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Thursday, April 19, 2018

SPIRIT CONSTANT UNVEILING CHRIST


SPIRIT CONSTANT UNVEILING CHRIST




Leaving the subject now in its historic setting, it will be best to consider somewhat more carefully the ap­prehension of Christ through the Spirit by the individual. The first work of the Spirit of God towards this end is that of the preparation of the spirit of man. That spirit originally created as a medium for the knowledge of God, was polluted, and disorganized by sin, and therefore became useless for, the fulfillment of its original intention. By the impartation of Christ to the spirit of man, the Holy Spirit of God cleanses from pollution. By uniting the spirit of man with Christ He readjusts the instrument, and by lifting man into the place where he looks out upon all things in fellow­ship with Christ, He focusses the lens, that so the pictures may no longer be distorted, blurred, and inaccurate, but defi­nite, clear, and precise. This PRELIMINARY WORK of the Spirit is most immediate and most gracious. And yet its value is only known in the results which follow.
Man's experience of this work is not in a new self-con­sciousness, even though it is that of purity and illumina­tion. It is rather an experience of the issue, that namely of a new apprehension of Christ, and consequently a new knowledge of God.
Then follows necessarily the work of the Spirit in PRESENTING THE OBJECT to this restored instrument: THAT OBJECT IS CHRIST. The method of the Spirit here is always governed by the individual necessity of the believer, and by capacity. It may be safely affirmed that the Spirit of God has no stereotyped system of theology to teach men. The great facts concerning Christ are never taught by the Spirit to companies of men, but to individual lives, and the lesson now being learned by any single person, is the one necessary for the growth of that particular individual. To some today He will reveal the Master's sympathy, to others His severity; and so, according to the necessity of each, will He minister the revelation of the living Lord.
It is equally true that He does not measure His teaching by the standards of time, but by the capacity of the dis­ciple, revealing only that which each is able to bear. His method is moreover perpetually characterized by the fact that every individual revelation of Christ to the spirit of the disciple has within it some new claim, DEMANDING IMMEDI­ATE OBEDIENCE, and the measure of the obedience is the measure of an increased capacity for yet new revelations.
Thus man, indwelt by the Spirit, is the subject of a perpetually growing consciousness of the excellence and completeness of Christ, through a perpetually growing understanding of His simplicities. Thus it is that while the youngest believer may seem to be in possession of all the facts concerning Christ; as the years pass, through the varied disciplines of life, and the operation of an abiding communion, it is seen that the things known were hardly known, that the facts recognized were imperfectly realized; and gradually and yet surely with the passing of the years, through every window, new light is streaming, and new meanings are dawning on the soul. In the earliest years of discipleship there must be recognition of the simplicity of Christ, as the story of His life is read; of His perpetual peacefulness as He passed through scenes that might have been expected to disturb the stoutest heart; of the sweetness of His disposi­tion, in spite of all the occasions which so often end in the embittering of the human heart; of the severity of His Spirit against all forms of wrong and of tyranny; and of His ever active sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men. All these things, however, are only learned as to their fullness of value, and of meaning, as the Spirit reveals them according to the demand of occasion, and the capacity of the learner. Through this great process it is discovered that the simplicity of Christ is due to His sublimity of the consciousness of the straightness of the line of truth; and His serenity is due to the abiding sense of the permanence of righteousness; and His sweetness manifest because of His understanding of the ultimate victory of love; while His severity is the necessary out-flaming anger of that love against all that for the time may seem to violate it; and His sympathy is the natural, spontaneous relation of essen­tial love to all the consciousness of those upon whom such love is set.
Thus the issue of the indwelling Spirit is not merely the unveiling before the spirit of man of the fact of Christ; but also the preparation of the spirit of man, which issues in a true and ever growing apprehension of THE UNVEILED ONE.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

THE HISTORIC AND INDIVIDUAL WORK OF THE SPIRIT


THE HISTORIC AND INDIVIDUAL WORK OF THE SPIRIT

"To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves but to you they ministered those things, which have now been announced to you by those who have declared to you the glad tidings by [the] Holy Spirit, sent from heaven, which angels desire to look into."  1 Peter 1:12



The Spirit's revelation of the Christ has been INDIVIDUAL and HISTORIC. He commenced His work with individuals, and then for the sake of the generations to come, proceeded, in cooperation with such individuals, to prepare for the future. By personal revelation of Christ to individuals: He prepared men for the creation of a written record concerning Christ. (1 Pet. 1:11-12) He then through men thus prepared became the Author of the new record. That record being completed, He has given an exposition of it through the centuries, in constant cooperation with men. The Spirit commenced His work when upon the day of Pentecost He baptized the company of waiting souls into new union with God in Christ. In tracing His work therefore, it is necessary to begin with the Acts of the Apostles, while of course in a study of His revelation, the structure of the New Testament is the true order. In the Acts of the Apostles, the Spirit is seen communicating life to individual men, and then directing them definitely and immediately in all the affairs of their life. One of the special notes of the narrative of the early Church is that of how men were specifically led by the Spirit, and yet, it is always to be observed that their action under His guidance is that of loyalty to Christ. The Spirit hinders, or impulses, but they are restrained when He hinders, or go forward when He impulses, as loyal to Christ. Thus it is evident that while these men were conscious of the immediate interference of the Spirit, they recognized that that interference was an interpretation to them of the will of their crowned Lord.
Eventually, for the consolidation of the Church in its relation to Christ, and for the continuity of its consciousness of Christ, it was necessary that such record of Him as a Person in HISTORY, as should form a perpetual basis for the Spirit's interpretation, should be written. Out of this necessity came what are known now as the New Testament Scriptures. In these writings the Spirit's one subject is Christ. In the Gospels there are recorded such facts concerning His Person and teaching, as are necessary. In them He is seen very largely in splendid loneliness, separated from, while yet in the midst of men; glorious in true Kingliness, as Matthew's story shows; patient in unceasing service, as Mark's record reveals; ultimate in the realization of the Divine ideal of humanity, as Luke's evangel demonstrates; and mysterious in the essential majesty of Deity, as John's writings declare.
Then follows that treatise in which Christ is manifest in new union with men, continuing the work commenced in loneliness, in cooperation with such as are united to Him by the Holy Spirit. This record has to do almost exclu­sively with Christ as He calls outsiders to Himself for the remission of sins, for the renewal of life, for the restoration of the lost order. Passing from this the Spirit in the great writings that teach revealing Christ as realized in the believer, and as expressing Himself through the Church. While in the Acts He is almost exclusively seen calling the outsider, in the epistles He is seen again almost exclusively in His relation to those who have come in obedience to His call. Then in the Apocalypse to a man who is "in the Spirit” there is granted Christ's own vision of His coming victory, and the consummation of all the purposes of God concern­ing men, realized in Christ.
At this point the writings being complete, the Spirit did not cease His work, but rather commenced it, in all its fullness and beauty. Through the centuries of the Chris­tian era, there may be traced an ever-broadening and deep­ening apprehension of Christ, due invariably to the Spirit's revelation to the Church of Christ, a revelation constantly proceeding in harmony with the inspired Writings, so that nothing has been revealed in addition to the facts recorded therein, while yet in an ever-enlarging understanding of their meaning, there has come this ever-increasing appre­ciation of the Christ.
It may safely be affirmed that the Person and work of Jesus are more perfectly understood than they have ever seen, and that He, by the Spirit, is demanding and receiving a larger and profounder loyalty, than has ever been the case before. This statement is made with a very keen recognition of the fact that the conflict which has been going forward in the outworks of the Christian revelation, is gathering around the central citadel of the Person of Christ. In view and in presence of that conflict, there is no fear in the heart of such as are conscious of the continued presence and work of the Spirit. The issue must be a new vindication of the Personality of the God-man, and a new appreciation of that concerning Him which will ever be beyond the possibility of formulated statement on the part of man.
Thus it is seen that the Holy Spirit of truth, through processes of infinite patience, whether it be to the individual, or in the history of the race, continues His sacred work of revealing Christ, interpreting His Word, and administering His work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MAN KNOWING GOD


