ALLEGED Discrepancies of the BIBLE #6
MAN, in Relation to the Present—Creation
Like God by creation.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God created he him.
In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him.
This likeness acquired. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall he opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. . .. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.
A certain sceptical critic, referring to these two classes of texts, remarks: "In the first, man is made in the image of God; in the second, likeness to the Deity comes to him by subsequently knowing good and evil." The first texts,
Quoted in Journal of Sacred Literature (April, 1854), pp. 104-105.
however, refer to man's spiritual constitution; the second, to his acquired knowledge, or his power to discriminate between good and evil. Man's spirit is made "in the image" of God, who is a Spirit; man's knowledge of good and evil, in virtue of which he is, in a sense, "like God," was acquired.
Made in image of God.
In the image of God made he man.
Created male and female.
Male and female created he them.
The first text contemplates the soul, the immaterial part; the second refers to the material, physical organism of human beings. Maimonides says: "Made in the image of God in respect to the soul and understanding; created male and female in respect to corporeal composition."
Made like God.
And God said, Let us make man in our
image, after our likeness.
None like Him.
To whom then will ye liken me, or shall
I be equal? saith the Holy One.
The first text conveys the idea of resemblance; the second of equality. We may resemble God in certain respects without being equal to him.
No man without sin.
There is no man that sinneth not.
1 Kings 8:46
The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all-together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God.
There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in as.
1 John 1:8
Some are sinless.
Noah was a just man and perfect in his
generations, and Noah walked with
Job... was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. Psalm 24:3, 4
Preserve my soul; for lam holy.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good.
These things write I unto you, that ye sin not.
1 John 2:1
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. . . . 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.
The first series of passages contemplates men in their unregenerate state. These texts teach the undeniable truth that no mere human being has ever reached the age of accountability without violating the moral law, without sinning. They are a strong, emphatic statement of the fact that, as certainly as human beings arrive at years of discretion, so certainly do they become sinners. Since "all have sinned," therefore, "if we say that we have no sin"—that we have kept ourselves from sin, and hence do not need pardon—"we deceive ourselves."
Mark 10:18 simply asserts that no being is absolutely good—good per se—except God. His is absolute, underived goodness; men are "good" not in the sense in which he is good, but relatively and by derivation.
The citations of the second series, except those from 1 John 3, refer to men possessing the relative goodness just mentioned. The texts excepted are interpreted in the following manner: "Whosoever sinneth." Doddridge says, "Who habitually and avowedly sinneth." "Doth not commit sin." According to Mr. Barnes, the interpretation should be: "Is not willfully and deliberately a sinner." He may err, and be "overtaken in a fault," but the misdeed is not intentional. "He cannot sin" that is, it is incompatible with his views, feelings, and purposes. We have here a fresh illustration of that moral impossibility which has been already mentioned more than once.
Andrew Fuller:187 "It appears that the word 'sin' in these passages, is of different significations. In the former, it is to be taken properly for any transgression of the law of God. If any man say, in this sense, he has no sin, he only proves himself to be deceived, and that he has yet to learn what is true religion. But in the latter, it seems, from the context, that the term is intended to denote the sin of apostasy. If we were to substitute the term 'apostasy' for 'sin' from the sixth to the tenth verse, the meaning would be clear."
187 Works, i. 682.
Dr. Davidson 188 calls attention to the form of expression in the original, 1 John 3:9, and observes: "There is an emphasis in the verb 'poi.' It denotes the habitual working of sin."
Dusterdieck 189 thinks that the last citations from 1 John present the ideal standard which continually, so to speak, floats above the actual life of believers as their rule and aim, and that this norm finds in such actual life only a relative fulfilment, yet that, even in the actual life of all that are born of God, there is something which in full verity answers to the ideal words, "They cannot sin." That is, they sin not, and cannot sin, just in proportion as the new, divine life, unconditionally opposed to all sin, and manifesting itself in godlike righteousness, is present and abides in them.
In a word, the texts just mentioned are descriptions of the ideal Christian.
THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE BRINGS OUT THE GREEK: IN JOHN THE CHRISTIAN DOES NOT PRACTICE SIN; DOES NOT DELIBERATELY LEAD A LIFE OF SIN; ALL EXPLAINED FULLY AS I GO THROUGH THE LETTERS OF JOHN IN MY "NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE STORY" ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt
God hath made man upright - Ecclesicclesiastes 7:29
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in
sin did my mother conceive me.
The latter text is simply an Oriental hyperbolical way of saying that he had begun to sin at the earliest practicable period. This language is no more to be pressed literally than is Job's 190 declaration that he had guided the widow "from his mother's womb." That is, as Delitzsch says, "from earliest youth, so far back as he can remember, he was wont to behave like a father to the orphan and like a child to the widow." To take the language, in either case, in a rigidly literal sense, is a gross absurdity.
THE FIRST TEXT - GOD HAS DESIGNED HIS PLAN OF SALVATION THAT CAN MAKE MAN UPRIGHT - Keith Hunt
THE LATTER TEXT - SIN WAS ALL AROUND IN THE WORLD, AND WE ARE BORN WITH A NATURE THAT CAN SIN; AS WE HAVE SEEN, ALL EVENTUALLY DO SIN - Keith Hunt
For vain man would be wise, though
man be born like a wild ass's colt.
