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Saturday, April 4, 2015

The stewardship of the Mystery # 39

The Heavenly Man As The Instrument (continued)

The Restoration of Heavenly Relationship (continued)

3. Christ is revealed as being also in heaven while here.

This third thing which is stated in John's Gospel is declared by the Lord Himself, and combines both of the other two things. The Son, Who is here in the flesh, is at the same time in heaven. There is the uniting of the two spheres. While He is here, He is still in heaven; while He is in time, He is still in eternity. "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended out of heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven" (John 3:13). That is the Heavenly Man as presented to us by John; Christ on earth, and at the same time still in heaven.

Now, in Christ, that becomes true of the Church, and is true of every member of the Church. In Christ we are here, and at the same time in heaven. We are in time, but we are also in eternity. The question arises, how can this be? It is a statement which needs explaining.

This brings us to the point where eternal and heavenly relationship is resumed. That relationship was broken off, interrupted. In Christ, as representative Man, it is resumed, taken up again. With Him it has never been interrupted. The interruption had to do with man, but through union with Christ that relationship  - howbeit in a fuller way - is resumed, or restored to man. What is the point at which this resumption takes place? It is what is known among us as being born anew, or from above. Its law and its main spring is eternal life.

Israel and the Promises

Two things were evidently related in the Jewish mind. There were: 1.The kingdom of heaven, and 2. Eternal life. Nicodemus asked what he must do to enter the kingdom of heaven. Another ruler, probably of the same school as Nicodemus, and perhaps of the same rank, asked this question: "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25). These things were evidently accepted by the Jews as a promise. The Lord Jesus recognized and referred to  that expectation when He asked, "Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life ..." (John 5:39). There was a ques for eternal life, an expectation, a hope of eternal life, a persuasion that eternal life was a promise to be realized. These two things were linked together in their mind. Christ associates this hope with Himself and says concerning the testimony of the Scriptures, "... these are thy which ear witness of Me." To such as can receive it, He indicates that He Himself is the way or ladder into heaven, the necessary means of getting there. We are, of course, referring to John one, and verse fifty-one. Now read verse forty-seven:

"Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"

Here is a pure Israelite. What can you say to a pure Israelite who is looking for the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, a man who is true, a man who is honest? The Lord has seen him under the fig tree, really pouring himself out in quest of the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, if what the Lord Jesus said to him is a clue to what was going on in his heart. He was of those who looked for the blessings of Israel.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 40)

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