The Exceeding Riches of His Grace: Consummation (continued)
Hence, there is the great necessity in the first place for our position in Christ. And then abiding in Christ, and then growing in Christ, and then perfected in Christ. It is a process; it is a work of grace to abide in Christ. The trouble is, dear friends, that we do so often meet one another in ourselves; you meet me and I meet you, and you have to say so often, "that is him," and I have to say, "that is you." You know what I mean? It is just ourselves, our way of thinking, our way of talking, our way of expressing ourselves. It is jut the outcoming of ourselves, or the forthgoing of ourselves in some way. And it is a real joy and relief and pleasure to meet a person and not meet them, but meet the Lord. Just to say, when we have been with them, 'Well, I was not struck and impressed by them, but I was impressed of the Lord in them and about them. What really impressed me was the grace of God in them.' Grace is bringing Christ out and making Christ the impression. It is grace doing it all.
Now this is exactly what Peter means by growing in grace. It means the diminishing of all that is outside of grace, and a growing of ourselves in grace. When we do come into contact with one another, it is more of Christ as the effect and the result than ourselves. It is not what we want and what we think, and how we think things ought to be and all that whole gambit of self-interest and self-life, but everything is to be Christ unto the consummation. The Spirit of Grace is seeking to displace that which is not gracious, and and thus to bring Christ Who is gracious more fully into being where we are concerned. For the consummation is that all things will be united in Him and He will fill all things; it will just be Christ. We have heard this so often, but it is true - it will just be Christ.
Oh, what a grand day it will be when the ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of redeemed individuals are utterly one person, because it is all Christ, and no more of this ugly "self". It is Christ. Now that, says the Word, is what God intended from the beginning, and that is the eternal purpose of God, and also the explanation of all the conflict in this universe to spoil it, to hinder it, to contradict it. But that is what the Word says is how it is going to be in spite of everything.
(continued with # 27)