IT IS FINISHED
BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
Throughout the march of the ages an innumerable multitude of men and women have breathed their famous last words. Some were words of exhortation, some were of advice, others of sorrow and regret and still others of repentance. Many were the words of prayer and intercession to the Father above. Soldiers dying on the field of battle have passed along their final message to parents or wife or children to be delivered by a comrade in arms. Men freezing to death in the Arctic snows have scribbled their last thoughts on bits of paper or wood or stone to be found, sometimes centuries later, by others like unto themselves. Each and all of those messages were meaningful to someone, often to many, but never in all the history of the world were words spoken to a universe of mankind that were so all important, so all embracing, so universal in their scope and so far reaching in their results as the three final words spoken by Jesus Christ to the billions of mankind, “IT IS FINISHED.”
The longer I live and the farther I travel in my pilgrimage through the wilderness of this world the more aware I become of the mighty significance of every word breathed by the Holy Spirit into the pages of scripture, which He has given for our eternal instruction and guidance. How lightly we read the earth shaking statements of the Bible! How lightly we pass them by and how casually we rhyme off verses, or even chapters, which we learned as children! We read the mighty edicts of the law, never realizing that, should a nation keep even one of the Ten Commandments, that nation would prosper above all others and become a shining light among all people. What a world it would be if we kept the commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”! War would vanish from the earth along with greed and hate and vandalism. What a vast change would take place in the earth should men and women heed the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery!” There would scarcely ever be a broken home or children left as virtual orphans. The Ten Commandments given in Exodus, chapter twenty, will be the law of the kingdom of God on earth. Those pure, holy laws cannot be kept by carnal man, and, because of this fact, preachers unlearned in the ways of the Holy Spirit, who are not called of God and have not the Spirit of revelation, go to great pains to tell us that, because the law did not work, God took it away.
But let me assure you that the law is holy and just and good and it bespeaks the very nature and character of our heavenly Father. God could not do away with the law without doing away with His own will and His very nature and goodness. He a much better plan than taking away the law to accommodate the corrupt and carnal nature of fallen mankind. He had a far bettor plan than that. It was a purpose which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began. That eternal purpose was to take away the stony heart out of man’s flesh and put a new heart within him, a heart in the likeness of His own and a mind as the mind of Christ. His purpose was not to take away the law, but to take away the stony heart of corruption and sin from man and put a new heart within him. His plan was to remove the law which Moses had written an a stone, from whence it frowned and glowered in condemnation upon sinful, carnal, corrupt and helpless men and place that law within the heart of a regenerated, converted, born again people whose first love is their love for God. From that divine love would flow forever such virtues as joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance.
In the quiet of our spirit today we hear the thundering voice of the mighty prophet Ezekiel saying to a gainsaying, disobedient Israel, “Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: that they may walk in My statutes, and keep Mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” (Ezek. 11:17-20) Again in (chapter 36, verses 26 and 27, Ezekiel) describes God’s intention toward the people in these unmistakable words: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”
It is not the law holy, just and good that is taken away. It is the carnal, stony heart that is taken away; and the holy, just and good law is placed in the human heart. “I will put a new spirit within you.” That spirit is the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of Christ, even the Spirit that cries, “Abba Father”. It is that selfsame Spirit that is in every true son of God as he breathes his adoring contemplation in the words, “Our Father, who art in heaven.” It is the Holy Spirit who moves my own lips every day to confess, “Father, I love Thee with all my heart and soul. The only will and mind that governs my life and is important is Thy will.”
When our wonderful Jesus was holding precious communion with a man by the name of Nicodemus, who had come to Him by night to enquire the way of the Lord, the Saviour, whose Spirit centuries before had inspired Ezekiel to speak of a new heart and a new spirit that was to be given to His people, now spoke to the seeking Nicodemus of a new birth that would transform him from a natural man, born only after the flesh, to a spiritual man born after the Spirit of God. Thus in words never before uttered by man He spoke, saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And when Nicodemus expressed his ignorance of what such words could mean, our Lord showed him the cause of his lack of understanding in these words: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit more mysterious than the invisible wind which bloweth where it listeth and, though we know it is there, we cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. So also is the birth of the Spirit. Like the invisible wind the Holy Spirit comes first to reprove and convince men of sin and righteousness and of judgment, and having done so, He places a godly sorrow in the heart, giving to sinful men the spirit of repentance, for “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of. but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Cor. 7:10)
I cannot tell thee how He moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Nor how, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
Thus it was that Jesus said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Oh what a transformation takes place when repentant sinners are born again! When he who was born of the flesh, “shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin” (Psa. 51:5), is born again, not of a human mother, but born of the Spirit of God, he is born of God and made a child of God – not by being adopted, as we are so often told, but by being born of the Spirit, begotten of God and born into the God family. Though still infants, we hear Him say, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2) I think such truth should make us hold our heads up high, not as the manifestation of some stinking, human pride, but in the marvelous knowledge that by a new birth after the Spirit he who hath begun a good work in us will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.
