by A.T. Jones
We will begin the present lesson where we closed the former one--2 Cor. 2. To begin with, I desire to refer to the special point I made upon the statement that "they could not look to the end of that which was abolished, and the idea of the end there not being the end of it but the object--the aim of it. The Greek word telos signifies "the fulfilment or completion of anything; i.e., its consummation, issue, result, NOT its cessation or termination or extremity. The strict sense telos is not as the ending of a past state but the arrival of a complete and perfect one."
Thus you see that the very idea in the text is that the object--the aim--of these types and ceremonies and ordinances that God gave, was hidden from their eyes so they could not see it. And the reason that it was hidden was because of the unbelief and hardness of their own hearts.
By unbelief the veil was upon their hearts so Moses put a veil over his face, hiding the glory of his face and thus representing the veil that was upon their hearts that caused them not to be able to look upon the brightness of the glory for fear. Turn to 2 Corinthians 3. I will read in the German beginning with the third verse:
That ye a letter of Christ are through our service prepared and written, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in stony tables, but in fleshy tables of the hearts; but such confidence have we through Christ to God. Not that we capable are from ourselves (or of ourselves) somewhat to think as from ourselves, but that we capable are, is from God (that is, it is from God our capability comes) who also us capable has made, that ministry to carry--the New Testament--not the letter, but the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive.
Now the 7th verse:
But as that ministry that through the letter killed, and in the stone is (literally built) inscribed, imaged glory had, so that the children of Israel could not look upon the face of Moses on account of the glory of his face, which there ceased; how shall not much more that ministry with the Spirit have glory.
If that that ceased had glory, how much more does that which remaineth have glory. If that had glory which through the letter killed, how much more will that have glory which through the Spirit gives life.
For as that ministry that the condemnation preached had glory, much more has the ministry which the righteousness preached overflowing glory; for even that former part that was glorious is not to be estimated (or counted) glorious in comparison with the overflowing glory; for as that had glory that there ceased, much more will that have glory that abides.
Now we want to study for a moment what that ministration of death was. The English reads, "The ministration of death written and graven in stones was glorious." The German, the ministration that through the letter killed--the ministration of the letter which was death, would be, literally, in harmony with ours. The ministration of the letter, which was death, was glorious. Now if we know what that ministration of death was, then we can go on with the rest of the text and read the whole story. That we may the better understand what is the ministration of death, I will read again a few lines from the Testimony of Jesus.
The Jewish leaders were filled with spiritual pride. Their desires for the glorification of self manifested itself even in the service of the sanctuary.
Then according to this what was their service of the sanctuary? What kind of ministration was it? It was a ministration of self, was it not? But what is self? It is of the enmity; it is sin. What is the end of it? Death. Then what was the ministration of death? What was the ministration of the letter of that thing without seeing what it meant? It was only death, there was no salvation in it. We will see that more fully as we go on.
Thus in their earthliness, separated from God in spirit, while professedly serving him, they were doing just the work that Satan desired them to do.
In the sanctuary, in their offering the sacrifices whom were they serving? Satan. What was the ministration then? It could be nothing else than a ministration of death.
They were doing just the work that Satan desired them to do, taking a course to impeach the character of God and cause the people to view him as a tyrant.
In their ministration, in their performance of the services, they were taking such a course and giving to the people the impression that God is a tyrant. And such ministry as that could be only a ministry of death--condemnation, the ministry of condemnation.
Here is an awful sentence:
In presenting their sacrificial offerings in the temple, they were as actors in a play.
This is all from the Spirit of Prophecy. What was the worship then? What was the ministry?
The rabbis, the priests, and rulers had ceased to look beyond that (the symbol) for the truth that was signified by their outward ceremonies.
They ministered only the outward ceremony, and they did that as actors in a play. They did that in such a way that it caused the people to view God as a tyrant. Then all that was a ministry--the condemnation of death.
The gospel of Christ was prefigured in the sacrificial offerings and Levitical types.
Therefore it was glorious; don't you see? In itself that thing was glorious, but they hid from themselves the glory by the veil that was upon their hearts. They did not see it or allow it to appear. Even that ministration of death was glorious, because in all that which they were doing there was signified the glory of the gospel of Christ--if only they had allowed the veil to be taken away from their eyes so they could see it and so that there could have been manifest the ministration of the Spirit and therefore of life. The ministration of death was glorious by virtue of the truth that was hidden in it--not glorious by virtue of their ministering it in that way. Their missing the Christ that was signified in it all, caused it to be to them a ministration of death. But yet, in itself, it was glorious in the truth that was hidden there, which they would not allow to appear.
