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Volume 8 - Page 39 of 141 Index | Zoom | |
The Acts of the Apostles.
There are but two references in the Acts to eternal life, and they both occur in the
words of Paul spoken in the synagogue at Antioch, viz., Acts 13: 46, 48.
Paul had spoken in the synagogue, and had given the Jews the solemn warning of
verse 41. When the next Sabbath arrived such great numbers crowded into the
synagogue that the Scripture says, "almost the whole city came together to hear the word
of God". Instead of the Jews rejoicing that at last their Gentile neighbours were paying
tribute to the oracles of God, envy possessed their hearts, and they spoke against the
things spoken by Paul and Barnabas, contradicting and blaspheming.
"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God
should first have been spoken to you, but since ye put it from you, AND JUDGE
YOURSELVES UNWORTHY OF aionian LIFE, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
Rom. 2: 1-11 seems to throw a light upon this passage. There, in verse 7, we find the
aionian life is bestowed upon those who by patient continuance in well doing seek for
glory and honour and immortality, but unto them that are contentious and do not obey the
truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. How did
these Jews "judge themselves" as unworthy of aionian life? The probability is that every
one of them would have sure of aionian life; how did they therefore "judge themselves"?
Rom. 2: supplies the answer:--
"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein
thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same
Paul's great concluding words at Antioch had been:--
(1). A statement regarding justification by faith as something beyond the sphere
of the law of Moses, followed immediately by
(2). A warning concerning despising (Acts 13: 39-42; cf. Rom. 2:, "or
despisest thou", etc.).
The next two chapters that follow Rom. 2: deal almost exclusively with justification
by faith without the deeds of the law. This was a great stumblingblock to Israel; in their
self-righteousness they judged others and thereby judged themselves. The Gentiles at
Antioch, on the other hand, did not despise the word of God's grace, they were glad when
they heard the quotation of the prophet that spoke of themselves; instead of "putting the
word of God from them", we read that they "glorified the word of the Lord", and AS
MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO aionian LIFE BELIEVED.
The same word is used in Rom. 13: 1 as is used here, "the powers that be are
ORDAINED of God". In Rom. 11:, instead of recording the self-judgment of the Jew,