The Spiritual Resources of the Church ... (continued)
The Marks of a Spiritual People
a. Living By Divine, Not Natural, Life
So that one of the great lessons that this people must learn experimentally is to know how to love by Divine life; and when we get on to that basis all issues are taken out of the hands of natural eventualities. Here is Saul of Tarsus, a man with tremendous force and seemingly great powers of endurance physically, a man of very great natural life - what we should call soul-force. What did the Lord do with Him? He brought him to the place where he despaired of life in order that he might not trust in himself, but in God Who raiseth the dead (2 Corinthians 1:9). In so describing his experience he simply intimates - 'Well, naturally I am a dead man, the sentence of death is passed upon me.' But here is this man going on - a dead man going on. And we do not find him at the last saying, 'I am now going to be executed, they are now going to finish me. I have got to give in this time.' NO! The issue is not with emperors or governments or persecutors. He is going to finish his course, keeping the faith to the last moment (2 Timothy 4:7); not having to give up because of circumstances, but, as he puts it in another place, he will offer himself up as a libation (Phil. 2:17). Is he not in exactly the same position as his Lord, Who said of His own life, "No one taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from My Father" (John 10:18). It is not with the High Priest, it is not with the Jewish nation, it is not with anybody else - it is with Him to say when He will die. They said, "Not during the feast." He said, in effect, 'Yes, during the feast; it shall be on the day of the Passover'; and it was.
Authority in Christ, then, is first of all in terms of life. If there is going to be this impact of the Divine authority upon the spiritual kingdom of evil and death, the people through whom the impact is going to be registered will have to come on to this basis, where, even for their very physical life, they have to know the life of God, to know how to draw life from God and how to minister spiritual, Divine life to one another. Divine life is a tremendous thing, and if we are living by it we are not going to die because we are old. We are not going to die because nature says so, or the doctor says so! And when the Lord has decided that Divine life is no longer required for the carrying on of His work through us, then we shall enter into life still more abundant, and it will not be death. That is the authority of Christ in the universe where death is the master opposing power. Such a people must know this.
To be brought there is not just teaching; this is grim, desperate business. It meets with a challenge, and a challenge from no less a realm than the whole hierarchy of satan. The answer to that challenge has to come along the line of Divine life known by us for spirit and soul and body.
(continued with # 10)