Part 1

How often do we hear Romans 7:18 misquoted, as though it read "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) is no good thing," instead of "dwelleth no good thing." In reality, the true meaning is rather, "For I am aware that good does not go on dwelling (or, making its home) in me (that is, in my flesh)."

If we believe that "in me is no good thing" we shall surely reach a morbid state of self-condemnation, in which we shall struggle hard against the very evidence of our eyes, against the very feelings of our heart, to believe that we are totally depraved and hopelessly corrupt. Every talent not created or used by the Divine Spirit will be stigmatized as of "the flesh," and thus wicked. Every display of the milk of human kindness will be reckoned as of the flesh. Even a mother's fond love for her infant would become something "of the flesh," and thus wrong.

Such an attitude could only warp the outlook, and stunt the spiritual growth, and produce feelings of misanthropy and bitterness.

Had the flesh been conceived as utterly corrupt, we would not have found in the Old Testament such passages as Job 4:17-19 (shall weak man be more righteous than God? . . .) or Job 25:4-6 (How then shall weak man be righteous with God? . . . .). Here physical frailty seems to be used to explain or even exculpate human shortcoming.

Long ago I was stumbled for a time by a statement in Romans 3:12, "there is none that doeth good, no, not one." I simply could not believe this statement. I was sure that the Bible itself contradicted this statement. Why, Matt. 7:11 declares, "If ye, then, being evil, know how to be giving good gifts to your children," while in ch. 12:35 the Lord tells broods of Jewish vipers that "the good man out of the good treasure is putting forth good things," yet the wicked man is doing the opposite. Romans 2:6-7 is very clear and definite—too clear for some to believe it: God "will be paying each one in accord with his acts; to those, indeed, who by endurance of good action go on seeking glory and honour and incorruption, life eonian." Also verse 10: "yet glory and honour and peace to everyone who is working what is good." Though we may not know which class of human beings is here meant, there will be such people at some time or other.

An hour is coming when all in the tombs "shall hear His voice, and those doing the good things shall go out into a resurrection of life" (John 5:29).

God "makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good" (Matt. 5:45). Barnabas was a good man (Acts 11:24). So was Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:50). Someone might even dare to die for the sake of "the good" person (Romans 5:7).

But we must return to Romans 3:12. In due course I discovered that what Paul wrote was "There is not one doing kindness." Later on I came to see that the Greek sense here must be, "There is not one going on doing kindness." That is true of every human being.

Just why the Revised Standard Version should here read "no one does good, not even one" is quite inexplicable, as in every other occurrence but one, they use the word "kindness" (Romans 2:4; 11:22 thrice; 2. Cor. 6:6; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 2:7; Col. 3:12). At Titus 3:4 it reads "the goodness and loving kindness," where the Concordant Version has "the kindness and fondness."

The Greeks used their present tense as something continuous, in the sense of "going on doing" something.


Flesh, merely as such, is not necessarily evil. This may be proved by the following statements: "The Word becomes flesh" (John 1:14); "My flesh is meat indeed" (John 6:55); "Out of whom is Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:5); "The barrier (the enmity in His flesh)" (Eph. 2:15); "He now reconciles in His body of flesh" (Col. 1:22); "Put to death, indeed, as regards flesh" (1. Peter 3:18); "Jesus Christ having come in flesh" (1. John 4:2).

But for the creation of a world of humanity in flesh, how could there have been a Saviour? He became flesh so that He could retrieve all humanity. And that flesh was exactly the same kind of flesh as we have. Yet He knew no sin, and the Jews were altogether unable to bring against Him any conviction of sin. "Who from among you is convicting Me concerning sin?" He could boldly ask them (John 8:46).

Neither the flesh nor the body can by itself be sinful. But each can be the instrument of sin. We do not call our body wicked. In fact, we nourish and cherish it. We seek to keep it healthy and clean and useful. Yet Eph. 5:28-29 shews that this same body is the "flesh" as well. To a certain extent the two terms are interchangeable. "Thus ought the husbands also to be loving their own wives as their own bodies. He that is loving his own wife himself is loving. For no one at any time hates (or detests, abhors) his own flesh, but is nourishing and cherishing it. . .." Observe the connection between body and flesh.

Many however, have deeply detested or hated their "fallen nature," their "old humanity," their unrenewed mind. Indeed, we ought to abhor our old humanity, which was corrupting itself in accord with the excessive-desires of seduction (Eph. 4:22).

