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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 17

The Overcomer (continued)

The Depth of Calvary (continued)

The Holy Spirit is thus the Minister of the Glorified Christ, as He was the Agent and the dynamic for the accomplishment of this great end in the Cross, and the securing of it in the Person of Christ in the glory. He is now the Minister of the glorified Christ to work this out in the earth, and in doing so He will bring us to certain very important issues.

He will bring us first of all to this: that those who enter most fully into the meaning of the Cross - which is the will of God wholly done - will encounter the supreme assault of satan.

Do you wonder that satan hates the Cross? Do you wonder that he by any means will get the Cross set on one side? Do you wonder that those who go into the meaning of the Cross spiritually find that they have immediately come up against the whole system of antagonism from the devil? It is so, inevitably. We have seen Abel in the very earliest and simplest form of the presentation of the meaning of the Cross. When he enters into relationship with that blood, that sacrifice, that altar, he immediately and automatically comes up against the adversary. The Holy Spirit, through John, says of Cain that he "was of the evil one" (1 John 3:12).

So with Abraham, so with Joseph, so with Moses; so even in what might be thought to be the simple case of Esther. Let us pause with Esther for a moment. The Book of Esther has been thought to be a commentary upon, an exposition of, the providence and sovereignty of God. Well! it is that, but there is a bigger background to the book. Here is one who is "come to the kingdom for such a time ..." (Esther 4:14). What time? A time when the testimony of God in His people was so set against by the enemy that he wanted the last Jew exterminated. You know the story of Haman - "Haman the Agagite" - a remnant of that Amalakite seed which had always been against God. Haman the Agagite had become inspired with the further purpose, utterly and finally to exterminate the Jews. Esther came to the kingdom for such a time as that, and put her life in the balances - "if I perish, I perish" - and met that awful deep-laid scheme of satan. It is ever an illustration of the ultimate controversy of the Cross. You meet with that when you stand for the testimony of God in the earth. We will come back to Esther presently.

The story of Daniel is the same thing. Two gods: the god set up by Nebuchadnezzar, and THE God. Who is going to be worshiped? Daniel does not need to deliberate over his decision that Jehovah alone, and no other god, is to be worshiped in this universe; His rights alone are to be recognized. He meets the power behind that world-system and is called upon to pay the price. It is the same issue with Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Mechach and Abed-nego.

The Supreme Effort of satan

From the very birth of the Lord Jesus, it is known to satan Who He (Christ) is; and the scheme is put into operation to engulf Him in the massacre of a whole multitude of infants. The cruelty of the evil one to murder a mass to get one! He is after One, he is not after the crowd.

We have no record of any efforts of the enemy from that time until the Lord steps across the line which runs between His private life and His public life - and then He meets the enemy immediately. And what is the question? "If Thou wilt ... worship me" (Matthew 4:9). That is what he is after. It is right out - he is betrayed at once; and it is that issue right up to the Cross. "If Thou wilt worship me." It comes in a multitude of different ways. satan 'only' wants an acknowledgment, the ascribing to him of some rights in the universe.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 18)

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