TREASURES OF TRUTH, VOLUME 9
HERE IS THE MIND THAT HATH WISDOM
BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
WHERE ALL FULLNESS DWELLS
THE MIND OF CHRIST
LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU
THE NEW REALM
THE NEW MIND
THE NEW ATTITUDE
WHERE ALL FULLNESS DWELLS
I learned to know a Name I highly treasure;
Oh, how it thrills my spirit through and through!
Oh, gracious Name beyond degree or measure
My heart is stirred whenever I think of You.
My heart is stirred whenever I think of Jesus.
That blessed Name that sets the captive free.
Dear holy Name through which I found salvation!
No name on earth can mean so much to me.
That Name still lives and will live on forever
When kings and kingdoms will forgotten be.
Through mists and rain ’twill be clouded never;
My heart is stirred whenever I think of Thee.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. 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 1:1-50)
Is it possible that, amid the confusion of the age, even God’s own people are forgetting who Jesus Christ really is? What greater tragedy can overtake a world in need of salvation than to lose sight of the Saviour who came to bring deliverance and emancipation to all mankind? Whether we believe it or not man’s pseudo religion, his higher criticism and his human tradition of worship have done nothing to open the gates of understanding but these things have served only to hide him from the Eternal and to close the doors of salvation in the face of those for whom Christ died. The time has certainly come for us all to do some solemn thinking, some seeking after the wisdom of the Lord, for without doubt we are living in the extreme latter end of the dispensation of grace. We are in the closing hours of the Laodicean period of the church age, an age distasteful to God and so repugnant to Him that it is likened to lukewarm water fit only to be spewed out of God’s mouth as a thing obnoxious to Him. The Laodicean age is a period replete with every form of godliness, but it is powerless godliness, consisting of empty lip service where men draw nigh to God with their lips but their hearts are far away from Him.
With what divine genius does the Holy Spirit on the deathless page of God’s word portray the tragic scene of Jesus Christ, the blessed Saviour, standing at the end of this age completely outside the Laodicean church! No longer is He seen dealing with the apostate church system, but knocking, knocking, knocking at the heart’s door of individual men and women, saying to them, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Rev. 3:20-22 However much we may dislike to hear it, however much you may resent my telling you so, even the blindest man could scarcely fail to see that the scripture quoted above refers to our particular day and none other. Times without number good people write to tell me that it is absolutely necessary that they belong to some sort of church group, but consider this, oh tradition bound man! If Christ is outside the church system as He is pictured in Rev. 3:20, what good will it do you to be inside no matter how comfortable and self-assured it makes you feel? Christ in you is the hope of glory and the hope of sonship, but you in a Laodicean church group means only that your doors are barred against Him.
The greatest need in the Christian life is Jesus Christ, for by Him everything comes, through Him everything exists and in Him everything ends even as the Holy Spirit has said: “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Rom. 11:36. “What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all. How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” Rom. 8:31–32. God does not give His people either this or that; He gives them Jesus Christ, and, in giving Him, He gives them all things, for He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. He is the “image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” Col. 1:15-19
God has provided salvation for the whole world, yet if you should seek salvation apart from Jesus Christ, you will never find it, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby you must be saved. But if you seek Jesus Christ, you will find salvation even though you sought it not for “he that findeth Me flndeth life and shall obtain favor of the Lord.” For thirty-eight years a destitute man lay at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem vainly seeking healing for his stricken body with only frustration and withering disappointment as a reward, but the moment he met Jesus he took up his bed and walked, for Jesus Christ is life. John 5. The woman with the issue of blood had suffered many things of many physicians and was nothing better, but rather grew worse, but she said within herself, “If I can but touch the hem of His garment, I shall be made whole.” There were no eloquent prayers on her behalf, no demanding or commanding the sickness to leave, no big preachers to lean on, no microphones or T.V. cameras to enthuse the crowds, no prayer cards nor any other abominable paraphernalia, but just a confident assurance in the heart of a desolate little woman that God gives everything with His own Son, Jesus Christ. “If I may but touch the border of His garment, I shall be whole,” she said in her heart, and pressing her frail body through the unwilling obstacles, she touched Him, for He is not far from any one of us, but nigh unto all who are of a broken heart and who call upon Him. As he who touches an electric wire is immediately filled with its current, so she whose hand touched God’s Christ was that moment filled with the life and health which He is. “And she knew in herself that she was made whole of that plague.” Mark 5:25-29
Oh, touch the hem of His garment
And thou, too, shall be free,
His healing power this very hour
Will bring new life to thee.
Men and theologians have made the things of God far too complicated. You do not need a set of rules to govern your life; you need vital communion with God’s Son, for He is the way, the truth, and the life. He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
All the blessings of God are in Christ Jesus. All the promises of the Father are yea and amen in Him. We cannot attain sonship apart from Him, for we will find in the end, when sonship has been attained, that it came because the Christ dwelt in us. We cannot attain immortality apart from Him, for He only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto. 1 Tim. 6:16. We will never attain the resurrection because of the correctness of a doctrine or by some effort of our own. We will attain it only through His indwelling presence, for He is the resurrection and the life. Salvation is not a doctrine; salvation is of the Lord. Call sonship a doctrine if you want to, but our sonship depends not on doctrine and codes but on the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Millions of sermons have been preached on the resurrection, but we will find in the end that the resurrection is not a doctrine, but a person, and that person is none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “I am the resurrection and the life,” He assured the grief-stricken women in the long ago, and of us as of them He still enquires, “Believest thou this?” “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth,” Jesus said, for the dead Lazarus was the symbol of all mankind, but “I go that I may awake him out of his sleep.” Neither darkness nor death could dwell with Jesus, for He is the light of the world and life eternal to all who touch Him.
No man that ever lived has been able to comprehend or explain the deep mysteries of God, though to a few some understanding has been given. Be it far from me, therefore, to attempt to explain that which I understand not. Faith gives grace and form to the unanswerable; therefore, the hidden things of God are to be believed and not pried into. We would all do well to heed the words of the Jewish rabbi who said, “Where there is faith, there are no questions; but where there is no faith, there are no answers.” I may not be able to explain to your satisfaction this statement of John the apostle: “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7. But my lack of understanding alters nothing of the mystery of God. Indeed, I may not be able to explain the rest of the statement. “There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” 1 John 5:8. Yet Jesus gave these three -the Spirit, the water, and the blood – at His death on Calvary. In His agonizing cry of death He said, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit,” and when He had said this, He gave up the ghost: And, when the soldier pierced His side, there flowed out blood and water. Thus He gave the Spirit and the water and the blood – incorruptible blood better than the blood of Abel, blood to atone for sin, blood to purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. And with the blood flowed out water, even the water of life, the water of which Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink, and he that believeth on Me as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” And to the woman by Samaria’s well He said, “He that drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” In like manner also the Spirit that He yielded to God that day hath He sent forth to abide with us forever to be our comforter and baptizer and to transform us into that same image of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I do not even understand myself! How then can I understand the mysteries of God? The Bible never hesitates to describe me as a triune being of spirit, soul, and body. 1 Thess. 5:23. It is much too great for my puny mind, but I know it is so.
Of all the vast creation of Almighty God nothing has delighted Him so much as His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. So great is God’s joy in Him that all things were made for Him, whether they be things in heaven or things in earth, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, things present or things to come. Col. 1:16. He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person. Upholding all things by the word of His power, He has purged us from our sins by His blood, and has sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. When the Father brought His only begotten Son into this world, He said, “Let all the angels worship Him.” And to the Son He said, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” Heb. 1:8-9
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not have His beginning in the manger of Bethlehem. He did not come into existence the night the angels sang, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.” That was His beginning as a man. That was His enfleshment or His incarnation. He who gives eternal life is Himself eternal. He existed long before the angels announced His birth. He existed before the world was, for the world was made by Him, but the world knew Him not. That which is eternal has neither beginning nor ending.
Matthew and Luke begin their Gospels with an account of the royal ancestry of Jesus. Matthew traces His lineage from Abraham through David to Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born (Matt. 1:1-6), first, to show that He was in truth the promised seed of Abraham (Gen. 13:15, Gal. 3:16), and second, to show that Jesus was of the royal line of David, the king, to whom it was promised: “Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever.” 2 Sam. 7:16. The genealogy given by Luke in chapter three of his gospel is in reality the genealogy of Jesus Christ on the side of His mother Mary, who was the daughter of Heli, the father-in-law of Joseph, the husband of Mary. See Luke 3:23. This human genealogy goes all the way back to Adam, proving that Jesus was in truth a man and a member of the human race as truly as you or I.
John, however, does not concern himself with either the royal line of David or Christ’s human descent from Adam. His great concern is to prove that Jesus was the Son of God, pre-existent, immutable, and eternal; existing with the Father in the beginning, which expression (in the beginning) is used only to accommodate us poor creatures of time, for God is eternal and that which is eternal has no beginning and no ending. He is not made after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. Thus the opening sentences of the Gospel of John burst like an eternal fiat upon the listening ear. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life: and the life was the light of men; and the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” John 1:1-3. This in one divine proclamation from heaven is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for God, not man, was His father, and He, being born of eternal substance, is Himself eternal even as His Father is eternal.
For some strange reason it has always been difficult for men to believe that the Son of God existed with the Father from all eternity, yet there is no truth more plainly taught than this, nor anything more essential to the salvation of the world. It was on one of the many occasions when Jesus was confronted by those high-minded theologians that He asked the amazing question, “What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?” They answered, “The son of David.” Then Jesus asked them, “How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, sit Thou on My right hand till I make thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son?” And no man was able to answer Him a word. Matt. 22:41-46. Certainly Jesus was the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham, and the Son of Adam according to the flesh only, for He became a man; but He was eternally the Son of God and was therefore David’s Lord as well as yours and mine.
Our Lord made certain that the world would not be left in doubt as to His divinity and existence in the Father before the world ever was. Listen to the words of John the Baptist as he proclaims the eternal existence of Christ in these inspired words: “John bear witness of Him and cried, This is He of whom I spake; He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.” Nothing was more blasphemous to the carnal minds of the Pharisees than Christ’s teaching of His pre-existence, but, when He told them He existed before their father Abraham, their wrath knew no bounds, and when in doing so He called Himself “I AM”, which was God’s name at the burning bush (Exod. 3:14), they took up stones to kill Him. But He, passing invisibly through their midst, proved that He was God just as He had said. “If I honor Myself,” He said, “My honor is nothing; it is My Father that honoreth Me, of whom ye say that He is your God; Yet ye have not known Him; but I know Him: and if I should say, I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know Him and keep His saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM. Then took they up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8:54-59
Evidences of the deity of Jesus Christ and His existence with the Father before the world was can be produced by the score and from almost any Bible source you wish to name. The four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, guilelessly teach the deity and pre-existence of Christ, each one recognizing from beginning to end that He was the promised Son of God that should come to the world. In like manner also do the apostles in their various epistles set forth the deity of our Lord, “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, for by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, principalities or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him.” Col. 1:16
It is always the guileless approach that is the most convincing. If a man looks like a Chinaman, acts like a Chinaman, has a Chinese name, speaks Chinese, and comes from Shanghai, we have every right to believe he is a Chinaman. This is what I mean by the guileless approach. There is no need to try to prove or disprove anything. Does not the same guileless principle hold true with our Lord, who came from the very bosom of the Father, who scores of times in scripture is called by divine names, who performed divine acts, was miraculously born, who refused not to be worshipped, and whose name is frequently associated with those of the Father and the Holy Spirit? Dare we come to any other conclusion but that such a one is certainly God? Furthermore, Jesus performed acts of omnipotence, acts of omniscience, and acts of omnipresence. Was anything too hard for Him to do? Were the secrets of men’s hearts hidden from Him? Did He not say, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them?” These are not intentional proofs of deity. They are what I term guileless proofs. They prove the fact without intention. He ever lived with the consciousness that He had come forth from the Father, and that He would soon leave the world and go to the Father again. John 16:28.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. (In the Greek original it reads: In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.)
Jesus Christ is here given one of His almost countless names. He is the Word of God. That is His name just as surely as Jesus, or Christ, or Immanuel are His names. A most remarkable manifestation of this most excellent title is seen in Rev. 19:11-16 where among other titles of deity He has the name, the Word oj God. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse: and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no man knew but He Himself; and He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God… And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords,”
Each and every one of the scores of titles given to our Lord teaches us some new truth of the wonder and magnificence of His eternal being. Jesus means Savior; Christ means anointed; Immanuel means God with us. I AM demonstrates as nothing else can that ever present, eternal abiding existence, whether past or future. No name is sufficient to embrace all He is, for He is the first and the last, the beginning and the ending of all things. Because of this, even our efforts to interpret become a nuisance to us and we find it better to leave each name as it is as far as possible. Like all other names, the Logos has its own meaning — a meaning which does not appear in the English translation, the Word. Logos carries with it the idea of a word spoken, speech, eloquence, reason, thought and concept. It was by His word that all things were done, for the Word flowed forth from eternal wisdom by which God is declaring the purposes of His infinite mind, wherein now He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself. Eph. 1:8-9.
The plans and purposes of God for the ages of ages were conceived and spoken forth in an eternal fiat by the Logos, the living speaking Word that was with the Father in the beginning. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Life itself was to have its source in Him, and that life was to be the light of men. John 1:4. How truly did Jesus say, “Without Me ye can do nothing!” Every plan or purpose of God for all future ages was made to depend on Christ, for this was the decree of the Logos, (the Word), that in Him should all fullness dwell. It is in union with Him that all our hopes for eternity lie embodied, and it is in union with Him and through the shedding of His blood that the world and all creation has its hope.
How marvelous are the words of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians as, seemingly overcome with the glory of inspiration, he wrote these words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath crowned us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ; even as in His love He chose us as His own in Christ before the creation of the world, that we might be holy and without blemish in His presence, for He predestined us to be adopted by Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, such being His gracious will and pleasure, to the praise of the splendor of His grace with which He has enriched us in the beloved One. It is in Him and through the shedding of His blood that we have our deliverance, the forgiveness of our offences, so abundant was God’s grace, the grace with which He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding, lavished upon us, when He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it — the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yes, things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him.” Eph. 1:3-10. (Weymouth)
My heart’s desire and prayer to God, both now and for years past, has been to make all men see that the hope of mankind for all ages lies hidden in Christ. If you are going to be saved, then the Logos has declared that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby you must be saved. Those who are to attain the resurrection from among the dead will attain it because He is declared to be the resurrection and the life. He is the one who liveth and was dead and is alive forevermore and holdeth the keys of both death and the grave, and he who believeth on Him, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth shall never die.
Glorious as the resurrection shall be, there is a better resurrection of which some shall be accounted worthy. It was to this better resurrection that Jesus referred when He said, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” And it was to the better resurrection that Paul referred when he said, “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Perhaps not all who read can see it, but it was the thought of the better resurrection that filled Paul’s heart when he wrote the words of 2 Cor. 5:4. “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened, not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” 2 Cor. 5:4
The apostle Paul was getting to be a very old man when he wrote, “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but that which in through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Phil. 3:8-11
If any man who ever lived could look back on an eventful life, it was certainly the apostle Paul. His life had been extremely eventful from the beginning. From a very young man he had been brought up at the feet of the learned Gamaliel. There was no article of the law of Moses that he did not know; and when it came to the keeping of the law, he pronounced himself blameless. He was an Hebrew of the Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin, a strict Pharisee, having obeyed all the ritual required by the law. In his zeal for what he positively knew was right he had zealously persecuted and put to death all who he felt were opposed to God’s way. But for all this his soul was an empty void that could not be satisfied with form and ceremony, for the heart of man is a golden temple not made with hands, expressly formed for an habitation of Jesus Christ by the Spirit. For Thou, Lord, hast made us for Thyself and we are restless till we rest in Three.
Our souls are like the beautiful dove released by Noah from the window of the ark. She found no rest for the sole of her foot amid the swelling waters of judgment and the stinking bloated things that floated about, so she returned to the window of the ark, and Noah put forth his hand and took her in. But afterward she returned with an olive leaf, and Noah saw her no more, for that which is spiritual feedeth upon Spirit and cannot be satisfied with the rotting, decaying things of a world under judgment. But the unclean raven, delighting himself with the rotting carcasses of a dead age, returned no more to the ark, for his satisfaction lay in the realm of the flesh. Gen. 8:7-12.
Not only had Paul an illustrious past in all things that concerned the Law of Moses, but he had later lived and moved in a spiritual ministry unexcelled by any man in any age. By the hands of Paul God wrought special miracles. He knew what it was to be acclaimed as God by the crowds and have people fall down to worship him. He had seen the frenzy of the multitude as they rushed into the market place, crying, “The gods have come down in the form of men.” And when it came to spiritual revelation, he had seen and heard things unlawful to be uttered. A whole dispensation was committed to him, and a gospel, which he called the gospel of grace, was given to him by a special revelation from God. So abundant were his revelations that the Lord chose the drastic measure of giving him a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him lest he should be exalted above measure. No man ever labored with more fervent zeal than he; no man ever saw more people turn to the Lord, and no man ever saw more people turn away, until one day he wrote these bitter words: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.” 2 Tim. 1:15. And again: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me … and delivered me out of the mouth of the lion.” 2 Tim. 4:16. Paul knew what it was to be thrown into the lions’ den with the Christians and makes passing reference to the experience when he says, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me if the dead rise not?” Yes, indeed, his was an illustrious life.
But these are not the things on which he depended nor in which he gloried. What he wanted above all else was to know Christ. How I would love to sit down and talk to him now! But, if I could he would not want to tell me of his knowledge of the Jewish law, nor yet of the special miracles of God wrought by his hand, nor of the crowds who acclaimed him as a god at Lystra, nor of the long terms he spent in jail. The story I would want to hear him tell would be of the day he met Jesus on the Damascus road and of a light brighter than the noonday sun that shined into his soul, dispelling all the darkness of his religion, there and then bringing forth in his ransomed soul an explosive consecration that would never fade nor falter, whether men acclaimed him or stoned him. I think I would hear him say:
Jesus is all this poor world needs today;
Blindly they strive, for sin darkens their way,
Oh, to draw back the grim curtains of night!
One glimpse of Jesus, and all will he bright.
I think he would tell me never to seek to have men follow me, but to be like John the Baptist who so pointed his vast crowds to Christ that at last he stood alone rejoicing, for all his people had gone seeking Jesus. But he was not alone — not even in his prison — for I am sure he could have sung
Best beloved of my soul,
I am here alone with Thee;
And my prison is a heaven
Since Thou sharest it with me.
If you could talk to Paul today, you would come face to face with those deeper truths that were so evident in all he did and said, for he counted everything but dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ the Lord, for whom he had suffered the loss of all things. You would hear him say, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die to everything else is great gain.”
In this day we hear so much about gifts of the Spirit, of prophecy and tongues, of miracles and healings. The more spectacular these things are the more men seek them and the more diligently they covet to bring them into their midst. But for all their tireless efforts something is sadly lacking. Whether people care to believe it or not, with all their much seeking of these spectacular gifts Jesus Christ Himself, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, is left outside their busy camp. The carnal mind seeks spiritual gifts because they appear to be spectacular and promote the individual who has them. Men and women will turn themselves inside out to possess a gift of the Spirit, but the desire to know Christ in all His excellent fullness never once crosses their carnal minds. They do not weep like Mary at His blessed feet as they pour out the sweet perfume of their love or break the precious alabaster box to anoint His head. Ah no! It is not He they want; it is gifts, for “every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.” Prov. 19:6. I do not like to be dogmatic, but it will do little good to debate the issue with me, for I have seen as much of the fickle crowd as most men. I have seen them come by the fifties and leave by the fifties. I have seen them come by the thousands and go by the thousands, but, while the multitude came for healings and for gifts and for a score of personal blessings, only a paltry few were willing to count all things but loss that they might know Him, and be found in Him without blemish.
