“0 Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches.” These are the words of the psalmist in Psalm 104:24. And this is a truth that our children must have constantly held before them in all their education in the natural things of this life. In the geography class there is such an abundant opportunity to do that. And the covenant youth ought never to leave his geography class without that truth being impressed upon him. But we set forth in this series of articles to show also that in the arithmetic class the wisdom of God is so clearly evident and that there is abundant opportunity to call the attention of the covenant child to this fact. What wisdom of God is reflected in the whole world of numbers!
At this time we would call your attention to another matter which this world of numbers reveals to us concerning Jehovah. To the regenerated child of God this world of numbers reveals the absolute righteousness of God. In arithmetic God teaches us how absolutely exact He is in His demands upon us. He is a righteous God. He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. He demands certain things from the creature- and especially from the creature made in His own image. And you can never get away from the fact that these demands are unyieldingly precise when you deal with the system of numbers in their relation to each other as He in His wisdom has made them. Let us consider that fact at this time.
In arithmetic a thing is right or wrong. Two and two is four and not almost four, a little less than four or a little more than four. And when you add two and two and get four your answer is absolutely right. It is not near enough or relatively right. It is absolutely correct. Thus also, when you add forty-nine and fifty-one and have for your sum ninety-nine, your answer is not partly right, nearly correct, close enough. It is absolutely wrong! And the teacher is entirely within his right to count it all wrong.
Arithmetic brooks no mistake anywhere at any time. Take a column of figures and add up these numbers. Though your column is composed of twenty-five numbers and you make a mistake at only one step in the process of addition, your answer will be wrong. Though in twenty-three steps your addition was right, the answer is wrong, completely wrong when you made one error in the whole process. Whether that error was only one number removed from the correct answer or one hundred, your answer is absolutely wrong. And the teacher can give you no more credit for a right answer than the person who was one hundred numbers out of the way with his answer. In the field of numbers one is right or he is wrong. There is no such thing as relatively correct. And in arithmetic there is no such thing as a partially right answer.
In the geography class you might have part of the answer to a particular question wrong and still get credit for the parts that are right. You might list the main industries of a country correctly and add one industry that is not found at all in this country. You could then be credited for knowing the industries you listed correctly and be counted off a point or two in that answer for the one you added that did not belong there. But add even a fraction to your answer in arithmetic and the whole answer is wrong.
Arithmetic reveals the exactness of God!
Let the child be taught every day and each step of his-way how exact God is in His demands upon us. The Ten Commandments brook no more departure from their demands than is to be found in the mathematical process of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. “Thou shalt have no other gods besides Me” postulates no relative demand. It does not condemn and forbid a host of gods besides Jehovah and call it relative obedience when a man has but one god besides Jehovah. It is an either . . . or matter. When we have a god besides Jehovah we do not have Jehovah anymore as our God. Adam and Eve when they chose to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit did not intend to obey God and the devil. They did not intend to have a god besides Jehovah. They chose to have a god instead of Jehovah. For they did not choose to do Jehovah’s will and follow Satan’s suggestion. They chose to do as Satan advised instead of God’s will.
And God forbids that we make any likeness of Him. Not only some likenesses are forbidden. Each and every one is condemned. And where we make but one in the whole span of our earthly life, we are as guilty and wrong before Him as a child is wrong in his arithmetic problem when at only one point in the process he added, subtracted, divided or multiplied incorrectly in the series of numbers contained in his problem. His law is exact. He demands perfect obedience. And we are not pleasing in His sight unless at every point and at any given moment of our lives we conform perfectly to that law in its inner principle of love to God.
We sometimes speak of big sins and little sins. But we do not find such a distinction in Holy Writ. Scripture speaks of sins being multiplied. Surely one can add to the number of his sins. And the one sin may cause man to suffer more at the hands of the perpetrator of the evil than another. But with God sin is always sin. It is always coming up with the wrong answer. And it always brands the perpetrator as one worthy of an everlasting punishment. It shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah who never saw the Christ while He performed His ministry in word accompanied by miracles than for the godless Jews who did see these miracles and did hear Him preach the words: of everlasting life. Yet both are consigned to an everlasting torment in hell. Both have erred. The lives of both were the wrong answer to what God demands of us in His holy law. The degree of punishment will vary; but God does not say of Sodom and Gomorrah that they were relatively correct and therefore receive a small share of blessedness and glory. With God it is either . . . or! As exact as He has made the world of numbers, so exact does He deal with the works of men.
