The New Testament: The Great Transition (continued)
Now do you not agree with me that we have got too near things, and we have made things the everything? Is that true? Yes, even our Christian doctrine - and it is precious and important and vital and essential - yet, we have isolated our doctrines and made them the everything. We can make even the doctrine of the Cross the everything, and I can mention many other things which are like a circumscribed circle for many Christians today. They cannot see beyond that, and they cannot see anything more than that. If you talk to them, they have no interest in anything but that. They come back to it every time and hold you to it. This loss of proportion and perspective and vision in its entirely is the cause of many of our problems and much of our arrested spiritual life.
Now why am I saying this? For two reasons. You will have to get a larger vision than your personal problems and see them in a related way. I do not know very much about the science of relativity, but I come down very strongly on the principle of relatedness or relativity. We must see everything in its relatedness to everything else, and not just things as an end in themselves. I want to share with you this morning what is on my heart, and what is so much alive to me now is this comprehensive setting of the spiritual life, getting it in its greatness, its vastness, its immensity.
Now immensity can, of course, be awe-inspiring to the point of making you stand still and hold your breath. But immensity can also be an emancipating thing. You see the greatness of that into which we have been called in Christ! The Greatness of Christ! Oh, if we could this week get a new apprehension, grasp, of the infinitudes of our Christian calling, we would go away an emancipated people. And in that setting then, let us begin.
Humanity Is God's End
This morning we have read many passages in the Bible, and I would have liked to have added many more of the same kind, but these are enough as a starting point. Do you recognize what they are all about? From Genesis, the beginning, right through the Scriptures, it is one thing: man. No, it is two men, and what we are going to be occupied with is this double humanity, or two humanities, for they are the subject of the whole Bible. The Bible is the story of God and man, and everything is gathered into that; nothing is in the Bible but what relates to that.
Of course, the Bible begins with God: "In the beginning God ..." First we have the fact of God. This is where you start, and you are not far along before you come upon man. Human history begins with God, God as a fact - God initiating everything, taking the initiative; God at work - God's mind working out in action, in what He does. Remember that is a Bible principle. If you want to know the mind of God, you will come to know it by what God does and not always by what He says to do. More often, God's mind is revealed by how He deals with you than by what He says in words in your ear.
God is speaking in His actions, speaking very loudly in His works. God's mind is being revealed in His actions; God is at work, at work preparing everything for man. When He has made that preparation and brought man in, God says: "That is nothing more to do; at this stage, We can rest." And God is at rest when He has man introduced into his prepared place and scene.
That man Adam, the New Testament tells us, is a figure of Him that was to come, in Whom God will ultimately find His full rest. Man constituted; the man conditioned; the man environed; the man probationed. All God's interests are centered in humanity; not in things, as such. No thing is an end with God. Man is God's end. Humanity is God's end.
(continued with # 3~