Dec 22, 2012

Death alone dissolves the marriage tie! - J.C. Philpot

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15) that is, to follow him and, press to live with him if he have deserted her. But does he say anything about or sanction her marrying again? Where does he say that desertion dissolves the marriage tie? On the contrary, in the very same chapter he decides the exact opposite: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but,if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39) How clearly he decides the matter that death alone dissolves the marriage tie!

By J.C. Philpot

Dec 19, 2012

Preaching to Sinners by Gilbert Beebe

THERE is a general murmuring among the New School tribes, that the ministers of the Old School, or Regular order, do not preach to sinners. Let us examine this charge a moment. If they do not preach to sinners, to whom do they preach? If we be answered that they preach to the saints, we reply, that they only preach and apply the promises and encouragements of the gospel to that description of saints who know and acknowledge that they are sinners, and hope that they are sinners saved by grace. And is it not right to preach to saints? The direction is, “Feed my sheep, and feed my lambs.” “Feed the flock of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” These they endeavor to feed and comfort. But do they not also preach to another description of sinners, viz; to sinners in Zion? Do they not warn the unruly of the evil consequences of abandoning the divine rule given in the scriptures for our faith and practice, and of running with the multitude into the New School operations of the day? Certainly they do.

Again. Do not the Old School Baptist ministers preach to, and warn the New School Baptists, and labor incessantly to convince the unconvinced among them, of the abomination of their way, while they profess to be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, are laying in wait to deceive the people of God, and are teaching for doctrines the commandments of men? Do they not warn them of the awful judgments, and fearful threatenings of wrath which will soon overtake them? They certainly do. But, why, says one, do they not preach to that class of sinners who make no pretension to religion? We answer, they do preach to all who come within the sound of their voice, and leave all who have an ear, to hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; but where they have no ear to hear the sayings of the Spirit of truth, they do not attempt presumptuously to furnish them; nor do they feel themselves at liberty to preach what their Lord has not authorized them to preach, for the sake of accommodating their discourses to the condition of any class of sinners. But why should it be thought more important to preach to, and warn the class last described, than those who pervert the word of God, and bear a false testimony in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are these less dangerous to the simple, less troublesome to the church of God, or less sinful in the sight of a holy God, or less exposed to that judgment which now of a long time lingereth not, and that damnation which slumbereth not? To what description of sinners did our Lord apply these expressive words: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Was it to professors, or non-professors? It was to those whom he addressed as Scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites. And let it not be forgotten, that all the prophets of the Lord in olden time, were stoned by zealous professors of religion; our Lord was crucified by the most popular class of professors of religion then upon earth; the apostles and primitive saints, with all the children of God in subsequent ages, down to the present, from those who profess the most ardent zeal for the Lord.

If, therefore, we have in the ranks of the Old School Baptists, those who do not preach to such sinners as these, on all suitable occasions, we shall feel constrained to preach to them as sinners, for the wicked neglect of their bounden duty.

We therefore wish to be understood as calling on the New School sinners; (these being the worst sort) we warn them in the language of the scriptures, saying, “Ho, ye despisers, wonder and perish; for behold I work a work in your days, which ye shall in no wise believe, though one shall declare it unto you.”

October 19, 1838,

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 457 – 459

Romans 7:2 by Gilbert Beebe

VERY DEAR AND MUCH ESTEEMED BROTHER BEEBE: - Will you please give your views, through the “Signs of the Times,” on Romans 7:2, and much oblige your brother in tribulation, if a brother at all.

William Brickey.
Red Bud, Illinois.
September 21, 1869.

Reply: The passage proposed for consideration reads thus: “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.” The law of marriage which Moses gave to the Hebrews, as well as that law which was from the beginning, to which our Savior referred in his answer to the Pharisees, Matthew 19:3-9, was probably well understood by the saints to whom the apostle was directing his discourse, and his allusion to it was for the purpose of illustrating the redemption of the church from under the law, and her marriage to Christ, which was not so clearly understood. It was frequently the case that Christ and the apostles used subjects which were familiar to the saints to show by analogy the meaning of things which were more obscure to them. There are but few lessons in the gospel, which the saints have been more slow to learn and fully comprehend, than that of our release from the law, and marriage to Christ. The natural inclination of our carnal mind is to legality, to a system of works, and just so far as we are ignorant of God’s righteousness, like the carnal Jews, we go about to establish our own righteousness, in doing which we look to the law for a rule, and to our own strength for ability to meet the requisitions, and vainly suppose that we can in that manner commend ourselves to God. But the declaration of the Scriptures is, By the deeds of the law, no flesh living can be justified in the sight of God; And as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.

The force of the apostle’s argument will more clearly appear when we consider the nature and dominion of law. Paul was speaking to them who knew the law, knew that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth. The law of the land in which we dwell extends its authority over living subjects, but cannot hold dominion over us when we are dead. So long, therefore, as we are subjects of the law which Paul in this connection calls a ministration of condemnation, and a law of sin and death, we are disqualified to be subjects of the law of Christ. No man can serve two masters. But if the law which we were under has convicted us of sin, and put us to death, it can extend its dominion no farther. If our sins were all laid on Christ, and he died our death, then we became dead to the law, and being quickened in the resurrection life of Christ, we are no more under the law that has slain us, but are under law to him who has raised us up from the dead. “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” Still more clearly to illustrate this subject, the law of matrimony is used in the text under consideration. The woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth. That is, she is bound by the law of God. No human law can dissolve the relationship. Our legislatures may legalize adultery by granting divorcements, as they are called; but the relationship of husband and wife can only be dissolved by death. So stood the case with us in our relation to the law which held dominion over us, and which poured its curses upon our heads. No power could release us from its dominion, nor abate its severity, or shield us from its cursings. As long as we were under the law we were under its curse; and its dominion was so long as we lived under it. But when the law had exhausted all its wrath and vengeance on us in our Head, and we were buried with him by baptism into death, the relation ceased; the law was no longer our husband; the legal covenant, by its own well defined limitation expired, and left the church in her resurrection life free from Moses, free from the ministration of condemnation, and free to be married to him that is risen from the dead, that she might bring forth fruit unto God. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him that is raised from the dead.” David loved Bathsheba while she was the wife of Uriah the Hitite, but his marriage to her could not be legally consummated so long as Uriah lived. And Christ so loved the church that he gave himself for it. She could not be legally wedded to Christ in the New Covenant relation, until every jot and tittle of the law was fulfilled. The marriage nuptials of the Lamb could not be legalized until the covenant she was under to Moses was lawfully annulled.

