The Compassion of Christ -- By: C. I. Scofield

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 107:426 (Apr 1950)
Article: The Compassion of Christ
Author: C. I. Scofield

The Compassion of Christ

C. I. Scofield

[Editor’s note: From 1882 until 1895, when D. L. Moody called him to become pastor of the Congregational Church in East Northfield, Massachusetts—his own place of worship, Dr. Scofield filled the pulpit of First Congregational Church in Dallas, Texas. The following sermon was preached in Dallas on February 24, 1889 and printed for distribution. Finally it appeared in his book of sermons (“In Many Pulpits”: Oxford University Press, 1922) with the title “Who Is My Neighbor?”]

A lawyer, that is a teacher of the law, one whose duty it is to read and expound the Scriptures to the people, stands up to question Jesus. He addresses Him respectfully, calling Him “Master,” but he is not a sincere inquirer; for we are told that his question was intended to “tempt” the Lord. Either this lawyer supposes that he can worst Christ in an argument, or he hopes to “catch Him in His words”—to draw out of Him expression which can be turned against Him with the people. But however this may be, his question is certainly one of tremendous importance: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Now let us see the Lord deal with a legalist, a man who conceives of eternal life as an inheritance, something to be received at some future time as the fitting reward of the good—and never dreams that it is God’s free and immediate gift to the hopelessly bad. Christ, taking him upon his own ground of doing, puts before him God’s only standard: the law. “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” The question thus turned upon himself, the teacher of the law answers in the words of Scripture: “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; and thy neighbor as thyself.”

From the legal point of view this answer is perfect, and Jesus commends it. “Thou hast answered right.” But, my

hearers, Jesus did not stop here, Men are not saved, even under grace, by right answers to questions. The scribes could tell the wise men where Messiah should be born, but their own feet never trod one step of the road that led from Jerusalem down to the humble manger at Bethlehem. An orthodox creed, desirable as it is to have creeds orthodox, never saved a soul. You may believe implicitly every word of the soundest confession of faith ever written, and go to hell. You may never doubt a word between the lids of the Bible, and go to hell. You may bestow all your goods to feed the poor and give your body to be burned, and go to hell. You may understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and go to hell. You may know the plan of salvation perfectly, and go to hell...

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