Notes of Readings on 1 Corinthians

J. N. Darby.

Chapter  1
Chapter  2
Chapter  3
Chapter  4
Chapter  5
Chapter  6
Chapter  7
Chapter  8
Chapter  9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16

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1 Corinthians 1.

The first epistle to the Corinthians consists of details more than of great truths, and therefore not so much has been written on it. Sosthenes is associated with Paul, as having laboured there, where he had also been chief ruler of the synagogue; Acts 18. The association of others does not hinder the sole authorship of Paul. So, in addressing the Galatians, he speaks of "all the brethren which are with me," because he was shewing that the whole church of God was against them.

Verse 2 brings to view the roots of the main question of the church of God, two classes of persons being taken up there. This gives importance to the epistle. "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." Those that call on the name of the Lord Jesus are professors, assumed to be faithful till they went or were put out, not necessarily the body of Christ but the house of God. The assembly in Corinth, as elsewhere, is recognised as representing the church there. They were not born like the nation of Israel, but saints by call; sanctified in Christ Jesus, not after an external sort merely. The universality of the application is carefully maintained, its divine claim over all Christians everywhere. The direct address is to the Corinthian assembly, but the apostle takes in all the Christian profession elsewhere. He addressed them as saints, and I have no doubt that he considered them truthful, unless they were proved hypocrites. But calling is professional simply; just as John says that whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him; but of hypocrites this would not be true. Though there might be hypocrites there, they would be characterised as of the church of God at Corinth. It is not what my judgment of individuals may be, but the statement of what their character is in such a place. There may be, and there was, an assembly of God in Corinth; and the apostle treats them as sanctified in Christ Jesus; then the rest as calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is a different thing from sanctified in Christ Jesus. Though a man who calls on the name of the Lord, unless he be a hypocrite, is sanctified, yet the calling on the name of the Lord does not give him title as such to be styled "sanctified in Christ Jesus."

201 The epistle is addressed to the church of God with all that call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; that is, generally, till chapter 10, to the house of God; after that, to the body specifically. There is a different state of things now. If men take the name of the Lord, they are bound by all that is written to such; but it does not follow that Paul would have written such a letter to them now, nor do I believe he would. He gives meat in due season. He would have to do with what is practically fallen away from the truth, and he would not deal with this as with a body of persons like those gathered in Corinth. As yet we have not the fact that false brethren had crept in. "Sanctified in Christ Jesus" is not the same thing as "sanctified by blood" in Hebrews, but quite different ideas; the latter not necessarily rising beyond external consecration, though, where faith is, it consecrates to God.

In Ephesians 4 the distinction re-appears more definitely, which we have seen in 1 Corinthians already. First, "one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling"; next, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," the wider circle of profession; and then the largest of all, "one God and Father of all," etc., returning to the intimacy of His children "who is in you [or 'us'] all." So the apostle, in Acts 17, quotes a Greek poet, "for we are also his offspring." Compare also Ephesians 3:15, "Every family"; and Adam was thus called son of God. It is not, of course, the spiritual bearing of the name; it is used as here naturally. At the time when the epistle was written, all that bore the Lord's name were looked at as true believers, unless proved to the contrary. It is wholly different now; and Paul would not have written to them as to the Corinthians, though professors are now bound by what he then wrote, because they make the profession.

We shall find another thing in the epistle: that the consequence of the association in verse 2 is, that the local church has taken the standing of the whole body. It will come out more in chapter 12; but in associating all professors of Christianity with the church at Corinth, he deals with them as they stand, upon the ground of the body of Christ, though only a local assembly.

202 It is striking to see how the apostle, after the salutation in verse 3, takes up all that he saw to be good, as a testimony to their reality, before he begins to deal with the evil (v. 4-9). "Ye come behind in no gift." There was gift, but very little grace. "The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you"; "In everything ye are enriched by him in all utterance, and in all knowledge." They had the truth and power to communicate it. They were waiting also for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; not exactly His "coming," nor more (I think) than that He is hidden as yet. There is nothing about the rapture here, nor the judgment. In Hebrews 10:26 it is the stronger word, meaning complete knowledge, or, as often elsewhere, recognition. Peter, in his second epistle (chap. 1:5-8), uses the two words. A speculative mind might learn all ever so accurately, without faith or renewal.

The testimony is said to be "of Christ" here, "of God" in chapter 2:1; because it is, not another testimony, but another way of looking at the same. Here it is personal to Christ. Christ's testimony confirmed in you is the testimony of God brought to you. You give a different name to a thing from the different feeling you have about it. In chapter 2:1 he did not bring what was human, because it was the testimony of God; and he determined not to know anything among them but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Words are used, but really with the power of them. He did not come with man's wisdom and man's speech to bring God's testimony; but it was the testimony of Christ all the same. The great thing is to see why he uses a word, not that it is a different thing necessarily, but why that particular word comes in. It is God's testimony, not man's.

It is striking, I think, that the apostle addresses them here as "sanctified," enriched with gift, etc., and also says they shall be confirmed to the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ; but then he goes on to blame them for everything. They had got testimony to their place in Christ by the gifts, etc. They had the Holy Ghost in consequence of their faith in Christ, and then he reckons on God's faithfulness; so that there is a point of departure from which he can deal with them. Many were to be blameless in the day of the Lord Jesus; how be so blameable now?

203 Verses 8, 9 are exceedingly important. He had the hope that they were saints in a general way; then he casts them on God's faithfulness; so that they would be blameless in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is one of the blankest cases of the perseverance of the saints (not happily, but commonly so-called); for, at that time they were going on exceedingly ill, yet there he introduces that they would be not safe but blameless. This he connects with the faithfulness of God. Jesus Christ will confirm you to the end, and God is faithful by whom ye were called.

"Fellowship of his Son,"* which follows just after, means having a part together, and with Christ (koinonia) and in the blessings that are with Him. Partaking (metokee) is not communion (koinonia), which last is a closer thing. I partake of a thing, and in that measure have it in common with another. It is more in the character of communication. For instance in Hebrews 2:14 we have the difference in an important case. "Forasmuch, then, as the children were partakers of [kekoinoneken] flesh and blood [because we all had it, it is all in common], he also himself likewise took part [metesken], of the same." Some misused it to teach that He took sinful flesh, which is nowhere said; but Christ did take flesh and blood. In Luke 5 the two words are used in a general way. "They beckoned to their partners" [metokois], v. 7, while [koinonoi], v. 10, shews they had common share, with nothing very definite for distinction. Words are used sometimes in a less, sometimes in a more, definite sense. We use a great number of words which have merely a different shade of meaning without an intention of making a difference. You might say, They both live in the same place, or in the same locality, but you do not mean another thought. Locality is the more general term. So going shares or partnership might have a shade of difference.

{*["Communion with his Son," in the original Morrish edition.]}

The first thing we come to is definite: "I beseech you that ye all speak the same thing," etc. (v. 10-12). Then we have the character of the preaching of the gospel, that what is foolishness to man is what God has taken to put down flesh, the foolishness of preaching, and the shame of the cross to bring everything to nought by it. It is hard to keep steadily before your mind that, if you want to do God's work, you must have what the world will not have; and it is so, that no flesh should glory in His presence. It pleased God. when in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Otherwise it would have been man's wisdom, that is, in the power of his mind.

204 I do not believe that a single thought of God ever enters into man's mind by intellect. It is always by conscience, not by intellect. There is faith, and there is love; but conscience is the topknot, as you call it. And in that way all the philosophy of man goes at once. The fact is, God is not in His place at all if my mind sets to work to judge about Him. It is when I say, "I am a poor sinner, and I believe in God," that God has His right place, even if my heart is wrong; still the conscience is that which directly owns the claims of God. There is no knowledge of God in intellect.

Responsibility comes in thus. God is revealed, and the moment there is a revelation, it is revealed that I may receive ideas which my mind of itself cannot take up; but if I have received an idea, I am responsible to be found in the right place by it. If I have the idea that you are my child, I am responsible to act as your father; but the mind is incapable of forming an idea of God, and that is where the philosophers have all gone wrong. They say the mind can form an idea without man's conscience, but it cannot: though it does not follow that God cannot reveal it to him. It is the supposition that the power within us is the measure of all that we can be apprehensive of. This I deny altogether; it is a total mistake. Suppose a poor old woman, and a strong man gives her his arm, that would not be power in her.

If there comes a revelation of God, there is the responsibility to receive it, but it does not follow that my mind could have formed the idea. In these days it is well to be clear as to this. The worst kind of infidelity says, "Man can have no idea beyond his senses, and a few original deductions which he may draw." I reply, All true; but that leaves you as ignorant of God as an animal. Do not pretend that there is nothing outside of yourself, and here comes in revelation. Like the woman in John 4, conscience has to be reached from without: "If thou knewest the gift of God." The woman says in effect, "What of that?" And then how does Christ deal with her? "Go, call thy husband, and come hither," and this arrests her. Real intelligence of God is in the conscience. I do not say the heart may not be drawn.

205 As to the distinction between "conscience" and "heart," the affections are in the heart, and conscience is my responsibility for right and wrong. You may have natural feelings moved like the women of Jerusalem beating their breasts because some one was going to be put to death; but what detects the work of God is when these two go together. You may meet with natural conscience alone, which is much like Judas, who went and hanged himself. God is light and love, and if He reveals Himself, you need have both. Where the light comes and deals with the conscience, the love attracts the heart, and both are moved. Thus Peter went to Christ and said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Why did he go to Christ at all? So I say, "I am a guilty sinner," when the light comes in; and where the work is of God, it is accompanied by the attraction of love. There may be much of natural feeling which is of no value. Just as in a time of the cholera raging, there is excitement enough in the terror of the moment; but the cholera goes, and all that goes too.

The heart is used for all sorts of feeling. What is described in the prodigal son is that he began to be in want. That proves nothing but that the soul was originally made to be fed. He had not yet come to himself; but the effect of beginning to be in want, when God had not revealed Himself, was that he went farther and farther away. So it is with every man who goes thoroughly into the world until he gets tired of it. Coming to himself may follow a remorse.

