ECHOES from EDEN, PART 19
END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE OBEDIENCE of SONS
The Power of Disobedience
The Power of Obedience
The Way of Obedience
The Obedience of the Sons
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. and when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
Genesis opens wondrously, first announcing a creation, then showing it marred, and then a restoration.
The first contents itself with a simple statement of a consummated act:
In the King James Version the text begins:
The prophet Jeremiah tells us what happened to that pre-historic world, what happened to the cities, how great areas of the world convulsed, the earth rolled over, and the tops rolled over the bottom as the mountains trembled and the hills removed.
This wonder – of a work of God so soon self-destroyed, meets us again in the beginning of human history, in the Garden. Scarcely is God's image seen in man, before that spiritual work is marred in Adam. The creature formed to bear God's image falls, and thus becomes the stage for another work. In each case mystery surrounds the fall. How the earth once beautiful became
In relation to spiritual life this man begins nothing, continues nothing, and perfects nothing. The wondrous change wrought is by the power of the Word of God. Life and power are in the Word. “God said” – this is the means – just as God formed the first creation in that long ago, so He now fashions the new creation. In both the initiative is on God's part. When all was void and formless and shrouded in darkness and hopelessness and nothing moved,
In the midst of Eden's fair garden, the Lord God set up a testimony, established a law, and this testimony was a test for Adam. It spoke of death in the midst of life.
I would here suggest to my reader the remarkable contrast between the testimony set up in Eden and that which is set up now under the grace of God. Then, when all around was life, God spoke of death; now, on the contrary, when all around is death, God speaks of life! Then, the word was,
We shall briefly look at Adam's position in Eden. The Word of God teaches us that Adam was a Son of God, and as such, a type, shadowing forth
The word used in the original is "tupos," from which our word "type" derives. The word "tupos" comes from a verb that means "to strike." Tupos, however, did not take on the meaning "blow," but rather the meaning of what is left by a blow, that is, "impression," "imprint," "statuette" (small works of sculpture). Further the word also takes on the meaning of the "mold" with which an impression, imprint, or statuette is made. Thus it can also mean a "pattern."
Some glad morning, the dawn of which methinks I now behold, when the processings of God in the lives of His firstfruits company are complete, our eyes will behold with endless joy the full glory of that heaven blest Eden, the garden in which walked Adam, the Son of God. Our eyes, long dimmed by the darkness of this carnal realm, have not beheld such glories as were there; our ears have not heard its celestial song, nor have our
Then in God's inscrutable wisdom the dark hour came when the creature was made subject to vanity (Rom. 8:20). Stretching forth his hand in DISOBEDIENCE, he took of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and did eat.
Here, then, when Adam in disobedience and fear and shame hid himself from the presence of God, was the beginning of all our labor, sorrow and night. The image of God in man was marred, his soul became like the primeval earth, without form and an empty waste, darkened, and agitated by the angry waters of its own passions and lust and frustrations and sorrows. Thus from the brightness of God's glory all men in Adam were cast out; for there is no difference, since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God through man's transgression. Upon our eyes a veil was cast that could not be taken away until the day of triumph in which JESUS CHRIST, THE ONE PREFIGURED BY ADAM, THE SECOND MAN, rent the veil in twain and flung Eden's gates wide open that repentant, forgiven, and newborn men might come with boldness into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus – by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that we who have fixed our hope upon Jesus may now enter back into the glories of Eden, finding ourselves IN THE LAST MAN CHRIST.
