The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 11
The Expression of Jesus Christ, continued -
So it is a Person; always focus your eyes on the Person, keep your eyes on the Person. The New Testament is all about that. It is always the Person, and this Person is repeatedly saying and affirming: "I AM." Whatever the capacity, Shepherd or Door or Vine, these are only aspects of His Person, of what He is, "I AM." He has stepped right into the arena of history and is the only One Who is allowed to do it, to say: "I AM." Tremendous things are said concerning this, and God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness not by, but in a Man of His Own choice. The judgment of this whole world is going to be on the ground of Christ. Not what sins you have committed, more or less what you might call small or big. No, that is NOT the ground of judgment. The ground of judgment is where do you stand in relation to Jesus Christ, and how much of Him is there. He will judge the world in the Man. Now think about that. It is the Person which we must keep all the time in view as we proceed!
This Man is utterly and absolutely different from the whole race of humanity; hence, as we have seen, because of that immense difference, there has got to be the undoing of the one in order to make room for the Other. God's full and utter beginning all over again is with this Man. You notice that this implies or indicates that at the time the Lord Jesus came into this world, God had considered and decided that the human race had become big enough and large enough to wind it all up. Here is this great multitude, Jews and Gentiles, filling the world that then was, and it was enough to represent the whole world, a race, a great race. Then the Lord God said: "Finish and We will start with One Man all over again. One Man, the last Adam, a New Race." The whole humanity is set aside and a New Race brought in by its first Man, "the Firstborn among many brethren."
Here in these letters to the Corinthians, as we have pointed out, we see the tragedy that can come about among Christians, Christians as individuals and Christians as a company. The tragedy is because of this one thing, because of a carry-over of that old rejected and discredited humanity into the realm of the New. This is a terrible tragedy. See, the Spirit of God has caused this to be written in Corinthians. It is unpleasant reading, and I do not like reading a lot of this letter. When I read what is here, when I read about what they are doing in this Christian assembly, that there is such a thing as incest in a Christian assembly (and all the other things,some of which we shall touch upon); when I read, I think - what an awful tragedy among Christians.
You are not going to tell me that belongs to Corinth two thousand years ago alone. Are we not meeting this in Christian companies continually, adultery and what not? It is a terrible tragedy when you ignore that great gap that God has placed by the Cross between one humanity and Another, when you do not recognize how utter is that cleavage which the Cross has made. When you bypass the Cross in this matter of human life, you are in the way of tragedy, the tragedy of your whole spiritual life and testimony. This is very testing. The Cross is more than a teaching, a doctrine - it is a terrible setting forth of the great thing that God has done and is after; though, on the other hand, a very glorious setting forth,for here is the New Man introduced. And we must keep Him in view even while we speak about this tragedy, and the battleground of these two humanities.
The Battleground Is Between Two Men:
"The Natural Man" and "He That Is Spiritual"
Now we must spend a little while getting our position, as is represented by this First Letter to the Corinthians in particular. Their position (and what might be our position) is undoubtedly the position of many Christians today. What is the position in which the apostle, or the Holy Spirit through the apostle, puts the Corinthians? I wonder if you have noticed that in this First Letter to the Corinthians, Israel's history in the wilderness is mentioned fourteen times, as it is recorded in Exodus to Deuteronomy, and is pinpointed in a very particular way. Here the Corinthians are shown to be in that period between Egypt and the land. That is their position spiritually; that is, they are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and have come out under its covering. The Corinthians are there, and the apostle takes note of that as he introduces the letter unto the "saints." Now you revise, if necessary, your mentality about that word "saints"; it simply means the "separated ones," those who have come out unto God. That is all! That is a saint, one who has come out to God, been separated, redeemed by precious blood, positionally separated and out. How? They are redeemed by precious blood.
In First Corinthians,chapter ten, Paul says: "I would have you know, brethren, that all our fathers were baptized into Moses in the cloud, and in the sea." Baptized - the Corinthians have been baptized and had come under the regime of the Spirit, the Cloud, the regime of the Holy Spirit. These are Christians positionally, if not conditionally. Positionally they are separated; they are baptized, but they are in the wilderness as we find them here in Corinth. They are Christians positionally, they are under the regime of the Holy Spirit, the era of the Spirit; they are in the Kingdom of God, and if the Kingdom of God means the Sovereign rule of God, as it does, they are under the Sovereign rule of God. They are positionally in the Kingdom of God - not in the general sense of Divine Sovereignty of the universe, but in a more particular sense of Divine Sovereignty. Yes, they are all that, and they are experiencing supernatural activities of God; objectively supernatural things are happening to them.
Paul says: "Corinth, you come behind in no spiritual gift." All the gifts are there - "supernaturals." Later, the apostle in answering one of the ten questions that they present to him says "Now, concerning the spirituals..." Now let us move slowly, carefully, for these are all truths that were Israel's while they were in the wilderness between Egypt and the land. Yet, with all that was true of the Corinthians, the apostle had to gird himself up and gather himself together and make one positive resolution. To these people with all this, he said, "I determined, I have made up my mind, to know nothing amongst you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." To Christians with all this, redeemed by the precious blood, positionally separated unto God, within the Sovereign rule of His Kingship and His Kingdom, and objectively knowing much of His sovereign, supernatural activities in their history - to them the apostle has to say this categorical thing: "To you I have made up my mind, I resolved, I determined, that amongst you it shall be nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." What is all this about? It is this cleavage in chapter two between what the apostle designates "the natural man" and "he that is spiritual"; and the battle is between the two. That is the battleground between these two men.
(continued with # 12)