By W. W. PRESCOTT
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I DO not ask this evening that you should comprehend the lesson of this hour, but I do ask that whatever the Word says may be received and believed; because it is only in that way that we can do anything with the lesson of this hour. The Jews lost one of the very best lessons, in fact the lesson of all lessons that Christ endeavored to teach them, because "they strove among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat’," and the same spirit would shut up our minds and hearts to the lesson of this hour.
Col. 2:10: "And ye are complete in him." And the special thought of our study at this time will be the further development of that idea expressed in Heb.7:9,10: "And as I may so say, Levi also who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham, for he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him."
Our study Friday evening was to learn concerning the head of this divine human family. "Levi paid tithes in Abraham, for he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him." What did we do in him, the father of this spiritual family, this divine-human family? "And the Word was
made flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:14. I wish to read three or four texts to show that according to the general tenor of the subject and at the same time following more strictly the original text, we may read this: "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt in us." To express the general idea that God was manifested in the flesh among men, we have the text in Matthew's gospel, first chapter, 23rd verse. "Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us," and this is a different expression, both in the English and in the original, "Emmanuel, God with us." But here are other texts where the rendering follows the same original and translates it "in us." 1 John 4:13: "Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us," not among us, but "in us." Third chapter, 24th verse: "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in Him and He in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us," not among us, "in us, by the spirit which he hath given us." "That they all may be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us." John 17:21. R. V.
In all these texts you will observe that it would destroy the whole meaning to say "among us," and while it does not destroy the meaning in John 1:14 to say, "He dwelt among us, yet it seems to me to lose sight of the very best of the meaning." "He was made flesh and dwelt in us." That is to say that Jesus Christ was the representative of humanity, and all humanity centered in him, and when he took flesh, he took humanity. He took humanity and he became the father of this divine-human family, and he became the father by joining himself in this way to humanity, and the flesh which he took and in which he dwelt was our flesh, and we were there in him, and he in us, just as Levi was there in Abraham; and just as what Abraham did, Levi did in Abraham, so what Jesus Christ in the flesh did, we did in him. And this is the most glorious truth in Christianity. It is Christianity itself, it is the very core and life and heart of Christianity. He took our flesh, and our humanity was found in him, and what he did, humanity did in him.
Now, let us follow the development of that idea further. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Eph. 1:3. R. V. That is, when he put all those spiritual blessings upon Christ when he was here in the flesh, he put those blessings upon us, because he was made flesh and dwelt in us, and we were there in him, and the time when we were blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ was when those blessings were put upon Jesus Christ who dwelt in us; and the only question for us is, Have we enjoyed, have we received, the blessings that he gave us in him? Fourth verse: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world." When he chose Jesus Christ, he chose us in him, and we were chosen before the foundation of the world in him; not you and I as individuals chosen above other individuals, and our salvation personally assured as distinct from others, but every one in him was chosen. Every one in him was chosen. Every member of this divine-human family was chosen when he was chosen, because we were there in him, and because he was made flesh and dwelt in us.
Sixth verse: "To the praise of the glory of his grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved," and when the Father said to his Son, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," he said the same words to every son in this divine-human family. "Thou art my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" in him, in him. Was he accepted? So are we in him. Are we accepted because of any thing that we are, or have been, or can be? No, but we were accepted in him, in the beloved. It is so, in him, accepted.
The 11th verse: "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance" in him. Did he redeem the inheritance? Did he buy back the inheritance? Did he pay the price? Did the thorns rest upon his brow in token of the fact that he bore the curse of the earth, and that he bore suffering for the earth, and that he was removing the curse from the earth, and that he was bringing back the inheritance? We obtained the inheritance in him, and so he obtained the inheritance and redeemed the inheritance, and bought back the inheritance. We obtained it, because we were there in him, and because he was made flesh and dwelt in us.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus." When the new man, the divine human man, the man Christ Jesus, was created, we were created in him. All members of this divine human family were created in him, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God aforetime prepared that we should walk in them." Eph.2:10. R. V. When did he prepare the good works in which we are to walk? Why, in him. What are we to do? To walk in the good works that God hath before prepared, that we should walk in them, so the Scripture says in 1 John 2:6, "He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked," not so much as an obligation, but as a consequence. Why? Inasmuch as God prepared aforetime the good works for us to walk in why, "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself so to walk even as he walked," not as an obligation, but as a consequence, he "ought so to walk even as he walked," because he is in him.
