"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).

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It Identifies with God and Orients for Heaven

 

 

The Fullness of Blessing

By Fred O. Blakely
"The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow" (Prov. 10:22).
PART II (CONCLUSION)
The Fullness of Blessing. The climax for now of Christ's full blessing is its identification with God of those who receive and use it. That the identity is thereby established, is made quite clear by Scripture, though it seems to be little realized by today's typical churchman.
The Word's Representation. At the very outset of the spiritually regenerated life, a person is, by faith, incorporated into the Godhead, as a participant by measure therein. That is manifestly so, since he is baptized "into the Name" of the threefold Personage thereof-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mt. 28:19, ASV).
The Name stands for the Person; hence, by his baptism, one is actually, by faith, spiritually brought into the Godhead (cf. Col. 2:12, ASV). At the bodily resurrection, if he continues and dies in the faith, he will be raised in full integration therein, being a child of God and of the resurrection (Lk. 20:34-36).
That is the situation, as we have said, which is consistently recognized and proclaimed by Scripture. Jesus, says Paul, is "not ashamed" to call those "brethren" who are so related to His Father (Heb. 2:11-12; cf. Ps. 22:22). That is so simply because, being "of" the Father, they are one with the only· begotten Son in their sonship of God.
In case of the redeemed sons, full equality with God, of course, does not and cannot exist, as is so with Christ (Jn. 5:18; Phil. 2:6). The status of sonship, however, still carries with it that of Family participation, as it were. So is it the Divine pur­pose for God, through Christ, to be in us and we in Him (Jn. 17:20-22). "The glory" of the indwelling Godhead is given to the children (v. 22), in order "that they may be one in Us," declared Jesus (v. 21). That situation of oneness with the Father and Son certainly involves identity of the children therewith.
Of the Apostles, Paul especially emphasizes this identity of the believer with Christ, and hence with the Father, from whom, as to Essence, the Former cannot be dissociated. The marriage relationship between man and woman which God ordained typifies and illustrates the situation.
"They two shall be one flesh," it is declared (Eph. 5:31), in echo of Genesis 2:23-24 and Matthew 19:4·6. "This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church," it is continued (v. 32).
In other words, those joined to Christ by faith and baptism are one with Him. That identity, of course, is what is categorically declared in First Corinthians 6:17: "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit," Thus, in adaptation of Jesus' pronouncement concerning marriage, it may be said, They are no more twain, but one spirit (Mt. 19:6). So inseparable is that unity, as to identity, that the physical members of the person so joined are denominated "the members of Christ" (I Cor. 6:15).
The oneness thus prevailing between the person in Christ and Christ Himself is further stressed by Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Although he had been "crucified with Christ," he nevertheless lived, it was declared. "Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20. Here is set forth the situation referred to in Colossians 3:3-4-that of one being dead and his life "hid with Christ in God," and of Christ being his "life."
So have those who have been "baptized into Christ" put Him on, as Galatians 3:27 asserts. That is, they have spiritually donned Him as they would a garment after the flesh. And, in so doing, they have "put on" God, who, as we have said, is in­separably associated with Christ, being His Head (I Cor. 11:3).
Hereby, indeed, is demonstrated part of "the mystery of godliness" {I Tim. 3:16). The incarnation principle is operative on a lower level. God, in His threefold Personage, becomes iden­tified with redeemed men-and so extends Himself into an in­numerable host of individual personalities. That seems to have been His objective in His launching of the human enter­prises-to so infinitely diffuse Himself. And-wonder of wonders!-all of the individuality of each of those personalities is fully retained and glorified, pursuant to His purpose in crea­tion and redemption, by the transformation of the multitudinous and variant personalities into the Divine image. So is God to be seen in something of His infinite Being, with its various traits and qualities.
The Heavenly Participation. Closely related to identifica­tion with the Godhead is another vital experience presently available to those who receive the fullness of Christ's blessing. It is that of participation in the heavenly life and reign.
The notion that heaven is wholly reserved for the future, be­ing at this time far removed from those on earth, is a delusion produced by Satan, to which very much of the contemporary church has fallen victim. As James Moffatt translates Philip­pians 3:20, those who are spiritually risen with Christ now con­stitute "a colony of heaven," or an outpost thereof. How could it be otherwise, when they are spiritually indwelt by the Godhead, whose seat of existence is in heaven?
The Scriptural Representation. One of the essential representations of the new-covenant Scriptures is that those who are in Christ have been "translated" from earth into His kingdom, which is that of heaven (Col. 1:12-13). So have they already, by faith, received the enduring kingdom (Heb. 12:28), and dwell therein as citizens (Phil. 3:20, ASV). Any contrary con­cept of life in Christ "cometh not down from above," but is "earthly, sensual, devilish," as James would say (Jas. 3:15, ASV). It represents the mingling of "the wisdom of this world" with the revelation of God (I Cor. 1:20-21), which corrupts that revelation, nullifying its saving and sanctifying power.
The Regenerative Portrayal. In his description of the regenerative experience, Paul clearly sets forth the heavenly in­volvement of which we treat. Not only did God raise Christ from the dead, and "set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:20). He also "made us alive together with Christ," when we "were dead through trespasses and sins." What is more, He "raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him [with God, that is] in the heavenly places in Christ" (ch. 2:1, 4-6, ASV).
