“Abiding in Christ and Walking in Christ”


“He that saith He abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.
Abiding and walking are the lessons of this text. As a result of abiding in Christ, we ought to walk as He walked. The first lesson is abiding in Christ. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide, in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches:  he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4, 5. Christ says, “I am the true Vine.” There are a great many that profess to be vines; but I am the real vine, I am the Vine that has life. We are the branches. But in the Scripture Christ is spoken of as a branch. “Behold, I will bring forth My servant the Branch.” “Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord.” Zech. 3:8; 6:12. “For he shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:  he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no vinebeauty that we should desire Him.” Isa. 53: 2. “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” But the Scripture speaks of Christ Himself as the branch. Christ is a branch unto God that He may be a vine unto us.
Before any branch can grow, there must be some life underneath that does not show itself. So the branch is after all only a root which has come up in sight, but which depends for life upon the roots that draw life from the soil. God is the source of all things; but He comes in sight to men in Jesus Christ the Branch, and Christ the branch is but the root of God, growing up in sight that men may see it, and God be manifested. When Jesus Christ came to the world, it was God manifesting Himself; but because the root came up out of what appeared to be dry ground, because it did not manifest itself in the way that men thought it ought to, they did not recognize it. They thought it was something not to be desired, and so they rejected it; and yet it was a branch springing up from the root of life, it was God manifesting Himself to the world so that He could be seen. Clouds and darkness are round about His throne; yet He manifested Himself, so that the world, if they would, might see Him in the Branch.
Christ became a branch unto God in order that He might be a vine unto other branches. But the branch abides in the vine only by having a living connection with it. Just as soon as the branch is severed from the vine, though it is put back again with great care, it no longer abides in the Vine. It will not abide in the vine except it be grafted, and the success of this grafting depends upon making such a connection that the life from the vine shall flow into the branch again.
And we most abide in Christ as— The Branch Abides in the Vine, so that very life of God shall be our life. The branch is full of life, yet it has no life of its own. So we must present ourselves every day to be filled with life from God. Just the moment the connection is severed between the branch and the vine, just that moment the branch ceases to live. That is the lesson of abiding in Christ. As the branch is connected with the vine, filled with life, yet needing all the time to be filled, so we are to be connected with Christ, wholly dependent upon Him for life.
That is the lesson; what is the application?—”He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” If the branch is connected with the vine, it bears the fruit of the vine. God in Christ is the true Vine, but the fruit of the grape vine is not found directly on the stalk. The fruit is found on the branches. Christ is our vine, and those who, through becoming connected with Him, are His branches, will bring forth the same fruit as He did when He was here, a branch Himself. That is to say, they will walk even as He walked. This brings before us the thought of Christ our Example.
“He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” Not as men say He walked, but as He walked. And how shall we know how He walked? –By reading and studying His life. That is where we find how Christ walked, and there we will find how we ought to walk. And we will walk as He walked, not wholly as an obligation, but as a result. If one says he abides in Christ, and walks not as He walked, his life is contrary

Walking as He walked...

to his profession. We do not get into Christ by trying to walk as He walked; we do not abide in Christ by trying to walk as He walked; but we first get into Christ, and then as a consequence, just as the branch will bring forth the fruit of the vine, so will the Christian, who really abides in Christ, bring forth the same fruit that He bore, walking as He walked.
If we abide in Him, we will walk in His steps, and He has left us an example that we should walk in His steps. There are many people who take it upon themselves to point out what are Christ’s footsteps; but His word is the test, and in it we may find whether they are pointing out the right footsteps or not. There are in the world to-day many false conceptions of Christ, which amount really to having a false Christ. It is not what our idea of Christ is, but what He is, that is to be our example; not what we have been taught that Christ is, but what word says that He is.
It was revealed unto Simeon “that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ,” and that is what we want to see. Not any man’s idea of what Christ ought to be, but the Lord’s Christ. That is the Christ of the word, and our idea of how Christ walked should be formed wholly by the word.

A Practical Test 

And now let us test it that way. It is quite likely that as soon is we begin to talk of walking with Christ, there comes up the thought, Christ walked on the water; and you surely do not expect us to walk on the water. Let me call your attention to an incident at the beginning of Christ’s ministry:  “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.

Christ walked on water by the divine power of God the Father.

Christ walked on water by the divine power of God the Father.

And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed Him.” Matt. 4: 18-20. Before Christ walked on the sea, He walked by the sea on the land; and before He saw Peter on the water, He saw him on the land and told him to follow Him, and Peter left his nets and followed Him. Later on in Christ’s ministry, we find that after He had fed the five thousand, His disciples took ship to go across the lake, but He went apart into a mountain to pray; “and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” Matt. 14:2325. But notice that before He walked on the sea, He had spent the night in secret prayer. “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with the waves:  for the wind was contrary.” So is our ship. Very likely just now some ship is being tossed by the waves of human tempest. And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them from His season of secret prayer, walking on the sea. “And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Let Him say that to you now. “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” “And Peter answered Him, and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He Said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Verses 26-31. Christ’s walk on the sea was the walk of faith. But Peter failed because of his lack of faith. It is contrary to nature to walk on the water, and it is contrary to our nature to walk as Christ walked; but He says to us as He said to Peter, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Whether it be on land or on sea, His word is a rock; and when He puts His word beneath our feet, He builds for us a bridge of rock, and it makes no difference whether He puts that bridge on land, or water, or in the sky.
But Peter sank. And the Peter that sank that night on the water is the Peter that sank that other night, in failing to testify for Je

sus. The reason in both cases was his lack of faith. In every walk of Christ there is a lesson for us, and as it is unnatural for man to walk on water, so it is unnatural for him to walk as Christ walked—in obedience to the character of God; but power is given through faith in God’s word, “Come unto Me.”
Although Christ was God in the flesh, yet He did not escape the criticism of men as to the way He walked. Observe the record:

 

“And it came to pass as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it,”—Who is a Pharisee?—He is a man who has undertaken to be his own Saviour, and is very confident in his own power to do the work. It does not matter whether he lived eighteen hundred years ago, or whether he lives to-day. Who is a Christian? One who depends upon Christ as his Saviour, and has all confidence in Him. Christ came in contact with Pharisees who were making themselves holy, and they found fault with Him for eating with publicans and sinners, and “they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matt. 9:10-13. When they found fault with the way He was walking, He said, I am walking according to the Scriptures, and if you were following those Scriptures, you would not find fault with Me. These men were the leaders of the religious thought of the day. They were looked upon as the teachers of the people, and they prided themselves in that position. Yet they criticised Christ’s walk.
Let us read another record:  “And when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased.” What displeased them?—Because the children cried Hosanna to Christ and not to the scribes and Pharisees. “And said unto Him, Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” I am walking in accordance with the Scriptures.
Let us turn to Mark’s Gospel on this point; “And it came to pass that He went through the cornfields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?” Mark 2:23, 24. For what did they find fault with Him this time? The first time it was about sitting down and eating with sinners; but it was His glory to receive sinners then, and it is so now. The second time they found fault with Him about the children singing His praises. Let them sing them now. The third time it was because He did not keep the Sabbath day according to their idea, and how does He meet it? “Have ye never read what David did, when he had need and was an hungered, he and all that were with him?” If you had read the Scriptures, you would not have found fault with Me in that way. The principles laid down in the Scriptures are the principles which govern My life, but I am not walking according to your interpretation of the Scriptures.
With those who desire the truth, as soon as the truth is presented to them, the controversy is at an end. Those who desire an argument will dodge from one point to another, as did the Pharisees with Christ.