Though we are not saved by obedience, we are saved unto obedience. God’s purpose for our lives is that we become holy, and happiness is subsidiary to that. We will never really be happy or fulfilled until we have become holy. Without holiness, no man can see the Lord and it is at His right hand that there are pleasures forevermore. This great truth that happiness comes through obedience and unhappiness, sadness, sorrow and misery come from disobedience is found throughout the scripture. We see it in the very opening of history when God instructed man that he should not eat of the fruit of the tree. But man ate. With that act of disobedience, mankind was plunged into sorrow, sin and woe. It began there and it has never changed. It ends there. In the last chapter of the book of Revelation, we read this:
In Bethlehem's stable Jesus the Christ came into this world as the second man, the last Adam, the new Federal Head of Adam's ancient race – redeemed and restored. He stood in all the dignity and splendor and wisdom and power and dominion given to man in the beginning ere sin and limitation and death passed upon him. What a man! Sinless man. Perfect man. Diseaseless man. Unlimited man. Anointed man. Crowned man. Man in the image of God. God man. Man the revelation of God to creation. Deathless man. What a specimen! What a man! And yet – don't forget this – He took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, even Adam's benighted race. What infinite strength out of incredible weakness! He was EVERY INCH A MAN! A man who faced' – and conquered – every temptation known to humanity. A man who (though as God, He had been omnipresent) could only be in one place at a time. Although as God He had neither slumbered nor slept (Ps. 121:4), as man, He suffered weariness (Jn. 4:6) and required sleep (Mat. 8:24). He must go from place to place upon hot, weary, dusty feet – His rate of travel limited to the speed of walking, His feet which had trod the infinite spheres of the dimensions of Spirit were soiled and bruised by the dust and stones of the unpaved and filthy Oriental streets and paths of Palestine. How He welcomed the cleansing coolness of the customary foot bath before meals – when some unselfish person thought to minister to Him in this way! He suffered hunger and thirst, loneliness, weariness, and pain. He of whom it had been said,
When Jesus came to earth He died to all that He was as God to become a man. But when He came to the Jordan He died again – He DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS A MAN to be the Son of God. When He went down into the watery grave of John's baptism to "fulfill all righteousness," He offered there all the capabilities, potentials, ambitions, desires, and talents He possessed AS A MAN, laying all upon the altar, surrendered completely to God, reserving nothing for Himself, a burnt-offering, a sweet smelling savor unto God.
Can we imagine what Jesus might have accomplished had He elected to use the wisdom and knowledge and power resident in His PERFECT MANHOOD for His own ends? He could have used His power for wealth and become the richest man in the world. He could have used His talents for power, usurped the thrones of the rulers of this world and become Emperor of the mighty Roman Empire. He might have used His powers for sensual gratification, attracting the fairest women of the world to Him, building the largest harem of the most beautiful women ever possessed by a man. He could have become the world's greatest general, or the most famous artist, or the most acclaimed orator, or the most accomplished musician, or the most brilliant scientist, or the most articulate philosopher, or the most important, distinguished, eminent, exalted, renowned, or noble of a thousand different vocations and positions. But He didn't! He could have rallied the masses and marshaled an army before which the name of Alexander the Great would pale in – to oblivion. He could have built great hospitals, schools of learning, and gold-domed cathedrals. He could have initiated wonderful programs to better society and save the world from disease, poverty, and trouble. But He didn't! He said, simply,
Finally, Jesus died to all that He was as the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh that He might live again in the glory He had with the Father before the world was – the incorruptible, eternal, unlimited dimension of SPIRIT. For when Jesus was crucified, risen and ascended, He returned to the Father or to SPIRIT and is now with the Father as SPIRIT, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. When this Christ or Anointed One was crucified, risen, and ascended, He returned to His eonian resting place – HUMANITY. He has come as the last Adam, in the place of the first Adam, assuming his position as Head of the race, in order to QUICKEN THE SPIRITS OF ALL MEN BY HIS SPIRIT that they may regain the sacred knowledge of WHO THEY ARE and from WHENCE THEY CAME – the image of God on earth. As in the first chapter of Genesis, the Spirit of God – the Christ, the Anointing – is moving upon the face of the waters, upon the faces of multitudes of people, even the whole vast world of humanity. And God is speaking into the darkened consciousness of all men the transforming fiat:
When the Lord God lowered man into this gross material realm man possessed, by the spirit, the divine potential to overcome the flesh, sanctify it, transform it, infusing it with the qualities of Life – holiness and incorruption. Jesus, the last Adam, came and demonstrated for us this very principle. This potential in man to rule the natural by the spirit is shed forth in Jesus' mighty works – by His healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, forgiving sins, and raising the dead – He transcended by His life, words, and actions all the so-called laws of the material, mortal realm. The great significance of Jesus' mighty works will never ring clear in our spirits until we understand that He did not perform as a unique, different kind of man – all His wonderful works were the teaching of what is NORMAL FOR MAN IN HIS TRUE STATE AS THE IMAGE OF GOD. As the last Adam Jesus demonstrated all that the first Adam lost--mankind's heritage as the sons and daughters of the Most High. Little wonder, then, that He confidently and joyfully proclaimed to His disciples, "The works that I do shall YE DO ALSO; and greater works than these shall YE DO."