God's throne is in heaven, where Christ is seated at His right hand. The representation here is that, in Christ, we now, by faith, are seated there with Christ. From that heavenly posi­tion, we are to presently "reign on the earth" as kings and priests unto God (Rev. 5:10, ASV). The current rule, of course, is preliminary, being of a firstfruit nature with reference to the fullness of its experience, when we literally possess the kingdom and govern it, under the Headship of Christ (Dan. 7:22, 27).
That is the situation as it veritably is with all who have been made one with Christ, all variations therefrom and con­tradictions thereof existing in the minds of men notwithstanding. To regard the "newness of life" in Christ to which we rise from our baptism (Rom. 6:4-5) in any other way, is to corrupt the situation, and so to "come short of the glory of God" by which we were raised (Rom. 3:23; 6:4).
The Text of Hebrews 6:4-5. Again, in Hebrews 6:4-5, though incidentally, Paul portrays the norm of enChristed life. It consists of five experiences, all of which are related to heaven. They are spiritual enlightenment (cf. ch. 10:32), tasting of "the heavenly gift" (cf. Jn. 4:10; Eph. 2:8), partaking of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:28; Gal. 4:6), tasting of "the good word of God" (cf. Jer. 15:16), and "the powers of the world to come" (cf. Eph. 1:19; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:29).
Upon due consideration of the context, it will be found that this participation in "heavenly things" (Jn. 3:12) is considered by the Apostle part of "the elementary doctrines [and ex­periences] of Christ" (vv. 1-3, RSV), which he calls upon the church to leave, or build upon, as it goes on to "maturity" in Him. So is it to build itself up on its "most holy faith" (Jude 20-21).
The summons of the brethren in the passage is not for them to progress to obtainment of the five enumerated experiences of verses 4-5. Rather, it is to employ them to build the superstruc­ture of spiritual maturity, which involves skillfulness in their relation to both God and men (ch. 5:13-14), and so of faithfulness in their custodianship of the heavenly "treasure" committed to them (II Cor. 4:6-7).
In other words, the advance to maturity in Christ is not in order to acquire the experiences of enlightenment, the heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit, the good word of God, and the power of Christ's resurrection. They are assumed to have been already bad, being integral to the birth from above and the walk in "newness of life" into which one is thereby inducted. The heavenly experiences and relationship are, rather, the means by which the necessary advance is to be made.
Obviously, those to whom these experiences are foreign are in no position to "go on to maturity." Their need is to do the foundational works of repenting toward God, believing in His Son, being baptized into Christ (if they have not done so), developing an appetite for and devotion to God's Word, and so beginning to experience genuine spiritual power. If that course demands turning from their enslaving attachment to a contem­porary religious institution, so be it. It is the price they will have to pay to experience the power of godliness (II Tim. 3:5), and thus be equipped to press on toward the mark of spiritual maturity, which is the goal set before all who call upon God's Name. One cannot become full-grown in Christ, except he first get into Him.
The Orientation for Glory. It is evident that, as one avails himself of "the fulness of the blessing of Christ," he becomes "meet," or fit and suitable, to partake of "the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 1:12). It is for that end which God has "wrought us," as Paul declares (II Cor. 5:5). Thus, the rest of our time "in the flesh," following our induction into Christ (I Pet. 4:1-2, 6), should be spent in single-hearted pursuit of that objective. As Peter further stressed the responsibility, it is to make our "calling and election sure" (II Pet. 1:10). Thereby shall we be qualified for an abundant entrance into "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (v. 11).
The Essential View. If we do not view the present life in Christ as a preparation for the fuller one to come, we are serious­ly misled in our spiritual conception. Likewise with the church in the aggregate: if it is not contemplated as preparatory for the experience and work of the glorified church, it is wrongly con­ceived of.
As ancient Israel was called by God from Egypt to Canaan, so is the church corporately, and each member thereof personal­ly, summoned from the present evil world and its lusts to the heavenly inheritance prepared for it by God.
In that eternal domain, it is God's purpose that we function as extensions of Himself-certainly not as celestial robots. Our apparent superiority to angels in jurisdictional rank will consist in our participation in the Divine nature.
In the light of scriptural revelation, there can be no doubt that God will have great ministries for us to perform in the world to come. By so using the blessing in Christ provided for us now, we can fully condition ourselves for them. Now is the time for the bride to make herself "ready" for "the marriage of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:6-7). And full use of the blessings that are in Christ Jesus will ensure accomplishment of that work.
The Call to Promotion. Our Lord's parable about the din­ner guest has a line that can well serve to illustrate the ex­perience and work for which we are now being readied in Him. "Friend, go up higher," the host is represented as saying to the humble guest (Lk. 14:10).
So is the coming of death to the faithful saint, or Jesus' revelation from heaven, to be regarded. It will be God's sum­mons to "come up higher" (Rev. 11:12). There, in those exalted precincts, we shall enter both into "the joy" and full and unhampered and unending service of our Lord (Mt. 25:21, 23).
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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).

 

 

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