The gospel of Christ was prefigured in the sacrificial offerings and Levitical types. The prophets had high, holy, and lofty conceptions, and had hoped that they would see the spirituality of the doctrines among the people of their day; but one century after another had passed by and the prophets had died without seeing their expectations realised. The moral truth which they presented and which was so significant to the Jewish nation, to a large degree lost its sacredness in their eyes. As they lost sight of spiritual doctrine, they multiplied ceremonies. They did not reveal spiritual worship in purity, in goodness, in love for God and love for their fellow-men. They kept not the first four or the last six commandments, yet they increased their external requirements.
As Brother Gilbert said today, there were "four hundred and one requirements added to the fourth commandment alone."
They knew not that One was among them who was prefigured in the temple service. They could not discern the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
They could not look to the end--they could not see the aim and object--of that which was abolished.
They had gone into idolatry and worshiped external forms. They continually added to the tedious system of works in which they trusted for salvation.
Now I was glad that Brother Gilbert could give that talk here today, because I could see all the way through that that was the best possible preparation there could be for the lesson tonight. Those who were here saw from the few illustrations which he gave that there is even to this day a deep spiritual truth underneath these forms that the Jews are using at this time. The very truth and righteousness and life of Jesus Christ is beneath these forms yet, at the core of it, but all this is completely lost sight of and nothing is seen but the mere outward form and in this they trust for salvation.
The enmity that is in the natural heart causes their minds to be blinded to the end of that which has been abolished and which, if their hearts would turn to the Lord, they would clearly see was abolished. But we whose hearts have turned to the Lord must see these things now, else we shall fall into the like system of forms and ceremonies, even in observing the things that Christ has appointed.
When Brother Gilbert was telling of these things today, it seemed to me that it was a perfect preparation for this study, that we might see the reality of the truth in this third chapter of 2 Corinthians in regard to the thought of the ministration of death. That ministration was glorious on account of the truths therein contained, even though they were hidden, yet it had no glory in comparison with the glory that comes through living faith in Christ, who has broken down the wall, abolished the enmity, and set his people free with open face to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord to be changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. The enmity of the carnal mind is the foundation of the whole wall, the middle wall of partition, of ceremonialism, that was built up and which was indeed the ceremonial law as it was in the day that Christ came. And in abolishing the enmity He broke down, annihilated, and keeps annihilated forever that wall for all who are in Him, because in Him alone it is done.
Now a word further. There was always a true ceremonial law apart from the law of God, and apart from the ceremonialism of the blind-hearted people of Israel. God appointed these very services, which they perverted into mere forms in order that the people through them might see Christ more fully revealed, that they might see God's personal presence day by day, and that thus they might appreciate the glorious salvation from sin--the transgression of the law of God. But not only did they pervert all these points of ceremonies which God had given for this blessed purpose, but they perverted the whole law of God itself into the same system of ceremonialism, so that it all suggested righteousness and salvation by law--all by deeds, by works, by ceremonies. Yet as all these things which the Lord appointed, when they had perverted them, could not satisfy the heart, they had to heap upon them mountains of their own inventions in order if possible to supply the lack and so be sure of salvation, but it was all only death. Thus in this, too, it was true that "the commandment which was ordained to life" they "found to be unto death."
So I say there was all the time a true ceremonial law and they would have had all the time a true ceremonial law if they had been faithful to God. And if they had been faithful, that true ceremonial law would have caused them to see Christ so everywhere present and so perfectly allied to them and living in them that when He came, the whole nation would have received Him gladly, because He would have seen Himself reflected in them as He is to do when He comes the second time. So there was the true ceremonial law which God appointed for that purpose in order that through these they might be brought to see the spirituality of the law of God, which is the character of Christ and His righteousness reflected and which is found in Him alone. These things were to help them to understand Christ, that they might see Him as the fulfilment and the glory and the actual expression of the ten commandments themselves and might find Him to be indeed the end, the object, and the aim of the whole of it--the ten commandments with the rest. But when their hearts turned away and their minds were blinded to these things, this caused them to turn everything into a form as will always be done where the enmity is.
The same evil thing runs through all. But, thank the Lord, there stands the blessed word that when the heart shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away and then they with open face will see the glory of the Lord. Isn't that then a direct commission from God to us to go to the Jewish people with blessed truth and the power of Christ? to show them that salvation in Christ is the end, object, and aim of all these things. O, let this be preached to all people, that if by any possible means the heart may turn to the Lord, the veil may be taken away, that all with open face may see the glory of the Lord.
