Christian Watch Annual Meeting
Held on Friday 3rd October, 2014 at Tamworth Road Baptist Chapel, Croydon
Reading: Matthew 5:1-20
Address by: The Rt. Rev. Dr. J. Barry Shucksmith
“Divine Law for Daily Living”
The subject is, I must say, an impossible subject to deal with in one brief address. But, perhaps, by God’s good grace and mercy, I may be able to indicate a few pointers for our own personal study and on-going reflection. May Almighty God be among us in power and with illumination. We look to the Holy Spirit to be our teacher, through His holy and inerrant Word. Our thoughts will centre, in particular, around Matthew 5:13-20.
The context of these verses is abundantly clear. The Sermon on the Mount is fundamental to our Lord’s teaching on the Kingdom of God and with respect to those true children of God who belong to it (Matthew 5:1-12). Moses went up into a Mountain (Ex.19:20) to receive the Law of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ, similarly, was on a mountain when He expounded the character of His true disciples. “They are the Blessed Ones,” He says.
(i) They are poor in spirit. They recognise their own spiritual impoverishment and acknowledge a complete dependence upon the mercy and grace of God.
(ii) They mourn – for themselves and for others. They weep over their sin. In the words of the Psalmist (119:136) “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law.”
(iii) And they are meek, like Moses of old. Meekness is not weakness, and self-assertion is not a Christian virtue either. Meekness is Jesus praying in Gethsemane…”Not my will, but Thine be done.”
(iv) The true believer hungers and thirsts after righteousness. The Lord Jesus Christ is our only Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), which is accounted to us. Any actual righteousness we have, comes through and by Him. We are, says Paul, “in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).
(v) The true believer is merciful. He knows he must show mercy, because he has experienced mercy and grace for himself. The adjective for’ mercy’ used here is found only once more in the New Testament – in Hebrews 2:17. There the reference is to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. “It behoved Him to be made like unto his brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 4:14-16 is singularly precious – He – the Great, Gracious, Merciful High Priest – is touched with the feelings of our infirmities!
There are three more indisputable marks of the true born-again believer…
(vi) He seeks to be pure in heart. Our Lord Jesus Christ applies this in Matthew 5, when expounding the Commandments on murder, adultery, on not bearing false witness and on loving God and our neighbour. The whole of our inner state, thought, will, as well as our emotions, are involved. Because “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies”(Matt.15:19). This work of purifying or sanctifying begins with regeneration, and will be completed only as we leave the body in death. “We know that when He (Jesus) shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). For without holiness no one shall see the Lord!
(vii) The true believer is a peacemaker. His sins have been forgiven. He is at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and he is called to be at peace with his fellow brethren. En Christo – in Christ- reconciled to God and man.
(viii) The final Beatitude speaks of persecution. It is the longest and the most detailed of the Beatitudes – describing a Christian – and assumes persecution in some measure or other is unavoidable. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake”.
These characteristics and qualities of the Beatitudes, as expressions of a true believer, flow from the grace and goodness of Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. With remarkable economy of words Augustus Montague Toplady expresses it magnificently:-
Not the labour of my hands,
Can fulfil Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow.
All for sin could not atone:
Thou must save, and thou alone.
I have laboured this introduction, so as not to be misunderstood later on in the address. Salvation is entirely dependent on the finished, complete, perfect, singular work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who became sin for us. No amount of good works, or law keeping, can save fallen creatures like you and me. “Thou must save, and Thou alone!”
Let’s move on to consider three main things. 1. The Church called to leaven Society. 2. Christ called to fulfil the Law. 3. Christians called to keep the Commandments. Again, we should notice the context in which our Saviour speaks of Law.
1. THE CHURCH IS CALLED TO LEAVEN SOCIETY,
(a) Jesus speaks of SALT. (Matt.5:13). “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”. These words show how totally different we are to society around us and, yet, how closely related to the world believers must be. Secularisation and world-mindedness are condemned here, but so is isolationism. The Church has to be separated from the world and also, severely and lovingly, has to deal with sin in the Church. Yet, we are to engage unbelievers in the world, and not to stand aloof from them… Otherwise, says the Apostle, “ye needs go out of the world” (1 Cor. 5:10).