“So then, if while her husband liveth she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adulteress though she be married to another man.” As a woman who has a living husband cannot be married to another man without involving the guilt of adultery, so neither can we be married to Christ until we first become fully dead to the law, and the law dead to us. Such a union would be unlawful and adulterous.

The church under the legal covenant was in bondage, and the bond woman, in Paul’s allegory, was mount Sinai, in Arabia, answering to Jerusalem, under the Sinai covenant, in bondage with her children. Galatians 4:25. But whom the Son maketh free, are free indeed. He has redeemed his people from the dominion, as well as from the curse, of that covenant; and having removed the legal impediment out of the way, has betrothed her unto himself in righteousness. She is no adulteress in her marriage to Christ; for her obligation to Moses are fully, justly and righteously canceled; and Moses is dead, and cannot pursue her over Jordan; but Joshua is her leader. In the gospel covenant she is legally recognized as the bride, the Lamb’s wife. In the individual experience of all the saints, this doctrine is illustrated. The first perceptible evidence of a quickened state is that in which we find ourselves in bondage under the law, held there by an unrelenting and inexorable power. We have heard of the heavenly Bridegroom, the blessed Savior, and fain would we fly to his arms; but the law, our old husband, holds dominion over us; and until his claims are satisfled, we cannot be wedded to Christ. All our works of obedience to the law fail to bring us any nearer to Christ. All our efforts to liquidate the demands of our old husband prove ineffectual and vain. Nothing short of death can put asunder what God has joined, and we see, and feel, and acknowledge the power of the law, until sin revives and we die. But when the law has pursued us to death, and laid us in our grave, then Christ our Resurrection and our Life is revealed in us, and then we find that we are dead to the law by the body of Christ, that we should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead. Until Christ is revealed, the law holds us in durance, and pours down upon us its dreadful curses; its dominion over us is demonstrated by a flaming sword, which turneth every way, meets us at every point, and will be satisfied with nothing we can do. Tell us then, while thus sinking in despair, how easy it is to come to Christ and be his bride, while the very heavens lower in darkness, and the flaming sword of Eternal Justice is brandished over our devoted head, and we reply, No man can come unto him, except the Father which sent him draw them. With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. But when God reveals his Son in us, as he did in Saul, immediately we confer no more with flesh and blood. In the body of his flesh we were slain by the law, and in his resurrection life we are raised up in newness of life. His resurrection life has quickened us, and brought us up from the dead. Death is abolished, and immortality is brought to light. The marriage of the Lamb to us has come, and our heavenly Bridegroom takes us by the hand, and by all that is sacred, covenants and promises to love and cherish, support and protect us as his bride, as long as the days of heaven shall endure.

“My guilt and wretchedness he knows,
Yet takes and owns me for his spouse;
My debts he pays and sets me free,
And makes his riches o’er to me.
My filthy rags are laid aside;
He clothes me as becomes his bride;
Himself bestows my wedding dress,
The robe of perfect righteousness.”

Who that has been slain by the law, and raised from the dead by the resurrection life of Christ, would wish to leave his sacred embrace, to go in search of the dead body of Moses? Our dead husband never blessed, but always cursed us. Our living husband always blesses and never curses. The former required everything, but furnished nothing; but the latter furnishes everything freely, and demands nothing in payment. Then let us with cheerful hearts love, honor and obey him in all things, and never seek another lover.

Middletown, N.Y.
October 15, 1869.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 499 – 502

On Marriage by Gilbert Beebe

We are requested by a correspondent to give our views on Romans 7: 2, 3. "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man." From this apostolic exposition of the law of God upon the subject of matrimony, we are fully sustained in asserting that nothing short of the death of the husband can so exonerate the wife from her marriage obligations as to leave her at liberty to marry another man. That cases may and do sometimes occur in which a wife may lawfully separate from her husband, or a husband may put away his wife, we believe the Scriptures are sufficiently clear and to the point. See Matt. 5:32; also 19:9; but in no case do we find authority for such persons to marry again. Cases may occur in which a separation may take place against the will of one of the parties, and not for the cause mentioned, Matt. 19:9; but in such cases the parties are forbidden to marry again. "But unto the married I COMMAND, yet not I, BUT THE LORD, let not the wife depart from her husband; but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband." (I Cor. 7:10, 11) "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband Liveth." (I Cor. 7:39) From the plain testimony of the Scriptures as referred to above, we give it as our decided conviction that no married wife can, under any circumstances whatever, marry another man while her husband is living, without involving herself in the crime of adultery. Nor can a man marry again while his wife lives, without involving the same sin. We do not say, first husband and first wife, for a second marriage does not constitute the parties husband and wife, where this legal impediment exists.

A bill of divorcement, legally obtained, may in the eye of our civil code disannual a former marriage contract, so that, as far as the civil law is concerned, the parties may contract to live in adultery with impunity, and their issue be legally their heirs; but the Bible gives them no such liberty. Nor has the God of heaven given any authority to any earthly legislature to divide asunder what God has joined together.

We could as soon extend our fellowship and approbation to the direct crime of adultery, where no separation has taken place between the husband and wife, as where such separation has taken place, a divorce obtained and the new connection legalized by the marriage of parties where one or both have a living wife or husband.

We know there is a difference of opinion among professors of religion on this subject; but we have ever refused to perform the marriage service, in any such case, as we should as soon connive directly at or countenance the sin of adultery. We hope NEVER TO HEAR OF AN INSTANCE AMONG OLD SCHOOL BAPTISTS; nor can we hold any as Old School Baptists who would thus live in adultery. The very use the apostles makes of this law, in the text at the head of this article, shows that the church of Christ could not be lawfully wedded to Him, in her visible Gospel order, until she became dead unto the law. Her being put away and cursed by her former husband, (the law) did not release her - she must die, and she did die to the law; Christ became the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believes. We might extend this article; but we hope enough is said to satisfy the mind of our inquiring correspondent.

