"For until law sin was in the world, yet win is
not being taken into account when there is no law, but death rings
from Adam unto Moses over those also who do not sin after the likeness
of Adam's transgression," Rom.5:13, 14.
What does this mean? Are we to understand that,
because a man is not under law, God considers that he does not sin - that
God ignores his sins? Death reigns over those who lived in the
period from Adam to Moses. They were mortal, and therefore,
sinned. According to the preceding verse, the mortal state is the
soil in which sin grows. They sinned, although they transgressed
no law. Does God, therefore, reckon that they did not sin?
The nations even now, are not under law. Yet Paul speaks of
"sinners of the nations."
What is the meaning of the phrase "sin is not
being taken into account when there is no law?" When Adam ate
the forbidden fruit he transgressed law. This sin was taken into
account. When Cain killed Abel he transgressed no law. God
had not said, "Thou shalt not kill." Yet Cain committed
a sin in killing his brother, for sin is missing the mark. Did God
pay no attention to it? The record shows that the opposite was the
The word which is rendered "taken into
account," is ellogeo, and means, literally,
"in-say." Its only other occurrence, Philemon 18 shows
that it means to say it in writing, either in a book or on a
statement. Paul told Philemon to charge to his account, any debt
owed by Onesimus, I have no doubt that he meant "Write it on paper,
and send the account to me. I will send you the money." Paul
had money. He paid his house rent, for the scriptures say he lived
in his own hired house, Acts 28:30. He had received a donation
from the ecclesia at Philippi, Phil. 4:18. A group of lawyers in
Savannah, Ga., were discussing this a few years ago, and decided that
Paul's promise constituted a promissory note that could have been
collected by law. Paul knew this. He meant for Philemon to
send him a written statement. A book-keeper for a business
concern does just what the word, ellogeo signifies when he enters
accounts in the book.
God keeps books. We read that at the judgment
scene before the white throne, the books will be opened. I see no
reason to doubt that this is literally true. Is there no one in
God's company who can keep books? We have no right to conclude
that all writing is confined to earth. Those whom John saw in the
judgment, will be judged by that which is written in the books. In
other words, God will reveal His accounts. There is a record of
all their acts - both commendable and otherwise.
When Paul says that sin is not being taken into
account when there is no law, he evidently means that God is not keeping
books against those who are not under law. But he certainly does
not mean to say God takes no notice of their sins. He just doesn't
put them in the books.
How will God deal with gentiles in the
judgment? And how will He deal with the Circumcision - those under
the law? He will show no partiality. Paul explains it in
Rom. 2:12-16. "For as many as sinned without law shall be
lost, (or perish) also without law; and as many as sinned in law will be
judged through law." Since no one is justified by law, they,
of course shall be lost, or perish, also. Continuing, Paul says:
"For the listeners to law are not just with God but the doers of
the law will be justified." However, since all who are under
law are transgressors. As is shown in this section of the Roman
letter, those who are judged through law will be lost, not
The apostle goes on to say, "For whenever they
of the nations having no law, may be doing by nature what the law
demands, these, having no law, are a law to themselves, who are
displaying the action of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience joining its witness, and their reasonings between one another
accusing or defending them, in the day when God will be judging the
hidden things of humanity, according to my evangel, through Jesus
God has given mankind a nature, or instinct.
When they sin, they do that which is beside nature, Rom. 1:26. He
gave the Circumcision the law. At the white throne, he will open
the books of accounts that are kept against those who have the law, and
judge them by the written record. But there is no written record
of those who have no law. Therefore He will cause their own
conscience to judge them.
Whether they are judged through the law, (the
account), or by their own conscience, the judging will lead to
condemnation in accord with their acts, and they shall perish.
That is they shall perish in relation to eonian life. They shall
go into the second death.
It is a fact that Circumcision writers do not see all
details. John evidently saw only those who are to be judged out of
the books. To have mentioned the others would have been outside
the scope of his writings. The books apply only to the
Circumcision. This is true also of the book that relates to
life. We have no evidence that the names of gentiles are written
in the book of life. John's account in Un. 20, relates only to the
Circumcision. Paul in the passage quoted above, from Rom. 2,
supplies the other details.
The question of ultimate salvation is not in view in
judgment. All mankind are already lost, in relation to God.
