Christ the Son of God
The Scriptures declare plainly that
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and they teach the indivisible unity
of Deity, as the One Father, out of whom all
things have proceeded, and who is supreme above all, even above
Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). Jesus emphasises the distinction between
himself and the Father, in the following statements:
"I can of mine own self do
nothing: as I hear I judge, and my judgment is just, because I
seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath
sent me" (John 5:30).
"My doctrine is not mine,
but his that sent me" (John 7:16).
"It is written in your law
that the testimony of two men is true. l am one that bear witness
of myself; and the Father that sent me (the other witness), beareth
witness of me" (John 8:17-18).
"This is life eternal, that
they might know thee, the only true God, AND Jesus Christ whom
thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
The marked distinction recognised
and affirmed in these statements is incompatible with the doctrine
which regards the Son an essential constituent of the one "triune"
Father. There are "the Father", "the Son", and
"the Holy Spirit". The question is, What is the relation
between the three, as taught in the Scriptures? The objection now
urged is against the relation which Trinitarianism teaches to exist
between these three. The endeavour is to show that they are not
three co-equal powers in one, but powers of which one is the head
and source of the others. The Father is eternal and underived; the
Son is the manifestation of the Father in a man begotten by the
Spirit; the Holy Spirit is the focalisation of the Father’s
power, by means of his "free spirit", which fills heaven
The simple appellation "Son",
as applied to Christ, is sufficient to prove that his existence
is derived, and not eternal. The phrase, "Son of God",
implies that the one God, the eternal Father, was antecedent to
the Son, and that the Son had his origin in or "out of"
the Father to whom he must therefore be subordinate in a sense inconsistent
with Trinitarian representation. "This day have I begotten
thee" is the language of Scripture, clearly pointing to commencement
of days. This view is confirmed by the statement of Christ:
"As the Father hath life
in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself"
Christ, therefore, though now possessed
of inherent life, had been invested with it; it is not in this case
underived. It is only the Great Uncreate, the Father, that can say,
"I am, and there is none else beside me". Yet, though
Christ’s is not an underived existence, it is more directly
divine than the human. A man is an embodiment of his father’s
mortal life-energy. Jesus was not born of the will of the flesh,
but of God. He was begotten of Mary through the power of the spirit.
This was the origin of his title, "the Son of God". See
the angel’s words to Mary:
"Therefore also that holy
thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God"
But, though Son of God, he was flesh
"Forasmuch then as the children
are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took
part of the same... he took not on him
the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his
brethren" (Hebrews 2:14,16-17).
"He was made sin for us,
who knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
As he was in character sinless,
this could only apply to his bodily constitution, which, through
Mary, was the sin-nature of Adam. As Paul says:
"God sent his own Son in
the likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3).
"He was sent forth made of
a woman" (Galatians 4:4).
"Of the seed of David according
to the flesh" (Romans 1:3).
Jesus was "a man approved of
God by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him (after
his thirty years’ preparation) in the midst of Israel"
(Acts 2:22). This is Peter’s description of him. Paul speaks
of him as "the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). He was
tried and disciplined as Adam was, but succeeded where Adam failed.
"Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things
which he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). This precludes the idea of
his being "very God". He was the Son of God, the manifestation
of God by spirit-power, but not God himself. "The life was
manifested", says John, "and we have seen it, and bear
witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the
Father and was manifested unto us"(1 John 1:2).
Again, in his
gospel narrative (chapter 1:14), John says: "The Word was made
flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth", from which
it is evident that Christ was a divine manifestation, an embodiment
of Deity in flesh - Emmanuel, God with us. "God giveth
not the spirit by measure unto him", says the same apostle
(chapter 3:34). The spirit descended upon him in bodily shape at
his baptism in the Jordan, and took possession of him. This was
the anointing which constituted him Christ (or the anointed), and
which gave him the superhuman powers of which he showed himself
possessed. This is clear from the words of Peter, in his address
to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius:
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good,
and healing all that were oppressed" (Acts 10:38).
This statement alone is sufficient
to disprove the popular view of Christ’s essential Godhead.
