No place is remote enough where he may take himself
  to be beyond the penetrating gaze of the Lord. He says: “0 Lord,
 thou hast searched me and known me, thou knowest my downsitting
 and my uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou
 compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all
 my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, 0 Lord, thou
 knowest it altogether.” Then he says: “Whither shall I go from thy
 Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into
 heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell [hades], behold,
 thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the
 uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and
 thy right hand shall hold me.” He says, “the darkness hideth not
 from thee.” It is absolutely impossible for any of us to get away from
 the eye of God. He knows the darkest secret of your life and of mine;
 He knows the shady deeds and the black acts of shame which no
 other eye has witnessed but the eye of God; yes, and He knows
 every motive of my life, every thought of your heart. That is the
 God with whom we have to do!
     Knowing all these things, these are the words that come from the
apostle in relation to our God: “. . . The riches of His goodness and
forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God
Ieadeth thee to repentance?” Let us not think God wants to drive
US to repentance by constantly threatening us with judgment. God
could wipe you and me from out the land of the living without a
           s
moment’ notice for He is Almighty. He is, however, a God of        Ioving-
kindness, and the fact that overwhelms my spirit is that the One
who not only knows the bad things about me, but the One who knows
me altogether, loves me and gave His beloved Son to die for         me. It
is His excellent goodness that brings the soul to repentance. Re-
pentance is not simply regret for my sin because it has brought me
into the darkness of despair and confusion. It is that the Person
against whom I have sinned, who is the Living God, is so over-
whelming in His goodness to me that I am brought to repentance.
                       LEAD TO REPENTANCE                                       41
    If you do something mean and treacherous to some street waif,
 and you are requited for your action by a good beating, you may be
 very sorry for the sin of what you did, because it got you into
 trouble and made you ache from head to foot. That is not repent-
 ance. If on the other hand you have done a treacherous deed to a
 kind friend and in return you have received lovingkindness, that
leads you to repentance. Notice these excellent words, “leads to
repentance.” Threats of judgment will drive to repentance, but only
goodness can lead to repentance. God has expressed His loving kind-
ness to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for U S. H e
might have banished us to a lost eternity in keeping with His
righteous throne, but God loves us so much He has made a way of
escape, whereby you and I may be delivered from our sins and
brought home as sinners saved by divine grace, to bask in the sun-
shine of His love forever. Such is ‘(the riches of His goodness and for-
bearance and longsuffering.” I wonder if you have repented of your
sins because of the goodness of God. “Except ye repent ye shall all
likewise perish,” says the Scripture. If you have never repented, why
not do so now? Confess your sinnership before God; tell Him that
you know your heart is black with sin and your hands are stained
with sin, but you know also that the Lord Jesus died for you, shed
His blood on the Cross that you might be cleansed from sin, and “the
                             s
blood of Jesus Christ, God’ Son, cleanseth from all sin.” When you
come in that way, God forgives you and you are saved forever!



                   Doing Good or Evil
       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 honour and
   immortality, eternal life: But unto them that ore contentious, and do not
   obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wroth, Tribu-
   lation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew
   first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, 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 (Ram. 2:5-11).




W     E CAN hardly read a passage like this without again being
      potently reminded this Epistle is a legal document, presenting
both sides of a great question. On the one hand is the guilt of fallen
                 ROMANS-A          COURTROOM DRAMA
   man. On the other hand is the goodness of God that leads to re-
   pentance.
       There is no compromise between the two, and this passage presents
   the l o gi c al sequence of a life of rebellion against God contrasted
   with the expectation of the path of the just.
       Of course, all the terms of the gospel     are not covered in this one
   passage and we must remember that. Too            often there is a tendency
   for the student of the Bible to expect to find          the whole truth in
   every passage that he reads. The reason is our mistaken idea that
   the Bible is a book of texts. Too often we forget the context.          In the
   Epistle to the Romans we have a theological argument that ranges
   all the way from the initial guilt of the creature to the grand climax
  of conformity to the image of Christ for every one that believes. We
  are now dealing with the premises or foundational facts of this great
  argument and the fundamental truth is here presented: the way of
  transgressors is hard and the way of sinners leads inevitably to the
  darkness of the pit of judgment. Equally clear is presented the truth:
  the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and
  more unto the perfect day. These are the simple elements of the
  truths of this passage.
      However, these elements must present a challenge to every one
 of our hearts. It is a challenge as to whether we are willing to go in
 the path of obedience to God, which is a path of welldoing and faith,
 and to reap the reward of such conduct by coming into the eternal
                     s
 good of God’ blessing. Or are we willing, on the other hand, to fol-
 low the bent of our own corrupt heart, to turn our back upon the
 goodness of God that leads to repentance,        and to pursue a life of evil,
 which leads inevitably to the indignation and wrath of God           Himself?
 There is no compromise between the two.
     Perhaps in these days of easy assent to the terms of the gospel we
have largely lost the significant distinction between doing good and
 doing evil. We are living in an age of superficial evangelism, when it
is often taught that, in order to be a Christian, all you have to do
is say you are sorry for your sins and Christ died for you and there
the matter is at an end. Whether thereafter you give evidence of the
reality of your faith by having a revolutionary change in your way
of living, seems to be regarded as of secondary or little importance.
The result of all of this is that we have a great many professed Chris-
tians whose lives are not in keeping with the claims of their faith.
The reason is that, in preaching the gospel,       men often fail to set forth
clearly the truth that is presented in this second of Romans, namely,
                      DOING GOOD OR EVIL                             43
   that God “will render to every man according to his deeds: T them
                                                                  O
   who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour
   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.”
      The truth is that the test of our profession is our manner of life.
   No matter what I may profess in relation to the acceptation of the
   gospel, if my manner of life is evil, then I belie my profession, and
   my expectation according to these words, is for judgment. If, how-
   ever, my faith is real and from the depths of my heart I accept the
   atoning work of Christ for my redemption, I shall find that immedi-
                                           s
  ately I pass out of darkness into God’ wonderful light. This means
  that I shall no longer walk in darkness; I shall no longer do the deeds
  of darkness; but I shall walk in the light and instead of doing evil
  I will do good. It is not at all a question of my title to heaven being
  based on my good deeds. “By the deeds of the law no flesh shall be
                    s
  justified in God’ sight.” We are justified by faith and faith alone as
  far as God is concerned. By the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on
  the Cross we are “made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of
  the saints in light.” That grand truth concerns the relationship of
  my soul with God. By the work of His Spirit I am born again, and
  through the work of Calvary I am accepted in the presence of God,
 my sins all put away, and my place in heaven secured forever. And
        s
 God’ Word gives me the assurance that no one shall pluck me out
 of the hand of the Saviour.
     But there is a converse truth to this, and it is just as potent: if
 my faith is real, and if I have really been born of God, then a revo-
 lution will take place in my conduct. I will no longer serve sin; I
will serve the Lord Jesus who died for me and rose again. After a
person has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, his
friends and neighbors around him ought to be able to observe in him
a man who no longer does the evil he used to do. He is a changed
man; something very real has taken place in his life. It is a moral
revolution. He is doing good all the time now instead of doing evil.
That is the plain gospel story and we twist it out of proper focus
when we try to make it easy for people to get into heaven by nodding
the head in assent to the terms of the gospel, when the gospel itself,
which is the power of God unto salvation, is not realized. It is a true
danger, and that is why the truth of this passage in Romans two
should come home to every one of us. If I am an evildoer, no matter
 44               ROMAN&A COURTROOM DRAMA
 what I may profess with my lips, my expectation is for the judg-
 ment of God to fall upon me. If on the other hand I follow that which
 is good, not priding myself on my own self-righteousness, but stand-
 ing upon the ground of the redemption wrought for me on Calvary,
 then my expectation is for “glory, and honour, and immortality,
 eternal life.”



            Under Law and Without Law
         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 shew the work of the law written in their
      hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean
      while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall
      judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel (Ram. 2:
      12-16).




I   T REQUIRES some concentration on the part of the reader to
      follow the abstruse argument of the great apostle in this passage.
 Yet the truth which he presents is fundamentally so important to a
                               s
 proper understanding of God’ ways with us in the Christian era, we
 must regard each point very carefully.
                                                  s
    Let us remember again this is the prosecutor’ side of evidence in
 bringing his charges against the sinner. We shall hear from the law-
yer for the defense, shall I say, a little further down in the Epistle.
 But here Paul is setting forth the charges against those who have
rebelled against God, and who must be brought in guilty before the
              s
bar of God’ judgment, according to the deeds which they have done.
Without this logical groundwork of the gospe1 there would be no
proper standing for the forgiven sinner before God. In other words,
it is necessary that every charge be set forth in detail before the sin-
ner can be justified on the principle of faith. Let us remember this
as we travel through this part of the Epistle.
   Now from verses 13 to 15 we have a parenthesis which touches
upon the question of the guilt of those who are under law and those
who are not under law. Concerning those who are under law, that
is, Israel, who were placed categorically under the law of Moses,
             UNDER LAW AND WITHOUT LAW                               4s
  they are guilty because they have been hearers of the law and not
  doers of it. There the prosecution rests, for it need go no further-
  The question at once arises then in relation to the Gentile: what is
                  s
  the prosecutor’ charge against the Gentiles who never were under
  law and who surely cannot be heid responsible for breaking a hw
  which was never given to them. That is taken up conclusively in
  verse 14: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by
  nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, a~
  a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in
  their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts
  the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” That is, Paul,
  as the lawyer for the prosecution, is setting forth the charge here
  that the Gentiles are not clear of guilt because they were not made
 acquainted with the terms of the commandments of God undez
 Moses. He is reminding us man is an intelligent being, with both a
 heart and a conscience and, even though he has never heard the law
 of Moses, he still has within his own being a sense of right and
 wrong. Having that sense then, in heart and conscience, his thoughts
 the meanwhile either accuse or else excuse. That is, the moment the
 deed is done, if it is a wicked deed, the thoughts of this intelligent
 being called man condemn or accuse him. If it is a good deed he is
 excused, because that is what is right for him to perform as God’      s
 creature. If it is a wicked deed he is accused, because his own con-
 science condemns him.
    Our natural tendency is to make light of sin. This was the devil’   s
 first temptation when he approached Eve in the Garden of Eden. He
did not come with a direct accusation against God. He sowed the
                                 s
seed of doubt in the woman’ heart. His first question to her, $‘Yea,
hath God said?” In other words, he cast aspersion upon the Word
                                            s
of God, raised a doubt in the woman’ mind, and thereby found her
predisposed to disobey the God who had made her. Had Eve been
a creature without heart or conscience, that is, had she been consti-
tuted without affection toward God or toward her husband, and had
she been constituted a being without any sense of responsibility to
her Maker, then she could not have been accused of sin. But our
first parents had both of these. They had affection, which made them
capable of appreciating the love of God and of loving one another.
They also had conscience, which made them capable of realizing
their obligation and responsibility toward their Maker.
    This then, is still the great criterion as to whether or not you and
I are guilty. Unless a person is mentally totally incompetent, he has
 46           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  both a heart and a conscience, and is capable of loving God and
  loving his neighbor. He is also capable of realizing his obligation to
 his Maker and to his neighbor as well.
    The charge on the part of the prosecution is that both Jews, who
  were under law, and Gentiles, who were not under law but had a
  heart and a conscience, are without excuse. If they have perpetrated
 wicked deeds then they are guilty: if they have done that which is
 good, they are guiltless. Now notice that we have not yet come to
                                                all
 that section in this Epistle that declares that have sinned. The
 great legal argument has not yet reached that point. Paul is now set-
 ting forth the premises and showing that the criterion in the life
 of the creature is: Does he do evil? If so he is a criminal. Does he
 do good? If so he is excused. Doing good is not a merit, it is merely
 performing that which his heart and conscience dictate as being
 right before his Maker.
    Now laying aside that parenthesis from verses 13 to the end of 15,
 let us go back to verse 12 and link it with the verse 16, which is the
 true context: “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.” Here we have a
 great enlargement upon the subject under discussion. Paul bridges
 over the entire court trial so to speak. He leads beyond the legal
 deliberations of the court, wherein it will be settled as to whether we
 are all sinners, guilty before God, or whether we can be justified.
 He goes beyond all that, and, when he speaks of our being brought
into judgment, he says, that judgment is in the day when God shall
judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, not according to the law
of Moses, not according to our conscience, not according to any
other element, but “according to my gospel.”
    Do not think you are going to be judged, if you are an unbeliever,
only on the basis that you have broken the law, or that you have
performed acts of wickedness; you are going to be judged in that
day according to Paul’s gospel. And what is that gospel? He tells
us in chapter one, it is “the gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus
Christ our Lord.” In other words, how do you stand in relation to
Christ? “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and
believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou
shalt be saved.”
                         THE JEW CONDEMNED                                          47




                    The Jew Condemned

 W    E GO forward with our reading of that very interesting pas-
      age in Romans, chapter two, concerning the guilt of both Jew
and Gentile before God. By way of illustration we may call this the
case for the prosecution, for it is an outline of the charges brought
against the creature because of his disobedience to his Maker. Hith-
erto, Paul has been dealing with the Gentile who is not under law,
but who has heart and conscience and thoughts which have been
given to him by God Himself in order that he might be guided in
the way of righteousness. Now in verse 17 and on to the end of the
                                                  s
chapter, the Jew is placed before the bar of God’ judgment.

        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 dark-
     ness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which host the form
     of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest
     another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preochest a man should
     not steal, dost thou steal? . . . Thou that makest thy boast of the law,
     through breoking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God
     is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you. . . . For he is not a
    Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is out-
    ward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumci-
    sion is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise
    is not of men, but of God (Ram. 2:17-29).


   Before speaking in particular about this very important passage
I would like to say in a general way that the charge of the prosecu-
tion concerns enlightenment, and the behavior of the one who is en-
lightened. While it is true the heathen nations had the knowledge of
the power and Godhead of the Creator made manifest in the visible
creation, it is still true that the heathen nations did not have the
                                                            s
opportunity for enlightenment that was accorded to God’ people
Israel who are represented today in the Jews.
   The place of privilege of the Jew, in the day of the great apostle,
corresponded not only to the Jew of our day, but also to the so-
called Christian nations of today as far as enlightenment is con-
 48            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  cerned. The charge is that they were enlightened, and knew the will of
  God and, being enlightened, their behavior was abominable, and the
  Name of God was blasphemed because of their conduct. It is rather
  a difficult subject to discuss, because we are living in days of racial
 prejudice, and one could very readily make the truth of the Bible
  an excuse for such prejudice. However, taking this passage in its
  entire context, let us remember that the main objective of the whole
  thing is that both Jew and Gentile are to be brought in guilty before
  God. The Jew cannot pride himself over the Gentile and point at him
 because of his abominations. Neither can the Gentile point at the
 Jew on account of sin, because they are both sinners; they are both
                                  s
 criminals at the bar of God’ justice. However, let us not mitigate
 the guilt of either the one or the other.
     We are looking today upon a world gone mad with prejudices of
 all kinds. The beasts of the forest are tame compared to sinful men
 of our present, civilized age. Never in all history has the Jew racially
 come so pointedly to the front in international relations. In this very
 critical hour in which you and I live, the welfare of the Jew is an all-
 absorbing consideration in world affairs. These verses therefore be-
 come more pregnant with meaning than ever, and their truth should
 bring home to each one the solemn consideration that not one of
 us, whether we be Jew or Gentile, can come into the light of divine
 revelation without being tremendously responsible as to how we shall
treat that divine revelation.
    The tragic history of the Jew down through the centuries is the
most potent argument that none of us can do as we please with God.
The charge that is brought here is that the Jews rested in the law,
made their boast in God, knew His will, and approved the things that
are more excellent, being instructed out of the law. They were con-
fident they themselves were a guide of the blind, a light of them
which were in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of
babes. They had in the law the form of knowledge and of the truth.
Being teachers, then, the question is asked boldly: “Teachest thou
thyself?” And again, “Thou that preachest a man should not steal,
dost thou steal?” They made their boast in the law, and through
breaking the law they dishonored God. Thus the name of God is blas-
phemed among the other nations through them.
    Now these are not opinions expressed with any desire to vilify a
certain race on the earth, They are the charges that are set forth
against the people who basked under the sunshine of the favor of
God for many centuries. God loaded them with lovingkindness. They
                     THE JEW CONDEMNED
   sprang from the loins of Abraham and were the object of divine prom-
   ises on the earthly basis. By a mighty hand God brought them out
   from under the yoke of their enemies; they journeyed dry-shod
   across the Red Sea; they traversed the wilderness for forty years,
   the manna falling in gentle grace like snowflakes upon the desert
   ground to sustain them, the water gushing from the flinty rock to
   refresh them as they journeyed on toward a land flowing with milk
   and honey. Empowered and emboldened by God to go forward and
   possess the land, they triumphed over their enemies. Then they, as
  a people, went headlong into idolatry and became guilty of many
  abominations. That is not the New Testament history of the people
  of Israel; it is the Old Testament history.
     If I address Jewish friends, do not think for a moment that the
  indictment of your race any more than the indictment of my race
  comes solely from the New Testament. It is written in blood and
  tears of anguish through your own prophets. The meekest man in all
  the earth, Moses, was driven to distraction by it. Elijah, that tower-
  ing witness of righteousness, denounced the pagan idolatry of his own
 people Israel on every hand. David, the anointed of the Lord, was
 driven across moor and fen because of the godlessness of the people
 of Israel. Jeremiah wept rivers of tears because of their sins. Patri-
 arch and priest and prophet from Abraham to Daniel and Micah and
 Habakkuk decried the very iniquity that is presented summarily in
 this second chapter of Romans. Theirs are the voices that are heard
 in court in substantiation of this prosecution that brings in the Jew,
with all his privileges of light and truth and knowledge, guilty before
God. This is the tragic reason behind the sorrows, and anguish, and
persecution of the Jewish people today. Let not any Gentile dare lift
his voice against them either, for you and I stand in the same criminal
dock, having prostituted the light of God in our own so-called Chris-
tian civilization, and gone headlong into idolatry, worshiping the ma-
terial. That is the story of Romans two, depicting in letters of black-
ness that you and I, whether Jew or Gentile, are sinners before God,
and only in Jesus Christ the Lord, the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour
of the world, can be found eternal salvation.
 50               ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                           A Jew Inwardly
         For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumci-
      sion, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly;
      and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter;
      whose praise is not of men, but of God (Ram. 2:28, 29).




 Lall,tireuscontext relates we the guiltcondemnationtheand Gentile. First
 of
    ET       not forget as
                            to
                               weigh these words,

        the Gentile is brought under
                                          of both Jew
                                                        truth of this en-

                                                     because he had the
  testimony of God in the visible creation, and he refused it and bowed
  down to images in idolatry. The Jew, on the other hand, his position
  enhanced by all the tradition of the enlightenment that had come
  to him from his acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures, likewise
  turned his back upon God, and the indictment against him is that
  he also went into the abomination of idolatry, and thus made the
  Name of his God to be blasphemed among t.he nations around.
     Now when these charges are brought against Gentile and Jew by
  the case for the prosecution, as we have been calling it, the intelli-
 gent mind is apt to ask the question as to what advantage all this
 enlightenment brought to the Jew. In other words, did God just give
 him the law in order to condemn him and leave him in the dark
 valley of despair? This is a tragically important question in view of the
 Jewish situation of this present day. A godly Jew today finds himself
very much as the psalmist did in Psalm 73, where he put in the bal-
ances his own righteousness, his own devotion to his God, and all
 the poverty and trial and persecution and misery that went with it,
and on the other side of the balance he placed the ungodliness of
those around him and the prosperity and wealth and happiness of
those with whom there was no fear of the Lord. For a solution to his
dilemma he had to come into the sanctuary of God and there he saw
their end. We are so much occupied with the way we travel we are
apt to judge everything by the trials encountered, and forget there
                   s
is an end to God’ dealings with each one of us. If He is putting you
through a time of sorrow and trial and privation, it is that you might
profit by it. If you are an unbeliever and your lot is cast amid
treacherous circumstances, it is, as Job says, that God might with-
draw man from the pit and that man might turn unto God. If you
                        A JEW INWARDLY                             51
  are unsaved and you are having a difficult time, then hear, in those
                          s
  circumstances, God’ voice to you: “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will
  ye die?” You see, everything is judged by the end. “There is a way
  that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of
  death.” You and I must take account of our present course. Are we
  going on in the evil world, dominated by sin, serving Satan? Then the
  end is destruction, and God would speak to US in the midst of our
  mad career, saying: “Deliver him from going down to the pit, for I
  have found a ransom.” These are the pleadings of God with the
  hearts of unbelieving men that they might turn aside and call upon
  the name of the Lord while He may be found.
     The hard circumstances of the believer, on the other hand, are for
  a totally different reason. The privation and suffering through which
 a saint of God goes are for the purpose of getting rid of the dross of
  fleshly interest, to bring him out pure and burnished as gold. But
 what is the end in view? The end is the glory of God in which “the
 righteous shall shine forth as the stars in the firmament.”
                                            s
     Thus we can take account of God’ dealings then with Israel, but
 we must judge those dealings by the end. Israel has had a very sad
 career. It is represented today in the dilemma in which the Jews find
 themselves across the world. What is the purpose of it all? It is that
 each one individually might be turned from evil, and might find in
 God through Christ the eternal salvation of his soul. Thus in these
 two closing verses of Romans 2, we have presented to us the sterling
 truth that the advantage, which is on the side of the Jews today or
at any time, is not merely a traditional advantage. It is a spiritual
advantage. He is a Jew which is one inwardly and circumcision is that
of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not
of men, but of God.
                                                    s
    It is SO difficult for all of us to discern God’ ways and purposes
in our lives. This people of whom these verses speak, are viewed in
two different aspects. They are viewed racially as the sons of Abra-
ham. They are viewed nationally as the children of Israel or the sons
of Jacob. NOW let us consider this! The entire question is taken up
in the Epistle to the Galatians very fully, and the Spirit of God
presents there in unequivocal language a potent reminder that the
true seed of Abraham primarily is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
The promise given to Abraham was: “In Isaac shall thy seed be
blessed.” The Galatian Epistle points out the word “seed” is singular
and not plural, and Paul indicates the seed is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus the blessing of Israel today is wrapped up with their recognition
 52              ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
                                                                       long s
 of the Lord Jesus as their M e s s i a h a n d S a v i o u r . Aas He is
 refused by them, they will pass through treacherous straits of diffi-
 culty and trial. It is only when they open their national arms to
 receive Him as their King that they will find surcease from all their
 troubles.
    I am surely not for a moment excusing any who make the path
 more difficult for the Jewish people. It is a sterling historical fact that
 even kingdoms rise and fall in proportion to the kindly or cruel way
 in which they treat the Jews. The Roman Empire, when it persecuted
 the Jewish people, crumbled in the dust of decay. The British Isles
 m o l d e r e di n t h e d a r k n e s s f o r a g e s , w h e n t h e y d i d n o t a l l o w t h e
 Jewish people upon their island, and prosperity came when they dealt
kindly with the Jews. Every intelligent Christian at all well informed
as to Scripture knew that Hitler’s d a y s w e r e n u m b e r e d b e c a u s e h e
was cruel to the Jews.
    That is one side of the picture; but the other is just as potent. The
                          find
J e w i s h p e o p l e c a n the solution of their problem only when, in
circumcision of heart, in true repentance, they accept the Lord Jesus
Christ as their Saviour. He is the Messiah, the One who came,
authenticated as the Son of David. He was refused by both Jew and
Gentile, and on that account the world, composed of Jews and
Gentiles, has been wallowing in the morass of despair and ruin from
that day to this. Only when the Lord Jesus comes to take over the
kingdoms will there be liberation from all this sadness and suffering.
But you and I individually today may accept Him as Lord of our lives
and then we shall be spiritually saved. Our souls shall be saved, and
we shall find that it matters little thereafter what may happen to our
bodies, for we are from that moment united to the Lord by indis-
soluble and eternal ties of life, and nature, and affection that nothing
on earth can touch.
                        THE ORACLES OF GOD                                       53




                    The Oracles of God
       What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of &cum-
    cision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed
    the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief
    make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true,
    but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in
    thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. gut if our un-
    righteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? IS
    God unrighteous who toketh vengeance? (I speok OS a man) God forbid:
    for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more
    abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as
    a sinner? And not rather, (OS we be slanderously reported, and OS some
    affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damna-
    tion is just. What then? ore we better than they? No, in no wise: for we
    hove before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
    AS it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Ram. 3:1-10).



T      HIS Epistle is a brilliant legal document, setting forth in clear
       argument the entire foundation of the Christian faith. Although
 we surely believe that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, yet
 we can also discern the wisdom of God in choosing and preparing
 Paul for this ministry. His astute legal mind was a fitting instrument,
 in the hand of the Spirit of God, to set forth the wonder of the
 righteous groundwork of the Christian faith.
    The Epistle to the Romans was not written for the simpleton. Its
profundity is impelling. You cannot read such verses without sensing
the divine wisdom that brings forward every argument for the prose-
cution in order that the condemned sinner might be justified before
God, and liberated to enjoy the love of God in all its fulness.
    The close of the second chapter has been laying in the dust all
claims the Jew characteristically may have to the favor of God on
the ground of outward ritual or tradition. It is the condition of the
heart that counts in the long run. There is a natural tendency for the
human heart to glory in its heritage. Pride is a natural weed in your
heart and mine and the flimsy things in which we pride ourselves are
sometimes quite absurd. Man always likes to look backward, giving
his family tree, emphasizing the accomplishments of his forbears
for distinguished merit, and being strangely silent about any marks
of shame that may stain the family escutcheon. Nowhere has this
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   pride of ancestry been more asserted, perhaps, than in the religious
   realm, and many Christians are caught in its tide. Perhaps I might
  begin nearest home and take note of the fact that many Scottish
  Presbyterians roll the name of John Knox with heroic fervor upon
  their tongues, as if each one were a small edition of that champion of
  the faith. Then we have a multitude of Lutherans who speak the
  name of Martin Luther as if by right of birth and tradition they
  necessarily share in the virile faith of that man. Then we have
  brethren who like to trace their own party back to J. N. Darby and
  other giants of faith of a century ago.
     How much each one of us needs to give attention to this Scripture:
  “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circum-
 cision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one
  inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not
 in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” That truth
 levels in the dust any traditional claim that you and I may have to
 a place of favor in the spiritual realm by tradition. Every Christian
 stands individually upon his own feet. The new birth is not something
 you inherit from your father or your grandfather. It is the work of
 the Spirit of God in your heart as an individual. The Scripture is:
 “Except a man be born again.” You may be able, perhaps, to thank
 the Lord that you had Christian parents, or that, like Timothy, you
 heard the Scriptures from a grandmother and then from a mother.
 But you and I cannot travel the path of faith impelled forward by
 the momentum of the spiritual courage of our parents. You and I
must trust the Lord Jesus Christ for ourselves, and, whether our
 religious family tree takes us back to J. N. Darby or Martin Luther
or John Wesley or John Knox, it matters not at all in the final analy-
sis of the Christian faith. We must stand upon our own individual feet
in the power of the Spirit of God, otherwise we shall fall.
     Now it is upon that line that the first few verses of Romans 3
come in, and the question is asked immediately: “What advantage
then hath the Jew?” In other words, if he has a religious heritage
that has come from God Himself, what advantage is it to him? “Much
every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles
of God.” In other words, if you have a spiritual heritage, whether
you are Jew or Gentile, the important thing is that the Holy Scrip-
tures have been put in your hand. They may have been handed
down to you from generation to generation, and I am quite sure
they have for we owe much to the courage and virulent faith of our
forefathers who helped to protect this grand Book in order that you
                     THE ORACLES OF GOD                             5.5
  and 1 might  have it now. But even there we must look beyond them
  and realize the Book has been given to US by God Himself.
                                         s
     Now this Book which contains God’ revelation has been placed in
  our hand, not simply that we might bless ourselves with its possession
  and compliment ourselves on our wonderful forefathers, but rather
  that we might open its pages, and by reading its imperishable words
  our hearts and lives might be affected by it, and we might come into
  proper relationship with our God on a righteous basis through the
                                             s
 work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’ Cross.
    If I address Jewish friends, may I suggest you have a marvelous
 heritage. You can look back through the centuries and see such men
 as Abraham, David, Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, and others, and you
 may say “these were my people” and you say so correctly. But do you
 not see that the moment you say this, you yourself then become
 chargeable as to how you treat the oracles of God that were spoken
 through those men and are placed in your possession? Do you read
 your Old Testament? If so, what difference has it made in your life?
 Your great advantage is this, that chiefly unto you has been com-
                                   s
 mitted the oracles of God. God’ revelation in the Bible is set forth
 in order that your heart might be repentant, that you might cease
 to be dominated by sin, and that you might accept the Lord Jesus
 Christ not only as your Messiah but as your Saviour, because He
 died on the Cross for you.
    And may I say to my Gentile friends, you too have a heritage.
 Having been reared in all probability in a land where the Bible is
known, you have heard the gospel for years, you have read your
Bible, you can stop on almost any street and buy a Bible for a few
pennies. What advantage do you have by it? Has it brought you to
a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour? Remember the
       s
Lord’ words to those who were glorying in their traditional ad-
vantage. He said: “Ye search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye
have eternal life, but these are they which testify of Me.” The Bible,
Old Testament and New, is about the Lord Jesus Christ. Therein He
is presented for your acceptation as Saviour.
 56            ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




             The Honor of the Court

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                        s
                          l-10
               a lawyer’ brief. It
        the prosecution        both
                                      it          home      us that this
                                        a brilliant setting forth
                                           and
                                                                     the

  raises the great question as to the object of the trial.
     Let us remember that, in our own regular criminal courts, the
  process of law may seem a very tedious and involved affair so the
  actual object of the trial becomes obscure. Nevertheless, the real
  objective is to present the case for and against the accused in order
  that he may be proved either guilty or innocent. The terms of the
  truths of these verses present the same idea, and the lawyer for the
 prosecution is making a summary here in this third chapter, namely,
 there is none righteous, no, not one; Jew and Gentile together have
 been proved guilty. Now we have not yet heard from the defense
 attorney, and we shall find, before we come to the end of this chapter,
 he has much to say. I do not think we can properly understand the
 Epistle to the Romans unless we see the drama of the whole thing,
 the trial of an accused criminal, or rather of two accused criminals,
 Jew and Gentile, on a strictly legal and righteous basis before the bar
 of the august throne of God. If we get this groundwork definitely
 fixed in our thoughts and hearts, the result will be that, when we
come to the consummation, not a shadow of doubt will be left in our
minds as to our standing before a Holy God. Upon the clarity of our
perception of this depends our assurance of salvation; to fail to
grasp its significance means we shall ever be in doubt as to whether
we are saved eternally or not.
    So in the opening verses of this third chapter we have the advan-
tage of the Jew by his traditional faith and the chief advantage is
that to him have been committed the oracles of God. He has the Holy
Scriptures in his hand. Now in verse three, a great question is raised
and it is still the lawyer for the prosecution who is speaking: “For
what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of
God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, and every
man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy
sayings, and mightest overcome when thou are judged.” Here the
lawyer for the prosecution is drawing attention to the infallibility of
                    THE HONOR OF THE COURT
   the Judge who sits upon the bench, who is none other than God
   Himself. His question simply means this: the honor of the court, the
                  s
   justice of God’ throne, are not at all affected by the opinion of the
  criminal. Unbelief does not change the sterling quality of God’s
  righteousness. The criminal must be given to understand summarily:
  “Let God be true and every man a liar.” In other words, there must
  be no contempt of court because of the unbelief of the criminal.
     To transfer the picture to one of our own courts of law, it is a s
  though a lawbreaker is brought into custody by the sheriff. The first
  thing he will learn is that when the judge walks into the room every-
  body must stand. It is a gesture of honor that bespeaks the dignity of
  the jurisprudence of our realm. By the verdict of that court the
  welfare of that criminal will rise or fall, no matter what his own
  individual opinion may be as to the character of the judge, or as to
  any of the proceedings of his trial. That is the premise given to us
  here in these verses: “Let God be true and every man a liar . . .
 That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest over-
 come when thou art judged.” The verdict of the court will be final,
 because the Judge is God and I am but His creature.
     In verse five a new question arises: “Is God unrighteous who
 taketh vengeance?” And Paul interpolates here: “I speak as a man;
 God forbid, for then how shall God judge the world?” Now here is
 raised the most important question of the right of a constituted
 authority to punish a criminal. Again thinking of a regular law court,
 the culprit is brought before the judge, he is charged, let us say, with
 murder; he must pay the penalty under the law, and so the judicial
 authority of our federal government will put that criminal to death.
Is the judge then a murderer, as well as the criminal? It is a logical
question. Paul says: “I speak as a man.” Shall we reason logically
that two wrongs do not make a right? So Paul goes on to say he, as
the prosecuting attorney in this case, is slanderously accused: “Let
us do evil, that good may come, whose damnation is just.” In other
words, the eye is shifted from the criminal to the one who takes venge-
ance upon him and God Himself, as well as His inspired servant, is
accused of evil-doing because He punishes the criminal for his sin.
“God forbid! ”
    Now this line of argument is exceedingly prevalent on the lips of
unbelief. We hear men far and wide say they do not. believe that a
God of love will ever punish anybody for sin. That is the same voice
that is heard in Romans three. Paul says concerning such people,
“whose damnation is just.” We recognize the righteously constituted
 58               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
authority of our state or our federal government in punishing the
criminal who commits murder on the highway, or holds up a bank, or
picks my pocket. We recognize that such should be punished by the
constituted authority. Yet, when it comes to my sin against God, un-
belief has the brazen effrontery before the august throne of God to
question ais right to punish the evil-doer! That is the crux of this
brilliant legal argument presented by the Spirit of God through
Paul, and upon this question hangs the acceptance or the rejection of
my sinnership and my consequent condemnation.
   Every avenue of escape is closed in this chapter and both Jew and
Gentile stand in the prisoner’s dock, their mouths stopped ona
righteous basis, awaiting the fell stroke of divine judgment that will
plunge them to the lowest hell. Happily, Calvary’s Cross with the
substitutionary work of Jesus, the Son of God, comes into view and
salvation through the blood of Christ is presented. I can never be a
forgiven sinner until I am a guilty sinner. I can never be justified
until I am condemned!



                        Both Unprofitable
         What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have be-
      fore proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is
      written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that under-
      standeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of
      the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth
      good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues
      they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth
      is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: De-
      stuction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they
      not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes (Ram. 3:9-18).


                                                  counsel
     E ARE still listening to what we have termed the for the
W    prosecution. We shall find, when we come to verse21, that the
lawyer fm the defense has something to say also. In this passage the
prosecuting attorney, so to speak, is gathering together his evidence
and presenting it to the supreme court of the universe, where God
Himself sits upon the bench. It is an intensely dramatic spectacle and
I like to remember that this masterpiece of legal prosecution is pre-
sented through the lips of a man called Paul, the most brilliant
intellectual giant who ever marched across the pages of the New
                        BOTH UNPROFITABLE                                 59
   Testament, and who is yet the humblest servant of the Lord Jesus.
   Somehow it thrills the soul to keep in mind at every step that it is
  Paul who is presenting the evidence.
      The Jews cannot say that Paul is unfair to them because of racial
  prejudice because Paul himself was a Jew and he is willing to give
   them every advantage of evidence in this court of law. N one shall
                                                                 O
  accuse him of being unfair to the Gentiles either, because he was
  uniquely the apostle to the Gentiles, and the purpose for which he
  was taken up by God Himself was to declare the whole counsel of
  God relative to bringing both Jew and Gentile into the body of
  Christ.
     Now he is summing up his evidence of guilt on behalf of heaven’         s
  accusations against both Jews and Gentiles and he asks the question:
  “Are we better than they?” In other words, is there any difference
  between those sinners from among the heathen nations, who bowed
 down to images of wood and stone when they had the overwhelming
  testimony of the power and Godhead of the Creator in the visible
 universe, and the Jews, who had the advantage of having the oracles
 of God in their hands and knowing the will of God and being en-
                                                          s
 lightened as to the righteous requirements of God’ holiness? He is
 not measuring the extent of the guilt here. The Jews and the Gentiles
 characteristically are put on trial, and it will be sufticient for the pur-
 poses of the prosecution now to prove they are both guilty, without
 going into the question of the extent of their guilt. That question will
 be taken up at a later period; now it is a matter of arraigning them
                           s
 before the bar of God’ justice and declaring them both guilty. So
 Paul says: “For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that
 they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no,
not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh
after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together [that
is, Jew and Gentile together] become unprofitable; there is none
that doeth good, no, not one.”
     N OW notice it is not only the acts of the sinner that are brought
under review in this passage; it is the bent of the human heart. Here
is the Gentile on the one hand, who might look up into the heavens
and see the glorious evidences of the power and Godhead of the
Creator, and who had his own conscience to guitle him as to the
righteousness of that Creator; yet he goes in the way of rebellion
against God, showing that the very impulse of his heart is toward
sin. It is demonstrated that the Gentile is controlled by sin, or, as the
apostle Paul puts it here, that they are all untler sin. That is the domi-
  60           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
                                                          Jew,
  nating influence in the life of the Gentile. As to the it is equally
  true, and his very advantages in having the law of Moses and all
  the oracles of God given to him through the prophets, only brought
  to light in clearer perspective the bent of his heart toward evil. He
  too was dominated by this principle called sin. Thus, Paul says, they
  together, both Jew and Gentile, have become unprofitable.
    Let us not forget for a moment that in this court trial both Jews and
  Gentiles are looked upon as God’s servants answerable to Him for
  their conduct, even as a slave might be answerable to his master.
                                                       use,
 They are vessels that have been made for the Master’sbut they
  have both been unprofitable.
    Let us not be too impersona1 about a11 this, because the case for
 the prosecution is setting forth the startling truth that comes home
 to you and to me: we stand before the bar of judgment and are our-
 selves condemned in this same condemnation. We look abroad across
 our enlightened land today, and the evidences of the dominating
 principle of sin in the world are absolutely overwhelming. We live in
 a land of pride and plenty, where the very ingratitude of the heart of
 man towards God is most appalling. I believe God is speaking to  us
 about this in these days of catastrophe throughout the world. Here
 in our own fair land have we not in recent years forgotten that, after
 all, we are servants, answerable to the One who made us for theway
 in which we treat the bounty which He showers upon our heads. We
 bask under His sunshine from day to day, our fertile valleys are
 normally resplendent with the green herb and the golden fruit, and is
it not true that largely we accept it with less gratitude towards our
Maker than a dog shows towards his master? I say, God is speaking
to US and God could very easily dry up our land, as He did in Elijah’s
day, and turn it into a howling wilderness. Let us not be too imper-
sonal in reading this third chapter of Romans. It is we who have
become unprofitable servants to the Almighty. Let us glance for a
moment across the seas also and think of that continent of Europe.
I have traveled across it in years gone by and have been enchanted
by the beauty and glory of its green meadows, its luxuriant flowers, its
verdant forests. The scourge of war turned it into an arid desert,
where hunger, disease, and famine stalk the land and millions of men,
with women and children, live from hand to mouth in a desperate
endeavor to stay the hand of death. The superficial thinker may
blame God for it, but in the light of the last decade we are driven to
the conclusion that sin lies at the root of world chaos. Mad dictators
arose in the earth, supported by the hysterical acclamations of the
                      BOTH UNPROFITABLE                              61
 populace, and they used their ruthless power for tyranny, murder,
 and destruction. The harvest of their wickedness is being reaped
 across the world today. Sin is an awful principle in the human heart!
 Only the grace of God can save us from it, and this has been accom-
 plished by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, whereby
 He is offered as a Prince and a Saviour to all who will trust in Him
 for salvation.



                        “Fallen Man”

W kind,God witnessing theenacted beforeisthe supreme trial ofofman-
      E ARE

universe,
          which is being
                           dramatic spectacle of the

            Himself on the bench. This
                                                      court     the
                                          the summary of the case
 for the prosecution against two criminals that stand before the bar
 of justice, namely, Jew and Gentile.
    Paul has set forth in Romans 1 and 2 the moral background against
 which the guilt of each shall be regarded. On the part of the Gentile
 the testimony of the visible creation has been rejected and the God-
 head reduced to images made like corruptible man and beasts and
 creeping things. The background of the Jew is that he has held in his
 hand the oracles of God, the divinely inspired writings of priest and
prophet, given to guide his footsteps into the way of peace and under-
standing; but he too has gone headlong into Babylonish idolatry.
 Thus the cases of Jew and Gentile are rolled together into one, and
in Romans 3: IO-18 we have the common features of both. This is the
indictment, not of Jew and Gentile, but of mankind in general, be-
cause there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile--they
are both brought in guilty before God.
                      s
   Now this is God’ description of what is in your heart and mine,
regardless of our religious or spiritual background. First, the sterling
fact is presented, “there is none righteous, no, not so much as one.”
God looked down from heaven over and over again through the Old
                                                     s
Testament days to see if he could find one of Adam’ race that walked
in righteousness before Him, but He could not find one. Adam in
innocence was a creature of great beauty, but he yielded to the
temptation of the devil and he fell morally and spiritually. Abel
came upon the scene then with a heart willing to recognize the need
for sacrifice, acknowledging he was a sinner, but his own brother
 62                      C
                ROMAN%--A OURTROOM DRAMA
  murdered him. You may trace the course of mankind all down
                                  will
  through the ages and you find the dark stain of sin upon every
 son of Adam. Abraham was taken out from the idolatrous peoples
 among whom he lived, and he shone for a brief moment as a man of
  faith, the friend of God, but his pathway too meandered into dark
 shadows of deceit and failure, and he had to pass on his heritage to
 Isaac. David was another bright light in the Old Testament who
 shone with brilliant luster in the path of faith, but an ugly scar re-
 mains upon the escutcheon of his glory because he fell into miserable
 sin. Even in those whose lives seem to be largely unspotted by per-
 sonal sin, the consequence of Adam’s fall came in to o f f -them             cut
 such men as Joseph, and Daniel, whose careers were so eloquent of
 their faith in the living God. Yet death carried them away. It is a
 grim reminder to us all that the guilt of sin is upon the best son of
 A d a m ’s race who ever lived. There is only one person who trod this
 earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it could be said, “in Him was
 no sin”;“He did no sin”; He was “undefiled and separate from sin-
 ners.” But the indictment here in Romans 3 concerns not our Lord
                                             “The
 Jesus, who came of a different order. first man is of the earth
 earthy, the second man is the Lord from Heaven.” This indictment
 concerns you and me, who inherit from our federal head, Adam, the
 sinful impulses that constitute us sinners, and these impulses have
 been put into action in every one of our lives.
    ‘There is none righteous, no, not one.” Then this indictment              atn-
plifies the charge:“There is none that      undrrstandeth.”     That is, man’s
guilt subsists not simply in his actions or in his activities. It springs
from kis evil thoughts. W e a r e l i v i n g i n a n a g e w h e n t h e m i n d o f m a n ,
the understanding, is being set on a pinnacle of such eminence you
would think he was himself a deity. We are told all we have to do to
emancipate mankind from difficulty is to cultivate his mind, and
bring out the inherent good that is there. God’s indictment of all that
is: “There is none that understandeth.” You will not find redemption
by the cultivation of the human mind. It is not obtainable on the line
of education, or culture, or ethics, however desirable all these may be
in the realm of social relations. A cultured sinner is step one               not
nearer to God than a depraved sinner. That has been amply demon-
strated in the chaotic world in which we         find ourselves today. The
holocaust of destruction that has been launched upon mankind in
this last decade has not come out of darkest Africa, or from the
realm of the Aborigines. It reared its head from the very center of
religious culture. “There is none that understandeth.”
                          “FALLEN MAN”                               63
   “There is none that seeketh after God.” Man is too busy seeking
after his own selfish lust to turn his eye toward God. Remember this
is dealing with the natural impulses of the unregenerate heart.
   “They are all gone out of the way; they are together”-that is,
Jew and Gentile---“become unprofitable.” “There is none that doeth
good, no, not one.” The first indictment is that there is none righteous,
Here it is: ‘(There is none that doeth good.” Man by natural impulse
in the first place fails to measure up to the exact requirements of his
creator. Beyond that, he fails to exercise any of the capacities to-
ward positive good which God has originally implanted in his
being. It shows how complete is the fall of man!



                       The Diagnosis

W       E ARE all conversant with the evolutionary theories pro-
                                      s
        pounded today regarding man’ upward rise from the beast to
 take his place in deity, but some of these idealisms have been some-
 what shattered by the evidences that confront our eyes and horrify
 our senses across the world in these critical times. Let us remember
 God is speaking here about mankind in general, represented in Jews
 and Gentiles who have turned their back upon God and gone their
 own way, dominated by sin. He is not singling out individuals, but
 rather is setting forth a general indictment concerning unregenerate
man. The terms of the truth are anything but complimentary to
the human race--verses 10, 11, and 12 speak of the general bent of
human impulses. Then in verses 13-18 this brilliant lawyer for the
prosecution, Paul, suddenly seems to step into the limelight as a
great surgeon, who places the body of his criminal upon the operating
table, and, by skilful vivisection, he takes the anatomy apart and
shows US exactly the pathological symptoms of disease which afflict
the organism. He goes over the entire man from head to foot, and
sets forth his diagnosis in most unprofessional terms, so even the
ignorant and unlearned may understand fully the case he presents.
   First, he speaks of the throat. It is an open sepulchre. It is not
what goes into a man that defiles him; it is what comes out (see
Mark 7:18-23). As this master surgeon examines the throat, he
gives us the spiritual diagnosis. The figure of an open sepulchre,
I believe, is that the corruption of the human heart pours out of
 64            ROMANS-A CZOURTROOM DRAMA
  the throat much as the vile odors of a decaying dead body pour from
  an open tomb. The Eastern mind would very readily grasp the
  significance of the analogy, for it was customary in that land to place
  the body of a deceased one in a tomb, a rocky cave, place a stone
  against the entrance, and seal it. If any one opened that door of the
  sepulchre, the foul odors of the qorruption within would pour forth.
  “Their throat is an open sepulchre.” Then he says: “With their
  tongues they have used deceit.” The tongue is an unruly member
  capable of playing great havoc. “The tongue can no man tame” (Jas.
  3:8). It is a little fire that can kindle a great conflagration, yet let
  us remember what we speak with our tongue is merely an expression
  of what is resident in our heart. The human heart is “deceitful above
 all things,” the Scripture says, “and irrecoverably wicked.” Little
 wonder then that with our tongue by nature we use deceit.
     Then Paul says: “The poison of asps is under their lips.” Is it not
 so that sometimes the cruelty of the spoken word is most astonishing?
 Remember this is what we are by nature, and even those who are
 Christians can very readily fall back into the exercise of what is true
 of the natural unregenerate heart. It is only as we are preserved
 by God Himself that we are kept from these evils. Little wonder some-
 times we find even Christians having the poison of asps under their
 lips. By what they say they leave a sting that hurts and injures and
 often the wound is hard to heal. Then Paul continues: “Whose mouth
 is full of cursing and bitterness.” Our civilized world today is evi-
 dence of the truth of this statement. It is altogether surprising, in a
world where the gospel of Christ has been preached for centuries,
                                                             s
where men and women have been privileged to hear God’ Word for
half a lifetime, one finds cursing so prevalent everywhere. Many
people, otherwise quite decent in their disposition, feel it is smart
to blaspheme the name of God and to speak with curse and invective
in their Iangauge, and only too frequently it is intermingled with bit-
terness.
    Having dealt with those members of our bodies that are an ex-
pression of what proceeds from the human heart, Paul then examines
the feet. He says: “Their feet are swift to shed blood.” With all
      s
man’ evolutionary ideas about rising from the beast upward, is it
not a tragic truth in our modern world that murder and bloodshed,
war and killing, are more prevalent today than ever they were?
Think of this tragic fact! During the last war years some six million
Jews alone were put to death in Europe for no other reason than
that they were of the Jewish race. Concurrent with this the so-called
                          THE DIAGNOSIS
   civilized armies of the world were ranged against each other on every
   continent around the globe, and the blood of millions was shed.
         s
  Man’ feet are swift to shed blood. Murder is the fruit of hatred, and
  hatred of his fellow man is one of the natural characteristics of the
  sinner.
      “Destruction and misery are in their ways.” Feet that are swift to
  shed blood will soon spread destruction and misery everywhere, and
  we look today upon a chaotic world where the ravaging hand of war
  and murder has left ruin and wrecliage unspeakable, sorrow and
  anguish, privation, hunger, heart-rending sufferings. These are the
  sad accomplishments of man after he has turned his back upon God.
 Little wonder that verse 17 then says: “The way of peace have they
  not known.” Our political world today is rent asunder by intriguing
  factions, each one believing it knows the way of peace. Invariably
 their schemes mean their own selfish aggrandizement and the sub-
 jugation of those around them. We must all hang our heads in shame
 and confess that man today, after twenty centuries of the enlighten-
 ment of Christianity and all the other advantages God has placed at
 his disposal, stands amid the debris of his own ruthless destruction,
 and the way of peace have they not known. Verse 18 touches at the
 root of the whole thing: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
 Men have shut God out of their lives, out of their national and inter-
 national affairs. They do not fear God any more; they have dis-
 counted His power and His righteousness and His truth and, above
 all else, they have either neglected or refused the gift of His beloved
 Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, saying: “Away with Him; we will not
have this Man to rule over us.” They have chosen their own path of
destruction which leads inevitably to judgment. How grand it is to
see further down in this chapter that “where sin abounds, grace doth
much more abound.” To every sinner there is the opportunity to
turn to God through Christ and to find in Him a hiding place from
the coming storm of judgment. “He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life
but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
                 ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                 “Every Mouth Stopped”
        Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who
     are under 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 in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of
     sin (Ram. 3:19-20).

  There the prosecution rests, and in the next verse the same man,
Paul, becomes the lawyer for the defense as he continues:
      But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested . . .
    the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and
    upon all them that believe: for there is no difference (Ram. 3:21-22).



I Tspectacle of the true significance oftravel through these verses.the
     IS advisable that we should retain before our minds the dramatic

gives interest to the
                      courtroom as we
                                           what is before us. Paul,
                                                                      It

 most brilliant legal mind of all the great intellectuals that pass across
 the pages of the New Testament, is now handling the case for the
 prosecution. We have noticed how he arraigned the criminal before
 him, and analyzed his every impulse so that, in words reminiscent
 of Job, it can be said “from the crown of his head to the soul of his
 foot, he is covered with wounds and bruises and putrifying sores.”
 The great lawyer, Paul, is also the great surgeon, who gives us in
most unprofessional language a thorough diagnosis of this corrupt
organism we call “man.”
   Having then disclosed the nauseating truth concerning the nature
of unregenerate man, his evil impulses and his evil deeds, he goes
back again characteristically to the Jew, who was glorying in the fact
that he w a s under the law, as if that, in itself, gave him added merit
before the court of divine justice. Thus, in a last salutary stroke of
                                           s
legal genius, indited of course by God’ Holy Spirit, Paul brings in
the final charge of the testimony of a broken law. In other words,
man may defend himself as to the impulses of his nature, and he
might accuse the lawyer for the prosecution of being too ruthless in
regard to his charges against the criminal, who may still point with
pride to his religious background. How similar all of this is to an
ordinary court trial as you might witness it today in any of thecourt-
                   “EVERY MOUTH STOPPED”                              67
 houses of the land! After the lawyer for the prosecution has set forth
   the evident motives for the crime, you may be sure he must then
  combat the evidence that will surely be introduced concerning the
  meritorious upbringing, the religious background, the family tree, and
  other incidental advantages to the hand of the criminal. A wise
  lawyer for the prosecution will forestall any such defense by himself
  bringing in those advantages and showing that, instead of mitigating
  the offense, these only aggravate it. The truth is, if the criminal has
  the advantage of religious background or good upbringing or cultural
  heritage, then he should have known better than to have committed
  the crime.
     That is exactly the truth set forth for us in these verses in Romans
  3. Paul, the brilliant legal mind, is forestalling any such defense on
  the part of the criminal. As the verse says, he is “shutting his mouth,”
  that is, he is staying any excuses. Now how does he do that? He
  brings in the law of Moses. It is the final master stroke that shall
  condemn the criminal. He says: “Now we know that what things
 soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that
 every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty
 before God.” The Jew, who here, together with the Gentile, is before
 the bar of judgment, might presume to point out some particular
 cultural advantage, because he is the inheritor of the promises of
 God, because the oracles of God are in his possession, and because,
 perhaps, the rest of the world will have received much blessing
 through the Jew. By this very defense, however, his case shall fall
 to the ground and he shall be doubly guilty. The serious charge will
be that, having the law of Moses for the guidance of his own feet,
                                 s
he has not walked in God’ way, and therefore is worthy of the
greater condemnation. Thus every mouth is stopped and the whole
world is brought in guilty before God. If man, with all the advantages
God could place at his disposal by way of guidance in the hand-
writing of the finger of God on the tables of stone, has disobeyed God
and gone in his own way, then all mankind is condemned. God chose
                                s
a people, come of Abraham’ seed on the line of flesh. He separated
them from all the other nations of the earth, delivered them out of
the hand of their cruel taskmasters, allowed them to pass dry-shod
across the Red Sea, and took care of them meticulously for forty
years in the wilderness. During that time their garments waxed not
old, nor did their shoes wear out. They had the manna that fell from
heaven to feed them and the water that gushed forth from the flinty
                          s
rock, bespeaking God’ care for them in every respect. Night and
 68                   ROMAN!%AC O U R T R O O M D R A M A
 morning they saw the sacrifice offered up to Jehovah, reminding them
 of their acceptance in His presence through the death of another.
 They had the priestly service to handle their spiritual problems. They
 listened day after day to the sound of the silver trumpets reminding
 them they were God’s redeemed people. They heard the reading of
 the law day by day. Yet here is the verdict. With all these excellent
 advantages of loving-kindness, mercy, truth, guidance, and care, their
 hearts were found unresponsive; as far as their outward walk was
 concerned, they were unworthy to pass over Jordan into the promised
 land. Now if man fails with all those spiritual advantages laid at his
 feet by God Himself, how much more is he a sinner when left to his
 own devices! Thus the Jew with the law, and the Gentile without
 the law, are brought in guilty before God, their mouths stopped. So
Paul says in verse 20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall
no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of
sin.” God is, as it were, the architect here. He looks upon man even
as a builder looks upon a wall that has been erected. He takes his
plumb line and suspends it beside the wall straight and true, only to
demonstrate the crookedness of the wall. So God has taken the plumb
line of the law of Moses, the strict requirement of God on behalf of
His creatures, and as you and I stand alongside that law, we are at
                                   for
once demonstrated to be sinners, ‘(by the law is the knowledge of
sin.” If I am addressing law keepers, remember the very law that
you are attempting to keep, in order to be accepted of God, is the
very thing that condemns you, for “by the deeds of the law no flesh
shall be justified in God’s sight,” is not because the law is im-
                                This
perfect, but because you and I are.



                                      But Now!
          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: For all hove sinned, and come short of the glory
      of God; Being justified freely by his         grace through the redemption       that is
      in Christ Jesus       (Ram. 3:21-24).



F                                                   verse
   R O M the beginning of the Epistle to the end of 20 in chap-
   ter 3, we have heard the counsel for the prosecution set forth his
case in brilliant legal argument, and he has, so to speak, brought in
                              BUT NOW!                                69
   his two criminals, both Jew and Gentile. He has stopped their mouths,
   for they are left without excuse, and they are both proved guilty
   before God. Since they are but representatives, all the world stands
   condemned in them. In these few previous verses we have heard the
   summation of the case for the prosecution, and it is now a closed
   issue, wherein the sons of Adam are declared guilty of sinning both
   under law and without law, and they stand in silent condemnation.
      It is exceedingly inspiring to note that God uses Paul in the second
  role of counsel for tlzc defense and, just as he has declared conclu-
  sively that man is a fallen creature, a sinner both by nature and by
  practice, so he sets forth, just as conclusively, how God takes that
  same criminal, whom He has condemned, and justifies him in His
  own presence through the death of another-and that other, His own
  beloved Son.
     I do not think we can stress too much the fact that this Epistle
  is a legal document, because it gives us the very foundation stones
 upon which we can place our feet and stand immovable in the
 presence of the Lord. Without a proper understanding of the truths
 set forth here, one cannot come properly to a realization of the as-
 surance of salvation, and it is remarkable, in this present enlightened
                                       s
 age, to find so many of the Lord’ people in whose minds Satan has
 sown doubt and fear, and who are not at al1 sure whether they will
 eventually be saved or not. A proper understanding of these early
 chapters of Romans would set their minds at ease as to this great
 truth.
     As he comes to verse 21, Paul begins with a great contrast to what
 he has already said: “But now.” It is the abrupt transition from what
has gone before. He has traced the history of mankind down through
the ages, both under law and without law, and he has found that man
himself is incorrigible, corrupt in the inner springs of his being, and
his every act by nature displays the corruption of his unregenerate
heart. Then he says, “   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.”
    The contrast here is between the righteousness which man has
failed to gain on the principle of works, and the righteousness of God
which is set forth, apart from law, and apart from works, in and
through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is, so to speak, a change of identi-
fication. The criminal stands before the bar of justice condemned
before the judge, both because of his nature and because of his
 70           ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  practice. The sentence of condemnation has been placed upon him,
  when suddenly another person steps into view before the court. This
  person is the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of it in terms of one of our
  typical courtroom scenes. There stands the criminal-man, the son
  of Adam’s race, whether Jew or Gentile-condemned, for “all have
  sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Yonder on the bench is
  God, the Judge of all, the One before whose august throne the verdict
  is reached. On the other side stands Paul, the great apostle, the
  brilliant lawyer who has been commissioned by God Himself to
  present the case, first of all against the criminal, and secondly, on
  behalf of the throne. Paul has spoken his piece, has presented his
  lawyer’s brief, bringing summary condemnation upon the criminal in
  the dock, and at the end of verse 20 there is rapt silence in the court-
  room. The criminal has been proven guilty. He stands silent, his
  mouth stopped, and representatively in him the whole world is proved
  guilty. The lawyer for the prosecution has finished and all in the
  courtroom stand tense, awaiting the verdict of the Judge. Shall He
  banish the condemned criminal from His presence, sentencing him to
 an eternity of unspeakable woe without fear or favor? That is the
 position in which we find ourselves at the end of verse 20.
    Then suddenly the courtroom is electrified as a Person hitherto
 unnoticed enters. He is One who has been despised and rejected of
 men, a lone figure, His Name-Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord Jesus
 Christ! Paul introduces Him. He comes forward, and, before the
 judgment throne of the Holy God, He presents Himself as a Substitute
 to bear the penalty for the criminal. He is spotless, undefiled, sinless,
 pure, holy; the law has no claim Him. He says: “No one taketh
                                upon
M y life from Me; I lay it down of Myself, I have power to lay it
down, I have power to take it again; this commandment have I
received of My Father.” Then Jehovah, the judge upon the bench?
allows this blessed Person, the Son of His love, to take upon Himself
the guilt of the prisoner in the dock; as a substitution, He wends His
way up Calvary’s mountain, and He is nailed to a cross! Then the
sun hides his face in shame as the Son of the Living God, the Creator,
becomes the sin bearer, and Jehovah lays on Him the iniquity of us
all. During three hours of darkness, He bears the penalty of our sins.
    Then after three days He rises from the dead, and just as suddenly
He appears in the courtroom once more. At this point, Paul takes up
                                      “But
the case for the defense in verse 21: now the righteousness of
                                     . .
God without the law is manifested. Even the righteousness of
God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that
                              BUT NOW1                                71
 believe: for there is no difference . . . Being justified freely by His
 grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God
 hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood.” The
 criminal is offered a full pardon! That is the drama of the gospel by
 which we are saved, by which the righteousness of God in Christ is
 imputed to us, and by which the forgiveness of sin is accorded to
 those that believe!



                        Righteousness

 S    INCE we are literally listening to the deliberations before a court
       of law, the highest court in the universe, we can hardly be sur-
  prised that the word righteousness should be in use so much. It is
  well for us to analyze just what this word means. It is a large word
  with a very simple meaning. “Righteousness” means “what is right.”
  The requirements of the word will vary as to the circumstances, but
  that is its precise meaning. The righteousness under law, therefore,
  was what was right according to the requirements set forth in the Law
  of Moses. The ten words of that law gave a concise outline of the
  conduct which was befitting those who were under divine guidance.
     Because sin is so prevalent in the world we are apt to have a mis-
  taken idea that there is some real merit in keeping the law. There
 is nothing meritorious about it. For those who were under law it was
 correct, or “right,” for them to keep that law, but having kept it,
 they could expect no reward or merit or recognition or distinction,
 because they had just done “what was right.” They had simply
 paid their debt of righteousness. Of course no one kept it so all were
 debtors. You can then see the reason for the scriptural insistance that,
 if one keeps the whole law but offends in one point, he is guilty of
all. The Law of Moses sets forth the exact requirements of the
creature before his God, and it is incumbent upon men to obey that
law; but there is no merit, no reason for expecting special favor from
the Lord for having kept it. On the other hand, sin, which is the
transgression of law, merits the punishment of the Almighty because
sinners have failed to do that which is right. We should keep that
in view as we witness this courtroom scene before the Almighty,
otherwise we shall have a perverted idea both of the righteousness
of the law and of the righteousness of God in Christ.
 72            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
      Paul has been setting forth in these first two chapters of Remans
   that the person who was expressly under the law of Moses is guilty
  because he has broken that law. He is setting forth also the truth
  that the Gentile, who was never under law yet had the testimony of
  God from the visible creation concerning the power and Godhead
  of the Creator, is under obligation to walk in the path of righteous-
  ness. Let us not confine the thought of law only to the ten com-
                                                     s
  mandments. Law is a universal principle of God’ creation. We have
  physical laws such as the law of gravity, the law of magnetic force,
  and a thousand other definite, fixed principles that we call “laws of
  nature.” These are principles which God has placed in His creation for
  its proper operation according to His requirements of righteousness.
     Then there is the vast realm of the moral or spiritual laws which
  God has also instituted. We have the law of the heavens ruling the
  earth, that is, God spiritually from on high regulates the affairs of
  men. We have the laws of principalities and powers that regulate the
  affairs of men politically, socially, economically. We have the laws
  of the home, the husband the head of the household, the wife his
  companion and helpmeet, the children regulated by the principles of
 obedience and affection. Indeed law in its abstract meaning involves
 a tremendously intricate set of principles-physical, moral, spiritual
 -which God Himself has instituted for the orderly operation of the
 universe He has created.
     Now man has his unique place within the realm of these laws.
 They were gathered together in a kind of summary fashion in the
 law of Moses, but Moses’ ten words were merely the high lights of
 these principles. Do not let us then compliment ourselves by feeling
                                        s
we have in any measure fulfilled God’ laws when we select some item
in the Law of Moses and keep that item meticulously. This is a true
danger of our modern religious system. Many people expect to get
to heaven because they keep the seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday,
simply because that arrangement was stated in the Law of Moses.
They forget that we are now in a Christian age when, having broken
the law and having come under its condemnation, we celebrate a new
                                                           s
day, the first day of the week, because that is the Lord’ resurrection
day that has brought new light, new hope, new joy to those who were
once condemned and now are justified.
  All of these things are implicated in the word “righteousness” as
found in Romans 3: 21-24. In the previous verses the righteousness
which was set forth in the law, that is, the law of Moses, is no longer
available to US because we have all sinned and come short of God’    s
                            RIGHTEOUSNESS                                   73
 glory. Whether Jew or Gentile, we have broken God’ laws, we are
                                                   s
   transgressors, and “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” If YOU want
  to know whether or not you are a sinner, there is a very simple way
  of finding out: read the laws set forth on tables of stone by Moses.
  That will bring you condemnation enough.
      Having arrived at the conclusion that we are sinners, have we come
  to an impasse? No, indeed! A new righteousness is set forth for us:
  “But now the righteousness of God without the law [or, apart from
  the law] is manifested. . . . Even the righteousness of God which
  is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.”
  Since we have not done what is right in the moral and spiritual and
 physical realms, according to the regulations which God has set
 forth, then we must have another righteousness imputed to us before
                                        s
 we can stand justified in God’ presence.
     Now it is this new righteousness, the righteousness of God in
 Christ, which is set forth for us without the law, that is, making no
 demand upon us, but offering us imputed righteousness on the prin-
 ciple of faith. Paul says this righteousness is unto all, but it is uporz
 all them that believe. Here is a very important truth! If you die in
 your sins, and find yourself in a lost eternity, you will never be able
 to say that God did not offer you His righteousness. This righteous-
 ness is u n t o a l l on the principle of faith. God offers it to you freely by
 His grace, but you must accept it by faith.
     Then this verse says it is upon all them that believe. This carries
 us back in thought to the coats of skins at the beginning of Genesis.
 When Adam and Eve found themselves naked, God made coats of
                                              s
skins for them, and, arrayed in God’ righteous provision, they could
enter into communion with the Lord. So it is with us. We have no
covering of righteousness of our own, for our own righteousnesses are
“as filthy rags” before God, but God has provided a new covering,
the righteousness of God in Christ; He puts that robe upon us so that
we may be arrayed in His presence. I wonder if you are wearing that
robe of righteousness today! If not, it is unto all and upon all them
that believe. You must believe God, take Him at His Word, accept
this robe of righteousness by making Christ your personal Saviour
and your Lord, and the moment you do, you can say, ‘(1 am saved
          s
by God’ grace.”
 74            ROMAN!%--A COURTROOM DRAMA



                          Come Short

 L
       ET us not forget for a moment this is still the courtroom scene, a
          drama of criminal procedure in the highest court of the uni-
   verse. The criminal himself is unequivocally declared guilty, and you
   and I are represented in him, “For all have sinned, and come short
   of the glory of God.” These two expressions are not synonymous.
   One truth is “all have sinned”; the second truth is “all have come
  short of the glory of God.” The first indicates we are all sinners by
  practice. It is not simply that we have inherited the nature of sin
   (which is true), but that nature has become active in our members,
  and we are sinners by practice. Further along in this Epistle these
  two, the nature and the act, will be distinguished. The apostle tells
      : “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and
  ,“,” death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5 : 12).
  No one shall come under the sentence of divine judgment simply be-
  cause he has inherited the nature of sin from Adam, but all of us
  come under the sentence of condemnation because we have put that
 nature into practice. You and I are sinners in act, in word, in deed.
 That is the first truth in this verse.
      The second truth here is that we all come short of the glory of God.
 The glory of God is an expression which really means the full display
 of what God has in mind in any particular instance. Let us remember
 that when God set up man in the Garden of Eden, he was a creature
 of great beauty. When God finished with him, he stood there a living
soul, made in the image of God, in His likeness and as such he was
 the head of the creation in which he was set. Now he was set in that
realm for the glory of God. It was that he might display the char-
                                              s
acter of God to those around him. Adam’ first act in this connection
was to give names to the animals. In a sense this was a divine act
reflecting the thoughts of God Himself, for God is primarily a God
of love and of order and of righteousness. So Adam was setting things
in harmonious order under his own headship. But there were certain
limitations in regard to Adam, for he was still a creature, and even
                                                  s
in innocence he could not fully display God’ wondrous thoughts of
glory. In that sense, I believe, even before the fall, he came short of
        s
God’ glory. How much more after he fell into sin!
      Now in order to get some thought of what the glory of God means,
                           COME SHORT                               1.5
   we have to look at the Lord Jesus Christ and there we see the glory
   of God shining in His face. That is, the Lord Jesus Himself stepped
   into this creation, Himself the Creator; yet He became a Man, and
  in manhood’ grace He put on perfect display, the very effulgence of
                s
                                                         s
   the glory of God. If I want to learn what are God’ thoughts in the
  harmonious perfection of the order of His own creation, 1 must look,
  not at man, but at the Son of Man, whom He has set over all things.
  The Lord Jesus Christ is the One who glorified God in every attri-
  bute of His being, because He Himself is God; yet He became Man,
  and as such “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death,
  even the death of the Cross. Wherefore God also hath highly ex-
  alted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name: That
  at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
  and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every
  tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
  the Father.” He is the One who did not come short of the glory of
  God. This is a very large subject, and one which I shall not pursue
  further, but commend to you for your meditation.
     Now Paul, in verse 24, goes on, “Being justified freely by His
 grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” His eye is
 again upon the criminal who has been condemned, his mouth shut,
 left without excuse. Now the glad news greets his ears that he may
                               s
 be justified freely by God’ grace through the redemption that is in
 Christ Jesus. Here we have the substitutionary work of the Lord on
 the Cross brought into view.
     It is as though, in an ordinary courtroom of this world, the crim-
 inal stands there condemned, about to be sentenced to the peniten-
 tiary or to the gallows. Another comes forward to take his place,
 offering to bear the penalty of his crime, and the court accepts the
 offer. The substitute is led off to suffer the penalty, and the news is
 brought to the criminal: by that substitutionary work, he can go free
 of the penalty of the law.
     Of course, I know it is a somewhat faulty illustration, because the
One who went to the Cross rose again from the dead, and He it is
who stands in the presence of the judge, presenting the evidence of
His own redemptive work. He pleads my case, so I am justified freely
           s
by God’ grace through that redemption.
    It is exceedingly simple and yet it is most profound. It shows the
magnificence of the love of God, who gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever-
                                                              s
lasting life. The Lord Jesus died for our sins on Calvary’ tree. He
 76                ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  paid the penalty of our iniquity and, now that He has drunk to the
  last dark drop the cup of God’s judgment against sin, you and I may
  stand in Him, risen from the dead, cleared from all charge against
 us.
    Let us remember the work is a finished work; the Lord Jesus left
 nothing to be done. declared on the Cross, “It is finished.” He
                     He
 paid the penalty in full, and God has raised Him from the dead to
 declare to all that the work of redemption is complete and finished.
 How grand it is then to see that God justifies freely by His grace!
 There is no reluctance on the part of God. He gave His Son. It was
 in obedience to God that the Lord Jesus went to the Cross. It was all
 the great plan of divine Persons in eternal counsel to provide this
 means whereby man, fallen, a sinner by nature and by practice, hav-
 ing come short of the glory of God, might be justified, cleared from
 all guilt freely by God’s grace. This is the only way whereby you and
 I may be saved. You can add nothing to the work of the Cross; your
penance, your good works, your gifts to the church, your kindness to
 neighbors-all these may be well enough in their place, but they do
not constitute any part of your redemption, We are justified through
 the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. You and I have to accept that
work of the Cross as the full payment of the purchase price to bring
US back to God. All you and I have to do is to take it in all its ef-
ficacy, as a gift from God Himself, and know that we are cleared for
time and for eternity from all charges against us. The word of the
Lord is true: “He that heareth M y word and believeth on Him that
sent Me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but
is passed out of death into life.”