From the redeemed and transformed heart the law of’ God flows forth as a river of life, not a river of death. The very first thing the reborn man notices is that he loves the Lord with all his heart and soul and mind. He who yesterday cowered in dread before the impossible command, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart”, now, being born of God, glories in his irrepressible love for Him, and seizes eagerly upon every opportunity to tell and display His matchless goodness toward him. Love, which is of God, now lives within him and flows like a river of life to the world about him. We find it hard to understand how some who claim to be Christians choose never to speak of His greatness, His goodness and His love. There must be something wrong. A new heart He has given us; a new and right spirit has He put within us. He has taken away the stony heart out of our flesh and given us a heart of flesh. He has given us a new life, a new hope, a new love, a new joy and true peace. Well, well might we sing with holy reverence
Wonderful, wonderful Jesus,
He is my friend, true to the end.
He gave Himself to redeem me.
Jesus, wonderful Lord!
When the holy Christ of God uttered His earth-shaking proclamation IT IS FINISHED,” that proclamation included in itself every purpose of God from everlasting to everlasting. The purposes of God were carefully planned before ever the ages began. There was not one detail left, out. Each and every event, follows the one before it in strict obedience to the predestined plan of the Lord. The desperate days in which we live were foretold by Jesus, by the apostles and by the prophets and are more up to the minute news than today’s newspaper. Jesus foretold the day when the very spirit of Sodom and Gomorrah would fill the earth with evil. The rampaging filth of Sodom foretold by Him for the end of this age is not only seen before our eyes but encouraged from many pulpits where the priest or preacher is himself a sodomite worthy of the death penalty according to the scripture. Lev. 20:13 Our Lord told us of wars and distress of nations, famines, pestilence, earthquakes and floods that would be in the last days of this age, and we see them occurring on every hand. Some nations have so much food they suggest throwing it into the sea while others starve to death because they haven’t the wisdom to distribute the thousands of tons of food freely given to them by other nations. The false prophets of which Jesus spoke fill the pulpits of our land while they build up their own kingdoms, receiving the praise of men, which will be their only reward. I mention these things only to remind every seeking soul that our heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning. With Him there is no difference between the past and the future. With Him there is only the eternal “now.”
In the museum town called Old Sydney Town in Australia there is a very old printing shop on display. While looking around in it, my wife called my attention to the words of a plaque hanging on the wall. This is what it said:
The clock of life is wound but once
And no man has the power
To say just when the hands will stop,
At late or early hour.
Now is all the time you have;
Live, love, and toil with a will.
Put no faith in tomorrow,
For the hands may then be still.
After reading it, I was reminded afresh of the word of wisdom given to my friend, Wilfred Tuttle, as he lay on a hospital bed a few days before the Lord called him home.
Think not of the past; it is forgotten.
Nor peer into the future; it will yet unfold.
But live today in the eternal present,
For where the Lord is, it is now, today.
If you will take a few minutes to meditate upon these two statements from authors so far removed from one another one from Australia, the other from Canada – you will begin to realize that we are living in the eternal “NOW.” “NOW” is eternal. Five minutes hence it will still be “NOW.” Next week and next year we will still say “NOW.” It is in such an eternal realm that our Father in heaven dwells. He has the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, always in His sight, and nothing anywhere is hidden from His eyes, either by time or distance. Before the world began, He charted for each and every one of us the path we should tread and saw through the toils and trials of the way the perfection He would bring to a special vessel that He was making for a particular place in His over all design.
IT IS FINISHED
In the moments before our Lord committed His spirit to the Father, He uttered one great cry, apparently with a very loud voice (Matt. 271:50) that all assembled might hear. “It is finished” was His cry. Then, bowing His head, He commended His spirit to the Father. Never before, never since, and never again will such all inclusive words be uttered. Those three little words include within themselves and loudly proclaim the full redemption of everything in heaven, everything in earth, and everything under the earth. Nothing anywhere has been left out. Our Lord counts things which are not as though they were because, when He declares a purpose in the great “NOW” of eternity, that purpose is as good as accomplished. Nothing can stop it; nothing can hinder it; nothing can delay it. In the eternal purpose of the Father the Lamb without blemish and without spot was slain before the foundation of the world. Rev. 13:8 There in God’s purpose by His own life He purchased every blessing which God has promised to man. If you were to ask me when I was saved, I would reply, “I was saved November 21st, 1926,” but the real truth is I was saved before the world began and before ever the ages were formed. Heb. 4:3 That is why Paul, speaking of Christ, made this most significant statement: “Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ…” (2 Tim. 1:9, 10)
This is indeed a most significant and meaningful statement, and if you will analyze it word for word and sentence by sentence, you will see that one could write a whole book on the truth it contains and still not begin to exhaust its contents. The statements are (1) that, before the world began, He saved us. He saved us before we were ever lost and long before we were “turned to destruction”. Psa. 90:2 (2) Before the world began, He called us. Just think of it! In this very day the things that are happening to you and me and the things about which we often grumble and complain are all purposefully working together for good to those who are the called according to His purpose. Such wisdom is too wonderful for words or understanding and yet it is true. Then again (3) we are reminded that our calling is an holy calling. It is a jewel and a prize greatly to be cherished and revered, though at present we may not know just what our true calling is or where it will be used. In a great building there may be tens of thousands of bricks gathered on the building site. Could those bricks but speak, every one would have to confess that it did not know what or where its place would be in the building. We may not be bricks, but we are living stones, chosen Of God before the world began and precious in His sight. The heavenly Designer and Lord of the universe knew beforehand just where He would place us when He called us with a purpose which He says is “holy.” That place no other being in the universe but you will ever fill.
