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Friday, November 20, 2015

The Gospel According to Paul # 49

In His Letters to Timothy (continued)

A Representative Man

Perhaps you may think, "That is a beautiful thing to say, those are very wonderful thoughts to express, but where is the practical value in it? Ah, that is just the gospel, you see. Do you think that the Lord Jesus, God's Son, came through and took the position of man, and was made perfect to God's utter and final satisfaction, just in order that God should have that in one Man? No, the gospel is this, that the Lord Jesus is representative of all the men that God is going to have. He is representative and He is inclusive. The old and beautiful beginning of the gospel, which you and I, after long familiarity with it, still often need, for our own tranquility, to grasp more perfectly, is just this: that Jesus Christ, God's Son, is a sphere into which we are hidden in Him as to what we are ourselves; God sees only Him and not us. A wonderful thing! You have got to put aside all your arguments and all your questions, and accept God's fact. That this phrase, "IN CHRIST", occurs two hundred times and more in the New Testament must surely mean something.

God Sees Us In Christ

The first, and perhaps the all-inclusive, thing that it means, is that, if you are in Christ, God sees Christ instead of seeing you. I have a little piece of paper here. Let that represent you or me in ourselves, what we are. I put it into a book, and that book represents Christ. You do not see the paper any more; you only see the book. That is our position "in Christ". That is what Christ means. All His satisfaction to God is put to our account. That is the gospel: when you and I are in Christ, God is satisfied with us - tranquil, happy, blessed. Oh, wonderful gospel! You cannot grasp it, or explain it, but there is the fact stated. This is the gospel of the glory of the satisfied God.

Putting again the test that we are applying in other connections in an earlier chapter, it is just this: that, when you and I really come into Christ and find our place in Christ, one of the first things of which we are conscious is that all the strain has gone out; we have come to rest. A marvelous tranquility, that is not natural, has come into us. We feel the battle is all over between us and God. It is wonderful; a blessed, happy condition. Now, that is our experience, but what is the significance of it? It is the Spirit of the happy God bearing witness to God's happiness in our hearts. "The gospel of the glory of the blessed God". The first stage of that  is a position. WE ARE IN CHRIST.

Christ In Us

The second stage or the second aspect of that is that CHRIST IS IN US. But we must not pursue that to the same conclusion as in the last point. That does not mean that we are seen and Christ is hidden. No, Christ is in us and we are in Christ: an impossible thing to explain, unless perhaps we can put it like this. Dr. Campbell Morgan was asked on one occasion whether baptism was sprinkling or immersion. He said: 'My dear friend, come with me to the Niagara Falls, and stand underneath. Are you sprinkled or are you immersed?' Well, I leave you to answer. But it is like that. Christ is in us. Why is He in us? He is in us as as that very satisfaction to the heart of God, in order that the Spirit of God may work in us to conform us to Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 50)

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