                             The Mediator
        Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his
      blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past,
      through the forbeoronce of God; To declare, I say, at this time his right-
      eousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth
      in Jesus (Ram. 3:25, 26).


    ERE the sinner is on trial, he has been proven guilty, and God
I3   is setting forth a means by which the sinner may be justified
and yet the righteousness of the court upheld.
                          THE MEDIATOR                               77
    These thoughts are brought to a climax in these two verses. Justi-
 fication means clearance from guilt-in a word, “Charges dismissed! ”
                                       s
  Justification is presented by God’ grace through the redemption that
   is in Christ Jesus. The attitude here is that sin has separated the
                                                s
  criminal from God, who is on the judge’ throne. The distance is a
  moral chasm; it is a great spiritual gulf that separates the sinner
   from God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the One who is set forth right-
  eously as a meeting place, One who can bridge the gap and bring
  together an offended God and the offending sinner. It is the prob-
  lem presented to the mind of Job, when he asked the challenging
  question, “How can a man be just with God?” Job prayed that he
  might have ‘(a daysman,” a mediator, an intermediary who “might
  lay his hand upon us both.” Paul tells us in the First Epistle to
  Timothy: “There is one God, and one mediator [or daysman, or
  intermediary] between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who
  gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” N W    O
  this is the very crux of the situation here in Romans 3. The great
 gulf fixed between the sinner and God is bridged by the Lord Jesus
 Christ, who is the propitiation, or the meeting place, whereby the
 sinner and the judge are brought together righteously. It is an in-
 tricate but a very interesting problem solved.
      The Lord Jesus is found as the One who can lay His hand upon
 both. He can reach up and lay His hand on the Godhead, because
 He is Himself God. John in his Gospel sets this forth in unequivocal
 terms: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
 God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with
 God.” Then he goes on, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among
 US .” The Lord Jesus Christ is God. He is a Person of the Godhead,
as truly Deity as is the Father or the Holy Spirit. He can therefore
lay His hand upon the Godhead without doing violence to the
majesty of the divine throne. But the Lord Jesus is more than that;
He is also the Man, Christ Jesus. Being Man He can therefore lay
His hand upon man without destroying him, and this He has done
                                                    s
at the Cross of Calvary, where He took man’ place that He might
become the Shelter for the sinner. Thus the Lord Jesus Christ is
righteously the Mediator or the meeting place between God and
man.
     Let us not think that the Lord Jesus is that One who reconciled the
sinner to God merely by way of example, as some would seem to
teach today. The Lord Jesus is not a Person who, by His sinless
life, shows me the way back into the presence of God. By His sin-
 7%            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   less life He shows me rather how impossible it is for the sinner ever
   to g e t back into God’ presence by his own efforts. As I watch the
                           s
   Lord Jesus as a Man here on earth, displaying those unspeakably
   precious   attributes of holiness, loving-kindness, and purity, instead
   of finding Him as a leader to take me back to God, I see that His
   very life, by contrast, condemns me and shows me how impossible
   it is for me to follow in His steps. The Lord Jesus is not a Mediator
   by His sinless life; He is a Mediator between God and men by His
   death on the Cross. In this verse we have the propitiation, not
   through faith in His life, but through faith in His blood. You and I
  are brought nigh to God through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ; we
  are made nigh by His blood. When the Lord Jesus died on the Cross,
   He took your place and He bore there the penalty of your sin. He
  shed His blood on the Cross as a token, a proof of the fact that He
  died in your stead. Now that He has borne the penalty, and is risen
  from the dead, He can conduct you back into the presence of God by
  virtue of what He has done on the Cross. That is what we have in this
  verse: “Whom God hath set forth, a meeting place, through faith
  in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins
  that are past through the forbearance of God.”
      There we see the vast ocean of the iniquity of mankind down
 through the past ages, from Adam all the way to the Cross of Cal-
 vary, and we see how God by His forbearance could tolerate man
 as a rebel before Him. The reason for it was that He was looking
 forward to the Cross, when full atonement would be made, so He
 could righteously forbear those sinners and offer them forgiveness on
 the ground of sacrifice. That is why Abel brought a sacrifice to God,
                                                           s
and that is why the thousands and millions of God’ people down
 through the centuries that rolled onward were forgiven by the sac-
rifices of bulls and goats brought to Jehovah. It was not that there
was virtue in those sacrifices themselves, but they were symbolic
of the great sacrifice of Christ at Calvary, and God accepted them
on that basis.
     But it is not only that God forbore in connection with the sins
that are past. Paul says here, “To declare, I say, at this time His
righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which
believeth in Jesus.” In other words, a righteous foundation has now
been laid before the august throne of the Almighty, whereby the
sinner may stand on the ground of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus
Christ, cleared from all guilt because Jesus the Lord took his place
               s
on Calvary’ Cross.
                             THE MEDIATOR                                       79
     On a hot summer day a weary traveler was trudging across the
 great prairies in central Canada. Off on the horizon he suddenly
 saw a great wall of fire rolling toward him, driven before a relent-
  less wind. It was burning everything in its path, and there seemed
  no way of escape for the traveler. It was impossible for him to run
 before it. Then he suddenly remembered he had a match in his
 pocket. He took it out, struck it, and applied it to the dry grass at
 his feet. Immediately it caught fire and it too began to roll forward
 until it also became a great conflagration driven before the wind.
 It left behind blackened, burned out stubble, and the wayfarer
 marched forward on the burned ground. He was perfectly safe, for
 he was walking where the fire had been. So it is with the believer
 on the Lord Jesus Christ. You are walking where the fire of God’    s
 judgment has already passed over because you are abiding in Christ,
                                                     s
 who bore the stroke of that judgment on Calvary’ tree. Therefore
 God is just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.




                      Faith, Not Works
       Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay:
    but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified
    by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is
    he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one
    God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision
    through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid:
    yea, we establish the law (Ram. 3:27-31).



T    HE argument here is rather intricate, but it is exceedingly
     important to the person who wants to make sure he is on a
platform of righteousness before his God. The conclusion to which
the apostle came in the previous verses was that Jew and Gentile
are brought in guilty before God; they are left without excuse. But
the same God who has condemned them unequivocally has devised
a means whereby He can meet with them in righteousness through
the propitiation of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
   The conclusion is that God is just and the justifier of him that
believeth in Jesus. In other words, by forgiving and receiving the
sinner and clearing him from all the charges that stood against him,
God Himself is just. He is on righteous ground because the Lord
                 ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  Jesus has borne the penalty due the sinner for his offenses. The chal-
  lenging question then is sent out: “Where is boasting then? It is ex-
  cluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
  The believer on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified, not by means of
  anything that he has done or can do, but simply on the principle
  of faith. He must accept the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as his
  covering, his atonement, that by which his sins are blotted out from
  before the eye of God, and that must be accepted as God’ pro-   s
  vision, knowing he by his good works adds nothing to it.
     The difficulty in these days is that we are hearing a gospel that
  is a mixture of faith and works. Many are teaching today that you
  must accept the gift of God which is eternal life, and then you must
  work good works thereafter in order to show you are worthy of
  it, and so to make sure you will not come into judgment. This is
 contrary to the teaching of the New Testament, and to accept such
 a theory destroys entirely the peace of heart and conscience that
 comes to him who believes in the Lord Jesus. If we by our good
 works merited the favor of God in any measure, then that would
 set aside the complete efficacy of the work of the Lord Jesus on the
 Cross, and you and I would have wherein to boast. When we get to
 heaven we would be able to look around upon one another and boast
 of the good works that helped to bring us there; but this verse says:
 “Where is boasting then? It is excluded.” The way by which it
 is excluded is that the gift of God comes to us by faith. All you and
 I have to do is reach out the hand of faith and take it, accepting it
 from God by grace on the principle of faith. Thereby we are saved.
 The Scripture says: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
shalt be saved and thy house.”
     The Scripture also says: “The same Lord over all is rich unto
all that call upon Him, and whosoever shall call on the name of the
Lord shall be saved.” It does not take any good works to call on the
Name of the Lord. All you have to do is cry out from the inner re-
cesses of your own heart, expressing your need to the Lord for
salvation. He hears instantly, and in a moment your sins are all put
                                              s
away, for “the blood of Jesus Christ God’ Son cleanses from all
sin.” Thereafter there is no occasion for boasting on your part, be-
cause your salvation has come to you as a free gift from God; boast-
ing is excluded. It is excluded, not on the principle of works, but by
the law of faith, that is, the law of faith is the regulation, the way,
the means, God has arranged whereby you might accept His gift.
    Verse 28 goes on to say: “Therefore we conclude that a man is
                       FAITH, NOT W O R K S                         81
 justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Here the Spirit of
  God would make very sure that we do not get law and grace mixed
  up. We are living in an age of mixture and confusion. YOU w i l l
  never get to heaven by any works of your own, nor can any works
  of your own add one iota to the perfect finished work of the Lord
  Jesus Christ. Some believe today you are saved by grace but you are
  kept saved by your own works. There is no such teaching in the New
  Testament, and I am not forgetting for a moment the passages that
  warn us against the danger of slipping away from the truth. My
  continuance in the faith is a demonstration of the fact that my faith
  is real, that God has really wrought in my heart, and I am one of His
  children. No child of His will ever become anything else except His
  child ; no one shall pluck any of His own out of His hand.
     Then there are others who assert that our salvation depends some-
  how upon our keeping the requirements of the law of Moses, by
  observing the Sabbath, which is Saturday, according to the Jewish
  economy. Thereby some falsely hope they will be accepted by the
 Lord. I believe their mistaken idea is that there is some virtue in
 keeping the Sabbath. Let us remember God instituted the Sabbath
 day so men might have a rest, and taking a rest is no virtue on my
                             s
 part or yours. It was God’ provision so the body and mind should be
                                                     s
 rested. However, we should remember, that God’ rest, God’ sab-  s
 bath, is broken. It was broken by sin and failure and rebellion
 against God, and now that the Lord Jesus has come, according to
 the Epistle of Colossians we no longer observe days and months
 and years. How glad we are to be at liberty to meet on the first day
of the week, as did the early Christians in Acts 20, the day when
 the Lord Jesus rose from the dead. But let us not attach holiness
to any particular day. It is the Person who is holy and not the day
or time. At all events there is a clear-cut difference between works
and grace. Salvation comes to us as a gift from God by grace. Then
there is a difference between works and faith. Good works make
US entitled to wages or recompense, but to accept something by
faith is to receive it as unmerited. So a man is justified by faith
without the deeds of the law. Let us keep this very clear in our minds,
and it will save us from much confusion.
    Then the last of the chapter indicates God is the God of both
Jews and Gentiles, and He justifies both on the principle of faith
and not of works. Thereby He establishes the law, upholding its con-
demnation of the one who broke it, yet setting him free from con-
demnation through the work of Christ on the Cross.
 82              ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA



                              s
                       Abraham’ Witness
         What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the
      flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath
      whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abro-
      ham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now
      to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
      But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the un-
      godly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Ram. 4:1-5).



Wall A R E Itattorneyhere one the his brilliant argument trials Paul
     E
        times.
as prosecuting
                  witnessing
               is the trial of
                               of the greatest criminal

                       has given
                                  creature before his Creator.
                                                                of

                                                          concerning
 the guilt of the accused prisoner, represented in both Jew and Gen-
 tile, and has brought both of them together under the one indict-
 ment. They are guilty before God; they are without excuse; their
 mouth is stopped. Now, as counsel for the defense, he has taken up
 the argument on behalf of the Lord, who wants to justify the crim-
 inal, and in this passage he calls in his first witness. It is very re-
markable that the first witness called is perhaps the greatest person-
ality in that pageant of human experience of the Old Testament.
Abraham must take the stand, and he shall be examined concerning
                                                               of
this point at issue. Can the criminal be justified on the principle
works, and, if not, may he be justified by faith?
    Remember it is the same attorney, Paul, who analyzed the entire
physical and spiritual man in chapter 3, indicating the corruption
of his heart, his unrighteous acts, his incapability of understanding,
his throat, his tongue, and his mouth, all members expressing the
incorrigible character of the heart within his bosom, who is now
presenting the case for the defense. Will that man whom he has so
unequivocally condemned ever be justified before his Creator on the
principle of works? That is the point at issue.
   The witness Abraham is called in because he is perhaps the best
specimen of Adam’s race who ever lived. He is a man who has more
to his credit spiritually than any other man who traversed the
pages of the Old Testament. Because he is such, he is the progenitor
of the faithful. In the darkness of Mesopotamian idolatry this man
had the faith and courage to step forth in obedience to the com-
mand of the Lord; leave behind him his country, his kindred, and
                      ABRAHAM’ WITNESS
                              S                                     83
             s
  his father’ house; and go forth at the behest of Jehovah, not know-
  ing whither he went. Surely a man of such creditable action, if any,
  shall be justified before God on the principle of works. S the defense
                                                            O
 attorney asks the question: “What shall we say then that Abraham
 our father, as pertaining to flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were
 justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was
 counted unto him for righteousness.” Is Abraham then justified by
 works? No indeed. He is justified on this basis: he believed God and
 his faith was counted for righteousness. In other words, the very
 best man, who has most good works to his credit, finds he falls short
 of the mark. Now I am quite willing to confess that if a man with
 such distinguished merit as Abraham did not have good works enough
 to justify him in the presence of God, then certainly I come far be-
 hind him-and so do you.
     Should this not arrest the attention of all of us? We are living
 in an age when the gospel of works is being preached on every hand.
 If you were to ask the casual stranger you might meet on the street
 as to how to get to heaven, I venture to say in the vast majority of
 cases you would get the answer: “By doing the best you can.” Such
a way would be on the principle of works, yet God cuts athwart
this reasoning in these verses. Even Abraham who is called the
father of the faithful, the man who distinguished himself head and
shoulders above all other men on the line of good works because he
was obedient to the word of the Lord, was not justified by works.
           s
Abraham’ hope for a place in the realm of glory in the world to
come is founded not upon the fact that he did the best he could;
it is not founded upon anything that he did; it is founded upon this
unequivocal statement: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted
unto him for righteousness.” The only hope for your justification and
mine before God is to take God at His Word, believe Him, and not
depend upon our own good works at all.
     Now what is the Word of God in this connection? What does He
call you and me to do? Paul tells us very clearly in the tenth chapter
of Romans: ‘      (the Word . . . which we preach; That if thou shalt
confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine
heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the
mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The way to make sure you
will get to heaven is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in accord-
                   s
ance with God’ Word. The Lord Jesus has died for you according
 84            R O M A N S - A C O U K T R O ODRAMA
                                               M
 to the Scriptures in order that your sin might be put away. God has
 told you so in His Word. If you believe God, He will reckon your
 faith for righteousness. If you disbelieve God, you have no righteous-
 ness wherewith to stand in His presence.
   The conclusion to all this is summed up in verses 4 and 5 of this
                                    “N
 fourth chapter of Romans. It says: O W to him that worketh is the
 reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh
 not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is
 counted for righteousness.”   The meaning is very simple. If you
 obtain righteousness before God by your works, then you are earn-
ing your place in heaven. God owes it to you to take you to heaven
if righteousness can be obtained by good works. But that t.he notis
truth of the gospel. On the contrary, “To him that worketh not, but
believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for
righteousness.” If you take God at His    U ’ord, and accept as a free
gift the salvation which He offers by grace on the principle of faith,
then you are a righteous person before Him, and that is the only
righteousness which God recognizes. One of these days you and I
are going to leave this world. If we are dressed in the righteousness
which God has provided, we shall be in His presence forever in the
land of fadeless day. If we come dressed in the filthy rags of our
own self-righteousness, our good works, we shall be banished from
His presence because we did not believe what He said.



                       David’s Witncss
      Even as David also describetb the blessedness of the man, unto whom
   God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose
   iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man
   to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Ram. 4:6-8).



T   HE lawyer for the defense, Paul, indited by the Spirit of God,
    is here laying a solid foundation upon which the believer in
Christ may stand with perfect assurance of his acceptation before
God. He shall not then leave a single loophole whereby the enemy
of our soul may bring an accusation that might be substantiated
against us. I believe that is the reason this entire passage goes into
so much detail. It is in order that we might be perfectly sure God
has thoroughly investigated our case, has unearthed every bit oi
                          DAVID’ WITNESS
                                S                                     85
  evidence against us as well as every tangible testimony in our favor,
  and His verdict of justification by faith has been rendered without
  violation to the righteousness of His own throne and without vio-
  lating any claim the sinner may have.
     I believe it is well for us to keep this in mind as we consider these
  very important items. The first witness Paul has called in is Abra-
 ham, the man who was certainly celebrated for good works in the
 Old Testament. He is called “the father of the faithful,” and if
 anyone had wherein to boast on account of his actions in the line of
  the will of God, surely Abraham must stand in the front rank. It is at
 once determined, however, that Abraham was not justified on the
 principle of works, but on the principle of faith. He believed God and
 his faith was reckoned to him for righteousness. In other words,
 God imputed the righteousness of another to him, and in the light
 of the Cross of Calvary we know it was the righteousness of God in
 Christ.
     But in these verses Paul, the brilliant legal counsellor before this
 august courtroom, as it were bids Abraham step aside, and he brings
 to the witness stand the next most celebrated personality of the Old
Testament, David the king. Whatever is said about David must
arrest the attention of every Israelite, for he is the royal personage
to whom every head is raised. David is the one who is never for-
gotten in the ranks of Israel, and even today the star of David is
the one emblem to which the Jews cling universally. This is most
noteworthy. What then shall be the testimony rendered concerning
this man David? Will he be justified on the principle of works? The
very suggestion of such a thought brings into sharp relief the
memorable failure and black sin that stained the royal escutcheon of
the house of David. Of all the tragic blots upon the illustrious per-
sonalities that march across the pages of the Old Testament, none is
SO   regrettable as David’s sin. Somehow we all think of David as such
a splendid character. He was noble in every respect. His valor and
courage have captivated the imagination of every youthful reader of
the Old Testament, and not a boy has ever been to Sunday school
but in his own vivid imagination has stood in the shoes of David
as he picked the five smooth stones from the brook, put one of them
in his sling, and felled the giant with it in the Valley of Elah. And
even as we consider the sin of David when he caused the death of a
dear and courageous man of God whose wife he stole to satisfy his
immoral lust, we must remember also that, although he had that
one black sin on his record, he was otherwise a marvelous personality,
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  a giant of accomplishment on the field of honor. It is recorded that
                             s
  he was a man after God’ own heart and how true this was concern-
  ing the general tenor of his life; but there was one dark stain upon it.
     What then shall be the evidence before this court of law in Remans
  41 Here is the testimony: “Even as David also describeth the bless-
  edness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without
  works.” Let us pause there at the end of verse 6. We might expect
  now to hear David recount some of the magnificent acts of valor
                                                       s
  that he did on the field of battle before the Lord’ enemies, or how
  many things he did to befriend the downtrodden, those in debt and
  discontented and unhappy. He might have told of the happiness of
                                 s
  the man who cut off Goliath’ head and whose praises were sung by
                                                             s
  the women throughout the land of Israel. How David’ soul must
  have thrilled to such acclamation! He might have told of his happi-
  ness in fellowship with Jonathan, the devoted one whom he loved as
  his own soul. He might have told of his exploits with Saul who
 pursued him for his life, and of his cutting off the skirt of Saul’      s
 garment to show he had his enemy in his power, yet forgave him and
 let him go. A thousand valorous acts David could recount before
 this court where he is on the witness stand. His testimony might
 have been that, in spite of his sin, he had lived through an illus-
 trious career and his victorious times had far outnumbered the
 valleys of depression. I say, that might have been the testimony
 rendered by David. Is it not then surprising when you come to verse
 7 that David passes over all his deeds of merit, his feats of courage,
 his honorable accomplishments, and he says with childlike sim-
 plicity”: “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose
 sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not im-
pute sin.” It is as though we asked David, “Looking back over your
 brilliant career of great exploits, what episode gave you most happi-
ness?” And his answer, “The day I learnetl that God forgave my
sins!” True happiness is not fame; it is not the high lights of life
that shine so illustriously before men. True happiness, David says,
is to know your iniquities are forgiven and your sins are covered.
    I wonder if you and I know this true happiness? It is not simply
that our sins and iniquities have been forgotten, but they have been
covered, put out of sight under the shed blood of the Lord Jesus
                                             s
Christ. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’ Son, cleanses us from all
sin. The word ‘   Latonement” means “covering,” and God has covered
your sins and mine, if we trust Him, with the blood of Christ. That
is, when the Lord Jesus shed His blood on Calvary He was dying
                            DAVID’ WITNESS
                                  S                                               87
the death my sins deserved, so my iniquities are covered, I go free,
and I am declared righteous before God. This, the second witness,
David the king, says is true happiness. “Blessed is the man to whom
the Lord will not impute sin.” No one on earth is really happy until
he knows that his sins are put away. Peace cannot be enjoyed until
that moment. Unless your spirit and mine are at peace with God
we are not really happy. We may have this peace only by accepting
the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.



                     No Outward Claim
        Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this
     blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision
    also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
    How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircum-
    cision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the
    sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had
    yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that
    believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be im-
    puted unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are
    not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith
    of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the
    promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abrohom,
    or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith
    (Ram. 4%13).



T    HE reasoning here may be somewhat intricate to the superficial
     reader, but if we keep in mind the courtroom scene, we shall
have little difficulty in following the logical steps as they are pre-
sented by the lawyer for the defense, Paul, the writer of this Epistle.
   Let us remember that Jew and Gentile still stand in the prisoners’
dock. The case for the prosecution has been presented, and the at-
torney has brought in the evidence of the unquestioned guilt of the
criminals. Now as counsellor for the defense Paul is taking up step
by step how a person, having been condemned as a criminal, can
yet be cleared of guilt not on the principle of works, but on the
principle of faith. Upon this principle shall depend the condemna-
tion or the justification of the prisoner.
   In presenting the case for the defense Paul has called in as wit-
ness Abraham, the father of the faithful. Then in verses 6, 7, and 8
he, as it were, has asked Abraham to step aside for the moment in
 88            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  order that he might introduce the second witness who is none other
  than David the king. The testimony from the lips of David is that
  his happiness did not consist in the good works that he did-and
  surely David had plenty of good works to his credit-but his happi-
  ness subsisted in the fact that God had forgiven him his sin and
  had covered it out of sight. So he says: “Happy is the man to whom
  the Lord will not impute sin.”
     In other words, Paul has called in the most illustrious champion
  of valor of the Old Testament, David the king, and from his own
  lips he has obtained the testimony which will shut the door against
  any hope of the criminal, mankind, being justified on the principle
  of works, but will open the door of hope for him to be justified by
  faith. Surely if the father of the faithful, Abraham, could not be
 justified by works, but must be justified by faith, and surely if
 David the king had not enough good works to give him a righteous
 standing before God but had to be justified by faith also, then the
 evidence is clear. The criminal, Jew and Gentile, can have no hope on
 the principle of works, but can have every hope on the principle of
 faith. That is the line of argument that Paul is presenting and, as
 we listen to it carefully, we revel in its brilliance. No eloquent at-
                 s
 torney in man’ courts of law has ever presented a case with such
 masterly legal skill as Paul is doing here in this chapter. Of course,
 I am not forgetting that he is indited by the Holy Spirit, but one can
 hardly but admire the vessel used.
     Now in these verses a new question arises. Here is the Jew, whose
 case is under review in this court of law, and one of his greatest
 boasts of his unique place before Jehovah was that he was circum-
cised and the nations around him were not. So circumcision is
brought in here almost as if Paul asked a third witness to step to
the stand. Shall it be possible that the Jewish criminal, who stands
side by side with the Gentile criminal in this chapter, may perhaps
be justified on the principle that he was circumcised? In other words,
shall some outward sign which God has given to that people as a
token of His loving-kindness and care for them be accepted in this
court of law as a reason for excusing the criminal for all his wicked
deeds? Now that is a very common practice in the courts of law in
this world, and oftentimes a clever attorney will present some outward
advantage which has been displayed in the criminal in order to excuse
him from the motive, and therefore from the guilt of his crime. You
will notice now how Paul takes up this question and deals with it
not simply as a personal issue or a national issue on behalf of the
                      NO OUTWARD CLAIM                              89
  Jews, but he carries it right to its origin and again he asks Abraham
   to step to the stand.
     What shall be the evidence deduced from what Abraham has to
  say in relation to circumcision? Surely if circumcision or any other
                            s
  outward token of God’ goodness to a particular people shall be
  deemed as giving them a righteous standing in the favor of God,
  Abraham will be the one to examine, for he is their father on the line
  of faith. What then shall be said of him? The attorney for the de-
  fense points out very astutely that ,4braham was justified long be-
  fore circumcision was ever instituted. It shall therefore not be by
  dint of this outward act that any people shall be justified before
  God. He says in verse 9: “For we say that faith was reckoned to
  Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was
  in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?” And his answer is: “Not in
 circumcision, but in uncircumcision,” and he goes on to say that he
  received this sign as “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which
 he had yet being uncircumcised.”
     The contention of this legal argument is that none of us can claim
 righteousness before God because of any outward sign or seal along
 religious lines. The argument is conclusive and shows that this
 righteousness, which is presented by God Himself for every guilty
 sinner, is a free gift, to be accepted by faith, and cannot be claimed
 because of any traditional rights. It comes home to you and me in
 this way. How many people there a.re today who think they are
 going to heaven because they belong to some particular church, or
 were brought up in certain religious associations, or were baptized
                                                        s
 when they were children, or have taken the Lord’ Supper, or in
some other outward way have been brought into association with the
Lord or His people. These things will never justify man. No sign,
no religious advantage, no culture, no Christian upbringing, no
baptism, no church membership, no circumcision, nothing that can
ever happen to us as men and women in the flesh will bring us into
right relations with God. We must accept the righteousness of God
in Christ on the principle of faith, as a free gift, for which we
cannot work, which we can never earn and never merit. In a word:
“By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God.”
 90               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA



                       Of Faith, by Grace
         For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to
      Abraham, or to his seed, through the low, but through the righteousness of
      faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and
      the promise is made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for
      where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that
      it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the
      seed; not to thot only which is of the low, but to that also which is of
      the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all (Ram. 4:13-16).



 T    HE line of legal argument being pursued by the apostle here has
      the definite purpose of demonstrating once for all that justifica-
 tion is on the principle of faith and not on the principle of works.
 He has shown hitherto that the happiness of David the king sub-
 sisted not in his glorious exploits, not in his good works, but in the
 forgiveness of his sins, which he received by faith. The apostle has
 shown further that Abraham, from whose loins the entire nation of
 Israel came, was justified not on the ground of the good things he
 had done, but on the ground that he believed God and it was counted
 to him for righteousness. Moreover Paul goes on to demonstrate
 that the distinguishing mark of the nation of Israel, “circumcision,”
 did not entitle the Jews to a place of favor before God because it
 did not remove the guilt of their sin.
    The question in this passage is the authenticity of the promise of
 God in view of these facts. Let us remember that all Israel’s hopes
were based upon God’s promises, and His promise to Abraham in
the first place was, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be
blessed.” Now continuing the line of argument, just as Paul had
shown in this passage that Abraham was justified by faith long before
circumcision had been instituted, so he goes on in verse 13 to show
that the promise was made to Abraham not in consequence of the
law, but before the law was given, and therefore it was apart from
law. So he says: “The promise, that he should be the heir of the
world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but
through the righteousness of faith.”t was because Abraham believed
                                    T
God, and thereby stood in the presence of God in righteousness,
that God made the promise to him. God found a man in the midst of
the idolatry of a godless world, who was willing to take God at His
                       OF FAITH, BY GRACE                             91
   Word, to believe Him, to step out in confidence in God alone. It was
   because of that, God made the promise to Abraham and to his seed.
  So Paul goes on in verse 14: “for if they which are of the law be
  heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of none effect.”
  Let all those who are basing their hope of standing in the favor of
  God through keeping the law make careful note of this verse!
     God has promised an inheritance to His people. The heavenly in-
  heritance will go to those whom He calls His Church, His people of
  this dispensation. The earthly inheritance will go to His earthly peo-
  ple, Israel, in the day of His millennial power. Now we are still deal-
  ing with legal matters in this passage, and Paul is calling in question
  the title deeds to this inheritance. When you purchase a home, you
  make an initial payment; the legal papers are assembled and are
  turned over to an escrow company, which makes a diligent search
  of the entire history of the property, making sure it is clear, and then
 gives you an unquestioned title to its ownership. Only after the title
 deed is clear and in your possession, do you feel assured you can
 move into your new home. That is what is set forth here in the
 Epistle to the Romans. An inheritance is in view for the Christian,
 a property that is eternal in the heavens, and Paul is searching the
 true title to the property in order that we may rest with absolute
 assurance as to our claim upon it. In presenting the title deed he in-
 dicates that our inheritance comes to us not on the line of law-keep-
 ing, but on the line of absolute grace. He finds the inheritance is not
 purchased by us; it is given to us. The promise of the Giver is that
 it shall be accepted by faith on the principle of grace and that no one
can bring a successful claim to the property on the principle of keep-
ing the law. No one can pay for it by good works.
    The logical consequence of all of this is in verse 14: “For if they
which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is
made of none effect.” The inheritance has been donated by the God
who has promised, and you and I must accept it by faith, otherwise
the promise is of none effect.
    In spite of this clear teaching, a large number of Christian people
are still professed law keepers, and think that by keeping the terms
of the law they will enter into the inheritance. This reference is a fiat
contradiction of that claim. If the inheritance is promised as a gift,
and I try to work for it, then faith is made void. In other words, I
      t
don’ believe the promise of the Giver.
    Law-keeping friends may inform us the law is holy, and just, and
good. No one denies that! Indeed it is because the law is holy, just,
 92                                              DR
                   R O M A N S - A C O U R T R O O MA M A
and good that, when it is applied to my life, it is made only too evi-
dent I am not holy, I am not just, I am not good. The law, which is
all of these, condemns me because I am none of them. The only way
 in which you andI can keep the law is in a fragmentary way. It may
be very easy for some people to keep the seventh-day Sabbath by
resting, but I wonder which one of us keeps with meticulous care that
part of the law that says, “Thou shalt not covet”? W e l i v e i n a w o r l d
of covetousness. It is resident in every human heart and I have never
yet met the person who could truthfully claim that he does not in
some way or another covet. So, if we keep the whole law and yet
offend in one point, we are guilty of all. What then shall be the legal
claim to the inheritance? W ill it be on the line of law, a broken law,
a holy and just and good law which I am unable to keep? Or will
it be accepted as a gift from God by faith, that is, believing that
God is giving it to me on the principle of grace? Paul says here
it must be on that principle, and not by the law. His teaching is
clear as crystal and we ought to take God at His Word.



                          Apart from Law
         Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the prom-
      ise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law,
      but to that also which is of the foith of Abrohom; who is the father of
      us all. (As it is written, I have mode thee o father of many nations,) be-
      fore him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and call-
      eth those things which be not OS though they were. Who ogainst hope
      believed in hope, that he might become the father of mony notions; ac-
      cording to thot which was spoken, So shall thy seed be (Ram. 4:16-18).


      E ARE still beholding a courtroom scene. God Himself is on
W     the bench as the Judge, Paul is the attorney handling the case,
indited of course by the Holy Spirit of God. The prisoner in the
dock is mankind, Jew and Gentile. They have both been proved
guilty and they are silent in God’s presence. Now Paul, the attorney
for the defense, is calling various witnesses to the stand. First of all
he has had Abraham whose initial call of God he already examined,
                                     first place not on the prin-
pointing out Abraham was justified in the
ciple of works, but on the principle of faith. Surely that is one point
distinctly gained in favor of the defense, for God is seeking to find
a way whereby He can take that criminal, who has been proven
                         APART FROM LAW                                 93
   guilty, and clear him from all guilt. Abraham, then, is justified on the
   principle of faith. The next witness that is brought to the stand is
   David the king, and it is shown that his happiness did not consist
   in his good works, of which he had many, but in the fact that
   God had forgiven his iniquities and covered his sins. SO he also is
   justified before God not on the principle of works, but simply be-
   cause he believed God when God told him He had forgiven him.
      Abraham is again called to the stand and we are listening now to
   the witness concerning him. Paul, the defense attorney, is reminding
                                            s
  the court of the immutability of God’ promise, and this promise
  was made to Abraham before either law or circumcision were inaugu-
                                s
  rated. In other words, God’ immutable promise could not possibly
  depend on the law, which was administered through Moses, because
  Abraham was dead and buried long before Moses came on the scene,
  before the law was given. Yet he was justified. Moreover God’            s
  promise of the inheritance could not then, within the realm of
  possibility, have been given to Abraham on the principle of keeping
  the law, because the law had not yet been administered. Everything
  then was on the principle of faith. Not only so, but the defense
 attorney has pointed out that circumcision was not yet given so in-
 heritance could not come on the basis of any outward token of
 religious standing before God.
     He is pursuing this argument as he says: “Therefore it is of faith,
 that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure
 to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that
 also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.”
 The courts of the universe must uphold the truth of the fact that
        s
 God’ promise through Abraham was not limited to the children of
 Israel. The promise was that he might become the father of many
nations, not of one nation. Therefore the scope of the promise to
Abraham must necessarily reach beyond the limits of Israel. Based
then on the unalterable Word of God in promise, it is demonstrated
here that the inheritance cannot come on the principle of law, other-
wise only Israel, who was the only nation under law, would have a
right to inherit it. That is the reason why it is stated in verse 1.5,’
“Where no law is, there is no transgression.” If God were going to
justify people on the principle of law, only Israel would be eligible
for such justification. Moreover neither would the Gentiles be con-
demned because they were not under the administration of law. They
could not be accused of transgressing a law which had never been
given to them.
 94           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
     Now verse 17 comes in as a clinching argument, not only against
  justification on the principle of works through the law, but against
  anything that man after the Aesh can do to justify himself. The real
  value of the faith of Abraham was that he laid hold upon “God,
  who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as
  though they were.” The promise made to Abraham was grasped by
  the patriarch as an unmerited favor of God. He did not expect to
  earn it in any way. Indeed he could see absolutely no possibility of
                                                      s
  doing anything of his own accord to merit God’ favor in the gift
  of such an inheritance. At the time the promise was made to Abra-
  ham he was an old man and, naturally speaking, he was declining
  toward the grave. Had God called him when he was a young lad,
  and set before him the prospect of an inheritance which should
  accrue to him when he came of age and which he would enjoy until
  he died, then this argument could not have been presented. The fact
 was, however, that God called Abraham and made this promise to
 him at the time when he was a hundred years old and his wife was
 barren. He was in the senility of old age when God told him of the
 seed that would spring from them. Naturally speaking there was no
 such hope for them. “Against hope he believed in hope!” They could
 not work for it in any way, for no effort of the flesh could produce
 it. Yet Abraham believed it. Why? Because he believed God could
 raise the dead. That is the great secret of justification by faith.
    Having examined the evidence that Paul is presenting, let us take
 a look again at the prisoner in the dock and see how all of this rea-
 soning must affect him. The prisoner, mankind, Jew and Gentile, has
 been unequivocally condemned. He has been proven guilty; he has
 no hope. So he is in the same predicament as Abraham was when he
was a hundred years old and his wife barren, as far as productivity
is concerned. Now God promises an inheritance. The word of God
concerning that sinner in the dock is expressed to us in the Ephesian
Epistle where Paul says, speaking of sinners, God “has made us meet
to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” and this
has been done by the redemption that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
                    s
Now that is God’ promise to the sinner who stands condemned in
this courtroom. Logically speaking, he should be condemned and
                      s                    s
banished from God’ presence, but God’ offer to him of mercy is
is that He will save him by divine grace, and give him an inheritance
among those that are sanctified. The sinner can no more work for
that than Abraham could work for Isaac. He is a prisoner and he is
condemned; the sentence of death is upon him. What will he do?
                           APART FROM LAW                                        95
Against hope he will believe in hope! How? By taking God at His
Word and receiving the free gift by grace.
   There is no use for him to determine that he will keep the law,
because the law is already broken and he is condemned; nor will
keeping the law ever nullify his guilt. He must then accept salvation
purely by grace, on the principle of faith apart from works, just as
Abraham believed God who raises the dead, and it was counted to
him for righteousness. So Paul, the attorney for the defense, has
scored another great legal point in the clearance of the sinner in the
presence of God!




                          The Fine Paid
       He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was
    strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what
    he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was im-
    puted to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone,
    that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed,
    if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord fram the dead; Who
    was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification
    (Ram. 42025).



ABRAHAMofcertainlythe witness stand.theheprinciple ofout thatbecause
     ham was
the promise
             is on
                    not justified on
              God came to him when
                                       Paul points
                                                      works
                                                              Abra-

                                          was senile,-as the Scrip-
 ture says, “as good as dead”-one hundred years old and his wife
 barren. The promise was he should have a son, and through this son
as his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. The tribute
here paid to Abraham as the father of the faithful is exceedingly
significant, and it would be difficult to overestimate the faith of this
progenitor of all the faithful. The testimony rendered concerning
him is that he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief.
The line of nature would indicate the absolute impossibility of God’   s
promise coming to fruition in the lives of ,4braham and Sarah, but
Abraham believed God who was able to raise up the dead. Surely
the God of resurrection could bring about this miracle which He
had promised. Thus Abraham staggered not at the promise of God,
but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. This touches the very
crux of the whole situation: he gave glory to God.
 96           ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
     The question which this brilliant lawyeris presenting before the
  court concerns justification presented bygrace on the principle of
  faith, not of works. If it were on the line of works, you can under-
  stand how the glory of its accomplishment would accrue to the per-
  son who performs the works, and not to God who gives the promise.
  Abraham knew only too well he himself could never bring to fruition
  what God had promised, but he believed God in spite of the evi-
  dences, and, knowing God was a God of resurrection and could even
  touch a dead body and make it live, he knew that he and Sarah,
  through the miraculous operation of God, could realize their hopes.
  He was fully persuaded that what God had promised He was able
  also to perform. Thus he took no glory to himself; he expected no
 accomplishment on the line of flesh and he accepted the promise
  from God.
     It is very remarkable that in the context in the Epistle to the
 Romans the story of the birth of Ishmael is entirely left out. There
 is a distinct reason for this. First, Abraham had confidence in God
 to perform that which He undertook, yet the trial of waiting was
 too much for him and he resorted to human devices, thinking he
 would help God in making possible what He had promised. Thus
 Ishmael was born, and Abraham did not again gain the highroad of
 spiritual communion with the Lord until Ishmael was cast out and
 the seed of promise, Isaac, found his unique place in Abraham’s
household. While this record is left out of the Epistle to the Romans,
its very omission is a reminder to us of the absolute uselessness of
 the works of the flesh in promoting the realization of God’s purpose
for us in Christ. There are many in the world today who accept God’s
promise and believe in salvation by grace on the principle of faith,
but they think they will help God along, just as Abraham did, by
adding their own works. So you have an admixture of faith and
works. But the entire argument in this chapter of Romans is that
the justification of the sinner must be done by God  aIone; the works
of the sinner shall not enter into it. The only thing of value in the
life of Abraham, in the light of his justification, was that he be-
lieved God. His unbelief and his failure and his impatience are
entirely omitted because they neither helped nor frustrated the pur-
pose of God. So the apostle concludes here: “Now it was not written
for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to
whom it shah be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus
our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for     our offences, and
                          THE FINE PAID                              97
  was raised again for our justification.” This brings home the court-
   room scene to each one of our hearts.
      Here you and I, in the shoes of the criminal, stand before the
                s
  bar of God’ justice. We have heard the condemning evidence against
   us, we are proved guilty before God. There is no escape from the
  guilt; our mouths are stopped; we are sinners deserving of perdi-
  tion. Then the lawyer for the defense, Paul, states it actually is
  possible for us to be cleared of guilt by means of the imputation
  of righteousness that is not our own. In other words, we may be
  justified in exactly the same way as Abraham was justified, namely,
  by believing God. But the great question then arises: how is it pos-
  sible for God to do this and yet maintain the austere justice of the
  court? In this way the Lord Jesus comes in. A debt of guilt has been
  accumulated by the sinner. That debt must be discharged. The sinner
  must pay the penalty of his sins. The Lord Jesus steps in, and He
  pays the debt. He bears the penalty of my sin, in my room and in
  my stead, on Calvary, for “He was delivered for our offences, and
  was raised again for our justification.” The debt is paid by another
  and I, the sinner, go free.
     That is the gospel. A feeble illustration of it might be that the
 criminal stands before the bar of justice, and the judge imposes a
 penalty, a fine of $10,000 to atone for his offence. One who loves the
 sinner steps into the courtroom, pays his fine, obtains his receipt from
 the court, and then takes the sinner by the arm and they march
 together out of the court, the law having no further claim upon either
 of them. That is what has taken place at Calvary. Only we must
 remember the penalty of our sin was not a fine that might be paid
 in money. It could be paid only in blood. Our sin before God is so
great that our life is forfeit, and the death penalty is imposed. Then
Jesus the Lord, the friend of publicans and sinners, steps to the
              s
bar of God’ august throne; He offers Himself; He goes to Calvary’       s
Cross, and dies; He rises again in order that He might in a sense
have the receipt, the proof of what He has done. He again appears
before the court; the penalty has been paid; Jesus has died for our
sins according to the Scriptures, has been buried, has been raised
again the third day according to the Scriptures. He takes me, the
sinner, by the hand, and, united to Him in resurrection life, I am
saved eternally. My sins are all forgiven; they are buried in the
depths of the sea; as far as the east is from the west, so far has
God removed them from Him. He says: “Your sins and youriniqui-
                ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 ties I will remember no more for ever.” Have you placed your faith
 personally in the Lord Jesus as the One who died for you and rose
 again?



                        Peace with God
       Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through
     oar Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this
     grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Ram.
     5:1, 2).



 T     HE conclusion set forth in these verses is largely based upon the
       last verse of chapter 4: Jesus our Lord, who was delivered for
  our offences, and raised again for our justification. Paul, by the Spirit
  of God, throughout the previous chapter has been, as it were, de-
  vising a means whereby the criminal who stands before the bar of
        s
  God’ justice might be cleared of the offence of which he has been
 proven guilty. The offence of the Gentile has been that he had the
  testimony of God in creation and he refused it and went into idolatry.
 The offence of the Jew is that he had the law of Moses and all the
 guidance which God had given him under the old covenant, but he
 too failed to respond to the goodness of God and has gone into
 idolatry also. Thus the criminals, Jew and Gentile, stand together
 as representative of all mankind condemned in the presence of God,
 Since the wages of sin is death, the criminal must pay with his life
 for the offence which he has committed. Then the substitutionary
 work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross comes into view, for “He was
 delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification.”
    He who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him. He took our place on Calvary’           s
tree. There “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised
for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and
with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid
on Him the iniquity of us all.” Thus the Lord Jesus died. He suf-
                                   s
fered under the stroke of God’ judgment because of what I have
done. His death was a penal death, because there He paid my debt,
the debt of a broken law on the part of the Jew, the debt of dis-
                        PEACE WITH GOD                              99
obedience to give honor to the God of creation on the part of the
Gentile.
                                                             s
   But the Lord Jesus is no longer in the tomb. On Calvary’ Cross
he exhausted the judgment of God against sin. He said, Zt“ is
finished,” before He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. The
significance of that is that the full penalty has been paid.

                  “Jesus paid it all,
                     All to Him I owe,
                   Sin had left a crimson stain,
                      He washed it white as snow.”

    Then He went into the tomb, then He rose triumphant over death
 and the grave, and now He sits on the highest pinnacle of glory in the
 universe. His high station declares to my heart that the One upon
 whose shoulders my sin was laid has atoned for them completely, and
 He is free from them now. He has entered into heaven itself. So
 Paul says here: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace
 with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The peace has been made.
 The declaration of peace between God and men has been written in
 the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of His risen life.
Those who at one time were afar off from God are now made nigh
 through the blood of the Cross of the Lord Jesus. We who were
enemies in our minds by wicked works have been brought nigh
 through the work of Calvary and peace has been established. This
is not a question of making our peace with God, for peace has already
been made for us by the work of the Lord Jesus. I believe there are
many people in this world today who think they have to seek to make
their own peace with God by doing the best they can, by improving
their conduct and seeking to live a life of obedience. While we should
all live in obedience to God, let us remember that all the obedience
we may render cannot possibly blot out the sins and iniquities of
the transgressions of our past life. The distance between God and
the creature has been occasioned by past offences, by sin in its
various activities in our lives. Atonement has been made and the
gospel of God to you and me is, if we repent and be converted, our
sins will be blotted out. It is equally true “except we repent we
shall all likewise perish.”
   In the illustration given by the Lord Jesus Himself in Luke’s
Gospel, we are the debtors, God is the creditor, and when we have
              ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  nothing to pay He frankly forgives us. The peace has been made by
  the Lord Jesus on my behalf, and now I can stand in His presence,
  forgiven, unashamed, my debts cancelled because Another has paid
 them. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God
 through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    This Scripture goes on: “By whom also we have access by faith
 into this grace [or place of favor] wherein we stand, and rejoice in
 hope of the glory of God.” What a transition from standing in the
                                             s
 dock as a criminal before the bar of God’ justice, condemned, our
 mouths stopped, unable to pay the debt we had incurred! Instead we
 are transferred by the work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross to
 stand in this place of favor before God, and how have we got there?
 We have not obtained that place by doing good works, or doing the
 best we can, or seeking now to be obedient to God in spite of our
 past. It has not been on the line of works at all. We have access to
 the place of favor by faith. We accept it because God declares it
 in the gospel. “Be it known unto you, men and brethren, that through
 this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him
all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could
 not be justified by the law of Moses.”God declares that justification
in the gospel, as He says, “Be it known unto you.” It is not a pro-
posal which I bring to God; it is a proclamation which is presented
 for my hearing and for my acceptation. Paul puts it in his own
                           s
unique way in Timothy’ Epistle: “This is a faithful saying, and
worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to
save sinners.” To believe that gospel message is to be brought into
this place of favor, into which you and I have access by faith. We
cannot then go around feeling uncertain of our salvation or fearing
God will go back on His Word, that this peace which the Lord Jesus
has established with the throne of God might be abrogated or set
aside, and war declared by God upon His forgiven creature. Instead
of having any such thought, Paul says we “rejoice in hope of the
glory of God.” Not only has God taken all our sins past, present,
and future, and put them under the blood of Christ, blotted out
entirely, but He has given us a new hope. He has “begotten us
again,” as Simon Peter says, “unto a lively hope, by the Resurrec-
tion of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible,
and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1
Pet. 1:3-S).
                                                              CHRISTIAN ASSETS                   101




                                                         Christian Assets
               We . .              . rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but
     we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
     and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not
     ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the
      Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without
     strength, in                      due time Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:2-G).



 P    AUL is still presenting the case for the defense of the criminal
      before the bar of justice of the court of the universe, and his
 divinely inspired words seem to increase in eloquence as he drives
 home the truths concerning the justification of those who have been
 proven guilty.
    He is, as it were, taking all the liabilities that stood against the
 lawbreaker, the sinner, and placing them on the assets side of the
 ledger to demonstrate the magnificence of the grace of God that has
 come in to rescue the sinner from perdition. So the first verse of
 chapter five indicates that the distance that separated the criminal
 from God his Creator is entirely gone through the death and Resur-
 rection of the Lord Jesus. It is as though we stood again in the great
 court where God is on the bench and the criminal, represented by
                                       s
Jew and Gentile, is in the prisoner’ dock. Then the One who has
paid the debt, even the Lord Jesus, has made His appearance in
the courtroom. He has died and He has risen again, and now Paul,
the lawyer for the defense, comes over, as it were, and taking the
criminal by the hand, unites him with the risen Saviour. Then they
                                s
all march out of the prisoner’ dock, and they are brought over to-
                      s
gether to the Judge’ bench, there to stand under the benign coun-
tenance of the God who was offended by the sins of the ungodly but
to whom now the sinner has been reconciled. Peace has been made.
The prisoner, instead of standing in the place of condemnation in
the dock, now stands in the place of favor, which he has accepted by
faith in association with the risen Lord, close by the side of the One
who at one time was his Judge.
   That is the picture as we find it in the fifth chapter of Romans,
and Paul, the defense attorney, is speaking on behalf of the criminal.
             s
His lawyer’ address now becomes a series of boasts. He is glorying
   102           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  in one thing after another, and these are all truths of the magnificent
  grace of God through the work of Christ on the Cross. Every liability
  becomes an asset.
     Paul begins to mount the ladder of excellent truth when he says,
  “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that
                                        Let
  tribulation worketh patience.” us not think the salvation of the
  sinner from his eternal doom is the whole story of this magnificent
  plan of divine grace. It is only the beginning! Paul is reminding               the
  universal courtroom that this sinner, who has suddenly been trans-
  ferred from the prisoner’s dock to take his place under the sun-
  shine of the love of God by the side of the Saviour who died for him
 and rose again, is beginning a new pathway. It will be pursued in
  the same world where sin was formerly his rule of life.
     Because sin is still in the world, he shall find the pathway of the
 just a difficult one, and the first element he will encounter will be
  tribulation. W ill the pardoned sinner therefore be discouraged be-
 cause of those trials by the way? No indeed! Paul makes his boast
 in tribulations because tribulation works patience. One of the first
 things you and I have to learn, when we first come to the Saviour,
 is patience. We are by nature very impatient, impulsive, inclined to
 be intolerant of one another. God desires to teach us patience. He
 can do this by tribulation. Perhaps you have wondered a good many
 tim e s w h y s o m u c h t r i a l s h o u l d c o m e y o u r w a y . A s y o u l o o k a r o u n d
 upon others who make no profession of godliness, you note they
 seem to be sailing on seas of quietness. This becomes an impelling
 question mark in your life. Why should you be so tried? God is
 teaching you patience. This is a much needed lesson for every one of
us.
    Trial alone produces patience. There is nothing new about this,
 for we see it shining again and again in the patriarchs of the Old
Testament. Think of Moses. He stepped forth as a young man and,
seeing the oppression of his brethren in Egypt, he drew his sword
on their behalf. When young Moses drew that sword he would
have slain every cruel taskmaster in Egypt. God had to teach him
such was not the way in which he was going to deliver his people. He
was not going to deliver them by helping them to trample underfoot
all their enemies. He was going to take them by a devious way in
which their own spiritual mettle would be put to the test, wherein
                                                        M took
they would learn many lessons. So He o s e s in the first place,
and He allowed him to be driven to the back part of the desert,
where he might be tried in order that he might learn patience. He
                           CHRISTIAN ASSETS                                      103
learned it very fully because God called him later “the meekest man
in all the earth,” and although he did lose his temper on one occasion,
for forty long years he put up with a stiff-necked and rebellious peo-
ple who were grumbling nearly all the time. Surely he was a patient
man.
   So the Lord is teaching you and me patience, endurance, by allow-
ing trial to come our way. Paul says here, “we glory in tribulations.”
   Then the apostle says, “Patience works experience.” I do not think
we have proper Christian experience along normal lines unless we
are patient. By waiting upon God, and allowing Him to subdue our
natural impatience, we have many experiences under His hand that
are exceedingly profitable spiritually, and in which we can glory.
Then “experience works hope.” The most hopeful person in the
world is the experienced one. This is not true of all men, but it is
true of Christians. The believer who has had experience under the
hand of God knows that out of every shadow he comes to enjoy the
sunshine better than ever he enjoyed it before. So experience has
taught him to be hopeful, knowing in the end he will be triumphant,
and so “hope makes not ashamed.” The reason is that “the love of
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given
unto us.” The love of God in the human life is the great key to
successful Christian living.




                          The Ungodly
      For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the
   ungodly. For scarcely for a righteousness man will one die: yet peradven-
   ture for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth
   his love toward as, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for as.
   Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from
   wrath through him (Ram. 5:6-g).



0 NE canever higher inthroughrealms chapter without truth, have the
             hardly go         this
      constantly mounting a golden stairway of
higher and               the
                                                     feeling we are

                                     of divine grace. We
                                                            reaching

sense of this as we read such words as “not only so” and“much more
then.” They occur quite frequently throughout the chapter.
   This stairway of truth has begun at the solid foundation of
“having been justified by faith, we have peace with God,” and then
 104           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  it goes on upward through the varied steps of Christian experience,
  and the Christian becomes more exultant as he mounts upward.
     Let us not forget, however, we are still witnessing the grand court-
  room scene, where the criminal has been taken from the prisoner’      s
  dock and made to stand side by side with the One who has been his
  Judge, and Paul is indicating the legal steps whereby this has been
  made possible. So in verse 6 he says: “For when we were yet without
  strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” He is reminding
  us here that the criminal has not been justified because of anything
  that he has done, or anything that he is. He calls him by an ugly
  name, “the ungodly.” The condemned sinner has been found thor-
  oughly bankrupt as far as his ability to pay his debt is concerned.
  He is without strength, and while still in that condition, without
  improving his position one iota, it is recorded that Christ died for
  the ungodly. We cannot pass over a marvelous verse like this without
  desiring to proclaim far and wide the glorious gospel of the blessed
  God, who has devised a way of magnificent grace wherein ungodly
 men may come to His throne and find peace in believing. It is all on
 account of the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ on
 Calvary.
     It is as though Paul were here impressing upon us the total de-
 pravity of the sinner, the criminal who has stood before the bar
           s
 of God’ justice utterly condemned. He says: “For scarcely for a
 righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some
 would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us,
 in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the
glad and glorious gospel. By way of contrast, Paul, still the legal
counsel for the defense, declares that in the ordinary affairs of men
you will scarcely find, at any time, one who would lay down his
life for a righteous man. And then he says further, you might per-
adventure, by chance as it were, find a person who was willing to lay
down his life for a good man. By way of contrast, however, God
commends his love towards us, in that while we were neither good
nor righteous, but sinners, Christ died for us.
    In view of the simplicity of this gospel, one wonders there is still
an unbeliever left on the face of the earth. Unequivocally you and
                                                       s
I have been declared unworthy of the least of God’ favors. We are
rebels in His presence. The Jew, first arraigned before the bar of
justice, has been pronounced guilty because he has broken the law
that God gave him for his guidance. The Gentile is equally guilty
                                s
because he has refused God’ testimony in creation and gone his
                                 THE UNGODLY                                        10.5
  own way into idolatry. Both of them together should have been
                                                                                ue r ec t m
  s e r v a n t s o f t h e i r C r e a t o r , b u t i n s t e a d t h e y h a v n p bo f io a bel e .
  There is not a single item of merit in favor of the criminal. He is
  worthless, condemned, guilty, deserving of nothing but condemna-
  tion.
     Now the question might be asked, if the criminal were given an
  opportunity, could he not demonstrate there is some good in him
  after all? But it is too late for that now in these chapters of Romans.
  The legal evidence brought before the court is that the criminal has
  been examined from head to foot. Paul, as a master surgeon, has
  gone to the operating table and made a complete analysis of his en-
  tire physical make-up, and has found him corrupt in every member
  of his being. From the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, he
  is nothing but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores. That is the
 spiritual description of the sinner. He is pronounced hopeless, help-
 less. To me it seems a master stroke the Spirit of God brings in
 through Paul, as he reminds the court that occasionally you will find
                                                                                        y
 a r i g h t e o u s m a n f o r w h o m s o m e o n e w o u l d s c a r c e lp e rdaid - a n d  e,
 venture you might find a good man for whom someone perhaps would
 die, but here is the evidence that the Lord Jesus, knowing how incor-
 rigible we are by nature and by practice, even while we were yet
 sinners, died for us.
     L e t US n o t f o r g e t , i n v i e w i n g t h i s s c e n e , y o u a n d I a r e t h e c r i m -
 inals. W e have failed utterly as men and women in the flesh to live
 up to the requirements of God. W e stand already condemned as
 worthless sinners in the presence of God. Not a word in all this pass-
age about the good within us, about which we hear so much these
 days. W e are dealing with the Lord here, and we must remember that
“A l l t h i n g s a r e n a k e d a n d o p e n u n t o t h e e y e s o f H i m w i t h w h o m w e
have to do.” He has looked us over; His eye has penetrated to the
d e e p e s t r e c e s s e s o f o u r h e a r t s , a n d H e urtgodly ua n d s i n n e r s .
                                                                      finds s
He i s s p e a k i n g o f t h e n a t u r a l i m p u l s e s o f t h e h e a r t o f u n r e g e n e r a t e
man. It is not only that man is bad, he is incorrigible; he cannot be
im p r o v e d .
    N O W, i t i s c o n d i t i o n e d u p o n t h o s e p r e m i s e s t h a t t h e L o r d J e s u s
                m                 g
C h r i s t i n a g n i t i c e n t r a c e s t e p s f r o m h e a v e n ’s h i g h e s t t h r o n e . H e
is born in Bethlehem and He starts on a career of some thirty-three
years, every step taking Him inevitably closer to the Cross of Cal-
vary. His ministrations of kindness and love and mercy during His
(3ublic l i f e c o u l d o n l y c o n f i r m m a n , H i s c r e a t u r e , a s a b s o l u t e l y i n -
corrigible beyond all improvement, and it was indeed expedient One
 106            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 should die for the people. The Lord Jesus Christ, unasked and un-
                                      s
 wanted, took our place on Calvary’ tree, paid the penalty of our
 sins and the tremendous debt to Jehovah, for on Him was laid the
 iniquity of us all. It was while we were without strength that Christ
 died for the ungodly. In view of the grace of God, in view of the
 fact that God so commends His love towards us, I should like to ask
 what your attitude is to the magnificent gift of God, the Lord Jesus
 Christ, who died in your room and in your stead. Have you accepted
 Him as your personal Saviour? If so, you are saved forever. If not,
 you still stand in the place of condemnation; if you die in your sins,
 where the Lord Jesus is you cannot come.




                           Boast in God
       Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved
    from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled
    to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall
    be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our
    Lard Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (Ram. 5:
    9-l 1).



M       OUNTING upon a golden stairway of truth in this chapter,
         we began with the foundation stone in verse 1, justification
 by faith and peace with God, and we travel onward and upward into
 the serene realm of joy and rejoicing in the magnificence of God’     s
 goodness.
                                                    s
    In verse 8 we have the commendation of God’ love towards us,
 “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We cannot
 but notice how absolutely unworthy the sinner is for the least of God’s
 favors. This is the position that you and I have to take before God
can do anything for us. We have to repent and believe the gospel
so God can blot out our sins. I need hardly mention this is far from
the commonly accepted theories current in the world today: that
in order to meet with the favor of God, we have to do the best we
can and earn our way to heaven. This is the commendation of God’      s
love, unmerited, undeserved. It is a mighty ocean which gushes forth
from the heart of God in eternal fulness, sweeping everything before
it, and bringing to the heart of the sinner the knowledge of sins for-
given and justification from all things.
                           BOAST IN GOD                             107
      Now, as we mount the ladder a little further, Paul says in verse 9:
   ‘(Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be
   saved from wrath through Him.” We do not need to have any
   grandiose ideas about our own accomplishments here. We are justi-
   fied by the blood of Christ. What does that mean? It means, in
   order that we might be cleared from guilt, the Lord Jesus had to
  shed His blood. That blood is the token that He surrendered His life
  on our behalf. Nothing short of the complete giving of Himself would
  pay the penalty of our sins. Our transgressions deserved eternal
  death. The Lord Jesus stepped in and, although He Himself was sin-
  less, yet He became sin for us that we might become the righteous-
  ness of God in Him. In order that there might be no mistake as to
  the completeness of His work on Calvary, His blood was shed. By
  the determinate counsel of God He was offered up, God allowed the
  soldier to come near Him and with a sword pierce His side, and
  “forthwith came there out blood and water,” the token to all that the
  Lord Jesus actually died. Now it is by virtue of that death, by virtue
  of the full payment of our penalty, that you and I are justified. The
 reasoning presented in this passage by Paul, the defense attorney,
  is most brilliant. He is claiming everything in favor of the condemned
 criminal.
      His great claim here is that the death penalty is demanded by the
 righteousness of the throne of God because of the transgressions of
 the sinner; but the Lord Jesus, by way of substitution, has taken the
 place of the sinner and has died his death, and now He is alive again,
 having shed His blood. Thus, through that blood which was shed,
 the sinner is justified; he is cleared from guilt. The law has no claim
upon him now, because the penalty of his offences was paid in full
when the Lord Jesus died. More than that, the Lord Jesus is alive
again, and now the pardoned sinner in association with Him is saved
from wrath through Him. In other words, the judgment of God that
fell upon the Lord Jesus Christ was exhausted, for “He bore our sins
in His own body on the tree.” That judgment was expended on the
Christ of God on the Cross, so there remains no more wrath, no more
judgment for the forgiven sinner, who stands accelned by God in the
risen Christ. It is the legal statement of that grand truth presented
by the Lord Himself in John 5: 24: “He that heareth my Word, and
believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Thus
we are saved from wrath through Him.
     Then the great apostle goes on: “For if, when we were enemies,
 108                          KOOM DRAMA
               ROMAN%-A COU RI’
  we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, be-
  ing reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” A we stood there in
                                                    S
  the dock of this universal courtroom condemned in our sins, our
 mouths stopped, helplessly and hopelessly doomed, it was then we
 were reconciled or brought near to God through the death of His
  Son; much more then, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
 The brilliant argument is that if the goodness of God came out in
  fulness enough to forgive us our trespasses through the work of Christ
 on the Cross as we stood there condemned, enemies, criminals, surely
 now that we are forgiven and stand in the risen life of Christ there
 is no question of our eternal salvation. If the mighty grace of God
 could pardon me as I stood there in my sins, because of what Christ
 has done, surely now that I am brought near to God, He shall have
 no condemnation to pronounce upon me, because I stand in Christ
 risen.
    Then it seems almost as if the great apostle cannot stop, as he goes
 from one pinnacle of the grace of God to another, ever higher, mount-
 ing in spiritual enthusiasm as he outlines the rich grace of God. He
 says: “And not only so, but we also joy [or boast] in God through
 our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atone-
ment.” This is indeed a grand truth! The forgiven sinner does not
stand trembling in the presence of the One who at one time was his
Judge, but who has now forgiven him. Instead of being in any way
uncertain of his position, he makes his boast in God through our Lord
Jesus Christ. In very simple language it may be illustrated again in
the courtroom scene that I have sought to keep before our vision
throughout these passages. The criminal having been condemned,
helplessly and hopelessly doomed, finds his penalty is paid by an-
other. He is then taken by the hand and brought into the presence
of the One who was his Judge. He stands there before the bench
under the benign gaze of God, the Judge of all. Instead of feeling
conscience stricken and uncomfortable in His presence, he makes his
boast in the One who formerly was his Judge. From then on he goes
around telling everybody what a marvelous person of love and good-
ness and truth is the One who has forgiven him all his trespasses. He
spends the rest of his life boasting in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ. I wonder if you and I as Christians realize how much God
has forgiven us, how kind He has been to us!
                                                                   DEATH                                                                                  109




                                                                  Death
          W herefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
    sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all hove sinned:                                                                         (For until
    the low sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no
     low. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that
                                                        s
    had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’ transgression, who is the
    figure of him that was to come. But not as the                                                          offence,     so also is the free
    gift. For if through the                              offence                     of one many be dead, much more the
    grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ,
    hoth abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is
    the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift
    is of many                 offences          u n t o j u s t i f i c a t i o n . F o r i f b y o n es’                       offence        death
    reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of                                                                          grace    and of
    the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)                                                                          (Ram.
    5:12-17).