So we read in Col.2:6, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." In him. Now we were created in Christ Jesus for good works, and God has prepared those good works aforetime for us to walk in them, and how shall we walk in those good works which he has prepared for us to walk in? Why, walk in him. Let us read Eph.2:6, and I will read the translation in the Syriac Version of the clause that I wish especially to emphasize, "And hath raised us up together;" and the fifth verse shows that is together with Christ, because it says, "Hath quickened us together with Christ:" "And hath raised us up together, and seated us with him in heaven in Jesus the messiah." "He hath seated us in heaven in Jesus the Messiah." He was made flesh and dwelt in us, and with that same flesh of humanity he went to heaven, and when he had purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high. When he went to heaven, we went in him. When he was seated on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high, we were seated there in him. Humanity is in heaven. We, our humanity, our flesh, is there, and we are seated there in him, because he is the Father of this family, and because every son is in him just as Levi was in Abraham, and when Abraham paid tithes, Levi paid tithes in him, although he was not born yet. And when Jesus Christ went to heaven, every child of his went there in him. When he took his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high, every child was seated there in him; thank the Lord!
Every one of these truths is worthy of an hour's study. The whole thought is overwhelming; what God has done for us, the human family! What he has done to bring us back to him, to restore his image in us, to redeem us, the condescension of Jesus Christ to come here and dwell in us! To take our flesh, our sinful flesh, to unite himself to the human family, to become the Father of the family, to join himself with us by birth, in those closest ties, never to be broken! That is the love of God in Jesus Christ! And he did not simply come here as an outsider, and do something, but he came here and became what we are; he dwelt in us! He gathered together in himself all humanity, and he invited the Father to treat him as the representative
of humanity, and so what he did we did in him, and are receiving the benefits of it. What we have done he did not do; but he was treated as if he had done it, and he received the benefits of that, completely changing places with us! That was the love of God in Jesus Christ.
We read again in Romans 6:6, Revised Version, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that hath died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." Tenth verse: "For the death that he died (and we died with him), he died unto sin once, but the life that he lives, he lives unto God, even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus." He died, we died with him.
2 Cor. 5:14 expresses the same idea, and brings it out clearly in the Revised Version. "For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judged that one died for all, therefore all died." Read it in Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." How could he taste death for every man? Because every man was in him; because he clothed his divinity with humanity; because humanity was all centered in him. Notice how many ways this is touched upon in the Scriptures. "He was tempted in all points like as we are;" the temptations of humanity met in him. "All of us like sheep have wandered, each to his own way we have turned, and Jehovah hath caused to meet on him the punishment of us all." Isa.53:6, Dr. Young's Translation: "Everything met in him." "Made him to be sin," not a sinner, but "made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." He took it all, he bore all our sins. See it in this same 53rd chapter of Isaiah, 4th verse: "Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. Why? Because our humanity bore those stripes, and we received those stripes in him.
See how this thought is further brought out in Romans 7:4, R. V: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ:" "were made dead." Notice the form of the expression, "were made dead." It refers to a definite point of past time when this thing all took place. Now notice further on that idea. Hebrews 10:5: "Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me." Margin, "thou hast fitted to me." Syriac Version, "thou hast clothed me with a body." He was made flesh, and dwelt in us; so we were the body, and he put us on, in order that we might put him on, because the Scripture says, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." But we never could have put him on, had he not first put us on. But, Heb.10:10, R. V.: "By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Now how was it possible that we should be made, or were made, dead to the law through the body of Christ? Because he was clothed with a body, he was made flesh and dwelt in us, and we were there in him, and that body of flesh was a body of sinful flesh (Rom.8:3), so we may be sure it was like ours. So when he was offered, he paid the penalty of the law. But that body was our flesh, and we were there in him. And by the offering of the body of Christ, we became dead to the law through that body, because humanity (humanity in which divinity was enshrined) was paying the price. Divinity and humanity were joined in the body of Christ, and the penalty was paid. "Thou has caused to meet on him the punishment of us all;" and we were all there in him receiving the punishment. So we became dead to the law. We were made dead to the law at a definite point in past time. We were made dead to the law through the body of Christ.
