header image
Home arrow Griffin's History arrow The Free Gift
The Free Gift PDF Print E-mail
Written by R.Anna Phillips   


Butler, Ga., July 1886

Mr. Thos. J. Pyron, Byrdsville, Va.,--Dear Sir:--In compliance with your request contained in a late letter, I attempt to give you my views of Rom. v, 18 "Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life." And more particularly you want me to explain what, how, and why is, the free gift; in order to which:

Remember that in the fall, man lost, not only his elevated position--a little lower than the angels--as a conscious living intelligence; but also his righteous position as a bodily creature;--he lost, not only peace and communion with God as a giving soul, but also peace and harmony with the God of nature, as a natural man; hence, was banished, not only as a guilty soul, from the face of God in heaven--as indicated by the curse that drove him from the divine presence, but also as the natural, creature man, from "living before him" in nature; and as indicated by his being driven from the garden of Eden, with all its life-sustaining fruits forfeited.

I would impress this distinction, as it is the life of this natural man, to whom God said, "Dust thou art," &c., and whose life is in his blood," and that I call the natural man, that the apostle refers to as justified. For the man as a living soul, now being made alive to sin, is dead to God; hence has no life to be justified.

A two-fold sense in the fall, implies a two fold sense in the atonement.

Man as a whole was corrupted, and banished from God--cast out, as it were into the wilderness of destitution, and under such moral conditions and legal straits, as that he, so sure as the unborn Ishmael, when his starving mother fainted in the wilderness, would have utterly perished but for the grace of God that brought salvation in the emergency. For this Ishmael--at this stage of undeveloped infancy represented by his mother--is the given figure of the natural man, in contradistinction from Isaac, the figure of the spiritual.

Now, remember that God shut forever the gates or way into the garden, after the expulsion; as denoting that never more would man find access to God in, the name of Adam, While an apostle in condemnation says there is but the one way whereby God can remain just and be the justifier of a sinner,--Jesus Christ is that way.

Then, not only this "justification to life" but every right, every blessing and benefit, whether temporal or eternal, is by Jesus Christ as atoner:--that "we live, move and have being," and all that these include, as without sin, or as by divine sanction, is that JESUS DIED.

Then, as by the one offense of Adam condemnation passed upon all men, so by the general atonement made by Jesus Christ, the Free gift came upon all men to justification of life. Notice, this is not to grant life, but to justification, to it as already possessed. Eternal life itself is the special gift of God, for a special people, it is treasured Jesus Christ for the elect believer. It was never corrupted, therefore could not be justified. And the bare fact that it is not common to all men, is proof sufficient that it--as many believe--is not the life referred to as receiving justification.

That the free gift came upon all men to justification of is that the life was common to all men. So sure as condemnation passed upon all men as one with Adam; so sure was justification to life of--the same--all men, as one with him; that is, as having the one life in common with him. Therefore it was the natural Adam life.

This then, though a great salvation, is not spiritual or eternal; though a great grace and deliverance, is not eternal redemption; it does not restore the man back to Eden, or to anything; but simply, yet comprehensively, restores to him the divine right to timely blessings given, and lost to him in Adam. And thus Jesus "restored that which he took not away."

And as thus justified, he is brought near, to live before, as reconciled, to God in nature. And assumes this righteous position before God again, upon a new plane--so to speak-and in the name of Jesus Christ.

And as thus saved and brought he is enlightened to a knowledge of the truth of this free gift, and the timely salvation it provides; so much so that there is "clearly revealed" unto him "all that may be known of God" by nature; or as by the visible things of creation, "even his eternal power and Godhead." And God gave man a knowledge of the truth as concerning--what Jude calls--" our common salvation;" and that as attained to by simple obedience to the laws of nature and being; or laws of morality; as that they saved  from physical disease, deformity, &c., &c., and save to a long, "peaceable and quiet life" "in this present world."

That man did not like to profit by this great grace, nor retain this knowledge of God, (see Rom. i,) and therefore was given up of him to "vile affections," &c., &c.; is the reason, I think, that no one admits this great grace included in the free gift, to the natural man--for no one, save myself, that I am aware, applies this justification, &c, to him; one reason I am particular to prove and explain nevertheless, this is the "grace of God that brings salvation" as having appeared to all men; and this is the knowledge of truth and salvation that God would have all men come to. For this is the sense in which Jesus is "the Saviour of all men;" even in that he is "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world:"

The first manifest ministration of this grace was when God took skins of slain beasts and clothed the body of Adam and Eve, as cast out, and bade them--as justifying--" be fruitful, replenish and subdue the earth," &c. And when God found and saved Hagar, the life sustaining fountain opened to her Was from Out the earth. And when God bade her return and be submissive to Sarah, (as to the moral law established by the gospel in the church, yet providing its salvation to all obedient thereto,) it was to restore to her only the temporal, timely blessings lost by disobedience; never a part of Isaac's special blessing, or inheritance, was provided or promised to her or her son. A great grace thus bestowed directly by the hand of God. Nevertheless her bondage remained. In answer to which, Paul, after showing the benefits of this free gift to all men, says "nevertheless death reigned," as denoting it not spiritual.

But you want to know how, and why, as well as what, this gift.

This gift was free in, that Jesus was under no obligation, to die for the world. While to the elect he was "betrothed in righteousness" before the world was; and so by covenant was sealed her legal head and husband; and by virtue of the relationship, he held her personal redemption-right. And—now as fallen--was bound by the same to redeem, and present her in the end, to his Father, without legal spot or moral blemish.

The church, as to natural body was included in the "all men" that fell in Adam. And since she must be manifested in natural body first, or as in order to the spiritual; this natural must be by natural generation; all men, for the elect's sake, are justified to the natural; and to assume its rights again as before God in nature--the necessary condition, and position to naturals generation.

Thus Jesus took away the sins of the world—the "one offence," or only sin in common to the world—and justified and saved it--in so far, for the elect's sake.

This is illustrated by the parable of "the treasure hid in field; which, when a man had found, he sold all he had bought that field." So Jesus paid all the merit of his as a purchasing price, for the world. A man sold all he had "and bought that field"--that by right of legal ownership, might enclose and preserve it, for the sake of, and till the gem of the treasure was developed and secured—the object of the purchase.

And thus the saints, in body are called gems, "purchased possession." And that shall, as such, be redeemed. For as he that sinned is he that atoned, or as confined to one class and not as the offense is the atonement, or as confined to application or effect. For Jesus Christ, as atoner, may only thus propitiate this sin of the whole world and thus, become the general timely Saviour of all, but also become the special spiritual Saviour of his special people to eternal life and salvation. And the atonement, not only in general nature, purpose and application, blots out this "one offense" in common and alike to all men; but in special nature, purpose and application, may redeem, blot out, the many practical sins, purify and justify to eternal life the heart and soul of a special few--the elect, and at the same time, as applied to their mortal bodies--now owned by purchase--redeems and justifies to a spiritual body.

But mark you the conditions that make his death so distinctive and discriminating. The whole merit of his death as a price--applied to the church, becomes a REDEMPTION price--as by gift of the Father owning prior, and by the relationship holding the right to redeem. While, as applied to the world, it inevitably becomes a PURCHASING price.

And thus all men are drawn, not only this long legal stride toward God, but by right of purchase and ownership, are drawn unto Christ as legal possessor, &c. This explains his saying, "And I if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me;" that is as lifted upon the cross to purchase and redeem; to save to the common and eternal life--"for this he said signifying what death he should die," as to full atoning scope.

Most respectfully,


< Previous   Next >


The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.