Holy in Christ

A good word for today! From Andrew Murray’s book “Holy in Christ”

HOLY IN CHRIST.
By Andrew Murray

‘Like as He which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy, for I am holy.’—1 Pet. i. 15, 16.

The call of God is the manifestation in time of the purpose of eternity: ‘Whom He predestinated, them He also called.’ Believers are ‘the called according to His purpose.’ In His call He reveals to us what His thoughts and His will concerning us are, and what the life to which He invites us. In His call He makes clear to us what the hope of our calling is; as we spiritually apprehend and enter into this, our life on earth will be the reflection of His purpose in eternity.

Holy Scripture uses more than one word to indicate the object or aim of our calling, but none more frequently than what Peter speaks of here—God has called us to be holy as He is holy. Paul addresses believers twice as ‘called to be holy’ (Rom. i. 7; 1 Cor. i. 2). ‘God called us’, he says, ‘not for uncleanness, but in sanctification’ (1 Thess. iv. 7). When he writes, ‘The God of peace sanctify you wholly,’ he adds, ‘Faithful is He which calleth you, who also will do it’ (1 Thess. v. 24). The calling itself is spoken of as ‘a holy calling.’ The eternal purpose of which the calling is the outcome, is continually also connected with holiness as its aim. ‘He hath chosen us in Him, that we should be holy and without blame’ (Eph. i. 4). ‘Whom God chose from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification’ (2 Thess. ii. 12). ‘Elect according to the foreknowledge of the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit’ (1 Pet. i. 2). The call is the unveiling of the purpose that the Father from eternity had set His heart upon: that we should be holy.

It needs no proof that it is of infinite importance to know aright what God has called us to. A misunderstanding here may have fatal results. You may have heard that God calls you to salvation or to happiness, to receive pardon or to obtain heaven, and never noticed that all these were subordinate. It was to ‘salvation in sanctification,’ it was to Holiness in the first place, as the element in which salvation and heaven are to be found. The complaints of many Christians as to lack of joy and strength, as to failure and want of growth, are simply owing to this—the place God gave Holiness in His call they have not given it in their response. God and they have never yet come to an agreement on this.

No wonder that Paul, in the chapter in which he had spoken to the Ephesians of their being ‘chosen to be holy’ prays for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God to be given to believers, that they might know ‘the hope of their calling’ (i. 17, 18). Let all of us, who feel that we have too little realized that we are called to Holiness, pray this prayer. It is just what we need. Let us ask God to show us how, as He who hath called us is Himself holy, so we are to be holy too; our calling is a holy calling, a calling before and above everything, to Holiness. Let us ask Him to show us what Holiness is, His Holiness first, and then our Holiness; to show us how He has set His heart upon it as the one thing He wants to see in us, as being His own image and likeness; to show us too the unutterable blessedness and glory of sharing with Christ in His Holiness. Oh! that God by His Spirit would teach us what it means that we are called to be holy as He is holy. We can easily conceive what a mighty influence it would exert.

‘Like as He which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy’. How this call of God shows us the true motive to Holiness. ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy.’ It is as if God said, Holiness is my blessedness and my glory: without this you cannot, in the very nature of things, see me or enjoy me. Holiness is my blessedness and my glory: there is nothing higher to be conceived; I invite you to share with me in it, I invite you to likeness to myself: ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy.’ Is it not enough, has it no attraction, does it not move and draw you mightily, the hope of being with me, partakers of my Holiness? I have nothing better to offer—I offer you myself: ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ Shall we not cry earnestly to God to show us the glory of His Holiness, that our souls may be made willing to give everything in response to this wondrous call?
As we listen to the call, it shows also the nature of true Holiness. ‘Like as He is holy, so be ye also holy.’ To be holy is to be Godlike, to have a disposition, a will, a character like God. The thought almost looks like blasphemy, until we listen again, ‘He hath chosen us in Christ to be holy.’ In Christ the Holiness of God appeared in a human life: in Christ’s example, in His mind and Spirit, we have the Holiness of the Invisible One translated into the forms of human life and conduct. To be Christlike is to be Godlike; to be Christlike is to be holy as God is holy.

The call equally reveals the power of Holiness. ‘There is none holy but the Lord;’ there is no Holiness but what He has, or rather what He is, and gives. Holiness is not something we do or attain: it is the communication of the Divine life, the inbreathing of the Divine nature, the power of the Divine Presence resting on us. And our power to become holy is to be found in the call of God: the Holy One calls us to Himself, that He may make us holy in possessing Himself. He not only says ‘I am holy,’ but ‘I am the Lord, who make holy.’ It is because the call to Holiness comes from the God of infinite Power and Love that we may have the confidence: we can be holy.
The call no less reveals the standard of Holiness. ‘Like as He is holy, so ye also yourselves,’ or (as in margin, R.V.), ‘Like the Holy One, which calleth you, be ye yourselves also holy.’ There is not one standard of Holiness for God and another for man. The nature of light is the same, whether we see it in the sun or in a candle: the nature of Holiness remains unchanged, whether it be God or man in whom it dwells. The Lord Jesus could say nothing less than, ‘Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ When God calls us to Holiness, He calls us to Himself and His own life: the more carefully we listen to the voice, and let it sink into our hearts, the more will all human standards fall away, and only the words be heard, Holy, as I am holy.

