THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE
BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Throughout the word the Holy Scriptures, shining with clearness of the sun at noon, set forth the blessed hope of an entirely new relationship between God and every man who through faith has been brought nigh to Him by the cleansing of blood of Jesus Christ and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. It would seem to be almost impossible for any word of inspiration set forth the perfection of that new relationship more clearly does the scripture quoted above. This scripture shows in the plainest possible language that all men in Christ are both new creatures and new creations as well. They are new creatures they are new creations from the Father’s mighty hand. And furthermore, with the coming of this new relationship to Christ these new creations make the blessed discovery that the passing away of their old selves is accompanied by the passing away of every old thing that pertains to their former unregenerate state, and with the coming of the new creation new hopes, new ambitions and new loves are born.
It is doubtful if any Christian on earth has fully understood yet how great is the transforming upheaval that works within the soul when men and women in godly sorrow repent of their sins and through the operation of the Spirit of God in their lives are born again, born from above, renewed, regenerated and recreated. The all-powerful, incorruptible Christ seed, which liveth and abideth forever, being placed within their spirits, develops and matures-first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear (Mark 4:28) until from the incorruptible Christ seed, planted in the fertile womb of the spirit, there comes forth a new creation in the glory of the Father and the image of Jesus Christ. All of us, especially that honored company of women to whom God has granted the blessing of motherhood, know that the period of time from the day the child is conceived in the womb to the hour of his birth and manifestation to the world is a time important and momentous. During the days of gestation, there in the darkness of the womb a completely new human being is being formed in the likeness of the parents who conceived him, a life that will not pass away. In the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry a full display may be seen of the development of the human fetus from the time of conception to the hour of birth, or manifestation. It is a display capable of greatly solemnizing the spiritual mind as one realizes that these remarkable developments of the natural man from the implantation of a corruptible seed to the birth of a corruptible body are in fact typical representations of the implantation of the incorruptible seed in the believing heart to the time of the birth and manifestation of a son of God in the image of the Father.
We poor humans, restricted as we are in understanding, are still woefully incapable of explaining the wonders of a natural birth. Our minds are baffled to explain “how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child.” Eccles: 11:5. The clever minds of men of science may be able to trace the progress of that development and discuss the many wonders of it, but they can neither explain its process nor reproduce its substance. The very fact of our ignorance of these natural and corruptible things explains as nothing else can the significance of our Saviour’s words to Nicodemus, “If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12) But let those who long for eternal realities rejoice in this wonderful fact: “The Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6) “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (I Cor. 2:11) It is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (I Cor. 2:9, 10)Therefore with all truth it must be said that those blessed people who with open hearts receive the revelation of the Lord are possessed of a greater understanding of spiritual things than men of science and learning have in natural things. Men and women who walk in the Spirit become wiser than all their instincts the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. He giveth understanding to the simple, and to them that have no might, increaseth strength. “He giveth wisdom; out of His mouth knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6) “The fear of Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the is understanding.” (Prov. 9: 10)
Think, O reader, of the profound depths of truth that lie in these inspired words. “The knowledge of the holy is ” Oh that God’s people could be exhorted to flee the commandments and doctrines of men to took away to until the Spirit of light from God comes streaming down above, bringing the knowledge of the wisdom and glory of from the face of Jesus Christ! “No man hath seen God at time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” (John 1:18) He declared the Father’s glory to certain humble ones who loved Him while He walked among men in the lowly realms of earth, and He declares the Father’s glory in this the end of the age to men who love God who open the gates of their believing hearts to the Spirit of revelation and understanding from above. There is little or no hope for the man who demands that all truth and revelation must fit into the mould of his tradition and the crucible of his doctrine. How often do God’s people reject the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world by the seemingly wise, though silly interrogation, “Have any of the rulers believed? John 7:48. But this people who know not the laws are accured. John 7:49. To put new wine in old wine skins is foolishness. Of how much greater foolishness is he guilty who thinks to confine an expanding revelation in the old wine skin of religious tradition!
When it pleases God, who separated us from our mother’s to reveal to our spirits His Son from heaven, there is henceforth no place left to confer with flesh and blood, or even to go up to those who were apostles before us, (Gal. 1: 16,17), but rather to go, as Paul did, to some Arabia of God’s own choosing where the light of the ages can stream down forever into our famished spirits, bringing the knowledge of the glory of God from the face of Jesus Christ, our Lord. (2 Cor.:4, 6) We will always find well-meaning people who condemn the truth made real to us by the Holy Spirit because it does not comply or agree with the truth as they imagine it Ought to be; but those who walk in the light of the Holy Spirit, as He shines as the sun in strength upon the path of the just, are not at liberty to give ear to the thousand plaintive voices that call them to return to the apparent safety of the old way with its multitude of followers.
