Answers to Correspondents.: Different Styles; Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit; Saved?; Politics; New Birth; Judas; Died for Me

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J. I. K.—The different styles of the writers of the books of the Bible is a fact that does not militate in the smallest degree against the doctrine of verbal inspiration. That doctrine in no way obliges us to view Moses, Isaiah, Paul, and John as mere mental machines who, when writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were placed beyond the range of feelings, emotions, and sentiments peculiar to themselves. Nothing of the sort is claimed. On the contrary, it is frankly conceded that each wrote according to his own manner. Hence we have the glowing imagery of Isaiah and the simple plain style of John. But the vital point is this: Were those men, when writing the Holy Scriptures, so under the control of the Holy Spirit as to be safeguarded from error? We believe they were. Did they set down just what the Holy Spirit would have them communicate, neither more nor less? We believe they did. Could the same be said of Shakespeare or Milton, or even of those spiritually minded men to whom we are indebted for the choicest hymns we sing? Assuredly not. There is a great gulf lying between the best of human writings and the Holy Scriptures given by inspiration of God. And it is intended that there should be, so that the latter might have their unique and proper place and possess an authority exclusively their own.
A COUNTRY READER.—Mark 3:2929But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: (Mark 3:29).—There is surely forgiveness with God for any and every sin if the guilty one turns to Him in sincere repentance and rests simply and wholly on the Lord Jesus Christ. Of that there can be no doubt. But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit betrays a condition of heart only reached after a long and hardening process, and leaves no hope of repentance and faith. It is not that the atoning sacrifice of Christ could not reach to such a depth of sin, or that the grace of God is outdistanced by it, but rather that a sin so great was a sure sign of hopeless apostasy from which there was no recovery and therefore no forgiveness.
TROUBLED.—If you are in doubt as to whether you are one of the Lord's saved ones or not, it is easy to understand your repeated seasons of spiritual distress. But you will not find deliverance in the endeavor to determine whether your conversion to God was true or false. The Corinthians were called upon to examine themselves and to see whether they were in the faith, but it was not to discover whether they were saved or not, but whether Christ had ever spoken in Paul. They must acknowledge that He had, or else deny the fact of their own conversion (2 Cor. 13). But in your case the important question is, Do you trust Christ now? Do you receive that gospel which proclaims forgiveness of sins to everyone who believes in Him? No doubt you can answer that query easily enough. Your letter shows much self-occupation, in which there is no profit. It is a miserable piece of business at best, but when we see ourselves as we really are in the sight of God, it is then we loathe ourselves and are only too glad to turn our eyes to 'Christ, in whom we are accepted and complete.
"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" ( 2 Cor. 5:2121For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)). Assured of that, and never doubting it more, we are then free to be engaged with the love, glories, and interests of Christ, whose blood gives rest to the conscience, and who Himself becomes the object of the heart's desire and delight. In that lies the secret of happiness for the Christian. There is no other.
C. K.—We never knew a Christian man who became engrossed in municipal or political affairs without his suffering serious spiritual damage. The intelligent and devoted Christian, while gladly rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and following the example of his Lord and Master, who went about doing good, remembers that he belongs to a commonwealth which is in the heavens, and from whence also he expects the Savior (Phil. 3:2020For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20)). And if his energy seeks a sphere for its exercise, he knows where to find one that will yield richer results than the political arena. As to the universal brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God, while it is true that all of us spring from the loins of our father Adam, yet the sharpest distinction is drawn in Scripture between the children of light and the children of darkness. In a broad sense all men are God's offspring, as in Acts 17:2929Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. (Acts 17:29), yet His saints are entitled to call Him "Father" as none other can. To blot out these distinctions or to enfeeble them is evil work.
A LEARNER.—"The new birth" and "being born again" are simply different terms to express the same work of God in the soul, without which none can see or enter into His kingdom. Every converted person is born again and has received divine or spiritual life. But the gift of the Holy Spirit is another thing. We must distinguish between the operation of the Spirit in the new birth and His indwelling. With the latter comes the experience of life in a larger, broader sense. The blood of Jesus Christ spoken of in 1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) is that which judicially cleanses from all sin, fits the believer for the holy presence of God, and gives him liberty to draw near according to Heb. 10:1919Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (Hebrews 10:19).
A BELIEVER.—John 6:7070Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? (John 6:70).—Judas was one of the twelve chosen to be with the Lord Jesus and sent forth to preach. But this choice and service is not to be considered as an equivalent to salvation and the gift of eternal life. A man may preach with the tongues of men and of angels and yet be nothing. Why Judas was called we know not, unless John 13:1818I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. (John 13:18) gives the answer. Possibly it does.
A. T. D.—We cannot recall any scripture which exhorts the individual sinner to believe that Christ died for him. That He died for the ungodly, for sinners, for the unjust, for us, is all most true. These are sound, scriptural terms. Moreover, the believer may justly adopt the language of the apostle Paul and say, "The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." But forgiveness of sins is hardly dependent on the unforgiven one being able to say, "Christ died for me," though the believer can say so. At least, that is not exactly how it is put in Scripture, so far as we see. The momentous question is, What has God found in the sacrifice of Christ? What is it to Him? Has it so met the requirements of His throne in reference to the sins of sinful men that He can justly show them His saving mercy Doubtless it has. Hence in the activity of His love He sends out His gospel to all nations of the earth, and in that gospel we find such gracious words as these, "Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." This leaves no room for the anxious inquiry, "Did Christ die for me?" Such a question need never be asked. His death, on its Godward side, brings full and everlasting forgiveness to everyone that believeth. Do I believe in Him who, having died for the ungodly, is now alive again and in the glory of God? Is He the One on whom my faith is founded? If so, my sins are forgiven. I am justified from all things and saved. Acts 10:43; 13:39, 16:3143To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43) are passages which place the matter beyond dispute, and the comfort of all this flows into my soul as it receives the Word in simple, childlike faith.