Miscellaneous Notes on the Epistles

J. N. Darby.

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We may remark that in Romans 8:2, 3, we have the two parts of the Christian treated of. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus in verse 2, and sin in the flesh in verse 3; by the first which is a holy thing in power, I am free from the law of sin and death; it is the liberty of the new man perfect from God in itself but still sin in the flesh (of which I have learned however to say, not I) is there, but then it has been condemned when Christ was for sin. Hence freedom in the new man, perfect before God, and the old condemned in that by which I have a title to hold it dead. Further, I say, as a truth known in Christ has made me free. This is not expressive of myself but the truth for faith according to verse 6. The experience ought to follow. This is the moral ground of no condemnation. Forgiveness and justification and righteousness we have had before.

In Philippians 2, we have the twofold principles which lead to likeness to Christ as in verse 15; first, self abasement, giving up self, as Christ came from the divine glory to the cross. Love coming down to serve, secondly, and it applies specially to our case in the absence of manifested apostolic power, obedience in the seriousness of a conflict to which we have to make good the path and victory of faith ourselves, as contrasted with that power but that which is ever true and our sure and infallible strength, God working in us to will and to do. The result is the likeness to Christ of verse 16 and all gracious thoughtfulness of others - not love of self.

In Hebrews 5, is not verse 5 which does not institute priesthood, connected with verse 4 and in contrast though He must be a man to be a priest, (for contrast is the character of the Hebrews) with verse one - taken from amongst men? He does not glorify Himself, genethenai (to be made). But He who said, Thou art My Son, this day have I (emphatically) ego (I) begotten Thee. Though a man yet He is not simply taken from amongst men as such but God says of Him (even as a man) I have begotten Thee.

154 This qualified Him as to calling in contrast with glorifying Himself but also in contrast with mere human priests, then He is constituted and owned priest by God as in the 110th Psalm. This makes the fifth verse plain. Compare Hebrews 7:28.

Note in 1 Thess. 5:8 we have the three great principles of Christian life - faith, hope and love. Evidently these three were pretty settled and constantly in the Apostle's mind; we have them in 1 Thess. 1:3. In 1 Thess. 5:8 it is hardly against enemies though it supposes them, but more in the way of their watchfulness, that is, a heart right with God as to its state than actual conflict with enemies.

In Ephesians we are in conflict with enemies and have to be such and such to succeed and wield the sword successfully. Hence the breastplate is practical righteousness, which we must have to contend effectually with Satan. In Ephesians 6, after the whole subjective state is gone through before using the sword, we have the helmet of salvation - a deliverance that belongs to us which we enjoy and enables us to use the sword, coming after the shield of faith - entire confidence in God. In Thessalonians it is one of the elements of our life with God in its final result as a matter of hope, the active energy of the life with God in faith, love and hope in sobriety of walk in the midst of dangers or enemies down here.