Scripture Notes



Romans 6:6, etc.

It is sometimes difficult to give the exact force of the word rendered "destroyed" in this scripture. It is of very frequent occurrence in the New Testament, being found some twenty-eight times, and in each case the context must be considered. Generally speaking, it signifies to make void, cancel, set aside, abrogate, annul, or abolish. In Luke 13:7, it is given as "cumbering," or as elsewhere more accurately translated, "Why does it also render the ground useless?" In Romans 3:3 it is, "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" In verse 31 of the same chapter it is translated to "make void." Having called attention to its general usage, we may now consider its force in some important connections. To those acquainted with the truth it will be apparent, at once, that "destroyed" is too strong a word in Romans 6:6. Taking the "body of sin" to mean, as is often done, sin in its totality, sin as the evil principle which characterizes, or is active, in the flesh - in man's fallen nature; and understanding that it came up, in the cross of Christ, for unsparing judgment, so that it has gone for ever from before the eye of God, and from the eye of faith, it yet could not be said to be destroyed for the simple reason that it continues to exist in the believer. (See Romans 7:25.) Accordingly, in the Revised Version, we find substituted, "done away," and, more accurately, in the New Translation, "annulled." That is to say, the teaching of the scripture is that our old man has been crucified with Christ, in order that the power, or the claims, of the body of sin might be abrogated, set aside, or annulled, for the believer, so that he might be no longer enslaved to it. The same remarks will almost exactly apply to Hebrews 2:14; for, as we well know, Satan has not been "destroyed," but his claims upon the believer have for ever been nullified, or abolished, through the death of Christ. Through the just judgment of God, the devil has acquired rights over fallen man, and he consequently wields the power of death over every unconverted soul; but both his rights and delegated power have been for ever set aside for those who have been delivered from his bondage by Him, who in death endured all the judgment of God against them, on account of their state and guilt, and who thus effected their redemption. One other example may be cited. In 2 Timothy 1:10, our Saviour Jesus Christ is said to have "abolished" death, and brought life and incorruptibility to light through the gospel. The Revised Version keeps the word "abolish," while the New Translation again gives "annulled," which is a happier rendering. For the abolition of death will not be, even for God's people, until the morning of the resurrection, when, as we are expressly told, death will be swallowed up in victory. In the meantime, while the believer may fall asleep, and depart to be with Christ, the claims and power of death over him have been abrogated. Hence it is that, in the prospect of death, he may triumphantly cry, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." But the time is approaching, in the coming kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, when the last enemy that shall be "destroyed" (abolished now - it is the same word) is death; "for He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet." The reader will find much instruction and profit in following out the subject.


John 8:38.

This scripture does but express the total and absolute contrast between our blessed Lord and His enemies. As another has said, "This opposition between the revelation from above, and that which is in the world and from below, characterizes the chapter, and forms its basis"; and it is the testimony of Christ, as the sent One of the Father, which calls out this opposition in its most distinct form. Thus in verse 23, He says to them, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world"; and verse 38 sums up the contrast in the declaration that His words were morally the revelation of what He had seen with His Father, even as their deeds were the moral expression of what they had seen with their father. (See verse 44 for the sad explanation of their moral origin.) But the question is, what are the things which Jesus had seen with His Father? In verse 25, in answer to the question, "Who art Thou?" Jesus replied (to give a more exact translation), "Altogether that which I also say to you," that is, His word, His speech, presented Himself, being Himself the truth. But He was the revealer of the Father; and hence He could say, "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of (from) Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works." (Chap. 14:10.) All that He said, therefore, and all that He did, as recorded in this connection, contained the revelation of Himself, and consequently of the Father; and thus He said to the Jews, "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also." (v. 19.) We understand, then, "that which I have seen with My Father," to refer to the Father Himself and to the Father's things, which He came down from heaven to declare (compare chap. 16:14-15).