How often we hear the statement in advertising, “Can two million people be wrong?” Or “Can fifty million users be wrong?” The same childish prattle is carried into the world of religion and doctrine. I still recall an article published in a denominational magazine under the caption, “Can twelve million people be wrong?” Yes, indeed, twelve million people can be wrong! So also can six hundred Million! But, even if they’re right in some experience of the past and they rejoiced in the true light that once shone upon them to transform them, the fatal fault comes when they refuse to budge from their old camping ground, covering their eyes against the ever increasing light that shines more and more till the day is full. Do not proudly boast, O man that you are exactly the same as you were forty years ago. Repent rather that you have become a stagnant pool where the river of life has ceased to flow. I am the same person who was born in the pioneer town of Souris, Manitoba, in the year 1909, but today, though I am the same person, I am by no means the same as I then was. What a dreadful tragedy it would have been if after seventy-four years I was just the same as I was that morning they told my mother she had borne a son! I am the same person in whose penitent heart the Holy Spirit in 1926 implanted the incorruptible seed, which liveth And abideth forever and ever; yet I am not the same. What a dreadful tragedy that would be if I, fifty-seven years after my conversion, were just the same as I was that night when the angels in heaven rejoiced that a sinner had come home! Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection, no more laying and re-laying those foundational doctrines of repentance from dead works, faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, and physical healing.. There is more, much more, beyond for each and every life that becomes hidden with Christ in God. With the eye of my spirit I see nine men struggling with a violent demon at the foot of a mountain, unable to cast him out; but a little higher up three others of their company are beholding Him whose garments are white and glistering, and whose face is shining as the glory and brightness of the sun. Matt. 17:14-2 1. Away from their vision has passed the form of Moses, that giver of God’s holy law, and the figure of Elijah, who represented the prophets who prophesied of Christ. Vanquished forever is their childish hope of building tabernacles to house the glory of a message, for now they see no man save Jesus only. It is not our adherence to Moses and the law or our steadfastness toward Elijah and the prophets that is important, but our relationship to the Christ, of whom they spoke, saying that of the increase of His government there would be no end. We shall be satisfied when we awake in His likeness, and, when we do, yonder violent demon in the regions below will be found to hold no power at all.
The first Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was e a quickening (Life giving) Spirit. The first Adam was given power to produce only corruptible seed, full of death, and dying. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, the Lord from heaven, is given power to produce incorruptible seed, full of life, and living. From the corruptible seed placed in the womb of Eve by the first Adam has come forth a world of corruptible men in Adam’s likeness; but from the incorruptible seed of Jesus Christ, the second Adam, placed in the womb of the repentant spirit, comes forth that incorruptible new creation which liveth and abideth forever. Often in my writing I have tried to explain that the natural life, the corruptible life, is not Life at all. It is really death, as Paul so forcefully taught. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” When Jesus said, “He that hath the Son hath life”, He was speaking of that incorruptible life which He is and which liveth and abideth forever. When He said, “He that believeth on Me shall never die.” He was not teaching us that He would merely extend our corruptible existence forever so that we would never go to the grave. He meant that He was planting a new life within us, even the incorruptible life which He is, a life that could never end though we entered a thousand graves. The life He gives, the life He is, is the life of the ages. It is as endless as Christ Himself, for He is that life. It begins in our spirits the moment we believe, as Jesus said: “I give unto them eternal life (i.e., the life of the ages), and they shall never perish.” (John 10:28) That life, which begins in the spirit of man when Christ comes in to him by faith, extends more and more until corruption is swallowed up by incorruption as in type the yoke of an egg is swallowed up by the developing chick within, until in the end it is “not I, but Christ.” Even now at this very moment the life that we live in this body of flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God,- and that faith assures us fully that the incorruptible seed, sown by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit, shall issue forth in incorruption, immortality and eternal life. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on mortality. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.“ Death is corruption, as we pointed out above. Life is incorruption. As the rush cannot grow without mire (Job 8:11) and as dung is fertilizer to the budding fruit trees, so, in a manner beyond my understanding, the incorruptible Christ seed, planted in the corruptible earth which we are, bears its fruit in immortality, incorruption and life eternal.
I am wearied a little because so very often it becomes necessary to momentarily break away from the excellent glory of these sublime truths while we explain again and again that none of these things can be grasped at all by the intelligence of the intellect or the understanding of the natural mind. As the light of the world flooded the eyes of the man that was born blind when once the hand of Jesus touched him, so the rays of eternal truth, shining as suns from afar, burst in glory upon the fields of our spirits, kissing the hills with revelation and flooding the valleys with the light which He is. “I am the light of the world,” said the Savior. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Darkness and death abide together, the former deceiving, the latter slaying. Light and life are twin sisters, the one revealing, the other giving life. It gives sadness just to know that by far the greater number of God’s own blood-bought people still live in the outer darkness of the natural mind, though every one of them will testify that in the day they first believed the Bible became a new book. Their understanding was enlightened; their relationship toward God underwent a mighty upheaval; life itself wore a different face after they found the Saviour, but, alas, all too often they were content to bask forever in the glory of the new light that had been revealed. As time went by, the settling down process began. The new things became old and the extraordinary became the ordinary and commonplace- They soon imbibed the doctrines of the people among whom they dwelt and quite unknowingly settled down behind the high fences of their denominational creeds and their sectarian beliefs. I am not trying to curry the favor of those who read this article when I tell them with a sadness which God alone has placed in my heart that within the denominational walls men walk in craftiness, handling the word of God deceitfully lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them. They handle the word of God with deceit because they want their sheep to remain within the constricting confines of their fence, and not go wandering off from their fold to follow yonder shining light that streams from God’s throne afar. Thus do they waste their lives contending for their faith and for their way of looking at things, meanwhile condemning the experiences of other men as being of the devil, or refuting, the truth that has transformed the life of another.