And the call shows us the path to Holiness. The calling of God is one of mighty efficacy, an effectual calling. Oh! let us but listen to it, let us but listen to Him, and the call will with Divine power work what it offers. He calleth the things that are not as though they were: His call gives life to the dead, and holiness to those whom He has made alive. He calls us to listen as He speaks of His Holiness, and of our holiness like His. He calls us to Himself, to study, to fear, to love, to claim His Holiness. He calls us to Christ, in whom Divine Holiness became human Holiness, to see and admire, to desire and accept what is all for us. He calls us to the indwelling and the teaching of the Spirit of Holiness, to yield ourselves that He may bring home to us and breathe within us what is ours in Christ. Christian! listen to God calling thee to Holiness. Come and learn what His Holiness is, and what thine is and must be.
Yes, be very silent and listen. When God called Abraham, he answered, Here am I. When God called Moses from the bush, he answered, Here am I, and he hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. God is calling thee to Holiness, to Himself the Holy One, that He may make thee holy. Let thy whole soul answer, Here am I, Lord! Speak, Lord! Show Thyself, Lord! Here am I. As you listen, the voice will sound ever deeper and ever stiller: Be holy, as I am holy. Be holy, for I am holy. You will hear a voice coming out of the great eternity, from the council-chamber of redemption, and as you catch its distant whisper, it will be, Be holy, I am holy. You will hear a voice from Paradise, the Creator making the seventh day holy for man whom He had created, and saying, Be holy. You will hear the voice from Sinai, amid thunderings and lightnings, and still it is, Be holy, as I am holy. You will hear a voice from Calvary, and there above all it is, Be holy, for I am holy.

Child of God, have you ever realized it, our Father is calling us to Himself, to be holy as He is holy? Must we not confess that happiness has been to us more than holiness, salvation than sanctification? Oh! it is not too late to redeem the error. Let us now band ourselves together to listen to the voice that calls, to draw nigh, and find out and know what Holiness is, or rather, find out and know Himself the Holy One. And if the first approach to Him fill us with shame and confusion, make us fear and shrink back, let us still listen to the Voice and the Call, ‘Be holy, as I am holy.’ ‘Faithful is He which calleth, who also will do it.’ All our fears and questions will be met by the Holy One who has revealed His Holiness, with this one purpose in view, that we might share it with Him. As we yield ourselves in deep stillness of soul to listen to the Holy Voice that calls us, it will waken within us new desire and strong faith, and the most precious of all promises will be to us this word of Divine command:
Be holy, for I am holy.

O Lord! the alone Holy One, Thou hast called us to be holy, even as Thou art holy. Lord! how can we, unless Thou reveal to us Thy Holiness. Show us, we pray Thee, how Thou art holy, how holy Thou art, what Thy holiness is, that we may know how we are to be holy, how holy we are to be. And when the sight of Thy Holiness only shows us the more how unholy we are, teach us that Thou makest partakers of Thy own Holiness those who come to Thee for it.
O God! we come to Thee, the Holy One. It is in knowing and finding and having Thyself, that the soul finds Holiness. We do beseech Thee, as we now come to Thee, establish it in the thoughts of our heart, that the one object of Thy calling us, and of our coming to Thee, is Holiness. Thou wouldst have us like Thyself, partakers of Thy Holiness. If ever our heart becomes afraid, as if it were too high, or rests content with a salvation less than Holiness, Blessed God! let us hear Thy voice calling again, Be holy, I am holy. Let that call be our motive and our strength, because faithful is He that calleth, who also will do it. Let that call mark our standard and our path; oh! let our life be such as Thou art able to make it.
Holy Father! I bow in lowly worship and silence before Thee. Let now Thine own voice sound in the depths of my heart calling me, Be holy, as I am holy. Amen.

1. Let me press it upon every reader of this little book, that if it is to help him in the pursuit of Holiness, he must begin with God Himself. You must go to Him who calls you. It is only in the personal revelation of God to you, as He speaks, I am holy, that the command, Be ye holy, can have life or power.

2. Remember, as a believer, you have already accepted God’s call, even though you did not fully understand it. Let it be a settled matter, that whatever you see to be the meaning of the call, you will at once accept and carry out. If God calls me to be holy, holy I will be.

3. Take fast hold of the word: ‘The God of peace sanctify you wholly: faithful is He which calleth you, who also will do it.’ In that faith listen to God calling you.

4. Do be still now, and listen to your Father calling you. Ask for and count upon the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Holiness, to open your heart to understand this holy calling. And then speak out the answer you have to give to this call.

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Horatius Bonar : Darkness Pursuing the Sinner.

I ran across this good word while scrolling through Sermon Index today…..

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Horatius Bonar

“Darkness shall pursue his enemies.” Nahum 1:8

“But he sweeps away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He pursues his foes into the darkness of night.” Nahum 1:8

It is of Nineveh and Assyria that this prophet utters his fearful burden. That city and its inhabitants were to bear the judgments of Jehovah. It was to be swept from the earth, and they were to be driven out, pursued by destruction from the Lord. “The Assyrian” was Israel’s great enemy, God’s great enemy; type of the Church’s great enemy in the last days. The capital city had been warned, had repented, and had returned like the dog to its vomit. Now the last blast of the prophetic trumpet is sounded; a warning to Nineveh, a consolation to Israel. Darkness has settled down on Nineveh from that day to this, and has pursued its dwellers– a type and pledge of the blackness of darkness forever. Let us take Assyria as a specimen of sinners; and this prediction as a declaration of God’s way of dealing with them.