Salt has many notable characteristics: whiteness, pungency, flavour, a preservative power. But there’s much more. It has an antiseptic ability. It saves whatever is salted from corruption and decay.
Illustration: Some are perhaps old enough to remember (like myself) the hanging salted pork in the cottage living room. The family pig was killed, the ham prepared, the meat was salted, and the ceiling hooks, for another year, were decked out with the tasty meat! But the salt has to be more than sprinkled for preservation. It has to be rubbed into the meat.So, salt has a negative effect, but it is nonetheless essential to preserve from absolute decay!
We Christians are called to leaven society. It is not a social gospel – let’s be clear on this! There is no such thing as a social gospel that can save. On the contrary, “The Gospel of God’s grace is the power (dunamis) of God unto salvation to everyone who believeth” (Romans 1:16-17). Why? “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
But we are saved to serve! There are personal and social consequences in receiving Christ’s righteousness in the Gospel. We are saved for God’s glory and for the world’s good. We are called continually to combat moral and spiritual decay, as well as to evangelise with the Gospel. And, in this respect, not only is the Gospel good, but the law is good as well, says the Apostle Paul. It brings knowledge of sin. Here is the great missionary Apostle to the Gentiles with his testimony:
“For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:8-12).
In another place, the Apostle Paul says something similar (Galatians 3:21-24) when he pictures the law like a schoolmaster (or tutor to a child). The tutor, as it were, takes the child by the hand, teaching, instructing, guiding, pointing, in the right direction – to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith“. You see, what appears to be negative, in the end proves to be positive, for it takes us to the Lord Jesus Christ – our only true, satisfying, lasting HOPE. We are to use the law of God, to preserve society, like salt, because it is good for sinner and saint alike.
(b) The second image, used by the Saviour, is LIGHT (Matthew 5:14-16). The Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the Cosmos. “The True Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). So the Lord is already at work in the heart and conscience (however imperfectly) of every human being. There is a law of conscience also written into Creation, in all we can see and reflect upon. This should be a driving force for all evangelism and good works. “That which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they (we?) are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).
As lights, entirely dependent upon Him who is the Light of the world, believers reflect the Lord Jesus. “Ye are the light of the world,” said Jesus (Matt. 5:14-16)… “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven”. What the lamp is to a house, the believer is to the world.
There are many ways then in which Christians work and witness – but always as salt and light. We glorify God by our good works, says Jesus in Matt.5:16. To paraphrase in the words of a Reformed document: “Good works cannot put away sin…yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit” (Article 12 “Of Good works”).
But surely, we can add… “If the Law of God is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, and it also brings knowledge of sin, is it not an excellent good work, of the highest order, to promote it? Should we not seek to teach unconverted men and women, boys and girls – at the very least – the 10 Commandments of God – the moral law – given in Exodus (ch. 20) and Deuteronomy (ch. 5)?”
ILLUSTRATION: Think of the rich, fulsome, content of the 10 Commandments. Is there not a worthy task of pre-evangelism here for the Christian Church today? Imagine for a moment a country where a majority are seeking to embrace and affirm the Commandments of Almighty God. What might this do for human relationships, for the crime figures, for stability, for honesty, and so on. Doesn’t this generation need to hear again that there is only one true and living God? That worship should be directed only to Him? That God’s name and all He stands for is sacred? That He has given two creatorial ordinances for the benefit and blessing of all mankind – the Lord’s day and Marriage – marriage being only between a man and a woman. That parents matter, and love and respect is due to them, just as love and respect is due from the parents to their children. That life is sacred and killing is forbidden – except under command of Almighty God, and the civil authorities, as directed by Him in Holy Writ? That adultery is wrong and includes all sexual activity outside of marriage? Our society is pagan and ignorant in this respect – is it not? For true marriage is not only about privilege but responsibility towards their children – the fruit of a true marital relationship. Is not the taking of property, reputation, and much else wrong, as indeed is bearing false witness and lying, which has become so common? And that all forms of covetousness is idolatry, as the Apostle says? Indeed, more seriously, outside of Christ no covetous person, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God (Ephesians 5:5). To circulate the moral Laws of God is a large part of what it means to be “salt and light” in this wicked world – engaging the world, evangelism, and doing good works! But let us bring the searchlight closer still to our subject.
