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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Cross, The Church, and the Kingdom # 45

The Triumph of Righteousness (continued)

Now, if "kingdom" suggests dominion, authority, power - as, of course, it does - then dominion, authority, power, rest upon and spring from a nature. They are not official, exercised and asserted by an appointment. They spring from the nature of the person or persons concerned; that is, you and I will know no more of Divine power than we know of Divine nature, of Divine likeness. Our spiritual power, dominion, authority over the power of the enemy, depend upon nothing other than our nearness to God and our likeness to Him. Any system of teaching about authority which takes up a certain kind of phraseology and begins to throw about phrases at the enemy without a deep knowledge of the basis of authority is a most dangerous and pernicious thing, and will involve all concerned in inevitable trouble from which it will not be easy to extricate them. This is not just a statement of ideas, this is fact. Some of us have seen the devil make awful havoc of people who stood up talking about satan being a defeated foe, and throwing at him phrases from the Bible. The end of that has been scattering and shattering. But that does not mean that there is no such thing as authority over the enemy. What I am trying to emphasize is that it is necessary to know the basis of authority, and that basis is what is here meant by righteousness.

Features of the Righteous One

a. Meekness

So then, in coming to the nature of the Kingdom which is found upon righteousness, we see how opposite it is in all its features to the kingdom of satan. In the latter, as we have seen, pride is the starting point, the first feature of revolt, rebellion, and the long history of perversity. "Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty" (Eze. 28:17). Therefore the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the Son of God's love, must have at its very foundation the opposite of pride, which is meekness; and I would call your attention to the large place that the matter of meekness has in the Word of God, in both the Old Testament and the New. Let me give you but a little handful of references, which will make many others spring up in your mind immediately.

Psalm 25:9; Psalm 37:11; Psalm 147:6; Psalm 149:4; Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 61:1.

All that leads us to the One Who was the full embodiment of that feature. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29). To Jerusalem the prophetic utterance was made, "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and riding upon an ass" (Matt. 21:5). And Peter speaks of this as of great preciousness when he says, "Whose adorning ... let it be ... a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter 3:4). Paul said, "I Paul myself entreat you by the meekness ... of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:1). To the church to which, through him, had just been given that immense and incomprehensible revelation of the foreordination, the predestination, the election of the Church in Christ before the foundation of the world, and of the object for which those Divine counsels chose it - to the church to which had just been given that matchless unfolding of the Church's eternal calling and heavenly vocation and resources, he comes right down, so to speak, from that high pinnacle and says, "Walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all ... meekness" (Eph. 4:1, 2): "Do not let all this result in spiritual pride.' What is the way of the realization of it all? By self-assertiveness? no - "all lowliness and meekness."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 46)

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