MAN KNOWING GOD THROUGH CHRIST
"Show us the Father, and it suffices us," John 14:8



The restoration of man to God necessarily issues in the restoration to man of the knowledge of God. The original purpose of man's creation was that he should be a being capable of the consciousness of, and in communion, and cooperation with God Himself. To all this he is restored in Christ. As the vital union between God and man is created and maintained by the Spirit, so also is the work of revealing God to man that of the Spirit. He "the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God;" and these
"Things which eye saw not and ear heard not,
And which entered not into the heart of man,
Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love Him;" that is, the things of the love of God in Christ, which man in clouded intelligence was ignorant of, “unto us God re­vealed them through the Spirit." (1 Cor. 2:9-10) Thus while in Christ God has provided Himself with a Medium of Self-Revelation, Christ is revealed to man by the Spirit. This scheme of revelation must be understood, if there is to be a true appreciation of the revelation itself. The whole perfect system is revealed in the last discourses of Jesus with His disciples, prior to His Passion. When Philip, speaking in larger degree as the mouthpiece of fallen humanity than he knew, said to Jesus "Show us the Father, and it suffices us," (John 14:8) there was neither doubt nor uncertainty in the Lord's reply. He distinctly declared,
"He that hath seen Me,
hath seen the Father." (John 14:9)
This declaration is in perfect harmony with the inspired statement of John that "no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." (John 1:18) There is no way by which man can know God except through Christ. All at­tempts on the part of man, to formulate a conception of God, or declare a doctrine concerning Him, are futile, except as the conception and doctrine are based upon, and perpetually true to, the Revelation He has made of Himself in Christ.
Recognizing man's inability to know God apart from Himself, the Lord also recognizes that men were unable to understand the revelation of God in Himself, unless it should be explained by that Spirit Who "searches all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Cor. 2:10) He therefore immediately followed Philip's question with THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT, and such teaching concerning Him, as should fit the disciples for His coming and work. From the body of that final teaching, three main statements will be sufficient, as giving the teaching of Christ under this head.
1st. "The Holy Spirit—He shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you." (John 14:26)
2nd. "The Spirit of truth—He shall bear witness of Me." (John 15:26)
3rd. "The Spirit of truth—He shall glorify Me: for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you." (John 16:13-14)

These words clearly demonstrate two things.
1st, that the work of the Spirit is essentially that of revealing Christ to those in whom He has taken up His abode; and
2nd that man can only know Christ through the Spirit's illumination, as man can only know God through Christ's revelation. By the testimony of 2 or more facts are confirmed (John 8:17).

Any Christology which is not the direct issue of the Spirit's teaching, is false; for the mystery of His Person, and the meaning of His work, are alike inscrutable to the mind of man in its darkened condition, and can only be apprehended as the light of God falls upon them. Through Christ, the Spirit of truth indwells the believer, and through the Spirit of truth therefore Christ becomes the indwelling One; and as He by the Spirit is made known to man, man is restored to the knowledge of God, which he had lost through sin.
Man's knowledge of God through Christ by the Spirit may be contemplated therefore by considering;
1st, the unveiling of Christ by the Spirit;
2nd, the apprehension of Christ through the Spirit;
3rd, the consequent knowledge of God.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

GOVERNMENTAL RESTORATION


GOVERNMENTAL RESTORATION



The sequence of this vital restoration in the life of man is that of a GOVERNMENTAL RESTORATION. As at the first, man ruined himself by rebellion (Gen. 3:6-7), so now his redemption being accomplished by the operation of God in Christ, within the realm of law and of justice he must abide in the will of God. This is not an arbitrary and capricious requirement. It is rather, as the whole history of man in his ruin demonstrates a necessity upon the fulfillment of which love must insist, or cease to be love. Outside the realm of the Divine will, man is in the place of ruin and of death. Within that will, he is in the sphere of permanence and of perfection.
Now however it is possible to refer to ABIDING IN THE WILL OF GOD in new terms, which are the terms of a plenteous redemption. (Psa. 130:7) To abide in that WILL is to abide in Christ. The restoration of man to God in Christ being, as has been shown, VITAL AS WELL AS JUDICIAL, it is therefore GOVERN­MENTAL ALSO, in a way which reveals the infinite love and wisdom of God, as perhaps it is nowhere else revealed, be­cause it appeals to man at the point of his ultimate consciousness of weakness. The God-man is the meeting place between God and man. Rejecting man, God en­throned Jesus. Rejecting himself, man enthrones Jesus. Thus the Divine and the human will move into union of decision and purpose. God and man meet in Christ. Upon this basis, the Spirit communicates the life which creates vital relationship, and that life henceforth becomes the directing, controlling, suggesting principle in the life of the saint. Moving along the line of the perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2), as it ever has and ever must, it regulates all the life of the saint, within the government of God, "casting down reasonings, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5) It is because of this that the Christian is no longer under the law (Rom. 6:14-15), which consists in commandments outside the personality. He in Christ answers the law of the Spirit of life, which is at once a perpetual illumination, and a constant power. God in Christ by the Spirit works in “to will and to work, for His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13)
It was in view of this great truth the apostle declared "for if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be kept safe in His life." (Rom. 5:10) Thus plenteous indeed, even in super-abounding fullness, does Christ answer the call of man distanced by sin, in restoring him to God. In Christ, man is restored judicially, and there is no condemnation; vitally, and there is no separation governmentally, and there is no alienation. (Bishop Handley Moule's translation)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

