Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
: — There must be a reason why questions are put in the Bible and not answered there. It is intended that each learner should sit down, and, by the analogy of faith applied to his own experience, work out an answer for himself. The question in the text arises out of a particular ease in the experience of Israel; but it is expressed in a general form, and contains a rule of universal application. We apply to God's law and man's conscience.
I. THE DISAGREEMENT.
1. The fact that there is alienation. God's law is His. manifested, will. for the government of His creatures. It is holy, just, and good; it is perfect as its Author. Observe the steadfastness of God's laws as applied to material things. His moral law, ruling spirits, is as inexorable as His physical law, ruling matter. It has no softness for indulged sins. It never changes and never repents. The law never saved a sinner; if it did, it would no longer be a law. The law, by its very nature, can have no partialities and no compunctions. It never saves those who transgress, and never weeps for those who perish. The conscience in man is that part of his wonderful frame that comes into closest contact with God's law — the part of the man that lies next to the fiery law, and feels its burning. When first the conscience is informed and awakened it discovers itself guilty and the law angry. There is not peace between the two, and, by the constitution of both, they are neighbours. There is need of peace in so close a union, and there is not peace. The conscience is pierced by the law, the sharp arrow of the Lord, and the convicted feels himself a lost, a dead man. Where there is mutual hatred distance may diminish its intensity; but where the antagonists are forced into contact, the nearness exasperates the hate.
2. The consequence of this disagreement between the two is, they cannot walk together. Emnity tends to produce distance. The law, indeed, remains what it was, and where it was; but the offending and fearing conscience seeks, and in one sense obtains, a separation. The conscience cannot bear the burning contact of a condemning law, and forcibly pushes it away. But distance is disobedience. To walk with the law is to live righteously; not to live with the law, is to live in sin. There are certain special features of the disagreement in this case that aggravate the breach and increase its effects,
(1) The party who has injured another hates that other most heartily, and cannot afford to forgive. The injurer must foment the quarrel; it is his only source of relief. The wrong-doer is miserable when he whom he has injured is near.
(2) There is not only the memory of a past grudge, but also the purpose of a future injury.
II. THE RECONCILIATION.
1. The nature of the reconciliation, and the means of attaining it. The agreement between the law and the conscience is a part of the great reconciliation between God and man, which is effected in and by Jesus Christ. He is our peace. Peace of conscience follows in the train of justification. Peace is accomplished not by persuading the law to take less, but by giving it all that it demands. The law s demands are satisfied by the Lord Jesus Christ, the substitute of sinners. He has already accomplished the work. My conscience begins to love God's law when God's law ceases to condemn me; and God's law ceases to condemn me when I am in Christ Jesus.
2. The effect of the agreement is obedience to the law — that is, the whole Word of God. The Word still condemns the sins that linger in you; but this does not renew the quarrel. You are on the side of the law, and against your own besetting sins. Practical application to sinners and to saints.
Parallel VersesKJV: Can two walk together, except they be agreed?