A sturdy tree needs good roots, and a house calls for a firm foundation. How much more does our spiritual life require a reliable Source. Youth and immaturity tend to act in haste first and to think later. Maturity has learned to take time to assess the facts and to refrain from haste. God is our patient Teacher, Who is taking our life-time to teach eternal facts. He uses the natural Adamic-life to instruct us in the spiritual Christ-life and His teaching principle is based on an essential truth – the ‘source‘ rule, which is found in Genesis 1:24: everything after its own kind – flesh after flesh, and spiritual after spiritual.
The carnal is complete in Adam: for I know in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing. Rom.7:18. The spiritual is complete in Christ: like Christ …. we walk in newness of life…and you are complete in Him. Rom.6:5. Through struggles, pain, and failures. He instructs us about the natural, and uses these commonplace experiences to train us in the spiritual. It is: by the obedience of One that many shall be made righteous, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and we are complete in Him. Col.2:9
What are these foundational truths that our Father desires that we shall learn? FIRST: the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of our Christian life. We were born into Him and God has made us complete in Him: if any man be in Christ he is a new creature in Him. 2Cor.5:17. SECOND: we hold to this truth, as a God-spoken fact, and we do so by faith. Little by little He gently brings us into this reality through daily experiences. Slowly we begin to receive and accept what was already ours from our ‘re-birth‘… that: I am complete in Him.
This fact allows Him to patiently work His life into our personality, bit by bit. To form the character of our life – a life that is hid with Christ in God. We start to ascend the ladder of grace through our advancing understanding. First, we believe, that the Lord was sent from God. Then, through His unique work on the cross, we were justified. Third, we start to know, not only about Him, but we get to know Him, personally. Fourth we see Him in Heaven and learn that we are seated there, in Him. (in heavenly places)
He then starts to unfold the mysteries of our position in Him and our entitlements, until we finally realise that we are also seated with Him in heavenly places. Since we are complete in Him we can never add to that finished work. It is a matter of receiving by faith; walking by faith; appropriating by faith.
Walter Marshall is concise here. He writes: Christ’s resurrection was our resurrection to a life of holiness, just as Adam’s fall was our fall into spiritual death. And we are not ourselves the first makers and formers of our new holy nature, any more than of our original corruption, but both are formed ready for us to partake of them. And by union with Christ, we partake of that spiritual life that He took possession of for us at His resurrection, and thereby we are enabled to bring forth the fruits of it; as the Scripture showeth us by the similitude of a marriage union. Romans 7:4 ‘Married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
We are not to produce but to receive the life of Christ in our bodies. Though complete in Him through spiritual birth, maturity grows over time. Spiritual growth, requires a heart-hunger for an intimate relationship, and an intimate relationship only develops as we get to know Him Whom our soul loves. And as with any relationship.. as we concentrate on Him and gaze on Him and think on Him – as we worship Him and get to know Him more and more, so we love Him. The riches of the fullness of the revelation of the mystery of our Christian faith, is seen in the lovely face of the One perfect human personality of Jesus Christ. Our life is complete in Him. Our position is secure in Him and we are seated together with Him and in Him, in heavenly places.
As as we gaze upon His loveliness and inhale the perfume of His person; the eyes of our our understanding are enlightened; the hope of our calling becomes secured; the riches of His splendour and His exceeding greatness becomes our reality – and the wonders of the glory of His inheritance in us is recognised and accepted as truth. A tiny cornflower seed embodies the life of a cornflower within its fragile self. The little seed embodies in full reproduction – of the life from which it came – and we are similarly, complete in Him, and our life is hid with Christ in God. And like the cornflower seed, all of Christ is embodied within our new man, and we will be fully like Him when we see Him as He is. It is not to be me that lives, but Christ that lives in Me and Christ that works through Me. We are being conformed into His glorious likeness.. does not your heart glow within you as you assimilate these gracious truths?
The development of the divine Life in the believer is like the natural growth in the world of flowers and vegetables. We do not need to make any effort to place ourselves in good conditions. God is the great Husbandman. He will place you where He wants you to be. He will provide you with the favourable conditions for your growth, even though His favourable conditions may conflict with what you would prefer! But unlike the little cornflower seed which rests where the gardener planted it, we often object to the place where the heavenly Gardener has placed us – and sometimes we try to assist the heavenly Husbandman to our own detriment.
But those that seek to develop by self-effort are the ones that fail. Those that submit to His correction and rest in His love and focus upon Him – they are the ones that will bring forth twenty, fifty, and a hundred percent fruit. God has already wrought together every strand of His eternal purpose in you. The first part was the revealing of the Father’s perfect likeness in the Son: He that has seen Me has seen the Father. John 14:9 The second part is His process of conforming you into the likeness of Jesus – moulding us to become like Christ: that Christ may be seen in me – that Christ may be seen in you.
William Law agrees: “A root set in the finest soil, in the best climate, and blessed with all that sun and air and rain can do for it, is not so sure a way of its growth to perfection, as every man may be whose spirit aspires after all that which God is ready and infinitely desirous to give him. For the sun meets not the springing bud that stretches toward him with half that certainty as God, the Source of all good, communicates Himself to the soul that longs to partake of Him.”
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