Those who would long to be leaders of men will soon learn that of all the things on earth crowds of people are the most fickle. They will cry, “Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” today and nail you to the accursed tree tomorrow. As long as you are handing out loaves and fishes in the form of gifts and healings, they will crowd so thick around you that there will be scarcely time to eat or sleep. But when you stand in Pilate’s hall, alone in your rejection, they will leave you to your fate as they did with Jesus and with Paul. It doesn’t take much to offend people, and it is impossible but that offences will come. Never seek crowds and disciples, for they will fail you when you need them most and, despising all your love, will leave you unrequited while they return to their fishing.
Back to their tasks the crowd had gone,
And He was left alone
Save for a little company whom
He could call His own.
What use was there for restless crowds?
That worldly, giddy throng
Would listen to the music,
But never hear the song.
We are living in a day that is fraught with a thousand dangers. Never in the history of the world has religion been so popular, but it denies the power of God. The Almighty God Himself is shoved away off into the background like some mystical convenience to be called upon when a stalking Hitler threatens to overwhelm our nation or a fearful Dunkirk fills us with despair, a sort of handy legend that serves in a remote way to alleviate the spiritual longing inherent in every man on the face of the earth; but to recognize Him as a personal God, almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, eternal and full of love for His creation – such a God Is unknown to them. Strange as it may seem we have come to the place where religion and church membership is the popular thing. To have no membership in any religious organization is to class oneself as a heathen. It really matters nothing at all what we believe nor where we go as long as we at least profess to believe something. How often we hear the exhortation, “Go to the church of your choice, but go to church!” This may sound like superb wisdom, but it is the wisdom of man, which is nothing but foolishness with God, for such religion with all its Christless form and ceremony serves only to act as an antidote against the truth, lulling men into a false sense of security. They become like a man who is slowly freezing to death, who begins to feel calm and comfortable, sleepy and warm, until his eyes close in death and his body is found a corpse on the ground.
I think one of the most treacherous shoals in life’s threatening sea is found in the religion of the so-called evangelical and fundamentalist groups of Christians. Once upon a time the fire of God’s love burned hot among them, but as the saints died from their midst a second generation has grown up who know not the God of their fathers. True, they preach the doctrines of their fathers, but they possess none of the experience in God that crowned their lives. They preach regeneration but do not experience it. They conduct great revivals, but they are only revivals in word and name – not in deed and in truth. Genuine repentance is not there in spite of all their claims. Cities which have been visited by such pseudo revivals are not shaken and transformed by the electrifying power of the Holy Spirit, but crime, ungodliness, and worldliness increase apace in their wake. There is an infinite difference between a revival born of the Holy Spirit and a pseudo revival that is nothing more than the result of vast, expensive and well-planned organization. In the former even the unbelieving are changed by the transforming power of God as men and women cry, “What must I do to be saved?” But in the latter vast throngs go sweeping into the enquiry room, not because of the moving of the Spirit, but because of thorough and well-planned organization by the advance agents. Call this what you like, but it is not a true revival and not a true move of the Spirit, but that, which exalts man and man’s ways of doing things. In my opinion from long observation these man-made revivals have become the easiest, safest, and most lucrative racket ever sprung on a gullible public. Masquerading as it does in the name of religion, it is safe from the law and respected by the people and beyond the long, bony arm of taxation.
Every effort today is being made to capture and hold the minds of men in every imaginable form of Christianity, but it is a sort of Christless Christianity, founded far more on respectability than on repentance and the forgiveness of sins. We may not like to hear it; we may get angry and flatly reject the statement, but the sad portrait of Rev. 3:20 which pictures the Savior of the world standing outside knocking at the door of individual hearts is the scene fitting for the day in which we live. Christ is outside the camp of the world’s religious systems, and, verily, all who will find Him must “go unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Heb. 13:13
Solomon said, “By means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.” Prov. 6:26. What words could be clearer than these? What else under heaven does the harlot of Rev. 19:2 represent if it is not the professing church system that, like a brazen harlot, has corrupted the whole earth with her fornications? “True and righteous are Thy judgments for Thou hast judged the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornications, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.” Instead of modern church systems producing saints shining with gold, silver, and precious stones, this whorish woman has brought them to a crust of dry bread.
“For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil 1:21. The whole life of this great apostle was Christ. For him, to live was Christ. Christ was his purpose for living and Christ was his only purpose for living. Whether he lived or whether he died, he was Christ’s. He was in a strait between two good things – whether to stay here living for Christ, or to die and go to Christ; but, in any case, whether he lived or died, he was the Lord’s. The glory of Christ ought to be the supreme end of our lives, the grace of Christ the supreme principle of our lives, and the word of Christ the rule of them. From the rising of the sun to the going down thereof Christ must become the beginning and the ending of our very being. Just as His name is the First and the Last (Rev. 1:11), so He must become the first and the last in our life that we, too, might say, “For me, to live is Christ.”
It is difficult to explain all the fullness contained in this superb statement, for merely to live as a Christian is far beneath the meaning of its eternal truth. Your only reason for living is Christ. Yea, yet more, the life that you live is the life of Christ, even filling up in your flesh that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body’s sake, which is the true church. Col. 1:24. Further still, Christ must become so much your life that nothing, absolutely nothing outside of Him, matters even to the slightest degree. You must come to the place where you count all things, absolutely all things, but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord, for whom by actual consecration you have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that you may win Christ and be found in Him without spot or blemish. Yea, and further still, the life you now live in the flesh becomes a life literally lived by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you. This is, indeed, the life of a son of God; Christ the Alpha, Christ the Omega, Christ the first, Christ the last, Christ the beginning, Christ the end that you may say in truth, “For me, to live is Christ.”
How shoddy and cheap in comparison do the lives of men appear who can never say in truth, “For me to live is Christ,” but who, if they told the truth, would certainly say, “For me to live is to enjoy the carnal things about me – my friends, my business, my respectable church-going, my listening to sermons, and my taking in big campaigns.” Is this your life and purpose supreme? Nay, I trust not, for only those whose lives are hid with Christ in God shall know the glory of sharing His kingdom.
We are certainly at the end of the church age. Like the age of law, it has waxed old and is ready to vanish away. There is no use trying to sew the riven veil together as the Jews did long ago to try to make it last a few more years. We are at the end of the age. The sun is setting on a dying dispensation, and while the shadows lengthen over a dispensation that has gone, the gladsome rays of the kingdom age come stealing o’er the meadows of that wonderful seventh day, the Sabbath rest, when
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Doth his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
Let us now see if we can determine some of the steps the Lord has taken to assure that all fullness should dwell in His Christ. When Paul made the statement, “For it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell” (Col. 1:19), he was not giving place to idle words, but was in truth uttering by the Spirit one of the mightiest edicts whether of time or eternity.
In the first pages of this chapter we considered at some length that mighty edict, “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. 2:9. The mystery of godliness, and consequently the mystery of God, is so incomprehensible to the human mind that all things concerning Him must be understood by faith or they will not be understood at all. The man who believes he understands God or His glorious Christ is deceiving Himself. He is vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. He knows nothing as he ought to know. But if a man, though admitting that his poor, puny, human brain cannot comprehend the glory of God, yet manifests deep love and affection for all that God is, then that man is known and recognized by God. No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. And of His fullness have we all received and grace for grace. The man who loves God desires to be like Him, and through his love and desire he grows to be like Him, because “if any 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 14:23. God once again becomes manifest in the flesh. God dwells in man and man dwells in God that in Him all fullness might dwell.
The true church, which is the body of Christ, is the fullness of Him who filleth all in all. Eph. 1:23. Now hear the vividness of Weymouth‘s translation of that passage. “For I always beseech the God of our Lord Jesus Christ –the Father most glorious – to give you a spirit of wisdom and of insight into mysteries through knowledge of Him, the eyes of your hearts being enlightened so that you may know what is the hope which His call to you inspires, what the wealth of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the transcendent greatness of His power in us believers as seen in the working of His infinite might when He displayed it in Christ by raising Him from the dead, and seating Him at His own right hand in the heavenly realms, high above all other government and authority and power and dominion, and every title of sovereignty used either in this age or in the age to come. God has put all things under His feet, and has appointed Him universal and supreme Head of the church, which is His Body, the completeness (fullness) of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself.“ Eph. 1:17-23. This passage fills my soul with glory, for, while all fullness dwells in Christ, God has ordained that the completeness of Christ should be the true church, which is His body, and this, my brethren, is the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself.
The high and holy calling with which we are called of God is no small thing, but a thing both universal and eternal in its endless domain. I know these things are so. The Spirit witnesses that they are truth, but how can puny man, born in sin and shapen in iniquity, understand the marvelous working of such grace that would take man, who before was an enemy of God, and make him to be the fullness of Him who fills the universe with Himself? This is grace incomparable, incomprehensible, fathomless and divine. No wonder those who see it even afar off count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, and do count them but dung that they may be found in Him who filleth all in all.
Let us now notice in greater particular what things God has included in Christ Jesus and let us grasp by faith the all-embracing, yea, the universal extent of those things to be included in the fullness of Him who filleth all in all.
Because of the extent of the things I now propose to declare, it would be wise for us all to examine afresh our devotion to the infallible truth of God’s word. Many times in my life I have seen preachers stand in the pulpit and in a great gesture of faith in the veracity of God’s word cry aloud as they waved the Bible over their heads, “I believe this book from cover to cover and I believe the cover!” But, if you were to ask that preacher if he believed Paul’s words, “Having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20), he with ninety-five percent of all evangelical preachers would begin to make excuses or try to explain the truth away and show that it did not mean exactly what it said. Why, I think it to be a thing of unspeakable importance that not only has Christ reconciled the world to Himself, but He has committed unto us the word of reconciliation, that we should preach this very truth. Was not this Paul’s meaning when he boldly declared, “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing, not imputing, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word oj reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:18, 19
Never once in all the Bible is there the slightest suggestion that could possibly lead us to believe that God ever needs to be reconciled to man, though this is the inexcusable lie we hear continually from the pulpit. It is not God who needs to be reconciled to man. God was never man’s enemy. It is man who is God’s enemy and needs to be reconciled to Him. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:20–21. But I hear the unbelieving say, “If I believed that all men were to be eventually reconciled, I would just go out in the world and enjoy myself.” Little do you know, dear friend that such reasoning can only come from a heart that has no true love for God. Those who love Him abide in Him, loving Him yet the more because of the vastness of His infinite grace and the universal extent of His redemption.
Having then established our faith in the correctness and veracity of God’s word, let us see what sweeping statements follow this mighty edict, “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell;” Col. 1:19. The sentence ends with a semicolon. It is not by any means the end of the thought. God, having declared that all fullness should dwell in Christ, straightway proceeds to show what things of His creation go to make up that glorious fullness. Therefore He follows the fiat, “In Him should all fullness dwell,” with these words: “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” His clear purpose in reconciling all things in earth and in heaven is that they all might be included in the fullness of Christ, and that they might share in the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven.” Col. 1:21-23
Thus in His mighty work of reconciliation Christ has reconciled all things unto God. They are already reconciled if they had but heard the truth of God’s edict. The word of reconciliation has not reached them as yet, but it will do so in God’s good time. It was for this very reason that Jesus Christ, after His death, went to preach to the spirits in prison, the spirits of the men who had been disobedient in the days of Noah. To them He carried the word of reconciliation, showing not only that Christ had died for their sins, but that He was risen for their justification. If perchance our minds are numbed with the glory of such a thought, let us again consider the words from Weymouth‘s translation. “Christ also once for all died for sins, the innocent One for the guilty many, in order to bring us to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit, in which He also went and preached to the spirits that were in prison, who in former times had been disobedient, when God’s long-suffering patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons – eight in number — were brought safely through the water.” 1 Pet. 3:18-20 (Weymouth) The glorious proclamation that God has reconciled all things to Himself will eventually be told to all men – that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
The proclamation that it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell is not only followed by the promise of the reconciliation of all mankind, that they might add to His bountiful fullness, but is preceded by a statement of such incredible magnitude that it boggles the imagination. He says in Col. 1:14-18, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.”
O, what a vast and all inclusive statement that is! Principalities and powers are to be included in His fullness. O, what a mighty redemption! O, what a universal reconciliation! O, church of the living God, unto you is the word given, “To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Eph. 3:9-11
THE PEACE OF GOD
When winds are raging o’er the upper ocean,
And billows wild contend with angry roar,
Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion,
That peaceful stillness reigneth evermore.
Far, far beneath, the noise of tempest dieth,
And silver waves chime ever peacefully,
And no rude storm, how fierce soe’er it flieth,
Disturbs the Sabbath of that deeper sea.
So to the heart that knows Thy love, O Purest,
There is a temple sacred evermore,
And all the babble of life’s angry voices
Dies in hushed silence at its peaceful door.
Far, far away, the roar of passion dieth,
And loving thoughts rise calm and peacefully,
And no rude storm, how fierce soe’er it flieth,
Disturbs the soul that dwells, O Lord, in Thee.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
THE MIND OF CHRIST
There is no truth greater or more necessary to be understood than the truth that concerns the mind of Christ. I feel it is very wrong to assert that we are going to study the subject of the mind of Christ, for the mind of Christ is not a subject. The mind of Christ is in reality the omniscient, immutable, eternal mind of the Father. We have wasted far too much precious time trying to study about things only to find later that we have wandered off into a desolate wilderness of theories where no living water flows, but only the bitter streams of stagnation and death. What good will it do to form ideas and opinions about the mind of Christ? All the ideas in the universe will not bring us any closer to its eternal reality. How much better would it be to heed the exhortation of Paul and begin to let this mind dwell in us, for one moment of thinking with God’s mind would place us in eternal harmony with His glorious will and purpose even as the sage has written, “God nothing does nor suffers to be done but thou wouldst do thyself couldst thou but see the end of all events as well as He.”
Let us then consider the truths that follow, not with the thought of studying them, but with the hope of being made partakers of the mind of Him who everywhere filleth the universe with Himself. The truths contained in this writing have not come to me through much study, but they have come as I sat alone with Him and walked and talked with Him in the beautiful garden of communion. To many these truths will be the savior of life unto life, and to others they will be the savior of death unto death. The hearts of some will beat wildly with understanding and expectation. But others will see only with the flickering light of human understanding and will go away nursing resentment against the truths that have been spoken. Christians have walked so long in the frail light of human understanding that the true color of everything God has purposed and planned has become distorted until good is taken for evil and evil is accepted as good.
Science has declared that, if it were possible for man to build a machine even remotely comparable to the human mind, it would need a space the size of Rockefeller Center to contain it. It would take three lifetimes to wire it, three quarters of the electric energy of New York City to drive it, and the Hudson River to cool it. Let us consider then how great even the human mind must be, remembering that man in his fallen state is capable of using only about five percent of this brain power. Considering yet further that the wisdom of man is foolishness with God, behold with what reverence and godly fear we should cast away the death and darkness of the carnal mind that the mind of Christ with all its transforming light and life may richly dwell in us. Here in truth is the mind that hath wisdom. In its fathomless depths are locked up all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. There are hidden the secrets of the universe; there abide the hidden purposes, known and understood only by the creator of being Himself. In the fathomless depths of His mind are hidden the secret mysteries of the heights above and the depths beneath. There are the purposes of good and evil, the purpose of both fall and redemption. His ways are too wonderful for us and His thoughts past finding out.
How crude and presumptuous must be the frail carnal mind that would lift its voice in pretentious wisdom to understand Him or to know the way He takes. How dare we attempt to study about Him or fathom depths of wisdom that are fathomless indeed? We must consider such eternal truth with reverence and godly fear, remembering above all else that God has willed that we be partakers of His mind, and that His mind should dwell in us. I have no hesitation in declaring that just as surely and truly as the mind of the Father dwelt in that first begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so also that same mind that dwelt in Him will dwell in all that blessed company who are becoming sons of God. It is by that mind of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, that the world will be governed in the kingdom age and the whole universe in the ages to come.
God will never consent to give His mind to you until you are willing to admit that your mind is a worthless enemy of God leading you into error and death and at the same time deceiving you into believing that you are on the right track and on the way to life. True life and true light are the same thing. There is absolutely no difference in them. To have true light is to have true life, and to have true life is to become incorruptible and be as He is. “I am the light of the world,” said Jesus. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John. 8:12. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” This means that the darkness of the human mind could not receive the true light of God. It could not appropriate, comprehend, apprehend, believe, or understand it. The world was made by Him, yet we knew Him not. What a paradox that is! He came unto His own and His own received Him not. Why did they not know Him? Because He is from above and we are from beneath. The veil of human flesh still hides the light of the Holy of Holies. We walk in the frail flickering light of the candles of the Holy Place, but we do not know that just beyond the veil of the flesh, just beyond the realm of the corruptible body, shines the light of God’s presence, the Shekinah. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Can you imagine standing in a light where there are no shadows? No darkness at all? Where all about you is light, or should I say from within is light? John the Baptist was a burning and a shining light, and for a time men were willing to rejoice in that light, but Christ had greater light than the light of John, even the works which the Father gave Him to finish.
I am saying these things now so that we will see where we stand. When we are willing to reject our minds and our own wisdom, then God will draw nigh to us and give us light, true light. He will give us light into which no man has been able to approach, for that is the light in which He dwells. Let us come to God with a true heart of repentance. Let us rend our carnal minds asunder and cast away all our self-will and all ambition to fulfill the desires of the corruptible body and the carnal mind, and let us come to God praying that we may be forgiven for having placed our wills ahead of His will, for having rebelled against light and hidden our nakedness behind the fig leaves of the garden of human reason. Let us admit that we have lived after the flesh, that we have desired the things of the body more than the things of the Spirit, and that we have loved the visible realm and ignored the invisible. Let us confess that our hearts have been set on gaining temporal things while we have given only passing thought to eternal things. Let us confess that we have taken comfort in any teaching that would leave us free to seek after earthly things. Let us cease to love the world and all the things that are in the world, for all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, (the things craved by the corruptible body), the lust of the eyes (the visible things we see and want to possess), and the pride of life, (the pride we feel in possessing these visible things). Let us confess that we have loved the world and not God. We have loved the visible and not the invisible. We have loved the mortal, which is seen, rather than the immortal, which is not seen. We have loved the corruptible bread, which is visible. Let us repent of having been troubled as Martha was about many, many things that concern our physical and temporal welfare and of having forgotten the better part of partaking of the mind of Christ. Let our confession and repentance be real and let us seek to reject our minds while we seek to be partakers of His.
Let us not deceive ourselves. We have not been all out for God. We have been lovers of all visible and mortal things, and no man can love the visible things of the world and love the Father at the same time. For, if we love the world and the things that belong to it, then the love of the Father is not in us. Let us not be deceived by that great deceiver, the carnal mind. The carnal mind is a real and a wicked antichrist, and all who put their trust in the reasoning of the carnal mind will find themselves greatly deceived.
I am a strong believer in fasting and meditation before God, but I do not believe in fasting from food only. I believe we must fast from the carnal mind. Fasting is denial of corruptible food for the body, but Jesus taught us to deny self. Self is you. It is your carnal mind. What your mind is, is what you really are. Self is everything that concerns you. Jesus not only taught us to deny self; He also said, “Take up your cross.” Now why take up the cross when we deny self? Because the cross is for the crucifixion and death of self. Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing God a service by putting other men to death, but he later found that he was doing both God and himself a service by crucifying himself rather than others. “I am crucified with Christ,” he cried. “Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” When the self begins to die, then the Christ life rises from its tomb and lives eternally within you.