If he were "very God" in his character as Son, why was
it necessary he should be "anointed" with spirit and power?
He did no miracles before his anointing. He had no power of himself.
This is his own declaration:
"I can of mine own self do
nothing" (John 5:30).
"The Father that dwelleth
in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10).
On Calvary, left to the utter helplessness
of his own humanity, he felt the anguish of the hour and cried out,
"My God, my God, why hast
thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).
Before his anointing, he was simply
the "body prepared" for the divine manifestation that
was to take place through him. The preparation of this body commenced
with the Spirit’s action on Mary, and concluded when Jesus,
being thirty years of age, stood approved in the perfection of a
sinless and mature character. After the Spirit’s descent upon
him, he was the full manifestation of God in the flesh. The Father,
by the Spirit, tabernacled in Christ among men. "God was in
Christ", says Paul, "reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them."
When raised from the dead and glorified,
he was exalted to "all power in heaven and earth"; his
human nature was swallowed up in the divine; the flesh changed to
spirit. Hence, as he now exists, "In him dwelleth all the fulness
of the God-head bodily" (Colossians 2:9). He is now the corporealisation
of life-spirit as it exists in the Deity. But this change from what
he was "the days of his flesh" has not obliterated a single
line of his human recollections. This is evident from Paul’s
words in reference to his priestly function: "We have not an
high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities"
(Hebrews 4:15). This can only be on the principle that Jesus retains
a memory of the infirmity with which he himself was encompassed
in the day of his flesh career upon earth.
When Jesus said, "he that hath
seen me hath seen the Father", he did not contradict the statement
that "no man hath seen God at any time", but simply expressed
the truth contained in the following words of Paul: Christ is "the
image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15), "the brightness
of his glory, and the express image of his person" (Hebrews
1:3). Those who looked upon the anointed Jesus, beheld a representation
of the Deity accessible to human vision.
Jesus declares things of himself
which are held to sanction the idea that he existed as a person
before his birth of Mary; such as that "he came down from heaven
to give life to the world" (John 6:33); that "he proceeded
forth and came from the Father" (John 8:42; 16:28), that he
had "power to lay down his life and power to take it again"
(John 10:18); that he "had glory with the Father before the
world was", and was "loved of him before the foundation
of the world" (John 17:5-24), etc..
It is evident, however, that we
must understand these expressions in the light of the undoubted
facts of Christ’s life and mission. These literal facts are
that he was begotten of the Holy Spirit, and born a baby at Bethlehem
(Luke 1:35, 2:4-7) grew up to be a man, increasing in wisdom with
years, stature, and experience (Luke 2:52); remained the private
and undistinguished son of Joseph the carpenter, until the power
of the Spirit was shed upon him at his baptism (Luke 3:21-23); after
which, he did the works and spoke the words recorded;
that he was put to death through weakness (2 Corinthians 13:4);
was deserted of the power of the Father when suspended on the cross;
and that he was afterwards raised from the dead by the Father (Acts
2:24,32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30,37).
With these facts in view, we are
enabled to attach the proper sense to statements which, in a naked
and detached form, would appear to teach a personal pre-existence.
For instance, when Jesus said to the Pharisees that he came down
from heaven, he could not mean that the person standing before them
had bodily descended from the clouds, as his words, literally understood,
would have taught, and as the Pharisees appeared to have understood;
he meant to say that his origin was from heaven. The "Holy
Spirit" that came upon Mary - the "Power of the Highest"
that overshadowed her, came down from heaven, consequently, the
resultant man could, without extravagance, say he came down from
heaven. The sense was literal as applied to the Power of the Highest
that produced "the man Christ Jesus"; both at the stage
of his begettal and the stage of his anointing on the banks of the
Jordan, when the Spirit descended in bodily form and abode upon
him; but not literal as applied to the man Christ Jesus.
When he said he proceeded forth
and came from God, it was in the sense of these facts. He could
not mean that as a person he had emanated from the very presence
of the Almighty, but that the Father had sent him in the way disclosed
in the record of his birth and baptism. John is described as "a
man sent from God", without meaning to suggest that John existed
before he was born and sent.