T      HE very first word of this passage, “wherefore,” brings us
       abruptly back to the realization we are still witnessing the court
  scene. This is a brilliant legal argument, which Paul is presenting,
 in which every moral issue affecting the Creator and the creature is
 taken up and a righteous solution is outlined. Perhaps the subject
 which comes to our attention now is one which affects us all more
 deeply than anything else in the world. It is the transient character
 of our life, the uncertainty of the tenure of our existence in this
 world. We are now reaching a dramatic moment indeed in this court
 trial. Paul has been discussing many things that may be thought
 rather abstract; now he gets down to basic realities. Death is truly
 the enigma of the ages. It is the most unnatural process through
which the creature must go inevitably. It is the specter that con-
tinually haunts the footsteps of every individual. The subject must
then come before this universal court and a proper and adequate ex-
planation must be made concerning it.
    I cannot dwell too strongly upon the tragedy of death itself. There
is so much in this world that speaks of life and fruitfulness and hope
and joy and bright expectancy that death indeed casts a very dark
                          s
shadow across creation’ sunlit scene. The question comes home re-
lentlessly to every human heart; why should there be such things
as sorrow, bereavement, and death, casting their pall of gloom upon
the human family, when every spiritual instinct of our being seems
 110         ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  to yearn for things that are fresh and enduring? a solemnq u e s -
                                                      It is
  tion which must be considered, not in the light of human opinion, but
  in the light of divine revelation.
                                                        the
     W e stand witness to this dramatic spectacle incourtroom with
  God Himself upon the bench, the   sinrler arraigned in His presence
  to give an account of himself, and Paul the attorney defending the
  criminal. As we listen to these imperishable words, I seem even to
  see behind the court scene and envision the grim necessity of this
  particular episode.
                                                              Ada
     I look back across the centuries and see the first family,m
  and Eve and their two sons. They had come but recently from the
  hand of the Almighty, made in the image of God, pronounced very
  good in a creation of beauty and order. Then suddenly into the quiet
  decorum of their family life tragedy stalks with ugly mien. Cain has
  lifted up his hand against Abel, and Adam and Eve look upon the
  thirsty earth, drinking in the blood of their beloved son, and two
  heads hang in shame and sorrow. They must have asked the question,
  “Why should this be?” and I have no doubt their own hearts an-
 swered back,“Hath not God said, ‘In the day thou eatest thereof,
 thou shalt surely die.’ Then I travel across the pages of the Old
                        ”
 Testament to Genesis 5, and it reads like a catalog. Name after name
 -Adam, Seth, Enos,   Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared-and after each one
 mentioned there is the cryptic note that he lived so many years and
 then he died. It is the bloodstained finger of death writing in in-
 delible letters of sorrow upon the page of inspiration the tragic truth:
 man had forfeited his right to remain on the earth, and he must make
 his inglorious exit through the portals of death.
    Then I travel on and I seem to stand by the side of Abraham on
 that unhappy day when he purchased a parcel of ground called
Machpelah from the children of Heth.   I watch him as he stands there
with stooped shoulders, and he weighs out four hundred shekels of
silver to buy a little plot of ground as a burial place for Sarah, his
wife. I hear his faltering words, so eloquent of the sorrow of his heart
as he says: “I am a stranger and a sojourner with you, give me a
possession of a burying place with you that I may bury my dead
out of my sight.” He is but the prototype of the millions of husbands
who have stood by the burying place which they have purchased,
wherein they might lay the beloved remains of the one whom they
loved dearer than life itself. Yes, it is a tragic story!
    I seem to see behind this courtroom scene in which the question of
                                                            broken-
death is raised so dramatically, and I witness the millions of
                                DEATH                                111
                                             s
hearted wives who have stood in widow’ weeds as they see that
beloved husband laid in the tomb. I see unnumbered fatherless chil-
dren watch the grim reaper take away the head of their home, and,
with him, the support and tenderness of affection, the loss of which
can never be measured in human values. These are the scenes that
pass before our vision as we listen to the drama of this courtroom
in which Paul again takes up the argument. This is a question that
must be settled. Whence is this specter called “death” and is there
no hope of release from its grim tyranny? And Paul begins, “Where-
fore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” In a
word, you and I must die because we have sinned. As Paul pursues
his argument we shall see the sunlight of a new day begin to penetrate
the shadowed gloom of this dramatic scene, as the truth of resurrec-
tion dawns upon the court.




                    Much More Then

R     OMANS 5: 14-17 may seem to present a somewhat intricate
       argument, but let us remember they deal with a very difficult
 and involved subject. The subject is of paramount issue in the affairs
 of men. It is the problem of the why and wherefore of death itself.
    We so often speak of people “dying a natural death” that we seem
 to forget the fact that all death is most unnatural. Our God is a living
 God and He takes delight in flooding the scene of His operations
with life and peace, joy and abundance. Death therefore is unnatural.
Paul is sifting all the evidence here to get at the root of this enigma
of the universe. He wants to find the underlying cause of this tragedy
that stalks the earth among men, the tragedy of death.
   Tracing it back to its origin, he sets forth before the court the
entrance of death, occasioned by one man, and that man a federal
head, because he calls him “a figure of Him that was to come.” Im-
mediately this is announced, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself comes
into evidence, and so we have two federal heads, Adam and Christ,
the first man and the second Man, the first Adam and the last Adam.
These are terms that are used throughout the New Testament to
present this striking contrast.
   When I speak of a federal head, I mean simply that Adam is
   112               R O M A N S - AC O U R T R O O M D R A M A
                                                                 acm p
  l o o k e d u p o n h e r e a s o n e f r o m w h o m t h e r h u e asn r a n g . T h r o u g h
  him we inherited a fallen nature, a tendency toward osin,p t                 a c rru
  imagination, so we are first of all sinners by inherited nature.
  Through the act of one man then, and that an act of disobedience,
  the many were constituted sinners. It is not “many” passage          in this
  in the sense that there are others that are not sinners; it is rather
  t h a t “ t h e m a n y ,m e a n i n g t h e w h o l e h u m a n r a c e , h a v e c o m e u n d e r
                            ”
  the curse occasioned by the disobedience of “the one,” who is Adam.
  N o w , by way of contrast to this, we have the Lord Jesus Christ, who
 inaugurates another race altogether, a race that partakes of His
 nature and has the righteousness of God imputed to it because of
 the superabundance of grace that has come in through Him.
      In simple language, the two elements contrasted here are, on the
 one hand, the condemnation of death, the sentence imposed by this
 court upon the sinner. On the contrary, the hand of the judge is
                                                            P and
 mercifully extended, offering a free gift,a u l is pointing out that
 the free gift totally eclipses the sentence of condemnation. He says:
 “But not as the        offence, so also is the free gift.” God is not only
 canceIingour debt by this free gift, but through the superabundance
 of His grace He is setting us up in a position totally superior to any-
 thing we might have enjoyed in the old creation, even without sin.
 So Paul, lawyer for the defense, again brings into play a favorite
 expression in this passage, “much more then.” He says in verse 15:
 “If through the                                               W,
                      offence o f o n e m a n y b e d e a dW % fnoye the grace
 of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one Man, Jesus Christ,
hath abounded unto many.”
     Again I stand in the courtroom. I see the judge upon the bench,
God Himself. I see the criminal brought nigh through the atoning
work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross, and the criminal-forgiven,
justified because Another has borne his penalty-stands before the
Judge. Paul, the lawyer, stands to one side; he is speaking on behalf
both of the Judge and of the criminal, outlining the terms which God
is im p o s i n g u p o n t h i s s i n n e r w h o m H e h a s b r o u g h t n e a r t o H i m s e l f .
    In His one hand as it were, the Judge holds the death sentence. In
H is other hand He has a free gift. He holds up the death sentence to
                                        we
all who may see it, and find it has been canceled. Upon it, as it
were, is the crimson stain of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the One who has borne the penalty in order that the condemned sin-
ner might be set free. The debt is paid, the              sins are blotted out, the
iniquity of the sinner has been laid upon the Saviour when He died
                         MUCH MORE THEN                                113
   upon the Cross. Now He is risen and the Judge holds the canceled
   sentence in His hand.
      But in the other hand he holds a free gift, and what may this be?
  It is the superabundance of His grace that not only has accepted
   the cancellation of the debt so the sinner is forgiven, but His free gift
  is something even beyond that, “For the wages of sin is death, but
  the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “Much
  more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one Man,
  Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” God Himself, the Judge,
  has found such infinite satisfaction in the sacrificial work of His
  Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, He is not only willing to put
  the sins of the criminal into the land of forgetfulness, but through
  infinite grace He is willing to accept him back in the very acceptabil-
  ity of His own beloved Son. That is the gift by grace that has
  abounded unto the many who acknowledge the Lord Jesus as their
  federal head by bowing the knee to Him and owning Him as Lord.
     Thus Paul insists again in verse 16: “Not as it was by one that
 sinned, so is the gift.” Let us not stop short by measuring the grace
 of God simply by His forgiveness of our sins, God might forgive my
 sins and yet not have me in His presence in the acceptability of His
 beloved Son. The grace of God far outmeasures the canceling of the
 debt. It superabounds over the offence. The free gift is of many
                                                  s
 offences unto justification, for if by one man’ offence death reigned
 by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and the
 gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. Here is
                                                          m
 the triumph of the Cross! We often sing in truth, “I’ only a sinner,
saved by grace,” and surely that is the only right beginning. But let
US not stop there. The free gift which God has given us far tran-

scends the cancellation of our debt of sin; it includes the positive
blessings of being arrayed in the best robe of heaven, a ring placed
upon our finger, shoes upon our feet, a place in the Father’ houses
of joy and merriment, the fatted calf killed, and the glad words
re-echoing in our ears: “This my son was dead and is alive again,
he was lost and is found.” The free gift, I say, far outmeasures the
mere forgiveness of our transgressions. It does that first, but it goes
on like a mighty tide of exhaustless blessing, bringing us into the
heights of everlasting bliss, all brought about by One, Jesus Christ.
The work of the Cross, perfectly completed by Jesus the Son of God,
gives us a place accepted in the beloved One forever. We shall never
be able to apprehend the superabundance of God’ grace.s
 114                                         ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                                                                             Two Dynasties
                  Therefore as by the                                          offence   of one judgment come upon                                          all   men to   con-
        demnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon
                                                               s
       all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’ disobedience many
       were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made right-
       eous. Moreover the law entered, that the                                                                         offence   might abound. But where
       sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned
       unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eter-
       nal life by Jesus Christ our Lord                                                              (Ram.          5:18-21).



 T     HE subject before our attention in this excellent passage is the
                          s
       superiority of God’ grace over sin and death. The keynote is:
  “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
     We have been noticing throughout this entire chapter how these
 words “much more” have given character to the ascending scale of
 divine truth. Paul has been mounting a golden stairway of truth and
                                                             s
 each step takes us higher into the serene realm of God’ excellent
 blessing. Let us remember, however, we are still viewing the court-
 room scene where man, the criminal, has been passing under review,
 where he has been proven guilty, and is now justified. The particular
 moral issue now before the court is the question of death-its origin,
 its effect, and its annulment.
    The eighteenth verse asserts that by the offence of one man judg-
 ment came upon all men unto condemnation. Through Adam’ trans-s
gression you and I have been constituted sinners. We are sinners by
 nature and by practice. Adam is our federal head, so, as men after
the flesh, we are corrupt in the inner springs of our being. Moreover
these inner springs are making themselves known by our actions.
Thus by nature and by practice we are condemned criminals in the
presence of the Judge, our God. The condemnation is the death sen-
tence-eternal death.
    Instead, however, of meting out inexorable justice and banishing
us from His presence forever, God, who is our Judge, comes forward
to us with a free gift, and Paul, the lawyer for the defense, says:
“Even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men
                                                 s
unto justification of life. For as by one man’ disobedience many
were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made
                          TWO DYNASTIES                             115
  righteous.” Two contrasting acts are presented for our attention here.
  The first is the offence or the sin of Adam, which was disobedience
  agai n st     God. The second was the act of obedience which the Lord
                                            s
  Jesus Himself performed on Calvary’ tree, where He became the sin
                                          s
  bearer in obedience to His Father’ will. It is because of His work
  en the Cross that God can hand to us the free gift of justification
  of life. NOW the dark gloom of the courtroom, which had been shad-
  owed by the prospect of condemnation, is gilded by the bright sun-
                           s
  light of redemption’ glory, even life from the dead. It is as though
  the condemned criminal stood there before the Judge, his head hung
  in shame, the death sentence about to be pronounced upon him, and
  the dark prospects of the gallows before him. Suddenly into the dark-
 ened gloom of this courtroom the glad news is brought that the
             s                                            s
 Judge’ own Son, because of the love of the Judge’ heart, has given
 His life for the criminal, and he may go free of all charge. Instead
 of looking forward to death, he looks forward to abundant life. That
 is “justification of life.” A new life has been given to him untarnished
 by the condemnation of sin. But such is presented as a free gift on
 the principle of grace and not on the principle of works, so it is
 recorded here, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,”
          The magnanimous grace of God intervenes in two different ways.
 First of all, the grace of God gives His beloved Son, who becomes
 the victim to die in the stead of the criminal. Secondly, the grace of
 God comes in to forgive the criminal his sin because of the work of
expiation on the part of the One who has died. So the magnificence
               s
of God’ grace is that it swallows up, covers over, buries in the depths
of the sea the sin of the criminal. But it also goes on to extend to
him a new life, even the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus, the One
who died for him and rose again. All this is substantiated to us in
that wonderful passage in 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul outlines the
gospel by which we are saved: “H OW that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He
rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Thus the death,
burial, and Resurrection of our Lord has been put on indelible record
that every believer should know assuredly the entire sin question
has been settled. The superabundant grace of God comes forth in
flood tide, swallowing up everything before it, and bringing endless
blessing to the simple believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, so “where
sin abounds, grace doth much more abound.”
        A S a consequence of all this the last verse of Romans 5 comes in
with double assurance: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even
 116             ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus
 Christ our Lord.” Here we have brought before us two dynasties,
first the reign of sin unto death, then the reign of grace unto right-
eousness. Let us remember there is the kingdom of darkness as well
                                     s
as the kingdom of the Son of God’ love. There is the power of dark-
ness and there is the power of God unto salvation.
   These are the two dynasties set in juxtaposition in this verse. NOW
it is tragically true that sin reigns unto death, for the wages of sin
is death. You see the dominating principle of sin in the life of man
here on earth and you realize its logical issue is the grave. The mark
of death is upon every man because we are all sinners. That is a
terrible reign; it is a power which we cannot combat as long as sin is
here. However, in this verse there is brought into view another king-
dom, the kingdom where grace reigns. Here the dominating principle
is not sin but grace. It is the grace which is given to us as a free gift
from God Himself, and it will go on to triumph unto righteousness
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Its present confirmation is the right-
eousness of God which is imputed to us, and which justifies us and
clears US from guilt, but its final confirmation is eternal life in a
world of unclouded bliss, out of which sin has finally been banished
and overcome. This is all accomplished through Jesus Christ our
Lord.



                                 Baptism
      What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may
    abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer
    therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
    Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by
    baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by
    the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
    For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall
    be also in the likeness of his resurrection (Ram. 6:1-5).



S0 havein toitstravel rather slowly. Firstisofofallconsiderable maintain the
     MANY excellent divine truths are involved in these verses we

passage          context, and I think it
                                                     we must
                                                                 help to re-
member we are still viewing and listening to the courtroom scene.
The case of the criminal is before the court. God is the Judge; the
Lord Jesus Christ is the One who has taken the place of the sinner,
                                   BAPTISM                                    117
   died in his stead, is risen again, and now He appears in the court-
   room. Paul, the attorney for the defense, is taking us step by step
  as he argues the case. In the close of chapter 5 he asserted the ?over-
  eign claim which the dominating principle of sin has upon the crim-
  inal, and which must culminate in eternal death unless some greater
  power comes in to annul death and liberate the condemned.
     Now the apostle is working toward that issue in these verses in
  chapter 6. He is going carefully, a step at a time. His contention is
  that the power of the grace of God is superior to the power of sin
  and death. But the question is immediately raised: how shall this
  affect the criminal? Is the power of the grace of GodSO all-enveloping
  it will extend to the criminal a license to do as he pleases, to con-
  tinue in his life of sin, expecting to be pardoned at the end of his
 career for anything he might do along the way? Now this is a very
 important issue and must be settled once and for all before this uni-
 versal court.
     So Paul says: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin,
 that grace may abound?” In other words, the Judge upon the bench,
 who is none other than the God of all loving-kindness, has given, as
 a free gift to the condemned criminal before Him, a complete pardon
 for his offences. This has been done righteously, because Another,
 the Lord Jesus Christ, has paid the penalty of sin by His death on
 Calvary. Then there is no question about the pardon. It is given
 freely on the principle of grace. Shall the condemned criminal, now
 set free from the charge against him, go out into the world then and
 do as he pleases and indulge in sin to the limit, knowing that God’    s
grace superabounds sin? The apostle says, ‘(God forbid! How shall
we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
    Here is the situation as it appears to me. God, the Judge, holds in
His hand the long catalog of guilt, the long list of offences with which
man, the criminal, is charged. By the shed blood of the Lord Jesus
                                              s
as the substitutionary offering on Calvary’ Cross, God has blotted
out that list of transgressions. He has cast them into the depth of
the sea. As far as the east is from the west, so far He has removed
our transgressions from us. There is no question as to the complete
clearance from guilt. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on
him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted unto him for
righteousness.” The righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to the
sinner and he is freed of the charge. He is justified by God’s grace;
he is justified by faith; he is justified by the blood of Christ. His
s i n s - p a s t , p r e s e n t a n d future-have been dealt with by the judg-
 118          R O M A N % - AC O U R T R O O M D R A M A
   ment of God upon the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, when Jehovah
   laid on Him the iniquity of us all. That work is complete and fin-.
   ished. His sins were all future when Christ died and they were all
   atoned for. God is satisfied. I, the sinner, accept it by faith and justi-
   fication is accorded to me as a free gift.
      Now all that is settled, but another great issue still remains. There
   stands the criminal now pardoned, cleared from guilt because An-
   other has died for him. The law no longer has a claim upon him;
                                         a man, a son of Adam’ yam
   he is free of all charges. But he is still                  s
   with a corrupt heart. In other words, the actions of the criminal have
   been taken care of, and he has a clean slate. Shall he then be turned
   forth in the world without restraint? If so, then the corrupt nature
   of his heart will but again express itself and that inherent impulse
                                  The
   to sin will be put into action. sinner himself is now the real
                                                             the sin-
   problem, not his offences. What then shall the court do with
   ner? Paul is contending the only thing to do with him is to declare
   him dead, and give him life after a new order in the risen Lord, under
   a new power, even resurrection life.
      It is along this line that baptism comes in. Paul is not asking
   merely that the sinner should be baptized, as if that in itself would
   do anything for him, but he is reminding us that baptism by immer-
   sion in water is the very expression of the truth which this court
  demands. The sinner now justified must himself be reckoned dead
  and so Paul reminds us: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were
  baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore
  we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ
  was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
 also should walk in newness of life.” In homespun language, Paul is
  indicating here that, according to the old Adam nature, the criminal
 must be put to death. Now if a person is dead, he must be buried,
 put out of sight. So the analogy in baptism is that we stand in asso-
 ciation with the Lord Jesus Christ; we are dead with Him, therefore
 we must be buried with Him and raised again with Him.
     Baptism by immersion in water is the expression or witness of that
 truth. It is not the truth itself, but it is the confession of the truth.
 It is the confession that I, as a son of Adam’s race, am so corrupt
 in the inner springs of my being God can do nothing with a as     me
man after the flesh. By submitting to the ordinance of baptism     I
confess before men that I agree with God about this great moral
issue, and I submit myself symbolically as dead with Christ.I As
g o down under the waters of baptism I show that I deserve to be put
                                    BAPTISM                                         119
out of sight, out of the land of the living into the realm of death
as a fitting end to my corrupt nature. But God, through His match-
less grace, permits me, according to this truth, to be raised again.
So I come up out of the waters of baptism as a symbol that I might
walk in newness of life in association with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Baptism will not save me. It is an e:xpression of the fact that I am
dead and risen with Christ, and I am recognized in His risen life,
acceptable before God in His life, motivated by a new principle, even
the very principle of the righteousness of God. The symbol of the
planting of the seed in the ground, in the place of death, to spring
forth in new life in fruit-bearing, is used in this passage to convey
the same grand truth. What a challenge this presents to every Chris-
tian heart!




                          Newness of Life
        Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as
     Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
     also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted to-
     gether in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of his
     resurrection: 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
     (Ram. 6:4-6).



W is sbeing tried, regulations, but alsoscene his inherentthe violation
     E ARE witnessing a courtroom

of God’ laws and                          for
                                               in which
                   not only for his offences, for his acts of
                                                              criminal

                                                           evil nature,
his natural impulses towards sin. It is this latter element that is now
before the court. Paul, defender of the accused, under the authority
of divine and matchless grace is indicating a way out of the difficulty,
and the way he indicates is by death and resurrection.
   One way out would be the eternal death of the criminal, but this
                    s
would defeat God’ purposes of love and grace. We must remember
the Judge upon the throne is not only a righteous Judge. He is a lov-
ing God, and He Himself has appointed Paul, under the unction of
the Holy Spirit, to set forth the way whereby this one who is a crim-
inal may be justified in His presence and a means found whereby
his own natural impulses towards sin will be annulled. The death
sentence, eternal death for the criminal, would be one solution; but
 120                                        M
             R O M A N S - A C O U R T R O OD R A M A
 this would not satisfy the heart of a loving God. What then shall be
 done?
                                                            Lord
    The criminal must be brought into living association with the
 Jesus Christ, the One who died on the Cross as his substitute, the
                                                           power
 One who is raised again in the resurrection sphere beyond the
 of death. The criminal then shall be closely, livingly identified with
 the Lord Jesus. He shall be reckoned dead with Him, he shall be
 reckoned buried with Him, he shall be reckoned raised again with
 Him in the power of the new life.
    Baptism is the expression of all of that. In baptism, the criminal
 who has been pardoned for his sin, is taken; he is reckoned dead and
 he is immersed in water as a symbol that he has died before the eye
                                   rc’ow
 of God and that he is being buried. that shall be the close of his
                                   as
 history before the eye of God, fa.r as his descent from Adam is
 concerned. The man after the flesh, with all his evil nature and his
 propensities toward sin, is reckoned dead, his history closed, the last
 chapter of his career brought to an end, and so he is put out of sight
 symbolically by immersion in water. Or like a seed put in the ground,
 as this Scripture says, he is planted in the likeness of His death.
    Then a new vista of truth opens up before us. Is the sinner saved
 by grace, the pardoned criminal, left in the place of death? No in-
 deed! He is raised with Christ, and so, as we bring a person up out
 of the waters of baptism, we symbolically declare he is now linked
 by life and nature with a risen Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and
in the power of His life this one is literally resurrected and enabletl
to walk in newness of life. The seed that we planted hasant1     died
now springs forth in new life, in symbol.
                                                               was
   It is a very interesting expression in verse 4: “Like as Christ
raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also.”
Notice how the word “likeness” is used again and again in this pas-
sage, because the ordinance of baptism is merely a symbol or a like-
ness. It is an illustration of a vital truth, but only the vital truth
really matters. Baptism itself does not put you to death and raise
                                             that
you to life again. It is a symbol that in Christ has taken place
for you and you appropriate it when you are baptized.
   But the expression in verse 4, to which I draw particular atten-
tion, is that the Lord Jesus was raised from the by the glory of
                                                   dead
the Father. I do not know anywhere in the New Testament a state-
ment quite so exquisite as this in relation to the Resurrection of
Christ. What does it mean?
                         NEWNESS OF LIFE                              121
      It is not that He was raised from the dead by the power of the
   Father, which you and I would readily understand. He is raised from
                            s
   the dead by the Father’ glory. Let us remember that the work of
  the Lord Jesus on the Cross was done in obedience to His Father’        s
  will. As He left the upper room and went out to Calvary, He said,
  “That the world may know that I love the Father, even SO I do.”
  God in righteousness turned His back upon our Lord on the Cross,
  but in the mystery of the Godhead it is a sterling fact that the
            s
  Father’ eye was upon Him all the way through. He said: “Father
  into Thy hand I commend My Spirit,” even at the time when He
  was going through the terror of God’s abandonment. If ever He
  brought delight to the heart of His Father, it was when He hung on
  the tree. Then He went into the tomb, and so supremely satisfied was
  His Father’s heart in regard to the work of redemption He had
  accomplished, that God the Father, reached down, as it were, laid
  hold upon His beloved Son, and brought Him out from among the
  dead. It was the outshining of the glory of the Father. The full tide
                  s
  of the Father’ affection reached down to lay hold upon the Lord
  Jesus when He was at the lowest point in the universe, down in the
  heart of the earth, embraced Him in the arms of eternal love of which
  only God the Father is capable, and brought Him up out of the
 region of death.
     The Lord Jesus was raised from among the dead by the glory of
 the Father. His Resurrection was the answer of God the Father in
 supreme satisfaction to the work He had done on the Cross. The
 same thing is stated in other words in the Acts of the Apostles where
 it says: ‘   Whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He
raised Him from the dead.” The great overwhelming evidence that
your sins are gone, and gone forever, is that the Father raised the
Lord Jesus from among the dead. It is not simply that He raised
Him from the dead, but from among the dead. God reached down,
and out of this earth which was before His eye a vast cemetery,
where the moldering bodies of millions already lay, He selected that
                         s
one Person in Joseph’ new tomb, His beloved Son, and raised Him
up from among the dead. It is in the likeness of all this that you and
I, in the ordinance of baptism, come up out of the water, to live no
longer for our own satisfaction, but for the satisfaction of the
          s
Father’ heart, to walk in newness of life. In other words, “I am cru-
cified 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
 122            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Baptism as an
ordinance is an expression of that grand truth and it comes as a great
challenge to every one of us. Do we really walk in newness of life?



                         Reckoned Dead
       Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, thot the body of
    sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he
    that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe
    that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from
    the dead dieth no more; death hoth no more dominion over him. For in
    that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto
    God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but
    alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 6:6-11).



T     HE criminal who is arraigned before the bar of God’s justice in
      these early chapters of Romans is found doubly guilty. There
 are two aspects to his guilt. First of all he is guilty by way of
 offences. On the part of the Jew, he is the transgressor of the law.
 On the part of the Gentile, he is a rebel, because he has refused the
 w itness of God set forth in creatorial power. That is the first part
 o f m a n ’s guilt-transgressions, offences, sins. But the second item of
his guilt is that he kimsell corrupt. What is called here “our old
                        is
m a n ” bespeaks sinful flesh, or what man is with an evil nature in-
herited from Adam.
                                                    of our
    Previously Paul has dealt with the question offencesand the
answer is that we are justified through the work of the Lord Jesus
Christ on the Cross by grace alone. Our a r e p a r d o n e d , o u r
                                         offences
sins are forgiven, and we are set free from the charges which were
against us because of transgressions.
    The question before the court now is the second one, that of our
                         ‘(our
inherent sinful nature, old man.” Paul, the defense attorney, is
indicating that what we are by nature has been nailed to the Cross
in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our old man is crucified with
H im. .SeZf in all the natural propensities and tendencies toward sin has
been brought to an end in Christ crucified, that the body of sin might
be destroyed or annulled, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Sin is looked upon here as a taskmaster who has unquestioned sway
over you and me in our unregenerate state. The redemption offered
                         RECKONED DEAD                               123
  to us in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of escape, thus the
  work of the Cross comes in to liberate us from the power of sin.
      The analogy in verse 7 is, he that is dead is freed from sin. When
  you go to a funeral and look within the coffin and see a corpse there,
  you can truthfully say the person whose dead body you look upon
  is freed from sin; he shall never commit any more sins, because his
  life after the old order is gone. Now, spiritually, that is the position
  of every Christian who has practically identified himself with the
  Lord Jesus. He is literally reckoned dead, and freed from the power
  of sin. Of course, he is very much alive in himself, because he is not
  a physical corpse. But by way of identity he has confessed that under
  the condemnation of God the place for him is the place of death and
  he reckons himself dead. It is as he reckons himself dead that the
 power of sin is broken in his life.
     Now we must put that in practical terms, otherwise it becomes a
 matter merely of terminology. How do we reckon ourselves dead in
 practical life? It is “our old man” that is dead, that entity we call
 “the sinful self.” Let us take one or two exemplary ways in which
 this works out in our lives. We take one Christian: in his uncon-
 verted days he was a stubborn, self-willed man; unless he was always
 having his own way he was a most disagreeable person in human
 society. That man was converted. He became a Christian. As a fol-
 lower of the Lord Jesus he realizes his sinful self was brought to an
 end at the Cross. Now he allows the truth of that to be applied to his
 practical everyday experience. When a situation arises, he has the
 option of pursuing one course or another. Shall he gratify his own
 natural desire for having his own way no matter who may be affected
 by it, or shall he put himself to death, as it were, surrender his own
stubborn will and do that which he knows is well-pleasing to his
Master, the Lord Jesus Christ? To follow the former course would
be to serve sin as a dominant principle, to gratify self, to revive the
old man. To do the second would be to reckon himself dead and
please the One in whom he lives according to his new life.
     The same illustration might be drawn from our lives in many ways.
Perhaps one individual is characterized by a lust for pleasure, an-
other by a bad temper, another by gluttony, another enslaved by
drink, another by a proud intellect. How shall deliverance from all
these things be obtained? It is not a matter of doing the best we can.
It is a matter of reckoning ourselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God. It is not simply a final conclusion arrived at once for all.
 124             ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 It is a continuous process. When t.hese lusts assert themselves w e
 must immediately start reckoning. To give in to self is reckoning the
 old man alive; to subjugate the desires of the flesh is to reckon him
dead.
    Someone may suggest, if we lead a life of such self-abnegation, our
practical experience will be exceedingly uninteresting. On the other
hand, the Christian life is not always a matter of denial. It is a denial
of self, but there opens up before the vision of the soul an entire new
vista of activity along positive lines.
    So the eleventh verse says, “Likewise reckon . . . yourselves to
be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our
Lord.” Instead of indulging self and the flesh and our own gratifica-
tion, we shall seek to pursue the Christian pathway in helpfulness to
others. We shall seek to do those things the Lord Himself has told us
to do; to show loving-kindness, to manifest grace, to be temperate
in all things, to give of our substance to enrich others, and, above all
things, to show forth the grace of Him who has called us out of dark-
ness into His marvelous light. This grand truth then of death and
resurrection has its very definite practical bearing upon each one of
our lives. May the Lord help us continually to reckon ourselves dead
that we may really be alive unto God!




                   The Dominion of Sin
        Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but
     alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign
     in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither
     yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but
     yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your
     members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not
     have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace
     (Ram. 6:11-14).



I   N THIS universal courtroom man has been unequivocally con-
    demned, first of all because of his offences, his sins. Next the
great question of his evil nature, what is termed “our old man,” is
brought under review, and it also is condemned. This man after the
flesh is reckoned then as having been put to death by being identi-
fied with the Lord Jesus in His death. The Christian, therefore, who
                      THE DOMINION OF SIN                            125
 has an identity both with Adam and with Christ, appears upon the
 scene as a very complex being. He has an evil nature which dis-
 tinguishes him in his identity with Adam, but he has a new life in
 Christ, and this composite individual is still here upon this earth in
a human body. His problem is whether he shall yield to the propen-
sities of the flesh, to the natural inclinations of our old man, and live
a life dominated by sin, or shall he come under the dominion of the
grace of God as it has been revealed in Christ, and allow his identity
after the new order to have the precedence. This is the great problem
and in order to see it in its clear perspective, notice the wording of
verse 11: “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,
but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Notice specifi-
cally the name that is given to the Lord Jesus here. We are alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The thought of the suprem-
acy of Christ in His demands upon us is here asserted. It is not
through Jesus, or through Jesus Christ, but through Jesus Christ our
Lord.
                                                               s
     Becoming a Christian is more than simply accepting God’ way of
 salvation to loose me from the guilt of my offences. It goes beyond
 that. The true Christian is one who knows what it is to have all his sins
 put away through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but who
 knows also what it is to have bowed the knee, to have owned the
 universal authority of One whom he calls “Jesus Christ our Lord.”
 “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in
 thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
 saved.” This is the premise upon which we take our stand as true
 believers on the Lord Jesus Christ.
    In our superficial attitude toward everything in these days we are
largely glossing over the sovereign authority of our Lord, and we see
the sad havoc that is being wrought in our religious life on this
account. If we would get it into our consciousness that to be a Chris-
tian is to do the will of the Lord Jesus, to own His supreme authority
in every step of our journey, we should not think lightly of Christian
conduct.
   Now this is the subject presented to us in this passage and so we
have two realms of authority set in juxtaposition, the one to the
other. The one is the realm where sin reigns; the other is the realm
where grace reigns. The one is the authority of Satan, the other is
the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord. Now we cannot go on pro-
fessing to be under the realm of grace and continue to serve sin and
Satan. The one is a contradiction of the other. So verse 12 comes in:
               ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey
  it in the lusts thereof.” Let us remember that man is not a will-less
  being. He is not one who moves inanimately, controlled by a force
  outside himself. God has given to you a heart and a conscience, a
  mind and a will. The moment you were born again something en-
  tirely new was introduced into your spiritual being. It was a new life,
  the very life of the risen Lord Himself. Now you find this life is in
  conflict with your former tendencies towards sin. You find moreover
  the world around is characterized by moral principles that are repul-
  sive to your new nature and your new life. A conflict is set up in the
  heart of the believer. It is the conflict between good and evil; the con-
  flict between the flesh and the spirit. But the Christian is not will-
  less. God has accorded to him the choice, even after conversion, as
  to whether he will serve the Lord or serve self. Note that his sins
 have been put away. They have been accounted for under judgment
 in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ; the sinner is forgiven. God has
 said: “Your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more for-
 ever.” That is something distinct and apart from the problem which
 we are discussing now. The problem before the court at this moment
 is the man himself, not merely his sins. He stands therefore a criminal
 once condemned, now pardoned. He is still in the body; he has a
 mind and a heart, a conscience and a will.
     There is presented to him the option as to whether he will continue
 in any measure to be dominated by the principles that controlled him
 before he was born again. His decision is that he will not. He reckons
 himself then dead to sin, and he refuses to allow the reign of sin in
his mortal body by refusing to obey the lusts of it. Verse 13 says:
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness
unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from
the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto
God.” The Christian is a living man; he has a body; he has intel-
ligence; he has the option either of yielding under the domination
of sinful lust, or yielding his members unto righteousness. If he is
a true believer, the Scripture says unequivocally he must yield hitn-
self as alive unto God and dead unto the old Adam tendencies. “Fcr
sin shall not have dominion over you,” says verse 14, “for ye are not
under the law, but under grace.” He is no longer on trial to see
whether he is a sinner or not. The law was given to settle that ques-
tion, and the law has amply demonstrated the man after the lles!r
cannot be obedient to God, but is a rebel in the inner springs of his
being. But now the Christian, the one who has been born again, has
                                    THE DOMINION OF SIN                                                                     127
 new life in Christ, and has to be controlled by something that is far
 more superabundant than law. It is the grace of God. And the grace
 of God makes demands upon us that are far more strict and far-
 reaching than ever the law could make. May we realize the demands
                              s
 placed upon us under God’ grace! His demands are, in a word,
 that we should “live unto God.” No longer having ourselves as an
 object or the satisfaction or gratification of the flesh, but in self-
 denial, we should live as witnesses for God here on the earth for His
 good pIeasure and for His glory.



                                    Christian Liberty
               What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under
      grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that                                           to whom ye yield yourselves servants
      to obey, his                          servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death,
     or of obedience unto righteousness.p But God be thanked, that ye were
     the servants of sin, but ye have                                               obeyed from the heart that form of
     doctrine which was delievered you. Being then made free from                                                 sin, ye
    became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men
    because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members
    servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield
    your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were
    the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye
    then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those
    things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants
    to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
    Jesus Christ our Lord (Ram. 6:15-23).



P    AUL, the lawyer for the defense, is still speaking on behalf of
    the criminal, and step by step he is taking us through this legal
argument. He is contrasting the domination of sin with the reign of
grace and indicating the logical lines along which both of these servi-
tudes lead.
   The way in which this contrast is presented is exceedingly inter-
esting throughout this passage. First Paul brings into relief the par-
doned criminal, no longer under law but under grace. This does
not mean he is now at liberty to go and break the law, or to break
             s
any of God’ requirements for him as a creature. The grace of God
has pardoned him for his offences and has set him up in business, so
to speak, in a realm where all his debts have been paid and he has
 128         ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
                                               at one
  been given a new lease upon the property which time had been
                                                           again
  condemned. In other words, he is set free from the claims s t
                                                            p we
  him and is allowed to march forth into the land of liberty. oTher
  of a broken law is no longer held as a threat over his head, for he
  is walking in the sunshine of God’s grace. Will he then take advan-
  tage of his liberty by going forth to commit sin as freely as he had
  done before? Paul says: “God forbid.” Then he presents the strik-
  ing contrast between the servitude of sin and the servitude under the
  grace of God: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves
  servants to obey, his servants ye are; whether of sin unto death,
  or of obedience unto righteousness.” The lawyer is indicating the
  new liberty accorded to the pardoned criminal is not a liberty to do
 as he pleases, or to exercise the natural impulses of his fallen nature
 which would lead him once more into sin. It is a liberty to go into
 a new service where he shall be a bondslave indeed to the One who
 has spared his life and forgiven his sins. Instead of being the servi-
 tude of law, controlled by the terms of the law of Moses, “thou
 shalt” and “thou shalt not,” it will be the servitude of love and grace,
 where the controlling force upon him will be the gratitude of his
 heart for having been set free from so great condemnation. Now
 this new servitude, this new bondage will be just as virulent and
 stringent and binding as was his former bondage to sin, but it is in
 the opposite direction; instead of being “of sin unto death,” it is
                                  Instead of doing the wrong thing
 “of obedience unto righteousness.”
 by impulse, he now has a new life in the risen Saviour whose dynamic
shall be that he holds in subjection his instincts toward sin and
allows free reign to his instincts to obey God.
    Many of us have an entirely mistaken idea concerning liberty.
The liberty in the Christian faith bestowed upon us by God’s grace
                                           to the old sinful order;
is not a liberty to do as we please according
it is a liberty to do as God pleases. We have this very forcefully
illustrated in God’s dealings with His people in the land of Egypt in
the days of Moses. God’s command to Pharaoh was: “Let my people
go that they may serve me.” It. was not to let them go to wander at
their own will in the wilderness, as they unfortunately did. God’s
plan for them was that they might escape the evil servitude of the
taskmasters of Egypt and come under the blessed servitude and
bondage of His own love and care in the prornised aland, flow-
                                                       land
ing with milk and honey and endless blessings for them.
    This is precisely what is presented to us in Romans 6. Formerly
this pardoned criminal, who now stands before the courtroom, was
                       CHRISTIAN LIBERTY
  in the land of the Pharaohs and the cruel taskmasters, and the only
  prospect he had in the land of bondage was escape by death. But
  God has intervened, as He did in the land of Egypt, and He has
  made a way of escape. First of all, He has pardoned the sinner
  on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The lamb
  has been slain and the blood sprinkled upon the doorposts; those
                                                              s
  who accept that way of salvation are set free from God’ condem-
  nation. Not only so, but God has bidden His people to march out
  of the land of death, and by mighty power has given them a new
  lease on life on the other side of the Red Sea, which was a type of the
  death and Resurrection of our Lord. Now why did He bring the chil-
  dren of Israel out of Egypt? It was that they might serve Him in a
  bondage just as real as that of Egypt. The contrast, however, was
  that their bondage in Egypt was under sinful taskmasters, who were
 crushing them under the heel of their power; their only outlook
 was towards death. On the other side of the Red Sea their bondage
 was to serve God acceptably, and in so doing to find endless joy and
 life forevermore. Thus you have the two servitudes, the two spheres
 of bondage. So Paul says: “God be thanked, that ye were the serv-
 ants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doc-
 trine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye
 became the servants of righteousness.” Like Israel, believers on the
 Lord Jesus have put shoes on their feet and taken their staff in hand,
prepared to march out of the region of death into the region of life.
 Verse 20 says: “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free
 from righteousness.” God could never expect the Israelites to serve
Mim acceptably while they were under the taskmasters in Egypt;
and do not think, my unsaved friend, you can in any sense serve
God acceptably while you are in the region of death. You must be
born again. You must come to the realization that the Lord Jesus is
your Saviour, who has delivered you out of the power of death and
brought you new life through His death and Resurrection. Then
Paul declares: “The end of those things is death. But now being
made free from sin, and become servants [or bondslaves] to God, ye
have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the
wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord.” If we go on in sin, our expectation is death.
On the other hand, if we serve God, we can be fully assured we have
eternal life, not as a result of our service, not as something which
we earn, but as a free gift which is handed to us through Jesus
Christ our Lord.
 130             ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




       The Chapter of the Unhappy Man

 A Bible isin Romans 7. Itis presents thea mostwhichopen toward the
       CHAPTER I

 unhappiness
                    believe   one of

               their contemplation, but
                                        truths
                                                 important in all

                                            door is
                                                      initially cause
                                                                  the
 end of the chapter that leads to the sunshine of a land of unclouded
 joy.
    Romans 7 has been called the chapter of the miserable man, but
 it is only so as we are taken up with the subjective truths concern-
 ing the incorrigible nature of the flesh. In order to maintain the
 context of this chapter let us begin with the closing verse of chap-
 ter 6.

       For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
     Jesus Christ our Lord. Know ye not, brethren, (for I speok to them that
    know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as
    he liveth? For the woman which hoth an husband is bound by the low
    to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is
    loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth,
    she be morried to another moo, she shall be colled on adulteress: but if
    her husband be dead, she is free from that low; so thot she is no odul-
    teress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethern, 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 (Rom. 6:23-7:4).


   We are still listening to the courtroom argument which Paul is
propounding in defense of the sinner. With majestic skill he is devis-
ing a way in which legally the pardoned sinner may first of ail be
freed from the guilt of his offences, and secondly, be freed from his
identity with the old man, the corrupt nature of the flesh. It is this
second problem that is before the court at this time. Paul has been
outlining, in the closing verses of chapter 6, that there are two servi-
tudes, two forms of bondage. The one is the bondage of sin, wherein
man was captivated while he was still reckoned as an active agent
under law. The second is his servitude towards God, the pleasurable
pursuit of obedience unto righteousness, which he now enjoys as a
bondman livingly united to the risen Christ, On the line of the
former servitude or bondage, Paul points out the wages of sin is
           THE CHAPTER OF THE UNHAPPY MAN                          131
   death. On the line of the second bondage, that of living for the will
  of God, Paul indicates we are not earning wages but are enjoying
   the free gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our
  Lord.
      In viewing these two conditions under which man, represented in
                                      0‘
  the pardoned sinner, has been livin,, the two words we have to keep
  in mind constantly are “then” and %ow.” They are repeated over
  and over again in this passage. The word “then” refers to the time
  when we were operating under the eye of God according to the lusts
  of the flesh and were held as responsible agents under the govern-
  ment of the law. Under that regime we all were total failures. No
  fault is found with the law, which surely is holy and just and good.
  The failure is entirely on the part of man who is incapable of keep-
  ing the law. The law is not set aside, it is man under law that is set
  aside in total depravity, not one single impulse of his being enabling
 him to be a good “law keeper.” All of that history belongs under
 the word “then.” Then ye yielded your members servants to un-
 cleanness; then ye were the servants of sin; what fruit had ye then
 in those things whereof ye are now ashamed. Let us hold this clear
 and distinct. It is the history of the first man Adam and all of his
 race, which includes every living man and woman down through the
 ages to the present time. The history of that spiritual entity which
 is called “our old man,” entailing all we have inherited from Adam,
 under the category of the word then has been brought to a close in
 the death of the Lord Jesus Christ for every believer in His Name.
 There the books are totaled up and the entire transaction is recog-
 nized as a prodigious liability of guilt on the part of the creature;
and it is all put under the blood of Christ, for the blood of Jesus
              s
Christ God’ Son cleanses from all sin. The believer on the Lord
Jesus can say, “I am crucified with Christ.” The body of sin has
been annulled, the entire history of the first man set aside in the
                                          s
death of the Lord Jesus on Calvary’ Cross. So closed the history
under the caption “then.”
     Paul goes on from that, and the title page of his new consideration
is headed by the bold letters “nozer.” Both the liabilities and the man
who committed the sin have been put out of sight. The one who com-
mitted the sins has been born again. God has started anew, a new
ledger sheet has been begun, and here are some of the entries under
the word “now.” Ye are alive from the dead; your members are in-
struments of righteousness unto God; ye are not under law but
under grace; obedience unto righteousness; ye have obeyed from the
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  heart that form of doctrine which was delivered YOU; ye have mm
   become the servants of righteousness; now yield your members
  servants to righteousness unto holiness; now being made free from
  sin and become servants of God ye have fruit unto holiness, and the
  end everlasting life; now the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
  Christ our Lord.
     If we keep these two words “then” and “now” clearly before us
  as we study chapter 7, we shall find the principles set forth taking
  intelligent form. We find first of all that law and grace, or more ac-
  curately, law and Christ, are contrasted. It is the sovereign claim of
  the law, and the sovereign claim of the Lord Jesus. Paul, this bril-
  liant lawyer for the defense, gives us a master stroke of illustration
  by presenting before the court the analogy of two husbands. The
  Christian is illustrated by “the wife.” Under the word “then” is her
  former husband who has been superseded by a new husband. Death
 has come in. Under the word “now” is the Lord Jesus Christ to
 whom, in the analogy, we who are Christians are looked upon as a
 bride. Under “then” is the old husband whose sovereign claim upon
 us existed until the time that he was annulled, or set aside. So Paul
 says : “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the
 law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he
 liveth?” Let us remember he is speaking of the old man, the man of
 responsibility, recognized as actively operative until he was crucified
 with Christ on the Cross. The law had absolute dominion over that
 man. Before the court he is answerable for his conduct under the
 claim of the law of Moses. But death came in, and it came in in a
substitutionary way. In other words, the believer on the Lord Jesus
Christ is looked at as a complex being who was united to the man
after the flesh, just as a wife is united to a husband, and the man
after the flesh, under the regime of law, dominated his whole being
toward sin. Now the man after the flesh has died, So the claims of
the law upon this complex being passed out of existence, It is not
that the law has died, but the man after the flesh is reckoned dead.
Now we are reckoned alive, married to another, even Christ, that
we might live for His good pleasure.
              THE CHRISTIAN’S TWO HUSBANDS                                     133




                      s
        The Christian’ Two Husbands
       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 roised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For
    when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law,
    did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are
    delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we
    should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
    What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known
    sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said,
    Thou shalt not covet (Ram. 7:4-7).



W       E KEEP in mind, as we pursue this passage, that we are listen-
        ing to the brilliant argument presented by Paul in defense of
 the pardoning grace of God on behalf of the sinner. Using the analogy
 of a wife who has been married to one husband, and then after his
 death is married to another, the apostle is pointing out the Christian
 has two identities. His first identity is with the old man, the man
 of flesh, the sinful man, the one to whom the law dictated, and who
 proved an utter failure under law. He has the second identity with
 the Lord Jesus, the One who has risen from the dead, and to whom
 the Christian is united by life and nature forever. The Christian’   s
 first identity has been brought to an end in the death of the Lord
 Jesus, so Paul says in verse 4: “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are
 become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” Law has had its
complete effect on the first man by bringing upon him condemna-
tion. It is not because the law is sinful, but because man is sinful.
That order of man, that identity for the believer has been brought
to an end in the body of Christ. I believe this does not refer to the
mystical body of Christ, which is composed of all believers, but rather
to the physical body of our Lord as He hung upon the Cross. He
died there as a Substitute, and when He died I died. Under the
reckoning of God the first man was brought to an end in the death
of Christ.
    Now the next part of verse 4 says: “That ye should be married
to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should
bring forth fruit unto God.” Here the analogy is still that of wife and
husband, and let us remember the two are recognized as one before
 134         ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  the eye of God. The identity of the wife is merged with that of her
  husband, the union between the two makes them one, and what God
  has joined together, the Scripture says, let no man put asunder. Now
  that is the analogy. In our risen Lord the Christian has SO   been
  united to Christ that, in a sense, they are reckoned as one, one with
  Him, one in Him. We have the same truth asserted in John 14:X):
  “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me,
  and I in you.” is perfect unity. Now if that union has taken place
                It
  between the Christian and the Lord Jesus, the risen Man, the pur-
 pose of it is in the end of verse “That we should bring forth fruit
                                     4:
  unto God.” We should not continue on the line of Aesh by minister-
  ing to our lusts, but by putting these motions of sin to death, and
 going on with the interests of the Lord Jesus. We should be fruit
 bearers in His interests here in this world. The analogy is that of a
 woman bearing children to her second husband. She is not living to
 her first husband, who is now dead; she is living to her second hus-
 band, and all her desires and her very life are for his good pleasure.
    An apt illustration is that of a woman who has been married to a
 certain man a good many years. She has become accustomed to his
 ways; she has been a very devoted wife; all her household duties,
 the order of the home, and even the meals which she plans are all
 with a view to pleasing her husband. It is not that she becomes a
 mere satellite to him, but rather there is such love and devotion be-
 tween the two they are united into one in their interests. Now the
years roll on and her husband dies. At some time later she marries
another husband. For awhile things seem rather strange between
them, because she seems to have her former husband in mind all
the time, SO the order of the home, the placement of the furniture,
the arrangement of the activities as far as the wife is concerned are
all regulated according to the desires of the former husband who is
now dead. Even the meals are planned according to the likes and the
dislikes of the first husband. The first husband was very fond of
ham and eggs for breakfast. Indeed he never ate anything else. So,
the wife, now that she is remarried, constantly cooks ham and eggs
for breakfast. For supper the first husband was very fond of highly
seasoned food, so the second husband has to eat it too. Her new
husband, being a very affectionate and considerate man, tolerates it
for quite a long time, but the skeleton must come out of the closet
sooner or later. He reaches the point of rebellion and he challenges
his wife’s heart by telling her she has two identities and she must
make a choice. There is still living in her heart an identity with her
             THE CHRISTIAN’S TWO HUSBANDS                          135
 former husband now dead, and she is clinging to it by ministering
 to his desires. She has a new identity with her present husband and
 she is trying to bring him into conformity to the first.
    Now that is exactly the situation here in this analogy in Romans 7.
 The first husband is the man after the flesh who was under law,
 regulated by law, and life had to be ordered after a certain fashion
 in order to comply. Now that man after the flesh is brought to
 an end in the death of Christ and a new husband has come upon
 the scene, even Jesus the Lord risen from the dead. We were married
 to the first husband, the man after the flesh. We are now married to
 Christ risen. We have to make up our mind which husband we are
 going to please. Either we shall minister to the desires of the man
after the flesh by giving way to our lusts, passions, and even sins,
 or we shall put him in the place of death literally and live for the
good pleasure of the Lord Jesus, our new Husband. Thus you see
this wonderful truth in Romans 7 reduces itself to very practical
terms. Referring to the time when we were married to the first hus-
band spiritually, verse 5 says: “When we were in the flesh, the
motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to
bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the
law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in
newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” In association
with the Lord Jesus risen from the dead, Christians are privileged
to live in newness of spirit. They are not on the line of “thou shalt”
and “thou shalt not,” they are on the line of being led by the Spirit
of God, according to the character and nature of their new Husband,
the risen Lord, and they bear fruit unto Him by living for His good
pleasure.
                ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




         Are We Under Law or Grace?
       What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not
    known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had
    said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment,
    wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was
    dead. For 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 command-
    ment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the
    commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good
    made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, work-
    ing death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment
    might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but
    I am carnal, sold under sin (Ram. 7:7-14).



T     H E TRUTHS presented in these verses may seem somewhat
      complicated and difficult to understand. We must remember
 however we are listening to a legal argument which goes logically to
 the root of every moral question in defense of the grace of God on
 behalf of a guilty sinner. Little wonder Paul, the brilliant attorney
                                                                s
 for the defense, leaves not a stone unturned in this lawyer’ brief,
 in order that, when he has completed his argument, every opposing
 voice might be silent and the challenge sent out: Who is he that
condemneth? It is an unanswered challenge.
   The question before us here is the incorrigible nature of what
Paul has called “our old man,” or the man after the flesh. It is the
capital “I” in the unregenerate state. It is what I was as descended
from Adam before the new birth took place and the power of the
Spirit of God was introduced into my life. Man in his unregenerate
state was under law; God placed him under law to bring him
fully to the realization he was a sinner, every fibre in his unregen-
erate moral being responding to his impulse toward sin. The law,
holy and just and good, was given in order that you and I, as
descended from Adam, might be brought to realize, not that we
were dead in trespasses and sins, but that we were alive in them.
It is along this line of argument that Paul says in the seventh verse:
“I had not known sin but by the law: I had not known lust, except
the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Let us remember the law
              ARE WE UNDER LAW OR GRACE?
   of Moses set forth the full range of the moral requirements to be
   rendered by the creature towards the Creator. It began with the
   worship of the Lord his God and ran the full gamut of human im-
  pulse down to the last point, “thou shalt not covet.” It covered
  morally the entire range of human behavior, and in that sense the
  law has never been set aside; we can still say that by the law is the
  knowledge of sin. You can take the law of Moses at any time, and
  lay it alongside a human life, and in one point or another you will
  find the human life inconsistent, crooked, and sinful.
     But Paul raises another question in verse 8: “For without the
  law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when
  the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” This reasoning
  may seem complicated, yet there is a real simplicity to it, if we will
  but read carefully. When Paul says, “without the law sin was dead,”
  I believe he is simply indicating what he says in Ephesians 2, refer-
  ring to the Gentiles who were never under law. They were “dead in
  trespasses and sins.” In other words, they were going on with evil
 without fully realizing how sinful their conduct was. We have the
 same thing in our own civilized society. There are many people, for
 instance, who have formed the habit of blaspheming. If you arrest
 their attention with it, they simply tell you they meant nothing by
 it. With them it is a dead issue. They are none the less guilty how-
 ever, because they are taking the name of God in vain. When the
 law is brought to bear upon them, “thou shalt not take the name of
 the Lord thy God in vain,” then sin becomes a living practice. They
 do it consciously; they have been warned of its evil. So Paul says,
 “when the commandment came sin revived.” It became a positive,
active practice, and the human conscience was well aware of it,. It is
the distinction between being dead in sins and being alive and active
in them. It is to the Gentiles in idolatrous Ephesus that Paul writes,
“Ye were dead in trespasses and sins.” They had never been under
                s
law. But God’ testimony reached them, and sin, after that, became
a living active principle which they pursued in a positive way. The
Lord Jesus points out the same thing in John 1.5 where He is dis-
cussing those that persecute His own followers. He says: ‘LBut all
                                                      s
these things will they do unto you for My Name’ sake, because
they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come and spoken
unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for
their sin” (John 15: 21, 22). When the light of God shines upon the
human spirit, whether that light reaches a person in the words of the
law of Moses or in any other testimony the Lord is pleased to use,
 138          ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 such testimony immediately makes him conscious of his evil-doing,
 and he is doubly responsible thereafter for every step he takes.
    Referring to Paul himself, or rather to Saul of Tarsus (his unre-
 generate name), he was a law keeper, he meticulously observed
 every requirement of the law, or at least he thought he did, until one
 item of the law reached his conscience. He touches upon it here.
 It was the requirement, “thou shalt not covet.” It was that which
 showed Saul up, and revealed to him that he had an evil heart and
 that his practice was evil as well. It made him conscious of sin, not
 as a dead thing, but as a living principle in his life. So he says in
 verse 10: “The commandment, which was ordained to life I found
 to be unto death.” He thought he was justifying himself by keep-
 ing the law, but he became an offender in one point, so he was
guilty of all. He found the very thing, the very principle of law-
keeping by which he had been living, as he thought, was the same
principle that brought about his condemnation. Now the question
immediately comes up: Is the law to blame? Paul says, God forbid;
for the law is holy and just and good, for we know that the law is
spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. The object for which the
law was given was to make us all conscious we are sinners, and to
bring US to Christ, for “the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to
Christ.” The law is spiritual, I am carnal. The law is holy, I am
unholy. The law is good, I am evil. The law is just, I am unrighteous.
Where then shall I find justification? Not in the law, but in Christ
who died for me and rose again.
                             THE EVIL NATURE                                          139




                          The Evil Nature
         For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
     For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what
      I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the
      law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwell-
     eth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good
     thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform thot which is good
     I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would
     not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I thot do it,
     but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good,
     evil is present with me (Ram. 7:14-21).



 I   N THESE verses the Lord presents truths that are of the most
      searching character to every Christian. Perhaps we can realize
  the weight of meaning presented here if we think back to the day
 when we were converted. When the Lord first took a hand in our
 lives, and we came as repentant sinners, we had the glad assurance
               s
 of our Lord’ words: “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast
 out.” As unworthy sinners we were forgiven our trespasses and the
 peace of forgiveness flooded our souls. At that moment we were under
 the unsullied light of the love of God, and I am sure every Christian
 recalls how at that time it seemed as if nothing else mattered, except
 that the Lord had forgiven us our sins and we were saved by His
grace.
    Then as the days rolled on we found, perhaps to our consternation,
the evil nature, which we had derived from Adam, began again to
assert itself. Perhaps we thought we were all through with sin the
moment we accepted the Lord Jesus as Saviour. We expected the old
impulses towards impatience, or bad temper, or evil thoughts, or
envy, or selfishness, or a thousand other attributes of the old man,
were over forever. Suddenly we realized the old nature was still very
active, and we were cast into the very dilemma which Paul describes
so lucidly in this passage. “That which I do, I allow not, for what
I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Every Christian,
if he is honest at all, confesses that from time to time sin does come
into his life. I know there are those who profess they are entirely
holy and I have no quarrel with them. I assure you, however, I am not
one of these, for only too frequently in my life I find the old nature
 140           ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
   asserting itself, and the evil propensities of the heart that God has
  said is incorrigible come to the front. with greater frequency than I
  would care to describe. This is precisely what Paul is asserting here:
  “in my flesh dwelleth no good thing.”
      The mistake we make so often, when we are first converted, is
  that we imagine the flesh has been changed; but God never changes
  the flesh. Surely it is true according to the Scripture that “we are not
  in the flesh, but in the spirit.” It is equally true of the Christian,
  however, that the flesh is very much in us, and it asserts itself often.
  The Scripture says: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and
  that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” God has introduced some-
  thing new into our lives. It is described as “the new man” in the
  New Testament, and for practical purposes we are enjoined to put
  on the new man and to put off the old man with his deeds. In my
  flesh, says Paul, dwelleth no good thing. Let us keep in mind, as I
 have tried to indicate, the Christian is a complex being. In him is
  the flesh; in him is also the spirit; and the one wars against the
 other. He who imagines he has arrived at the point of complete holi-
 ness in thought and word and deed is imagining the flesh is brought.
 to an end in actuality. That will only take place when we are in
 a new body, conformed to the image of Christ.
     In this complex being we then have the flesh and the spirit; we
 have the tendency towards sin; we have the tendency towards
 righteousness. We have the love for the things of the world; we have
 the love for the things of heaven. God by His spirit has introduced
new desires into our heart, but unless we keep the old desires in the
place of death, they will often assert themselves.
     I will give you an illustration that has been used a good many
times. Perhaps it brings home to us all the ordinary way in which
these truths apply. A young man had been converted to Christ.
He had been a godless fellow in his unconverted days, and had often
had a brush with the law for appropriating things that did not be-
long to him. After he was converted, he followed along straight lines
for awhile, then he found the devil began to tempt him, and he
found also, mysteriously, his old desires began to reassert themselves.
His old nature was unchanged. Of course there was a conflict in his
spirit because there was a new nature there, but one day the old
nature triumphed, and the police caught him in the act of theft. In
due course he was brought before the judge and he was very re-
pentant. He explained to the judge he was a Christian now, and he
had fought against the temptation to steal. He tried to explain to the
                           THE EVIL NATURE
 judge that it was not reahy Ize who stole at all, it was Lois old nature.
 He cast himself on the mercy of the court. The judge evidently had
 some understanding of his dilemma. The offence had been committed,
 sentence must be imposed. “So it was your old nature that com-
 mitted this crime, it wasn’t yozl? Well,” said the judge, “we’ll send
 the old nature to jail for thirty days, and I am afraid you will have
 to go along to keep it company.”
    That is a simple illustration of what Paul says here: “For the
good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I
do.” The old man after the flesh, often spoken of as our evil nature,
is subject to the temptation of Satan, and unless we keep him con-
stantly in the place of death by refusing to give in to him, he as-
serts himself and we get into trouble. So Paul says in verse 21, “I
find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with
me.” The word law there means “regulating principle” and I am
sure every one of us finds all too frequently this law asserts itself.
How often we seem to struggle to be doing good when suddenly we
find evil is present with us! It shows how we cannot afford to be
dependent upon self, but must always be cast upon the Lord for
His preservation, and for the power of His Spirit to keep the flesh
in the place of death.



            Christ the Sovereign Master
       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
    low in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me
    into captivity to the low of sin which is in my members. 0 wretched
    man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank
    God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve
    the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin (Ram. 7:21-25).



P    AUL is still the lawyer of the defense in this great courtroom
    drama, and he is presenting a masterpiece of argument on be-
half of the pardoned sinner before God, the Judge. I have been sug-
gesting to you throughout this entire chapter that the Christian is
necessarily a complex character, and here he has two identities. The
one is his fleshly identity with the old man, the man after the flesh,
that which he was in his unregenerate state. His second identity
is a spiritual identity with the Lord Jesus Christ risen from the dead.
 142           ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   Now in this passage it almost seems as if these two identities were re-
   garded as separate from the man himself, and for the sake of legal
  argument let us regard them as such. Paul calls the one “the flesh,”
  and the other he calls “the mind,” referring undoubtedly to the
   renewed mind under the will of the Spirit of God.
      May 1 suggest that the word “law” in these verses cannot possibly
   refer to the Law of Moses. It is law in the abstract, meaning “a con-
   trolling principle.” We use this word “law” very frequently in or-
   dinary parlance in our everyday life. We speak of the law of gravity,
   the law of nature, scientific laws, physical laws, and by all these we
  refer to certain regulating principles which control certain phenom-
  ena under given conditions. Now the first law to which Paul refers
  in this passage is in verse 21 where he says: “I find then a law, that,
  when I would do good, evil is present with me.” He speaks in rather
  an objective way here as if he were standing aloof and looking at this
  complex man that makes up “himself.” He sees a regulating prin-
  ciple in his make-up that wants to do good, but he sees another
  law that presses evil upon him. One is the regulating principle that
  finds its origin in Adam; it is the law of the flesh, the law of sin.
  The other is the law which finds its origin in the new birth and is
  of a new order. The one tends downward; the other tends upward.
  So Paul, speaking of that renewed nature which is his as a Chris-
 tian, says: “I delight in the law of God after the inward man,” but
 speaking of the other regulating principle, that of the flesh and of
 sin, he says: “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.”
     Although the illustration is somewhat imperfect I think we have
 to describe this more or less as the nature of the unregenerate man
and the nature of the new man. The characteristics of the unregen-
erate man are the characteristics of the Resh and the flesh is still ilz
every believer. We shall never be rid of the flesh entirely until we are
either dead and buried, or we are caught up to meet the Lord in the
air. That in actuality will bring the flesh to an end. Until then we
shall find that its regulating principle towards sin springs up in our
lives from time to time, and only dependence upon the Lord will
keep these principles under. So there is a warring going on iu the
Christian life, the flesh warring against the spirit and the spirit
warring against the flesh. Now as Paul, still speaking on behalf of
the pardoned criminal, looks at this complex creature with his one
identity connected with the flesh of sin, and the other identity con-
                      OUR TWO IDENTITIES                              145
  the Spirit of God conducts us through a magnificent gallery Of ex-
  cellent divine truths throughout this chapter. We shall fail, however,
  to understand its blessed significance unless we keep clearly in mind
  that Paul, the lawyer for the defense, is finding a way whereby the
  believer on the Lord Jesus Christ may have a legal assurance, not
  only of his freedom from guilt, but of his complete deliverance from
  the threat of divine judgment. Paul has therefore taken up our two
  identities as believers in Christ. He has discussed our identity with
  the man after the flesh, that which expresses itself in our evil nature,
  our evil propensities which are apt to come to the front if they are
  given a moment’s opportunity. He has been indicating also our iden-
  tity with the Lord Jesus Christ after a new order wherein we are
  regarded as free from sin, as justified on the principle of faith, and
 as partakers of the divine nature, according to the more excellent
 power that is ours in Christ risen from the dead. Now we must
 keep these two identities clearly in mind, otherwise endless con-
 fusion of thought will arise as we pursue the excellent truths of this
 chapter.
     Our old identity with the man after the flesh, dominated by sin,
 as far as God is concerned, is a thing of the past. It has been put
 out of sight by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. According to
 chapter 6 we have died with Him and we are buried with Him by
 baptism unto death. That has been a judicial act, recognized by
 God Himself, and one to which we testify, by confession, in the
 ordinance of baptism. It is a great matter for every Christian to ac-
 cept that judicial ruling by God Himself as being final and com-
 plete and irrevocable; without the acceptation of that truth there
 can be no settled assurance of salvation. In a word, if you have be-
lieved on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of your soul, God
Himself has reckoned you dead, has blotted out your transgressions,
has given you a new life in the risen Christ, and that new life is
something which sin and Satan cannot touch. It finds its origin in
the new birth. It finds its expression in the faith which you exercise
when you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. But no matter
how it affects you by way of emotions or feeling, by way of happi-
ness or sadness, by way of success or failure, the moment that spir-
itual transaction is made between your soul and the Lord Jesus
Christ, that very moment you are reckoned dead before God. You
are put out of sight under the blood of Christ; your sins past, pres-
ent, and future were paid in full at Calvary’s Cross, and you, under
God’s reckoning, stand now in the Lord Jesus Christ in new creation,
144
enemy, take into disobeying G
                        of our f
and tempt us advantage This cal
to come into our lives.
many times the Lord’s people
       to the dead
boundthese bonds body. Who
severreverence andand give us
with                godly fear.
                          FREE FROM THE LAW                                           147




                       Free from the Law
        For the low of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the
     low of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak
     through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
     and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the
     law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the
     Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
     but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit (Ram. 8:2-5).


