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GOD’S SECRET PLAN UNFOLDS
God’s Purpose for the New Race
In our previous study we dealt with Jesus as the second man. We pointed out that this title indicates that Jesus, when he rose from the dead, became the beginning of a new creation, a new order, a new race. He was the first begotten from the dead, the head of the church. The church is made up of all true believers who through faith and commitment are identified with Jesus in death, burial and resurrection. The outward mark of this identification with Jesus is baptism in water which was an ordinance required of every believer in the New Testament. And as a result of it, through faith in him we are begotten again with him through the resurrection from the dead unto a living hope. And so we too become members of this new race, the God/man race. For when Jesus as God became man, he became man permanently, not temporarily. And in 1Timothy 2:5 we saw that he is still a man. There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
Now in this study I want to deal with God’s purpose for the new race. What does God desire to achieve by bringing this new race into being in Christ. And I want to line this up with a previous study, number four in this series, in which we saw the purposes of God for the initial creation of Adam. And as I believe I can show you, every single purpose that was frustrated through the fall of Adam is brought forth to fulfillment in the new race in Christ. There is an absolutely direct correspondence between the purposes and the methods of God in the first creation and the purposes and the methods of God in the new creation. Let me read what I put there at the top of your outline. God’s purpose for the new race is primarily to fulfill the purposes which Adam, through his disobedience, failed to fulfill. Satan may delay God’s purposes but never ultimately frustrate them. In the new creation the purposes of God come forth again on a higher level. It’s important to understand this. It’s no longer on the natural or soulish level. It’s no longer on the earthy level of the first creation, but it’s on the spiritual level of the new creation. But the purposes are parallel, but on a higher level. Let’s look at this step by step. In the fourth study we pointed out that there was something unique about the method of Adam’s creation. That though his body was formed of clay, he was then inbreathed by the breath of God himself. And I pointed out that this involved an absolute face to face confrontation between God and the body of Adam. The one who created all things, as we saw in our previous study, was the Lord Jesus Christ. And in creating Adam, God the creator, in the person of Christ, came face to face with the body of Adam, put his lips against the lips of clay, his nostrils against the nostrils of clay and breathed into him the breath of life. And that inbreathed breath changed a form of clay into a living human personality. He became a living soul. Now this method of creation of Adam is not indicated as having taken place in regard to any other thing in the whole creation. Adam was set apart as being completely unique by this method of creation.
The face to face confrontation with the creator and the direct inbreathing of the breath of life from the lips and the nostrils of the creator.
Now the method of the new creation is an exact parallel. Turn, first of all, to 2Corinthians 5. In verse 17 Paul uses that phrase the new creation. But let’s go back a little and see how the new creation comes into being. 2Corinthians 5:17 is a scripture that I have quoted for many years preaching the gospel to the uncoverted.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, a new creation is taken place.”
But I have always said to people, when you find a therefore in the Bible, especially in the writings of Paul, you want to stop and ask yourself what is it there for. And for many years I really didn’t appreciate the therefore at the beginning of 2Corinthians 5:17. But just lately God has shown me it’s there because of the statements made in the previous verses. Statements in the previous verses indicate the basis of the new creation. So now I am going to go back to verse 14 and read there and I want you to bear in mind that we’re leading up to the new creation in these verses.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; [this is the motive in Paul’s ministry. It’s the pressure of Christ’s love.] because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; [Jesus died with the death of all the Adamic race. Because all were dead in sin, therefore he took our place and died for our sins. He died for all because all were dead.] And that he died for all, that they which live [they which are brought to life through faith in his resurrection] should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again.”(KJV)
Every believer who is identified with Christ in death, burial and resurrection is morally obligated to live his life not to please himself, but to do the will of the one who saved him out of the death of sin and corruption. Now we come to a wherefore and then we come to the next verse, to a therefore. And it is important to see these linking up.