When Jesus said he had power to
take up his life after it should be laid down, he expressed the
confidence that God would raise him. It was not power in the dynamic
sense; but authority; he immediately adds, "This commandment
have I received of my Father"; that
is, the taking up of his life would result from the Father’s
power and authority, exercised in accordance with the pledge given
by the Father. Literally, Jesus did not take up his life; the Father
raised him; but because it was the Father’s purpose, and because
the Father spoke through Jesus (John 14:10), Jesus could appropriately
say that he had power to raise up himself. An example of this style
of language, in which what a person has a relation to in the divine
purpose, is considered as under his control and referable to his
power, occurs in Jer.1:10:
"See, I have this day set
thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and
to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and
Literally, the prophet did none
of these things, but was over- powered and slain, as nearly all
the servants of God were; yet the things he predicted came to pass,
and this is taken as a sufficient basis for the highly-wrought language
above quoted, which imputes the result of Jeremiah’s predictions
to Jeremiah’s individual operations.
Christ’s statement that he
had glory with the Father before the world was, must in the same
way be understood in harmony with the elementary facts of the testimony.
The glorification of Jesus was a purpose with the Father from the
beginning: and, in this sense, he had glory with the Father before
the world was. This may appear a strained explanation; but a regard
to the scriptural habit of speech will justify it, in view of the
testified facts of the case.
The Lord said to Jeremiah:
"Before I formed thee in
the belly I knew thee; and before thou
camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee:
and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jeremiah
Now Jeremiah did not exist before
his conception. Yet these words would seem to teach it, if understood
as those who believe in the pre-existence of Christ, understood
the statements about him. As a purpose Jeremiah existed; his person
was as clearly present to the divine mind as if he had stood before
him in actual fact. This is the explanation of words, which, rigidly
construed, would imply Jeremiah’s pre-existence.
Look again at the words spoken of
Cyrus, the Persian ruler, more than a hundred years before he was
"For Jacob my servant’s
sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name,
I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me" (Isaiah
The same remark applies here: Cyrus
was present to the divine contemplation as really as if he existed.
Hence a style of language which would seem to assume his existence
before he was born.
On the same principle, the purpose
to raise a dead man is expressed by ignoring his death, and assuming
his continued existence. Thus Jesus deduces the resurrection from
the fact that God styled himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, at a time when these men were dead. The Sadducees saw the
force of the argument, and were silenced (Matthew 22:31-34). The
principle of the argument is expressed in the words of Paul:
"God who quickeneth the dead,
and calleth those things which be not (but are to be) as
though they were" (Romans 4:17).
The words spoken of Jesus are of
this order. When he said in prayer to the Father, "Thou lovedst
me before the foundation of the world", he did not teach that
he existed from "the foundation of the world", but that
the Father regarded him with love from the beginning, and that,
therefore, to the Father’s mind, he was present. In the words
"He was fore-ordained before
the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times"
(1 Peter 1:20).
The same style of language is adopted
with reference to Christ’s people: "He hath chosen us
in him before the foundation of the world." Literally, this
would prove the existence of believers before the world began, for
properly, a thing must exist to be the object of choice; actually,
it only proves divine foresight. The glory which Jesus had before
the world was, was the glory which God purposed for him from the
beginning. Literally, he had not the glory referred to before the
world was. What was the nature of that glory - the glory Jesus received
in answer to this prayer? He - the bodily
Jesus - the body prepared - that which was evolved from the substance
of Mary and made the subject of the anointing - was made incorruptible
in substance, and the spirit shed upon that substance so abundantly,
that it made him more luminous than the sun (Acts 26:13), and gave
him power to bestow the spirit, and control providence in heaven
and earth. Was Jesus possessed of this glory before he was born?
Was he a body anointed with the spirit before he was the body prepared?
Was he a real resurrected Jesus before Jesus of Nazareth was born
in Bethlehem? Yet this was the glory he had with the Father before
the world was. It was a glory he had in the Father’s purpose,
but in no other sense.
In the same way are we to understand
the words, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). This
was Christ’s answer to the incredulity excited by his statement,
"Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad."