“And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day.” The same controversy again. “And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” Mark 3:1-4. Well they might; for there was nothing to be said. And He healed the man.

The Controversy in Christ’s Time and Ours 

In Christ’s time the controversy between Him and the Pharisees was how to keep the Sabbath; and when Christ settled it, He settled it on the basis of

Man still seeks to add and take away and change what God wrote with His own finger.

Man still seeks to add and take away and change what God wrote with His own finger.

the Scriptures. The controversy to-day is, Which day shall we keep for the Sabbath? Settle it on the same ground. That is walking as Christ walked. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked,” not as people say He walked. If someone says that Christ kept the first day of the week, go to the Bible, and ask for the record. If some claim that the Sabbath was changed by Him or by the apostles in honour of His resurrection, ask for a “Thus saith the Lord.” The word is our only safe guide. Walk as He walked. The man who walks as Christ walks will not necessarily walk as the leading religious teachers of the day walk. Christ did not; for it was the Pharisees who found fault with Him. Christ did not conform His life to their ideas. He told them what the Scripture said, and told them that He was walking in accordance to that word. And to-day let that word settle every controversy.


Christ the Manifestation of the Character of God

When Christ, looking back over His life of thirty-three years, said that He had finished the work His Father gave Him to do, how did He sum it all up? “All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:15, 10. In this statement we have not so much a command as an example, and when Christ said that, He gave His complete biography. When he said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments,” He gave His whole life-history. And what does it mean?—I have manifested the character of My Father. What, then, does it mean to keep the commandments?—It means to manifest the character of God as it appeared in Jesus Christ. Nothing short of that is keeping the commandments. The Pharisees prided themselves that they were keeping the commandments, but Christ said, “Ye know not the Scriptures.” What they knew about the Scriptures, they had learned by the head. What we learn about the Scriptures, we must learn by heart, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know,”—know it really and truly by heart.
When Christ told them that He had kept His Father’s commandments, He told them that He was the manifestation of God on the earth. He told them in those words that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself; He told them that He did not speak His own words, but the words of His Father. “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” He told them that He was the Word of God on the earth, because He was declaring the character of God. He told them He was Jesus Christ. All this He told them in these words: “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” Christ was a man, the Son of man. There has, then, been one man who walked this earth, and kept the commandments of God. He is our example. We are to walk as He walked.

Can We Keep the Commandments?

When we thus learn from the Scriptures that keeping the commandments is manifesting the character of God, we may say, It is impossible f

Christians are to walk by the life of Christ in the soul.

Christians are to walk by the life of Christ in the soul.

or us to do that. That is a good beginning. We cannot do it, that is true. But who did keep the commandments?—Jesus Christ. And who can do it over again, even in sinful flesh?—Jesus Christ. And how shall we walk as He walked? “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My People.” 2 Cor. 6: 16. God dwelt in Christ and walked in Christ. Christ was the branch unto God that He might be the vine unto us, that the life through Him might flow into us as branches, that we might bear the fruit of the vine.
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” Let the scripture tell how He walked: “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” The life of God abides in him who abides in Christ, and the scripture is fulfilled, “I will dwell in them and walk in them.” God in Christ, by His Holy Spirit dwelling in the man, walks in him. This shows how we can walk as Christ walked.
But first of all, take what the word of God says. Do not take what man says. Let the light of God shine upon His word. Let His Holy Spirit teach us the blessed living truth of His word, and God Himself will fulfil His word in everyone who thus receives it.
But let us read further: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.” Eze. 36:26, 27. That is the promise of God. But when He says, “My Child, this way,” and I choose to go another way, He does not cause us to walk in His way. He does not cause us to do contrary to our will in this matter. But when one says, Lord, show me the way (Ps. 119:33), He shows him the way, and causes him to walk in it. That is the way of His working. 
The blessed Bible teaches us the same truth in a hundred different ways. Suppose we turn to a page of what we may call God’s picture book. To help children to understand, we give them pictures to illustrate what we are teaching. We are but children, and God often tells us a truth by putting a picture before us. Here is one:—
“And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and He healed them.” Could any one be much worse off? They were in a terrible plight, but “He healed them.” “Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see; and they glorified the God of Israel.” Matt. 15:30, 31. We are lame; we cannot walk as Christ walked. Christ had a noble walk. We cannot walk that kind of a walk. What does He do for us? He healed them; cannot He heal us?
Here is another of God’s pictures, which we have looked at many times. It is the picture of the man lame from his mother’s womb. Take the Scripture just as it reads. What was the matter with this man? He was lame. And how long had he been lame?—All his life. What did Peter say to him?—”Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” What then? “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” And when he had received strength, what did he do?— “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.” But he had to receive strength in the name of Jesus of Nazareth before he could walk. And the people “were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.” “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this?” Ye men that believe in Israel’s God, why do ye wonder at this? Do you not believe in a God of power? “Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” Acts 3:6-12

healed to walk

Only by His power, we can walk as He walked.

Walking As Christ Walked

No man can make another walk as Christ walked if he has not the strength to walk that way. It is through faith in Jesus of Nazareth. “And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Israel’s God lives to-day, and the same power that touched that man who never had walked and made him able to walk, can take the worst sinner, who never has stepped one step in the steps of Jesus Christ, and make him to walk as Christ walked. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
Here is another picture to show us that we can walk as He walked through faith in His name: “And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked.” But he had heard Paul speak, and the message had taken hold of his heart. Paul saw that he had faith to be healed, and he “said with a loud voice, stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.” Acts 14:8-10. And he walked like a well man. He was made well in order that he might do this. That is the work of Jesus Christ. And to-day by His power we can walk as He walked. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Col. 2:6. And to walk in Him is the only way we can walk as He walked.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Eph. 5:2. Many people have a very incorrect idea of what it means to walk in love. They seem to have an idea that it is to get up a kind of ecstasy so that they do not know where they are or what they are doing. It means to them to get above the ordinary things of life. This is not the correct view. The Scripture defines exactly what it means to walk in love. “And this is love that we walk after His commandments.” 2 John 6. “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments.” I John 5: 3. “If ye love Me,” Christ said, “keep My commandments.” “If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. The love of God is not a sentimental emotion, not a fanatical frenzy of experience. Christ worked at the carpenter’s bench during the greater part of His life. He went down to Nazareth and was subject to His parents. His walk as a young man is the walk for every young man. Christ tells us how to love Him. He does not accept anything else.
It is of great importance for us to get a right idea of Jesus Christ. Let a man get a wrong idea of Him, and He will devote his life to his false idea, and sacrifice the lives of all who do not see his Christ as He sees Him. Take, for instance, the example of Paul. He was looking for Messiah; but it was his Messiah, not the Lord’s Messiah, so that when the Lord’s Messiah came he did not see Him. Some did, and believed on Him, and Paul immediately began to persecute them because they did not believe on his Christ. “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.” “In the Jews’ religion.” God’s religion never persecuted anybody. It is man’s religion that leads one to persecute those who do not see his Christ. God’s religion never does so. “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation.” Observe what the Jews’ religion was. “Being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Gal. 1:13, 14. He was zealous of the traditions of his fathers, not of the word of God. “But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto yon, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterward I came into the region of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.” Gal. 1:15-24. It is important that we have a true idea of Christ.
Christ is All and in All, and in order to walk as He walked, we must know Him in His capacity of adapting Himself to us. The Scriptuepic doorre sets Him forth in this way, that we may appropriate the love of God to ourselves.

