The Meaning of "Heavens" (continued)
This is what brought the Corinthians so much trouble, "every one of you saith, I am of Paul: I am of Apollos; and I am of Cephas," making a choice of men whom they preferred. Because they were circling around men Paul wrote, "I cannot write unto you as unto spiritual but unto carnal." This is a working in a mighty principle, and when these things come in the Lord goes out.
Paul in every other way represented the rule of the heavens ministerially. He had become the embodiment of the principle of the heavens so far as nations were concerned. Nations no longer existed for him as such - that out of all nations should be formed the one Body, so his ministry was a heavenly on - a ministry from the heavens. It is a tremendous mark of his transcendency, of what is heavenly, that his universal writings come out of such circumstances as the prison, chains, Roman Court, and yet the most common expression of those days was "in the heavenlies." He was ministering universally while naturally in limitation. He had said, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh." Though the more I love the less I be loved" (2 Corinthians 12:15). This man has transcended the things which are of man. The love he had poured out for the Corinthians, yet in that letter Paul quotes things that were said about him - about his personal appearance - by them. Paul was above earthly feelings - the heavens ruled. Get outside of that which is petty and small and into the universal. We see a real example of sonship in the man who wrote so much about it. Read Romans and the Epistle to the Galatians and see how sonship means absolute emancipation and freedom from all earthly limitations of man - his mind, his thought, his judgments, his attitudes, his appraisements. He has been set free by the Son, and whom the Son makes free is free indeed.
The new man is being renewed after the image of Him who created him. The image is universally embracing. Look at the Lord Jesus. See the universality of His birth, His baptism, His death. The celebration of the Lord's death has been made largely a matter of a ceremonial ordinance. But there is one Body eternally conceived of God gathered out of all nations and gathered into the universality of eternity. God meant that the gathering around His table be clothed with what is of heaven and should be a living testimony. There is all the difference in the world between a ceremony and having a celebration of a living thing. The heavens do rule. The Lord wants to recover the spiritual meaning of these things.
(continued with # 18 - (Universality of the Heavens)