This is in reply to a dear brother who has written to
me, asking questions on this subject.
A deed, when viewed as missing the mark, or failing
to attain the ideal, is called a sin. The same deed, when thought
of as wounding the feelings of God, is an offense. As a violation
of a law, it is a transgression. When it is viewed as some injury
done, it is called foul, and is usually rendered by the word,
"bad." A close and prayerful study of this paragraph may
bay handsome dividends in understanding.
Christ died for the sake of our sins, I Cor.
15:3. This is not the same as saying "He died for the sake of
all," II Cor.5:15. He died for the sake of all, in order that
all humans shall be changed from what they are at present. He died
for the sake of our sins in order that sins shall be changed.
Since all is out of God, through god, and for God, Rom. 11:36, then it
is also a fact that god causes all, controls all, and uses all.
Sins are wrong, then viewed as missing the mark, or falling short of the
standard of righteousness that God, Himself, maintains. All acts
of sin are represented in the crucifixion of Christ. Yet, how do
we view the act? We forget the part that man had in it, and
rejoice in the fact that it is God's Sacrifice for the human
family. As a matter of fact, what they did to Christ, was just
what God's hand and counsel designated beforehand to occur, Acts
4:27. Is there any saint who would wish that Christ had not been
put to death? Aren't we glad that it was done? Those who did
it deserve no thanks. But God, Who caused it, deserves our endless
The brethren of Joseph sold him, but he said,
afterwards, "God sent me here to preserve life." Thus
their act of sin not only was used by God, to bring good results, but it
actually was He Who caused it. Pharaoh committed acts of sin in
refusing to let the people of Israel go, but God plainly says that it
was HE Who hardened the king's heart. These instances are
mentioned in the Scriptures, not as isolated cases, but as actually
showing how God works behind the scenes.
Since we cannot justify sin, we should always warn
against the commission of it. Only God can use sinful acts.
He does use them. He uses everything. Justification is a
fact, because of the fact that God is the First Cause, and the death of
Christ transmutes sinful deeds into righteous acts. Justification
is "declaring one to be righteous." This is possible for
God to do, because of the death of Christ.
A wrong act, even in the face of death of Christ, can
hurt us in this life, just as a ball thrown against a wall, will bounce
back and hurt the thrower. God has made the law of sowing and
reaping, not because He hates us, but because He loves us.
As an offense, the commission of a sinful act juts
the feelings of God. He Who has given Christ to die for the sake
of all, and for the sake of our sins, has also provided in Christ for
the Conciliation, by which He does not reckon people's offenses to them,
II Cor. 5:19. In other words, He refuses to be offended when
people are offensive. This is for the present
administration. In a future era, such acts will offend God.
This is why the period of indignation is coming. In that period
those acts will be viewed as offenses.
Transgression is an act committed against law.
It is also a sin, but Christ has dealt with it. It is an offense,
but God refuses to be offended. As a transgression, the offender
is subject to whatever penalty is provided by the law against which he
transgressed. The fact that Christ died for the sake of all, and
for the sake of our sins, does not keep the penalty from being
imposed. But no penalty can nullify the salvation that is in
At the dais of Christ, II Cor, 5:10, no act will be
viewed as a sin, an offense, or a transgression. We must not put
in those words, since the scripture avoids them. Acts will be
considered according as they are good or foul (Greek phaul). And
good deeds, as well as foul ones, will be taken into
consideration. Each one will be requited for that which he puts
into practice thru the body, whether good or foul. Let us look at
all the occurrences of "foul": "For everyone who is
committing foul things is hating the light," John 3:20.
"For not as yet being born, nor yet putting into practice anything
good or foul," etc,. Rom. 9:11 (This is in reference to Jacob and
Esau). "...having nothing foul to say concerning us,"
Titus 2:8. "For wherever jealousy and faction are, there is
turbulence also, and every foul practice," James 3:16. Then
there is I Cor. 5:10, to which I have already referred.