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Infants are sinless.
Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither.
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil.
188 Sacred Hermeneutics, p. 579.
189 Quoted by Alford.
190 Chap. 31:18.
As to the three quotations from Job, we observe, first, that they are couched in poetical and figurative language. Second, as we have remarked elsewhere, there is no proof that Job and his friends were inspired as religious teachers, as were the prophets and apostles. That the author of the book was "moved by the Holy Spirit" to record its contents is beyond doubt; but that we are to take the words of Satan, of Job's wife, of the patriarch himself, and of his friends, as "proof-texts" upon which to build stupendous structures of theology, we cannot for a moment admit. Says Prof. Stuart,191 "Just as if these angry disputants, who contradict each other, and most of whom God himself has declared to be in the wrong (Job 42:7-9), were inspired when they disputed."
Psalm 58:3, like 51:5 considered above, is a poetical hyperbole. The absurdity of a literal interpretation is obvious from the fact that the wicked are represented as "speaking lies," as soon at they are born. Literalistic exegesis would make them rather precocious. The meaning plainly is that they begin very early, as soon as possible, to speak lies and to go astray.
The "foolishness" of Proverbs 22 can hardly be sin, for sin cannot be removed by corporal punishment. A higher power than the "rod" is requisite to the expulsion of sin, and the cleansing of the soul.
IT IS THE SILLY AND STUPID MISTAKES CHILDREN CAN MAKE IN THIS LIFE THEY LIVE, WHICH OFTEN NEEDS STRONG CORRECTION TO GUIDE THEM AWAY FROM - Keith Hunt
As to John 3:6, there are two interpretations. 1. That given by Meyer: The flesh is the material nature of man, determined ethically by the sinful impulses of which it is the seat. Whatever is born from this sensuous and sinfully determined human nature is a being of the same sensuous, sinfully constituted nature
191 History of Old Testament, Canon, p. 144 (Revised edition, p. 133).
without the spiritual and ethical life which first arises through the action of the Divine Spirit. 2. The language may have had a special application. Nicodemus had just suggested the impossibility of a second natural birth. Christ may have meant simply, "even were it possible, you would gain nothing by it: you would still be what you now are." That is, the language may have been designed to teach, not that infants are actually born sinful, but that a second physical birth, were it possible, would fail to introduce a man into the "kingdom of God."
At all events, the theory that children are born with certain perverted tendencies or natural proclivities to sin, which, though not sinful per se, do nevertheless certainly lead the individual into sin as soon as he is capable of moral action, will satisfy the demands of a reasonable exegesis.
Matthew 18:3 asserts that we must "become as little children"—docile, loving, guileless—in order to enter in to "the kingdom of heaven."
Luke 18:15 takes up the same thought in respect to infants,192 and declares that "of such is the kingdom of heaven"; that is, it is composed of little children, and of those persons who possess the childlike character and spirit. It would appear, therefore, that these two passages are utterly incompatible with the theory that children are born into the world laden with guilt, permeated with and steeped in the virus of sin.
Romans 9:11 brings to view certain children which, though alive,193 had "done neither good nor evil." Now, since sin is the "transgression of the law," these children, having violated no law, could not possibly be sinners. Nor do we discover anything in the accident of birth which could fix the stain of sin upon their souls. A fair inference, then, is that, since they were not sinners before birth, they did not become such at birth, nor until they wilfully violated, to some extent, the law of God. Nor does it appear that the case of these children was, in respect to this exemption, an exceptional one. Hence the theory that infants come into the world actually sinful or guilty would not seem to be supported either by reason or by the testimony of Scripture.
DEUT. 1:39 SHOWS CHILDREN MUST GET TO A CERTAIN AGE BEFORE THEY CAN KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG WITHIN THE WILL AND LAW OF GOD - Keith Hunt
Children of wrath naturally.
And were by nature the children of
wrath, even as others.
Keep the law by nature.
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 show the work of the law written in their hearts.
192 The original word here is different, and, as Alford says, "points out more distinctly the
tender age of the children."
193 See Genesis 25:22-23.
Andrew Fuller: The phrase "by nature" in the latter refers to the rule of action; but in the former to the cause of it.
Dr. Hodge: "'By nature' in virtue of their internal constitution, not by external instruction." Riickert: "We were born children of wrath; i.e. such as we were from our birth, we were exposed to the divine wrath, is the true sense of these words."
Suicer 194 renders the word "phusis," in Ephesians 2:3, "truly, incontestably" The Syriac Peshito reads: "And were altogether the children of wrath." Dr. Adam Clarke and Bishop Ellicott doubt whether there is in this text any direct assertion of the doctrine of original sin.
We take the sense to be, "And were, in our unregenerate condition, the children of wrath." In this interpretation, Mr. Barnes concurs. Or, a different explanation may be given. The term "nature" may here denote our natural proclivities and tendencies to sin; the idea being that, in consequence of the development of these, we were the children of wrath.
Upon any reasonable explanation, the words "were by nature the children of wrath" do not imply that we were born sinning or sinful. Man is "by nature" a talking being, yet he was not necessarily born talking We are "by nature" offspring-loving beings, yet it by no means follows that we were born in the actual exercise of this "natural affection." So the fact that we are sinners "by nature" does not necessitate that we were sinners before, or even at birth, but merely that we are such at the result of our natural proclivities to evil.
