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The Teaching of Paul.

The Teaching of Paul.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JOSEPH AGAR BEET
BY JOSEPH AGAR BEET

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 29, 2013
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07/16/2014

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THE TEACHING OF PAUL.
BY JOSEPH AGAR BEET
A NOTHER important element of New Testament* teaching, closely associated in the thought of Paul with his great doctrine of Justification throughFaith, now demands attention. It will do something tolessen the moral difficulty involved in the pardon of theguilty proclaimed by Christ and His Apostles.After the announcement in Rom. iii. 21, 22 of "righteousness . . . through belief of Christ for all whobelieve," Paul adds in v. 24 that they are "justified . . .through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." This" redemption in Christ " is further expounded by theassertion " whom God set forth as a propitiation throughfaith, in His blood." These last words point to theVIOLENT DEATH OF CHRIST as a conspicuous elementin the redemption wrought out for men in Him. Theultimate purpose of this mysterious act of God is143I 4 4 THE DEATH OF CHRIST. [PART IIIadded viz. " for a proof of His righteousness ... inorder that He may be Himself righteous and a justifierof him who has belief of Jesus." In other words, Godgave Christ to die in order to harmonise with His ownrighteousness the justification of believers.The same teaching appears again very conspicuouslyin Rom. v. 6-10 as the basis of an argument and as aground of Christian hope. " Christ died (v. 6) on behalf of ungodly ones " and (y. 8) " on our behalf ; " we were(v. 9) "justified in His blood " and (y. 10) were "reconciled to God through the death of His Son." Inch. vi. 3 we read that " so many as were baptized forChrist were baptized for His death ;" and in v. 6 "yourold man has been crucified with Him." Other references to the death of Christ are found in ch. viii. 34,xiv. 9, 15. All this implies that the death of Christon the cross is an essential link in the chain of man ssalvation.In i Cor. i. 17 Paul avoids "wisdom of word lestthe cross of Christ be made vain," implying clearly thatthe death of Christ was designed to be fruitful of results.Consequently, the Gospel is described in v. 18 as " theword of the cross." In v. 23 Paul preaches " Christcrucified," and determines (ch. ii. 2) to know nothingelse. So ch. v. 7, " Christ our passover has beensacrificed," points to the death of Christ as the meansof salvation : for the paschal lamb saved the firstbornby its own death. The remarkable phrase " partnershipin the blood of Christ" in ch. x. 16 can only mean thatwe are sharers of benefits derived therefrom. In anLECT. XVI.] THE TEACHING OF PAUL. 145opposite sense the same words might be applied tothose who had joined in His murder. Equally conspicuous are the words of Christ quoted in ch. xi. 25," this cup is the New Covenant in My blood." These
 