The word "flesh" is frequently used of believers also without any signification of evil. "That the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2. Cor. 4:11). "Our flesh had no ease at all" (2. Cor. 7:5). Most likely this would be something even worse than mental suffering. "In conjunction with Christ have I been crucified; nay, living no longer am I, but living in me is Christ, but in what respect I now am living in flesh, in faith am I living—the (faith) of God and Christ." (Rotherham, Gal. 2:20); "By reason of a weakness of the flesh I myself declared—the-glad message to you formerly" (Rotherham, Gal. 4:13). See also Phil. 1:22; Col. 1:24; 2:1; 2:5; and Phm. 16, where we read of Onesimus, "A loveable brother. . . . both in flesh and in the Lord."

The flesh in itself is neutral. Yet there is something in connection with it which is evil, namely, its lusts (excessive desires), its works, its wishes, its thoughts, its passions. "Make no provision for yourselves for lusts of the flesh" (Rom. 13:14). "In spirit be walking, and flesh-lust in no wise may you be consummating, for the flesh is lusting against the spirit, yet the spirit against the flesh" (Gal. 5:16-17). "The works of the flesh" are enumerated at Gal. 5:19-21. Those who belong to Christ Jesus "crucify the flesh, together with the passions and the lusts" (Gal. 5:24). See also Eph. 2:3, "in the lusts of our flesh, doing the wishes of the flesh and of the thoughts." Phil. 3:3, "no confidence in flesh." John 6:63, "The Spirit is that which is making alive, the flesh is not profiting anything (to make alive)."

These evils are sufficient to prevent the flesh from being described as righteous. But that is quite a different matter from the flesh being called good or bad. We must distinguish between the flesh and what it brings forth. The body too can produce sin. "Let not sin, then, be reigning in your mortal body, for you to be obeying its lusts" (Rom. 6:12). "Putting the practices of the body to death" (Rom. 8:13).

Sometimes we are told that "the flesh cannot please God." This is not quite accurate. Romans 8:8 states that "those who are in flesh are not able to please God." They cannot give Him any satisfaction. The next verse says, "Yet you are not in flesh, but in spirit, if so be that spirit of God is making its home in you. Now if anyone has not Spirit of Christ, this one is not His." All believers have the divine spirit, but all do not accord it a settled dwelling-place as they should.


"Good is not making its home in me" says Paul (Romans 7:18). Good does not mean righteousness. All humanity has the power of doing good, and some are morally good, though none can be said to be consistently good morally. Good does not go on indwelling anyone. It finds no permanent abode within us, so long as we have weak bodies of flesh. Yet so long as divine spirit is indwelling any believer, we might infer that good also is indwelling him.

We are in this world to learn the difference between good and evil. Our good is usually very transient. It is not abiding. It comes and goes. As natural beings, we might want to do good one moment and evil soon after. We are good, and do good, merely in patches. How different from God, who is always good. Paul's plaint was "For it is not good that I am wishing that I am doing, but evil that I am not wishing, that I am practising" (Rom. 7:19). He has at least, the will or wish to do good, but somehow has not the power. In the previous verse he admits that "the wishing lies near me, but the working out of that which is right (does) not," as Rotherham renders.

A very strange feature in our world is the fact that so very few human beings have a zealous longing to be good and do good. If you asked me why there are so many evil people, I would reply that one of the chief reasons is their pride. They want to do better than others. They cannot tolerate being inferior to others, or being humiliated by others. They are different from Paul, for they do the evil which they wish. Furthermore, in this queer world it is far easier to accomplish evil than to do good, and those who really wish good are always in the minority, and are thus unpopular.


This is just as much an evil invention of the Devil as is the idea of eternal punishment. One wonders why the ancient Church did not recognise this fact. Doubtless Gen. 6:5 had a strong influence on men's minds. Rotherham's rendering here is: "Then Yahweh saw that great was the wickedness of man in the earth, and that every purpose of the devices of his heart was only wicked all the day." But we ought to bear in mind that that generation of humanity seems to have been much more ferocious and lawless than any since that time. It is quite untrue that everyone now-a-days thinks evil all day. Were that true, no one would be saved, because everyone who becomes saved already has some good in him or her. Is it not true that the primary act of righteousness which any sinner can do is to admit that he has no righteousness of his own? Is that not a good act ?