YES BORN WITH A NATURE THAT CAN SIN; BUT TIME IS NEEDED FOR THAT NATURE TO MANIFEST ITSELF - HENCE THE TRUTH OF DEUT. 1:39. IT IS ALSO OUR NATURE TO BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT FOR OURSELVES SOME OF THE LAW OF GOD, I.E. SOCIETIES CAN FIGURE FOR THEMSELVES IT CANNOT ALLOW PEOPLE TO WILLFULLY KILL OTHER PEOPLE, OR ROB A BANK, OR SEXUALLY ABUSE CHILDREN, OR BEATUP AND STEAL FROM AN OLD LADY - Keith Hunt
All made sinners by Adam.
Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and to death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. .. . Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.
Made righteous by Christ
Even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
There are two interpretations of the last two texts. (1) That the "free gift" is adapted to all men, and has a tendency to restore them to the divine favor. Barnes: "'Came upon all men—was with reference to all men; had a bearing upon all men; was originally adapted to the race." John Taylor: "The drift of the apostle's conclusion is to show that the Gift, in its utmost extent, is free to all mankind."
194 Thesaurus, Vol. ii., col. 1475. Similarly Grotius and several early writers. Compare the German "naturlich."
Calvin: The apostle makes the grace "common to all, because it is offered to all, not because it is in fact applied to all."
(2) That the words "all" and "many," in the eighteenth and nineteenth verses, are each used in two senses, a wider and a narrower. Dr. Hodge thinks that, in the first clause of each verse, "all" means all who are connected with Adam; in the second clause, all who are connected with Christ. Alford says that both classes of men meet in the word "many." A common term of quantity is found for both; the one extending to its largest numerical interpretation; the other restricted to its smallest. In either view, there is no discrepancy.
JUDGMENT AND SIN COMES TO ALL BECAUSE EVENTUALLY ALL DO SIN IF LIVING BEYOND THE AGE OF INNOCENCE [DEUT. 1:39]; AND SIN ENTERED THE WORLD OF HUMANS THROUGH ADAM.
IT WAS ALSO THROUGH ONE MAN - CHRIST JESUS - THAT THE WAY TO REDEMPTION AND SALVATION CAN BE [IF TAKEN] POSSIBLE FOR ALL. THE WORD "MANY" MUST BE TAKEN WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF OTHER VERSES. MAN AND SIN, THE MANY IS "ALL" - EVERYONE LIVING BEYOND THE AGE OF INNOCENCE DO "ALL" SIN. THE MANY UNTO JUSTIFICATION BY THE ONE MAN CHRIST, IS THOUGH OFFERED FREELY TO ALL EVENTUALLY IN GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION, IT IS ONLY THE "MANY" OF THE ALL, THOSE WHO WILL ACCEPT CHRIST AS PERSONAL SAVIOR, WILL BE JUSTIFIED AND SAVED UNTO SALVATION. THE CONTEXT OF WORDS USED MUST BE UNDERSTOOD WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE SUBJECT; IN THIS CASE THE SUBJECT BEING SIN AND JUSTIFICATION - Keith Hunt
Mans own act.
Repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Now commandeth all men every where to repent.
To give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
2 Timothy 2:25
The word "repentance" is used in two senses. In the first series, it denotes the act of repenting; in the second, the opportunity, motives, and helps of that act. Hackett: " 'To give repentance' i.e. the grace or disposition to exercise it." De Wette: "The opportunity to repent, or the provision of mercy which renders repentance available to the sinner."
YES GOD GIVES THE OPPORTUNITY TO MANKIND TO REPENT; EACH PERSON MUST THEN MAKE THE FREE WILL TO DECIDE IF THEY WILL REPENT; GOD WOULD LIKE, WISH, DESIRE, THEM TO REPENT; BUT THE PERSON HAS THE FREE CHOICE TO DECIDE. MANY OTHER VERSES SHOW MANKIND IS SPIRITUALLY BLINDED, UNTIL GOD REMOVES THAT BLINDNESS, HENCE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REPENT; BUT GOD DOES NOT FORCE ANYONE, THEY MUST FREELY CHOOSE TO REPENT - Keith Hunt
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of
your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. Deuteronomy 10:16
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes.
O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Turn ye unto me.
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.
Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man.
And the Lord thy God will circumcise
thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to
love the Lord thy God with all thine
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.
Turn thou us unto thee. O Lord, and we shall be turned.
But God. . . when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ . . . And hath raised us up together. . . . For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
The simple fact is, that man is both active and passive in regeneration. The first series of texts brings to view his activity; the second, his passivity. Man is active in thinking upon the truth, in exercising his sensibilities in relation to it, and in giving up his heart to God; he is passive in that he is acted upon by the truth, and also by the Holy Spirit. He both acts and is acted upon. God does not, so far as we know, regenerate beings in a state of insensibility or indifference. There is, in a certain sense, a cooperation of the divine agency and the human in the regeneration of the soul. As Prof. Phelps 195 has said: "We cannot mistake in recognizing as another law of the Holy Spirit, that his work shall be concurrent with the will of the regenerate soul itself. Sanctification is a cooperative process. It may be suspended by resistance, and accelerated by obedience to the divine impulses. . . . Not by the breadth of a hair will the sovereignty of God invade the enclosure of that soul's freedom. The soul itself, in its own individuality, is the thing he would save. Its own love is the thing he craves. Its own submission is the right he claims. Its own chosen obedience is the service he requires."