By the Spirit within (the Father dwelling in Him) Jesus made nature harmonious – calming the raging of the sea, walking on the water, multiplying the loaves and fishes, turning water into wine, and making everything in nature, including the human mind and body, to be servants instead of masters. When a man's life is governed by the Spirit, his body is in submission to everlasting Life, Truth and Love. Finally, going to the cross and Himself rising from the dead He demonstrated for all men the wonderful and incontrovertible truth in the words
By His resurrection Jesus proved the Spirit within to be OMNIPOTENT, all-conquering, all-sufficient. He met and mastered death itself by the law of the Spirit of Life. He took no drugs to allay inflammation. He did not depend upon food or pure air or vitamins or herbs to resuscitate wasted energies. He did not require the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn palms and bind up the wounded side and lacerated feet, that He might use those hands to remove the napkin and winding-sheet, and that He might employ His feet as before. Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of matter, and stepped forth from His gloomy resting-place, crowned with the glory of a sublime success, and everlasting victory – the second MAN, the last ADAM – the role-model for each and every man of Adam's race! Jesus' victory over sin, sickness, pain, limitation, death and the grave was for the enlightenment of all men and for the salvation of the whole world. Paul writes, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE (WITHIN). Rom 5:10
Glory be to God and peace to the struggling hearts, Christ hath rolled away the stone from the human door, human hope and faith through the revelation and demonstration of Life in God, the life resident in the SPIRITUAL MAN.
We have come to the most sublime of all truths. The beauty of these celestial realities is found in the fact that all Jesus did He did "for us" – not in our place, but ON OUR BEHALF. A musician demonstrates the beauty of the music he teaches in order to show the learner the way by practice as well as precept. This was the precious import of our Lord's sinless life and of His demonstration of power over the whole flesh realm, including death. Our heavenly Father demands that all men should follow the example of our Lord and Master. In order to enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of this carnal, dying realm into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us; and this advance beyond the law of sin and death must come through the joys and triumphs of a people
Man, through self, is all that we see in disobedient Adam, debased and sunk from God and thrust out of the Kingdom of Heaven into the desolation of self-hood, from joy and glory into misery; and yet in Christ, THE SECOND MAN WHO WAS OBEDIENT, man has been, and shall be set in all the glory which the first man typified, so that Paul can say,
THE POWER OF DISOBEDIENCE
Let us pursue a little further the thought of the effect of Adam's disobedience upon all mankind. Paul says in
It would not have been so tragic if Adam's sin had affected himself alone, if all after him could have observed the horrible fruit of his sin and then kept themselves from the same ravaging despair; but the scriptures faithfully point out the awful POWER OF DISOBEDIENCE, revealing that it was by ONE MAN'S DISOBEDIENCE that "the many" – ALL – WERE MADE SINNERS! As Adam fell, we fall each one, for Adam lives yet in his progeny. Because Adam had the principle of sin and death imposed as an actual feature of his biological life, his descendants also have inherited a life principle which involves a built-in death principle. The moment a child is conceived the nature of disobedience is in him and the power of death – so that in the same moment he is conceived he is a sinner by nature and also begins to die; he is dying ere