Scripture Notes.


Numbers 32:29.

In these words of Moses concerning the two and a half tribes, he lays down the three indispensable conditions of conflict with Satan's power. First, they must pass over Jordan; i.e., applying it to believers now, they must accept for themselves the truth of death and resurrection with Christ; for it is this which Jordan typifies. The Red Sea is Christ's death and resurrection for us, but the Jordan is our death and resurrection with Christ. Now this is true, as both Colossians and Ephesians show, of every Christian; only there are many who never enter into it, who rather, as to their experience, take up the ground of being in the flesh - a standing like that of the Jew under the law. The exact words of Moses, though he understood not their typical significance, are therefore to be noted. He says that these tribes must "pass over" Jordan if they are to have part in the Lord's wars; and, in like manner, all who would engage in true Christian conflict must take up for themselves (only to be done, of course, in the power of the Holy Ghost) their association with Christ in death and resurrection, as also their being seated in Him in the heavenlies. This involves, it need hardly be said, the total and practical setting aside of the flesh in every shape and form; the truth of Gilgal, which is, according to Colossians 3:5, to mortify our members which are upon the earth, etc.; the acceptance of death upon all that we are as children of Adam, that only Christ may be displayed in our walk and ways. Furthermore, Moses says that they must be armed; and the apostle likewise exhorts us to take unto us "the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Eph. 6:13.) It were nothing but folly to expose ourselves to the attacks of Satan, his wiles, and his fiery darts, unless we were clothed in the divine panoply. Finally, he says, they must pass over Jordan, every man armed to battle, "before the Lord." This is the secret of all courage in conflict, to know that we are before the Lord, that we are underneath His eye. These conditions fulfilled, Moses promises that the land shall be subdued before them, for victory then would be assured. If the reader will now turn to Joshua 6, and read it carefully, he will discover that the children of Israel, when they encompassed Jericho, answered to these conditions (see vv. 7, 9, 13), and that therefore the city was subdued by the mighty power of God.


Luke 7:40-43.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that the Lord, under the figure of the two debtors, sets forth the moral condition of Simon and of the woman who was a sinner. It could not be that Simon owed only fifty pence, while the woman owed five hundred, inasmuch as before God, according to the teaching of the apostle, there is no difference; "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23.) The Lord indeed takes up Simon on his own ground, who in his ignorance of grace in the person of Christ, and of the attracting power of grace, had judged that if the Lord had been only a prophet He would have detected the character of the woman, and refused to permit her presence. In this comparison therefore of the two debtors He convicts Simon first of his mistake, and then He exposes his condition of soul. For granting, according to his own thoughts, that the woman who had anointed the feet of the Lord was a great sinner, that she owed five hundred pence (and how much more besides!), these lavish expressions of her love did but testify her gratitude to Him who had met her need. Hence the Lord says of her, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much." But what of Simon? He had shown no affection to the Lord; nay, he had failed to exhibit towards Him the ordinary courtesies of a host towards his guest, and thus proved that he "loved little," and that therefore he was, not one who owed only fifty pence, but one to whom little was forgiven. Altogether it is a wonderful scene, containing as it does a revelation of the heart of God in the person of Christ - of the heart of this penitent woman and the heart of Simon. Divine light floods the scene, and everything is exposed. The heart of the woman, sinner as she had been, does not shrink from the action of the light, because divine love was also there, flowing out in the blessed activities of grace to meet the inexpressible need of her weary and burdened soul. But though the Light was there, it shone in darkness, as far as Simon was concerned, and the darkness (Simon's soul) comprehended it not; and he showed that not a single ray had entered into his darkened thoughts (compare 2 Cor. 4:4) when he judged that the One who was reclining at his table, although He was in truth God manifest in flesh, was not even a prophet! E. D.