During a time of great distress I was much strengthened in God by a letter I received. I quote the following paragraph from the letter: “Before your eyes can see God, they must be incapable of shedding tears for any suffering of your own. Before your ears can hear, they must have lost sensitiveness to all sounds but the sound of His Spirit speaking. Your voice may not speak eternal wisdom until it has no power to wound. If once thou doest the will of the Father as His obedient child, this is the atonement, for He shall give strength to do every work of the Creator of being. It will seem to take thy very life. That is because it takes the lower soul (the carnal mind) and masters it. But this is where the Spirit comes in and this is the time for the silence of the soul. Strive to learn the peace of silence, for this is time-abiding wisdom.” This paragraph is of tremendous power and truth. The frivolous and earthly can never see it, but the wise shall understand. How can God speak while I am speaking? How can He impart wisdom while I love my own? How can I love the invisible and the real while my heart is set on the visible and the unreal? How can I speak the word of wisdom when my heart is set on wounding others?
The carnal mind is an enemy of God. It is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and who can know it? The carnal mind is such an enemy of God that it makes all good things appear evil and all evil things appear good. It masks error as truth and brands truth as error. It puts truth forever on the scaffold and wrong forever on the throne. The carnal mind is so deceitful that it will fill you with confidence that you are seeking God’s best when all the time you love the world and the wretched things that are in it. Let us not be “deceivers of our own selves,” but let us honestly confess that we have not sought God. We have been all taken up with the things that concern the body and have been troubled and careful about the physical realm, but have put forth only half-hearted efforts to become acquainted with the spiritual realm. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, and none of the things that concern this realm can help us toward the kingdom, but only hinder us. We, like Martha, may be very, very good people, but we are troubled about the wrong thing. The better part that Mary chose concerned the realm of the mind of Christ, not the realm of the flesh. While good Martha strove to provide corruptible food for perishing, corruptible bodies, Mary drank at the fountain of eternal wisdom and partook of the bread of life, which if a man drinks, he will never thirst, and if he eats, he will never hunger again, but live forever. The church is full of Martha’s — good, good people but troubled all their lives with the passing, corruptible, and mortal things. Only a few are wise enough to seek the kingdom and find their needs supplied in it.
Mary sought first the kingdom as she sat at Jesus’ feet and, having sought it, she found that all else had been added to her, for she had need of neither food nor drink. Jesus at Samaria‘s well, having done the mind of God, had no need of food nor drink nor rest. So Mary, having put the Spirit first, found that all else was met in Him. When this is made real to us, we can understand much better why our blessed Lord taught us saying, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I know of a certainty that no man on earth will ever become a partaker of the mind of Christ until he has first plainly seen that his own carnal mind is lord of his present existence, ruling and controlling him at every step. The carnal mind is an enemy of God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be; so they who are in the flesh cannot please God. They cannot please God because the flesh lusts against the Spirit. The flesh is anti-Spirit and therefore anti-Christ. Anti means against and the flesh is against the Spirit. No wonder all who are in the flesh find it impossible to please God! No man will ever become a lover of the Spirit until he is a hater of the flesh and all its works.
It is completely necessary that we be brought under conviction about our condition. It is very easy for a sinner to be saved once he is convinced that he is a sinner, but, until he becomes awakened, it is almost hopeless to bring him to a desire for justification. So also it is with the carnal mind. It is impossible for any man to seek the mind of Christ until he is awakened to his carnality.
The scripture says, “They who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Why can they not please God? Because everything about the flesh is completely opposite to the Spirit. The flesh is the dust of the earth; the Spirit is the breath of God. One is of the earth earthly; the other is the Lord from heaven. The flesh can only live by taking the life of other creatures such as plants and animals. The Spirit has life in Himself. The body of flesh can only bring bondage to the spirit; the spirit brings life to the body. Every tendency of the physical body is downward toward the dust and the grave; every tendency of the spirit is upward toward God. Every tendency of the flesh is toward death; every tendency of the spirit is toward life. Every desire of the flesh is toward itself; every desire of the spirit is toward others. Everything after the image of Adam dies; everything after the image of Christ lives. The flesh is mortal; the spirit, immortal. The flesh is visible; the spirit, invisible. The flesh belongs to time; the spirit, to eternity. The physical, corruptible body of flesh is the most tremendous factor at work in the earth today. Every war in history has been fought to obtain more things for the physical body of flesh. Every doctor spends his life trying to heal the corruptible body. We spend a third of our time resting it in bed. We nurse it in sickness, feed it, clothe it, and shelter it. We cater to its taste and various fancies.
The carnal mind is the fleshly mind. Carni means flesh. The carnal mind is the mind that is devoted to the desires and demands of the human body of flesh. If you do not think you have a carnal mind, then just compare how much time you devote to the demands of the body with how little time you devote to the demands of the spirit. Compare how much time you spend in working for the body with how little time you spend in the interests of the spirit; how much time you spend talking about the things that are temporal with how little about spiritual things. How much time do you spend like Martha bothered and burdened with temporal things? How little time do you spend like Mary partaking of the mind of God which is the bread of life! Let us confess it quickly. Let us get under conviction about it. Then for the first time we will be on our way to a life in the Spirit.
We will never get this picture straight until we are able to see that the carnal mind is the fleshly mind. It is the mind that is concerned with the body and all the things that pertain to the welfare of the physical man. Paul calls this mind the fleshly mind. (Col. 2:18). In previous writings I have pointed out that everything in the world is for man’s body. I mean every visible thing. There is not a trade, occupation, or industry that is not for the body of man. All things from the grass of the field that feeds the cows to the mightiest concern on earth have their end in the satisfaction of the corruptible. Every perfume is for the nose. Every sight is for the eyes. Every taste is for the palate. Every sweet sound is for the ears and every thrill for the feelings. There may be no sin in any of these things but they are all the product of minds that are concerned only with lavishing upon the body every transient enjoyment, and whether such things are good or evil they have their end in death.
Until we grasp the far-reaching yet transient effects of the carnal mind and come to realize that all men both in the church and out of it are concerned almost entirely with the realm of the body, we never will be able to pass into the realm of the Spirit and the mind of Christ. Until we are able to see that the realm where we have lived so long is earthly and to realize that all things that belong to that realm are passing away, we will never be able to partake of the mind of Christ.
The carnal mind will lie and cheat and deceive. It is very religious and will pretend to be the mind of Christ. I am certain that many people who walk after the dictates of the body actually think they are in the Spirit and those who know only the carnal mind actually think they have the mind of Christ. We can tell what mind a man is in by the things he does and says. If he talks much of earthly things, then that is where his mind is. If his conversation is in heaven, that is where his mind is. No man or woman can feed his mind for hours on Hollywood‘s trash, which is without doubt the product of the most carnally minded men on earth, and still have the mind of Christ. How can one sit for hours watching shootings, fightings, violence, sex, stabbing, intrigue, hate, and every rotten thing that is produced by the carnal mind and still come away pretending to have the mind of Christ? Such people deceive themselves and all who listen to them. Let us turn from these vanities and give our time to prayer, to the reading of the Word, to fasting, and to fellowship with the saints, and let us rise into the arms of God where we belong. Feed on flesh and we will be carnal. Feed on the bread of life and we will be joined to the eternal.
The Apostle Paul through the eternal wisdom given to him by the Spirit of God gave us the secret formula for a life in the Spirit and the development of the mind of Christ. 2 Cor. 6:4-10. “In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God in much patience, in afflictions, in distresses, in necessities, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true; as unknown, yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.” The life outlined here is very different from the attitude of the life and mind of the average Christian, and I would say that among the so-called clergy of our day not one man in a thousand attempts to order his life after the fashion described here by Paul. Love of money, love of ease, comforts of home, family ties, pride of position, prestige, love of food, and delight in fine apparel have torn the heart out of Christian zeal and dimmed the eyes of the spirit, and make consecration a meaningless farce. It seems to me that the only fasting the ministers know is fasting from the “Word of Truth” which is the bread of life. See verse 7. But they know nothing of the fast from the bread of corruption which strikes the flesh, that enemy of God, with a mortal wound, loosing the spirit from the icy bonds of corruption into the glorious liberty of God.
I do not know how the Eternal Father looses the band of Orion in the heavens, forcing the icy grip of winter to loose its hold on the earth. But I do know it happens, Job. 38:30, 21, and, when it happens, the waters that were bound up in a rock of ice are loosed to flow forth and water the earth. I do not know how the Eternal Father looses the bands of the flesh on earth breaking the icy grip in which it holds the spirit, but I do know that through prayer and fasting it happens. The moment the body of flesh looses its icy grip, the spirit leaps upward to the Eternal from whence it came and rejoices in those heavenly realms where it is at home with God.
God in infinite kindness has given us a simple way to begin to break the bondage in which our corruptible bodies, which are dust, hold our spirits, which are eternal and divine. Every man from Adam until now who has found his way into that heavenly realm has been a man of fasting and prayer. The list of such honorable worthies is far too long to investigate here, but it includes both men and women and embraces such immortals as Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Job, David, Hannah, Elizabeth, Christ and the Apostles, Luther, Wesley, Knox, and every reformer through the centuries. The Pentecostal revival that swept the earth at the turn of the century and the blessed out-pouring of recent years all began through days, weeks, and months of prayer and fasting. No man can rise into the realm of God and take the flesh with him. The celestial realm is “out of bounds” for the flesh. Flesh and blood can no more inherit the kingdom than corruption can inherit incorruption.
God has made this a starting point; “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” Before God draws nigh to us who are saved, we must first draw nigh to Him. With the sinner the reverse is true, but with the regenerate the first step is ours. I know all the arguments against fasting and prayer, and I know also that they are all the product of the natural mind. The flesh hates fasting because it is deprived of the food of corruption. The spirit loves fasting because it is filled with the bread that is eternal.
The veil that hung in the temple represented the flesh. It separated the Holy Place where the priests ministered from the Holy of Holies where the Lord dwelt. No light of God’s glory ever filtered through the veil of the temple into the Holy Place and neither will the life of the Spirit ever appear until the flesh is made subject to the Spirit. Away with all this light talk about passing beyond the veil. Learn first what the veil is. The veil is our corruptible body of flesh after which we live from morning until night and from infancy to old age. Away with all this foolish talk that would lead us to believe that we have already passed the veil of the flesh. Such utter nonsense! How can any man who loves his corruptible body say he has passed beyond its power? How can men who die say they do not live after the flesh, for it is only those who live after the Spirit who do not die. Enoch did not die because he pleased God. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Jesus died, but rose again because He did always those things that pleased the Father. Elijah did not die because he had the mind of God. Melchizedek did not die because he had departed so far from earthly things that he was not known by fleshly relationships. He was without father or mother, beginning of days or end of life, but had entered the eternal realm of the Spirit.
You may ask me this question: Do you believe that some men will never die? Most certainly I believe it. Many men have been taken out of this world without dying. We need only two or three witnesses and we have them in Enoch, Elijah, Melchizedek, and the Apostle John. But the scripture tells us of a great number who at last will rise to meet the Lord in the air without ever tasting death as we know it. But let us not deceive ourselves! All those who are found worthy to escape the grave will first have cast down the flesh with all its power. They will have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. They will live; yet it will not be they, but the blessed Christ living within them.
If we were asked to give a description of flesh and blood, we would immediately point the inquirer to our physical bodies, which are both flesh and blood. Paul teaches us that it is just as impossible for flesh and blood to inherit the kingdom of God as it is for corruption to inherit incorruption. Flesh and blood and the kingdom of God are two completely different entities. One is visible; the other, invisible. One is corruptible; the other, incorruptible. One belongs to time; the other, to eternity. One is dead; the other, living. The one minds only the things that are visible and temporal; the other is concerned only with the eternal and unchanging. Paul taught us this: The things that are seen are temporal; the things that are unseen are eternal. Nothing that is visible is important, for everything that is visible passes away. I sat in deep meditation one day pondering over the visible and the invisible. My thoughts led me to search all the visible creation to find out if there was not something visible to human eyes that was eternal and therefore important. I thought of man’s body that returns to dust. I thought of all the vegetable kingdom that springs up and passes away. I thought of the rocks that deteriorate with time and return to dust. So I thought of the dust itself and the earth and the visible heavens and the sun and the moon. Were there not eternal things to be found there? But I remembered the word of the Lord when He declared, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Pet. 2:10. And again: “And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thy hands: they shall perish, but Thou remainest. They shall wax old as doth a garment and as a vesture shall Thou fold them up and they shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy years fail not.” Heb. 1:12. Can you not see, then, that nothing visible to human eyes belongs to the eternal? And can you not see likewise that nothing visible to human eyes is important?
When I use the word ‘visible,’ I mean visible to our poor, corruptible, human eyes. When we speak of God’s being invisible, we mean only that He is invisible to the kind of sight that we possess. Every invisible thing can be clearly seen, but not with mortal eyes. Every heavenly voice can be heard, but not with mortal ears. Every heavenly perfume can be smelled, but not with the nostrils of man. When man fell from the image of God, he was shut off from the sight of God, the voice of God, the Bread of Life, and every important and eternal thing. His ears could no longer hear the eternal voices. His taste could no longer partake of eternal flavors. The eternal perfumes of heaven he could no longer smell. All the transcendent joys and sensations were cut off from him. Every important, eternal, immortal thing became invisible to his eyes, inaudible to his ears, incomprehensible to his mind, and so on all the way through. Only the passing, transient, corruptible, mortal, unimportant things were left for him to dimly see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Furthermore, all these sensations were in the realm of his visible body, and his visible body is also corruptible and passing away.
It will be a happy day for us when God makes it clear to our hearts that the world where we struggle for existence is of no importance whatever, because it is passing away and therefore has no permanent value. No word written or spoken could hold more truth in this regard than the word of John: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, for the world passes away and the lusts thereof, but he that doeth the will (mind) of God abideth forever.” A man plays the fool when he loves the passing, because it will soon slip away from him and be no more. But a man who is a lover of the eternal, the immortal, and the invisible is a lover of that which is real and abides forever. Let us cease to seek after all the glitter the world has to offer, for it is false and blinds our minds to truth. A man cannot love the world and love the Father at the same time, neither can he serve two masters. If he loves one, he hates the other. If he clings to one, he despises the other. He cannot serve God, who is invisible and real, and mammon, who is visible and unreal. Only those who meditate continually at Christ’s feet and spend their time in conversation concerning the eternal realities can be partakers of the mind of Christ. Do not deceive yourself. If you spend hours feasting your eyes and ears on the products of man’s carnal mind, you will have a carnal mind. If you can enjoy the fleeting, transient rubbish presented to us by a world of unbelievers, then it is because your mind is only carnal. A man who walks with God is always nauseated by contact with the carnal mind. The great and righteous Job once declared that, if he could come before God, he would fill his mouth with arguments and order his cause before Him. Job 23:3. But one day he came into God’s presence and, when he did, he found he had nothing to answer or to say except to confess how vile he was. Job 42:5–6. Likewise you also, my brothers, may imagine you are living in the Spirit and that you have passed beyond the veil of the flesh, but, should you only hear Him whisper, all your comeliness would turn to corruption and you would cry for deliverance from your worldliness.
The realm to which God is leading us is a new realm. It is a new land, a new plane, a new disposition. It cannot be reached by human organization. It cannot be reached by any standards of the past. Truth is the most potent force in the universe, for God is truth. Truth breaks asunder the bars and cuts the cords of bondage. Truth floods light into shadowy valleys and makes the tender herbs spring forth. Truth is a light that is set on a candlestick. It is a city that is set on a hill and cannot be hid. All the great upheavals of the religious world have been caused by the entrance of truth. Yet truth has been on the scaffold from the shedding of Abel’s blood in the field to the shedding of the blood of Zacharias between the temple and the altar. From the head of John the Baptist, the cross of Christ, the murder or the apostles, the catacombs of Rome, and the fires of Smithfield to the more refined persecutions of our day truth has suffered at the hands of the carnally minded. In spite of this it is as Paul once said, “You can do nothing against the truth, but for it.” 2 Cor. 13:8
We cannot have the mind of Christ and the carnal mind at the same time. If we would seek the mind of Christ, we must crucify the carnal mind, which is interested only in the things that concern the carni, the flesh, or the corruptible human body of flesh and blood. Paul was the greatest authority on this subject who ever lived. Enquire of him what he meant when he declared, “I keep my body under and bring it into subjection lest, after I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Did he not speak of casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge (mind) of Christ? You wonder how such things can be done, but those who become lovers of the eternal, the immortal, and the invisible find no difficulty whatever in keeping the body under or in casting down the imaginations of the carnal mind. Only those who dwell on that carnal plane wrap themselves in a cloak of humility and pretend that all must be left to God. I know for certain that those who would have God draw nigh to them must first draw nigh to Him. They must first cleanse their hands from sin and cast away their double minds.
I have written all these things that our hearts might be prepared for the truths that concern the mind of Christ. No man can have the mind of Christ and retain the carnal mind at the same time, for that is a double mind. That is an eye with a beam in it, that is, an eye that is not a single, but sees double and fills the whole body with confusion that is worse than darkness. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and cannot receive anything from the Lord. All his teachings are high-sounding nonsense and never draw anyone nearer to Christ.
To be carnally (fleshly or bodily) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life. It is the coming of the mind of Christ that will make the change. When these corruptible bodies are presented to Him as sacrifices, then they will begin to be renewed and transformed and come into the image of Christ in incorruption and immortality. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Whatever our mind is, that is what we are. If our mind is carnal, we are carnal and our body is corruptible. When our mind is displaced by His mind, then it is spiritual and we are spiritual, and the body of corruption and humiliation begins to be transformed because the mind is renewed.
I would like to show you as best I can what a tremendous power the mind really is. Even the natural mind of man is a very great power and accomplishes things that stagger the imagination. Everything good or bad that is in the world today is the product of the mind. All the remarkable inventions, all the outstanding feats of engineering, and accomplishments too numerous to count had their first existence in the mind of man. Every means of transportation from the cave man’s cart to the jets that break the sound barriers was in the mind of man before it was visible to the eye. All the musical instruments from the monotonous beating of the tom-tom by the savages of the jungle to the sweet strains of the harp or the violin had their beginning in the mind of man. Every mode of communication from the ancient smoke signals on the distant hills to the breathtaking speed and accuracy of communication of our day began and was developed in the mind of man. Steam engines, electric dynamos, self-starters, radios, television, and radar are all the products of man’s natural mind. Think on as long as you like about everything that man has made and you will agree that, before it existed, it had its birth in the mind.
The power of life and death is in the tongue. Prov. 18:21. If the judge says, “Not guilty,” the prisoners goes free, but if he says, “I find this man guilty of murder,” He goes to death. Surely the power of life and death is a great power, but is this power of life and death really in the tongue or is the tongue merely the instrument of the mind? Can any of us deny that it is out of the abundance of the heart (mind) that the mouth speaketh? The words that are articulated by the tongue first had their being in the mind. Did not James say that the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity that setteth on fire the whole course of nature? But is it not true that the words spoken by the tongue were first conceived in the mind? Of course it is so, unless we have the ability to speak without thinking. Who can deny that it is from the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks? Whether it speaks of life and brings forth life or whether it speaks of death and brings forth death, it is certainly speaking from the thoughts that are formed in the mind.
“As a man thinketh, so he is.” Prov. 23:7. The word of God tells us: “Eat not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so he is. Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shall thou vomit up and lose thy sweet words.” Now this is a very revealing scripture, for it tells us that as a man thinketh in his heart (mind) that is what the man really is. He may connive nice things to say, but the thing that is in his mind is the thing he really is. He may feign friendship and bid you to eat and drink and make yourself at home, but in his mind he hates you and his heart (mind) is not with you at all. Presently you will discover his true attitude toward you and you will feel like vomiting up the food he gave you and the sweet words as well.
