Answers to Correspondents.: ROM 5:1; God's Foreknowledge; The Smoking Furnace; Washing Other's Feet; 2CO 5:2-3; The Rock; The Blood;

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W. C. O.—Rom. 5:11Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1).—Many thanks for your kind and brotherly letter. Yes, peace with God does indeed rest on something outside ourselves. It is founded on the fact that Jesus was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. But though the foundation has thus been laid, we only come into the enjoyment of peace and thus "have" it when we receive the truth unfolded in the preceding part of the epistle. To know, deep down in our souls, that we are guilty sinners before God and subject to His just judgment, fills us with dismay. But when we understand that the very One at whose bar we stand convicted has concerned Himself about our sins, that our sins have furnished the occasion for the display of His love, when we see that the Lord Jesus has borne the load of our guilt and put it away forever, when we behold Him risen—the whole question of our sins having been settled once for all—it is then that we have peace toward God. This great blessing is the inalienable right and privilege of all believers, but we think it is going too far to say that every believer has it. Thank God, the atoning work of Jesus has re' moved from God's sight the believer's every sin, and he stands in His unclouded favor. But though this be so, how many sincere souls—through defective teaching—have misgivings as to whether they are quite right after all! Safe in Christ and accepted in the Beloved they surely are, little as they may be assured of it, but peace towards God is the very thing they need. Oh that all such would look away from themselves, and see in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus that which silences every fear and puts to flight every doubt!
S. H.—The doctrine of God's foreknowledge does not weaken in the least degree the responsibility of men nor bind them to a particular line of conduct. A discerning parent may warn his sons that a certain course will inevitably lead to dishonor, beggary, and ruin. His foreknowledge and admonitory words make them the more responsible, and if they heed them not it only aggravates their guilt and folly. Neither was the doctrine of predestination ever designed to make men lie down and go to sleep in the lethal chamber of fatalism. But our first business is not with such subjects at all, and, if wise, we shall leave them alone till other and more pressing matters are attended to. The most abject fatalist cannot deny that the gospel knocks at his door, unless he contends that "every creature," "whosoever," "all" are terms which have no possible reference to him. Should he acknowledge this, and yet plead that "faith is the gift of God," we assent most gladly, and call upon him on that account to be of good cheer, for what is there that God will not give to the one who seeks it of Him i Everyone who asks receives, and all who seek find. Alas! with most objectors the difficulty lies in the will, not in the want of power.
As to modern discoveries proving the Bible untrustworthy, we should advise those who say so to profit by past experience, and be a trifle less loud in their assertions. We are constantly being favored with fresh theories based on fresh discoveries. But their deceptive career is very short, and there is hardly time to greet the new-corner and examine his credentials before we are called upon to show him to the door and to receive the next. The credulity of skeptical young men is amazing, there is no end to it, and were the subject not so serious, we should find it hard not to laugh at them for their childish gullibility. As it is, we pity them with all our heart, and exhort them to be no longer children in understanding.
L. W. P.—We regret to say that the subject of your note is hardly suitable for discussion in these columns. It is too controversial. Many whom we greatly esteem hold different views about the matter, and all we can say here is, Let everyone search the Scriptures for himself as to it and act accordingly.
H. J. F.—Gen. 15:1717And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. (Genesis 15:17); Ex. 3:11Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. (Exodus 3:1).—The smoking furnace is a symbol of the trial to which the seed of Abraham would be subjected when they sojourned as "a stranger in a land that is not theirs." It pointed on to Egypt and the 400 years spent in "the iron furnace," out of which the Lord brought them by the hand of Moses (see Dent. Iv. 20). The burning bush, which burned and was not consumed, speaks of the weakness of the people in the midst of whom God dwells, for our God is a consuming fire. But whatever the siftings and searching and judicial dealings of God, whether with Israel of old or with His people now, He maintains them, keeps them, and always seeks their good. The fire burns in the midst of the bush, but the bush is not consumed. Blessed be God!
E. C.—John 13:11.—We hardly think the washing of one another's' feet which the Lord enjoins is to be confined to mere temporal service, however lowly, for any of "His own." Embracing that, it surely goes much further. Has it not some spiritual significance, and does it not point to our being the means of spiritual cleansing and comfort to others in our intercourse with them? We may not know at the time that we are thus washing the feet of another, but this is what would be taking place if our hearts were constantly under the influence of the love of Christ. Some word falling from our lips would powerfully affect another for his good, and this would answer, in its way, to the feet-washing of John 13
B. R. W.—2 Cor. 5:2, 32For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (2 Corinthians 5:2‑3).—The apostle is speaking of his body as a tabernacle or tent in which he dwelt. But, exposed to violent persecution for Christ's sake, it might at any hour be destroyed. What then? He had a sure abode, eternal in the heavens. But in its present condition the tabernacle house is connected with this groaning creation—groaning because of sin and its effects; and we groan, too, earnestly desiring to have the last tie dissolved by receiving—if we fall asleep—our resurrection body, or if alive by mortality being swallowed up of life. The third verse is a solemn word for the conscience of the easy-going Corinthians. Clothed they were with flesh and blood, but how did they stand in the sight of God? Would they be found naked—any of them—and destitute of that "white raiment" which a professor may think he has while having it not? Compare Rev. 3:1818I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18). It was a word, by the way, to which they and all of us might well give ear.
L.—Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18).—The rock on which Christ would build His Church is the confession of Himself as "the Christ, the Son of the living God." It is built on the truth of His Person and glory. Son of the living God, whom death could not conquer and hold. It was as such that Paul preached Him from the first (Acts 9:2020And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9:20)), and to him was given to unfold in his ministry the truth about the Church with a fullness found nowhere else in the Sacred Word.
G. M.—We should be sorry to think that "the glorious doctrine of the blood," as it has been called, is dropping out of the gospel preaching of to-day. In some circles no doubt it is, but we trust not among those, to 'whom you specially refer. Nothing can possibly be more important than £o give to "Tan PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST" the place Scripture assigns to it. All along the ages, from Eden to Calvary, by type and symbol, the great truth has been proclaimed that "without shedding of blood there is no remission." Through the blood we have forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:2828For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28)); by the blood we are justified (Rom. 5:99Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9)); by the blood we are redeemed (1 Peter 1:1818Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (1 Peter 1:18)); by the blood, we are cleansed from all sin (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)); by the blood we have boldness to enter the holiest; by the blood we are made nigh to God (Eph. 2:1313But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)). It is by the blood that God is just and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus (Rom. 3:25, 2625Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:25‑26)). The redeemed sing about the blood in glory (Rev. 5:99And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelation 5:9)); the white-robed multitude of Rev. 7 who came out of the great tribulation washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The Bible, from cover to cover, is vocal with the praises of the blood. We believe the preaching that is most blessed is the preaching that gives great prominence to the blood. God forbid, then, that it should be relegated to a subordinate place. It must stand foremost in all true gospel testimony as being the imperishable basis on which every blessing rests. For an answer to your second question see our reply to L. W. P.