Elder Gilbert Beebe, Sept. 15, 1840
Editorials,Vol.1, pg.637

The Salvation of Infants by Gilbert Beebe

The doctrine of salvation by grace alone, as held by all consistent Old School Baptists, is the only doctrine ever published in the world that affords the least hope for the salvation of those who die in infancy. This we propose to prove by the most clear and positive testimony. All other doctrines represent salvation to be conditional; but the theories of men vary much in regard to what the conditions are on which salvation is to be secured, but all conditionalists agree that something is to be done by the sinner, in order to secure salvation. Some assert that the condition is faith and repentance; some that it is the giving up of our hearts to God, while others contend that a law of righteousness must be worked out, and “except we be circumcised and keep the law, we cannot be saved.” Some again represent the salvation of infants of rest upon the piety of their parents, and their work in having them rantized, or sprinkled into the pale of the church. Perhaps the most common theory among the Arminians is, that infants are not sinners, consequently are not lost, do not require to be saved. This last position is generally taken by conditionalists, to avoid the inconvenience and impractibility of showing how any infants can be saved on their conditional plans. Hence they set forth one way for adults, and another for infants. But if infants were not sinners, they could not die. “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” “Death has passed on all men, because all have sinned.” As Adam embodied all his posterity when he transgressed the law of God, all the human family sinned in that transgression. “By one man’s offense death reigned by one.” “Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” - Rom. v. 18. The Scriptures fully demonstrate the fact that all infants and all adults have sinned, and as sinners judgment has come upon all unto condemnation, and it is therefore “appointed unto them all once to die.” And the fact that some infants do die, corroborates the testimony of the Scriptures, that all have sinned and are sinners. By these two witnesses the solemn fact is so clearly demonstrated as to defy successful contradiction. Certainly if it were not so, they could have neither part nor lot in that redemption and salvation which is by and through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Admitting, then, what cannot be denied, that all infants are conceived in sin, shapen in iniquity, and that they all go astray from the womb, speaking lies, the question arises, How can they be saved from sin, and the consequences of sin? Divine revelation declares positively that there is but one way. Our Lord Jesus Christ has said, “No man can come unto the Father but by me.” “There is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved.” If then there is but one way whereby a sinner can be saved, and that one way is Christ, then the notion that infants are saved by the piety, faith or works of their parents, is swept by the board. How strange the infatuation, that the piety and works of parents can save their infants, when neither can avail anything in their own salvation. For salvation is “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” As parents, therefore, cannot save their children, and God has said, If Noah, Daniel and Job stood before him, they could neither save son nor daughter, let us examine the conditional plan. Supposing salvation were offered to all sinners, on condition of something to be by them performed, could the infant perform it? Tell them that they must believe a preached gospel, repent of their sins, make themselves a new heart and a right spirit, that they must love God, reverence, obey and worship him, that they must give up their hearts, and that if they fail to do so, they must be damned, (for in this kind of language all conditionalists talk and preach to adult sinners,) On that plan who could hope for the salvation of a single infant? Very few, if any, even of the Arminians, will claim that infants can be saved by their own compliance with terms and acceptance of overtures, or even use of means.

Some contend that infants come into the world pure and sinless, and go so far as to fix for them a period in life at which they become accountable to God for their conduct; previous to which, they affirm, the infant is not accountable. To fix the precise time at which they cross the line, and become responsible beings, has been a matter of grave and perplexing deliberation among them. But in direct contradiction to this theory, the Scriptures of truth declare that they are conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity, and all infants and adults became accountable beings to God, as soon as God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. To deny this, is an attempt to impeach the justice of God himself; for if in their creation in Adam they were not accountable to God, what right had God in justice to pass on them the judgment to condemnation, of which we read in Romans v. 18? Did the holy and righteous God enter judgment on any that were not accountable beings? Did, or did not death reign by one man, and from Adam to Moses, over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression? Most certainly it did; see Rom. v. 14. And could it have so reigned in justice over unaccountable beings? What daring impiety! What blasphemy then, to say that children come into the world holy and sinless, when the Scriptures, which are inspired by God himself, declare the very reverse.

Perhaps we have written enough for this time, in defense of our position that all infants and all adults are sinners, and by nature children of wrath. The object of this article is to give our views on the subject of their salvation. We have already said, and proved, too, that there is but one way of salvation for any of the posterity of Adam. To show then, that this one only way of salvation is perfectly adapted to the condition of infants, let us examine the doctrine of salvation by grace, and that in the light of what God has revealed in his word on the subject.

First. The doctrine of eternal and personal election is essential to salvation. We must admit this, or charge God with doing that which was not necessary to secure the salvation of his people. For the apostle has said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” - Eph. i. 3, 4. This was God’s method of securing his object, namely, that we should be holy and without blame. Arminians may think election unnecessary to secure our holiness and blamelessness before God, but it is enough for us to know that “So it seemed good in his sight.” And whether men like it or not, God hath chosen us (his people) in Christ, before the foundation of the world.

Second. As we have proven that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that the chosen people of God were all by nature the children of wrath, even as others, and all were under condemnation by the law, as sinners, therefore redemption was also indispensably necessary to our salvation. And we are happy to find the testimony, “engraved as in eternal brass,” that, “By one offering Christ has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” That he has carried their sorrows, borne their griefs, and the chastisement of their peace was upon him, and with his stripes they are healed.

Thirdly. Regeneration is indispensable to our salvation. “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” - John iii. 3. And that birth must be “Not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God.” - John i. 13.

Election, redemption and regeneration, and every other requisite brought to view in the gospel of our salvation, are so essential to our salvation that in their absence, all, whether infant or adult, must forever perish in their sins. Now let us inquire if it was or is any more difficult for God to elect, redeem or regenerate infants than adults? Election being before the foundation of the world, must have been wholly of God, and in that matter the people chosen must have been perfectly passive, “Ye have not chosen me; but I have chosen you.” - John xv. 16. Adults then could have no more to do in effecting their election, than infants, for it is all of God, “Who hath saved us, and called us, with an holy calling; not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” - 2 Tim. i. 9.