Jeremiah 17:9 has been another stumbling-block, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it ?" Rotherham renders thus: "Deceitful is the heart (or, mind, intellect) above all things, and dangerously wayward; Who can know it?" Some would render the Hebrew word for "desperately wicked" as "mortal" (anush). But would this tally or be parallel with "deceitful"? Most other translators render it as "incurable." I would suggest that the chapter should be read from verse 5 on to verse 18. Note verse 7, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord." Can he be "desperately wicked," or "desperately corrupt" as the Revised Standard Version has it? Is it not the man in verse 5 whose heart departs or turns away from Jehovah, who is pictured in verse 9? There is nothing to shew that Jeremiah means that verse 9 refers to all men. In verse 18 he begs Jehovah to bring upon his persecutors the day of evil. Is it not their heart that is wrong? Probably their hearts had been deceitful to him.

Here the Septuagint reads "The heart is deep (or, immense) above all things; man is also. Who will get to know him?" Here the Hebrew word anush was mistaken for enosh, which means "man." The Jewish American Revised English Version of 1917 reads, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceeding weak—who can know it?" The word "weak" here is probably the proper sense.


Every human soul is bound to commit sin because of his inherited weakness, and because he is death-bound. It is not sinfulness which passes by heredity from father to son, but weakness and death. Romans 5:12 tells us that "even as through one man (the) sin entered into the world, and through (the) sin (the) death, and thus (the) death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned. . . ." This is the verse which was a problem to the clever and sharp-eyed Prof. Godet (1812-1900), when he was discussing the common explanation of this verse. But he thought the view of Prof. Gess was much simpler, namely, "In Adam death came upon all, moral corruption, as a consequence of which all since have sinned individually." But Godet claimed that Paul was not treating here of the origin of sin, but of the origin of death, physical death. However, he continued: "It would seem to us simpler to give to ePh'hO (upon which) the neuter sense: on which, in consequence of which, all have sinned." Then he finishes up with, "Only this meaning of ePh'hO would be, we fear, without precedent." However, the same expression occurs other four times in the NT with the same sense.

It is racial weakness which Paul teaches, not original sin. When a child is born, it is not sinful, but weak. And are not most people weak somewhere? Even the Lord must have suffered from this weakness of the flesh, but without sin. He inherited this weakness from His mother, but He inherited no sin. At the beginning, Adam would not be weak through the flesh. But after he sinned, he must have become weak.

The expression in the NT, "all flesh," meaning all men, implies their weakness or frailty (Mark 13:20; Acts 2:17; 1. Cor. 1:29; John 17:2; and especially 1. Peter 1:24, "All flesh is grass").

"The spirit, indeed, is eager, but the flesh is weak" said the Lord to Peter, James and John in Gethsemane (Mark 14:38). Peter had boasted that he was ready to die together with the Lord (v. 31), and it may be that the Lord was referring to this when He said in v. 37, "Simon, art thou drowsing? Hast thou not the strength one hour to watch?" Peter did not think he needed to watch and pray lest he entered into trial. But he was weak, and not strong. But the Lord's question may have arisen from the fact that He too was then weak, physically. He knew the flesh could be weak.

In Rom. 8:3 Paul states that "what was impossible by the law, inasmuch as it was weak through the flesh—God, sending His own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rotherham). Godet says that the meaning here is, that "God condemned sin, a thing which the Law was powerless to accomplish." He also suggests the reading, "What the Law could not do, God did by sending. . . ."


Moral weakness is the great shortcoming and deficiency of humanity. "All sinned and are wanting of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). This shortcoming will, however, be completely filled up, as shewn in Col. 1:19-20. Here the Rev. T. S. Green, in Critical Notes on the New Testament, long ago suggested that some "disentanglement" of the passage ought to be made. Verse 19 reads "because in Him is well pleased the entire Fulness to dwell" Green suggested that in v. 20 we should twice read "it" (the Fulness) instead of "Him," thus: "And through it (the Fulness) to reconcile all things to Himself in making peace through the blood of His cross, through it, whether those on earth or those in the heavens." This would cut out some uncertainty in the meaning of verse 19.

It would be a profound insult to the Fulness of Christ to say that it will be insufficient to reconcile every being on earth and in heaven. In verse 16 Paul takes "the all" (ta panta) in the heavens and on the earth as one whole, a complete unit. This is grammatically demonstrated by the fact that the Greek verbs, "is created" (ektisthE; aorist) and "has been created" (ektistai; perfect tense) are both in the singular, not in the plural. Not only so, but v. 17 goes on to state that those "all things" "has its cohesion" (or, has been cohering, sunestEken; perfect tense) in Him. Again we have the singular, and not the plural. Thus all those in heaven and on earth are exactly the same "all" as those in verse 20.