No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father. He hath declared Him. (John 1:18) What the eye has not seen nor the ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man God reveals by His spirit. (1 Cor 2:9, 10) These great edicts notwithstanding, Christians and sinners alike are loath to believe that their natural minds are useless tools, deceitful instruments, and distorting instructors in all that concerns the spiritual realm. “The natural man receiveth not the things Of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (I Cor. 2:14) Let us therefore leave off forever this vanity that would have us believe that the natural mind can understand spiritual things. How dare we assume that by wearying the flesh with much study the truth of God can be found? As in a mirror face answers to face, so natural ways of looking at things only produce natural reflections. Christians seem determined to refuse and reject the lesson that only the Spirit searches out and reveals the mysteries of God.
If you seek God, you will find Him; but in finding Him you will discover that He is not as you thought He was or how you thought He was. You will find that He is in no way confined o restricted by any tradition, doctrine, or imagination of men. Utter trust in God means utter abandonment to God. There is a holy abiding place where Christians may forever dwell where with fervent spirits, holy awe, utmost consideration and perfect reverence they can declare with complete abandonment, “I care not! Thy will be done!” When you can say with utter abandon, “Lead me, Lord! I care not where,” then He will lead you. Ten or twenty years may pass before you are aware that He has led You, but You will find at last that your path has been the path of the just, leading you to the perfect day. When you can say, “Lead me, Spirit of God, I care not how,’, then some glad morning your happy soul, awaking as a sleeper from his dream, will have made the blessed discovery that the storms, shipwrecks and the fires have been the messengers of God to guide you to His desired haven, and your lips will be saying with Jacob Your friend, “Surely the Lord is in this place, though I knew it not.” (Gen. 28.16)
“One ship drives cast, another drives west
By the selfsame wind that blows;
‘Tis the set of the sail and not the gale
That tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate
As we voyage along through life.
‘Tis the set of the soul that decides the goal,
And not the calm or strife.”
There is a wicked trait in human nature that always has us believe that solemn words of exhortation do not apply to us but are directed to someone else. But the truth I write concerning revelation is directed to everyone. However great the insight Which God has given you, you must humbly and honestly admit, “I know nothing yet as I ought to know.” If you love God with all your heart, your one great interest will be to love Him more and more: and His great delight will be to manifest Himself more and more unto you. The true secret of revelation, or illumination, if you prefer the word, is simply an ever increasing love and an ever increasing devotion to your Father in heaven. “If any man love God, the same is known of Him,” or, if any man love God, God knows that man. Jesus our Lord told us in the plainest possible words that our love for God was the secret key that would unlock the gates of spiritual understanding. “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him. Judas said unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love Him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:21-23) Christ is the light of God. Christ is the word of God. “The entrance of Thy word giveth light.” No wonder the Lord has declared that to fervently love Him is the very fountainhead of all revelation, illumination, and spiritual understanding.
I am not same as I was forty years ago. I am not the same as I was twenty years ago, nor five years ago, nor am I the same as I was yesterday. Neither will I be tomorrow as I am today. “The path of the just is as the shining light that shines on and on until the day is full.” Without light there is no growth; without revelation there is no spiritual progress. Let us then lay aside every weight and every imperfect tradition that by an ever increasing communion with God we may lay hold on the perfection He has set before us.
With this brief but fervent appeal let all who read seek that illumination which the Holy Spirit gives to make wise the simple and increase in strength the fainting heart that we may consider with renewed understanding the wonderful power of the incorruptible seed, Christ, the Logos of God, who liveth and abideth forever. The foregoing paragraph was written yesterday. In it I said, “I am not the same as I was yesterday, nor will I be the same tomorrow as I am today.” And now I must testify that this is even so, for today I see truth concerning the incorruptible seed which yesterday had not been revealed to me. It is this: Our Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray, saying “Our Father, which art in heaven.” No man on earth is truly my father except the man by whom I was begotten. Therefore, I cannot call God my Father until I am begotten of God. Man is begotten of God that moment in which the Holy Spirit by His power divine places the incorruptible Christ seed in the repentant sinner’s heart. The incorruptible life planted there liveth and abideth forever. God is spirit and only those who are born of His Spirit can call God their Father and only those who are born of Him can say, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” This was the question that puzzled the learned but perplexed Nicodemus. “Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” he questioned in disbelief. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” the Savior replied, “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The good man Nicodemus was greatly mystified, because the natural mind receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. Such things seem foolish to him, but the Spirit gives light, illumination and understanding and sends us away, not only believing but receiving as well.