The conscience may be reached by Satan. Man commits murder, and it has passed into a proverb, "Murder will out." That is conscience. Man got it at the fall, and carries it with him. Adam had no knowledge of good and evil, but was subject to God's authority, and for that reason the thing imposed upon him in the garden was neither good nor evil in itself except by the command. Now we have the sense of wrong. If a child only six months old slaps his mother, he knows it is wrong. Conscience may be defined as my own mind judging of good and evil as God does. That is why it is such a totally false thing to make it a law. A law is a thing imposed upon a person, whereas the essence of conscience is that I discern between good and evil in myself, and that becomes a law to me. Law is imposed by a lawgiver, as God does. In the garden Adam was going against subjection to God: "thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife."

206 As to the difference between wisdom and understanding (v. 19) in English, wisdom is the attempt to use what a man has learnt, but you could hardly call it that in Greek. We may say that the understanding of the prudent is more the character of discernment, whereas wisdom is acquaintance with truth more. In the Hebrew a great many more words are used for wisdom than we have in English. In Isaiah 29 (verse 14 quoted here), the prophet is taking up the case of Christ's coming. He had taken up Sennacherib and that leads him on, and he launches out into the Assyrian of the last day. That is how the prophets speak, and that is what Peter means by "of no private interpretation." You cannot take up a few words without the connection. In Isaiah 33 the whole scheme is developed. Verse 20 is a quotation from Isaiah 33:18, which follows, "Thine eye shall see the king in his beauty": sinners are afraid, and then he says, Where is the wisdom of man? Here they were 'counting up the towers' and so on; but to what purpose after all?

The "foolishness of preaching" (v. 21) is more the way of doing it, the means, but it also takes in the thing preached: you cannot separate them here. The "power of God" (v. 24) is not exactly the same as "kept by the power of God." In the latter it is more absolutely in Himself, and Christ is the one in whom it is all deposited; but when you speak of "Christ the power of God," it is more the means by which it is brought out. In the one case it is "unto salvation" because righteousness of God is revealed in it: there is power of God in it to save us.

The expressions "foolishness of God," and "weakness of God" (v. 27) are used merely to put the thing in the strongest way. For instance, death is weakness: "crucified in weakness"; yet everything of man was set aside by it, and in that sense the weakness of God. It is the setting up of God absolutely. The weakness of God was the gospel, that is, as man would speak of it; and foolishness as man looks at it. And God chose that - took it on purpose, though to man it was merely some one hanging on a gibbet, and yet God was glorified in it. As to "things which are not" (v. 28), out of death is a thing which is not, but the apostle takes it as an extreme case in the whole scene of God in Christendom. God has brought to nought all of heathenism and Judaism.

At the end of our chapter we get the fuller expression of what a Christian is: "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," v. 30. Not wisdom in the mind being acted upon and so I am wise about God, but "of him," that is of God, "are ye in Christ Jesus." I am of God, and I have my wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption of God, all in Christ. I am of God in Christ, and have all there of God in Christ. It comes from Him; it is not my thinking about Him. And so man is totally set aside, flesh is put down. The world by wisdom was not to know God, but I am in Christ as a new being, a new creature, created again; and I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption all in Christ. These verses are a remarkably complete statement of what a Christian is, with full redemption itself at the end, body and all.

207 Here it is the measure and character and fulness of sanctification; it is not legal nor outward, but what is in Christ. It is practical: sanctification always is, except in Hebrews. We have the nature and the quality of it. If we look at Christ we see what sanctification is. People talk of its being imputed, but that is absurd. Think of the absurdity of talking about imputed redemption! But in Christ all these things are real to me. I say, what wisdom I have! Am I a Platonist? No, Christ is my wisdom. Righteousness is imputed; the term is applicable, but you do not get it in this passage. What sanctification I have! Christ and redemption too when it is all complete in glory. It was all accomplished, but is not yet in its full effect.

As to the order of the words, I take it that wisdom is separated somewhat because that is what the apostle has been talking about. This was not man's wisdom: God had chosen the foolish things of the world, and so on; and then he brings out that Christ is made unto us wisdom, laying a little more emphasis on wisdom. There is a question of different text here, I know, and very likely it may be taken as, "who is made unto us wisdom of God"; but that only gives an emphatic character to it, and there is no real difference. Redemption comes in at the end as the full complete thing. The difference between ek and apo (v. 30) is that, when we say we are "of God," it is positive life; the other is 'from,' on God's part; whereas we derive our life and nature from God by the Spirit's quickening power. In John 3 it is ek: "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," etc.

208 1 Corinthians 2.

In chapter 2 we have the apostle's use of what precedes, and it is remarkable how he sets man aside altogether, and then takes the ground, that when he came to this wise people he knew nothing but the cross, and not only this, but that, looked at as a man, he was in weakness himself, and in fear, and in much trembling. He has only the foolishness of the cross, and his speech and preaching are not with man's wisdom, that their faith might stand in the power of God.

In the first five verses we have Paul coming to sinners - his way with these wise ones. There was neither excellency of speech nor wisdom to man's eye. It is not strictly the cross of Christ but Jesus Christ, the positive fact of preaching Christ; and then he takes Christ in the lowest and most degraded way, Christ and Him crucified. The preaching of the cross is not exactly the same thing, but the point is that he was not reasoning philosophy with them but preaching Christ and then, if you take up Christ, it is in this way, as crucified man.

It is difficult for us, used as we are to look upon the cross as redemption, to feel what the effect was on a number of philosophers, what it was to go and say, There was a man gibbeted in  - ; trust him. To man it was the grossest folly that could be. And see, it is Jesus Christ, His Person here, He crucified. He adds, "which none of the princes of this world knew," or "they would not have crucified the Lord of glory," v. 8. Because He was that, you get His Person, and not merely the fact of the cross. And it is a very strong thing to put before man; it is what wrote folly on their wisdom and on the grandeur of this world.

The moment man is a sinner, it is another thing altogether; and, the infinite love of God coming in and speaking to man as man, what comes of all grandeur and of all wisdom and of all else? The whole of man in flesh is swept away by it. All that flesh could glory in is there totally put an end to. There is no kind of fleshly glory in the cross whatever. It was God's wisdom to do this: no dignity, no heroism, but shame, reproach, ignominy, and death; it is all of man brought down to where nothing could be found - no, not a stone to put his foot on, to keep it out of the water. None but slaves were put upon the cross, and this is what God takes up to bring the world to nothing, first to nothing in judgment, and to nothing too, when we know He is in glory.

209 Then it brings forth God, man put out and God brought in. The moment I get that side, I have the Lord of glory, divine righteousness, divine wisdom. "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery." First, he brings the cross to man in every shape and way, and when he has done that, he says, I have crucified you, and am coming to tell you what God is in doing so.

"Them that are perfect" in verse 6 are those that are brought by the cross into this new condition with God; it really is in resurrection if you come to examine it. They are grown men in that condition. What the apostle is looking at here is a person who had the flesh put down with death written on all; all brought into God's presence and all the world put an end to; there is a new state of things altogether; the beginning of the new creation; what the Holy Ghost reveals and the Lord of glory. It is that the person is brought into the state that the cross brings into. You do not begin expounding blessedness and glory to a person who wants his conscience reached; but the contrast here is the world and the man who has been brought out of the flesh into God's place of blessing in the new creation. "Perfect" is in contrast with carnal and babes in chapter 3:1; it is the full-grown man. Judaism was flesh in that sense of the word: "as unto babes in Christ" is another thing. You have three things, carnal men, natural, and spiritual men. You may meet a person you cannot concur with because, though having the Holy Ghost, his practical state is "carnal," yet not "natural."

In Galatians the apostle says, "the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all"; but here he is talking of Christianity in so low a state that he could not talk with them of certain things. As to knowledge they were "perfect," but in practical state he could not deal with them as such. I believe there are real Christians who are not perfect in this sense. If one does not know the forgiveness of his sins, he has not the consciousness of his new standing and is not perfect. The apostle is here speaking of their standing, he is taking up the question of those who had God's wisdom instead of man's. When he came to sinners, he preached Christ crucified; and when he had people in a Christian state, he speaks of all the fruits in glory. When he says, "Ye are carnal," it is the particular state of certain Christians who ought to be up to the measure of their standing, but are not.

210 "The wisdom of God in a mystery" (v. 7) is all that is unveiled of His counsels in Christ; everything that God has done in Christ. If they had seen all the glory of God in Christ, they would not have hung Him on the cross. They crucified the Lord of glory, but they would not have done it, had they known. Verses 9 and 10 are in contrast with the Jewish state of things, "As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." There you get the Jew, the prophet declaring that it had not entered into man's heart; "but God hath revealed these things unto us." In the Old Testament these things were not revealed, but now they are. He is speaking of the whole Christian condition and not of the state of the individual, and he takes up the Christian therefore in his full character, and not in his gradual progress, or in his faulty want of development. Verse 9 is often quoted as of present application to the Christian, but the apostle is quoting it to shew what is not the Christian state; for to us God has revealed these things by His Spirit.

In verse 10, etc., you get three distinct steps: the Spirit of God revealing, whether to Paul or others; then the Spirit of God communicating what was revealed; and last, the receiving by the Spirit. The Holy Ghost in us searches all things; there is nothing hid. The prophets searched "what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify"; having the Spirit they began searching out. It is the Spirit in us who searches. There is a power of the Holy Ghost to give all the counsels of God. You find elsewhere that the Spirit of God is identified with the person He dwells in. He makes intercession for the saints to God; Rom. 8. I have not the word only, but the Spirit within me, and the mind of the Spirit according to God.

As to man, what man knows the things passing in his mind? Only the spirit of the man knows; now we have the Spirit of God, and He knows the things of God, and therefore we know them. Paul then goes on to unfold this. It was revelation to Paul and communication by Paul in the words of the Spirit, and the reception spiritually by spiritual men. To this we may add having the mind of Christ, which should be common to all Christians. There is what I have somewhere lately called the intelligent and the intelligible. The intelligent is capacity without a thought, but add the intelligible and you have the thought as well as the mind. So we have revelation first; then the words were adequate; and then the third thing that through the Spirit I receive it. I know people talk about inspiration, and of Shakespeare being inspired and so on; it is all very well, but did such men have a revelation - a positive new thing from God? The first thing is revelation; what is called inspiration is not so clear. It is possible I may have a revelation from God and never say a word about it. Paul had a revelation and told us nothing about it. Inspiration is an ambiguous word altogether, and people may be deceived by it; but when it comes to a positive revelation, men know they have no place at all in that. Then the Holy Ghost forms the communication too. It is like a fountain, the water is the same, and it comes out as it went in.