“I am the door.” John 10:7. That is the entrance. No man can enter except through Christ.
“I am the way.” John 14:6. I am the door and the way to walk in.
“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12. I am the door, the way, the light. This is a dark world, and we need a light.
“I am that bread of life.” John 6:48. We need strength to walk in the way. “I am that bread of life.”
“I am the good shepherd.” John 10:11. He is the companion who goes with His sheep.
“I am … the life.” John 14:6. This is the power for the way.
“I am the resurrection.” John 11:25. That is the end of the road.

I am the door, I am the way, I am the light, I am the bread, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the life, I am the resurrection. That is: I am the entrance, the road, the light to walk by, the strength to walk with, the companion by the way, the power for the way, and the end of the way. And so David in the 23rd Psalm says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Jesus Christ’s walk extends not simply to the grave, but through the grave. And because of this, we may go through the valley of the shadow of death, and not be left in it. “I am the resurrection and the life;” and he who abides in Christ, who is the door, the way, the light, the bread, the Good Shepherd, the life, and the resurrection, does walk “even as He walked.”

~October 20, 1895 Armadale Campmeeting Talk. W.W. Prescott. To learn more about what Ellen White spoke about these special messages from this campmeeting, click here.




IN THE BEGINNING: The Counsel of Peace


In the beginning of the Bible, our minds are taken back to the creation of God.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

"In the beginning God..."

                      “In the beginning God…”

Yet God was not alone in His work of creation. He had a Helper at His side. Of this, the Scripture tells us:
“The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.” (Proverbs 8:22-26)

The Word of God tells us that Jehovah brought forth, and possessed One in the beginning of His way.Alluding to exactly who this was who was with God before the creation of the world is further alluded to in the same book of Proverbs:
“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4)

The Bible says that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, so therefore it is He that “hath established all the ends of the earth.” Then it presents another question, “what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell?” Therefore, the one who was brought forth, who was “set up from everlasting, from the beginning” was the Son of God. He declares it was “before His works of old”, His creation, that Jehovah had set Him up. Speaking further of this close Companion of Jehovah, from the beginning of the creation of God, the Word declares:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4)

It says that the Son of God that was brought forth was the Word of God, God made “all things…by Him”. So it was the Word of God, Jesus, His only-begotten Son who was at His side, making all things in the beginning with Him.
“God… Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (Col. 1:15-16)

The Bible abundantly testifies that in the beginning, God, the Father, had worked through His Son in the creation of all things. Therefore confirming that He was not alone in His work.

God shares His throne with His Son, “who He hath appointed heir of all things,” including His throne.

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” (Hebrews 1:8-12)

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

So we see that the Scripture declares that there were two in the beginning of God’s creation:
1) God the Father
2) Jesus Christ, the only-begotten (brought forth) Son of the Father

 

The Rainbow Covenant: On The Throne Is Seated The Father & The Son

Thus concluding that God was by no means alone in the creation. The creation of the whole kingdom of heaven, and the throne over it, was given Him, inasmuch as He partook in the creation of it by the Father.

The Bible gives us this glimpse of the Throne of God, showing the Son as seated down at the right hand of the Father:

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1)
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrew 12:2)
“A Psalm of David. JEHOVAH said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool…” (Psalm 110:1)

Of that Throne which the Father shares with His Son, the Psalmist continues in verse 4,
“JEHOVAH hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

Thus we see that the Son of God, who shared in the creative work of God, and His throne, is also a Priest, as well as a King (the Order of Melchizedek) by divine institution of the heavenly Father. Thus the heavenly throne, is also a priestly throne. A priestly throne however, requires a Sanctuary. The prophet beheld in vision, a throne “from the beginning” that was exactly this:

“A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.” Jeremiah 17:12

So the  glorious high throne from the beginning, before JEHOVAH’s “works of old”, the Son of God was established as a Priest & King. And why a Priest? He was the Priest of the Sanctuary. And why a Sanctuary? That is the most vital part of understanding these points, because without the other points to bring us to this place, there would be no gospel. Yet there is the gospel. In holy vision, Zechariah saw the glory of the Son of God:
“Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zecharian 6:13)
We are told that “the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Not merely affirming two, but it says the counsel of peace is between them. The Hebrew word for “shall be” is especially interesting, of the tense it is in. This means “I AM”, or “to exist”, “be/was/is”. It is the Hebrew word “HawYah”, from which comes the name JEHOVAH, and means “eternal”. It is the same words that our God employed when speaking to Moses:
“And God said unto Moses, I AM [HawYah] THAT I AM [HawYah]: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [HawYah] hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)
Therefore, an accurate rendering of Zechariah 6:13 may also read: “Even He builds the temple of the LORD; and bears the glory, and sits and rules upon His throne; and He is a priest upon His throne, and the counsel of peace IS between them both.”

What is this counsel of peace between our Heavenly Father and our Great High Priest? It is that which was from the beginning, and what the throne was established upon. It is the most sacred of counsels, because in it, was established both the Son, the Sanctuary, and the Throne over all creation. What is that eternal counsel which was from the beginning between them both? It was the formulation of the plan of the gospel.  The Word of God declares:

The Counsel of Peace Was Between Them Both

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” (1 Peter 1:18-20)

Of this counsel of peace that existed between the Father and the Son, it is called “the hidden wisdom”:
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” (1 Corinthians 2:7)
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest (revealed) unto his saints:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery… which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Colossians 1:26-27)

Therefore, we see that this was hidden since creation. The plan of redemption was formed between God and His Son beforehand, in the event that man would choose to ruin himself by disobeying the command of His Creator, and eat the fruit of sin. Yet, at the fall, the counsel of peace, the everlasting covenant, at the very first sin went into effect. The Voice of God visited them at their fall, and promised that He would crush the dominion of the serpent, Satan. That promise was sufficient to break his dominion in their hearts if they would believe the counsel of peace. There, He covered their nakedness with a slain lamb, and declared to them:
“…the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” (Isaiah 54:10)

God Didn't Desire Sin's Entrance, But A Plan Was Made Beforehand...

God Didn’t Desire Sin’s Entrance, But A Plan Was Made Beforehand…

So what is the counsel of peace? It is “the covenant of My peace” says the Word of JEHOVAH. It declares that the way of His mercy has already been established from the beginning, before His “works of old”, having “foreordained” His Son to be the Lamb of sacrifice, “before the foundation of the world“. Hallelujah! That peace of this counsel is none other than peace foremost with God through His Son:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” (Ephesians 2:13-14)

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:18-20)

 

 

The plan established in the heart of God and His Son before the creation of the world was to, in the event of sin, “reconcile all things” to God through the One that God made all things through! And not only so, but in the heart of God therefore, when this plan was formed, it declares something of the greatest importance. This counsel was fixed in place before the creation was entered into by God and His Christ, but it was not for Themselves that they formed this plan. The Scriptures declare that it was for us, declaring that He has even “chosen us…before the foundation of the world”: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4)
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling… according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (2 Timothy 1:9)

God has saved us from the beginning if we will choose to rest in His love. He has saved us, and called us, and chosen us, and even given us grace BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN; before we were born, He saw the mercy, and grace and glory He would crown us with in His love. He sees the covenant of peace, and He declares, “I have saved you, return unto Me.” Salvation has already been in place, so none need be lost. He who upholds the worlds fixed something in place even greater than the world, and He saw us in that very thing.

This is “the love of the truth” that we should purify our souls in obeying. It declares heaven is our home. It declares that our abiding place is in the Lamb of God before the foundation of the world. That He established His Sanctuary and Priesthood for our sakes, in the love wherewith He has loved us.