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh...” (KJV)
The flesh meaning the old Adamic nature and order. Paul says, if I may paraphrase it, we’re not interested in the old Adamic order. We’re not interested in what any man is by his Adamic nature because every man in his Adamic nature is a rebel and corrupt and alienated from God. No matter whether he be religious or educated or whatever he be. So that we are not dealing with the old Adamic nature. That old order is reckoned by God as being dead and past. The old things are passed away. In fact he goes on to say:
“yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, [though the apostles had known him actually in his earthly nature] yet now henceforth know we him no more.”(KJV)
It isn’t Jesus manifested in the flesh that we’re dealing with now. It’s the risen Christ who came forth from the tomb whom we now deal with. And you’ll find that though there are very accurate accounts of Jesus in his fleshly nature, there’s nothing ever put in that sentimental or that’s designed to make us think about him in terms of still being, should I say, here on earth. This is very, very different to some forms of religion. Let me be frank, some aspects of Catholicism, where the emphasis is always, especially at Christmastime, on Jesus as being still a little baby in the cradle. You see, this is totally contrary to the spirit of the New Testament. We don’t know him in his fleshly nature any longer.
I received a letter from a missionary in Israel who said this past Christmas it was truly tragic at the Christmas season celebrations at Bethlehem. The place was overwhelmed by hippies who had come from all parts of the world seeking something at Bethlehem at Christmas. Wasn’t that tragic? And they said in the ceremonies the patriarch carried Jesus represented by a china doll in the procession. And she said I’m sure if they came there hungry, they found nothing for their souls in all that. See, this putting Jesus back into the flesh is contrary to the whole spirit of the New Testament. Henceforth we don’t know him in the flesh. Even if we did know him as the carpenter’s son, we don’t know him as the carpenter’s son now. What do we know? We know the risen Christ. The second man, the one who has risen from the dead.
“Henceforth we know no man after the flesh, yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ...” (KJV)
In other words, how is a man in Christ? The answer is by direct contact with the risen Christ. Not by knowing Christ as a historical figure, not by sentimental stories about Jesus as the carpenter’s son or Mary’s baby, but by knowing the risen Christ directly revealed by the Holy Spirit. It’s a face to face confrontation with the risen Christ that produces the new creation. You see, the wherefore and the therefore following through. It’s very important that we understand this.
What is the basis of the new creation? It’s meeting Christ, not Christ the carpenter’s son, but Christ the Son of God. Our representative at the Father’s right hand. And no one becomes a Christian in the New Testament sense of the word without meeting Jesus. This is the essential basis. You can have all the doctrine, you can join every church, pray at every altar, say a dozen prayers, but if you’ve never met Jesus you’re not regenerated. You have no life in you. It’s the personal confrontation with Jesus, risen from the dead, that brings forth the new creation and brings us into the new creation. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, a new creation has taken place. I have met people who were members of orthodox, fundamentalist churches, Pentecostal churches, good members that have been through every prayer and ceremony and requirement and never have been regenerated, because they have never met Jesus. There’s no way into the kingdom of heaven but by Jesus. He said I am the door. By me if any man enter in. You can’t bypass the Son of God and get into the kingdom of God. There he is. We have to meet him individually. When the Lord saved me in an Army barrack room in l941, I didn’t have the faintest idea about what salvation was. I couldn’t quote a scripture, I didn’t know anything about the doctrine of the atonement. But one thing happened, I met Jesus. And I have never doubted in thirty years that Jesus is alive. And no one ever meets Jesus without being changed. You can join any church and stay a religious sinner, but when you meet Jesus, something happens. And if something hasn’t happened, I question whether a person has met Jesus. It may not be dramatic, but it will be real, it will be deep and it will be enduring. This is the new creation, it’s meeting the head of the new race. It’s coming to know him personally. It’s receiving inbreathed breath personally from the Son of God. This is beautifully typified in the first appearance of Jesus to his disciples after the resurrection in a group which is recorded in John 20 and I’ll read verses 19–22. This is the first appearance of Jesus after his resurrection to his disciples in a group. John 20:19–22:
“The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. [He showed them that he was the one who had died. He bore the prints in his body as proof that he was the one who had hung on the cross.] Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. [And I have never met anybody that saw the Lord that hasn’t been glad.] Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: [they were also pretty disturbed as well as being glad. I mean, it was a pretty powerful and emotional experience to meet a man that had been through the tomb and come forth. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you:] as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. [We’ll deal with those words later in this study. Notice the next thing that follows:] he breathed on them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”(KJV)
Now where it says breathed on them, the Greek says breathed into them. And just by way of illustration the same Greek verb is used in secular Greek literature of a flute player blowing into the mouth of the flute to produce music. And to me the suggestion is that Jesus did not collectively breathe on a group, but he breathed individually into each one. It was a face to face person to person encounter with the risen Christ and in that encounter they received holy breath. There’s no article, there’s no “the.” The word spirit is the same word breath. Now I’m not saying it wasn’t the Holy Spirit, don’t misunderstand me. But it was the Holy Spirit as inbreathed breath. The breath of God breathed into them. Resurrection life. And that was when they became regenerated and members of the new creation. And though this does not happen in the same pattern of outward form and situation, this process has to be repeated personally with every person that enters the new creation. There has to be that person to person encounter with Jesus Christ. There has to be the receiving of the inbreathing breath which is the Spirit of God which means divine eternal resurrection life. Let me show you this in just one scripture out of many in Romans 8:10. Romans 8:10:
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; [the body here does not mean the physical body as we pointed out in previous studies. It means the old Adamic nature is dead. If Christ comes in, there has to be a death. And then there’s a new life. What is the new life? The Spirit, capital S, notice] but the [Holy] Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (KJV)
That means on the basis of righteousness. Because Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we through faith might be made righteous with his righteousness. And on the basis of his righteousness received by faith, the Spirit comes in as divine eternal life. This is a transaction which is called regeneration and makes us members of the new creation and members of the new race.
