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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Cross, the Church, and the kingdom # 54

The Triumphant Christ and His People (continued)

a. The Triumphant of the Incarnation (continued)

"Behold, the handmaid of the Lord" - the servant spirit. You can see in the light of that what is being touched. If pride had had a place...! See what was involved so far as the kingdom of satan was concerned. If self-interest had governed, if there had been rebellion, perversity, unwillingness to let go - well, I expect the Lord would have found another vessel, but we do not know anything about that. What we do see here is the great damage of the ages concentrated in one woman's soul, and the issue is, Will she yield, let go, submit, to the will of God? It was in that self-abandonment that there came about that union of her will with the will of God which brought into being, so far as this earth was concerned, the One Who was going to dethrone satan; and the very dethronement of satan required the undoing of the pride, the rebellion, the perversity, the self-hood, which had asserted itself in God's universe; and the first battle was in that woman's soul. We have the Christmas season and we talk about the birth, but I do not think we have seen the terrible thing which lay behind the very first step in the incarnation, the setting of it right out there in that vast realm. We have been a little afraid of talking too much about Mary because of that wicked, pernicious system which exists, which worships her, and has given an exaggerated and false meaning to the words of her song - "Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48); and, of course, we have the phrase 'the blessed Virgin Mary and we are afraid of it. Well, the devil is very cleaver. He has covered up, by that very falsehood, the truth that there in her soul the first steps were taken in the conquest of his kingdom - the overthrow of pride and the absolute surrender of will so that the will of the woman became one with the will of God, to make it possible for Genesis 3:15 to be fulfilled - "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed: He shall bruise thy head ..."

But that is not all, even then, in the incarnation. There is the mystery of the virgin birth. We do NOT accept the theory of the 'immaculate conception' which makes Mary a sinless creature. In the genealogy of Mary there were sinful people and naturally she inherited a sinful nature; but the angels words to her concerning "that holy Thing" meant that Jesus would not inherit a sinful nature, but would be sinless, uncorrupted and incorruptible. By Divine act there was a clean cut between the first Adam and the last as to nature, and the last was an altogether other, which does not belong to this realm but to that which is over there, where God is in His apartness and in His difference, His 'otherness.' Somehow there is a miracle being wrought by the Holy Spirit to separate that Holy One from the unholy inheritance. It was necessary, you see, for the undoing of the kingdom of satan. It is there, in the utter separateness of Christ from the first Adam, that this cosmic battle has its greatest force.

And then see how interested the other forces were in this whole matter. There is a tremendous activity going on, not only in Bethlehem's stable, and in the fields around and in the lands afar - whether it be the land from whence wise men come, or in Judea where Herod is. There is a very much bigger interest being taken in this whole thing. Here, upon that victory in the soul of that woman, with the principles that were involved, and that miracle of the Holy Spirit in cutting in between the stream of Adam's sin and that "holy Thing" - here is focused the whole course of the battle of the ages; yes, Genesis 3:15, not only as a prophecy and a statement, but as something with tremendous, far-reaching consequences immediately arising. Oh, the murderer! The story of Cain and Able shows us the beginning of the battle of the two systems, and that battle of two systems develops, expands, from individuals to tribes, from tribes to nations; and you see it all the way through the Bible, along two lines, on two grounds - murder and mixture. If the adversary cannot kill, as he sought to kill Moses and others of the servants of the Lord who were in the line - if he cannot slay the elect people and destroy them directly, he will entice them, he will ensnare them, he will somehow bring in mixture, by mixed marriages, mixed worship, and accomplish his end. The Bible is just full of that - murder and mixture in order to frustrate the overthrow of the evil kingdom and the coming in of this order; and it is all that universal interest and concern that is focused here upon the incarnation. It is that which lies behind Herod's murderous, iniquitous, barbarous edict to destroy all the male children. We have known that done before to get another in this line - in order to catch one, just one. The devil stands at nothing to get his object. The incarnation is set in that realm. The birth of the Lord Jesus - oh, would to God we could strip it of a lot of that which has come in and simply ruined its spiritual value, these annual festivities! If only we could see what a tremendous thing this is, beyond all that has to do with eating and drinking, and so on, on this earth! I think I have said enough to indicate that in every one of these points the setting is the same.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 55 - (b. His Triumph in Temptation)

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