211 I do not think "comparing" in verse 13 is right at all. It is "communicating" spiritual by spiritual; he has the Holy Ghost's words and communicates the Holy Ghost's words, and that whether he be writing or preaching. There may be things which I am quite sure of, but which I may put in a way that is not the Holy Ghost's way. When Paul was preaching, it was not "comparing" at all. "We speak not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth." In speaking I speak as from God, or else I ought to hold my tongue. "If any man speak; as oracles of God." This does not mean according to scripture, but as from God; of course it will be according to scripture, but that is not the thing there. This strikes at everything that is of man. "He himself is judged of no man," in verse 15, is man as man in contrast with the Holy Ghost.

In the last verse we have the same contrast with the Old Testament: "For who hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" and in answer to the challenge of the prophet it is, "but we have the mind of Christ." If I have Christ's mind, I have the thoughts that are in it and all that is included. We have not the divine mind abstractedly, but we have the Holy Ghost dwelling in us; and then comes all the revelation of the mystery.

212 I must bring the cross to a poor sinner whoever he is. A person's cleverness will not answer in the day of judgment; the cross is the answer of divine wisdom. Suppose he had made all the telegraphs in the country, when he is dead, what becomes of them to him? God will give you, not cleverness in your mind, but the Holy Ghost, and the truth of God, and the mind of Christ. John says, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." And there is no part of God's counsels that is not now brought into light. As to this the intelligent and the intelligible go together; with us creatures, you cannot get the capacity without the thought.

1 Corinthians 3.

Chapter 2 speaks of preaching Christ crucified to them, and chapter 3 deals with Christians. In chapter 3 it is his second visit to them. The carnal state was not going on while he was there. I do not think he had been twice to Corinth when he wrote this epistle. He wrote this from Ephesus, and the second from Macedonia, when he had sent Titus with the first. Although he says, "This is the third time I am coming to you," he does not say he had been. He had meant to come by Macedonia unto Corinth, but they were in such a state that he would not go. I do not think that he had been there more than once. In verse I he says, I "could not speak unto you as unto spiritual," and still he could not. "I have fed you with milk and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." "Hitherto" gives the time all the way along, he could not bring these things before them.

God had said, "I have much people in this city," but God makes communication to hearts ready to receive them. It was so with Mary Magdalene, her heart clings thoroughly to Christ: the disciples go home, but she stays, and she communicates to the eleven our highest privileges at this moment, and that is because she was thinking about Christ. "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." Such is the message He gives her; it is the first time we have so full a statement. It was the personal affection of her heart set on Him through the attractive power of grace. So with the woman in the city that was a sinner. So with Mary that sat at His feet and heard His word. She comes and anoints Him for His burial. You will always find the apprehension of the mind of Christ flows from personal attachment to Himself. These people at Corinth were fond of their show-gifts and of themselves, therefore they could not be carried forward. "He that planteth and he that watereth" (v. 8) are merely instruments in God's hands - ministers of what God gave; they may be and are distinct in their labours, but are only ministers. One plants and another waters, and everyone shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. But they were all one as instruments in God's hand who gave the increase; yet the Lord owned their labour to each.

213 Then we come to another important truth, though it is only the outside now; he goes farther in the second epistle. We have the outward house here. There is a difference between Christ's building and man's building, even where the men were God's ministers. In these days it is a very important distinction where church questions have come in from Rome to brethren, if you please, on all hands. Christ says, "Upon this rock will I build my church": there I have Christ's building. Of course Satan cannot prevail against that, but it is not all built yet, for it is going on; and therefore Peter, who alludes to it (1 Peter 2:4-5), does not give anybody at work; and so Paul says, "groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord." There it is Christ building, but here it is man working; and directly we see responsibility we have possible failure. "Let every man take heed how he buildeth." That never could be said of what Christ is building. But what has been done by the system of popery and all church doctrine is to identify with Christ's building, that which is connected with man's building. Against His work the gates of hell shall not prevail; whereas, when it is the thing set up on earth, we have "let every man take heed how he buildeth," where he does not say the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

In Ephesians 2:22 it is not man's building; there is nothing of man in Ephesians, but just the counsels of God. In chapter 3 we have the apostle as the instrument of the communication, but it is God's counsels and work to bring us into Christ, and so on. The church is the house as well as the body. In what Paul began to build there is wood, hay, and stubble, and that is wider than the body. The house built by Paul supposes wood, hay, and stubble built in, and there are both doctrines and professors; for if a man professes, he professes something.

214 In the apostle's days the house built by man may have been co-extensive with the body, but we read of false brethren creeping in very early. At first "the Lord added," and there it was co-extensive. When the three thousand were added, they were for certain all real; they were co-extensive as a fact, though not the same idea. Then there was the trusting of God's building in the world to man's responsibility. It had been the same with the law, the same with the priesthood, the same with the government. God set up everything first in man's responsibility, and all fails; but all will be accomplished in the Second Man in power - in rule and priesthood in Melchisedec, the true son of David.

A man may build with doctrines. We are not going to learn doctrines in the great day: they are used now, and you cannot separate these things. A good man may be a good builder, and all be well; but a good man may be a bad builder, and be saved, while his works are burnt up. The bad who corrupts is burnt up - he himself is destroyed. It is an amazing thing to see that there is a church-building going on upon earth which is not Christ's building. Whenever there is anything for man to do, there comes the question of his doing it properly Philip brought in Simon Magus, and there was man's building along with the good work which Christ was doing.

The "day" (v. 13) has always to do with judgment. It is the day that tries the work; it is simply and entirely judgment. The day shall be revealed in fire which shall try people's work; that will no doubt happen when Christ is revealed. But the object in speaking of His revelation in contrast with having the Spirit and gifts now (chap. 1:8), is totally different from this, where it is expressly judgment. I may think of both, and of my appearing in glory too. The work might be tested any day, but, as stewards of the mystery of Christ, when that day comes, God will make manifest the counsels of their hearts.

In verse 16, we have "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?" Here it is a collective thing - "ye are." The temple is the habitation in which God dwells. In Ephesians 2 the apostle says, "groweth unto a holy temple." In Ephesians it is a thing of God's work and therefore perfect, whereas here it is a present thing - what is actually on earth. When discriminating so, there are certain things you must take into account. Language in scripture is used about people fitly, and you cannot take them otherwise. If you did, it would be misapplied truth. There is meat in due season as well as good meat. If I gave meat to a babe six months old, I should choke it.

215 Though wood, hay, and stubble are built in it, it continues the temple of God. Our Lord said, "Ye have made my Father's house a den of thieves"; but suppose I should go and say, as a general thing, "My Father's house is a den of thieves," it would be very inaccurate. Until God judge a system, it remains in the responsibility in which He originally set it. Apostasy has not yet come in; it may be commencing a little now, perhaps, the spirit of it is at work; but positive apostasy is the giving up the name of Christ. In 1 Timothy he says, "Some shall depart from the faith"; and so they did. I think it took place immediately: but that is a different thing; it is only "some," a matter of individuality.

We must not confound building with wood, hay, and stubble, and defiling the temple. In the former, the man builds upon the foundation, whatever he builds with, and he himself is saved, though building (it may be) with foolish doctrine. The other was positively seeking to corrupt the temple of God itself with false doctrine. A Christian may introduce bad doctrine, and still be saying there is no Saviour but Christ. If he teaches perfection in the flesh, that must be burnt up. Going to convert the world is wood, hay, and stubble, although we ought to have done it. But the man who is seeking to defile brings in fatal errors, and he is not a Christian. I do not know of any Christian who has done this, though it is possible that a person may propagate what he has learned and been deceived into, and thus become an instrument of Satan for defiling the temple; to "defile," and to "corrupt," and to "destroy," are the same here. But the Gnostics were defilers; Socinians are such. A Christian may be snared into it, it is true, and he then becomes an agent of Satan in the flesh.

1 Corinthians 4.

This chapter is a remarkably beautiful working of the apostle's heart, but with no particular subject in it. "Ye are full, ye are rich; ye have reigned as kings without us." This, in a sense, is written in irony, but all is of exceeding interest; v. 8-13.

216 "I know nothing by myself" (v. 4), means I know nothing against myself as an accusation. It is an old English form which was familiar enough two hundred years ago; you will find it in Bishop Hall's writings, though quite obsolete now. "Yet am I not hereby justified," means that that does not clear me, for the Lord judges or examines me. "Then shall every man have praise of God" (v. 5) does not mean that every man will have praise, but that the praise would be of God. When God makes manifest the counsels of the heart, some will get praise; this indeed will be worth something, but now it is all a mere nothing.

"Who maketh thee to differ?" (v. 7) is, If anyone has more gift than another, where does it come from? It all came from God. One was saying, I am of Paul, and another, I of Apollos, but the apostle says to such, It is all yours; and if one is greater than another, who made him to differ? Just as John says, "A man can receive nothing except it be given him from above."

From verse 14, though he bears everything, he lets them know he has power and warns them. Some said he was not coming, but he was, and he would shew the value of their speech. He does assert his power, though very gently, and indeed he was afterwards afraid he had said too much. "My ways in Christ" (v. 17) are the ways in which he conducted himself among the saints, as "I teach everywhere in every church." "The kingdom of God," v. 20. He preached the kingdom of God, as elsewhere he says, "Ye all among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God." He was the minister of the kingdom of God, the minister of the new covenant, and the minister of the church.

1 Corinthians 5.

Now we come to their faults and to discipline. "Commonly reported" means that it was a generally known thing. The first thing we may note is the apostolic power of delivering to Satan. He had judged that, because he could bind on earth: it was apostolic power. Its object, he states, was for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Properly there is no such thing now. If a person is now put out from fellowship, he is not delivered to Satan, though in result he might possibly come under Satan. I know nothing that is a denial of this, though there be no gift of such power. If a person is excluded, it is not delivery to Satan. That made me say he might come under Satan; he is liable to it. To be thrown out into Satan's world is not delivering him or committing him to it. I know of nobody but the apostle who had the power. If there is anybody now to do it, all well; but I do not know how. The church is not commanded to do it here. He says, I have judged already - to deliver such an one to Satan. This was his own act; he did not tell them to do so. He does tell them to put such an one out.

