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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Tragic Interlude # 3

As we have said that in his last Letters Paul gave a strong place to this conflict of the ages, we cannot close this chapter without a reference to "Philippians." In "Colossians" it is obvious (1:13, 20; 2:15), but in "Philippians" it is more by inference and allusion. We believe that when Paul, writing of the self-emptying of the Son of God, He thought it not something to be grasped (held on to) to be equal with God, but emptied Himself", the Apostle was alluding to the ambitious pride of "lucifer" to be like the Most High (Isa. 14:14; Luke 10:18). If this is a right interpretation (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6), then the scene in Philippians two, in keeping with so much other teaching in the New Testament, is that of the Son of  God becoming the Son of Man, taking man-form to fight out this battle with the usurper. "A final Adam to the fight. And to the rescue came."

And Paul, a "good soldier of Jesus Christ," in the same letter (Phil. 3) goes on to show that the way of victory is the way of "counting all things as loss."

Let us sum up.

"Before the foundation of the world" divine counsels took place which are called "The good pleasure of His will," "They mystery of His will," "The Purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His will," "The eternal purpose" (Eph. 1:4, 5, 9, 11; 3:11). In those deliberations certain very definite decisions were made. These decisions were two-fold.

1. The Son of God was "appointed heir of all things." The sphere and realm of all things (Hebrews 1:2; Eph. 1:10, 11).

2. An elect people was "chosen" in the Son to be the complement of Him; to be the corporate vessel of His expression and administration, termed His Body, His Bride, His Church, etc.; vocation being the idea of that election and predestination (Eph. 1:4, 23; 5:25-32; 4:1).

3. Subsequent to that two-fold appointment and election, a revolt took place among heavenly beings in great number, led by one in very high position, probably very near the top. Pride and jealousy over the Son's appointment were the causes of this revolt, the place of "equality with God" being aspired to by that high one. The one, and the hosts in complicity with him, were cast out of heaven and "kept not their first estate" (Jude 6). The schism, rupture, and division in heaven with the wrath of God upon them inspired an eternal and deathless enmity in that leader against God's Son, and mankind as the intended and potential vessel of His glory. So mankind was struck at early after creation, and the special enmity was focused upon the line of those who maintained faith in God and bore any characteristic features of God's Son. As primarily, so through all the ages, the one object and activity of that evil adversary has been to disrupt, divide, disintegrate humanity, and most particularly the "elect," the people of God. By such an object the purpose is to neutralize God's purpose and its appointed and chosen vessel. In this intensifying battle the true Church is shown to be deeply involved. God has made a full provision for the Church to meet and stand against that great enemy. That is a general summary of the actual teaching and implications of one aspect of this "Letter to the Ephesians."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4 - "The Era of the Hidden Secret")

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