In another article I hope to deal with the word "good" in the Scriptures, and other relevant matters.

Part 2

In the Old Testament the common term for "good" is tob, which occurs over 500 times, rendered good, goodly or goodness almost 400 times. All sorts of things are called good, but very seldom do we read of a good man. We must discover what kind of goodness this Hebrew word means. It does not refer to a moral goodness. Girdlestone's "Old Testament Synonyms" states that the goodness "is not an absolute moral quality, but signifies that which is agreeable or pleasing, whether to God or man." My own suggestion is that the word means that which is satisfactory.

In Genesis 6:2 we read, "The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair," that is, satisfactory. Had these women been righteous, morally good, they would have resisted these intruders. Rebekah was "very fair to look upon," (margin: of good countenance). God said to Laban (Gen. 31:24, 29) "Speak not to Jacob either good or bad" (literally, "from good to evil."). That is, Do not commence with satisfactory words, and finish with evil words. The Concordant Version is correct here, but unfortunately the Revised Standard Version is content with "either good or bad." Joseph said to his brothers, "Ye thought evil against me, God meant it unto good" (Gen. 50:20). They thought harm; God meant something satisfactory. "The situation of this city is pleasant (good, satisfactory), . . . . but the water is naught" (evil, harmful, 2. Kings 2:19). Three times the word is rendered "precious" in connection with ointment (2. Kings 20:13; Psalm 133:2; Isaiah 39:2). That is, it was satisfactory. Three times it is used of "fine" copper or gold (Ezra 8:27; 2. Chron. 3:5, 8).

In Genesis 1, God saw the light that it was satisfactory and pleasing, and that His creations were so. The trees were pleasant to the sight, and satisfactory for food (Gen. 2:9). The gold of the land of Havilah was satisfactory (2:12). It was not satisfactory for the human being to come to be alone (2:18). Abram was to be buried in a satisfactory old age (15:15). He ran unto the herd and brought a calf tender and satisfactory (18:7). God endowed Leah with a satisfactory dowry (30:20). The chief baker saw that the interpretation was satisfactory (40:16). Canaan was a satisfactory land and large, flowing with milk and honey (Ex. 3:8). Eli heard "no satisfactory report" concerning his sons (1. Sam. 2:24).

The Hebrew word for good occurs predominantly in the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. Some of the expressions in the Psalms would be much improved by reading "satisfactory" in place of "good." Thus, Ps. 4:6, "Who will shew us (any) good?" This should read "Who will shew us satisfaction?" Rotherham reads: "Who will shew us prosperity?" But this might be going too far. Prosperity IS not good for most people. Ps. 16:2, "My goodness (extendeth) not to thee." This has been amended by the critical authorities to mean something like "Beyond Thee have I no satisfaction." Ps. 23:6 should read as "Satisfaction and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." Ps. 34:8 "Taste and see that Jehovah IS satisfactory." Ps. 34:10 "They that seek Jehovah shall not want anything that is satisfactory" Ps. 63:3. "Because Thy loving kindness is more satisfactory than life, my lips shall praise Thee." Psa.. 86:5; 100:5, "Jehovah, Thou art satisfactory." Ps. 109:21, "The quality of His mercy is satisfactory." Ps. 119:39, "HIS Judgments are satisfactory."

In the year 1906 Dr. Ethelbert W. Bullinger produced a booklet on "The Two Natures in the Child of God." I understand that there were people who disagreed much with this booklet. He commenced his theme with three serious blunders. Concerning the flesh, he said, we are told:
It "cannot please God" (Rom. 8:8).
It "profiteth nothing" (John 6:63).
There is in it "no good thing" (Rom. 7:18).
He then elaborated on these statements as follows: "If the flesh of itself 'profiteth nothing,' then it is clear that we cannot worship God with any of the senses (which all pertain to the flesh). We cannot worship with our eyes by gazing at a sacrament. We cannot worship with our noses by the smelling of incense. We cannot worship with our ears by listening to music; no, nor can we worship with our throats by singing. All that comes from the flesh 'profiteth nothing’. God has 'no respect to it,' and it is labour in vain."

Now Romans 8:8 states that it is those being in flesh who are not able to please God. John 6:63 cannot be understood properly unless we explain it thus: The spirit is that which is vivifying. The flesh is benefitting nothing (as regards vivifying). Flesh cannot give the kind of life the Lord was speaking about, age-lasting or eonian life (vv. 47, 51, 53, 54, 58).