217 They had not been instructed as to exclusion and discipline; but still in mind and heart they ought to have been broken down: at the least they should have been humble and mourning, as we see in verse 2. If the state of the assembly is so infirm, or so divided, that they cannot act, it is bad indeed. The difficulty is, the tendency to produce division. If the power of the Spirit of God is not acting on our consciences, one takes up one thought, and another another. That is what he means by "having a readiness to revenge all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled," 2 Cor. 10:6. But here there was power to bring the matter on; he himself could come in in power, but he was afraid, lest Satan should make a split between him and them, and that is what he means when he says, he is not ignorant of Satan's devices. Then he tells them to purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. You are not a new lump if you do not purge out the old leaven. God had made an unleavened thing, and they would lose their character by not acting upon it. You are not a new lump at all, if you do not put it away. "As ye are unleavened" is their standing, and you give your character up if you do not act.

If they were not united in the assembly, they should humble themselves. I have often said in preaching to sinners even, that a man who has been brought up in a dirty house does not feel that it is dirty; and so if half the assembly be as bad as the bad one, the assembly must be cast on the Lord and mourn, and therefore in verse 2 he does not say how it is to be done, but till "he be taken away from among you." They ought to have been before God about it, for they had not got directions what to do. But when they did get them, they acted. If there is a case of flagrant sin, and the assembly does not act, what then? Practically it is no assembly at all, if its will goes with the offence. If any sided with the evil-doer after the testimony of the Spirit of God had reached the conscience of the body, then he treated them as the evil-doer. The duty is all plain; if there is a wicked person, the assembly must put him out; and a person so put out is not looked at as a brother, and they cannot admonish him as a brother, and I could not have fellowship with him as a brother. Before action I should consult with the brethren only, but should call the assembly together to act. If one had a case like this, say, or that could not be mentioned to women, it should of course be done in a way not to be offensive. But if it is an assembly, the Lord is there, and you must prove yourselves clear in the matter. If the assembly will not put the evil out when it is a case of gross sin, I should have no more to say to it: they would not prove themselves clear.

218 Leaven is the thing that defiles and corrupts; and others were involved in it because they would not judge it. Suppose you commit a sin, and I treat it as all very well, and keep your company just the same; why, of course I should be known by the company I keep. The proverb is common enough. The leaven was there; and the apostle speaks to their consciences about it. If such a person left, you cannot put a man out if he is out, or has gone out deliberately; but I should announce that he is out. That is hardly putting out, it is his going out. I should say he has left under the charge of such a sin, and gone out of the way, and is outside until he clear himself. If a man has gone out of this room, I cannot put him out, but he is out. As to inquiry, a few brothers may engage in that, but you cannot have a judgment on an individual unless the assembly does it. It is very right that one, or two, or three should inquire into the facts; but any wise godly brethren may do that, and the conscience of the assembly must thereupon be brought into action. If only some act and put him out, the rest may say they did not do it, and their conscience is not clear.

You must take each case in detail by itself; if one go away so, he has left the assembly; and if he leaves it under a charge against him, he must clear the charge before he comes back. He cannot come back without the case being judged by the assembly. It may be investigated by brethren, but not judged. Further, it should be named, if it be a case of sin and guilt. If a charge of fornication, say so; it is uncleanness; and if it was a public scandal, I should not be in any hurry to receive back. It is not a nice principle to talk about the honour of the assembly being involved; but the Lord's honour should come in. Yet, for the good of the individual, it should be done if the soul is really restored; though it be a strong case of public scandal, let him in again; never mind what people say. Here is one: A man overwhelmed with sorrow, and the apostle tells them to receive him, though it was such a scandal that its like was not even named among the Gentiles. A man may confess his fault, but this does not say his soul is restored. If it is a matter that nobody knows, and the man consults you and confesses all the fault, and is restored, you must judge whether it is a case for the assembly to deal with or not. If it is a matter between two brethren, the two might settle it. The "old leaven" is the leaven of the old nature; the "leaven of malice and wickedness" may be a more active expression. I am not to keep the feast with the old nature at work.

219 When a man is put out from the assembly, he nevertheless belongs to the house. It is like a naughty child turned out of the drawing-room; he belongs to the family still. Though the church cannot commit to Satan, to put away abides a positive duty. We have to obey. It is a commandment of the Lord. If you speak of delivery to Satan, it is a question of power. So far as the child's present position is concerned, he is outside the sitting-room; and until he behaves aright, he cannot be let in again.

Christ is sacrificed for us, and we are keeping the feast. That leads to the fact that unleavened bread was connected with the sacrifice by which redemption was wrought. No leaven was allowed in the house at all. Redemption is not an unholy thing. I must have sinlessness along with redemption. In the type you have bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and the passover meat. Here we are keeping the passover, and we must not have leaven, for sin and Christ cannot go together. Intercourse in the main would cease between you and a person so put out. I might invite him to my house for conversation, to see if he were restored; but even that is a delicate thing to do. In my intercourse with him, it would be with the fullest sense that he had put himself at a distance. It would be really ungracious to him to let him feel at ease with me in the place he occupies. You must not weaken the action of the assembly.

220 Two might be put away together for the same thing, and one might be restored without the other, and received before the other, or dealt with differently. In withdrawing from another, 2 Thess. 3:6, I should treat him coolly. If he complained, I should say, It is quite right; there is my authority in scripture, and I must do so. Here in 1 Cor. 5:11, it says, "no, not to eat." I would not dine with such an one; I would give him to eat if he were hungry, but not eat with him. Take a wife whose husband is put out. It may seem awkward, but her action is not keeping company with him as a case of will; it is one of subjection to authority.

Matthew 18 is another thing; it is only an individual direction. If the church acted, it would be on another scripture. Refusal to make good a wrong after all these pains might be a ground for the church to put him out. Do you ask if such a brother might not keep the whole thing in his own bosom. That depends on the case. "Thou shalt not suffer sin upon thy brother." If it were merely the idea of a wrong, or he thought the brother was all right after some personal matter, he might say, I forgive you; but otherwise he would be doing him harm by not taking it up. Charity is a keen discerner in all such things. If it is merely personal, I have a title to forgive.

Verse 11 is not a list of those who are to be put out. There is no such list. This would leave a thief or a murderer in communion. How to know a covetous man may be hard; there are cases which are plain enough, but prudence in a family is so close on covetousness, that you can make no line, nor can you act on your own conscience with respect to a man that may be covetous. If a case arise, and the assembly is spiritual, the Lord will make it clear. You will find that where a congregation of saints is spiritual, what is false and hypocritical cannot last there any length of time at all. But you cannot put out any man until he has done something to act upon. He will deaden the meeting of course, but so does all that is wrong. After he is out, the assembly cannot deal with him, though perhaps an individual might in mercy. When he is humbled, we should seek to restore. I do not think there is the power to restore that there ought to be amongst us. If there were more spiritual power, there would be more actual power over the conscience.

It is sometimes a question, How long is the assembly to go on treating as a brother one whom they have admonished? Samuel mourned for Saul to the day of his death. Some have been under rebuke, or outside for years. Such cases have arisen sometimes when young persons have been thrust forward into preaching, and had the flattery of women, etc. There ought to be an anxious desire for restoration of those put away. There must be holiness, but still a yearning of heart over such, a spirit that would induce brokenness on the offender's part. I am not conscious of any unfaithfulness as to dealing with evil, nor generally am I aware of hardness towards evil-doers.

221 Verse 5 shews that the ultimate end of discipline should be restoration. You deal with him as a member of Christ, and discipline him as such while he is within, and you put him outside that he might be broken down and brought in again. "Spiritual" has a double character. If I say that man is very spiritual, it may mean he has spiritual apprehension of divine things, or it may be spoken of the assembly. There is a dealing with things and with the conscience of the assembly. The assembly is the first thing to prove themselves clear in the matter. "Them that sin rebuke before all" might be done sometimes when people are put out, instead of doing so. "Rebuke" is convict as well as reprove; convict is before all.

1 Corinthians 6.

We come now to details of laxity as to going to law with unbelievers, to doing wrong instead of bearing it; and to the question of meats. Also he turns back to the great snare at Corinth, that is, its corruption through the flesh; and with that we get the individual as the temple of God.

It is very remarkable how, in the New Testament, the highest and most wonderful things of Christ are very often brought in and are approximated to ordinary life. Here they are said to be going to judge angels. The Spirit of God brings in the glories of another world and throws their light right into the commonest things here below. There is no other way of judging them like that. If he is telling a servant not to purloin, he gives the whole scope of Christianity for the motive in Titus 2:9-14. And here these Corinthians were for squabbling at law: "Why," says he, "you are going to judge the world, yea, angels!" So again, in contrast with fornication, he says, Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. It is the revelation of such motives brought to bear on everyday conduct that is so wonderful. Flesh is there, and you have to apply these elevated things to judge it. Chapter 12 in the second epistle is most striking that way, in the beginning Paul being caught up to the third heaven, and at the end bewailing the uncleanness among them. Here our very bodies are members of Christ being indwelt by the Holy Ghost.

222 The saints are to judge the world and the angels, when Christ comes again; in one sense all through the millennium, but in the main when He comes. Do not you know that? he says. They had, no doubt, been taught by him. Corinth was a dreadful place. When they wanted to say a man was living in luxury and debauchery, they called it Corinthianising. It was a proverb, "Everybody cannot go to Corinth." And by these things the church was infected. There always is the tendency to be affected by the atmosphere which surrounds us. The habits of the world have a kind of power that must be felt if there is not a spiritual power to resist them.

In verse 5 he speaks to their shame; the smallest - that is, in spiritual power - ought to be able to judge the things that pertain to this life. And he tells them they ought rather to suffer wrong than go to law before the unbelievers. They were in a terrible state, they came behind in no gift, and they came forward in no grace. His object is to avoid suits between brethren. The Lord says, we are not to resist evil. It is a question of grace, though righteousness is in it. If I can keep Christ's character, I would rather do so than keep my cloak. It is more sorrowful for the heart to lose Christ's character than to lose the cloak.