MADE FULL WITH NEW DIVINE LIFE


MADE FULL WITH NEW DIVINE LIFE



The fact of vital restoration has necessarily been already stated incidentally, but it now remains to be more fully considered. In order to a right appreciation of this, there must be a clear understanding of the nature of the life communicated by the Holy Spirit. In speaking of re­generation it is not sufficient to say that there is an imparta­tion of new human vitality. Neither is it absolutely correct to speak only of the communication of a new measure of Divine life. It is neither, merely because it is BOTH. Herein is the great mystery and wonder of Chris­tianity. The Spirit imparts in regeneration the Christ life, and that is at once human and Divine. Thus, all essential human life is surcharged with NEW LIFE OF ITS OWN MOST PERFECT ORDER, but it is also energized with the force of LIFE DIVINE, in inseparable union therewith. Thus in Christ, man is restored to the possibilities of his own nature, but also he is introduced to a new vital union with God more marvelous as to its potentiality and possibility than that of original man.
“Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their fathers lost." (Watts)

All man's inability is overcome in God's ability. The sinner is lifted from the impotence of his fallen nature, into the potency of the perfect Man Jesus in cooperation with the might of the Eternal God. What wonder that Paul exclaimed, “I can do all things in Him that strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)
The great theme of the Colossian epistle is that of the perfection of the Church in the perfection of the Christ. All its inspiring doctrine gathers around two main state­ments, first, “It was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell; “ (Col. 1:19) and second, "In Him ye are made full." (Col. 2:10) The fullness dwelling in Christ is fullness of Deity, which is fullness of LIFE, fullness of LIGHT, fullness of LOVE. It is in Him and in His fullness that man is made full. Can anything be added to such statements as these? Some idea of their value, and yet of the difficulty of expressing that value, and even of appre­ciating it, may be gathered from examining one paragraph in that letter. Here the word “mystery" occurs three times. First the apostle refers to the Church as the mystery "which hath been hid for ages and generations: but now hath it been manifested to His saints." (Col. 1:26) He then declares the mystery lying behind the mystery of the Church to be that of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27) And yet further on he speaks of "the mystery of God, even Christ." (Col. 2:2) Evidently here the apostle is moving backward through great mysteries of effect to the primal mystery of cause. Let this threefold mystery be stated thus:
1. Christ. (Col. 2:2)
2. Christ in the saints. (Col. 1:27)
3. Christ in the Church. (Col. 1:26)
The central mystery is that of Christ Himself, (Col. 2:2) the mystery of His Person, in its unity of the human and the Divine, and the mystery of His passion in the preparation of the life, and the propitiation of the death; a veritable mystery, most evidently revealed and most absolutely defying analy­sis or explanation.
Then follows the mystery of personal realization: “Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27) Christ the human and the Divine, in one indissoluble unity in the believer, administering the virtue of His life through the value of His death.
Then finally the Christ in all believers, (Col. 1:26) finding at last His own completion, His body, that through which in con­junction with Himself all the infinite fullness of the Infinite God, is to find through unending ages, a medium of manifestation, is to be in fact the new form of God through which His wisdom and His love may be known by other creations through the never ending ages.
This stupendous vision of the issue of the Christ and His work in its individual application with regard to trust­ing souls reveals how in Christ, man is restored to God by actual sharing of the life Divine: God in Christ in a new sense, shares human life. Man in Christ in a new sense, shares Divine life. This is the final realization of the Atonement, and consists in man's restoration to God on a basis infinitely beyond that from which he fell by his sin.

Friday, April 13, 2018

JUDICIALLY RESTORED


JUDICIALLY RESTORED

“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”  Rom. 3:26



Man's JUDICIAL RESTORATION to God is indicated by the great word justification. The term is forensic (scientific tests or techniques used in connection with the detection of crime.). Behind it lays the fact of law, (Deut. 25:1) and also the profounder fact of justice. (Deut. 25:1) The greatest problem in man's redemption was that of how it was possible for God to be just and yet to justify the sinner. (Rom. 3:26) The answer is to be found in the restoration of man in Christ Jesus. In the mystery of the Master's passion He endured what was not His due. Considering this for a moment without reference to the need of the sinner, it is immediately seen how that in the realm of law, and in the presence of the eternal principle of justice, these sufferings created a value which was not required by the One Who suffered, and apart from the fact of man’s sin, is an over plus in the working of the Infinite Order. This value has been created for those who have violated law, and is placed at the disposal of all such. Those receiving the benefit by submission to, and trust in, the Savior, are thus so far as the guilt of sin is concerned, justified before God and made near to Him.
Yet again, by thus cancelling sin the perfection of the life of Jesus is made to count for others also, and God IMPUTES (credits) it to those for whom the value of His death has cancelled the guilt of sin. This union with Christ is wrought by the Holy Spirit in the communication of life. This is done when man, under the conviction of the Spirit, believes in Christ, so that God may be "just, and the Justifier of him that has faith in Jesus." (Rom. 3:26) Man exercising faith in Christ, has imputed (credited) to him by the grace of God the value created by Christ's death, for pardon; and all the perfection of Christ's life for righteousness. Therefore the sinner standing in Jesus is a sinner no longer, but a SAINT and is called such numerous times, separated in Christ to God, and so restored. He has NO GUILT; that is cancelled. He has RIGHTEOUSNESS; that is bestowed. Such a one is restored to God, because the reasons of his exclusion are all removed. THE SWORD GUARDING THE WAY TO THE TREE OF LIFE BECOMES THE LIGHT OF TRUTH, ILLUMINATING THE ENTIRE PATHWAY. THE VEIL ENCLOSING THE HOLY OF HOLIES, AND EXCLUDING MAN, BEING RENT, BECOMES THE GLORIOUS PORTAL TO THE INNER PLACES OF FULLEST COMMUNION. From that point forward neither hell, nor earth, nor heaven can condemn the trusting soul, for in Christ Jesus every claim has been fully met, and every provision perfectly made.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