words teach clearly that God was about to enter intoa new engagement with man, and that this engagementwas intimately connected with the approaching violentdeath of Christ.In Gal. iii. 13 we read that "Christ has bought usoff from the curse of the Law, having become a curseon our behalf ; " and these last words are at onceexplained by the curse attaching to crucifixion. Inch. vi. 12 certain false teachers wish to avoid persecution on account of the cross of Christ. This impliesthat the persecution they feared was occasioned byteaching about the death of Christ. And this suggestion is abundantly confirmed by Paul s exultantassertion in v. 14 that through the cross of Christhe has himself been crucified to the world and theworld to him. This implies most clearly that thedeath of Christ upon the cross was in some real sensea means of man s salvation.Equally clear is Eph. i. 7, " we have redemptionthrough His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses ; "ch. ii. 13, "ye have been brought near in the bloodof Christ;" and v. 16, "that He might reconcileboth ... to God through the cross, having slain theenmity thereby." Similarly Col. i. 20, "having madepeace through the blood of His cross ; " v. 22, " butnow He has reconciled you in the body of His flesh10146 THE DEATH OF CHRIST. [PART III.through death ; " ch. ii. 14, " He took out of the waythe handwriting which was against us, having nailedit to the cross."In Rom. iv. 25, viii. 32, Gal. i. 4, ii. 20, Eph. v. 25,i Tim. ii. 6, Titus ii. 14 we read that Christ was givenup, or gave Himself up, to save man. This phraseis explained in Gal. ii. 21 by the added words "for if righteousness be through law, then has Christ died tono purpose." Evidently in the passages quoted abovePaul refers to Christ s surrender, by Himself and bythe Father, to death.All this implies or asserts, in plainest language, thatman s salvation comes THROUGH THE DEATH OFCHRIST. And it reveals the broad and deep holdof this doctrine upon the mind and thought of Paul.No theory of the origin of Christianity is satisfactorywhich does not take into account this conspicuouselement in the teaching of the most conspicuous of the early preachers of the Gospel.It is equally certain that Paul taught that, not onlyhave blessings and salvation resulted from the deathof Christ, but that for this end He knowingly andwillingly laid down His life. In other words, Paultaught that Christ s death was no mere calamity fromwhich good has actually come, but that it was anaccomplishment of a DELIBERATE PURPOSE of Himself and of God. This is suggested by the passagesquoted above where Christ is said to have died onour behalf, i.e. for our benefit. And it is expresslyasserted in Rom. xiv. 9, " for this end Christ died and
 
LECT. XVI.] THE TEACHING OF PAUL. 147lived, in order that both of dead and living He mightbe lord." So 2 Cor. v. 15, "on behalf of all Hedied, in order that they who live may live no longerfor themselves but for Him who on their behalf diedand rose ; " Gal. i. 4, " who gave Himself that Hamight rescue us from the present evil age ; " Ephv. 25, "He gave up Himself on behalf of the Churcrin order that He might sanctify it ; " Titus ii. 14, " whogave Himself that He might redeem us from alllawlessness." This definite purpose of the death of Christ separates it completely from the heroic deathsof martyrs. From Rom. iii. 25, "whom God setforth ... in His own blood," we learn that the deathof Christ was a deliberate purpose of the Father.And this is implied in ch. viii. 32, " He gave Himfor us all."We now ask, wherein lay the need for so costly ameans of salvation? Why could not God save menfrom death apart from the death of Christ? It is atonce evident that if a less costly means had beensufficient God would not have given up His Son todie. The greatness of the sacrifice proclaims thegreatness of the necessity which demanded it.A partial answer to our question is ready. Paulteaches that the need for the death of Christ in orderto man s salvation lay in man s SIN. He "was givenup because of our trespasses," Rom. iv. 25; "Christdied for our sins," I Cor. xv. 3 ; " He gave Himself for our sins," Gal. i. 4. In other words, man s sin,which made impossible justification by works, made148 THE DEATH OF CHRIST, [PART III.needful for justification through faith the death of Christ. This need will require examination. Butalready we have found that Paul taught that oursalvation comes through the death of Christ, thatfor this end and of His own accord and by the willof God He deliberately laid down His life, and thatthe need for this costly means of salvation lay inman s sin.LECTURE XVII.REDEMPTION AND PROPITIATION.AFTER asserting in Rom. iii. 21, 22 that in theGospel has been manifested a righteousnessof God for all that believe, Paul goes on in v. 24 toadd that we " are justified freely by His grace throughthe redemption which is in Christ Jesus." The teaching involved in the word REDEMPTION demands nowour careful study.The same word is used in Dan. iv. 32 (Lxx.) forNebuchadnezzar s restoration ; and in Rom. viii. 23,i Cor. i. 30, Eph. i. 7, 14, iv. 30, Col. i. 14, Heb.ix. 15, xi. 35, Luke xxi. 28. The corresponding verbis found in (Lxx.) Excel, xxi. 8, " he shall let hergo-free-for-a-ransom ; " and in Zeph. iii. I ; but notin the New Testament. A cognate and simpler substantive is used in Matt. xx. 28, Mark x. 45, " togive His life a ransom for many;" in Prov. xiii. 8,

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