How could it be otherwise?
Jehovah is a righteous God. What we see and learn in the field of arithmetic is eternal in Him. In Him there is no error. He is truth. In Him there is nothing but exactness and absolute righteousness. For there is no righteousness except that which is absolute. And so righteous is Jehovah that the thought of doing unrighteously cannot be entertained in His mind. Nothing can persuade Him to call anything right but that which is according to His standards right and good.
And therefore when He saves us from our unrighteousness He does so in a righteous way. He saves us in the way of perfect arithmetic. O, indeed, there is perfect arithmetic at the cross! For God pours out upon His Son the full vial of His wrath against our sin. He knows all the sins committed. His arithmetic is perfect and His bookkeeping without flaw. He knows our every sin and the sum of all the sins of His people from Adam till the last elect that is born and reborn before the day of Christ at the end of the ages. And whether He is computing the sins we have committed; or whether He is computing the last ounce of punishment for which those sins call, His arithmetic is perfect. And Christ drinks the very last drop in the cup which the Father has given Him to drink for our redemption. The very last farthing is brought to the Father in payment for our deliverance from the power of sin and death. And the Son hanging upon His cross, suffering the pangs of hell for our sins, adds the figures up till with triumph He can cry out, “It is finished!”
No sin was overlooked by the Father there at the cross. No single sin was overlooked amongst the millions upon millions that the children of God have committed from Paradise to the parousia. But in His everlasting grace a penalty was brought and endured equal to that load of guilt, so that when the last degree of suffering was borne there was a perfect balance; and the debt of the Church was “Paid in Full!” “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1a.
Jehovah has not minimized one sin. He has not erased or changed the figures to make the problem easier to execute. He saves us in a righteous way without violating the principles of truth which He displays in His world of numbers. Instead arithmetic shows us, because it is designed and created by Him, that salvation can and will come only by the cross. The fact of our fall and the fact of His absolute righteousness as well as His unchangeable promise to save and glorify His fallen Church adds up to the cross. That already isGenesis 3:15, the mother promise. It adds up! The seed of the serpent must bruise the heel of The Seed of the woman! God’s arithmetic adds up to that cross and demands it. Without it there will be no crushing of the head of the seed of the serpent, no victory for the Church.
But let us not corrupt the truth of that cross!
Let us hold fast to the fact that to be a fraction off in your answer in arithmetic is to be as wring as to be ten points off. Let us also refrain from all that haughty wickedness that challenges the word of Him Who gave His life as a ransom for our sins. He knew what He was talking about when He added all things up and declared that “It is finished.” Let us not claim to be wiser than He and teach men that He was able only to make us 99 and 99/100ths pure and that you and I have to add that 1/100th part before the 99 and 99/100ths can become ours. Arminianism is even mathematically corrupt and in error! If the work of Christ is not complete so that He does not accomplish all we need for our salvation, He fails to produce the right answer. Even as a wire that reaches from the power plant to the last hairbreadth up to the bulb will carry no current into that bulb to light it up, so a savior who realizes only 99 and 99/100ths of that salvation is really no savior. Unless Christ is also the One Who through His Holy Spirit, and upon the basis of the righteousness which He merited for us on the cross, implants within us the will to be saved, He fails as our savior. The teacher may not add the one point which the child through inaccurate addition dropped from his answer. The child’s answer is still wrong. The teacher who adds it is the only one whose answer is correct. And if we are the one to add the will to be saved which Christ fails to work in us, not He but we are the ones upon whose work our salvation is made sure.
Jehovah, the God of arithmetic is exact in His demands upon mankind and saves us by the exact arithmetic of the cross. He comes up with the right answer, the whole of our need, and not only justifies us but also works in us both to will and to do according to His good pleasure.