The Old Testament saints will be associated with Christ in the judgment of the world. But the apostle is from time to time writing about the resurrection and the rapture, and he thinks only of those to whom he is writing. He does say, "that they without us shall not be made perfect," and our Lord speaks of Abraham and others sitting down in the kingdom of God. But Paul is writing to certain persons for a certain purpose and to suit them, so that, while other dogmas may be behind, but very few passages refer directly to them. You will find truth in scripture connected at one end with God, and at the other end with man; but if you cut these ends off, you will find you have got a dry stick instead of a plant. And as it is connected with man, in order to get at the mind of scripture you must put yourself in the place of the people the apostle is addressing and in that way look at it.

223 I believe the saints of the Old Testament will be there because I see "thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them," etc. (Rev. 20:4). You gather it from passages in that kind of way. No doubt they will be raised and will not be made perfect without us but with us. The "saints of the high places" in Daniel 7 are the slain remnant under the beast. To be on the thrones of judgment, I suspect, is the lowest part of the glory. So in Laodicea the overcomer is to sit upon the throne. No saint will miss that.

Mark here in verse 11, "and such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Sanctification is before justification; and when they come together, it is so habitually. You are sanctified to the blood of sprinkling; 1 Peter 1:2. Now I think scripture speaks as plainly as possible of progressive sanctification; but still, when you have sanctification and justification spoken of together as two things, sanctification comes first. The reason is that, if you put that last, you would have the man with a perfect title to heaven and yet unfit for it. But again you never find fitness for heaven connected with progressive sanctification. There is plenty of scripture about sanctification as to the fact, "growing up to him in all things," "purify himself even as he is pure," these all shew progress when I am a Christian, but are not connected at all with fitness for heaven. On the contrary you get "giving thanks to the Father who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," speaking of all Christians together. Then there is the poor thief who went straight to paradise; of course he was fit for it. Scripture is plain enough on progressive sanctification too: that is likeness to Christ here.

A man is set apart to God, like a stone in a quarry, and the Spirit of God takes him out; he is quickened by the Holy Ghost and put into the value of Christ's work. "Sanctified by blood" is in Hebrews; which is merely that now this covenant is brought in, for He died for the nation, and the blood of the covenant was shed, and God lays the ground for the people to come in under it; but if they did not, that lay with them. But 'sanctified to blood' (1 Peter 1:2) is by the Spirit of God. Sanctification of the Spirit is not in Hebrews at all, except that we have a glimpse of it in "follow after holiness." Having been washed in the passage we are considering is the development of the truth, speaking of the filth they were in. It is application of the word: "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you"; and he gives the character of that as being sanctified and justified. If "sanctified by God the Father" in Jude is right, the meaning is He did it in His counsels in grace.* You get no work without the whole Trinity. In the miracles of Christ He says, "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." "My Father worketh hitherto and I do work." Then "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils." So we are God's children, and have the life of Christ, and it is the Spirit of God we are quickened by.

{*See New Translation, "beloved in God the Father."}

224 Instead of the Trinity being some out of the way doctrine, it runs through the whole of the scriptures. Communion is with the Father, and with the Son, and with the Holy Ghost. Again in prayer "through him" - Christ - "we have access by one Spirit unto the Father." You first get it where it is so beautiful to me in the end of Matthew 3. There Christ is taking His place among the remnant and is baptised by John the Baptist - not that He needed repentance, of course. But then immediately you get heaven opened, and the Holy Ghost comes down, and the Father owns Him as the Son. And there I get my place as a Christian sealed with the Holy Ghost. I too am a son. Heaven is opened to me, and the Father owns me: and in all this I get the first full revelation of the Trinity, where Christ first takes our place in grace coming to fulfil righteousness: the first time heaven is opened: and here I get the place of a man in the counsels of God the first time the Son takes His place as a man. It is all the more striking because the next thing is that He takes the other side of our place: He is led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Christ at His baptism says 'us'; but though others came acknowledging their sins, He had none to acknowledge, He came fulfilling righteousness; He was taking His place with the excellent of the earth, and that runs all through, Christ taking His place with His disciples. It is here that the question is raised whether He was a good Jew. "Doth not your master pay tribute?" they mean, to the temple service. And Christ says, "Of whom do the kings of the earth take tribute, of their own children or of strangers?" and when they say of strangers, He says, Then are the sons free. That is, they could not claim it of Him: "nevertheless, that we offend them not," He tells Peter to go to the sea and cast in a hook for a fish and in its mouth he should find a piece of money which he was to pay "for me and thee." He commands all the creation of God, and that very thing in which He shews divine knowledge and then divine power was the very thing in which He ranks Peter with Himself.

225 "Ye are washed" is the aorist middle in Greek, ("you have washed yourselves") constantly used in that way in a passive sense in the New Testament. What is commonly called passive in Hebrew is used as a reflective verb in the same way. As to "in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God," the Greek preposition en is constantly used thus; but "by" would be better in both cases. When it is anything of power, we have en as is well known, not for instrumental meaning, but 'in virtue of.' You cannot take a word in one language as answering exactly to another in another language: you will make all sorts of confusion if you do. From the different relationships of words, it would have conveyed a different thought to a Greek from its circumstances, though it is the same word that is used in different positions. You get Paul passing over where he talks of honour and dishonour, from en to dia; that shows "by" is not quite identical; dia is the instrument, but en is not exactly that, but more intimate.

By all things lawful, not all expedient (v. 12), he means that there is no difference to him, but he will not allow anything to have power over him. The moment it governs, lust has power over him if it is only eating something nice. There are a number of details here next: meats for the belly, and the body not for fornication but for the Lord; also the Lord for the body. He has taken up the body as well as the soul, though He has not yet redeemed it out of its present state. It is for the Lord therefore and not for its own lusts. And what the Lord has done is, He has made it the temple of the Holy Ghost. It awaits its redemption in the sense of taking it into glory; my soul has the liberty of grace, and my body waits for the liberty of the glory, and all creation waits. Yet the body now belongs to the Lord, and He takes it for Himself, and the Holy Ghost dwells in it as a temple. "And in your spirits which are God's" in the last verse is a clause left out in all the best manuscripts.

226 When he says "he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit," it is with the thought of authority. It is the Lord Himself you are joined to; the person is none less than the Lord Himself. But one could not intelligently say "members of the Lord," because then you lose the thought of lordship. Jesus is the personal name: He was raised individually, and if God raised Him up, He will also raise up all His members; Rom. 8:11. On the other hand, "God shall destroy both it and them," means there will be an end of them. Its present state is all destroyed. The whole topic is clear and shews the absurdity of the thoughts of annihilationists. Man is redeemed, the spirit returns to Him who gave it: God having breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, man became a living soul. But then these are distinct things, the spirit (it is plain) being that higher part in which we are in some sort of connection with God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, the spirit is that by which we are connected with God. God formed man's body out of the dust of the earth - not so the animals - and then breathed into man, and so he became alive. Notice the way of doing it too, God taking counsel about it: He had finished the whole creation and pronounced it good, but He did not say so of man. He finished with the animals, and then He says, "Let us make man," and so on. Man might be at enmity to God, but still there is a relationship to Him, be it bad or good. Hence misery is final, supposing it to be misery, because man has a nature to be so. And thence too the poet says, "we are his offspring." Take the bad part of a man and you see it, the mind of the flesh is enmity against God: even when wicked and bad, he has to do with God. In ordinary language the two words - soul and spirit - are used for one another.

"From all filthiness of flesh and spirit," is simply contrasting body and spirit. I get my spirit sanctified in an amazing way when I love God. But then clearly the soul, if you come to make the difference, is the lower part: there is the dividing apart of soul and spirit, the word of God can come in and make the difference between the two. In one sense I have a soul like an animal, though very much higher in character. As I said to the annihilationists, any stupid child in the streets knows that, if you stick a man, and all his blood runs from his body, he will die just like a pig. There is that animal life. The first proposition in logic is 'man is an animal.' But if he becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus, of course his identity is preserved, - as to who, but not as to what he was before. If you say what he was before, it is not the same. The soul is morally changed because I love God instead of hating Him.

227 In the case of dying the connection of soul and body is lost for the time, but it is not so when the body is changed, for the links go with the body. That was just the difficulty of the Sadducees, in supposing seven men with one wife, when they get into resurrection. In the flesh we have the devil's sin, that is, pride against God, and the spirit's sins in our bodies. In chapter 2:14 of this epistle, we have seen that it is the natural man, the man without the Holy Ghost. A man is not a man without body, soul, and spirit. They may be separated for a little, as when he dies. Sometimes it is called, inner man and outer man, soul and body.

Spirit and soul are never separated; one is the higher part of the other, so to speak. The word of God is the only thing that can distinguish them. Philosophers were wrong, as Aristotle. To them it was merely mind and the animal soul, which loves, for instance, one's children. I have a mind that thinks about children, and so on: that is all right so far; and philosophers recognised that there was this in man, but they went no farther than this intellect. We know there is a link between man and God, and that is responsibility too, though now man has got into enmity. The "dividing asunder" in Hebrews 4 is that which just gives the difference between the two, for it cuts them into two. Heathens saw the superiority to beasts, but I do not believe the intellect which they owned has anything to do with God. All philosophy is a perfect delusion, intellect has nothing to do with God at all. God may act upon it: that is another thing.

It is not, of course, as with a stone that God acts upon man, but it is through his conscience. It is not the activity of man's intellect at all. A man of considerable intellectual powers is all the more likely to go wrong. God may take a chosen vessel and fit it for Him to act in and by, but never for the vessel to act. Wherever the vessel acts, it shuts God out. That is what Paul insists on so much in the opening of this epistle. And faith is never in the intellect; and, what is more, the intellect never knows a truth. Intellect knows consequences, but these are not truth. That is, truth is not the object of intellect, but of testimony. This is where the difference lies. You tell me something and I believe you, but the thing that receives truth (on, I believe, a testimony) is not intellect. "He that receiveth his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true."

228 The very thing by which man proves there must be a God is a proof that he cannot know God. Take this world: there is evidence of skill, there must have been a designer, some one must have made it. So with a watch (the common illustration), some one must have made it. So to the infidel geographer they brought once a globe; and when he asked, who made that? "Nobody" was the reply. What do you mean? I ask who made that globe? "Nobody"; and of course, he was confounded. I am not capable of conceiving of such a thing existing without a cause; but if I see it there, I must get a Former of it. I am so constituted that I cannot think of such a thing without a cause. This is exactly what it amounts to. God must have wrought: without a cause you cannot think it out. I cannot conceive of anything existing without finally a causing cause. But a cause uncaused is above me! The thing that proves He must be proves I cannot tell what He is. Logic says, If so-and-so is true, then so-and-so must be; but this does not say that it is, which is a very different thing to my soul. If I say "must be," that is a mere inference. The moment I get a testimony that it is, how different! I get a divine testimony, and set to my seal that God is true. This is faith, divine faith. One thing flows from another, and I cannot help inferring. That is the constitution of man, and he must think according to what he is, he cannot think otherwise.

