This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.
Dear Mr. G.
“A group of Bible class folks would appreciate an explanation of Mark 4:11-12. There were times when He said “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” Why, in this parable: “…lest at any time,” etc.
—Kansas City, Mo.
ANSWER: The Gospel records make it clear that, during our Lord’s ministry, the attitudes of men to Him and to His blessings varied as they do today. Some rejoiced at His coming, acknowledged their need of Him and sought His help. To them He spoke, as He does today, words of gracious forgiveness, and gave physical and spiritual blessings. Others, however, hardened their hearts and closed their eyes, refusing the light of His Person and teaching. Concerning those, the Lord spoke the words referred to in Mark 4, verses 11 and 12. The “lest at any time” clause indicates the consequence of their own attitude and their wilful rejection of Christ, by which they brought upon themselves judgment instead of forgiveness, blindness instead of enlightenment. This passage and the parallel portions in Matthew (13:1415) and Luke (8:10) refer to the message given to the prophet Isaiah of old (Ch. 6:10), quoted also in John 12:40 and by Paul in Acts 28:26-27. A study of these passages will make it clear that it is hearts that have already been hardened that God hardens, and eyes that will not see that He blinds. The solemn lesson for today is that, as in the days of Isaiah, the Lord, and Paul, so now, those who obstinately close their ears and eyes to the truth, and harden their hearts to the Lord’s mercy bring upon themselves His judgment. If, however, they truly seek the Lord, He will “abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7).
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Q. What is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 6:4 “If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the Church.” Who are they who are least esteemed in the Church?
A. Perhaps the Revised Version makes the reading a little clearer; “Do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the Church?” meaning the Gentile magistrates in the law courts. Paul says as it were to the Church at Corinth, you who are destined to judge the world to come and to judge angels (perhaps fallen angels at the Judgment Throne of God) have lowered your dignity in not being able to settle the smallest matters among you. You have gone to the secular courts of the land to have your problems settled by unsaved men who are of no account in the Church.
Q. What does it mean in Isaiah 45: where it says, “God creates evil?”
A. It does not mean that God creates such evil as sin, but rather the punishment which may be an evil calamity that sin deserves. The evil He cerates is the punishment that His justice must measure out against sin.