Those who are judged at the white throne will be lost in relation to
live in the eons. No believer, either Circumcision or
Uncircumcision, will be in that judgment. They are not lost in
relation to God, now, since the believer is saved. They are not to
be lost, therefore, in relation to eonian life. They are to have
life in the eons. Unbelievers will not have life until the
consummation when death is abolished.
THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES
In the last issue I said, "there will never be a
time when the ecclesiastical authority will be over the civil power,
until the kingdom of the heavens is established on earth." I
should have said "until God begins to deal with Israel
again." He will begin to deal with His earthly people some
years before the kingdom is established. This will be a resumption
of what He was doing during the period covered by the Acts of the
Apostles. The man of lawlessness will then be the civil authority,
and the saints of Israel will be under no more necessity to obey him,
than Peter was to obey the authorities in his day.
I have been asked, "What shall the missionaries
in Japan do, in the face of the demand by the government that they bow
to the shrine of Shinto?" They are allowed to go ahead and
preach, after doing this. It would be foolish to undertake to
carry on missionary work in any country, in defiance of the civil
government. If I were there as a missionary, I would either get
out, or else bow to the shrine of Shinto just as the civil authority
demands. God would know my heart.
What if Japan should conquer this country, and demand
that we do the same here? I am asked. Paul tells us to pray
for the civil authorities as well as for all mankind, that we may be
leading a mild and quiet life in all devoutness and gravity, I Tim. 2:1,
2. Instead of speculating on what we would do, let us ask God to
keep such a situation from our doors.
Paul's injunction to be subject to the superior
authorities still stands and will, until we are snatched away to meet
the Lord in the air. Instead of seeking a way to circumvent it,
let us be much in prayer.
Most foreign governments have had a just grievance
against missionaries. Many of them have tried to change or
influence the government. It may be that in Japan, missionaries
have interfered too much in civil affairs. If they would
insistently teach their converts to be subject to the government of
Japan, perhaps this situation would not exist
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HEALTH
I have been asked by several readers, whether we may not
have prefect physical health, by yielding to the holy spirit.
I can understand that expectation of worldly benefit to be
received through our devotion to God, is quite attractive to many
saints. They say this was the case, in some measure in other
economies, and ask why should it not be so now.
There came a time when Paul could not cure Timothy.
Instead, he recommended a medicine, I Tim. 5:23. Timothy had a
stomach trouble, and it is not said anywhere that he was not in a state of
"yieldedness" to the holy spirit. When Paul was at
Thessalonica, he told the saints that he was about to be afflicted.
It came to pass, I Thess: 3:4. Paul evidently had an eye disease,
for he usually employed a "stenographer" to write his
letters. The letter to the Galatians was an exception, and in that
case he had to write in "large letters," because he was
writing with his own hand, Gal. 6:11. When he was with them
earlier, they would have been willing to give him their eyes - a thing
which would have been unnecessary, if his own were not impaired, Gal.
4:15. Shall we say that there ever was a person who was more in
a state of "yieldedness" to the holy spirit?
Epaphroditus, not because he was in a state of rebellion
against God but because he was serving Him, in taking a contribution from
Philippi to Rome where Paul was detained by the Roman government, became
exceedingly sick - "very near to death," Phil. 2:27.
This administration is unique. It is a time when God
is calling the ecclesia which has a heavenly destiny. The blessings
which we have in Christ are spiritual, Eph. 1:3. Most of these
spiritual blessings will be enjoyed by us among the celestials but we have
some of them here. There is no promise of either health or riches
here, just because we are saints. We may, or may not have
Not that God is indifferent concerning our bodies.
Christ lives in us, Gal. 2:20. The important thing is, not that we
are living, but that Christ is living in us. Our bodies will,
therefore, be taken care of by Him, as best suits His plan. There
are times when He can use an afflicted body to better advantage, than He
can a healthy one. If the fact that WE are living, were the
important thing, He would see to it that we are always healthy. He
lives in us. THIS is the important thing.
Brother F. R. Missegadies of Chicago paid us a surprise
visit in February. Mrs. Screws and I were exceedingly glad to have
him. He spent the night with us, and spoke at Grace
Tabernacle. His theme was, "Wait until god is through, before
you criticize His work." Brother J. E. Shakespeare was with us
at the same time. He is always welcome.