I. A SINNER IS AN ENEMY TO GOD. This is a strong word, and worthy of solemn thought. It means much. Scripture speaks of the sinner as,
(1.) not loving God;
(2.) forgetting God;
(3.) disobeying God;
(4.) departing from God.

But this is more than all these; stronger, more decided, more terrible. It means such things as the following–
(1.) He hates God. Hater of God is his name; hater of Christ also– hater of his whole being, his righteousness, his truth, his holiness, his power, his sovereignty; no, his love.
(2.) He tries to injure God. He would sincerely carry his hatred into effect by injury, in every way; he robs God, he mocks God, he tries to dethrone Him, and to oppose Him.
(3.) He tries to do away with God. Enmity, when it runs its course, ends in murder. So man, if he could, would take the life of God. When the fool says in his heart there is no God, he speaks as a murderer. When the Son of God came to earth, they rested not until they had slain him. Crucify him, crucify him, was a cry, the intensity of whose bitterness and malignity arose from the suspicion in the hearts of the Jews that he was really the Son of God. Thus every sinner is an enemy of God, an injurer, a rebel, a robber, a murderer. All sin is the indication of this, and when fully carried out ends in this. And all unbelief is crucifixion of the Son of God.

II. GOD MEANS TO DEAL WITH THESE HIS ENEMIES. He is not indifferent to their enmity, he is not blind to it, he does not mean to overlook it. But he is patient, not willing that any should perish. He wishes to give them time to repent; he tries by this love of his to melt them, but, if all fail, he will at length arise and deal with them. They shall know his power and righteousness, his wrath and vengeance. Darkness shall pursue his enemies. He does not use many words, nor strong language; the threat here is very decided no doubt, but it is very calm; all the more terrible and certain from being so calm. It refers both to time and eternity; present darkness, eternal darkness.

(1.) There is darkness in store for the sinner. It is not fire or torment that is here spoken of, it is simply darkness. As such it is,
(1.) The absence of all that gives health, and gladness, and life; for without light there is no life, no verdure, no bloom, either for man or man’s earth. A world without a sun! How dismal!
(2.) The presence of that which produces gloom, uncertainty, perplexity, terror, despair. How cheerless is a cloudy day; how much more days of never-ending cloud and darkness. No knowledge of the way, groping perpetually, exposure to dangers and enemies. How dismal would life be with nothing but darkness! Yet such is the portion of God’s enemies! They have rejected the light of the world, and darkness must be their lot, a common lot with him who is the prince of darkness.

(2.) This darkness is from God. It does not come by chance, nor from man, nor from natural causes. It is produced and sent by Him who has both light and darkness at disposal. It comes as punishment– specially for their rejection of the light. Darkness coming in any way is sad, but coming from God it is infinitely terrible. We must go astray, we must stumble, we must wander forever. O enemy of God, think what it will be to be enveloped in darkness and followed by darkness forever.

(3.) This darkness shall pursue them. It shall be to them as an enemy, or as a beast of prey– ever following them, seeking their destruction. Wherever they go this darkness shall be upon their heels, and they shall not escape. In vain shall they seek for light, gross darkness shall compass them about. Eternal darkness shall be their portion, the blackness of darkness forever. Darkness like a rushing whirlwind shall sweep them before it– “they shall be driven to darkness.”

(4.) Every enemy of God must expect this. It is a certainty. It is not possible to be an enemy of God and yet escape the darkness. However swiftly they may flee, the darkness shall overtake them like a tempest. Their enmity to God must be avenged! For the darkness does not come at random; it follows in the track of the enmity. It marks the enemy, and follows him; it finds him and pursues him.

 

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3 lessons from Brainerd’s death

3 lessons from Brainerd’s death
by Jesse Johnson

David Brainerd died 265 years ago. Yesterday was the anniversary of his home going.

Brainerd’s life ended when he was only 29 years old. He was not exactly famous when he died; he was expelled from Yale for declaring that an empty chair had more evidence of grace than the seminary president (the original Clint Eastwood!), and then spent the rest of his life serving the Lord in anonymity among the Indians.

Because he did not have a seminary degree, Brainerd refused to pastor a church. In the 1700′s a pastor was expected to have been to seminary, and despite the fact that some churches wanted him, Brainerd was reluctant to participate in what he viewed as the downgrade of the pastoral office by pastoring without a degree. Instead, he learned Indian dialects, translated a few Psalms into one language, and planted a “Christian community” in another.

He literally rode himself to death.

Crisscrossing the New England woods, he spent himself out discipling the Indian converts to Christ. In the 1700′s the United States was a backwoods, forgotten, and remote place. It was far removed from the world’s limelight, and Brainerd removed himself further still. When he died in Jonathan Edward’s parsonage, Brainerd had a handful of disciples, and fewer friends. Outside of the Edward’s home, those who knew him were skeptical of him.

