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Authorized Distributor

church-history-graphic{In my studies in Romans, we came to a studies speaking of the Jewish people as the stewards of the oracles of God.  Sir Robert Anderson, in his work “The Silence of God”, explains this a bit as he speaks of an agent.  I always thought that this was a good way to illustrate at the place that the Nation of Israel had in time past in God’s redemptive purpose.  This helped in my understanding, so I am taking a moment to pass it on.  In my occupation, I often need to purchase items, and often, when going to the manufacturer, they say they do not sell except through their authorized distributor, so his example about the winegrower and his agent was an example that I understood perfectly}

 

The special and distinctive position enjoyed by the Jew was a main feature of the economy then about to close [in the book of Acts]. “There is no difference” (Romans 3:22) is a canon of Christian doctrine. Men talk of the Divine history of the human race, but there is no such history. The Old Testament is the Divine history of the family of Abraham. The call of Abraham was chronologically the central point between the creation of Adam and the Cross of Christ, and yet the story of all the ages from Adam to Abraham is dismissed in eleven chapters. And if during the history of Israel the light of revelation rested for a time upon heathen nations, it was because the favored nation was temporarily in captivity. But God took up the Hebrew race that they might be a center and channel of blessing to the world. It was owing to their pride that they came to regard themselves as the only objects of Divine benevolence. When some great French winegrower appoints an agent in this country, he no longer supplies his wines except through that agent. His object, however, is not to hinder but to facilitate the sale, and to ensure that spurious wines shall not be palmed off upon the public in his name. Akin to this was the purpose with which Israel was called out in blessing. The knowledge of the true God was thus to be maintained on earth.4 But the Jews perverted agency into a monopoly of Divine favor. That temple which was to have been a “house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17 (R.V.)) they treated as though it were not God’s house, but their own, and ended by degrading it till it became at last “a den of thieves.” But the position thus Divinely accorded them implied a priority in blessing. And this principle pervades not only the Old Testament Scriptures but the Gospels. To us indeed it is natural to read the Gospels in the light of the Epistles, and thus “to read into them” the wider truths of Christianity. But if the canon of Scripture ended with the Gospels this would be impossible.5 Suppose again the Epistles were there, but the Acts of the Apostles left out, how startling would appear the heading “To the Romans,” which would confront us on turning from the study of the Evangelists! How could we account for the transition this involved? How could we explain the great thesis of the Epistle, that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, both being by nature on a common level of sin and ruin, both being called in grace to equal privileges and glory? The earlier Scriptures will be searched in vain for teaching such as this. Not the Old Testament merely but even the Gospels themselves are seemingly separated from the Epistles by a gulf. To bridge over that gulf is the Divine purpose for which the Acts of the Apostles has been given to the Church. The earlier portion of the book is the completion of and sequel to the Gospels; its concluding narrative is introductory to the great revelation of Christianity.


Footnotes

  1. Such was the spirit of their inspired Scriptures. See, e.g., 2 Chronicles 6:32, 33; Psalms 67:1-3, etc.
  2. “If,” says the author of “Supernatural Religion,” “Christianity consist of the doctrines preached in the Fourth Gospel, it is not too much to say that the Synoptics do not teach Christianity at all. The extraordinary phenomenon is presented of three Gospels, each professing to be complete in itself, and to convey the good tidings of salvation to man, which have actually omitted the doctrines which are the conditions of that salvation.” This is a fair specimen of the sort of statement which, owing to prevailing ignorance of Holy Scripture, suffices to undermine the faith even of cultured people in our day. The Gospels were not written “to teach Christianity,” but to reveal Christ in the different aspects of His person and work as Israel’s Messiah, Jehovah’s servant, Son of Man and Son of God. No one of them is “complete in itself”; and the Fourth alone expressly professes to teach the way of salvation (John 20:31).

Charles Miller View All

Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.

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