Scripture Notes


Romans 8:11.

A whole system of erroneous teaching has been built up upon a perverted interpretation of this scripture. Contending that the quickening of our mortal bodies, by (rather, "by reason of") His Spirit that dwelleth in us, has a present application, it is affirmed that our bodies may be now animated with resurrection life in such a way as to expel, where there is faith, all disease. The question therefore is, whether there be any foundation in the passage for this contention. The answer, clear and unequivocal, is threefold. First, it should be observed that it is the full answer to the cry in chapter 7:24 (which we give in another translation to make the point more distinct), "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of this body of death?" (N. T.) That this refers to the actual body is undoubted, and for the reason that the man who uttered the sorrowful plaint had been made to feel that death lay upon him and in him - in his mortal body. When we reach chapter 8:11, we learn that it is not only a spiritual deliverance which has been reached in verse 2, as based upon the judgment which has been passed, once and for all, in the cross of Christ upon the man in the flesh, but that also the time is coming when the mortal body, which had been the seat and the instrument of all the "affections and lusts" over which the man in chapter 7 mourned, will share in that blessed deliverance in resurrection. Secondly, the quickening of the mortal body is explicitly connected with, and given as a consequence of, the resurrection of Christ. Twice in the passage is His resurrection adduced as the certain ground of the blessed assurance as to our bodies. Lastly, the word "quicken" has the frequent sense of raising. In this very epistle we read of "God who quickeneth the dead" (chapter 4:17), and in John 5:21 it is twice employed to denote resurrection. (See also 1 Cor. 15:22-36.) There cannot be, therefore, a shade of doubt upon the accepted meaning of our scripture - that the quickening of our mortal bodies refers to the time when death shall be swallowed up in victory, when the Lord comes to raise the dead in Christ, and to change the living, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.


Micah 6:5-8.

It is quite true that some well-known names have contended that in vv. 6-8 we have the preservation of an actual dialogue between Balak and Balaam. In their view God's people are exhorted, in v. 5, to "remember" - as indeed is the case - "what Balak king of Moab consulted," that is, the questions he asked; and these, it is affirmed, are given in vv. 6, 7; and then, that in v. 8 Balaam's answer is recorded - "What Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal." It is hardly necessary to say that we can in no wise accept this interpretation. In the beginning of the chapter "the Lord hath a controversy with His people, and will plead with Israel"; and He proceeds by the mouth of the prophet to appeal to them in the most touching manner: "O My people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against Me." Then He reminds them, in order to enforce His entreaty, that He had brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed him out of the house of servants; that He had sent before Him Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; and, furthermore, that He had rescued His people from the designs of Balak by the answers which He had caused Balaam to give. All this was brought to the recollection of His people, that they might know the righteousness of the Lord - that they might learn that if they had been unfaithful He could not deny Himself, that He was still faithful to His word. In response to this it is, according to our interpretation, Israel enquires, "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?" etc. (vv. 6, 7.) They had wandered so far away as to have forgotten the path of return; and it is in reply to their questions that the prophet says, "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Thereby the lesson is taught - a lesson valuable at all times and in all dispensations, that no rites or sacrifices, even if divinely instituted, are of any avail without a right state of heart before God. In substance, indeed, it is the answer of Samuel to Saul, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22.)