But inside the Edwards’ home, his life had eternal implications. God used his diary (published posthumously) to spark a new wave of missionary fervor. Edward’s daughter Jeshua fell in love with Brainerd, and they perhaps even married. She caught his tuberculosis, and died a few months after he did.

Yet the most direct impact of his life is seen in Edwards himself. When the church in North Hampton voted Edwards out, he had to leave his parsonage-as well as his daughter’s grave-behind. Already regarded as the foremost theologian of his day, and already famous for his notable preaching, Edwards could have gone to London, or Boston, Oxford or Yale. Instead, he followed Brainerd’s example, and went to serve among the Indians.

Yesterday I marked the anniversary of his death by reading a biography of Brainerd by John Piper.Then I crossed a busy street to Starbucks. There was a traffic accident-nobody was seriously hurt, and the police arrived in 5 minutes. I chose from the three different kinds of coffee, then prepared for a staff meeting-I get to work along side eleven other pastors, all of us paid generously by our congregation.

I answered email, and watched a DVD with Wyane Grudem, Al Mohler, and Voddie Bauchum on marriage. The whole time, I had a sort of surreal felling. I kept trying to imagine what life for Edwards was like before Brainerd knocked on his door, entered his life, then left the world bringing his daughter with him.

I realize that through the providence of God, my feet are not in the Americas of the 1700′s. I can imagine all I want, but I have no idea what life was like then. I have DVD’s with leading theologians at my fingertips, while Brainerd clutched only a diary and a Bible, so he wouldn’t weigh down his horse.

At the end of the day, these are my lessons from Brainerd’s example. They are the best I can do, removed from his life by 265 years.

1) In the earthly sense, we simply don’t suffer like Brainerd/Edwards, et. al. The sacrifices pastors made then were simply different than now. My greatest trial yesterday was that my car’s battery died. I could have walked to church and instead a neighbor gave me a ride. That is not quite suffering for Jesus.

2) We are not sinning by not suffering. It’s not my fault that I live in 2012 and not 1747. It’s not my fault that my congregation loves me, while Brainerd was expelled. It is not a sin to not suffer. I feel willing to suffer, but I know it is easy to feel that way when the sky is clear. God’s providence has placed me in a country with blessings like Starbucks, police, and a plurality of pastors. My ministry mirrors Brainerd’s gospel, but not his afflictions.

3) Even the slightest complaining from me is totally and wholly out of bounds. Brainerd left Yale for Indians and death. Edwards left a thriving ministry for suffering on the frontier. The Apostle Peter left everything in this world to follow the Lord. As John Piper writes, “Jesus was not impressed with Peter’s sacrifice.” Our Lord left heaven to come to earth-and he did so without complaining. We can bite our tongues when we make 21st century kinds of sacrifices, and we can be thankful for the era of human history in which we live.   http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=8850

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Prophetic Statement by Charles Spurgeon

“A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.”
–C.H. Spurgeon

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June 25, 2012 · 7:35 am

The Second Man – The Last Adam

by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 1 – The Human History of Tragedy

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you” (1 Cor. 15:1,2).

 

With these words the greatest apostle that Jesus Christ ever had draws his mantle together over his shoulders and sets himself to gather everything that he has been saying into a climax and a consummation. We can almost hear him breathe a sigh of relief that he has got through all the unpleasant business that was imposed upon him in the writing of this letter, and, having got through it, he says: “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you.”

 

 

The Conditions at Corinth

 

He had been compelled to write about a whole lot of unpleasant and difficult matters. He was at the time in Ephesus, about to conclude a very wonderful time of ministry there. Then his fellow-labourer, Apollos, had arrived and told him of the state of things at Corinth, and three other people, probably slaves of the household of Chloe in Corinth, had also arrived and had poured out the story of a very deplorable state of things in the church there. It was a sad story of divisions, schisms, quarrels, disorders, moral evils, social wrongs, spiritual immaturity, of Christian unkindness one to another, and so on; it is all here. By either Apollos or these others they had sent a letter to Paul, asking him to answer a number of questions on a lot of matters about which they were troubled, and, as you know, this letter is his answer to that whole situation and of all those aspects of it.

A laborious thing! You cannot read it without feeling how the apostle was labouring with this situation. Well he might be! Troubled, heartbroken, deeply moved, he passed on from point to point, covering the whole, and then, with what is the end of chapter fourteen, he finished it, and finished it gladly. And he said in effect, “Having dealt with all that, I am not prepared just to leave it there. Let me take you back, brethren, right to the beginning of your life and history as a company of the people of God, and remind you of that basis upon which you came to be a church and a company of God’s people; what I preached unto you and you then believed, and upon which you stand, the basis of your very existence and by which you are saved.” Having written all the rest, with a sick heart, he concluded that he must restate the ‘gospel’, as he called it, which he had preached and which was the ground of their existence as a church.

Now, while all the conditions at Corinth may not obtain today in many churches — thank God! — there are some things that persist and are, at least, the abiding peril of companies of God’s people. In any case, there is something that comes out of this final resolve of the apostle which is of inestimable value to the church, and the church in all ages. We are not glad that the Corinthians were what they were, but here is the wonderful sovereignty of God: He takes hold of a most deplorable situation and makes it the means of drawing out some of the most sublime things in divine revelation. And who would be without what we call the fifteenth chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians? Thank God for His power to use the darkest background to bring forward the most glorious revelation!