This same idea of cooperation is expressed in the words of Paul:196 "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight. . . . We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:20, 28
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? . . . Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. . . . Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? .. . Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. . . . For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
James 2:14,17, 21-22, 24,26
195 The New Birth, pp. 243-244.
196 Philippians 2:12-13.
There is no collision between Paul and James. They merely present different aspects or relations of the same great truth. Paul is arguing against self-righteous religionists, who rely for salvation upon external morality, upon mere works; James addresses those who maintain that, provided a mans belief is correct, it matters little what his conduct is; that a "bare assentive faith is sufficient for salvation, without its living fruits in a holy life." In a word, Paul is combating Pharisaism; James, Antinomianism. One asserts: "Works are good for nothing except as they spring from faith"; the other responds: "Faith is of no value except as it produces works." Both together affirm the inseparable connection and unalterable relation of faith and works as cause and effect. John Taylor of Norwich: "The apostle James manifestly speaks of works consequent to faith, or of such works as are the fruit and product of faith. Whereas, St. Paul speaks of and rejects works considered as antecedent to faith. According to St. Paul, Abraham's justification refers to his state before he believed, or when he was ungodly; according to St. James, to his state after he believed, or when faith wrought with his works."
Whately: "Abraham is cited by Paul as an example of a man 'justified by faith' and by James, of a man 'justified by works'; the faith being manifested by the works which sprung out of it."
Andrew Fuller: "Paul treats of the justification of the ungodly, or the way in which sinners are accepted of God, and made heirs of eternal life. James speaks of the justification of the godly, or in what way it becomes evident that a man is approved of God. The former is by the righteousness of Christ; the latter is by works."
Stuart: "Paul is contending with a legalist, i.e. one who expected justification on the ground of his own merit. James is disputing with antinomians, such persons as held that mere speculative belief or faith, unaccompanied by works, was all which the gospel demands."
Alford and De Wette understand "faith," as used by James, to denote the result of the reception of the word, especially in a moral point of view; as used by Paul, as consisting in trust on the grace of God revealed in the atoning death of Christ.
THE FIRST PART ABOVE SAYS IT NICELY AND SUCCINCTLY. I HAVE COVERED IT IN-DEPTH IN MY STUDY CALLED "SAVED BY GRACE" - Keith Hunt
Through the truth.
Sanctify them through thy truth.
Through the Spirit.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit.
1 Peter 1:2
They were sanctified by the truth applied by the Spirit. The two were instruments in the work of sanctification. In the first passage, Alford employs the preposition "in," since the truth is the element in which the sanctifying takes place. As to the second text, the word "spirit" may refer either to the believer's own spirit, or to the Holy Spirit. Alford takes the latter signification; Beza says, "Vel Spiritus Sanctus, vel anima quae sanctificatur." The interpretation, "sanctification by the Spirit, in the truth," meets the requirements of both texts alike.
The fuller expression, 197 "Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," conveys the same idea.
Christians are perfect.
Be ye therefore perfect, even us your
Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded.
Paul was not perfect.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.
The term "perfect" is used here in different senses. In Matthew it means complete, all-embracing, godlike in love of others. In Philippians 3:15 it means mature in Christian life. In the texts at the right it probably refers to the completion of Paul's life by martyrdom. Clement of Alexandria applies the term "perfection," "teleiosis," to the martyrdom of believers. He says: "We call martyrdom 'perfection,' 'teleiosis,' not because man receives it as the completion of life, but because it is the consummation of the work of love." Several other early writers
197 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
use the word, and its derivatives, in a similar sense.198 Hence Paul's meaning may be: "My Christian career has not yet culminated in martyrdom."
Many critics, however, think that he is alluding to the games or races of the ancients, and says figuratively that he—as a Christian—had not completed his course, and arrived at the goal, so as to receive the prize.
THE LAST IS MORE CORRECT. WE AS CHRISTIANS ARE TO MOVE TOWARDS THE PERFECTION OF THE FATHER; WE ARE PERFECT IN THE SENSE OF UNDER GOD'S GRACE - AS SINLESS THROUGH CHRIST. WE MUST ALSO AS CHRISTIANS REALIZE WE WILL NOT BE PERFECTED IN GLORY, IMMORTALITY, TILL THE RESURRECTION, WHEN WE SHALL BE TRULY PERFECTED IN SINLESSNESS AS THE FATHER AND CHRIST ARE - Keith Hunt
Impossible to fall from grace.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.
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. . . . 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.
Romans 8:29-30, 38-39
Some do fall from grace.
But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? ... But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition.
Hebrews 10:26-29, 39
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world
through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome,
the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
For it had been better for them not to have known the
way of righteousness, than, after they have known it,
to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2 Peter 2:20-21
198 Comp. Luke 13:32; where the Peshito reads "shall be consummated."
The first series does not teach the impossibility of falling from grace, but merely the certainty that this will not occur. The auxiliary "shall" is too strong in these passages. The original expresses 'futurities,' thus; "will any pluck them out," "will be able to separate us," etc.