To those of us who realize the darkness, the death and the hopeless void of man’s unregenerate state it is scarcely necessary to observe that we, who were without God and without Christ, were both as hopeless and as helpless in our corruption and death as was the dark, void earth before the wonderful day when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep and the voice of God rang through the darkness, saying, “Let there be light,” and there was light. We have not been saved because we were worthy nor because we were good or more wise than other men. We were saved because the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be the first to put our trust in Him. When in God’s wisdom the appointed time came, the Spirit of God moved upon the darkened waste and trackless void of our beings even as He moved upon the formless earth from which we were taken in the beginning. The wind of God, which is the Spirit, bloweth where it listeth. Its breath of life, overshadowing a man, breathes into his spirit the power of an endless life. By the power of that same Spirit the incorruptible seed is placed within the believing heart and we are born from above, begotten of God and born anew. The light of God shineth out of the darkness. The fragrance of the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the valley becomes the perfume of our life. The fruits of the Spirit begin to bud and bloom as old things pass away and all things become new.
How wonderful is the wind of God, how matchless the breath of His eternal Spirit! How complete is the change that is wrought by the power of an endless life; how wonderful the assurance within as His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and, if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ!
“Breathe on me, Breath of God;
Fill me with life anew
That I may love as Thou dost love,
And do as Thou wouldst do.
“Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine;
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
“Breathe on me, Breath of God;
So shall I never die;
But live with Thee that perfect life
Of Thine eternity.”
There is a remarkable similarity between the inspired Statement of Gen. 1:2 and the words of Jesus in reply to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” The divine record gives this statement of truth concerning the earth before the creation of Adam and the Garden of Eden: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” The earth is old-very, very old. It was old and dark and void long before Adam or the account of Genesis 1:1. The former creations that had once dwelt upon it had long since passed away and now all was as void as the moon while darkness, ice and fearful cold surrounded it all in a mantle of death. Not only was the earth without form and void and covered with darkness and cold, but it was useless, hopeless and helpless as well. It could do nothing to change its deplorable state. There was no power within itself to change or transform its timeless wastes or its hopeless future. If help or change should ever come, it must come from without and from elsewhere; otherwise it was doomed to abide in darkness forevermore.
O that the eyes of men might be opened to clearly see that back of all things and before all things, yea, in the beginning of all things, standeth God – eternal, immortal, invisible, almighty, omniscient, immutable, holy, loving, and greatest and most glorious of all, full of purpose! Thus it is written, and thus it was, that “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep; and God said, Let there be light, and there was light,” and by the mighty moving of the Spirit of God the earth was born again, begotten anew. Darkness fled away to its secret hiding place. Icy mountains melted and flowed down before the light of His presence. Timeless snows, released from the vise-like grip of some former curse, transformed themselves into bubbling streams of live-giving water. Flowers appeared on the earth. The time of the singing of birds had come. The fig tree brought forth its fruit, and the vines with the tender grapes gave a good smell. The breath of God, the wind of the Lord, passing over its wastes, had brought forth life where once was death, and the earth was born anew.
“How can a man be born when he is old?” questioned the puzzled Nicodemus, and Jesus, seeming almost to quote the first two verses of the book of Genesis, replied, “The wind (the Spirit) 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.” John 3:8. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The Holy Spirit, like a wind of God, moves over the shapeless void of our corruption. “Let there be light,” is the fiat of the Lord, and the light of God, which is Jesus Christ, and life eternal, the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever, enter the darkened void of a soul dead in trespasses and sins. The Christ seed, incorruptible and eternal, is planted in the repentant heart. A new creation has begun, for he is begotten of God, and Christ henceforth dwells in his heart by faith. Let the redeemed of God now thrill with joy to the inspired words of Paul: “Christ in you is the hope of glory. ” The glory of God is the image of Christ, and we shall be fully satisfied when we awake in His likeness. When the incorruptible seed is planted in our hearts by faith, we are begotten of God, and “every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” (I John 5:1) And “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (John 5:18)
Through the divine power of our Lord Jesus Christ God has given unto us “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him. (2 Pet. 1: 3) He who has called us to glory and virtue has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises by which all who are called of God may become partakers of His divine nature. We who have been called by Christ have escaped the corruption that is in the world because we have been begotten of incorruptible seed by the word (Logos) of God that liveth and abideth forever. (I Pet. 1:23) “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word (Logos) of the Lord endureth forever.” (I Pet. 1:24-25)
Our new life, which is in fact the Only true life in all the universe, is the life that comes from Him-nay, better far might I say that our true life is that life which He Himself is. In God’s living word it is recorded, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:4, 5) In the economy Of God death and darkness are synonyms, but the life is the light of men. Wheresoever the Spirit of God moves, the mighty voice of creation is heard to cry, “Let there be light,” for God Himself is life eternal and incorruptible, and the life is the light of men. This is the true light “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9) The eternal God, immortal, incorruptible and invisible, dwelleth in the light which no man can approach-a tight which darkness cannot comprehend. All the light and intelligence of this world system is naught but thick darkness and horrible gloominess when compared to true light which Jesus is, and all forms of life which we now see and know are death, corruption and the tomb when compared to that life incorruptible, immortal, invisible and eternal, which He Himself is.