Then again this verse tells us (4) that this calling is not according to our works, whether they be many or few, big or little, but He called us according to His purpose. That purpose at the present time is known only to God, the Author and Designer of the universe. While we walk as pilgrims in this world, all unknown to most of us we are being prepared and equipped for an eternal ministry which will fill its place in the great universal reconciliation to come. Then we are reminded by the apostle (5) that this calling, given us according to the plan and purpose of God, comes to us like every other blessing – by grace that was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. (Treasures of truth, Vol. 15, ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE, gives us a peep into the wonders of the eternal purpose of God. Available upon request.)
Now when our great Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, cried with a loud voice that the multitudes at the cross might hear the proclamation, “IT IS FINISHED,“ He was proclaiming to the world that every purpose of God planned before the foundation of the world was now purchased by His life blood and was freely available to all who believe. He was the great Testator of the divine will – the will not written with ink, but with the Spirit and promise of the living God that cannot be altered or changed. When He proclaimed before men, “IT IS FINISHED”, and to God committed His spirit, every calling, every promise, everything to which we as children were heirs, at that moment became ours to own and possess. When a father makes his will, it may be many, many years before the heirs become possessors of their inheritance, but at the moment of his death the will he made is in force and the heirs become possessors of the promises contained in the will.
There is nothing more that can be added to the finished work of Jesus Christ, and there is nothing that we can take away from it. None of it is according to our works, but according to His grace given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began. The works and strivings of natural man are all in vain. We can never by human endeavor earn any of these spiritual blessings. The price is far too high. They must be freely given to us, and they were given to us when the great Testator, our Lord and Christ, cried, “IT IS FINISHED.“ “When God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he (Abraham) had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” (Heb. 6:13-18) The two immutable things by which the covenant was made were, first, God’s promise and, second, God’s oath. Verse 13. Because God’s promises are immutable and His oath certain and everlasting, we now have strong confidence to “lay hold” on every promise that is set before us, for Christ the Testator has died and risen again, and the children are heirs and possessors of the promises He made and confirmed with an oath. “IT IS FINISHED” and all is complete.
For the next few pages of this message I would like to consider some of the superb and marvelous assurances that are given to us by God who cannot lie. Because the Lord is almighty and immutable in power and understanding, He is able to consider things which as yet are not as though they already were. When the scripture declares that Christ was the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world,” it does not intend us to understand that a crucifixion had already taken place at that early period. It teaches rather that His mighty sacrifice was the divine intention and a predetermined purpose before ever the world was. Even the hour of that great sacrifice was set and nothing – I say nothing – could alter it. That is why our Precious Savior, as He faced the cross, lifted up His voice to God in prayer, saying, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son that Thy Son may also glorify Thee.” The hour of His birth was set in the divine counsels long before the transgression in Eden had taken place, and the eternal sacrifice that was made in the mind and purpose of God before the world began was carried out on the hill called Calvary at the time appointed by the Father.
Before the foundation of the world the Lord saw and admired the completeness of His purpose, and, that we might attain, He gave us His grace in Christ Jesus before the world began. Man cannot carry out his own intentions because he is so terribly limited in knowledge and so devoid of power. How good it will be when mankind learns that our Father in heaven is both almighty and all wise. Proud and haughty men and nations are raised up, who defiantly shake their puny fists in the face of God, never knowing nor considering that it was the Lord who raised them to fulfill some purpose of His in His world, then to be cast down when His time was ripe and His purpose fulfilled.
The mighty Medes, their battle flags unfurled
To find a place of glory in the sun,
Proudly trampled ‘neath their marching feet
The crumpled pride of once great Babylon.
The tidal wave of Greece rolled out the west
And, as the waters of its rage recede,
It carried back with fate’s relentlessness
The smashed and broken empire of the Mede.
Till by the side of Tiber’s winding bank
A sleepy giant girded for the fray,
And Caesars laughed and scoffed at heaven’s Christ
While legions thundered down the Apian way.
And Roman eagles screamed defiantly
And tore to shreds the vaunted might of Greece,
Then turned with blood drenched hands of war
Against disciples of the Prince of peace.
The heavens trembled and the ocean tide
Rolled once again in rage
And buried ‘neath the shifting sands of time
The proudest, mightiest empire of the age.