     AUL is       indicating,
 Pin whichhereThe primary insetstrictly from the reached in chapter of8
              the criminal is
 sin and death.
                                  free
                                         legal terms, precisely the way

                              conclusion that is
                                                   dominating power

  is that there is no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus.
  The forgiven sinner is given a standing in the Lord Jesus Christ that
  sets him apart from judgment. But this is not merely a theoretical
  standing, it has its practical application to the everyday life of the
  believer. If God reckons us as liberated from the man after the flesh
  and the laws that regulate him, then, by appropriating the resurrec-
  tion power of our Lord Jesus Christ, we who are believers can also
  reckon ourselves set free, liberated, so we might walk according to
 the Spirit.
     Hence the assertion in verse 2, that the law or the regulating prin-
 ciple of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the
 law of sin and death. I am given title in a practical way to live no
 longer in the power of the efforts of the flesh, for I have been given
a new power, even the power of Christ in Resurrection, whereby I
 can live after His order. In this verse there is the law of sin and
death; there is also the law of the Spirit of life. Now, this does not
refer to the law of Moses, but rather to the regulating principle that
governs “the old man,” because he himself is incompetent to live
according to God, but there is a new regulating principle which the
Lord Jesus has secured for all His people. He has said, “Because I
live, ye shall live also.” He has brought in a new power whereby
you and I become partakers of the divine nature and thereby no
longer serve sin, but we serve God. Now, this is a tremendous tri-
umph and it reduces itself to these legal terms: “For what the law
could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending
              ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  accepted in His beloved Son, justified from all things, from which
  you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
     These two identities, which I am seeking to indicate to YOU now,
 may be put under two categories: the first one in Adam, the second
 one in Christ; the first one in the old man, the second one in the
 new man; the first one in the man after the flesh, the second one
 in the man after the Spirit. Now these are actual judicial terms that
 represent our standing before God, and the first verse in Romans 8
 introduces to us this standing before God in these words: “There
 is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
 The candid truth is this, if you are a true believer on the L o r d
 Jesus Christ, that is, if you have been born again, if you have ac-
 cepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, judicially you stand before
 God in Christ, saved eternally, and as such you will never come
 into judgment. Now this is a ruling of the court., vouchsafed by the
 efficacy of the blood of Christ, signed and sealed by the hand of
 God Himself, and no power in heaven, earth, or hell will ever be
 able to change it. If you are in Christ you will never come into judg-
 ment.
    Immediately the question arises: but if I fail what will happen?
 The answer is that you will fail, we all fail. My salvation does not
 depend upon my success as a Christian; it depends upon the ruling
 of the court of the universe. Christ has died for my sins; He was
 buried; He was rai$ed again. Now I stand in Him and there is no
condemnation for me. But you say: will you not be condemned for
your sins if you go on in sin after conversion? My reply to that is:
the Lord Jesus has already borne the penalty of my sins; I am
sheltered under His blood forever. I know also I will never come into
judgment. This ought to be the happy portion of every believer on
the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is set forth in the crystal clear passage
to which I refer now. And may I say that the last portion of Romans
8: 1, the expression, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the
Spirit,” is an interpolation. It has been added by the translator-
most translations leave it out altogether. You will find the expression
where it belongs, in the end of verse 4, and it is important to keep
this in mind.
                         FREE FROM THE LAW                                        149
 up to its requirements and are therefore condemned. I S our case
 hopeless? No indeed, for the grace of God comes in, and “what the
 law could not do,” God has accomplished. How? By sending His
 own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sacrifice for sin, He
 has condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous require-
ments of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the
 flesh, but after the Spirit. It is not that the law has been set aside,
but the unregenerate man, because he could not keep the law, has
been set aside. This has been done in the death of the Lord Jesus
 Christ. He took my place on Calvary. He not only bore my sins,
but I, as it were, lay my hand upon the Offering, even as the priest
did in the Old Testament, thus identifying myself with Him. “If
One died for all, then were all dead.” In other words, I, the unre-
generate man, died with the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the object
of that? It is that a new and greater regulating principle might be
inaugurated for my practice. It is that I should not walk after the
flesh, but after the Spirit, and thereby all that the law requires and
much more than the law requires, is fulfilled in those who live in the
power of the risen Christ. Let us not cavil about a broken law, but
let each of us make sure for ourselves that our justification before
God is on the basis of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, wherein
the grace of God meets me in all my sins, forgives me my trespasses
and brings me into favor in God’s beloved Son.



              The Tragedy of Carnality
       For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but
    they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally
    minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because
    the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of
    God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot
    please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that
    the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of
    Christ, he is none of his (Ram. 8:5-9).



T    H E great issue now before the court is the two-fold identity of
     the pardoned sinner. First of all, it is his identity in the flesh;
and secondly, his identity in the Spirit. In other words, this complex
being, who is the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, is still partaker
of the old creation as well as of the new. He still has an evil nature
   148            ROMANS-A..COURTROOM DRAMA
   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.”
      The great controversy existing among certain factions of Chris-
   tians in relation to the law is the question of whether it has been set
  aside or whether it has not. As far as the law itself is concerned, it
  is holy and just and good; it is established and it has never been abro-
  gated. The law is just as potent today as ever it was. Why then
  should it be stated we are not under law but under grace? This verse
  tells us precisely the reason. The law was weak through the flesh.
  There is no weakness in the law itself, but the material with which
  the law had to work was weak. In other words, you and I in our
  unregenerate state were unable to meet the demands of the law.
  The law therefore, which is still holy and just and good, instead of
  justifying us, condemns us.
      I would like to challenge each one of you with the fact you do not
  and cannot keep the law. I believe many of the Lord’s people have
  the mistaken idea they are keeping the law. The fact is that often-
  times they single out some particular requirement. The favorite one
  is keeping the Sabbath, which is Saturday, the seventh day of the
 week. Many people glory in the fact they observe Saturday as a
 day of rest, and they think thereby they are keeping the whole law.
 Now let me suggest to you there is no particular virtue in resting
 on the Sabbath. In fact, I think it would do us all good to have one
 day of complete rest every week. Many of us are too busy to do it,
 but do not let us attribute any virtue to the keeping of the seventh
 day. It is astonishing to believe that there are some who think that
 by taking a rest on the Sabbath day they will get to heaven. Nowhere
 in the Bible are we warranted in coming to any such conclusion.
Moreover those people who glory in the fact that they keep the law
must be very loose in their reckoning. One of the requirements of
the law is, “Thou shalt not covet.” Do you ever do any window
shopping? That ministers to covetousness! Do you ever look at
something someone else has and say, “I would like that”? That is
covetousness. Again I would ask law keepers, do you after all really
love the Lord with all your heart Is there not just a little bit of
selfishness in you? If so, then you are not a law keeper, you are a
lawbreaker!
     The truth of the matter is set forth in this passage in Romans 8:
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the
flesh.” Y OU and I, on the line of law-keeping, are unable to live
                 THE TRAGEDY OF CARNALITY                              151
   of Satan and allowed himself to indulge in the lusts of the flesh.
  He allowed himself too freely to associate with other women. It all
  seemed innocent enough and no gross immorality was involved. The
  result of disaster however was inevitable and soon the disintegrat-
  ing forces began to play havoc with his life and with his home.
  The tragedy soon destroyed the harmony of domestic happiness,
  and sorrow and disappointment soon destroyed his testimony. That
  young man, who undoubtedly was a Christian, found the truth of
  the statement, “to be carnally minded is death.” He will never be
  in a lost eternity. He belongs to Christ, and God by His mercy re-
  covered him to happy communion with his Saviour, but the death
  stamp of destruction still has left its mark on his life and on his
  home.
     “To be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If you and I want
  to be living in the full enthusiasm and success of Christian blessing,
  and to have the peace of Christ presiding in our hearts, it will not be
 attained on the line of ministering to our selfish lusts and desires.
  It must be on the line of the Spirit. We must submit ourselves to the
 leading of the Holy Spirit, and be willing to go the Lord’s way, not
 our own. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: it is not subject
 to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in
 the flesh cannot please God.” This is taking it to its logical issue.
 The unregenerate man who is in the flesh cannot possibly please
 God. It is a warning to the Christian not to allow himself to act
 along the line of conduct of the unbeliever, for he then cannot be
 in a position to please his Lord. If I act along the line of carnality,
 pleasing self, obeying the lusts of the flesh, gratifying the lust of the
 eye, coveting the things I admire, going along the line of the pride
 of life, seeking to exalt self, then that is the line of death and dis-
appointment and destruction, and heartaches and sorrow will ensue.
Thinking and living along carnal lines is in direct opposition to the
will of God, and this ought to challenge every Christian heart.            *
    H OW cheering to read the ninth verse! “But ye are not in the flesh,
but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Here the
severe line of demarkation between the Christian and the worldling
is drawn. We are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. That is con-
sequent upon the fact that the Spirit of God dwells in the heart of
the believer, and if anyone have not the Spirit of Christ he is none
of His. You are either a believer or an unbeliever. Either the Spirit
of God dwells in you, or you do not belong to the Lord at all. Better
 152               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 make it amply evident to yourself and to those around you that
 you belong to Christ, and this can only be done by allowing the Spirit
 of God to lead you according to the will of God, and not by gratify-
 ing self and going along the road of least resistance, obeying the lusts
 of the flesh.



            Evidence of a Spirit-Filled Life
          Bat ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of
       God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is
       none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin;
       but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Bat if the Spirit of him
       that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ
       from the deod shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that
       dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to
       live after the flesh (Ram. 8:9-12).


          E ARE constantly reminded, as we go through this entire
W         series of chapters in the Epistle to the Romans, that we are
  listening to a brilliant legal argument. Hence the recurrence of the
 words “if” and “therefore.” May I suggest this little word “if” does
  not cast a question upon the facts stated, but quite the opposite. In
  the legal parlance of our courts today the word that is used is
 “whereas.” In other words, the “if” presents a premise, and then
 the conclusion is drawn. We must keep this in mind as we travel
 onward. This comes very forcibly to our attention in verse 11: “But
 if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,
 He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your
 mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Paul is not raising
a question as to whether the Spirit of God dwells in the Christian or
not, but stating the fact, since the Spirit of God does dwell in him,
 then the result must necessarily be that our mortal body shall be
quickened by that same Spirit.
     It is necessary for us to keep this in mind so we might see clearly
the line of demarkation between the believer and the unbeliever in
this chapter. For the believer every moral question has been settled,
and Paul, the brilliant lawyer for the defense, is indicating it is now
a matter of our realization of the substantial truths that he presents.
So he says in verse 9: lLBut ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit,
if SO be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have
             EVIDENCE OF A SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE                         153
  not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His,” or, “he is PM of Him-”
  This verse ought to settle once and for all the great question, that
  seems to cause so much difficulty to many Christians today, as to
  whether the indwelling of the Spirit of God is true of all believers
  or nitt. Paul states unequivocally “if any man have not the Spirit
  of Christ, he is not of Him.” In other words, if the Spirit of God does
  not dwell in your heart, it is because you do not belong to Christ,
  and you are therefore an unbeliever. The converse is true: since you
  are a believer, and I trust you are, then you are indwelt by the
  Spirit of God. This is altogether contrary to much of the teaching
  we hear in Christendom today, urging real Christians to tarry for
  the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
     “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him.” The
  moment a person believes on the Lord Jesus to the saving of the
  soul, he is indwelt by the Spirit of God. This was not always so,
  of course, because there was a time before the Lord Jesus was glori-
  fied, when the Spirit of God had not yet been sent (see John 7:39).
  In the second chapter of Acts, however, the Spirit of God came and
  the days of tarrying were over (see also Acts 1:4, 5). The Spirit of
  God there took up His abode in the hearts of believers, and they were
 baptized into one body. Then in Acts 10, the Gentiles, who had never
 yet come under the sound of the fulness of the gospel, were also in-
 corporated to the realm of the Spirit’s power, and from that day to
 this every one who places faith in the Lord Jesus is indwelt by God’s
 Spirit. So the truth of Romans 8 is that if any man have not the
 Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him.
     The outstanding truth in Romans 8:9 is that all those who are
 true believers on the Lord Jesus are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,
and this is upon the premise that the Spirit of God dwells in them.
Now what is the conclusion to this? It is found in the next verse
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the
spirit is life because oj righteousness.” In other words, the believer
on the Lord Jesus Christ is indwelt by God’s Spirit, and in the power
of the Holy Spirit the Lord Jesus Christ characteristically dwells in
our hearts. His very dwelling there means a new power is introduced
into the human life, and that power gives the ability to the indi-
vidual Christian to keep the body, in the lusts of the flesh, in the
place of death. So Paul says: “The body is dead because of sin.”
The Christian is not going to contribute to keeping the man after
the flesh alive by continuing in sin. Inasmuch as his sins have been
forgiven, and his identity along the line of flesh has been brought
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  to an end in the death of the Lord Jesus, then, in the power of the
  Spirit of God, he is going to abandon sin, to put the lusts of the
  flesh in the place of death. That is the negative side of the truth.
  Then the positive side is: “The Spirit is life because of righteous-
  ness,” and I believe that is a very great truth.
     The manifestation of the power of the Spirit of God in your life
  is not emotionalism; it is not merely the shouting of hallelujahs. The
  manifestation of that life is righteousness. If you claim to be a be-
  liever on the Lord Jesus Christ, and to be indwelt by the Spirit of
  God, you will make manifestation of the presence of the Spirit of
  God in your heart by being a righteous person. You will do the
  things that are right; you will think right things; you will give
  God in His sovereignty the rightful place in your life, and YOU will
 seek to be obedient to His precepts as set forth in His Holy Word.
 This presents a great challenge to every one of U S.
     The consideration of this one verse would give a new concept to
 many Christians regarding the manifestations of the Spirit of God.
 In these days far too many Christian people attach emotionalism or
 the supernatural to the power of the Spirit in their lives. “The Spirit
 is life because of righteousness.” In other words, the Spirit makes
 Himself evident in your life and mine by making us honest, straight-
 forward, godly in conduct. Paul puts it in his own unique words:
 “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
 teaching US that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should
live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world; looking for
that blessed hope” (Titus 2: 1 l-13). That is the manifestation of the
life of the Spirit in your heart and mine. The manifestation of the
Spirit of God in you is not emotionalism; it is not super spirituality;
it is not speaking in tongues; it is not a show of holiness. The Phari-
sees thought they must go about in their long robes with long faces
and recite long prayers in order to show the reality of their religion.
Christianity is not of that order. Long prayers belong in the closet
in secret with God; the public display for the Christian is honesty,
candor, and godly living. Here it is in God’s Holy Word in Galatians
5: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentle-
ness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no
law. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
               THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY                                      155




          The Resurrection of the Body
        Bat if the Spirit of him that has raised up Jesus from among Ithel
     dead dwell in you, he that has raised up Christ from among [the1 dead
     shall quicken your mortal bodies also on account of his Spirit which
     dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to
     live according to flesh; for if ye live according to flesh, ye are about
     to die; but ii, by the ipirit, ye-put to death the deeds of the body, ye
     shall live: for as many as are led by [the1 Spirit of God, these are sons
     of God (Ram. 8:11-14 Darby translation).



 S OME      very great truths are implicated in these verses, ranging all
       the way from our physical resurrection to the glorious truth of
 sonship, perhaps the highest truth in the New Testament.
    We must keep in mind, as we travel through these verses, that Paul
 is holding distinctly before our attention the complex being who is the
 pardoned sinner, the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is focusing
 our attention upon our identity with the man after the flesh, of
 which we are so forcefully reminded in the deeds of the body that is
 by nature dominated by sin. The second identity is that which we
 have in Christ according to the new regulating principle of life, which
 we have now in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who in-
 dwells us as believers.
    It seems to me Paul has been indicating so distinctly that the
dominating principle of evil is still resident in our mortal flesh per-
taining to the life which we live in the body, that he would now
guard against our thinking the body itself is necessarily evil; so he
brings in the grand truth that this body is going to be resurrected in
the power of the risen Christ.
   In verse 11 Paul reverts to the great truth that Jesus Himself was
raised from among the dead, and that Resurrection was performed
by the Spirit of God. Now this same Holy Spirit dwells in our mortal
bodies, and God vouchsafes the promise that, just as the Holy Spirit
raised up Jesus from the dead, so He that raised up Christ from
among the dead shall quicken your mortal bodies also on account
of His Spirit which dwells in you. You will notice in this verse both
names of our blessed Lord in relation to the Resurrection. First it is
the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from among the dead, then
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  it is He that raised up Christ shall quicken your mortal bodies. The
  use of the two names of our Lord is exceedingly interesting and
  significant. The name Jesus is the personal name of our Lord, and
  it is used boldly by itself here, first of all, that we might have
  clearly in mind that it was the personal body of our Lord that was
  raised from the tomb. It is not one Person who walked the lanes
  by Galilee and another Person who made a grand exit from the tomb.
  It is the same Jesus who died, who rose again. It is the same body
 that went into the tomb that came out of it. I am not asserting there
  were not differences in the body of our Lord, but insisting it was the
 same body. Down through the years many have come forward with
 ethereal ideas concerning the new Christ, as if the One who rose from
  the dead was in some way a different Person from the One who died
 on the Cross. It is not so. The Spirit of God raised Jesus from among
 the dead. It is His personal name, the same name that was given
 to Him as a baby in Bethlehem: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus.”
 Here is the insistence by God’s Holy Spirit of the personal Resurrec-
 tion of our beloved Lord.
     Then in the second half of the verse, the word Christ is used, be-
 cause here the Lord Jesus stands in association with those who love
 Him, those who are also indwelt by the Spirit, and who are going to
 bc raised when the Lord Jesus comes to call them from the tomb.
 The name Christ is used because that is uniquely the title of our
 Lord in resurrection glory. “This same Jesus whom ye have cruci-
 fied, God has raised up and made Him both Lord and Christ.” Christ
 means “the anointed One,” the great Administrator of the blessing
 of God to mankind. You can see what marvelous truth is implied in
 this. It is a reminder to us that, just as it was the body of Jesus that
went into the tomb, and the body of Jesus that rose from the dead,
and this was all done by the operating power of the Spirit of God,
SO it will be in our resurrection. This mortal body, unless the Lord

Jesus comes while we are still alive, will go into the tomb, and this
body will rise from the dead. Of course, it goes into the tomb a body
of humiliation; it comes out a body of glory, but it is the same body
that goes in that comes out. “It is sown in weakness; it is raised in
power,” but the word “it” refers to our body, a direct assertion of
the personal, physica resurrection of the Lord’s people at the coming
of Christ. The whole man, spirit and soul and body, in the power of
the Spirit of God who dwells in us, belongs to God in a very real
sense, so the conclusion of this is found in verse 12: “So then,
brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to flesh;
               THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY                             L.57
  for if ye live according to flesh, ye are about to die; but if, by the
  Spirit, ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
     Now we must trace these truths very carefully lest we wander into
                                            v
  the error of believing God is threatenin, true believers with eternal
  death. That is not so! The truth of the matter in these verses is that
 the Christian, one who has been born again and who belongs to
 Christ, can rest assured the Lord Jesus has given to them eternal
 life and they shall never perish. Our spirits and souls belong to Him,
 and since the Spirit of God dwells in us, we may be perfectly sure
 our mortal bodies will be raised in resurrection might by the same
 power that raised our beloved Lord. That is a settled fact. Then the
 conclusion is that we owe nothing to the man after the flesh. The
 sin dominated man should be kept in the place of death, ever keep-
 ing in mind that to live after that order is on the line of death. “If
 ye live after the flesh, ye are about to die.” The Scripture does not
 say if ye live after the flesh you will go to a lost eternity. Eternity is
 not in view. It is life here in this world and living after the flesh,
 gratifying the lusts of the flesh, which is on the line of death. If we
 sow to the flesh we shall reap corruption. If we sow to the spirit we
 shall reap life everlasting.
    We have this illustrated in Corinth, where many believers on
Christ were living according to flesh, and in the eleventh chapter of
First Corinthians it is sadly recorded: “For this cause many are
weak and sickly among you, and many have fallen asleep.” They
had died, gone to their graves. They were not lost eternally, but the
Lord had taken them out of the race of faith, had taken them home,
and they had lost the privilege of living according to the Spirit here
in this world. “If we through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body
we shall live, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are
sons of God.”
 1.58              ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                       The Spirit’s Witness
           For as many as are led by [the1 Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
        For ye have not received a spirit of bondage again for fear, but ye have
        received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, F&her. The Spirit
        itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God. And if
        children, heirs also: heirs of God, and Christ’s joint heirs; if indeed
        we suffer with Ihiml that we may also be glorified with [him] (Ram.
        8:14-17 Darby translation).



 I   T IS very hard to make any comment about such a majestic pas-
      sage as this, yet I would suggest the truths set forth herein ought
 to bring the unquestioned assurance of salvation to every believer.
    I was suggesting to you, as we went through the previous verses,
 that Paul is indicating the striking line of demarkation between be-
 lievers and unbelievers, and here we are given certain criteria whereby
 we may satisfy ourselves as to what that line of demarkation may be.
    In an objective way the striking truth is, there are those who are
 in the flesh and those who are in the Spirit. Unbelievers in their
 unregenerate state are in the flesh and they are regulated by the
 dominating principle of t.he lusts of the flesh. Believers, on the other
 hand, looked at objectively, are in the Spirit; they are in Christ.
 Under the eye of God they are beyond the realm of judgment and
 a new dominating principle has entered their lives, even the power
of the Holy Spirit.
    Now this passage brings home what we shall call the subjective
truths, those which relate to the indwelling power of the Spirit of
 God in the hearts of believers. The assertion here is that as many as
are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. The range
of truth of this verse is very wide indeed. It is the grand intimation
that the living association which the believer has with the Lord
Jesus is the fruit of the power and activity of the Holy Spirit from
beginning to end. The new birth is the first act of the Spirit of God
in the heart of a man. Without that divine operation it is impossible
for anyone either to see or to enter into the kingdom of God. This
is the truth set forth for us in John 3.
    But the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts is not complete
                      THE SPIRIT’S WITNESS                             159
  when the new birth takes place; it has only begun. The truth there-
  after is that the regenerated person, the one who has been born
  again, is no longer dominated by the lusts of flesh, but he is domi-
  nated by the power of the Holy Ghost, who leads him onward, teach-
  ing him of the glories of his Saviour and building him up in the
  faith. Now this dominating principle is not a tyranny as was the
 power of sin in the unregenerate life. It is called a “leading.” It is the
  tender hand of the Spirit of God guiding, leading US onward in a
 pathway toward which our newborn instincts are quite agreeable.
 As many, then, as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons
 of God.
     If the Spirit of God has taken a hand in your life, His first activity
 has been to perform the operation of the new birth and thereby to
 attach you by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have accepted
 the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour, then such is evidence you
 have been born again. If you have never actually accepted the Lord
 as the One who has died for you and saved you from sin and from
 hell, then you have no reason to believe the new birth has taken
 place (see John 1: 12-13). The way to make doubly sure you are
 born again is to bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ, to accept
 His work for your redemption on Calvary as your only salvation,
 and to receive Him as your only Saviour. Therein the leading of
 the Spirit of God begins and, if the Spirit of God has any hand in
 your life at all, then you are one of God’s sons, destined to be con-
 formed to the image of His Son according to this passage in
 Romans 8.
    As many then as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God,
for ye have not received a spirit of bondage again for fear, but ye
have received a spirit of adoption or sonship whereby we cry, “Abba,
Father! ” When you bow the knee before your God and Father,
and address Him as the One who has loved you and manifested that
love in the gift of His Son, mark it well-you are doing something
which is entirely unnatural to the man after the flesh. The unregen-
erate man runs away from God; he does not want to have anything
to do with Him. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of
them that believe not, lest the light of the glory of the gospel of
Christ should shine in unto them.” The very fact, then, that you
cry from your heart “Abba, Father,” the very fact that you have
the sense in your soul that God loves you and that you look to Him
for guidance, is the greatest proof on earth you are one of God’s
 160           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   sons. As you call God your Father from your heart, you are led b y
   the Spirit of God, because it is only by His Spirit that the love of
   God is shed abroad in our hearts.
      Let us be very clear about this. I am not speaking now about the
   fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men, which is a very
  popular theory today. That is not the subject here in Romans 8. ‘To
  call God our Father after this order .means I must come to Him in
  and through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus in John 14:6
  says: “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto
  the Father, but by Me.” This is not the over-all fatherhood of God
  in His kindliness towards all His creatures. This is definitely knowing
  God as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” and there-
  fore “our God and Father.” When the Lord Jesus arose from the
  dead He said to Mary, “Go tell my brethren that I ascend unto My
  Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.” This is
  the relationship which has been won for redeemed sinners by the
  death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit itself
  bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. In
 other words, the order of apprehension in the human soul is this:
  First of all there is the presentation of the Gospel: “For God so loved
 the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever be-
 lieveth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” “Be it
 known unto you, men and brethren, that through this man is
 preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.” “This is a faithful say-
 ing, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the
 world to save sinners.”
     This is the steppingstone of this grand stairway that leads into
 the presence of God our Father. First of all I must accept Christ as
my personal Saviour, the One who died for me. I confess my sins
before Him. I accept His shed blood for my atonement. Immediately
I do that, the Spirit of God indwells my heart and He conducts me
in affection and in power. His first activity is to make me from my
very heart call Jesus “Lord.” No one can call Jesus Lord except t)y
the Holy Spirit. So I bow to the authority of the Lord Jesus and to
His Word. Then the Holy Spirit leads me further, leads me to know
God is my Father and, just as He loves His beloved Son, so He loves
me in Him. It is in that way the Spirit of God bears witness with my
spirit that I am one of His children. This is not an emotional thrili,
it is not feeling of any kind. It is part of the revelation of God set
forth in His Word. I don’t have to feel it. I have to believe it,
                            NO DREAMS                               161




                          No Dreams

 I    WAS suggesting to you in the previous chapter that Remans
      8: 15-17 ought to give absolute assurance of salvation to every
  true believer in Christ. God has come out in His matchless love in
  the gift of His beloved Son, and has reconciled US to Himself by the
  Lord Jesus through His death on the Cross. Now we are regarded
  in Christ and there is no condemnation for those who are in Him.
  All believers come under this category. The eighth of Romans begins
  with that premise, and we move onward through the chapter, and
  here in this passage Paul introduces the subject of primary impor-
  tance, the liberty of God’s children.
     We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but we
  have received the spirit of adoption or sonship, whereby we cry
 “Abba, Father!” We have been taken out of the bondage of sin,
 liberated by the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
 now we have been brought into a realm of liberty and affection. As
 the Psalmist said, “God has delivered me from all my fears.” Is it
 not strange then in view of this that so many Christian people con-
 tinue more or less in the realm of doubt and fear? Settled assurance
 of their salvation is not their enjoyed portion and the reason for this
 is that they are constantly looking within themselves to see if their
 feelings match the Word of God. How much better it would be for
 all of us to take God at His Word and to know what the Lord says
concerning us is true, no matter how we feel about it.
    “We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.” God
has not delivered us from the power of Satan to bring us into a realm
of uncertainty wherein we should doubt our salvation. I say there
are many Christian people who are constantly beset by fear that
they will not be good enough in the end, and that they therefore after
all may come under God’s condemnation. How different is God’s
Holy Word! “There is therefore now no condemnation to them
which are in Christ Jesus.” If you are a true believer in Christ, you
are in Christ Jesus, and God’s promise is that you will not come
into condemnation. Now the Lord’s thought for us is that we should
not have the spirit of bondage so that we are constantly in fear and
dread, but He has given to us the Spirit of adoption, or sonship, so
   162            ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  that we might address Him as our Father. We have been inducted
  into His family, and the love of God as Father is upon us, change-
  less, unfathomable, vouchsafed to us in all certainty through the gift
  of His beloved Son.
     How good if every one of us would rest there and not try to match
  the truth of God with our changeable feelings from day to day! In
  this way the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are
  God’s children. The very fact that our hearts go out to God as our
  Father is a witness we are His children. There is a consciousness in
  the heart of every true believer in Christ that God loves him. He
  has learned this at the Cross of Calvary by accepting the Lord Jesus,
  the Son of the Father, as his Saviour. That sense in his soul of the
  love of God is truly the witness of the Spirit that he is one of God’s
  children. A great deal has been said and written about the witness
  of the Spirit in us, as if it were some kind of emotional upheaval for
  which we have to watch. Indeed some people even teach it is some
  supernatural intervention on the part of God, given to us in order
  that we might be able to trust Him from then onwards. I know
 a dear Christian woman, whose Christian father many years a g o
  heard voices in the night and forever afterwards told people every-
 where that that was the witness of the Spirit in him. His daughter
 told me personally she had difficulty in believing her husband was
 a true Christian because he had never heard any such witness of the
 Spirit. If you and I have to hear voices in the night, or have some
 special dreams or visions in order to believe the Word of God con-
 cerning us, then we could not possibly have much respect for the
 Bible which we believe to be God’s Word. God has already spoken
 to US in His Word. He has told us the truth in relation to our accept-
ance before Him, and all the voices in the night we might hear
would only add confusion to what the Word of God says. I am not
going to enter into the idea of dreams and visions or hearing strange
voices, except to mention that we all have very fertile imaginations,
and it is easy for Satan to tempt us in order to get our attention
away from God’s imperishable Word and fix it upon some outside
evidence. The witness of the Spirit of God here is that the true child
of God can stand in the presence of God and say, “Abba, Father.”
In other words, he has been brought into eternal relationship with
God as his Father and he is at liberty in His presence. There was a
time when we ran away from God. Now that we are sheltered through
the Lord Jesus Christ we no longer run away; we are at home in
His presence. We bow before Him. We thank Him for His matchless
                                NO DREAMS                                        163
 love. We commit our soul to His keeping. We accept every good and
 perfect gift from His hand. In a word, we call Him “Father.” And
 that is the Spirit’s witness with our spirit that we are God’s chil-
 dren. It is not dreams or fanciful visions that are subject to all
 kinds of speculation; it is the evidence of the imperishable Word of
 God.
    Now this passage goes on to say, “If children, then heirs.” If we
are God’s children, the future is absolutely secure. If we have ac-
 cepted Christ as Saviour and have been inducted into God’s family,
 there is nothing surer in all the universe than the fact that we are
going to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. The mark of
destiny is upon the children of God. God has marked them out for
eternal blessing, and nothing will change that. Again T hear someone
interject, “But what if I go on in sin?” If you do, and you are a
true child of God, you will have a very miserable time of it, and
God will use your misery to bring you back, to restore you to Him-
self. However disobedient a child may be in any family, he never
ceases to be a child. No power can change the relationship! So it is
with one of God’s children. We may be obedient children, and we
shouId be, but, if we are disobedient, we are still children. And if
children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. And
then a further truth: “If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may
be also glorified together.” We are linked with the Lord Jesus Christ
forever and nothing can separate us from our God and Father.



                                Suffering
       And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
    if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
    For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
    compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Ram. 8:17-18).



I  T HAS been suggested oftentimes that the subject of Romans $
     is summed up in the one word “deliverance,” and surely there is
much truth in this. It begins with deliverance from judgment. “There
is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Then it is
deliverance from the law of sin and death from which we have been
set free by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. And in this
passage it is the final physical deliverance from the entire burden
 164           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  of the fallen creation into the liberty of the glory of the children of
  God. This must necessarily be linked entirely with the Lord Jesus
 Christ, who has gained the mighty victory at Calvary’s Cross, who
 is risen from the dead, and at whose request the Father has sent forth
 the Holy Spirit to indwell the hearts of believers as “the earnest of
 our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession,
 unto the praise of His glory,” as it is so beautifully stated in Ephe-
 sians 1: 14.
     We have seen in the few previous verses the establishment of the
 fact that they which are led by the Spirit of God are God’s sons, and
 the same Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s
 children, giving us the sense in our soul that we are not only under
 the care of a beneficent God, but that we have been adopted into
 His family, and that we stand in definite eternal relationship with
 our God and Father. Then the apostle goes step by step upward
 upon the ascending ladder that carries us into the very realm of glory
 itself. If children, then we are heirs. Here the inheritance comes into
 view. The Lord Jesus by right of redemption has become the heir of
 the universe. This is not merely His right as Creator, but His right
 as Redeemer. He has looked upon the whole creation, including our-
 selves, as having been carried captive by the power of Satan, whom
 we have followed willingly enough, but under whose domination we
 have been in cruel bondage. By His death on Calvary’s Cross He
has borne the penalty of our sin and rebellion, so that this creation
which was destined for judgment has now been taken over by the
One who has paid its purchase price, even the Lord Jesus Christ. We
are not our own, we have been bought with a price, and every
Christian has recognized this by accepting the Lord Jesus as per-
sonal Saviour. Then we are adopted into God’s family, because we
are brought into the sunshine of His everlasting love in the person
of our Lord Jesus Christ, His beloved Son. Thus we are ourselves
constituted sons with God’s Son and as such, under the care of our
God and Father, we are also His children.
    Furthermore, God has written a testament or a will bequeathing
the universe first of all to the Lord Jesus Christ by right of redemp-
tion, and secondly to all those who are brought in, as in association
with Him. If children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs
with Christ. Thus the mark of destiny is upon every one of God’s
people because they are children. This is not calling our conduct in
question. It is not discussing whether we are obedient or disobedient
children. It is the fact that we are children. That relationship is
                             SUFFERING
 established when we first receive the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives.
 This is stated unequivocally in the first chapter of John’s Gospel:
  “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the
  children of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which
 were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will
  of man, but of God.” The word in that passage is not sons; it is
 more accurately children. It is the very simplest relationship; and
 may I say this is the only sense in which we can interpret the word
 children in Romans chapter 8. There is a sense in which God is
  Father of all His creatures because all are His handiwork and
 creation. But this passage goes far beyond that. This is the relation-
 ship into which we have been brought by grace, by receiving the
 Lord Jesus Christ. All believers are now constituted God’s children
 by the very fact they have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their
 Saviour. There is no other means whereby you can become one of
 God’s children. You cannot be educated into it, however important
 education may be. Becoming a member of an organized church does
 not constitute you one of God’s children, however important your
 church life may be. You are constituted one of God’s children, ac-
 cording to John 1, first of al1 by the new birth, and this expresses
 itself in your acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, if you have
 come by that way, you are an heir of God and a joint-heir with the
 Lord Jesus Christ.
    N OW what is the natural expectation thereafter? It is mfierz”ng!
This may have a strange sound to many of us, for I believe the
greatest campaigning Satan is doing at this present time is to take
the thought of suffering out of the Christian life. Satan’s endeavor in
these last days is to make the Christian profession an attractive
affair, SO attractive indeed that it will attract the unregenerate man.
Unfortunately, modern evangelism launches its campaign today with
pageantry of entertainment in an effort to make it as easy as possible
to induce people to confess they are Christians. Thus we have a large
multitude of people who give assent to Christian doctrine, make some
brief profession of wanting to change over from unbelief to faith,
and then move forward in a kind of unreal realm of hand clapping
and chorus singing in a make-believe world of having a good time.
That is not the aspect in which Christianity is presented in the New
Testament. The first outlook of a Christian who really accepts the
Lord Jesus is that he must become a follower of the One whom he
has accepted, and his first expectation on that line is suffering. Moses
chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to en-
 166               ROMt\NS-_A COURTRO01\1 D R A M A
joy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of
Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.”
   Do not think, my friend, that the acceptation of Christ means life
thereafter will be a feather-bed experience of easy living. Being a
Christian is a supreme adventure of swimming upstream, breasting
the current of man’s opposition, a current that reached its full tide
when it put the Lord Jesus on the Cross of Calvary, and which still
sweeps onward as powerfully as ever, bringing persecution and suffer-
ing to every one who will be loyal to Christ. “If so be that we suffer
with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Is it then a losing
battle? No indeed! “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be
revealed in us.” The Christian’s day is coming, and the brief episode
of the life of suffering on account of Christ here in this world isn’t
worthy a place of comparison before that eternal realm of joy un-
speakable, when the Lord Jesus comes into His Kingdom.




                   The Groaning Creation
         For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
      to be compored with the glory thot shall be revealed in us. For the earnest
      expectation of the creature woiteth for the monifestotion of the sons of
      God. For the creature was mode subject to vanity, not willingly, but by
      reason of him who hoth subjected the some in hope; Because the creature
      itself olso shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glori-
      ous liberty of the children of God. For we know thot the whole creation
      grooneth and trovoileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but
      ourselves also, which hove the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves
      groan within ourselves, woiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption
      of our body (Ram. 8:18-23).



SUFFERING is creation. The universe into Satan anddistress soofthere
    God’s fallen
                    the keynote of the present disposition of all

has plunged the entire material
                                rebellion of
                                             chaotic
                                                     the sin    man

is an earnest expectation on the part of every living thing, looking
forward to the day of redemption, when the Lord Jesus in mighty
power and great glory will take over the universe.
   This present time of suffering of which the Christian is made
keenly aware in these days, is not worthy to be compared with the
display of glory which is going to be made manifest in us when
                   THE GROANING CREATION                              167
  the Lord Jesus Christ comes. He is coming to be glorified in His
  saints and to be admired in all them that have believed. S O over-
  whelming will be the joy and exultation of that eternal display that
  the trials of this present brief period of time wane before its excel-
  lence.
     We are all part of a groaning creation, and every sane person in
  these days in which we live is conscious of the candid truth of this.
  The suffering here is not confined, by any means, to the thought of
  suffering persecution on account of the reproach of Christ. It is rather
  the over-all consequences of fallen man in the present creation. That
 which God set up in the Garden of Eden was a spectacle of harmony
 and beauty, wherein Adam was the great administrator of God’s
 loving-kindness toward the lower creation. Adam was impowered of
 God to give names to the animals as a token of his understanding
 of the vast scheme of benevolence which God had inaugurated. The
 herbs of the field, the fruit of the trees were all to be the untarnished
 expression of the loving provision of his God. So great however was
 the position of man himself in this wonderful realm of beauty that
 nothing and no one was found therein who could be a helpmeet for
 the heart of Adam himself. God took from Adam’s side his com-
 panion, Eve, brought her to him, and presented her as one who could
 share the joys and aspirations of his heart. It was a realm of great
 order and charm, in which man and his consort could have wonderful
 communion with God, but Satan entered in and man listened to the
 serpent.
    When Adam and Eve sinned, they brought tremendous consequence
 upon themselves and the whole creation around them. It was not
simply that they did something contrary to the will of God, but by
their sin they wrecked the entire institution of the governmental or-
der which God had set up. The dictates of the Almighty were set
aside, and man at once became the slave of the deceiver who had
ensnared him. The living creatures around him also were affected by
the fall; instead of looking to mankind for direction and for tender
care, they themselves became rebels against man’s authority. The
beasts, which had been of a kindly nature, became ravenous and wild.
Then the earth itself was cursed under the judgment of God because
of man’s sin, and the readiness with which things grew in profusion
for the hand of man was lost. The earth gave of its fruit only re-
luctantly under hard toil and by the sweat of man’s face. Moreover,
man himself, that wonderful being who had been set up in the image
and likeness of God, in his very triune being fell, and his spiritual
 168           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  fall was prodigious. He had been set up by God a trinity of being
 much like unto God Himself. He was three entities in one person,
 constituted spirit and soul and body, in that order. When man sinned,
 however, the entire order was reversed and that spiritual being of
 beauty and harmony, which *as a representation of God Himself
 in the creation, grievously fell. Man’s spirit took the lowest place.
 Guided largely by his soul, the seat of his emotions, and the lust of
 his body, the lusts of the flesh became the paramount issue in his life.
     Thus the entire creation had crashed in ruin because of the en-
 trance of sin, and from that day to this nothing has been right in the
 first creation. Indeed so irrecoverable has it all been that the Lord
 Jesus Christ, the second Person in the Godhead, has come down here
 into this world, has taken a tabernacle of flesh, and in human guise
 has charged Himself with the emancipation of the fallen creation, of
 the bringing of it back in the power of redemption to the God who
 first created it. The first task of the Lord Jesus Christ in incarnation
 was to lay down His life for His lost creatures, thus bearing the
 penalty of God’s judgment against sin. This He did at Calvary’s
 Cross. It is recorded in Hebrews 2, “He should taste death for every
 thing.”
    In the power of His redemption, and in the light of His Resur-
 rection, man himself is now emancipated from the degradation and
 shame into which sin had brought him, and, identified with the Lord
 Jesus in new creation, the believer is e!evated to Paradise itself. The
 fallen man, instead of being subjugated under the power ol’ the lust
of the flesh, controlled by his body desires and instincts, again has
become a spiritual being controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. The
new man in Christ is set up spirit and soul and body, maintained by
the power d the Lord Jesus. Moreover the creation around him is
groaning in expectation of the moment when all this will be brought
into actuality at the coming of Christ. Then the dog will no longer
whine in agony and pain. No Ionger will the lion roar in the jungle
SO that every beast of the field trembles in terror. Then the lion and

the lamb will dwell together and the ass will lie down with the kid.
The earth will no longer be reluctant in fruit-bearing. The trees will
no longer be diseased and covered with corroding scale, but the desert
will blossom as the rose. The world around us today is crying out for
the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The grass of the field, the trees of
the forest, yes, every livin g thing is groaning and travailing together
in pain, waiting for the moment when God’s sons will be made manifest.
You and I in glorified bodies are destined to come forth in the com-
                     THE GROANING CREATION                                          169
 pany of the Lord Jesus Christ to end the dominion of sin upon the
 earth, bringing righteousness, peace, and salvation to a sin-sick, war-
 weary, pain-racked creation. Lord Jesus comef




                We Are Saved by Hope!
       For we know that the whole creation groonoth ond trovoileth in pain
    together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the
    first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting
    for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by
    hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth
    he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with
    patience wait for it (Ram. 8:22-25).



P    AUL is demonstrating here how the entire visible creation shared
     in the spiritual cataclysm that took place when Adam sinned.
 The sad tale during the last six thousand years has been one of pain
 and travail on behalf of the whole creation, and there is an earnest
 looking forward, on the part of every living thing, to the day of
 emancipation,which will take place when the Lord Jesus comes to
 take over the kingdom. We are in the midst of a groaning creation,
and we need not look for a final settlement of the affairs of the uni-
verse until the rightful Heir of all things comes back in power and
great glory to establish righteousness. The groaning will go on until
that time. Thus the elements of suffering we see around us today are
all harbingers of the coming of Christ. The distress of nations, the
impossibility of agreement between statesmen in a world that lan-
guishes in the throes of political conflict, the whine of pain among
dumb animals, the struggle of the trees to combat the attack of dis-
ease and destructive insects, the presence in our civilized communities
of giant hospitals to house the ailing and the injured, all are potent
tokens of the tremendous truth of the fact that the whole creation
groans. But it is a groan that goes up towards heaven as a prayer
for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, for only when He comes to
take over the throne of the universe will all these things be set aside.
   When the Lord Jesus comes to set up His Kingdom on earth the
hospitals will be closed, doctors will go out of business. Tremendous
changes will take place across the world in that day. The ravenous
nature of the wild beasts will be changed, for the lion and the lamb
    170                ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  will dwell together. The green herb and the fruitful trees will no
  longer       be stricken with scale and disease, or with destructive insects,
   for the desert will blossom as the rose. The game of politics will be
  at an end, for the Lord Jesus Himself will appoint the servants, who
  have been true to Him in the day of His rejection, to take over the
  administration of the world, and righteousness will rule upon the
  earth. Wars will cease, for men will beat their swords into plough-
  shares and their spears into pruning hooks. Running to and fro in
  the earth by fast mechanized units of transportation will be brought
  to an end, for each man will sit under his own vine and under his
  fig tree inviting his neighbor to share in the abundance of his fruit.
  Then the groaning and the travailing of the creation will be over
  forever and the yearning prayer of the centuries will be an-
  swered. “The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His
  wings. ” “The government shall be upon His shoulder; His name shall
  be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting
  Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and
  peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His
  kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with
 justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts
 will perform this” (Isaiah 9: 6).
         Little wonder this great event, the coming again of the Lord Jesus,
 is spoken of as “the Blessed Hope.” The first phase of it will be the
 enrapturing of the Lord’s people to meet Him in the air. Then the
 great tribulation upon the earth will ensue, and a short time later
 the Lord will come with His saints to set up His kingdom and inau-
 gurate world-wide order, peace, and harmony everywhere. This is
 described to US in Romans 8:23, as “waiting for the adoption . . .
 the redemption of our body,” and we who are the firstfruits of the
 Spirit groan within ourselves, waiting for that moment. Having the
 firstfruits of the Spirit merely means God has given to His beloved
children of this present time the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as an
earnest or a pledge of the day of glory about to be inaugurated. This
subject is taken up in some detail in Ephesians 1. Then this passage
in Romans 8 says: “For we are saved by hope”; it is hope that is
not seen, and we must keep this in mind. How needful it is for us to
emphasize this fact, in a day like the present, when there is every
indication of disintegration, failure, collapse of the very moral fiber
of our universe! In Iooking across the world at this hour, one can
hardly be surprised that unbelieving men scoffmgly ask, ‘(Where is
the promise of His coming?” Twenty centuries have rolled on since
                       WE ARE SAVED BY HOPE!                                       171
 the Lord Jesus was here in this world. The last words which He left
 with us in the New Testament are these: “Behold, I come quickly.”
 It has been a long time of waiting, a time characterized by unmiti-
 gated suffering on the part of the people of God, first of all, and then
 of the whole creation around us. The rejection of the Lord Jesus
 Christ by way of the Cross of Calvary marked the beginning of a
 long decline toward chaotic confusion marked by disappointment and
 sorrow on every hand.
    We are now at the close of the age, and the evidences before our
 eyes in the world at this hour do not portend any kind of solution
 of the multiplied problems before mankind. The Christian therefore
is not saved by sight; he is saved by hope. The revelation of God has
come to him concerning the coming again of the Lord Jesus at the
darkest hour in the world’s history. The Christian has believed it
and, as the darkness in the world becomes deeper and more inpene-
trable, the Christian realizes the Lord is at hand. It is very remark-
able how the truth of the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ is
so well known among Christian people across the world at this time.
A little more than a century ago very few people believed in the
coming again of Christ, although it is so plainly taught in the Scrip-
tures. God has graciously revived it in the hearts of His people during
the past century and very few of the Lord’s people are now in the
dark as to that grand truth,



                The Spirit’s Intercession
       likewise the Spirit also helpeth oar infirmities: for we know not what we
    should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for
    us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the
    hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh inter-
    cession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all
    things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the
    called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did
    predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be
    the first-born among many brethren (Ram. 836-29).



P   ERHAI’S the keynote of this entire passage is struck in the end
    of verse 28, “according to his purpose.” How little we, who are
the people of God, realize the precision and the immutability of God’s
purpose! He is working all things after the counsel of His own will
 172           ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
  and you and I, through matchless grace, form a part of that vast
  scheme of divine purpose with the Lord Jesus Christ the Center of
  it all. How these thoughts should establish every one of us in the
  faith, and banish from our hearts and minds the doubts and misgiv-
  ings that Satan is constantly seeking to instill in them! Little wonder
  this twenty-sixth verse brings into view our infirmity in connection
  with prayer! I believe this verse is largely misunderstood. Too fre-
  quently we limit the thought of the Spirit helping our infirmities to
  the care which the Lord has for us in relation to the petty needs of
  our homeward journey. While all that is true, it is not precisely the
  subject before us here. In view of the vast scheme of blessing which
  God is going to inaugurate in and through the Lord Jesus Christ for
  the entire universe, and in view of the fact that you and I are mov-
  ing toward that at this present time, every single item coordinating
  for our eventual blessing, prayer becomes a very large and weighty
 affair. In view of the purpose of God, each one of LIS must appear
 very small, and the tiny cup of our own apprehension can hold but
 little of the vast ocean of God’s eternal blessing. In connection with
 our prayer life, therefore, we are indeed weak and infirm, and we do
 not know rightly what to ask for. It is here that the Spirit’s power
 comes in, and He takes up our infirmity in this way; He Himself
 makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be utter&
 Now let us not for a moment confuse this with the groanings that
 can be uttered, and all the various noises we sometimes hear Chris-
 tian people indulge in under the name of prayer. The groanings men-
 tioned here are “groanings that cannot be uttered.” They are the
deep yearnings of the human heart silenced before the immensity of
the tremendous need around us, the need of the hand of God intcr-
vening in a world of sorrow and trial and suffering unspeakable. E
say these are groanings that cannot be uttered, and do not let us con-
fuse them for a moment with the weird and unholy noises in which
some people indulge when they are supposed to be in prayer.
    A S we sense this deep yearning in our hearts, as we cry out to God
for the weaknesses and infirmities that beset us in common with
needy humanity around us today, the Lord who is on the Thronc----
He that searches the heart-knows what is the mind of the Spirit,
because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will
of God. Thus there is the most intimate communion between our
Lord, our Intercessor on high, and the Holy Spirit, our Intercessor
within our hearts. The answer comes back from heaven and the
result of all this is: “All things work together for good to them that
                  THE SPIRIT’S INTERCESSION                           173
  love God.” As we each look back over our little lives, surely we realize
  how much the intercession of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, has to
  do with our walk and ways. Certain needs arise in our lives, spiritual
  needs of which we know little. Perhaps we sense there is a need, but
  what it is we are too infirm and weak either to grasp or express.
  Perhaps it is a yearning for a deeper communion with the Lord. Then
  the Spirit prays, and the Lord on high hears that prayer, although
  it be in groanings which cannot be uttered; and the answer at once
  comes back. Perhaps the Spirit of God has seen that the only way
  whereby that communion which we desire may be reached is by
  allowing us to go through the deep waters of suffering through some
 particular trial. The Spirit of God prayed; then perhaps you met
 with an accident, and you were laid aside. It seemed as if your whole
 life had gone awry. The worId of your hopes for the time being
 crashed in ruins at your feet and the entire scheme of your life of
 service for the Lord, as well as your usefulness to those dependent
 upon you, came to a most unexpected suspension and you were laid
 aside in weakness and helplessness. It was the Spirit of God, who
 knew your infirmity, who prayed for that, and the Lord, who
 searches the heart, knew the Spirit intercedes according to the will
 of God. And so the entire highway of your life suddenly made a
 detour into the shadows of trial and difficulty. Was it an accident?
 There are no accidents among God’s people! The Spirit of God, and
 the Lord on the Throne knew it was the only way to bring some
particular blessing into your life; and so it was allowed. Thus it is
with every detail of our Christian lives; thus we know “All things
work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the
called according to His purpose.”
    H OW infirm and weak we all are in relation to the circumstances
of life! But God is weaving a marvelous pattern of glorious harmony
in every Christian life. He knows how beautiful it will be in the day
of glory when it is put on display. In the meantime it may seem as
if there were many loose threads in the hand of the Almighty and
the entire plan and scheme of our little lives were disjointed and
broken. Let us remember that the Spirit of God-the divine Person
indwelling our hearts-is supervising every step of the way. He sees
ahead and He knows our need. We do not know what to pray for,
but He does, and His petitions go to the One on the Throne on
heaven’s highest height. Thus there is a divine arrangement of every
detail of the Christian pathway. It is with this background that
Paul says, “We know that all things work together for good.” We
  174          ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 can all look back upon seasons in our lives when everything seemed
 to go wrong, and sometimes we thought God was punishing us ior
 something, whereas it was His loving-kindness seeking to impress
 upon our hearts some particular item of blessing which we could
 never have learned except through suffering. Remember the Word
 of God concerning our Lord Jesus Himself: “Though He were a
 Son yet learned He obedience by t.he things which He suffered; and,
 being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto
 all them that obey Him.”




                          “God for Us”
      And we know that all things work together for good to them that love
    God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he
    did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of
    his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover
    whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them
    he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What
    shall we then say to these things? If God be for as, who can be against
    us? (Ram 8:28-31).



T     HE KEY word of this entire passage is the word “Purpose”
      - “called according to His purpose.” It is well for us to note
 just exactly what the purpose of God is in this passage. It is given
 to us in one phrase in the end of verse 29: “That He,” that is,
 God’s Son, “might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Here
 we reach the very apex of the vast scheme which God had planned
in the depths of eternity, and which has been brought to fruition
through the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, through
the indwelling Spirit who unites all Christians with their living
Head in heaven. We have to do with a God who is working all things
after the counsel of His own will, and His will is that the Lord
Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, will be the Center of a vast universe
of blessing, and that immediately around His beloved Person will
be a selected group called His “brethren.” This was the heraldic
note that was sounded immediately the Lord Jesus rose from the
dead. It was the message given to Mary: “Go tell My brethren that
I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and
your God.” It was a new relationship inaugurated through the death
                           “GOD FOR US”                             175
  and Resurrection of Christ. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the
  ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth
  much fruit.” “He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are
  all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
     The ultimate purpose which God has devised, therefore, is that the
  Lord Jesus Christ, in the place of exaltation---every knee bending
  in His presence-will be the firstborn; that is, the chief among many
  brethren. Joined to Him by life and nature, this marvelous company,
  which we today call His Church, are brought into the closest associ-
  ation with Him by redemption’s might and through the indwelling
  Spirit. Since this purpose is so definite and sure, Paul therefore
  says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that
  love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
  God has set forth upon a vast scheme of blessing; every one who
  believes on the Lord Jesus Christ finds his place within that scheme,
 and every circumstance of the life of each believer is coordinated to
 work together for good. It is to this end the Holy Spirit is making
 intercession as described to us in the few previous verses of this
 chapter, and to this same end the Lord on high responds to the
 prayers of the Holy Spirit and carries forth every detail of His
 own will in relation to our individual lives. Little wonder, then, in
 the twenty-ninth verse, Paul, the brilliant attorney for the defense
 in this great courtroom drama, reaches back into the abyss of eter-
 nity, saying: “Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate
 to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the
firstborn among many brethren.” Then he gives us the golden chain
of divine purpose: “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He
also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom
He justified, them he also glorified.” The conclusion of all of this is,
“If God be for us, who can be against us?”
    Paul is reaching the climax of his legal argument here, as if he
would range upon the battlements of heaven itself the entire phalanx
of opposing forces in order to demonstrate their utter impotence
before the determinate counsel of God.
    This counsel was inaugurated before the foundation of the world.
The foreknowledge of God looked down the avenues of time, and He
envisioned the day when the gospel would be presented to a multi-
tude of mysterious beings not yet created who should be called
“men.” These men would be given the option as to whether they
would accept God’s plan or go their own rebellious way. In the
vision of divine purpose God saw that a certain number of them
 176           ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  would be obedient to the gospel; these He predestinated. He deter-
  mined in those bygone ages that they would yet be conformed 1,:)
  the image of God’s Son. Let us not confuse this with the the~~~~:/
  sometimes propounded that God has foreordained certain individual 5
  to eternal blessing and others to eternal damnation. That is not
  taught in the Scriptures, as far as I can see. Foreknowledge and pre-
  destination have to do with the vast scheme of the purpose of God
  which has destined that all those who, by their own choice, accept
  Christ as Saviour will be brought into the full tide of the blessing
  of the heart of a loving God, and no opposing force will frustrate
  that plan for one moment. God has foreknown it should be so--
  He has predestinated those who are believers to an eternal inheritance
  of blessing in Christ. The way by which this is all wrought out in
  time is first of all by the calling of God. That comes to us in the
 gospel. As far as you and I are concerned, the acceptation or rejec-
 tion of Christ is the determining factor as to whether we will be in
 heaven or hell, as to whether we will be in the presence of God
 our Father or spend eternity with the devil and his angels. The ini-
 tial step from our side is the response to God’s call. Then those
 who are called are justified, and Paul is presenting, on behalf of the
 condemned criminal here, the only way by which he may be justi-
 fied. He has gone into all this in the previous chapters,
    Then those who are justified are glorified. It is put in the past
 tense here because it is a judicial conclusion. Paul is not dealing with
 the time element here. He is not merely indicating how it all works
 out in your life and mine. He is dealing with the purpose of God
 that originates in the timeless eternity that is past and which will
be accomplished in the eternal age yet to come. Time, therefore,
matters little. Time is like a tiny island in a vast ocean of divine
purpose. Here the apostle steps over this tiny island of time as a mere
incidental in the scheme of divine grace. When the immensity of
God’s eternal purpose looms before the vision, one can see how
readily the question arises: “If God be for us, who can be against
U S?” It is as though Paul were looking upon the mighty power of the

overwhelming tide of the love of God to surround the Lord Jesus
Christ, His beloved Son, with a company called His brethren. They
shall begin by the call of the gospel, be cleared from all the guilt
upon them, and be ushered into the realm of glory by Him “Who
works all things after the counsel of His own will.”
                    THE ACCUSERS SILENCED!                                      177




                 The Accusers Silenced!
       What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be
    against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for as
    all, how shall he not with him also freely give as all things? Who shall
    lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who
    is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen
    again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession
    for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation,
    or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
    Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that
    loved us (Ram. 8:31-35, 37).



T      HESE are the unanswered challenges of the great apostle,
       thrown in the face of every opposing force tha,t surrounds the
 pardoned sinner. We may go through them one after another, and
 their consideration thrills the Christian soul with the thought of the
 complete triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself when He rose
 from the tomb, having obtained eternal redemption for us who
 believe on His Name. How I wish that the full tide of the truth
 of Romans 8 might cascade into the consciousness of every Chris-
 tian! Not a force in heaven, earth, or hell can successfully bring
 anything against those who have put their undivided faith in ihe
 Lord Jesus Christ their Saviour. His victory is our victory; we are
 identified with Him in death; we are identified with Him in resur-
 rection power. So complete is the triumph that the Lord here in this
chapter sweeps aside the entire tide of time and presents us glori-
fied with Him; for whom He justined, them He also glorified.
    Then we come to the abundant detail of this mighty triumph.
The first is, ‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be
for us, who can be against us?” I wonder if we begin to realize
the significance of this great truth, that God is for us. Let us re-
member this is the One against whom we were rebellious. At one
time we were enemies in our mind by wicked works against the
God who had created us. We shut up our hearts against Him and
refused to allow Him to have anything to do with our lives. All we
like sheep had gone astray, we had turned every one to his own
way. There was not a single individual on the face of the earth that
sought after God; they had all turned aside. We were indeed all
  178            ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
  he&bound rebels, cherishing the pursuit of our own will above every-
  thing else in all the world. I fully believe the reason SO few whole-
  heartedly accept the Lord Jesus Christ in these days is that this
  truth of the total depravity of man is not presented as it should
  be. Throughout these iirst seven chapters of Remans, the apostle, as
  he stands in this great courtroom of the universe, has been depict-
  ing the hopelessness of the sinner away from God. He has dia@msecl
  his sinful disease from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot;
  nothing but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores. Not a single
  heartbeat in his entire spiritual being would respond either to the
  righteousness or to the goodness of God. “Rut God, who is rich in
 mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when WC were
  dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye
 are saved) .” This is the glad music of heaven’s eternal song that
 filters down through the dark shadows of earth’s spiritual night to
 reach you and me in al1 our need, to bring us to the God who loved
 us in spite of all we had done against Him.
     Since God has been so superabundantly gracious towards IJS,
 since He has explored every avenue of endeavor to bring us into
 His presence in righteousness and in peace, and since He has ac-
 complished this by the death and Resurrection of His own beloved
 Son, then the apostle rightIy asks, “What shah we say to these
 things?” It is as though this brilliant attorney is overreaching him-
 self, carried forward by the excellent power of his own legal argu-
 ment. Before the magnificence of the grace of God he says, “What
 shall we say?” From the very depths of his heart he intimates, “If
 God be for us, who can be against us?” Since God has so loved
the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever be-
lieveth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, and since
this necessitated that the Son of Man, the darling of the bosom of
God the Father, should be lifted up on a cruel cross and die the
death of the guilty, then if the God who has done all that is for us,
it matters not about anyone else.
    It is as though Paul ranged the entire galaxy of the hosts of the
infernal regions, the devil and all his fallen angels upon the ramparts
of heaven, and declared them to be impotent before the God who
loved us. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up
for US all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?”
The supreme unspeakable gift of the heart of heaven has been given,
when “the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” All
the multitude of blessings, the peace, the joy, the care, the providen-
                   THE ACCUSERS SILENCED!                             179
tial goodness of our God, are merely incidentals after such a magnifr-
cent gift. It is as though the Spirit of God would reassure our hearts
that, since God has given the darling of His bosom to be our Saviour,
to die on the Cross, and since He allowed that One to go down into
the depths of anguish and despair under His judgment to bear your
sins and mine, then, after that, nothing will He withhold from them
that walk uprightly. His goodness comes forth in flood tide from
the eternal depths of heaven, through the open channel of the Cross
of Calvary. I wonder if you have ever acknowledged God’s goodness
in giving His Son to die for you. If not, may God grant that you
mav have the wisdom to realize your total unworthiness of such a
gift, to confess the sin of your hiart and life that made so stupen-
dous a sacrifice necessary, and, bowing the knee low, may confess
the Man of Calvary, the Lord and Sovereign of your life!




     The Golden Stairway of Remans                                8


 I  N ROMANS 8 Paul is ascending the golden stairway of divine
     purpose, marking his ascent step by step, beginning with the
 counsels of God before the foundation of the world, and going up-
 ward in verses 33 to 37 to the complete triumph over every oppos-
 ing force, and the establishment of God’s beloved people in associ-
 ation with the Lord Jesus in the realms of glory.
    As the great defense attorney in this dramatic trial before the
 court of the universe, he is reaching the climax of his argument and
 throwing out challenging questions to all and sundry who might
bring anything against the pardoned criminal. Who shall lay any-
thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth! God
Himself is the Person of final appeal in the supreme court of all juris-
dictional power. Speaking in the parlance of our own courts of law,
it is as though the attorney were saying that the honorable gentle-
man who occupies the bench, the judge of the supreme court, has
issued the verdict, and the verdict is that the criminal is justified
because another has borne the penalty of his sins. After that ver-
dict is issued, there is no one else in all the universe who has any
say in the matter. No one can bring a charge since it is God Him-
self, the Judge of all, who has justified, forgiven, and pardoned the
one who was a guilty sinner.
  180           ROMAN!+-A COURTROOM DRAMA
     The next challenge thrown out is “Who is he that condemneth?”
  Immediately the Spirit of God through Paul draws attention to the
  fact that the condemnation has already been pronounced and car-
  ried out to the letter in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ: “It is
  Christ that died.” Now, if the Lord Jesus were still in the tomb,
  it might be that He had not borne the full penalty, and the sinner
  would still have to suffer. But Paul says, “Yea, rather, that is risen
  again, who is even at the right hand of God.” The greatest proof
  that all my sins are gone under the judgment of God is that the
  Lord Jesus, who became the sin bearer, has risen from the dead and
  has been exalted to the highest pinnacle of power and glory. Had
  one of my sins been overlooked, then the Lord Jesus could not have
  been raised. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised
  for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him;
  and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone
  astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord
 hath laid on Him the iniquity of us ah.” The bIood of Jesus Christ,
 God’s Son, cleanseth from all sin. All my sins, past, present, and
 future, were laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the sin bearer at
 Calvary. He paid my debt in full, and the receipt was signed and
 sealed by God the Father when He raised Him from the dead and
 gave Him that place of pre-eminence at His own right hand.
     But Paul takes another step upwards in thi:; ascending stairway
 of glory as he reminds us “who also maketh intercession for us.”
 The office of our Lord Jesus Christ at this present time at the right
 hand of the majesty in heaven is one of continual intercession on
 behalf of His people. It is not intercession that their sins might be
 forgiven, because their sins have all been put out of sight. The
Lord’s intercession at this hour on behalf of His people is that we
might be maintained in happy communion with God our Father
every step of our pilgrim pathway. Although our sins have been
washed away and a complete pardon accorded to every repentent
sinner, let us remember that the moment we became Christians, we
entered upon a pathway of constant conflict. Like Israel of old,
who fought with the Amalekites (Exodus 17), we are waging a con-
stant fight against sin, against the flesh, and against the devil him-
self. We have a delightful picture of the intercessory office of our
Lord in that wonderful chapter in Exodus. It is beautifully recorded
there that Moses told Joshua he should choose out men and fight
against Amalek. And he said: “Tomorrow I will stand on the top of
the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” On the next day, when
          THE GOLDEN STAIRWAY OF ROMANS 8                         181
  the battle was fought in the valley below, Moses stood on the
  hill, and when he held up his hand Israel prevailed; but when his
  hand was let down the enemy prevailed. Moses’ hands were heavy,
  so they took a stone and they put it under him, and he sat on the
  stone, and then Aaron and Hur held up his hands, the one on the
  one side and the other on the other side, and his hands were steady
  until the going down of the sun. Thus the Israelites gained a great
  victory! There we have a picturesque illustration of our Lord’s
  present intercession on behalf of His people. He is on top of the
  hill indeed, for He has been exalted to the highest place in heaven,
  and He has already sat down. His hands never grow weak and heavy,
  for He ever liveth to make intercession for His people.
     In this wonderful chapter of Romans 8, then, we have iirst the
 intercessory office of the Holy Spirit in verse 26, and our Lord’s
 own intercession in verse 34. To me it indicates that the Spirit of
 God, who indwells the hearts of God’s people here on earth, is
 linked hand in hand in divine power with the Intercessor on high.
 Little wonder there is so much assurance in this chapter! Little
 wonder Paul can throw out these challenging and unanswered ques-
 tions: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” “Who
 is he that condemneth?” “Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ?” It demonstrates the supreme triumph of Christianity. In
the power of the risen life and the exaltation of our Lord, who has
been made higher than the heavens, every opposing force has been
subjugated. ‘(He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will
I trust.” “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His
wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow
that Aieth by day.” These are the ecstatic words of the simplest
believer on the Lord Jesus Christ: “If God be for us, who can be
against us?”
 182             ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                            No Separation
        Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or
     distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it
     is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted
     as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than con-
     querors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death,
     nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor
     things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be
     able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
     Lord (Ram. 8:35-39).