Why then should any be lost? Because they “obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 1:8). The very same gospel which was ordained to their glory, they have refused. And why have they refused? Because of Satan.

The god of this world has blinded the minds of many from the glorious revelation of the love of the gospel

The god of this world has blinded the minds of many from the glorious revelation of the love of the gospel

 

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them….” (2 Corinthians 3:3-4)
Declaring that he works “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2Th 2:10)

Therefore, we read:
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)

 

 

Jesus is called the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the world, another reference to the counsel of peace that existed. He was slain from the foundation of the world, being that Lamb that was a ready sacrifice “foreordained” for fallen man, to be the Lamb promising mercy and life. Here is the promise God gave:

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;). That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1-3)

In the above passage, John calls Jesus “the Word of life”, “which was from the beginning”, and “was manifested”, even calling Him “that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested”; in the same letter, declaring this eternal life which was with the Father, he says: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

Therefore, if the life was manifested to John, and that eternal life is in the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, being the Lamb bringing mercy to Adam, and all who sinned before He was manifested, then He is also the Life from the foundation of the world, giving eternal life to all who believe from the foundation of the world. Even before His Resurrection, Christ said:

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)
Therefore, Christ is the Resurrection from the foundation of the world, and He is our Life. This is the peace, this is the life, this is the hope that you have been given in the gospel, declaring the love God has had toward you. Therefore, the question that remains, that Jesus asks of you, is this:
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26)




The God of Peace: A Marriage of Faith & Works


“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.” (Heb. 13:20-21)

The above text will be our focus for this study; which we will open up more fully from the Scripture.

God is called the “God of peace”, and how He makes peace is of interest towards all of us is worthy of continual study, because not all are at peace with Him. Worthy because the man who has sinned is separated from His Spirit of peace; this causes a disconnect between God and man, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6)
Before man sinned, and after he is redeemed from sin, the life and peace of God through the Spirit of God is to be in us. It is further stated in the Scripture of the God of peace how that peace is brought about. It is “through the blood of the everlasting covenant” that this peace is established. That peace that is brought to us is to bring a definite work into the soul:

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself… And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”
(Col 1:20-21)

By that very blood, now you are reconciled to God, but before having this peace, you were counted as an enemy of God “by wicked works”, “because the carnal mind is enmity [hatred, hostility] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7) Yet that same blood of Christ (who is our peace [Eph. 2:14] with God, and called the Prince of peace [Isaiah 9:6]) so fully brings us back into the presence of the God of peace, so that we might be called truly “peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9), the children of peace, having peace with God, and in Christ, peace with all those who partake of His Spirit. Moreover, that “everlasting covenant”, the blood of which brings this peace, is called “the covenant of peace” between God & Christ (Zechariah 6:13). God says of “the Jerusalem above” (Gal. 4:26), His beloved nation that He is married to: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” (Isa 54:10)

The God of peace is truly merciful; seeking to reconcile all to Himself. There are many today who are professing to be children of peace, and part of the covenant of peace, and say they are citizens of that beloved heavenly nation that is at peace with God, but why are there so few that truly have any real peace at all?

The answer can be found in what happens when the God of peace brings us to covenant relationship with Him. It states that He will “perfect in every good work to do His will, working in us that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ…”; this work that is worked in us by God, through Christ. What is “every good work” that He works in us? It is nothing less than His commandments. We are told that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) The good works that we walk in, to reveal that we have peace with Him are the works which were “before ordained that we should walk in them.” Only a few verses before, it contrasts the saved experience of walking in good works, with the condition of before our salvation appeared: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:…But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”  (Eph. 2:2,4-6)

Instead of walking in good works, we had walked in disobedience to God’s law, being “dead in sins” (which is the transgression of God’s law 1 John 3:4). But “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus” has “quickened us together with Christ,…and has raised us up…” that we might now walk in good works, as the Spirit that raised up Christ Jesus dwells in our hearts working in us.

To all who believe in Christ as a personal Savior, and walk in His commandments, He gives us the assurance:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Peace can never be afforded from the world that doesn’t know God or keep His commandments, but only to those who truly love God and truly walk in His commandments. The peace that the world offers is temporary, superficial, and outward; it seldom is true peace that reaches from our heart to the heart of God, and to one another. Thus He promises a true and abiding peace; heaven’s peace is that which He works in us, and is called “the work of righteousness”:

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” (Isaiah 32:17)

What a beautiful promise! The work of righteousness produces the peace of God! Now, the only righteousness that can be worked is that which divine power in Christ, through His blood, can work, and apart from that there is no righteousness at all which a man can have. We need a divine peace, which comes from a divine righteousness; this is wholly a gift of God’s grace, and not our own works, but receiving His works to be worked out in us. Man’s standard of righteousness is to try and work to create peace with God, and with each other by their own strength independent of God; this is a very common for men to to this; to believe “I’m a good person”, but blind to the obligations of God’s law, and what it means to have His righteousness. Anything less than His righteousness is worldly; Christ declared the same: “Do not think that I’ve come to destroy the law…I’ve come not to destroy but to fulfill…Verily I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no manner enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 5:19-21) Only through blood of Christ which cleanses us from all unrighteousness can this be made a reality in our lives. And His righteousness, which works peace can only be manifested in us by obedience to His commandments. “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law…” (Isaiah 51:7)

Here is the secret to real peace. It is knowing the law’s searching even the thoughts and intents of the heart, and being cleansed deeply; thus producing a depth of peace that few have realized in their walk with Christ. It is only when realizing the magnitude of the holiness of God’s law to reveal His own righteousness, that Christ may work in us to truly establish peace in the soul. Such a peace is found in the holiness of the law engraved on the tables of the heart that keeps God’s commandments. It is God’s righteousness in His law, and the blood of Christ which binds our hearts to peace in that law that finds the words fulfilled in our lives: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

It is evident by these passages of Scripture that if such a peace is in the heart, it is because the law is in the heart. Without the law in the heart, how can the soul be risen above stormy tempest,  to heaven’s atmosphere above the clouds, with the holiness of the Prince of peace? To such as who disregard His law as the basis of His righteousness, He says:

“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:…There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” (Isa 48:18,22)

Yet, of the redeemed children of that beloved nation of the covenant of peace, something far different is said:

“All your children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of you children.” (Isaiah 54:13)

“Great peace have they which love Your law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165)

There is good reason why many do not have such peace today, they think that Christ came to take away the law instead of taking away our sins (the transgression of that law), rather than coming to fulfill the law in us. Like a shallow reading of the law and not seeing the deep holiness of God within it’s precepts, there are many who are not discerning Christ’s works of coming to fulfill the law, or the righteousness of God. The Scripture tells us that “what the law could not do, because it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us…who walk after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:3-4) Christ fulfills the law in us, He destroys our sins against that law, condemning them by His Spirit in our flesh; He restores order to the soul; He builds us anew.

It is not enough to have the law without Christ’s blood (works). Nor is it enough to have Christ’s blood without the law (dead, empty faith). Both can never produce peace. These are the two chief reasons that so few actually have peace today; they do not see Christ as inseparably connected to His law; they do not walk as Christ walked, though they claim to be in covenant relationship with Him. Both extremes the apostles frequently opposed and taught against, teaching the truth to be a narrow road between the two ditches.

