Some Far-reaching Declarations of Scripture
By Al Stoner
There are many declarations in the Scripture that have broad-sweeping implications and connections with other things that are revealed in the Word of God. They give expression to unique insights into God's very Person as well as vast segments of God's working, as the Apostles seemingly speak in passing. “The word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth” (Ps. 33:4). “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works” (Ps. 145:17). “I will praise Thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Thy marvellous works” (Ps. 9:1). Such is the nature of God’s works and ways that all who are reconciled unto Him through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, or who are near to Him as the holy angels, living creatures, cherubim, and seraphim, all are constrained to marvel and give unto Him thanksgiving, honor, and praise. They are constrained to ascribe unto Him the greatness that belongs to Him alone, and to the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne. We have included here several that have come to our attention, some with, and others without comment, for our readers' consideration. Each is a precious goldmine of contemplation for those who have been begotten again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
- “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed” (Gal. 3:8).
The blessing here is that of justification and salvation from sin.
That which aforetime seemed to be somewhat obscure is now made abundantly plain in and by the gospel.
The Scripture preached the gospel unto Abraham.
- “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:13-14).
A divine transaction, a blessing proceeding from the curse.
Blessings that have eternal implications and benefits are implied here: eternal life, eternal salvation, everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.
The Lord Jesus Christ was cursed, and now those who are in Him, having believed upon His Name, are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Him.
- “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise” (Gal. 3:17-18).
The Covenant – The New Covenant, (A covenant made between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world, the covenant promised to Abraham, the covenant, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Mediator and Surety. The covenant proclaimed and amplified by the Apostles, and by able ministers of the covenant down through the centuries.)
The Law was added, but it could not disannul the New Covenant.
The New Covenant is of the nature of a promise.
- “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Gal. 3:22).
Here we see an element of marvel with regard to God’s working. What appeared at first to be working condemnation and death, was actually administering salvation and life for those who believed on the Son of God.
- “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18-19).
All things are of the God who has reconciled the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
This is another way of saying that this is what life in this world is all about. The world is an environment where God is teaching men about His beloved Son, preparing many sons for glory and for a dominion in the world to come.
- “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (II Cor. 5:14-15).
Men must draw proper conclusions as they consider the death of Christ in their behalf.
Since Christ died for all, He alone has the rightful claim upon their souls. They must live unto Him.
- “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him” (II Cor. 5:1-9).
Starting out in the faith what Paul has said here is certainly part of our doctrine to be believed. But as men grow up into Christ the doctrine (the things most sure believed among us) must become substantive reality. Faith is substantive.
- “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9).
- “For I am 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 faith: as it is written, The jsteust shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).
In the wisdom of God the proclamation of the gospel has been made the means by which God calls men unto salvation in Christ. The proclamation of Christ's death, His sufferings, His burial, His resurrection, His glorification, and His coming again with power and great glory have become the Divine summons unto eternal glory.
This declaration of the glad tidings of the gospel is to be made by those who are "sent", by those who have tasted of the good Word of God, and have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
- “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth 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. 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 uncircumcision? 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 imputed 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 Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith” (Rom. 4:5-13).
He who believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. To those who are grieved by sin, especially personal sin, this is wonderfully good news! This is a door of hope, even of good hope through grace.
The blessedness described by David was not only for himself, or for those living in his generation. It is for all who have believed the record which God has given of His Son.
The righteousness spoken of here was not deserved by men, rather it was imputed to them because they believed God.
- “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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” (Rom. 8:1-4).
- “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering 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 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 are 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 righteousness, hath not attained to the law 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; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom. 9:22-33).
Each of these declarations are very large in scope, but they give expression to the Mind, purpose, and working of God in salvation. Those with honest a good hearts will earnestly probe into them, and consider them, with the intent of making their calling and election sure, as Peter declared.
- “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 graffed 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 ignorant 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 are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. 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 have 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 all. O 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 counsellor? 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” (Rom, 11:22-36).
- “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:5-7).
- “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (I Jn. 3:2-11).
Christ was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin. Just as surely as He was manifested, our sins, praise God!, have been taken away. Let us fight the good fight of faith and reckon that it is so.
The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the Devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin. because he is born of God.
"He that committeth sin is of the Devil."
- “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (I Jn. 3:16-17).
- “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (I Jn. 4:9-11).
- “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (I Jn. 5:1-5).
The new birth enables men to overcome the world's captivations: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Those who are born again, in the sense that the Scripture speaks, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
New creatures in Christ possess the faith in Him that overcomes the world. By their faith in Christ such ones have tasted of the heavenly gift, and the powers of the world to come, enabling them to resist the Devil, and the temptations that are hurled at them by him.
- “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (I Jn. 5:18-21).
Those who are begotten of God have within them a principle of self-preservation. They "keep themselves" because they have been equipped of God to do so. The new creature senses when danger is near, firming up the spiritual armor: the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, and the feet protected by the preparation of the gospel of peace. Just as surely as the natural man takes measures to protect itself from harm, the new creature does likewise, but with far greater stakes at issue.
- “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (Heb. 7:11-12).