But we can never go with that commission until that veil is taken away from our own hearts--until that ceremonialism is taken away from our lives. What would be the use of one who is steeped in ceremonialism going to those who are in it to get them saved from it? Therefore God hath brought us this word at this time; He has "abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances," contained in ceremonies, in order to make in Himself of two one new man, so making peace. Then both Jews and ourselves have access through one Spirit unto the Father.
I do not know that we need to look at that side of the question any further, because we can illustrate the subject on this side of the cross. It is almost perfected right in the mystery of iniquity today, against which our work from this time forward is to be pitted as never before.
Now note: When Christ had taken away all those forms and ceremonies, even those which He Himself had appointed, when He had met them in Himself--He was the end, the object, the aim of them--He left others on this side of the cross. He appointed the Lord's supper; He appointed baptism and the whole of the law of God still abides as it is in Himself, not as it is in the letter, because the enmity that is in a man's heart will turn that into the ministration of death today as well as it ever did. And man who is trying to seek life in keeping the ten commandments and teaching others to expect life by keeping the ten commandments that is even yet the ministration of death. It is a universal truth that Paul expressed when he was a Pharisee, a ceremonialist: "The commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death."
On this side of the cross, Jesus appointed the Lord's supper, baptism, other things, the Sabbath with the rest. And in Him they all have deep and divine meaning. But what was it that caused the people away back yonder not to see Christ in those things and so to use them for the purposes of self-exaltation and self-glorification? That enmity that is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; that desire of self to be glorified and magnified. Was there prophesied an exaltation of self, a magnifying, a glorification of self this side of the cross? Assuredly there was. There was to come "the man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself." We know that self--the enmity--on the other side of the cross perverted God's ordinances into ceremonialism. What would self--the enmity--do on this side of the cross? It would do the same thing. It will always and everywhere do the same thing.
That enmity on this side of the cross manifested itself thus in those whose hearts were not turned to the Lord, in those who were not converted. And the idea in this word, "When it shall turn to the Lord," is that of conversion. It is not simply to turn around, but the idea, both in the German and in the Greek, is to turn to the Lord in conversion. Those whose hearts are not converted and who yet profess to be Christians have the form of godliness without the power; they have the profession without the thing. On this side of the cross there came in men who had a form of Christianity without the power; a profession, a name, without having the thing. And here were the ordinances which the Lord had appointed and which are to be used in Him. But these formalists, not having the salvation of Jesus Christ in themselves by living faith, not being in Him, expect salvation in the forms which they observe. Therefore, with the papacy, regeneration is by baptism. And regeneration being by baptism instead of by Christ, baptism becomes the essential of salvation. It is put in the place of Christ by the papacy, as really as ever circumcision was by the Jews. That is why it is that the priests must always be so prompt to reach the bedside even of a dying infant in order to make the sign of the cross and sprinkle the water so that the child may be regenerated and saved.
To make regeneration salvation by baptism, whether it be in one form or another, that is the enmity, it is ceremonialism. Indeed, on this side of the cross, it is the mystery of iniquity.
Of the Lord's supper Jesus said, "Ye do show the Lord's death till he come." "Do this in remembrance of me." But the papacy makes it the very Christ Himself. They make it the very Christ Himself, and in taking it expect to take Him, not "take it in remembrance" of Him. And thus in taking it they expect to be saved.
Christ taught that His presence should go with His people still. "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." This is by the Holy Ghost and by faith the Holy Ghost is received. But the papacy, not having faith, and so not having the Holy Ghost and therefore not having the presence of Christ to go with them, turns the Lord's supper from a memorial of Him to the Lord Himself and when the water is taken and swallowed, then the Lord is in them.
That is the papal system concerning these ordinances. And as for commandments, why, not having the life of the Lord Jesus, which is in itself an expression of all the commandments, they must heap upon themselves a multitude of rules and hair-splitting distinctions of their own of every sort and every kind. Just as it was with Phariseeism before Christ--precisely so.
Here is an expression written by Farrar in his Life of Paul, page 26, concerning the system of Phariseeism when Paul was there and Christ came into the world. It is word for word descriptive of the papacy in every phase of it as it is:
When we speak of Phariseeism, we mean obedience petrified into formalism, religion degraded into ritual, morals cankered by casuistry; we mean the triumph and perpetuity of all the worst and weakest elements in religious party spirit.
In the system of "morals" is the very citadel of casuistry. Here, too, genuine morals are cankered into the very elements of death by casuistry.