Let us now consider some of the truth we have before us. First: what your mind is, is what you are. Let us make it even plainer and say, what your mind is, is your true nature. I do not see how any man can argue against this truth. Would you not expect a man with a clean mind to be a clean man? If he has an orderly mind, would he not be tidy and orderly in all he is and does? If a man has an unclean mind, will he not be unclean? And if there is no order in his thinking, will this disorder not show up in his home, his business, and his occupation?
The word of God tells us many things about the mind. It speaks of the doubtful mind, Luke 12:20, the reprobate mind, Rom. 1:28, the double mind, Jas. 1:8 and 4:8, the carnal or fleshly mind, Rom. 8:5-6; Co. 2:18. If a man has a doubtful mind, what kind of a person would you expect him to be? Would you expect to find a man who believes everything and doubts nothing, or would you rather expect to find a man who believes nothing and is skeptical about everything? Because he has a doubtful mind, he doubts everything and cannot help it. Thomas was one of the chosen disciples of Jesus, yet he found it hard to erase doubt from his mind. “Whither I go ye know and the way ye know,” said Jesus, but Thomas replied, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest and how can we know the way?” When all others were enthusiastically rejoicing over the resurrection of the Saviour, Thomas was shaking his head sadly in unbelief and saying, “Except I shall see the print of the nails in His hands, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” We cannot blame him for this. He had a doubtful mind and doubt was his nature. But a change of mind came to him that day and history records that none of the disciples worked harder or with more faith and consecration than Thomas. Thank God, He is able to renew the mind and give us the mind of Him who created us.
What then would you expect a man to be who had a reprobate mind] Would you not expect such a man to be a reprobate? Certainly you would. You would deplore his actions and be disgusted with all his deeds, but lying back of all his profligacy is his corrupt and reprobate mind; for as he thinketh in his heart so is he.
There is a most remarkable description of the gradual degeneration of the mind in the first chapter of Romans. Beginning with verse 21, we read, “Because when they knew God they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart (mind) was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of the own heart (mind) to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up to vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which is meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge (mind), God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient.” The remainder of the chapter bears witness of the great evil and degeneration that followed. We must conclude then that a man who has a reprobate mind will certainly be a reprobate and, barring a miracle to his mind, we can do nothing about him.
A double-minded man is an unstable man. Jas. 1:18. You can never depend on him and for that reason God does not depend on him either. He is one thing today and something different tomorrow. He is spiritual one hour and carnal the next. He walks in a fog of opinions and clouds up the minds of those who listen to him. If you want to be spiritual, he shows you how to be spiritual, and if you want to be carnal, he makes excuses for it. He runs with the deer and chases with the hounds. If you do not agree with his talk, he will swing around to your side and agree with you. He is not dependable and, when you lean on him, he is like a staff that breaks and pierces through your hands. Do you wonder what makes him that way? The trouble is all in his mind. He cannot help himself. He is in the same predicament as the doubtful and reprobate and, barring a miracle, he will never recover himself.
Satan’s mind is the mind that is always looking to exalt self. You will find a vivid description of it in Isa. 14:12-15. “For thou hast said in thine heart (mind), I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the side of the north, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” I will! I will! I will! That is Satan’s mind. I have often seen that same mind working in the hearts of Christians. They are not satisfied with the thing that God has given them, but they must rise up and take away the thing that God has given to others. That wretched mind is at work in the world. It reaches out to grab that which belongs to another so that it can be consumed upon self. That same mind of Satan is at work in the church. We can see it everywhere. It was this mind that made Saul hate David. It was this mind that made Joseph’s brethren sell him into Egypt. It was the same mind that was responsible for the gainsaying of Korah in his rebellion against Moses. I will! I will! I will! Did not the blessed Lord teach us that, if we would follow Him, we would have to deny self and take up the cross? The cross is for the crucifixion of self that Christ may live.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil 2:5. The mind, which was in Christ Jesus, was the Father’s mind. Let us not miss this most essential point of truth. Jesus Christ divested Himself in absolute completeness of every trace of His own mind. The mind and the will, we must understand, are one and the same thing. The Son of God came not to do His own will but the will of Him that sent Him. The words He spake were not His own words. The works He did with all their signs and wonders were not His own works, but He did them at the bidding of the Father’s mind. The self-life did not exist in Him. He never once pleased Himself about anything. Never once in all His blessed life did He seek to amuse Himself with excitement, but He found the apex of pleasure and joy in His unity with the Father’s mind. The holy and glorious God finds all His pleasure in one thing and one thing alone, and that one thing is the fulfilling of His own infinite and eternal purposes, which were ordained in Him before beings, worlds, or ages began. Before angels hymned praises to His name or universes rolled into their orbits, before morning stars sang together or sons of God shouted for joy, the eternal purposes for all ages flourished in the mind of Him who is omniscient, immutable, omnipotent, and eternal. In the fulfilling of those eternal edicts the pleasure and joy of God finds complete satisfaction. There and there alone do those who have become one with His mind find their unending joy. While the world and a carnal church find transient pleasure in the excitements and trivialities of a passing age, rejoicing in the petty things they can hear or feel or taste or see or smell, those who are coming into the mind of Christ find pleasure in that thing which alone gives joy to the Lord; that is, the immutable purposes of His will. Poor ignorant little man strives to find satisfaction in the pleasurable excitements of the life he lives. He tries to enjoy himself in a moment’s pleasure, an exciting game, an exotic scene, a delightful banquet, harmonious music, the pride of possession, or a thousand other fleeting things, all of which, when apart from the eternal purpose, leave us bereft of eternal joys.
In speaking of the mind of Christ, we are speaking of the greatest power and authority in the universe. The truth I will endeavor to show you now will prove that all your eternal hopes of sonship and of the kingdom to come depend on one thing and one thing alone: that the mind of Christ dwell in you and that your own mind be crucified. We have already shown that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” It is with the mind that a man thinks, and as he thinks, so he is. What your mind is, is what you are, and there is no escaping this conclusion. Your mind is your personality and your character. If a man has a niggardly personality, it is because he has a niggardly mind. If a man is a sadist, it is because he has a sadistic mind. If a man is generous, it is because he has a generous mind. You have often wondered why some unsavory people are the way they are, or perhaps you have wondered what makes you the way you are. Why are some people so mean? Why do they tell so many lies? Why do they love malicious gossip or delight in another’s hurt? It is all in their minds. What their minds are, they are, too.
Doctors have known for many years that a great variety of physical ailments come from the mind. Few people wish to hear that, but it is nonetheless true. Recently I listened to a medical report in which it was stated that sixty percent of all operations in the hospitals have a mental connection. I believe this to be true, and possibly, if we understand all the truth, the percentage would be much higher. If a man then has a carnal mind, will he not be carnal? If a man has a reprobate mind, will he not be a reprobate? And if a man has a covetous mind, will he not be covetous? Whatever a man is, whether covetous, proud, boastful, cantankerous, shiftless, two-faced, kind, gentle, generous, patient, or ten thousand other things, he is that way because his mind is that way. As he thinks in his mind, so he is.
Let us now carry this thought a little further and we will soon come to the conclusion that the state of a man’s mind is often manifested by physical changes. If a man is in a towering rage, no one needs to ask him, “Are you angry, sir?” The fact that he is angry is manifested all over his physical being. His eyes bulge and redden, his fists clench, his face may redden or go livid, and his heart doubles or triples its pace. Food will not digest in his stomach as long as he is angry. A glutton soon begins to look like a glutton. A harlot begins to look like a harlot. A drunkard begins to look like a drunkard, and a mendicant like a mendicant. I was interested in a paragraph from the magazine, Healthful Living. Because it confirms what is stated above, I will quote it here. “The individual who is given to worry, fretting, and other emotional and mental upsets is the one who is most likely to suffer from enlargement of the thyroid. It is a well-known fact that hyperthyroidism does not occur among drifters, beach-combers, bums, morons, idiots, and savages. They are a happy, careless, unworrying lot. For them there is only this afternoon and tomorrow never comes. They never suffer from high blood pressure, ulcers of the stomach, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism. These are diseases of civilization and of people who have too much on their mind.” So you see that, according to medical science, the mind has a tremendous power over the body.
The questions I am now going to ask will seem silly and preposterous at first, but you will soon see that they are both sane and scriptural and will bring into focus as nothing else I know the almost unbelievable power of the mind. Let us then ask the question, “If I could take your mind and put it in my head, would I not be exactly like you?” Is there anything you know that I would not know? Or anything that you could do that I could not do? If you were a musician, would I not also be a musician? If you were a skilled surgeon with many years experience, would I not be the same? I would have the same thoughts, the same reactions, and the same outlook on life as you. If, indeed, you could take my mind and let it dwell in you, would any knowledge, ability, or learning of mine be withheld from you? No! Absolutely no! Now then, if it were possible for a man to have his mind taken from him and the mind of a beast given him, what do you think he would be like? You would have no hesitation, I am sure, in saying, “The man would be like a beast,” and so he would be.
Recently the book of Daniel has opened many new treasures to my heart. This book that was closed up and sealed until the time of the end is opening and the seals are being broken. As I read the fourth chapter of the book that contains the awesome experience of the great and terrible king Nebuchadnezzar, I was amazed beyond words at the truth it bears concerning this hour when we shall in God’s mercy become partakers of the mind oj Christ. We will quote extensively from this chapter, but I wish that all those who are reading would take time to familiarize themselves thoroughly with the fourth chapter so that we will understand better the thoughts we are to consider.
The fourth chapter of Daniel was written by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It is perhaps the only chapter in the Bible written by a Gentile. Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty monarch in his day, king of earthly kings. We are told by Herodotus that the city of Babylon was laid out in the form of a square occupying both sides of the river Euphrates. It was surrounded by an astonishing brick wall three hundred feet high, eighty-five feet wide, and from forty to sixty miles in length. The wall included about two hundred square miles of territory. A moat ran along the outside of the wall. The clay dug from the moat was used for sun dried brick. The wall was guarded by two hundred and fifty towers and was wide enough for four-horse chariots to turn about on. It was pierced by one hundred brass gates hung in brazen frames, and a wall along each bank of the Euphrates was pierced by twenty-five gates. Roofed bridges spanned the river and ferry boats plied from quay to quay. The city was surrounded by orchards and gardens all irrigated by canals from the river. The hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, were gardens of trees and flowers planted on terraces, one upon another, to a height of not less than one hundred and fifty feet. Magnificent temples adorned the city. Blocks of magnificent stone quarried in Armenia were brought and used for inside finish of the most expensive kind. We do not have space here to go on describing the magnificence of the city and empire, which Nebuchadnezzar had built. Suffice it to say that it exceeded all else then known, and like all other pomp and magnificence it made the king exceedingly proud and boastful to the point where Almighty God intervened to show the king that it was He who ruled in the kingdoms of men and gave them to whomsoever He would.
This brings us to the fourth chapter of Daniel and to the awesome story of a mighty monarch of earth who had his mind taken from him and the mind of a beast given to him. This is not the story of a man who went insane and became a mad man, or who lost his reason and became a slobbering idiot. The story has nothing whatever to do with insanity. This is the account of a great king, powerful and clever and wise beyond most men, who had his mind taken away from him and the mind of an animal given to him in its place. In our meditations above we have already concluded that should a man receive the mind of a beast, he would immediately become like a beast, and like a beast Nebuchadnezzar became.
For the convenience of all in our investigation of this matter we will here quote extensively from Daniel chapter four and make comments as we go along.
Daniel 4:4. “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house and flourishing in my palace. I saw a dream, which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore made I a decree to bring all the wise men of Babylon before me that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers and I told the dream before them; but they could not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name is Belteshazzar according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, O Belteshazzar, master of magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
Thus were the visions of my head upon my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth and the height thereof was great. The tree grew and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth. The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all. The beasts of the field had shadow under it and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed on it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud and said thus, Hew down the tree and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it and the fowls from his branches. Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass in the tender grass of the fields; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field and the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given him, and let seven times pass over him.”
Verse 19: “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied (astounded or astonished) for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream nor the interpretation thereof trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.” Verse 24 “This is the interpretation O king, and this is the decree of the Most High which is come upon my lord the king: That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling place shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots, thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens rule. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility. All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of my kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever He will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar; and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle’s feathers and his nails like bird’s claws.” End of verse 33
Here then is the inspired story that describes as nothing else could the truth that a man’s life and personality is wrapped up in that unsearchable, untouchable thing we call the mind. We have already stated that a carnal mind makes a carnal man, a reprobate mind makes a reprobate man, and so on. This great story of Nebuchadnezzar proves beyond doubt that should a human being receive the mind of a beast, he would Immediately think, act, and begin to look like a beast.
Can you form a mental picture of this strange happening? One day a man is a wise and a mighty king, sought out by all, ruling an empire beyond all empires of his day, of whom it was said to Belshazzar in Dan. 5:18, “O thou king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, a kingdom and majesty and glory and honor; and for the majesty that He gave Him all people, nations, and languages trembled and feared him; whom he would he slew, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart (mind) was lifted up and his mind was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him; and he was driven from the sons of men, and his heart (mind) was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven.”
Can you picture this great king, all nations trembling and fearing before him, keeping alive whom he would, killing whom he would, raising up whom he would, and putting down whom he would? It was no ordinary mind that enabled him to build up such a magnificent earthly realm. But suddenly a strange thing happens to him. His mind is taken from him and a beast’s mind is given to him. Immediately a fearful change takes place. He forgets all about his mighty city with its towering walls. No longer does he care for his orchards and hanging gardens. The magnificent temples and sculptures are of no more interest to him than they would be to an ox or an ass. He does not care for the association of wise men and beautiful women, but he dwells with the wild asses. The sumptuous food and banquets of kings are traded for grass of oxen. He will not sleep in a feathery bed, but enjoys the grass wet with dew of heaven. Not only does his new mind change his disposition and nature, but it begins to change his physical appearance as well. His hair begins to grow out like bird’s feathers and the nails of his fingers and toes grow out like claws of a bird or an animal.
If you will allow me a little imagination, we will dwell together on another aspect. Let us answer a few questions. Do you think that this man, pushed down to the level of a beast, could remember his former majesty and glory? Certainly not! He had a beast’s mind and could remember none of the former things. Do you think he ever longed for his palace or his wife or his children? Certainly not! He had a beast’s mind and enjoyed the realm where he lived. What more could he want? None of the higher things ever crossed his animal mind. He did not remember his former glory neither did it ever cross his mind to attain it. It was forgotten and a thing of the past.
Now all that I have written above is for the express purpose of demonstrating the following points and to make alive the great truths that face us at this most important hour. While I was reading this wonderful story, a flash of revealing light flooded over my understanding. I no longer saw this strange story of Nebuchadnezzar as just another chapter of the Bible, but it was made clear to me that this wonderful account was actually a prophecy of the whole purpose of God for man from the Garden of Eden where man had the mind of Christ until he re-enters that realm and is again possessed of that mind that rules the whole universe
I want you to take notice of these points one by one.
1. Nebuchadnezzar reigning in all his magnificent glory.
2. Nebuchadnezzar loses his mind and gets a beast’s mind in its stead. Vs. 4,16, 30
3. Nebuchadnezzar dwelling on the plane of beasts because his former mind is lost and he has the mind of a beast.
4. Nebuchadnezzar oblivious to his former glory.
5. Seven times pass over him while in this condition. Vs. 16, 23, 25, 32
6. At the end of the days he lifts up his eyes to heaven. Vs. 34
7. His mind is restored and with it his kingdom. Vs. 34, 36
8. Excellent majesty is added unto him. Vs. 36
I have a great witness in my heart that just as Daniel interpreted this dream for Nebuchadnezzar, so the following is the true interpretation of the dream for all mankind today and for the sons of God in particular. The story of Nebuchadnezzar is the story of man from his fall to his restoration in God’s image.
First: Nebuchadnezzar in all his glory and wisdom represents man created by God and placed as lord in Eden with all the earthly creation made subject to him. Adam in the Garden of Eden had the mind of Christ. There can be no doubt about that. And both you and I had the mind of Christ in Adam before he fell. As Levi was in loins of Abraham when Melchisedec met him (Heb. 7:10), so I was in the loins of Adam when he was in the Eden of God possessed with the mind of Christ, and in him I, too, had that blessed and wonderful mind of the Father. How I would love to spend hours speaking of this glorious truth, but it will grip you as it has gripped me. When Paul speaks of the renewing of the mind, we must not forget that nothing can be renewed except that which was once new. For my mind to be renewed is for me to receive again that mind of Christ which I had in unfallen Adam.
Second: Nebuchadnezzar through pride and sin had his mind lowered to that of a beast. Here is man after the fall. No longer is he possessed of the mind of Christ, which concerns itself with the things of the glorious kingdom, but he now has a carnal mind, a fleshly mind, a beastly mind. Now, instead of being a “little lower than the angels”, he is only a little higher than the beasts, because he has lost the glorious mind of Christ, and has received in its stead a mind concerned only with earthly things, a mind that is at enmity with the mind of Christ. Do not be deceived by thinking that the type is too strong, for I am sure that the fall of man from Adam in the garden of Eden with the mind of Christ to our present state was infinitely greater than the fall of Nebuchadnezzar from king of Babylon to the status of a beast. After all, the fall from the carnal mind to the mind of a beast is just a slightly lower order for the same mind, for beasts also have carnal minds. But the fall from the mind of God to the carnal mind is a gulf that is well nigh impassable.
Third: Nebuchadnezzar’s dwelling on the plane of beasts was because he had the mind of beasts. It is impossible, completely impossible, ten thousand times impossible, for anyone to dwell on a higher plane than his own mind. As birds of a feather flock together, so fools go hand in hand and wise men counsel together in wisdom. A jewel of gold has no place in the snout of a swine, neither have words of wisdom place in the mouth of a fool. A man with an animal’s mind cannot be king of magnificent Babylon. Much less can he who has a carnal mind reign with Christ. Small wonder the blessed Master declared, “Unless a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He not only cannot see it, but he has no desire to see it. It is a shadowy mystery to him. He can neither discern nor comprehend it and he has no desire in himself to attain it. The sow returns to her wallowing in the mire because that is the level and standard of her mind. She resents all efforts to cleanse her of it and will resist with struggle and noise all efforts to make her a clean animal. So likewise does the dog return to his own vomit and the carnal mind to his carnality. Except for a regeneration from a higher realm we would all be doomed to carnality forever.
Fourth: When Nebuchadnezzar had the mind of a beast, I am certain that he completely forgot all his former glory. If you would tell him he had been the mighty king of Babylon with all nations at his feet, he would have looked at you as dumb as an ox and would have understood not a word you said. He would have returned to his nibbling of the grass like the oxen, or gone galloping across the fields with the wild asses. Convince this beast that he was ever a king dwelling with men? No! Never! What did he want with men? He was a beast and never dreamed of being anything else. The great point of interest here, however, is this. As Nebuchadnezzar could not remember his former glory in his kingdom, neither can we remember the glory we had in Adam before the fall blighted the world. You say we were not in Adam? Oh yes, we were. It is written. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” But fallen men that we are, inhabited and ruled by the carnal mind, we cannot remember any of the glory we had in Him while yet we had the mind of Christ. In fact, we stare in dumb animal amazement at anyone who would tell us that we once shared His magnificent glory. Many centuries ago God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job. 38:4. Poor Job did not answer, for he did not know. But let me tell you this; just as surely as Levi was in the loins of Abraham when Melchisedec met him, so also we were in Adam’s loins and in Adam’s mind before he fell.
