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Volume 33 - Page 14 of 253 Index | Zoom | |
Doctrine and Practice, Inseparable.
pp. 207, 208
Truth is so vast and its implications so great, that the mind is compelled to analyze,
dissect and separate in order to attain to some semblance of understanding, but both
teacher and taught should ever remember that truth so dissected is dead: we are but
conducting a post-mortem examination. Consequently we differentiate between faith and
works, and can consider each separately, yet in strict truth "faith if it hath not works is
dead, being alone" (James 2: 17), and so are works without faith. Again, we differentiate
most markedly between imputed righteousness and practical righteousness, yet if imputed
righteousness never manifests itself in practical righteousness, the original reckoning is
vain, being unfruitful.
For the purposes of clearer understanding we speak of Doctrine and Practice, and
point out that whereas Eph. 1:-3: contains seven sections devoted to doctrinal truth,
Eph. 4:-6: contains seven corresponding sections devoted to practical truth, but if we
imagine it to be possible to receive, believe and enjoy the revelation of the doctrinal
section while ignoring the practical teaching of the corresponding section, we are in
grievous error. The doctrine cannot be divorced from its divinely described goal, namely,
"that we should be holy and without blame". So also the revelation contained in
Eph. 1: 15-23 presupposes the enlightenment of the eyes: "the eyes of your
understanding having been enlightened" (1: 18, perfect, passive participle). The fact that
salvation is by grace, through faith, and not of works is not to be separated from the
equally emphasized fact that it is nevertheless "unto good works" (Eph. 2: 8-10). The
doctrine of Eph. 1:-3: and the practice of Eph. 4:-6: make one undivided whole, and
any attempt to explain the one without the other is vain and must end in confusion. In
John's Gospel the Saviour has given one or two words that point in this direction.
"If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine" (John 7: 17).
"Will do" is the simple future, but this is not what the original says. The R.V. is
correct and reads: "If any man willeth to do His will", showing that the "will" of the
person is involved. The same care is called for in translating John 5: 40, where the A.V.
reads, "Ye will not come to Me", which is given a force nearer to that of the original if
made to read, "Ye are not willing to come to Me". Other examples of the truth "WILL
TO DO" precedes knowledge of doctrine can easily be found.
"If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed" (John 8: 31).
This word "continue" is the translation of meno, a key word of John's Gospel, mostly
translated "abide" (see 8: 35). So John 15: 9 says "continue ye in My love", but
John 15: 10 says, "Ye shall abide in My love". While a different word is used in
John 8: 44, there appears to be a reference to the danger of the negative side of this
truth, for it says of the devil that he "abode not in the truth".