The Jews thought he meant to insinuate that he was contemporary
with Abraham, whereas he only meant to express the fact stated by
Paul in the following words: "These all (including Abraham
- see verse 8) died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off" (Hebrews
11:13). It was this seeing of the promise of Christ "afar off"
that made Abraham glad. It was the day presented in the promises
that he saw, but, as they almost always did, the Jews mistook Jesus,
and, as he was prone to do, he deepened their bewilderment by using
another form of speech, which still more obscured his meaning, on
the principle indicated in Matthew 13:11-15: a form of speech which
in one phrase expressed two aspects of the truth concerning himself,
viz., that he was purposed before Abraham existed, and that the
Father, of whom he was then the manifestation, existed before all.
"I and my Father are one"
He could not mean, in view of all
the testimony, what Trinitarians understand him to mean, that he
and the Father were identically the same person ("the same
in substance, equal in power and glory"), but that they were
one in spirit-connection and design of operations. This is apparent
from his prayer for his disciples, "That they may be one, even
as we are one." The unity is not as to person, but as to nature
and state of mind. This is the unity that exists between the Father
and the Son, and the unity that will be ultimately established between
the Father and his whole family, of whom Christ is the elder brother.
When this unity is established, Christ will take a more subordinate
position than he now occupies, in relation to the race of Adam.
"When all things shall be
subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto
him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all"
(1 Corinthians 15: 28).
This was Christ’s great act
of obedience; but why was such an act of obedience necessary? Nothing
has more staggered thoughtful minds than this question; and yet
nothing is simpler when the Scriptural elements of the case are
all placed together. It is a theological habit to represent the
death of Christ as an act on his part to appease the wrath of the
Father towards sinners. The Scriptures, on the contrary, always
speak of it as an expression of God’s love towards fallen
humanity. We read:
"God so loved
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
Again, John says:
"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...and we have
seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour
of the world" (1 John 4:9,14).
Paul expresses the same sentiment:
"God commendeth his love
toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
us" (Romans 5:8).
"God was in Christ, reconciling
the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them"
(2 Corinthians 5:19).
But the question presses: How was
God’s love manifested in the death of Christ? Could not divine
love have been manifested without so tragic an event? Evidently
not; for on the very eve of crucifixion, Christ prayed to the Father
in these agonising terms: "If it be possible, let this cup
pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt".
The cup did not pass; therefore, it was not possible. He drank it
deep, pouring out his soul unto death. Why was the death of Christ
indispensable? What did it accomplish? A consideration of the testimony
will guide us to an answer which the discarding of the doctrine
of natural immortality prepares us to understand. First let us consider
the following allusions to the object of the crucifixion:
"Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3).
"He was wounded for our transgressions;
he was bruised for our iniquities; and with his stripes we are
healed" (Isaiah 3:5).
"He put away sin by the sacrifice
of himself" (Hebrews 11:26).
"Christ our passover is sacrificed
for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).
"God spared not his own Son,
but delivered him up for us all" (Romans 8:32).
"While we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
"We have redemption through
his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:14).
"Having made peace through
the blood of his cross, to reconcile all things" (verse 20).
"You he hath reconciled in
the body of his flesh through death" (verse 22).
"His own self bare our sins
in his own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).
"The Son of man came to give
his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
"The man Christ Jesus, who
gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5,6).
"Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity"
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, who
gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this
present evil world" (Galatians 1:3-4).
"This is my blood of the
new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins"
"Thou wast slain, and hast
redeemed us to God by thy blood" (Revelation 5:9).
hese statements affirm a connection
between the death of Christ and the restoration of sinful man to
divine favour and life. It is not the mere fact of Christ’s
transfixion on the cross by the Romans, that constitutes the saving
and enlightening truth of the matter; it is the principles involved
in the tragedy that constitute the truth to be known. These principles
have been divinely revealed. The first is, that "the wages
of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Paul says, "By one man
sin entered into the world, and death by sin" (Romans 5:12).