Fifth: You will notice that four times over in this fourth chapter, – verses 16, 23, 25, 32, – it is said that seven times were to pass over the king before he would receive his own mind back again. God has made it wonderfully clear to my heart that this seven times represents the seven dispensations from Eden to the fullness of times during which man is condemned to the wretchedness of the carnal mind. He has been lowered to a level just above animals until seven times pass over him, and it will not be until the millennium is over that all mankind will be gathered together in one in Christ. Nevertheless, there is a first-fruit of the resurrection that at the evening of the sixth day will come back to the mind of Christ. The church is travailing and will bring forth the sons of God. I say without hesitation that there is one thing and one thing alone that makes a son of God. It is neither miracles nor signs nor wonders. It is the mind oj Christ.
Sixth: “At the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes to heaven and mine understanding returned to me.” Verse 34. At the end of the seven times something strange came into the heart of the poor beast of a king. Something began to stir within him and to tell him that he had not always been in that wretched state. What am I doing running about with the wild asses, he wondered? Why am I on my hands and knees eating grass like an ox? Was I not a king once? What am I doing here? Something told him there was help for him in heaven and unto heaven he lifted up his eyes in longing. He began to deplore his condition and hate his degradation, and with longing and prayer he lifted up his eyes to heaven. Oh God in heaven, deliver me from this beastly mind and restore my mind and my reason and my kingdom. And his mind returned and the beast nature departed from him. Once the heart is awakened to the awfulness, the baseness, and the low estate of the carnal mind, we will have no trouble surrendering to the will of God. It is only those who are deceived by the carnal mind who have no desire for the things of the Spirit.
When the prodigal son was having a riotous time, he had no desire for his father’s house, but when destitute and starving he sat in the swine pen and would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat, he said, “I will arise and go to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight”. Oh, let us leave this wilderness of the carnal mind, this bestial realm of asses and swine, and let us return to our Father’s will and the glory of His eternal kingdom!
My beloved brethren, we are nearing the end of the days. This beastly condition brought about by the carnal mind is about to be replaced by the mind of Christ. The mind that was in Christ, even the Father’s mind, is about to dwell in us and transform us soul and body as well. It is the end of the days. Hallelujah! It is the end of the days. Everywhere I go people have come to hate the flesh and the fleshly mind and are lifting up their eyes to heaven to partake of the mind of Christ. It is the end of the days. Hearts leap in anticipation of the glory to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Nebuchadnezzar the beast is to be Nebuchadnezzar the king. The mind we lost in the first Adam is to be restored in the last Adam, even Christ.
Seventh: When his mind was restored, his kingdom was restored. Verse 36 says, “And I was established in my kingdom.” The great lesson this king was given to learn was this: No kingdom can be established by man or man’s mind, but God giveth the kingdom to whomsoever He will. Verse 32. God’s dominion is from generation to generation and His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Over and over we are told that God giveth the kingdom to whomsoever He will. Let me assure you of this, that though in the past He has given the earth to the basest of men (verse 17), it is God’s will to give the final kingdom to those who are partakers of His mind. What other mind could ever rule the kingdom of the Lord? It may cost us sweat drops of blood to come to the will (mind) of Christ, but none save those who have His mind will be lords over His heritage.
Eighth: There is one more point I wish to make. After the king’s mind returned to him, excellent majesty was added unto him. Verse 36 The dreary years in the realm of the beasts had not been in vain. He knew now things that he had not known before, and he understood now things that he had not understood before. He was a better man now. Never again would pride and arrogance enter his heart. He knew from experience and would never fall again. In like manner also the dreary dispensations of carnality and sin we have endured will not be in vain. Adam fell because he had a lesson to learn that naught but the fall could teach him. When at last we return to the mind of Christ, we will never fall again, but the fall itself will have added excellent majesty unto us that will never be taken away through all eternity. When Nebuchadnezzar had the mind of a beast, he could not remember that he had been a king, but methinks that when he was restored to his kingly state, he still remembered the desolation of his beastly mind. I cannot now remember my former state, but I know that, when we are in Him, we shall never forget the lessons we have learned in our humiliation, and we shall never fall again, but excellent majesty will be added to us all and we will praise the God of heaven, all whose works are truth and His ways judgment.
Can you not now see that whatever your mind is, is what you are? Can you not see that, if to have the mind of a beast is to become a beast, to have the mind of Christ is to become a son of God? Through the mind of a beast the king’s body began to look like that of a beast. So, conversely, will these corruptible bodies of our humiliation be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:2) that they may be fashioned like unto His glorious body according to the power whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. The end of the days is upon us. Let us then like Nebuchadnezzar lift up our eyes to heaven that the mind of Christ may dwell in us and we may walk as sons of God.
LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:5-11)
“If any man thinketh he knoweth aught, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know; but, if any man love God, the same is known of Him.” The humble admission before God and man and ourselves that we know nothing as we ought to know is the proper attitude to maintain in all our seeking and searching after truth. I am convinced that all mankind is so blinded by those things we think we know that it is scarcely possible for light to shine into our hearts. Because we depend on our own understanding, our minds are forever clouded over with the dark veil of earthly tradition, human understanding, and natural ways of looking at things. It does not take long to embrace a falsehood, but it often takes a lifetime to disengage ourselves from it, for we, thinking that our minds are clear and honest and free from human tradition, are continually obstructing and refusing the true light which Christ is wherever we find it running contrary to the doctrines which have established themselves in our minds and have become our religion.
When Jesus walked among men, speaking words of life such as none other ever spake, the truth He unfolded was always bitterly rejected because of the blindness and ignorance of tradition-bound men. Because the truth He taught was not as they saw it, they branded Him a deceiver, controlled and possessed of a devil. Then one day He told them plainly the source of all their trouble. “… Ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” Matt. 15:6. Those inspired words of rebuke are as true today as they were then as tradition enthroned in the hearts of men smites at truth with the sword of pride and human understanding. As the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these two are contrary one to the other so that we cannot do the things we should, so truth and human tradition run contrary one to the other so that we cannot believe the things we should. Truth is forever pointing with hallowed finger to the limitless expanse of the everlasting hills of God’s unfolding glory while tradition draws its threadbare mantle about its skinny bones and runs away to hide itself in the dismal cave of its own misunderstanding. Religious tradition is like the legendary frog who lived in a well who, thinking he possessed all the water in the world, refused to believe that outside his dreary hole there were sparkling streams, mighty rivers, placid lakes, and boundless oceans. Just so long as we are determined to keep our understanding anchored to the musty dock of our own tradition, we need never, never hope to receive anything of the Lord. We may pray with fervor, work with zeal, and try to believe for revival “in our church”, and all the other things the flesh craves after, but in spite of all our efforts we will be like the two drunken men who rowed hard all one night to reach the other side of the lake only to find, when the sun arose and they were sober, that their boat was still anchored to the shore.
Confession is good for the soul, and I must confess that, during the past twenty years as God has graciously let the light of His Son Jesus Christ shine into my heart with ever increasing brightness, the path of every new horizon to which He beckoned me led me through a valley where my feet stumbled over the dry bones of my own tradition or were hurt by the crumbling walls of my own understanding. There was a time when I was a denominational minister until the Spirit of God through many fiery trials and jolting tribulations revealed that denominationalism in every aspect, large or small, honorable or dishonorable, fundamental or modernistic, Protestant or Catholic is part and parcel of the harlot system which God declares is fallen. There was a time when I was principal of the largest Pentecostal Bible Institute in Canada until the Lord revealed to me that His ministries are neither called nor chosen from the schools of men, but those whom God would choose to bear the vessels of the Lord are called and chosen, taught and prepared of the Lord. From time immemorial God has been calling men, but never once in all scripture do you find Him accepting any who were not both called and prepared by Himself. From the call of Abraham to the call of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch every vessel was chosen of God and all their training was of the Lord. Oh, so often we hear this cry: God wants volunteers for His work! You are misinformed, my friend. This is a lie. It is not the truth and never will it be. God never asks for volunteers. Never! He conscripts His ministers, calling and choosing whom He will. Many thus called of God were very unhappy and displeased with their calling as was Moses, Saul, Jeremiah, and even Paul, but no arguments about lack of eloquence, inability to speak (Exod. 3:10-18), being of a small and insignificant house (1 Sam. 9:21), or being a child (Jer. 1:6-7) altered the mind of the Lord concerning the thing He had ordained before the ages were formed.
Some time ago a young man boarded a train to make his journey to the far city, which was his home. He adjusted his baggage about him and, looking out the window, admired the scenes as they swept past. The conductor was slow in coming to collect his ticket. He fell asleep and rode along peacefully for many miles. Finally a hand on his shoulder awakened him from his slumber. Seeing it was the conductor, he handed him his ticket, but pleasure turned to consternation when he found he had boarded a west bound train instead of the one going east. He was going the wrong direction. How often in our journeys we find we have missed the turn or taken the wrong road! We are all wise enough to know, however, that, having discovered our error, our only hope is to retrace our steps and start all over again. All over the world today preachers who know nothing of God’s purpose for the ages are calling on their people to “pray for revival in the churches”, but the revival their human hearts crave will never come in the churches for the simple reason that the confused thing they erroneously call the church is not the church at all but the art of man’s device, a house made by human hands. It is the wrong way. It is man’s own building. It is man’s project. It is refused by the Lord. It is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Look back into history and it will teach you that never once during all this dispensation of grace has God ever revived a denomination. Whenever showers of heavenly rain fell upon waiting hearts, it came to those longing souls who were sick and tired of the so-called church with all its deadness, worldliness and abomination. As they waited on God in fasting and prayer for the reviving of their own souls, the Spirit fell upon them, ravishing their souls with the sight of the jasper walls and the golden streets of a celestial city not made with hands. Leading them over the weed-filled fences of a man-made church system, He led them to feed in the green pastures of His ever expanding truth and to freely drink of that living water which Christ is, of which if a man drink he will never thirst again.
No, my brother! God will not revive a man-made church system though you rend the heavens with your prayers and your tears flow like rivers of water. He will never revive it, I say. He is calling His people out of it. The Christians have become sinners and, serving God and mammon together, they have become double minded. Therefore the call of God goes forth to them, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” Jas. 4:8-10
It is my hope in this writing to awaken the pure minds of God’s people to true understanding of the mind of Christ. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Therefore I approach this sublime truth, this celestial realm of the mind of Christ, with more than usual fear and trembling.
“As heaven is higher than the earth,” saith God, “so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Therefore we cry out in our ignorance and earth-bound understanding, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preached to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor. 1:20-25. (Revised Standard)
Dare we then in the light of such an admonition as this approach God proudly displaying our D.D.’s, our Ph.D.’s, and our L.L.B.’s? Do you know that all such is the wisdom of this world which comes to naught? Have we never learned that the world by wisdom knew not God? 1 Cor. 1:21. Have we forgotten the exhortation of the apostle James when he said, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1. (Goodspeed) Oh that men, Christian men, would humble themselves before the feet of God and divest themselves of all their pride in every form of human wisdom, confessing that they know nothing as they ought to know! Oh that God’s children would cast aside the filthy garments of human understanding and throw away the leafy aprons fashioned from the evil tree of human knowledge that gives us man’s understanding of what is good and what is evil and what is right and what is wrong! Then would God teach us His secret wisdom, even the wisdom hidden from all ages and dispensations but which is now being revealed to those who are wholly His. All who would learn God’s doctrine and those who would receive God’s knowledge must first be weaned from the milk of human understanding and drawn from the breasts of our earthly mother. There is a natural realm and there is a spiritual realm. There is a wisdom from beneath and there is a wisdom from above. There is a man who is of the earth earthy and there is a man who is one mind with the Lord from heaven.
In the first two chapters of Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians the apostle unfolds a wealth of truth concerning the mind. I think I am right in saying that Paul clearly shows that all conditions whether good or bad extant among us are the product of the mind. Whether those conditions be wars, fightings, divisions, or blessed harmony and peace, all stem from the mind. The point that I wish to make very clear is simply this: Three kinds of minds are clearly shown in scripture. There is no possible way of avoiding this conclusion. There is the natural mind, which possesses the natural man. It is his natural unregenerate mind that keeps him a natural man. The natural mind cannot possibly receive the things of God. 1 Cor. 2:14. Everything that man does is totally in the natural. He is of the earth earthy. He thinks in the natural realm, talks in the natural realm, understands only in the natural realm. His conversation may be very interesting, he may be very well learned, well versed and very clever after this present age, but all his understanding is in this earthly realm and hermetically sealed in the natural. The simplest of spiritual truths are far over his head. In all probability he has never once heard the call of God in any way, much less responded to it. He is a natural man with a natural mind. Living in a natural world, he sees, hears, and understands only what is natural. As the ears of the deaf are fast closed to every beautiful sound – the singing of the birds, the voices of loved ones, the roaring of the surf – so his ears are closed to all that is spiritual and none but God can ever open them. As the eyes of the blind are fast closed to the beauties of the sunset, the magnificence of the mountains and the glory of the hills, so his eyes see not any spiritual thing, because he is a natural man with a natural mind, totally insensitive to the wonders of that heavenly realm that is high as heaven is high above the earth. A man cannot be spiritual and natural at the same time.
The second mind is the carnal mind. The carnal mind is described in scripture as being the enemy of God. Rom. 8:7. It is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can be, so that they who are in the flesh cannot please God. Those last words, in the flesh, show us exactly what the carnal mind is. Our word carnal comes from the Latin word carni. Carni means flesh. The only part of man that is made of flesh is his body. The physical body is the flesh. The carnal mind is the fleshly mind. The fleshly mind is the mind that is always concerned about the welfare of the human body and how to cater to its passions – eating, drinking, hearing, seeing, smelling, and feeling. It is nothing more or less than this. It is the body that stands in the way of all spiritual progress. The flesh is such a deceiver that its true identity was hidden from God’s people for centuries, so that scarcely anyone knows what the flesh really is. Almost all erroneously represent it as some spiritual evil.
I speak the truth with all soberness that it is our own flesh rather than the devil that hinders us in all our approaches to God and battles against our every effort to draw nigh to Him. Was it the devil or was it the flesh that put the disciples sound asleep when they should have been watching one hour with Jesus? Did He not give the answer to them when He said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt. 26:41. Is it not the flesh that demands food when the spirit longs to fast and pray? Is it not the insistent demanding of the body of flesh that causes God’s people to break a fast they have declared unto the Lord when it has scarcely begun? I am being neither mean nor sarcastic when I tell you that most of the difficulty Christians find in understanding the scripturalness of fasting and prayer is brought on by the strenuous revolt of the stomach, and, if you will be perfectly honest with yourself and with your God, you will freely admit that the true and honest reason for your lack of fasting is that your body, your flesh, rebels against it with such violent rebellion that you are quite afraid to enter this sacred realm. You are discovering by experience that the flesh lusts against the spirit to such an extent that you cannot do the things you would. The spirit longs to break the shackles of this earthly realm. It longs to soar away into the heavenlies where it can freely partake of that which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither has entered the heart of man, but the body, the flesh, says, “No, No, No! I’ll be hungry! I’ll be weak! I won’t be able to earn my bread and do my job!” But the lying thing never once tells you that it is when you are weak that you are strong, or that it is the spirit that quickeneth while the flesh profiteth nothing. Every true fast from physical things enables us to better lay hold upon spiritual things. The power of the flesh is brought to naught. I think we should always remember this tremendous truth of scripture: If you live after the flesh (the body), you will die, but, if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body (the flesh), you shall live. Rom. 8:13. Notice these three things: First, in this scripture the terms the flesh and the body are used interchangeably, and this proves beyond doubt that the flesh and the physical body are one and the same thing. Second, if you live after the flesh by obeying the demands and dictates of the body, you will die. You will die physically and spiritually as well. You will be a very mediocre and carnal kind of a Christian. The flesh, therefore, can offer but one thing to those who obey its demands and whims – death, spiritual and physical death. Third, those who live after the Spirit, casting off the flesh and reckoning it to be the dead thing it really is, will find that two great results follow. The first is abounding spiritual life, wisdom, power and understanding, and the second is that the Spirit, thus nourished by the glory and power of God, is now able to give resurrection life to the mortal body. Is not this the only possible meaning of the inspired statement, “If you live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”? Rom. 8:13. In verse 11 Paul has just finished saying, “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” The conclusion of the matter, then, is this: Those who deny the spirit its necessary communion with God, because of the demands of the body with all its endless lusts, die – not only spiritually but physically as well; but they who deny the body (the flesh) to live after the Spirit not only gain great spiritual life but find that same Spirit quickening their bodies as well. It is not divine healing you need, my friend. It is the life that flows from a vibrant and healthy spirit that you need, for the spirit has a strange and godly way of giving “health to the navel and marrow to the bones”. It is the Spirit that makes alive; the flesh profits exactly nothing. John 6:63.
Finally, there is the spiritual mind. The scripture has declared, “To be spiritually minded is life and peace.” It is impossible to divorce the spiritual mind from the mind of Christ. A man cannot have a natural mind and a spiritual mind at the same time, but he can, alas, and usually does, have a spiritual mind and a carnal mind at the same time. This fact is plainly taught by Paul throughout the first eight chapters of his epistle to the Romans. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other so that we cannot do the things we would. The flesh is a very real and terrible enemy. I shall not hesitate to say that our greatest enemy is neither the world nor the devil. Our greatest enemy is our own flesh, for, were it not for our flesh, Satan would have no power over us in any way. We would be able to stand with our Saviour and say, “The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me.”
The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, but the wisdom, which is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17. The wisdom of this world flows forth from the corrupt fountain of the natural mind. The wisdom, which is from above flows forth as a pure river from that omniscient fountain head, the mind of God. The world’s corrupt wisdom, which is the wisdom of the natural man with his natural mind, has filled the whole earth with the abounding corruption seen and felt on every hand in this dread closing hour of the age. The natural mind with its finite wisdom cannot see tomorrow. It can only see this afternoon. It does not see that the corrupt egg it lays today will hatch a viper tomorrow; neither does it know that, because it sows the wind today, it will reap the whirlwind tomorrow.
The story of the natural mind runs like this: “When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. (That is what the world is doing today.) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Rom. 1:21-32. That is the story of the corrupt and natural mind. And, if you will read it all with thoughtfulness, you will see that even now at the time I am writing we have entered the final phases of this terrible condition.
Twice in this passage it is stated, “God gave them up”, and once it is stated, “God gave them over”. Because of their vain imaginations they were given up to uncleanness, and because of the extent of their uncleanness God gave them up to vile affections, the principal sin being all manner of unnatural sex vices, bestiality, sodomy, and the intermingling and intermarriage of races, whom God in infinite wisdom has commanded to be separate the one from the other. And now, because of the abhorrent filth into which mankind has fallen, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient, the last stages of which we now see everywhere about us – no understanding, covenant breaking, an absence of natural affection, a thing greatly accentuated by the rise of the so-called women’s liberation, the despising of babies, the dissolution of the home, abortions, divorce, remarriage, wife-swapping. And the most devilish thing of all is this: Knowing the judgment of God, that they which do such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Filth has become the popular thing, the accepted thing, of a permissive, depraved, and reprobate society, but I warn mankind that, as sure as verse 32 is the last verse in the chapter, we are now seeing the final acts of man’s hateful rebellion before the judgment of God falls upon these lovers of all that is corrupt and carnal. Every modern evil springs from that wisdom from beneath. It is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is man’s crude notion of right and wrong, good and evil, at war with God’s wisdom from above.
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,” saith God, “and the cleverness of the clever will I thwart.” 1 Cor. 1:19 (Revised Standard) Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? I am most thankful to God that those of us who love Him do not need to concern ourselves with the wisdom of this world which cometh to naught. Since God has given them up and given them over, there is nothing that you or I can do to change them. Let us then who are after the wisdom which comes from on high, even the wisdom which Christ Himself is, turn our eyes, our hearts, and our attention to the receiving of that wisdom which is from above, which before all else is first pure.
Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God. His name is the highest authority in the universe. The mind that dwelt in Christ Jesus was the Father’s mind. “I and My Father are one,” He said; therefore, the mind of Christ and the mind of the Father are one. When God’s word tells us, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” He is not asking us to try to think like God would think, but He is asking us to let the very mind of Christ take possession of us as the mind of the Father took possession of His Son, Jesus Christ. Such glory can never be attained by trying, nor will it be attained by crying or struggling. It takes place as Christ abides, sitting daily upon the throne of our life, ruler of His kingdom within us, Lord and Master of our mind until every thought is in obedience to Him and all wisdom and understanding comes from Him. If Christ is the wisdom of God, then it is Christ I must enthrone. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Rom. 12:1– 2
When I came to chapter 2:5-11 while reading that beautiful letter which Paul wrote to the Philippians, a bright flash of inspiration gripped my heart. I could see in those wonderful words a truth I had never known before. Here Paul is describing with the concise but vivid detail of inspiration the entire story of the humiliation and exaltation of Jesus Christ the Son of God from His glory with the Father before the ages were formed through birth, manhood, death, resurrection and ascension to even greater glory. If you now have the faith to believe it, you will clearly see that the path of His humiliation that perfected His Sonship through suffering, leading Him at last to His exaltation far above all heavens, is also the identical path that you and I and all the sons of God must follow until all are presented faultless and tried, proven and faithful, in the glory and majesty of His presence to be, with our wonderful elder brother, exalted far above all heavens. This hope was in the heart of God in the day He said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion …” Gen. 1:26
Sonship is the hope of all creation. It is the hope dearest to the heart of God. He has irrevocably purposed to rule the world by sons upon whose shoulders will rest the government of the world. Isa. 9:6. But in the ages yet unborn, when His sons are multiplied and countless as the stars, the whole limitless universe, restored and repopulated, will be ruled by the sons of God in a harmony surpassing the sweetest symphony the earth has ever known. Not only will God have one beloved Son, only begotten and dearly loved of the Father, but He will have countless millions of sons dearly beloved and individually begotten of the Father, and at the head of that vast family of sons will stand Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all heaven, the firstborn from among the dead, the firstborn of every creature, and the firstborn of His many brethren. Each and every one of that vast family of sons will be filled with the mind of God, and thus, while ages of ages endlessly roll, no schism will ever be found in that body of sons, for they, each possessing the mind of God, though numbered in countless millions, are but one sonship, the only begotten of the Father.
In the book of Ezekiel, chapter 1, the prophet was overwhelmed by the vision of the coming forth of that bright one who could be none other than the Son of God. Knowing as we do that Jesus Christ came forth from God (John 16:28) and was in the form and likeness of the Father (Phil. 2:5–6), we can better understand the inspired words that flowed from the heart of Paul: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” He was the perfect Son of God before the ages began. Not only was He in the form of God, but He was equal to God, and it was in Him, with Him, and through Him that God began the whole process of sonship of which you and I are now a part. In the days of His earthly walk, when Jesus “learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8), He was being perfected as a Son of man that He might be perfect both as Son of God and Son of man. This perfecting was in order that we, being men, might be perfected both as sons of men and sons of God, that He, who in all things was made like His brethren, now does make His brethren in all things like unto Himself.
Now when Paul says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ”, he is exhorting us to follow in His exact steps that the Father’s mind may dwell in all His sons as it dwelt in Christ. He is showing us that the path that leads to our sonship and adoption is the same path that led to His Sonship and adoption. There is no other path besides this. All else is robbery and false pretence. All else is to climb up some other way. He is the door by which men enter – not a gate that swings on hinges, but an image that we bear. He is the way – not a path over which men tread, but a likeness into which they come. He is the truth – not a word which men speak, but the tree of life in the midst of the garden which they are. He is the life – not that mist which the wind driveth away, but that which endures, unaffected by endless ages.
In my book, The Adoption of Sons, I pointed out some evidences from God’s word that led us to believe that our beginning was not on that day when we came into this world, but that we had our beginning in Him before the ages began. Surely the single sentence of inspiration found in the book of Ecclesiastes, “the spirit returns to God who gave it”, Ecc. 12:7 should help us to see that we also came forth from God, for we can only return to places we have once been. I cannot return to China because I have never been there. But I could return to England or France because I have been there. Surely this same principle applies here also. The spirit returns to God who gave it. When God said to Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the earth … when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy”, (Job 38:4-7), He was not telling Job that he did not exist; but he was asking him if he knew where he was on that day. The very fact that He asked Job where he was should be proof enough that he was. Furthermore it is indicated that he was among that very company who shouted for joy at the wonderful unfolding of God’s plan for the countless ages that were yet to come. Even in the darkness of this present night I can scarce restrain myself from shouting as I anticipate the purpose of God that will yet unfold. Why then would I not shout with the morning stars in that world of light before the ages began long before I was lowered into this realm of darkness, heaviness, and death? Whatever may be the case with you and me, one thing is certain. Our blessed Lord and Christ was in the form of God before the ages were formed.
The great confusion that exists in the world today is caused almost entirely by man’s ignorance. I am sure we understand that any man, suddenly finding himself in the middle of a vast wilderness, knowing neither whence he came, whither he is going, why he exists, or who he is, could not possibly know aught but terror and confusion. Yet that is almost exactly the position in which the vast multitudes of earth, God’s people included, now find themselves. The reason they find themselves in such a sad predicament of ignorance and fear is because blind leaders of the blind have led them into a wilderness of uncertainty. Now, if I try to explain my existence by beginning at the time of my birth in 1909, I encounter all manner of confusion whether I am aware of it or not. Not knowing where I came from, I know not why I am here, nor why I was born in sin and shapen in iniquity. I am here not by choice. I live a life I didn’t ask for. I die a death I don’t want. In fact, I am much worse off than Columbus, who, when he set out, didn’t know where he was going. When he got there, he didn’t know where he was, and when he returned, he didn’t know where he had been. But thus it is with us if we begin our reckoning from the day we appeared in a body of flesh.
It is little better if we conclude that we had our beginning in the Garden of Eden, for Eden itself with all its glory and all its calamity is a fruitless experiment completely gone astray if purpose divine, omniscient, immutable and omnipotent had not been formed in the mind of the Eternal before the ages began to be carried out in the minutest detail that none but God could devise. Let us, then, who are coming to maturity in Him begin our understanding, not on the day we came into this world, or with Adam in the Garden of Eden, but rather let us stand together with God our Father on that blessed day before the world was and, looking through His eyes of fire, let us behold the unfolding of the purpose of the ages. Then will the world and all things therein make wisdom and understanding as we behold the knowledge of the Lord? Well can we endure tribulation when we are aware of its purpose. The annoying thorn in the flesh is cause for naught but praise when infinite wisdom reveals that our strength is made perfect in weakness. The sting of death vanishes completely in the light of the truth that through death he is destroyed who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and they are delivered who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. It is time to learn that we are not saved from death, but saved by it and through it. Let us stand once more with Job and the heavenly hosts of God before the foundation of the world. Let us gaze once more through God’s vast telescope that sweeps the very horizons of the ages of the ages, and let us shout once more the praises of God as we by inspiration see again the unfolding of the purpose, which we, since being lowered into this realm of death, had long forgotten.
So much depends upon our vantage point. So much depends upon where we stand to view the purpose of God for the ages. I exhort, therefore, that the men and women who read these lines will never again try to survey or understand the plan of God from the unimaginable narrowness of the natural mind, or from the low valleys of this realm of death into which all mankind has been lowered. But let us stand in spirit upon the mountains of God before the ages were formed. Let the inspiration of the Almighty awaken our memories to the glory of that day when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy as the almighty and all-wise Father rolled out the blueprint of the ages before our wondering eyes. There we saw the plan for the perfection of the sons of God. There we were made acquainted with the unspeakable benefits of the fall. There we beheld the value of testing and the fiery trial of tribulation, the blessing and strength of temptation and the final glorious outcome of our overcoming. It is he that overcometh who eats of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev. 2:7. It is he that overcometh who is not hurt by a second death. Rev. 2:11. He that overcometh eats of the hidden manna. Verse 17 He that overcometh is given power over the nations. Verse 26 He that overcometh is given the white garment of righteousness. Rev. 3:5. He that overcometh shall be made a pillar in God’s temple. Rev. 3:12. And he that overcometh will sit with Christ in His throne. Rev. 3:20. Cease from this day forward, my brother and sister, to look on God’s plan from the lowly tomb of this present death. It is the Spirit of the Almighty that gives you understanding. There is a mountain even higher than the mount of transfiguration from which Christ will show you both the glory of the coming kingdom and the majesty of the plan of the ages. And methinks, as your eyes once more behold it, you will shout again as you shouted then, when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy.
When Paul wrote the words, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus”, he traced the path, which Jesus Christ followed that He might be perfect God-man. This rugged road His feet must tread before God could highly exalt Him and give Him a name that is above every name, a name before which eventually every knee shall bow of things in heaven and things in the earth and things under the earth (Phil. 2:10), and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:11). Knowing as we do that no man can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3), this verse excludes all possibility offeree or terror and tells us plainly of the day when every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea will be heard saying, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Rev. 5:13
God is interested not only in perfecting His Son, Jesus Christ, but He has chosen to make Him (Jesus) the head and firstborn of a vast family of brothers (Rom. 8:29, Weymouth), everyone a son of God, everyone perfect, everyone filled with the mind of Christ. Who else could govern the world and the universe in righteousness and harmony and peace but he who has the mind that was in Christ Jesus? Has not the natural mind proved that it can produce nothing but wars and fightings and divisions? Did not James ask the question, “From whence come wars and fightings among you?” And did he not answer his own question in these words: “Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” James 4:14. Do you not see, then, that both the carnal mind and the natural mind can produce nothing but war and division and bloodshed and every imaginable lust? Human knowledge, man’s conception of right and wrong, is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which kills with death all who partake of it, but the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:15. The mind that was in Christ is the Father’s mind, possessing the Son, and God has decreed that the mind which filled and possessed His first Son, Jesus Christ, shall also fill and possess all His sons. I shall say without fear of contradiction that only those persons who “let” the mind of Christ dwell in them will be exalted to His throne or be given power over the nations. Never again will anything natural or carnal be permitted to rule after this present age of grace has concluded.
The wisdom that descends from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruit, without partially and without hypocrisy is the mind of Christ. Christ Himself is the wisdom of God. We cannot possess God’s wisdom apart from Christ. We cannot possess God’s mind apart from Christ. None of the blessing of God can be possessed apart from Christ – no gift, no righteousness, no joy or peace. That is why I am forever stressing the infinite value of our personal relationship with Him. God is looking for the hour when not only our lips, but our very life, will proclaim the message, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” It is when we reckon ourselves dead with Him that the Christ life springs forth. That is why Paul said, “To die is gain.” What else could it be but gain since the life that comes forth from the tomb of our crucified self-life is the Christ life? Of course it is gain when from the carcass of this dead lion comes forth the honey of that Living Word, Christ Himself. Not I, but Christ! Not I, but Christ! George Hawtin is dead. It is gain that he died. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.
So Paul has exhorted us: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ. He came from God. He came out of God. He was in the form of God. He was God’s Son, and because He is God’s Son, He is God, for kind begets kind in God even as it does in all creation. When we are born of men, we are men. When we are born of God, we are God, for, “if He called them gods unto whom the word of God (Jesus Christ) came, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest: because I said, I am the Son of God?” John 10:35. Oh, the wonders of His grace! How unsearchable is His wisdom and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord that he should instruct Him? “How unfathomable His decisions are, and how untraceable His ways! Who has ever known the Lord’s thoughts or advised Him? Or who has advanced anything to Him, for which he will have to be repaid? For from Him everything comes; through Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends! Glory to Him forever! Amen.” Rom. 11:33-36. Goodspeed
He who was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God took seven steps to enter into a perfection never before experienced in heaven or in earth. (1) He made Himself of no reputation. (2) He took upon Himself the form of a servant. (3) He was made in the likeness of men. (4) He was found in fashion as a man. (5) He humbled Himself. (6) He became obedient unto death. (7) He became obedient even unto the death of the cross. I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that could be written from these words of inspiration, but it is not in the multiplicity of words that we are interested, but rather that we may clearly see that the course He trod to His exaltation is the exact course that we also must follow. The truth of the matter is simply this: The holy and all-wise Lord, our God, has already launched us upon this same course, even without our knowledge or understanding. The path to exaltation and glory through humanity, humiliation, suffering, and death was that which caused the morning stars to sing and the sons of God to shout for joy. The path that leads to the mind of Christ and exaltation at God’s right hand lies not through the realm of greatness and honor nor spiritual gifts nor cleverness nor fame. Nor is it found with those whom the world calls great or whom Christians praise. The path leads instead through the valley of no reputation, servitude, and humanity with all its ills and pain, the likeness of men and all that is depraved and fallen, and finally death itself, the whole realm of it – death to self, death to the world, death to the flesh, and that particular kind of death that above all else identifies us with our Lord, even the death of the cross.
As we walk through the wilderness of this world, we are always confronted by men of reputation, wise men after the flesh, mighty men, noble men, men of pedigree and genealogy, men of race and lineage, man-made men, self-made men, world renowned preachers, internationally known evangelists, great healers and miracle workers. So great and important are they that their pictures appear from a dozen to sixteen times in one issue of their magazine. I do not say this from sarcasm or irony, but rather that you may know that the mind of Christ is not attained by the exaltation of self or by making a reputation for self, but by letting the self-life die away into dust and ashes that the new man, Christ Jesus might rise from the ashes of your crucified self. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. It is not a matter of trying to make ourselves nothing, but the great requirement is that we know ourselves as we actually are. Nothing! In my flesh dwells no good thing. Rom. 7:18. “What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Cor. 4:7. Beware when all men speak well of you. There is something wrong when they do, and that something is that self is on the throne and Christ is on the cross. Let Christ be now exalted to the throne of your heart and you yourself be of no reputation.
There is a hidden wisdom that flows like a river from the mind of Christ. It is a wisdom which none of the princes of this world can possibly know. The wisdom from beneath is earthly, sensual, and devilish and ends in death. The wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Jas. 3:17. “Where is the wise man after the flesh? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor. 1:20-25. Revised Standard
There is a secret wisdom that comes to the mature in Christ. It is a wisdom that can come from one source and one only – the mind of Christ Jesus. It is a wisdom that comes by revelation directly from the mind of God, and, whenever it comes, it opens the eyes of the understanding and transforms the life of him who receives it. I can never believe men who boast of a revelation whose lives remain unchanged. Revelation renews the mind, transforms the life and body, and cuts off conformity to the world. Is that not exactly Paul’s teaching in Rom. 12:1–2? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God… be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” The wisdom from beneath conforms all men to this world’s order, or should I say, disorder, leaving them in slavish bondage to the harlot system. The wisdom that comes from Christ, because it is the mind of Christ, wonderfully renews our mind, giving us the mind of Christ. It transforms our spirit, transforms our soul, transforms our mind, and begins the transformation of the body as well. For this reason the passage begins with the exhortation, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Certainly I believe there is healing for the body, but healing, however great or remarkable, still leaves the body corruptible and on its journey to the grave. The renewing of the mind begins a transformation, a change, a transfiguration of the body that ends in incorruption and immortality. Was not this transformation of the body the end Paul had in view when he bade us present our bodies a living sacrifice that we might by the renewing of the mind be transformed?
“There is a wisdom that we utter among the mature, a wisdom, however, not deriving from the present age nor from the powers who are in control of this age, though their days are numbered. We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery – that hidden wisdom which, before the world began, God purposed for our glory, a wisdom which not one of the powers that control the present age have learned, for, if they had learned it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But we speak, to use the words of scripture, of things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man, all that God has in readiness for them that love Him. For to us God has revealed them through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, including the deeps of God. For who among men knows a man’s thoughts, except the man’s own spirit within him? In the same way also only God’s Spirit is acquainted with God’s thoughts. But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit, which comes from God, that we may know what is freely given us by God. This we also utter, not in language, which man’s wisdom teaches us, but in that which the Spirit teaches, adapting spiritual words to spiritual truths. The unspiritual man rejects the teachings of the Spirit of God: to him they are folly, and he cannot learn them, because they are spiritually appraised. But the spiritual man appraises everything, although he is himself appraised by no one. For who has learned the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor. 2:6-16. Weymouth. I think it is very clear from the above passage that the secret wisdom which the world (and this includes the church system) cannot possibly receive, is the wisdom that comes from the mind of Christ, yea, the wisdom, which is the mind of Christ. What other reason could the apostle have for concluding this dynamic statement with the simple explanation, “But we have the mind of Christ!”
In conclusion of this frail study I disown any attempt to establish theory or to produce doctrine or any such thing that would leave your life unaffected or unchanged. There is a wisdom, which comes to the mature in Christ. It cannot come to the wise men of earth or the theologians of the church system. It comes only to those who empty themselves of the wisdom of this age. It comes to those who turn a deaf ear to the world and its program and to the religions and doctrines of men, which are little else than the conclusions of the natural mind, handed down by tradition as a stumbling stone for all mankind. The hidden wisdom of God comes to those who, seeking glory and honor and immortality, eternal life, empty themselves as Christ did, divesting Himself and becoming obedient to the cross, and not only the cross of Calvary, but the cross which this whole valley of death really is. Having done this, He was raised incorruptible and given a name which is above every name. Are we not members of His body? Are we not of that same Christ? Are we not the in-Christ company? The in-Christed people? Shall our way be different from His way? Shall He empty Himself while we remain full? Shall He humble Himself while we remain exalted? A thousand times no! For it behooved Him, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of our salvation perfect through suffering.
Do you not think it was a remarkable thing that Paul, having written, “Let this mind be in you”, should say, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” Phil 3:7–8. And again, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.” Phil. 3:15. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body…” Phil. 3:20. Knowing as we do that none may reign with Christ in His kingdom nor in the ages of ages which will yet unfold except those in whom the mind of Christ dwells in fullness, I exhort you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye be not conformed to this world, but present yourselves as living sacrifices upon the altar of God to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Can Christians grow by holding firm
To doctrine or to creed?
The Shepherd leads His sheep to where
They in new pastures feed.
Can food of yesteryear suffice
For hunger of today?
Was it not for our daily bread
That He taught us how to pray?
A soul can never grow in grace
That is content to stay
In blissful contemplation of
The things of yesterday,
And live alone in memory
Of some bright evening star
His grace had sent to lead us on;
Not keep us where we are.
Unfolding revelation is
God’s purpose for this hour.
Why live in flesh?
Are vibrant with His power!
There is a Spirit realm to which
We can triumphant rise,
And blend redemption’s melodies
With music from the skies.
Charles S. Price
THE NEW REALM
The words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, spoken in the secluded quietness of night to the seeking heart and attentive ear of Nicodemus, hold a significance far beyond the scope of human understanding. The greatest sermon ever preached on the new birth has failed to do anything more than to proclaim that the new birth was necessary that men might see the kingdom of God. We have proclaimed much the necessity of the new birth and have declared emphatically that none could see the kingdom of God without it, yet we understood little what the new birth really was, and few had even the faintest idea of the reality of the kingdom, which becomes our life, our breath, and our complete satisfaction when we are born of God’s Spirit.
