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No Room in the Inn
Chosen from the writings of
Rev. C. I. Scofield, D.D.
Author of “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth,” “Plain Papers on the Holy Spirit,” “Lectures on Galatians,” “Addresses on Prophecy”; editor Scofield Reference Bible, and author of the Scofield Bible Correspondence Course
Mary Emily Reily
Oxford University Press
AMERICANBRANCH: 35 West 32nd Street
London, Toronto, Melbourne, and Bombay
by Oxford University Press
This edition © 2018 CrossReach Publications, Kerry, Ireland
Hope. Inspiration. Trust.
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The text of this book is in the public domain. All other rights are reserved, including the right to reproduce this edition or portions of it in any form whatsoever without prior written consent from the publisher.
The First Christmas Night
The First Sin
The Ten Commandments
John the Baptist
A Blind Man Healed
The New Birth
The Raising of Lazarus
The Daughter of Jairus
Parable of the Ten Virgins
The Anointing at Bethany
Jesus Before Pilate
The Laver of Cleansing
Jesus Appears to Mary
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit
The Conversion of Saul
The New Life
The Fiery Furnace
David and Goliath
Joseph in Prison
David & Jonathan
The Greatest Thing
Joseph & His Brethren
About CrossReach Publications
Bestselling Titles from CrossReach
THIS book is made of carefully chosen selections from the writings and public addresses of Dr. C. I. Scofield.
The principle of selection has been to take from those writings only expositions and interpretations of Scripture upon subjects of vital import to Christian faith and life.
In an age so intense and exacting as ours, there is scant time for the reading which nurtures the spiritual life, and it is hoped that the brevity and clearness with which these great themes are treated may bring them home helpfully even to the life most filled and engrossed.
M. E. R.
October the first,
“Thou shalt call his name Jesus.” Matt. 1:21.
The unique birth
THE unique significance of this nativity, the fact that distinguishes it from every other birth in all earth’s history, is that the Babe, truly born of a human mother, was “The Word” who was “in the beginning with God, and was God”1*—Mary’s Babe, but “Immanuel,” begotten of the Holy Creator Spirit.2* In the providential ordering of human affairs, concerning whose ends the actors themselves frequently have no thought,3* all the world was taxed (or enrolled) that a Jewish maiden might be brought to4* Bethlehem in fulfilment of a prophecy uttered seven hundred years before.5*
Prophecy is always literally fulfilled. Isaiah had predicted that The Messiah should be born of a virgin,6* Micah that He should be born in a particular village,7* and Daniel that He should be born at a particular time. The slow centuries passed, but when the time came each prediction was fulfilled; not in some so-called “spiritual” sense, but with exact literalness.8*
The crowded inn
The Lord of glory was cradled in a manager, the immediate reason being that the inn was overcrowded; the moral reason that the one universal Exemplar and Friend must begin His life under circumstances so lowly that no son of Adam could ever feel that Jesus was good because more fortunately circumstanced than he. He got underneath the most abject.
There was no room for Him in the inn. It was not hostility which excluded Him. The inn was preoccupied.9*It is so to-day with hearts, houses, time, business, pleasure—there is “no room;” every inch of space is filled. People do not hate Jesus—they have no room for Him.
The supremest emotion aroused by the birth of Jesus was joy. He was born to toil, to suffer, to die—but angels and men rejoiced.10*
The first to see and wonder were the shepherds, the simple ones;11* it required a star and a council of scribes12* to get three wise men to Jesus.13*
The foolish wise men
The wise men did very well so long as they followed the star, but when they came to great Jerusalem they forsook the star to ask counsel of Herod, and the Scribes. They found the King indeed,14* but at the cost of the slaughter of the innocents.15* And still many innocents are slaughtered by seeking the wisdom16*of God through mere knowledge.