Adam disobeyed a command given to him, and, in consequence of disobedience,
was condemned to return to the ground from whence he
came. Hence, "sin", which has become an
obscure and unintelligible term, is simply disobedience. It is,
in fact, so styled by Paul in the very chapter in which he describes
Adam’s act as "sin". He says, "By one man’s
disobedience many were made sinners" (Romans 5:19). Sin being
disobedience or transgression (agreeable with John’s definition,
"Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4), we
are enabled to understand the relation of death to it.
is not a "state of the soul", or "peril of eternal
damnation in the flames of hell"; both of which are unknown
to Scripture, either in word or idea, being pagan corruptions
of the truth. The death resulting from Adam’s transgression
is a dissolution of being in the grave. Hence Paul puts resurrection
by Christ in antithesis to death by Adam. "For since by man
came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead."
This being the nature of death, we are enabled to understand the
law which makes it the result of sin. Sin being the transgression
or disobedience of the divine law, the perpetrator of it is out
of joint with the law of well-being, whether as regards himself,
others, or God. He cannot have joy of himself, he cannot yield happiness
to others, and he cannot yield pleasure to his Creator. Misery is
the result of such a state; and it is one of the beneficent ordinances
of God that perpetual existence shall be impossible under such circumstances
- that death (extinction of being) shall follow in the train of
moral pestilence, and wipe its evil results from the face of creation.
He will not allow the evil to become permanent. So far from decreeing
or countenancing an eternal hell, where sinners shall writhe and
devils triumph to all eternity, his law, with jealous and inexorable
power, follows close on the heels of sin, and suppresses the very
germ of rebellion and misery.
This is the first principle to be
apprehended before the crucifixion can be understood. Adam, the
father of the race, disobeying in face of the declared penalty of
death, brought upon himself the threatened sentence, and his posterity
are involved in the same condemnation, for the simple reason that
they are but propagations of his own being in all its qualities
and relations, and also because they are themselves, every one of
them, sinners by actual transgression, and, therefore, on their
own account, subject to death.
Now here is the problem to be solved,
and which has been solved in the death and resurrection of the Lord
Jesus: how is condemned human nature to be emancipated from the
law of sin and death, in harmony with the righteousness that has
brought that law into force? If humanity were left to itself, it
would inevitably perish; because it is not only incapable of a perfect
righteousness, but it cannot set aside the condemnation in which
it already exists. God’s plan in Christ has given us a scheme
by which human salvation is achieved without the violation of any
of his laws, which are necessary to the maintenance of his supremacy
in the universe. Christ meets all the necessities of the case. The
first necessity was that the law, both Edenic and Mosaic, should
be upheld. The law required the death of the transgressing nature,
viz., human nature. He had this nature, and he died:
"Forasmuch then as the children
are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took
part of the same . . . He took not on him the nature of angels,
but he took on him the seed of Abraham" (Hebrews 2:14,16)
But it was also necessary that such
a sufferer should be sinless, because sin would have prevented resurrection
to life immortal. His necessity for sinlessness in "the Lamb
of God" was constantly prefigured under the law by the spotlessness
of the beasts offered in sacrifice. Christ as the great antitype
fulfilled this condition: "He was holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners". He could triumphantly ask his persecutors,
"Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:46). If Christ
had been son of Adam merely, he would have been a sinner, and, therefore,
unfit for sacrificial purposes. On the other hand, if he had been
clothed with angelic or immaculate nature, he would have been equally
disqualified, inasmuch as it was necessary that the sinning nature
should suffer in him. The combination of condemned human nature
with personal sinlessness was effected through divine power begetting
a son from Mary’s substance. A "Lamb of God", was
thus produced, guileless from his paternity, and yet inheriting
the human sin-nature of his mother.
It is not possible that "The
blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Hebrews
10:4), for the reason that appears in view of all these facts. The
law would admit of no substitute, but exacted the very nature obnoxious
to its penalty. Christ, then, "being found in fashion as a
man", and yet being sinless, was a perfect sacrifice; because
being the representative of human nature he could meet all the claims
of God’s law upon that nature, and yet triumph over its operation
by a resurrection to immortal life. The Lamb being provided, the
sacrifice followed. The "Messiah was cut off", "he
was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities:...
the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
God dealt with him representatively.