So perished Rome, her Forum voices stilled.
She met her doom in God’s appointed hour.
Oh Christ, can man distort Thy purposes
And take to self Thy glory and Thy power?
And so throughout the march of ages past
The tide of empire flows, then ebbs away.
The pomp and glory of their yesteryear
Are buried ‘neath the shifting sands today.
But strong and firm throughout the passing years
I see a Rock that stands out on the shore;
A Rock of Ages, cleft for you and me,
A Rock that will abide forevermore.
The raging seas of time may roll
Till earth’s proud empires wither and decay,
But Thou alone shalt triumph, Prince of Peace,
When all the storms of earth have rolled away.
The great, almighty Father stands before the dawn of time, before ever the earth was formed and before the word was spoken, “Let there be light”, preparing in infinite detail all the purposes and plans of the ages. He sees the end from the beginning and knows in minute detail every working of His purpose. No situation arises that was not foreknown in His omniscience before the world began. I pity the ignorance of those preachers who describe the scene in Eden as one of unexpected confusion and the fall of man with the creation as something that God did not intend but that Satan, coming in unawares, spoiled and ruined God’s lovely plan. I have heard them describe how all heaven gathered in hurried counsel to try to find some way to redeem the situation, or at least save some from the tragic mess. 0 fools and slow of heart to hear all that the prophets have spoken! When men unwisely make those thoughtless, careless, silly statements, they have completely forgotten who God is. They know not that His wisdom is inscrutable or that His power is almighty.
King David uttered by inspiration one of the most sublime statements ever spoken when he lifted up his heart to God in a prayer of thanksgiving and adoration as recorded in Psalm 90. These are his words: “Lord, Thou has been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” I have long believed that each and every one of us had his beginning in God and existed in Him from eternity before ever we came to this earth to be perfected by the knowledge of good and evil, knowing both by experience and suffering. Our coming to this earth was with the purpose that through the desperate furnace of trials in this charnel house of sin and death we should come to the knowledge of good and evil and stand before our Lord at last in a perfection and power like unto His own.
In the midst of poor Job’s trials and his complaining the Lord told him to stand up like a man to declare answers to the questions He, the Lord, would ask. The gracious Lord then asked forty questions, none of which he could answer. One question was this: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth … when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job could not answer, for he did not know where he was then, but the truth, it seems to me, was that Job was there among the sons of God, beholding the sufferings of this life and the glory that was to follow. Perhaps they understood then that the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to follow as a result of them, and for that reason they shouted for joy at the prospect. We do not shout unless there is something to shout about, and those young sons of God lifted their voices with the morning stars in contemplation of the marvelous purpose they were to fulfill. It is precious to know that God’s first Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is named the Bright and Morning Star.
Here in this ninetieth Psalm the prophet David tells us with great plainness of speech that the Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations. Even before the mountains were brought forth or God had formed the earth, from everlasting to everlasting He is God and in Him we dwelt and from Him we came. But then the prophet David, in verse 3, unveils a part of God’s plan that is wise beyond our human imagination. He unfolds the glorious secret that explains clearly why the world is as it is today. He “turneth man to destruction.” What a revelation that is! It was centuries later that Paul wrote the words: “The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.” (Rom. 8:20) That truth, when it was flashed into my being by the Holy Spirit, transformed my whole life and caused me to see that everything God does is with infinite purpose. When His purposes are fulfilled, we sons of God will shout even louder than we did before the foundation of the world when the intention of our wise heavenly Father was made known to us.
He who said He “turneth man to destruction” had no intention of leaving man in the realm of death and destruction any longer than it took to fulfill His glorious and merciful purpose. The very next statement he makes is this: “Return, ye children of men.” I do not believe our heavenly Father will leave us in this realm of destruction one day longer than is necessary. When He who in eternal wisdom turned us to destruction sees that destruction’s work has been fulfilled, then He says, “Return, ye children of men”, and we return. When our Lord says, “Come”, we come. I care not how far we have wandered in our sin or how low we have gone in its degradation. When the day comes for the Lord to say, “Return, ye children of men”, He puts into our hearts a desire to return and we return. It matters not if it is the woman of Samaria or a chief of sinners like Saul of Tarsus, kings on thrones or beggars in hovels. He says, “Return, ye sons of men,“ and we return. The word of God plainly declares and foretells a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. No man can say that Jesus is Lord except by the, Holy Ghost, and by this we are assured that no confession will be wrung from sinners by force or duress, but it will be because all men will hear the voice of the Spirit, saying, “Return, ye children of men,” and like the prodigal son they will return. It is the wretched preaching of men not called of God that has filled mankind with unbelief and the world with unbelievers. When men begin to see God’s purpose, they cast off their unbelief, because they see the wisdom of it all. No one is ever interested in a project without a purpose. Known unto God are all His works from the foundation of the world. What a joy it is to know that we are on charted seas and that our journey through the wilderness of this world is directed by the eye of God and planned in detail by wisdom that is inscrutable and past finding Out!