ATONEMENT REALIZED FINALLY


ATONEMENT REALIZED FINALLY


In previous articles two subjects have been dealt with, which must now be recalled and carefully remembered. First that man by his sin, distanced himself from God, passed out of the region of communion, and was “alienated from the life of God." (Eph. 4:18) Second, in the raising of Jesus of Nazareth from among the dead, God accepted Him as the One Who perfectly realized His original design in the creation of man, and by that raising finally rejected man in his failure and in his sin. He nevertheless, in that same reception by resurrection, received in Christ all those for whom He stood in the sacred and awful mystery of His death on the Cross. It becomes evident therefore that when, by the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, man is joined to Christ, he is RESTORED TO GOD. This restoration is marvelous in its completeness and overwhelming as a manifestation of the wisdom of God. Some understanding of it may be gained by an examination under three aspects, as JUDICIAL, VITAL, and GOVERNMENTAL.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

MAN REDEEMED


RESULTANT
THE ANSWER OF CHRIST

MAN REDEEMED


As at the first, in order to a correct understanding of the meaning of Christ's mission, it was necessary to consider the nature and extent of the calamity which constituted the call for Christ, so now at the close of the articles it will be profitable to contemplate how perfectly He has responded, in the plenteous redemption He has provided.
The statement of the case concerning that provision may be made in three propositions, which correspond to the threefold statement concerning man's need,

1st, Man restored to God by Christ.
2nd, Man knowing God through Christ.
3rd, Man-made like God in Christ.

The actual experience of the threefold redemption in human life always results from the direct work of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father had promised, and Who was given through the Son on the day of Pentecost dispen­sationally, and to each individual for indwelling life, when in response to His work of conviction from without, Jesus is glorified. As these articles are to be devoted rather to an examination of the resulting facts than to the initial act, it is fitting that that act should first be dealt with briefly, as to its condition and its actuality.
The first work of the Spirit with fallen man is that of producing conviction concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. All these subjects are dealt with, however, from the center of Christ and His work. Sin is shown to consist in the rejection of the Savior; righteousness is de­clared to be possible through the fact of His ascension; and judgment is pronounced against all rebellion, "Because the prince of this world hath been judged." (John 16:8-11) The initial work of grace therefore is that of bringing the sinner to a consciousness of the truth concerning these vital matters. At this point human responsibility commences. If man refuses to yield to the truth understood, he remains outside the sphere of salvation. If on the other hand, he responds to conviction by submission to Christ, and trust in Him, then the spirit performs the stupendous miracle of regenera­tion. By communicating to the man "dead through tres­passes and sins," (Eph. 2:1) the life of Christ, He quickens his spirit. This act of God restores man to his own true balance and proportion, lifting to the throne of his personality the spirit so long neglected, and dethroning the flesh so long having occupied the place of power. More than this, the Spirit of God enters now into a PERPETUAL PARTNER­SHIP with the spirit of man, and thus initiates the life of power and of victory.
Upon the basis of this statement it is now pos­sible to pass to an examination of the redemption provided, under the propositions stated.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

NEW RELATIONSHIPS


NEW RELATIONSHIPS

 "searches all things, yea the deep things of God" 1 Cor. 2:10



Confining the attention exclusively for the moment to the new union as seen in the Man  Jesus, it is evident that now God has moved into a new relationship with fallen man, and man is lifted in spite of his fall into new relation with God in the Person of Jesus. Jesus the unfallen is yet Jesus, Who has kept the final issues, resulting from the fall. His reception of the Spirit is therefore a representative fact declaring forevermore that in spite of sin, a way has been made back to fellowship with God. Such relation had never been nor could be, apart from this great fact. The Holy Spirit Who knows the mind of God, Who "searches all things, yea the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10) Who is the Spirit of life forever proceeding from the Father, is now vested in the Man of Nazareth, and through Him, is at the disposal of all such as submit to His Lordship. The Spirit of God Who had been grieved from humanity, and prevented operating in the human heart, as to the knowledge of God and the life of God, and the power of God, is now through this perfect Man, in Whom was no sin, yet in Whom is resident the moral value of cancelled sin at the disposal of the rebel­lious also. THE ASCENDED CHRIST HAS NOW BECOME THE NEW CENTER OF A NEW RACE. Henceforth the Spirit will plead with man the cause of Christ, demonstrating the fact that sin consists in rejection of Him, declaring the evangel that righteousness is possible because He has ascended to the Father, and denouncing forever the ultimate doom of evil, because the "prince of this world hath been judged." (John 16:11)
Having received this promise of the Father, the ascended Lord poured out upon the waiting disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so the promise fulfilled to Christ, is ful­filled to those who have put their trust in Him, and herein is revealed the explanation of all the careful statements of His own discourses on the Paraclete. The Father has sent the Spirit, because He has bestowed Him on the Man that represents the fallen race. The Son has sent the Spirit, having received Him from the Father.
One brief glance at the fact on earth will serve to com­plete the present article, and prepare for those that remain. In the upper room at Jerusalem, a company of waiting souls received the gift of the Holy Spirit, not in answer to their prayer but in answer to the prevailing prayer in high heaven of the ascended Man of Nazareth. Peter made that point in his sermon in Acts to prove He had arrived in heaven fully explaining the question they asked at Pentecost concerning what they were seeing and hearing. (Acts 2:12, 33) The Holy Spirit falling upon them took up His abode in them, coming to them from the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord. In the Person of Jesus the point of union between man and God has been found. Jesus is glorified by God in exalta­tion to the throne of power. Jesus is glorified by man in his submission to Him as enthroned.
The Spirit indwelling man administers all the values of the finished work of Jesus.
This means that the men so indwelt, are by that Spirit Who administers the values, made one with the risen Christ. His life is their life as to its nature, for His life won out of death, risen ascended and yet to be manifested; as to its expression, for it is life interested in the things of God and devoted in its powers to the accomplishment of Divine purposes; as to its whole for henceforth for them also the one and only rule of life will, be the good and perfect and acceptable will of God.
And yet again, the Spirit's indwelling initiates a process of growth into perfect likeness to Christ by the subjugation of the whole man spirit soul and body to the new life imparted in this miracle of regeneration. (Jude 24) Thus the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost is the demonstration of the fact that the stupendous work to which God set Himself according to His wisdom and His might in the Person and mission of Christ has been fully accomplished. It now remains to consider how Christ answers the call of man in all its deepest meaning.

