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FROM THE DIVINE AND HUMAN STANDPOINTS
For the time past … may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles … wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them … speaking evil of you. … For this cause the gospel was preached also, to them that are dead, that they might be judged, according to men—in the flesh, but according to God in the Spirit.—1 Pet. 4:3-6
Our explanation of the above Scripture is asked. We understand verse 5 to be a parenthesis, and hence in arriving at the direct chain of the Apostle’s argument, it should be for the time ignored. To bring the important points of the argument closer together, we have arranged the quotation as above.
The consecrated child of God has not only realized justification from sin through Jesus’ imputed righteousness, but in his consecration he has given up—sacrificed—his justified human nature, and henceforth, according to God’s instruction, he reckons himself no longer of the human nature, but a “new creature in Christ Jesus,” a partaker “of the divine nature.” And God so reckons him.
Hence God judges of such, not according to the flesh, but according to their spirit or mind, and as new creatures, spiritual; while by men this class is misunderstood, for they think of you as of other men—in the flesh—and hence think strange that you are not controlled by the same desires and ambition as themselves.
It was to produce this very distinction in you that the gospel was preached to you, who are dead to the world, that you might have Christ formed within you—his mind and principles, and that thus you might be so different from the world, that they, not appreciating the real cause of the change, but still regarding you as “of the fleshy nature,” may think strange of you and misconstrue your motives, and hate you, and buffet you, and thus try you and make you meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Nevertheless, remember that God recognizes you as a new creature, and will judge of all your course accordingly. You may know then, that your faith and patience he will appreciate, and that “your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
— December, 1884 —