Once a Sin, Always a Sin – EJ Waggoner


A friend asks us concerning the curse in Deut. 27:23, against a man marrying his mother-in-law, wishing to know if that prohibitioncurse of the law cursed continueth not in all things written book of the law is still in force, or if it is part of the law that was nailed to the cross of Christ. He says, “Does all from the 14th verse to the end of the chapter stand good, except the 23rd verse? Is so, why?”

We say most emphatically, None of it has passed away. The words at the close of the chapter: “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them,” apply to all the precepts therein recorded, without exception. There is no more reason for saying that verse 23 does not apply now, than there is for saying that the 15th verse is out of date. To say that these verses are part of that which Christ took out of the way, nailing them to his cross, is equivalent to saying that Christ is the minister of sin. For even heathen nations recognize the fact that to set light by one’s father or his mother (see verse 16) is a sin. If this law is done away, then it would follow that it is all right for one to smite his neighbor, provided he does it in such a way as not to be found out. See verse 24. No; these curses are in full force to-day, and it is as surely a sin for one to marry his mother-in-law, as it is to make a graven image to worship, to smite a man secretly, or to take a reward to slay an innocent person.

The curses recorded in Deut. 27:15-26, are all for violation of some one or other of the ten commandments. This can be seen by an examination of the passage itself and also by comparing verses 11-14 with Deut. 11:26-29. The latter passage reads thus: “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.” Now by reading Deut. 27:11-14, we find that the curses which follow were to be pronounced in harmony with the above injunction, and with the statement that God set a curse before those who should transgress his commandments.

The simple fact is, and it should be remembered by all, that no man can be blessed now for doing what would once have brought him under the curse of God. God’s will is ever the same. He never pronounced a curse upon any thing except sin, and no one was ever cursed except for sin. And since God cannot change, the standard of right and wrong must ever be the same. Whatever would bring a man under the curse of God four thousand years ago, will bring one under that same curse to-day. Wherever in the Bible you find a curse attached to the performance of a certain thing, be assured that that thing is to be always and forever avoid by the children of men. {September 15, 1887 EJ Waggoner, Sign of the Times}

It was the sins of men that nailed Christ to the cross. “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. v. 21. “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes we are were healed.” 1 Peter ii. 24. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Gal. iii. 13. {July 20, 1893 EJW, PTUK 242.11}

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.” Let us stop right here and contemplate this fact, leaving the way of redemption for later consideration. We need to consider the statement very carefully, for some who read it straightway rush off frantically exclaiming, “We don’t need to keep the law, because Christ has redeemed us from the curse of it,” as though the text said that Christ redeemed us from the curse of obedience. Such read the Scriptures to no profit. The curse, as we have seen it, is disobedience. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Therefore, Christ has redeemed us from disobedience to the law. God sent forth His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Rom.8:4. {1900 EJW, Glad Tidings 115}
“Complete obedience is the only condition that meets the requirement of the law. “God is not a man, that He should lie.” God’s law is the rule of His government. He says, “This do, and thou shalt live.” But to the disobedient He says, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” God has given the promise that those who obey His law will be rewarded, not only in the present life, but in the life to come. He declares just as decidedly that those who do not obey His requirements shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on them. By lips that never lie the obedient are blessed, and the disobedient are pronounced guilty. {Ellen White RH, May 7, 1901 par. 9}

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