Stanford Chambers (1877-1969)

From June 1953 Word & Work


     Does the Scripture teach that a Christian should forgive a wrongdoer, even if he fails to repent, and fails to ask for forgiveness? No. God does not forgive where there is no repentance. However, He holds that forgiveness in His heart, ready to bestow it when the sinner turns to Him. (Ps. 86:5) So let us do. And as He seeks by His goodness to lead us to repentance (Rom. 2:4), so let us seek to win those who have wronged us. “Even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye.” (Col. 3:13). Moreover— since we cannot read hearts as He can and does, let us not be too exacting to decide whether the wrong-doer has really repented or not; but if he comes to you saying, “I repent”, forgive him; even if seven times in the day. (Luke 17:4.)

     Was Zechariah 14:4 fulfilled at the crucifixion of Christ? Not if language means anything. Read the whole passage, Zech. 14:1-9. The prophecy concerns Jerusalem’s final distress and deliverance. No such thing as that described in Zech. 14:4 has ever taken place and will not till the Lord descends to defend Jerusalem during the last (all too successful) assault of her foes. Then, indeed, will they welcome Him, saying, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:39.)

     What does the Holy Spirit do for us that the written word does not do? What the word of God does for us is incalculable. Do not discount it. Believe it, receive it, live upon it, and walk by it. It is living and active; it comforts and consoles; it corrects and instructs. “It is my meditation all the day.” But the Holy Spirit gave us the word; it is the Holy Spirit’s word, and the Spirit, who “helpeth our infirmities,” “maketh intercessions for us.” He is the Paraclete to our own Spirit. He is the gift of God “to all them that obey him.” “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.’

     What is the Scriptural teaching regarding degrees of punishment and rewards in the future life? The punishment, if it is to be just (“according to works”) must take into account the relative gravity of sins. Thus, it will be “more tolerable” in the day of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for Capernaum which sinned against greater light. So, likewise, “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive the heavier judgment” (James 3:1). The impenitent sinner treasures up (heaps up more and more) wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5, 6. See also Luke 12:47, 48). As with punishments so with the rewards of Christ’s redeemed. There are crowns to be gained (1 Cor. 9:24); and as they have been faithful in a very little, their Lord will set them over much; and that always in proportion to their faithfulness and diligence. See also the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25) and of the Pounds (Luke 19).

     Please explain Matt. 24:40-41. The context shows that here He speaks of the sudden judgment which will take away one and leave another. In another (opposite) sense it can be applied to the occasion when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to receive His own to Himself. Then will some be caught up and others left behind: some to be “forever with the Lord,” the others, to face the terrible things that shall come (1 Thess. 4:16, 17 and Luke 21:36).


Compiled by Larry Miles, who is Co-Editor of Word & Work and attends the Cherry St. Church of Christ in New Albany, IN.