The Man Whom He Hath Ordained (continued)
No experience of ours, under the hand of God, is an incident by itself. It does not come into our lives because of this or that, or something else as apart. If we go wrong, God does not chastise us for this or that as a thing in itself. God's chastisements are not incidental, are not detached, are not apart, but in relation to an object, the object in His eye, a Man.
God's dealings, not only with His own, but with the world, which are different kinds of dealings, are in relation to that Man. If we were able to recognize what that means, and apply it, bring it into the realm of applied truth, it would considerably help us in our everyday life.
Now in those statements we have comprehensively set forth God's object, the great governing reality. Everything is explained by a Man, and in a Man, and that Man interprets the history and the destiny of the universe. It could be put in other ways, and a great deal more from the Word of God could be cited to show how this is so, but we have to go on to break it up further.
God Has Not Evolved Or Produced a Religion
God has not evolved or produced a religion, that is, a system of religious teaching and practice. That is where so many have gone astray, and, as a consequence of the Semites, and all that sort of thing. To these are added works on comparative religions, with Judaism and Christianity included. The whole matter is reduced to comparative values in the religions of the world, as to which is the best, and if it can be proved, as many have tried to show, that Judaism was better than all the ancient religions, and Christianity better than both ancient and modern religions, then it is to be concluded that Christianity is the religion for the world. This is a missing of the point. It is not a thing that we are likely to be caught in, but we have to recognize this truth for ourselves, and see where men have gone astray. God has not evolved or produced a religion: God has presented a Man.
God Has Not Presented A Set of Themes
God has not presented us (in the first instance) with a set of truths, themes, subjects, although the Bible may be full of these. He has not presented us with them, but with a Man. We are never called upon to preach salvation to anybody: we are called upon to preach Christ, and the salvation that is in Christ Jesus: "...it was the good pleasure of God ... to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach HIM among the Gentiles ..." (Galatians 1:15-16). Any truth, any doctrine, any theme, any subject which is not a revelation of Christ, and a ministration of Him, and which does not bring into Christ and make Christ Himself greater and fuller in the life, has missed its intention, has been divorced and separated from the purpose of God, and does not stand with God at all. God has not presented us, in the first instance, with a set of truths, themes, subjects, though there be found great themes in the Word of God, such as atonement, redemption, and the many others; He has presented us with A Man. Everything with God from eternity to eternity is inseparably bound up with a Man.
Perhaps you are wondering what is the practical value of saying such things. The practical value is this, that you never come into the meaning and value of the things, even should you deal with them all your life long, if they are taken as things in themselves. The only dynamic in any truth is the living Christ. Sanctification is Christ, even as justification is Christ. There are not things to be taken and stated, laid hold of and appropriated as things in themselves: Christ is made unto us sanctification and redemption.
(continued with # 100)