Answers to Correspondents.: John 1:18; Deut. 23:3; 1 Tim. 3:16

1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:18; Deuteronomy 23:3  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
R. P. B.—John 1:1818No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18).—We know what is meant when people speak of the blessed Lord as having left the Father's bosom and come down to earth. They simply mean that; moved by infinite compassion, He laid aside His glory and became a man that He might redeem us and make us His own forever. And this, blessed be His name, is true. But, strictly speaking, He never left the Father's bosom, and Scripture is so very exact. "The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father"-not was, but is. And these words were spoken by the Lord when here on earth. It is a term expressive of the deepest, tenderest affection and of the closest and most sacred intimacy. Surely the only begotten Son never left that bosom, never ceased to be the object of the Father's love. If any say, But He was the forsaken One on the cross. True, but not of the Father. Forsaken of God He was, but of the Father—never. Indeed, His devoted obedience even unto death furnished, so to speak, fresh reasons for the Father's love (see John 10:1717Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (John 10:17)).
Luke 17:3737And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:37) must be read in relation to its preceding context. A day shall come when in discriminating judgment one shall be seized and the other left, whether in the field, the bed, or behind the mill. Just as the eagles scent the prey from afar and swoop down on the corrupting carcass, so the judgment of God will assuredly overtake those whose sins make them worthy of it.
Psa. 51:1616For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. (Psalm 51:16) and Mic. 6:66Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? (Micah 6:6) show that what is external and material, however great' and costly, is but of little worth if it stand alone. God looks for moral reality. A broken and a contrite heart in one who had sinned as David had is immeasurably more acceptable to Him than any sacrifice money could buy. So to walk humbly with God, to be just and love mercy, is greater in His sight than thousands of rams or ten thousands of rivers of oil. What is the worth of these to Him to whom the wealth of the universe belongs? Nevertheless, under the Mosaic economy the stated sacrifices referred to in Heb. 9 and 10. had to be offered. They served to press the sins of the people on their consciences, made them remember that without shedding of blood there is no remission, and pointed forward to the great Sacrifice by which the solemn question of sin was to be forever settled. There is no disagreement, much less contradiction, between these varied scriptures. They do but view things on different sides.
E. M.—Deut. 23:33An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever: (Deuteronomy 23:3).—In the strict letter of it this passage clearly excludes a Moabite from the congregation of the Lord forever. How then, you ask, came Ruth the Moabitess to be admitted? It is true the law gave her no title, but grace can bring in where law shuts out. Had the Lord God of Israel no room under His wings for one who would fain shelter there, and who, though a stranger, loved His land and people? Whatever law might say in the way of righteous government, was it able to erect barriers beyond which the grace of God should never pass? Impossible. This was the very point in the Lord's address in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4). Naaman the Syrian and the widow of Sarepta both witnessed that grace was greater than law. So also the woman of Canaan in Matt. 15, and Ruth in an earlier day. Is not this the solution of the seeming difficulty?
CONSTANT READER.—We have read the little book you kindly sent for our perusal. There are true things in it, but these only make its serious error all the more dangerous. The deadly doctrine of annihilation is what the writer of it is anxious to blaze abroad. It is a poisonous pill gilded over with gospel statements, a killing drug administered in a spoonful of honey. Such are the depths of Satan. The demands on our space this month will not admit of our dealing with it; but you will find the doctrine convincingly refuted in a pamphlet entitled Brief Scriptural Evidence of the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment for Plain People, to be had for one penny from our publisher or ordered through any local bookseller. Yes, we fear even a Christian might fall into such a snare of the evil one and become the dishonored instrument of propagating anti-Christian theories.
S. E. L.—If every means have been taken to convert the offending brother from the error of his ways and no hope remains of his restoration, it might then be necessary to announce that he is no longer regarded as being in fellowship. Having gone out, you close the door. Until then we hardly see how his place could be denied him should he wish to take it.
A LEARNER.—1 Tim. 3:1616And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16).—Observe the apostle is speaking of the mystery of piety, that lovely thing which should be exhibited in the life of every Christian. But this is seen in its every beauteous trait in Christ alone. In Him God has been manifested in flesh, has been justified in the Spirit, has been seen of angels. You ask what these latter terms mean. Is it not that the whole pathway of the Lord here, as the anointed man, was marked by the power of the Holy Spirit? (See Heb. 9:1414How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).) If spoken against, traduced, reviled, and judged by man unfit to live, the Spirit justified Him, vindicated His cause as Jehovah's righteous Servant—this vindication extending even to His resurrection, as Rom. 1:44And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (Romans 1:4) seems to imply. Seen of angels, not alone of men. They ministered to Him in His temptation in the wilderness, strengthened Him in His agony in Gethsemane, and were witnesses of His resurrection and ascension. In Him, then, the mystery of piety unfolds itself. It is in that light we view the passage.
ONE OF THE LORD'S LITTLE ONES.—Your basket of poetic "fragments" reached us in due course. Sweet in thought, they lack that literary excellence which would justify us in giving them a place in our pages. The fact is, hymn-writing is not so easy a matter as many are apt to think. "Hundreds of so-called hymns fill up our collections of congregational psalmody which are really not hymns at all. They are very sound, very scriptural, very proper, very correct, very tolerably rhymed; but they are not real, live, genuine hymns. There is no life about them. At best they are tame, pointless, weak, and milk-and-watery. In many cases, if. Written out straight, without respect of lines, they would make excellent prose. But poetry they are not." This opinion we are very much dined to endorse.