Monday, April 9, 2018

RIGHTEOUS DEMANDS TO BE MEDIATED


RIGHTEOUS DEMANDS TO BE MEDIATED




Having clearly seen that this bestowment of the Spirit was not for Himself, it becomes perfectly evident that it was a bestowment for such as were represented by that infinite work accomplished through His death and resurrection. The act of His death makes RIGHTEOUS DEMANDS upon God, which, God answering Jesus receives for bestowment that which He Himself already had pos­sessed for personal life and victory. His death having been accomplished for sinners, the Spirit is now bestowed for them also. What symbols or figures of speech are equal to helping men to understand this solemn and won­drous transaction? Reverently conscious of the inadequacy of all figures of speech, it may be said that God placed the Spirit at the disposal of Christ, that He might bestow Him upon all SUCH AS TRUSTING IN JESUS have counted to them the value of His death upon the Cross. Having accom­plished that Mediatorial work through which man may in the value of His death be brought back to God, He now commences that MEDIATORIAL WORK through which God the Holy Spirit may come back into relation with man for the administration of the virtue of His life.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER


THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER


 "I will pray the Father…and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth: Whom the world cannot receive.” John 14:16-17




In the final charges delivered to the apostles, Christ distinctly commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but "to wait for the promise of the Father." (Acts 1:4) Here is the same thought, uttered by the Lord Himself, and here also He distinctly tells them when the promise was made, "which, said He, ye heard from Me." Thus it is evident that we are approaching an explanation of this statement. Christ had promised the Spirit, and He had done that in the name of the Father, for Whom He ever spake to men. Is there no definite account of His having made such a promise? Most assuredly there is an account, which is not only definite, but also detailed, and it is to be found in the Paschal discourses, which are recorded by John alone. "I will pray the Father…and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth: Whom the world cannot receive.” (John 14:16-17) “But the Comforter even the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name." (John 14:26) "When the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father." (John 15:26) Thus in view of His approaching Cross, and in preparation of His disciples for the days when He in bodily form should be no more with them, He declared that in answer to His prayer, and in His Name, the Father would send them another Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Nothing is more evident in reading these discourses than the quiet majestic confidence of Christ. "I will enquire of the Father." “He will send you." “The Father will send in My name." "I will send you from the Father." That is the promise of the Father, and when the One Who made the promise to the band of disciples, ascended into heaven, the Father recognized the prevailing plea of His presence there gave Him the Spirit that He might fulfill the promise to the waiting men upon the earth.

It is evident therefore that His reception of the Spirit was, as has been shown, not for Himself but for others. This however will be dealt with more fully subsequently. It would be sufficient to leave the statement at this point and yet that phrase “the promise of the Father" has more in it than is indicated by this answer. As the whole of the Old Testament economy had culminated in Christ, and as in His teaching He had fulfilled all that was symbolized and suggested in that economy, so His uttering of the promise of the Father concerning the Spirit was the ex­planation of a constant message, through the previous centuries, concerning A NEW DISPENSATION OF POWER. The seers and the prophets of the past all saw and spoke of a day full of light, full of force, a day of restoration that was yet to come. Through these prophets the Father had promised the Holy Spirit to men in larger, fuller measure than had ever been experienced. In the midst of the darkness that characterized the age in which these men of old had spoken, they had looked on towards the suffering Servant, Who was yet to be the all-conquering Deliverer, and stretching away beyond His day of suffering, they caught the light and glory of the dispensation of the Spirit.

One or two illustrations will suffice.

Isaiah, in lofty and terrible language is announcing the coming of judgment. He tells of woe and of desolation, and ends with a paragraph pulsating with hope, which be­gins with the words "until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest." (Isa. 32:15) Here the prophet, telling the message of Jehovah, promises the Spirit.

And yet again the same prophet, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. One shall say, I am Je­hovah's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto Jehovah, and surname himself by the name of Israel," (Isa. 44:3-5) again an inspired promise of the Spirit.

There remains the most radiant and remarkable fore­telling of the Spirit's dispensation, which Peter quoted on the day of Pentecost itself. “I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered." (Joel 2:28-32) This is a pre-tribulational prophecy. Thus it is seen that the men who kept alive in the heart of the nation this spiritual hope, were men who served, and spoke in the hope of the coming of a new day, which should be a day of the poured out Spirit of God. Thus the promise which Jesus made in the Paschal discourses was the repetition of the promise made to the fathers by the prophets, by the One Who now not only promised, but was working towards the mighty consummation, which should consist in fulfillment.

In order to catch a true perspective, let this argument now be summarized. God, through the prophets in the past had promised the Holy Spirit to men, both Jew and Gentile. The Jews in their unbelief are yet to receive that promise. Belief in Christ brings that promise and one day they shall. The heroic souls hearing and seeing, declared to their age the gracious announcement, and yet passed away without seeing the day of which they spoke. In fullness of time the Messiah came. He accomplished the will of God, and at last, passing into the presence of God, claimed as the inevitable issue of His victory, the fulfillment of the Divine promise, made to, and through the prophets, and finally uttered by His own lips. In answer to that claim, God acting at once to Love and justice gave Him the Spirit. Through Him the dreams of the prophets moved into the realm of deeds.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

THE NEW UNION


THE NEW UNION
 "through the eternal Spirit" Heb. 9:14


Having attempted to follow the Lord as He ascended to the right hand of the Father, and having seen Him in the height of the heavenly glory, a perfect Man, fulfilling the Divine ideal, the perfect Savior having provided a ransom for the lost; and having moreover, recognized anew the fact that this exalted Man is our God, there remains to be considered somewhat more closely, the NEW UNION between God and man, consummated when the Man of Nazareth received the promise of the Father (John 14:16-17). For this He prayed while here on earth.
In his first sermon after Pentecost, Peter, referring to the ascended Christ, declared that He "having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit," (Acts 2:33) had poured forth the gift upon the waiting disciples. This was the proof He had arrived in heaven and the answer to their question at Pentecost concerning what was going on at that point (Acts 2:12). The present article is an attempt to understand what the apostle meant, when he said that Jesus had received the promise of the Spirit.
Most certainly this is a declaration that upon the basis of His finished work of life, and on the occasion of His ar­rival in heaven, Jesus of Nazareth did receive, by a solemn and official act from the Father, the Holy Spirit ACCORDING TO PROMISE. The first question that suggests itself to the mind is, why was the Spirit now given to this as­cended Man, and in what sense was the Spirit given to Him? It cannot possibly be that the bestowment of the Spirit was for Himself. His whole human life had been conditioned by the abiding presence in Him of the Holy Spirit of God, and that in fulfillment of the primal Divine intention concerning man. It is important that there should be perfect clearness of understanding of this fact. His reception of the Spirit in heaven was not the crowning by God of His Manhood. It was rather the answer of God to the claim this Man made upon Him, by the work He had accomplished for others.
To state this even more fully: the whole Being of Christ, and the whole mission of Christ was  so closely as­sociated with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that there could be no necessity for any new bestowment of the Spirit merely for Himself. His very human life was due to the mystery of the overshadowing Spirit and through all the years of privacy, there can be no doubt that He lived under the immediate guidance of the Spirit of truth. He did not at the baptisms receive the Spirit. At that crisis the presence of the Spirit was manifest, and in a new symbolism that suggested the truth that His work would be carried out in the power of the Spirit. The dove like form in which the Spirit then appeared—a form in which He is never manifested in connection with any other person, except the Christ: a form suggestive of tender gentle patience—revealed the truth concerning the character of Jesus; and announced that in keeping with that essential of His nature all His work would be carried forward. Filled with the Spirit, He passed to the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, and in the power of the Spirit He went forth to His ministry, when all the temptation was accomplished. And at the last it was "through the eternal Spirit" He offered Himself without blemish unto God. (Heb. 9:14) And yet we have a declaration that having passed through death, and having ascended to the presence of the Father, He received there from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.
An explanation of the declaration will be found in a correct apprehension of what is meant by THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT. Where, and to whom was the promise made? The whole subject may be considered under the following heads,
1st, the promise of the Spirit fulfilled in His be­stowment upon the ascended Man;
2nd, the Spirit re­ceived by the ascended Man for those whom He repre­sented as Savior;
3rd, the union of God and man resulting.