Now I pointed out in the fourth study in dealing with creation, in the first instance, that because of this particular method of creation, there was something in Adam that made him particularly capable of direct person to person fellowship with God, which was the purpose for which he was created. Likewise, the new creation is brought into being for the same purpose: Direct person to person fellowship with God. The fellowship that was lost by Adam is restored in Christ. This is stated in various places, let’s look at one scripture, 1 Corinthians 1:9. 1Corinthians 1:9:
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (KJV)
The calling is by the gospel. The end purpose of the gospel is fellowship with God in Christ. So the fellowship lost by Adam through sin is restored through the gospel in Christ.
Then let’s take the second fact about creation, the nature of Adam. We pointed out two things, that he was made in the likeness and the image of God. Likeness meaning his general inner nature, moral, intellectual, spiritual. And image meaning his external physical form. In both he had a unique relationship to the creator that was not shared by any other creature. Now this likeness and image of God in man was marred by sin. And there’s nothing the devil delights to do more than by sin mar the image of God in man. He takes a vicious delight in making man low, vulgar, beastly, unclean, because in doing that he is, as it were, trampling on God’s image in man. But the new creation brings back the likeness and the image of God. It brings it back in two phases. First of all, the inner spiritual likeness. And secondly, the outward physical likeness.
Let’s look first at the inner spiritual likeness. Galatians 1:16, and we have to read verse 15 to get a verb, and Paul is speaking of his own experience.
“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...” (KJV)
Notice Christianity in its essence is Christ revealed in the believer. I remember hearing a preacher whom God used in a tremendous revival in the Hebrides. He said, let’s remember one thing, Christianity is not Christ revealed to you, it’s Christ revealed in you. And if only those would preach who had Christ revealed in them, things would be different. This is a very high standard that God has set in his word. It pleased God to reveal his Son in me that I might preach him among the heathen, among the Gentiles. So the gospel brings back the revelation of Christ in the believer. Galatians 2:20, Paul comes to this theme again: I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I go on living. But it is not I who am living now but Christ who is living in me. However, Christ in the believer is veiled by the flesh. The flesh is spoken of as being the veil. You see this in Hebrews 10:20, just to get this one reference. It talks about Jesus entering into the holiest:
“By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh...” (KJV)
You see, Jesus was God veiled in flesh. When the flesh of Jesus was pierced and torn on the cross, the veil was parted. But the flesh is the veil. Now in this present age Christ is revealed in the believer, he lives in the believer but he is still veiled by the flesh. Colossians 3:10 gives us another aspect of this truth. It’s speaking about the new man, that is what we are in Christ, the new race, Colossians 3:10 Paul says to the believers:
“You have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him...” (KJV)
That’s the King James Version. I prefer to make it more literal: who is being renewed, it’s a continuous present tense, it’s a process that we’re going through of being renewed and then it says into the acknowledgment of the creator. It’s not just knowing Jesus intellectually, it’s acknowledging him in every area of our life that brings his image into us.
And then the end purpose is to reproduce his image. I believe this is a perfectly justifiable, if you would like to call it, paraphrase. I’d like to say it again. Being renewed into the acknowledgment of the creator so as to reproduce his image. In other words, the end purpose is to restore the image that was marred by the fall. And of course, the consummation of this purpose will come at the resurrection when even the physical body of the believer will be transformed into the likeness of Christ’s resurrection body.