FAITH APART FROM OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1Jn 2:4-6)

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17)

Faith was alone, and James used starting words to declare the connection between faith and works. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (v. 26) Many are simply a body without the Spirit; if Adam’s body had been formed, but he received no breath of life, he could not walk, and live, and communicate. His soul was dead (non-existent) when he had an absence of life. The living soul of true Christianity is understanding the beautiful inseparable marriage between both the law and faith. It is true understanding when we realize that Christ did not die to divorce Himself, (or us) from the law, but to divorce man from sin, and it’s condemnation which brings death.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:…Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Rom. 5:1)

THE LAW APART FROM CHRIST

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:4)

Man is justified by faith, and that of faith by Christ’s blood. It will forever change how we relate to the law; but does not justify walking in disobedience like we did before we knew Christ. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) The law reveals sin. To try and keep it after you have broken it already, is sin; it is like Adam and Eve once they sinned and their nakedness appeared. They were guilty, but tried to clothe themselves to hide their guilt; but only Christ could clothe them by His sacrifice; God could accept nothing less. “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” (Gal. 2:18) Therefore, the law can only produce condemnation and never salvation, but true salvation in Christ, which is by grace through faith, can produce the good works required by the law which we had sinned against.

Moreover, that the children of God’s covenant of peace are through-and-through commandment-keepers cannot be denied:

“And the dragon (Satan, the old serpent that deceived Eve into sin) was wroth with the woman (the beloved nation- the heavenly Jerusalem), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (the Spirit of God- Rev. 19:10).” (Rev 12:17)

And even though all the wicked, all the devils of hell and their agents shall come against us, yet the peace of God that is manifested to us will overcome and triumph over all of our enemies; the devil was cast out of heaven, and though we live on this earth and are not shielded from the tempter, we may be united with the power of heaven in Christ, being risen above the storm in the Spirit that dwells in our hearts, as we walk in obedience to His Word. This peace in God will unite us to a divine source of power, which is well able to rise above the most terrible of persecutions.




The Word made Flesh


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The Revised Version says, “The Word became flesh.”

The theme of redemption will be the science and the song of the eternal ages, and well may it occupy our minds during our short stay here. There is no portion of this great theme that makes such a demand upon our minds in order to appreciate it in any degree, as the subject we shall study to-night,-“The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” Through Him all things became; now He Himself became. He who had all glory with the Father, now lays aside His glory and becomes flesh. He lays aside His divine mode of existence, and takes the human mode of existence, and God becomes manifest in the flesh. This truth is the very foundation of all truth.

A HELPFUL TRUTH

And Jesus Christ becoming flesh. God being manifest in the flesh, is one of the most helpful truths, one of the most instructive truths, the truth above all truths, which humanity ought to rejoice in.

I desire this evening to study this question for our personal, present benefit. Let us command our minds to the utmost, because to comprehend that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, demands all our mental powers. Let us consider, first, what kind of flesh; for this is the very foundation of this question as it relates to us personally. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it believed Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:14-18. That through death, being made subject to death, taking upon Him the flesh of sin, He might, by His dying, destroy him that had the power of death.

“Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” The margin says, “He taketh not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold;” and one version reads, “He helps not angels.” We see the reason from the next verse: “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest, in things pertaining to God.” “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3:16. Now verily, He helps the seed of Abraham by Himself becoming the seed of Abraham. God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be revealed in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

So you see that what the Scripture states very plainly is that Jesus Christ had exactly the same flesh that we bear,—flesh of sin, flesh in which we sin, flesh, however, in which He did not sin, but He bore our sins in that flesh of sin. Do not set this point aside. No matter how you may have looked at it in the past, look at it now as it is in the word; and the more you look at it in that way, the more reason you will have to thank God that it is so.

ADAM’S SIN TYPICAL

What was the situation?—Adam had sinned, and Adam being the head of the human family, his sin was a typical sin. God made Adam in His own image, but by sin he lost that image. Then he begat sons and daughters, but he begat them in his image, not in God’s. And so we have descended in the line, but all after his image.

For four thousand years this went on, and then Jesus Christ came, of flesh, and in the flesh, born of a woman, made under the law; born of the Spirit, but in the flesh. And what flesh could He take but the flesh of the time? Not only that, but it was the very flesh He designed to take; because you see, the problem was to help man out of the difficulty into which he had fallen, and man is a free moral agent. He must be helped as a free moral agent. Christ’s work must be, not to destroy him, not to create a new race, but to re-create man, to restore in him the image of God. “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9.

AN UNDONE, HELPLESS RACE

God made man a little lower than the angels, but man fell much lower by his sin. Now he is far separated from God; but he is to be brought back again. Jesus Christ came for that work; and in order to do it, He came, not where man was before he fell, but where man was after he fell. This is the lesson of Jacob’s ladder. It rested on the earth where Jacob was, but the topmost round reached to heaven. When Christ comes to help man out of the pit, He does not come to the edge of the pit and look over, and say, Come up here, and I will help you back. If man could help himself up to the point from whence he has fallen, he could do all the rest. If he could help himself one step, he could help himself all the way; but it is because man is utterly ruined, weak, and wounded and broken to pieces, in fact, perfectly helpless, that Jesus Christ come right down where he is, and meets him there. He takes his flesh and He becomes a brother to him.Jesus Christ is a brother to us in the flesh: He was born into the family.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” He had only one Son, and He gave Him away. And to whom did He give Him? “Unto us a child is born,

UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN.”

Isaiah 9:6. Sin has made a change even in heaven; for Jesus Christ, because of sin, has taken upon Himself humanity, and to-day He wears that humanity, and will through all eternity. Jesus Christ became the Son of man as well as the Son of God. He was born into our family. He did not come as an angelic being, but was born into the family, and grew up in it; He was a child, a youth, a young man, a man in the full prime of life, in our family. He is the Son of man, related to us, bearing the flesh that we bear.

Adam was the representative of the family; therefore his sin was a representative sin. When Jesus Christ came, He came to take the place in which Adam had failed. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45. The second Adam is the man Christ Jesus, and He came down to unite the human family with the divine family. God is spoken of as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, came Himself to this part of the family, that He might win it back again, that there might be a

REUNITED FAMILY IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

He came and took the flesh of sin that this family had brought upon itself by sin, and wrought out salvation for them, condemning sin in the flesh.

Adam failed in his place, and by the offence of one many were made sinners. Jesus Christ gave Himself, not only for us, but to us, uniting Himself to the family, in order that He might take the place of the first Adam, and as head of the family win back what was lost by the first Adam. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is a representative righteousness, just as the sin of Adam was a representative sin, and Jesus Christ, as the second Adam, gathered to Himself the whole family.

But since the first Adam took his place, there has been a change, and humanity is sinful humanity. The power of righteousness has been lost. To redeem man from the place unto which he had fallen, Jesus Christ comes, and takes the very flesh now borne by humanity; He comes in sinful flesh, and takes the case where Adam tried it and failed. He became, not a man, but He became flesh; He became human, and gathered all humanity unto Himself, embraced it in His own infinite mind, and stood as the representative of the whole human family.

Adam was tempted at the very first on the question of appetite. Christ came, and after a forty days’ fast the devil tempted Him to use His divine power to feed Himself. And notice, it was in sinful flesh that He was tempted, not the flesh in which Adam fell. This is wondrous truth, but I am wondrous glad that it is so. It follows at once that by birth, by being born into the same family, Jesus Christ is my brother in the flesh, “for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:11. He has come into the family, identified Himself with the family, is both father of the family and brother of the family. As father of the family, He stands for the family. He came to redeem the family, condemning sin in the flesh, uniting divinity with flesh of sin. Jesus Christ made the connection between God and man, that the divine spirit might rest upon humanity. He made the way for humanity.