The three-fold Saviour
He was born a Saviour. The Epistles take up this saving work of Christ the Lord, and show that He is a Saviour in a three-fold sense—by His sacrificial death He saves17* His people from judgment because of the guilt of their sins.18* “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;19* that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”20*
By His resurrection-life, imparted to His people,21* through the new birth,22* by His intercession and shepherdly care and by the indwelling Spirit,23* He saves them from the power of sin,24* that is from the necessity of living in known sin.25* “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”26*
By His second coming, He will save His people from the presence27*of, and conflict with sin. “For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,28* and we shall be changed.”29*
He took upon Himself the whole work of salvation,30* and therefore salvation, from beginning to end, belongs to Christ, and to Him alone. The sinner trusts, Christ saves; the saint yields, the Holy Spirit gives victory.31*
“As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Rom. 5:12.
The fatal “I will”
STRICTLY speaking, the fall of man was not the beginning of sin. Sin entered the world by one man, but sin had already entered the universe.32* Isaiah traces sin back to its true beginning, in the fall of Satan.33* “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning.… For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.… I will be like the most High.” Sin entered the universe of God when a splendid angel said “I will.” The essence of sin is self-will, or lawlessness; as the essence of holiness is loving subjection to the will of God.
The universal experience
That the history of man’s fall should be thought mere allegory by any descendant of Adam is strange indeed,34* for, in all essential particulars,35* it has been re-enacted in every human life. In every life there has been a first sin;36* in every life that sin consisted in violating some part of the known will of God;37* in every life that sin wrought to separate the sinner from God;38* in every life there was some poor effort at self-justification; and to every such life there comes a seeking God offering salvation; and, in this endlessly repeated tragedy,39* the tempter has been Satan.40* Why, then, should it be thought incredible that what has been true in all subsequent human lives should have been true in the first human life?
Satan’s method is to insinuate a doubt: “Yea, hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” So Satan begins by suggesting that the will of God for us is, at some point, hard and ungracious;41* that some forbidden thing might have been left within our liberty of choice. “I knew thee that thou art an hard man,”42* is the unspoken complaint of our hearts when Satan tempts us to depart from the will of God. It is the sure danger sign. Let us learn to be affrighted whenever we detect the smallest murmuring against God.
Having instilled a doubt as to God’s love, Satan goes on to question the truth of God’s word. “Ye shall not surely die.” Every denial of retribution for sin is instigated by Satan, and directly contradicts, not alone God’s word, but the testimony of nature and reason.43*
The adversary’s third step is an appeal to pride, especially pride of intellect. “Ye shall be as gods knowing.”44*
In the characteristic modern attitude toward revealed truth these temptations meet. For that attitude is one of denial of the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, and this denial is justified by appeal to proud human learning.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,45* and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Here is a perfect illustration of worldliness—“The lust of the flesh; and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”46*
The two deaths
The immediate consequence was alienation from God. For the first time these high creatures47* of God felt instinctively their unfitness for His presence.48* The ultimate consequences of sin they could not then know,49* but soon learned—physical death, and also that alienation from the life of God which is spiritual death. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God.”50* “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” The futile effort of sinful man to clothe himself for God’s presence!51*
In Scripture the garment is the constant symbol of righteousness, and righteousness is that which fits for God’s presence. Neither self-righteousness, “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess,”52* or legal righteousness, “Touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless,”53* but only God’s righteousness, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe,”54* enables sinful man to stand in the presence of God.
“And the LORD called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou?”55* The effect of the first sin was to bring Jehovah down to seek, and to save that which was lost. Thus sin broke God’s creation rest, and from the first sin of the first man until now, He has been unweariedly seeking the lost. “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”56*
The serpent symbol
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent … upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” Before the curse, the serpent was not only the “most subtle,” but probably also the most beautiful of creatures below man. Even as cursed, a serpent cannot make an ungraceful movement. But, whatever form of beauty this creature may have borne, it lent itself to Satan’s uses, and now, cursed of God, every actual serpent is a hieroglyph of sin; an awful illustration of Satan’s power to degrade and curse. And Satan himself cannot escape the shame; “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world”57*—so true is it that all men must choose to be eternally identified with either Satan or with Christ.