That tells the story of the working of the enmity--the story of formalism and ceremonialism--on both sides of the cross of Christ. Why, then, was not that on the other side of the cross the papacy as well as that on this? This is why: On the other side of the cross Christ had not appeared in His fullness as He is and as He did appear in the world. There were ceremonies--forms--given that were intended to teach the people of Him, and they perverted these forms. Then in the fullness of time, Christ Himself came and the papacy perverts Christ Himself into formalism.
I will repeat it. Before Christ came, Phariseeism, this enmity, this self-exaltation, perverted the forms by which God would teach them of Christ until He should come in His fullness. But the papacy takes Christ after He has come in His fullness and perverts Him, as well as all the forms which He has appointed; perverts the truth that is manifested in Him in His fullness and turns the whole of it into ceremonialism and formalism still.
But Christ, as He was manifested in the world, is the Mystery of God. God was manifest in the flesh, and Christ was the ministration of the mystery of God in its fullness. He is the ministration of righteousness which is overwhelmingly glorious. Now, when all this was wholly perverted by this enmity which came from Satan and which is sin itself enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be--when that mystery of God is thus perverted, that is also a mystery, but what mystery alone can it be? Only the mystery of iniquity. That is why it is the mystery of iniquity this side of the cross and not so great the other side. It is the same spirit working all the time, but not developed to the same degree. It is ever and always the ministration of death.
Now let us spend the few minutes we have remaining on Christianity, genuine Christianity. Gal. 5:6. I will read, beginning with the first verse, and come up to the sixth. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." We have read what that yoke of bondage was--all this whole mass of slavery to which they had bound themselves, these forms and ceremonies were a yoke of bondage. Christ has set us free from all that in the second of Colossians, the second of Ephesians and in the third chapter of 2 Corinthians. Christ has set us free from formalism and ceremonialism, from going by rules and resolutions and all these things but ever to be guided, actuated, and inspired by the living principle of the life of Jesus Christ itself. The difference between a principle and a rule is that the principle has in it the very life of Christ itself, while a rule is a form that a man makes in which he will express his idea of the principle and which he would fasten not only upon himself but upon everybody and make them do just like himself. That is the difference between Christianity and ceremonialism. That is the difference between principle and rule. The one is life and freedom; the other is bondage and death.
Here is a passage in Gospel Workers, page 319, which I will read. It is concerning Christ. "There is not a monastic order upon the earth from which He [Christ] would not have been excluded for overstepping the prescribed rules." Exactly. You cannot bind the life of God by rules and of all things you cannot bind it by man-made rules. He wants us therefore to be so imbued with the life of Jesus Christ itself and the life of Christ Himself that the living life of Jesus Christ and the principles of the truth of God shall shine and work in the life in order that the life of Christ shall still be manifest in human flesh. That is where God has brought us in Him. And we are brought to this place in Him by being by faith ourselves crucified with Him and dead with Him and buried with Him and made alive with Him and waked up with Him and raised up with Him and seated with Him in the heavenly existence where he sits at the right hand of God in glory.
The Bible is not a book of rules; it is a book of principles. The statements in the Bible are not rules at all. They are the principles of the life of Jesus Christ, the principles of the life of God. They are Jesus Christ in that shape. The work of Christianity is to take Christ from that shape and by the overshadowing of the Spirit of God transform Jesus Christ from that shape once more into this human shape. When Christ was in the world, He was the Bible, the Word of God, in human shape. The Word of God before He came into the world was in that Bible shape. Now He has gone back to God in heaven, and He says, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Christ fully formed in you; Christ all in all of you; all there is of you shall be Christ within. Now, then, when Christ is full-formed in you and me, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, will once more be transformed from that Bible shape into human shape. Then God will put His seal upon it and glorify it as He has glorified that human shape already, which was the transformation, or the transfiguration, of the word of God. That is the point to which Christ has raised us in this series of studies. O, shall we sit together with Him in the heavenly existence to which He has raised us?
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
And what were those people preaching circumcision for? For salvation. Then he is a debtor to do everything that was ever spoken by God for salvation.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
That is true today, isn't it? Don't you see that these very Scriptures that were aimed at ceremonialism in that day are the living power of God against ceremonialism and the papacy and the form of godliness without the power that curse the world in the last days even to the day of the coming of Jesus Christ?
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Now, the verse, "For in Jesus Christ." Where? Looking at Jesus Christ from the outside? going to Him as to a reservoir or a fountain and taking something out and taking it off with me outside? No. "In Jesus Christ," in Him, in Him, "neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love." That is Christianity. Anything less than that is ceremonialism in this day as well as in that day. Everything less than that is the mystery of iniquity. Everything else than that is the mark of the beast. And whosoever has not that living principle of the living power in his life will worship the beast and his image and thus all the world will worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Thank God for His unspeakable Gift.