Well, you notice that this chapter, or this section, is a summary, and is a consummate restatement and a climax. Paul uses this word ‘preach’, as you see, several times, in verses 1, 11, 12, 14; the thing ‘preached’. And if you look to see what was the heart, the essence of that preaching, you have only got to underline one word: ‘Christ’. You will find yourselves right at the beginning, in the presence of a mention of Christ no fewer than thirteen times! I say ‘at the beginning’ to show what the foundation really is, what the preaching really is. Now into this consummate restatement the apostle gathers a revelation which is well-nigh unparalleled in Holy Scripture.

(If I may make this parenthesis: you read through this long chapter and you are amazed. You hold your breath and you say, ‘Where did the apostle get that? How did he come by that?’ The things that he is telling you here about glory, and the differences in glory, and the resurrection body, and what it will be like, and so on! You say: ‘Well, this is something that no man ever concocted. This never arose in a man’s brain. There is something here of unparalleled revelation.’)

 

 

Christ, the Second Man the Last Adam

 

The apostle gathers up all this wonderful unveiling and unfolding into a designation of Christ. It is summed up by him in a title, a double title: “So also it is written, The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven” (1 Cor. 15:47). There is your title, your designation: “The second Man… the last Adam”.

And in itself that double title of the Lord Jesus is a summary of human history from the beginning. In the immediate context it is a summary of human history on both sides: that of the first Adam, the human history of tragedy, and that of the last Adam, the story of human history in recovery and glory. Christ Jesus, the second Man, the last Adam! Always be correct in how you put that. Even such a scholar as John Henry Newman has slipped up on it in his hymn. It is not a second Adam; it is a last Adam. It may be a second Man, but it is a last Adam. Finality is reached in Christ in human history.

In the first place, that is an explanation of Jesus. And it is quite right to say that the whole of the New Testament is a combined operation to declare and explain Jesus Christ and it should never be used, in part or as a whole, for any other purpose. Because it has been used for all sorts of things — for anyone who has some particular bee in his bonnet will quote something in the New Testament to support his view — it has lost its mighty authority. The New Testament may be used for one thing and one thing alone, and that is to explain Jesus Christ: to explain why there ever was a Jesus Christ; why Jesus Christ ever came into this world; why He lived, thought and worked; why He died and rose again and why He is in heaven. One question should always govern our reading, in part or in whole, whenever or wherever we read in this Book, and that question should be: ‘What has this to say about Jesus Christ? What light does this throw upon Him, either by direct statement or by right and true implication or inference? What does it say about Him?’

Now these words in verses 45 and 47 are a very important instance of this very thing, the explanation of Jesus Christ. How is He explained by the words, “the second Man… the last Adam”?

It does not require profound scholarship or great intellectual ability to see that such a title puts the One referred to into a position of unique relationship to the whole human race. A “second” implies a first. A “last” implies an original. And by the two everything in human life and history is compassed. You cannot get before the first. There is no such thing as ‘before the first’ in anything, anywhere. And you certainly cannot get behind the last. There is nothing beyond the last. And so, here we have human history, for that is the subject compassed by this title.

But what does it imply? Clearly, the conclusion is that two different humanities stem from two different racial heads. One humanity stems from the first man, Adam. Another, and quite another — and that is the theme of the New Testament — stems from the second Man, the last Adam. Two distinct lines, two distinct kinds. But mark again in this very connection, the teaching of Scripture is that the second Man, the last Adam, stepped into humanity in order to supplant and displace the first and the original; to set aside all the damage which the first had brought into humanity by his sin, by his wrongdoing. The second, and the last, was a necessity because of the utter breakdown of the first and the original.

Paul has, as you know, a corresponding paragraph on this very thing in his letter to the Romans, in chapter five, from verse twelve to verse twenty-one. He dwells on this: “Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin… For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:12,17). It is a good, strong section on the function of the two racial heads. You can read it. But in that chapter Paul, in referring to the first Adam, says, “Adam was a type of Him that was to come.” Adam’s typological position was just this: in his being the first and the progenitor of a kind. And I think that is where it ended. Before his fall he was the first of a race; he was the progenitor of a race. And in that sense he was a type of Him that was to come. There may be other features of that type, but that is the significance of Adam being a type.

But there was a gap in his history, the gap of probation and testing. He was placed with the intention to become all that he was meant for, made for, but between the placing and the fulfilment there was this gap of probation when he was put to the test. Oh, the immense potentialities which were crammed into that gap, that probation! That is what we are going to see, I trust, now: the immense potentialities that were there in the balances of that gap, that probation. What tremendous things hung upon one thing… how he would use the great trust of free will!

On the one side, all that God meant, intended and hoped for in the creation of man demanded that man should be a free agent; not compelled, not forced, not just a piece of machinery going without its own volition, desire or thought. You would never be satisfied with anyone giving you anything on those terms! You would only be satisfied if by the choice of their own heart, reason and desire, they gave it to you. So God made this great trust in the man and gave him — at the same time — the trust and responsibility of free will. Everything was in the balance as to how he would use that trust. There was a law governing. Not the law of compulsion at all, but the law of dependence upon God: whether he would use that trust of free will in dependence upon God, or whether he would use it in independence of God. What immense things, unspeakably great things were bound up with that test! All heaven might have been holding its breath at that time. We know all too well what happened. We will now see what is involved for us in this.