Intellect never discovered anything in divine things; it may deduce correct conclusions, but it never can go above itself. That is another way of looking at it. If intellect pretends to go above itself, it is an absurdity on the face of it. If it pretends to rise to God, He is not the true God at all, but the mere conclusion of my mind. God can act on me, as physic acts on man; but that is not what I am. God has given us receptivity so far as that goes. It is as simple as ABC. Here is God, and if I bring Him in, it closes reasoning; and if I leave Him out, everything is false. I may have the farthings, but no pounds in the account. Nine-tenths of our ideas come from relationship, not from intellect; just as a child knows its father. Relationship is never known by reason: mind is fond of a kind of metaphysical reasoning about this, but it is all folly. The moment relationship is formed, all moral duty flows from it, and from it alone. Duty has nothing to do with intellect. This it is that makes us totally dependent. Man at the outset tried to get out of dependence on God, and really got into dependence on the devil and his own lusts. "By every word of God shall man live" was dependence and obedience, and that was where Christ was: it is the proper place of every intelligent creature, who ought to be both dependent and obedient.

229 Then we have here that the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. He acts on the soul and on the heart - Christ dwells in our hearts by faith - but the body is His temple, and therefore it is to be used accordingly. A great deal of mischief springs from not recognising this. The body is only in its right place when it is a vessel which I am just using for God. The body of the Christian is a member of Christ, because he is His, and I am this, and my body is part of Him. It is a temple of God, because the Holy Ghost dwells there. My body is His temple; it is simple statement: but the Holy Ghost is to guide me. "Ye are not your own." We have the two great leading principles of Christian condition: the body the temple; and I am bought with a price; and for both reasons we must glorify God bodily, because it is purchased, and is possessed by the Holy Ghost dwelling in it. This gives a great distinctness to the reality of the personal presence of the Holy Ghost. Too often people talk about the Spirit working in their hearts, with the thought only of a mere influence. Even that does produce a certain state of heart in such, it is true; but that my body is His temple gives reality and personality clearly and in power.

Well, then, I am not to go and abuse the temple of God. This is peculiar to saints since redemption. "He that is joined to the Lord" is a real thing. If I am joined to the Lord, I get all the fulness of Him that dwells in me; which shews the great difference between life and union. People say we are united by faith, and again by life; but neither is true; we are united in life, but the union is by the Holy Ghost. The Old Testament saints might be united in heart and spirit, but this was no union as in the New Testament saints.

230 Persons dwelling together is not a body. There could not be a body until Christ was at the right hand of God: and you must get the head before you get the body. You have a divine Son, the Son of God, quickening whom He will, but no body formed until the Holy Spirit is given. A person cannot be said to be a member of Christ until he be sealed. Take the apostle for three days and nights. The saints were not the body of Christ until the day of Pentecost. There may be souls in that state now, quickened but not having received the gospel of their salvation; and so doubting and fearing. But we should not judge of souls because they say, "I doubt," and "I do not know": so many think it is presumption to say, "I am a child of God." They will tell you, "I am afraid to talk in that way. I have a humble hope things will be all right; and sometimes I feel happy." Now suppose I hear at their prayers, one saying, "Father," when speaking to God, and another saying, "Be merciful to me a sinner," then I learn the difference.

Though one call upon God as Father, it is far happier for a soul to see clearly; but when a soul cries Abba Father, he has just the same title to the Lord's table as I have. The principle is very simple. The Lord's supper has the character of the one body, inasmuch as "ye are partakers of that one loaf." If one calls God Father, he is a member of Christ, being sealed with the Holy Ghost. We are not always judges; but the principle is simple. The man that is sealed with the Holy Ghost is a member of the body of Christ, and the Lord's supper is a sign of the unity of the body. As a member of the body, that is his place. Intelligence is not the test of communion. I do not bring my degree of knowledge of what I have, but I come because I am a member of Christ; and if another comes, of course it is the same thing. The consciousness that God is his Father is upon the testimony of the Holy Ghost. He must have faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, not merely in His Person; he receives the Holy Ghost, and is, of course, member of the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 7.

The apostle turns to marriage in this chapter, and then the general truth of staying wherein you are called. It is a beautiful passage of scripture, as to the holiness of marriage. We must deal with every subject from God.

231 In verse 12, "To the rest speak I, not the Lord," is very precious, because the modern infidel speaks of inspiration as if it were the highest expression of the inner life. Now I find the apostle making a difference here, which is instructive. He says, "As I have received mercy of the Lord to be found faithful," as a man, I give you this experience; and to the rest speak I, not the Lord. Scripture therefore meets everything, repudiating the whole system of those men who deny inspiration, carefully distinguished between Paul's best thoughts and the Lord's commands. On this subject Paul will not give us a command, and he is inspired to tell us that. And very precious that is in itself. We have his spiritual judgment, and him clearly telling us that that is not the command of the Lord. He is inspired to make that difference. Not all that is in scripture is inspired, for you get the devil's words and wicked men's words, but the writer who gives them is inspired to make the record.

Verse 14. "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean, but now are they holy." It is in contrast with the Jews; if a Jew had married a Gentile wife, he had to send her off, and her children off too, or he profaned himself. If the Jew were to be holy, they must all go. The Christian system being gracious, it is just the opposite, and the Christian, instead of being profaned by the unbeliever, sanctified him or her, and the children too. They are "sanctified," just in the sense opposite to that in which a Jew was profaned.

The other leading thought of the chapter is, that I am to leave what I cannot abide in with God. Christ being rejected, and the power of evil having come in, though marriage is all lawful, and so on, yet let even those that have wives, be as though they had none (v. 29-31), even using this world in everything as not a possession of mine, as not belonging to me. And so in verse 23. Do not be slaves of men if you can help it; yet stay where you are if you can, with God. A servant in most cases in the New Testament was a slave; masters might be heathen, and so on. Be free if possible; that was to be preferred, but not to be an object for the heart to be set on.

232 1 Corinthians 8.

Here we come to things offered to idols. There are two distinct directions about that. They had to own the idol was nothing, and yet own it was something to the consciences of men. Looked at it in itself, as an idol, it was nothing; and the meat offered to it was what God created. But then the consciences of men got into connection with demons about it. He says at first, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world"; and then again, "As touching things offered to idols, we know, for we all have knowledge." But knowledge only puffs up, and the man who knew all this, might go with a clear conscience himself and eat this meat, but would stumble his brother who had a weak conscience.

In verse 6 the word "in" should be "for": "Of whom are all things and we for him." I believe that is the right force of eis. And in the same passage, the different uses of the words "God" and "Lord" are seen very clearly. It is not the divine nature as such, but the place that the divine Persons hold in what men call the economy of grace. The Father rested in simple Godhead, but the Son has become a man and taken the place of Lord in His manhood. Then when I speak specifically of God, I speak of the Father. As to Christ, "he shall call his name Jesus" - Jehovah the Saviour - for He shall save His people from their sins; but the place He has now taken is that of Lord. "God hath made him whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ." It is not that He ceases to be Jehovah, but He has taken the place of Lord, while the Father rests in simple abstract Godhead. I notice it, because in Christ as Lord I get the grace administered. I am a child with the Father, but if I am looking for administration, I go to the Lord: "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." "Lord, we have heard by many of this man," and so on. "To us there is but one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ." It does not say what the nature of that Lord is. He is God and He is man both, but you have the place, the leading place He has taken. "All power," He said, "is given to me in heaven and on earth; go ye therefore, and disciple all nations." Defiling the conscience (v. 7), means that, if a man has a conscience about anything as evil, he must follow his conscience, or he defiles it. Mark here, there is no building up on knowing evil. If I think I ought to eat herbs, I must eat them or my conscience is defiled. I must depart from iniquity; but I cannot build up on the negative.

233 In verse 11, "shall the weak brother perish?" is the tendency of my eating so far as I can go, because I am leading him to sin against his conscience. It is not that the Lord will not step in and save him, but that is what I am doing. We have the same truth in other forms elsewhere, "for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die" (Rom. 8:13): that is the end of living after the flesh. It is nothing about eternal death or eternal life either. He is dead already, and the end of those things is death. Death is the judgment of God. If a man lives in those things, he shall die. God has shewn the end of certain things to be death, and if I drag my brother into those things, and their end is death, then, though I do not believe from other texts that God will leave him there, yet I am making my brother perish.

It is a great thing never to twist a single text of scripture to a doctrine. God is wiser than we are, and He has made no mistakes. I see people afraid of certain texts about certain doctrines, and I feel, therefore, that doctrine is not a settled thing with them. It is the same in effect in Romans: "Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died" - destroy my brother for a bit of meat! The moment I see that the end of these things is death, and I am making my brother do one of them, it is plain at once that I am destroying my brother, and God's act to him would be in spite of me. It is quite true, that the moment I look at a believer in Christ, there is no "if," nor can be, as to his security; he is accepted in the Beloved, and there is no "if anything"; he is sitting in the heavenly places in Christ, and the whole matter is settled; but that is not all that God has chosen to do about him. He has chosen to put him through the wilderness when he has redeemed Him, and then we have "ifs" and "whens" without end: "If ye hold fast," in Hebrews; "If ye continue," in Colossians, and so on. But what we have along with it is, absolute dependence upon Another, and infallible faithfulness in Another. As I have sometimes said, I may be standing with my child on the top of a rocky precipice, and he is apt to run about foolishly, and I say to him, "If you tumble over, you will be smashed to atoms"; but I have not the slightest idea of leaving my hold of him, or of letting him fall. Now we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. This shews we need to be kept; but on our side it is dependence on the power that does keep. You cannot confuse that with acceptance; but it is constant dependence upon God keeps my soul in a right state towards Him.