 H      ERE we come to divine truths so stupendously great it is really
         difficult to make any comment about them. The very reading
  of the passage itself is an unspeakable elevation to the soul.
    Let us remember as we read their excellent detail, they are the
 conclusion to a long and intricate legal document which has brought
 to light all the hideous facts of sin and rebellion against God. In
 grand relief against that black background, Paul has painted the
 golden excellence of matchless divine grace. Sin reigned unto death,
 grace reigned unto righteousness; sin brought condemnation, grace
 brought justification; sin brought shame and misery and separation
 from God, grace has brought reconciliation, joy, and hope unspeak-
able. The legal groundwork, therefore, has all been laid and the
pardoned criminal now stands before the One who once was his
Judge-whom he may now address as “Abba Father”-to realize
he is the object of God’s unfathomable love, declared in the Person
of His beloved Son who died to bear the penalty of sin. Now the
great question before the court is, “How long can such love last?”
Is it but a temporary dispensation of the goodness of the heart of
God to forgive the sinner for past trespasses, and then to turn him
loose upon his own responsibility to be saved today and lost again to-
morrow? That is the great question now before the court, and it is a
question which is largely before the minds of many Christians in
these days of very imperfect Christian doctrine. If God has brought
me into His presence and has handed me a pardon, legally signed
under the authority of the court of heaven, do I then find myself
a pardoned sinner, set free from past offences to walk forth into a
world of sin, liable to be dragged before the court tomorrow because
                          NO SEPARATION                              183
 1 have failed to keep myself holy and therefore     unworthy of this
   forgiveness? I say, it is a great question before many Christian
  hearts today.
      How does Paul by the Spirit answer such a question? Here is
  his answer: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Two
  realms of forces might endanger our security. The first realm is de-
  scribed in verse 35. These forces are all natural forces. The second
  realm is presented in verses 38 and 39, and these are all supernatural
  forces. Paul first of all looks at the natural world and the challenge
  is thrown out as to whether there is any person or power in the
  natural realm that will be able to separate the pardoned criminal
  from his Lord. In other words, is there any force here in this world
  that shall imperil my eternal salvation? That is the great question!
  Now here are the forces, Paul ranges them one by one before our
  vision: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril,
  sword; almost by way of interpolation he says, ‘(For thy sake we are
  killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
     It is not difficult for us to envision the tremendous power of these
 elements even in our present evil world. A dozen years ago they
 might not have had quite so much meaning as they have today, but
 half the world at this hour is under the awful scourge of some of
 these natural forces of privation. It may be very well for us here
 in America where our lot has certainly fallen in pleasant places and
 we have a goodly heritage, but in the chaotic confusion of Europe
 and on the barren stretches of famine-ridden China and pagan
 India, these forces of natural adversity are a great challenge to the
 Christian heart. Many thousands of the Lord’s people across the
 seas are in the deep valley of despondency at this hour because of
 tribulation and distress and persecution, and famine and nakedness,
and peril and sword. These are the elements that have laid waste
much of the world. Can these then separate from the love of Christ?
The answer is an unequivocal negative: “Nay, in all these things
we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us.”
    It is a sterling fact and a most brilliant testimony to the reality
of the Christian faith that, as a general rule, the deeper we go into
human distress, the more brightly beams the lamp of God’s goodness
in our hearts. No religion of man’s manufacture will supply such a
testimony. I say it is a glorious reality that the Christian’s spirit
in adversity is refined and not destroyed. Our souls may be over-
whelmed with spiritual lethargy and indifference when circumstances
are easy and we face no adverse powers; but when the going is
 184           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  hard and the mind is oppressed with a thousand cares and anxieties,
  it is then our hearts are drawn near to Christ, and we sense the im-
 pelling fulness of His all-sufficient love. Thus the natural elements
 are impotent to destroy the faith. It is not simply that the Christian
  triumphs over them, but his triumph is so supreme that Paul says,
 “We are more than conquerors.” More than conquerors? Is this a
 grammatical error? To be a conqueror! I S that not enough? No!
 The glorious life of the Christian in privation is so supremely abun-
 dant that grammatical construction is broken down, and Paul kicks
 over the traces of all human language when he says, “We are moye
 than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
     Then he ranges all the supernatural powers across the horizon of
 our view and declares they also are impotent to separate us from
 this great love. “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
 nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor
 depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the
 love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The arch foe is
 brought up first-death. He may be the king of terrors, but he cannot
separate the Christian from the love of God. Indeed he becomes a
 servant to conduct us into the presence of the One who loves us. Then
angels, principalities, and powers, and-speaking of the unseen created
 beings, many of whom are playing havoc in the religious world at this
hour-demons. We have the wicked forces as well as the good forces
of law and order. Neither can these separate the Christian from his
Lord. Then we have the time element, “things present nor things
to come.” God’s love is changeless; the Lord Jesus is the same yester-
day, today and forever; ours is an eternal salvation. Then we have
“height and depth”-elements that are very important. Sometimes
we feel God is so high and I am so low that He may get tired of me.
It is not SO! Then Paul says, “or any other creature.” No created
being or force shall be able to separate us from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, There I see Paul, the attorney
for the defense, rest his case in a brilliant crescendo of triumph.
This salvation which has come to the believer through Christ is not
one which I have today and may lose tomorrow. It is an eternal
salvation. Paul was persuaded of this! I wonder if we really are!
              PAUL’S PASSION FOR HIS BRETHREN                                      185




         Paul’s Passion for His Brethren
        l say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me Wit-
     ness in the Holy Ghost. That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow
     in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for
     my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to
     whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the
     giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are
     the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over
     all, God blessed for ever (Ram. 9:1-5).



 T      HIS passage is both an exclamation of sorrow and a prayer to
        the Lord on the Throne on behalf of Paul’s people, the Israel-
  ites, represented before our vision today in the Jews. His heart is
 filled with sorrow as he regards their low estate of suffering and perse-
 cution and unbelief. Surely this is a topic that ought to occupy our
 attention very seriously in these days when the Jew nationally is more
 before the eyes of the world than he has ever been in all history
 since apostolic times. The situation in Palestine at this critical hour
 is a reminder to us all of the anguish that must have filled the heart
 of Paul as he regarded his people according to flesh-the Jews, his
 own kinsmen. These chapters 9, 10, and 11 are an inspired treatise on
 this important subject.
     The rather strange way in which this chapter begins seems to
 convey the impression Paul is approaching an extremely delicate
subject that touched the tender strings of his own heart. Unlike any
other part of the Epistle, chapter 9 begins almost with an apology.
He says, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also
bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” This is a remarkable verse.
It is Paul’s insistence first of all that he is not lying, but speaking
the truth in Christ. What he is about to set forth will not be colored
in any way by racial prejudice or by undue religious zeal. Perhaps
no one knew better the tragic errors that are often made through
mistaken religious zeal. Was it not for this very reason Paul him-
self, as Saul of Tarsus, had to be arrested by the Lord on the road
to Damascus by the light above the brightness of the noonday sun?
In Philippians 3 Paul attributes the impulse which impelled him to
persecute the church to nothing more nor less than zeal. Saul of
Tarsus was the prototype of the religious zealot carried forward by
  186            ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  an unmitigated tide of religious prejudice founded very firmly upon
  accepted tradition.
     Paul outlines this graphically in 1 Timothy 1 when he says, “I
  thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he
  counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before
  a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy,
  because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” In Romans 9, therefore,
  Paul indicates this delicate subject of the unbelief of his own kins-
  men, the Jews, will be presented free from anything that would color
  the absolute truth. One cannot but admire the grace and wisdom and
  the straightforward candor of this giant of the faith, Paul t h e
 apostle. He spoke the truth in Christ. He did not lie. His conscience
  bore witness in the Holy Spirit. He was no longer relying upon a
 conscience formed and regulated by tradition. His conscience now
 was under the power of the Holy Spirit and thus he spoke.
    Nor does he storm at his people because of their antipathy to his
 Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Had he been impelled by fleshly
 prejudice he would undoubtedly have spoken with strong personal
 feeling because he was attached to the Lord with a devotion that has
 never been matched anywhere. The gentleness of Paul, however, al-
 ways arrests the attention and should be a great lesson to every true
 servant of Christ.
    Yet his own tenderness of heart will not for a moment mitigate the
 tragic night of the unbelief of his people Israel. So overwhelmed is
 he by its awful significance that he says, “I could wish that myself
were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according
to the flesh.” What an astonishing statement! We marvel at the
operation of grace in this man’s heart. Remember what a rigid IegaI-
ist Paul had been in his traditional religion. Entirely unbending
and ruthless, he had displayed himself capable of all the cruelty
that religious bigotry could engender in his spirit. His persecution
of the early believers on Christ called for unhesitating cruelty. He
had watched the stoning of Stephen on the street of Jerusalem un-
moved by the grace that shone in the face of that saint of God.
    But the Lord had later melted his heart. He was not a sentimen-
talist who had arrived at a softness of character because of defeat
or failure. He still had all the virulence of courage that may be
admired in a man, yet mysteriously he had somehow come to feel
the heart beat of the Son of God, who loved him and gave HimseIf
for him. This had changed him radically, and had brought into view
the awful darkness in which his people moved, because they failed
              PAUL’S PASSION FOR HIS BRETHREN
to recognize in Jesus his Lord their true Messiah. They had all the
real traditional advantages-the adoption, the glory, the covenant,
the giving of law, the service of God, the promises, the fathers, and,
last of all, ‘(of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came.” Thus
their national sun had set and, from that day to this, the Jews na-
tionally have been moving in midnight darkness thicker than that of
Egypt under Pharaoh. Paul’s pitying eye looked upon them, and he
desired he might be accursed from Christ, if that were necessary,
that he might see their salvation.




                “My Lord and My God”
       My brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to
    whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the
    giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are
    the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over
    all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hoth
    taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither,
    because they are the seed-of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac
                                     .
    shall thv seed be called. That is, Thev which are the children of the flesh,
    these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise ore
    counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I
    come, and Sarah shall have a son (Ram. 9:3-9).



I NtheROMANS 2of and terms ashasthedealt here concerningspoken there
       question
                      3 Paul
                   the guilt of
very much in the same
                                         somewhat conclusively with
                                     Jew, and he has
                                he does                  the heritage
of his brethren after the flesh. In those chapters he was dealing
with the truth more from an administrative point of view, indicat-
ing their guilt because they had refused the guidance which God
gave them in the law of Moses. It goes much deeper in this passage
and Paul outlines the varied spiritual advantages which this people
had, and how ineffective these spiritual advantages were apart from
God’s dealings with their individual hearts. A new question is there-
fore raised here. It is not that which was before us previously con-
cerning what advantage the Jew had on account of having the law.
Here it is rather his birthright. What advantage had he because he
sprang from Abraham? In chapters 2 and 3 it is administration; here
it is inheritance or promise.
   Paul therefore in verse 3 calls them his kinsmen after the flesh,
188
reminding us of hiswas not sim
                             relatio
selves Israelites. It filial goodn
administration of God’s
other by birthright.
“How the family tree is brough
reason to Abraham; step by s
the waythis people called
ingsname Israel means “a Israel
the of              that this princ
order reminds us inasmuch peop
all other nations the Almight
recognition before             as t
tians are today set among pri
the dunghill and
position by right of birth, and n
cial administration. to say, “to
 Then Paul goes on
They had been brought into fam
same himself. This Gospel, He
Adamline in Luke’s is with the
                        all a
should be approached Thererath
                  there on theis
our adorable Saviour.
cording to flesh;longer is the lin
resurrection, no taken up in gre
 This had known Christ after th
      subject is                lin
if weno more.”
Him            the
people is that said,Lord Jesus w
own prophet, is given: and the g
unto InaMicah 5 we have the
           son
der.”us thou, Bethlehem Ephrat
way:
   “But
    that is to of Judah, Israel;
the thousands be ruler in yet out
Meold, from everlasting.” When
of
ment the same truth is presented
                 ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




        “Purpose According to Election”
        For they are not all Israel which are of Israel: Neither, because they are
     the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be
     called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the
     children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
     For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall
     have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by
     one, even by OUI father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither
     having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to elec-
     tion might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto
     her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved,
     but Esau have I hated (Ram. 9:6-13).



 P     AUL is still the attorney in the courtroom and in this passage
       he is deliberately upholding the honor and dignity of the court,
  the right of the court to act in whatever way may seem suitable to
  its sovereign power.
     It is in line with this that the spiritual genealogy of Israel is pre-
 sented. I have suggested that these spiritual advantages of the na-
  tion of Israel are presented, not from the governmental point of
 view, but from the point of view of birthright or promise. Now let
 us look at the argument presented by Paul.
     His assertion is they are not all Israel which are of Israel. In order
 to set forth the legal importance of this point, he indicates it was
 only part of the seed of Abraham that came into blessing: “In Isaac
 shall thy seed be called.” Let us remember Abraham had another
 seed in the person of Ishmael. Ishmael’s children were just as much
 descendants of Abraham on the line of flesh as were Isaac and his
children. But while they were the seed of Abraham they were not
 the seed of promise, because God, who is ever Judge upon the sov-
ereign throne of the universe, declared that in Isaac the seed would
be blessed. We must look beyond mere fleshly genealogy in order
to have a standing under the sovereign goodness of the court. So
Israel is divided in a sense into two sections. Those who trace line-
age to Abraham may spring either from Ishmael or from Isaac. If
they spring from Ishmael, they need expect no blessing on that
line; if they spring from Isaac, they are the children of promise. Of
course, let us remember we have not yet come to the real issue at
           “PURPOSE ACCORDING TO ELECTION”
  stake, which is found in the very last clause of this chapter, “‘Who-
  soever believeth on Him [that is, on Christ] shall not be ashamed.”
  Paul is leading up to that, but he must take us by definite legal
  steps, in order to show clearly that, in the end, the only claim any-
  one has to blessing is to come by way of the true seed of Abraham,
  who is also the true seed of Isaac, who is none other than the Lord
  Jesus Christ Himself.
     But in this passage Paul is still upholding the right of the court
  to do what may seem right to itself, because it has sovereign author-
  ity over the affairs of men. Thus, instead of everything being traced
  back merely to Abraham, it is traced back to God Himself, whose
  sovereign will regulates the affairs of men for blessing. So in verse
  9 Paul says, “For this is the word of promise, At this time will I
  come, and Sarah shall have a son.”
     It almost seems as though the Spirit of God would push Abra-
  ham aside and indicate that Isaac, the seed of promise, came by
  divine intervention and not on human lines at all. Undoubtedly
 Abraham was the father of Isaac; that is unequivocally stated in the
 Scriptures. But let us remember he was begotten at a time when,
 as Scripture records it, Abraham was “as good as dead.” He was
 senile, beyond the normal human ability to beget children. These
 may seem rather incidental facts, but we are dealing with a legal
 argument here, and nothing is incidental. Paul is seeking for a solid
 foundation whereby his kinsmen after the flesh, the Jews, may be
 brought into unbounded blessing, into which he himself has already
 been brought in association with His Lord and Saviour. Nothing
 therefore shall be incidental. Every scrap of evidence will be brought
 forward for deliberation before the court. Thus Abraham’s fleshly
power to beget children is called in question and set aside at once,
inasmuch as God Himself said, “At this time will Z conw, and Sarah
shall have a son.” God gave the promise, and with the promise He
accorded to Abraham and Sarah the ability to bring Isaac into being
at a time when, on the line of flesh, they were absolutely senile-“as
good as dead.”
    Then immediately a new issue comes forward as to whether, per-
haps a little further down the line of genealogy, some claim on the
line of flesh may be established. Whereas it may be conceded that
Isaac owed his existence to an intervention of the Almighty, what
about those that followed after? So Paul goes on to say that when
Rebecca and Isaac were about to have their two children, Jacob and
Esau, God declared, before ever the children were born, the elder
               ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
  would serve the younger: “.4s it is written, Jacob have I loved and
  &au have I hated.” This brings into sterling relief one of the great-
  est problems that confront mankind in any age, concerning the
  right of God to do as He pleases in His own universe. It is Paul,
  the attorney, upholding the honor of the court. Thus in verse 11,
  which is parenthetic, Paul presents the crux of the entire situation:
 “For the children, being not yet born, neither having done any good
 or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand,
 not of works, but of Him that calleth.” Long before Jacob had
 proved himself a schemer or Esau had proved himself a profane
 person, God had distinctly designated He would use Jacob as a chan-
 nel of blessing through which His purposes of divine grace would
 flow toward mankind. God chose Jacob, He rejected Esau. Therein
 is the truth of election distinctly set forth. The question then arises,
 “Is it not entireIy unfair that God should choose one man and re-
 ject another?” That is the great legal question raised in this chap-
 ter. Although we shall pursue it further, may I say we cannot think
 of the truth of election without keeping in mind God’s foreknowledge.
 In other words, God looked down the avenue of time and He saw the
response which would come from the heart of Jacob and the lack
of response from the heart of Esau; on the basis of His foreknowl-
edge as to their behavior as freewill agents, He was able to l a y
His plans accordingly. No one shall call in question the right of
the Almighty, in view of that, to do as He pleases. The same thing
is true in the gospel. God, by His foreknowledge, can and does see
what your response and mine will be to His call in the gospel, and,
on the basis of that response or the lack of it, He has made His plans
accordingly. It is not an easy subject to understand. It is a shock
to the rebel mind, but it is a great consolation to him that is obedi-
ent.
                   THE POTTER AND THE CLAY                                       193




               The Potter and the Clay
       What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
     For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I
    will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of
    him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.
     For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I
    raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name
    might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on
    whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say
    then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
    Nay but, 0 man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing
    formed stlv to him that formed it, Why host thou made me thus? Hath not
    the potter power over the clay, of the.same lump to make one vessel unto
    honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to show his
    wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the
    vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; And that he might make known the
    riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepored
    unto glory, Even us, whom he hoth called, not of the Jews only, but also
    of the Gentiles? (Ram. 9:14-24).



I    N A LEGAL way, Paul is setting in juxtaposition the immutable
      purpose of God and the traditional or fleshly claims of the Jew.
 It is ever natural to the human heart to pride itself on traditional or
 inherited distinctions according to flesh. This is not by any means
confined to those under discussion in this chapter, for it is one of
the great impediments among Christians today. The carnal minded
Christian ever wants to trace back his religious lineage to some out-
standing personality whom he claims for himself or his party. This is
the unfortunate cause of all the sectarianism that exists in the church
at this hour. Some trace their religious tradition back even as far as
Simon Peter. Others, not quite so ambitious, are content to claim
distinct lineage with Martin Luther, or John Wesley, or John Knox,
or some other man of faith, as if the faith of the soul were something
that is inherited on the line of flesh.
    Now that, in a general way, is what we have presented to US in
this ninth of Romans. Here it is taken up in connection with the Jew
nationally but let us make it of wide application so each one of US
may get the spiritual benefit of this brilliant legal argument.
    Since Paul is himself a Jew, he can speak with both authority and
   194            RGMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  intimate personal knowledge of the traditional Jewish outlook. Little
  wonder then that he takes up the various personalities in the his-
  toric pageantry of Israel’s economy, beginning with Abraham, then
  touching upon Jacob and Esau, then Moses, then Pharaoh, a little
  later Hosea, then Esaias, with constant reference to the Old Testa-
  ment Scriptures. In keeping with his part as a brilliant attorney, he
  is gathering the evidence both for and against the right of the court
  to issue a decree of blessing upon the forgiven sinner. We must re-
  member throughout this chapter that condemnation is not the objec-
  tive. It is rather the right of the court to show mercy.
     Now, looking a little in detail at this passage, the first question
  asked is: “Is there unrighteousness with God?” When God chose
  Jacob and rejected Esau, shall He be accused of unrighteous deal-
  ings? Paul says, “God forbid,” and he asserts unequivocally the right
  of the Almighty to show mercy to whom He will show mercy. This is
 a lesson each one of us has to learn. It is really a continuation of
  the very subject of chapter 8 which is found at the end of verse 28,
 “called according to His purpose.” The Almighty has set forth on a
 vast scheme of universal blessing wherein the Lord Jesus Christ, His
 Beloved Son, is the Center of everything. He is regarded as the first-
 born among many brethren and the great wheels of God’s dealings
 with men must turn during the cycles of time and no one shall stand
 in their way. Everything must be subjugated to the will of the
 Almighty to bring about a universe of bliss to the eternal glory of
 His Name, where every intelligent being shall worship His Be-
 loved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is God’s purpose; the wheels
of His dealings may move very slowly but they grind exceeding
small. Woe betide anyone who gets in the way of the divine purpose.
He shall be ground to powder. UThe stone which the builders re-
jected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall
fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall,
it will grind him to powder” (Luke 20: 17, 18).
    In Romans 9 we have the side of blessing presented and we have
also the side of condemnation. If Moses was the leader of those whom
God chose to bless abundantly with His mercy, Pharaoh, on the other
hand, was the leader of those who chose to be rebels against the
Almighty. I do not think that God chose Pharaoh that he might be
damned eternally, as some would seek to teach, but rather that
there was occasion under the hand of God, and in the affairs of men,
for a puppet or representative of the tyrannous and cruel people of
Egypt with whom the Lord’s servant Moses could negotiate. It is
                 THE POTTER AND THE CLAY                             19s
  part of the divine record in the Old Testament that God hardened
  Pharaoh’s heart, but it is also part of the record that, prior to that,
  Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Indeed, here is a great warning to
  every sinner. There are three stages to the personal attitude of
  Pharaoh toward the Lord. First Pharaoh hardened his own heart,
 then God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and finally Pharaoh’s heart
 was hardened. The choice remains with us to begin with, but if we
  choose our own way and walk in rebellion against the God who
 speaks to us, then He may remove His restraining power and thus
 He may allow our hearts to be hardened. This is the story of Pharaoh
 and he thus becomes a mere puppet in the hand of the Almighty to
 display God’s mighty power to deliver His people, in spite of all
 that man and demon would do against them. The initial choice, how-
 ever, was evidently with Pharaoh himself.
    S O the apostle goes on, “Who hath resisted his will?” It is utterly
 useless for you or me to seek to thwart the will of God. If we will
 only have the wisdom to submit ourselves to His wiI1, we shalI find
 that it leads in the way of blessing. “He that humbleth himself shall
 be exalted” is a decree which God Himself has made, so the next
evidence presented by Paul is that you and I are but the clay in
the hands of the potter. We are not inanimate clay, however. God
has given us an intelligence either to bend to His will or to be
broken by it, and so verse 22 is most striking. There we have three
attributes of the Almighty, the Potter. The three attributes are wrath,
power, and long-suffering, and you will notice it says “much long-
suffering.” If we disobey God and refuse His long-suffering mercy,
then we have no prospect, either nationally or individually, but the
condemnation of His almighty power and the execution of His wrath
against sinners.
                ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                 Israel’s Spiritual Claims
       And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of
    mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath
    called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also
    in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her
    beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the
    place where it was said unto them, Ye ore not my people; there shall they
    be called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth concerning
    Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the
    sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it
    short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the
    earth. And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us
    a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
    What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after
    righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness
    which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteous-
    ness, hath not attained to the low of righteousness. Wherefore? Because
    they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For
    they stumbled at that stumblingstone (Ram. 9:23-32).



T     HIS is all in relation to Israel nationally and their claims con-
      cerning the favor of God by birthright. Paul, therefore, goes
 rapidly down through the entire history of the children of Israel to
indicate that, whereas they themselves were constantly failures on
the side of the earthly covenant, yet God Himself never fails. He is
regarded as the Potter in whose hands the vessel which He is fashion-
ing proves unsatisfactory and must be discarded, and another vessel
formed according to the will of the Potter.
    In verses 22 and 23 we have two kinds of vessels contrasted: the
vessels of wrath fitted to destruction a n d the vessels of mercy w h i c h
He had afore prepared unto glory. The great question before the
court now is as to the rectitude of the righteousness of such proce-
dure. It is indeed a difficult question, and it is extremely difficult for
US to understand how God can favor certain individuals and execute

His disfavor upon others. But our chief difficulty is because the
time element is predominantly before our vision. We forget that
God, who devised the plan of universal blessing in eternity past, had
the ability, the foreknowledge, to look down the avenue of the cen-
turies and make note that certain of His creatures would respond
                  ISRAEL’S SPIRITUAL CLAIMS                          197
   to His mercy and others would reject it. In view of what He fore-
  knew He could then lay plans that those who, in time, would be dis-
  obedient should be destined toward wrath, and those who, in time,
  would be obedient should be prepared unto glory. This does not con-
  flict with the fact that God’s offer of mercy is presented to His in-
  telligent creatures and they themselves shall determine whether they
  are vessels of wrath or vessels of mercy, according to the way in
  which they treat God’s goodness presented in God’s way.
     Thus He intimates in verse 24 that the calling of God goes out, not
  only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles also. Here the grace of God
  breaks over the bounds of Israel and reaches a people that was not
  called His people. Paul quotes both from Osee (Hosea) and from
  Isaiah concerning this.
     Now in verse 27 he touches the very kernel of this truth. God’s
  promise had been that Israel would be as the sand of the sea, yet
  Paul says a remnant shall be saved. How does this come about?
  Verse 28 tells us, “He will finish the work, and cut it short in right-
 eousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.”
 In other words, the Spirit of God does not always strive with men.
 There is a limit to His activity. God may appear very long-suffering
 for many weeks and months and years and even centuries, but
 sooner or later the end of His patience is reached and He brings the
 entire moral situation to a crisis. We find the large majority to whom
 He offered endless blessing rejected it and a mere remnant comes
 into the blessing. N OW this is true of Israel nationally. They sprang
 from Abraham. They had the promises of the covenant and all those
promises of blessing that are outlined in this chapter, but the vast
majority of them disobeyed God and forfeited their inheritance.
Esaias, quoted in verse 29, goes even further, stating that except the
Lord had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma or Gomorrha. It is
the assertion that the purpose of God must be carried out in spite
of all the failure of men. He gave to Israel nationally the offer of a
princely position on the earth and, if they had each individually had
faith enough to appropriate that blessing, they would indeed have
been shining as the stars of heaven in the firmament of earth’s glory.
The vast majority refused it and Israel nationally, represented in
the Jews today, instead of being as the stars of heaven, are as the
dust of the earth. They are trampled under foot by mankind even
as men walk upon the dust beneath their feet. What is the reason for
it all? Isaiah, their own prophet, has pointed out that when they turn
their back upon God-and this refers to all Israel-God will not be
   198            ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
  frustrated in His purpose. He is the Lord of Hosts, and He must have
  the hosts.
     If Israel refused to constitute the hosts of the Lord then He shall
  break beyond their boundaries and gather in the Gentile nations,
 as the Scripture says in the Gospels, “that my house may be full.” It
  is the same truth. Jehovah’s servants go first into the streets and
 lanes of the city of Jerusalem to bring in guests for the great supper;
 but most refuse the offer. Then they go beyond Jerusalem, outside
 the pale of Israel, into the highways and the hedges, among the
 Gentiles, and compel them to come in, that God’s house may be full.
 The criterion is that God’s purpose will be carried out and, if one
 people refuses to go in God’s way, He shall find others to be vessels
 of mercy. In verses 3 1 and 3 2 the great truth is presented that Israel
 refused to go in the way of God’s righteousness when they refused
 their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who became a stumbling stone
 to them. Then the gospel of the grace of God came to you and me,
who are not of Israel, and, through infinite grace, some of us ac-
cepted the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. He is made unto us righteous-
ness for we have become the righteousness of God in Him. The great
question then: What claim do the Jews have to the favor of God
today? Since they have failed on the line of flesh their only claim is
in Christ the Lord. As it is written in verse 33: “Behold, I lay in Sion
a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on
Him shall not be ashamed.” The great Jewish problem will be
solved only by their acceptation of their Messiah and Saviour, the
Lord Jesus, even as your problems and mine are solved when we
accept the same Son of God as Saviour and Lord.
 THE SOLUTION 01; THE JEWISH PKOBLEM TODAY 199




   The Solution of the Jewish Problem
                 Todav
               As it is written, Behold I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of
      offence:                     and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Brethren,
      my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be
     saved. For                                 I bear them record that they have a zeal for God, but not
     according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness,
     and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submit ed
    themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the
     law for righteousness to every one that believeth                                                      (Ram.   9:33-10:4).



GOD hasofunequivocally declared His on ahim whichinbasis,forgive-
    ness   sins, has issued a pardon
                                      righteousness

God “might be just, and the justifier of
                                            righteous
                                                      the
                                                            so that
                                                      believeth in
 Jesus.” In view of this decree issued by the court, Paul is now
 setting forth on a brilliant discussion as to the status of the Jewish
 nation under the government of God. In chapter 9 he has shown, by
 reference to the Old Testament prophets, and to the history of Israel
 down through the centuries, that, although God had called a multi-
 tude of people under the banner of Israel, yet only a small remnant
of them had come into the good of salvation. By the introduction of
the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, God had cut short His
patient dealings with Israel in a probationary way and had brought
the entire situation to a climax. The issue now before the court is,
that the Jews according to flesh may claim kinship with the One who
was born in Bethlehem, their Messiah, but that this kinship is of no
avail to them because of their unbelief. Had they as a nation accepted
their Messiah when He was born in Bethlehem-Ephratah, as the
Old Testament prophets had foretold, then they would undoubtedly
have come into their princely place according to the promise of God.
But nationally they have rejected Him and the One who could have
brought about their national salvation has become a stumblingstone
and a rock of offence. Paul insists, however, in this last verse of
chapter 9, that this same Jesus, who had been rejected by the Jewish
Nation, has been laid as a corner stone in Zion by Jehovah Himself
and that whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. Here
then is the crux of the entire situation. The Jews nationally had their
     200           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
      part in the rejection of the Lord Jesus, their Messiah, even as the
      Gentiles had their part in rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. The guilt
      of Calvary cannot be laid entirely at the door of the Jewish nation,
      because we must remember His crucifixion was authorized by the
      Roman power. Neither can the guilt of Calvary, however, be re-
      moved entirely from the Jewish nation. Paul is indicating that the
      One who came with all the claims to the throne of David was un-
      equivocally set aside. “He came unto His own and His own received
      Him not.” Unto Israel the child was born, unto Israel the Son was
      given, but instead of becoming their rock and their fortress, as a
1     hiding place for them from the storm of God’s judgment against
     their sins, He became to them a stumblingstone and a rock of
      off ence.
         I wonder if this does not come home to us all these days when we
     see the Jewish people, who are the national representatives of Israel,
     stumbling forward in the confusion of a night of persecution and trial
     and difficulty unparalleled in the history of any other nation under
     heaven. They are indeed a nation without a king. The fact that they
     are seeking today to establish themselves in the land of Palestine as
     a distinct entity among the other nations, is merely an indication
     that we are drawing very close to the end of the age and that the
     Lord Jesus is about to come. He Himself, however, still remains
     to the Jewish people today a stone of stumbling and a rock of of-
     fence. In the day when He is accepted He will become their fortress
    and their strong tower, and the nations who have persecuted the Jews
    in that day will find themselves broken in pieces. The grand truth
    of the present hour is that he that believeth on Him shall not be
    ashamed. This is the day of Christ’s rejection, not only by the Jews
    nationally, but by the world at large. They who declare allegiance
    to the Lord Jesus Christ, whether as Messiah or Saviour, must take
    their place of rejection with him before a world that has cast Him
    out and crucified Him. God’s guarantee to you and me, whether we
    be Jews or Gentiles, is that, if we believe on Him, we shall not be
    ashamed. It is a guarantee that covers every department of our lives.
    It apphes to the national life of any nation. If a nation recognizes
    the Lord Jesus it shall stand in princely grace before the peoples
    of the earth. If an individual recognizes the Lord Jesus, God shall
    see to it that he is honored, for our Lord promised distinctly, “He
    that honoreth Me, him shall My Father honor.”
        Yet, having discussed this important national truth, Paul, still the
    brilliant attorney for the defense, seems to burst forth with uncon-
 THE SOLUTION OF THE JEWISH PROBLEM TODAY 201
  trolled expression of affection for his kinsmen after the flesh, the
  Jews, as he says, (‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God
   for Israel is, that they might be saved.” He looks abroad upon the
  national calamity that had befallen them. Even in that day they
  were in the thralldom of the tyrannous power of Rome. Instead of
  being princes in the earth most of them were abject slaves; instead
  of being as the stars of heaven to whom men looked up, they were as
  the sand of the sea, driven hither and thither by the restless waves of
  the sea of nations. Even worse than that, they were as the dust of the
  earth trodden underfoot by other nations. Their status has not
  changed from that day to this, although we begin to see the end is
  near and the valley of dry bones is beginning to move and show
  signs of life. God is taking a hand in the affairs of the Jewish nation.
  They are reaching national consciousness for the first time in two
  thousand years, but the sad part of it is they are not yet coming in
 on the line which Paul describes here in Romans 10. He says, “I
 bear them record that they have a zeal for God, but not according
 to knowledge, for they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness and
 going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted
 themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of
 law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” I believe the
 word “end” here has the literal meaning of “aim” or “object.” In
 other words, the law was a fingerpost pointing forward to the Lord.
 It was not an end in itself. It was our schoolmaster to bring us to
Christ. This should be a warning to the Jewish nation today, as well
as to all Gentiles, that we shall never come into real abiding blessing
on the principle of what is right among ourselves. Only by the ap-
propriation of the righteousness of God in Christ shall we arrive
at any solution of the moral and material problems of our lives. In
Christ the great sin question, the question of the transgression of
the law has been taken up and the penalty paid. The only way
whereby you and I may attain righteousness, nationally or individu-
ally, is to accept the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus, to come
under His banner and allow Him to be our Lord and Master. Herein
only is the solution of the Jewish problem today!
202               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                    Law or Grace-Which?
         For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the
      man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness
      which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall
      ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, who
      shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the
      dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and
      in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou
      shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart
      that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with
      the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession
      is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:5-10).



I NPaul afterlegal document awhich maythestand inbasis the Romans,
     THIS

kinsmen
        is seeking to find
                                     is     Epistle to
                               proper righteous
               the flesh, the Jews,
                                                       whereon his
                                                   acceptability with
 their God. He is searching every avenue of approach to see wherein
 this may be found. Logically enough he again goes back to Moses,
 the lawgiver, saying, “For Moses describeth the righteousness which
 is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by
 them.” He is stating most clearly that there is nothing faulty about
 the righteousness which is by the law, if you can find a man who will
 keep the law. The wages of sin is death, and not until man is de-
 clared a sinner can the death sentence be pronounced upon him. The
 law was set forth as a holy, a just, and a good means of regulation
 for the creature, and if one had been found who fulfilled the re-
quirements of the law, then death would have had no claim upon
him. No son of Adam’s race was found adequate for this until you
come to the Man Christ Jesus. He magnified the law. Not only did
He maintain the austere rectitude of its moral obligations, but He
went far beyond it in the magnificence of the grace of His own heart.
The Lord Jesus then is the only One upon whom death had no claim.
    I would like to suggest here to any who make a great deal of keep-
ing the Sabbath, that it is uniquely demonstrated in the New Testa-
ment that the Lord Jesus broke the Sabbath according to man’s con-
cept, Again and again the religionists brought the charge against Him
that He performed some of His miracles on the Sabbath day. Never-
theless, He upheld all the moral requirements of the law of Moses and
                    LAW OR GRACE-WHICH?                              203
   He is called “this Just Person,” even on the eve of His crucifixion.
  Paul’s contention however here is that anyone who keeps the law will
  live by the law. That is, the death sentence cannot be imposed upon
  him because he is not a transgressor. In contrast to all this, however,
  in verse 6 the apostle says, “The righteousness which is of faith
  speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into
  heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above: ) Or, Who shall
  descend into the deep? (to bring up Christ again from the dead.)”
  In other words, there is no triumph in law-keeping beyond the simple
  status of being an obedient servant here on the earth before the
  Almighty. No law keeper could ever get to heaven because the very
  keeping of the law would entitle him to live on the earth and would
  hold him here. No title to enter heaven above is obtained by law-
  keeping. Moreover, no title to triumph over the depths beneath, to
  be victorious over the power of death, is attained by keeping the law.
  The status of a law keeper, if you could ever find one of Adam’s race
 who is such, is simply to live by the law on the earth as a servant and
  no more. The righteousness that is by faith, however, is a new kind
  of righteousness, giving us rights in a realm above the sun, a realm of
 complete victory over the depths beneath, over the power of Satan,
 death, and hell. This is the triumph of the righteousness of God in
 Christ. It gives a title to glory that law-keeping could never do.
 Little wonder the apostle declared in this Epistle, and also in the
 Galatian Epistle that we are not under law but under grace. The
 keeping of the law maintains me in the status of a servant before
 Jehovah just as long as I keep that law.
    The Scripture says, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in
 all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” So
 I do not come under the curse until I break one of the law’s re-
 quirements. Unfortunately we have all broken, not one, but many
of them, and so we are under the curse, and the righteousness which
is by the law is not available to us anymore. The grand truth is that
the righteousness of God in Christ, to be appropriated by faith, is
now available to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. So the
conclusion of all this matter is, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy
mouth and in thy heart, the word of faith which we preach; That if
thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in
thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with
the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The gates of heaven
are opened wide now to the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ.
                ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
    There is no realm in the heights above, nor in the depths beneath,
 but faith in the living, resurrected Son of God carries me triumphant
 through and above it all. Here is the word that Paul preached, “The
 confession of Jesus as Lord and the acceptation by faith that God
 raised Him from the dead.” You and I must appropriate each for
himself that the Person called the Lord Jesus Christ is One who went
 into death, but God raised Him from the dead, after He paid the
penalty of our transgressions, and now He is a living, triumphant
 Saviour, able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by
 Him. It is in this way that with the heart man believeth unto right-
eousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Salvation is more than the hope of getting to heaven in the distant
 future. Salvation, in its New Testament meaning, entails the emanci-
pation of the soul now from the power of Satan, from the fear of
death, the transference out of darkness into light, the present vic-
torious entrance of the soul into the kingdom of the Son of God’s
love. This is salvation. It is not merely the hope of heaven by and
by. It is present, victorious living. Let us never for a moment reduce
it to the tawdry elements that are so often preached; that if I nod in
assent to the terms of the simple gospel then I can live as I please,
go on in sin if need be, and be saved in the end. That is not the
gospel nor is it the truth. We must confess Jesus as Lord, the Sov-
ereign of our lives, the Commander of our every activity and be-
lieve in the heart, not only in the head, that He was delivered for
our offences and raised again for our justification. That is the gospel!



 A Common Basis for Jew and Gentile
       For the Scripture soith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be
    ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for
    the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For 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! (Rom. lO:ll-15)



P   AUL is indicating the only possible way whereby his kinsmen
    after the flesh, the Jews, could find salvation. At the very outset
of the chapter he has breathed a prayer to his God for their salva-
         A COMMON BASIS FOR JEW AND GENTILE                            205
    tion. Then he has gone on to declare clearly that the way of sal-
    vation cannot be attained through the righteousness of the law,
    because the works of the law justify a man only as long as he con-
    tinues to do everything that is written in the law. The Jews na-
    tionally and individually, as well as the Gentiles, have been found
    disobedient, so justification on that line is no longer available to
    them. But Paul indicates a new righteousness which has come in
    and through the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died, bearing the
    penalty of sin, and who is risen, mighty to save. This new righteous-
    ness, however, is conditional, because it is on the principle of faith.
    The great question as to whether you have this righteousness or
    not depends entirely on whether you have accepted it by faith or
   you have not. Here is the way of salvation on this new line available
   in Christ Himself: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as
   Lord, and believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the
   dead, thou shalt be saved.” This is not a salvation of works; it is a
   salvation conditioned only upon our acceptation of the Lord Jesus
   Christ as Lord and risen Saviour. And verse I1 brings forward the
  distinct promise, “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.”
        Perhaps this touches a point of delicacy with a great many of us.
  I venture to say there are many hundreds of people who would
  come out boldly in the confession of the Lord Jesus Christ as their
  Lord and Saviour, long before they do, were it not for the fear that
  they might somehow fail grievously in their testimony and so be
 ashamed. For a long time I avoided taking the definite step of the
  acceptation of Christ and His public confession, because I felt I could
 not live up to it, and a sensitive spirit indicated I would be thor-
 oughly      ashamed if I failed after making the confession. The premise
 however of this supposition is that the continuance of salvation itself
 depends upon our own natural ability to be sterling and true. The
 human heart is incorrigible; it will always fail. The fact is, after
conversion, because of failure we are many times ashamed of our-
selves. We are never ashamed of the Lord and, after every failure,
without excusing the failure for a moment, we rally again to the
blood-stained banner of the Lord Jesus Christ because everything de-
pends upon Him who died and is risen again. “Whosoever believeth
on Him shall not be ashamed.” The Lord will uphold us in spite of
everything and, even if we meander into paths of disobedience some-
times, He will allow us to learn therein the bitterness of the fruits of
self-will, and bring us back once more to enjoy the sunshine of His
love and favor all the more.
 206           ROMAN!%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   The poet has put it very beautifully as follows:

                Yet, Lord, alas! what weakness
                   Within myself I find,
                No infant’s changing pleasure
                   Is like my wandering mind.
                And yet Thy love’s unchanging,
                   And doth recall my heart
                To joy in all its brightness,
                   The peace its beams impart.
                Still sweet ‘tis to discover,
                   If clouds have dimmed my sight,
                When passed, Eternal Lover,
                   Towards me, as e’er, Thou’rt bright.
                0 keep my soul, then, Jesus,
                   Abiding still with Thee,
                And if I wander, teach me
                   Soon back to Thee to flee.
                That all Thy gracious favor
                  May to my soul be known;
                And, versed in this Thy goodness,
                  My hopes Thyself shall crown.
                                     -J. N. Darby

    We are oftentimes ashamed of self, but have no need to be
 ashamed of the Name of the One who died to save us, whose endless
 unsearchable love never changes. So Paul goes on in this twelfth verse
 of Romans 10, indicating “there is no difference between the Jew and
the Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon
Him, ‘9?or whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved.” Here is precisely the reason why the believer need never
be ashamed. Because his Lord is so infinitely rich, he can recommend
Him to anyone. How wonderful too, that this same Lord over all
is available to everyone, whether Jew or Gentile, so we may proclaim
the riches of God’s unbounded goodness, that whosoever calleth upon
the name of the Lord shall be saved! Just what does it mean? It
means this: your name and mine have been dragged in the mire of
shame and sin: we are transgressors and sinners. The mention of our
own name in relation to our trial in this universal courtroom brands
us forever as criminals, ungodly, rebellious, hopelessly lost. We must
then call upon another Name, if we are going to find salvation, and it
         A COMMON BASIS FOR JEW AND GENTILE                                       207
 must be the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who took
 our place on Calvary, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He
 was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was
 upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have
 gone astray; we have turned everysne to his own way; and the Lord
 hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” His Name is the risen
 glorified Christ, the Lord of all, mighty to save to the uttermost all
 that come unto God by Him. To call upon His Name means to
 abandon our own efforts, to declare that we are worthless in God’s
 presence because we are polluted by sin, and that we flee for pardon
 and for refuge to the Lord Jesus Christ.




 God’s Voice to Jew and Gentile Today
       For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same
    Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For 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
    end of the world (Ram. 10:12-18).



P    AUL is declaring in this passage that there is no difference be-
     tween Jew and Gentile. This is not precisely what is presented
in chapter three, where it is asserted that there is no difference be-
tween the two because they have all sinned and have together become
unprofitable. This passage is reaching a little deeper. The lack of
difference is not because both Jew and Gentile are sinners, but it is
rather that God brings the same sunshine of goodness to shine upon
the heads of both of them. So magnanimous is the grace of God that,
in spite of all the sin and transgression, He is presenting a way of
salvation to both Jew and Gentile and, in its presentation, He recog-
nizes no distinction. “The same Lord over all is rich unto all that
call upon Him.” The fact is that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the
Messiah of Israel, is also the Saviour of the world and, beyond that,
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  He is Lord of all. This goes beyond racial differences and touches
  the very basic and elemental truth that, apart from all religious or
  racial distinctions, we are God’s creatures away from Him, estranged
  from His face, and the Lord Jesus, who is Lord of all, is available to
  every son of Adam’s race here on the earth. This indeed is a glad
  and glorious gospel!
     But now Paul goes farther than that and he gives US step by step
  the wonderful provision which God has made in order that men
  everywhere might be reached by the testimony of Him who is Lord
  of all. In this connection, verses 14 to 18 present some marvelous
  truths which, if properly understood, would thoroughly revolutionize
  the ideas that many of the Lord’s people have in relation to evan-
  gelization. In reading the Scriptures again and again one is impressed
 with the wide dimensions of God’s revelation as contrasted with the
 piecemeal apprehension of the creature. Now I want to indicate very
 briefly the steps of approach which God has made for the salvation
 of His lost creature so that not one under heaven is beyond the
 reach of this testimony. Paul says, “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?”
 “Who hath believed our report?” he quotes from Isaiah; then he
 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word
 of God.” His brilliant argument does not stop there. He goes beyond
 that and he says, again referring to Jew and Gentile, ‘Have they
 not heard?” Then he quotes the nineteenth Psalm in relation to the
 testimony of creation, “Their sound went into all the earth, and their
 words to the end of the world.”
    God uses many means to reach His creatures for the acknowledg-
ment of His Lordship. Here in this passage we have the normal means
of reaching those who come under the sound of what we call “the
gospel,” and the steps indicated there are these: God sends a
preacher; the preacher communicates the divine revelation; the
hearers hear it and, having heard, they believe and, having believed,
they call on the Name of the Lord. But immediately the question
must arise: what about the heathen to whom a preacher has never
gone? Will God be frustrated in His purposes and condemn all those
who have not heard the gospel to a lost eternity? Such an assertion
is not only unthinkable, but it is not true, although it is asserted
rather widely by unenlightened Christians today. It is urged again
and again upon missionary-minded young people that they must go
          GOD’S VOICE TO JEW AND GENTILE TODAY 209
  to the heathen countries; if they don’t go, then thousands will be
  damned because of their failure. I S the God of Heaven going to be
  frustrated or regulated in any way because of our failure? One of
  the basic truths of the faith is that you cannot limit God. That is
  why verse 18 is one of the most important verses in the Bible in this
  connection. Paul says, ‘<Have they not heard?” and here he is re-
  ferring to Jew and Gentile. Then he quotes Psalm 19:4 and I would
  take you back to that psalm and remind you of the truth there. The
  psalm refers to God’s voice in creation and not to the voice of God
  through a preacher at all: “The heavens declare the glory of God;
 and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth
  speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech
 nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out
  through all the earth and their words to the end of the world.” It is
 this last verse that Paul quotes in Romans 10. God Himself has made
 every provision whereby the creature should be brought into the
 light of His goodness.
     The normal way is that the preacher is sent, and you and I have
 a very solemn responsibility in this direction. Then there is the
 responsibility of him who hears to believe, and he who believes calls
 on the name of Christ as Lord. But God is never left without a
 testimony at any time anywhere. Paul says, “Have they not heard?”
 and he asserts that, although they may not hear the voice of a
 preacher bringing them the full light of the gospel, still they have
 heard God’s Word as it is voiced through the creation. This brings
 US back to the truth of Romans 1: 19: “That which may be known
 of God is manifest in them” (that is, in the visible creation) “for
 God hath shewed 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 eternal power and Godhead; so that
they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they
glorified Him not as God.” God’s testimony touches every man-the
Jew with all his privileges of knowing the divine canon of sacred
revelation under the enlightenment of Jehovah, and the Gentile in
all his darkness, whether he be reached by the normal means of the
announcement of the glad tidings through human lips, or the word
of the testimony of God as voiced in creation. God has made every
provision whereby men might be brought to a knowledge of Himself
and it is in this way that Paul says, “There is no difference between
Jew and Gentile.” In other words, the sunshine of God’s favor in this
day of grace shines upon the heads of all, “For the grace of God that
 210               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that deny-
ing ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously,
and godly, in this present world; Looking for the blessed hope.”



             Has the Lord Cast Off Israel?
          But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you
       to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will
       anger you. But Esaios is very bold, and saith, I wos found of them that
       sought me not; I was mode manifest unto them that asked not after me.
       But to lsroel he soith, All day long I hove stretched forth my hands unto
       o disobedient and goinsoying people. I soy      then, Hath God cost away
       his people? God forbid. For I olso om an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham,
       of the tribe of Benjamin (Ram. 10:19-11 :l).



T      HE line of argument presented through this entire passage is
       that the sunshine of God’s favor is upon the heads of both Jew
 and Gentile, that the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call
 upon Him. It is not a discussion as to whether there is any dif-
 ference between Jew and Gentile on racial or religious or traditional
 lines, but rather that the goodness of God is available to each one
 on the same principle, namely, the principle of faith.
    This is something which I believe Christian people largely forget
 today. God has so wonderfully blessed those who are not of Israel’s
race in this day of grace that we are apt to leave Israel out, and to
relegate the Jewish people to a separate department in the economy
of God’s dealings. It is essential therefore that we keep in mind that
salvation is offered to Jew and Gentile on the same basis of un-
merited favor. In the first chapter of this same epistle Paul speaks of
the gospel being “the power of God unto salvation to every one that
believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” It is a tribute
to the unchanging and endless love of our God that His first approach
in grace is to the peopIe who, on oId covenant lines, had proved
themselves so very unfaithful. It is a reminder to us all that repent-
ance is the key that opens the door into divine favor and not any
merit on human lines.
    In order to substantiate the fact that, in the economy of grace,
there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, and that God makes
salvation available to them both alike in and through the Lord Jesus
Christ, Paul reaches back again into the Old Testament in verse 19,
              HAS THE LORD CAST OFF ISRAEL?                           21r
   to remind his kinsmen after the flesh that Moses, who had led them
   out of the bondage of Egypt, said to them: “I will provoke you to
   jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will
   anger you. ” When Israel of old ceased to value the goodness of God
   towards them and fell to lusting after carnal things, then God allowed
   His goodness to reach out to other nations who were then in the
  darkness of heathendom. Israel that had been a princely people on
  earth, became broken and scattered; its people were carried captive
   into Babylonish captivity. Those nations around, that should have
   been walking in the reflected light of Israel’s grandeur, became tower-
  ing citadels of power that overshadowed Israel entirely, and subju-
  gated the Jews to the cruel bondage of abject slavery. Then those
  nations that had taken them captive became enriched by the wealth
  of culture and understanding and knowledge that had been en-
  trusted to the people of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar enriched himself with
  the wealth of the house of God, and the land of Babylon became great
  largely through the presence of the Hebrew children in its midst.
  We cannot dissipate the goodness of God without first of all suffer-
  ing ourselves, and secondly enriching others by what we have dis-
  carded.
     This is the great lesson presented to us in Jacob and Esau. Esau
 was a profane person and sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
 Thus the blessing of Isaac was forfeited by the carnal minded son,
 and it passed on to the younger son who by birthright had no claim
 to it. That has already been cited in this passage. Here Paul draws
 attention to the jealousy that was stirred up in the heart of fleshly
 Israel because of the favor that God passed on to others. Is it not
 a signal feature of the life of Jacob that his footsteps were con-
stantly dogged by the jealousy of Esau? Now Israel after the flesh
 has taken the place of Esau instead of Jacob because the Jews sold
 their birthright for a mess of pottage. Their birthright was brought
to them in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose genealogy in the New Testa-
ment is traced directly back to Abraham. He is undoubtedly the
Son of David as well as the Son of Abraham. As Son of David he
has every right to the throne of Israel; as Son of Abraham he has
the right to the throne of the universe. When the Lord Jesus was
born, Israel after the flesh refused to recognize Him. They were
literally afraid that in some way they would lose some petty prestige
by aligning themselves with the lowly Nazarene. They sold their
birthright for a mess of pottage. How miserable their lot was can
hardly be estimated, for they were downtrodden by the Gentiles. The
212           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 long arm of Rome had encircled them and brought them into abject
 subjugation, but their scribes and Pharisees, their religious leaders,
 had a certain prestige to maintain, a certain dignity to uphold! Jesus
 the Christ did not measure up to their ideas and they were afraid of
 recognizing Him. They shunned Him because He ate with publicans
 and sinners. Now God has turned to the Gentiles and we see the re-
 sult of all this in the very day in which we live.
    For nearly two thousand years the Jewish people have been down-
 trodden and well nigh eclipsed nationally by the grandeur of those
called “Christian nations.” Has God then abandoned Israel? Paul
maintains He has not. To Israel he says: “All day Iong I have
 stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
God’s hands are still outstretched toward His ancient earthly people,
not now to bring them into aggrandizement on the line of Aesh, but
to bring them into the greater grandeur of salvation by grace in and
through the Lord Jesus Christ. And Paul in this first verse of
chapter 11 indicates the one outstanding proof that God has not cast
away His people Israel is that Paul himself, an Israelite, of the seed
of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin, is a Christian saved by divine
grace. So I can say on the authority of God’s Word to every Jew and
every Gentile throughout the length and breadth of the world that
there is something far greater than a mess of pottage, far greater
than all the material benefits that may accrue to us in this passing
world. What is it? It is the riches of divine grace brought to us in
Christ Jesus the Lord, “for the same Lord over all is rich unto all
that call upon Him.”
                      ISRAEL DIVIDED IN TWO                                       213




                  Israel Divided in Two
       I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also    am
    an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath
    not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scrip-
    ture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel,
    saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars;
    and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of
    God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have
    not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present
    time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if
    by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
    But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more
    work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for;
    but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According
    as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they
    should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day (Ram.
    ll:l-8).



T     HERE is no difficulty keeping in mind that this passage is a
      legal document. It is a lawyer’s brief with very abstruse reason-
 ing. Let us remember that Paul, as the attorney for the defense on
 behalf of his people the Jews, is now exploring every avenue of
 approach for a righteous basis whereon his kinsmen after the flesh
may have a proper standing before Jehovah.
   The strident question presented in this passage is most arresting in
view of what is taking place in Palestine at this present critical hour
in the world’s history. “Hath God cast away His people?”
   Certainly from many outward evidences one might readily come to
the conclusion that Israel has been set aside forever. But Paul’s con-
tention here is that Israel has not been set aside at all, and the first
point of evidence which he presents is that he himself is an Israelite
and that he is a Christian. If God had turned His back upon all
Israel then He would definitely have turned His back upon Paul, and
Paul could not possibly have come into the riches of divine grace
under the Lordship of Jesus the Messiah and the Saviour. The fact
that one man, and that person of no mean stature in the traditional
faith of Israel, has come into the blessing of God in this present age
is witness enough that God has not turned His back upon Israel.
   But Paul, the brilliant attorney, looks farther afield for the evi-
 214           ROMAN&-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  dence. He is intimating to us in this passage that we must not always
 judge God’s    dealings with men from the outward trend that we see
  in the world. It may seem very evident to some that God has cast
  away His people entirely because they are downtrodden of the Gen-
  tiles. In order to show this is a mistake Paul brings to the witness
  stand none other than the illustrious Elijah of the Old Testament,
  and indicates very clearly that he made the same mistake in his time:
  Elijah made intercession to God against Israel declaring, “They have
  killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left
  alone, and they seek my life.”
     Never was there a darker day in Israel’s history than the day
  when the idolatrous prophets of Baa1 were in the ascendancy, and
  it seemed as if the entire nation of Israel had followed after Baa].
  It seemed as if Elijah stood alone in the testimony for God against
  the rebellious and idolatrous people. But even a man of God like
  Elijah can be mistaken. We are all at best so very shortsighted. So
  Paul asks-still keeping Elijah on the witness stand-“What is God’s
 answer to him?” And here it is: “I have reserved to myself seven
 thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.”
 Little did Elijah think, when he apparently stood alone in the citadel
 of faith, there were actually seven thousand in the ranks of Israel
 around him whose hearts beat true to the God of their fathers. There
 is no effort to excuse the seven thousand for being silent and refusing
 to take an adamant stand with God’s servant Elijah; the point before
 the court is that, in God’s dealings, you must not always judge things
 by outward evidences. It is as God says in Hebrews 11, “Things
 which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Elijah’s
 day was perhaps the darkest day for the children of Israel until Mal-
 achi, but there were still seven thousand loyal to the Lord. So Paul
 says, “Even SO then at this present time also there is a remnant
according to the election of grace.”
     God is never defeated in His purpose. He has set out in determi-
nate counsel to call men out of sin and rebellion and to enrich their
lives with a sense of His unbounded goodness, and He will not be
frustrated. Sometimes it seems as though the divine cause was lost
entirely, as though good were always on the scaffold and evil always
on the throne. But behind the scenes God is still carrying on His
purpose and there is ever an election according to grace, those whose
hearts are touched by the loving-kindness of the Lord and who are
true to Him.
    N OW PauI takes up the great question that has again and again
                    ISRAEL DIVIDED IN TWO                           215
  been before the court, namely, that those who are true to God,
 whether in Israel or among the Gentiles, are accepted of Him, not
 according to their works, but solely under the sovereignty of divine
 grace. Nor is there any admixture of the two--“if by grace, then is
 it no more of works.” God is calling men by divine grace today, offer-
 ing them, on a golden platter of unmerited favor, full salvation in
 Christ Jesus, one Lord over all. This call of God goes out not only
 to the Gentile nations, but to Israel as well. Jews and Gentiles to-
 gether are finding their way into this new kingdom which has been
 inaugurated under the administration of a risen and a glorified Christ.
    “What then?” says Paul, “Israel hath not obtained that which he
 seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest w e r e
 blinded.” Here we have the nation of Israel clearly divided into two.
 They are those who have accepted God’s unbounded blessing in Jesus
 the Messiah, the crucified and risen Saviour, and those who have
 rejected Him and gone their own way of national and individual
rebellion against Him. And what has happened to this latter section?
 Blindness and deafness has come upon them. Unbelief has obscured
the vision and dulled the hearing so the glorious gospel of the Lord
Jesus finds it hard to penetrate, for “the god of this world hath
blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glori-
ous gospel of Christ should shine unto them.” This is true of all men
in unbelief today, but doubly true of Israel after the flesh. The only
real blessing into which the Jews may come unhindered today is to
be found as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus they are ad-
mitted into the wealth of eternal riches in the Church which is com-
posed of Jew and Gentile, all distinctions obliterated in the power of
new creation.
 216               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




        How Israel’s Failure Has Enriched
                  the Gentiles
         (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber,
       eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto
       this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap,
       and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be
       darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. I say
       then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather
       through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them
       to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the
       diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their
       fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the
       Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emu-
       lation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if
       the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the
       receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Rom. 11%15)



P    AUL, as the attorney for the defense in this great courtroom
     drama, is still endeavoring to find a legal basis upon which the
 Jew, his kinsman after the flesh, may find a righteous place under
 God’s favor. He is now calling into evidence the apparent facts of
 the case. It is that Israel as a whole hath not obtained the promises
 of God. His great question then is, Has God cast them off? He is
himself the first witness that this is not so, for he, Paul, an Israelite,
of the seed of Abraham and of the tribe of Benjamin, has been
brought into the blessing of God in and through Christ. Thus repre-
sentatively he is himself a witness that God has not cast away His
people.
   Then he has put Elijah on the witness stand, as it were, and in-
dicated that Elijah maintained he was the only one left in his day
who stood faithful to God whereas there were actually seven thou-
sand others who had not bowed the knee to Baal. So it is in this day
in which the apostle lives. Although outward evidences indicate Israel
has departed entirely from God, yet there is an election according to
grace. That is, there are those who are “called-out ones” on the prin-
ciple of grace and not on the principle of works. All the others, how-
ever, are in a kind of slumber. Their eyes are dimmed, their ears are
dull of hearing. Now Paul puts David back on the witness stand.
 HOW ISRAEL’S FAILURE ENRICHED THE GENTILES 217
 Surely his testimony shall be of value here, and you will notice
                                                                that,
 however virulent it is, it is put on the basis of righteousness. On
  account of the fact that God’s ancient people were rebellious against
  Him, David pronounced upon them, “Let their table be made a snare,
  and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let
  their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their
  back alway.”
     Now any Israelite of any age would lift up his head at the testi-
  mony of David the king. He is perhaps the most illustrious and cer-
  tainly the most glamorous figure of the Old Testament. He was
  anointed king of Israel and not a true Israelite anywhere but haa
  thrilled to the music of the Psalms of David. Will the Sweet Singer
  of Israel speak smooth words in their favor? They shall find no en-
  couragement from his lips on the line of unbelief. David is just as
 pronounced as Paul might be. If they are going to continue to be
  rebels against God, then their table-that is, the bounty which God
 has set before them-shall be turned into a trap and a stumbling-
 block, and they shall well deserve the captivity into which they are
 brought. That is David’s pronouncement upon his own people.
     Then the magnificent grace of God comes in to show that, although
 David spoke righteously and cried for retribution, God speaks in
 grace: “Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but
 rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to
 provoke them to jealousy.” Let us remember the purpose of God is
 not always single. It is not always on one line. God will not be
 frustrated in His purposes. They must go forward no matter what
men may say or do. God then takes a hand and, even through the
 defection which is found in the ranks of Israel, He makes this an
occasion of bringing blessing to the Gentiles around them. It is not
 for the purpose of casting off Israel, however. It is to provoke them
to jealousy that they might abandon their rebellion and turn to the
Lord.
    Then Paul says a wonderful thing in verse 12, “If the fall of them
be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches
of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness! ” and in verse 15, “For
if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what
shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” The fact
evidently is that God has set Israel aside nationally during this
church age. I know of no other way in which to interpret this pas-
sage. God came with every offer of mercy and loving-kindness to
Israel. Even in the gospel the glad tidings went out “to the Jew first
218 also to the Gentile.” “Tha
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                       THE WILD OLIVE TREE                                        219




                  The Wild Olive Tree
        For l speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gen-
    tiles, I mognify mine office: If by any means I moy provoke to emulation
    them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the costing
    away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of
    them be, but life from the deod? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump
    is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of
    the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert groffed
    in among them, and with them portakest of the root and fatness of the
    olive tree; Boast not against the branches. Rut if thou boost, thou bear-
    est not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches
    were broken off, that I might be groffed in. Well; because of unbelief they
    were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
    For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare
    not thee (Ram. 11:13-21).



