The Battle Ground of the Two Humanities (continued)
The Expression of Jesus Christ (continued)
A local church is intended to have the values of Jesus Christ, which are never capable of being just localized. They must - not by their effort, organization, machinery, or anything of that kind, but because they are that - they must have an expansive influence beyond themselves and beyond their own time: spiritual values. Now I want to get to this matter of how that is reached and what it is that makes the Lord's people like that, both individually and collectively.
You see, the heart of this whole matter is not a system, either of teaching or of practice. It is not an ecclesiasticism: that is only another word for church order. It is not that or any of the things which Christianity has become, not all the accretions and the developments and the forms, but the heart of this whole thing is the PERSON - the PERSON of a Man with a capital M. Manhood is God's great thought from creation. He has put His supreme value upon this form of creation - humanity - and bound up all His interest with a kind of humanity that He wants to possess to represent Him. "Let Us make man in OUR own image, according to Our likeness." What is an image, what is a likeness? It is a representation. God said: "Our image, Our likeness, a representation of Us." But I am afraid the representation is more or less very poor at Corinth. God expressing Himself in a species called humanity - to that He has committed Himself and all His interests; and if you want to know really what the Holy Spirit's coming and operation is for, it is just that - To Get Hold Of A Mankind After This One Man.
So it is a Person; always focus your eyes on the Person, keep your eyes on the Person. The New Testament is all about that. It is always the Person, and this Person is repeatedly saying and affirming: "I AM." Whatever the capacity, Shepherd or Door or Vine, these are only aspects of His Person, of what He is, "I AM". He has stepped right into the arena of history and is the only One Who is allowed to do it, to say: "I AM." Tremendous things are said concerning this, and God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness not by, but in a Man of His Own choice. The judgment of this whole world is going to be on the ground of Christ. Not what sins you have committed, more or less what you might call small or big. No, that is not the ground of judgment. The ground of judgment is where do you stand in relation to Jesus Christ, and how much of Him is there. He will judge the world in the Man. Now think about that. It is the Person which we must keep all the time in view as we proceed!
This Man is utterly and absolutely different from the whole race of humanity; hence, as we have seen, because of that immense difference, there has got to be the undoing of the one in order to make room for the Other. God's full and utter beginning all over again is with this Man. You notice that this implies or indicates that at the time the Lord Jesus came into this world, God had considered and decided that the human race had become big enough and large enough to wind it all up. Here is this great multitude, Jews and Gentiles, filling the world that then was, and it was enough to represent the whole world, a race, a great race. Then the Lord God said: "Finish and We will start with One Man all over again, One Man, the last Adam, a New Race." The whole humanity is set aside and a New Race brought in by its first Man, "the Firstborn among many brethren."
(continued with # 18)