Now "those being in flesh" are those who do not possess God's spirit, as Romans 8:9 explains: "Yet you are not in flesh, but in spirit, if so be that spirit of God is making its home in you." Thus only those who have not (any) spirit of God are reckoned as being "in flesh." It might be better to say they are "existing in flesh:”

God will certainly in due time profit very much through having created a whole race in human flesh, and He will be very proud of the race made in His own image. The Lord Himself had flesh and blood, but who would have the temerity to declare that the Lord never pleased His Father? If God had no respect to the flesh and its doings, how could He ever have loved mankind at all?

As for Romans 7:18, Paul said that good did not continue making its home in him, that is, in his flesh. Paul never said that no good thing was found in him. Our weakness is that good does not go on dwelling in us.

It was no ordinary kindness or goodness which the barbarians of Melita shewed to Paul and his company (Acts 28:2). They went out of their way to shew kindness, kindling a fire, and taking the whole company in. Yet they were heathen idolators. Were their kind actions produced by "the flesh," or were they an instinct implanted within them by their Creator?

In the New Testament the Greek word for good (agathos) means much the same as our English term. Barnabas was a good man and full of holy spirit and faith (Acts 11:24). Joseph of Arimathea was a good man and righteous (Luke 23:50). Hardly for the sake of a righteous person will anyone be dying; for, for the sake of the good person, peradventure someone may even be daring to die (Note the difference between a righteous and the good, Rom. 5:7). Believing domestics are to submit themselves, in all fear, to their masters; not only to the good and considerate ones, but also to the perverse ones (1. Peter 2:18).


Every human soul can do some good, even the very worst, but very, very few human beings are alive to the necessity of continually doing good actions. Very few young people make up their minds to prefer good to evil, and to love what is good. That is to say, the flesh can do good on occasion, but not continuously. This makes it absolutely impossible for us now to conceive what things will be like in the glorious future life, when God is all things in everybody.

Dr. Bullinger explained the Greek word for righteous (dikaios) as meaning "that which comes up to the required standard expected or looked for" (How to Enjoy the Bible, page 239). He says the word was used of a horse, of cattle, and of a cubit. He adds, "This is its New Testament usage, showing that God's righteousness, when it is bestowed, brings its recipient up to the standard which God Himself requires and looks for." This is all very true, and shews that there IS a righteous standard which God wishes sinners to attain to, namely, Faith in Him.

Thus, any goodness which we have will not save us, or give us age-lasting life. But there is something which God does find satisfactory in certain human beings, and that is a simple trust or faith in His Word. No marvel was it that Jehovah's friend was Abraham, who trusted implicitly in Him.


There is no term in the Hebrew or Greek of the Bible which means sinful, although the word occurs six times in our Authorized Version, at Numbers 32:14; Mark 8:38; Luke 5:8; 24:7; Rom. 7:13 and 8:3. In each case the word is really "sinner," or "sin." In any case, as sin is a shortcoming, a missing of the mark, how could any human being be full of a shortcoming or deficiency?

Rom. 8:3 states that God sent His own Son in likeness of flesh of sin, that is, in flesh which was the same as human beings all had. But human flesh is not, in itself, or by itself, sinful.

I have just been reading that "If Christ received His human nature from Mary, it was a fallen human nature." Further, "if the human body of Jesus were produced from an ovum of Mary, it must have been by natural law contaminated, as would have been the case through the parent germ of Joseph." Thus it has been claimed that the body of Jesus was a new creation, even in Mary's womb. God first prepared the body and created the two necessary parent germs, and launched them, by the fiat of His will, into Mary's womb. "That is the only immaculate conception there is."

Another argument is taken from the King James version of Jeremiah 31:22: "the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth. A woman shall compass a man." But unfortunately it seems that the author of these new ideas, Horace A. Randle, M.D., of London, failed to examine this verse closely in the original Hebrew. For one thing, the word for "man," is not the usual one, but gaber, which means a strong man, or a man of might, generally a man of some importance. The Revised Standard version reads "a woman protects a man," and Rotherham has "a female defendeth a strong man." Leeser tries another idea, "How long wilt thou roam about, 0 thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing on the earth. The woman will go about (seeking for) the husband." The Jewish Publication Society is somewhat similar: "How long wilt thou turn away coyly. . . . A woman shall court a man." Moffatt is very free and easy: "How long will you hesitate, 0 erring daughter? Why, the Eternal makes a new thing upon earth; frail woman becomes manly!" Benjamin Blayney, D.D. (died 1801), famous English scholar, denies that this verse refers to the miraculous conception of the Virgin Mary, and translates thus: "How long wilt thou turn thyself away, 0 refractory virgin? For JEHOVAH is about to create a new thing in the earth, A woman shall put to the rout a strong man." The Greek text clearly reads "Until when wilt thou turn away?" It should be noted that the Hebrew verb shub, meaning return, turn back, or backslide, occurs ten times in this chapter (v. 8 shall return; v. 16 shall come again; v. 17 shall come again; v. 18 I shall be turned; turn thou me; v. 19 I shall bring again; v. 21 turn again (twice); v. 22 backsliding; v. 23 I shall bring again). All this turning back is in view of the New Covenant in verses 31-34. The "new thing" might be the New Covenant. However, whatever verse 22 does mean, and it is difficult, it cannot refer to the birth of Christ. The whole context is against such a thought.