T     H E intricate argument which Paul, as the attorney for the de-
      fense, presents in this courtroom drama is in this section ad-
 dressed directly to the Gentiles. It sets in juxtaposition the national
status of the Jew and of the Gentile. I believe it is rather in the way
of outward national blessing, although it also includes what is in-
dividual. Paul is indicating here that the fall of Israel from their
national place of privilege before God has meant the enrichment of
the Gentile world, yet he at the same time looks forward to the time
when Israel will again be in her fulness. The time is not far off when
God will again take up His relations with the nation of Israel and
the argument in this passage is that, if their diminishing brought
riches to the Gentiles, how much more their fulness! Immediately
Paul sets forth this truth, he is carefu1 to present before the court
that there is no room for boasting either on the part of the Jew or
of the Gentile.
   All of these dealings find their origin in the rich grace of the heart
of our God. It recalls the blessing that was pronounced upon the head
of Joseph. “Joseph is a fruitful bough planted by a well whose
branches run over the wall.” In the Lord Jesus Christ we have the
fountainhead of divine grace, and He Himself is the fruitful bough,
whose luxuriant branches, laden with fruit, reach over the wall of
partition that at one time separated Jew and Gentile. He brings the
divine blessing into the realm of darkness where the Gentiles sat in
   220             ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   the shadow of death. There is no room for boasting, however, on the
   part   of either the one or the other. On account of the rebellion of
  Israel, God was pleased to set them aside in a temporary way to allow
  the Gentile nations to come into the ascendancy. This will be so until
   the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Then the nation of Israel
  will be gathered again into the land of their inheritance, and God will
  cleanse them and put a new heart within them, as is foretold by the
  prophecy of Ezekiel. So Paul asks in verse 15, “If the casting away
  of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of
  them be, but life from the dead?”
        When Israel comes into her honored position under divine favor
  on the earth the reign of Christ will be ushered in, and it will be one
  thousand years of the fulness of blessing both for earth and for
  heaven. It will be like life from the dead. Israel herself is looked upon
  here as the corpse that will be resuscitated, but the new life that will
  course through her national organism will flow out and be shared by
  the Gentile nations around her. In the millennial age not only Israel
  will be blessed in Christ but the promise to Abraham will be fulfilled
  to the letter, “In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”
        Now Paul comes back to the important subject that the Gentiles
 must not boast because they have come into the spiritual benefits
 which have directly accrued from the setting aside of Israel. He says,
 “If some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive
 tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the
 root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches.
 But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.”
 Everything depends on the root of a tree. That is what Paul means
 in the sixteenth verse by saying, “If the firstfruit be holy, the lump
 is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” You look
at an apple tree in late summer. It is laden with the firstfruits of
large rosy apples. If the firstfruits are holy, that is, if there is no
disease or leanness but only large luscious fruit, then you may be
sure the entire lump, the whole of the tree, is in good shape. On the
same line of argument, if the branches are luxuriant with foliage and
laden with fruit, you may depend on the root’s doing its work in an
efficient manner. So there is no room for boasting. God has been
pleased to take away some of the branches of the tree, namely that
part of Israel that has refused His loving-kindness, and He has
grafted the Gentiles into this wonderful tree of His own promise. We
who are Gentiles are getting the benefit, not of our own inheritance
or of anything we have done, but we are drawing sustenance from the
                     THE WILD OLIVE TREE                            221
  root itself and the root is God’s rich grace. S O verse 19: “Thou wilt
  say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest
  by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the
  natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.”
     Again we must revert to the picture presented in the blessing of
  Joseph. He is the tree planted by the well whose branches run over
  the wall. Everything depends upon the tree, and the tree is really
  now the antitype of Joseph, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
  I think we have a wonderful New Testament picture of this in the
  fourth of John where the Lord Jesus meets the woman at the well.
  The Lord there is indeed the antitype of Joseph, He is a fruitful
 bough planted by a well, and His branches have literally run over
  from Judea down to the land of Samaria, where a poor sinful wotnan
 becomes the recipient of rich divine grace. Everything depends upon
 the fruitful bough, however. That woman had nothing of her own,
 nothing but a disgraceful past and an unhappy present and a black
 future. Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ, revealer of secrets and
 the Saviour of the world, put a wellspring in her heart that sprang
 up unto eternal life. Everything depended upon the .Lord. So it is in
 the economy of divine grace, whether in relation to Israel nationally
 or to the Gentiles, and that narrows itself down to the individual,
to you and me. Everything depends upon the Lord Jesus. We who
ate Gentiles are a wild olive tree. We must be grafted into the real
olive who is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. We draw from
Him eternal sustenance, salvation, life, peace, joy. There is no room
for boasting here. If we do boast, Paul cautions us to fear, for just
as God cast off the unfruitful branches of Israel, so He will cast off
those who are not real in their hearts and who make a profession
of being Christians without bearing fruit.
 222               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




               The Fulness of the Gentiles
           Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell,
       severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness:
       otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still
        in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
        For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and
       wert groffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more
       shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive
       tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignoront of this mystery,
       lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
       happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so
       all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the
       Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my
       covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the
       gospel, they ore enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election,
       they are beloved for the fothers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God
       are without repentance (Ram. 11:22-29).



T     HIS passage covers a very wide scope of divine truth. Jew and
      Gentile are on trial. In the early chapters, the individual Jew
 and the individual Gentile have been declared guilty and brought in
 together unprofitable before the One whom they failed to serve. Con-
 demned, the sentence of death has been pronounced upon them, for
 the wages of sin is death. Then God’s magnanimous grace has been
 presented so that every individual, Jew or Gentile, may find salva-
 tion in the Lord Jesus Christ. But these chapters nine, ten, and
eleven of the Roman Epistle take up rather the national claims on the
line of promise and Paul, the attorney for the defense, is showing
that Israel nationally has been set aside in a temporary way. In the
meantime the Gentiles have come into the ascendancy. These are
the times of the Gentiles in which we live. No guess work is necessary
to arrive at this conclusion. We see the Israel nation in its entirety
largely lost to view. At least the ten tribes are like the treasure hid-
den in the earth. Only a very small part of Israel, known as the
Jews, is in evidence today. But although they are a very small part
they are a very significant part, and I believe largely representative
of the whole in God’s national dealings with them.
   What has happened to them? They have been trampled under foot
by the nations of the earth. They are scattered everywhere, and only
               THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES                           223
  now in this twentieth century we find they are gradually coming to
 a sense of national consciousness. This Scripture says blindness in
 part has happened to Israel and this blindness will continue until the
  fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Then the next verse tells US all
  Israel shall be saved. They will not be saved by their own efforts,
 however. “There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer and shall turn
 away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them,
 when I shall take away their sins.”
     The sin question is paramount in this courtroom scene. It is the
 guilt not only of the transgression of the Iaw, which we had in the
 early chapters, but it is the guilt also of the rejection of the Messiah
 that is brought home to the door of Israel. Because of their unfaith-
 fulness to Jehovah, and because they refused the Deliverer who came
 into their midst twenty centuries ago, the branches of the natural
 olive tree have been taken away and the Gentile branches of the wild
 olive tree grafted in. This will continue until the fulness of the Gen-
 tiles be come in; that is, the political and governmental realm of the
 entire world today is in the hands of the Gentile nations. Israel is
 hidden out of sight. This is just the opposite of what it was according
 to God’s promise.
    We can see, in this day in which we live, we are fast approaching the
 time when the fulness of the Gentiles will be come in. The tide of
empire in the Gentile world began in the east and it has gradually
and increasingly swept westward. It really began in Babylon, as is
outlined for us in the book of Daniel. But the kingdom was taken
from Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar and passed to Darius of the
Medo-Persian Empire. Then decay set in there and the Grecian Em-
pire arose, still moving westward. Under Alexander the Great and his
four sons the Grecian Empire flourished, but it too went into deca-
dence, and the mighty empire of Rome came to the front. The Roman
Empire received a grievous wound and it went into eclipse, and will
remain in eclipse until the day of the tribulation when the beast,
once wounded, will again rise up out of the sea according to Revela-
tion 13, and the power of Rome will again be established. In the
meantime, during these twenty centuries, the tide of empire has come
constantly westward. The glamorous days of the Spanish conquerors
came and went. Then the Gentile ascendancy was for a time in the
balance between Napoleonic France and the rising British Empire.
Napoleon went down in defeat and the tide of empire crossed the
narrow English Channel to become a world-wide dominion of great
power.
 224           ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
    During the last century we have seen the British Empire reach its
 zenith and decline, and now the tide of empire has rolled across the
 great Atlantic Ocean. Today the United States of America holds
 the supremacy. Then even in our own country we can see how the
march of development and ascendancy has been westward. A century
ago California was almost an uninhabited desert and inaccessible
woodland. Now it is truly the land of promise, and this term might
assuredly be applied to all the Pacific Coast. In traveling up and
down this coast during the past few years I have been astonished at
the tremendous developments of the resources all the way from Brit-
ish Columbia to the Mexican border. It is estimated that within a
few short years the Pacific Coast may well outrival the Eastern Sea-
board as the economic and industrial center of the nation, and even
of the entire civilized world. Where will the tide of empire go next?
It has now reached the western ramparts of the world. To go farther
west would bring us again to the Far East where the earliest civiliza-
tions started. I believe the tide of empire has made its complete
circuit and we are about to see the fulness of the Gentiles come in.
We are probably at the very door now. This is another potent in-
dication that we are very near to the coming again of the Lord Jesus
Christ and to the raising up of Israel.




                    God’s Faithfulness

GOD’S purposesthat God chosethem. He as picture presentedtheincenter
mans 11:2.5-29 is
                   are inflexible and
     defeated in accomplishing
                                          will neither be frustrated nor
                                        The
                                   Israel   a nation to be
                                                                    Ro-

of His administration on earth. Through them the blessing would
flow out to all mankind. They proved themselves unfaithful and God
removed them as branches that did not bear fruit. However, He pro-
poses that His house may be full, that nothing shall stay the tide
of the outflow of His blessings. Therefore, when He pruned off the
branches that were unfaithful, He grafted in other branches from
the wild olive tree, the Gentiles, and we live in the day when the
superabundance of God’s grace is coming to mankind, not in a
national way but in a spiritual way, and it is coming toward Jew
and Gentile alike. This subject is taken up in another light in the
second chapter of Ephesians, where it is indicated that God has
                      GOD’S FAITHFULNESS                            22s
  broken down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gen-
  tile. Out of the twain He has made one new man, so making peace.
  God has obliterated the national and racial distinctions between Jew
  and Gentile in this present church age, and He has one man before
  Him, and that is called “the new man.” It is really the Body of Christ
  as a reflection of the Lord Jesus Himself. In order to constitute this
  new man, God has taken the elect according to His grace out of Is-
  rael, and the elect according to His grace out of the Gentiles, and
  He has united them together into one.
     Paul’s warning then comes to us concerning both the goodness and
  the severity of God, and these are tremendously important attributes.
 Perhaps you are in a place of particular circumstantial favor before
  God. Perhaps you have been brought up in a Christian home; at all
 events you have been brought up in a land where the light of the
 gospel is very much in evidence. Remember the goodness and the
 severity of God! His goodness is toward those who respond to His
 call. His severity is towards those who do not value His loving-
 kindness. The same warning is given to us in the Epistle to the
 Hebrews in another connection. “For if the word spoken by angels
 was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a
 just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so
 great salvation?” Perhaps these words come to some who have made
 no response at all to the appeal of the gospel. You have heard it a
 hundred times over and you know, as well as may be known, the way
 of salvation, but you have never opened your heart to the Lord Jesus
 Christ. How grave your responsibility! Remember the goodness of
 God! Remember also His severity.1 If God’s sunshine of loving-
kindness is brilliant and cloudless, remember that the outshining of
His righteousness in judgment against evildoers and against those
who obey not the gospel of Christ will be like the lightning flash,
blinding in its radiance.
    Verse 28 is a very remarkable one in this chapter: “AS concerning
the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the elec-
tion, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and call-
ing of God are without repentance.” God will never be frustrated
in His purposes. He took up definite relationship with Israel and
He will not surrender what He has already undertaken. It may be
that, by their rebellion, the Jews have had to be laid aside for some
time in order that their appreciation of God’s goodness might be
sharpened. Israel, however, as touching the election, are beloved for
the fathers’ sakes. Those from among Israel’s ranks who will go God’s
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  way, and not their own way, will come into the full realization of the
  blessing      of Abraham, because he was the father of the faithful.
           Then Paul makes this master stroke again as he shines as the
  attorney for the defense in the universal courtroom drama. He says,
  “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” It is the
  reassurance that God will never go back on anything He has under-
  taken. If God gives a gift, the recipient may prove unworthy of it,
  but God will never take it back. He never repents of having given
 gifts. In the same way He may call a person to some definite work,
 and His servant prove unfaithful, but God does not repent of the
 call. I have seen this illustrated a hundred times in individual lives
 of Christian people. I have known men of God who were outstand-
 ingly gifted of God. Then failure came into their lives, and they
 proved themselves quite unworthy of the gift given to them; but God
 never took the gift away. I am thinking now of a great preacher of
 the gospel who fell into waywardness. God had used him mightily
 in the proclamation of the way of salvation and many had been
 brought to the knowledge of the Saviour through him. Evil days came
 along. I am not suggesting that he lost his salvation, but his fervor
 for the Lord left him. He certainly lost the joy of his salvation and
 he drifted onward for years. Then a measure of spiritual recovery
 came his way, and I again heard him preach, years afterwards. There
 was a sadness about him I had not known previously, but God had
 not taken away the gift. He still spoke with the magnetic force, the
spiritual power that distinguished him many years before. God never
takes a gift away.
         However, let us remember this: sometimes He takes his servant
away. In Corinth they were mightily gifted. God was not vengeful
because of their carnality, but Paul says, “For this cause many are
weak and sickly among you and some have fallen asleep.” God had
taken them home to heaven and denied them the privilege of serving
Him here. God will not take back His gifts from you, but He may
take you.
    THE REAL SOLUTION OF THE JEWISH PROBLEM 227




          The Real Solution of the Jewish
                     Problem
             For the gifts                        and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in
     times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through
    their unbelief: Even so hove these also now not believed, that through
    your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all
    in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon                                                              01   (Ram.   11:29-32).



I   N THESE few verses Paul is setting forth a kind of summary of
     his entire argument on the subject discussed in chapters 9, 10,
 and 11. He is addressing the Gentiles, reminding them that blindness
 in part has happened to Israel, and that Israel nationally has been set
 aside in a temporary way. In the meantime God has taken up the
 Gentile nations and we are living in the times oj the G&ibs. We are
watching very carefully the economic map of the world as we see
tile fulness of the Gentiles coming in. In this verse 29, however, PauI
is asserting that God will never go back on anything He has set out
to do. The unbelief of man, the unfaithfulness af those who profess
to serve Him, will never for a moment make God swerve from His
purpose. The gifts and calling of God therefore are without repent-
ance. If God has offered a gift by divine grace, and if it is accepted
on the principle of faith, then it is given without qualifications, and
God will never take it back. This verse alone ought to establish any
true believer in Christ in the assurance that he will never lose the
gift of eternal life God has given to him. “The gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” and God’s gifts are without
repentance. I am reasonably sure that every Christian who looks over
his life honestly, will confess he has many times proved unworthy of
the gift. The gift is by grace and not because of our worthiness. How-
ever, I say, no matter how unworthy we may have proven, God does
not repent of having given the gift, He never takes it back. The
eternal life which God has given to every believer is given for all
eternity.
   In verse 30 Paul again contrasts the Gentile position with the posi-
tion of Israel, “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet
have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; Even so have these
 228           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain
  mercy. ” By the national defection of Israel, the door of mercy was
  opened to the Gentiles, but on the other hand, it was not closed to
  those who are of Israel’s race. God, if He had been a God of vengc-
  ante, might have closed the door against Israel altogether, and al-
  lowed them to go their own way of error unto perdition. This is not
  the case. A wider door of divine grace has been opened for Israel in
  this church age than was ever opened for them in the day of their
  national ascendancy. The Jew who today accepts the Lord Jesus
  Christ as Saviour is brought into riches infinitely greater than would
  have been his in the land of Palestine, if his nation had been obedient
  to the Lord and had come into its earthly inheritance. The gospel of
  God’s grace presents to Jew and Gentile today a magnificent profu-
 sion of blessing unequalled at any time in the world’s history. The
 Jew need not glory, according to this passage, in his racial or national
 standing now, because he has obtained mercy along with the Gentile
 on the principle of grace. “For God hath concluded them all in un-
 belief that He might have mercy upon all.”
     How wonderful it is to know God is not closing the door of His
 dealings with mankind today in any fashion! This is particularly sig-
 nificant as we look upon the privation and trial through which the
 Jewish people are going in their quest for a solution of their economic
 and national difficulties. There is an urge in the heart of the Jew
 today, perhaps altogether unexplained except in the light of the pro-
 phetic Scriptures. The urge is to get back to Palestine at al1 cost.
No Jew could properly explain it. His insistence might be that it is
 the land of his fathers and that is true. But think for a moment that
Palestine is comparatively one of the most undesirable lands on the
face of the globe. It is little more than a desert. I know the resources
of the land are discerned to be tremendous but the economic diffi-
cubies through which the Jew must go in order to develop those
resources are almost forbidding. In the United States, the life of the
average Jew or Gentile is infinitely to be desired to life in the land of
Palestine. One can see, however, the finger of God in all this, for He
has destined that the Jews will return to that land, and it is He who
has put into the heart of the Jews an insatiable desire to return to
the land of Abraham.
    Let us remember, however, that the real solution of the spiritua1
problem of the Jew today is not in regaining his national status, or
in his migration to Palestine. It is to be found in the opening of his
eyes to the realization that the Lord Jesus Christ is his personal
   THE REAL SOLUTION OF THE JEWISH PROBLEM 229
 Saviour. I am not simply singling out the Jew in any detrimental
 way; this is the only solution of the problems of mankind. In the
 Lord Jesus Christ man finds his true Center of spiritual magnetic
 force, and until he willingly comes within the orbit of the power of
 Christ, he shall be a wandering star in a vast universe where at any
 moment he may crash to destruction. God’s dealings then with both
 Jew and Gentile today are in mercy, but that mercy can only be
 found in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the fountainhead of divine
 blessing. He has been made both Lord and Christ. As Lord, He is
 the rightful sovereign of the universe, whose word must regulate
 every department of my life. As the Christ, He is the anointed of
 Jehovah, the great Administrator of the bounty of God in this day
 of matchless grace.
    To have an illustration of these two attributes of our Lord today,
one must look backward across the centuries to Joseph, as he was in
exaltation in the land of Egypt. Neither hand nor foot could be raised
except at the command of Joseph. Anyone who disobeyed Joseph met
with immediate destruction. The one who was obedient to him, how-
ever, came into the wealth of the administration of his bounteous
supply of food in a day of famine. It is when the Jews recognize in
the Lord Jesus Christ the antitype of Joseph, the Messiah exalted in
the land wherein he is a stranger, the land among the Gentiles, that
they will find, like Joseph’s brethren, they will be brought in to dine
in the presence of their Messiah. Thus I say, the Jew has not been
cast aside today any more than the Gentile has been cast aside. “God
has concluded all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all.”



                                                         The World Today
             For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy
    upon all. 0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of
   God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
    For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his                                                coun-
   sellor?               Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto
   him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to
   whom be glory for ever. Amen                                                             (Ram.   11:32-36).



G   OD, in His sovereign dealings with men, has set out to do cer-
     tain things and He will neither be frustrated nor deflected in
His purposes. Perhaps the keynote of the entire passage is found in
230 29 of chapter 11,
verse
pentance.” and His calling, a
 God’s gifts
low, sovereign right to show
God’s midst of all the chaotic
 In thescene today, where every
tional morally and economically
grade sunshine that penetrates
ray of
      which upon the the world
ily lay hold enswathesfact that,
ness more than that, His sovere
But
mankind iswould almost superfic
            in
the world andmercy. A indicat
with men, disasterin His anoth
through one that afterofsove
iniquity. believe this touches a
clusion. IThese chapters     Rom
                       THE WORLD TODAY                              231
armed camp with mountainous problems that seem impossible of
solution. The European continent lies waste in the aftermath of
war’s ravages. Even here in America we have seen very strange
things during the last few years. This is indeed the land of plenty
compared to other parts of the world, yet God seems to have re-
minded us through fire and flood, tornado and drought, that some-
thing is wrong. It almost seems as though God were seeking occasion
to pronounce vengeance instead of showing mercy. One must see,
however, behind the plain evidences, to recognize that:

                 God moves in a mysterious way
                    His wonders to perform.
                 He plants His footsteps on the sea
                    And rides upon the storm;
                 Deep in unfathomable mines
                    Of never failing skill,
                 He treasures up His bright designs
                    And works His sovereign will.
                 His purposes will ripen fast
                   Unfolding every hour,
                 The bud may have a bitter taste
                   But sweet will be the flower.
                 Blind unbelief is sure to err
                   And scan His work in vain,
                 God is His own interpreter
                   And He will make it plain.

   Behind the sad conditions around the world at this hour, which
we have sought briefly to describe, God is dealing with individual
hearts, bringing individuals out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The world is like a gallant ship, splendidly arrayed, flag-bedecked
and with every sail unfurled. The devil is at the helm and the proud
bark has been sailing these many years, propelled forward by the
fair winds of selfishness and greed, of sin and pleasure, and of God-
forgetfulness; soon it will be driven mercilessly upon the rocks. In
order that the mad mariners on board might come to a sense of their
need, God allows the storm to come along to batter and buffet the
proud ship, that some on board might open their hearts and hands
to their rightful sovereign Lord. His one objective is to show mercy
to those who will allow Him to do so. In the light of all this Paul, as
he stands here in the universal courtroom reviewing the national
 232            ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 status of Jew and Gentile, of Israel and the nation, breaks forth in
 exclamation: (‘0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
 knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His
ways past finding out! ”
    Out of the enigma of human life, with all its sorrows and suffering,
 its tragedies and heartaches, God is working out His own gracious
purposes so that, in the world to come, He shall have an unnumbered
host surrounding the person of His beloved Son. These will be sin-
ners saved by divine grace, men and women delivered from going
down to the pit because of the ransom which God paid when the
Lord Jesus hung on Calvary’s Cross. This is the point to which the
final analysis of the puzzle of the tide of human events brings us.
It is that, through it all, God is seeking to gain your ear and mine,
to make us listen to His offers of mercy, “Behold the goodness and
the severity of the Lord.” He is good to those who hear Him; He is
severe to those who reject His mercy. It resolves itself into that
solemn warning, “because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee
away with His stroke; then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.”




       God Our Judge-God Our Saviour

I    N ROMANS 11:33-36 Paul is making one grand final master
      stroke in seeking to uphold the sovereignty of the court in its right
 to show mercy toward the criminal. So overwhelmed is Paul by the
 significance of all of this that he breaks forth in acclamation. He
 reaches the very height of his eloquence here as he says: “0 the
 depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how
unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! ”
    It is as though Paul had reached the end of all logical arguments
and had come to the point where he can no longer describe the
sovereign dignity of the God of loving-kindness. He is carried away
on the wings of his eloquent defense and he breaks forth in worship-
ful adoration of the One who has devised so vast a plan of divine
goodness for the blessing of His creature. The excellence of Paul’s
language here is in itself most striking. He speaks of the depths of
the riches both of the knowledge and wisdom of God. He is over-
whelmed, as it were, by the fact that the judge upon the bench seems
to have realized every detail that confronted the court. The judge
            GOD OUR JUDGE-GOD OUR SAVIOUR                           233
   has a full knowledge of the criminal before Him; He has taken
   into consideration every evidence that bears upon the case. His
   knowledge is too vast for us to understand. But not only is it that
   the court has gathered together an infinite amount of information re-
   garding the legal status of the pardoned sinner, but it has found a
   way out of every problem by infinite wisdom. A human judge might
   be very well informed and might have a great depth of knowledge,
   but he might still be without the wisdom to find a solution of the
  problems presented. In our loving God we find One who is infinite
  in knowledge, who is also infinite in wisdom, hence the plan of sal-
  vation has been devised in all its perfect symmetry, and you and I,
  through infinite grace, have been brought into the scheme of divine
  blessing.
     Paul says, “HOW unsearchable are His judgments and His ways
  past finding out!” The word “judgment” here I believe has the in-
  terpretation of “discernment,” and surely it has been demonstrated
  in this legal argument, all the way from chapter one to the present
  great climax in this courtroom drama, that God, the Judge of all,
  has penetrated into the very deepest recesses of the human heart.
  God has exposed the criminal to view, laying bare the noxious inner
  springs of his very being, and showing that he is corrupt, a sinner
 by nature and by practice. But if God has infinitely accurate discern-
 ment, His ways also are past finding out. The ways of our God in
 bringing about deliverance for one who is a hell-deserving sinner
 shall never be traced by the human mind. We are brought to the
 realization that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and as high as
 the heavens are above the earth, so are God’s thoughts above our
 thoughts.
     What a reproof this should be to pride of human intellect! We are
living in days of proud intellectual claims, when the mind of man has
been practically deified, and in his own wise conceits he professes
to be capable of the final analysis of everything and everyone, in-
cluding the God who made him. The simple Christian, however, who
has come to the discovery that he is a sinner and a recipient of the
mercy of God, soon realizes the human mind has its very narrow limi-
tations, and if we are going to drink at the limitless fountain of
divine truth, it must be in small measures at a time. The truth of
God is learned line upon line and precept upon precept. So infinitely
great and unsearchable are the ways and the judgments of God that,
unaided by the Spirit of God, the human mind cannot even touch
them.
  234            ROMANS-A COURTROOM D R A M A
     In the Corinthian Epistle, Paul expresses it in magnificent fashion
  when he says, referring to the feebleness of human concept, “Eye
  hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have ent.ered into the heart
  of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
  But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” How great
  is the privilege to be a Christian! The Lord Jesus has said, “I call
  you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his master
  doeth; but I have called you friends.” Can you think of any greater
  human privilege than be allowed to walk side by side in fellowship
  with the One who is God manifest in flesh, and to hear Him in in-
  finite grace call us His friends! Then the Holy Spirit has been sent
  to indwell every believer, that He might take of the things of Christ
  and show them to us, thus revealing the marvelously intricate ways
  of divine grace, to the end that we may become worshipers at the
  feet of the One who is our Lord and Saviour.
     Then in verse 34 Paul sends out the challenge, “Who hath known
 the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor? Or who
 hath first given to Him, and it shah be recompensed unto him?”
 It is an unanswerable challenge. It is encumbent upon every thought-
 ful person to take all this into consideration. We are living in a day
 of tremendous mental conceit, when people generally believe only
 the things that appeal to them, the things they can analyze, and then
 they are all too ready to express an opinion about them. The true
 Christian stands under the shadow of the Almighty, constantly won-
dering at the infinitude of divine wisdom that has been so gracious
as to take him into God’s eternal plans and purposes. God did not
ask the advice of any when He set forth upon the scheme of divine
grace. No one was His counsellor; no one asked what He was doing
and no one helped Him. None of us after all had anything to con-
tribute to SO vast a scheme of divine purpose. We then become very
small, as we stand here in the dock of this great courtroom, sinners
by nature and practice, with a full pardon in our hands. We look as
it were at the Judge upon the bench, and we find He is Almighty
God, the One who was and is and is to come, self-existent, self-suf-
ficient, and infinite in greatness; yet He is our Saviour. ‘(For of Him
and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory for-
ever, Amen.” God our Judge is God our Saviour!
                        THE MERCIES OF GOD                                        23.5




                    The Mercies of God
       I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the compassion of God, to pre-
    sent your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is1
    your intelligent service. And be not conformed to this world, but be trans-
    formed by the renewing of [your] mind, that ye may prove what Iisl the
    good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Ram. 12:1-2, Darby transla-
    tion).



T     HE twelfth chapter of Romans is a practical conclusion to the
      preceding chapters. Paul is beseeching his brethren by the com-
 passion of God. This compassion is outlined for us in the first eleven
 chapters, showing the varied magnanimous ways in which the love
 of God has been made manifest. We must come back to the court-
 room scene in order to catch the significance of it. Paul still stands
 as the brilliant attorney in this court drama, wherein the sinner,
 Jew or Gentile, has been pardoned and God, who is the Judge upon
 the bench, has been transformed for him into a loving and gracious
 Saviour. God’s compassion has reached down, as it were, to find
 the criminal in all his abject need, corrupt of nature, corrupt by
 practice, not at all deserving of any mercy as he stands condemned
 in the prisoner’s dock. But God, in all the righteous dignity of this
 universal court, backed by the august sovereignty of almighty power,
has maintained His right to show mercy to the one who believes in
Jesus.
   Thus the condemned criminal, the sinner who has been brought
in guilty before God, his mouth stopped, his entire spiritual anatomy
laid bare, filled with corruption, has been forgiven on the basis of
the substitutionary work of the One who took his place on Calvary,
and he now stands under the benign gaze of God, the Judge of all, a
sinner saved by grace. His sins are blotted out, his very identity with
the man after the flesh totally obliterated in the death and Resur-
rection of Christ, and he stands in a place of favor before God. He
is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, his very life is in the energy of the
Holy Ghost, who has taught him to say ‘LAbba, Father.” More than
that, he is declared one of God’s children, and as such he is an
heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. He is under the sunshine
of the eternal love of God, every opposing force of the universe
               ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
  robbed of the last vestige of power to separate him from the love
  of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
     That is the background against which Paul’s appeal reaches us
  all, “1 beseech you, brethren, by the compassion of God, to present
  your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
  intelligent service.” It is as though the apostle would declare to the
 entire audience in this courtroom their obligation, in view of such
 matchless grace, to offer themselves up as a whole burnt offering
  for the pleasure of God, who has been so gracious to them.
     It is a living sacrifice however, in contrast to the dead sacrifices
 that were offered up throughout the Old Testament. In 2 Corinthians
 5 it is put in cryptic language of impelling fulness: “If one died for
 all then were all dead, and He died for all that they which live should
 not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for
 them and rose again.” God looks for some return from you and me
 because of the infinitude of His compassion to us. Our return should
 be nothing short of the giving of our bodies as vehicles of service,
 totally consecrated to the will of God. Paul says, “This is your intelli-
 gent service.” The word “reasonable” in our common version is rather
 misleading. It is rather that God, who has given to mankind an in-
 tellect capable of appreciating goodness shown to him, knows that
 every kindness carries an obligation. If God has saved you by divine
grace, when you were on the way to a lost eternity with no thought
 of God, without God and without hope in the world, then your only
intelligent behavior is to offer up that body of yours, not as a
vehicle for the gratification of your own pleasure and your own will,
but as an instrument that may be offered up in total subjection to the
will of God.
    I know it presents a great challenge to every one of us, but we
are living in an age when the gospel has largely lost its challenge.
Only too frequently the way of salvation is made so very simple. It
has been reduced to the elements of simple assent to the terms of
the gospel, as if it made no demand upon us except to nod the head
and pass on largely unchanged, as far as our life in this world is
concerned, but with the expectation that through God’s mercy we
shall arrive in heaven, because Christ died for us. That is a very small
portion of the truth, and I fear this largely falls in the category of
what is presented in Hebrews chapter 2, “as neglecting so great sal-
vation.”
  The security of the believer is a sterling and a cherished truth of
the New Testament, but no truth has been so abused by careless
                       THE MERCIES OF GOD                              237
  and superficial thinkers. The gospel of the glory of the blessed God,
  according to the Scriptures, comes out in dazzling brightness from the
  depths of heaven itself. It is the gospel of God concerning his Son,
  Jesus Christ our Lord. It sets Him forth as the Saviour. The gospel
  light shines into the human heart, and its first effect is to revolution-
  ize the life. It changes the man radically; the person is born again,
  just as if he began as a new being here on earth. The old things
  are reckoned dead; he is set forth on a new adventure; it is the ad-
 venture of a living faith in a living Lord. There is no intimation in
  the New Testament, if a person makes a profession of being a Chris-
 tian, and that profession does not in any way change his life and he
 continues in sin, that he has any reason to believe he will arrive in
 heaven in the end. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation,
 and that salvation means emancipation from the power of Satan here
 and now, or it means nothing.
     Unfortunately many have confined the thought of salvation to the
 eternity that is to come. Salvation is this, “That if thou shalt confess
 with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in thine heart that God
 hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the
 heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth con-
 fession is made unto salvation.” If you are among those who, through
some emotional experience or through kneeling at some altar, have
made lip confession of Christ and it has not affected your life, de-
livering you from sin, then you had better begin all over again and
really appoint the Lord Jesus as Lord of your life and Saviour of
your soul. That is the normal truth presented to us and it is to
those who have done that that Paul appeals to offer up our bodies
as a living sacrifice, a constant offering in the everyday affairs of our
lives, which will be pleasurable to the God who has saved us.




                    A Living Sacrifice

T    HE implications of the truth of Romans 12:1-2 are tremendous
     and the challenge which they bring to every Christian heart is not
easily answered.
   The thought of a living sacrifice is a very interesting one. It
stands in contrast to the dead sacrifices of Old Testament days. The
dead sacrifice spoke of a life which was forfeited on account of sin.
                    ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
        It was the substitutionary death in order that another might live. All
        those sacrifices pointed forward to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ,
        the one offering by which He has perfected forever them that are sanc-
        tified. Perhaps the word “sacrifice” is so familiarly linked with the
        thought of death that we wonder how it can be applied to a person
        who is living. Yet this very mystery intensifies the truth of it. The
        Apostle Paul spoke of “bearing about in his body the dying of Jesus.”
        He said, “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 Him-
        self for me.” It is the burnt offering aspect, I believe, rather than
        the sin offering. It is something that is offered up for the pleasure
        of God.
           Perhaps we get an eloquent illustration of it in the offering up of
       Isaac in the twenty-second of Genesis. In order to appreciate this
       we must think of the heart of Abraham in offering up his beloved
       son. Of course, behind it all, it is a type of God the Father giving
       His beloved Son on the Cross of Calvary, but I am not thinking of
       it in that way now. I am thinking rather of Abraham, God’s friend,
       and all it meant to his heart to offer up Isaac on the altar. To him
       it meant putting to death all his personal hopes according to the
      promise of God in regard to the inheritance in this world. God’s
      promise to him had been that in Isaac his seed would be blessed and
      every time Abraham looked upon Isaac, his son, he could say, “There
      is the center of all my hopes.” Everything he could desire by way of
‘P    legitimate blessing here on earth was wrapped up, as it were, in
      Isaac his son. On Moriah’s mountain, God taught Abraham he
      should realize his hopes in a most mysterious way. It must be through
      the great trial of complete surrender. He must realize it is in Isaac,
     as one who has been given up to death and raised again by the
     power of God, that he shall come into the fulness of God’s blessing.
          This is a difficult lesson for us to learn. Abraham must have gone
     through a great heart struggle, but the same strife goes on, in meas-
     ure, in every individual Christian heart. Our blessings are realized
     only in the surrendering of self. We can easily understand, of course,
     how we have to give up sin and put to death the things that are
     evil, but to put self to death, to surrender our own legitimate desires
     is another thing altogether. I believe it is the deepest lesson a Chris-
     tian may learn.
          Everything in man’s dealings with God comes by way of death
     and resurrection. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and
die, it abides alone: but if it m
That mystery of suffering is so die
                    there is
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so much it so many things you w
 There are good things which yo
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God wants us render
do the instant bidding of its mas
                 ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 like soldiers for the rigors of campaigning. Thus we prove what is
 that good and acceptable and perfect will of God, and life in all
 its fulness goes up as an offering for the good pleasure of God.
    Perhaps we have a unique parallel of this both in the life and
 death of our Lord Himself in perfection, for every step of His path-
 way was redolent with the sweet odors of a perfect offering before
 God and this reached a glorious consummation in His death on Cal-
 vary. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk
 in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us
 an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Eph.
 5:1-2). He knew fully “what is that good and acceptable and per-
 fect will of God.” We must “prove” it by following His steps. It will
 not be the shadowed life of the recluse but a busy life of usefulness
 and abundant joy, as well as challenging self-denial. This is “our
 intelligent service”!




                    How Tall Are You?
       For I say, through the grace which has been given to me, to every one
    that is among you, not to have high thoughts above what he should think;
    but to think so as to be wise, as God has dealt to each a measure of faith.
    For, as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not
    the same office; thus we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and each
    one members one of the other (Ram. 12:3-S Darby translation).



W      E MUST go very slowly through this passage, because Chris-
       tian conduct is so tremendously important to all who profess
the name of Christ, especially in an age like the present, when the
testimony in Christian lives is at such a low standard. You will
notice, perhaps, how this third verse is linked with our thinking.
Verse 2 has set forth the necessity of the Christian’s being trans-
formed by the renewing of the mind so that he may prove what is
the will of God. Then the third verse continues the same truth. Paul
is exhorting everyone not to have high thoughts above what he ought
to think, but to think so as to be wise, according as God has dealt
to each the measure of faith. In the common version it is to “think
soberly.” That is rather an imperfect thought, however, because we
so often associate sobriety with long-faced pessimism. The Chris-
                      HOW TALL ARE YOU?                             241
  tian should not be a sober person in that respect. That is why I like
  the Darby translation: “think so as to be wise.” Sobriety in this re-
  spect is that we take account of ourselves according to the measure
  of faith.
     Faith is God’s measuring stick. If you want to know how tall you
  are spiritually you must use the measuring stick of faith. Your real
  stature as a Christian depends upon how much faith you have. Faith
  is another term for confidence in God. It is the acceptation of what
  God says in His word. “Faith is the substantiation of things hoped
  for, the firm conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11: 1) . God speaks
  in His holy Word; man believes; that is faith.
     Now, the apostle is anxious that we who are Christians should
 not think of ourselves too highly, which is a natural tendency upon
  the part of each one of us. Men have various measuring sticks by
 which our individual size among men is determined. God has only
 one measuring stick; that is the measure of faith, and it is faith
 as a gift from God, not as something acquired by our own works. It
 is according as God has dealt to each a measure of faith. I believe
 this touches a very important truth for every Christian.
     Men have many measuring sticks for one another. We are apt to
 think of ourselves according to our height intellectually. He who is
 mentally alert and bright and capable is apt to look down upon the
 person with a more deliberate mind and a slower intellect. Indeed
 this measure has taken hold so much in our present age that we
 find, even among God’s people, it is those who are intellectually
smart and bright who are invariably in the ascendancy. This should
not be so. The greatest Christians spiritually are those who have
faith, those who accept the Word of God with confidence and act
accordingly. Then there is the measuring stick of socia2 prestige,
which unfortunately has far too much importance among God’s peo-
ple. It is because of that mistaken idea that you find cliques and
circles among the people of God. They associate in groups accord-
ing to their social standing, going around visiting each other, but
being very careful to shut out the Lord’s dear people who do not
measure up to them in social prestige. I wonder if we are all aware
this is quite contrary to the will of God. Perhaps it contributes a
great deal of pleasure to those who indulge in it, but this is no reason
for its indulgence. Paul is setting forth in this chapter that we are
all members one of another. We are all on the same plane, and the
only distinction which one Christian may have superior to another
242            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  is “according to the measure of the gift of faith.” Again I say, the
  biggest      Christians are those who believe God with the greatest con-
  fidence.
          Then there is the other unfortunate measuring stick which is so
  much in use among men, the measuring stick of WO~@Y goods, wealth,
  prospetity in material t’hings. How often in an assembly of God’s
  people those who have most money are most important and have
  the largest say among so-called elders, and they control the destinies
  of the people of God in ecclesiastical life! Of course, the Lord is
  upon the throne and He in the long run controls everything, but I
  mention these facts in order to bring home to us all that we should
  think of ourselves not too highly, but so as to be wise, according to
  the measure of the gift of faith. The man of faith is the one to be
  reckoned with in any sphere in any day. It is not the man of wealth
  or social prestige or intellect or aggressiveness or any other human
 attainment. Man attains true greatness when he has implicit confi-
 dence in the Lord and will be guided by God’s Word alone in spite
 of what men may have to say or do to the contrary.
          Thus we see our true stature is according to our faith and that
 makes us all very small, because at best our faith is so feeble. The
 Lord reminded His disciples if they had faith as a mustard seed
 they could move mountains. The man who can take God at His Word
 and launch forth in full confidence can overcome any difficulty. The
 disciples had fished all night and caught nothing, but when the Lord
 Jesus told them to let down the nets for a draft, Peter said, “Never-
 theless at Thy Word we will let down the net.” When the net was
 let down it encompassed a great catch of fish. The Lord used the
plural, “nets,” but Peter let down only one. Think what a catch
 they would have taken if they had let down all their nets! It is as
we do precisely as we are told by God Himself in His Word that we
shall find the pathway opens up before us, mighty in accomplishment.
It is the path of the will of God.
          Then we must remember the Christian career is not one of striving
to outdo each other, so Paul reminds us: “As in one body we have
many members, but all the members have not the same office; thus
we, being many, are one body in Christ, and each one members one
of the other.” Here is the Church of God in its most intimate aspect,
the Body of Christ. It is an organism compared to the human body,
in which every single member is a part of the whole, expected to
perform in coordinate functioning with every other member. As we
think of this marvelous figure of the union of God’s people to one
                                                                  HOW TALL ARE YOU?                                                                                               243
 another and to their Head in heaven, how sad is the aspect of the
 Church today broken into a thousand fragments, each with its
 own proud denominational name, pretending to be a replica of the
 whole! In one body there are many members. We are all members
 of the one body and so members of one another. We ought to keep
 this practically in mind in these days of sad religious defection,
 where the enemy of our souls is seeking to destroy the unity of the
 people of God. The only true unity is the unity of the Body of Christ
 and the only feature that distinguishes one member from another in
 importance is the measure of faith or confidence in God.



                              Working Together for God
                  For, as in one body we have many members, but all the members have
      not the same office; thus we,                                                    [being]   many, are one body in Christ, and
      each one members one of the other. But having dif erent gifts, according
     to the grace which has been given to us, whether                                                                                [it           be1   prophecy, [let
     us prophesy1 according to the proportion of faith; or service, [let us
    occupy ourselves1 in service; or he that teaches, in teaching; or he that
    exhorts, in exhortation; he that gives, in simplicity                                                                                  (Ram.           12:4-8         Darby
    transl a ti o n).



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            Paul’s appeal as
                                          this
                                               Let us
                                                        is weighted

                                  still stands in the great courtroom
                                                                      is

addressing the forgiven sinner, who has been pardoned, justified, and
brought into the family of the One who was formerly his Judge.
He is appealing on account of the compassion of God, that the sinner
who has been forgiven might return to give thanks, to show what
great things God has done for him.
   Thanksgiving shall not be in mere lip service, but rather in sterling
Christian conduct befitting the One who has called us out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
   As Paul looks upon the pardoned sinner, he is not simply looking
upon an individual who has been saved from judgment and from
eternal death, but before his vision that one enlarges to a host in-
cluding the vast Christian company that spreads itself all over the
earth, composed of all true believers in the Name of the Lord Jesus
Christ. The hosts of the redeemed merge themselves into one vast
unity called the “one body in Christ.” They are not merely large
 244           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   numbers of forgiven sinners; they are an organism pulsating together
   in unison with the life and nature of their risen Lord. N OW he is
   anxious that there should be coordinated function among all the
   members so they might realize they are all part of a living body, and
   each individual member is gifted by the Lord Himself according to
   the measure of the gift of faith. So in verse 6 he says, “But having
   different gifts, according to the grace that has been given to us,
   according to the proportion of faith.” You see how closely faith and
  grace are linked as the principles upon which the redeemed people
  of God shall function together. Grace is the love of God in action
   towards us; faith is the hand that lays hold upon God and believes
  what He says.
      So we see this vast number of God’s people suddenly like a giant
  organism, instinct with divine life, the finger, the toe, the foot, the
  hand, the arm, the eye, the nose, each functioning according to its
  own appointed office in regard to the whole. So the one who prophe-
  sies, that is to say, the one who is gifted in the matter of teaching
  with emphasis upon the prophetic truths contained in the Word of
  God, shall prophesy not according to his own speculative mind, or
  according to his own opinions about the trend of world events, but
  he shall prophesy according to the proportion of faith. That is, the
  prophet shall be dependent upon the Word of God and accept it as
  from God, laying hold upon it by faith. Service shall be done in the
 same fashion. Paul says, “as to service, let us occupy ourselves in
 service.” Let us remember this is regarded not simply as service for
 the Lord, but rather as service for His people, each one a member of
 the body serving the other. It is the Head of the Church, however,
 who gives direction and if He has appointed you or me in some
 particular sphere of service, let us occupy ourselves in that service. It
 is a great matter for all of us to find out just what the Lord wants us
 to do in relation to others. He may not have appointed you to be a
 teacher or evangelist and, if He has not, He has not gifted you along
 that line. Each function must be performed according to the gift
of grace, and the gift of grace in this passage, I think, means whatever
functional gift God has given by grace. It is all undeserved, un-
merited. Each one of us must find out what function the Lord would
have us perform and occupy ourselves in that service.
     Then Paul says, “he that teaches, in teaching.” The world is
overrun today by teachers and unfortunately many of them know
little about the Word of God. All teaching should be circumscribed
by the Holy Scriptures. Paul tells Timothy, “All scripture is given by
inspiration for instruction in rig
correction,
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               ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




                  The Grace of Giving

 P    AUL’S exhortations in Romans 12 are a setting forth of what
      have been aptly called “the Christian graces,” and I refer
  to that most important one in the middle of verse S-the grace
  of giving. “He that gives, let him give in simplicity,” or as it is
  otherwise translated, “with liberality.” I do not know that there
  is much difference between the two terms. He who is simple in his
  giving, that is, with no ulterior motive, will inevitably show a spirit
  of liberality. The important thing for all of us is to realize God has
  done so much for us that He has a claim upon everything we have
  and are. The natural question that often arises in regard to Christian
 giving is the principle of tithing. Many religious organizations insist
 upon their adherents paying a tithe, or a tenth of their income, to-
 wards the support of the church. Tithing is a principle which God
 set up in Old Testament days in order that His earthly people might
 be constantly reminded of their indebtedness to the One who had
 brought them out of Egypt and had taken such meticulous care of
 them. It was what we might call a kind of “income tax” payable to
 the Lord. There was nothing particularly virtuous in paying tithes;
 it was the minimum required under law, and he who did not pay
 it came under the censure of the Lord.
    We do recognize that, in the light of the New Testament, we are
 not under law, but under grace, and Christian people today enjoy a
liberty of action totally unknown among the Lord’s earthly people
of old. There is a great danger, however, of using this liberty to give
license to selfishness and greed and our own fleshly ambition. Inas-
much as God in the Old Testament impressed on His people that the
tenth or tithe was the minimum to which the Lord and His house was
entitled, SO I believe today every Christian is surely obligated to
give, in some way or another, at least one tenth of his income to the
Lord. It was the minimum requirement under law. Surely those who
are in the liberty of grace, who profess in a spiritual way far to
outmeasure the fulfillment of the law, shall not make their liberty
an excuse for withholding from the Lord. However, I would make
this observation by way of suggestion to you, that, in the light of
New Testament truth, the Lord is entitled not only to a tenth of what
                      THE GRACE OF GIVING                              247
  we have, but He has a claim upon everything we have. The Scripture
  says, “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price, therefore
  glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Many
  believers are quite willing to admit that their spirits belong to the
  Lord, and so they give Him their attention in spiritual matters. Rut
  oftentimes these forget that their bodies also belong to Him, so that
  all I do with my hands or brain is rightfully His. Let me not think,
  therefore, when I pay tithe to the Lord, that I have fulfilled every
  material and spiritual obligation to Him. He has a claim on all we
  are and all we have.
      I believe we have a totally inadequate concept of the demands
  which the Christianity of the New Testament makes upon us. The
  Christian faith is not an adjunct to our lives; it is life itself. Chris-
  tianity is not something by way of cultural or spiritual addition,
 which we have attached to ourselves as a more respectable and more
  desirable way of life. To become a Christian means a revolution in
 my entire living. I am speaking of what it is normally in the light
 of God’s truth. It means that my whole career is necessarily brought
 into relation to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that every obligation in
 life is assumed in responsibility to Him. If for instance I am a servant
 of an earthly master, I look beyond the master and I strive to per-
 form diligent and faithful service, because I serve the Lord, Christ.
 In other words, my reason for being a faithful workman is not be-
 cause I get a better wage at the end of the week or because it is the
 right thing to do or because I desire to have a good reputation,
 although all these things are important in their way. The real rea-
 son is that I want to please the Lord, and therefore I must perforce
 render good service to my employer.
     If you are the wife and mother in a home, and you are a Chris-
tian, then you are doubly obligated to perform every service with
greater faithfulness and greater skill, because it is rendered to the
Lord Jesus Christ. Undoubtedly your husband and children reap the
untold benefits of the faithful service rendered, and there is a way
in which that faithful service is done in the hope and desire that it
may be pleasing to those within the circle of your home, but your
ultimate purpose as a Christian is that you serve the Lord Christ.
    If a Christian is an employer of labor, he is doubly obligated;
first of all to turn out good merchandise or render good service, and
secondly, to treat his employees with every consideration, according
to righteousness and justice. His obligation to turn out good mer-
chandise is not only to have righteous dealings with his customers,
 248             ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 but because, as a Christian, he is a servant of the Lord in his busi-
 ness, and the Lord’s eye is upon him. He therefore desires to be well-
 pleasing to his heavenly Master. His obligation to treat his employees
 properly is not because he wants simply to do the right thing as a
 respectable citizen, but because he stands in Christ’s stead, holding a
 certain authority which has been given to him by the Lord over those
 whom he employs. He must therefore represent his Master, the Lord
 Jesus, in righteousness and truth. You see how far-reaching the
 claims of Christ are upon the Christian. Shall he then pay a tenth
 of what he has and figure that all his obligations are paid to the
Lord? No, indeed; that is only a beginning! The fact is, our obliga-
 tions as Christians are never paid, for the compassion of God is so
 infinite. Y OU can see how all this enjoins the Christian to be liberal
with whatever the Lord has entrusted to his hand. We must never
 forget of course, that those who are dependent upon us must be
cared for first, for “he that provides not for his own is worse than an
infidel.” Most of us, however, have means beyond our necessities
and our substance belongs to Christ. If we use it in His interest we
shall be greatly rewarded here and hereafter. All this is wrapped up
in Paul’s exhortation, “In giving, let it be done in simplicity,” or
liberality.




                      Christian Etiquette
       He that exhorts, in exhortation; he that gives, in simplicity; he that
    leads, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be
    unfeigned; abhorring evil; cleaving to good: as to brotherly love, kindly
    affectioned towards one another: as to honor, each taking the lead in
    paying it to the other: as to diligent zealousness, not slothful; in spirit
    fervent; serving the Lord (Ram. 123-11 Darby translation).



T     HESE exhortations surely leave each one of us very far behind.
      The twelfth of Romans has been called a treatise on Christian
etiquette, and I am sure if its precepts were put into practice we
should bear a bright and creditable testimony to the Lord who has
bought us.
   It is well for us to go through these items with due consideration
to applying them to our individual lives.
   In verse 8 Paul says: “he that leads, with diligence.” We are living
                      CHRISTIAN ETIQUETTE                            249
   in an age when leadership is greatly stressed. The men who are
   usually accorded the leadership in the Christian company today Par-
   take only too frequently of the attitude of the dictator. True Chris-
  tian leadership entails example. A real leader of God’s people is one
  who goes before them and shows them the manner in which they
  ought to walk. We have this beautifully illustrated to US in the tenth
  of John in regard to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. He
  leads them out, He goes before them. In other words, the leadership
  of our Lord Jesus in the Christian pathway is that He will not ask
  His sheep to go anywhere He has not first gone Himself. There is no
  human experience any Christian may encounter, except the experi-
  ence of sin, but the Lord Jesus has already gone through it and knows
  it thoroughly. Now the Lord has “under shepherds,” who are the reai
  leaders, and Paul enjoins them to do it with diligence. If we are going
  to be examples to the flock of God, indolence, apathy, or self-com-
  placency must have no part in our lives. He who is out in front will
  first have to meet the enemy and show by dint of the diligence of
  faith that he is a true leader. Yes, leadership is very important; he
  who takes the lead among God’s people without showing them the
  way to walk and behave before God is a false leader, and he will
  only lead astray.
     Then Paul says: ‘lhe that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” The art
 of showing mercy is one of the finest arts in the Christian category.
 One of the rarest Christian graces is that admirable ability to accept
 a confession of offence from or to extend a helping hand to a fellow
 believer without assuming a patronizing attitude. If a brother fall
 into sin, it takes a very spiritual person really to restore him, and it
 must be done in fear, knowing we are subject to the same temptation.
 Mercy should be shown toward others with cheerfulness, considering
 that the Lord gives us the privilege of showing mercy. Then Paul
 says, “let love be unfeigned; abhorring evil; cleaving to good.”
     This surely touches a matter of great importance. We are living in
an age when the word “love” is used with glib indifference to its
supreme value. The Christian’s love should be unfeigned, that is,
without pretense, sincere and real. Again and again throughout the
New Testament Christians are enjoined to love one another, and
John reminds US that love is of God. The fountainhead of all love
is God Himself, but love is always presented on a righteous basis of
truth and reality. “Hereby perceive we love in that He laid down His
life for U S.” The love of God has been expressed, not in word, but in
deed. SO the love of Christians toward one another must be expressed
 250            ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
   in the same manner. We ought to lay down our lives for one another;
   that is, our attitude towards other believers should be willing sacrifice
   at every turn. I know this is practised very little in these days, but
   that is God’s thought for His people.
      Then it must be coupled with the avoidance of evil and the clinging
   to good. Although God is love, He has dealt with sin by giving His
   own beloved Son to be the sin bearer. “For God so loved the world,
   that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him
   should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In order that the love
   of God might go out with liberality towards men, the sin question
  had to be dealt with. And before Christian brethren can properly love
  one another, they must live holy lives. Sin will ruin, blacken, and
  destroy Christian affection. Love then, according to the Christian
  economy, is not a glossing over of everything; it is not a cheap senti-
  mentality that makes light of false and evil-doing. If love is going to
  be true and unfeigned, evil will have to be expunged from our lives.
  Then Paul says, “as to brotherly love, kindly affectioned towards one
  another.” What a crying need there is today among Christian peo-
  ple for this kindly affection!
      We live in a very metallic age of hard, ruthless dealings among
  men. The competitive pitch of industrial and commercial life has
  inculcated in the human spirit an attitude of calculating analysis.
 This should have no place in the Christian company. Christian people
 should be like a family, and to get into their company in a cold
 analytic world should be very much like a man’s leaving his business
 after a hard day of competitive bargaining and entering the quiet
 precincts of his own home and the bosom of his own family. The
 world would be a terrible place without Christians. One of these days
 God is going to call His own people out of this world, and the forces
 of evil will charge forward across the world in unrelenting and wicked
 power, the antichrist at their head, and the full power of Satan behind
 them. Then will be great tribulation. Wickedness will be rampant,
anarchy everywhere; for the restraining hand of God in grace will
be withdrawn and unbelieving men left to their own devices. How
eager Christians ought to be, then, to manifest loving-kindness to-
wards one another. The apostle says, “Be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has
forgiven you.”
     Then I like this expression that follows in verse 10, according to
the Darby translation, which presents it so beautifully, “as to honor,
each taking the lead in paying it to the other.” In a realm of selfish-
                      CHRISTIAN ETIQUETTE                             251
 ness, where each individual is striving for the ascendancy, how
 marvelous it is to belong to a Christian company where some at least
 follow this rule of etiquette, “as to honor, each taking the lead in
 paying it to the other”! Then Paul says, ‘<as to diligent zealousness,
 not slothful.” The authorized version here is weak and misleading.
 It is not, as is stated there, “diligent in business.” Paul is not dis-
 cussing our business life here, and he is not encouraging Christians to
 become swamped and overwhelmed by business interests, as many
 have interpreted from the authorized version. Paul is speaking of
 Christian conduct in a general way and the new translation is accu-
 rate : (‘as to diligent zealousness, not slothful.” The Christian has no
 license to be indolent or lazy in any sphere; he should be diligent
 and zealous, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.




              Practical Christian Living

 I Tinupon themtoourmeown imperfection, that all we 10 todoapplyhumbling,
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        view of
                       these exhortations in verse

                  and seek in some measure sincerely
                                                     can
                                                        are so
                                                             is to medi-
                                                                  them to
  our daily lives. Christianity has become a matter of so much preach-
  ing and so little genuine conduct that the testimony of our Saviour
 suffers grievously. It is surely the Lord’s mind that all of His people
 should endeavor to show what great things God has done for them.
 They can only show this in their behavior.
    I am very much intrigued by this translation of Romans 12; it is
 so intensely accurate and yet at the same time so picturesque: “As
 to honor, each taking the lead in paying it to the other.” What
 wonderful gatherings we would have if the Lord’s people behaved in
 this manner. Instead of seeking always to cover self with glory,
each of us should endeavor to pay honor to one another, as this
 translation says, “each one taking the lead in paying it to the other.”
This surely is true leadership and calls for the deepest humility, yet
it is the high standard which God sets before us.
    Let us not confuse this with Satan’s counterfeit, so frequent today,
of Christian brethren seeking to play up to some particular person
in order to gain distinction or advantage for themselves. That is
surely unworthy of any Christian, yet it is exceedingly common. This
is the day of the so-called “yes-man” among God’s people. He who
252 pick out the influential bret
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 2.54          ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   as the great objective. I should like to mention that three different
   Greek words for service are used in this chapter and they are ex-
   ceedingly interesting. The first is in verse 1, where the apostle has
   been telling us we should offer up our bodies a living sacrifice, “which
  is your intelligent service.” That word “service” is the word latreuo
  and it really means the reverential service of homage or worship. In
  our English word “devotion” perhaps we have its near equivalent;
  the heart is captivated by the object of the One to whom we render
  all we are and have. It is expressed in one way in the adoration of
  worship, but in Romans 12: 1 it is the constant offering of the living
  sacrifice of a life devoted to the Lord, ascending to Him as a sweet-
  smelling savor.
     In verse 7 we have another word for service and there Paul is
  enjoining those who serve “to occupy themselves in service.” The
  word there is diakoneo and it refers to a servant who has been ap-
  pointed. There is an official character to it, and the exhortation is
  that those who take an official place of service among the Lord’s
 people, such as “shepherds” or “overseers” or “deacons” or in any
 other public capacity, should do so with constancy and diligence.
 The word for service in verse 11 which comes to our attention now-
 “in spirit fervent, serving the Lord”-is another Greek word alto-
 gether. It is the word douleuo and it has the intensive meaning of
 slavery or bondage.
     Thus you have the complete picture of the entire life of service
 on the part of the Christian towards his Lord. In verse 1, it is that
 our bodies are offered up a living sacrifice, an act of worshipful
 adoration at every step of our pathway, going up before God as a
 sweet-smelling savor. In verse 7 it is the person who takes an office of
service among the Lord’s people. Whatever his office may be, an
overseer, a deacon, a shepherd, or a help, he should make that his
job, as we say; he should occupy himself in service. If he is a shep-
herd and must do things in obscurity, let him not be ambitious to
take a more prominent place. If the Lord has gifted him as a shep-
herd, let him not enviously assume to be an evangelist; if he has
gifted him as an evangelist, let him not assume to be a teacher;
and so on throughout the entire official list of functions. Then in
verse 11, it is that we should be bondmen to the Lord. Just as a bond
slave, whose heart has been captivated by the loving-kindness of
his master, will perform devoted service far beyond the call of duty,
so the Christian with fervency of spirit will serve the Lord.
    With these three aspects of service one would almost suggest there
          THREE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE                          2.55
 must be very little time in life to do other things, such as earning
 a living, or cleaning the kitchen, or doing other necessary work. The
   strange part is that every task that comes to our hand in a secular
   way can be performed “as to the Lord,” so the commonplace duties
   of life take on an aspect of worship, of spectacular duty, and of
   Christian bondage. This turns the menial tasks of life into a series of
  interesting adventures done in responsibility to our Master, the Lord
  Jesus, whose eye is constantly upon us and who appreciates every-
   thing that we do, if it is done for Him.
      Now we run forward to some of the other interesting exhortations.
  In verse 12, “as regards hope, rejoicing.” Surely in a drab and pessi-
  mistic world, like the one in which we live today, rejoicing in hope
  becomes a refreshing occupation on the part of the Lord’s people.
  The day is never so dark but the sunlight of the promise of the
  coming again of the Lord Jesus sheds its gladdening rays into the
  deepest gloom. Then Paul says, ‘Las regards tribulation, enduring.”
  It is more than patience, it is endurance. Patience may sit idly by
  until the storm is over, but endurance will give stamina to the one
 who is passing through tribulation. Then, “as regards prayer, perse-
 vering.” Sureiy this touches all of us.
     We are living in an age when prayer is largely a formality and few
 of us realize the importance of the prayer life. It is the soul that
 senses its need for God in an adverse world, that comes on bended
 knee to beseech the Lord for His intervention. It is not a matter
 merely of vain repetitions, but a pleading with the Lord, as Abra-
 ham pled with Jehovah on behalf of Sodom. Every Christian should
 be an intercessor, and intercession is not a salutary duty performed
 at the close of the day like a kind of religious rite. We are living in
an age of many burdens, not only upon our own hearts, but upon the
 hearts of many others, and perseverance in prayer is a solemn privi-
lege in the Christian life. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous
man availeth much.” Humanly speaking, had Elijah not persevered
in prayer before the Lord, many thousands of his people would have
died of starvation on account of the drouth. But Elijah prayed
perseveringly and the rains came. Perhaps we are not seeing the
refreshing showers of spiritual blessing in these days largely because
of lack of persevering prayer.
    Then Paul says, “distributing to the necessities of the saints, given
to hospitality.” There is much need on every hand today, perhaps
more than at any other time in the world. The Christian is under
definite obligation to be kind, and those of the household of faith
   256            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  have first claim upon his kindness. There are many thousands of
  Christian people across the world at this hour who are suffering from
  want and starvation. I know that many believers on the Lord Jesus
  are doing their utmost to send food and clothing to them, but many,
  on the other hand, are going their own selfish way, forgetting our
  obligation. Nor is all the suffering overseas either, for there is much
  need around us, if we will only look for it. Perhaps the crying need
  of the world at this hour is for loving-kindness. This ministry of dis-
  tributing to the necessities of the saints is a very challenging thought
  to every Christian. My heart, my home, my money, should rightfully
  be at the disposal of the Lord, and those who are poor and needy
  have the first claim upon it.
     Service, then, should be offered first as an act of worship to the
  Lord. Next, it should be done with all the dignity and honor of our
  official calling. Finally, that service must be rendered with all the de-
  votion of a willing bondslave.




         Humility-A Rare Christian Grace
        Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not. Rejoice with those
     that rejoice, weep with those that weep. Have the same respect one for
     another, not minding high things, but going along with the lowly: be not
     wise in your own eyes: recompensing to no one evil for evil: providing
     things honest before all men: if possible, as far as depends on you, living
     in peace with all men; not avenging yourselves, beloved, but give place to
     wrath (Ram. 12:14-19 Darby translation).



  T    HIS chapter has been well called a treatise on Christian eti-
       quette and it certainly puts immense responsibility upon those
  who call themselves by the name of Christ.
     I have suggested repeatedly, as we have been going through the
  considerations of this chapter, that we are living in an age that is
  uniquely one of preaching, and the crying need of the hour today
  is rather for stress upon Christian conduct.
     These injunctions are quite contrary to nature, because our natural
  impulses are to retaliate for evil that is done to us, whereas here
it is quite the opposite: “Bless them that persecute you; bless, and
  curse not.” The keynote of the economy of Christianity is “blessing.”
           HUMILITY-A RARE CHRISTIAN GRACE                          257
  The Lord has blessed those, who at one time were enemies in their
  minds by wicked works, with every spiritual blessing in the heaven-
  lies in Christ. We can all look back upon days when we were viru-
 lently opposed to the intervention of the Lord in our affairs, but He
 showed loving-kindness to us nevertheless. T O me it is one of the
 most remarkable features of the New Testament that the last act
 which the Lord performed here on earth, as recorded for us in the
 closing verses of Luke’s gospel, is that He stood on the Mount of
 Olives and raised His hands in blessing upon the heads of those who
 stood around. As they watched Him, He was carried up into heaven
 out of their sight. This is the last attitude of the Lord Jesus toward
 this poor world-His hands raised in blessing. What an example for
 His people to follow! Sometimes it is very difficult to follow His
 steps. We find that the opposition and the misunderstanding we meet
 are so unreasonable. Our motives are misinterpreted, our actions are
 misjudged, and Satan himself energizes others sometimes to do ill
 toward us without reason. It takes much faith in God, and great
 humility under such circumstances, to bless those that persecute us;
 to bless, and curse not. This is the triumph, however, of the Christian
 faith, and in keeping these precepts there is great reward.
     Then, in the next verse, Paul introduces us to the grand practical
 fellowship of the Christian company: “Rejoice with those that re-
joice, weep with those that weep.” Perhaps if you were to describe
your nearest and dearest friends you would speak of them as com-
plying with this injunction. When you are happy and successful and
radiantly prosperous, they join in the acclamations on your behalf
and wish you unbounded blessings. When sadness and sorrow come
into your life and your heart sinks in despair, they mingle their tears
with yours and bear your burden with you. What a marvelous place
the world would be if Christian people everywhere followed this in-
junction! This ought to search our hearts; so much of the opposite
is in vogue today, even among those who profess the Christian faith.
    H OW sad it is that even among God’s people many act quite op-
posite to this injunction. When they see you happy and successful,
they are jealous and envious, and do their utmost to dampen your
spirit, and to discourage. When you are in sorrow and difficulty, they
somehow show they are gratified. I say again, these thoughts should
search our hearts. I can think back over my own life, realize how
many real Christians I have known that in some measure at least
have conformed to these exhortations. We have laughed together, we
                ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  have wept together, and thus human souls are bound by the strong
  cords of Christian love and fellowship that nothing on earth can
  break.
     Then Paul says, “Have the same respect one for another, not mind-
  ing high things, but going along with the lowly.” This surely is also
  quite contrary to the current of our present day life. The fashion-
  able conduct today is to pick out those fellow Christians that either
  suit us best or who will contribute most to our own benefits, and show
 respect towards them. Then we so often look down upon others
 simply because they do not fit into the selfish schemes we pursue. A
 respectful attitude that is sincere toward all fellow Christians is a
 jewel of priceless value in the Christian heart. Then I like Mr.
 Darby’s translation of this sixteenth verse: “Not minding high
 things, but going along with tlze lowly.” I have enjoyed for many
 years that expression, “going along with the lowly.” Is it not true
                                         u
 that we are apt to aspire to go alon, with the successful people, the
 well-to-do, the social elite? It is a far safer plan for a Christian to go
 along with the humble folk, to travel side by side with the lowly. It
 is better from every practical point of view. The proud and success-
 ful will oftentimes push you aside when it suits them; in the lowly
you will find loyalty, devotion, and genuine spirituality.
    Then Paul says, “Be not wise in your own eyes.” Humility is one
 of the rarest and most priceless gems of human personality. Of
course, in consideration of all these injunctions, let us remember
that some human personalities have much more difliculty with them-
selves than others. For instance, some are naturally of a very proud
spirit; others are naturally quite amiable and humble. Sometimes we
look with great envy upon people who are naturally of a humble
spirit, realizing they do not have the difficulties that some of us have
in curbing human pride and self-assertion. Going along with the
lowly, keeping company with humble people is one of the greatest
disciplines towards humility we could desire. It is as we do so that
we become more accustomed to our own inadequacy, and we are not
so wise in our own eyes. It is a peculiar phenomenon of human
nature that some of the most ignorant people are wisest in their own
eyes. I believe, perhaps, if we read our Bibles more, and meditated
upon the immensity of the truths that are presented to us, we should
more readily realize how feeble and inadequate we actually are. The
Bible has been called “God’s university,” and delving into its un-
fathomed mines of truth and wisdom is an education that enlarges
the mind and humbles the heart.
                  RULES OF CHRISTIAN ETIQUETTE                                               259




              Rules of Christian Etiquette
        Have the same respect one for another, not minding high things, but
     going along with the lowly: be not wise in your own eyes: recompensing
     to no one evil for evil: providing things honest before all men: if p o s s i b l e ,
     as far as depends on you, living in peace with all men; not avenging your-
     selves, beloved, but give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance tbe-
     longs1 to me, I will recompense, saith the Lord (Rom. 12;16-13 D a r b y
     translation).