What was circumcision to them? It was everything, actually, for circumcision itself was the seal of the perfection of righteousness by works. It actually stood in the place of Jesus Christ. Ah, but in Jesus Christ that avails nothing at all. Circumcision meant works, all-absorbing works for righteousness and salvation. Paul was a "Tell-me-anything-more-to-do-and-I-will-do-it Pharisee." That is the kind of Pharisee he was. That is what circumcision meant. It was the one word that meant the whole system of works for salvation. But in Jesus Christ what avails for salvation? Circumcision avails nothing, neither works avail anything for salvation, nor any works at all, but faith which works. Faith finds the salvation of Jesus Christ a living power in the life and working there the righteousness of God by the love of God and this is the love of God that we keep His commandments. O let Christianity prevail. Let Christianity be spread abroad! "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
For the last part of our study we will read a few verses in Colossians. Turn to the second chapter of Colossians. We will read, beginning with the first chapter and 25th verse, of the mystery of the gospel:
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God to fulfil the word of God [margin, fully to preach the word of God]: even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles [among the heathen]; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; whom we preach.
Who preach? Where preach? You preach as you go. Whom we preach, "warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect." In Him, always in Him, "present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." We are to bring them unto Jesus, so that they shall abide in Christ, live in Him, walk in Him.
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. For I would have ye know what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.
Who are they who have not seen his face in the flesh? That takes in us who are here. That is for us. What now? "That their hearts might be comforted." Good. "Being knit together in love." All joined together, or woven together? No, that is not enough, but "knit together," in and in, each stitch held on to the other and only one thread--Christ and His love--in it all.
Being knit together in love and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.
What is that mystery? Christ in you. The annihilation of ceremonialism, the abolition of the enmity, the breaking down of every wall that separates the hearts of men.
"In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say." Why did he say this for you and me, who have not seen his face in the flesh? "This I say lest any man should beguile you with enticing words," into ceremonialism, into formalism, into false dogmas and doctrines. "This I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words." "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." In Him, in Him, ever in Him. It seems to me that that expression has come into our studies enough for us to count it our motto for all this Institute. We may have "In Him" our watchword. I do not know what it would be too much to go away with that ringing in our ears and fastened upon our minds--in Him, in Him; preaching in Him, praying in Him, working in Him, teaching in Him; turning men to Him, that they may be found in Him, so that we shall all always walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him.
Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col. 2:7.
Beware of that. We are coming face to face with the mystery of iniquity. Beware of false philosophy, vain deceit, traditions, and the elements of the world--of the natural mind and the carnal heart. Beware of it. Christ, Christ, in Him; in Him alone, in Jesus Christ. Nothing avails but faith that works by love, and that love the love of God which keeps the commandments of God.
For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.
He put off the body of flesh by destroying the enmity in sinful flesh; by conquering all the tendencies of the sinful flesh and bringing the whole man in subjection to the law of God. This is the circumcision of Christ and it is accomplished by the Spirit of God Itself. And the same blessed work still goes on in all who are in Him.
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
"And ye being dead." Are you dead? Are you dead with Him? IN HIM? and out of deadness in sins and the circumcision of your flesh hath He quickened you together with Him?
"Having forgiven you all trespasses." Thank the Lord. The record is clean; God has cleared away the trespasses against us, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us and imputing to us His own righteousness. What turned these ordinances against us? That enmity that turns into self-service everything that God has given. Blotting out that which was against us, which was contrary to us, taking it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore make a conscience for you. Let no man judge you or decide for you. Let the love of Jesus Christ in the heart decide and do the thing that is right. Let no man therefore make a conscience for you in meat or in drink or in respect of a holy day or of the new moon or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Let no man beguile you of your reward! Let no one turn aside your aim, as we had it in the study on pages 166 and 167 of the Bulletin. "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility." What is a voluntary humility but following self-made rules and the perversion of God's ordinances for the cultivation of our own ways. "Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." What is the mind of the flesh? What is the minding of the flesh? It "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be." But Jesus Christ has abolished in His flesh the enmity, and in Him the enmity is abolished in our flesh, and we have the victory.
Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using), after the commandment and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.
Are you risen with Him? Has He raised us up? Are you there with Him? Then--
Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And the day is near and He is bringing it closer and closer. Thank God for His unspeakable gift, "and thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ; and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." Amen.