HE HATH BORNE OUR GRIEFS

And He came right near to us. He is not one step away from one of us. He “was made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7. He is now made in the likeness of man, and at the same time He holds His divinity; He is the divine Son of God. And so, by His divinity joining itself to humanity, He will restore man to the likeness of God. Jesus Christ, in taking the place of Adam, took our flesh. He took our place completely, in order that we might take His place. He took our place with all its consequences, and that meant death, in order that we might take His place with all its consequences, and that is life eternal. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. He was not a sinner; but He invited God to treat Him as if He were a sinner, in order that we, who were sinners, might be treated as if we were righteous. “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4. The sorrows that He bore were our sorrows, and it is actually true that He did so identify Himself with our human nature as to bear in Himself all the sorrows and all the griefs of all the human family. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” What was bruising to Him was healing to us, and He was bruised in order that we might be healed. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. And then He died because on Him was laid the iniquity of us all. There was no sin in Him, but the sins of the whole world were laid on Him. Behold the Lamb of God, which beareth the sins of the whole world. “And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.

THE PRICE PAID FOR EVERY SOUL

I want your minds to grasp the truth, that, no matter whether a man repents or not, yet Christ has borne his griefs, his sins, his sorrows, and he is invited to lay them on Christ. If every sinner in this world should repent with all his soul, and turn to Christ, the price has been paid. Jesus did not wait for us to repent before He died for us. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Christ has died in behalf of every single soul here; He has borne their grief and carried their sorrow; He simply asks us to lay them on Him, and let Him bear them.

CHRIST OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Furthermore; every one of us was represented in Jesus Christ when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. We were all there in Jesus Christ. We were all represented in Adam after the flesh; and when Christ came as the second Adam, He stepped into the place of the first Adam, and thus we are all represented in Him. He invites us to step into the spiritual family. He has formed this new family, of which He is the head. He is the new man. In Him we have the union of the divine and the human.

In that new family, every one of us is represented. “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” When Melchisedec went out to meet Abraham returning from the spoil, Abraham paid to him a tenth of all. Levi was still in the loins of his father Abraham; but inasmuch as he was a descendant of Abraham, what Abraham did, the Scripture says that Levi did in Abraham. Levi descended from Abraham according to the flesh. He had not been born when Abraham paid tithe; but in that Abraham paid tithe, he paid tithe also. It is exactly so in this spiritual family. What Christ did as head of this new family, we did in Him. He was our representative; He became flesh; He became we. He did not become simply a man, but He became flesh, and every one that should be born into His family was represented in Jesus Christ when He lived here in the flesh. You see, then, that all that Christ did, every one who connects himself with this family is given credit for as doing it in Christ. Christ was not a representative outside him, disconnected from him; but as Levi paid tithe in Abraham, every one who should afterwards be born into this spiritual family, did what Christ did.

THE NEW BIRTH

See what this means with reference to vicarious suffering. It was not that Jesus Christ came from outside, and simply stepped into our place as an outsider; but by joining Himself to us by birth, all humanity was brought together in the divine head, Jesus Christ. He suffered on the cross. Then it was the whole family in Jesus Christ that was crucified. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead,” or as the Revised Version says, “All died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14. What we want in our experience is to enter into the fact that we did die in Him. But while it is true that Jesus Christ paid the whole price, bore every grief, was humanity itself, yet it is also true that no man receives benefit from that except he receives Christ, except he is born again. Only those who are twice born can enter into the kingdom of God. Those who are born in the flesh, must be born again, born of the Spirit, in order that what Jesus Christ did in the flesh, we may avail ourselves of, that we may really be in Him.

The work of Christ is to bestow the character of God on us; and in the meantime God looks upon Christ and His perfect character instead of upon our sinful character. The very moment that we empty ourselves, or let Christ empty us, of self, and believe on Jesus Christ and receive Him as our personal Saviour, God looks upon Him as indeed our personal representative. Then He does not see us and all our sin; He sees Christ.

OUR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE COURTS OF HEAVEN

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5. There is a man in heaven now,—the man Christ Jesus,—bearing our human nature; but it is no longer a flesh of sin; it is glorified. Having come here and lived in a flesh of sin, He died; and in that He died, He died unto sin; and in that He lives, He lives unto God. When He died, He freed Himself from the flesh of sin, and He was raised glorified. Jesus Christ came here as our representative, travelled the path back to heaven in the family, died unto sin, and was raised glorified. He lived as the Son of man, grew up as the Son of man, ascended as the Son of man, and to-day, Jesus Christ, our own representative, our own brother, the man Christ Jesus, is in heaven, living to make intercession for us.

He has been through every one of our experiences. Does not He know what the cross means? He went to heaven by the way of the cross, and He says, “Come.” That is what Christ has done by becoming flesh. Our human minds stand appalled before the problem. How shall we express in human language what was done for us, when “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us”? How shall we express what God has given to us? When He gave His Son, He gave the most precious gift of heaven, and He gave Him never to take Him back again. To all eternity the Son of man will bear in His body the marks that sin made; forever He will be Jesus Christ, our Saviour, our Elder Brother. That is what God has done for us in giving His Son to us.

CHRIST IDENTIFIED WITH US

This union of the divine and the human has brought Jesus Christ very near to us. There is not one too low down for Christ to be there with him. He identified Himself completely with this human family. In the judgment, when the rewards and punishments are meted out, He says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these. My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” One version reads, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My little brothers, ye have done it unto Me.” Christ looks upon every one of the human family as His. When humanity suffers, He suffers. He is humanity, He has joined Himself to this family. He is our head; and when in any part of the body there is a throb of pain felt, the head feels that throb of pain. He has united Himself with us, thus uniting us with God; for we read in Matthew: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

UNITY IN CHRIST

Jesus Christ thus united Himself with the human family, that He might be with us by being in us, just as God was with Him by being in Him. The very purpose of His work was that He might be in us, and that, as He represented the Father, so the children, the Father, and the Elder Brother might be united in Him.

Let us see what His thought was in His last prayer: “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us.” “And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me. Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedest Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee; but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared Thy name unto them, and will declare it.” And the last words of His prayer were: “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:21-26. And as He was ascending, His parting words to His disciples were, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. By being in us, He is with us alway, and that this might be possible, that He might be in us, He came and took our flesh.

This also is the way in which the holiness of Jesus works. He had a holiness that enabled him to come and dwell in sinful flesh, and glorify sinful flesh by His presence in it; and that is what He did, so that when He was raised from the dead, He was glorified. His purpose was that having purified sinful flesh by His indwelling presence, He might now come and purify sinful flesh in us, and glorify sinful flesh in us. He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Philippians 3:21. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29.

THE ELECTION OF GRACE

Let me say that in this idea is bound up the whole question of predestination. There is a predestination; it is a predestination of character. There is an election; it is an election of character. Every one who believes on Jesus Christ is elected, and all the power of God is behind that election, that he shall bear the image of God. Bearing that image, he is predestinated to all eternity in Christ’s kingdom; but every one who does not bear the image of God is predestinated unto death. It is a predestination of God in Christ Jesus. Christ provides the character, and offers it to any one who will believe in Him.