Redemption also was a work in which all infants and adults were equally passive. “For our Lord Jesus Christ is of God, (not of us) made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” We had no hand in this work. He, Christ, gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Can there then be anything in redemption better adapted to adults than infants? Neither adults nor infants could have any agency, directly nor indirectly in their regeneration. None are so silly as to pretend that they were the agents of their own natural generation, and if that was impossible, is it not a still greater impossibility that an earthly, fleshly being could beget, conceive and bring forth immortality? That which is born of the flesh is flesh, nothing more, but that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. “It is,” says Jesus, “the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words which I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life.” But generation and regeneration imply a prior existence in a progenitor. Levi was in the loins of his great grandfather, Abraham, when Melchisedec met him and blessed him. And all the saints were in Christ Jesus, their spiritual immortal progenitor, when the eternal Father blessed him, and all his saints in him, with all spiritual blessings, according as he had chosen them in him before the foundation of the world. What agency could infants or adults, or adults more than infants, have had in that before the foundation of the world? But the inspired testimony of God allows no room for caviling on this subject, for, as we have already quoted, “They were born of incorruptible seed, by the word of God,” “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God.”

From what we have said and proved, it appears that in all that is essential to salvation, the subjects of it are as passive in the hands of God as is the clay in the hands of the potter. The mightiest man that ever trod upon the earth, is just as powerless and helpless in the matter of salvation, as the feeblest infant that was ever inspired with human life, and neither the one nor the other can possibly be saved by any other than by the power of God. To all who are saved it is said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast; for ye are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that ye should walk in them.” The hope and prospect of the application of this salvation which is altogether of God, in regard to its application to any of the children of men, is founded on the eternal purpose purposed in himself before the world began, and not on anything to be done by us, after the world began; and on the faithful pledge which God has graciously given. Hence Paul says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” - Titus i. 2. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Can any child of grace ask for more?

“Enough, my gracious God,
Let faith triumphant cry;
My heart can on this promise live,
Can on this promise die.”

We have redeemed our pledge, and proved that the doctrine of salvation alone by grace, as held by all consistent Old School Baptists, is the only doctrine that can possibly save infants. But still the question returns, Are all infants saved? The answer to this inquiry God has seen proper to withhold from us, it is not our privilege therefore to answer it. Why he has not told us plainly, may be that from necessity on our part, we should trust the whole matter to him. The trial of our faith is very precious, and when we are called to give up unto his hands our little ones, our faith and confidence in him is put to a trying test. Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; and blessed be the name of the Lord.” David said, “I was dumb, because thou didst it.” And our God has said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Are we afraid to resign our infants to his hand? Why should we be? We know that he is too wise to err, and too gracious to be unkind.

We may take another view of this subject. Had the Lord plainly told us that all who should die in infancy should certainly be saved, would we not beg of him to take all our infants away in that state? But there is no saving virtue in their early death, for in their death, as in their birth, they are passive. The bounds of their habitation, as well as the number of their days, are with the Lord. It is infinitely better for us, better for our infants, and more sure to promote the glory of God, that it should be even so. The writer of this article has been called in the inscrutable providence of God to surrender four lovely babes to him who gave them, but he has never felt in the least uneasy about their future state. They are taken from the evils of this mortal state. And we do believe that God can and does regenerate infants as well as adults. That quickening power and grace which could reach the thief on the cross, in his expiring moments, or could impart spiritual life to John the Baptist even before he was born, can and does reach the dying infant. Without being born of the Spirit no infant or adult can enter into the kingdom of God, but that preparation being wholly of God, will never be withheld where its bestowment would be for the glory of God, or the best good of his saints. How ready Abraham was, when exercised by that faith which God had given him, to offer up his only son to God, and if we have that faith which Abraham had, will it not subdue our fears, and lead us to yield up our children, in death and in life, into his gracious hands? Living or dying, may God direct their course, and ours, and may his will be done on earth as in heaven. Be it our prayer that he may reconcile us to his will, conform us to the image of his Son, and save us with an everlasting salvation. Amen.

Middletown, N. Y.
December 1, 1856.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 3
Pages 405 - 412

Let the forsaken party not marry again - Gilbert Beebe

“For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16)

This epistle was written at a time of great affliction, distress and persecution, not only at Jerusalem, but also in the churches which were among the Gentile, every inch of the ground occupied by the church of God was contested by the Jews, and also by the Pagans, and to add to the general distress, many false notions and corruptions had obtained among the members of the churches, as will be seen by carefully reading this epistle. Among other points on which the Corinthian saints required apostolic instruction, was that in regard to their relationship with this world, as husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants, espoused virgins, &c. The question seems to have been agitated among them, as to whether their calling of God, their spiritual birth which developed a new and spiritual relationship to the members of the kingdom of Christ, was to dissolve those earthly relations which previously were binding on them. The apostle very clearly shows that as the kingdom of Christ is spiritual and not of this world, it intermeddles not with the civil, social or political organizations which legitimately existed before the setting up of his kingdom in her gospel organization. On this important subject the apostle says, “Let every man abide in the same calling, wherein he was called.” That is, he is to remain in the vocation which he was in when, and previously to his calling. He continues; “Art thou called, being a servant? [for there were very many of the primitive saints, who were held as the servants and chattled property of men,] care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s free man: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” Therefore he enjoins with apostolic authority that every man shall abide in that relationship that he was in when called. A husband being called by grace, and his wife continuing in unbelief, a Jewish proselyte, or a Pagan worshiper, affords no reason why he should leave her, or if the wife be called, and her husband, still remaining in unbelief, gives her no liberty to leave him, nor does it in the least degree lessen her duties to him as a faithful and affectionate wife. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife;” that is set apart legally, by marriage. “Else were your children unclean,” or illegitimate; “but now are they holy,” or lawful.

If the husband or wife, who have become disciples of Christ, should be forsaken on that account by their unbelieving partners, it is not their fault. If the unbelieving party will depart on that account, let him or her, as the case may be, depart, but let the forsaken party not marry again, for the marriage cannot be dissolved (only by death), so as to give the surviving party liberty to marry again. “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” Here the text on which our views are solicited, comes in: “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O husband, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” How save them? By a reconciliation. In verse 10, of this chapter, Paul says: “Unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband. But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” By reconciliation with him, she retains or saves him. And however indignant, unreasonable, tyrannical, malicious or persecuting he may be in resenting her conversion to the christian faith and practice, although he may forsake her, yet she must not marry again, while he is living, for she does not know but that she may save him, by a mutual reconciliation; and the same with the husband.