No one but God could have over-ruled the gross ignorance of men, making their ignorance and lack of understanding redound to His glory and to, the extension of His immutable purposes. The world can never come to know God through human wisdom, but, since human wisdom is the only wisdom we possess, it therefore “pleased God by the foolishness of preaching Jo save all those who believe.” The truth of the words “the foolishness of preaching” becomes more significant with every measure of increasing light. It is very hard for me to understand why men love preaching and why they simply rejoice in having their pictures taken in front of microphones and before crowds. There is nothing wonderful or wise about preaching, for God’s word names it as foolishness. It is a means that God has taken to help ignorant, foolish men to believe. Because they are devoid of the wisdom of God, impotent in understanding, and destitute of His knowledge, therefore it pleased God by the kindergarten foolishness of preaching to save all who would simply believe.
Perhaps the anger of some will be aroused because of this statement, but if you will carefully scrutinize your own life and the lives of those around you, you will be forced to agree that no man has ever been perfected by listening to sermons. The reason that believers are on such a desperately low plane is that they have spent their lives listening to re-hashed sermons, holding out their withered spiritual hands like beggars pleading for a pittance to sustain life and keep them saved for another week. What a desperate tragedy that really is! Then, to make matters infinitely worse, times without number the preacher himself has less spiritual life, experience, and truth than the people he is trying to feed. Juveniles with a graduation diploma in one hand and a Bible in the other, full of self-confidence and destitute of experience, stand to recite their childish sermons before the ancient grey head. The mighty Isaiah, speaking with prophetic exactness, cried, “As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them. O, My people, they which lead thee caused thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.” Isa. 3:12. The times of this ignorance God winked at (Acts 17:30), but now He is commanding all men to repent and come to a knowledge of Himself, separate and apart from sermons, systems, and ceremonies, teachers, preachers, and things. He is putting in the hearts of men a longing to know Him as sons of God should know Him, a longing to be like Him who was the pattern Son, the sign Son, the Apostle of our profession, the High Priest of our calling to sonship, who maketh intercession that we should be even as He is, exactly as He is, the likeness of His likeness and the image of His image.
On the great windswept prairies where we live it is possible to stand on certain hilltops to sweep with unobstructed vision the vast plains that lie between distant horizons perhaps a hundred miles apart. But all things seen from a great distance are found to be very different when we see them face-to-face. In our readers in public school was the story of the House with the Golden Windows. It told of a barefoot farm lad who loved to look across the distant valleys as the sun was setting to a little house with windows of shining gold. He was a faithful little worker about the farm and as a reward his parents gave him a day off to do just as he pleased. With a lunch in his pocket he set off across the great valley to see the house with the golden windows. He told the kind lady who met him at the door that he had come from across the valley to see the golden windows of her house. “Ah,” she said, “We are much too poor to have golden windows, and besides glass gives much more light, but stay with us until the morning and I will show you a house with golden windows.” And when the sun arose in the morning, she pointed far across the valley to his own little home where the windows shone like gold in the rays of the rising sun. So it is in the spiritual realm. We hear of the new birth and we think we understand it. Faintly we hear the truths of sonship and we imagine we are already the sons of God. We hear of victory over the flesh and we think we have attained it. We mistake conversion for the new birth, and believing for receiving. We have seen through a glass darkly, but face-to-face we shall presently behold all things as they are. The mists that have hung like shrouds upon the shoulders of the distant peaks sublime are fleeing away before the rising sun of righteousness that we may know as we are known.
As sure as we breathe, a new day is dawning; a dispensation is at hand. The weakness and unprofitableness of the dispensation of grace in which men only walked in faith is giving way to the kingdom age when all men shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest, and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. The new birth is becoming a reality.
Believers of all ages have sold themselves woefully short on all the great promises of God. We have been content to say that every believer was born again and needed but to wait until some distant day when he would fly away to heaven either by death or by rapture. I remember seeing this sign vividly portrayed by the public highway: Except a man be born again, he cannot go to heaven. That statement, I fear, has been the sum and substance of Christian belief, but we have missed the true meaning of the truth given to Nicodemus so long ago. John 3:3.
To be born from above is to be born from a higher realm. Spirit is higher than flesh even though both should dwell together in one body. To be born of the flesh is one thing, for there you are born into a natural realm capable only of partaking of natural things. But to be born of the Spirit is to be born into a new and higher realm where the eternal things are clearly seen before us even as natural things are seen by natural men. Without the birth from above it is impossible to see the kingdom of God, for natural men have not been given the power to see spiritual things.
The realm of the new birth is the realm of sonship. It is the realm where Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived and moved and had His being. Not that He was born again, for He had never sinned nor died and needed not the regeneration of ordinary men. But He lived and moved in the realm of sonship full and complete. He lived and moved in the realm of the kingdom, which He came to proclaim and which for three years or more He demonstrated in small part. As Moses led Israel to Kadesh Barnea (Num, 13:14) where they could actually see the promised land but through unbelief turned back to the wilderness, so Jesus led the whole world to a sort of spiritual Kadesh Barnea where the glory of the coming kingdom came into full view only to be lost sight of in a spiritual wilderness in which we have wandered for almost two thousand years. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived in a realm above and beyond the realm of ordinary men, for while we have lived as sons of men, He lived as the Son of God. While we have been from beneath, He was from above. While our kingdoms have been of the earth, His was not from hence. While all this is undeniably true to any honest man, yet, praise be to the eternal purpose of God, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became the Son of man that we who were born sons of men might become sons of God.
The Holy Scriptures bear the eternal promise, “Behold, I make all things new.” Not all things are to be made new at the same time, for God is making some things new right now, and all things will be re-born in their own order and time. Even the earth and the heaven will be re-born as a result of this most precious promise.
Jesus is the apostle of our faith. He is the sign Son, the first begotten Son, the pattern Son. All who are to come to sonship through the ages shall come into that same wonderful image of Jesus Christ. It is time now, above all times, for us to mightily stress these truths. I see no possibility of any long delay until the hour of the manifestation of the sons of God becomes a reality.
We do not attain the realities of sonship by thumb twiddling. They appear as a great vision before our understanding and we attain them through surmounting faith, patience, endurance, and eternal vigilance.
The heights of great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight;
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
I for one shall be surprised indeed if much more time elapses before the kingdom day breaks in its glory upon the whole earth. The woman of Rev. 12:1-6 is without doubt in travail and the manchild, who will shepherd all nations with a rod of iron, is coming forth as a result of her travail. The forces of organized religion, typified by the great dragon, are banding closer and closer together ready to devour the sons of God, the manchild, as soon as he is born. But they will not succeed, for these sons do not belong to the weakness of an earthly realm but to an heavenly realm far above corruption, mortality, and death.
The realm of sonship is an entirely new realm. Jesus Christ was the pattern Son of God. All God’s sons will be in His image and His likeness in everything. When we use the terms image and likeness, we are always prone to think of a sort of physical resemblance as a son bears physical likeness to a father, but the likeness which the sons of God bear to Jesus Christ goes infinitely beyond physical likeness. It includes all wisdom, knowledge, power, holiness, truth, justice, love, understanding, judgment, government, authority, and unity with the Father. We may name any attribute of sonship found in Jesus Christ, whether visible or invisible, and the truth abides eternal and sure that such is the pattern for all God’s sons. We shall through infinite grace enter into that same image.
The prayer found in the sixth chapter of Matthew which we call the Lord’s Prayer is really a pattern prayer. It was a guide and a compass that was intended to keep all man’s prayers in the channel of God’s will. There need be no objection made to reciting the prayer as is so often done in public and private. But these words were not given us to be mumbled thoughtlessly as a part of our ritual and form of worship. This prayer is a life that is lived. Until the individual request becomes an experience in our own life, we have understood but little of the pattern Jesus gave us that day.
The request, Thy kingdom come, is followed by the request, Thy will be done. It is the coming of the new will, which ushers in the kingdom of God. For six thousand years the will of man has ruled the nations of the earth. Man’s own self-will has ruled his own life and the will of man has forever been imposed on other men. Monarchs and dictators have risen up, bombastically imposing their will and authority over whole empires, delighting in the bondage and slavery they brought to their own subjects. Men impose their wills on men. Nations impose their wills on nations. When no domineering taskmaster enslaves us from without, we immediately become captive to our own will which is the will of the flesh, and, thus held chained to its carnal desires and ambitions, we pass our lives on earth as groveling slaves to our own self-will. We lay up treasures where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break through and steal. We put our money in bags that are full of holes. Instead of passing our time in communion with God and thus partaking of the mind of Christ, we spend our time lolling in an easy chair allowing our minds to partake of filth and corruption that has had no equal since Noah’s day. We allow the image of the adulterer and the adulteress, the thief, the murderer, and the crook to erase the image of Christ from our minds and the hope of sonship is slain in the dens of murderers and thieves. Do not try to tell me it doesn’t matter. Can a man take fire into his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals and his feet not be burned? Prov. 6:27–28.
Nay, World! I turn away
Though thou seem fair and good;
Thy friendly outstretched hand
Is stained with Jesus’ blood.
If in the least device
I stoop to take a part,
All unawares thine influence steals
God’s glory from my heart.
I miss the Savior’s smile
Whene’er I walk thy ways;
Thy laughter drowns the Spirit’s voice
And chokes the songs of praise.
Whene’er I turn aside
To join thee for an hour,
The face of Christ grows blurred and dim,
And prayer has lost its power.
The coming of the will of God into a believer’s life is a personal experience far, far greater than the receiving of any spiritual gift. The coming of the will of God into our life is in truth the coming of the mind of Christ. It is the beginning of the very spirit of the kingdom within us. It is the crowning and enthroning of Jesus Christ in the throne room of our heart. As long as self sits on the throne, carrying out its private ambitions and ordering our life according to the human will, Jesus is still rejected, still despised, and still crucified. The world is full of men and women who proudly boast that they want God’s will and only God’s will, yet they spend their whole lives carrying out their own ambitions and trying to fulfill their own purposes. They venture not to come before God with fasting and with the prayer, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Men have become so busy presenting their programs before God and asking His blessing upon their own works and their own ideas that they never think to cast their ambitions aside while He leads them into his purpose and will.
Those rejected men who will come to the Lord, saying, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name and in Thy Name done many wonderful works?” (Matt. 7:22), were not liars nor even deceivers. They were self-willed men who preached and performed miracles because that is what they wanted to do. They were not doing it because Christ had either called them or sent them. Therefore their works, though wonderful, amounted to nothing because they were done after man’s own will. The existing church system has an endless variety of this type of men and women who lay claim to being great servants of God, but who in reality are serving their own bellies.
There are three very definite stages that transpire in becoming one with the divine will. First there comes the Gethsemane struggle in casting off our own will. It is here above all other places that we face death to self. It is here in dust and ashes and bloody sweat that we begin to plead with strong crying and tears, “Not my will but Thine be done.” It is here that we are faced with the fact that this cup cannot pass except we drink it. This struggle between my will and His will is fierce and bitter and often long, but I tell you of a truth that His will cannot be manifest in us until Gethsemane is passed clear through.
Did you ever notice that when David, the king of Israel, was rejected by his kingdom, driven from his throne by his son Absalom, and betrayed by his best friend Ahithophel, he passed weeping over the brook Kedron? 2 Sam. 15:23. It was over this same brook Kedron that Jesus Christ passed on His way to Gethsemane. The longing for unity with God’s will brought David across the brook to his Gethsemane. Unity with God’s will brought Christ across the brook to Gethsemane, and our longing for God’s will will also bring us across the brook that separates us from the purpose of men and the will of the flesh into the garden of His passion where we become one with Him.
This is an experience that we must face alone. We will not have many friends who can help us through the darkness of Gethsemane. It was only a few hours before Gethsemane that Jesus said to Judas, “That thou doest do quickly,” and Judas went out and “it was night.” It was night in so many ways. It was night for Judas; it was night for the disciples; it was night for the world; and it was night for Jesus. The darkest loneliest night we will ever go through is when we pass through our Gethsemane, for this is the place where we pass from our will to His. The don’t-care noisy world will rush on, intent with its business. The don’t-care priesthood will be busy preparing its robes, its sermons and sacrifices for the Sabbath. The professing church will be relentlessly pushing ahead with its programs. Our best and most devoted friends will all be idly slumbering, and somewhere there is sure to be a traitor carefully scheming our crucifixion. Gethsemane is the loneliest place in all the world of spiritual experience. Even Calvary was graced by the presence of a few heart-broken women and “that disciple whom Jesus loved,” but Gethsemane was alone.
How often I have thought of the Gethsemane struggle of self-willed Jacob as he journeyed back to the land of his fathers after an absence of many years. Gen. 32. He was on his way to meet his twin brother, Esau, who was coming against him with four hundred men. Esau is the flesh. Jacob, in fear of his brother Esau, sent all his belongings over the brook and Jacob was left alone to wrestle and gain the victory over the will of the flesh. Even back there in Genesis 32:23 behold the brook! The same old brook that divides us from our loved ones and our earthly possessions as we struggle to attain unity with the will of God. The cunning, conniving, old Jacob nature within every one of us must be confessed and destroyed that our name should be no more Jacob, but Israel, the prince with God. A prince with God is without doubt a son of God. “Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for he had seen God face to face and his life was preserved.” Verse 30. Jacob becomes Israel and Gethsemane becomes Peniel, the face of God.
I tell you in truth that I know by experience that these things are so. Well do I know by experience what it is to cross over the brook and enter alone into the Garden. I know the heartache of trying to awaken sleeping brethren only to have them despise and hate you and fall asleep again. I know what it is to see the hand of the traitor at work hoping to gain by your awful loss, but most of all I know the long, long, lonely hours when no prayer could pass the lips except to say, “Not my will but Thine be done.” It is here and here alone that we begin to tread the ground of true sonship, for sons must know only God’s will. None but those who know God’s will can ever hope to be led by the Spirit. But as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
We said above that the entering in to God’s will was in three definite steps. First there comes the mighty struggle of Gethsemane, the awful clash between the will of man and the will of God. Then second, when the victory is gained, we will find ourselves meekly submitting, meekly saying “amen” to all the will of God. But there is a third stage which will eventually come. It is the time when we “delight to do God’s will.” Psa. 40:8
Whereas in the beginning we sought to be conformed to God’s will, now we hunger and thirst after it. We seek it out that with joy we may follow it in life or death. The will of God becomes the highest and grandest prize. All else becomes utter dung by comparison. “I delight to do Thy will, O my God,” is the theme of our song from month to month while our soul is always enquiring to be enlightened with the revelation of His mind for us. The very thought of living after the counsel of our own will is a repugnant odor in our nostrils, and the evil thought of counting the cost of following Him never darkens the soul. This indeed is the new will.
With great earnestness I pray that God will open your understanding, for it is of perfect truth that we tell you that no man can ever hope to reign in the kingdom of Christ until his will has thus become one with the will of the Father. Were it possible for one man to reign in the kingdom while still possessing his own will and not being in accord with the will of the Father, confusion, hatred, and rebellion would follow even as it did in lovely Eden in the beginning. Therefore all who seek the kingdom praying, Thy kingdom come, must first be filled with the knowledge that His will must be done in earth as it is done in heaven. The will of God in the earth is in truth the kingdom of God.
THE NEW MIND
The wisdom of men is foolishness with God. We will all agree that the puny wisdom of man has sought out many inventions. It is remarkable to see what he has accomplished as he has set his mind to work on the tasks that confronted him. The scripture says, “God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.” Ecc. 7:29. The expression “but they hath sought out many inventions” shows us that his inventions have tended to degrade him rather than to help him. It is certain that whatsoever a man does to bring himself freedom in one direction serves to bring him into bondage in another, for he must work harder to pay for the things that make his work easier, and what time he saves he uses to indulge the flesh.
It is not the weakness and unprofitableness of the human mind that we want to stress, for that is only negative at best, but what we want to show is the greatness of the mind of Christ. God has chosen to demonstrate the infinite gulf between the mind of man and the mind of God by a simple comparison of the two in which He shows that “the wisdom of man is foolishness with God.” 1 Cor. 3:19. Actually there is no such thing as foolishness with God, for with God “the thought of foolishness is sin” but He has chosen this form of expression to show us clearly that the highest flights of human wisdom are no more than foolishness in His sight. In this world things are only big or strong or wise by comparison with things that are small or weak or unwise. A man who stands 6’8″ is a giant compared to most men, but, when he stands beside a man who is 8’6″, he appears to be almost a midget. Thus it is with human wisdom. When we compare the wisdom of man with the wisdom of man, it may appear very great and very wise, but, when we compare the wisdom of man with the wisdom of God, then we are forced to conclude that the wisdom of man in its highest degree does not compare with that which God calls foolishness. The world by wisdom knew not God; therefore it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Because it was impossible for human wisdom to comprehend even the simplest of God’s purposes, the Lord in grace laid aside the necessity of human understanding and made faith the only requirement necessary to man’s justification. Thus it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. See 1 Cor. 1.
God seldom chooses wise men after the flesh for any of His work because wise men after the flesh are not a whit wiser than a fool in spiritual things. Thus it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God, because the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor. 1:19-25. It is for this reason that Paul says, “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” 1 Cor. 1:26–27
“The world by wisdom knew not God.” What greater argument can we propose to demonstrate our utter need of the mind of Christ? It is the mind of man that keeps the world in continual turmoil. It seethes and bubbles and boils and erupts like a vast cauldron and the wisdom of man is powerless to help it. We live in an era of international tension such as the world has never known. In spite of plenty, hunger stalks the earth. Justice and equality have taken wings and righteous judgment is scarcely known. The earth abounds in forms of godliness that deny the power, and men both in the church and out of it are lovers of pleasures/are more than lovers of God. For six thousand years man has struggled to bring about a sort of Utopia, but the human mind, prone as it is to all manner of greed and selfishness, can never deliver the world or bring a reign of righteousness.
The mind that was in Christ was the Father’s mind. We must never overlook that fact. When Paul said, “Let this mind dwell in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” he knew well that the mind that was in Christ Jesus was the mind of God the Father. There can never be unity of mind until all have one mind. It was the Father’s mind dwelling in the Son, Christ Jesus that made Him completely one with the Father. “I and My Father are one,” He said, and so They were. The wonderful unity between Christ, the Son of God, and His father existed because Christ dwelt in the Father and the Father dwelt in Christ. In Christ dwelt all the fullness of the godhead bodily. The great truth that is wide open to our understanding is this: We shall be made one with God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son in exactly the same way as They are one. Christ knew perfectly the one and only place of true unity. It was this knowledge that prompted His prayer and caused Him to ask, “That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given them that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me that they may be made perfect in one.” John 17:21-23. This is unity indeed. It is the kind of unity God demands. It is unity of mind and unity of glory.
All over the world today there is talk of unity. Councils are being held with ever increasing regularity in an effort to unite all phases of the church system. The words of Christ, “that they all may be one,” are being wistfully repeated, but the kind of unity they are striving to attain is not the unity of which the Bible speaks. Man strives to unite all people under one authority and one earthly head that a united front might be presented to the world, but this is a false unity based on slavish servitude to a system. It has nothing in common with the unity that comes from oneness with the Father and with the Son. All the great religious systems of the world are certain to come together and nothing can stop them. But do not be deceived by it. Rather flee from it as from a plague, for it has the horns of a lamb, appearing harmless and good, but it has the voice of a dragon. Rev. 13:1. Isaiah turned his prophetic telescope down to our day to behold the frantic endeavors for religious unity, then spoke with exactness in these words: “Behold, they shall surely come together, but not by Me.” Isa 54:15. This is not the unity we need, for it will not be unity but slavery based on dread and fear. The only true unity is the unity that flows like a universal river of life from the indwelling mind of Christ.
