The Power of His Resurrection (continued)
We shall come to the place where Abraham came, who became the great type of faith which moved right into resurrection: "He considered his own body now as good as dead" (Romans 4:19). That is the phrase used by the apostle about Abraham: "as good as dead." And Paul came into that: "We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Which raiseth the dead" (2 Corinthians 1:9). Whatever else men may be able to do in the realm of creation, they stop short when death has actually taken place; they can do no more. Resurrection is God's act, and God's alone. Men can do very many things when they have got life, but when there is no life it is only God who can do anything. And God will allow His Church and its members often times to get into such situations as are altogether beyond human help in order that He may give the display, which is His own display, in which no man has any place to glory.
So said the Lord Jesus: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Glorified! We have dedicated ourselves to that course of things - that is, we have dedicated ourselves to a line of human despair; but how slow we are to accept it in its outworking. When things get to a desperate situation, we kick so much and think that all has gone wrong. It may be just going right for the Lord! Oh, yes, it is desperate; that consideration does not take away from the desperateness of it, the awfulness of it; but if it is going to provide the Lord with His supreme opportunity to raise His preeminent testimony, then it is right - that is, it will be right in its issue.
When at last, in eternity, we read the story of the Church, which is His Body, and see all that it really did come through, we shall have to confess that no human institution, no man-made thing, could have survived, could have gone through that which the saints went through. When it is understood in the light of eternity and appraised by true spiritual standards, we shall say that none but God Almighty could have achieved that, could have brought it through: that it has undoubtedly become the vehicle of the expression of "the exceeding greatness of His power" (Eph. 1:19); and that is saying a great deal. If "the exceeding greatness of His power" is necessary to this, well, that says much for what we have to be brought out of, doesn't it? If "the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Cor. 1:25), what must "the exceeding greatness of His power" represent?
Well, that is in resurrection; as you know, the words are connected with that: "the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to that working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead" (Eph. 1:19-20). That is "to usward who believe." Now the Church, the Bethany testimony, is to be a testimony to the power of His resurrection, and if His methods with us are making that necessary, then let us take encouragement and comfort from the fact that we are thus to be a true expression of what He desires of His Church.
(continued with # 11 - "Celebrating His Victory")