2. CHRIST WAS CALLED TO FULFIL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS (Matt.5 17-19). “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven”.
(a) Christ was called to fulfil THE LAW (Matt.5:17). “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil”.
The great Geneva reformer, John Calvin, immediately gives a word of warning on this verse in his exposition – to those who intend to use the LAW OF GOD. “If we intend to reform affairs that are in a state of disarray, we should always exercise such prudence and moderation as will convince the people that we are not opposing the eternal Word of God, or introducing any novelty that is contrary to Scripture. We must take care that no suspicion of such conflict shall injure the faith of the godly, and that rash men shall not be emboldened by a pretence of novelty”.
This is wise counsel from a seasoned saint. Surely, Calvin warns against creating an impression of either Legalism (one who seeks salvation by works of the law) or Antinomianism (a belief that it is not necessary to keep the moral law). We must leave aside (for this occasion) “prophecy”, mentioned in the text (a massive subject on its own). We know our Lord fulfilled it, minutely – as the long-prophesied Messiah. And will fulfil what remains to be completed at His return. Rather let us think a little more about these life-challenging, life-changing, words of our Lord. “I am come not to destroy the law…but to fulfil it”.
(i) The law is PERMANENT – says our Lord! And He furthers strengthens His statement in v18-19… Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Furthermore (Matt.5:19), those leaders who wilfully break the commands of God and teach others to do the same, are least in the Kingdom of God.
Immediately in mind were the Scribes and the Pharisees. They buried the Divine oracles under a load of tradition and regarded doing the law as the only way of salvation. By that attitude and act, they were guilty of setting aside the Old Testament altogether, but being blind leaders of the blind, they couldn’t see it! On the other hand, the Lord Jesus was showing that in the lives of His true followers the spiritual requirement of the Old Testament – “Moral Law” – would be, by grace, filled to the brim.
This emphasis of Jesus regarding the Law is affirmed in all of the major historic Reformed documents, drawn up at the Reformation:
Article 7 of the 39 Articles is clear:-
“The Old Testament is not contrary to the New…although the Law given from God to Moses as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any Commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral”.
The 1647 Westminster Confession says much the same: “The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well as justified persons, as others to the obedience thereof ; (Chapter on Law of God; part 5).
This leads Professor Chad van Dixhoorn, in his brilliant new exposition of the Westminster Confession – recently published by the Banner of Truth Press – to add this comment…(quote) “The matter or content of the moral law still binds each one of us, no matter who we are. But perhaps the most significant thing to keep in mind is the most basic relationship of all people to the one God who does not change: He for ever remains the God of all power and authority; we remain His subjects. He is ‘the Creator who is also the law-giver. We are His creatures, obliged to keep that law. This reality is not altered by the coming of Christ and the inauguration of the final age” (Confessing the Faith – a reader’s guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith; Chap.19; Of the Law of God”; page 247; Banner of Truth, Edinburgh.)
And what about the admirable 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith? “The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons, as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it, neither doth Christ in the Gospel in any way dissolve, but much strengthens this obligation” (The Law; paragraph 5).
In other words – God’s law is permanent for all!
(ii) The Law is not only permanent – it is PRECIOUS. This may not be easy for some to immediately appreciate? Let me try and summarise it again – the place of the Divine Law in the Bible, as it affects the life of the Christian believer and as it relates to all human beings?
(a) God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works. This bound him and all his posterity. He promised life upon its fulfilment and death upon disobedience. Adam was given power to keep God’s law. “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen.2:17). But we know, Adam and Eve fell into sin.
(b) This law, after the fall into sin, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness, and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai in 10 Commandments (Ex.20; James 1:25; Romans 13:8-9). Remove the Commandments from the world and the Holy Spirit of God who has given them (John 16:7-11) and all society would disintegrate – because of man’s wickedness. Think of the idolatrous, immoral behaviour of the Lord’s people at the foot of Mt. Sinai, at the very moment Moses was on the top, receiving God’s permanent and precious Word!
