(Reply to W. A. Morehead.)
The questions of our correspondent are: First. Is the unregenerate man accountable to God for what he does, or for what he does not do in this life? Second. Does God hold Pharaoh and all others like accountable for the things they have done or may do? Third. How is it that a vessel that was made to be taken and destroyed can violate a law which they were never under?
Answer. The righteous dominion of God extends to all beings, all worlds, and all events. He has informed us that he will by no means clear the guilty. Vengeance belongs to him, and he will repay.
Second. God did hold Pharaoh responsible for his resistance of the divine mandate to let Israel go, and for his disobedience plunged him and his army in the Red Sea, overwhelming them in a terrible death.
Third. The vessels of wrath fitted to destruction are not held accountable for failing to obey any law which they were not under. Pharaoh was not destroyed for not being an Israelite, for not being circumcised, or for any disobedience to the Levitical law which was given only to the children of Israel, but as a creature of God, for his wicked contempt and defiance of what God commanded him to do. The transgression of the divine authority of God under which man was created gave entrance of sin into the world, and death by sin, and that death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. From that state of sin and death no man can be delivered by anything they can do, or fail to do. Nothing short of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus can save any man from the guilt and condemnation that all mankind are already under. They are not condemned and punished for non-conformity to any law which they are not under, but for the guilt and sin in which they are involved as the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, they are condemned already, and the wrath of God abides upon them. In the providential government of God, his judgments are abroad in the earth, and as he destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, and other cities, nations and individuals for their abominable wickedness, he will visit with a just recompense all the subjects of his fiery indignation and almighty wrath. We are told by two inspired apostles that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, are set forth for an example to those that after should live ungodly, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. – 2 Peter ii. 6, and Jude 7.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Middletown, N. Y.
Signs of the Times
Volume 49, No. 4.
February 15, 1881