he is born, and eventually the death principle wins out over the life principle and he does die. And, fallen in Adam, men prove he is in them, by walking just as he walked. Adam yet relives old Adam's life in every unregenerated man, as Christ in us yet lives Christ's life. With all emphasis I must declare that at the very most, the worst offender on earth, has committed a crime WHICH IS INHERENT IN HIS OWN NATURE, and the eye of the all-seeing God sees what even we, in most cases, cannot see, that the most wicked sinner on earth IS SIMPLY DOING THAT OVER WHICH HE REALLY HAS NO CONTROL. People tell me that "man has a choice," but I declare to you that when I came into this world some 43 years ago ADAM HAD ALREADY MADE MY CHOICE FOR ME. God didn't ask me if I would prefer to be born a sinner or a saint – Adam answered that question for me in the dim and misty past! Never in my life did I have a choice until the blessed day when the Spirit of God came and illumined my mind, convincing me of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come, and showing me the things of Christ, taking the glories of Him and unveiling them to my astonished soul; then, and not until then did I have a choice, and it did not take me long, beloved friends, to make that choice!
Until the day God intervened and apprehended me sovereignly by His Spirit I was in no way responsible for my actions and, try as I might, I could never have been different that I was, and neither could you. If this is not the case then the apostle lied when he said,
Surely this explains why the day-old infant in the crib gets mad, turns red in the face, screams to the top of his lung's capacity, and the only reason he doesn't "cuss" is because he hasn't learned the words! Have you not observed that in this world children do not have to be taught to do wrong – it comes naturally! You don't have to teach little Johnny to sneak around and disobey – and then lie about it. He will do it naturally, out of his own heart and mind, without ever being taught. Johnny will steal cookies out of the cookie jar and then look you straight in the eye and swear he hasn't been near the cookie jar – while the telltale cookie crumbs around his mouth give the lie to his affirmations! Ah, children only have to be taught to do right – never wrong! Consider the following quote: “Our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority – they show disrespect for their elders, and love to chatter in place of experience. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up food, and tyrannize teachers.” You may think these are the words of a speaker in New York City, Miami or Los Angeles. Actually, they were spoken by the Greek Philosopher, Socrates, in the year 400 B.C.! The message is clear – nature has not changed one whit in the past 2,400 years!
Men have, in their very blood, been saturated with sin, with lawlessness, with nervous temperaments and diseases WHICH HAVE BEEN THE DIRECT CAUSE OF THEIR TRANSGRESSION. God in His great mercy
THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE
How shall I describe the blessing that came to my own soul when Jesus Christ revealed to me that as potent as was the power of Adam's disobedience, mightier yet is the power contained in THE OBEDIENCE OF THE SON OF GOD. All the languages and dialects of earth do not contain words meaningful enough to describe the immensity and all-embracing work of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Open wide your heart to behold the power and the glory of the CONQUERING LOVE OF GOD spoken of in these words of scripture:
But now, take careful note of the truth the Spirit is here revealing.
More. More than. My deepest prayer to God is that He may grant understanding`
More than! You cannot understand God
"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. AND THE PARCHED GROUND SHALL BECOME A POOL, and
And what has God promised?
