Answer.—The condition of the world on trial during the Millennial age will be neither one of justification nor of condemnation. The "curse" of the whole world under divine condemnation, or sentence to death on account of Adam's sin, will cease thoroughly and completely with the close of this Gospel age, with the close of the antitypical Day of Atonement. But if, when awakened, all past sins were fully and freely forgiven, and the world were on trial before the bar of the Heavenly Father, they would be subject to instant condemnation as unworthy, unfit to live, because the divine law is that only that which is perfect shall live. Hence God has provided the mediatorial Kingdom of Christ to deal with the poor world in its wretched and undone condition, after the divine sentence against mankind has ceased, has been cancelled, has been revoked. The revoking of the sentence of death effects no restitution—the two things are entirely separate and distinct.
Take an illustration: Suppose a man, justly condemned to death for murder, had already served twenty years of imprisonment, and in that time he had become bald, lost half his teeth and to some extent his eyesight. Suppose that in some manner the cancellation of the sentence against him was accomplished and that he was set free, would the cancellation of the balance of the sentence restore to the man his teeth or his hair or his eyesight or anything else? Surely not. But if a kind friend had in some manner effected a settlement of his sentence, we may be sure the same friend would be glad upon his release to assist him in any manner in his power—to make good so far as possible his loss. He could procure for him glasses that would aid his sight, false teeth and a wig, and that would come as near as the friend could go to doing that which the Lord Jesus proposes to do for the human family by restitution processes.
The Millennial Kingdom will have full charge of the human family. He who bought the race with his own precious blood, he who effected a cancellation of the sentence, is to be granted a thousand years to effect the restitution of so many of those whom he bought as choose to come back into harmony with God and his laws.
We have seen they will not be in a condemned condition, because their sins will be forgiven. For the same reason they will not be justified by faith, because it is better to be forgiven than to be merely "covered," or reckoned forgiven. Their condition and relationship to Christ under the New Covenant provisions of mercy will be all that could be desired for them. A little confusion is apt to prevail in our minds for a time on this subject of justification. Realizing how important is our justification, how indispensable to our relationship to the Father and our joint-heirship with Christ, we are now inclined to feel that a similar justification process would be necessary for the world by and by. But not so. If the world were to be on judgment before the Father they would need justification, that is, a reckoned imputation of righteousness, a covering with Christ's merit, etc.; but they are not to stand before the judgment seat of the Father until the close of the Millennial age. They are to be on judgment and trial before Christ, not as sons of Adam, under his condemnation, etc., but as individuals, taken just for what they are, judged according to their several abilities for obedience. At the close of the Millennial age, when Christ's Kingdom shall be delivered up to God, even the Father (1 Cor. 15:24), these will not need justification by faith in order to stand before him, because during the Millennial age they will have been tried according to their works, and only those justified by works will have any standing before the Father; and they, being perfect, will need no covering for imperfections, but be in just such a condition as the Father could approve and declare worthy of continued lasting life.
Answer.—Webster's definition merely gives the views of mankind in general on this subject. We are [R3456 : page 335] not to choose which we prefer, but are to choose the definition which the Scriptures substantiate; namely this, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance." People may be sorry, without being repentant, in matters in which they have failed where they had wished to succeed. This is not a godly sorrow, but merely a sorrow of disappointment and regret; just as the thief who attempted to steal and was caught was, of course, sorry that he was caught. The godly sorrow is that which is sorrow for the sin rather than for the penalty, and sorrow for the sin produces repentance and reformation of character—the only kind recognized in the Scriptures.
Let us not be misunderstood in this matter. Sorrow for sin does not necessarily mean a certain amount of tears and agony: it does mean a contrition of the heart, a regretful heart on account of sin, with a full determination to do to the contrary. We mention this, because some of our Methodist friends hold that unless there be manifestations of agony there has been no true repentance. To this we cannot assent. The sorrow or regret respecting the past is manifested by a radical change of life.
We are not competent to pass upon the case of Cain, to determine whether or not he had a proper repentance or merely a fear of punishment. "Judge nothing before the time." Cain's own particular sentiments would have nothing to do with the fact that in a general way he represented the world, with its evil spirit, while Abel represented Christ and the Church, with the sacrificing spirit. Assuredly, if we abhor evil and grieve upon doing that which is wrong, and cleave to that which is good, it must be because we have learned "the exceeding sinfulness of sin." This implies regret for any measure of wilfulness in any sins we may have committed.
In re justification; we believe that quite a good many Christians were born in a justified condition, and that the sentiments of their hearts always were for righteousness, and that therefore they cannot accuse themselves of having sinned wilfully, nor feel such great contrition as those who have been living in sin—in alienation from God. Nor should they. They are already the Lord's, and for them to be converted (turned round) would mean to turn away from the Lord. The Editor is one of this class.
Question.—Who are meant when it is said, "Many shall come from the east and from the west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven"?—Matt. 8:11.
Answer.—As already pointed out in the DAWN series, the Gospel Church only will constitute the Kingdom in its highest and strictest sense; but Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the ancient worthies will be the chief ministers of that Kingdom in the world of mankind, and all mankind will be invited to come into harmony with the spiritual Kingdom, that God's will may be done in this, as an earthly class, as it is done in the heavenly class. In this sense of the word, all who shall accept of the terms and conditions of the Kingdom will sit down, or be at rest and at peace with God, with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the faithful of the earthly class. Thus it will be seen that the Lord is pointing to a large class of the world of mankind who will ultimately become citizens of the earthly phase of the Kingdom. This same thought is represented in Revelation, where it is intimated that all the worthy will enter into the city—the Kingdom—while without will be all the unworthy, who love and serve sin, subjects of the Second Death.
Question.—Who are the "children of disobedience" of Eph. 2:2 ?
Answer.—Since father Adam was created in God's likeness, and is designated a son of God, it follows that all of his children, had they remained in harmony with God, would have been sons of God,—earthly sons. But since Adam became disobedient, and all of his children shared in his fall, all of the race of Adam are children of disobedience, children under punishment, under wrath, except those who have "escaped the condemnation that is upon the world," by acceptance of the divine provision of favor and return to harmony with their Creator. Those who return to harmony with God through the appointed way become children of obedience; those who do not, even though they have not yet had the full opportunity which God designs they ultimately shall have to discern good from evil, and though they may choose the good, are, nevertheless, even now denominated "children of disobedience" and "children of wrath."
Question.—In Romans 7:4 we read: "Ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead." What body is meant—the body of Jesus' flesh or "the Church his body"?
Answer.—It refers to the flesh of Jesus, whose death cancelled all claims of the Law against a believing Jew—made free to become united to the risen Christ (the Lord of Glory) as new creatures, as his Bride.