The second series may be taken as mere hypotheses—suppositions introduced for argument's sake. Such figures of speech are very common. Thus, in Galatians 1:8, Paul introduces this hypothesis: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." He does not, of course, mean to affirm that an "angel from heaven" ever did, or would, preach a false gospel; he merely says: "On the supposition that one should do it." In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, we have three of these hypotheses, or "suppositions without regard to fact," as they may be termed.
The hypothetical nature of the quotation from Ezekiel is clearly brought out in the parallel passage, Ezekiel 33:13: "When I shall say to the righteous that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness," etc.
In John 17:12, some construe thus: "None of them is lost; but the son of perdition is lost." This interpretation excludes Judas from the number of those who were "given" to Christ. Otherwise, if Judas is included, it may be said that those of whom Christ spoke were given simply for the "ministry and apostle-ship";199 and that nothing more is meant here.
199 Acts 1:25.
The quotations from Hebrews200 and Peter are so obviously hypothetical that no comment is needed. Alford has the peculiar remark: "Elect and regenerate are not convertible terms. All elect are regenerate; but all regenerate are not elect. The regenerate may fall away; the elect never can."
Barnes, on Hebrews 6:6: "It is not an affirmation that any had actually fallen away, or that, in fact, they would do it; but the statement is, that on the supposition that they had fallen away, it would be impossible to renew them again."
It may be added that Calvinistic authors interpret the latter series of texts as referring to persons who have been considerably enlightened, but not truly converted; who have never really participated in the spiritual life. Armenian authors, and Alford with them, refer these texts to persons who, after being regenerated, have deliberately apostatized from Christ and his religion. The alleged discrepancy is easily removed by either method of interpretation.
FOR THOSE TRULY IN CHRIST, TRULY CONVERTED, THEY WILL REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE END. I GUESS YOU MIGHT SAY, DEEPLY CONVERTED. THOSE WHO NEVER HAD THE DEEP CONVERSION, ARE INDEED SUBJECT [UNDER VARIOUS TRIALS, TEST, TROUBLES, PERSECUTIONS] TO FALLING AWAY FROM GRACE - Keith Hunt
Christians not destroyed.
And I give unto them eternal life; and
they shall never perish.
May be destroyed.
Destroy not him with thy meat, for
whom Christ died.
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
1 Corinthians 8:11
These cautions and admonitions of the apostle are one of the effective means which God uses in preventing the destruction of weak believers.
SHOWS THERE IS THE FIRST CONVERSION….. THEN IN TIME A DEEPER CONVERSION - Keith Hunt
The "called" all saved.
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.
For many be called, but few chosen.
The word "call," in the first case, signifies the "effectual call," such as secures its own acceptance, and the salvation of the "called." In the second case, the term denotes the general invitation of the gospel, extended to all men.
THIS IS FULLY EXPLAINED IN MY STUDY "CALLED AND CHOSEN - WHEN?" AGAIN IT IS THE CONTEXT OF HOW THE WORD "CALLED" IS USED. THERE IS A CALLING TO HEAR THE GOSPEL; AND THERE IS A CALLING THAT MOVES FROM JUST HEARING TO ACTING UPON, BECOMING THEN A PART OF THE "CHOSEN" - Keith Hunt
No evil befalls the Godly.
There shall no evil happen to the just. Proverbs 12:21
And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
1 Peter 3:13
Evil befalls them.
So went Satan forth from the presence
of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
1 Schoettgen gives a peculiar turn to Hebrews 6:6. See Horae Hebrakae, pp. 954-956.
The meaning is, that no permanent or ultimate evil befalls the good. All apparent evils which overtake them are but temporary, and result in high and lasting good. "All things"—the afflictions which came upon Job and the chastisements which God inflicts upon his people—"work together for good to them that love God."201 Not seldom the grown-up man is profoundly grateful for the disciplinary chastisement received from parents and teachers in his childhood. So the Christian, looking back from heaven, will doubtless thank God for the trials and sufferings of this earthly life, as for blessings in disguise.
THE BETTER ANSWER IS THAT THE BIBLE USES "GENERAL STATEMENTS" - FOR WE SEE IN HEBREWS 11 SOME DO SUFFER PERSECUTION AND EVEN DEATH, FOR THE SAKE OF GOD AND HIS TRUTH; WHILE OTHERS LIKE THE APOSTLE JOHN GO THROUGH LIFE UNHARMED AND DIE OF OLD AGE - Keith Hunt
Worldly good and prosperity.
And the Lord was with Joseph, and he
was a prosperous man.
So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.
His leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Worldly misery and destitution.
There be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins, and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.
These are they which came out of great tribulation.
The first texts lay down the general principle that righteousness has a tendency to ensure prosperity in worldly matters; yet they do not assert that this result invariably follows. We say, "Honesty is the best policy," yet we know that some rascals grow rich, while some honest men never succeed in business. Righteousness, because it promotes temperance, industry, frugality, and all other worthy qualities, tends normally to worldly prosperity.
AGAIN THE BIBLE USES "GENERAL STATEMENTS" ALL OVER THE PLACE; GENERAL MEANS IT IS NOT CAST IN STONE - Keith Hunt
201 Compare Romans 8:28, and Hebrews 12:11.
As to Joseph and Job, neither of them escaped very sore trials. The first citation from Psalms is a poetical statement of the principle that righteousness is conducive to worldly prosperity; the second asserts that no actual, ultimate good will be wanting to the righteous.
