The Way of Its Attainment (continued)
The Significance of the Cross (continued)
When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality ... Death is swallowed up in victory" (! Corinthians 15:54). He has stated that. From the judicial He is moving to the practical. Why the Cross? To remove satan's rights in us. satan's ground in us, to make the judicial the actual where we are concerned. It is the process of the Cross. Do not despise or reject the subjective side of the Cross. Do not become too subjective yourself, but remember that the Lord is doing something inside, on the ground of what He has done by His Cross. That is the answer. Why the Cross? To deal with this ultimate thing in His universe. He is not just going to take us as we are, and, in a moment, make us like Himself. He takes us, and He begins to work in us, and He works and He works, by every means, satan himself and satan's work so often being employed. He is following on the trail of the serpent, and making seeming misfortunes, mishaps, everything that seems so commonplace and ordinary, to turn to spiritual account, all to remove the ground of this other one, this evil one, to remove his ground from us, and get His own ground in us. Herein is one of the wonders of grace, one of the great triumphs of the Lord. Is it not true that, very often, those who have suffered most for their Lord, have been the most worshiping people the Lord ever had? Is that not true, and is that not strange? Those who really love the Lord, and know the Lord, and worship the Lord most fully, are those who have suffered most with their Lord. That is the triumph.
Well, I am not going to pursue this matter any further. What I have said is indicative of many other things. We are enunciating a great truth. We are set in a great spiritual background, with an immense question being answered. We know, as we have already seen, that is just what the book of Job means, why it is in the Bible. It is set there by Divine order, and it is set there with this object - to sum up this whole drama of the ages, and show God working out an answer to an antagonist, in the very soul and body of a man. "Doth Job serve God for nought?" That is not human nature! No man ever does that, no man serves anybody for nought. You may take it if Job serves God, it is to his advantage to do so! All right, says God, I will answer that question in the very soul and body of this man; all that makes up a man's life, what a man lives for, works for, take everything from him, strip him! If a man loses his health and is in perfect physical misery, he has not much more to lose. God answers satan in that man's soul and body, and satan's ground of argument is simply wiped out. That is Job. I am saying, while we are not Jobs, we are not going to claim to be Jobs, we are to some little extent in the succession. That is why we read Revelation 4, 5 and 7. Is it not a glorious picture and prospect? They are worshiping, they are bringing all back to Him that sitteth on the Throne, and to the Lamb. satan is not getting a look in there.
I would like you to read again the story of Daniel in the light of this - I merely mention it in closing - and you see the working out of all the principles that I have enunciated, and more. Daniel purposes in his heart that he will not defile himself with the kings meat. He is having none of it. Why? Turn to Chapter 3 and put your pencil underneath one word, and you find your answer. That word is "worship." The king sets up an image which all must fall down and worship. When it comes to these other friends of Daniel - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - what is the thing said about them? These men "yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God." "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1). Sanctification means having no contact with that other realm of worship, keeping ourselves wholly for the Lord. "I saw ... one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14). You see the way to the Throne. It is the way of the Cross, the way of the yielding to God rather than to satan, at any cost, presenting your bodies living sacrifices. At the end, a Kingdom, a Throne, and it is said to Daniel, "And thou ... shalt stand in thy lot, at the end of the days" (Daniel 12:13). The book of Revelation shows us what it means to stand in our lot at the end; a great multitude, worshiping the Lamb, standing at the end of our lot.
If it is true that all the distress, disruption, discord, and misery through the ages is to be attributed to this divided worship, then the new creation the new and joyous order prophesied in the Scriptures, will come about, or will be realized, on the sole basis of God being "all in all." This has its rise in every individual in whom divided allegiance is ended. It takes its larger and corporate form in the Church "which he purchased [for this purpose] with his own blood." This, again, is the motive and dynamic of every Holy Spirit-initiated and energized movement of the Evangel and it gives meaning to all His urges to holy living, loving fellowship, patient enduring, and spiritual warfare.
All that we have said is but a hint at the very great realities. May the Lord find in us those who are utter and of an undivided heart.
(Next: (Four Stages in the Life of the Lord's People)