234 The cautions in God's word make me think of God's perfect love and faithfulness in keeping me; that occupies me in my proper place of dependence. It is the confusion of this with acceptance that makes all the difficulty. I could not say to you now, "If I were to go to Belfast," for I am here; and so is my standing before God absolute. "Who will confirm you to the end" proves that I want confirming. God puts me in a place where the manna will not be wanting one single morning, and so I live by every word of God, and this brings one back to a blessed sense of dependence continually. Redemption brings one into the wilderness, and then what do I find? That God has been thinking of the nap of my coat all the way, nor has my foot swollen along the road, while He leads me there to humble me, and prove me, to know what is in my heart; and again, "that thou mightest know that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." (Also Deut. 8:15-16.) It is not merely that I am safe in Christ - accepted - but I am kept by the power of God in dependence upon Him; and there it is that I get "ifs" and "ifs," but none upon the faithfulness of God or a doubt about it. It is only as regards myself that I find the constant "if" that keeps me in dependence. On His side, "I know my sheep and am known of mine, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." Well, then, the hand must be there to keep me. It makes the perfect faithfulness of God receive us, but then we are dependent upon that faithfulness

1 Corinthians 9.

In verse 18 of this chapter we find the word "abuse" again; but the Greek means that I use outright for myself. It would not have been abusing his power in the gospel, but he did not use that power as something to which he had title of possession; he only thought about it as a thing he could use for the sake of the gospel. There is really no thought of "abusing" in it. It would not be "abusing," to take a salary, or whatever you call it. "Abuse" is a bad word, but it is difficult to give the sense in one word; no single English word suits. As to the other passage - "Using this world and not abusing it" - you hear it quoted by people who are up to their neck in it; and it is, perhaps, more important to notice it there than here. It is using this world as not having it in possession; simply handling it therefore, and that not as property.

235 The general subject here is ministry. False teachers had gone to Corinth, Judaising and seeking their own, and, by way of getting a great credit, took nothing. Paul, finding it out, would not take anything either; not that he had not the title. He was an apostle, and the Lord had so ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel; but he would not use the power. Whatever it was, Paul would not take it, and the assembly as an assembly has nothing to do with it; community and fellowship in the act is all very nice, yet if they do it together, it is not as an assembly, though in fellowship. If I go to preach and teach, it is as sent of the Lord, though, of course, it is always happy to do it in fellowship.

An assembly would be to blame if they knew an evangelist labouring, and did not assist him. They would be losing one of their privileges. The Philippians were very forward to do it, and so it was now with some. Perhaps it might be to help some other gift, and in another place. I think that is a most happy thing to find, and would not only have blessing on the one side, but on the other. Locality makes no difference. An evangelist is a servant of Christ, not of the assembly. In Philippians, "now at the last your care of me" is a beautiful expression of the delicacy of the feeling of the apostle; they had left him a long while, or he says so, and then adds, "but ye lacked opportunity." If things were right in an assembly, all this would be done happily. In many places there are collections at times for brothers at work at home and abroad, which is all very right too. I did not mean that the assembly should not together assist, but that it should not have a control of the preacher in any way; he is responsible to the Lord, and not the assembly's servant. On the other hand, if they knew any reason for not sending to him, they would be bound not to help him.

If a preacher gives up his trade for the Lord's sake, of course he may "live of the gospel" by being maintained and fed, getting food, raiment, and what he wanted. He may, if he have energy, work like Paul all night, and so support his house as to prevent selfish people, like some at Corinth, from saying, He is doing it for his pay. Not many have energy enough to do the two things, and do them well. If you have a man preaching, supply him while he preaches; he that ploughs should plough in the hope of getting the fruit of his ploughing; so Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2 that he must work, or else he will not get his wages. There is a question of translation whether it is "first labouring," or "first partaking." It is a mere comparison like the other; if a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned unless he strive lawfully. Only he must first labour to be a partaker. The verses before shew that he is to endure hardness as a good soldier, and he is not to entangle himself with the affairs of this life. We have something of the same kind in verse 24 of our chapter: "know ye not that they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize?" Even what Christ has sent me, I do not take up, for His sake. I glory in this that I have given up everything I had a title too, for the gospel's sake. It is a very strong expression, Better for me to die than for me to do anything that would hinder the gospel. He was ashamed of the Corinthians.

236 Paul was not under yoke to anyone in his service, only to the Lord, of course. He was free in that sense; it is what he calls willingly and unwillingly in this chapter. He did it not for his own will, but still he was free from man. Peter did not send him. That was what they charged against him; he had not seen the apostle; he did not come from Jerusalem, and so on. In verse 19 we find what "free" is: "Though I be free from all, yet have I made myself servant unto all." In 2 Corinthians 11 he says no one shall stop him of his boasting, and he will do as he had done, that he might cut off occasion from others, "that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we."

In verses 20, 21, he sought to win Jews, not to Judaise. Judaising was very common. In itself Judaism was God's dealing with human nature, to see if good could be got out of flesh. God dealt with Adam and then with the Jew (promise coming in between), but Judaism was God taking up man on his responsibility, and giving him a rule or law, and with it all appliances to help, a priesthood and temple, every kind of help to a man as man, to see if any good could be got from him. It was the orderly essaying and proving whether man could be on terms with God. He could not please God; but yet it is the constant tendency of human nature to go back and try again, for it does not bow and own; there is no good in it; and so it is always talking about keeping the law, but never does it. Really man's responsibility is not in question at all. There is such a thing; but Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." But that is it which has been brought into the light and condemned, and I have therefore now a right to say I am dead. "Through the law I am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." I am dead and finished as a child of Adam. Because this is not apprehended, there are always some remains of Judaism. "When we were in the flesh, the motions of sins which were by the law did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." And the result is, we discover we are lost. Take the whole system of setting up law in any form, and the moving of men's hearts by it: it all owns man still - alive in the flesh. You get it grossly in a self-righteous person, and in a mixed shape in those who try to put law and grace together; but in each and all it is just human nature thinking it can be something. There is something terrible in putting a man under law after grace has come in; it is setting him to responsibility after flesh has been proved unable to meet it.

237 After the second word "law" in verse 20, there is a clause left out, which is, "not being myself under law." It is recognised as in the text by all who have examined it. He puts subjection to Christ in the place of being under law. All that he means by "to them that are under the law, as under law," is some such thing as that he would not eat pork, if sitting at table with a Jew. Timothy was circumcised on some such principle. He had no right to be circumcised. It was an arbitrary act (for his father was a Greek), unless he wished himself to be a Jew. Paul yielded to the Jewish Christians in that case, and did it to please them; but notice that the moment he got into a scrape about it, not one of those he sought to please shewed his face to help him. In dealing with Jews he adapted himself to them, but directly that the Jews made the law necessary, he withstood them. He would not give in about Titus, because they were making it necessary. But here in Paul's own case there was no necessity; it was his own adapting himself to them, and just what we all ought to do. His action at Jerusalem was a further case. The Spirit had told him not to go up, and he could not do anything right there, though nothing wrong either. It was merely to please himself, and under other people's advice, doing this and that after he had left all such things entirely.

238 There is no limit for the early primitive church but the death of the apostles. Peter speaks of his decease, pointing to a change. But what we have in principle for ourselves is, "that which is from the beginning." If it is not from the beginning, it has no claim of authority at all. "If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father." They had wanted at the council of Nice to establish the celibacy of the clergy, but one old bishop got up and told them they would only be putting a snare to their feet; that was about nine years before some tried at the first so-called general council to lay it down as a rule, but they were hindered, though the spirit of asceticism had come in. A century afterwards you find the strongest denouncement of these notions. Chrysostom has two treatises against them.

Alford's translation is not to be depended upon. It may be useful to a person who can judge for himself. He had an active mind in raising questions, but I never regarded his judgment in settling them. His was not a sober judgment, and not therefore one to be trusted. What I dread in these new translations is that there is a kind of conservatism of an old doctrine governing them; as, for instance, Alford retains, "Sin is the transgression of the law," 1 John 3:4. Thus you find him keeping to the old thing because it is there. None of them knows scripture or has got truth from scripture, but they bring their thoughts to scripture. Some modern scholars have changed that text, and besides it is clear enough in other passages, as Romans 2:12, "they that have sinned without law, shall also perish without law"; which is in contrast with them that have sinned under law. It is clear contrast there and that in the English translation itself. But they had a doctrine which was that the transgression of the law was sin, and so in John they put it, "sin is the transgression of the law"; but where their doctrine was not in question, they translated it as "lawless." In John it is positively contrary to scripture; for when it says "they that have sinned without law," how can this be if sin is the transgression of the law? And again, how then could sin by the commandment become exceedingly sinful? And again, "for until the law sin was in the world": how could that be if sin was but the transgression of the law?

239 "Sin is not imputed when there is no law," it is true. But this is not the word elsewhere rendered "impute"; it means the particular sin is not put to account. You are a sinner and lawless when you have no law, but I cannot say to you, Such and such a thing is forbidden. As if my child runs into the street, instead of doing its lessons, I cannot say in a particular sense, "You have been disobedient"; but if I have told him not to go out into the street, then it is not a general question of his idleness, but I say I am going to whip you for that particular thing. In Romans 5:13, what the apostle is reasoning on is that death was a proof that sin was there before there was law. You cannot confine grace to the Jews, for then you make it narrower than sin; for death and sin were there, and all had sinned, and if you shut up grace to those under law and do not let in the Gentiles, you are making sin a more powerful thing than the grace of God. Death was reigning there before ever Moses' law came in, and that is the meaning of the expression "who have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," a quotation from Hosea 6:7, "but they like men" - Adam - "have transgressed the covenant." These Gentiles never did that, the Jews did. They transgressed it, and Adam too transgressed the commandment he had; yet these Gentiles were under sin and death, though they had no law at all. You must now take up Christ as answering to Adam in headship, though first he adds more, that the law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin - not offence - abounded, grace did much more abound. The difference between "impute" in Romans 4 and 5, is that in chapter 4 it is reckoning a man to be something; in chapter 5 it is putting so much to his account. It occurs again in Philemon, "put that to my account."

In reading the verse in 1 John 3, "Sin is lawlessness," it would not have the same effect if you reversed the words as they stand as in our version; but as in the Greek with the two articles, it is a reciprocal proposition. 'A blow is sin'; but you could not say, 'sin is a blow.' But 'lawlessness is sin and 'sin is lawlessness '; and he who practises sin also practises lawlessness. It is kai (and) that is used to connect the sentence, which I think brings it back to an abstract proposition. In Romans 5:5, Adam had a law and Moses had a law, and sin was in between and death too. I think you see at once that a law is in contemplation; not so lawlessness, which is expressed by an abstract word.