The salvation here intended is not a deliverance from the curse of the law, or from the retributions of the world to come, because Christ is in that respect the only Savior, and there is salvation in no other, but the saving or retaining of the affections and companionship of a husband, or of a wife by reconciliation, is evidently what is intended in our text.

Middletown, N.Y.
February 1, 1858.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 56 - 58

The Saint's Reward by John Bunyan

The following portion is from The Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment by John Bunyan

Now here shall all things be reckoned up, from the very first good thing that was done by Adam or Abel, to the last that will fall out to be done in the world. The good of all the holy prophets, of all apostles, pastors, teachers, and helps in the church; here also will be brought forth and to light, all the good carriages of masters of families, of parents, of children, of servants, of neighbours, or whatever good thing any man doth. But to be general and short, First, here will be a recompense for all that have sincerely laboured in the word and doctrine—I say, a recompense for all the souls they have saved by their word, and watered by the same. Now shall Paul the planter, and Apollos the waterer, with every one of the their companions, receive the reward that is according to their works (1 Cor 3:6-8).

Now, all the preaching, praying, watching, and labour thou hast been at, in thy endeavouring to catch men from Satan to God, shall be rewarded with spangling glory. Not a soul thou hast converted to the Lord Jesus, nor a soul thou hast comforted, strengthened, or helped by thy wholesome counsel, admonition, and comfortable speech, but it shall stick as a pearl in that crown "which the Lord the righteous Judge, shall give thee at that day" (2 Tim 4:7,8). That is, if thou dost it willingly, delighting to lift up the name of God among men; if thou doest it with love, and longing after the salvation of sinners, otherwise thou wilt have only thy labour for thy pains, and no more. "If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed to my charge" (1 Cor 9:17; Phil 1:15). But, I say, if thou do it graciously, then a reward followeth; "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye," saith Paul, "in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy" (1 Thess 2:19,20). Let him therefore that Christ hath put into his harvest, take comfort in the midst of all his sorrow, and know that God acknowledgeth, that he that converteth a sinner from the error of his way, doth even save that soul from death, "and covereth a multitude of sins" (James 5:20). Wherefore labour to convert, labour to water, labour to build up, and to "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;— and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:2,4).

Secondly, And as the ministers of Christ's gospel shall at this day be recompensed; so shall also those more private saints be with tender affections, and love looked on, and rewarded for all their work and labour of love, which they have shewed to the name of Christ, in ministering to his saints, and suffering for his sake (Heb 6:10). "Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free" (Eph 6:8). Ah! little do the people of God think, how largely and thoroughly, God will at that day, own and recompense all the good and holy acts of his people. Every bit, every drop, every rag, and every night's harbour, though but in a wisp of straw, shall be rewarded in that day before men and angels— "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you," saith Christ, "he shall in no wise lose his [a disciple's] reward" (Matt 10:42). Therefore "When thou makest a feast," saith he, "call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:13,14).

If there be any repentance among the godly at this day, it will be, because the Lord Jesus, in his person, members, and word, was no more owned, honoured, entertained, and provided for by them, when they were in this world: For it will be ravishing to all, to see what notice the Lord Jesus will then take of every widow's mite. He, I say, will call to mind, even all those acts of mercy and kindness, which thou hast shewed to him, when thou wast among men. I say, he will remember, cry up, and proclaim before angels and saints, those very acts of thine, which thou hast either forgotten, or, through bashfulness wilt not at that day count worth the owing. He will reckon them up so fast, and so fully, that thou wilt cry, Lord, when did I do this? and when did I do the other? "When saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt 25:37-40). "The good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid" (1 Tim 5:25). Whatever thou hast done to one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me. I felt the nourishment of thy food, and the warmth of thy fleece. I remember thy loving and holy visits when my poor members were sick, and in prison, and the like. When they were strangers, and wanderers in the world, thou tookest them in. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; - - - enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matt 25:21-23; 34- 47).

Thirdly, Here also will be a reward for all that hardness, and Christian enduring of affliction that thou hast met with for thy Lord, while thou wast in the world. Here now will Christ begin from the greatest suffering, even to the least, and bestow a reward on them all: from the blood of the suffering saint, to the loss of a hair: nothing shall go unrewarded (Heb 11:36-40; 2 Cor 8:8-14). "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor 4:17). Behold by the scriptures how God hath recorded the sufferings of his people, and also how he hath promised to reward them—"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you," and speak "all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice," leap for joy, "and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" (Matt 5:11,12; Luke 6:22,23). "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life" (Matt 19:29).

Fourthly, There is also a reward at this day, for all the more secret, and more retired works of Christianity. 1. There is not now one act of faith in thy soul, either upon Christ, or against the Devil, and Antichrist; but it shall in this day be found out, and praised, honoured and glorified, in the face of heaven (1 Peter 1:7). 2. There is not one groan to God in secret, against thy own lusts, and for more grace, light, spirit, sanctification, and strength to go through this world like a Christian: but it shall even at the coming of Christ be rewarded openly (Matt 6:6). 3. There hath not one tear dropped from thy tender eye against thy lusts, the love of this world, or for more communion with Jesus Christ, but as it is now in the bottle of God; so then it shall bring forth such plenty of reward, that it shall return upon thee with abundance of increase. "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh" (Luke 6:21). "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?" (Psa 56:8). "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psa 126:5,6).

Having thus in brief shewed you something concerning the resurrection of the saints, and that they shall count with their Lord at his coming, both for the burning up what was not according to the truth, and rewarding them for all their good. It remains, that I now in few words,

FOURTH, Shew you something also of that with which they shall be rewarded.