I suppose that all the arguments and persuasions in the world will not convince some saints of the incontrovertible truth of the words found in
No one will dispute that SIN abounded, or that it overflowed, spilling out of Eden's fair garden and saturating the whole earth and all men. Abound means overflow – constantly filling and running over like a spring of water or ocean wave. Ah, yes, sin overflowed, flowed all over, flooded the world, permeated the minds and temperaments and nature of all men everywhere, until the seed of Adam's disobedience has grown and increased through six long millenniums in the field of the world and has now come to horrible fullness. Wicked man and seducers are waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. The grapes of wrath are not only ripe, but they are over-ripe, as the original implies in Rev. 14:15. The fullness of sin and death is such that no flesh could survive the desolation that lies ahead unless the Lord Himself were to cut the days short. We recognize this fact. Men in all walks of life recognize it. Men in high places recognize it. The hearts of men who know what the score really is in this treacherous hour are failing them for fear, as they contemplate the things that are about to come upon the world in this generation.
But what about that other seed that was cast into the earth, the second man, the last Adam, the OBEDIENT SON? Are we going to credit the disobedience of Adam with having more power and authority than the Christ? Are we going to infer that the law of sin and death has even greater potential than the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Are we going to believe that the law of sin and death has the power and ability to stretch forth its poisonous tentacles into every area of human-kind, to the complete perversion of body, soul, and spirit, and then at the same time draw back in unbelief at the revelation of the Word concerning the law of the spirit of life (more abundantly) in Christ Jesus? Five times in Romans 5 does the apostle Paul use the expression "much more" relative to the POWER OF GRACE OF GOD, IN CONTRAST TO THE SIN OF ADAM. Shall we not believe that there is a much greater and a "much more" potential in the redeeming grace of Christ, than there is in the law of sin and death? Is there not a "much more" effectual working of grace of God in the last Adam, than there was of the power of disobedience in the first Adam? In other words, are we going to honor the power of Adam and Satan ABOVE THE REDEEMING POWER OF CHRIST?
Our problem seems to be simply this. We believe, oh, HOW we believe! in the horrible manifestation of sin and death in Adam – because it is a matter of history in the past, and of fact in the present. But – we reject the glorious manifestation of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ because it is not too manifest in history, nor scarcely visible in this present day. Men will not believe until they see. But those called to be the SONS OF GOD, though unknown by the world as yet, are even now believing what they cannot see, and indeed the whole creation groans for their manifestation, for the creation itself SHALL BE DELIVERED from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. If the life of God is not to overflow super-abundantly
Who has not been distressed by the overflowing of evil and sorrow and death? But – where sin increased and abounded, grace has surpassed it and increased the more and super-abounded. In the same place where sin and evil overflowed, grace did – do we dare to say what the scripture says here? Will not someone think that we are getting off into some heresy? Oh well, we will just happily sing it out – "where sin overflowed, grace did EXCEEDINGLY-MORE-THAN-OVERFLOW!" Where evil flooded, grace more-than flooded. Grace equaled the overflow of sin, and THEN MORE. Grace overflowed where sin did, and then became permanent floods of mercy and redemption! If the Word of God does not teach this, then I know nothing of the Word. Oft times we have sung the little chorus:
"His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundaries known unto man,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!"
The limitation of God's mercy, if it were possible, would be the condemnation of God Himself. If there are limits to His mercy, then the Word of God, which says that "His mercy endureth forever," is a lie. The limitation of God's mercy is a trick of the devil, to discredit God and to defeat His gospel. The limitation of God's mercy makes the disobedience of Adam more powerful and enduring than the OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST. I am glad for a gospel that is coextensive with, AND GREATER THAN, the devil’s work in spirit, soul and body. I am glad for a gospel that is not limited to one age, or to the three-score-and-ten years of man's frail existence, but reaches out into the ages to come until GOD IS ALL IN ALL. I am so glad for a gospel which tells me that God has made a way by which even His banished may return. The Lord Jesus, the Christ, said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw" – how many? "ALL men." "ALL MEN unto Myself! (Jn. 12:32). If that proclamation is not true, if He is not strong enough and gracious enough to draw every man on earth, and under the earth, and throughout the universe, to Himself, then He has told a lie.