ILLUSTRATION: As a child I attended a Church School and an Anglican Mission Church, in the town where I now live. With respect to “religion” I had to learn three things off by heart. The Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed and the 10 Commandments. Later, in order to be a full member of the Church, I had to learn the Book of Common Prayer Catechism, and then be catechised, publically, from this Catechism, when I was just 13 years old. With respect to the Commandments, I had to rehearse these memorable words in response to the questions put:
1. Question: What dost thou chiefly learn by these Commandments?
Answer: I learn two things: my duty towards God and my duty towards my neighbour.
2. Question: What is thy duty towards God?
Answer: My duty towards God is to believe in Him, to fear Him, and to love Him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul and with all my strength; to worship Him, to give Him thanks, to put my whole trust in Him, to call upon Him, to honour His Holy Name, and His Word, and to serve Him truly all the days of my life.
3. Question: What is thy duty towards thy neighbour?
Answer: My duty towards my neighbour is to love Him as myself, and to do to all men as I would they should do unto me: to love, honour and obey the King, and all that are put in authority under him: to submit myself to all my governors, teachers, spiritual pastors and masters: to order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters; to hurt nobody by word or deed: to be true and just in all my dealing: to bear no malice nor hatred in my heart: to keep my hands from picking and stealing: and my tongue from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering: to keep my body in temperance, soberness and chastity: Not to covet nor desire other men’s goods; but to learn and labour truly to get mine own living, and to do my duty in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call me”.
ILLUSTRATION: Perhaps a word of testimony would not be out of place? One year after learning and publicly rehearsing this Catechism, I joined the Armed Forces as a Band Boy Musician. I was a poor churchman. I broke all these Commandments. But I never did so without a sense of conviction. One Saturday evening, while taking part in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, I returned to the barracks where I was billeted for the four weeks duration, drunk.The party had been given by friends of the R. M. Band and I had over-indulged their generosity. But under deep abiding conviction of sin, I knelt in the barrack room in front of all my band colleagues and prayed for Almighty God to help me get rid of this heavy conviction of sin which was weighing me down. On the Sunday morning, although a stranger in Edinburgh, I left the barracks to find a Church and help get rid of this terrible oppressive conviction. A car pulled up – the driver had recognised my Royal Marines uniform. He was an ex-Royal Marine. “Could he give me a lift somewhere,” he asked? “I’m trying to find a Church and I don’t know Edinburgh,” I replied. “You’d better come with me to my little Baptist Chapel, he continued.” He took me there in his wee Austin Seven Ruby car. What was a little Baptist Chapel turned out to be a congregation of 1200 people in 1956. The preacher entered the pulpit, prayed, and preached his sermon – lasting about an hour. To my great shame, I was drunk on the Saturday Evening – but, now, mightily saved on the Sunday morning. And what was the preacher’s text? Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me…. out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”. I believed and was saved. The Gospel-word did the saving work, but it had been preceded with the convicting work of the Law of God.This is the only reason I’m here tonight. Romans 3:20 … “By the law is the knowledge of sin”& 1 John 3:4 “Whosever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law”.
(c) Besides this law, commonly called “Moral,” Israel was given ceremonial laws and typical fore-shadowings of the Messiah who would come. All these ceremonial laws and types are now fulfilled in the Lord Jesus and therefore abrogated. (Read the Epistle to the Hebrews!).
(d) There were also political and judicial laws given, which applied only to the Nation State of Israel – also now done away with through the Gospel – because Jew and Gentile belong together in the New Israel – a spiritual household– a city yet to fully come (Hebrews 11:10)…whose Builder and Maker is God.
“Permanent and Precious” is how we summarise the Law. And permanent and precious for believer and unbeliever alike. At this point, Arthur. W. Pink summarises far better than I could!
Says Pink, “Christ has redeemed His people from the curse of the law and not from the command of it; He has saved them from the wrath of God, but not from his government”.
This brings us, now, to the all-important third point!
3. CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED IN THEIR DAILY LIVING TO KEEP THE 10 COMMANDMENTS. If Matthew 5 teaches us anything, it is this. The whole chapter is an application of the wider implications of these moral laws. Anger, adultery, divorce, vows, retaliation, love and hate, and much else is in the Sermon on the Mount, at this point. It takes up all of Matthew chapter five. This is practical Christianity – daily living out the Commandments – reduced to these words… “Loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and loving our neighbour as ourself“. We are to keep God’s Commandments – in two special ways.
(a) We are to use them personally. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:21.., “We are under the law to Christ.” and again, Romans 3:31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? “God forbid,” he replies, “We establish the law“. By using the Law, believers are drawn closer to the Lord Jesus. He becomes more precious to us. (Gal.3:13, 4:4-5).
The Law of God shows us God’s will and helps us regulate our conduct – Micah 6:8… “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God”.
The Law of God makes us utterly dependent on the Lord Jesus – it inspires our constant progress in holiness (Phil.3:10-14)… “Pressing on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
The Law (1 John 3:19) also serves as a test of our sincerity… “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”. Use the Law of God personally.
(b) We are also to Promote the 10 Commandments generally. It helps the unregenerate. It is all part of the foundation of evangelism, in the preaching of the Gospel.
(1)The Moral Law restrains the unbeliever from sin. “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners”
(2) The Law convinces the ungodly of the misery of sin.
“By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
(3) As we have seen, the Law also reveals to the sinner their absolute need of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24) and
(4) It will render them inexcusable if they continue in sin and finally reject the Saviour of lost sinners (John 3:18,36).
Very briefly I will take one of the Commandments (Matthew 5:27-28. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery? But I say unto you, That whosever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”. Then follows the consequences of marital sin – v31 ff…putting away the wife, divorce, causing her (or him) to commit fornication and other complications. When we fail to teach the Commandments, we leave even unbelievers without a standard for daily living. Yet, God’s Law is true, good, and practical.
Family breakdown probably costs the taxpayer in the region of £50 billion pounds – £2000 per household. Behind that colossal sum lies an unquantifiable human misery of broken relationships. In July this year, the CSJ (Centre for Social Justice) said, “The modern British Family is teetering on the brink of extinction“. Half the children who have just started primary school at five are from broken homes; one million children lose contact with their grandparents because of separation or divorce; the average 15-year old is more likely to have a smart phone at home than a father and, unless action is taken, by 2020 half the pupils sitting GCSEs will come from broken homes.
To cap it all – the pernicious culture of what the CSJ calls “disposable dads” means that one million children are growing up without meaningful contact with their fathers. Moreover, children from broken homes do far less well at school and are far more likely to turn to crime and drugs than those from married families. (These facts are not produced by some crackpot religious extremist, or even by an evangelical preacher like myself.! They were recorded in the Daily Telegraph, on 18th August, 2014, by the hand of two politicians – Jeremy Leroy & Fiona Bruce. My dear brothers and sisters – the Nation would be 100% improved with the Law of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
The Law of God is powerful and pure – Psalm 19:7-11. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple, The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward”.
A Royal Navy Chaplain’s Historic Story to finish with!
200 years ago exactly (1814), 25 years after the mutiny on board HMS Bounty (1789), a Captain of the Royal Navy came ashore on Pitcairn Island and made the report in his ship’s log… “I have never witnessed a more ordered Christian Society“. At the time of the mutiny, Pitcairn became a living nightmare of sexual abuse, drunkenness and murder. Within 4 years everyone was dead, except Alexander Smith, Edward Young, Matthew Quintall, William McCoy and some Tahitian women and their illegitimate children.
McCoy learned how to distil liquor. He threw himself off a high cliff.
Quintall became insane and threatened everyone’s life, so Smith and Young axed him to death.
Young was dying from T.B. He was the only one who could read. He found the ship’s Bible. Before he died in 1801, he taught Smith to read from the HMS Bounty Bible.
Alexander Smith, through the law and the Gospel, was soundly converted. He taught the children and the mothers to read the Bible. They held family prayers. They said grace before meals. They put the laws of God into practice. And the Holy Spirit worked mightily. By the grace and goodness of God, Alexander Smith was not executed for mutiny, but allowed, by mercy of the King, to live freely on Pitcairn.
Our God is well able “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Amen! Eph. 3:20-21).