First then, those that shall be found in the day of their resurrection, when they shall have all their good things brought upon the stage; they I say, that then shall be found the people most laborious for God while here; they shall at that day enjoy the greatest portion of God, or shall be possessed with most of the glory of the Godhead then. For that is the portion of saints in general (Rom 8:17; Lam 3:24). And why shall he that doth most for God in this world, enjoy most of him in that which is to come? But because by doing and acting, the heart, and every faculty of the soul is enlarged, and more capacitated, whereby more room is made for glory. Every vessel of glory shall at that day be full of it; but every one will not be capable to contain a like measure; and so if they should have it communicated to them, would not be able to stand under it; for there is "an eternal weight in the glory that saints shall then enjoy" (2 Cor 4:17), and every vessel must be at that day filled—that is, have its heavenly load of it.

All Christians have not the same enjoyment of God in this life, neither indeed were they able to bear it if they had it (1 Cor 3:2). But those Christians that are most laborious for God in this world, they have already most of him in their souls, and that not only because diligence in God's ways, is the means whereby God communicates himself; but also because thereby the senses are made more strong, and able, by reason of use, to understand God, and to discern both good and evil (Heb 5:13,14). To him that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance (Matt 13:11,12). He that laid out his pound for his master, and gained ten therewith, he was made ruler over ten cities; but he that by his pound gained but five, he was made ruler over but five (Luke 19:16-19). Often, he that is best bred in his youth, he is best able to manage most, when he is a man, touching things of this life (Dan 1:3,4); but always he that is best bred, and that is most in the bosom of God, and that so acts for him here; he is the man that will be best able to enjoy most of God in the kingdom of heaven. It is observable that Paul saith, "Our - affliction - - worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor 4:17). Our afflictions do it, not only because there is laid up a reward for the afflicted, according to the measure of affliction; but because afflictions, and so every service of God, doth make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and profound; and so more able to hold, contain, and bear more (Psa 119:71). "Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour" (1 Cor 3:8). And this is the reason of such sayings as these—Lay up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim 6:19), which eternal life, is not the matter of our justification from sin in the sight of God; for that is done freely by grace, through faith in Christ's blood; (but here the apostle speaks of giving of alms) but it is the same that in the other place he calls "the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." And hence it is that he in his stirring them up to be diligent in good works, doth tell them, that he doth not exhort them to it because he wanted, but because he would have "fruit that might abound to their account" (Phil 4:17); as he saith also in another place, "Beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor 15:58). Therefore I say, the reward that the saints shall have at this day for all the good they have done, it is the enjoyment of God, according to their works: though they shall be freely justified and glorified without works.

Second, As the enjoyment of God at that day, will be to the saints, according to their works and doings—I speak not now of justification from sin—so will their praise and commendations at that day, be according to the same, and both of them their degrees of glory; for I say, as God by communicating of himself unto us at that day, will thereby glorify us, so also he will for the adding all things that may furnish with glory every way, cause to be proclaimed in the face of heaven, and in the presence of all the holy angels; everything that hath for God, his ways, and people, been done by us while here we have been. "Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops" (Luke 12:2,3). Again, He that "shall confess me," saith Christ, "before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt 10:32).

Now as he of whom Christ is ashamed when he comes in his glory, and in the glory of the holy angels, will then lie under inconceivable disgrace, shame, dishonour, and contempt: so he whom Christ shall confess, own, commend, and praise at that day, must needs have very great dignity, honour, and renown, "for then shall every man have praise of God"—to wit, according to his works (1 Cor 4:5). Now will Christ proclaim before thee and all others what thou hast done, and what thou hast suffered, what thou hast owned, and what thou hast withstood for his name (Mark 8:38). This is he that forsook his goods, his relations, his country, and life for me: this is the man that overcame the flatteries and threats, allurements and enticings, of a whole world for me; behold him, he is an Israelite indeed (John 1:47), the top man in his generation, "none like him in all the earth" (Job 1:8). It is said, that when king Ahasuerus had understanding of how good service Mordecai the Jew had done to and for him, he commanded that the royal apparel and the crown, with the horse that the king did ride on, should be given to him, and that he should with that crown, apparel, and horse, be had through the city, in the presence of all his nobles, and that proclamation should be made before him, "Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour" (Esth 6:9-11).

Ahasuerus in this was a type to hold forth to the children of God, how kindly he will take all their labour and service of love, and how he will honour and dignify the same; as Christ saith, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them (Luke 12:35-57). The meaning is, that those souls that shall make it their business to honour the Lord Jesus Christ, in the day of their temptation; he will make it his business to honour and glorify them in the day of his glorification (John 12:26). "Verily, I say unto you, that he will make them sit down to meat, and shall come forth and serve them. If any man will serve me," saith he, "him will my Father honour." It hath been God's way in this world to proclaim the acts and doings of his saints in his word before all in this world, and he will do it in that which is to come (Mark 14:9; Rev 3:4; 14:1-6).

Third, Another thing that shall be yet added to the glory of the saints, in the kingdom of their Saviour, at his coming is, they shall every one of them then have his throne and place of degree on Christ's right hand, and on his left, in his glorious kingdom, according to the relation they stand in to Christ, as the members of his body; for as Christ will have a special eye on us, and a tender and affectionate heart, to recompense to the full every good thing that any man doth for his name in this world: so also he will have as great regard, that there be to every member of his body, the place, and state that is comely for every such member. When the mother of Zebedee's children petitioned our Saviour that he would grant to her, that her two sons might sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom: though he did not grant to her the request for her children, yet he affirmed that there would be places of degrees and honour in heaven, saying, "To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father" (Matt 20:20-23). In the temple, there were chambers bigger and lesser, higher and lower, more inward and more outward: which chambers were types of the mansions that our Lord when he went away, told us he went to prepare for us. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2,3). The foot here, shall not have the place prepared for the eye, nor yet the hand, that which is prepared for the ear, but every one shall have his own place in the body of Christ, and the glory also prepared for such a relation. Order, as it is comely in earth, so much more in the kingdom of the God of order, in heaven; where all things shall be done in their utmost perfections. Here shall Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, with the prophets, have every one his place, according to the degree of Old Testament saints. As God said to Daniel, "Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Dan 12:13). And here also shall Peter, Paul, Timothy, and all other the church officers have their place, and heavenly state, according as God hath set them in the church in the New Testament. As Paul saith of the deacons, "They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 3:13). And so of all other saints, be they here of what rank, quality, or place in the church soever, they shall have every one his state, his heavenly state, according as he standeth in the body. As he saith, seeing those members that are most feeble are necessary, to them shall be given "more abundant honour" (1 Cor 12:22,23). Of this heavenly order in the kingdom of Christ, when his saints are risen from the dead, was Solomon a notable type in his family, and among his servants and officers, who kept such exactness in the famous order in which he had placed all about him, that it did amaze and confound beholders. For "when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cup-bearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her" (2 Chron 9:3,4). "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God" (Psa 87:3).