There is a power Whose care
Teacheth my way along the pathless coast,
The desert and illimitable air,
Lone wandering, but not lost.
He who from zone to zone
Guides through the boundless coast Thy certain flight,
In the long, long night that I must walk alone
Will guide my steps aright.
We must now consider in greater detail the extensive preparation our gracious heavenly Father has made for us, His children. When our Lord cried, “IT IS FINISHED,“ He included much more than the finish of His earthly life and ministry. In those remarkable last words He was telling the world that every detail of our redemption was then complete. The entire purpose of the mind of God from the foundation of the world has been accomplished in Him. The purpose stated before the foundation of the world was now finished and done. There was no more to do. Nothing could be added or taken away. Every door that hitherto had barred our progress into the realms of God was now thrown open wide before us. The massive veil that had stood between man and the holiest of all was now rent asunder. At that cry the earth did quake, the rocks were rent, and the veil of the temple was torn asunder. It was the apostle Paul himself, or someone of like understanding, who, when writing the epistle to the Hebrews, boldly stated, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.” (Heb. 10:20, 21)
May the blessed Holy Spirit open the eyes of our understanding that we may see that beyond the veil of the flesh is the realm of God. There men and women, having passed through the binding, blinding veil of the flesh, pass out into the open sunlight of God’s precious revelation. There they begin to see things as He sees them and to understand them as He understands them. In that realm beyond the veil of our human flesh we come to know God as He knows us. Here we begin to walk no longer in the light of the sun and the moon, or in the light of the natural mind, but we now walk in the light of the Shekinah, the light of the Holy Spirit, who has come forth from the Father into the world to dwell, not with men, but in them. The way we once thought of God and understood the things that belong to His realm becomes foreign to us. Then we thought that God was such as one as ourselves, but now we see His purpose is to make us like Him. Beyond the realm of the flesh we walk, not only in a new realm, but in an entirely new mind. It is the mind of Christ. Here in this heavenly realm we begin to think as God thinks, to see as He sees, to comprehend as He comprehends, and to desire as He desires. Here we become citizens of a new world, a new country, even an heavenly country. Here old things are passing away and all things become new. Here in the light of His presence we shall see that not our spirit only is being changed, but that the revelation and possession of the mind of Christ is also changing our mortal flesh from corruptible to incorruptible and from mortality to immortality. We cannot have a renewed mind while we live and walk after the desires of the flesh and the carnal mind. That is where the prosperity doctrine has led millions astray. They have set their affections not on things above, but on possessing the things of the earth, and, unbeknown to themselves, while they demand everything that appeals to the natural man, their desire for the treasures of the Spirit begin to fade away.
After enumerating his abundance of natural things and natural gifts, talents and accomplishments, all of which belong to this realm of flesh and blood, the apostle Paul declared that he counted them all on the level of dung, and that is exactly what they are. Men and women who glory in the natural and the abundance of earthly things will be found sleeping when the trumpet sounds. It was Abraham who said to the rich man, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things and likewise Lazarus his evil things, but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.” Our Father in heaven has made provision for us whereby we may live above the world as true citizens of the heavenly realm. In this realm of the Spirit we have a new heart and a new mind. We have new eyes to see the invisible, new ears to hear the inaudible. Here in this world we communicate only with words that are spoken, but those of us who have walked at all in the Spirit have found that the Spirit of God speaks to us very definitely without the use of spoken or written words so that we know what He said and what His rebukes and instructions were.
In this realm beyond the veil of the flesh, in this heavenly country and new citizenship, we begin to know His voice as we never knew it from the far off country of the flesh. It is a new realm, a new era, a new country and a new citizenship. Those who walk here have a new heart, a new mind, and a new attitude. We have left the old behind and all things have become new. This is the realm of life eternal, and I am convinced that neither life nor death nor principality nor power nor things present nor things to come can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The book of Colossians is one of the marvels of the New Testament. I am convinced that no other book surpasses it in the clear demonstration that every facet of our spiritual life is finished, bought and paid for, presenting an open door to glory, honor, incorruption, and eternal life. An honest perusal of its sacred message will clearly show us that there is no reason at all why we may not here and now enter into all the wonders of the new realm in which we have come to abide. As time passes by and we see the imminent end of this age, in which the Spirit of God has been calling out a people for His name, I am becoming more and more convinced that there is positively no reason at all why some, if not all, of the called out ones may not now begin to enter the realm of incorruption, that here and now, while we walk in earth, we may become actual partakers of the resurrection. Let us be absolutely assured of this: the life beyond the veil, the life in the holy of holies, is certainly and without any doubt the life of resurrection.
