Scripture Notes.

p. 25.


John 17:3.

In 1 John 1 we see definitely what eternal life is: it is Christ. That which they had seen, contemplated, and handled from the beginning, it was Christ - the eternal life which was with the Father, and had been manifested to them. Thus again, in 1 John 5:11-12: "This is the testimony, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Paul, in the epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 1:3-4), presents to us this life in its double character. In the first place, that which answers to His nature, that which Christ was and is personally; and, secondly, our relationship with the Father; that is to say, sons, and that in His presence. We participate in the divine nature, and we are in the position of Christ - sons according to the good pleasure of the Father's will. That is the nature of this life.

Here it is presented objectively. In fact, in our relations with God, that which is the object of faith is the power of life in us. Thus Paul says, "When it pleased God to reveal His Son in me;" but in receiving, by grace, by faith, the Saviour that he was to preach to others, he received life; for Christ is our life. But, as I have already said, it is the name of the Father that is the key to this chapter. God is always the same; but neither the name of Almighty, nor that of Jehovah, nor that of Most High, carries life in itself. We must have it to know God thus; but the Father sent the Son that we might live through Him, and he that has the Son has life, and he only. But the Son has fully manifested the Father; so that the Son being received, the Father was also; and the life displayed itself in this knowledge: faith in the mission of the Son, and by Him; faith in the Father in sending the Son in love as Saviour. The glory of Christ Himself will be the full manifestation of this life, and we shall participate in it; we shall be like Him. Still it is an inward life, real and divine, by which we live, although we possess it in these poor earthen vessels. It is no longer we that live, but Christ that lives in us. Infinite and eternal blessedness which belongs to us already as life according to these words: "He that hath the Son hath life." But this places us also in the position of sons now, and brings us later on to bear the image of Christ. J. N. D. (C.W. 33 p.277.)


Romans 3:25.

The word translated in this scripture "propitiation" should be, without doubt, rendered "mercy-seat." It is the same word in Heb. 9:5, where it is so given. This will explain the term "set forth." In the tabernacle the mercy-seat in the holiest was shrouded from the view of all, save the high priest on the day of atonement. Really, therefore, it was a concealed mercy-seat. In contrast with this Christ as the mercy-seat is exposed, exposed to all in this day of grace in the preaching of the gospel, and every one is free, nay, is invited to approach. But whoever would respond to the invitations of grace must come "through faith in His blood," an allusion surely to the blood annually sprinkled on and before the mercy-seat in the wilderness. On the mercy-seat it made propitiation, inasmuch as it answered all the claims of a holy God in respect of the sins of the people, glorified Him according to all that He was; so that He could righteously maintain relationships of grace with Israel. Before the mercy-seat, where it was sprinkled, not once, but seven times, it was God's perfect testimony to man that propitiation had been, made. Now it is in the gospel that the testimony is rendered to the fact that propitiation has been made by the blood of Christ (He made peace by the blood of His cross), and whosoever receives this testimony, and comes to Christ, as the mercy-seat through faith in His blood, finds that all his sins have been for ever cancelled, put away. But here our attention is directed rather to God's action. This blood on the mercy-seat, Christ in the efficacy of His sacrifice, declares God's righteousness in "passing over," through His forbearance, the sins of the saints of old (for the blood of their sacrifices derived its value from its typical reference to Christ); and it also laid the foundation on which He can be just, on which He can act righteously in grace, seeing that He has been glorified by it concerning our sins, and justify, declare righteous, every one who believes in Jesus. In this wondrous way God is set at liberty to justify freely the ungodly by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. How blessedly simple! And what encouragement is thus given to approach the mercy-seat (Christ) in fullest confidence in the efficacy of His precious blood!

E. D.


Hebrews 6:18-20.

There can be little doubt that an allusion is found in this scripture to the cities of refuge in the Old Testament. (Numbers 35:9-34.) There are indeed two points of comparison which can scarcely be overlooked; viz., fleeing for refuge, and the hope set before those who have found refuge. As in the Old Testament the manslayer fled for refuge to one of the appointed cities, and, if he had a claim to the shelter, was in perfect safety from the revenger of blood, so in this scripture believers are looked upon as having fled from coming judgments to a sanctuary guaranteed by two "immutable things"  -  the word and the oath of God. As likewise the manslayer, while he was sheltered in his refuge, lived in hope of the death of the high priest, inasmuch as then he would return to the land of his possession, so also believers have their hope, together with strong consolation, while they abide in their sanctuary. But their hope is the coming out of the High Priest; for it is then that He appears the second time without sin unto salvation. It is this hope which is described here "as an anchor of the soul," during the time of waiting, "both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." What pains God has taken to assure the hearts of His people, to give them present confidence and security in the provision He has made, and to dispel every doubt concerning the future by exhibiting to their gaze Jesus as the Forerunner within the veil? For the fact that He is there is the divine pledge that He will return and have us there also with Himself in the glory. It is this hope (not faith, as in the English Bible) that we are exhorted to hold fast without wavering, on the ground that He is faithful who has promised. (Heb. 10:23.) E. D.