Let us read further in the sixth of Romans, seventh verse, R. V.: "For he that hath died is justified from sin." "The wages of sin is death," and when one has died, he has paid the penalty. So he that hath died is justified from sin, and the whole choice with us lies just here, Shall we prefer to die for ourselves? We were there in him and received the punishment and paid the penalty; shall we avail ourselves of that fact? or do we prefer to pay the debt ourselves and die ourselves apart from him? We can do so, but "he that hath died is justified from sin." The eighth verse: "But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." So if we accept that fact and make it our own, that we died with him, that we died in him, it is thus that we receive life in him, and through him.
Read this same idea in Gal.2:20, Revised Version: "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." I read the same idea in Col.2:11. Revised Version: "In whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ." "In whom ye also were circumcised;" do you not see this idea, that everything that he did, we did in him? And do you not see that the only question to be settled is, Are we in him? That is all. Are we in him? If so, just as soon as we come into the family, we avail ourselves of all the rights and privileges of the family. Just as soon as we come into the family, we come into possession of all that the Father of the family did. It is feebly illustrated when children are born into the earthly family. They have certain rights in all that the father has done, represented by his property. The child has certain rights and claims, and the law recognizes them. It is a feeble illustration, and yet it is in the line of thought, because when we are born into the divine-human family, and become really in him, by our own choice, it is not simply true that we have a right to certain things that he has, and has done, but all that he has done, and all that he has, belong to each member of the family. Is it any wonder that the apostle John broke out and said, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God"? Then as sons and as members of the family, all that he did, ours; all that he has, ours; everything comes to us just as soon as we are born into the family, just as soon as we become sons of God.
The next question that arises is, but what about Christian experience on any such basis as this? It is all in him. If we do, it is in him, if we strive, it is in him. It is all in him, and Christian experience may be summed up in this, what we did in him, then, without any choice on our part, he is to do now in us by our choice. Then we will have plenty of Christian experience of the right kind. All this that we did in him was without our choice or consent, without asking us if we would like it done, he came and by taking our flesh, and dwelling in us, he did it in us and we did it in him without even asking for it, without any choice, without any effort on our part whatever.
Now his desire is that what was done then in him without any choice or will on our part, he shall now do in us by our choice and by our will, and our choice is all the time to be exercised on this point: Shall I remain in him? Shall I continue to choose him, and be in him? That is Christian experience. That is the experience set forth by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians, first chapter, fifteenth and sixteenth verses: "But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by His grace, to reveal his Son in me." It is now a good time to say that this union by which we are in him is of that nature that it is impossible except as he also is in us. And so reveal His Son "in me."
See this thought in 1Timothy 1:16; "Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering." Jesus Christ showed forth all long-suffering. It was shown forth when Jesus Christ was here, and he desired that the same thing should be shown forth in the apostle Paul. See this thought in 1John 4:2, 3 and 4: "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus is come in the flesh is of God." Now it is not every one who confesseth that Jesus Christ did come in the flesh, but every one who confesseth, who is confessing, that Jesus Christ is come in his own flesh. But you say, It cannot mean that. We will stop a moment. Every spirit that does that is of God. Now when Jesus Christ was here in the flesh, every time the devils met him, they recognized him as Jesus Christ in the flesh. They said, "We know thee who thou art, the holy one of God." Were they of God? Does it meet this idea to say every one that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come, that he did come? The devils confessed that very thing, and that is the very kind of faith that is being pushed upon the people now. The devils believe and tremble, but they do not believe unto righteousness, and believing unto righteousness is the gospel, is Christ in you the hope of glory, and every one that is confessing that Christ is come in the flesh is the one that is confessing that Jesus Christ is in him the hope of glory. That spirit is of God. Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God, and it is that spirit of antichrist, and it does not make any difference where you meet it, nor when you meet it. Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is an opposer; he is antichrist and is of the spirit that opposes, and it is the very essence of antichrist to deny that fact which is the basis, in the first place, the general basis of Christianity, and in the second place is the life and the all and in all of every individual's Christianity, and that is that Christ is come in his own flesh, and that Jesus Christ is in him the hope of glory.
INTEREST in the Bible studies forenoon and evening is deepening and we are appreciating more and more what we have known for a long time, that the Bible is a wonderful book. It is the product of the Infinite mind, and like its author is perfect and complete.
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