In the old wilderness tabernacle there were three different lights. In the outer court there was sunlight; in the holy place there was candlelight, but beyond the veil in the holy of holies was the shekinah, the light of the glory of God, the light that shone to lighten the world before the sun was set in place. Into that hallowed place the high priest could not enter without a change of raiment, and, when he entered it, his raiment was a garment of glory and beauty. But when he went out to walk again among natural men, he was commanded to strip off his garment of glory and beauty, for that was to be worn only by those who went beyond the veil. It reminds me much of the words of Jesus, who said, “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9) That is to a large extent where we have been living – going in and out of the spiritual realm – but there shall come a time when we go no more out, but abide forever in Him. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you,” He said. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” (John 15:3, 4) In Him is life and the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in darkness, but the darkness cannot comprehend it. We are not of the darkness, thanks be to God, but we are the children of light. Christ is light. We are His children. His sons and daughters. We have been born into His family, born into the God family. We are sons of God and Joint heirs with Christ, who is our brother, our elder brother, who long ago passed beyond the veil amid rending rocks and darkening skies. From within the veil He now beckons us to come. He it is who anointed Paul to say, Wherefore, brethren, let us come with boldness into the holiest of all, by a new and living way which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil which is His flesh.” Again I say that beyond the veil of the flesh lies the realm of the Spirit of life, the domain of the resurrection, the sphere of incorruption, the place of immortality and eternal life.
I pray that we may thoroughly understand that the apostle was speaking to and exhorting us his brethren on the basis of a very, very sure foundation when he said, “Let us come with boldness into the holiest of all”. Well did Paul know that he was not presumptuously urging us to enter some fantasy world. He was not telling us to lay hold on some figment of his imagination that would be impossible for us to enter, but he was speaking from the standpoint of a work that was thoroughly finished and accomplished for us before the world began and which was paid for and became completely a part of our eternal redemption when our Lord Jesus Christ – never to be thanked enough uttered those three awesome words, “IT IS FINISHED.”
Before the mountains were formed, before the aionian hills were established in their places, before the earth was created and made, the Almighty Father designed His plans for the ages and for man’s journey into the realm of destruction and his call to return to the bosom of the Father. There also the great sacrifice of the Son of God was planned in the immutable counsel of God. The Lamb of God, the Christ, was appointed the eternal sacrifice for and redeemer from sin. Then in God’s unchanging counsel He was crucified and stain before the world began. There God placed all men in Christ. As all mankind sinned in Adam, so all men and women and all creation were redeemed and lifted in Christ. As sinners we were all in Adam before ever we were born in exactly the same way that Levi was in the loins of his great grandfather, Abraham, before he (Levi) was born. If we can believe that we were in Adam and the life blood that now flows in our physical bodies is the same life blood that was passed down from him to us, how much more should we believe that our Father in heaven placed us in Christ before the foundation of the world and that this grace was given us in Christ before the world began. How eloquently Paul made this bold and true assertion in his letter to Timothy and Titus when he said, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!” (2 Tim. 1:9, 10)
Can we not see by these bold and inspired statements that all things were given us in Christ before the world began? And when the eternal Testator who made the will died, we immediately fell heir to each and every one of those blessings that had been promised in His last will and testament. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only person who ever lived who is both the testator and executor of His own will. He was the testator who made the will and left all these blessings to us, and, after making the will effective by His death, He rose again from the dead and, as God’s own executor, He now ever lives to divide His gifts among us from His abundant, eternal and inexhaustible storehouse and resource.
I am certain that all who read these pages must surely know that when Paul boldly stated, “I am crucified with Christ”, he was not basing his assumption on some consecration he had made at an altar where he sought for and attained the crucified life. I am confident that the experience of which he spoke that day cannot be attained by seeking the Lord for it. The real truth is that, before the world began, God the Father placed all men in Christ and, because we were placed in Christ, therefore we also were crucified when He was crucified. It was upon the knowledge of this indisputable fact that Paul was able to confidently affirm, “I am crucified with Christ.” We are not unlike a beggar who, while wandering about in rags, hungry, homeless and helpless, discovered that his billionaire uncle had suddenly died, leaving him heir to millions. Here the beggar stands in his rags, proclaiming to the passersby, “I am a multi-millionaire.” Let them laugh and scoff and be as unbelieving as they wish, but the beggar knows that what he says is true and that henceforth he will no longer live as a despised outcast, but as a millionaire.
Let those scoff at Paul’s statement who will, but Paul knew something that we must also now know, clearly stated in these inspired words: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Rom. 6:6, 7) Those are awesome words, are they not? Knowing this! Do we know it? Do I know it? Do you know it? Well, it is just as true on your part and mine as it was true in the case of Paul. He was basing his faith, not on fiction, but upon the fact that God had placed all men in Christ before the world began and that, when Christ was crucified, Paul and all mankind were crucified as well. We shall now base our faith on this same fact – that when He was crucified, 1, George Hawtin, was crucified, and you, John Doe, were also crucified with Him. The instant this fact becomes real to your heart and your spirit leaps out to lay hold on the truth of it, you will also be able to say, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, ‘and gave, Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) It is a whole new world, dear friends. It is an entirely new realm. It is a new life. It is life eternal.