One quotation which I have reserved for the last,
shows that, not only at the dais, but also at the great white throne,
FOUL deeds will be taken into consideration, while nothing will be said
of those same deeds as being either sins, offenses, or transgressions:
" - those who commit foul, into a resurrection of judging,"
Usually, those who slip about in the dark are seeking
to injure someone. The outstanding foul things in the life of
Jacob were directed against others, for his own gain. When people
say foul things against us they injure us. Everyone knows that the
damage done by those blinded by jealousy and faction, is done against
some person. The judgment of the nations, Matt. 25:31-46 is based
on the way the nations have treated the brethren of the Lord. Who
can say that this will not be the basis of the judging at the white
throne? What other basis would be just? Surely the Lord
would not judge people for not accepting salvation, when many millions
of them have never had the opportunity to accept it. But even the
most benighted "heathen" knows that it is right to treat his
fellows good instead of foul.
The dais of Christ is for saints. Have they
committed foul deeds against their fellows? They will be requited
for it. Have they done good to others? This brings a reward.
But sure be to read Col. 3:25, on injuring.
I Cor. 3:10-25 shows a special session at the dais
for teachers. Paul has laid the foundation for all teaching.
It is Jesus Christ. Let each one beware how he is building on
it. Wrong teaching is compared to a house made of combustible
material. Such a teacher will forfeit it, for it shall be
burned. And this same burning will save the teacher from having to
keep something that is useless. He is already saved, else he
wouldn't be there. But now he needs to be saved from the results
of the worthless building that he constructed. "If anyone's
work shall be burned up, he will forfeit it, yet he shall be saved, yet
thus, as through fire." He is make a saint through the blood
of Christ; he is saved from the result of his wrong teaching, through
fire. Of course, the fire, as well as the building, is
figurative. His wrong teaching was foul because it injured those
whom he taught.
There is yet another matter to be considered at the
dais. Have we endued whatever privations and trouble came upon us
in service to God? If so, we shall be assigned a place of reigning
with Him, II Tim. 2:12. Here, too, the word, "sin," is
absent. It is only right that they who have suffered in His
service should be rewarded. This shall be done.
However one may reason, it remains a fact that all is
out of God. This does not mean that He is pleased at all
conduct. But He is amply able to supply such conduct as does
delight Him, Phil. 2:13. Suppose all saints should
endure. Then all would reign with Him. Would not this upset
God's plan? How can a government exist with everybody reining and
no subjects? If God does not operate in me to the extent that He
is delighted with my service and conduct, then it is perfectly
satisfactory to me, if He assigns to me in the heavens, the place of a
subject in stead of a ruler. There will be no dissatisfaction on
my part. And He knows, now, which place shall be mine. If He
knows, and then I manage to do so well that I force Him to give me a
higher place, He didn't know! He just thought!
Brethren, may we not be afraid of this truth. Either
ALL is OUT OF GOD, or else God had created a universe that is full of
events that He can't use to carry out His purpose. When the
scripture says that all is of God, I have as much right to say that
NOTHING is of Him, as anyone else has to say that only PART is of
Him. If He does not cause and control all. He cannot be sure
of not being thwarted.
Those who want to believe that WE are responsible, in
part, overlook the fact that they are rejecting the protection of Him
Who can take care of us at all times, and are desiring, in part, to be
let alone to do things, or not to do them, and bear the
responsibility. How dangerous that would be! God is too
loving to allow such a situation.
A MAN ACCORDING TO GOD
This is said of David. With all his imperfections. In
what respect was he a man according to God's heart. The answer is
1. In the fact of his faith. He believed God.
This was shown in his battle against the giant, as well as his
demeanor when he was being hunted by Saul. He trusted God.
2. In the fact of his understanding of God. He knew, as few
did, who lived before Paul's day, just why the dark chapter regarding
Uriah and Bathsheba came into his life. He knew that God was back of
it, therefore he said, in Psalm 51, that he did this great wrong,
"That Thou shouldst be justified in Thy sayings, and shalt be
conquering when Thou are being judged."
3. In the fact of his humility. When he was reproved
for the wrong that he did, he was very humble about it, before the
Lord. The incident had the desired effect, in that it humbled him.
To this day, one who has faith, understands God, and is humble,
is one according to God's heart.
Incidentally, the crime that David committed did not keep him from
being useful in later years.