Friday, April 6, 2018

SEATED IN THE PLACE OF AUTHORITY


SEATED IN THE PLACE OF AUTHORITY




The issue of this is self-evident. The Man of Nazareth in the midst of the throne, occupies the seat of final authority, and therefore constitutes the last court of appeal. There can be no appeal beyond that throne. His word is the universal law, His verdict the irrevocable sen­tence. As in resurrection, God rejected man apart from Christ, so in Christ's enthronement, He receives man in Him. Thus those who are united to Him are already seated in Him in the heavenlies. Forevermore therefore the word of the Church is that which so often occurred in apostolic preaching, "Jesus is Lord." (1 Cor. 12:3) Also proclaimed by the disciples and the Master Himself “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” (John 13:13) It is the word of salvation to the individual, the word of reconstruction to society, the word of ultimate deliverance to all the nations. Herein therefore lies the true center of sin, as He Himself said, "of sin, because they believe not on Me." (John 16:9) It is still true of the world at large that:
"Our Lord is now rejected,
And by the world disowned.
By the many still neglected,
And by the few enthroned." (Major Whittle)
Yet He is God-enthroned, and the future of an individual, of society, of a nation is being determined by the relation of each to Him. The Man of Nazareth, ascending on high, led captivity captive, and passed beyond all principal­ities and powers, yea, beyond every name that is named to the very throne of God, and there today He sits, still rejected by men, and  yet being crowned  by thousands who listening to His voice, obey it.
It is impossible to pass from this contemplation of the ascension of Jesus to the center of all government, and to see in Him man's wounded God, without becoming con­scious of a great comfort and of a great strength. The comfort ever comes as we behold on the throne of the Eternal, One Who bears amid the dazzling splendor, marks that tell of His having suffered and died for us men, that He might bring us into union with His unending joy and eternal Love.
Moreover when the work presses, and the battle thickens, and the day seems long in coming, it is good for the heart to remember that the present conflict is with defeated foes, and that there is no room for question as to the final issue, for the Man of Nazareth is not only SEATED IN THE PLACE OF AUTHORITY, He carries forward the work of active administration. This is a fact too often forgotten amid the tur­moil and the strife. High over all the thrones of earth stands that throne of the Eternal, and SEATED on it is THE ASCENDED MAN, watching, ordering, preventing, and through all the apparent chaos, moving surely towards the ultimate triumph of the Infinite Love. He initiates the true poli­cies selects the proper agents, and even when man least understands, moves ever onward.
In the Person of the crowned Man of Nazareth justice acts forevermore in mercy, and mercy moves in unerring justice. Justice acts in mercy by pardoning, purifying, perfecting upon the basis of that Passion, the signs of which are in the evidences of the slaying. Mercy operates in justice by the justification, sanctification, glorification of those who submitting to the Kings receive the blessing of the Savior.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

THE CENTRAL PERSONALITY


THE CENTRAL PERSONALITY WITH ALL AUTHORITY

“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All authority is GIVEN UNTO ME in heaven and in earth.”  Matt. 28:18

The CENTRAL PERSONALITY being that of the ascended Man, is described as a "Lamb as though It had been slain," (Rev. 5:6) and the throne is the symbol of order. That order had been violated through the terrible catastrophe of human sin. There was no possible way for its restoration but the way of the Cross. Jesus of Nazareth having wrought righteousness in life, and atonement in death, and having received the seal of perfect victory, in the miracle of resur­rection, now passes to the very throne of power.
While it is thus seen that the only way to the throne was the way of the Cross, it is at once demonstrated that there could be no issue to the Cross of Christ other than His crowning and the ultimate restoration of the lost order. The ascended Man of Nazareth in the midst of the throne is none other than God the Son, invested in the counsel of the ever-blessed Trinity with all authority (Matt. 28:18), upon the basis of redemption work accomplished, and victory won over all the enemies of the human race.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

MAN'S WOUNDED GOD


MAN'S WOUNDED GOD

THE PAIN OF GOD



The title of this article is startling, and needs some ex­planation. In the previous articles has been considered the coming into heaven of God's perfect Man, bearing in His body the marks of His wounding, the evidences of His dying.

Attention still being fixed upon Him, it must be remem­bered that in that glory as ever, two things are true con­cerning Him. First He is God's Man; and secondly, He is man's God.

Apart from Him, man has no perfect understanding of God. In Him man finds the full and final revelation of the Father. It is impossible for men to come; either in understanding or in actual communion, to the Father except through the risen glorified Son.

To state this positively therefore is to declare that man approaching God, does so forevermore, as He has revealed Himself in and through Jesus of Nazareth. Thus the ascended One is man's God.

It is impossible to omit from that ascended and reigning One the wounds He bears. They are part of His Person­ality, and speak of the fulfillment of a PURPOSE which was THE PURPOSE OF GOD, and which was carried out by God in and through Jesus. If the perfect Manhood of Jesus be the perfect unveiling before the eyes of men of the essen­tial glories of God, so the wounded Personality of Jesus is the unveiling before the eyes of men of that wounding of the heart of God, through which His grace was manifested, and wrought its mightiest victory.

