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by Dr. John Thomas
These are facts.
But what is the truth, meaning, or doctrine of the facts?
"He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification"; that is, for the justification of those who believe the gospel of the kingdom.
It is a great mistake to suppose that the belief in the sacrificial part of the name of Jesus Christ, is sufficient for salvation.
Salvation in the kingdom is not promised to those who only believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and died and rose again for sin.
It is equally necessary to believe in the promises of the covenants; not more so, but equally so; for if one believed the things of the kingdom, but rejected the sacrifice of Jesus, and his resurrection, he could not be saved.
The gospel must be taken as a whole, and not cut up into pieces, and one or two selected which suit the taste, and the rest set aside as unimportant and non-essential.
Without the sacrificial ingredient of the name, there would be no means of justification by the name; but then Jesus as a sin-offering is not the end of faith; but a means to the end, which is the inheritance of the kingdom with him in all his glory.
A very circumscribed and superficial view of the gospel is that which finds it stated in the words, "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures," The "our" for whom Christ died are those who believe in the gospel of the kingdom, not those who are ignorant of it; or, as the apostle expresses it, those "who keep in memory A Certain Word I preached unto them".
That which he taught among them a year and six months; and which he preached wherever he went.
The word concerning "the hope of Israel," on account of which he was taken prisoner to Rome; and which the Jews listened to patiently, so long as he did not mention the name of Jesus; but when that was introduced, they opposed themselves and blasphemed.
Because the apostle is made to say in the common version that he "delivered first of all" the death and resurrection of Christ, persons, who know no other than their mother tongue, conclude that the sacrifice of Jesus for sin was the first thing spoken, and the very gospel itself!
But the apostle did not write "first of all"; his words are ejn prwvtoi," that is, among the first things.
And why does he call up the things mentioned in the third and fourth verses in preference to the other things he delivered?
Because he was about to refute the Platonic notion taught by some in Corinth, to wit, "that there is no resurrection of the dead"; and to do so it was necessary to remind them of his having preached to them the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus; which was all a fable, if there were no future resurrection as they said, because it had "passed already": "Ye are then," said he, "yet in your sins, and they who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
"Three things were to be preached in the name of Jesus Christ to them who believed in the promises made of God to the fathers.
first, repentance; secondly, remission of sins; and third, eternal life.
To preach the kingdom in the name of Jesus Christ was to expound the things concerning it; and to offer them to all who would become the subjects of repentance and remission of sins in his name.
Neither "flesh and blood," nor "sinners," can inherit the kingdom of God.
These are fixed principles.
But why not?