There is a great difference between a representative and a substitute.
A representative is not disconnected from those represented. On
the contrary, those represented go through with him all that he
goes through. But in the case of a substitute, it is otherwise.
He does his part instead of those for whom he it the substitute,
and these are dissociated from the transgression.
Christ suffering as the representative
of his people, is one with them, and they are one with him. In what
he went through they went through. Hence, Paul says believers were
crucified with Christ, and baptised into his death. This death he
declares to have been "the declaration of the righteousness
Christ having died, God raised him
from the dead to a glorious existence, even to divine nature. This
was the essential point of the scheme, as appears from 1st Corinthians
15:17,20: "If Christ be not raised your faith is
vain, ye are yet in your sins. But now is Christ risen
from the dead"; and being raised, he constitutes the "one
name given under heaven whereby men must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
If Christ had been a personal transgressor, the law of sin would
have kept him in the grave, and the scheme of salvation would have
miscarried at its vital point. The way of salvation could not have
been opened through him; a dead Saviour would have been no ark of
refuge, no life-giver to the mortal sons of men.
But Christ, after suffering the
natural penalty of disobedience in human nature, having been raised
from the dead to live for evermore, he is "the Saviour of all
such as come to him". He has life for bestowal by his own right.
"This is the record, that
God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is
in his son. He that hath the Son hath life, and
he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:11-12).
Life is deposited in him for our
acceptance, on condition of allying ourselves to him, yea, on condition
of our entry into him, and becoming part of him; for Paul says of
those who are in Christ, "We are members of his body, of his
flesh, and of his bones", and the aggregate of such are designated
"the Bride, the Lamb’s wife", "his body, the
Divine wisdom, which is foolishness
with men, has provided a means whereby we get the benefit of the
result achieved in Christ. Baptism in water is the ceremony by which
believing men and women are united to Christ, and constituted heirs
of the life everlasting which he possesses in his own right:
"As many of you as have been
baptised into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).
Entering into Christ, we are made
one with him, and become heirs to the privileges of the position
which he has established in himself, after the analogy of the woman
who, at her betrothal, obtains a prospective title to that which
belongs to the man to whom she is betrothed. In the first Adam,
we inherit death without the possibility of retrieving our misfortune,
so long as we remain connected with him. In the last Adam (who,
however, it must always be borne in mind, ascended to the last Adam
position from the first Adam state), we obtain a title to eternal
life. Hence the words of the apostle Paul: "As in Adam all
die; even so in Christ shall all be made alive", that is, the
"all" of whom he is speaking, viz., believers of the truth,
as may be seen by the context (1 Corinthians 15:22-23), and only
those who are found worthy at the judgment-seat. He is speaking
here of being made alive immortally, not of mere resuscitation of
mortal life to judgment, of which many will be the subjects who
have never been Christians, but who are among the responsible unjust
by reason of their privileges.
By nature we are in Adam. By the
gospel and baptism we pass "into Christ". This is God’s
appointment; and we cannot be saved except by compliance with his
appointments. Natural virtue will avail nothing, because, in itself,
it is related only to the present, and establishes no right in respect
of future existence. Those who are trusting to it, are building
their house upon a foundation of sand. There is only one name given
under heaven whereby men can be saved; and if we refuse to put on
that name, and thus reject Christ, "who is made unto us wisdom,
and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians
1:30), there remains nothing for us but the utter worthlessness
of our own mortality, which without redemption will perish for ever
under the just condemnation of him who hath already passed the decree
in prospect: "Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away
even that he hath." O reader, "refuse not him that speaketh".
Turn not thine ear from the invitation which calls thee to drink
of the fountain of the water of life freely. Gladly accept it; humbly
comply with its requirements; and thou shalt, in due time, be delivered
from the bondage of mortal flesh which lies heavy upon thee, and
be promoted to the glorious liberty of the children of God!
(Extracted from Christendom Astray
by Robert Roberts with slight amendments to reflect the current
state of affairs among the nations. Copies of this excellent guide
to understanding the Bible are available by contacting