Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 5, 1950
NUMBER 34, PAGE 1,2b

False Arguments And Scripture Perversions

R. L. Whiteside

Perhaps some people have grown tired of seeing these articles on False Arguments and Scripture Perversions. The fact is, I am growing a little weary of writing them; but it is a line of thought that needs attention, for there seems to be a growing looseness in handling the Scriptures. And a church can pervert the whole New Testament scheme of things by following its own way while claiming to speak where the New Testament speaks, and to be silent where the New Testament is silent. Those who believe what you say believe you are following the Bible; and so you are perverting the scriptures—giving people the wrong idea as to what the Bible teaches.

Brethren sometimes preach sermons and write articles on Jer: 6:16: "Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way: and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk therein." Now, when you preach on that text, do you urge people to seek "the old paths" that Jehovah was urging the Jews to seek? I heard one brother preach a sermon on that text, urging brethren to seek the old paths, but before he finished, he said we now have a new and living way! No, I have never preached a sermon nor written an article on Jeremiah 6:16; I prefer to urge people to seek the new and living way, and to walk in it. This new and living way is "the way which he dedicated for us." (Heb. 10:19, 20.)

Several months ago I read an article in one of "our" papers, in which the writer told how people are saved. Then he made the strange statement, that after a person is saved, the Lord then adds him to the church, and the saved person has nothing to do with being added, the Lord does that. That is a false argument and a perversion of scripture. Think a little. The Lord saves, too, does he not? If the brother is correct in his reasoning, then a man has nothing to do in being saved, for the Lord saves. Besides, the church is the family of God; and being born again adds one to this family, and there is no subsequent adding to be done.

Justified By Law

Any law justifies the one who keeps it perfectly. If a Jew had kept the law of Moses perfectly, he would have been justified by the law; he would have merited justification. I have enlarged on this point, both in sermons and in print. But several months ago a staff writer for the Gospel Advocate took issue with this idea, though he did not call any name and may not have had my writing in mind. Anyway he pronounced the idea a mistake. Well, if a man under the law kept it perfectly, and was not justified but was still a sinner, why was he not justified? And why was he still a sinner? I can see how an advocate of the doctrine of inherited sin could contend that a Jew was still a sinner, even if he kept the law perfectly, and was guilty of no sin of his; but how can any man who repudiates that doctrine argue that a Jew was still unjustified, still a sinner, even though he kept the law perfectly. What proof did the brother give? That Paul said that as touching the law he was blameless. (Phil 3:5.) And yet he considered himself a great sinner. That is all true; and it is also true that Ananias told him to be baptized, and wash away his sins. But what does all that prove against what I said? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The law ended at the cross, and ceased to be God's law. No one could then be justified by it in God's sight, even though he kept it perfectly. And between the cross and his conversion, Saul became a great sinner in persecuting Christians. The brother's argument therefore has no point to it, and it is strange that he himself did not see the fallacy of his argument. If a man is not justified by a law when he keeps it perfectly, then there is no such thing as justice: "For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby," that is, he shall not be condemned. (Rom. 10:5.) While the law was operative a man was not justified by it, because he did not keep it perfectly; and since it ended at the cross no man could be justified by it in God's sight, even had he kept it perfectly.

The Sting Of Death

What does this "sting of death" mean? Too often it is represented as the despair and agony suffered by a sinner in his death. Those who hold that idea sometimes represent the death of a true Christian as a quiet, peaceful passing away like falling peacefully into a quiet sleep; but I have stood by and watched the death struggles of too many infants and saints to believe such a fantasy. Besides, Paul was speaking of the resurrection and its results, and not about dying. The sting of death is the sting that causes death, and that is all taken away in the resurrection, just as the resurrection robs death of its victory. "Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death, where is thy victory? 0 death where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin." Sin caused death; but sin will never sting the saint any more after the resurrection.