Practical Devastation of Our Old Humanity (continued)
Change-Over: In the Control of the Holy Spirit (continued)
I wonder if you have recognized that the Old Testament throughout is occupied on one side with this: the exposure of the inability of that humanity under the most favorable conditions to satisfy God. God took out a people, related them, attached them to Himself. While they remained on His ground, He blessed them with every, not spiritual, but temporal blessing in the earthly. They had only to be obedient to the commandment and blessed was their balm and their store and their basket and their family and their business and their everything prospered on this earth. He gave them a marvelous economy under His sovereignty right through from the garden, through Israel. And what have we when we close our Old Testament? The failure of that kind of humanity under every condition, and every favorable condition that God could give temporally. It is a tragic story, and the Old Testament has to close. No, it has not attained: it has failed. You have to write on that side the big word "Failure" over that whole history of mankind in relation to God.
Now when you come into your New Testament, what do you find happening? This whole issue is being headed up to its climax in in the New Testament. God has stepped in with an intervention and along one line said: "We are going to definitely and positively bring this thing to a culmination and a climax; but to do it we must let people see and know, and all history and all time, recognize why it is necessary for us to bring about this culmination and climax of that humanity." Oh, note this, while we are not interested just in fascination, there is something fascinating about this. It is gripping, when once you begin to see.
God's Kind of Man: This Other Man
So, not in the order of time or chronology, we have our four gospels as they are called, and what are these four gospels? They are two things; of course, they are the introduction of God's kind of Man. He is put there, and then alongside of God's kind of Man, the other kind of man is arranged. You cannot read these gospels from that standpoint without being shocked. It is the only word for it - shocked - at the exposure of man alongside of this Other Man, this Man that God has put down in the midst. Read your gospels again in this light: the reactions of men to this Man. Are they not terrible? You wonder sometimes how on earth they got the cleverness to note some of the things that they bring up against this Man.
Now steadily moving on in the gospels, moving on in that way and uncovering, exposing, there is a manifestation of that kind of man intensifying. Note the point where it seems a new intensification comes in in this malice, this hatred, this prejudice, this wickedness - against Whom? Why, what has my Lord done? What means this rage and spite? Intensified, until you come right up to the days of the Cross. You remember, of course, He has been moving on the ground of the crucified Man from His baptism onward, and that is a significant fact when you carry it into the unseen realm, where the forces of antagonism are at work.
The Heart Which Says "No" to God
But now we come actually up to the time of the Cross, the hours before the crucifixion, and the hour itself; and you have gathered around that Cross a representation of every aspect of the human race. From the inner circle to the wider circle, they are all there; and the focal point is the Cross of Jesus Christ. And what is that Cross bringing to light? Let us take a few cases and instances of this. We will begin with the highest representation of the highest religious system and order that history has known.
(continued with # 9)