Sweeter than the dews of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion and more blessed than good news from a far country is the wonderful revelation with which He now fills our enlightened hearts, declaring that man, born in sin and altogether shapen in iniquity, may now partake of the divine nature because infinite grace and limitless power has placed within the womb of our spirits the incorruptible Christ seed that we in truth may be begotten of God. O joy of all joys! How good to know that we who once were born of the corruptible seed of the first Adam, placed by our earthly father in the womb of our earthly mother, may now through His divine power be born anew of the incorruptible seed of the last Adam, the Logos, who liveth and abideth forever. See with what wisdom it has been written, “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven…. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (I Cor. 15:47, 49) The heavenly secret sealed up in the treasure house of these inspired words none but the Father Himself can unfold, and while heavenly angels, excelling in wisdom and understanding, desire to look into these things, we who once were born of corruptible seed are now reborn of that incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth forever.
Sometimes it is not the best of wisdom to draw too close a parallel between things that are natural and things that are spiritual, for earthly minded folk delight to drag all spiritual things down to the realm of their natural understanding, distorting and confusing truth that only the spiritual mind can comprehend. Let us, however, hear the word of the Lord on this matter that we may have a better understanding to see more clearly how by the use of natural things, which we understand, the Holy Spirit reveals things that are as high above our understanding as heaven is higher than the earth. “For,” saith God, “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts:” (Isa. 55:9) As the rain that comes down from heaven makes the earth bring forth and bud, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so the word of the Lord that goes forth from His mouth as life-giving water accomplishes that which He pleases, and prospers in the thing whereto He sent it.
Thus it was that Paul, writing of the heathen, showed that their ignorance of God was quite inexcusable because “that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:19, 20) We should therefore understand that, while this statement condemns the unbelief of the heathen, it is also teaching us to see how things that are spiritual and visible may be clearly understood by looking at the natural things God has made. So true is this that Paul says even His eternal power and Godhead may be seen by the things which God has made. (Rom. 1:20) Is it not true that a connoisseur of art is able to recognize almost at a glance the work of Rembrandt, De Vinci, or Michaelangelo? Cannot a critic of music recognize immediately the styles of great musicians? The work of every man and every woman, though unknown to themselves, proceeds after a pattern peculiar to them. So also you will notice that every work of God, whether He be creating a universe or creating men, follows a pattern peculiar to Him. Thus, when He makes a week to contain seven days, then every week He makes will have seven days though those days be twenty-four hours or one thousand years in length. When the immutable Father brings forth a creation by placing a seed either in the earth upon which we stand or in the earth which we are, whether it be the seed of a flower or an oak tree, the seed of an animal, a bird or a man, He is working according to a pattern from which He will never digress. Which of all the living things has He not brought forth after this pattern?
The pattern of God does not end with things which are visible and natural as Paul by the Spirit has plainly said: “The invisible things are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.- We must tread softly here and speak with infinite reverence, for, though the statement above is entirely true, it is impossible to grasp the metaphor, the allegory or the type until our eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit and our minds are enlightened with the light of life that streams from Him. “What man knoweth the things of a man save the Spirit of Man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (I Cor. 2:11, 12)
With my head bowed and my heart awed in deepest reverence I shall now try to explain that, when our God and Father ordained that a new creation should be brought forth in the image of Himself, to be born, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, He followed the same wonderful pattern that infinite wisdom had devised to produce all living things from a seed. First He must bring into the world the holy and incorruptible One who was to be called the Son of God, for He Himself was to become the seed of an entirely new creation of incorruptible sons of God. The Father decreed that through the medium of a virgin’s womb He would bring into the world the incorruptible seed, the life germ from which would spring an entirely new creation – a creation of twice born men, born again of the incorruptible seed of God’s Christ. Then, true to the pattern of sowing and reaping, that seed must fall into the ground and die; “For,” said Jesus, “except a corn (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. It is the outer shell that dies – not the incorruptible life within. The incorruptible life is the Christ seed, springing forth, first the blade, then the ear, and afterward the full corn in the ear, to become the wave sheaf of Leviticus 23:10 as the incorruptible life of Christ appears in God’s many sons, and each of these in his turn, crucified with Christ and falling into the ground in death, bring forth an abounding harvest of incorruptible sons of God.
When the virgin in her amazement asked, “How can this be, seeing I know not a man,” the angelic reply was this: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of the thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) This was to be the divine method of bringing into the world that incorruptible Christ who is Himself the seed of a new creation of incorruptible sons of God. Here as always it can be easily seen that the Father is following His usual pattern of creation. The Holy Spirit was to move upon the earthly form of this virgin woman that she might bring forth the firstborn of an entirely new creation. However much the truth may tax our understanding, the fact is that this firstborn Son of God was to be the germ seed of an entirely new creation of incorruptible men, born not after the flesh, but reborn of His Spirit.