Turn to Philippians 3 for a moment, verses 20 and 21. Philippians 3:20–21:
“For our conversation [or citizenship] is in heaven...”(KJV)
That’s where we’re enrolled, that’s where we have voting rights, that’s where our passports are issued from. Having just taken American citizenship it’s become pretty vivid to me that there are a lot of things that go with citizenship. And when I took American citizenship I had to get a new passport. I was entitled to vote, I got all sorts of things that I didn’t have as a resident alien. And the scripture says here our citizenship. That’s the correct translation, is in heaven.
“From whence also we look for the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body [the body of our humiliation] that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, [the body of his glory is the correct translation]”(KJV)
At the moment we live in a body of humiliation. No matter how you may doll your body up, no matter how you may feed it, no matter how you may clothe it, no matter how much you may have your face lifted or whatever else you please to do, God bless you for doing it. It’s still a body of humiliation. You still have to run to the bathroom, you still have to run to the doctor. It’s a humiliating body, but you see, the whole tendency of natural man, especially in modern America is to banish the humiliation of our bodies. But you can’t do it. You can do everything, you can use every kind of device, which is being used in modern America. In fact, if you consider a lot of the things that are marketed in modern America, they’re really designed to conceal the humiliation of the body that we live in. But no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t work. It’s a body of humiliation, it’s the result of the fall and we’re going to have to live with it until it’s changed. But it’s going to be changed when Jesus appears, we shall see him as he is and we shall be changed so that we have a body like his body. That’s what the scripture says, and I for one believe it.
Notice also just quickly in 1Corinthians 15:49–53, and when you see the word image in the New Testament in connection with salvation, always think about the creation. 1Corinthians 15:49:
“As we have borne the image of the earthy, [the earthy Adam] that we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. [This image is referring to the physical external appearance.] Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; [as I understand it, there’ll be no blood in the resurrection body. I’m not going to go into this.] neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (KJV)
This corruptible body can never get into the atmosphere of heaven’s incorruption. You see, man can go out into space but have you, noticed that he has to take earth’s atmosphere with him. No matter how far he goes he cannot live because he’s got a body that’s designed for this planet and it will function here but nowhere else. So if we’re going to move out of this planet into another realm, we’ve got to have a different body. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; [a secret] we shall not all sleep [in death], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, [as long as it takes to shut your eye and open it. One moment we’ll look at each other in the natural, we’ll blink and then I’ll look at my wife and say I never knew she could be so beautiful. And she’ll look at me and say I never knew he was so handsome. It will happen just like that. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye,] at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Everybody that’s going to get into eternity with God has got to undergo a physical change as well as a spiritual. But the spiritual comes first. It’s the inward likeness now, the outward image at the resurrection.
Moving down our outline we come to the third point of parallelism, the purpose for which the first Adam was created and the purpose for which the new race is brought into being. And we saw in the fourth study in this series that Adam was created to exercise dominion over all the earth. We stated that he was God’s authorized personal representative showing forth visibly God’s image and exercising God’s authority over all the earth. Few people who haven’t studied this realize what Adam was like when he was created, he was created a monarch, a ruler. On one condition, continued subjection to Almighty God.