We know the story, how he used that trust, how he broke that line of dependence upon God. He severed that link and took his trust into his own hands, to realise all his potentialities out of relation to God, in independence of God. And because of that and all the terrible consequences of that, a second Man, a last Adam became necessary if the world and humanity were to be saved.

Now, look at some of the essential facts about this last, this final Adam, this second Man. In order really to undo all the tragic consequences (which we have not yet touched upon), He himself must be the negation of the violated law. If the law was everything by dependence upon God, and that law was broken (and Adam said, ‘Everything without dependence upon God’, for that was the issue and the upshot), the Redeemer must Himself be the embodiment of that law of absolute dependence upon God and upon nothing else. Nothing to help, in himself humanly or in the world; anywhere, of any kind… nothing but God. To the very last breath… only God.

 

 

The First of a New Type

 

Do you tell me that that is the Adam race? Not a bit of it! Not as you know yourself and I know myself. It is not like that, is it? This is another order of being, which is like that, and will go that way, even unto death — and the most ignominious death — where, by deliberate choice, He refuses any kind of deliverance that could come to Him, because He is a committed Man to the will of God. He, then, as such a last one, such a second one, is the progenitor of a race which is to be like Himself in this very respect. It is a race of people who, on this very principle of His life, will be constituted on the basis that everything, to the last fraction, is by dependence upon God.

Does not that in itself open up the first letter to the Corinthians? Read from the beginning again and see these Corinthians and all their self-sufficiency, self-strength, self-glorying, glorying in worldly wisdom, and what not. That is an aspect of the whole that we must leave for the moment. I just mention it to let in light on why Paul preached Christ and said, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). What does that mean? Does it not mean crucifixion of all that independence of God which came in through the first Adam, all that taking into his own hands, all that seeking for himself, drawing to himself, that acquisitiveness, that possessiveness, that assertiveness, that pride, that is characteristic of all who have come from that first one? But there is none of it in Him. And as the second, in this new movement of God, He must reproduce after His own kind.

Now that is only introductory. But it is very important that we get our foundation well laid.

That brings us right to our present point. There are some things that every seriously-minded person will be concerned with (and sooner or later everyone will be seriously-minded about life), but Christians are supposed to be seriously-minded people who are really concerned about this matter of Life. And there are four things that comprise that concern.

 

 

 

One is the meaning of human history. (Have you ever sat down with your Bible to seek from it the explanation of human history?) The second is the meaning of Christianity. The third is the meaning of spiritual experience. And the fourth is the meaning of the Christian life.

The meaning of those four things is gathered into one Person, Jesus Christ, and He as the second Man, the last Adam. As such, He explains human history. As such, He explains spiritual experience. As such, He explains Christianity, and as such, He explains the church.

Now I don’t propose to try and cover all that ground! But I am tremendously concerned and burdened. This is no mere subject that I am interested in or occupied with. If you are a seriously-minded person, this really does concern you. And are you not, are we not, being forced in our time to have a serious question about human history? The human race, mankind, and all the history of mankind — what does it all mean? You know, we are being confronted with that question today.

Leave that for the moment. As a Christian, are you not increasingly confronted with the question as to the meaning of Christianity? After all, what is this thing? As we view it in general or in particular, what does it mean?

Further, if that is too objective, are we not being forced more and more to face the question of the meaning of spiritual experience? Is there not in our hearts a recurrent question, ‘Why?’ ‘Why are we going the way we are going? Why is God taking us this way and through this? Why is this being allowed? Why is this happening to the children of God?’ If that is not a really pressing question in your heart, I am not giving very much for your spiritual life, dear friends. Anyone who is really alive to ultimate things is very concerned about what our spiritual experience in the hands of God really means. What is God after? What is God explaining? What is He doing?

Human History

Now, on the one side, then, human history. We must see that God has taken all time — human history embraces ten thousand years, at least — to demonstrate the meaning of the results of the wrong use that man made of his trust of free will, when he took that trust into his own hands and it became self-will instead of God’s will.

It is here that we come to a point which is very full of the most important instruction. What was God left to do? You say: ‘Why, when man did that, broke that law of dependence, took his will into his own hands and out of God’s hands and violated his trust, why did God not destroy him once for all and start again there and then?’ Of course, it is easy to talk like that. Perhaps that is what you would do. Perhaps that is what you think He ought to have done in view of all that we know. Do you not see that if God had done that, it would have been to have simply said that He never did give man free will? It would have nullified the whole principle of option. He would have destroyed at once the primary thing — free will. It is never free will if, when you use it, you are destroyed for doing so. That is not free will. But what did God do? Ah, that is history.

The Lord’s way has been, and still is to let the choice have full course and destroy itself, bring its own judgment upon itself. It is a long-term business, and long-drawn-out business. And now let me just say a very intimate thing to you and to my own heart. There are some prayers that God answers which we wish He had never answered! It is because man would not take a ‘no’ or an alternative. There is a little fragment about Israel when, after much stiff-neckedness and hardness of heart, “He gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them” (Ps. 106:15). Have you ever prayed, and insisted, and refused to take a ‘no’ or an alternative, and then wished He had never answered your prayer? That is possible, it depends upon where your will is, on your own side or on His side. There is a lot of spiritual history bound up with that.