Dec 17, 2012

Both filth, guilt, and punishment... they were reckoned as his - John Gill

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

"What Christ bore were "sins", even all sorts of sin, original and actual, and every act of sin of his people; and all that is in sin, all that belongs to it, arises from it, and is the demerit of it, as both filth, guilt, and punishment... His "bearing" them was in this manner: he becoming the surety and substitute of his people, their sins were laid upon him by his Father, that is, they were imputed to him, they were reckoned as his, and placed to his account; and Christ voluntarily took them upon himself; he took them to himself, as one may take the debt of another, and make himself answerable for it; or as a man takes up a burden, and lays it on his shoulders..." -John Gill on 1 Peter 2:24

Dec 9, 2012

How was Jesus Christ made of God to be sin for us? - John Bunyan

How was Jesus Christ made of God to be sin for us? Even so as if himself had committed all our sins; that is, they were as really charged upon him as if himself had been the actor and committer of them all. “He hath made him to be sin,” not only as a sinner, but as sin itself. Some, indeed, will not have Jesus Christ our Lord to be made sin for us. Their wicked reasons think this to be wrong judgment in the Lord. It seems, supposing that because they cannot imagine how it should be, therefore God, if he does it, must do it at his peril, and must be charged with doing wrong judgment, and so things that become not his heavenly Majesty. But against this duncish sophistry we set Paul and Isaiah, the one telling us still, “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” and the other that “God made him to be sin for us.”

But these men, as I suppose, think it enough for Christ to die under that notion only, not knowing nor feeling the burden of sin and the wrath of God due thereto. These make him as senseless in his dying, and as much without reason, as a silly sheep or goat, who also died for sin, but so as in name, in show, in shadow only. They felt not the proper weight, guilt and judgment of God for sin. But thou, sinner, who art so in thine own eyes, and who feelest guilt in thine own conscience, know thou that Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God in flesh, was made to be sin for thee, or stood sensibly guilty of all thy sins before God, and bare them in his own body upon the cross.

God charged our sins upon Christ and that in their guilt and burden. What remaineth but that the charge was real or feigned? If real, then he hath either perished under them, or carried them away from before God. If they were charged but feignedly, then did he but feignedly die for them, then shall we have but feigned benefit by his death, and but a feigned salvation at last — not to say how this cursed doctrine chargeth God and Christ with hypocrisy, the one in saying, He made Christ to be sin; the other in saying that he bare our sin; when, in deed and in truth, our guilt and burden never was really upon him.

Leonard Ravenhill's Gospel Error of Co-Redemptrix Intercession

Disclaimer: This article in no way analyzes the individual's life as a whole or events since the error was uttered. However, this article is to warn the reader to beware of the writings of this individual as they do contain serious gospel errors. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)

"If we had more sleepless nights in prayer, there would be far fewer souls to have a sleepless eternal night in hell." -Leonard Ravenhill ("Revival God's Way" pg. 52, [1983])

This statement implies that we are an effectual co- redeemer with Christ through our intercession. This is contrary to the gospel of God's grace.

If you believe your prayers determine who is redeemed by Christ, you have made yourself the redeemer. This exalts man into a co-redeemer. If you teach others a doctrine that makes you a co- redeemer with Christ, then souls will be looking to you and giving glory to you when they think they are saved from hell because of your praying. This co-redeemer doctrine turns man into an idol.
God shall never abort His children. "...yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." [Isa 49:15] Redemption is no opportunity. God will bring His sheep home. "...the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust." [Isa 51:5] The LORD has redeemed sinners before they return. All the redeemed shall return. "...the redeemed of the LORD shall return..." [Isa 51:11] For all His lost sheep He gave His life and by His bruise they are healed. "...the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." [Isa 53:6] Great mountains shall depart, but His electing love shall never leave His children. "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee." [Isa 54:10] False prophets shall not prevail against the Sheep. "...whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake." [Isa 54:15] No deception or demonic power shall prosper against the sheep of Christ. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper..." [Isa 54:17] His mercy is sure and everlasting to His sheep. "...I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." [Isa 55:3]

We are called to pray for the spiritual health of God's children and for the well being of our enemies. "And I know, that this thing shall come to me into *health by your prayer, and the under- ministering of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:19 (Wycliffe New Testament)
*"for the spiritual health" -Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." [Matthew 5:44]

Dec 7, 2012

All the iniquities of all his members found on him - Gilbert Beebe on 2 Corinthians 5:21

"He was made sin. See him whom the heavens adored arraigned before the bar of justice, now in the form of sinful flesh, with all the iniquities of all his members found on him, not merely by imputation, as some suppose, but by actual identity of head and body." - Gilbert Beebe


Brother Beebe: Will you please give your views on II Corinthians 5:21. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” I am aware that you have many such requests from brethren and sisters; but I am so situated that I have no preaching except that comes to me in the “Signs of the Times.” The “Signs,” with my Bible and hymn book supply all I receive. There are no Old School Baptists within fifty miles of me, that I know of. Elder T. H. Owen is the nearest, and I have not seen him for eighteen months.

Yours as ever,
B. Newkirk.
Yola County, California.
April 11, 1866.

