Scripture Notes.

p. 133.


Ephesians 4:11.

We learn from Ephesians 4:11 that evangelists, pastors, and teachers are distinct gifts. The two last named are morally linked by the fact of their being placed under the same word "some," instead of "some pastors and some teachers," as in the other gifts. This is interesting and instructive. Practically the two ministries are closely allied. The teacher unfolds the mind of God; the pastor looks after the state of the soul. The former supplies the food; the latter sees how the food agrees. The two gifts may often be found in the same vessel, but they are distinct. The teacher is more for the mind, the pastor for the heart.

The evangelist is one who announces "good news," "glad tidings." Such is the meaning of the word. "They that were scattered abroad went everywhere evangelizing." We are not told that they all possessed the specific gift of an evangelist, but they all made known the good news, the glad tidings. There are, of course, evangelists distinctly fitted, distinctly called; but any one who knows the glad tidings can, and ought to, make them known; and cannot but do so if he has a heart for perishing souls. A great deal of most blessed evangelistic work may be done without any specific gift. And, on the other hand, much that passes for evangelistic gift is merely heartless fluency of speech.

You ask "If an evangelist can or may have the gift of teaching? And can a teacher preach the gospel, or be an evangelist also?" Assuredly. It may please the Head of the Church to endow one man with both gifts. In the blessed apostle Paul we find a man who was an evangelist, pastor, prophet, and teacher. Precious, honoured vessel! Each gift has, of course, its own distinct sphere. An evangelist goes forth to "all the world." A teacher unfolds the mind of God to the assembly. The evangelist gathers the sheep, the teacher feeds them, the pastor looks after them. The prophet is one whose ministry brings the conscience into the immediate presence of God. "Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet," said the woman of Sychar, when her conscience was reached. Speaking generally, the teacher is for the understanding, the pastor for the heart, the prophet for the conscience.

And we must remember that all the gifts spoken of in Ephesians 4 are for the perfecting of the saints, with a view to the work of the ministry, with a view to the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all arrive at the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, at the full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

It is of all importance to be clear and confiding as to this. Some, alas! overwhelmed by the ruin of the professing church, have, under the withering influence of unbelief, denied the perpetuity of Christ's gifts to His body the Church, and fallen back upon human arrangement, education, and human authority. This is a fatal mistake, a step backward into darkness. We own the ruin, put our faces in the dust because of it; but we hold fast our confidence in Christ's faithfulness to His Church, and the perpetuity of His gifts, until we all arrive at the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. C. H. M.


Leviticus 13:12-17.

The special case of leprosy indicated in this scripture is very striking. In general, leprosy is sin acting in the flesh; and consequently, when the "raw flesh appeareth" (v. 14), it is a sign of its activity, and the man was to be pronounced unclean. (v. 14.) But if the leprosy have covered all his flesh (there being no raw flesh) he was, on the other hand, to be pronounced clean - "it is all turned white: he is clean." (v. 13.) The flesh in this case has been at work, and the proof of its past activity is still to be seen; but its activity has been arrested, and thus, though a leper, he is to be estimated as clean. Such an one was healed though not yet cleansed, not brought under the efficacy of the sacrifices or restored to relationship with God inside the camp. Typically, it is a sinner in the place of self-judgment before God. Defiled by sin, and knowing it, the activity of sin is arrested, because he is in the place of repentance. It is the moment (for it must never be forgotten that it is moral order here set forth) when the sinner bows in the presence of God, confessing his guilt and the truth of his condition. He is still a sinner, for though repentant, he is not yet under the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ; but, while a sinner, the activity of the flesh is now stopped, and thus he may be said to be "healed." (Lev. 14:3.) In the next chapter are found the various rites for the cleansing or purification of the leper, in order to qualify him for communion. The first thing, as the foundation of all, inasmuch as the leper being without the camp typifies the sinner, is the death and resurrection of Christ. Then, when once under the efficacy of the sprinkled blood, whereby God's judicial claims are fully answered, there was to be the moral purification of himself and every thing connected with him through the washing of water (the Word); "the moral judgment of sin viewed as that which excludes from God's presence, so that the sinner is, in principle and faith, morally as well as judicially cleansed." After this he can enter the camp, though he must still remain outside of his tent for seven days (v. 8); for it is from this point that "the work of bringing him into communion with God in his conscience begins." In this process washing with water, and removing every thing in which there might be impurity - the unsparing application of the Word - occupies the foremost place. Then, on the eighth day, he was to bring the appointed offerings - the trespass-offering, the sin-offering, the burnt and the meat-offering - together with a log of oil, and he is brought, in the appointed manner, under the several efficacy of each. He is, moreover, sprinkled with blood upon the tip of the right ear, upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, claimed thus in obedience, action, and walk according to the infinite value of that precious blood whereby he had been cleansed. In the next place he is anointed on the places where he had been sprinkled - he has power given him (we speak of the thing typified) to meet the claims of God upon him for entire devotedness. In this way (the reader will pursue for himself the instructive details) the leper was restored to the enjoyment of relationship with Jehovah; for the priest that was to "make him clean" presented, first, the man and his offerings "before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." (v. 11.)