The second series sets forth certain apparent exceptions to the general rule, and illustrates the truth that, owing to the wickedness of the world, the pious encounter hostility and persecution in some form.
The first text of this series asserts that, in some cases, an apparently similar fate attends the evil and the good. But, as Hengstenberg says, this equality of result is only an external and partial one; while the final issue separates the righteous from the wicked.
The two next passages refer to the disciples and the ancient martyrs. The text from Revelation implies that the righteous enter heaven through "great trials" of various kinds. The combined passages teach that, while righteousness tends normally to secure earthly prosperity; yet, in certain cases, this tendency is temporarily interrupted by certain disturbing influences.
AGAIN "GENERAL STATEMENTS" - BUT IN THE END THE RIGHTEOUS WILL ALL PROSPER, WHILE THE UN-REPENTANT SINNER WILL NOT - Keith Hunt
Worldly prosperity, a reward.
If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.
His seed shall be mighty upon earth; the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house.
In the house of the righteous is much treasure.
He shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth. . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:19, 21
Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God.. .. But woe unto you that are rich!
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.
As to the quotation from Job, the best critics agree substantially in the rendering, "Cast to the dust thy precious treasure, and to the stones of the brooks the gold of Ophir; then shall the Almighty be thy precious treasure," etc. This is nearly Conant's translation. Delitzsch; "Put far from thee the idol of precious metal with contempt." When Job thus casts from him temporal things, by the excessive cherishing of which he has hitherto sinned, God himself will be his imperishable treasure."
The texts from Psalms assert that God will not forsake his people, but will supply their needs. All exceptions to this rule are apparent, not real.
On Proverbs 15:6, Zockler: "The treasure stored up in such a house is the righteousness that prevails in it, a source and pledge of abiding prosperity."
In Mark 10:30 the limiting clause, "with persecutions," shows clearly that unmixed prosperity is not promised to the Christian.
The opposed texts forbid our idolizing, setting our affections upon, worldly things as our "treasure." They also pronounce blessings upon the "poor in spirit," the humble;202 and reprove those who "trust in riches."203 Neither the acquisition nor the possession of earthly riches is forbidden, but the making of wealth our god is prohibited.
ONCE MORE "GENERAL STATEMENTS" APPLY TO SOME OF THESE VERSES - Keith Hunt
Poverty a blessing.
Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom?
Riches a blessing.
So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
The "rich man" of Mark 10:25 is described, in the preceding verse, as one who "trusts" in riches, making them his god. James teaches that there is in the humbler walks of life—in their freedom from the temptations, cares, and anxiety incident to wealth—something which is peculiarly favorable to the origin and growth of true piety.
As to the great wealth which the Lord bestowed upon Job, it is, says Barnes, substantially that of an Arab ruler or chief like those who, at the present day, are called Emirs.204 The turn in Job's affairs has its lesson. Mr. Cook, in Smith's Biblical Dictionary: "The restoration of his external prosperity, which
202 See Matthew 5:3.
203 Compare Mark 10:24; 1 Timothy 6:17.
is an inevitable result of God's personal manifestation, symbolizes the ultimate compensation of the righteous for all sufferings undergone upon earth."
As to Proverbs 10:15, Stuart takes the meaning to be that there are times when the wealth of the rich will avert danger and suffering; and at such times the poor may perish for want of money. Zockler: "Naturally the author is here thinking of wealth well earned by practical wisdom; and this at the same time a means in the further efforts of wisdom; and again, of a deserved poverty which while the consequence of foolish conduct always causes one to sink deeper in folly and moral need." Lord Bacon: "This is excellently expressed, that riches are as a stronghold in imagination, and not always in fact; for certainly great riches have sold more men than they have bought out."
The prayer of Agur (Proverbs 30), embodies the sentiment that a moderate competence is better than extreme poverty or enormous wealth.
ONCE MORE SOME VERSES FIT BETTER UNDER "GENERAL STATEMENTS" - Keith Hunt
Wisdom, source of happiness.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding . . . Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Cause of sorrow.
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
In the first texts, "wisdom" denotes spiritual wisdom, which prepares for and lays hold upon the future life. In the second case, the term implies mere worldly knowledge, unsanctified learning, wisdom limited to the sphere of this life. The "grief" and "sorrow" may refer to the depression of mind and bodily indisposition attendant upon intense and long-continued study and efforts to acquire knowledge, and to the frequent disappointment of this pursuit. The Germans have a proverb, "Much wisdom causeth headache."
WELL WHEN YOU KNOW KNOWLEDGE OF THINGS, YOU ALSO FIND MUCH TO GIVE YOU SORROW; WHEN IGNORANT OF CERTAIN THINGS YOU ARE IGNORANT OF THE SORROWS THAT ARE OUT THERE. BUT TRUE WISDOM OF SPIRITUAL THINGS DOES BRING GREAT JOY AND COMFORT; EVEN EARTHLY WISDOM CAN BRING JOY - THOSE WHO CAN REMOVE CATARACTS FROM THE EYE, MUST FEEL JOY TO GIVE SIGHT BACK TO OTHERS; AND SO THE LIKE EXAMPLES - Keith Hunt
A good name a blessing.
A good name is rather to be chosen
than great riches.
