"The Image of His Son"
Philippians 3:1-21; Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2; Galatians 4:19; Philippians 3:12, 20
I have it on my heart, beloved, that these days before us we shall in the will of God, be occupied with "That Which is born of the Spirit," or "The New Creation in Christ Jesus"; and, for a little while, we want to set the object in its place, or in His place, and see exactly what it is toward which the Lord is moving; what we might call the pattern in the heavens.
We are familiar with that phrase, we know to what it relates in the Old Testament, and I think by now we know that that pattern in the heavens, according to which all things were made in relation to the tabernacle of old, was but a revelation of Jesus Christ, and that tabernacle was the Lord Jesus in His many-sidedness, right to the very last detail; an expression of the mind of God. We know that in the Letter to the Hebrews that is taken up again, but there this difference is made that, whereas in the Old Testament is was a pattern of things in the heavens, here it is the very things themselves. You are introduced to the very thing by the first words of that letter, "God Who in old times spake unto the Fathers in divers portions and divers manners, hath in the end of these times spoken in His Son," and the whole theme of the Letter to the Hebrews is the Lord Jesus Christ as the consummation of the whole of the Old Testament revelation. He in Person gathering up consummately all that God had before spoken, and thus not being a part, or parts, but being the whole; not being a shadow or a type, but being the very thing itself.
So truly, the Lord Jesus is the pattern and the reality toward which God is working; and we want now, immediately, to get that Object into its, or His place, because until that is so we shall be held to something less; we shall have an inadequate objective and dynamic for our lives here on earth. You recognize how true that was in the case of the Apostle himself. You remember that in Acts 9, he suddenly was met on the Damascus Road by the Lord in Glory. To his own consternation and amazement he discovered that that light above the brightness of the sun was Jesus of Nazareth, now exalted to the Right Hand of the Majesty on high, now glorified. That was Paul's first view of the Lord Jesus so far as we know. It was Christ in the glory. Philippians 3 is the practical consequence of that. That is "Things which were gain to me those I counted loss, yea, and I do count them but stuff to be flung to the dogs, that I might be found in Him." Tremendous statements - to gain Christ. The Lord Jesus is given to the sinner on the ground of repentance and faith; given, but Paul had come to a position where he saw that that which had been given had now got to be gained. Two realms of things, equally true. There was a gain of Christ far beyond the gift of Christ. The gift of Christ unto salvation; the gain of Christ unto glorification in the fullest Witness. That which is born of the Spirit. Hence, Philippians 3 is the practical outworking of Acts 9.
(continued with # 2)