In Apocalyptic vision John saw "in the midst of the throne . . . a Lamb as though it had been slain." (Rev. 5:6) The reference is without question to Christ. Two things are manifest, first that He occupies the position of proper Deity. He is in the midst of the throne. Secondly that He retains the evidences of suffering. It is "a Lamb as though it had been slain." This double fact speaks forevermore of the deepest fact that lies be­hind man's redemption. This fact is that of THE PAIN OF GOD.

In the book of Proverbs, the preacher asks,

"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; But a broken spirit who can bear?” (Prov. 18:14)

Therein is recognition of the fact that while the spirit of a man gives him physical infirmity, the
deepest fact of sorrow possible to man is sorrow of the spirit.

Bearing in mind that illustration taken from the lower realm of human experience, turn now to a passage in the prophecy of Isaiah. "I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not My face from shame and spitting." (Isa. 50:6) Whatever the local and incidental application of these words, there is a general con­sensus of opinion that they are Messianic in their final ap­plication, finding their perfect fulfillment only in the experience of Jesus.

Turning to another passage in the same prophecy, "Surely He hath accepted our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." (Isa. 53:4-5) The idea that He was smitten of God and stricken of God is not accurate. It is rather the portrayal of One Who in perfect cooperation with God is bearing the smiting and the bruising that comes upon human guilt through the operation of the inexorable law of God. The suffering Servant is seen here as receiving those stripes which will make possible the healing of such as ought to have endured their own penalty. The word to be specially noticed now is the word "smitten." That is the word translated "broken" in the quotation from the Proverbs. While the wounding of the body of Jesus was the outward and visible sign, it was in the wounding of the Spirit that the deepest mystery of His atoning suffering lie. Thus in Jesus, God is revealed, not only in His love, in His holiness, and in His justice; but in His sorrow, and in His pain.

At this point there are strong divergences of opinion. It has been maintained that God is incapable of sorrow, and that it was only in the fact of His Manhood that Jesus suffered in the place of man. Such a conception of God would seem to be utterly unwarranted by the whole revela­tion made of Him in Scripture, and finally in the Person of His Son. If the Man was a revelation of God, surely the Man of sorrows was a revelation of the God of sorrow. This capacity for sorrow is most evidently pre-supposed in the injunction of the apostle, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." (Eph. 4:30) The word "grieve" here is purely a word in­dicating SORROW. There is no suspicion of anger in it. The injunction does not mean, do not make the Spirit angry. It most certainly means, do not cause Him SOR­ROW. The fact to be established is that or the possibility of sorrow in the consciousness of God. If once this is es­tablished, then a new light shines through the entire book. The final proof of the proposition is most evidently to be found in the simplest statement concerning God, namely, "God is love." (1 John 4:8) Love is the capacity for joy. It is therefore, moreover, the capacity for sorrow. Joy and sorrow are twin sisters. They are so closely related that it is impossible to have capacity for one, without having also capacity for the other. That Jesus was the revelation of God in His marvelous wisdom, in His splendid strength, no one denies. When against tyranny, and oppression, and wrong, His anger flamed, it is at once conceded that the indignation of God was being revealed. Can it then be denied that the tears He shed in presence of the grief of the bereaved sisters, were revelations of the exquisite ten­derness of the heart of the Divine, or have we any right to affirm that when the Man of Nazareth gazed upon beauti­ful Jerusalem the curse alone was the revelation of the Divine will? Were not the tears and the tones of emo­tion in the voice, equally means of manifesting to men the love and the sorrow of the heart of God? It must of course be immediately granted that God can never have any sorrow which is merely that of limitation or that caused by the sense of mystery. His sorrow must forever be that of sympathy, with that which is the result of His entering into the actual experiences of another, and making His own what that other feels. To understand this is to read with new intonation the startling questions that occur in the first book of the Bible. When God cried to Adam "Where art thou," (Gen. 3:9) it was not so much the voice of outraged holiness, speaking in anger, as a violated love, but crying in compassion.

Jesus the wounded is therefore in expression to man, and in the fact of His own Personality, MAN'S WOUNDED GOD. As the God-man on the earth was the Revelation of the Father in all the wondrous facts of His Personality, so the Lamb slain in the midst of the throne is still the Revelation of the Father in the unsullied light of the heavenly places. The harmony between Father and Son is unbroken (John 10:30). In the High Priest, Who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, there exists One Who ex­presses thus the fact of God's consciousness of all human infirmity and all human sorrow.

The risen and ascended God-man, having received His Name, now assumes His place in the economy of God, and the Divine purpose is declared that every knee shall bow, in submission; and every tongue shall confess in acclamation that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10). Thus we may see in Him the order of a new economy as to its central Personality, and as to the nature of its administration.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

HIS RECEPTION OF HIS NAME


HIS RECEPTION OF HIS NAME FOR ALL TIME

"the Name which is above every name," Phil. 2:9

Thus ascending, He led CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE (Eph. 4:8), He passed into the presence of God with the defeated foes of the race dragged at His chariot wheels, the Master of sin, the Vanquisher of Satan, the Overcomer of death, the insignia of Whose victory were the wounds that He bore, and the fact that He lived the life taken up after having been laid down in death. For Himself He stood in the PERFECTION OF HIS MANHOOD. For man He stood in the PERFECTION OF HIS SAVIORHOOD.
It is now that He is invested with the Name. In that most awe-inspiring of all passages dealing with His descent and ascent, the apostle declares that God gave unto Him "the Name which is above every name," (Phil. 2:9) and the occasion of the giving of the Name was His exaltation to heaven, after the perfect carrying out of that Divine work of Love which included humiliation and suffering and death.
In the ascension light what Name is this now bestowed upon the all-conquering Man? It is the old Name, full by ineffable music, THE NAME OF JESUS. It is the Name by which His mother first called Him in the innocence of infancy.
It is the Name by which men knew Him in the purity of His boyhood. 
It is the Name by which men called Him in the victory of His Manhood.
It is the Name by which disciples knew Him in the days of His teaching.
It is the Name which men wrote over His Cross in the hour of His dying.
It is the old Name, and yet He had never received it in all fullness until now. 
At His Incarnation the Name was a prophecy. "Thou shalt call His Name JESUS; for it is He that shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) That PROPHETIC NAME He carried through all life's mystery and ministry, the Name that told to those that understood that God's faith was centered in this innocent child, and holy Man. And now having accomplished all, perfected to finality the infinite plan of the Eternal Love, He is invested with the Name which at His birth was prophetic. The issue reached and in the center of the universe of God, the Man of Nazareth is enthroned, and named by the sweet Name that ever speaks of perfect humanity and ever declares the fulfillment of the purpose of salvation. At His birth the Name of Jesus was the proclamation of a Divine purpose. On Ascension Day it was the ratification of a victory, won. He gave Him the Name—JESUS.