THE HEART AND LIFE OF CHRISTIANITY

Let us enter into the experience that God has given Jesus Christ to us to dwell in our sinful flesh, to work out in our sinful flesh what He worked out when He was here. He came and lived here that we might through Him reflect the image of God. This is the very heart of Christianity. Anything contrary to it is not Christianity. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.” 1 John 4:1-3. Now that cannot mean simply to acknowledge that Jesus Christ was here and lived in the flesh. The devils made that acknowledgment. They knew that Christ had come in the flesh. The faith that comes by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus Christ is come in my flesh; He dwells in my flesh; I have received Him.” That is the heart and life of Christianity.

The difficulty with the Christianity of today is that Christ does not dwell in the hearts of those professing His name. He is an outsider, one looked at from afar, as an example. But He is more than an example to us. He made known to us what God’s ideal of humanity is, and then He came and lived it out before us, that we might see what it is to be in the image of God. Then He died, and ascended to His Father, sending forth His Spirit, His own representative, to live in us, that the life which He lived in the flesh we may live over again. This is Christianity.

CHRIST MUST DWELL IN THE HEART

It is not enough to talk of Christ and of the beauty of His character. Christianity without Christ dwelling in the heart is not genuine Christianity. He only is a genuine Christian who has Christ dwelling in his heart, and we can live the life of Christ only by having Him dwelling in us. He wants us to lay hold upon the life and power of Christianity. Do not be satisfied with anything else. Heed no one who would lead you in any other path. “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” His power, His indwelling presence, that is Christianity. That is what we need to-day; and I am thankful that there are hearts that are longing for that experience, and who will recognise it when it comes. It does not make any difference what your name or denomination has been. Recognise Jesus Christ, and let Him dwell in you. By following where He leads, we shall know what Christian experience is, and what it is to dwell in the light of His presence. I tell you this is a wondrous truth. Human language cannot put more into human thought or language than is said in these words: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” This is our salvation.

The object in these remarks is not merely to establish a line of thought. It is to bring new life into our soul, and open up our ideas of the word of God and the gift of God, that we may be able to grasp His love for us. We need it. Nothing short of that will meet what we have to meet,—the world, the flesh, and the devil. But He that is for us is mightier than he that is against us. Let us have in our daily lives Jesus Christ, “the Word” that “became flesh.”

October 31, 1895




Sermons in Stone


Some poet has spoken of seeing sermons in stones, and this will be our study this morning­—­­to see “sermons in stones.

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel).” “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” Genesis 49:22-24; 1 Peter 2:4, 5. We shall see different cases, where, under one experience and another, one record and another, this thought of the “living stone” is brought out.

“Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek; to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and He sat thereon.” Exodus 17:8-12 The fact that Moses sat upon a stone means something more than simply that he had something to sit upon. It indicates that it was the God of Israel, “the stone of Israel,” who gave him the victory.

THE STONE IN THE HAND OF ISRAEL’S SHEPHERD BOY

We have, too, the case of David and Goliath. We need not take time to read how the Philistines had defeated the army of Israel, and how Goliath came out morning after morning to defy them. David, who was but a shepherd boy at this time, came down to visit his brethren. They rather despised him. “And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?” 1 Samuel 17:28. David came from keeping the sheep. A shepherd is one who keeps his sheep, not loses them. Christ is the Good Shepherd.

David, after talking with Saul, obtained his consent to go out and fight Goliath, and “Saul armed David with his armour, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.” He thought that if David was going to fight against Goliath, he would need armour. “And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied…. And it came to pass when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone.” 1 Samuel 17:38-50.

David went out in the name of the Lord, and Jesus went with him to give him the victory simply by a stone. It was not simply David’s power and accuracy that caused that stone to sink into the forehead of the Philistine. It was the power of the Lord, who was fighting the battle for him. That record is for us. We have battles to fight against the enemy of the Lord of hosts, and we prevail over him with a stone. David without armour, without implements of warfare, David going forth in the faith of the Lord of hosts, is the example for us. He prevailed with a stone. Jesus Christ, the living stone, is our strength and power for our battles with the enemy.

A BUILDING OF PREPARED STONES

In 1 Kings 6, we have a record of the building of Solomon’s temple. In the 7th verse is a description of the house: “And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.” The stones of this temple were quarried out and hewn, and each stone fitted for its particular place in the temple, before they were brought together; and then when they were brought from the quarry, each stone fitted into its place. The building was put together, stone upon stone, and there was heard no sound of ax or hammer. “They prepared timbers and stones to build the house.” But all the preparing was done before they were fitted together.

“Ye also as lively stones, are built up—

A SPIRITUAL HOUSE,

a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Christ Jesus. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.” 1 Peter 2:4-8. Christ is the living stone; and as soon as we come in contact with Him, we become living stones. Apart from Him, we are dead; but coming in contact with Him, we are built up a spiritual house for Him, “whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6); “Jesus Christ Himself, being the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20. “For ye are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16. And the whole house, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. We are built together for an habitation of God. Each believer is a temple of God, and then the believers are built together, and that makes the church, which is the temple of the living God, He, by His Holy Spirit, taking up His dwelling place there.

We become living stones because He is a living stone, and we are built upon Him. Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid. “I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.” He will gather again a people with which to build His church. He is at work now, preparing the stones for His temple. They are being quarried and hewn, each one to fill his place in the temple of God. When that temple is complete, the work will be done.

PREPARING THE STONES

In Hosea we have again brought to view the figure of preparation: “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, What shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets.” The Lord takes us out of the quarry, rough unhewn stones. That is the beginning of our experience. Each individual is to be fitted for his particular place in the temple of God. And when the temple is fitted together, it will be without the sound of ax or hammer. That is done before. It is then that He says, “Come, ye blessed of My Father.” But we are not to wait till that time to prepare. The work of preparing these rough, unhewn stones must be done before. I once visited a cemetery in which was a very beautiful statue of a man standing by a chair. It was of heroic size; and the attendant called my attention to the fact that it was all carved out of one stone. The sculptor, when he started, saw an immense stone, but he also saw the man and the chair. As he looks, he loses sight of the rough edges, and sees instead a man of heroic size, standing there perfect. Everything else must be cut away, and he goes to work with his tools. He wants the world to see what he sees, and so he cuts away everything but the man and the chair.

God takes us, rough, unlikely-looking stones; but He sees in us an expression of His character, and He looks upon us, not as rough stones, but as what we may be. Even then He sees in us Jesus Christ. And so He goes to work to cut and to polish. What is He doing? Some would think that He was destroying the whole thing. But He has a place for that stone, and He wants it cut in a particular way. These are the hard experiences of life, when it seems as if Christ would pound us to pieces. But He will not spoil His stone. He knows exactly the place it is to fill in His temple, and He is cutting it so that it will fit. The Lord carries on His work of preparing, that a people may be prepared, each one to fit in his place in the heavenly temple, and each one becomes a living stone, because of his contact with Christ, the living stone. God will develop in each one just that phase of character that will fit the best in the place He wants filled. When He comes, He says, Let the work of preparation cease. “He that is unjust, let him he unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11.

When we receive Jesus Christ, God sees in us that perfection of character which we may attain. He knows what He purposes to do with us. He gives us the character of Christ, and then looks upon that character and so “we are accepted in the Beloved.”He accepts us, not for what we are, but for what He purposes to make of us and for what Christ is. He will make of each one of us a stone for His temple. The Master-builder looks at the rough stone, and sees in it His model of perfection. He accepts us, not for what we are, but for what He is.