Now, after Paul had made this bold assertion of faith, he gave an exhortation to you and me that we also should lay hold as he had already done. This is what he said: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Dear brethren, ask God to help you see that these precious blessings are not human attainments. They are gifts freely bestowed upon us in Christ Jesus when He died and proclaimed with a loud cry for all the world to hear, “IT IS FINISHED.” Death has been accomplished. The will of God is in effect and all things in His will are freely yours. You will never in a million years understand this with the natural mind, but once the Holy Spirit takes over and shines His light upon its truth, you will wonder with great astonishment why you were never able to see it before. Let us pray, as David did, “Open mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Or should we now say, out of Thy grace? For this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Knowing this! Knowing this! That our old man is crucified, not because we have attained that experience by either merit or our seeking or by fasting and prayer, but because this grace was given us in Christ before the world began.
I think I have known this truth for a long, long time, but it is only now becoming real by the illumination of the Holy Spirit and my faith is reaching out to grasp that rich inheritance which Christ, who is both testator and executor of the eternal will, now holds out to me as my rich and eternal inheritance. Shall I now draw back and say it cannot be so? Shall I like a fool disbelieve it is mine or that the Holy Spirit has made some mistake? If I had to attain that crucified life, I could never do it and neither could you, but because I was in Him when He was crucified, I have to believe that I, too, was crucified. I find I cannot now doubt it. The fact is so clear that it becomes difficult to doubt. How would it be possible to doubt it? As we accept these tremendous statements, we are not founding our faith on myth. We are founding it upon a positive and an accomplished fact that no principality or power could deny, neither can any power in the universe rob us of it or take it from us. These facts concern the divine will and testament of Christ. They belong to the new covenant, the New Testament, and the new will. Bow your head, your heart and your spirit in His awful presence. Reach forth your hand of faith to receive the inheritance He now proffers you and breathe out that precious confession of thankfulness, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
In reading Colossians, chapter 2, did you consider the strange but wonderful words of verse 12 where the apostle says, “We are buried with Him in baptism, wherein ye also are risen with Him through faith in the operation of God?“ Do ask God to make those words real to your heart. You are not basing your faith on your ability to seek and attain. You are being asked to base your faith on the operation of God. And what is the operation of God? It is this: He placed you in Christ before the world began so that when Christ was crucified, you were crucified. When He was baptized, you were baptized. When He died, you died. When He was buried, you were buried. When He arose, you arose with Him. When He ascended, you ascended with Him. Brethren, these things are not imagination. They are faith in the operation of God, not the unbelief of men, not my operation, not my prayer, not my accomplishments, for we can have no faith in the weakness of human understanding, but faith in the operation of God, the finished, completed work of the Lord. This is something very great and very trustworthy and offers eternal reward.
We cannot stop here, however, for, while to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin and to base that reckoning upon faith in the operation of God is wonderful beyond compare, there is much more than that in the will of God and the purpose that was in Christ Jesus before the world began. We cannot possibly explore all the wonderful avenues of death and burial with Christ here. They are far too extensive for that, but let us now proceed a little further.
Circumcision, which was so prominent in Old Testament days, indicates the putting off of the body of sins, that is, the sins of the flesh. The works of the flesh are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murder, drunkenness, revellings and such like. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14) Circumcision indicates the putting off of all these works of the flesh and the sins of the body, soul and spirit. Circumcision indicates the cutting away of the flesh. Circumcision after the order of the Old Testament did nothing for us, except perhaps by some human resolve, but the circumcision of the New Testament is not in the flesh, but in the spirit and is through faith in the operation of God. Can we hear Paul saying, “He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly: and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom. 2:28, 29)
Therefore it is in the spirit that circumcision operates, and we, being identified with Christ in all things, should now see that, when He was circumcised, we were circumcised through faith in the operation of God. Thus have we put off all the works of the flesh, which I have listed above, and in their place we now manifest the fruit of the circumcised heart, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance. Oh what a life of blessedness we live in this wonderful new realm! Thus, being crucified with Him, we accomplish our death to sin, carnality and the old nature. Being circumcised with Him, we have cut away all the sins and lusts of the flesh. By the same identification with Him we are buried with Him through faith in the operation of God. Try as we wish to imagine ourselves crucified and we will only fail. Try by the circumcision of the flesh to put off the sins of the flesh and we will fail. I am sure that millions of us have been baptized in water without the slightest understanding of what is being indicated, or that we were identifying ourselves with Christ in burial and resurrection. Baptism signifies the burial of the old crucified self and the burial of the sins and lusts of the flesh in which we reveled when we lived the faithless life of unbelief. As we identify ourselves by faith with the operation of God by which He placed us in His wonderful Christ before the world began, we will find ourselves no longer living after the old life, but after the life of resurrection. Remember the words, “IT IS FINISHED.”