A sin of Israel was punished by a plague of serpents, a method of retribution,58* which was perhaps designed to remind them of all that, from Eden on, had been the terrible message of that symbol. But how mysterious must the remedy have seemed; a serpent of brass made the object of saving faith! Some suggestion of the shame and humiliation of the cross may be found in the fact that Christ appropriated the brazen serpent type to Himself. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.”59*
But all this, though it prepares us to see that Christ “lifted up,” after the analogy of the serpent of brass, is in some profound sense associated with sin and the holy wrath of God against sin, does not explain that association. Not until the final, terrible word of the Spirit by Paul do we come to that mystery, beyond whose frontiers no finite mind may go. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;60* that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” This is the midnight horror of the atoning work of Christ.61* That we might be made “the righteousness of God” (immeasurable height!) it was somehow necessary that He, the sinless and holy one, should be, in those awful hours, in some inscrutable sense “made sin”—associated with the whole serpent symbolism, with the curse, with Satan’s foulness, with man’s shame, defilement and ruin—immeasurable depth!
The undying enmity
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise62*thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel”—the first promise of a Redeemer. This is the seed, out of which grew the tree of the cross. It implies the final humiliation and defeat of Satan by Christ, the “seed of the woman.”
“No man is justified by the law in the sight of God.” Gal. 3:11.
A ministry of death
THE Divine purpose in the giving of the law was not salvation, for “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight,”63* but conviction and condemnation. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.”64*
To see this is of the last importance, if we are really to honor the law. So long as we regard the law as fatherly advice, or as a mere ideal to be striven toward, trusting meanwhile the vague mercy of God to overlook our short-comings, and to accept our good intentions in the place of perfect obedience, we are steeling our consciences against the very work the law was set to do.
But that is exactly what the Galatianism current in Christendom to-day is doing. The edge is gone from the law. No man feels condemned, undone, and under the curse and wrath of the law, and of God, on account of his sins, for the reason that he keeps on honestly praying, when the commandments are read, “Have mercy on me, O God, and incline my heart to keep thy law.” The law is never honored by the sinner until he accepts its deathful sentence, and turns in faith to the One who has, in his stead, suffered death.65*
The first table requires that God shall reign alone over our lives, the alone object of supreme love66*, worship and reverence—indeed, the perfect summary of the first table, approved as such by Christ, is in the great formula, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind.” In approving the summary, the Lord added, “this do, and thou shalt live.”67*
The law is not a creed to be confessed, nor an ideal of human conduct;68* it is a fiat of God, to which is attached the awful sanction, “the soul that sinneth it shall die,” and there is but one plea possible to the sinner, “guilty.” For the moment any mortal faces honestly that imperative demand that he must love God with all his heart, soul, strength and mind, he sees that never for a fraction of a second, in all his life, has he kept the law.69*
The lawyer, in the passage quoted from Luke,70* under the impact of Christ’s tremendous demand for performance,71* and not mere effort or desire, should have fallen at His feet with a cry for mercy. He chose rather to “justify himself.” Alas! millions are going the same miserable way, holding the law for a counsel of God instead of a death-sentence.72* A criminal “establishes” the law, when he comes before the Court and pleads guilty,73* not when he idly talks about reforming and turning over a new leaf. With all his reformation, he is just a law-breaker seeking to evade the just sentence of the law.
Just as the first table of the law is summarized in the demand that God shall be loved with the whole of every part of man’s complex being, so the second table is summarized in the demand that our fellowman shall be loved up to the measure of love for self.
The neighbor is any human being to whom we can do good. It is not a sentimental good feeling and benevolent desire toward all men, but an active service toward all, for love’s sake; a service, the only limitation of which is opportunity. When this is seen, the second table becomes as crushingly convictive as the first.74*
Have we sought as earnestly, toiled as hard, sacrificed as much to do, as we have to get? Have we bestowed as much thought, solicitude and active effort upon others as upon ourselves? Such questions answer themselves to any sincere and honest soul. Here again our only possible plea is “guilty.”
And then the law has done its work, and we are “shut up”75* to the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. We have no hope of life eternal through a law which only shows us our guilt, and pronounces upon us a righteous sentence of death. But Jesus redeems us, not alone from the curse of the law, but from the law itself, that the blessing of Abraham may come to us through Christ and that we may receive the adoption of sons.76* “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith, but after that faith is come we are no longer under the schoolmaster.”77*
Grace gives victory