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ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.

“WHAT is the difference between ‘the children of disobedience,’ and ‘disobedient children?’”

In the inspired record the term, “children of disobedience,” is applied to those who are spoken of as subjects of the wrath of God. – Ephesians ii. 2, and v. 6; Colossians iii. 6. In this application it is equivalent to the expression, “children of wrath,” (Eph. ii. 3,) and signifies those who stand condemned in their natural relation to their disobedient father, the first Adam, as dead in sin. In each of the passages cited, which are all the cases in which the expression is used by inspiration, the meaning is clearly to be understood of condemned sinners, who have neither desire for the justifying grace of God, nor love for righteousness, being by nature the children of wrath. While the term, “disobedient children,” would be applicable to these as the children of a disobedient parent, this latter expression would also apply properly to those children of the new covenant who forsake his law, walk not in his judgments, break his statutes, and keep not his commandments. Certainly such as these cannot be called “obedient children,” yet in that covenant there is provision for the chastening of such. – Psa. lxxxix. 30-35. While “the children of disobedience” are all “disobedient children,” as under the condemnation of divine justice, and of the law given to the natural Adam, even the disobedient subjects of grace are not in the inspired word called “children of disobedience.” Though in themselves blind, and black as the tents of Kedar, and continually called to mourn their vileness and sinfulness, yet are they light in the Lord, justified freely by his grace, and accepted in his perfect righteousness. Hence their glorying is in him alone, since they have no ground for glorying in themselves, nor yet for despising others. Walking after the Spirit, there is no condemnation for them; but if they yield their members to serve sin, they will surely feel the chastening of the Lord, which is sorer than the temporal death inflicted by the law of Moses.

“PLEASE give your views on Mark x. 9, Are there any at the present day whom God has joined together in holy matrimony?”

In this text our Lord was replying to the question of the Pharisees, who tempted him, with the evident purpose of eliciting him him some decision contrary to the law of Moses. He presents the true law on the subject as of older origin than the law of Moses, even dating from the beginning of the creation. Notice, it is not simply from the time of Adam in Eden; but what is “the beginning of the creation?” In Revelation iii. 19 this title is applied to our Lord. So, in Ephesians v. 28-32, Paul speaks concerning Christ and the church. This is the perfect model of the marriage relation, in which Adam, in the garden and in the fall, is the only figure. The relation ordained of God in the creation, and sanctioned in his providence and in the law of his kingdom, is holy, that is, “Sacred, acceptable to God, pure, irreproachable, guiltless.” Having divine authority, the relationship is, in that sense, holy; though in the higher application of the title to the eternal God, of course, no earthly tie could be holy. The union of those who are not merely in legal form, but in heart and spirit, joined in matrimony, we think may, in the sense indicated, be called holy, and in the same sense it may be said that God has joined them together. But without such union of heart and devotion to each other in that relation, solemnizing a business bargain with the form of marriage, is hardly more than legalizing adultery. Probably to this iniquity may be attributed much of the unhappiness resulting from so-called marriages, where the essential element of exclusive mutual regard is not found. The command in the text cited in the above inquiry may be violated as much by forbidding the legal sanction to such union, as by a legal divorce after the rites of matrimony have been solemnized. – See Heb. xiii. 4; Prov. xviii. 22; xix. 14. The marriage rites only declare publicly the union already consummated by the ordinance of God, without which the vows assumed only call God to witness their own falsehood.

“WAS the Godhead buried with the crucified body of Christ?”

No. See Matt. xxvii. 46; Mark xv. 34.

Elder William L. Beebe,
Middletown, N. Y.,

Signs of the Times,
Volume 49, No. 22,
November 15, 1881