 I    HAVE dwelt at some length upon the beauty and practical ex-
      cellence of that expression at the end of verse 16, “going along
 with the lowly.” The Authorized Version does not give us the true
 sense of this expression. It is there translated, “condescend to men
 of low estate.” There should be no such thing as condescension on
 the part of a Christian. To condescend to anyone means that you
 recognize they are inferior, but you bend low to come to an equality
 with them in a kind of patronizing way. The Darby translation is
 infinitely better: “going along with the lowly.”
    Then verse 17 says, “recompensing to no one evil for evil.” What
an impelling tendency we all have by nature to get back at anyone
who does any evil toward us! Remember, as we go through these
 injunctions, they are not easy of performance. Christianity was never
presented to men as an easy way through life. Christianity is always
a great practical adventure and calls for devotion, self-sacrifice, and
loyalty to the Lord. The person who can overcome evil with good is
a victor indeed. The great example in all this is our Lord Jesus Christ
Himself, who, when He was reviled, He reviled not again, and when
He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself unto Him
that judgeth righteously. In order to put these injunctions into prac-
tical effect in our lives it must always be with the thought that our
Lord is on the throne, His eye is upon US and He is supervising every
item of the Christian pathway. It makes one sad at heart to realize we
still have that evil nature within us which comes to the front so often
in a tendency to do evil towards others, when the truth in the twelfth
of Romans is, “I will recompense, saith the Lord.”
    Then verse 17 goes on, “providing things honest before a11 men.”
Honesty is the basic principle of the Christian faith. It is the first
260
steppingstone upon which I mu
in the Christian path. A eternal
not profess to be saved dishond
men. Justification before Godup
fication before men depends
is insisted upon in Downright
never be forgotten,James’ Epis
Christian. The Scripture that
another.” The only debt says,is
       of love toward other belie
debt elements, one might say i
tical home failing to provide pr
in a forth to preach the gospe
going His first obligation is to “
istry.
                      family, no
ant of Christ, the Lord doesthe
provide for his own In the sam
and earn neglecting her home,
ranted in his living.
                RULES OF CHRISTIAN ETIQUETTE                                      261
 pense, saith the Lord.” This injunction is surely one we should take
 to heart. I believe Satan is doing his utmost today to divide the
 Lord’s people from one another, and he is using every occasion to
 promote his diabolical plans. Let us remember we are living in an
 age of great nervous tension, and perhaps one of Satan’s most cun-
 ning devices is to aggravate good people to the point where they will
 get very angry and say things that will dishonor their Lord. I be-
 lieve this is one of Satan’s most virulent points of attack, and one
 requiring the greatest of vigilance. It is only as the true believer in
 Christ is preserved by the power of God from these pitfalls of the
enemy that he can be maintained true to the testimony of our Lord.
    There is a day soon coming when everything will be adjusted. The
 Scripture speaks of it as “the restitution of all things,” and we are
enjoined to judge nothing before the time. The Christian must pos-
sess his soul in patience, not expecting an immediate adjustment
of all the things that are out of joint and grievously aggravating, but
knowing that the Lord’s promise is true: “Vengeance is mine, saith
the Lord, I wilI repay.” EviI will not always be on the throne, and
good on the scaffold, as seems to be so often the case in this ungodly
world. There will be a judgment seat of Christ for all believers, when
the deeds done in the body will be appraised and rewards given for
good, and loss suffered for evil. Thereafter there will be the Great
White Throne, where the wicked dead will be judged according to
their works. May the Lord preserve us then from anger in the face
of the injustice and wickedness we see all around us, remembering
that our own hearts are corrupt, and we must be constantly preserved
by the power of Christ!



             How to Overcome Enemies
       If therefore thine enemy should hunger, feed him; if he should thirst,
    give him drink; for, so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.
    Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Ram. 12:20, 21
    Darby translation).



I  F WE take the injunctions of this chapter seriously, we shall
    surely be deeply impressed by the exacting demands which the
profession of the Christian faith makes upon each one of us. It is as
               ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  though Paul, throughout this entire chapter, is on an ever-ascending
  scale of exhortation concerning Christian behavior, and he reaches
 his climax here in the closing verses.
     Let us remember the subject of the entire chapter is described in
 verse 1 where Paul beseeches us to present our bodies a living sac-
 rifice, holy, acceptable to God which is our intelligent service. If we
 have any hazy ideas as to what it means actually to present our
 bodies a living sacrifice, we only need to consider the injunctions
 presented throughout the entire chapter. The way in which we pre-
 sent our bodies a living sacrifice in intelligent service to the Lord is
 by obeying these exhortations. We shall see then that the demands
 made upon us are exceedingly exacting. Indeed, they mean total self-
 abnegation-the putting of our own selfish desires for gratification
 in the place of death. Too frequently we think of offering our bodies
 a living sacrifice as being some kind of visionary attitude toward the
 issues of life, as if we should wander through this world in a spirit
 of detachment like a recluse or a stoic.
     On the contrary, offering our bodies a living sacrifice is a very
 vibrant and realistic occupation. In sum and substance it means be-
 having as a Christian should behave. As the Lord from heaven
 watches the believer who walks according to the outline of Romans
 12, He sees in him a living exponent of Christ, an offering that goes
 up to the Lord as a sweet-smelling savour. The Christian who be-
 haves according to Romans 12 is a veritable replica of the life of the
Lord Jesus here on earth, and Elris life, as well as His death, was a
constant offering for the good pleasure of God, His Father.
    Let US not then have any ethereal ideas of detached holiness about
the living sacrifice. It is downright practical Christian living, and it
affects every avenue of our activities here on earth. It reaches its
climax in these few closing verses: “If therefore thine enemy should
hunger, feed him; if he should thirst, give him drink; for, so doing,
thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.” It is very interesting
that this is a direct quotation from the twenty-fifth chapter of Prov-
erbs which, as you know, was written by Solomon in the days long
before Christianity was inaugurated.
    I think sometimes in our religious pride we are apt to look down
upon the Old Testament saints as in a sphere of inferiority to our-
selves. Sure it is that in the Old Testament we do not have the blaze
of light concerning the knowledge of God which we have in the New,
but it should be a reproof to us that, even under the candlelight of
Old Testament days, God required this kind of conduct on behalf of
                 HOW TO OVERCOME ENEMIES                              263
  His people: “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him
  drink; for, so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.”
  There is nothing ethereal or imaginative about this. The fact is that
  the person    who   can show kindness to one who is at enmity to him
  is on the winning side of life’s battle, whether in the Old Testament
  or in the New. 1 believe if we who are Christians only realized the
  potentiality of the manifestation of kindness toward others, no matter
  who they may be, we should go in for it more wholeheartedly. It is
  an investment of tremendous vaIue which pays large dividends in
  the scheme of life.
      It is rather a pity we should live in a scene where we have enemies.
  The only person without enemies in this old world, however, is the
 person who is neutral in the battle between good and evil. We have
  far too many Christians who are in that category, and they seem to
  think that, because they are gettin g along with everybody and they
 have no enemies, they must be living a life of devotion to the Lord.
 Such may not be the case. Show me a man or woman who is loyal
 to Christ, and you will soon find that such a person has both friends
 and enemies. We are living in a Godless world, of which Satan is the
 proud dictator-the spirit that is constantly at work in the children
 of disobedience. Moreover, many Christians succumb to his tempta-
 tions and become evildoers. The man or woman who shines for God
 in this worId, therefore, wiIl become the object of the attack of such
 people whether they profess to be Christians or not.
    It is because of this that the sixth chapter of Ephesians has been
 written so the man of God may have courage to stand against the
 wiles of the enemy and having done all to stand. Some of you Chris-
tians are bewildered because you want to be genuinely in friendship
with others, and yet, in spite of all you do, you find that enemies
raise their heads against you. This is precisely what every man of
 God has experienced down through the ages, and was sadly true of
the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He never did an ill turn to anyone,
yet He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief. His own familiar friends lifted up their heel
against Him. “They that hate me without a cause are more than the
hairs of mine head,” was first said by David, who was perhaps
the most lovable character of all the Old Testament; but it was pro-
phetically true of the Lord Jesus. What then shall we do in the face
of enemies? Let us pray for the grace to heap coals of fire upon their
heads! It is a very picturesque expression, and I think indicates put-
ting them to what we call “a burning shame.”
                ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
    Solomon, in the twenty-fifth of Proverbs, adds a note which is left
 out in the twelfth of Romans. He says, “thou shalt heap coals of
 fire upon his head and Jehovah shall reward thee.” I really wonder
why Paul left that out, but he was guided by the Spirit of God to
 do so. I might suggest the reason. Sometimes we have our eye a little
too much on the reward for what we do. Christian conduct in the
way of showing kindness to our enemies in the New Testament is
largely based upon what the Lord Jesus has done for us. “Be ye kind
one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in
Christ has forgiven you.” Solomon rather looked forward to the day
of reward. Christians have already been given such an unspeakable
gift when God gave His Son that, even apart from any future rewards,
this adventure of being a Christian is well worth while. Then Paul
sounds one note of triumph as he brings this chapter to a close: “Be
not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This is not suf-
fering silently, sitting under a juniper tree bemoaning our lot. This
is triumphing over our enemies by recompensing evil with good. We
need much grace and wisdom and the power of God to pursue a path-
way like this.




         Should the Christian Obey the
         Government without Question?
       Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power
    but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever there-
    fore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that
    resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror
    to good works, but to the evil (Ram. 13:1-3).



I   N TRAVELING through the twelfth chapter of Romans, we have
     been considering Paul’s exhortations to Christians relative to
their behavior within the Christian sphere. It is our behavior toward
one another as believers on the name of Christ; and the exhortations
given there teach Christians how to treat each other. It is the personal
demeanor of the Christian that is in view.
   In chapter thirteen, Paul is widening out in his viewpoint. He is
still the attorney for the defense standing in the courtroom. He has
the pardoned sinner before him, and that one who was the criminal
    SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBEY WITHOUT QUESTION? 26.5
   has been forgiven by the Judge, and he has literally been inducted
   into the Judge’s own family. The Judge is God Himself, and through
  Jesus Christ the Lord, the pardoned sinner finds himself under the
  endless and unfathomable love of God his Father. Now, as a son
  before God, he is instructed how he shall behave, first in relation to
  his brethren, and secondly, in chapter 13, how he shall behave toward
  the governmental authorities which God has established here in this
  world. Chapter 12 is his church life, so to speak; chapter 13 his life
  of obedience as a subject under the government of his country.
      The entire tenor of the exhortations in chapter 13 can be summed
  up in the word “subjection.” We are living in a politically minded
  age when unfortunately many Christian people are taking far
  more part in worldly politics than they are in Christian affairs. Ro-
  mans 13 comes in for our instruction in that way. It can only be
  read in the light of what Paul discloses in the Philippian Epistle: our
  citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour. In
  the last analysis the only politics in which a Christian should be
 actively interested are the affairs of heaven: the promulgation of the
 testimony of his Lord in a world that needs the gospel more than it
 needs anything else. This should be a full-time occupation for every
 Christian, leaving little time for any absorbing interest in the affairs
 of the world around. We should, however, guard against the idea that
 the Christian should march across the landscape of this world as a
 kind of automaton with his head in the clouds, having no interest in
 the affairs of his fellow men.
      Concerning the government of this world, the Christian’s one in-
 terest, then, is obedience. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher
 powers. There is no power but of God: the powers that be are or-
 dained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the
ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves
damnation”-the word more literally is “judgment.” The Darby
translation of this passage is far more simple and lucid: “Let every
SOUR be subject to the authorities that are above [him]. For there is
no authority except from God; and those that exist are set up by
God. SO that he that sets himself in opposition to the authority resists
the ordinance of God; and they who [thus] resist shall bring sen-
tence of guilt on themselves.”
     In order to get the underlying truth in this passage I think we have
to go back to the first of Genesis which is well called “the seed-plot
of the entire Bible.” “And God made the two great lights; the great
light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night-and the
 266           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light
   on the earth, and to rule during the day and during the night, and
   to divide between the light and the darkness. And God saw that it
  was good. And there was evening, and there was morning-a fourth
  day.” The fourth day’s work in Genesis one was the establishment
  of authority, and it was for the purpose of dividing between the light
  and the darkness. There we have in embryo what is set forth through-
  out the Scriptures as the ordination of authority. God was establish-
  ing certain controlling factors in the world that so recently had been
  chaotic. God is a God of order, and it is His plan and purpose that
  His universe shall move in harmonious order. Sin entered into the
  world and shattered that order, yet God has not yet abandoned His
  control of the affairs of men. The powers that be are ordained of
  God.
     Now do not let us confuse the powers with the men who wield
  those powers. It is the power or the authority itself that God has set
  up. He who wields it is responsible to God as to how he uses that
 power. That was illustrated when Pilate threatened our Lord Jesus,
 when He declined to answer his question. Pilate said to Him, “Speak-
 est thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to release
 thee, and have power to crucify thee?” Jesus answered, “Thou
 wouldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee
 from above.” And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release Him. Do
 we realize that the power that crucified the Lord was actually mis-
 used by Pilate? Yet it was an authority ordained by God. Thus we
 must distinguish between the authority itself and the man who wields
 it. I remember in the early days of this last war many Christians had
 the temerity to intimate that God had raised up Hitler in order to
punish the British for something or other. God never did raise up
Hitler. The devil raised him up, and he usurped the power that was
of God, the power of the presidency of the German people, and he
shall have to give an account to God for the way in which he brutally
misused it.
     The obligation of the Christian, however, is to obey the power no
matter who may wield it. He recognizes that the power itself is or-
dained of God. Is there no limit to this? Indeed there is. Remember
when Simon Peter was forbidden by the authorities to preach Christ.
He said, “Shall I obey God or men?” And he made his choice. In
defiance of the power, he obeyed God. There may come a time,
although it seldom does come, when the powers that be issue an edict
in direct violation of the Word of God. Then the Christian must
  SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBEY WITHOUT QUESTION? 267

make his choice. He must be very sure, however, that the power is
conflicting with the actual Word of God, and not with some of his
own ideas about it. With Simon there was no doubt. The Lord Jesus
had said, “I will make you fishers of men.” He had said, “Feed my
sheep.” He had sent Simon Peter forth to minister the gospel. The
authorities said, ‘LYou must not do that.” Simon Peter made his
choice.



           The Strong Arm of the Law
       For rulers are not a terror to a good work, but to an evil [one]. Dost
    thou desire then not to be afraid of the authority? practise [what is1 good,
    and thou sholt have praise from it; for it is God’s minister to thee for
    good. Rut if thou practisest evil, fear; for it bears not the sword in vain;
    for it is God’s minister, an avenger for wrath to him that does evil.
    Wherefore it is necessary to be subject, not only on account of wrath,
    but also on account of conscience. For on this account ye pay tribute
    also; for they are God’s officers, attending continually on this very thing.
    Render to all their dues: to whom tribute [is duel, tribute; to whom
    custom, custom; to whom fear, fear; to whom honour, honour (Ram.
    13:3-8 Darby translation).


    OMANS 13
R                   sets forth the Christian’s responsibility as an obedi-
       ent subject under the constituted authority which God has set
up in the Iand. We are living in such days of anarchy and rebellion
that it is wholesome for every Christian to keep this in mind. God’s
injunction to us is that we should be subject to the powers that be,
and the reason for that subjection is that these powers are ordained,
or set up, by God Himself.
   Political affiliation has no bearing upon the case. The Christian
must look beyond the personality of the officer, or the party that may
be in power, and see that the authority that is wielded by those in
office is constituted by God Himself, and to such the Christian is
bound to be subject and obedient.
   In verse 3 Paul reminds us that “rulers are not a terror to a good
work, but to an evil [one] .”
   One of the most admirable pageants of power I have ever witnessed
is to be found in a criminal courtroom. I have had occasion to go
from time to time to be a witness at a court trial in our Federal
courts, and I always come away with a deep impression of the tre-
 268           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 mendous power that is wielded by the judge on the bench. As a
 gesture to the honor of his position, the entire courtroom rises to its
  feet upon his entrance. There is nothing personal about this move.
 It is a recognition of the authority that has been placed in the hand
 of that man. It is an authority delegated to him by the Federal gov-
 ernment, but the power that delegates it has also been given by God
 who first constituted authority in this world.
     As one listens to the deliberations in a courtroom, one is im-
 pressed again and again by the sincere effort which most judges make
 to mete out justice to the criminals before them. One senses that the
 judge usually has a great regard for the sword he wields. He has
 power, within the limits of the constituted authority that has been
 given to him, to send the man before him to the county jail, to hard
 labor, to the penitentiary, to imprisonment for life, or even to the
 electric chair, according to the offense that has been committed. He
 certainly wields not the sword in vain and the wrath of that sword
 is something to be greatly feared by the evildoer. Paul’s contention
 in this passage is that the person who does well has nothing to fear
 from that sword. Thus if the Christian behaves in obedience to con-
 stituted authority he need not fear its wrath. Happily, under God’s
 providence in the land in which you and I are privileged to live, that
 power for the most part is wielded by men of conscience and sincere
 desire for justice. In many lands, however, the opposite is the case,
and ruthless, unscrupulous officers of the law care little for justice.
We should be very grateful to the Lord for the marvelous way in
which He has maintained law and order in this land in which we live.
I mention that in spite of much of the failure in high places today,
that failure is as nothing to that which subsists in many other lands
around the globe,
    The Christian is enjoined in this passage to be subject to the au-
thority for two reasons, cited in verse 5: “Wherefore it is necessary
to be subject, not only on account of wrath, but also on account of
conscience.” In other words, the Christian shall go in for good be-
havior, not simply because it will keep him out of jail, but because
he knows the Lord expects it of him, and the answer of a good con-
science toward God will lead him in paths of righteousness. The re-
straining hand of God is still upon the world. There is a day coming
when, according to 2 Thessalonians 2, “He who now hindereth will
hinder until he be taken out of the way and then that wicked one
will be revealed whose coming is according to the working of Satan
with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and in all deceit
                THE STRONG ARM OF THE LAW                            269
  of unrighteousness to them that perish, because they have not re-
  ceived the love of the truth that they might be saved.” The coming
  of the man of sin, as soon as the saints of God have been enraptured
  to meet the Lord in the air, will strike a fell blow to constituted au-
  thority here in this world. He is coming according to the working
  of Satan in all power and signs and wonders of falsehood.
     In the day when the antichrist and the first beast inaugurate their
  evil regime, God will withdraw His restraining hand from the world
  and anarchy and chaos wilI ensue. The courts of justice will become
  centers of iniquity, and the forces of evil will take over the world.
  We can see how things around the globe are heading up for that at
  this present time. Large factions of organized men are today advo-
 cating the overthrow of government and preparing to take the power
 of constituted authority into their own hands. This will be rampant
 when the man of sin is revealed. Before that sad hour strikes on the
 clock of this world’s affairs, those of us who love the Lord Jesus
 Christ will have been called up to meet Him in the air. We shall be
 in a realm of everlasting joy. That is why we call the coming of the
 Lord “the blessed hope.” It is the happiest expectation that could
 ever be imagined in a world of portending gloom.
     But as long as Christians are here in this world, both because of
 the fear of wrath from constituted authority and for conscience’s
 sake, we are enjoined to be subject to the powers that be. So Paul
says in verse 6: “For on this account ye pay tribute also; for they
are God’s officers, attending continually on this very thing. Render
to all their dues: to whom tribute [is due], tribute; to whom custom,
custom; to whom fear, fear; to whom honour, honour.” The Chris-
tian’s obligation is not only to pay his taxes, but to give honour to
those who occupy the positions of authority within the realm. These
truths touch upon very practical issues in our lives and give us valua-
ble instruction as to our behavior in a world of confusion such as we
have today.
                       ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA



       Should a Christian Go into Debt?
         Render to all their dues: to whom tribute [is duel, tribute; to whom
     custom, custom; to whom fear, fear; to whom honour, honour. Owe no one
     anything, unless to love one another: for he that loves anther has fulfilled
     the law. For, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou
     shalt not steal, Thou shalt not lust; and if there be any other command-
     ment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbout
     a s t h y s e l f . L o v e w o r k s n o i l l t o i t s n e i g h b o r ; l o v e t h e r e f o r e Iis t h e ]
     w h o l e l a w (Ram. 13:7-10 D a r b y t r a n s l a t i o n ) .



 A    S WE consider these verses let us remember that Paul, the at-
         torney for the defense in this courtroom scene that is depicted
  throughout the entire Epistle to the Romans, is now setting forth
  the way in which the pardoned sinner should behave in relation to the
  world around him. There might be a tendency on the part of one who
  has come to the knowledge of Christ, who has had his sins forgiven
 and has been cleansed from unrighteousness, to look abroad upon the
  scene and see how evil is in the ascendency in every sphere. He might
  then judge that, as a subject of God’s grace, he is more or less on his
  own, to walk both separate from and independent of all that goes
 on in the world. Paul is enjoining us that such is not the case. Our
 first obligation as pardoned sinners is to be obedient to the author-
 ities, because they are set up by God Himself. Moreover we are still
 here in the body, enjoying the protection of the law and the material
 benefits of earthly citizenship. Thus it comes home to us that al-
 though our real spiritual citizenship is in heaven itself, yet we are
obligated to pay our taxes and to render to all their dues.
    It is a potent reminder that, although the Christian may be
heavenly-minded, he still walks on earth. Although he is seated
in heavenly places in Christ under the eye of God, yet he is still
really a unit in human society. He is not of the world but he is in
the world. He must, therefore, fulfill his obligations in relation to al1
around him.
    He must then pay tribute or custom, and he shall fear those who
are in authority over him, and render honour to whom honour is due.
It is all a real preservation from that aloofness of attitude that might
be engendered from religious pride, and it ought to have its bearing
upon every one of us.
            SHOULD A CHRISTIAN GO INTO DEBT?                           271
      This eighth verse sets before us a principle I believe should be
   taken very much to heart. It says, “Owe no one anything, unless to
  love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.”
  This would seem to indicate, with a degree of finality, that no Chris-
  tian should go into debt. How different would be the lives of many
  of us if we implicitly obeyed this exhortation! The accumulation of
  debt has brought spiritual defeat to many a Christian, and perhaps
  they have wondered why. Surely the reason is very evident from this
  Scripture. I believe implicitly it is a splendid rule for a Christian not
  to purchase anything unless he has money to pay for it. It would
  save endless trouble and much anxiety if this rule were followed.
  Perhaps the importance of debt may strike us more forcibly if we
  remember that we who are Christians ought to be living daily and
  hourly in expectation of the Lord from heaven. If the Lord Jesus
  should call us away this very day, would it not be rather a sad re-
  flection if someone were able to say that we have suddenly dis-
 appeared and left a lot of unpaid debts behind us. This is precisely
 what would happen, I fear, in many cases, if the Lord Jesus came
 and called us home to be with Himself.
     The only debts that are warranted on the part of Christian people,
 according to this passage, are the debts of love toward one another.
 We owe it to each other as Christians to express love and kindness
 and grace. Little wonder that when Paul raises this question he im-
 mediately directs attention to the law of Moses and indicates that
 love is the fulfilling of the whole law. He then quotes the negative
 requirements of the law: “Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou
shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lust.” It is as though
Paul were telling us there is no question as to the Christian’s be-
havior in relation to these moral requirements. He does not have to
instruct his Roman brethren concerning those sinful practices, but he
would indicate to them that, when they have obeyed the negative side
of the law, there still remains the far more important positive side,
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” If this were the stringent
requirement of the law of Moses in the somewhat dim light of the Old
Testament, how much more does the Lord expect of us who are in the
glorious blaze of the declaration of the unfathomable love of God in
Christ according to the New Testament. “Love is the fulfilling of the
whole law.” This is the excellent subject taken up so beautifully in
1 Corinthians 13: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of
angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a
tinkling cymbal.” It is a challenging message for every Christian. We
 272          ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 are so much occupied with the way fellow believers treat US that
 sometimes we forget our debt toward them. There is a tendency upon
 the part of many Christians to become so self-centered that there
 seems no limit to the amount of kindness and love which they can
 absorb, without a single thought that they are in turn obligated to
 show loving-kindness toward others. The contemplation of these
 truths is certainly very humiliating to all of U S.
    The fact is we all stand dwarfed under the shadow of the mighty
love of God which has been declared in Christ. Our own love toward
others becomes pitifully negligible by comparison, “For scarcely for
a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some
would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in
that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” That is the ex-
pression of the heart of divine love. There was nothing about us to
commend US to the Lord. We were enemies in our minds by wicked
works. The unsearchable love of Christ was like an artesian fountain
gushing forth of its own power, independent of the attitude of him
who should drink from its stream. “For God so loved the world, that
He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

              Could we with ink the ocean fill,
                Or were the sky of parchment made;
              Were every stalk on earth a quill,
                And every man a scribe by trade;
              To write the Iove of God above
                Would drain the ocean dry;
              Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
                Though stretched from sky to sky.

   The only way in which you and I can show that we vaIue the
love of God is by showing love toward those around us. It is a chal-
lenging thought.
                   “NOW IS OUR SALVATION NEARER”



           “Now Is Our Salvation Nearer”
        And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of
     sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night
     is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of
     darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as
     in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wan-
     tonness, not in strife and envying. Rut put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
     m a k e n o t p r o v i s i o n f o r t h e f l e s h , t o fulfil t h e l u s t s t h e r e o f (Ram.
     13:11-14).



 T     HIS is a conclusion to the verses before relative to our behavior
       as Christians in the ordinary affairs of life. Having circum-
  scribed the requirements of obedience to the powers that be, of pay-
  ing what is due as we go onward in the world, and of owing no one
  anything but to love one another, Paul then comes to the urgency of
  proper Christian behavior on account of the swift passing moments
  at our disposal. He says, “knowing the time, that now it is high time
  to awake out of sleep.” No provision is made for lethargy or indo-
 lence on the part of the true believer in Christ. Paul says, “Now is
 our salvation nearer than when we believed.” I think this expression
 has given a little difficulty to some. Paul is simply intimating that
 the full consummation of the Christian’s hope relative to our emanci-
 pation, spirit and soul and body, out of this present evil world is at
 hand.
    The word salvation in the Bible does not always refer precisely
 to the same thing. The Lord Jesus is the “author of eternal salva-
 tion unto all them that obey Him.” That Scripture is found in He-
brews 5:9, and refers to the eternal blessing which is brought to
the believer in Christ through our Lord’s death and resurrection. But
the term salvation has various gradients of meaning throughout the
New Testament. For instance, Peter in his Epistle speaks of receiving
the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls, referring to our
present rescue from the dominating evil forces of this world. The
Christian is enabled through the power of Christ to live in the
liberty of grace in a world where Satan holds sway. Then in Peter’s
Epistle we also have the expression that we “are kept by the power
of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last
time.” That salvation includes not only the salvation of the soul and
  274             ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  the spirit, but it includes the salvation of the body as well. This looks
  forward to the time when the whole man, spirit and soul and body,
  shall be actually taken out of this scene where sin dominates and
  transferred into the Father’s house.
     We have another mention of salvation which is totally different
  from these in Hebrews 9, the last verse: “Unto them that look for
  Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
 That refers to our Lord’s coming to set up His kingdom here on
 earth and those who are going through the great tribulation in that
 day will be constantly looking for the Lord to appear. They will be
 going through innumerable sorrows and difficulties and trials, and
 suddenly the Lord will appear, apart from the question of sin, unto
 salvation. He will save them from every opposing force. Then we
 have Paul’s exhortation: “Work out your own salvation with fear
 and trembling.” So you see salvation does not always mean precisely
 the same thing. This Scripture, “Now is our salvation nearer than
 when we believed,” refers to the total emancipation of the Chris-
 tian’s spirit and soul and body from this present evil world, and this
 will take place at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. That coming
 is nearer now than when we believed. In fact, every tick of the
 clock brings us nearer to the Second Advent.
     So Paul says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” He is
 referring here to the night of sin and sorrow now going on in the
 world, and the day will be ushered in when the Lord Jesus comes.
“Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on
the armour of light.”
    We who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ must ever remember we
are in a world of antagonistic forces. The devil and all his angels
are energizing men who are blinded in unbelief to oppose the Chris-
tian. Their opposition is not altogether to destroy him but rather to
ensnare him and bring him into their own sphere of wickedness. Now
the Christian is faced with a definite choice. He may go along the
line of least resistance, drifting with the stream, or he may choose
to be a real follower of Christ and stand firmly against the tide of
opposition. In order to do this latter he must “cast off the works of
darkness.” This is a positive and courageous action. The natural
tendency of the human heart is to succumb to the temptations of
Satan. The Christian must swim upstream. He must breast the
popular current of thought and deed if he is going to live for Christ.
He must definitely cast off from him, as an obnoxious garment, the
works of darkness. He must “put on the armour of light.”
              “NOW IS OUR SALVATION NEARER”                                    275
    This is an interesting expression, “the armour of light.” There are
 two realms in this world and there is no compromise between the
 two. They are the realm of darkness and the realm of light. “What
 fellowship hath light with darkness?” the Scripture asks. The char-
 acteristic of the Christian is that he walks in the light. That simply
 means we have been brought out into the open, into the sunshine of
 the knowledge of the love of God in Christ. Now, if we behave ac-
 cordingly as children of light, we shall find our very mode of life
 becomes a great protection against the power of Satan. For instance,
 an honest man, by his very honesty of character, is rather unap-
 proachable to those who have dishonest ideas. His very demeanor will
 drive them off. That is why Paul says in the very next verse, ‘(Let
 us walk honestly, as in the day.” The armour of light is the protec-
 tion the Christian has if he habitually follows the injunctions in
 these two chapters, Romans 12 and 13. He shall find that the forces
 of evil will have little power over him. Paul does not mince words
 here in verse 13. He says, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not
in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in
 strife and envying.” These are the works of darkness. The armour of
light will keep them away.
    Then as a grand climax he says, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh, to full4 the lusts thereof.”
When Elijah went up through the heavens in the chariot of fire, his
servant Elisha stood transfixed to the spot watching him disappear
into the blue. Then he stooped down and picked up what Elijah had
left behind-his cloak and his girdle. When the Lord Jesus was
translated to heaven He left His cloak, as it were, behind-His gar-
ment of grace and beauty and glory. You and I as Christians should
put it on, wear it, show forth the excellencies of Him who has called
us out of darkness into His marvelous light.



                   Christian Toleration
      Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputa-
   tions (Ram. 14:l).



W     E FIND in this chapter some very excellent truths for our
      guidance. It is a continuation of this wonderful treatise on
Christian behavior that starts at the beginning of chapter 12. As we
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  read it we have to keep in mind that the apostolic age in which Paul
  is writing here was an age of transition. Both Jewish and Gentile
  believers had been brought into the Church of God and undoubtedly
  they had brought with them many of their old practices and preju-
  dices. Some of these were evil and must be abandoned without
  qualification. Others again had simply been outmoded and were not
  necessarily evil, but they did not belong in the economy of Chris-
  tianity. This would apply largely to the observances which are cited
  later in this chapter and which were characteristic of Israel before
  the regime of the Old Testament was eclipsed by the greater light
 of the New. There must be a time of transition. Paul is therefore
 here enjoining Christians not to be intolerant of one another and
 to ahow time for the liberating power of the gospel to have its effect
 in individual lives. Do not let us confuse weakness with sin or lack
 of strength to keep from sinning. Weakness here is rather inability
 to come to a full spiritual apprehension of the faith.
     It is characteristic of all of us, I suppose, that we are very much
 in a hurry to see that our feIlow behevers come into line with what
 we think is right. Too often we are intolerant of their adherence to
 traditional elements in their religious life which have been outmoded.
Allowance must be made for weakness in the faith.
     “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful
disputations.” It is both interesting and charming to see how the
Lord ever makes allowance for weakness. It is said of Him pro-
phetically that “a bruised reed shall He not break and smoking flax
shall He not quench.” Perhaps all of us would have been beaten
down long ago in the battle of life if it had not been for the kindly
consideration of our weaknesses by the Lord. Whereas God is not
at all tolerant of evil-doing, and He hates sin and has nothing but
reproof for the evildoer, yet our Lord is patient and long-suffering
with the weak and faltering. How often in our lives we have felt
very much like the bruised reed! We have come to a place in life,
perhaps, when it seemed as if the weight of opposing forces crushed
US and wounded our spirit so that we were blown in the wind without

power of resistance. Useless fragments of life we seemed, bare stems
of barrenness without foliage or fruit, and ofttimes men turned their
backs upon us because we were so unproductive. We were unable to
keep up the pace in the virulent race of life. Then we heard the words
of loving-kindness from our Lord, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We found in Him
                    CHRISTIAN TOLERATION                             277
 a refuge from the storm and we found too that He was gracious
 toward our weaknesses. A bruised reed He would not break.
   The picture of the smoking flax is also exceedingly illustrative of
the Lord’s toleration of our weaknesses. Flax makes one of the most
useless fires, with very little flame and a great deal of smoke and
almost no warmth. Sometimes we go through stages like that in our
spiritual lives when we are like useless embers, radiating no warmth.
The flame of spiritual zeal has died down and nothing but the smoke
of aftliction rises from our lives to becloud the atmosphere. “The
smoking flax shall He not quench.” Perhaps men would like to push
us out of the way but the Lord Jesus receives us. Peradventure some
of you may feel exactly like this. May I commend you to the One
who has said, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out! ”
When all men fail, and you yourself seem to be at the lowest ebb in
the stream of life, you will find a sure refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ.

                 To Him our weakness clings
                   Through tribulation sore;
                 We seek the covert of His wings
                   ‘Till all be o’er.

                 And when we’ve run the race
                   And fought the faithful fight;
                 Then we shall see Him face to face
                   With saints in light.

   Now if the Lord Jesus treats you and me like that, we ought to
treat one another after the same fashion. “Him that is weak in the
faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” If we find a
brother who is weak and has his religious peculiarities-and we all
have some of them-then we are enjoined first to receive him; sec-
ondly, not to receive him simply for the purpose of getting into an
argument with him about his views. This is a most wholesome in-
junction for the day in which we live.
   Sad it is that in many of our church groups today many of the
Lord’s dear people are entirely rejected until they change all their
viewpoints and come into agreement with the particular group where
they seek fellowship. Now be it remarked that I am not now dis-
cussing those guilty of evil practices or works of wickedness. If an
evil person tries to come among God’s people he should be first cor-
 278             ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  rected and restored to the Lord, if he is a real believer, before he
  is received amongst them. This is not the subject here; it is weakness.
  We are living in days of great weakness among God’s people, when all
 kinds of things are being taught far and wide, so that the simple,
  those weak in the faith, hardly know what to believe about certain
 doctrines. Some of our brethren, unfortunately, keep them in the
 outside place--the place of the unbeliever-until they learn all the
 intricacies of Christian doctrine. This is totahy contrary to the Word
 of God. Our first obligation is to receive them. The place for divine
 instruction is within the company of the Lord’s people and not on
 the outside. Then there is the second danger that we may receive
 those who are weak in the faith just in order to pick an argument
 with them, to make them feel small, and to show them how correct
 zple are. This is the pitfall into which many of the Lord’s dear people
 have fallen, and it has driven sincere souls away from them and
 isolated them, robbed them of Christian fellowship, and brought sad
 disgrace upon the name of Christ. May the Lord search our hearts in
 relation to this very important item of truth!



                “Another Man’s Servant”
        Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful dis-
     putations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is
     weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not;
    and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God bath’
     received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his
    own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God
    is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another:
    another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his
    own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and
    he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that
    eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth
    not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us
    liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we
    live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether
    we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s (Ram. 14:1-8).



I  T MIGHT be quite fitting to remind you that we are still going
    through the great legal document of the New Testament, the
Epistle to the Romans. In this Epistle we find the settlement of the
great moral issues of our relationships with God. Paul is the attorney
                  “ANOTHER MAN’S SERVANT”                            279
   for the defense. God is the Judge to whom we who are sinners have
  been reconciled through the work of the Lord Jesus on Calvary. In
  this part of the Epistle, Paul is setting forth the conduct that befits
  forgiven sinners.
     The great difficulty for most of us who are Christians is that we
  forget “the pit from whence we have been digged.” Perhaps some of
  us have been believers in Christ for so many years we have settled
  down into the attitude that the faith of the gospel is our rightful
  heritage along natural lines. We are apt to forget that God rescued
  us when we were perishing.
     It is to defeat the attitude of self-complacency that these instruc-
  tions are given to us in Romans 14. I venture to say that one almost
  detects a tone of irony in the words of the apostle, especially in
 view of the hairsplitting practices of so many Christian brethren
 in these days.
     We are so inclined to be extremists that either we go far in the
 direction of utter disregard concerning moral conduct, and receive
 everybody to have fellowship with us regardless of how they behave,
 or we go to the other extreme and examine every person meticulously
 to see that they conform in every iota to our own way of thinking be-
 fore we will admit them to the sacred precincts of what we call “our
 fellowship.” This is the subject before our attention today.
     The crux of the entire situation is presented in verse 4, “Who art
 thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he
 standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to
 make him stand.” Paul would remind all of us we are forgiven sinners
 and that as such we are all servants to another. Our tendency is to
 bring our fellow believers into subservience to ourselves, or to our
system, or to our church, or meeting. We set up a certain standard.
It may be a good one. At best it is imperfect, colored by prejudice.
We try to have every fellow believer conform to that standard. This
is one of the chief reasons for the scattering of God’s people today.
If they do not agree with us concerning many minor matters of
Christian doctrine or Christian conduct, then we want to be rid of
them; we will do everything we can to expunge them from our
society, and try to get them to move on down the street and join
another faction with more liberal ideas. The cure for all this is to
realize that my fellow Christian is another Man’s servant. He stands
in responsibility to the Lord whom he serves. The Lord shall dictate
to him, and He has dictated on most generous terms in the dis-
position of grace.
 280           ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
   Surely it must be remembered that, when we first came to accept
 the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, we were exceedingly weak in the
  faith. Our ideas concerning Christian doctrine were all awry. We were
  wrong on so many things! Yet in spite of that the Lord received us,
  and then began our Christian education. The point of this passage
  is that we should receive one another after that order. The unfortu-
  nate belief among many of God’s people today is that, before we shall
  receive a brother or sister into our company, we shall straighten them
  out on all details of belief. Unfortunately we do not pay so much re-
  gard to their conduct as we do to their doctrines. If they agree with
  us or our religious customs, we receive them heartily, but if they
  differ from us on certain traditional and minor ideas, we are apt to
  reject them.
     I believe this attitude is a confession of spiritual weakness. The
  fact is that most of our Christian companies today are afraid to have
 to do with people who disagree with them. They are oftentimes so
 uncertain of their own Christian tenets they prefer to amble along
 with agreeable people who will just fal1 in line with their own customs
 and beliefs. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?”
 says the Scripture. If we sit in judgment upon one another along the
 line of weakness in the faith, we are doing defiance to the God who
 has been so gracious as to forgive us our sins. I am not now speak-
 ing of being tolerant of evil or of evil practices on the part of our
 brethren. These should be exposed, otherwise Satan will soon play
havoc with the Christian company. The subject of this chapter is
religious conduct, and Paul is pointing out that the crux of the whole
situation is the authority of the Lord.
    Even in things in which we may be mistaken, if these are done to
the Lord, due credit is given to us. “He that regardeth the day, re-
gardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the
Lord he doth not regard it.” Remember Paul was living in a time of
spiritual transition. In Rome many Jews and Gentiles were new-
comers to the faith of Christianity and would be apt to bring old
ideas with them. Patience must be shown. Let us not confuse this,
however, with enlightened brethren seeking to impose such ideas as
“Sabbath keeping” upon others today. This is taken up and con-
demned in the Galatian Epistle. The observance of holy days and
going back to lawkeeping is putting people under a curse and that
must be rejected. “They that are of the deeds of the law are under a
curse.”
                    “ANOTHER MAN’S SERVANT”                                        281

    “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For
 whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die
 unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s”
 The criterion in your life and mine, if we are Christians, is that we
 belong to the Lord, and if we are seeking to walk according to our
 light, owning the authority of our Lord, then we are worthy of ac-
 ceptance by our fellow believers. We are all imperfect in our appre-
 hension. Christian fellowship does not subsist in intelligence, it sub-
 sists in love. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples,
 if ye have love one to another.”



        The Sovereign Claims of Christ
       For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die
    unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s For
    to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be
     Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother?
    or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before
    the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, soith the Lord,
    every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So
    then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not there-
    fore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put
    a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall, in his brother’s way (Rom.
    14:8-13).



I Tthe welfaretoservantthatbrethren as hadtone suchpleading in the apostle’s
for
     SEEMS
    voice. No
                  me

                 of his
                             we detect a
                         of Christ ever had
                                               of
                                                     a passion of affection
                                            the Apostle Paul. He suffered
 unspeakable things for their sakes. He went through trials innumer-
able in order that he might bring to them the light of the truth of
 God for their guidance and their happiness. He suffered unspeakably
also from the misunderstanding and the envy and the hatred of his
own misguided brethren. Yet he went through unflinchingly, ever
seeking to be helpful, although constantly unrequited for his devo-
tion. Perhaps in this way he has marked out a path for every servant
of Christ who would be loyal to his Lord. Too frequently when we
seek to do service for our Lord we expect to get recognition or ex-
pressions of gratitude from those around us. This is only natural and
it is certainly very gratifying if it comes. But the test of true loyalty
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  to the One who has died for us and risen again, is to be able to go
  through misunderstanding, envy, deceit, persecution, and yet remain
  unflinchingly devoted in our path of service.
      In these verses the sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus is the
  keynote. It ought to give great reassurance to every Christian heart
  to know that both in life and in death we belong to the Lord. Many
  of US have seen loved ones go into the tomb. They have gone entirely
  beyond the reach of our grasp. Nothing we can do can touch their
  consciousness the moment the eyes close in death. And who has stood
  by the deathbed of a departed beloved friend without feeling our
  utter helplessness as the gates of death close in unrelenting separa-
  tion? How good to know that death cannot take the Christian out
  of the grasp of the Lord Jesus! He is Lord both of living and of dead.
 The psalmist could say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of
  the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy
 rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”
     I wonder if you have this assurance that in death you will not be
 alone. If you belong to Christ, if you have acknowledged Him as the
 Sovereign of your life, if you have confessed Him as Lord, then you
 are His forever whether in life or in death. It is very easy to find a
 religion that is good enough to live by, but very different to find a
 foundation for the faith of the soul in the face of death. Every Chris-
 tian may say, “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether
 we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we
 are the Lord’s”
     In verse 9 Paul gives the reason for this: “For to this end Christ
 both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the
 dead and living.” I wonder how much we realize the claims of Christ
upon U S. Perhaps we can understand this verse a little better if we
go back to the Lord’s pathway here on earth. You remember the
day when He stood outside the rocky cave that entombed the body
of Lazarus. Martha and Mary and their friends stood around weep-
ing bitterly and Jesus mingled His tears with theirs in sympathetic
sorrow. Then He commanded that the stone be rolled away and He
spoke with a loud voice saying, “Lazarus, come forth.” Promptly
the dead man came forth from the tomb. It is very interesting that
the Lord then said, “Loose him, and let him go.” He was still bound
with the graveclothes but he was liberated. The next we see of him
he is sitting at table with the Lord Jesus. This teaches us a great
lesson. The Christian is in a very real sense a resurrected person
spiritually. We were dead in trespasses and in sins. We have been
             THE SOVEREIGN CLAIMS OF CHRIST                            283
 quickened together with Christ. We have been “let go” from the
   bonds of death. That is, we have been given liberty to move accord-
   ing to our own inclination. I wonder in what direction we have gone
   since we were spiritually resurrected, saved by God’s grace. Many
   Christians seem to think they have been saved in order to do as they
   please. The fact is we have been liberated in order to do as the Lord
   pleases. Lazarus was set free to go and he went directly into the
   company of the Lord Jesus, where we find him in the beginning of
   John 12. He acknowledged that he owed everything to the One who
   brought him out of the tomb. That is the thought in this passage in
   Romans 14. You and I as Christians were dead spiritually. By the
   operative power of God we have been quickened and now we are
  set free, and we must acknowledge that we owe everything to the
  Lord Jesus Christ. How instant should be our obedience then to His
  Word! How much we should desire to be in communion with Him,
  sitting at table with Him!
      Now it is with this background of thought that the apostle says,
  “Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought
  thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of
  Christ.” Since all believers have literally been resurrected from spirit-
  ual death there should be a mutual sympathy with one another, and
  a great sense of forbearance, acknowledging together that we are
  each “another Man’s servant.”
     Moreover, we must ever remember that we are going to give an
 account to the Lord for the way in which we treat each other. If one
 is weak in the fa.ith, and we sit in judgment upon him, then we must
 realize there is a day coming when the Lord will Himself sit in
 judgment upon us. This is not the judgment of the Great White
 Throne that leads to condemnation on account of sin. This is the
 judgment seat of Christ where the Lord will gather His own people
 around Him and appraise their deeds of faithfulness and give re-
wards for things that have been done unto Him. There the gold,
silver, and precious stones will bring great reward but the wood,
hay, and stubble of our own manufacture will go up in smoke and
we shall suffer loss. Yet the Scripture says we shall be saved, yet so
as by fire. No believer on the Lord Jesus Christ will ever come into
the judgment of the Great White Throne. God’s judgment against
sin has passed upon the head of Christ at Calvary and he that be-
lieves in Christ shall never come into judgment in that sense. How-
ever, we shall be gathered at the judgment seat of Christ to review
the deeds done in the body. According to our faithfulness in this life
284
the Lord will the day to us p
significance inallocate in my a k
                            His
I grant to sit with me of have m
treated the coming kingdom. thr
tion in our brethren will       So
therefore judge one another an
         put stumblingblock o
no manLittleacomment is neede
way.” intimately.
rather

 nothing uncleanitof itself: butBut h
 unclean, to him is unclean. to i
 THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT MEAT AND DRINK 285
  meats. The church at Rome was composed of a polyglot company Of
  peoples, because in those days Rome was really the center of the
  earth. It was a cosmopolitan city into which filtered men of all
  races, and Jews and Gentiles intermingled freely. It was inevitable
  that into the early church Jewish brethren, who had been accustomed
  to religious rituals in their Judaistic faith, should want to induct
  these into the Christian church for no other reason than that they
  had been accustomed to them. Now many of these would be weak in
  the faith. They had not come from devil-ridden heathendom like
  many of the other Roman brethren. They had come from a religious
  institution that dated back to Abraham and which was in itself whole-
  some and good. Now it had been eclipsed by the greater light of the
  Lord Jesus Christ, who had died and risen. Their ritualism had been
  supplanted by the liberty of Christianity. Their zealous traditional
  faith confined them to the eating of certain food. Those Christians
  who had never been in that bondage must not use their Christian
 liberty to throw a stumblingblock before their weaker Jewish breth-
 ren. That is precisely the subject before us here.
     I have gone into it rather fully because of the truth presented in
 verse 14: “I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that there
 is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to
 be unclean, to him it is unclean.” Now Paul is dealing with certain
 specific religious scruples concerning ceremonials. I have heard this
 verse used by men who are going on in open sin of the most flagrant
 kind as an excuse for their sin. They say there is nothing unclean of
 itself, SO that their sin is excused. Sin is always unclean! Paul is
 dealing here with the eating of meats and the observance of days
which seemed very important to certain brethren. He is not dealing
with such sins as stealing, or lying, or immorality, or anything of that
nature, although I have heard this verse used unfortunately as an
excuse for all of these.
    The argument rather is that Christians who are in the full light of
Christ may be at liberty to do certain things which are altogether
unworthy in the eyes of less instructed brethren. In order that these
brethren might not be stumbled the more enlightened believer must
refrain from those things.
    And Paul substantiates all this in the seventeenth verse by saying,
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness,
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things
serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.”
    Now I do not want to intimate that the truth contained in this
   286            ROMANS--i\ COURTROOM DRAMA
   chapter is altogether confined to the early church. It has its very
  potent application to our Christian lives today. The kingdom of God
   is not meat and drink. In other words, there was a time in the deal-
  ings     of God with His ancient people when certain ceremonious con-
  duct was outlined for them in relation to what they should eat and
  what they should drink. The reason for that was that God w a s
  really preparing a people for an earthly kingdom and, had they been
   faithful, they would have gone on to enjoy the multitude of blessings
  to be found in the land of Canaan. But these blessings were all in
  relation to temporal affairs, although it took a certain spiritual condi-
  tion to enjoy them. Canaan was presented as a land flowing with
  milk and honey, of olive trees, of vines and fig trees, of spices and
  balm. Everything on the line of inheritance from Abraham in the
 economy of Israel related to providential care, good health, and
 sumptuous provision here on the earth. It is rather unfortunate that
 many Christians seem to think of Christianity in that way, as if it
 were nothing more than the healing of our physical diseases, and
 liberty, and the ability to be well and happy. The economy of Chris-
 tianity presents blessings of a totally different character and these
 are heavenly blessings. Paul outlines them in the Ephesian Epistle
 when he says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
 Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heaven-
 lies in Christ.”
       You can see then by contrast how religious ritual would have such
 a strong hold upon the godly Jew, even after he was converted to
 Christianity. That is the reason for the writing of the Epistle to the
 Hebrews. But even in our economy today, in our meetings and
churches, the ritualists are out in front and correct methods are far
more stressed than correct spiritual state. It is to combat this that
Paul writes here, “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
       If you and I have been brought into the kingdom of God by the
new birth through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, it
is not to the end that God might make good ritualists out of us,
good churchmen, but that He might make Christians. Righteousness
is the primary basis of our conduct, we must be honest, straight-
forward, unpretentious, sincere, and candid. Peace is the second, and
peace established upon righteousness is sure to stand. In Christianity
we have reached a point where people who have absolutely diverse
backgrounds and inclinations are renewed in the spirit of their mind
and brought into a unity of purpose and action; thus peace subsists.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT MEAT AND DRINK 287
But it is not a mechanized organization that clanks along regulated
by certain principles. The third item is joy in the Holy Ghost. Our
church life should be a joyous life and not mereIy one of rectitude.



Is Healing Included in the Atonement?
       Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
    things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work
    of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eoteth
    with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any
    thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
    Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that con-
    demneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubt-
    eth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever
    is not of faith is sin (Ram. 14:19-22).



T     HE keynote of this entire passage is struck in the seventeenth
      verse: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but right-
 eousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
    The economy of Christianity is a spiritual affair and was never in-
 tended to be for the social or material blessing of mankind. Inci-
 dental to its spiritual benefits, material blessings come with it, but
 these are not its intent. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy
 Ghost are the essential elements in the kingdom of God. “The king-
 dom of God” is an expression used in the New Testament to indicate
that spiritual realm where the authority of God is owned. It is not
a material realm such as PaIestine, ot the Land of Canaan. It is a
spiritual realm. In order to enter that kingdom, I have to be born
again. The Lord Himself taught this to Nicodemus in John 3. There
it is clearly stated that in order either to see or enter the kingdom of
God we must be born again. Thus it is a spiritual entrance into a
spiritual realm. By this new birth we are given new sensibilities and
new inclinations. So in John 3 the Lord goes on to say that “He that
doeth truth cometh to the light, that it might be made manifest
that his works are wrought in God.” The natural man avoids the light
because his deeds are evil. The one who is born again comes into the
light, because God has created in his heart new desires that are clean
and holy. God’s kingdom is the realm of light, the realm where God
is known.
   Any of us who claim to be born again and yet go on in sin, prac-
 288           ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  tising the works of darkness in this world as we did formerly, can
  hardly be recognized as being real children of God. The new birth
  ought to make just as radical a change in our spiritual being as nat-
  ural birth makes in our physical being. It is a new beginning under
  the authority of the Lord.
     The kingdom of God then cannot subsist in eating and drinking,
  for these are practices that, although they are legitimate, belong
  to the natural man. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and
  joy in the Holy Ghost. It devolves upon the truth that comes before
  us so often in this Epistle, that the Christian is a complex being with
  two identities. As a natural man he is identified with the first crea-
  tion, and as long as he is in the body that identity, in one way or
  another, will be maintained. God has, however, made a new begin-
  ning in his life, and he has a new identity as associated with the
 Lord Jesus who has died and risen. On the line of the first identity
 he is still a physical being with a mortal body. He has to eat and
 drink, the same as any ungodly person. He is subject to the same
 diseases and to the same article of death as ungodly men. Of course
 he has the providential care of a loving Father, but unbelieving men
 have this same care to a certain extent. God’s sun shines upon the
 just and the unjust. Do not let us expect then that, since we have
 been inducted into God’s kingdom our physical being is essentially
 changed. We are still in bodies of humiliation, according to the Phi-
 lippian Epistle.
     The very thought of this precludes the idea that healing our dis-
eases is involved in the work of the atonement. That verse in Isaiah
53---” by His stripes we are healed”-has no reference whatever to
physical disease. The entire subject of Isaiah 53 is essentially the
spiritual diseases, first of all of Israel nationally, and secondly of
mankind in general. These diseases come from unbelief and the rejec-
tion of the Messiah. There is not a word in Isaiah 53 that would lead
US to believe that the Lord’s death on the cross guarantees me a

healthy body. This is an important truth. It is not a denial of the
power of God to come in miraculously and heal the body, which He
sometimes does, but which is apart altogether from the atoning work
of Christ. The fact remains that God leaves us in sickness, or heals
our bodies, or raises us up according to His own will.
    Surely if there are two men in the New Testament in whose lives
healing might be expected, if it is a part of the atonement, the two
men are Paul and Timothy. Paul journeyed all the way through life
with a thorn in the flesh and God refused to remove it from him. He
      IS HEALING INCLUDED IN THE ATONEMENT? 289
  speaks of it as “my trial which was in my flesh” (Gal. 4: 14) and he
  commends the Galatians for their consideration in regard to it. Was
  God then denying the atoning work of the Lord Jesus by not healing
  Paul? Surely not. This comes even more fully into evidence with
  Timothy. Timothy had what Paul called an “often infirmity.” It was
  a chronic stomach condition; Paul tells him to take a little wine for
  his stomach’s sake and his often infirmity. If Paul had believed that
  the healing of the body is a legitimate part of the atoning work of
  Christ, he would have been making a flagrant error in giving these
  instructions to Timothy.
     The kingdom of God is not a material system of blessing. It is a
  spiritual realm of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
     On account of this Paul is here impressing upon the brethren at
  Rome that they must not stumble a brother who is weak in the faith
 by insisting upon eating things forbidden under the ancient Jewish
 economy. It is not exactly a question of whether these things are
 right and wrong, but rather that they are inexpedient. Here Paul has
 given this golden word of admonition to all of us, “Hast thou faith?
 have it to thyself before God.” What a grand word this is1 You and
 I have our own individual path to tread before God. You cannot
 travel on my faith, nor can I travel on yours. I may have faith to
 go forward in a certain direction, but if you are going to travel that
 way you must have faith for yourself. Yet there are many Christians
 who are trying to travel by dint of the faith of others. It invariably
leads to disaster. We have seen this exemplified many times.
    Sometimes older Christians will work younger people into an en-
thusiasm for certain types of Christian work for which they have
neither the faith nor the competence. Many young believers have
been encouraged to assume responsibilities beyond their faith and a
downfall is inevitable. “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before
God.” The foreign mission field, as well as the field of service at
home, is littered with men and women who have undertaken service
in the false enthusiasm of glamorous expectation only to tind they
did not have the faith for it, and they could not carry on. It is a
great matter, as Paul says here, “for every man to be persuaded in
his own mind” (Rom. 14: 5). We each stand individually under the
authority of the Lord.
 290              ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




        Bearing the Burdens of the Weak
         We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and
       not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his
       good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is
       written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For
       whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,
       that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope
       (Ram. 15:1-4).



T     HE excellence of the language of Paul’s admonition is an in-
      spiration in itself. While all Scripture is indited by the Holy
 Spirit, one can hardly fail to see how the Spirit of God has used the
 vessel of service in its own unique and distinctive way. Paul’s lan-
 guage is couched in a charming combination of the challenge of the
 crusader and the precision of the intellectual. This is above all sea-
 soned with an affectionate simplicity that endears the man as well
 as his message to our hearts. This all comes to light in these few
 opening verses of Romans 15. Let us remember he is still the lawyer
 for the defense, presenting God’s glad tidings concerning His Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord, and showing us the fitting behavior of one
who was a sinner but has now been pardoned by divine grace.
    He says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of
the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his
neighbor for his good to edification.” One of the first proposals of
Christianity is to uproot the nauseous weed of selfishness that grows
SO naturally in the human heart. Pleasing self is a natural character-

istic of the old man and it finds its way so readily into the Christian
life. Paul is still outlining in this passage that the kingdom of God
is not meat and drink, those things that satisfy ourselves, but right-
eousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. These last are things we
can share with others, and by doing so enhance their value. If the
Lord has given to you a little more spiritual strength than He has
to other believers around you, it is not that you might tower above
them in an aloofness of religious dignity. It is that your broad shoul-
ders might carry some of the difficult burdens your brethren find so
heavy. We are living in a scene of crying need on the part of God’s
people. We need strong brethren, men and women who have been
              ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 They discounted all that, and poured disdain and reproach upon the
 Son of God. The Lord Jesus pleased not Himself. His ministry was
 directed toward the need of those around. Here is the real test of
 devotion to the Lord. I wonder how much of our service for Christ
 is done because it yields ourselves a certain amount of pleasure in
 doing it. For instance in preaching the gospel, or ministering the
 word, how much of it is done because it gives a certain amount of
 prominence to the one who carries on the service? Or is it done in
 a genuine wholehearted desire to be helpful to others? That is the
 challenging question that comes out of this passage in Romans 15.
    Then Paul in verse 4 interjects a rather strange Scripture in this
 connection : “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were
written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of
 the scriptures might have hope.” I think the attitude here is that we
are in an adverse world, and, if we were to judge by appearances,
we would give up the Christian tasks. Doing service towards others
is usually rather a thankless job. The Lord found it so. Paul found
it that way, and we all experience the same problem in Christian
service. Then Paul would direct our attention to the Holy Scriptures,
that we might read therein the story of the patriarchs, the story of
the men of God down through the ages, and faithful women, in order
that we might see this is precisely what they had to suffer and their
real reward came at the end. It is the story of the eleventh of He-
brews, where the crowning reward of service is delayed to the world
to come. By patience and comfort of the Scriptures we have hope.
Sometimes, if you feel somewhat in despair because of the thankless
attitude of those you befriend in the name of Christ, read the Scrip-
tures. You will realize you are not the first to follow that pathway
and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures you will have
hope !
       LIKE-MINDED ACCORDING TO CHRIST JESUS 293




 Like-Minded According to Christ Jesus
       Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded
    one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind
    and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory
    of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision
    for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And
    that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For
    this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy
    name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people (Ram.
    15:5-10).



T      HIS passage is keynoted by the seventeenth verse of the previous
       chapter, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but
 righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Paul is am-
 plifying that truth in these verses.
    Remember that throughout this entire Roman Epistle, Jew and
 Gentile are on trial in the universal courtroom where God is the judge
and where sovereign mercy has been dealt out to them. In common
 they shared the guilt of sin; in common Jew and Gentile shared the
 forgiveness of their sins; now in common they share the fellowship
of the kingdom of God, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy
 Ghost, and as such they are at peace with one another. On this basis
in verse 5 Paul enjoins that the God of patience and consolation
would grant to both Jew and Gentile to be like-minded one toward
another according to Christ Jesus.
    The conduct befitting those who have been forgiven is that they
should not quarrel among themselves. This is highlighted in the ex-
cellent story of Joseph in the Old Testament. His brethren had come
down from Egypt, and he had revealed to them the astonishing fact
that the lord of all things in the land of Egypt was none other than
their brother Joseph. Immediately he received a confession of their
guilt. Then he sent them back to Canaan’s land laden with the rich
merchandise of the choicest fruits of Egypt and his injunction was
“See that ye fall not out by the way.” It is a faint echo of the heart
of Joseph that we hear from the heart of Paul here in Romans 1.5,
"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-
minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.” Quarreling
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  among ourselves is a very unworthy practice on the part of Christian
  people. It is much to be regretted. Paul in Ephesians puts the same
  truth in an endearing fashion when he says, “Be ye kind one to an-
  other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has
  forgiven you.” Since we have been forgiven such a great debt by the
  Lord Himself we should be only too ready to show a spirit of forgive-
  ness toward our brethren.
     But you will notice in this sixth verse Paul’s desire is that they
  should be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.
  This is not ambling along in a carefree manner in peace at anv price.
  It is that men who have the deepest conviction concerning their faith
  can be brought into a realm of agreement because the touchstone of
  their faith is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It was
  when the disciples got out of the company of the Lord that they be-
  gan to quarrel among themselves and wonder who should be the
 greatest in the kingdom. They forgot for a moment that the gather-
 ing point of their whole lives was Jesus the Lord. God’s desire is that
 Christian people should walk together in unity of purpose with the
 Lord Jesus as their Center. Their like-mindedness must be according
 to Christ Jesus. The impelling force behind this conduct will be the
 God of patience and consolation or encouragement. Let us remember
 we have a living Lord in heaven who has His eye upon us at all times.
 The path of the peacemaker is a dihicult one and we may some-
 times feel defeated and alone in it. God who is on the throne is the
 God of patience and encouragement. Sometimes He keeps us wait-
 ing for years before we see the fruition of that for which we strive,
 but He would encourage us to go onward at every step.
    Then Paul says in verse 6, “That ye may with one mind and one
mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The
mind and the mouth must be in unison. The Christian is not called
upon constantly to say all he thinks, but what he does say should
correspond to his thoughts. In other words, we should be downright
honest, and the bent of our minds and the purpose of our speech
should be to glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In a
world of such confused motives it is splendid to keep a Scripture like
this rightly in view. The glory of God the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ should be the great objective of every step of our pathway.
All that Christian people do together should coordinate toward mak-
ing the Name of God more glorious in a world of sin. His Name has
been dragged in the mire by ungodly men who speak evil of God.
The difficult task that has been allocated to you and me as Christians
       LIKE-MINDED ACCORDING TO CHRIST JESUS 295
  is to do everything we can think of to make that Name glorious, and
  to see to it that every word that proceeds out of our mouths tends
 toward glorifying God’s Name.
     In verse 7 Paul says, “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ
 also received us to the glory of God.” Surely this is a needful ex-
 hortation in these days. The devil is doing his utmost to divide Chris-
 tian people one from another, to split us into factions and denomina-
 tions and divisions and sects. The only cure for all this is to receive
 one another. This is not joining the other fellow’s church or asking
 him to join yours. This is a matter of individual reception one of
 another. It is not reception into Church fellowship. There is no ques-
 tion of ecclesiasticism in this passage. It is that we should receive
 one another into our company, into our homes, into our society, into
our assemblies. How should this reception be done? Shall it be in a
grudging fashion, forcing my fellow believer to concede that all my
opinions are right, and that his are likely to be wrong? We are to
receive one another as Christ also received us. He received us in mag-
nificent grace, when we were all wrong, and when we had nothing to
commend ourselves except our trust in Him.
    Then, lest we might think we should open the doors of our homes
or our Iocal churches to anybody that may drift along, Paul adds
this note of preservation, ‘(to the glory of God.” In other words, our
conduct toward one another in the matter of reception should have
the glory of the Name of our God as the great objective. These are
searching thoughts for all of us. May the God of patience and con-
solation grant US to be Iike-minded one toward another according to
Christ Jesus1
 296               ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA




               The Glory of Christ among
                      the Gentiles
          Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the
       truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the
       Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I
       will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And
       again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise
       the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias
       saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over
       the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill
       you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope,
       through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ram. 15:8-13).