Now the new creation, we are created for the same purpose, to exercise dominion. And again, few believers have any concept of the dominion that is ours in Christ. There’s a book that I read once that changed my thinking by a missionary who is now with the Lord called John Lake. The title of it is “The John Lake Sermon,” but his subtitle was this: “Dominion over Demons, Diseases and Death.” And he points out that’s what is ours in Christ. Dominion over demons, diseases and death. And I saw, out of the scripture that this is the truth. The new creation is brought into being not to be slaves, not to be pushed around, not to be trampled on, but to exercise in the spiritual realm divine dominion. Let’s look in 2Corinthians again, that 5th chapter which contains this revelation of the new creation. We’ve looked at it already, but we’ll turn back and we’ll look on from verse 17. Not going back over the verses that we’ve already dealt with. 2Corinthians 5:17 and we’ll read through verse 20.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, a new creation is taken place: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ...” (KJV)
This is the point where we begin, reconciliation with God. As sinners we have to be reconciled with God, we have to make our peace with God. And then it goes on to say having been reconciled we receive the ministry of reconciliation. So a sinner who is saved is what I call a reconciled reconciler. Having been reconciled our business is to continue the ministry of reconciliation. Now this ministry of reconciliation is based on the fact stated in verse 19 that:
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them...”(KJV)
Jesus did not go around pointing a finger at everybody and saying, you’re a sinner. This is the sort of accepted picture of the gospel preacher. He starts with the text Romans 3:23, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, he goes onto Romans 6:23, the wages of sin is death. I can do it, I know it by heart. But in actual fact it isn’t the way Jesus went about. He didn’t go around telling people they were sinners. As soon as they met him they knew they were sinners, he didn’t have to tell them that. What he wanted to tell them was God loves you and he’s willing to forgive you and heal you. And I tell you, when the church goes out with that ministry, they’ll receive a different response. This is our ministry, it’s a ministry of reconciliation. It’s not a ministry of condemnation. The law of Moses was a ministry of condemnation. 2Corinthians 3, Paul says this is a ministry of righteousness. The law of Moses was a ministry of death, this is a ministry of life. This is a more glorious ministry, even than the glory that Moses had when he came down from the mountain, his face shining with the glory of God, that glory was to be done away with. But the glory of the gospel is permanent.
Going on in 2Corinthians 5, the latter part of verse 19:
“...and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [Exactly the same message that Jesus began to preach is ours to continue. It’s a message of reconciliation. Summed up in verse 20] Now then, [as a result of this] we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead [place], be ye reconciled to God.” (KJV)
That word ambassador has come to fascinate me. There’s so much meaning in it. You see, we said just previously our citizenship is in heaven. Our citizenship is not on earth. Our government is in heaven. What are we doing on earth? We’re ambassadors. Just like the United States sends an ambassador to Moscow, his citizenship isn’t in Russia, it’s in America. What’s he doing in Moscow? He’s an ambassador. What does it mean that he’s an ambassador? He’s the authorized personal representative of the government of the United States. He has to be very careful of how he behaves because if he behaves wrong he misrepresents the government of the United States. But anything done against him is received by the government of the United States as done against the nation and its government. And he is authorized to speak officially on behalf of the government he represents. What are we? We are ambassadors of heaven’s government on earth, representing heaven. We have to be very careful how we behave. We have to know protocol because if we do anything wrong we give people on earth a wrong impression of heaven and its government. But when we speak, we speak as the authorized official representatives of heaven. And if anybody affronts or rejects or insults us, they’re insulting heaven. We don’t have to take care of it. The ambassador doesn’t carry a revolver around. He doesn’t defend himself. Because the whole armed might of the United States is behind that one man. And if you and I are functioning as ambassadors, and anybody goes against us in that capacity, God says vengeance is mine. I will repay, I will take care of that. I’ll call out the army and the navy and the air force when I feel fit. But we don’t have to avenge ourselves, we have the authority, but the responsibility of enforcing that authority rests with the government of heaven. That’s what it is, we are ambassadors, we’re in Christ’s place. The same ministry that Christ had on earth we are continuing. That’s our business. There’s no need to change the ministry of Jesus Christ. He started off right. He preached the right gospel, he preached it the right way, he attested it with the right authority and so on. God has never asked us to improve on the ministry of Jesus. All he said is just keep doing the same, that’s all that’s needed. Because any change will never be an improvement. I keep coming back to this thought, God never has to modify what he produces. There’s never a mark two or a mark three with God, mark one is always right to start with. And that’s true of the ministry of Jesus.
Notice also Matthew 28:18–20. Another thing about ambassadors while you’re turning there, I’m always gripped by this realization and I believe it has a deep spiritual truth to it. The last act before a government officially declares war on another nation is what? To withdraw its ambassadors. And I’ll tell you, when God withdraws his ambassadors, look out earth. I wouldn’t want to be here. That’s the way I read scripture. There’s going to be a day when God withdraws his ambassadors. And that’s the final declaration of war, then the vials of the wrath of Almighty God are going to be poured out on a Christ rejecting earth. God is going to pull out the army, the navy, the air force. And weapons such as no human government can develop even with a megaton bomb will be turned loose on this earth. I believe it. I believe it’s described in the book of Revelation, and I believe it’s going to happen just the way it is described.