Let us turn to another line of thought. “And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18. In Exodus 34:28 we are told what was written there. You will remember that when Moses came down from the mount the first time, he found that the children of Israel had broken God’s commandments already, and were worshipping idols; and that when he saw them, he cast the two tables of stone down and broke them. Then God told him to prepare two more tables. You see in this the rewriting of the law. Man in the first place broke the law. God then wrote it on the tables of stone. After He had written it there to tell them in words what His character was, Jesus Christ came to interpret it in His life. Jesus Christ was the one who spoke the law on Sinai; and when He came, in human flesh, He sat upon another mount, and spoke the law over again. We have it in the sermon on the mount. It was the same law, the same Christ, the same principles, but He was opening it out. He not only opened it out in words, but He Himself was the law, the expression of God’s character. He tells us what God is, not only in His word, but by being that among us. He was God manifest in the flesh. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

Then Christ is the stone, the stone of Israel. God wrote the law perfectly and completely in the first place on the tables of stone, and gave them to the people. Then He wrote that same law upon the Living Stone and gave it to the people. Thus, you will see, Christ is the living law. That was putting the law in stone the second time. Here, then we have the law in stone twice; on the tables of stone, written with the finger of God, and on the Living Stone, Christ, and presented to the people.

Let us consider for a moment—

THE LAW WRITTEN ON THE TABLES OF STONE

“Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound.” It came to give the knowledge of sin, and to condemn sin. “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” Romans 5:20; 1 Corinthians 15:56. Sin is not taken into account where there is no law. Sin results in death. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:15. The law on the tables of stone, simply as the ten words of God, condemns to death. “Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Then when we meet the law simply as God’s code, it means death to us. But God has put that same law upon living stone, and when we meet it written on the Living Stone, it means life to us; but it is still the same law. We must either meet the law upon the tables of stone, and be condemned and put to death by it, or we must meet it upon the Living Stone, and be made alive by it. But we must meet it. God does not ask us whether we want to or not. What we say makes no difference. But whether we are condemned or made alive by it, it is the law of God just the same. It is our attitude toward it that makes the difference. The law in Jesus Christ is—

THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE

He is the Living Stone, the Rock of Ages.

“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Matthew 21:44. One of two things must happen: We must fall on the stone, or the stone must fall on us. If we fall on the stone, we come down on top; we shall be broken, and He will heal us. If we fall the other way, the stone comes down on top, and it grinds us to powder. One of these experiences comes to every one. Shall we fall on the living stone, or shall it fall on us, and grind us to powder? We must meet the law of God out of Christ or in Christ. When we meet God out of Christ, He is a consuming fire; when we meet Him in Christ, He is our glory. We must be hidden in the Rock in order to see the glory of God without perishing. I beseech you to think most earnestly of this lesson. We must be brought face to face with the law of God. When the Spirit of God brings the law before our minds, and brings conviction, it is that we may be forgiven and cleansed.

GOD’S GREAT PURPOSE

Let me call your attention to another point. God’s purpose in history, in types, in shadows, in ceremonies, is to preach the gospel; and even in some of those thing that seem to us the most forbidding, God is still preaching the gospel. I doubt not that in the minds of many there has been a feeling that stoning to death was a terrible punishment, and how many look to it as a way of preaching the gospel? You remember that in the days of the theocracy of God, when His law was the law of the nation, any offence against it was punished by stoning. But in this method of punishing for breaking the national law, God was preaching the gospel. If you will make a study of this, and look up each of the ten commandments, you will find that the punishment for breaking it as a national law was stoning. And how was the gospel preached in this? God was teaching the people, in this form of punishment, that the law out of Christ would stone them to death. Just as these literal stones killed them, the law in dead stone would put them to death. He was even in this way teaching them of the Living Stone, the Stone of Israel, the law in life, and that is the gospel.

“And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God,—

COMMAND THAT THESE STONES BE MADE BREAD

Matthew 4:3 It seems as if God has put lessons for us even in the devil’s mouth. Some preach Christ through envy, but nevertheless Christ is preached. “If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Christ’s work on this earth was to change stones to bread, that the law which on the tables of stone condemns and kills should be changed in Him, the Living Stone, into the very bread of life. His work all through His career was to change stones into bread, put the law into the gospel, change death into life, and become the living life. He said, “I am the bread of life,” and at the same time He is the Stone of Israel. The law of God, lived by Christ, becomes life, and He says the commandment is life everlasting. So while Christ refused for His own benefit to change literal stones into bread, yet His whole life was spent in changing stones into bread to satisfy the longing of hungry souls. When we receive the law of God in Christ, it has power to make us like unto Himself.

A BUILDING ALL GLORIOUS WITHIN

This lesson of stones goes all through the Scripture. Suppose we take the lesson found in 1 Kings 6:14: “So Solomon built the house, and finished it.” Remember that this house was built of stone. From the outside, all that could be seen was stone; and you know that sometimes a stone building looks rather cold and uninviting. “So Solomon built the house, and finished it. And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling; and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar; he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place. And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long. And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.”

“So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold.” From the outside it was building of stone, nothing but stone. But inside there was not a stone to be seen. Stand outside of Christ, look from without at the Christian life, and all you see is two tables of stone. It seems forbidding; but come inside. You need not take down the stone to do this. Come inside, and the building is aflame with gold. It is only those who stand outside who complain that it is a hard law which they have to keep. Come inside; there are no stones to be seen inside, and yet they are not taken away. By them the building stands. Suppose you take them away, what becomes of the rest of the building?—Down it falls. Takes away the law, and the gospel comes with it. You cannot keep the pure gold of the gospel apart from the law. Come inside. There you will see nothing but pure gold.

Another thought. Just as soon as you enter a building of gold, your image will be reflected everywhere. Christ would have us reflect His image in the temple of the living God.

All through the Scripture mention is made of walled cities, and these walls were made of stones. Jerusalem was—

A WALLED CITY

The wall was meant as a protection. But if a city is shut in with a wall, no matter how elaborate, if there is a flaw in it, the protection is gone. The enemy never attacks a walled city that has a breach in the wall anywhere except at the open place. You will find that this idea of the wall is made very prominent throughout the Scriptures. We will notice it in Nehemiah. He was sorry because the city of his fathers lay waste, and the wall was torn down; and he proposed to go up and rebuild the city and the wall. “But it came to pass,” he says in his record, “that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?” Nehemiah 4:1, 2. What do they think they are going to do? The stones are buried. Do these feeble Jews think that they are going to recover them? “Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. Hear, O our God, for we are despised; and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity, and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before Thee; for they have provoked Thee to anger before the builders. So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof; for the people had a mind to work.”

GOD’S WALL FOR HIS PEOPLE

We read in Mark that a certain man planted a vineyard and set a hedge about it. What was the hedge for?—Protection. The Lord brought up His vine out of Egypt, and set it anew, and built a hedge about it. That is the purpose of a wall-to protect and keep out the enemy; but the wall must be complete. God has built a wall for His people. The law is this protection, but in order to be a complete protection, it must be a complete wall.Our safety is in having a complete wall; but they have broken down the wall sadly. It is God’s purpose to have it built again. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen,” He says, “to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall by thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:6-14

A BREACH TO BE REPAIRED

There has been a breach made in the wall God would set about His people. It is to be repaired, and God’s people are to be hedged in with a perfect law, every commandment is to be restored. And “they shall be called, The repairer of the breach.” Every man builds over against his own house. Are you building over against your house in repairing the breach? If so, the wall will be built again, even in troublous times.

This is only a mere hint of what is contained in the Scripture about stones. God would have us keep His words in mind, that we may live in them, and that above all, and in all, and through all, we shall see Jesus Christ, the Stone of Israel, the Rock of Ages.

October 23 1895, 1895 Armadale Camp Meeting