Monday, April 2, 2018

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE AND DEATH


THE MYSTERY OF LIFE AND DEATH



Yet that is not the greatest wonder of Ascension Day. It would seem as though one could hear the antiph­onal singing of the heavenly choirs, as this perfect One passes into heaven,
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
And be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors:
And the King of glory will come in," (Psa. 24:7)

is the exulting challenge of the angels escorting Him. To this comes back the question, inspired by the passion to hear declared again the story of the victory,
"Who is the King of glory?"
And yet gathering new music and new meaning the surg­ing anthem rolls,
"Jehovah strong and mighty,
Jehovah mighty in battle. . . . He is the King of glory." (Psa. 24:8-10)

Thus the song is also of One who was mighty in battle. Looking upon Him the glorified One, and listening to His words, the wonder grows. In that form all filled with ex­quisite beauty are yet the signs of suffering and of pain. The marks of wounding are in hands, and feet, and side, and His presence declares in His own words,
"I am . . . the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore." (Rev. 1:17-18) Ask a Jehovah Witness when their Jehovah died? The answer is impossible for them for it shows their false position concerning Jesus here revealed as Jehovah.
This is indeed a mystery demanding explanation. In the life of the Perfect, there is no reason for death. Death is the wage of sin and apart from sin there is no place for death. Sometimes men declare that death is a necessity, a part of a process. This may be declared, but cannot be demonstrated. THE MYSTERY OF LIFE has eluded all scientific examination, and therefore so also has THE MYSTERY OF DEATH. The reason for death in ordinary human life has never yet been declared. The human frame, according to scientific testimony, reconstructs itself once in every seven years. Why may not this process go on indefinitely? Why is there any necessity for death? The scientists are unable to answer the question. They can do no more than declare what seems to be a necessity from the perpetual recurrence of the experience in the human race.
What science has failed to do, revelation has clearly done. It simply and utterly states that DEATH IS PENALTY FOR SIN. Such is the meaning of the story of Genesis, and such the meaning of the explicit declaration of the apostle, "Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." (Rom. 5:12) If then pain be the issue of sin, and death its penalty, why has the Perfect suffered and died? As was seen in the consideration of the transfiguration of Jesus on the Holy mount, His human nature, having passed through all temptation victoriously, was metamorphosed, and might so far as it was concerned, have been received into heaven. Between that crisis and ascension, He has been to the deepest depth of suffering, and through death itself. There can be but one answer to all these questionings. He has wrought a victory for others. The One in Whom death had no place, has died in the place of those who ought to die. Gazing upon the perfections of the ascended Man, the heart is filled with astonishment, and humbled with a great shame, as the light of His glory falls upon the failure of all others. Gazing upon that Perfect One, the "Lamb as it had been slain," realizing that the wounds tell of penalty made manifest, and the words of death vanquished, the heart is filled with unutterable sense of the infinite Love, the lips break out in song,
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in Thee.
Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power." (Toplady)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

THE SON AND ABSOLUTE PERFECTION


THE SON AND ABSOLUTE PERFECTION

“Let Us make man in our Image, after Our likeness." Gen. 1:26


The coming of Jesus of Nazareth into heaven was the arrival of such a One as had never before been there. The coming to heaven of Abel was the coming of the first human being, and so far as it is competent to measure the interest of heaven by earthly interest in the things of God, it may be reverently declared that it was a great occasion when this first soul representing a new race, and, more marvelous still, representing a fallen race, appeared in the unsullied light of the home of the unfallen. He came by faith, ransomed by love, at the cost of sacrifice. As the Scripture declares that "the angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12) these things, this must indeed have been a mystery of life and love demanding their close attention, and not per­haps, even fathomed by them, until the explanation of the mystery of sacrifice enfolded in the more inspiring mystery of love, was wrought out upon the Cross of Calvary. It is more than probable that Abel, and all who succeeded him, had to wait the fullness of the earthly time for the explanation of the method of their acceptance with God. They passed into the dwelling-place of Infinite Love, upon the basis of their faith in God, so far as they were concerned. In the Divine economy they were received upon the basis of God's faith in His Son. The Father trusted the Son to accomplish His purpose in the fullness of time, and upon the foundation of that confidence of God in Himself, the sinner was admitted to heaven.
On Ascension Day something still more marvelous occurred. The Man of Nazareth, the First of the new race, the last Adam, passed into the Divine presence in the right of His own perfect humanity. In His coming, He asked for no mercy. No mediator opened the door of heaven for Him. He proceeded along the line of the outworking of the infinite order to consummation, basing His claim to reception upon the even and inexorable justice of God. He passed from earth to heaven, and stood unafraid in the white light of the Eternal Purity. In all the record of the race there has been no other like unto this Jesus of Nazareth.
The greatest of Old Testament characters are seen overshadowed by their own sin and failure and the men of the New have no claim or merit, except that which is  imputed to them, and out wrought through them, by  the Spirit as He reveals to their understanding, and realizes in their character, the perfections of the Christ. Jesus stands in heaven, having perfectly realized the original thought of God which found expression in the first covenant of creation, “Let Us make man in our Image, after Our likeness." (Gen. 1:26) Both in character and in conduct do men learn the meaning of that Divine thought as they know the Man of Nazareth.
Perhaps the most inspirational description of perfect character is that which Paul uses in writing to Timothy, when he says "God gave us . . . a spirit . . . of power and love and discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7) This exactly describes the character of Christ—the spirit of POWER, the spirit of LOVE, the spirit of DISCIPLINE. It should be noted here that discipline does not signify self-control, so much as power of ruling others. It is the spirit of order, of authority. This indeed is PERFECTION OF CHARACTER. Out of this sprung His PERFECTION OF CONDUCT. The whole conduct of His life was the outward expression of this perfect character whether at the feast, or the funeral; whether with the scholars, or the simple; whether with the adults, or the children; whether in loneliness on the mountain height, or amid the crowds that surged around Him, He was forever acting in response to the impulse of the spirit of POWER, the spirit of LOVE, and the spirit of DISCIPLINE. At last this Man Whose creed was TRUTH, Whose character was TRUE, and Whose conduct was TRIUMPHANT, was received into heaven upon the basis of His own ABSOLUTE PERFECTION.