Taking the Ground of the Heavenly Man (continued)
d. Paul and Israel
What was true of Peter had to be true of Paul. I think Paul was a long time in getting thoroughly off his own ground. He clung to Israel as long as he could. Other things there were that had quickly become clear, and his going out to the Gentiles had very largely moved him away even from this ground, but he was still clinging to it in measure. That vow, and that going up to Jerusalem which led him into such trouble, was all the fruit of his clinging to Israel, esteeming his brethren after the flesh above others. He did not easily let go. But when at length Paul let go of that ground, then he was able to write the Letter to the Ephesians. The Letter to the Ephesians is the glorious expression of heavenly ground having been reached in fullness. Is it not that? Ephesians deals with being in the heavenlies in Christ. It speaks of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The full-grown man is the Heavenly Man. At long last he has finally quit his own ground, that of tradition, nature, birth, natural hope, and now, being on the ground of the Heavenly Man, he has such a fullness to pass on. He says - and it invests these words with such richness when you see what they represent of the position to which he himself has come - "And put on the new man, which after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Ephesians 4:24). On this heavenly ground, there can be neither Jew, nor Greek. You must leave the ground of the Jew, leave the ground of the Greek. On this ground there can be neither circumcision nor uncircumcision. You have to leave both those grounds. On this ground there can be neither barbarian nor Scythian, neither bondman nor freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. That is the ground of the Heavenly Man.
All Natural Ground Must Be Forsaken
In this dispensation God is not meeting Jews as Jews, and Gentiles as Gentiles, and a great many are making the mistake of thinking that He is. His Word to the Jew is: You must leave your Jewish ground, and stand before God, not as a Jew, but as a man, and until you take that ground God has nothing to say to you; you will not have any light whilst you persist in coming before God on your own ground. The same has to be said to everyone else. We have to leave our own ground in every way.
(continued with # 77)