Let’s look at Matthew 28:18–20. Again the emphasis is on authority.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them [after resurrection] saying, All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. [Adam has usurped the authority given to Adam in earth. Jesus is the last Adam, atoned for Adam’s sin and at resurrection all authority in heaven and in earth was vested in Jesus. But now there’s another therefore and I want you to notice that.] All authority [it should be, not power] in heaven and in earth is given to me, Go ye therefore...”(KJV)
What’s the therefore for? Because of the authority. What does it mean? Go and use my authority. I hereby give you the right to use my name. And when in fulfillment of my will and in obedience to my word you use my name, it’s the same as me being there. I’m going back to heaven, I’ve done my part of the job, now you go and do yours. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things. Whatsoever I have commanded you. Notice again, the mark of discipleship, the official public entrance into this new race is baptism in water. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And let people say what they will, there is no varied variation to that text of Matthew 28:19. There is not a manuscript in existence which acknowledges any other text but that. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s good enough for me. Jesus said it and I’m going to keep doing it in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to make an issue of that but let’s at least be objective. If Jesus made a mistake, I say if, it’s not my business to correct him.
We go on with this comparison between the first and second creation. The fourth thing we pointed out about Adam was that he was not a slave, God called him to intelligent partnership. And when God wanted to name the animals he said, Adam come here and look at these animals. Tell me what you think they should be named. And a name in Hebrew is of course always indicative of nature. So in naming the animals Adam had to understand their nature and their relationship to one another. And whatever Adam called them, that was the name of them. God didn’t name them, he said Adam, you name them. But God gave Adam the insight, the wisdom that he needed. And likewise in the new relationship in Jesus Christ we are not just slaves, we’re intelligent partners with God. Let’s look at some scriptures. John 15:15.
“Henceforth I call you not servants [slaves], for the servant [slave] knoweth not what his lord doeth, [That’s the meaning of the literal Greek word.] but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (KJV)
Isn’t that an astonishing statement! Jesus didn’t keep anything back. I think we have to understand that the you is plural, let me offer this observation. I don’t think any one of us individually knows everything but collectively it’s made available to us. I believe this to be true. If we don’t know it’s because we haven’t availed ourselves of what is revealed. But the real problem is it’s doing what we know. Jesus acted on everything the Father showed him and if we would do the same, the same is made available to us. God is not trying to keep us in ignorance. He delights to share with us. Let’s look also at two other passages, 1Corinthians 3:9:
“For we are labourers together with God...” (KJV)
The Greek is a compound word, we are co-laborers with God.
“...ye are God’s husbandry [farm], ye are God’s building.” (KJV)
And we are working with God on the farm and the building. 2Corinthians 6:1, it really isn’t necessary to turn there but the same language is used. 2Corinthians 6:1:
“We then, as workers together with him [God], beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” (KJV)
We are co-workers with him. And then again the other figure that’s used in the same line is in 1Corinthians 4:1, we’re stewards.
“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
The steward is one who has a great deal committed to him which is his responsibility to administer faithfully. A steward is not an ordinary household slave. And in 1Peter 4:10 Peter says that we should be good stewards of the manifold or many sided grace of God. He is not speaking merely to preachers. He’s speaking to all believers. All believers have a stewardship of the good things of God imparted to them to administer.
Then we pointed out that another unique feature of Adam’s creation was the provision of a mate. And that in the provision of a mate he learned by experience what it is to be without intimate personal fellowship. And then what it is to have that personal fellowship provided. And as I said, I believe that in this he’s a type of God in the Lord Jesus Christ because in all creation there is one thing missing which is the object of intimate personal fellowship. So Eve had to be provided to supply this need for Adam and the church is provided to supply this need for Jesus Christ. In other words, Adam was taught by experience the longing of Almighty God for this particular type of intimate fellowship which is typified by the relationship between husband and wife, that we might understand that Jesus Christ has the same longing for intimate personal fellowship that Adam had. And this longing is provided by God the Father for the Son in the person of the church. This is clearly stated in scripture, 2Corinthians 11, Paul says, verses 2 and 3, to believers in Christ:
“For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (KJV)
Believers are espoused. Notice there’s a difference between espousal and marriage. I cannot deal with it here. Espousal is one thing, marriage is subsequent. Conversion and profession of faith in Jesus Christ is espousal, but the marriage is going to be celebrated at the end of the age. The test is will we remain faithful to Christ in the period between espousal and marriage. Then Paul goes on to say that there’s a possibility that we may to remain faithful. Verse 3:
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (KJV)
The thing we have to watch is that from the period between espousal and marriage we remain true in our loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ because Eve did not remain true to Adam. In a certain sense she disobeyed him and she betrayed him. And then she enticed him into her wrongdoing. But you’ll see that Paul brings out that very clear parallel on the one hand between Adam and Eve, on the other hand between Christ and the church. And this is again expressed in Ephesians 5, we’ll just read the verses without dwelling on them. Ephesians 5:25–27:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that is should be holy and without blemish.” (KJV)
Christ is waiting for the day when the church as the spotless bride shall be presented to him and meanwhile, he’s preparing her with the teaching of the word, sanctifying and cleansing with the washing of water by the word. And then at the end of the chapter Paul returns to this thought, verse 31–32:
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [This was spoken initially by God of Adam and Eve. Paul says] This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (KJV)
As Adam was joined to Eve, so Christ is to be joined to the church in the marriage which will consummate this age.