How very important and full of truth are the simplest sayings of inspiration! Who can fathom the depths of truth set forth in the words of our Lord: “I am the vine; ye are the branches.” “I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “I am the bread of life. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” But, when He said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit,” He was describing the pattern and the divine process by which that incorruptible life which He is would be released from its confinement within God’s Christ that millions of believing mankind might through faith in Him be born of incorruptible seed and live forever and forever. No fact in life is better known than this certainty: If there is to be a harvest, we must first sow the seed. Furthermore the knowledge is clear to us all that even one seed planted in the ground will in a few seasons multiply to a very great harvest to satisfy all the world with its life giving bread.
Therefore our Lord said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. – The natural creation tells us emphatically that, as long as the wheat is left in the granary, there will be no increase. Lying there in security, its life remains locked up within itself, producing nothing and bringing forth nothing. The life existing in every kernel remains locked up within its tiny body because there has been no death that would release it from its shell, and, because there has been no death, there is no increase, no blade, no ear, no sheaf, and no harvest. Well does the farmer know that his own livelihood, together with the well-being of the people, depends upon his planting those seeds in the ground. Well he knows that the death which occurs in the body of the seed will release the life germ that will yield an abundant harvest. Can you not hear Paul saying, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened (made alive), except it die.” (I Cor. 15:35, 36) Here again we see the pattern clearly stated, both for the natural and for the spiritual realm. If the corruptible life contained in the kernel is to be released that it might yield a great harvest, then the kernel must die. There is no other way. Is it not therefore abundantly true that, if the incorruptible life seated up within God’s Christ was to be released that there might be a bountiful harvest in incorruption, then God’s Christ must die, and die He did. He must be planted in the earth, and in the earth they placed Him in Joseph’s new tomb.
For three days and three nights our Lord lay in the heart of the earth. His loving friends, it seems, had forgotten that He had said, “After three days I will rise again.” But His enemies had not forgotten, and they set a watch to make sure He would remain in the tomb. Forty armed men were appointed to watch over the dead! They rolled a great stone against the door of the cave and sealed the stone with the governor’s signet to make certain no one would molest it. O fools and slow of heart to believe, did they not know that the life confined in that kernel of wheat was life incorruptible and immortal? Had they dragged the Rocky Mountains over the door of His tomb that would have been no deterrent to incorruptible life. And Mary Magdalene, poor dear, unable to believe in a literal resurrection, came early in the morning in company with other devout women to anoint His dead body with oil and sweet spices and embalm Him in death forever. But the stone, much too great for little women to move, was already rolled away, and, looking within the tomb, she saw no dead body lying in shrouds and death. There in the tomb an angel spoke as though surprised at her great sorrow, “Woman, why weepest thou?” he gently asked. She replied, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” – Why should she not weep since now she had not so much as a dead Christ upon whom to pour her sweet spices? So with blinding tears and deepening sorrow she turned to go away, and Jesus stood before her; but she knew Him not. One sentence He spoke and one question He asked, just as the angels had done. “Why weepest thou?” O how hard it is for our benighted minds to understand and grasp the truth! We are so absorbed with this realm of death that we cannot see that beyond the sable pall is life incorruptible, immortal, and eternal. Why are we so slow to grasp the revealing truth, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit?” Can you now see from the things we have stated the absolute necessity of the death of God’s Son? How else but by death could incorruptible life be released that they who dwelt in death and corruption could through faith partake of the power of an endless life? O what a death! O what resurrection! O what a harvest! O death, where is now thy sting? Thou canst not stay incorruption’ O grave, where is now thy victory? Thou has but released the power of an endless life!
We flounder a bit in our understanding of all these things. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (Psa. 139:6) Only faintly now we see as through a glass darkly, but as time passes by and the Holy Spirit takes the things of God and shows them unto us, we begin to understand. The events that transpired at the cross are very full of meaning. Not one thing happened on that day of days that had not been ordered of God, and all things loudly proclaimed their truth that enlightened souls might understand.
