The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another
The All-Governing and Dominating Vision: Of Seeing Jesus Our Lord
He Must: He Must Have: He will Have!
Paul shows us in these letters to the Corinthians and by his influence, at least, in the letter to the Hebrews, he shows us God's intense interest in man and God's infinite patience and perseverance and pains with man through history. God never, never wiped out any mankind until it had finally gone beyond the point of no return where mankind said, "We will not, we will not," finally "Will will not" - that was Noah's day. Noah - a preacher of righteousness, and the effect in them was: "We will not." So God said, "The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." God never did anything like that until the cup of iniquity was full to overflowing, and there was no hope because of man's settled determination not to have the revealed will of God.
Apart from that, look at the infinite pains and patience and perseverance of God. Oh, how marvelous is God in His Sovereignty. I think God chose the Jewish race because it was going to extend Him to the fullness of His patience; and think that He chose it for no other purpose than just to show what mercy He has. Well, that would take us into another part of First Corinthians: "God hath chosen the foolish things - the weak things - the ignoble things - that are not." We see what patience, what long-suffering, what pains, what perseverance is shown by the apostle on the part of God with mankind because God has set such store by this kind of creation; and if God should never have a humanity like that at the end, then God is defeated utterly and He is not God, the God of the Bible. He must - He must, and He will have a humantiy that His heart is set upon!
Moreover, the apostle shows here by the Spirit, that all God's dealings with His Own children (and the terms are family terms: His Own children, His Own family) he shows that all God's dealings with His Own children and family had this end in view - the transition unto the glory, bringing many sons to glory, getting many sons to glory. But we must link with that: "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked or reproved of Him. Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth. He scourgeth every son that He places by Him." That wonderful chapter in Hebrews 12 about God's dealings with His children, His family, showing that "no chastening (child-training) for the present seeth to be joyous, but grievous" - for the present, grievous.
You and I know something about that. But "afterward," there is an "afterward"; and it is that "afterward" that God is working toward in His dealings with us, difficult as they may be. We will come to that again, and I do not know whether we will get to it this morning, but here is the principle. Oh!! God is not against us when we are having a hard time. The devil says He is. Have a bad time, and there is at once a little demon at your ear accusing God, maligning God, trying to get a twist in your mind that questions God, trying to get you right back into the garden again, "Hath God said?" trying to get you onto the old Adam ground again. Oh, brethren, I can say this more wisely than I can go through it, and so can you hear it more easily than you can go through it, but there is that "afterward." What afterward? The end of One Corinthians, chapter fifteen. Oh, yes, all things, "But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." All His dealings with us are governed by this great destiny for which He has made us and called us.
Destined For Sonship
Now all this the apostle shows, all this is represented by the perfected Man in glory, and all this is not only represented by Him there as the ultimate of God for mankind, but it is secured in that Man in the glory. It is security for us, and in this connection the apostle uses a figure from the Greek about the Holy Spirit having been given to us as an "earnest" of our final redemption. You know what the figure is? What is it? You see some goods, some produce at a depot on a railroad station. It is destined for something or somewhere, and there is stamped on it "sample," "sample," destined for sonship. It is an earnest, it is a firstfruits, it is a prophecy, but there is more to follow; and a great deal more to follow. This is only the beginning, this is only a piece of what is coming; and the apostle uses that figure of speech. The Greeks understood quite well what he was talking about. Paul says: "He has given us the Spirit as the 'sample,' the earnest, the prophecy, of what is to be." It is secured, it is all there secured in Him to come to us; and He has sent Him (is it irreverent to speak of the Holy Spirit like this?) - He sent the SAMPLE. If you and I really have the Spirit, what have we got? The earnest of our inheritance, and what is it? We have this witness, this assurance, and the working of this Power holding us unto something, unto a destiny. THANK GOD FOR THAT HOLDING. To quote the Apostle Peter: "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto a salvation to be revealed in the last time." WE ARE KEPT BY THE POWER.
Now where would any of us be today if there had not been that holding of us? When we really did let go, when we really did say: "We can go no further, this is the end." And we would have gone if it had been left to us. Well, the miracle is we are here kept by the earnest of the Spirit unto that because it is secured unto us in Christ. So the apostle says: "Cast not away, cast not away your confidence which hath great recompense of reward. You have need of patience that after you have done the will of God ..." Brethren, there is so much in all this. He shows that it is all represented in the MAN perfected in heaven; even more, it is secured in HIM up there. I am glad it is up there and out of this world beyond any power to undo the security.
(continued with # 4 - "(1) The Summation of All - His Son")