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Volume 33 - Page 145 of 253 Index | Zoom | |
Again in I Corinthians the Apostle writes:--
"All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for
me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake, for
the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof . . . . . but if any man say unto you, This is
offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake:
for the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Conscience, I say, not thine own, but
of the other . . . . . not seeking mine own profit" (I Cor. 10: 23-33).
How strange that the apostle of freedom should be the one to plead for self-imposed
restrictions! He who knew that all things were lawful, voluntarily refrained from
exercising his privileges. Yet it is not strange to those who have glimpsed the lodestar
that ever drew the Apostle on. "The love of Christ constraineth me", he said, and if love,
then it must at times "deny itself" to justify itself. For love not only gives, but gives
itself. It not only gives, but "spares not".
Here, then, is another feature in the portrait of the man sent by the Lord to the Gentiles.
#11. Separate Features:
Impatience of formalism, joined with forbearance.
pp. 159 - 161
"Here we see . . . . . that impatience of exclusive formalism with which he overwhelms
the Judaizers of Galatia, joined with a forbearance so gentle for the innocent weakness of
scrupulous conscience." (Conybeare and Howson).
Impatience usually spells disaster, is a sign of weakness, and is scarcely Christian in
its connections. Throughout his epistles the Apostle practices and preaches patience, yet
it is no contradiction to speak of his impatience, as is done in the above quotation.
Can we not speak of the "impatience" of the God of all long-suffering, when He says
in Isa. 1: concerning Judah's "exclusive formalism":
"Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto Me; the new moons
and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the
solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth; they are a
trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear them" (Isa. 1: 13, 14).
This divine impatience is evident throughout the epistle to the Galatians. In the eyes
of the Apostle, so intolerable are the inroads of the Judaizers that he is moved to indite
the epistle in a manner altogether unusual for him. He omits to praise the Galatians for
anything; he omits to thank God for them in any particular. So impatient is he to get at
the root of the trouble, so intolerable does it appear that there should have been preached