So we have then these five points of similarity between the first and second creation which I want to sum up. The method of creation, the inbreathed breath. In the new creation the inbreathed breath of the risen Christ.
Secondly, the nature, the likeness and image of the creator to be restored in the new creation.
Thirdly, the purpose to exercise God given dominion and authority on behalf of Christ.
Fourthly, intelligent partnership with God. We are co-workers, we are stewards.
Fifthly, the parallel and the provision of a mate. As the longing for fellowship in Adam was satisfied by the provision of Eve, so the longing for fellowship in Christ is satisfied by the provision of the church.
Now then, this relationship between the believers and Christ is also parallel to the relationship between Christ as Son, and God the Father. And in closing this study I want to sum up these parallels. Turn if you will to John 20:21 and let’s look at one simple and amazing statement. John 20:21:
“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (KJV)
The even so is very emphatic. In precisely the same way that God the Father sent the Son, so the Son sends his disciples. The parallel is to be exact. Even so indicates not an approximate resemblance but a specific precise resemblance or parallel. The relationship between the Father and the Son is paralleled exactly by the relationship between Christ and his disciples. And in the following section here under the headings A, B, C and D, I point out to you four specific ways in which this parallel is made clear. In each case we take the relationship between the Son and the Father first and then show how this is duplicated by the relationship between the believers and Christ.
Turning to John 6:57, Christ lives by spiritual union with the Father. John 6:57:
“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me [he that comes into a parallel union] shall live by me.” (KJV)
The life of the disciple is totally dependent upon union with Christ. As Christ in his earthly walk was totally dependent upon his union with the Father. I pointed out in a previous study that when the union between the Father and the Son was temporarily severed, when Jesus became sin on our behalf on the cross, the life was cut off. Jesus died spiritually, forfeiting the union that he had with the Father. He lived by union with the Father. In the same way the believer lives. Let’s look also at John 10:30. John 10:30 which is a very short and simple statement, Jesus said:
“I and my Father are one.” (KJV)
One in the Spirit, united in the Spirit and Jesus had his life by this union in the Spirit with the Father.
Now let’s see what the scripture says about the believer in Christ. 1Corinthians 6:17, and I’ll read 16 to give the background.
“What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (KJV)
And the word joined, I looked at it, is not in the past tense, it’s in the continuous present tense. He that is continually cleaving to the Lord is one. There’s a spiritual union with God which is parallel to the physical union between a man and a woman. That’s what the scripture says. It’s so real, so intimate, the believer can cleave to God so that he is one. Just as Jesus was one with the Father, the believer can be one with the Son. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. I want to emphasize that it’s not a single event in past tense. It’s a continuing present. He that is continually cleaving to the Lord. Jesus continually lives by union with the Father. If the union were ever broken, which it never was until the cross, he would have forfeited life. And you and I as believers continually live only insofar as we live in union with the Son, Jesus Christ. Living in union with him, we are one spirit.