As our Savior bowed His head in death, He said, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit,” and, having said this, He gave up the ghost. The body without the spirit is dead, and with the death of the body came the release of the Spirit of life, eternal, immortal and incorruptible. And the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent; the veil of the temple was rent in twain, Mid many graves of the saints were opened, and after His resurrection their bodies rose and came out of their graves and entered into the city and appeared unto many. (Matt 27:51-53) When Jesus rose from the dead, He did not rise alone. How could He since it is written, “if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit?” The first fruit (the wave sheaf) of the resurrection must rise with Him. One seed was planted in death. A whole sheaf comes forth in resurrection. That one sheaf was a kind of first fruit of the mighty resurrection which win eventually encompass all things in its incorruptible power. One kernel was planted in the ground. One sheaf came up in resurrection, that one sheaf being full of individual kernels, each in itself an incorruptible seed. Isaiah saw much more than national restoration when by the Spirit he cried, “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they rise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isa. 26:19)
In the twenty-third chapter of the book of Leviticus we have one of those wonderful Old Testament types so hard to understand until we see the anti-type in the New Testament. Among the offerings to the Lord was the offering of a wave sheaf after this manner: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then shall ye bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.” (Lev. 23:9-11)
As we read the above passage, we must remember that the harvest is the resurrection. But the harvest was divided into three distinct parts – the first fruits, the great ingathering, and finally the gleanings. One sheaf from the firstfruits of the harvest was to be brought to the priest and waved before the Lord. This passage, like many others, has often baffled my understanding, but now I see some definite significance in it. The simple act of waving is common among men and it is used daily on many occasions and in many different circumstances. A wave of the hand may mean a farewell or it may herald some glad home-coming, as we so often see when ships are coming into the harbor. Again it may be a sign of victory or accomplishment. You will notice three remarkable things connected with the offering of the wave sheaf. First, it was just one sheaf from a great harvest. Secondly, it was offered on the day after the Sabbath, which would indicate the resurrection day, and, most important of all, it was connected with the offering of the he-lamb (verse 12), which lamb is God’s Son who taketh away the sin of the world.
The wave sheaf, waved in victory before the Lord, signifies that the first part of the resurrection is accomplished. Its anti-type is found in the blessed fact that, when Jesus our Lord arose from the dead, He did not rise alone. Only Matthew records the sacred wonder that the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after His resurrection and appeared unto many. (Matt 27:52,53) They were the first sheaf of the firstfruit of the resurrection. They were a sheaf waved in victory before the Lord, signifying that a great and mighty harvest of incorruptibles would rise in ages yet to come, never to die any more.
These resurrected saints who rose with the incorruptible Christ did not return to their tombs again; neither could they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels. (Luke 20:36) These are they of whom Paul spoke when he said, “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower arts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.” (Eph. 4:8-10)
I dearly love the beautiful story recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. It tells of two sad and disappointed disciples, walking and communing with broken hearts of all the astonishing things that had so recently happened in Jerusalem. As they walked, the story recounts, Jesus of Nazareth drew near and walked in company with them, but their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. Jesus Himself was the subject of their conversation, as they related the story of His betrayal, His crucifixion and death. Shaking their heads in abject sadness, they sobbed out their heart-breaking disappointment in these pitiful words: “But we trusted that it had been He which would have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre. And when they found not His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not. Then said He unto them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:21-27) Ought not Christ to have suffered? O poor, foolish world! How dare you insist that the death of the Christ was a tragedy! I tell you it was no tragedy, for God, the Creator of all, together with all He has created, shouts aloud and afar from the wonder filled passage, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” “Ought not Christ to have suffered?” enquired the resurrected Jesus. How else but by death could He release the incorruptible seed to the millions who would in future believe? Had He not died, the incorruptible seed would have been forever locked up within Himself, but the moment He died, His eternal Spirit-yes, His eternal life-was released to go abroad into the hearts of an innumerable multitude of believers who would drink freely of that wonderful fountain of We which He is. It was not until Mary broke the alabaster box that the perfume of the ointment filled all the house where they were sitting; and it was not until that alabaster box of His earthly body was broken in death upon the cross that His Spirit was released to the Father to be sent forth by Him into every believing heart, bringing eternal life, incorruptible, immortal and unfading. My soul sings a thousand hallelujahs that 1, too, am drinking of that exhaustless fountain of eternal life. And those who drink shall never thirst again, but the water that He gives is a fountain within them, a well of water springing up into life incorruptible and eternal.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39) They could not receive His Spirit until He was glorified, and He could not be glorified until His Spirit was released by death. With what wonder and admiration do we see Him, only a few minutes after He had revealed Himself to the two disciples at Emmaus, appearing to His disciples, who sat behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. “Peace be unto you,” He said in greeting. “As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” And He breathed on them and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:19-22) It was right here and at this very moment that they were born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible. Christ Jesus, the Word of God, came by His Spirit to dwell, not with them, but in them in the power of His endless life. He liveth and abideth forever because He Himself is incorruptible, and His incorruptible life, released to us by His death and burial in the earth, is freely implanted in every believing heart to swallow up death with life and to bring forth at last that wonderful harvest all glorious in incorruption. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:7-6)
No words of mine can fully reveal the wonderful glory reserved and kept unfading in store for those who have been thus begotten of God. You will do yourself a great injustice if you try to make these spiritual truths fit the cold calculations of your natural mind. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. By faith we understand! (Heb. 11:3) “The things of God knoweth no man, but God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit.” Never try to convince an argumentative Christian. All he will do is present his earthly way of looking at things and you will end up depressed and thoroughly in the flesh yourself.