W       E CANNOT read a passage like this without reverting to the
        fact, which I have mentioned again and again in our medita-
 tions on this Epistle, that the entire Roman Epistle is devoted to the
 proper legal status of Jew and Gentile before God. It is the declara-
 tion of the sovereign right of our God to show mercy to the Jew,
 who is a transgressor, and to the Gentile, who is a sinner. In this
 passage we are reaching the conclusion of Paul’s letter, as he is re-
 asserting the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Gentiles as
 well as among the people of Israel. In order to substantiate this he
 goes all the way back to the fathers to whom the promises were made.
    Let us remember God’s promise to Abraham was that in him all
nations would be blessed. The promises were not to Israel only,
although they were the central national figure in the scheme of
earthly blessing. It is difficult for us to avoid the remembrance of
Joseph as we travel through these chapters. Joseph is preeminently
a type of the Lord Jesus, as the one in whom the promises come to
fruition in the day of famine. Joseph was sold into Egypt. He was
in figure put in the pit of rejection by his brethren, he went into the
dungeon of suffering, and came out of it to be ruler over all the land
of Egypt. He is a type of the Lord Jesus exalted among the nations
of the earth. There is a day coming when the Lord shall shine in all
His glory, when no man shall say to his neighbor, ‘(Know the Lord,”
for all from the least to the greatest shall know Him. The knowledge
    THE GLORY OF CHRIST AMONG THE GENTILES 2%
 of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the
 sea.
   That is precisely what the apostle is asserting here in these verses:
 “Now 1 say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for
   the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
  And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is
  written, For this cause I will confess to Thee among the Gentiles, and
   sing unto Thy name. And again, Rejoice ye Gentiles, with His peo-
  ple.”
      You remember that Joseph was the son of his father’s love. Jacob
  loved Joseph more than all his sons, and he arrayed him in a coat
  of many colors, the gift of his fatherly affection for his beloved son.
  But Joseph’s brethren tore that coat of many colors from his back,
  and dipped it in blood, and brought it to their heartbroken father
  as a token of the death of the one whom he loved so dearly. So it was
  with the Lord Jesus. His brethren after the flesh, instead of receiving
  him as their Messiah with acclamation, figuratively took from Him
  the gorgeous robe of moral beauty, in which His Father in heaven
 had decked Him, in order that He might be the Lord of glory here
 on the earth. “Had the princes of this world known they would not
 have crucified the Lord of glory.” Israel in the black night of their
 unbelief, personified in the Jews when the Lord Jesus was here on
 earth, joined hands with the unbelieving Gentiles and figuratively
 dipped that gorgeous coat in the blood of Calvary. By cruel hands
 they took Jesus and crucified Him. They, as it were, flaunted the
 gorgeous robe of Jesus the Son of God in the very face of heaven, so
 that the sun refused to shine, and the universe was plunged in black
 night at noonday.
     But just as there came a day when Joseph stood forth arrayed in
all the beauty and glory of his exalted place in the land of Egypt,
so there will come a day very soon when the Lord Jesus, the crucified,
risen, and glorified Saviour, will shine forth and wear in very fact
the coat of many colors that has been dipped in blood at Cal-
vary. The Scripture says He is coming “to be admired in all them
that believe.” Soon the eyes of every intelligent being in the universe
will be fixed upon the Lord Jesus, and David’s exclamation will be
brought to fulfillment, “Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; and be ye
lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”
    This is the subject of the passage before us. The Lord Jesus,
according to the promises made unto the fathers, is actually the min-
              ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
 ister of the circumcision for the truth of God. In other words, ii
 Israel is going to come into blessing, whether in Palestine geograph-
 ically or in any other way, their blessing can only be secured to them
 in the person of their Messiah whom they rejected, and whom they
 will yet have to receive. Just as Joseph’s brethren came to recognize
 in him their lord as well as the lord of Egypt, so our Saviour’s breth-
 ren after the flesh will look on Him whom they have pierced, and
 they will wail because of Him, and they will recognize in Him their
 Messiah.
    But the apostle’s attitude in this pa.ssage is that the Lord Jesus
 is now in that position, and there is no need to wait until His coming.
 Both Jews and Gentiles recognize in Him now their Lord and Master.
 Thus Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled, “Rejoice ye Gentiles, with His
people.” That is the subject of Ephesians 2, the middle wall of parti-
 tion broken down and Jew and Gentile found in peace together,
 builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit, and
 giving glory to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. So in verse 12,
“Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise
 to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles trust.” This is
“great David’s greater Son,” the Lord Jesus. He is Lord of Israel,
but He is Lord over the nations. In other words, He is not only Son
of David; he is Son of Abraham as well. This is the entire subject
of Matthew’s Gospel. So in these verses God’s legal right to show
mercy to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, is established beyond
the shadow of a doubt. And it is not based on any new ruling of the
court; it is traced back to the promises given to the fathers, so it is
in entire harmony with the purpose of God as it was outlined to the
patriarchs. Thus the lawyer for the defense aga.in makes a master
stroke of evidence that secures your place and mine, whether Jew or
Gentile, under the unquestioned favor of God in and through the
Lord Jesus Christ.




                    Hope, Joy, Peace

P   AUL’S conclusion in Remans 15: 13 is a kind of benediction
    upon the heads of the church at Rome, “The God of hope fill
you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope,
through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
                         HOPE, JOY, PEACE                           299
      A whole epistle  is contained in this one verse, and if we who are
   Christians would listen to its magnificent admonition, the testimony
   of the Lord Jesus in this sad world would be revolutionized overnight.
      Unfortunately, the testimony of the Lord Jesus has too often been
  reduced to a system of church doctrines whereby men are regulated
  in rituals and ceremonials. These regulations always have a tendency
  toward bondage, and bondage crushes the happiness out of the hu-
  man heart. Thus we are living today, for the most part, in the midst
  of a great company of unhappy Christians. The reason is an entire
  misconception of the intent of the Christian faith.
     Let us remember, as Paul says in this chapter, it is “the gospel
  of Christ” that is declared in the Epistle to the Romans. Moreover
  it is the gospel of “the blessed God.” The word “blessed” literally
  means “happy.” It is the glad tidings which God, in the superabun-
  dance of His happiness to bless us, has declared in order that we
 might share in that happiness in fellowship with Himself. Heaven is
  overflowing with joy. The first miracle the Lord Jesus wrought when
 He came into this world was to change water into wine. It was not
 only a fact that He did so, but it was an emblematic gesture indi-
 cating that the first miracle He would like to work in your life and
 mine is to make us happy. There is only one cure for unhappiness;
 that cure is to be filled with blessing from a source outside ourselves.
 If our lives are beclouded by a sense of bondage or restraint, then we
 must be brought into a sense of the richness of God’s generosity
 before our hearts will be cheered and our souls filled with joy. “Now
 the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye
may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
     We are living in an age of despondency among Christians and I
feel impelled to say that far too many preachers, both on the radio
and in our churches and meetings, are propagating a kind of fatalistic
view concerning Christian concept. Innumerable so-called preachers
are pouring into the ears of suffering saints of God the somewhat
cruel intimation that they are going through trial because they are
not properly surrendered to the Lord. There is a constant harping
upon this word “consecration” or “surrender” as if, in the last analy-
sis, we were all a marching army of rebels against our Lord. I be-
lieve it is a wrong attitude. It may be spoken in a whining, pathetic
voice as if it were all said sympathetically, but it is bombarding the
ears of the sick and suffering among the Lord’s people so intermina-
bly that it has the distinct and sad tendency toward turning them
in upon themselves. They are thereby impelled to study the imper-
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   fections of their own heart, and to believe that God has a constant
   controversy with them, as if He desired to keep them miserable.
      May I suggest to you, particularly those of you who are shut in
   and passing through seasons of trial, that the God and Father of our
   Lord Jesus Christ, the One who sent His Son to die for you, is not
   by any means taking pleasure in your predicament. Surely He teaches
   us many needful lessons in child training and discipline, but God’s
   one desire for us all is that we should be happy in the sense of His
   unchanging love, knowing that even the most grievous trial is tem-
  pered with unspeakable loving-kindness. It has been my candid ob-
  servation that the most surrendered, the most consecrated Christians
  are those who suffer most. Let me add this observation also, however:
  God deals out to these same sufferers a larger measure of happiness
  and real heavenly joy than is experienced by most Christians who are
  sailing calm seas under fair skies. God’s one burning desire for you
  and me is that we might be happy, and so Paul, as he winds up this
  marvelous legal document, the Epistle to the Romans, impresses upon
  us: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in be-
  lieving, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy
  Spirit.”
     The intent of the Epistle to the Romans is not to make us exacting
 legalists or expert theologians. It is to fill our hearts with joy. Do
 not let anyone persuade you, my suffering friend, that your physical
 ills or your mental anxieties are forced upon you necessarily because
 of your lack of consecration. For my own part, I went through years
 of suffering, laid aside by physical weakness, and I have no grandiose
 ideas about the pleasure of pain. “No trial for the present seemeth
joyous, but grievous.” It was my own experience that in those long
months and years of suffering I learned to enjoy the Lord in a new
way, which I should perhaps never have learned otherwise. How I
wish this verse Romans 15: 13 might be branded indelibly upon the
spirit of every Christian! “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the
power of the Holy Ghost.” Joy, peace, and hope; these are the key-
note words of this great Epistle. The real reason we have such a
small measure of them in our souls is that we believe the teachings
of the Epistle so very little. If we would lay hold upon the magnifi-
cent truths of the Epistle to the Romans, we should surely be un-
fettered from the bondage of church systems, of narrow sectarianism,
of petty ideologies, and come to the realization that God’s first in-
                             HOPE, JOY, PEACE                                     301
 tent in the gospel is to fill us with hope, with joy, and with peace.
 This is the heritage *which the Lord Jesus Christ has left behind.
    All three of these are gathered together excellently in John’s
 Gospel from the lips of our Lord Himself. In John 14: 1: “Let not
your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My
 Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not S O, I would have
 told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that
where I am, there ye may be also.” That is hope, “the blessed hope”!
Then in the same chapter, verse 27: “Peace I leave with you, My
peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let
not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” That is peace!
Then in John 15: 11: “These things have I spoken unto you, that My
joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” That is
joy! Hope, peace and joy-these are the heritage of every Christian
if he will only believe and do the things God has told him. And this
shall be done not in our own feeble might, but “through the power
of the Holy Spirit.”




                      Paul’s Commission
        And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are
    full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one
    another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you
    in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given
    to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gen-
    tiles, .ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles
    might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. I have therefore
    whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain
    to God (Ram. 15:14-17).



H     ERE we are approaching the more personal remarks of the
       Apostle Paul, and these widen out in the next chapter in refer-
ence to his companions in service. It is always most refreshing to
notice how the truth of the Holy Scriptures is ever seasoned with the
charm of grace. We find this very forcibly in the Roman Epistle. It
is a brilliant legal document like a lawyer’s brief, setting forth in
meticulous language a righteous foundation for God’s merciful deal-
 302           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
   ings with mankind. While it maintains the honor and dignity of the
   courtroom, there is nothing austere or cold about it. That is the
  peculiarity of Holy Scripture. Thus at the close of this legal docu-
  ment Paul himself, the individual, the champion of the faith, yet the
  beloved brother, steps forth and speaks of “my brethren” in verse 14.
      Notice the wording of this verse. “And I myself also am per-
  suaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled
  with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Now it could
  never be granted that Paul was in any sense using flattery here, for
  there is nothing of that character about his letter. Indeed he is just
  as pronounced in his denunciation of the unbelief of his brethren
  after the flesh, as he is of the right of the Almighty to show mercy
  to the transgressor. He is ever the forthright character speaking the
  truth in love. We must take this verse then at its face value, for Paul
  was not the kind of man to allow the end to justify the means. His
  straightforward language is not colored in any way. He says con-
 cerning his brethren, “Ye are full of goodness, filled with all knowl-
 edge, able also to admonish one another.” Undoubtedly this was true
 to the very letter.
     Let us remember Rome was a highly cultured and sophisticated
 center of the world at that time. It was a great cosmopolitan city.
 But Paul is not addressing his brethren on the line of human culture,
 or of sophistication. He is confessing their goodness, their knowledge,
 and their ability to admonish one another. How easy it is to address
 our brethren if we are assured in our own heart they are full of good-
 ness! So often in these days the evil in the heart is so ready to mis-
 construe anything that is stated, and the servant of Christ is often
under certain limitations, because of envy and misunderstanding on
the part of many of his brethren, of whom it could not be said they
are full of goodness. Grievous wolves have entered the flock and have
played havoc with the Christian company so the gifted servant of
the Lord is often beset by limitations that are difficult to maintain.
     Paul’s brethren were full of goodness. Thus he had a great deal
of confidence in them. Moreover they were filled with all knowledge
SO he could speak to them, not as unto children but as unto mature

men and women, and feel assured they would understand his lan-
guage. The characteristic of the last days is that the people of God
will not endure sound doctrine; they are blown about with every
wind of doctrine. We are living in an age of spiritual infancy. There
is a lack of coming to maturity in the things of God. Oftentimes, un-
less we are announcing the very simplest elements of the gospel, peo-
                        PAUL’S COMMISSION                             303
    ple will tell us we are far too deep. The trouble is not with the min-
    istry; it is rather with those who hear it. But Paul had a great deal
   of confidence in his brethren at Rome, for they were equipped in
    three ways. They were good at heart, they were well informed, and
   they had the capability of admonishing one another. That last is
   perhaps the greatest, for it is a difficult problem sometimes to ad-
   monish one another with acceptance.
       Nevertheless, Paul says he is writing more boldly because of this.
   He is reminding these brethren at Rome of the grace of God that has
   been specially extended to him, Paul, that he should be the minister
   of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God. Paul
   had no diffidence about speaking of his commission. It was a definite
   commission given to him by the Lord Himself, and he would not let
   any human instrument deflect him from the purpose to which he had
   set his heart and hand. We are living in such apologetic days in these
   times that, if a servant of Christ has any definite purpose about the
  pathway he is pursuing, he is called an independent, and accused of
  arrogance and pride. I believe we all need to be far more definite
  about whatever commission the Lord has given to us, and He has
  given a commission in one way or another to each of His people. Our
  lack of definiteness, our lack of purpose, is the underlying reason for
  our lack of accomplishment.
      Paul had no misgivings as to this. He had been commissioned as
  the “minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles,” and the subject of his
 ministry is summed up in these words in verse 16: “the gospel of
 God.”
      Indeed the subject of this entire Epistle precisely is the “gospel
 of God.” Do not let us limit this to what is usually called “the simple
 gospel,” or the enunciation of the simple way of salvation. I know
 that many limit the term to that. For an amplification of the mean-
 ing of this term, “the gospel of God,” we need but go back to chapter
one, and there it is stated, “the gospel of God concerning His Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord.” The gospel of God includes the whole truth
of God from the declaration of the sinnership of all men, onward and
including all the varied truths of the New Testament. It includes all
church truth, as well as all individual truth. The gospel of God is the
glad tidings that God has devised a vast scheme of blessing of which
Christ His beloved Son, our Lord, is the Head and Center, and that
He has a body here on earth made up of members who are believers
in His Name. There is not a truth of the New Testament that is not
included in the term, “the gospel of God.”
 304             ROMAN!%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
    The purpose of the gospel is stated in verse 16, that the offering
 up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy
 Ghost. The gospel of God goes beyond the range of Israel and earthly
 blessing. It is that men out of all nations might come and be offered
 up, as it were, as an acceptable offering to God, sanctified by the
 Holy Spirit. The kernel truth of the gospel of God is the formation
 of the Body of Christ as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, who
 Lets apart all members of that body, that they might live lives that
 go up to God as an offering, acceptable as a sweet smelling savour.



                       Paul-The Pioneer
         I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those
     things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those
    things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obe-
    dient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the
     power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto
     Illyricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived
    to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build
    upon another man’s foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not
    spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
    For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. But
    now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these
    many years to come unto you; Whensoever I take my journey into Spain,
    I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought
    on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your
    company. But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints (Ram.
    15:17-25).



T    HIS long passage sets forth the confirmation of Paul’s great
     commission, which was to carry the gospel to the Gentile na-
tions. Although Paul is still the attorney for the defense, maintaining
the righteousness of God in showing mercy to the sinner, he is not
forgetful he is a beloved brother in the family of God, and the saints
of God are bound to him by eternal ties of Christian affection. He
must state unequivocally, however, that he himself has a definite
commission from the Lord to preach the gospel among the nations,
and it is in connection with that commission that he has upheld the
honor of the court in its right to show sovereign mercy. He therefore
speaks of having somewhat to glory in, through Jesus Christ, in those
things that pertain to God. Then lest he might be accused of boast-
                        PAUL-THE PIONEER                              305
  fulness, in verse 18 he indicates he dare not speak of any of those
  things “which Christ hath not wrought by me to make the Gentiles
  obedient by word and deed.” Paul is ever careful to avoid any im-
  plication that would make him the head of a church or the head of
  any kind of system. He points out he is but one of God’s many serv-
  ants, and he will not glory in what God has accomplished through
  other men. Neither is he diffident, however, to maintain that God
  has substantiated his right to present the gospel to the Gentiles, be-
  cause that gospel has gone forth with ample demonstration of the
  Holy Spirit. He says in verse 19, “Through many signs and wonders,
  by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and
  round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of
  Christ.”
     There is an expression in verse 19 of which I would seek to remind
  us all. It is the expression, “the power of the Spirit of God.” In these
  days of spiritual weakness we are apt to forget that the energy of
  God’s Spirit is still almighty. The reason we have so little evidence
 of it today is that there are so few vessels, human vessels, willing to
 be led and guided by the Holy Spirit. We have fallen into the natural
 lethargy of the last days, and Satan is fast breaking down the ram-
 parts of our faith. Let us not forget, however, there is still the
 almighty power of the Holy Spirit. It is that same power that raised
 the Lord Jesus from the dead. It is the power that eventually wiII
 raise our own mortal bodies out of the tomb, if we should go into
 the grave before the Lord Jesus comes. “Greater is He that is in you
 than he that is in the world” is said concerning the Holy Spirit.
    Let US not confuse the power and energy of the Holy Spirit with
 many of the imitations of supernatural phenomena in evidence in
many circles today. The power of the Holy Spirit is always exerted
along lines of definite purpose. The Holy Spirit does not display His
power merely for a show or demonstration. His one great objective is
the glory of the Name of Christ. The Lord Jesus said concerning the
Holy Spirit when He gave the promise of His coming, “He shall
glorify Me.” The great test, to know whether anything is the fruit
of the Holy Spirit’s work, is to find out if that particular operation
makes the Name of the Lord Jesus more glorious. It is not sufficient
to say it makes you feel good, or a great sense of holiness came over
YOU, or you went off into a trance and found it was exceedingly
pleasant. These are not the tests. The test is given to us in John’s
Epistle, relative to trying the spirits to see if they are of God or not.
If there is a confession of Jesus Christ come in flesh-that is, if the
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  Lord Jesus Christ personally is confessed and glorified by some par-
   ticular demonstration-then we may be sure it is of the Holy Spirit.
  There is a great deal of the energy of evil spirits today and these are
  being propounded in imitations of the works of the Spirit of God.
  Remember that Satan himself is the great deceiver and he is coming
  forth as “an angel of light.”
      In all the confusion of our present religious age let US not forget,
  however, the power of the Holy Spirit is superior to any power in
  the world.
      Then Paul goes on, in the few verses following, to glory in the fact
  that he carried the gospel where the name of Christ was never known.
  This is perhaps the greatest honor to any Christian, to be permitted
  to carry the light of the gospel into the dark regions where heathen
  idolatry reigns. There is plenty of opportunity for that today, and
  I have no doubt God will honor, in His own peculiar way, those who
  have given up home and all the comforts of civilization and gone into
  the far regions of the earth, carrying the torch of the glad tidings of
  Christ to dispel the heathen darkness.
      I like the touch of verse 20 where Paul says, “lest I should build
 upon another man’s foundation.” We are living in an age of imitators,
 and no sooner does some servant of Christ meet with success in some
 field of labor than a hundred others rush into it in order that they
 might get the due credit for anything that is accomplished. Origi-
 nality is a rare grace among Christians. It is rare because most of us
avoid having direct dealings with the Lord in relation to whatever
 task we undertake. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor
and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” That is the
kind of man who is original in his work for God in a needy world.
Then Paul closes this passage by expressing his deep desire to see
his brethren at Rome, a desire which was fulfilled under circum-
stances that at this time must have been totally unknown to the great
apostle. His kindly affection towards his brethren is again character-
istic of the great man, the great Christian, Paul, the champion of the
faith.
                      PAUL’S SHEPHERD HEART                                         307




                   Paul’s Shepherd Heart
         But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath
    pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution
    for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily;
    and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers
    of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal
    things. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them
    this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. And I am sure that when I come
    unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of
    Christ. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and
    for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers
    to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe
    in Judea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be ac-
    cepted of the saints; That I may come unto you with joy by the will of
    God, and may with you be refreshed. Now the God of peace be with you
    a l l (Ram. 15:25-33)!



T     HERE chapter 1.5 closes, and, strictly speaking, I suppose the
      Epistle closes there. In the sixteenth chapter we have what
 might be termed a letter of commendation wherein Paul commends
 certain brethren to the saints at Rome and closes with an excellent
 benediction.
    In this passage in chapter 1.5 we have a little deeper insight into
 the heart of Paul himself. I think there is a great danger of regarding
Paul, since he was an apostle, as being a great churchman, standing
off in the aloofness of his ecclesiastical dignity, unapproachable to
the ordinary Christian. This is far from the truth. In Christendom
today we have been so encouraged to hold church leaders in a kind
of holy reverence that we forget the affectionate side of the character
of a great man like Paul. I like to see his yearning to go to Jerusalem,
not in order that he might stage a great campaign in the Jewish
stronghold, but that he might minister unto the saints. It shows what
a revolution had taken place in Paul’s life. There was a time when,
as Saul of Tarsus, he was arrogantly proud and jealous of his eccle-
siastical dignity. But the Lord of Glory had shone down on his be-
nighted head and had taught him the great truth of the body of
Christ. The Lord had said to him, “Why persecutest thou Me?” The
Lord was referring to the humble followers of the Lord Jesus whom
Paul was taking and causing to be slain. Suddenly Saul of Tarsus on
 310           ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  who stands condemned in the dock. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself,
  of course, is the central figure in this great drama, for it is He who
  has borne the penalty due to the offender. He has been to Calvary’s
  Cross, where Jehovah laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He has re-
  turned triumphant from the tomb, every last cent paid on behalf of
  the bankrupt criminal, and in the power of resurrection life, He
 associates the pardoned sinner with Himself. That is what Paul en-
  titles, at the very opening of the Epistle, “The gospel of God con-
  cerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” and he rests his case with
  these significant words, “Now the God of peace be with you all.
 Amen.” What a triumphant note is this, in spite of all the havoc
 which man’s rebellion and Satan’s power have wreaked upon God’s
  fair creation!
      However great God’s hatred for sin has appeared to be throughout
 the drama, yet in the finality of it all, He is the God of peace. He is
 the One who, through the Cross of Christ, has effectuated recon-
 ciliation of the sinner, has brought him into His own presence in the
 acceptability of the Risen Christ, and in a very real sense, everyone
 is happy. Paul, the attorney, has won the case both for the sinner and
 for the court. The criminal in the dock has been declared guilty, his
 mouth stopped, and then he has been justified by the shed blood of
 the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Himself, who has taken the place
 of the sinner, has paid the penalty in full in His death on the tree,
and now He is risen and reappears in this universal courtroom, the
radiant light of His everlasting love shining upon all present. God,
who sits upon the bench, has been justified in everything the court
has done-justified in condemning the sinner, Jew and Gentile un-
equivocally; justified in exacting the penalty of sin by plunging the
sword of divine justice into the bosom of His beloved Son, when He
allowed Him to die on the cross; justified now in taking the sinner
into His favor in company with His beloved Son, raised from among
the dead and seated at His own right hand. This is the drama of the
Epistle to the Romans and I say again, everyone is happy.
    Yet we must remember that the criminal is not just one person.
The criminal is represented in all mankind, sinners who have sinned
against God, whether of Jews or Gentiles. This happiness which
reigns in the courtroom, wherein God the Judge becomes the God
of peace, is only enjoyed, however, by those who believe. The un-
believers do not come into the wealth of blessing that has been de-
vised by the God of all grace, because they either refuse or neglect
so great salvation. This is the challenge presented to you and me as
             THE CHALLENGE OF DIVINE GRACE
  we come to the close of the doctrinal part of the Epistle to the
   Remans, and it is a challenge that must be pressed home to every
  human heart.
          The facts are these: God has put into our hands in this marvelous
  Epistle      a legal document of inestimable value, wherein are set forth
  the principles whereby God can be just and the justifier of him that
  believes in Jesus. They are the terms of divine justice set forth in
  magnificent grace. The great question that must be answered by YOU
  and me is whether we accept these terms of grace, confess our guilt
  before God, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who has
  paid the penalty of our sin, our Saviour and our Lord. That is the
  gospel of God’s grace and it is presented to you by the God of peace.
  He is not a God who is at war with you. He is not condemning. He
  is not haling you into judgment at this present time. “God was in
  Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” “For God so loved the
 world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
 in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent
 not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world
 through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not con-
 demned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because
 he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.”
 These are the unequivocal statements of God’s imperishable Word,
 and they present a challenge to each one of us. How do you stand
 in relation to the verdict of this universal court?
          God the Judge has become the God of peace, and He is offering
 to you on a golden platter of divine grace a full pardon for all your
 offenses, on account of the perfect finished work of His beloved Son
 on Calvary’s tree. The great question is, do you accept this pardon,
 or are you trying in some way to work out your own salvation so
you will find an entrance to heaven in the way of wages instead of
by free grace? This Epistle tells us clearly, ‘90 him that worketh is
the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that
worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his
faith is counted for righteousness.” God is offering to you a righteous-
ness not your own. He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that
we might become the righteousness of God in Him. This is the
righteousness which is offered to you as the best robe was offered
to the returning prodigal when his Father found him. Have you
allowed the servant to put it upon you? Have you allowed the Holy
Spirit to dress you in that beauteous robe of righteousness? If not,
God’s offer is still towards you, and you may receive it by simple
 312             ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
 faith this very moment. Your salvation then is sure and eternal, be-
 cause it does not depend upon you at all. It depends upon the finished
 work of Christ. Thereafter no one shall pluck YOU out of the hand of
 the One who is the Good Shepherd according to His promise.
    On the other hand, if you do not accept the verdict of the court
 as to your guilt, proving that you are an unworthy sinner, banished
 from the presence of God as long as sin is upon you, and that only
 the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, can cleanse you from sin; if
you do not admit and confess that, then a time will soon come when
you will be hailed before the court once more, and it will be set up
 then, not as we see it in the Epistle to the Romans, in divine grace,
but as the Great White Throne. From the face of the Judge the
heavens and the earth will flee away, and all unbelievers will be
mustered together. The books will be opened, and all they whose
names are not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into
the lake of fire, according to the closing chapter of the Book of
Revelation. If you have never made the great decision of appointing
the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you would better make
it now in the day of God’s grace before the day of judgment comes.



            A Letter of Commendation
      I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church
    which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints,
    and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for
    she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also (Ram. 16:1-2).



F    OR those who have an austere regard for ecclesiastical dignity
     it must cause a little confusion to think that Paul the apostle
would begin his commendatory remarks concerning his companions
with the name of a woman. It is a reminder to us all that the basis
of the Christian faith, after all, is affection and not dignity. Legal-
minded religionists should find reason to pause here!
   Phebe is first of all “our sister.” Whatever else characterized her
as a woman, and even as a Christian woman, is subservient to this
fact, that she is one of the members of the Body of Christ, one ot’
Paul’s brethren, one of those united to Paul by the ties of life and
nature in Christ; and she is spoken of further as a servant of the
church which is at Cenchrea. Another translation uses the word
                 A LETTER OF COMMENDATION                              313
   “minister,” and some have interpreted this as indicating that Phebe
   was a minister of a church in the commonly accepted sense. I do
   not think this is so. Indeed, anyone even slightly fa.miliar with New
   Testament Greek will know that the word is diakonos, a word which
   might be used for the ministry of a deaconess, or any other appointed
   function of practical service-in the church. It is literally a person
   who waits in service upon others.
      These first two verses of Romans 16 set forth what I would con-
  sider an excellent pattern of a letter of commendation of one Chris-
   tian on behalf of another. We live in days of great religious formality,
  which often robs us altogether of the affectionate side of the Chris-
  tian faith. Paul, who is not only the great apostle who has brought
  to the church at Rome the gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus
  Christ our Lord, but who is also the beloved brother whose heart is
  large enough to gather all the Lord’s people into the arms of his
  affection, is writing to his brethren at Rome commending this beloved
  woman, Phebe, to them. Verse one sets forth the two fundamental
  items of interest regarding any Christian. These two elements are
  that she is a sister in Christ and that she is noteworthy for her service
 rendered in the church in her own locality. These are the two bases
 upon which a proper letter of commendation may well be set forth, It
 is not sufficient to commend a brother or sister to other Christians
 merely on the basis that he is a brother or she is a sister. The letter
 of commendation ought to go beyond that. It should include some
 remarks concerning the service that has been rendered by the one
 commended. Let us not be so clean-cut and metallic about these
 things, but endeavor to commend one another in the highest possibIe
 terms. If a brother or sister moves from one locality to another,
sometimes a stereotyped letter of commendation, which merely com-
mends him or her as a Christian, without other particulars, will mean
it may be a long time before that person finds a niche of usefulness
in the local church. A simple commendation of the service which has
already been rendered by that one would illuminate brethren in the
new locality as to the abilities and the trustworthiness of the person
commended.
     Then note how carefully the second verse is worded. Paul is com-
mending this worthy woman, a sister in Christ, to his brethren at
Rome, and he asks two things for her. First of all, he requests them
to receive her in the Lord as becometh saints; and secondly, to assist
her in whatsoever business she hath need of them. Here is sterling
practical truth. Here is a woman, probably traveling from Cenchrea
 314            ROMAN%-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  to take up temporary residence in the City of Rome. She will be a
  stranger        there. She needs two things: she needs fellowship and she
  needs assistance in the pursuit of her business.
           As regards fellowship, Paul asks his brethren at Rome to receive
  her in the Lord as becometh saints. The fact that this woman is a
  Christian, a sister in Christ, entitles her to all the privileges of Chris-
  tianity and fellowship with her brethren. They should receive her in
  the Lord. Altogether too frequently brethren and sisters are received
  in new localities according to their social standing or according to
  some traditional advantage that lies behind them. A Christian should
  be received because he or she is a Christian. That is the basic truth
 and it is sufficient to cover all other things.
           Then the manner in which she is to be received in the new locality
 is “as becometh saints.” The Lord’s people in Rome are looked upon
 as sanctified in Christ Jesus. They are set apart from the world in a
 sphere by themselves, a sphere of Christian fellowship and love and
 righteousness and truth. This woman should be received into their
 company with all the courtesy and affection characteristic of a sancti-
 fied company of people. There is no question as to whether she is
 good-looking or well-dressed, highborn or low, rich or poor, socially
 elite or obscure. She is a Christian, and she should be received in a
 manner worthy of the Christian company.
           Then Paul’s personal request of these brethren is that they should
 “assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you.” This is an
item which we often overlook. When a newcomer comes into our
midst, to our assemblies or churches, we may receive them with
 formality on the Lord’s Day and let them find their own way and
pursue their own business when Monday comes. This should not be
S O. We must remember Christian people live in a world dominated

by Satan, and when we come to a new locality the devil will do his
utmost to frustrate our affairs and present obstacles to hinder us in
whatever business we have to do. The Lord’s people are under obliga-
tion to aid such an one and especially if she is a lone woman, as
would be the case with Phebe. Then Paul’s final master stroke of
commendation is in these words, “She hath been a succourer of many
and of myself also.” What a grand tribute to this woman, Phebe!
Whatever kindness Phebe had shown to Paul in the past was not
forgotten, and she had been noteworthy in her own locality as a
helpful person, a succourer of many. If ever you are called upon to
commend another Christian to brethren in a new locality, this letter
of commendation is an excellent pattern to follow.
       GRATITUDE SHOULD HAVE A LONG MEMORY 31.5




               Gratitude Should Have a
                     Long Memory
       Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my
    life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but
    also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is
    in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epanetus, who is the firstfruits
    of Achaia unto Christ. Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
    Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who
    are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet
    Amplias my beloved in the Lord (Ram. 16:3-8).



T      HESE personal salutations continue down to the end of verse
        16. I have not the slightest doubt but that each individual men-
  tioned here holds a spiritual lesson for us. They have been called
 “Paul’s companions” and certainly they are greatly honored to have
 their names linked with his.
     I should like to make a few words of simple comment on some of
 these that are mentioned. In verse 3 Paul mentions a couple, Priscilla
 and Aquila. They were husband and wife and they came to the front
 at a time of peculiar crisis in the life of Paul. The account of it is
 given to us in Acts 18. Paul had recently left the great City of
 Athens, where he had found so much idolatry and so much opposition
 to the Word of God. He came down to Corinth, which was a thriving
city of great importance in those days. The record would almost
seem to indicate that Paul was rather a friendless individual there,
and that he stood very much alone against the great tide of opposi-
tion to the gospel of Christ. Evidently this couple took Paul into
their home, and that home undoubtedly became somewhat of a refuge
to him. The husband was a tentmaker, as Paul was, and so Paul
wrought at his trade along with Aquila. But while he went on with
his secular employment, he spent his spare hours in the synagogues
preaching Christ. There was a veritable upheaval in the city as a
result of Paul’s preaching. So virulent was the opposition of the
Jewish element to the gospel of Christ that Paul became righteously
indignant, and it was there that he declared to them “Your blood be
upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto
the Gentiles.”
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
      That is the background against which this salutation appears in
   Romans 16, and here Paul makes the comment that this couple,
   Priscilla and Aquila, were willing to lay down their necks for his
  sake. The brevity of the story in Acts 18 indicates it as far from
   complete. Evidently Paul stood in jeopardy of his life, and this de-
   voted couple defended him in peril of their own lives. He calls them
   “my helpers in Christ Jesus.” There must have been an impelling
   bond of attachment between the soul of this great man, Paul, and
   this young couple, who had stood by him in years gone by. He says,
  “Unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the
  Gentiles.” I would judge from this that, had it not been for Aquila
  and Priscilla, speaking on human lines, Paul would not have been
  able to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. It was while he was with
  them that the crisis came, and Paul, realizing he had fulfilled his
  obligation to bring the gospel of Christ to the Jews and had been
  summarily refused, then turned to the Gentiles and carried the glad
  tidings of Christ to them. It is in this sense that this husband and
  wife, Aquila and Priscilla, had the gratitude not only of Paul per-
 sonally, but of all the churches of the Gentiles. What a debt the
  Gentiles owed to that couple who defended the life of Paul at that
  time of crisis!
     I wonder if, after the lapse of all these ages, you and I who are
  Gentiles should not feel a sense of deep gratitude to this humble
 couple, a tentmaker and his wife in the City of Corinth, who made
 it possible for Paul to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Their names
 are written in letters of gold in God’s Book. Paul did not forget to
 be grateful to them, and to remind his Roman brethren and all the
 Gentile churches what a debt of gratitude they, too, owed. It is a
 reminder to all of us that gratitude should not pass with the years.
 If some have stood by us at a time of peril and crisis, their deeds of
valor and loving-kindness should be remembered throughout our
lives. Paul is the example of such lifelong gratitude here.
     But this husband and wife had evidently gone on actively in the
path of faith throughout the years and now Paul says, “Likewise
greet the church that is in their house.” Here we have the elemental
touch which Paul seems to be so fond of giving in the pathway of
faith. We live in such days of religious grandeur that many seem
to think it would be altogether impossible to have a church unless
it bore the aspect of a cathedral. The mistake we make is that we
attach the name of the church to the building instead of to the
people who are within it. The Church of God is composed of be-
       GRATITUDE SHOULD HAVE A LONG MEMORY 317
  lievers on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a living structure and not a
  dead one. It is a building not made with hands. It is the dwelling
  place of the Almighty who lives in the hearts of those who love Him.
  Paul is referring with charming Christian simplicity to the fact
  that those who love the Lord were accustomed to be in the home
  of this couple, and so he refers to the church that is in their house.
  Wherever the Lord’s people meet, there is the local church. Y O U
 may build the finest structure of wood and stone but you will never
 make it a church in the New Testament sense. The church is com-
 posed of men and women whose hearts are regenerated and who are
 “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
     Then Paul goes on down through this excellent list of famous men
 and women who had made their mark in the pathway of faith in
 company with Paul. Notice how affectionately and how personally he
 speaks of them: “Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the first-
 fruits of Achaia unto Christ.” You remember the gospel of Christ
 had been sounded out into Achaia soon after Paul visited Thessa-
 Ionica. These ThessaIonian behevers who were young in the faith
 spread the glad tidings of Christ abroad throughout all the land, and
 evidently this dear man Epznetus was among the first to receive the
 gospel and to believe it. Paul speaks of him as “my well-beloved.” No
human tongue could ever properly describe the affection that exists
among men who are devoted to Christ, whose hearts are drawn to-
gether by their common attachment to the Lord Jesus. Paul speaks
of these various fellow believers as my well-beloved, my fellow
prisoners, my beloved in the Lord, our helper, and my beloved.
    A most excellent touch is found in verse 13 where Paul says,
“Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” I would
judge from this verse that the mother of Rufus had proved herself a
mother to Paul at a time when he was friendless. Paul did not forget
that. May the Lord enlarge our hearts to realize the Christian faith
is more than the forgiveness of sins. It is more than getting to heaven
by and by. It is the entrance now into a kingdom where divine love
permeates all, and where the very atmosphere is charged with cour-
tesy, loving-kindness, gratitude. In a word it is the love of Christ,
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that is given unto us.
318




ONE
throughout these were sinne
whereon thereforeentire fifteen
he must those who insist that p
                 THOSE WHO CAUSE DIVISIONS                           319
 tion among the Lord’s people, and that position must contribute
 materially to their own persona1 benefit. In order that this might be
 accomplished, and that they may be secure, they cause divisions.
  They seek to carry the simple and unwary people with them by
  creating prejudices and spreading false reports concerning those who
 would stand in their way. The great question to the sincere and in-
 telligent Christian then becomes this: what shall we do in relation
  to these self-seeking pretenders? Will it be our aim ruthlessly to dis-
 lodge them and to set matters right within the church? I would sug-
 gest a negative answer to this.
     If the devil can keep us busy settling troubles among our brethren,
 he shall be very much satisfied; because he knows then he shall
 destroy our efforts for any good, wholesome, constructive purpose in
 the Lord’s service. The confusion in the Christian world today is so
 intensely involved that, if we are going to busy ourselves rectifying
 things in our meetings and in our churches, we shall have an endless
 job, and we shall have no time for anything else. It therefore be-
 comes a crucial question and I would suggest a very candid twofold
 answer to it.
    If the issue at stake in the religious company is one of gross
 wickedness, then a separation must take place. That separation may
 be done in one of two alternative ways. If the evildoer is a wicked
 person, instructions are given to us very fully in 1 Corinthians 5:
 he must be put out of the Christian company, in order that the flesh
within him might be destroyed, and that his spirit might be saved.
N O fellowship must be shown with him if he is a fornicator, or
 covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner.
Paul says, “with such an one no not to eat.” If the Christian com-
pany, however, is so captivated by the fair speeches and smooth
words of the evildoer as to take no action against him, then it seems
to me there is no alternative but that the sincere believer in Christ
must follow Paul’s instructions given to young Timothy in his sec-
ond Epistle: “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold
and silver, but also of wood and of earth; some to honor and some
to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall
be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and
prepared unto every good work.” Personal separation from evil, and
from evil persons, and from those who persist in company with them,
is the only course in that case.
    The passage that comes to our attention in Romans 16, however,
contemplates no such drastic move. Here is contemplated a person
 320           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
  who causes divisions and gives occasion of stumbling to his brethren.
  He is not a wicked person in the sense of 1 Corinthians 5, but he
  is a true detriment to the people of God. What shall we do with such?
  Paul makes no suggestion that he should be put away from the
  Christian company, nor is there any indication that we should
  separate ourselves from the Christian company on account of him.
  Paul’s instructions are direct and candid. They are summed up in
  the two words, mark and avoid. Wherever you find a self-seeking
  brother or sister, who is gathering around himself or herself simplc-
 minded people who will support them in their unworthy course,
 Paul’s instructions are that we should mark them and avoid them.
 I believe this is splendid advice, and of course it is indited by the
 Holy Spirit, and must be the proper thing to do. The self-seeker in
 the Christian company will always bolster himself by fair words
 and fine speeches that will make him popular, but a proper analysis
 of his actions will indicate he is seeking things for himself, and does
 not have the interests of Christ at heart. He may be a good organizer
 and he often is. He may have a benign smile and a sanctimonious
 manner. But underneath it all there beats a selfish heart. The un-
 wary will be deceived by it.
    These things subsist before our very eyes, in our meetings and
 churches today, and the devil would be much delighted if he got us
all devoting our full time to rectifying these things. I believe the
Lord would have us mark such people and avoid them. By doing that
we shall bear a testimony to the truth of the righteousness of the
gospel, and to the honor of the Name of our Lord. The assurance
given to us here is that the God of peace shall bruise Satan under
our feet shortly. We are not yet at the restitution of all things. I’la-
grant false doctrine and outright wicked practices must be dealt with
summarily; the selfishness and greed and inconsistencies of breth-
ren who are self-seekers have often to be tolerated for years, but
God deals with them in the end. Even Satan himself will be bruised
under our feet one of these days. Truth will not always be on the
scaffold and evil on the throne, and he who has faith in God can
afford to wait. But in the meantime he must see to it that he shall
choose his company, and go along with those who are loyal to Christ,
whose lives are in keeping with their profession.
    OBEDIENCE THE MARK OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN 321




 Obedience the Mark of a True Christian

 AFTER Romans Rome.19InterestinglyPaulwho were towith him to actu-
                     16:    and 20,
      salutations from various brethren
 Lord’s people at
                                          goes on     include further

                                       enough, the person who
                                                                  the

  ally did the writing of the Epistle at Paul’s dictation is included in
  verse 22. His name is Tertius.
     Paul here commends these Roman saints of God because of their
  obedience. Perhaps this is one of the highest commendations for any
  Christian. I believe most of the trouble which arises with all of U S
 in the Christian pathway has its origin in disobedience. God has put
 a remarkable Book in our hands. It is called the Holy Scriptures, and
 in it He has given us a detailed outline of how we should behave if
 we profess the Name of Christ. There is a tendency in these days for
 us to overemphasize the standing of a Christian, and to say little or
 nothing about his state. They are corresponding truths in God’s
 Word. My standing as a Christian before God is perfect and com-
 plete in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the work of
 the Lord on Calvary’s Cross redemption has been accomplished, and
 we who were at a distance from God have been reconciled to Him
 through the death of His Son. We are accepted in the beloved One.
 The best robe of heaven has been placed upon us and we stand
arrayed in the acceptability of Christ. That is our standing a n d
 nothing in the universe can improve it one iota. “As He is so are we
in this world.” God sees us in Him; He is made unto us wisdom,
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. “He who knew no sin
was made sin for us, that we might become God’s righteousness in
Him.” That all relates to our standing before God and it is perfect
and complete.
    The commensurate truth, however, has to do with our state. If
the righteousness of God in Christ is a perfect righteousness, and
gives me a perfect right to stand in God’s presence justified from
all things, so the principle of righteousness should be the regulat-
ing principle of my life as a Christian. The fact is, I cannot boast
very much about my perfect standing before God through the work
of Christ on the Cross, unless I display before men that I am a
righteous person. The one is standing and the other is state, a n d
              ROMAN%--A COURTROOM DRAMA
they should correspond. If a person claims to be saved by God’s
grace and goes on in sin in the world, living a life of ungodliness, his
claim is false, and the sooner he wakes up to the peril of his false
 profession the better. There is nothing in the Bible, as far as I can
 see, that would justify anyone’s claiming to be eternally secure and
 yet going on in sin in the world. The one is a contradiction of the
  other; the very fact that one goes on in sin is a demonstration One
  has never been born of God, and has never placed real faith in the
 Lord Jesus Christ.
    These brethren at Rome, however, were obedient. That is the real
 test of our profession. The mark of the true children of God is that
 they are obedient to God’s Word. I am not saying they live perfect
 lives or they never commit a single sin. That is not true; but the
 general tenor of their lives will be obedient and not disobedient. God
 has given us a conscience, and given us His written Word in order
 that we should be able to make sure at any time whether we are
 obedient or disobedient. There was something further, however, in
 regard to these brethren at Rome. Although they were willingly
 obedient to the Word of God, yet the fact still remained that they
 were not wary and were too simple. They were being imposed upon
 by self-seeking brethren, and Paul was warning them concerning
 this. He says, “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and
 simple concerning evil.” It is a sterling fact that the people of God
are only too frequently easily deceived, and God’s people must be
warned against evildoers.
    Now verse 20 is one of great excellence, and Paul comes back to
an expression which he has used several times throughout this
Epistle, “The God of Peace.” He says, “And the God of peace shall
bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” This is, of course, a symbolic
expression meaning that the time will soon come when the Lord’s
people will be exalted above the power of Satan, and this present
evil world will be subjugated under their feet. The Lord’s people
live constantly in the light of the blessed hope. Soon the Lord Jesus
is going to return, and He is going to set up His kingdom. Scripture
says, “He must reign until His enemies are made the footstool of
His feet.” In that day His beloved people will be in association with
Him in the place of exaltation. I like this word “shortly” here, as if
Paul would enjoin upon us not to be too impatient of the power of
evil as we see it in the world today. Satan is on probation at this
hour. The real power of the universe belongs to the Lord Jesus
Christ, but this is the day of His grace, when He is calling men out
    OBEDIENCE THE MARK OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN 323
  of darkness into His marvelous light, and until the day of grace is
  over, the probationary period of Satan’s activities will go on. A day
  will soon come when you and I, instead of being trodden down by
  the power of evil in the world, will be exalted above it, and God has
  promised that Satan will be bruised under our feet.
     Notice again it is the “God of Peace” who is going to do this. We
  are not going to launch forth into a long campaign against our ad-
  versary, the devil. The campaign has been fought and won at Cal-
  vary. The Lord Jesus Christ is the triumphant Victor; the horse and
  his rider have been thrown into the sea. He has triumphed gloriously!
  Now peace has been made, the throne of God is established forever,
 and He is the God of Peace. The overcoming of Satan will be a mere
 gesture of His power, the power established when He raised Christ
 from among the dead and set Him at His own right hand. What a
 privilege it is to be a Christian and to know the time will soon come
 when we shall be arrayed in beauty and glory by the side of the
 Lord of the universe1
    Joseph brought his brethren into the land of Egypt in order that
 they might behold his glory, and that they might share in that glory
 by being near to his heart. So there is a day coming when we shall
 behold the glory of our Lord exalted in the universe, and we shall be
near to His heart and share in the administration of His goodness.
So Paul says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
There is no need to be impatient because of the power of evil, and
even as we see the enemy’s depredations among the saints of God,
divisions taking place, stumbling blocks being put in the way of
God’s dear people, we need not get excited or be impatient, because
the God of Peace is going to bruise Satan under our feet shortly.
May we realize we are on the Victor’s side even now. If some of
my readers know not Christ as Saviour, you are on the losing side.
You will have to make your own choice: either you accept Jesus as
Lord and confess Him as such, or you will be assigned to a place
prepared for the devil and his angels, to keep company for all
eternity with the Master whom you have served. The clarion call
of the gospel is therefore most urgent. Obey it now!
 324               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




  Established According to Paul’s Gospel
          Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel,
       and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the
       mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made
       manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the command-
       ment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience
       of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen
       (Ram. 16:25-27).



I   T SEEMS to me that this is a very fitting windup to so marvelous
     an Epistle. Paul has taken us through all the intricate labyrinth
of legal   difficulties concerning every moral problem that existed be-
 tween the creature and his God, and has presented an incontestable
 solution to all these problems. No issue that concerns itself with the
 reconciliation of the creature to an offended God but has been taken
 up and finally settled on a legal basis in this wonderful Epistle to the
 Romans. That is the reason why, at the very outset, I called it “The
 Christian’s Title Deeds to Heaven.” It is in its entirety a brilliant
legal document setting forth all the charges against the sinner, taking
us through the spectacular pageant of a court trial where God Him-
self is on the bench, where Jew and Gentile are in the dock, where
Paul stands as the attorney for the defense, and where the court is
upheld in justifying the sinner that believes in Jesus.
   The letter in itself is a grand tribute to the inspiration of the Holy
Scriptures, for no mind of man could ever circumvent so many dif-
ficulties on a righteous basis, and bring the condemned criminal out
into the sunshine of the eternal love of the One who might have
condemned him to a lost eternity. Little wonder, then, Paul begins
this excellent benediction with these words: “Now to Him that is of
power to stablish you according to my gospel.” Every avenue of
approach to the final solution of all our spiritual and moral problems
has been explored to the finish, and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ
on Calvary has settled every question. God is satisfied with the work
of Christ on the Cross in its substitutionary aspect on behalf of every
sinner under heaven, and a full and free pardon has been tendered to
every one who will accept it by faith on the principle of grace. There
is no question as to God’s satisfaction. He has demonstrated the com-
       ESTABLISHED ACCORDING TO PAUL’S GOSPEL 325
 pleteness of the work on the Cross by raising the Lord Jesus from
 among the dead, for He is the One who was delivered for our of-
 fenses but raised again for our justification. Peace has been made and
 signed and attested by the irrevocable seal of the Almighty. “There-
 fore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
 Lord Jesus Christ.”
    Moreover, every accusing voice has been silenced and there is
 therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
 The dramatic pageant of the court trial has been brought to an end.
 The case is closed. “To him that worketh not but beheveth on Him
 that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
 “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” “Who shall
 separate us from the love of Christ?” “In all these things we are
 more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” That is the un-
changeable verdict of the court forever, and nothing in heaven, earth,
or hell shall ever be able to change it.
   That is the setting with which we come to this excellent benedic-
tion at the close. The question no longer is whether the title deeds
will be legal forever. The great question is: If God is satisfied, am I
satisfied? We live in a realm of disturbing influences, and Paul’s
prayer is that God who is of power might stablish us “according to
Paul’s gospel.” I feel the urgency of this in these days. We are living
in days of doubts and fears, when few Christians have settled peace
in their own minds in relation to the sin question. Much questionable
teaching is abroad and very few are established in the faith. It is
good for us again and again to look at our title deeds. We who are
believers on the Lord Jesus Christ are very much like householders
who live in a very grand home where everything is so amazingly
beautiful and comfortable we must constantly be tempted to wonder
whether it is really ours. We did not buy it. It was given to us in
matchless grace. The whole scheme of Christianity is so bewildering,
like this grand mansion in which we live, that we must go to our
safety deposit box every little while, take out the title deeds, and
look them over. These title deeds are the Epistle to the Romans as
well as many other Scriptures. You do not need to look over the title
deeds because of fear God will change His mind and take away our
inheritance which He has given to us in Christ, but because we need
to be established and not blown about by every wind of doctrine that
comes along. That is Paul’s desire for us in this rich benediction at
the close of his Epistle.
   Notice the title he gives to God Himself. He calls Him, ‘(He that is
 326         ROMAN%---A COURTROOM DRAMA
 of power.” You see, the power is all of God and not of us. It reminds
 us of what Paul says to the Corinthians: “We have this treasure in
     earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and
     not of us.” When we look within at our poor, miserable, failing
     hearts, and we look around and see the unfaithfulness and the defec-
     tion among many who profess the name of Christ, we are sometimes
     tempted to give up the whole thing and call it all a mistake. Then we
     go to the title deeds. We read again the Epistle to the Romans, and
     we see how God has forgiven our trespasses and brought us into
     heaven itself where we call Him “Abba, Father,” where we breathe
     the very atmosphere of His endless and unfathomable love. Then
     we realize it is all true, and we settle down again to give thanks for
     such marvelous grace, and pursue the pathway of faith with a will.
        Notice that Paul says He that is of power should establish us ac-
     cording to my gospel. That is a very unique expression, and it is not
    without the deepest meaning. Paul’s gospel is altogether different
     from, although it in no way conflicts with, the gospel preached by
    our Lord as recorded by the evangelists of the New Testament.
    Moreover it is altogether different from, although it does not con-
    flict with, the gospel as it was presented by Simon Peter and the
    others. The fact is, Paul’s gospel goes far beyond these others, be-
    cause it relates to the time when the Lord Jesus is glorified in the
    heavens and the Spirit of God is here on earth. If I were asked to
I state in as few words as possible what is meant by Paul’s gospel, I
  ; would say, “It is Christ and the Church.” Through Paul alone we get
 i the truth of the Son of God in the heavens, the Holy Spirit on earth,
 iand the saints of God united into one body. That is what Paul calls
 1 “my gospel.”
       N OW let us think of this gospel. This is not simply that our sins
    are pardoned. It is much more than that. It is not simply that we
    are looking forward to the time when the Lord Jesus will establish
    His kingdom on the earth. That was the glad tidings which the
   Lord taught to His disciples, expressed in the prayer, “Thy kingdom
   come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” God is now
   calling out of this world a company of people into whose hearts the
   Holy Spirit enters and unites them with all other believers in His
   Name into one body. They are thus united to their living Head in
   heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, and, just as my hand and foot are
   responsive to the dictates of my head, so every member of the Body
of Christ is responsive to the dictates of the Lord Jesus in heaven.
That is, in a very the way, wh
prayer these is that briefGod who
ing to then grand truths.


T
to the unique ministry of others
deal from the ministry of the Ap
stance, the we call it is Four G
ment whichgospel as“The presen
the the truth
yet kingdom. of is almost totally
Body of Christ the Church is no
  328             ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
      Running rapidly over his Epistles, may I suggest, for instance, that
  it goes somewhat as follows. In the Roman Epistle, through which
  we have been traveling, we have the legal settlement of all the
  criminal charges brought against Jew and Gentile, and on the same
  platform of guilt they are brought in silenced before God. Then
  they are justified on the principle of grace by faith in Christ. A s
  such they are together brought under the favor of One whom they
  can both call “Abba, Father.” National and racial distinctions are
  obliterated and they stand under the canopy of God’s heaven to-
  gether, recipients of His sovereign mercy. In the Corinthian Epistles
  we have the great truth of the one body set forth, and all the implica-
  tions of that truth. “By one Spirit are we baptized into one body.”
  In the Corinthian Epistles it is not exactly the Body of Christ, but
  rather the one body, namely, the unity of all believers on the earth,
  interdependent one upon the other, whether they be Jews or Gentiles,
 and this has all been brought about, according to the Corinthian
 Epistles, by the introduction of a new creation in Christ where
  Christ is all and in all. In the Galatian Epistle Paul sets aside the
 ritualism and observances that were right under the Mosaic economy,
 and demonstrates with finality that we are not under law but under
 grace.
     In the Ephesian Epistle you have the body of Christ, of which
 the Lord Jesus Himself is the Head in heaven above, exalted above
 all things, and we, as the members of His mystical Body, are the
 fulness of Him who fills all in all. In that Epistle you also have the
 saints of God as the bride of Christ which has been brought in to
 fill the heart of our Lord when the earthly bride, Israel, has been laid
aside. In the Philippian Epistle you have the Lord Jesus as the
very life of the believer and the truth that every other object must
be discounted as rubbish compared to the excellency of the knowl-
edge of Christ Jesus our Lord. There in Philippians it is more the
individual Christian treading the path of faith, much like a runner
in the marathon races bending every energy to run across the goal
line with honor. In Colossians it is Christ Himself indwelling those
who belong to Him, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” and the saints
of God livingly united together by joints and bands, just like the
members of our physical body. In Thessalonians you have the grand
truth of the rapture of the saints of God to be reunited with Him
in the air, prior to the time when the prophecies of the second letter
to the Thessalonians will be fulfilled, when the man of sin will arise
in the earth, and the Lord Jesus will come in company with His
                    WHAT IS PAUL’S GOSPEL?                            329
  beloved people to destroy the power of evil and set up His king-
  dom.
     First Timothy then takes up the moral order of things in the
  Church as it was set up in apostolic times as the pillar and base of
  the truth. We have the mystery of godliness, the incarnation, the
  testimony, and the ascension of our blessed Lord as the central
  theme among those who love His Name, and there Paul teaches
  how we should behave ourselves in the House of God. In Second
 Timothy are truths relating to the last days when failure and dis-
 integration have come in, and it is no longer a question of how to
 behave ourselves in the house of God, but rather how to behave our-
 selves individually, when outwardly the Church has fallen into decay.
 Paul’s Epistle to Titus takes up the inroads which false pretenders
 are making among God’s people, and gives us instructions on how
 those who would be faithful to His Name must stand against them.
 It is Paul’s injunction to set in order things that have been put in
 confusion, and a reminder that the confusion will not go on always,
 because we are looking for the blessed hope. Philemon is rather a
 personal commendation of a runaway slave that he might be restored
 to his master, indicating to us that this grand truth of the Church
 has not been brought into the world to revolutionize the social order
 of things. In other words it is not a social gospel; it is for the salva-
 tion of the soul, and for the development of the Christian’s life in
 whatever sphere he may be found, whether slave or freeman.
    Then the great Epistle to the Hebrews takes up the Lord Jesus
 as the Son, the One who eclipses everything the Israelites held dear
in past dispensations. It shows that the Lord Jesus is greater than all
the patriarchs, greater than all the rituals, all the buildings, all the
spiritual order of the Old Testament, moreover, that He is outside
the camp of earthly religious profession, and that he who will follow
Him must share His reproach. That is a short review of what Paul’s
gospel really means. Were is not for these wonderful Epistles in the
New Testament from the hand of Paul, we should be largely in the
dark as to what God is doing among Jews and Gentiles in this day
of His excellent grace. To know Paul’s gospel better is to be more
established in the faith, and if we would read his Epistles more, we
would be less likely to be filled with doubts and fears, and less liable
to follow the vain teachings of unscriptural cults as we find them in
the world today.
 330            ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA




             The Mystery Now Declared

 R     OMANS 16: 25-27 is so very important to all of us who are
         the Lord’s people today that it is well for us to weigh it in
  detail. Here Paul calls it “my gospel,” and the preaching of Jesus
  Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept
  secret since the world began, but now is made manifest. Let us
  briefly analyze Paul’s statements here. He calls it his gospel. He calls
  it also “the preaching of Jesus Christ.” In other words, the entire
  range of truth which Paul ministered in the glad tidings had the
  Lord Jesus Christ as the central Figure. The entire scheme of bless-
  ing which God had devised for mankind was concentered in Christ.
  In that sense the Lord Jesus is the center of God’s universe. Now
  Paul says this was according to the revelation of the mystery-and
  here I quote from the new translation--“as to which silence has
  been kept in the times of the ages but which has now been made
  manifest.” Now what does Paul refer to here?
     In order to understand this I believe we must go to some of
 Paul’s other Epistles for its enlargement. I draw your attention to
 Ephesians 1: 9: “Having made known to us the mystery of His
 will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself
 for the administration of the fulness of time; to head up all things
 in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things upon the
 earth; in whom we have also obtained an inheritance, being marked
 out beforehand according to the purpose of Him who works all
 things according to the counsel of His own will.”
    Now here is the first part of this mystery which Paul speaks. Tt
is something which was hidden from eternity. You will not find it
in any of the inspired writings until you come to Paul’s ministry.
There are brief hints of it but they are sketchy and incomplete. It
is neither developed nor is it administered until Paul is entrusted
with it. It is that God has devised, according to the counsel of His
own will, a vast universe of eternal blessing in which the Lord Jesus
is the Center. It is very much like the solar system where we have the
sun in the heavens, the stars and planets rotating around that sun,
and lighted by its glorious light. The Lord Jesus is the Center of
                THE MYSTERY NOW DECLARED                              331
   God’s universe, and God has destined to gather in one all things in
   Christ, both the things in heaven and on earth.
     In other words, all the moral beauties which have been put on
  display, either in heaven or on earth, in the various personalities
  God has used down through the ages in the revelation of Himself,
  are gathered together in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom every
  moral beauty shines in perfection. For instance, in Adam God dis-
  played headship, perfect administration towards the lower creation.
  Adam failed, but headship is now displayed in the Lord Jesus who
  will never fail. He shall give direction to the whole universe according
  to love and righteousness. In Moses leadership was displayed, but
  failure entered there; the same leadership is found in the Lord Jesus
  Christ, for He is the beginner and the completer of faith. In Abraham
  God’s sovereignty was set forth, but Abraham died; whereas the
  sovereign favor of God shines in and through the Lord Jesus Christ
  and He is one who will never die. In Isaac resurrection was de-
  clared, and the Lord Jesus is the One who is alive from among the
  dead and the power of an endless life shines in Him. Thus you may
 go on down through the ages, and you will find all these various moral
 and spiritual attributes shining forth in various personalities, but
 they are all gathered together in one in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Now that is the first part of the mystery: the Lord Jesus is the
 Center of everything in the universe of God.
    Then we go to Ephesians 3 : 8, where Paul says, “To me, less than
 the least of all saints, is this grace given, to announce among the na-
 tions the glad tidings of the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to
enlighten all with the knowledge of what is the administration of
the mystery hidden throughout the ages in God, in order that now
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens might be made
known through the assembly the all-various wisdom of God.” Now
going back to the fifth verse of that same Ephesians 3, Paul speaks
of “the mystery of the Christ which in other generations has not
been made known to the sons of men as it is now revealed to His
holy apostles and prophets in the power of the Spirit”-now here
it is-“that [they who are of] the nations should be joint heirs, and
a joint body, and joint partakers of [His] promise in Christ Jesus
by the gIad tidings.” There is what Paul refers to in Romans 16. It
is that Jews and Gentiles might be united into one in the Body of
Christ, that they who are of the Gentile nations should be brought
into the riches of God’s matchless grace in the Church. It is God’s
masterpiece of accomplishment!
 332           ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
    It is depicted in the Epistle to the Ephesians as “one full grown
 man.” The Lord Jesus Christ in heaven is the Head of that mystical
 body; we who are on earth are the members of that body, and the
 Holy Spirit is here indwelling the members in order to bring U S
 spiritually into cornmensuration, or into proper proportion with the
 fulness of the One who is our head. Now that is the mystery which
 was hid throughout all generations, and has now been made manifest,
 and Paul is uniquely the minister of it, the one who administers it
 in the New Testament. If we did not have Paul’s ministry we would
 know little or nothing about it. That is Paul’s gospel and that is
what he refers to in this beautiful benediction.
    Now we go to Colossians 1:26: “The mystery which [has been]
hidden from ages and from generations, but has now been made
manifest to His saints; To whom God would make known what are
the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is
Christ in you the hope of glory.” There is another aspect of this
mystery. It is that Christ dwells in our heart by the Holy Spirit so
His life is our life, His nature becomes our nature. In other words, we
are members of His body and as such we are joined to Him by
life and nature. May the Lord enlarge our thoughts as to the im-
mensity of the importance of this mystery declared by Paul for our
joy and our edification!




              God’s Purposes Attained

I   N THIS benediction in Romans 16:25-27, Paul indicates that
      this mystery, which is announced in his gospel, is now made mani-
 fest. But in order that we should be assured that what he admin-
istered was in no way contrary to, or in conflict with, other parts
of Scripture, he says here: “And by the scriptures of the prophets,
according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known
to all nations for the obedience of faith.” In other words, Christianity
as Paul presents it in all its fulness is not in contradiction to Old
Testament truths. The fact is, God had the fulness of Christianity
before Him as the ultimate in His purpose when He first took up
the human race in blessing. As the sun in the heavens outshines and
eclipses the stars at sunrise, so the outshining of God’s purposes in
“Christ and the church” is a bright glorious orb that totally eclipses
                   GOD’S PURPOSES ATTAINED
   all the lesser lights of the ages. Moreover, the lesser lights are very
   much like the morning star which is the harbinger of the rising sun.
   You have, from Adam onward, a multitude of most remarkable men
   shining in the firmament of God’s dealings, and they are all types
   of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are each in miniature, an outshining
   of some spiritual feature which finds its place in fulness in the Lord
  Jesus. Thus the prophets point forward to the coming of Christ our
  Lord, and the truth of the mystery, as it is made known to U S , i s
  largely hidden under the surface in the Old Testament.
      For instance, that part of the mystery relating to the bride and
  bridegroom in Ephesians 5, the unity of Christ and the Church,
  came out in Adam and Eve. “This is now bone of my bones, and
  flesh of my flesh1 ” was Adam’s exclamation when Eve was brought
  to him as a helpmeet. Then the truth of the mystery as found in
  Ephesians 1, namely, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Center of
  God’s universe of bliss, and all things are gathered together in Him,
  is illustrated to us in the very first chapter of Genesis, where the
 sun is not only the brightest light in the universe but it rules the
 universe. The sun ruled the day, and everything that had life was
 dependent upon the sun. Thus, much may be learned from the writ-
 ings of the Old Testament which will not in any sense conflict with
 Paul’s gospel, but rather enhance and give us many beautiful features
 concerning it we might not learn otherwise.
     Then, lest we might think it was an afterthought on God’s part
 to bring in this great mystery of Christ and the Church, Paul says
 it was “according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made
known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” This has all been
devised in eternity and He who is changeless and eternal has worked
it al1 out after the counsel of His own will. This truth brings un-
told assurance to the human heart. God does not work in the same
fashion as men work. When men set forth to accomplish something,
they try one way, and if that fails, then they are deflected and they
try another way. If they are persistent enough they may reach final
accomplishment. With God it is altogether different. God, who is
the everlasting God, set out to do certain things, devised before He
laid the foundation of the world, and in every atom of circumstance
from that day to this, He has moved forward according to plan. God
has never been frustrated. When He does something, He does it
forever; that is, if it is a matter of vital creative power.
    I am not now speaking of certain regulations that God inaugurated
for certain circumstances, the use of which passed when these cir-
               ROMANS-A COURTROOM DRAMA
    cumstances were over. The Mosaic law was given in that way. It
    was LLour schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,” and when we come
    to Christ we are no longer lawkeepers, we are under grace. Thus
    the person who keeps the Sabbath day, which is Saturday, is going
    back from Christ and going back under law. It is a retrogression.
    But anything God does vitally by creative power remains forever,
   and it is within the realm of a forward moving scheme, of which the
   Lord Jesus Christ and the universe of blessing that surrounds Him
   is definitely the object. That is one reason I cannot understand any-
   one’s believing a person can be born again and then lost afterward.
   If man were doing this thing, that might be feasible. But when God
   Himself performs the new birth in a soul, He does it forever. That
   is what the Scripture means, “He which hath begun a good work in
   you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
      Now this vast scheme and plan of blessing which Paul calls “the
  mystery” was according to the everlasting God. It may not fit in with
  man’s theorizings, or man’s opinions, but the eternal God devised it,
  and He made it known to all nations for the obedience of faith. That
  is, you and I must accept it by faith if we are going to come into
  the blessing of it. Notice that expression, “the obedience of faith.”
  We underestimate faith in these days. Some people think faith is
  just believing a verse in the Bible, or giving assent to the fact that
  Christ died on the Cross. Obedience and faith are linked together,
  and the vitality of faith is made evident in obedience. That is why
  James says faith without works is dead. In other words, if I profess
 faith, and do not lead a righteous life in keeping with my faith, then
 my faith is dead. It is not that it has died, but it is dead; it has
 never been alive.
      The great truth of Paul’s gospel is presented for the obedience of
 faith, and it comes to us regardless of race or nationality. So Paul
 concludes this wonderful Epistle, “To God only wise, be glory
 through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.” We are here touching God’s
wisdom, and the solemn words which Paul spoke in the early part
of this Epistle must come true, “Let God be true, but every man a
liar.” In other words, if what I say or think or do does not correspond
to the will of God, then I am untrue; for God is only wise, and glory
must accrue to His Name, not only in time, but for all eternity; and
that glory will be through Jesus Christ forever. The believer re-
joices in this! The unbeliever trembles before its contemplation!

m Finis

				
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