We were saying that the Lord has taken all time to demonstrate the folly, the madness, the iniquity of a wrong use of a sacred trust. Note, then, the development of this. All the immense potentialities to which we have referred in man have been allowed to express themselves, have been drawn out by history, and today we are amazed and marvel at the potentialities of man! Make no mistake about it. In five hundred years we have moved from the making of iron cannon balls to the atomic bomb. You call that progress, do you? But look at what has happened, what man can do, what is in man to do! We are all wondering what he is going to do next. If things go on for another fifty years as they have gone for the last fifty, where shall we be? This is no Jules Verne imagination, is it? These things are realities. And all this is in the man that God made.

But do you recognise that, with the acceleration and intensification of this process, man has never yet either made a discovery or made an invention but what there has come along a parallel curse with it and a new problem that almost, if not altogether, bedevils the discovery? It is true in any realm you like. Oh, that we were here long enough to survey the ground adequately! These potentialities which were in the man that God created have been given full play by God through all time to express themselves, but always with a curse. What is a curse? I could put the curse into one word — fear! The further man goes the more fearful he becomes. It is fear that is alive to the greatest discoveries and inventions of man. It is fear that is ruling men’s hearts today. They are conscious of insecurity. They are striving for some kind of security in order to overcome this fear. The Bible is right, you know. It always is, but it is right on this — that a mark of the end time will be “men fainting from fear” (Luke 21:26).

You only have to read some of the books that have been produced by the discoverers of nuclear energy, and they will tell you in unvarnished language that it only wants the touch of a finger to end the whole human race by this very thing that they have discovered and are exploiting. It would be the end of the human race — and an awful end! If you have read the story of Hiroshima, spread that over the whole human race! Now, I don’t want to be a sensationalist, but these are facts. We are informed about them by the men who are mostly associated with this very matter. Men are afraid. This fear is accentuated and intensified the further men go in their inventions and discoveries and in the development of the potentialities in their own beings. That is the end. It is coming very near.

God has taken all history — and what a lot that word ‘history’ covers — past, present and future, if it is not a contradiction to speak of the future as history. But there is history that is being made for the future. History is on the one side, demonstrating, beyond any question or doubt, that man has made a mistake somewhere! He has gone wrong somewhere! He has defaulted somewhere — no, worse than that — he has done something infinitely evil, and it has come out of himself by the wrong use of his own will.

Do we not see? Are we blind? Are we not taking account? I said that seriously-minded people are concerned about history. Are you not taking account of this, that where this state of things in development, intensification, discovery, invention, is most pronounced, you have the most awful strength of human will against God? Is that not true? It is soul-strength, a strength of human soul.

And how we fail to see that the one thing that history has revealed is this contradiction, this strange but so patent paradox: the greatness of man and, at the same time, his smallness. The greater he seems to be, the less he seems to be able to cope with his own dreams. Is that true? He has wrought it out, and now he is a mere puppet, a mere plaything of his own greatness. How little he is at his greatest!

Well, that is the way of history, and that is what is happening, dear friends. The greatness of man — yes… as God made him! But now, because of this one thing, a greatness that is cancerous. There is no other word to explain and define it. What is cancer? Well, I cannot answer all the research on that matter, but I will tell you what is known: that cancer exists because of the loss of one central governing and regulating authority. It is something that has broken away from authority and ignores controlling and regulating authority in the organism, and becomes an authority in itself, becomes some thing that is something in itself, and has absolutely refused that central authority regulating and governing within the organism. It has taken things into its own hands. It is cancer, the scourge! This greatness of man is like that. Look at it! It has broken right away from the great controlling authority of God and God’s will. The result is a scourge on humanity!

Now at that point, were it possible, I could put in a tremendous section, by way of illustration. I only have to mention the things without any additional words. What about international relationships? Oh, the tentacles of this cancerous human life, in humanity! Why, you cut one off and half a dozen more spring up at once! Is it not like that in international relationships? Why, you think you have just got the problem nicely settled and it breaks out in more than one other place. You cannot cope with it. You have got all the potential of a prosperous and happy world. It is all there, but in reality there is curse and destruction instead. All the instruments and the institutions for peace, and yet there was never so much loss of peace in human history as there is today. Think of all your gadgets to save work and of all the inventions to make life easier! There were never so many amenities and facilities for rest and leisure — and never in history so much discontent! There is something wrong with this humanity, this world. We might look at industry, we might look at science and we might even look at religion… but I must leave it there for the moment. That is one side.

But we are not talking just objectively. That is you, that is me, by nature. The deepest, truest thing about you and about me naturally is self-will, pride, possessiveness and the desire for power. You don’t agree with me? All right! If you allow the Holy Spirit to take you any way at all, you will discover that that is true. That is the first man. That is the old Adam. And you will see at once how that opens the door for the Second Man and the Last Adam to start things all over again on another basis, to be the racial Firstborn and Head, and progenitor of another kind. And you will see a lot more when once you have seen that.