It is the mind of Christ that will order and govern the world in the kingdom age. Every son of God will be imbued with the mind of Christ and from those holy omniscient minds the law and government of the Lord will flow forth with a harmony that will encompass the earth with perfect peace and fill it to overflowing with the knowledge of the Lord. Men will learn war no more, for there will be no cause for division. Then shall men know the meaning of the prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” No longer shall greedy, carnal minds seek to lay up vast wealth for future days, but all will know the glory of living daily from God’s bountiful hand.
At this trysting hour we cannot possibly emphasize too strongly the need to seek to become one with the will of God, to cast off the carnal mind and let the mind of Christ dwell in us. As it is impossible for the oak that fell last winter to up-rear its shattered stem, so also it is impossible for the natural mind to attain sonship. Only the indwelling mind of the Father, which also indwelt Jesus Christ, can bring us to sonship, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. It is the Spirit of His mind that brings us into unity with the Father, unity with the Son, and unity with each other.
Christian people of all ages have sought unity on the basis of beliefs and doctrines. They have tried to hammer out doctrinal differences on the basis of the Bible, all viewing the distant mountain peak from a different angle, all coming to a different conclusion, but all thoroughly convinced that they are right. We have been like the six blind men of Industan who went to see the elephant. The natural mind can never bring unity. It knows only in part and an infinitesimal part at that, but the mind of Christ brings perfect unity, no secret is hidden from its universal wisdom. The apostle Paul opened the gates to a profound secret when he said, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom. 12:2. We have heard a great deal about the corruptible putting on incorruption and the mortal putting on immortality. We have embraced many theories as to how this would be accomplished, but in one mighty word of inspiration the apostle sweeps aside all theories to tell us that we shall be “transformed by the renewing of the mind.” Therefore he declares, “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…” We present them to Him for transformation, and this transformation takes places by the renewing of the mind. The old mind, carnal and human as it is, is always conformed to the weak and beggarly elements of the world. It leaves us mortal, corruptible, and unchanged, but the mind of Christ, which is the new mind, is a transforming mind. It renews not only the mind, but the body as well.
A few years ago an article appeared in the Life magazine. It was most enlightening when spiritually applied to the renewing of the mind. For many centuries biologists had wondered what could possibly cause a caterpillar to change to a butterfly. At last one biologist discovered a very significant thing. He found that this remarkable transformation was caused by a hormone in the tiny brain of the caterpillar. He found that, if the hormone was removed, the caterpillar would remain a caterpillar until death, but, if the hormone was left in the brain, the caterpillar would change to a beautiful butterfly. To prove his theory he joined five caterpillars together, removing the hormone from the brains of the first four and leaving it in the brain of the last one. The first four remained as they were while the last changed to a butterfly. He then reversed the process, leaving the hormone in the head of the first worm, and removing it from the last four. To the amazement of all the whole five changed to butterflies, or shall we say, became the same as the head one. The spiritual significance of this remarkable discovery cannot be overlooked, for it is God’s word in His creation, teaching us that as a worm is transformed to a celestial creature by a tiny cell in its mind, so also are we transformed by receiving the mind of Christ. Thus Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice – and be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” Rom. 12:1–2
The renewed mind will transform you and me to mature sons of God who know God’s perfect will. Rom. 12:2. Notice in particular that Paul says that we are transformed by the renewing of the mind that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Since it is the mind of Christ in God’s sons that will govern the world in the coming age, it is therefore perfectly evident that this same renewed mind will change and transform the entire earth, bringing in righteousness, justice, equity, and truth that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. Jesus called this glorious kingdom age the regeneration, (Matt. 19:28), and declared that every one who had followed Him should sit with Him in the regeneration. Just as the mind of man is now bringing desolation, war, famine, death, and disease upon the earth with an appalling darkness that deepens with every passing day, so the mind of Christ in the sons of God will bring order from the chaos. Once again the Spirit of God will move upon the waters restoring order from the chaos. The Eternal Word will once again command, “Let there be light,” and the light of the mind of the Son of God will roll back the gloomy clouds of the darkness and death of the carnal mind, and Eden, lovely Eden, shall reappear.
THE NEW ATTITUDE
Jesus Christ is the apostle and high priest of our profession. Heb. 3:1. An apostle is theirs/ advocate of a new order. He is not necessarily a worker of miracles or a performer of signs. A high priest is an intercessor between God and man. As our apostle Jesus Christ deals with us on behalf of God, and as our high priest He deals with God on behalf of us. He is a mediator both ways. The life and ministry of Jesus Christ demonstrated as nothing else could what the realm of sonship really is. He is the Word of God, and I declare with all emphasis that the life He lived was just as much the word of God as the words He spoke. Our trouble is that we have preached one thing by mouth and preached another thing by life. But the life of Christ was in exact accord with the words He spoke. We will now demonstrate and clearly show that the life of this apostle and high priest of our profession is without doubt the same life into which we as sons of God are now coming.
The attitude of Jesus was one of complete independence of ordinary necessities. “Take no thought for your life,” He said, “what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. …And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matt. 6:25, 26, 28, 29. Devout men of all ages have wistfully listened to those blessed words of life, yet none have been able to partake fully of their truth. Truly, many have lived by a faith in God, and many have known what it was for God to supply their needs, but far more than bare faith is implied here. Taught here is an experience of abiding in God where God is the source of all things, our food, our raiment, and our very existence. This, men have not yet discovered.
Jesus showed us clearly that the life He taught was completely independent of every earthly tradition and custom. That life belonged to the realm of the kingdom, which we are to seek first of all. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33. Jesus came to preach the kingdom. That was His gospel. He did not come to set up His kingdom. He came to proclaim it and tell the world that it was coming. All the things that were spoken in the Sermon on the Mount pertain to the kingdom, which we are soon to enter. These are the laws that will govern the dispensation of the kingdom just as surely as the Law of Moses governed the dispensation of the law. The kingdom age is the age of sonship. It is the age of the will of God. It is the age of the mind of Christ. It is the one thousand year Sabbath of rest from the preceding six thousand years of labor and travail since Adam fell. Adam in his unfallen state was no more careful about raiment than a lily of the field. He had far less concern about daily bread than the birds of the air which sow not, neither reap, nor gather into barns. Adam was a Son of God, living and moving and having his being in God. But, when he lost that blessed estate, he was condemned to a life of care and travail, for God said, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shall thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee: and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” Gen. 3:17-19 This has been man’s awful travail for six thousand years. All that time he has sought to find life where no life is, forced to labor for that which is not bread. All man’s labor is for his mouth and yet his appetite is never full. Ecc. 6:7
But now for a brief period Jesus appeared proclaiming a new age, a new realm, and an entirely new attitude. The strange and wonderful things He proclaimed, He lived, demonstrating that it was possible for a Son of God to live as lilies live. Yea, He taught more than that; He showed that such a life was the true life of a son of God, all else falling far short of the blessedness of son-ship.
Jesus was independent of the need of human learning. “How knoweth this man letters having never learned?” was the question of the learned doctors of the law. John 7:15. While other men wearied their flesh with much study and pored over books of earthly wisdom, here was one who knew all things both visible and invisible, yet had never studied a book nor learned an alphabet. When He was twelve years old, He was found sitting amid doctors and lawyers, hearing them and asking them questions until all were amazed at His understanding and answers. He knew the thoughts of men’s hearts; He knew who would betray Him. He knew the graces and virtues of all and He knew the sins of all though He never studied lessons nor learned of men. And how was it that He knew all these things, which men can never attain through schools and books? It was because the omniscient mind of the Father dwelt in Him. His was the wisdom of which you and I are about to partake. This was a display of the wisdom that will govern the world in the ages to come. Let us not sell ourselves short on this most important theme. Think not that we have the mind of Christ dwelling in us just because we have had a few hunches and inspirations that have been correct, or even a few definite leadings of the Spirit. This mind belongs to a new realm. This mind brings us into an entirely new attitude toward all things, both on earth and in heaven.
It would be very easy to go on endlessly, demonstrating the glory of the wisdom of the mind of the only begotten Son of God. But the magnificent secret of it all is found in these words: “For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting; Whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak,” John 12:49-50
The life of Christ demonstrated that He lived far above all of earth’s systems, and because of the realm in which He lived, He was completely independent of them in every sense of the word. While foxes had holes and the birds of the air had nests, the Son of man had nowhere to lay His head. Though He was called the carpenter’s son, yet He built neither mansion nor hut for Himself. No mention is ever made of any abode He called His own. One day He turned and saw two of the disciples of John following Him, and said unto them, “What seek ye?” They replied, “Master, where dwellest Thou?” He said unto them, “Come and see.” John 1:35-39. I have often wondered where He took them and what He showed them, but I do not think it was a house, a cave, or a nest. Perhaps it was the secret place of the Most High where He abode under the shadow of the Almighty.
John 8:1 really belongs to chapter seven and should read like this: “And every man went to his own house, and Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” The Son of God, who told us to take no thought for any of these things, lived out exactly what He preached. Don’t you try to do it! You will only make a fool of yourself. But I tell you beyond a doubt that the realm of sonship in which He dwelt is the realm to which we are also now coming, and that before the end of this age. What else do you suppose Jesus meant when He prayed saying, “Father, I will that they should be with Me where I am.” John 17:24. He was the first Son of a vast family that He is bringing to His own power and glory, and to even greater glory because He has gone to the Father. “The works that I do shall ye do also,” He said, “and greater works than these shall ye do because I go to the Father.
Notice next that Jesus was independent of natural food. Though He often ate natural food, He was never in bondage to it, nor did He have to slave for it by the sweat of His face. The scripture records at least five places where Christ showed that He lived on a plane where His need for food and drink was supplied from a source far above that which men and women know. Though all men, in fact, all creatures, are more in bondage to food and drink than to any other thing, yet this Son of God was never in bondage to either. The very first miracle He performed was to supply wine for a wedding feast when they had none. John 2:1-12. Certainly there is a spiritual significance to this intriguing story, but our point just now is that He needed not to depend on any natural thing or on any natural course of events. He supplied all things from an infinite supply which, was neither enriched by withholding nor impoverished by giving, for saith God, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine and the cattle of a thousand hills.”
For three days the hungry multitudes had endured the desert heat as they listened to the words of life that fell from the Saviour’s lips. They had brought their sick and afflicted from afar and many were the marvelous scenes of joy as demons went out, lame walked, lepers were cleansed, blind men saw, deaf heard, and sins were forgiven.
At even, when the sun was set,
The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;
Oh, with what divers pains they met,
And with what joy they went away.
But now the three days were over and well the Savior knew that, if He sent the multitudes away without food, they would faint by the way, so, calling Philip to Him, He said to prove him, “Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?” Philip replied, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one may take a little.” Then Andrew (that man who loved to introduce people to Christ) ventured to suggest, “There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two small fishes, but what are they among so many?” And Jesus said, “Make the men sit down.” So the men sat down in number about five thousand. And Jesus blessed the loaves with the blessing of the Son of God, and five thousand hungry men, beside women and children, ate until they were filled. And when they gathered up the fragments that nothing be lost, they had twelve baskets full. John 6:12.
Jesus had no concern about how much money was in the bag. Whether there was much or little meant nothing to Him. He was a Son of God and in the realm of sons food is the bread of life from heaven and drink is the water of life. In this eventide of the age I hear Him saying, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you, for Him hath God the Father sealed.”
On his journey through Samaria, weary, thirsty, and hungry, Jesus sat at the wayside well. He had sent His disciples away to the village to buy food, and, as He waited by the well, He asked drink of a woman who came to draw water. But in the conversation that followed the woman forgot to give Him water, for He had told her the story of the water of life which He would give, and, of which if one should drink, he would never thirst again. When the disciples came back with food from the village, He would not eat, for He said, “I have meat to eat which ye know not of.” John 4. He was a Son and He lived in the realm He proclaimed.
Few of our bondages present more difficulty than distance. Our methods of travel are always awkward, growing more costly with each advance in technology. The Son of God lived in a realm independent of earth’s modes of transportation. It is true He often walked, or rode in ships, but it is also true that He walked on water as though it were dry land, and once, upon entering into a ship, immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. John 6:21. He needed not to buy an ass to ride to Jerusalem, but sent His disciples with the message, “The Master hath need of him.” And when the wonderful hour of His departure from earth arrived, He ascended to heaven to the wonder and amazement of some five hundred witnesses who had gone with Him to the Mount of Olives. Luke 24:49-51.
As time and space will fail us, we will mention but one more important point. Jesus lived beyond the power of earth’s laws and governments. It is scarcely possible to describe properly the story of Christ’s arrest in Gethsemane by the angry mob with lanterns and torches. There was such blind hate, envy, and confusion on the part of the angry mob, and such overflowing fullness of love, patience and kindness on the part of Christ! But notice! When Christ asked the mob, “Whom seek ye?” they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” And when He calmly told them, “I am He,” they all fell flat on their backs, completely impotent and helpless at His feet. Then He, standing over their helpless, prostrate forms, asked again, “Whom seek ye?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” He answered again saying, “I have told you that I am He; If therefore ye seek Me, let these (the disciples) go their ways.” John 18:2-9. Truly none but a Son of God could display such power over human authority. Not only before the violent mob was this divine authority manifest, but before the might of imperial Rome as well, for when Pilate insolently enquired, “Answerest Thou nothing? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee and power to release Thee?” Jesus replied with the assurance of sonship. “Thou couldst have no power at all against Me except it were given thee from above.” John 19:10-12
Therefore let it be known with truth and assurance that the sons of God belong in all things to a higher realm. Unto this high realm many are now proceeding, and from it the world will be filled with the knowledge and government of the Lord.
The following remarkable prophecy, given in the year 1619, forcefully confirms the truths written above. We quote it in its entirety for your blessing and benefit. Please read and re-read it, for its truths are profound – author unknown.
“There shall be a total and full redemption by Christ. This is a hidden mystery not to be understood without the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is at hand to reveal the same unto all holy seekers and loving enquirers. The completion of such a redemption is withheld and abstracted by the seals of Revelation. Wherefore as the Spirit of God shall open seal after seal, so shall this redemption come to be revealed, both particularly and universally. In the gradual opening of the mystery of redemption in Christ doth consist the unsearchable wisdom of God, which may continually reveal new and fresh things to the worthy seeker. In order to which the ark of the testimony in heaven shall be opened before the end of this age, and the living testimony herein contained shall be unsealed.
“The presence of the divine ark (Christ) will constitute the life of this virgin church, and wherever this body is there must the ark of necessity be. The unsealing of the living testimony with the ark of God must begin the promulgation of the everlasting gospel of the kingdom. The proclamation of the testimony will be as the sounding of a trumpet to “alarm” the nations of professed Christendom. Authority shall be given by Christ to the putting an end to all controversies concerning the true church that is born of the New Jerusalem mother. His decision will be the actual sealing of the body of Christ with the name (or authority) of God, giving them a commission to act by the same. This new name (or authority) will distinguish them from the seven thousand names of Babylon.
“The election and preparation of this virgin church is to be after a secret and hidden manner, as David in his ministry was chosen and anointed by the prophet of the Lord, yet was not admitted to the outward profession of the kingdom for a considerable time afterward. Of the stem of David a virgin church, which hath known nothing of a man or human constitution is to be born, and it will require some time for it to get out of the minority and arrive at full mature age. The birth of the virgin church was typified by St. John’s vision where the great wonder appeared in heaven, bringing forth her first born, that was caught up to the throne of God (or identified with the authority of God). For as a virgin woman brought forth Christ after the flesh, so shall a virgin church bring forth the first born after the Spirit, who shall be endowed with the seven spirits of God. This church so brought forth and sealed with the mark of divine authority will have no bonds or impositions; but the holy unction among these new born spirits will be all and all.
“There is not at this day (1619) visible upon the earth such a church; all profession being found light when weighed in the balances, therefore they are rejected by the supreme judge, which rejection will be for this cause that out of them may come a new and glorious church. Then shall the glory of God and the Lamb so rest upon this typical tabernacle that it shall be called the tabernacle of wisdom, and though it is not now known in visibility, yet it shall be seen as coming out of the wilderness within a short time. Then will it go on to multiply and propagate itself universally, not only to the number of the first born (144,000) but also to the remnant of the seed, against whom the dragon will make war continually. Wherefore the spirit of David shall revive in this church and most especially in some elect members of it as the blossoming root. These will have might given them to overcome the dragon and his angels even as David overcame Goliath and the Philistine army.
“This will be the standing up of the great prince Michael, and it will be as the appearing of Moses against Pharaoh in order that the chosen seed may be brought out of hard servitude. Egypt doth figure this servile creation under which Abraham’s seed groans, but a prophet and a most prophetical generation will the Most High raise up who shall deliver His people by the force of spiritual arms; for which there must be raised up certain head powers to bear the first office, who are to be persons in favor with God whose dread and fear shall fall on all nations, visible and invisible, because the mighty acting power of the Holy Spirit shall rest upon them. For Christ will appear in some chosen vessels to bring into the Promised Land the New Creation state.
“Thus Moses, Joshua, and Aaron may be considered types of some upon whom the same Spirit will come; yet in greater proportion. Whereby they shall make way for the ransomed to return to Mi. Zion; but none shall stand under God but those who have become “tried” stones after the pattern and similitude of Christ. This will be a fiery trial through which a very few will be able to pass or bear up in it; whereby the waiters for this visible breaking forth are strictly charged to holdfast, and wait together in the unity of pure love.
“This trial will be of absolute necessity to all for the clearing away of all remaining infirmities of the natural mind, and the burning of all wood, hay, and stubble, for nothing must remain in the fire, for as a refiner shall Hz purify the sons of the kingdom. There will be some who will be fully redeemed, being clothed upon with a priestly garment after the Melchizedek order. This will qualify them for governing authority. Therefore it is required on their part to suffer the Spirit of burning and fanning of the fiery breath, searching every part within them until they arrive at a Fixed Body from whence the wonders are to flow out.
“Upon this body will be the fixation of the Urim and Thummin that are the portion of the Melchizedek priesthood whose descent is not counted in the genealogy of that creation which is under the fall, but in another genealogy which is a new creation. Hence these priests will have a deep inward search and divine sight into secret things of deity, will be able to prophesy in a clear ground, not darkly and enigmatically, for they will know what is couched in the first originality of all beings, in the eternal anti-type of nature, and will be able to bring them forth according to the divine counsel and ordination. The Lord sweareth in truth and righteousness that from Abraham’s line, according to the Spirit, there shall arise a holy seed, produced and manifested in the last age. The mighty spirit of Cyrus is appointed to lay the foundation of this Third Temple and support it in building.
“There are characteristics and marks whereby the pure, virgin church shall be known and distinguished from all others that are low, false, and counterfeit. There must be a manifestation of the Spirit whereby to edify and raise up this church, bringing heaven down upon the earth, and representing here the New Jerusalem state, in order to which Spirits are thus begotten and born of God, ascend to New Jerusalem above where their Head in majesty doth reign. None but those who have ascended and received His glory can condescend and communicate the same, being thereby His representative upon the earth and subordinate priests under Him now; He that has ascended and glorified has made Himself as it were our debtor; consequently He will not be wanting in qualifying and furnishing certain high and principal instruments who shall be most humble, and as little regarded as David was, whom He will dignify with honor and priestly sovereignty for drawing to them the scattered flocks, and gathering them into one-fold out of all nations.
“Therefore there should be a holy emulation and ambition stirred up among the bands of believers that they may be of the first fruits unto Him that is risen from the dead, and so be made principal agents for Him and with Him, that they may be, if possible, of the number of the First-born of the New Jerusalem mother. All true waiters of His kingdom in Spirit ought to be numbered among the virgin spirits, to whom this message appertains. Be watchful and quicken your pace.”
TREASURES OF TRUTH, Volume 9, Here Is The Mind That Hath Wisdom [George R. Hawtin] ~ BOOK 1