A good name is better than precious ointment.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
204 The size of Job's flocks and herds is not wonderful. Parallel cases can be adduced in our own time. In an address before the "Hampden Agricultural Society," the lecturer mentioned a farmer in California who owns 100,000 sheep, and another with 135,000; also, a certain farm which produced 40,000 bushels of wheat, and another upon which 2,500 cows are kept. (See "Congregationalist," May 4, 1871). Yet infidels adduce the later wealth of Job as a thing incredible.
A "good name" does not necessarily imply that "all men speak well" of its possessor. Many a man has a good name—a solid and well-earned reputation— who has nevertheless numerous adversaries and calumniators. The denunciation in Luke is levelled at flatterers and time-serving sycophants, who, like modern politicians and office-seekers, are ever ready to sacrifice principle to popularity. Those ministers whose preaching offends no one, of whom "all men speak well," who prophesy "smooth things,"205 and "daub with untempered mortar,"206 are in the direct line of the woe denounced by our Lord.
Righteous not found begging
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Some righteous beg.
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus. . . . And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.
Luke 16:20, 22
The occasional and temporary exceptions, which had not fallen under David's notice, only prove the rule.
Hengstenberg: "It is not to be doubted, that God, while he withheld from the righteous of the old covenant, any clear insight into a future state of being, on that account unfolded his righteousness the more distinctly in his dealings towards them during this life, so that they might not err concerning it."
AGAIN "GENERAL STATEMENTS" MUST APPLY IN ANY GIVEN CONTEXT - Keith Hunt
They possess the earth.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall
inherit the earth.
Mere sojourners here.
For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
1 Chronicles 29:15
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Mr. Barnes thinks that the first text is a proverbial expression employed by the Jews to denote any great blessing; perhaps as the sum of all blessings. Schoettgen: "They [the meek] with their religion shall have dominion, not only in the land of Judea, but also through the whole earth." Alford: "That kingdom of God which begins in the hearts of the disciples, and is 'not of this world,' shall work onwards, till it shall become actually a kingdom over this earthy and its
205 Isaiah 30:10; Jeremiah 23:31.
206 Ezekiel 13:10-16; 22:28.
subjects shall inherit the earthy first in its millennial, and finally in its renewed and blessed state forever."
The church of Christ will be a permanent institution of ever-increasing influence and power; although the individuals who at any given time compose that church are but sojourners and wayfarers here below.
INHERITANCE DOES NOT MEAN YOU NOW HAVE IT. YOU PATIENTLY WAIT FOR IT, AS KNOWING YOU WILL HAVE IT ONE DAY; TILL THEN YOU PILGRIM ON - Keith Hunt
Pilgrims and strangers.
And confessed that they were strangers
and pilgrims on the earth.
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
1 Peter 2:11
Not pilgrims and strangers.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
The first texts refer to Christians in their relation to the present world. They have no permanent home on earth; their citizenship is not here; they expect to remain here but a short time; they are passing on to their eternal home on high. The last quotation depicts them in their relation to the household of faith. They have been "adopted" into the holy brotherhood, and are entitled to all its privileges and blessings. Hence they are no longer to be regarded as outcasts and aliens, but as members of the celestial family.
YES CHRISTIANS ARE YET TO INHERIT SOMETHING GREATER THAN THEIR STATE OF BEING IS NOW; AND YES WE ARE NOW CHILDREN OF GOD - Keith Hunt
They surely live.
But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, . . . hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.
Ezekiel 18:5, 9
Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Some of them die.
For he seeth that wise men die.
There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness.
The first texts refer to spiritual or eternal life; the last to mere physical or temporal death, which all alike, good and bad, undergo.
Menasseh ben Israel 207 has this suggestion: "Divine justice sometimes chastises the righteous in this world for some sin, that he may receive the full reward of his good actions in the next; and the punishment of the wicked is sometimes delayed to pay him for some good he may have done in this, and to punish him fully in the other when the balance is adjusted."
207 Conciliator, ii. 214.
Will be persecuted.
All that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12
When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Andrew Fuller:208 "The truth seems to be that neither of the above passages is to be taken universally. The peace possessed by those who please God does not extend so far as to exempt them from having enemies; and, though all godly men must in some form or other be persecuted, yet none are persecuted at all times. God has always given his people some seasons of rest. The former of these passages may therefore refer to the native enmity which true godliness is certain to excite; and the latter to the divine control over it. Mans wrath shall be let loose in a degree; but farther than what is necessary for the praise of God it shall not go."
AGAIN "GENERAL STATEMENT" IN MANY VERSES - Keith Hunt
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.
He that is begotten of God keepeth
himself, and that wicked one toucheth
1 John 5:18
The first text does not say that Satan actually gained possession of Peter, but merely that he "desired" to do so; the second verse that the "wicked one" does not inflict any permanent injury upon the believer.
Christian yoke, easy.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. . . . For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28, 30
In the world ye shall have tribulation. John 16:33
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. . . . But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Hebrews 12:6, 8
In certain important aspects or relations, the yoke of Christ is "easy." Christianity, being a spiritual religion, is far less burdensome than are false religions; it imposes much fewer ceremonies and observances than do they. It is also congruous with man's reason, conscience, and all his nobler instincts, and
208 Works i. 683.
satisfies the needs and aspirations of his higher spiritual nature. The Christian life is the normal life of man.