If you say that sin abounds to an extent not equaled by grace, you again contradict the Word of God. If God could eventually be defeated in the purpose for which He created man, to be an "habitation" for Himself, "in the Spirit," and if He were to abandon all effort, and permit man throughout the endlessness of eternity to be possessed by the devil, then He had better stop saying that He is God Almighty. All-wise and All-merciful. That would be failure and proof that the devil is stronger than the Christ, that sin exceeds grace, which we know is not true. You will have to tear the Bible all to pieces if you teach such doctrine.
THE WAY TO OBEDIENCE
The Lord Jesus Christ, the second Man, the last Adam, was the first perfectly obedient man. It is written of Him in His youth:
The writer to the Hebrews impresses upon us the intense reality of Christ's humanity – His being made like unto His brethren, His partaking of flesh and blood in like manner as ourselves, His being tempted in all things like as we are. He leads us in spirit down into Christ's humiliation in the flesh, and speaks of the wondrous mystery of the agony there, as the "second man" was prepared and perfected for the redeeming and glorifying work He came to do. Let us enter upon this holy ground with hearts bowed under a consciousness of our ignorance, but thirsting to know something more of the great mystery of godliness, the Son of God become flesh for us.
THOUGH HE WERE A SON – the form of the expression implies that no one would have expected from the Son of God what is now to be said, – YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED. Gethsemane was the final class in the school where our Elder Brother, made like to us in all things, learnt His last and most difficult lesson of obedience through what He suffered. As the Son of God, one could say that there could be no thought of His learning obedience. But the first man, the one who prefigured Him, had also been a Son of God, and he had FAILED TO LEARN OBEDIENCE. But Jesus – so real was His emptying Himself of His life in glory, and so complete His entrance into all the conditions of our nature, that He did indeed need to learn obedience.
This is the very essence of the life of man, that the life and the will he has received from God cannot be developed without the voluntary giving up to God in all that He asks, even when it appears a sacrifice. Man can only attain his perfection under a law of growth, of trial, and of development, in the overcoming of what is contrary to God's will, and the assimilating of what that will reveals. In His prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, Jesus maintained His allegiance to God's will: in the wrestlings and bloody sweat He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The deepest suffering taught Him the highest lesson of obedience: when He had yielded His will and His life, His obedience was complete, – He Himself was perfected forevermore, bless His wonderful name!
The fact that Jesus had to pass through such awesome sufferings to lead Him to obedience should teach us something about the plight of the unregenerated man and his total inability to do righteousness or even to voluntarily choose the way of the Lord. This is why Jesus came as a pioneer of obedience, to open up the way. And this is why God sent an OVERFLOWING OF GRACE to redeem poor helpless slaves to the devil. I clearly see what God takes into account when dealing with mankind in Adam. He never forgets that we are "dust," and He remembers just the kind of muck from which our souls and bodies came. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, knows what the weakness of the flesh is. He knows what it costs to conquer it, and how little, even we who have been begotten from above, are able to do it. He lives in the heavens, able to succour us; sympathizing with our weaknesses; bearing gently with the ignorant and erring; a High Priest on the throne, that we may boldly draw nigh to find grace for timely help. He lives in our life and reigns in our heart, to impart to us His own spirit of obedience, so that His Priesthood may bring us into the full reality of all He Himself has and is.
So when He had been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, because He now had that perfected human nature which He could communicate to them. And so He was appointed High Priest – a Son, perfected forever more. As Son of God, He was able to take us up into the very life of God; as High Priest, He was to lift us, in actual spiritual reality, into God's fellowship and will and glory; the way in which He was perfected through obedience was the living way in which He was to lead us; – as a Son, perfected through obedience, who had found and opened and walked the path of obedience as the path into God, and would animate us with His own Spirit to do it too; He, the perfected One, can alone be OUR SALVATION! Salvation is by grace; perfection is by obedience. But even perfection is a part of salvation, for we are SAVED FROM OURSELVES INTO THE IMAGE OF HIMSELF.
