J. N. Darby.
I doubt whether you have got all the bearing of Scripture as to sin. Christ appeared once in the consummation of ages eis athetesin amartias by the sacrifice of Himself. It is not a question of guilt and imputation that is here. Judgment is according to works, but Christ was peri amartias when God condemned sin in the flesh; further, as to sin of the world, we have airon ten amartian tou kosmou. We have had an innocent garden, then a sinful world, by and bye a world wherein dwelleth righteousness. Of course there can be no sin in mere creation, but the status is one of sin, the bondage of corruption; defilement can be, if not guilt; hence the tabernacle, etc., were sprinkled with blood. True, because of Israel's sins, but defilement attached to them. The heavens are not clean in His sight, and He who went into the lower parts of the earth is gone above all heavens, that He might fill all things.
Sin in the flesh is not guilt; but it would defile and not allow us to be with God, were it not condemned in the cross through His death who was made sin for us. The full effect will only be in the new heavens and new earth. Sin is not put away in the lost, I fully admit; but I could not say there was no suffering for sin in the abstract. It is never said sin is put away: I know the work is done, and am at rest. But the fact will not be accomplished as an effect till the new heavens and the new earth. If taking away be not a sacrificial expression, peri amartias is, and the sacrifice of Himself is. I could not say there is no sin of the world except as regards guilt and responsibility. It does not recognise defilement by sin. Further, kapper is applied to the holy place (Lev. 16:16-20); So it is to the burnt-offering (Lev. 1), where there was no actual sin committed.
The main effect of the burnt-offering is to shew the perfect sweet savour of the sacrifice of Christ to God, but it was made in respect of sin, not on account of actual sins committed. Man must come by blood because he is a sinner, and though we get Christ Himself here (not "of his own voluntary will," for this is a mistake, though it was so, but "for his acceptance"), yet, as it is for us, the element of sin must be brought in. As to speaking of atonement, which, although acknowledged, he did not bring adequately into prominence, the reason for it is very simple, as you may see in reading Leviticus 1:4, where it is especially said to be so in the usual (we may say, technical) word.
Called and Chosen
J. N. Darby.
Matthew 22:14 seems clearly profession, or outward calling; the chosen, those owned in the wedding. As to Matthew 20 you must connect it with chapter 19. There devotedness and self-sacrifice are made the ground of reward. Only the principles of law and grace are so different, that those great in one would be very little in the other. But lest there should be self and self-righteousness wrought by what preceded, the sovereign grace of chapter 20 is introduced, and the converse stated — many last first, and first last. Here it is grace as to service: only so much work for so much pay is utterly blown upon. The rest trusted the master for what they might get, and free grace acts consequently. God alone can judge what He should do in rewarding. Thus last are first, and first last. Many are called to serve, some chosen vessels, but all is grace.
Book of Life
J. N. Darby.
In a general way we have God's book as a registry. But then you have specifically, in the New Testament, book of life. In one case it is said, Whose names are not written in the book of the slain Lamb, before the foundation of the world. These God had written, and it was sure. But they are supposed true, unless shewn to be otherwise — as one on the list of voters, unless proved to have no right.