The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another
The Seeing of Jesus Christ Our Lord
What we are going to be occupied with this morning is this all-governing, all-dominating vision of Jesus Christ. This brings in four of the greatest matters with which we can have to do The seeing of Jesus - how comprehensive and revolutionary it is! These four things are major things. Firstly: The place and destiny of man in the economy of God. That comes in with a seeing of Jesus our Lord.
I am glad the apostle added that last clause, "our Lord," and I would like to point out that in the New Testament, the name "Jesus" by itself is only used when it relates to His pre-resurrection life. If the name "Jesus" is used alone, you will find that the context is of His pre-resurrection life. However, after the resurrection, the apostles never called Him "Jesus" alone, they always linked on our Lord, our Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us note "Jesus," yes; but "our Lord" and His Lordship came into view after His resurrection and ascension. Right thee on the Damascus Road, "and he said, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' " - "I AM Jesus." He knew it was Jesus. "Lord, (not, Jesus, what will You have me to do?' but) Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" The very beginning of a revolution of a transition from knowing after the flesh to knowing after the Spirit. All that is parenthetical. Let us go on.
The four magnitudes which come in with a true Spiritual seeing of Jesus are:
THE PLACE AND DESTINY OF MAN IN THE ECONOMY OF GOD
THE NATURE AND DYNAMIC OF MINISTRY IN THIS DISPENSATION
THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH NOW AND IN THE AFTER-AGES
THE IMMENSE SIGNIFICANCE IN THAT THREE-FOLD CONTEXT OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED, RISEN, AND EXALTED
These are four very big things, and they are all comprehended by "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" - "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me"; and when He revealed His Son in me, this is what I began to see. That is what the apostle is saying: "This is what I began to see." He does not tabulate these things like that, but I have just taken these four magnitudes as the content and substance of the New Testament.
This is where we begin; firstly the seeing of Jesus our Lord or God revealing His Son in us, illuminating, unveiling, the place and destiny of man in the Divine Economy. I must say here (though it might get me onto controversial ground) I am a firm believer that the Apostle Paul had a very real hand in the writing of the letter to the Hebrews. Whether he actually wrote it or dictated it, I am certain that Paul had a very definite and direct influence, to say the least, upon the writing of the letter to the Hebrews; and you will recognize it in what I am going to say. It is there; it comes out of that.
Paul, from the beginning in his First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter fifteen, takes up man from his inception. He says, "The first man, Adam." It starts with man; it goes right back to the beginning of humanity, mankind, and he follows right through mankind on the battleground of the two humanities until he reaches the point of man glorified. How marvelous that chapter is. I have stood back from that chapter many times, and said, "How did any mortal man know that?" It could only be because he had seen Jesus Christ. That is the only answer.
A New Man in Christ
"There are bodies terrestrial, and there are bodies celestial. There are bodies earthly and there are bodies heavenly; and as we have born the image of the earthly, so we shall bear the image of the heavenly." Here Paul describes something of the nature of this Heavenly Body, this Heavenly physical Body, this glorified Manhood. This is an amazing unveiling of the destiny of man in the economy of God.
So Paul takes up manhood first in Adam, and then by the Cross, he smites that race in Adam, discredits it, rejects it, and puts it aside, and starts with the New Man, "The last Adam": "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation," - the old humanity past, all is New. We have the whole history of man in this letter, right from his inception in the heart of God, his inception in the creation of the first Adam and his rejection in this letter; and then we have man created in the New Man, Christ.
Oh, what a Man this is in glory. In this we groan! But what is the groaning about? Oh, for that for which I was created; which God meant for me. In this we groan waiting, "waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body," the putting on of our New Man. "When this corruptible will have put on incorruption." My, do you not groan for that? Incorruption, this mortal dying "will have put on immortality." eternally living. Now how did Paul get all that? "Have I not seen Jesus, our Lord?" "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me."
Paul said: "God has repeated His divine fiat in me. Over all the world is chaos and darkness God said, 'Let light be - and there was light,' a fiat of God, and He has done that in me. God has repeated and said, In this darkened humanity, 'Let light be'; and when He said that, I - in the Light - saw His Son and in His Son I saw all that God intended and intends for mankind" - man's destiny in the economy of God.
All that is in chapter fifteen, and Paul tells us out of this seeing that the world to come is going to be entirely subjected to this man and this Humanity. As I was saying, this is Hebrews two: "For Thou madest Him in order to have dominion over the works of Thy Hand. Thou has put all things in Thine economy and intention under His feet," but we do not see that true of the old humanity. It is discredited, it is lost, it has lost that kingdom.
BUT WE SEE JESUS, WE SEE JESUS THE REPRESENTATIVE MAN OF THIS NEW HUMANITY. THE INCLUSIVE MAN, THE LAST ADAM OF THIS HUMANITY. WE SEE HIM BOUND WITH GORY AND HONOR. THAT IS THE DESTINY OF MAN IN THE INTENTION OF GOD. THAT IS WHAT PAUL IS SAYING HERE BY THE SPIRIT.
(continued with # 3)