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Friday, December 19, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 12

The Overcomer

Before we proceed to consider more definitely the nature of that 'new cruse' of which we have been speaking, a few further words on the relative aspect of this vessel are needed. In the Scriptures, as we have pointed out, it is clearly seen that all the reactionary instruments of God are of a relative character; that is, that they are related to and on behalf of a body larger than themselves. This is an underlying principle in the progressive activities of God. The point which needs to have extra emphasis is that, in securing all the elect territory, habitation and inheritance, whether as His first choice or as of necessity by reason of so general an apathy and worldliness on the part of His people, the Lord uses what might be termed "advance parties." It is not necessary in this connection to present or argue for any theory or "teaching" concerning "selectiveness", or "partial" or "first-fruits' in the matter of 'rapture.' The historical, literal and time aspect is of secondary importance. What is of primary account is the 'spiritual' fact, and this, we believe, is incontrovertible. It is a principle in every realm of creation and Divine method. There are -

Harbingers In Every Sphere

Originally a harbinger was one who went before to provide lodgings, but the term has now come to be applied to any forerunner. An adequate recognition of the 'spiritual' element in this universe fact, and especially in relation to "the eternal purpose", would correct and adjust much on both sides - acceptance and rejection - of a set teaching of 'partial rapture'. That is, if the vocational factor were kept in view it would supply the motive and stimulus so commonly lacking among many who reject that teaching; which lack has very largely become the strength of the teaching and its propagation. And, on the other hand, it would both obviate the difficulty concerning 'all being of Grace' and not of works, and remove any 'selectiveness' of spirit and temper- as 'the elect of the elect.' Let us repeat with strength: There is undoubtedly an advance party in every movement of God. This is spiritual before anything else, and it is vocational rather than meritorious. That there will be special rewards for such seems quite clear and beyond doubt, but rewards do not contradict grace.

When we contemplate the churches in Asia as presented in the Revelation, and admit the respective age application, it is difficult, if not impossible, in respect of at least five, to conclude that we are dealing with the unsaved and ungodly - with assemblies of religious people without any true spiritual history. It is undoubtedly a case of declension, of failure to go on with the Lord. Are all these to be eternally lost? And yet they represent the majority in every age.

We know that one answer to this is that all will be adjusted at the judgment seat of Christ; but what concerns us is  what about the others, the 'overcomers'? Surely more is involved than being different from the rest and getting a better reward. Yes: the point is that the Lord must and will have His testimony in the earth according to his own mind, and those who provide Him with the instrument for this fulfill a special mission, not only in the earth, but in the heavenlies - both now, and then.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 13)

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