Now the second fact about Jesus was that he had one supreme purpose which was to do the Father’s will. Let’s look at a few scriptures in John. You’ll notice that most of this revelation is given in John’s gospel. It’s very interesting we have to turn to John for these facts. John 4:34, Jesus said:
“My meat is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work.” (KJV)
This is what keeps me alive, what gives me strength. My nourishment, to do the will of him that sent me. And in John 5:30 he says:
“I can of my own self do nothing [apart from the Father I can do nothing]: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (KJV)
And in John 6:38 he says:
“I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (KJV)
Why is the believer down here on earth? Not do to his own will, but to do the will of Christ that sent him. Many scriptures state this, let’s look at Colossians quickly. Colossians 1:9:
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (KJV)
We are to be filled with the knowledge of his will. In other words, the knowledge of Christ’s will is to take over the whole of our minds. It’s to completely control our whole thinking. Every motive, every intention is to be controlled by the knowledge of the will of Christ. And then again in Colossians 4:12, Paul speaks about:
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (KJV)
The believer only becomes perfect and complete insofar as he fulfills the whole will of God. And then you can find another scripture if you want a very beautiful one in Hebrews 13:20–21, we’ll just glance at it.
“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...” (KJV)
So we are made perfect, we are made complete. We come to fulfillment only insofar as we do the will of God. Just as Jesus found fulfillment in his earthly life only in doing the will of God. If there is lack of peace, frustration, disharmony in your life, one thing you might do is check on your relationship to the will of God. Because you can be made perfect and complete insofar only as you know and do the will of God. Anything else is incompleteness and frustration.
Then again, with regard to the words and the works of Jesus. He attributed everything without exception to the Father. Let’s look in John 8:28:
“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; [this is the continual theme of all his statements. I do nothing of myself, I can’t live apart from the Father. I have no will apart from the Father’s will.] But as the Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” (KJV)
Jesus spoke only what the Father taught him. And the disciple is entitled to speak only what Christ teaches him. And then in John 14:10 and verse 24 Jesus returns to this theme:
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. [Both the words and the works did not come from Jesus but from the Father. And verse 24 of John 14:] He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which he hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (KJV)
And we are obligated to say to the world, the words which you hear are not ours, but Christ’s. We are in obligation as disciples to be able to say that.
Look just briefly in Romans 15, we won’t dwell on these, verses 18 and 19. Romans 15:18–19:
“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, [Paul says I am not going to speak about anything in my life except that which was done by Christ] to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God...”(KJV)
Insofar as we let Christ manifest himself through us and do his works through us, they will be done by the power of the Spirit of God. It is not an effort, it’s submission. And then in Philippians 2 the same thought is brought out by Paul there in Philippians 2:13 and Philippians 4:13, just reading those:
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”(KJV)
That’s what God is working, first of all to cause us to will and then to do the will of God. The Christian life should not be a conflict between what to do and what we will. There should be harmony. We should both will and then do the will of God. This is the grace of God working in us. And Philippians 4:13 Paul says this:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me [through Christ in me giving me the strength.].” (KJV)
The power is not mine, but Christ’s.
Finally Jesus summed up his relation to the Father very clearly and beautifully in John 14:9 where he said this:
“Jesus saith unto him, [that is Philip] Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father...” (KJV)
That’s the summation of the relationship. What do we have to say to the world? If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen Christ. Galatians 1:16, we read it already but it’s a good one to return to. When Paul was brought to Christ, called to serve him he said it pleased God to reveal his Son in me. The purpose of God in the believer is to reveal Christ. We are not here to present ourselves to the world, but to present Christ. That is a tremendous challenge. But in closing I’d like to leave you this one thought. I don’t believe any individual believer can fulfill the whole requirement. It’s the corporate body of Christ that will completely fulfill these requirements. And we see that the new man is not a single individual but a corporate body. And it is this new man through whom ultimately this will be achieved. We are part of the new man but none of us is the whole. None of us has the whole truth, none of us contains the whole revelation of Jesus Christ. Each one of us is responsible for what God has given us to do, to say and to reveal. But the total revelation will come through the corporate body. We’ll look at these scriptures and close this study. Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are his workmanship [not I am his workmanship, but we are his workmanship. The Greek word poiemagives us the English word poem and I think it has the idea of masterpiece. We are his masterpiece.] created in Christ Jesus [this is the new creation] unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (KJV)
The good works are already there, we have to find them and walk in them collectively. And then in Ephesians 2:13–15:
“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 then verse 15] having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances for to make in himself of twain one new man.” (KJV)
The new man is one new man. Ephesians 4:4:
“There is one body, and one Spirit...” (KJV)
And Ephesians 4:12–13, the ministries are set in the body:
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man...” (KJV)
Not perfect men, but a perfect man. It is one new corporate man that will fulfill this task committed to the new creation in Christ.