Reply: The apostle in the connection of this text is treating upon the subject of the complete redemption of the people of God from the curse and dominion of the law, the guilt and punishment of sin, by the blood and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. That all for whom Christ died were sinners against God, transgressors of his righteous law, and, by nature, children of wrath even as others, is fully demonstrated; for if they were not sinners, no expiation of sin would be required on their behalf. This apostle informs us in Romans 4:24,25, that Jesus, the Lord, was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. And in our context, verses 14 and 15, he says, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

Our views on this subject, which we believe are warranted by the scriptures, are that the immaculate Son of God, who was delivered for our offenses, was holy, harmless, separate from sinners, and higher than the heavens. He was a Lamb without spot or blemish, who knew no sin in his nature, or in his works. Shining in all the brightness of his Father’s glory, he was the express image of the invisible God, and he was and is the Lord from heaven, and filled with all the fullness of the Eternal Godhead. All the infinite perfections of the eternal deity were embodied in him. He was one with the Father, and he was in the Father, and the Father was in him. In his eternal identity with the Father he knew no sin. His will was and is the will of the Father, and that will is the supreme standard of holiness, according to which God worketh all things. On his unsullied purity and absolute holiness all holy beings love to contemplate; angels adore, saints extol, and devils tremble before him. If he had known sin, as attaching impurity to himself, it must have disqualified him for the great work of our redemption.

For he that could for sins atone,
Must have no blemish of his own.

All the victims required to be slain under the ceremonial law, and indeed all that were offered from the foundation of the world, as typical of Christ our sacrifice, including that of Abel, were required to be without blemish, to show that we, the church of God, are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish, as set forth from the foundation of the world, pointing to that one offering wherein he through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, and by which he hath obtained eternal redemption for us.

This holy and spotless Lamb was made sin for us! How? By himself coming under that law of which he was the author and superior, and which his members in their Adamic nature had transgressed. “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his own Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them (his members) that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” In thus coming under the law he took on him the seed of Abraham. “Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death; that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels,” (for angels were not in the nature of those to be redeemed, or to receive the adoption of children) “but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” That is, as explained by Paul to the Galatians, “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” In taking on him this seed, he took on him all their transgressions. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:4-11).” Thus he was made sin, or, if we include the supplied words of our text, he was made to be sin for us. He was not made to sin, or to do that which was sinful; but in taking on him our nature, he took on him our infirmities; was made like unto his brethren (Hebrews 2:17).

Much has been said and written in modern times of the immaculate conception of the Messiah, as though his design had been only to take on him the seed of Abraham, and not their sins. But the very object or design was to bear the sins of his people in his own body. Imbodied in the seed of Abraham, which body was prepared for him, with that seed he stood identified, as its life, and he was recognized by the law and justice of God, as being responsible for their sins. Should a capital offense be committed by a man’s hand, would not the life of the body of which that hand is a member be held in law and justice for the offense? In the typical illustration of this sublime subject, the priest confessed the sins of Israel over the head of the scape goat, and it was said their sins were laid upon the head of the scape goat, and borne away. It is in this way we understand that Jesus was made sin for us. And he was made a curse for us, as it is written in the law, “Cursed is every one that hangeth upon a tree.” Mere substitution could not meet the demands of the law. To condemn and punish the innocent, or to justify the guilty, were alike forbidden by the law which Christ came to fulfill. Yet the head being identified with its body may be held for the transgressions of the body. The right of Christ to redeem his people, as the one nearest of kin to them, and holding, by virtue of higher claim, a right of property in the seed of Abraham, before they were partakers of flesh and blood, and before they had sinned, rests on their spiritual existence in him, anterior to their becoming partakers of flesh and blood; but his qualifications to redeem them with his blood required that he should take part of the same flesh and blood in which they had offended, that he might be recognized as being under the same law by which they were condemned. Hence he was made flesh and dwelt among them. With them identified as the head with its body; the life of the body was prepared for him. He was made sin. See him whom the heavens adored arraigned before the bar of justice, now in the form of sinful flesh, with all the iniquities of all his members found on him, not merely by imputation, as some suppose, but by actual identity of head and body.

He has taken on him that body, that seed, and in that body crushed with the mighty weight of all the sins, which with the body he assumed, the law with unabating fury pours on him the wrath that was due to the sins which were laid on him. An arbitrary act of imputation could not suffice. He is made sin, or made to be sin, for us. For whom? For the seed of Abraham: for his body, his bride, his sheep, his seed, his members, and for them only. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4).” But we pass to consider the great purpose or design of this wonderful condescension and unparalleled humiliation of the Son of God.

We are told in the sacred word that God sent his Son to redeem them that were under the law, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; to save his people from their sins; to redeem them unto God. But justification as well as redemption is contemplated in our text. Merely the putting away their sins would not secure to them the righteousness of God. It could only restore to them their original innocence in which they stood in Adam before sin entered. Hence to make the redeemed seed the righteousness of God himself required that the same relationship should exist between Christ and his members which we have found to be indispensable for their redemption.

Theological speculators talk of justification before God in a variety of ways. Some look for justification by the deeds of the law, or by the righteousness of their own works. But God has informed us that in that way no flesh shall be justified in his sight. As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. Others speak of the righteousness which Christ wrought out by his active and passive obedience to the law. This was indispensable in our redemption from sin. “By the obedience of one, many shall be made righteous.” And so far as legal righteousness is considered, it is secured by the obedience which Christ has rendered to all the jots and tittles of the holy law. This legal righteousness redeems and saves us from wrath and condemnation, but does it qualify us for communion with God, for fellowship with the Spirit, and for an inheritance with the saints in light? Our text contemplates a higher order of righteousness than the mere satisfaction rendered to the law for our transgressions. “That we might be made the righteousness of God.” Much more than an acquittal from guilt and condemnation is required to bring us to God, and prepare us to stand before him in the perfection of his nature. God has told us by the mouth of Daniel that Christ should not only “finish transgression and make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity,” but also “bring in everlasting righteousness.” To work out is one thing, but to bring in is quite another. Without the former, the latter would be impossible. It was indispensably necessary that Christ should redeem us from sin, and death and hell; but having so redeemed us, it is no less indispensable that we be made the righteousness of God, and partakers of the divine nature. We are therefore assured that Christ is of God “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” This is the name wherewith he shall be called, “The Lord our righteousness.” “For their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” So then as Christ was made to be sin for us, in the putting away of our sins, and as he was made sin by taking on him the seed of Abraham, so the seed of Abraham are made the righteousness of God in him who is the righteousness of God. Christ is our life, and he is the true God, and Eternal Life. We are in him, and he is in us, that all his members should be made perfect in one, that the world may know that God hath sent him, and that he hath loved us even as he hath loved him.

Middletown, N.Y.
July 1, 1866.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 352 - 357

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions