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Monday, January 25, 2016

The Cross, the Church, and the Kingdom # 53

The Triumphant Christ And His People (continued)

The Sphere Of His Triumph

So we will first of all seek to see Christ as in that setting. We must therefore recognize that there was one inclusive thing at the heart of Christ's coming into this world. It had two sides, but it was one thing. On the one side, it was the undoing of the kingdom of satan, in firstly the virtual, and then the ultimate, destruction of that kingdom. Virtual - yes, it was done. Ultimate - it has yet to be done. Demons recognized the significance of His presence. "I know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24). "Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29). That points on to the ultimate destruction. But His presence then, and His Cross, were their virtual destruction. We come into the line of the second, the ultimate, when we come into the virtual; but that is for presently. On the one side, then, it was this destruction of the kingdom of satan which lay right at the heart of Christ's coming; on the other hand, there was the inauguration of the kingdom of the heavens, the kingdom of God - now its virtual inauguration, later its literal establishment. Those are the things, which are central to His coming; not, coming to live the life of a good man, however good, and to propound certain teachings, 'the teachings of Jesus,' and to set a great example of how men ought to live, and then to be the supreme example of how men ought to be willing to die for their principles. How far short all that is of the real meaning!

Now then, there are three aspects of this of which we have just spoken. The first is the universal - what we have called the cosmic - relationship of everything in the life of the Lord Jesus, and that is outlined for us here in the incarnation, the temptation, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the exaltation.

a. The Triumph of the Incarnation

Let us note how from its very commencement - even before it actually happened - the incarnation, that coming in flesh and tabernacling amongst us, touched those cosmic, super-earthly factors of which we have been speaking: the factors which constitute the kingdom of satan, the very nature of satan - that pride, that rebellion, that perversity by which that satanic kingdom is constituted and maintained here. I say, even before His birth that was touched. Listen again to the conversation which took place between the angel and Mary as this great proposition was put to her. It was not imposed upon her - that is the point; it was not something brought to her and of which it was said, "This must be, you must do this, it is required of you." NO; it was a proposition, an intimation, the presentation to her of a great Divine thought and intention, involving her, so far as human life and relationships were concerned, in the most difficult and sensitive position; and that is suspended before her. She looks at it, weighs it up. She sees the implications on the human side. She sees what this could easily lead to - that she might be an outcast of society. We will not follow that. She is alive to it, and as you read that story it is not difficult to see, to feel, that a real battle is going on in her soul - a battle, and, at last, a victory; a victory in her will and a victory which requires the casting down to the earth of pride, of all self-interest. A mighty victory - "Be it unto me according to Thy Word (Luke 1:38) - the absolute self-surrender of Mary to the will of God.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 54)

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