Those who will be privileged to be with the Lord, and reign with Him in His Kingdom, bringing the nations and the powers that be into subjection to the King of kings, and restoring the creation to find its one Head in Christ Jesus, will be under the command of the King. And being under His command, to do His will, and fulfill His purpose, we will have to know what unquestioning obedience is. This is what is required of a soldier, to obey the command of his superior officer without question; even though he might not think it is the right thing to do, and he may believe that he knows a better way; but he is bound to obey, asking no questions and offering no advice. So those who will reign with Christ must learn this same measure of obedience. In order to do this we have to learn to know the voice of God, and to understand what His commands and will are. This requires complete surrender and absolute submission to Him.
THE OBEDIENCE OF THE SONS
All sons must learn this obedience.
Needless to say, such a manifestation will not include "rebellious, immature sons," who refuse to walk in the Spirit and fulfill the righteousness of God, not having overcome the lusts of the flesh and the nature of old Adam. There is a "going on to perfection," bringing to maturity this new creation life, bringing the formation of a "firstfruit company" through whom HE shall minister the life and triumph of His Kingdom, to bless all nations, and to fulfill His purpose of restoration of all things, for how shall we minister that which we do not ourselves experientially possess? And this now brings me to the conclusion that either we are going on to perfection, or we are not. It is not a case of "win some, lose some, one day God is winning, the next day the devil is winning, pray for me that I'll hold out to the end, after all I'm just human, but hope that in the hour when the sons of God are revealed I may squeak through."
We have already considered the mighty power released by ADAM'S DISOBEDIENCE and the super-mighty power contained in CHRIST'S OBEDIENCE. The languages of earth simply do not contain words that are able to express the VAST IMPORTANCE of THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE AND DISOBEDIENCE.
Every nation and people and tongue to honor the God of Heaven! Why? Because of the OBEDIENCE OF THREE MEN OF GOD. Nothing else. They did not conduct an evangelistic campaign, they passed out no
And what shall I more say? for the time and space fail me to tell of Gideon, and David, and Solomon, and Daniel and the prophets who by their OBEDIENCE shook and subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness and filled the earth with the glory of the Lord. Daniel OBEYED and found himself in the lions den, but God sent His angel and shut the lion's mouths. When Darius, King of the Medes and Persians, called Daniel forth from the den of lions it is written:
We have thus far considered the power of Adam's disobedience, the power of obedience revealed through the lives of men of faith, and the transcendent power of CHRIST'S OBEDIENCE. Let us now meditate upon the power contained in the obedience of the sons of God. There is indeed a wonderful fruit to be borne out of our obedience, as Paul explains in
As we have already pointed out, all creation is groaning in travail and waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, for in them lies the embodiment of creation's hope for its deliverance. Now, as the sons betoken the hope for creation, it is THE SON who is the hope of the sons, for it is in our Lord Jesus Christ that all our hope for restoration lies resident. Now when we say that the hope of the world is found in the Sons, that does not exclude our Lord – we are only emphasizing the point that these sons, when they are fully conformed to His image, become the manifestation of HIMSELF to the world, and thus Christ is glorified and lifted up in measures hitherto unknown. The world shall behold THE CHRIST revealed through the CHRISTED-COMPANY, with the Sons being the many-splendored manifestation of Himself. The price of becoming a part of this manifestation is simply that of being a partaker of the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, until it is no more I, but CHRIST. Our identity erased, His alone to be revealed. Thus it is not taking way from His glory, but only an adding, enlarging, intensification, multiplying of it, increasing the platform of HIS OBEDIENCE unto the subduing of all things. And it is this obedience, now being personified in a people, THE FIRST-FRUITS OF HIMSELF, that becomes the HOPE of creation, for if God, omnipotent and glorious, gracious and merciful, can transform such as us – we become the hope, yea, the proof – that He can and shall do so for the rest of Creation!