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Monday, September 30, 2013

The Cross and the Person of Christ # 19

The Cross and the Lord's Coming Again (continued)

Let there be differences of opinion as to the willy-nilly translation of Christians, or as to whether the whole Church will be caught up at Christ's coming; it is not necessary to formulate theories or teachings on such matters. Selectiveness of rapture may or may not be held, but from one thing no one can get away, God has left no room for theories here; a spiritual state of separation, occupation, and expectation is invariably bound up with our being received by Him at His appearing. Why argue otherwise and support a presuming upon the grace of God? Why take risks on a false idea of grace when God has given us nothing but a positive demand, saying nothing whatever about His having a place for those who are less than one hundred-percent going on with Him?

Israel in the wilderness was given a blue token to wear on the border of their garments. This betokened that they were in God's mind - a heavenly people. They no more belonged to the wilderness than they did to Egypt. It was a place in which to know ad prove their heavenliness - heavenly life, resource, guidance, etc. - and it was always pointing to "a heavenly journey" which was really their own. But Jordan was the way in, the real point of crossing. And Jordan for ever represents the Cross of Christ. As the Red Sea represented what God did for them, so Jordan was the figure of a work consummated in them.

Ephesians is the counterpart of "Joshua"; it is "in the heavenlies in Christ," but the Holy Spirit took what was chronologically first _ "Thessalonians" - and caused it to be placed after "Ephesians," as much as to say - The Coming of the Lord (the main theme of Thessalonians") is the outcome of the Church's arrival at its heavenly position.

More will be said on this when we deal with the Church in our next chapter, but here we want to underline the Divine revelation that the Cross separates us from this world, from this "flesh", from satan's authority, and joins us to Christ, brings us on to heavenly ground, and constitutes us a spiritual people, and it is for such that the Lord will come. When David was driven out of his place by the usurper Absalom and his company, he exercised sublime wisdom and faith by sending back Abiathar with the ark into the city. It was his own foothold there. It was that which would always give him a place, even where he was otherwise repudiated. And to it he would return. It was his hold and his magnet. The Lord will not just return as a matter of course. He will come  to and for something. It is a love matter. He will come for His bride, but is has to be mutual. "Them that have loved His appearing." So the Cross is as much a part of the consummation as it is of the initiation, and by its operation in the life as a principle and power the Lord will come for "a people prepared." This preparation relates to heart condition and not to mental apprehension of prophetic truth.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 20 - "The Cross and the Church")

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