The Greek texts do not help, as they read, "for the Lord creates safety for a new planting; in safety human beings will wander about." Not one word is said about a woman or female. The earth (or land) is not mentioned, but in ch. 32:41 Jeremiah mentions a planting "in this land." Out of 58 occurrences of the word plant or planting in the Old Testament, Jeremiah has 16, of which three are in ch. 31:5 and one in 31:28.


This is another new theory, by M. R. De Haan, M.D., of Grand Rapids, Michigan, found in a booklet on "The Chemistry of the Blood." He claims that Adam, by eating of the forbidden fruit, suffered from "blood poisoning," so "that since then that we all have the poison of sin transmitted through the blood." He says that sin is not in the flesh, but in the blood; and that sinful heredity is transmitted through the blood. This necessitated the Virgin Birth, so that "Christ could partake of Adam’s flesh, which was not inherently sinful, but He could not 'partake of Adam's blood, which was completely impregnated with sin.' He adds, It is not even Eve's blood which flows in the veins of mankind but Adam's. That is why it is Adam's sin and not Eve's which all men inherit." He calls sin a "disease of the blood," and says it was Adam's blood that transmitted original sin, while Jesus was born of a woman without one drop of human blood in His veins. This writer claims that every drop of the Lord's blood is still in existence, perhaps in heaven.

It is further claimed that the blood in an unborn babe's arteries and veins is not derived from the mother.

Dr. De Haan is right to point out that in Heb. 2:14 there is a distinction betwixt the human children partaking (koinOneO) and the Lord taking part (metechO). But his distinction lies in this, that he makes the children "share fully in Adam's flesh and blood," while the Lord "took part" but not all; took the flesh part but not the blood, which "was through supernatural conception." Darby has a clumsy note on this verse, that "The word does not say how far the taking share went."

However, the passage here does not refer to the Lord taking hold of either angels or Abraham's seed, in the sense of taking on the nature of angels or Abraham's seed. Alford correctly suggests we should read v. 16 thus: "As we well know, it is not angels that He helps, but it is the seed of Abraham that He helps." The Greek verb means to take by the hand to help. Therefore it was the Hebrew Race, to which the Lord belonged, that He came to help, primarily. And no one can doubt that between the time of the Lord's ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem, believing Israelites direly required help.

The suggestion in the Concordant Version at verse 16, that Death was not taking hold of messengers (angels), but of Abraham's seed, can hardly be sustained. This was a view put forward long ago by Schulz, but Alford shews that though grammatically it could be allowable and admissible, it is most improbable that the subject of the verse should be a different one from that in the foregoing, seeing that the same person, the Son of God, is also the subject, without fresh mention, in v. 17, which is so intimately connected with v. 16. That is to say, the C.V. skips from "it " twice in v. 16 (referring to Death), to "He" twice in v. 17 (referring to the Lord).

PSALM 51:5

Something must be said about this verse, "In sin did my mother conceive me," The late Dr. Ryder Smith thought this meant "I have been sinful since the moment when I began to be," He compares Isaiah 48:8, "thou. . . wast called a transgressor from the womb." See also Psalm 58:3. But these verses do not teach Original Sin. Nor do they prove the corruptness of "The Flesh." Psalm 51:5 might mean "I was brought forth amid iniquity, and amid sin did my mother conceive me." Another has said, "All that the speaker means is that he belongs to an erring race, and (therefore) drew his first breath in sin,"

When the Lord said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me". He could not have meant that they were sinful if the Kingdom of the Heavens consisted of such as they. Neither their flesh nor their minds could have been sinful. Young babes cannot be sinful. But later on they learn what sin is. It is the weakness of the mind and of the flesh that produces sin, along with pride, jealousy and greed. A.T.

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