It was necessary that Christ should die and be buried that we in Him might be crucified to the world and the world to us, that our old self might be slain and buried with Him, and now, blessed be His name, that we might also be raised with Him through faith in the operation of God. All the seeking for the resurrection life that we can do will avail us nothing, but faith in the operation of God will produce the experience. It cannot help but do so, for, if we were placed in Him before the world began, before there was an age or a dispensation for the scholars to fight over, we who then were in Him were also in Him when He was crucified and when He rose from the dead. Through faith in the wonderful operation of God we arose with Him, and neither the devil nor any principality nor power nor human reasoning can rob us of that certainty. Have you noticed how Paul warns the people in these words: “Beware lest any man spoil (rob) you through philosophy or vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Col. 28-10 What tremendous words these are, not only of warning, but of almost incredible truth – that we are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and truth!
Earlier in this message we mentioned the possibility of our entering into the incorruptible realm during the closing days of this age. Now, if we take as our basis the fact that the rising from the dead was included in our inheritance in Christ just as was our crucifixion and our circumcision and our burial, then we are without doubt on very solid and sure ground. I do not want to be presumptuous, but in my heart I feel that “some must enter.” (See Treasures of Truth, Vol. 16, chapter 7; also Vol. 32) The wonderful hope of the glory of incorruption, the honor of adoption and full sonship, lies before us and these heavenly glories are definitely included in the resurrection and the resurrection is included in the last will and testament of Christ. It was Christ Himself who made the almost mind boggling statement that “whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die”, and, knowing as He did how incredibly unbelieving we humans can be, He followed this statement with the burning question, “Believest thou this?” Whether we believe it or not will certainly depend upon how much faith we put in what God has said.
Shall we not, as did Paul, claim the promise and stand on the indisputable fact that we are crucified with Christ, our Head? Shall we not confess with him that the life we now live in the flesh is being lived by the faith of the Son of God and the person now living in us is “not I, but Christ?” So close, so thorough and so complete is the identification of us, the members of the Christ body, with Christ, who is the Head, that the old “I” lives no more, but it is Christ who lives within and He is all and in all.
It has been said that at one time Martin Luther was in deep prayer when a stranger knocked on his door. Opening the door, the stranger asked, “Does Martin Luther live here?” Martin Luther replied, “Martin Luther is dead; Christ lives here.” Should that statement sound fantastic or fanatical, let us ponder our relationship with Christ. Let us think deeply and in the Spirit of the meaning of the tiny phrase “in Christ.” If in Christ there is neither male nor female, would you not think that there is no “I”, but rather just Christ? Could that not be what Paul meant when he said, “Nevertheless I live; yet not 1, but Christ liveth in me”? Was it not for this that Jesus prayed when I-le said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be, one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.” (John 17:20-23) None of us has been able to look so close that we can differentiate between the Father and the Son. Neither can we look so close that we can differentiate between the Son and the sons, because He has placed us in Himself and it is not I, but Christ.
The perfection of the rising from the dead was so real to Paul and his identification with Christ was so certain that he startled the Philippians and all the rest of us as well by these words of faith and expectation: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death: if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Phil. 3:10-11) In these words the apostle reckons that the resurrection is a very distinct possibility for us all here and now, and we, too, have every right to follow after that we may apprehend that for which Christ has apprehended us. “Apprehend” is a term of law. When a policeman apprehends a man, that man is arrested and brought before the authorities. Paul is saying here that Christ has apprehended us. He has laid hold upon us that we in turn should apprehend or lay hold upon the resurrection. That, I believe, Paul is saying here, and we may well believe every word of it. Paul definitely stated that at that moment he had not attained to the resurrection, but left the good news that he was following after that glory and pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13, 14 Let us never forget that this, too, is part of the operation of God.
Dear brethren, I feel I must believe that all of which we have spoken has been included in the finished work of Christ. It is finished and it is for us and stands ready for us to come with boldness to enter in. Do not take the stand that we must attain through some mighty effort on our part, but let us now begin with the understanding that through faith in the operation of God before the world began we are now in Christ, that we are crucified with Him, that we are buried with Him, and that we are raised with Him. We simply must take our stand on these indisputable facts and make this our sure and certain foundation. I have seen more sinners express their hope in Christ by simply believing I John 1:91 which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, than in any other way. Believing this and confessing this, sinful men and women received assurance in their hearts that they were children of God and were saved. Shall we not then begin to take our stand on this mighty hope which is set before us since our faithful Lord says we are circumcised with Him, crucified with Him, buried with Him and risen with Him? And if we are risen with Him, shall we not share with Him His resurrection life here and now? Too long we have lived beneath our privileges. We have heard His will read to us by the great Executor Himself, yet we stand in awe and draw back. saying in our hearts such things are not possible in this life; and so saying, we deprive ourselves of them. Let us not be faithless, but believing.
In closing these thoughts, let us notice how Paul speaks to those who believe that we have partaken of the resurrection because the word of God says we have. This exhortation then is to the children of the resurrection. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, (ye have died), and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Col. 3:1-5) “Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” (Verse 8) Then put on all these: “mercies, kindness, humbleness of’ mind, meekness, longsuffering.” (Verse 12) “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” (Verses 14, 15) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Verse 16)
IT IS FINISHED [George R. Hawtin] 1