240 Sin, I believe, is a man having a will of his own. It so far takes in law that, the moment you have got a creature of God, there was some rule or will of God that that creature ought to obey, but if he does not, he is lawless. To sin, in Greek, is to err, to miss anything, as, not to hit when shooting at a mark, or to reel off when you ought to keep on; to leave a straight right path is the etymological meaning of this word. But it is a very different thing to bring in the thought of law. If I say, "them that have sinned without law," it makes me think of a law though they have had none. You cannot in the abstract sense think of a creature that has to say to God, without thinking of God's authority expressed somehow, and this would be a law to him, which also was true in the garden of Eden. But when a fruit was particularly forbidden, it was a legal covenant; "if you eat that, you shall die" - a positive rule. Well man eats it and gets a conscience, and so on. Afterwards Moses' law was a perfect rule for man in that state, for a child of Adam that had got away from God. There is no means in it of bringing him back to God, and therefore it says, "the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be": it has got a will of its own. That state we have brought out in our chapter where we were reading, in which Paul is said to be under law to Christ, and yet not himself under law. It is the abstract idea of being subject to the rule of Christ, and so on; yet he states at the same time that he is not under law, he will not hear of that in any way: but he adds "not without law to God," nor lawless therefore as regards God, and yet he is not under law, while he is rightly subject to Christ.

The mischief of maintaining law is that it sets up flesh, treating man as alive. Now the doctrine of Christianity is that man is not alive. The law has power over a man so long as he lives. Well, if I am alive, I am a responsible man in the flesh, and lost and condemned. But now we are delivered from the law, having died in that in which we were held, and that is where there is no allowance of sin; and he brings in a nature to which the power of Christ is added. He does not set about to leave the man alive and then bring the law to a man that will not bow to it. He did that once of old, but now in Christ we have a new life with power in it, and in that respect the Christian scheme is as plain as possible. It is not bringing a law to a nature that cannot be subject to it, but the bringing in a new nature that delights to do the will of God. You contrast the new nature with will, and then add the Holy Ghost for power.

241 In Romans 8:10, "the body is dead because of sin." If my body is alive, in the scriptural sense of evil, it is flesh, but of course this body is a mere instrument. The Jesuits said a body ought to be a mere carcase and obey. "On account of sin" is the practice. The only source of life to the Christian that he owns is the Spirit. I hold my body dead, because if it is alive it will be a fountain of sin. Sin in the flesh is clear in scripture. You never get flesh alone unless merely as to the body, as "the life I live in the flesh." The "body of sin," in Romans, is taking it as a whole: as I might say the "body of heaven," the whole of it. In Colossians it is "body of the flesh": it is the idea of the whole thing going as one lump. I do not doubt there is an allusion to the body, but the thought is the whole thing. This body is looked at as the seat of sin, I have no doubt.

We get the two parts of the thing from being dead with Christ, dead and alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then follows "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." In the Spirit of life I get power. Then comes the other side: "God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." The law could not do this; it might curse, but it could get nothing good out of me. Where I was, Christ came there to die, and there and then God condemned sin in the flesh. Christ was made sin for me, and that which was tormenting my mind God has condemned altogether, and there is an end of it for faith.

It is like "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," only this goes farther. First, as to sins, the Lord bore them and put them away; then I find there is a tree of evil in me, what of that? It is all condemned upon the cross where Christ died, and you are consequently to reckon yourselves dead. I have done with it - sin in the flesh: that is, faith has. I know it is more difficult for us to lay hold of that, than to lay hold of the forgiveness of sins, because it contradicts our experience. If a man comes and tells me my debts are all paid, I believe that; but if he said, "You are dead to sin," I say, "How do you mean that; for I was in a passion this morning?" and in this way experience contradicts it. But it did die in Christ's death; it is all dead and gone, because I am in Christ, and Christ is my life. And when the flesh comes and shews its face to me, I say, You have had your day, and have been ended. I have a right to say this, knowing that Christ has died, and God condemned sin in the flesh there. I have a perfect title to do so, and also I have Christ as my power. Being a partaker, in verse 23, is the joy of seeing souls saved, and being saved himself.

242 Now we come to one of those verses people are afraid of looking in the face. "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection, lest, that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway," v. 26, 27. The word "castaway" troubles some. People have tried to make out that a castaway is not a castaway. I see no difficulty in it at all. The apostle supposes a case: one is preaching to others, and perishes himself. Paul was perfectly well assured as to himself; but he says if he had been merely preaching, he would have been falsely assured; but if not merely beating the air, he was rightly assured.

The running to "obtain" is the general idea of the incorruptible crown of glory. He has salvation in his mind: "that I might be all means save some," and so on. He is not thinking only of the reward of service, but he takes it all here in the most general way. Scripture is plain enough: "Every man shall receive reward according to his own labour." "There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brother, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come, life everlasting." There is that which characterises the faith of the Christian, and makes eternal life the reward. There is the keeping of the body down, that is, the contrary to preaching. I am not merely a preacher, but a liver, "lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." You must run lawfully, as a Christian, not merely preach; or you may have all the sacraments, as they are called, and yet fall in the wilderness. There must be reality, whatever else there is.

243 Those who weaken the force of the word "castaway" do so right in the teeth of the passage. It has no reference to the quality of the preaching, for the apostle says, "So fight I, not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection." "I myself," is not my service, nor my preaching. To be a castaway is to be lost - to be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." What Paul means is, he is not only a believer, but is living like a believer, or he might be cast away as well as other people. I have not the most distant doubt that God will keep His people; they shall never perish. But suppose I say, "If such a person stayed in such a room, he will never have consumption." So if Paul himself had been preaching only, not living, he would have been a castaway; but he was not that, and he was stating how he was living that he might not be a castaway. The point is, that you must strive lawfully and according to the rules. Now the rule of Christ is, you must live as well as talk, or else be afraid of the consequences. "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die."

In Revelation 22:14 we read "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life." But I have no doubt it should be read, "Blessed are they that wash their robes," etc. I believe the book of life is final, and all the devils cannot blot a name out of it. Where it speaks of blotting out, it is like a registry of votes. If it is proved that a certain name has no right there, it is blotted out. Every professor's name is in the book of life: but if God wrote it, it will never be blotted out. A mere professor writes his name himself, but he has no right to be there, unless God has written his name, and it will be blotted out. In Revelation 22:19 it should be "tree of life," not "book of life." God takes away no name that He has written. In chapter 13:8, it should be, I doubt not, "written from the foundation of the world," and not "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world"; and such a name will not be blotted out. I suppose the book of life (chap. 20) is after the names are blotted out, for verse 15 is "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Although they are there judged for their works, their names were not in the book. Blotting out is, because a man's name was there that had no right to be there. Moses had the same thought. He says, "blot me out."

244 "Life," and "living" in scripture, when God uses it, is not always the thought of mere life; as "Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee." It is divine favour also. This is one of those cases in which I do not see that those who make difficulties have in the least gained anything. I do not think that the idea of blotting out is all; there is the reality. God puts absolute principles, which lead to certain consequences, and if a cap fits, let a man wear it. People try to torture passages to make them consistent with doctrines, instead of taking the doctrine from the passages. Take "if ye live after the flesh ye shall die"; I am not going to weaken that. Again, "to them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honour, and incorruptibility, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil." Then, says some one, a man is saved by his works; eternal life is dependent on patient continuance, etc. It is practical Christianity brought in at once. I resist altogether the attempts to enfeeble that pressure on the conscience which I see in scripture. "Work out your own salvation" is not temporal salvation; it is in contrast with Paul's working, as he might say: I was labouring for your salvation when I was with you, and now you must do it for yourselves, because I am here in prison; but you have not lost God by losing me: "God is working in you both to will and to do." You torture the scripture otherwise. In Philippians, salvation is always looked at as with glory at the end. It was not the mere salvation of Paul's body in chapter 1:19. We always have that truth in that epistle founded on redemption. The cross has laid hold of me for the glory, but I have not yet laid hold of it, and what I ought to apprehend is that for which I have been apprehended. And God's way was when He laid hold of Paul to put him through the wilderness, and make him work out his salvation to the end. When I say God is keeping His people, I ask too, Why has He to keep them? Because they want keeping or they would fall.

245 You have the two things in John 10: "They shall never perish," inwardly, nor be "plucked out of my hand." But this is not to weaken the plain positive passages which are given as warning, and meant to be as warning. We have the "ifs" in Hebrews, and in Colossians 1, "if ye continue," and so on. Now I suppose I believe that God is keeping His saints, and still I say to you, "If you continue to the end you will be saved." A methodist thinks and will say the same, but he thinks such an one might be lost after all; while I am perfectly certain that he will never perish, that is, if he really has life at all.

Different states of soul need different treatment. We must give meat in due season. A passage which might help on one, might puff up another; that is a question of spiritual wisdom in dealing with souls. All that I feel anxious about is the maintenance of the positive dealing of scripture with conscience. Take that passage in Romans we referred to: "Who will render to every man according to his deeds; to them who, by patient continuance," etc. Well, a man says, There may then be good people, and if they work good, they will get glory, and honour, and peace. But I say to him, "You are wrong entirely; there is none good but God." There is plenty of scripture to meet such a case, but we need not weaken this sentence in Romans in order to do it. It is the necessity of God's nature, that there must be a certain life and character in a man for him to be with God. We have a scripture that God has given that nature, and that He will keep it to the end; but the latter does not enfeeble the fact that the nature is such as it is. You must have that life and walk in that life, or you will not be in heaven. Thus we have broad dealing with conscience, and that is what we must not weaken. We have it plain enough in scripture, unmitigated and unenfeebled. Consciences want it, they are slippery enough. If I use it to weaken a person's faith in God's fidelity, I use it wrongly; but I want to give it all its force as it stands, while giving meat in due season. Suppose I found a person slipping into sin, and I say to him, "Well, never mind, God is faithful"; though that is abstractly true, it is not what I should use to him then, but just the opposite. Yet if God did not keep me, I know I should be soon slipping off somewhere.