John 14:20.

"That day" looks on to the time when the Holy Ghost should have come, and when He should be dwelling in the disciples. (vv. 16, 17.) By Him alone could they have the knowledge of which the Lord here speaks. First, they should then know that He was in the Father - "My Father." In verse 10 He says, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?" This latter expression evidently means, from the context, that the Father was perfectly manifested in Christ as the Son (v. 9); whereas the former will signify that He is "divinely one with the Father." It is, therefore, the true deity of the Son, and this apprehended by the Holy Spirit.

The second thing is, "And ye in Me." This corresponds with Romans 8 "in Christ Jesus," and marks out the new place and standing of the believer in Christ as risen from the dead. "I in you" will also correspond with the words in Romans 8, "If Christ be in You." (v. 10.) The following well-known citation may further help the reader: "This is individual, not the union of the members of the body with Christ; nor is union indeed an exact term for it. We are in Him. This is more than union, but not the same thing. It is nature, and life, and position in it; our place in that nature and life. When He was on earth, and they had not the Holy Ghost, they should have known that He was in the Father, and the Father in Him. When He was in heaven, and they had the Holy Ghost, they would know that they were in Him, and He in them." It is important to repeat that. this wonderful knowledge can only be acquired through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in all who have received the forgiveness of sins.

We are thus brought into a totally new place before God through the death and resurrection of Christ, and we know it by the Holy Ghost. If, moreover, Christ is in us, it is Christ who is to be expressed through us, in the power of that same Spirit, in our walk and ways. (Compare Romans 8:10; 2 Cor. 4:10-11.) Consequently if "ye in Me" marks out our new place or position, the "I in you" will indicate subjective condition; for the apostle says, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."


Romans 10:10-11.

The connection makes all plain. In verse 4 we have the distinct statement that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Next, we have the contrast, in verses 5, 6, between "the righteousness which is of the law," and "the righteousness which is of faith;" and very remarkably the apostle cites, in proof of what the latter is, words of Moses from Deuteronomy. The reason is that Moses speaks of a time when Israel has "already incurred the consequences of disobedience, and are seen as driven out of the land, and strangers among distant nations." The return of the people in heart to Jehovah is then pointed out as the means of restoration (see Deut. 30:6-10); and thereon follows the passage quoted, and, it should be added, is interpreted according to the mind of the Spirit. Hence the apostle says, "The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in throe heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what with it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in throe heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shah be saved." (vv. 6-9.) It was, therefore, no more a question of doing. The law had been openly broken, and, as a consequence, Israel had become a nation of transgressors. Righteousness could not, therefore, be in the way of law-keeping; but, in the grace of God, it was now on the principle of faith. There was nothing indeed left to do; for Christ had come down to earth; He had died to redeem those that were under the curse of the law, having been made a curse for us; He had risen out of death, God's own demonstration of the completeness and all-sufficiency of the atonement He had made; and thus it is with the heart man now believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

It is heart belief; that is, a real inward heart conviction, not mere intellectual assent, a faith in God's testimony concerning His beloved Son which is divinely produced by the Holy Spirit; it is this faith which justifies (Romans 5:1); this faith with which man believes unto, in order to have part in, righteousness, God's righteousness. Confession with the mouth follows as the evidence of the reality of the faith, and this confession, a real confession of the name of Christ, is unto salvation; that is, it is in order to salvation, as "salvation" is here used in its full and final sense, including the resurrection of the body, and the glory to be revealed. E. D.

*  *  *

In what a wondrous place we are set, if we could but be purged, not from gross sins only, but from the vanity and earthliness that fill our minds, to enter into all our blessedness, and the association we have thus with God  - the very same which Christ has! He has borne the wrath of God for our sins, that this fall cup of blessing might be given to us. A man may talk about many things, but knowledge apart from Christ will never do; but if we possess Christ within Satan can never touch us; and if he comes, he will find Christ there, who has overcome him.

*  *  *

In a right path we have the whole power of God at our disposal.