Even our blessed Lord Jesus incurred nothing but the wrath of His hearers when He attempted to answer their questions regarding the bread of life. Indeed, by the time the discussion was through, though they found no words to answer Him, they accused Him of blasphemy and sought to take His life. Only by the Spirit can spiritual things be discerned. Indeed, I have made the disappointing discovery that from a crowd of perhaps twelve thousand people, who respond loudly with their fervent amens, probably only twelve of them are able to grasp the truth and spiritually understand. Long ago, speaking of the blindness of Israel, Paul said, “Even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it (the heart) shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is (where the Spirit is Lord), there is liberty. But we all, with open (unveiled) face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:15-18) “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought.” (I Cor.2:6)
In one of my writings some time ago I made this statement: Jesus did not die that I might live. He died that He might give His life to me. No truth in the New Testament is more outstanding than the truth that the “I” must be crucified, and from henceforth it is “not I, but Christ,” God’s people are much too flippant in rendering their lip service to these immortal truths. Everywhere we hear preachers talking about the crucifixion of self-, but how good it would be if God’s dear people would pause with fasting and prayer, earnestly requesting that the Holy Spirit would illumine the truth of it to their hearts! Does not nature itself preach this message? Does nature not prove the statement of Jesus, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit?” You have been begotten of the Spirit, my Christian brother. When you believed, the incorruptible seed in the very person of God’s Christ came to dwell in your heart. Christ in you is your hope of glory. He dwells in your heart by faith (Eph. 3:17) that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to know the love of Christ and passeth knowledge. You are begotten of incorruptible seed, and that incorruptible seed is Christ, the Word of God. Christ can dwell in you only because He was crucified. This treasure we have in earthen vessels because His incorruptible life was released when the corn of wheat fell into the ground and died. When He bowed His head in death, He committed His eternal Spirit to all who would believe, that each might freely partake of the power of an endless life.
Now, lest this should seem too much to believe (though I know you must believe it), give ear to Peter, that God-given shepherd and feeder of the sheep, as He explains the mighty Pentecostal outpouring that came fifty days after the crucifixion of our Lord.
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witness. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:22-23)
The mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the outpouring of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the corn of wheat, released His life to the Father and the Father poured forth that eternal Spirit, the incorruptible seed, the power of an endless life into the waiting, thirsting hearts of all who believed. I am not trying to confuse regeneration with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I am only trying to show how the death of Christ released His Spirit that every member of His body might be born of incorruptible seed and know the glory and power of an endless life.
Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular. You are the body of Christ and members of the family of God. Through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, you have been made partakers of the divine nature. O blessed and sacred truth, how can this pen of mine proclaim thy matchless worth? Yet Thou hast proclaimed it, and the ear of faith hath heard that we who once were born in sin have now been begotten of Thee! We who once knew only corruption now feel the pulsating life of Thy incorruptible seed, and we who once were “of the earth earthy” are now members of the family of God. We are the body of Christ-O Lord, Thou hast said it-and members in particular of the Christ body. “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16), that we might know the love of Christ and be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19); yea, and more also that we might attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:13) “This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in a common earthenware jar – to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us. We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down, but we are never knocked out! Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours. We are always facing death, but this means that you know more and more of life.” (2 Cor. 4:7-13) (Phillips Translation)
I do not wish to leave this area of our discussion without pointing out an eternal principle that applies to each and every one who has been made partaker of that incorruptible Christ seed. Let us not be flippant in our thoughts and our deliberations concerning the body of Christ. God has blinded the minds of most Christians to the true knowledge of the body of Christ simply because they have approached it roughly as Moses approached the burning bush, refusing to remove the shoes from their feet that Christ might wash them. They have come with head unbowed and heart unsanctified. They have come with lives unseparated from the flesh and its lusts, and they have stood in harmony and hand in hand with the harlot daughters of Babylon. They think they see, but weary themselves to find the door. They say, “We see; therefore their sin remaineth.
The body of Christ is a mystery. It is a mysterious temple that God our Father is in the process of building. It is a temple not made with hands. The stones of its all-glorious walls are living stories, each one born of incorruptible seed and knowing in himself the power of an endless life. The body of Christ is the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The body of Christ is “My Father’s house” in which are many mansions. Perhaps we would understand better if we should read, “In My Father’s House are many temples,” because we already know that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit and God dwells in us. There are many of these temples in “My Father’s house.” The Father’s house, the house in which by God’s grace I myself am a mansion, is the habitation of God through the Spirit. That, my beloved friend. is the mystical body of Christ.
In that glorious body, that wonderful temple of sons, there never has been a rift, a schism or division, but from the beginning of the age until now it has been steadily rising on the foundation of the apostles and prophets as each new living stone was readied and permanently placed within its living walls. The body of Christ is unhindered by fire, by tribulation or persecution, unaffected by the squabblings of sects and denominations or those harlot systems without, who vainly imagine their puny group to be the body of Christ, but rising in the power of incorruption and bound with the everlasting ties of God’s eternal Spirit, it is builded a holy and living temple for the Lord.
POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE, THE, Parts 1-2 [George R. Hawtin] 1