Who could find fault with these requirements? Who could say
that in setting such a standard for His creatures the Almighty
required too much? On the other hand, how could we imagine a
just and loving Heavenly Father requiring less than is here
stipulated. God’s law, variously stated, always amounts to the
same thing. The statement of it, as given to the Jews at Mt. Sinai,
embodied in the Decalogue, corresponds with this statement, as
does also the presentation of it set forth by the great Teacher,
saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind,
soul and strength; and thy neighbor as thyself”.
Many of us, after confessing with the Apostle Paul that the Divine Law is holy and just and good, have been surprised to find that that
which our minds heartily approve, we are unable to obey to the
full. For thirty-five hundred years the Jews have sought to keep
that Divine Law, under the promise of eternal life for so doing,
but none of them have been able to gain the prize. When as a
nation they realize their inability, and not sooner, they will be
ready to receive at God’s hands, as a free gift through the
Redeemer, the forgiveness of their violations of the Divine Law.
And then, under their New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8-13),
they will have Messiah’s assistance in regaining that perfection
of mind and body and a “new heart,” which will enable them to
obey in every particular the Divine Law, which all our minds
recognize as just and true, but which, because of heredity, we are
unable to perfectly obey in the flesh.
That blessing, which is soon to come to natural Israel, under
Messiah’s Kingdom and the New Covenant, will be extended
through them, as the natural seed of Abraham, to every nation,
kindred and tongue, in harmony with the Divine promise made
A different, although a corresponding favor, is now, in advance,
bestowed upon a small class gathered from Jews and Gentiles,
and Scripturally known as the “Church of the First-Borns, whose
names are written in Heaven.” These, in advance, realize their
inability to keep the Divine Law, and by faith lay hold upon the
Redeemer’s merit and consecrate their all to God through Him.
In the Redeemer they are accepted of the Father; their heart endeavors for righteousness are recognized, and the flesh and its imperfections are renounced and counted as dead and are offset by the merit of the Redeemer. These are Scripturally classed as members of the Great Prophet, Priest, King and Mediator between God and men.
The thought of our text will be completed when all the faithful,
as members of the Messiah, “the little flock,” shall be made joint
heirs with him, as “the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.”
ANALYZING OUR SUBJECT
We may demonstrate to ourselves the truthfulness of the
foregoing: What is it to do justly? It means much more than not
to overcharge our neighbor for the goods he may purchase of us.
It means much more than not to defraud him in the making of
change. To deal justly means justice between servant and master,
mistress and maid, buyer and seller that we should do to others
as we would that they should do to us; it means the strict
following of the Golden Rule enjoined by the Great Teacher.
Applying this principle of justice to our words, it means that we
should not speak evil of either friend or foe; that we should not
even insinuate evil. It means that we should not tell
unnecessarily what we know to be the truth, if it would harm our
neighbor, disparage him and discredit him in the eyes of others.
It means that we should love our neighbor and his interests as we
love our own, and should defend his interests and guard them as
carefully as we would our own.
Justice, in order to thus operate in our words and deeds, must
operate in our hearts in our minds. “As a man thinketh, so is he.”
If he thinks unkindly, ungenerously, unjustly, he will find it
impossible always to avoid unkind, unjust, unloving words or
actions. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.”
It follows then, that to do justly signifies absolute righteousness
in thought, in word, in conduct. Of this none of us is capable.
The nearest approach to this is the perfect or just intention of the
heart, covenanted by all those who become followers of the Lord
Jesus Christ. The intentions and good endeavors of these are
accepted of the Father.
As for the world, it will require long years of assistance and
uplifting out of weaknesses and imperfections of the flesh to
bring them to where their thoughts, words and deeds will be
absolutely just and in full accordance with the Golden Rule.
Their attainment of this will mean their getting rid of all the
imperfections of the flesh and, by full restitution, returning to the
image and likeness of God lost in Adam.
TO LOVE MERCY
All recognize mercy as a very proper, a very desirable quality.
All realize their need of Divine mercy. All should know that the
Divine purpose is that only those who show mercy to others will
themselves receive mercy at the Lord’s hands. Many, however,
while admitting all this and while seeking to practice mercy, do
not love it. Rather, they love vengeance, and are merely
constrained to mercy by the laws of the land, public sentiment
and the Word of God. Time and again this has been shown in the
case of lynchings. Mobs have gathered for the infliction of
punishment, glad of an opportunity for setting aside mercy and
letting loose justice, as they might express it. And in those mobs
have been many guilty of perhaps as great crimes as the one who
was mobbed. “O consistency, thou art a jewel!”
WALK HUMBLY WITH THY GOD
By a strange perversity of our fallen nature, those most able and
willing to follow the first two requirements are apt to be the most
delinquent in this third requirement. In a word, the just and
merciful are very apt to find themselves possessed of a spirit of
pride, a feeling of superiority to their fellows, a hindrance to
their having a humble walk with God. Those most humble
toward the Almighty are frequently those who have had great
sins and great weaknesses, which have helped to humble them.
Thus the Great Apostle, St. Paul, was allowed to retain a
measure of visual weakness as a reminder of the time when he
was a persecutor of Christ of the “Church which is his Body” as
a reminder of how the grace of God apprehended him on the way
to Damascus, and that without the Divine interposition he might
have continued hopelessly blind.
The Apostle refers to his weakness of eyes as a thorn in the flesh,
a messenger of Satan permitted to buffet him. The Lord declined
to remove the affliction, doubtless because it would keep the
Apostle humble enough to attend properly to the great work God
had for him to do without being puffed up to his own injury. The
Divine message was, “My grace is sufficient for thee; my
strength is made perfect in weakness.” Realizing the import of
this the Apostle cried out, “Rather, therefore, will I glory in mine
infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
And so may all God’s people, while realizing their inability to
live up to these Divine requirements, rejoice in the Divine
provision on their behalf that God’s grace is sufficient for them,
where their weakness is recognized and confessed and abhorred,
and his mercy appreciated, sought and accepted.