He Must Reign (continued)
Paul's Understanding of the Church, And Concern for the Churches
I believe that this also was the key to Paul's understanding of the Church. Paul, as no one else, perhaps, had the greatest comprehension and understanding of the Church "from eternity to eternity." He goes right back into the Divine counsels "before the world was," and sees it there in the heart and thought of God; he comes right through and sees it in the great consummation of the ages of the ages. He of all the things he says - the highest things, the fullest things - the most complete expression of the meaning and vocation of the Church is contained and summed up in this matchless phrase: "Now unto Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (the Church), unto Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever" (Ephesians 3:20, 21). "Glory in the Church" - what glory? The glory of the glorified Christ! I could stay long with that matter of the Church and its eternal vocation and election, to be the vessel of the glory of Christ. John saw it at the end, in characteristic symbolism, in terms of the City it is simply the glory of Christ in expression at last. It is that for which the church was chosen; it is that to which the church is called - to be the vessel, the seat, of this authority, this government, and this glory. Christ in glory gave to Paul the clue as to the church, and an ever-growing explanation of its meaning.
This same thing accounted for his concern for the churches. No one will question that Paul had tremendous concern for the Churches. He says that he travailed for them; he wept day and night for them; he longed and yearned over them, spent himself for them. But why? What was the motive? What prompted all that? Ah, it was the glory of his Lord Jesus! The churches existed for the glory of Christ He said so. It was all just for that one thing - THE GLORY OF CHRIST. And if there was any deflection, if there was anything that was not right in the Church, or in the churches; if anything whatsoever could be done to help them, it was all motivated by this one thing, that the Lord Jesus should in all things be glorified.
And if we pass to the end of it all, and look at Paul's writing about the Lord coming again, what is it that is uppermost with him in relation to that coming? Is it the end of his troubles? Is it just his own joy and pleasure in getting to heaven? Oh no, it is the reign of His Lord the fact that His Lord is coming into His own, coming into His kingdom, coming into His rights, coming into the place that He ought to have, to be ceded that place universally - that is the great thing, the one thing giving birth and giving rise to everything else. "He must reign."
(continued with # 59 - "Christ is Actively Reigning Now")