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Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Stewardship of the Mystery # 78

Taking the Ground of the Heavenly Man (continued)

The Witness of the Testimonies to the Truth: 

a. Baptism (continued)

May we just say here, lest some fall into a peril which we recognize in making such a statement, that among the things mentioned it says that you died to being under bondage to the Sabbath. That is quite true as a legal thing, as a part of a legal system imposed upon you; you have died to that, and you are no longer in bondage to that. But, mark you, we do not believe that a risen man, a spiritual man, will violate the principle of the Sabbath. We do not believe that a really spiritual man will do that. There is that portion of our time which is the Lord's portion, that which must be set aside for the Lord apart from all other things in the matter of time, that which must give the Lord His place and give a clear space for the Lord's things in our week. It is a settled law of a spiritual character that lies behind the ordinance of the Sabbath. I cannot believe for a moment that a man who is under the government of the Holy Spirit will treat every day alike, and turn the Sabbath day into a day of personal pleasure and gain. The Holy Spirit would check a spiritual man on such a matter, at the same time keeping him free from the legal Sabbath, so that he holds it unto God and not as a part of a legal religious system.

Now we say that in parenthesis to safeguard what has just been expressed against an unwarranted conclusion. Oh, well, I can do as I like because I am not under the Law, someone will say. Oh no! Not at all! We can have the Holy Spirit now in resurrection, and on the ground of the Heavenly Man we shall be kept right by the Lord in these matters.

You see that baptism sets forth, on the one hand, our having forsaken our own ground of nature, through death, and, on the other hand, our having come on to the ground of the Heavenly Man in resurrection.

b. The Laying On of Hands

But then we come to the laying on of hands. That immediately follows baptism in the Scripture of Hebrews six. What is the significance of the laying on of hands? It witnesses to our coming on to the ground of the corporate Heavenly Man, the one Body, so that in the laying on of hands there is the testimony born between two or three, or more, by an act of identification, that we are not isolated units, but that we are a collective or corporate body, the corporate Heavenly Man. The ground of the Lord Himself was that of one Body, that of the corporate Heavenly Man. There is no doubt that it is in that life of oneness in the Spirit, as the life of the Heavenly Man, that we find the greater fulnesses of Christ. There is always something more in two than in one. There is always something more of the Lord in relatedness than in isolation. The Lord indicates this very clearly when by the writer to the Hebrews He says: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom of some is, as y see the day drawing nigh" (Hebrews 10:25). Why should it be said "as ye see the day drawing nigh?" Because it is the day of the fullness, the day of the consummation. Our coming together "so much the more" in view of that day makes possible the Lord's giving so much the more unto that final fullness. We need it so much the more as we get near the end, and near the beginning of  "the day." The ground of the Heavenly Man, personal and corporate, is the ground that we have quite definitely to take.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 79)

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