I am very well aware that all that I have said may be oppressive. It may be the heavy side, but you and I have got to understand what history, and present history mean. What are the forces. and what are the things that are producing this wonderful, startling, terrible world? And where is it leading? Well, God has said: ‘All right, you have made your choice. You have decided this and you would not have it otherwise. Very well! The history of a kind of person or race like that will lead on until the final verdict of sin is wrought out.’ It is sin.

There is something that you will do well to store up. You know, one of the things that is going to amaze us, perhaps more than most other things — and a few things will amaze us when we get to heaven! — will be this: our discovery of how much more, infinitely more, there was in any one statement of God than ever we imagined. Oh, when God speaks, He does not speak just platitudes; He does not speak just observations and make casual remarks. In anything that God says there is the infinitude of His knowledge and His wisdom. And if any life comes into the hands of the Holy Spirit, you will discover that there is an unfathomable depth of meaning in anything that God has said and you will never exhaust it. Preach on the same thing all your long life, and you have not exhausted that same thing if it has come from God. There is still something more. And I say that we are going to be amazed when we get to heaven to see the infinitude that was in some things that were almost commonplace with us. Oh, if God uses the words sin, disobedience, rebellion, self-will, there is all of time gathered into that in tragedy! You will never fathom that… the Last Adam did! He went to the bottom of it, drained it in His cross.

But that is where the other side opens up.

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Jotta .A – Agnus Dei ♫ Hallelujah – aleluya

Amazing song!

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The Waters Above and the Waters Below

Taken from:   James B. Jordan, Trees and Thorns: A Commentary on Genesis 2-4. Available from www.biblicalhorizons.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The water in the ground of the garden is associated with Eve.

What Adam was to guard was the Garden, and preeminently Eve, its mistress. This is precisely what he refused to do. Later in the Bible, new Adams meet their Eves at wells, and defend them there. Eliezar met Rebekah at a well, and brought her home to Isaac (Gen. 24:11ff.). Jacob met Rachel at a well, and unsealed it for her — a sign as it turned out of his coming marriage to her (Gen. 29:10-11). Good Shepherd Moses met Zipporah at a well and defended her against bad shepherds (Ex. 2:16-19).

All of these women were outsiders, who were married by representatives of the Messianic line (compare also Joseph, Samson, Solomon, etc). The spring in Eden flowed out to other lands; the messiahs of the Old Testament married foreign women. In fulfillment, Jesus spoke to an outsider Samaritan woman at a well, asked her about her husband(s), and in so doing offered Himself as True Husband to her and her people (John 4:1-22). He associated the water He offered with the Spirit whom He would give (John 4:10, 23-24; 7:37-39).

I discussed this marital imagery briefly in connection with the Laver of Cleansing in Chariots of Water: An Exploration of the Water-Stands of Solomon’s Temple (available from http://www.biblicalhorizons.com). Here let me add that meeting earthly wives at wells (ground water) is part of the first creation. In heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, for all are married to the Divine Husband. Thus, the well at which Jesus meets us is heavenly water, the Spirit. As the spring watered the Garden and grew the fruitful trees, so the marriage of woman and man is to be fruitful on earth, and the marriage of Jesus and God’s Daughter (humanity) is to be fruitful unto eternity.

Lastly, the care with which a gardener directs water to cause plants to flourish should be seen as instructive of how a husband should care for his wife and family. One does not grasp or force water, and neither can a man grasp or force his wife.

From James B. Jordan’s Trees and Thorns: [1]

The land and garden of Eden were watered by a spring. Why call attention to the fact that God did not send rain? Why not just mention the spring and leave off the statement about rain? The reason, I believe, is to call our minds back to Genesis 1:2-9. We find in Genesis 1:2 that there was an ocean over the original earth. Then God created the firmament, and separated the waters above from the waters below. On the third day God gathered the waters below into areas below the surface of the land.

Now we have a clear distinction between waters above the firmament, the source of rain, and waters below, which would have to come up from under the earth. Both Genesis 1:2-9 and 2:5-6 set up the distinction eschatologically; ground water comes first, and then heavenly water.

With this distinction in mind, we can begin to see rather clear associations between ground water and the first creation, which is earthy and Adamic, and heavenly water with the second creation, which is heavenly and Last Adamic: “The Spiritual [world order] is not first, but the natural [world order]; then the Spiritual [world order]. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second Man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:46-48).

Ground water is associated with the first world, the world defiled by sin. Originally the land of promise centered on the “circle of the Jordan,” which “was well watered everywhere—before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar” (Gen. 13:10). This Edenic spot was chosen by Lot, who went for the obvious blessing of ground water—so much more reliable than rain, which must be prayed for. Notice that Gen. 13:10 interjects the statement that God would soon destroy this area. Why is this stuck in here? I believe it is to point to the fact that ground water is not going to be the place of salvation. The waters below, the original garden of Eden, cannot be recovered. We shall have to move forward to the eschatological waters above and the heavenly Jerusalem.

Just so, Moses contrasts the old land of Egypt, watered from the ground, with the promised land, which is watered by rain: “For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land … drinks water from heaven’s rain” (Dt. 11:10-11). Moses quotes God’s promise, “I will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain” (Dt. 11:14).

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