Looking from another point of view, the Christian's yoke may be deemed "burdensome." For Christianity, being a pure religion, comes in direct collision with the deep sinfulness of the human heart; it is in intense antagonism with everything corrupt and evil. Hence the Christian must "crucify the flesh" with the passions and lusts, and in so doing must pass through many a sore trial and conflict.
Longevity ascribed to them.
Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged.
The sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
Denied to them.
They die in youth, and their life is
among the unclean.
Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.
The years of the wicked shall be shortened.
But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow.
The affirmative texts do not assert that all the wicked live to old age. As to the first citation, Zophar had just asserted that the "portion" of a wicked man is to be cut off in a moment. Job, in reply, denies the universality of this principle, and says that some of the wicked do live, become old, and mighty in power. Yet he evidently regards these as exceptional cases: for he adds: "How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them!"
The two next quotations do not assert the longevity of sinners, but are purely hypothetical.
The four opposed texts assert the general principle that the tendency of vice is to shorten human life. Of this the statistics of intemperance, licentiousness, and crime in general afford grim and appalling proof. The sense of the combined texts is, that many of the wicked perish early through their sins, but that some, in exceptional cases, live on to old age.
The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and
they that provoke God are secure.
Men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure.
Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. . . . Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
Will not prosper.
Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that
hate the righteous shall be desolate.
Evil pursueth sinners.
The first five texts refer to the temporary prosperity which the wicked not infrequently enjoy. The transitory nature of this prosperity was not comprehended by the Psalmist, until he went into the sanctuary of God; then he understood the end of the wicked, that they were "set in slippery places." 209
Menasseh ben Israel: "God sometimes delays the punishment of the wicked, either that they may repent, or to reward them in this life for some good action they may have performed, or for some secret reason known only to his consummate wisdom."
The last two texts do not assert that evil pursueth and shall slay the wicked without a moment's delay, but merely that this will ultimately be the case.
AGAIN "GENERAL STATEMENTS" WITHIN A CONTEXT - Keith Hunt
See the Divine glory.
And the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it
Will not see it.
In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.
The wicked will not voluntarily recognize the "majesty"—the sovereignty and glory—of the Lord; but he will eventually be compelled to see and acknowledge it, as displayed in the final reward of virtue and punishment of vice, at the last great day.
Sin with impunity.
Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. . . . Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
The worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree. . . . They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.
Job 24:20, 24
209 See Psalm 73:16-18.
Theodore Parker 210 deems it an evidence of the "exquisite art" and "naturalness" with which the book was written, that Job, in his distraction, is represented as affirming and denying a thing almost in the same breath.
A better explanation of passages like the above is, that in relation to our limited wisdom and impatient feelings—as we often look at matters—the wicked are not punished promptly, but sin with impunity; while upon a comprehensive and impartial view of the case—as infinite wisdom sees it—they are punished promptly, that is, at exactly the right time.
Their punishment denied.
Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children. They reap every one his corn in the field. . . . Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.
This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty. If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.. .. For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.
Job 27:13-14, 22
Hirzel:211 "While Job's opponents wished to prove this proposition against him, that 'the transgressor did not escape punishment in his life' and charged it upon Job himself that, since every transgressor was miserable, therefore every miserable man was a transgressor; to parry this argument Job had hitherto, though against his better judgment, denied the entire proposition; and, since his opponents had laid it down as a permanent and universal rule, he had confirmed this denial by adducing numerous examples where the contrary was true. But now he goes on to explain the matter to his friends, and admits that they have rightly apprehended the law by which the transgressor's lot is determined." Yet, while making this concession, he points out an error into which they have fallen in applying the principle. This explanation relieves the difficulty by referring the "apparent contradiction" to the different relations in which Job speaks.
Nor, on the hypothesis that Job was not inspired as a religious teacher, is it of the slightest consequence whether or not we can establish the concinnity of all his utterances.
ONCE MORE BOTH CAN BE TRUE AT TIMES; BOTH ARE GENERAL STATEMENTS - Keith Hunt
210 Translation of De Wette, ii. 557.
211 Quoted by De Wette, ii. 561.
Retribution on Earth
Reward and punishment here.
Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
It is not asserted, in the first text, that either the righteous or wicked receive full recompense in this world. The meaning, doubtless, is that the beginnings of retribution are seen here on the earth. Stuart: "The same retributive government which begins to assert its power in this world, will continue its processes in the world to come"
Melancthon, Bishop Hall, Edwards, Lange, and other critics take the word "recompensed" as referring exclusively to the punishment of wrongdoing. Hence, the sentiment is, "If the righteous in this world suffer chastisement for their misdeeds, much more surely shall the impenitent be punished for their wilful transgression." That is, the argument is derived from the corrective discipline experienced by good men on earth in favor of the just retribution which shall be meted out hereafter to the incorrigible sinner. In no aspect is it affirmed that full and final retribution is administered in this world.
TRUE, BUT IT IS IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS EARTH, THAT THE RIGHTEOUS WILL BE IMMORTALIZED AND REWARDED; AND THE UN-REPENTANT SINNER WILL BE REWARDED IN THE LAKE OF FIRE, ON THIS EARTH; AS ALL SCRIPTURES SHOW - Keith Hunt