Life On the Highest Plane
Vol. 2: The Relation Between Christ and the Christian

Chapter Twenty-One
Life on the Highest Plane

In the quiet of a village in Switzerland God has been teaching me many precious lessons about this ascent to life on the highest plane. Grindelwald is thirty-six hundred feet above the sea and from my window I can see four majestic, snowcapped mountains rise to immense heights out of this little valley. For days after coming here I was absolutely satisfied with what I could see from my window. What more of beauty, of majesty, of glory could one want or take in! But as I got a glimpse here and there of higher peaks hidden from view by these nearer mountains the desire came to climb to some place where I could look out over them all.

One day a party of us started on such a climb. The way was unknown to us but green paint on rock, tree and fence told us the path. We carried that day only what was necessary for the trip; everything but what we actually needed was left behind. The path led steadily up with almost no stretches on the level, in places quite steep. As the sun shone upon us we grew warm, the rough, stony places made our feet burn and ache, unused muscles were stretched and strained, and we had to stop often to rest; every part of the body felt the tug of the climb. To endure the difficulties of the mountain climb and to enjoy all the beautiful things God has placed along the way to see and hear and smell, every faculty of our being and every member of our body was brought into play.

Very often on the upward climb we stopped to rest and refresh ourselves by looking back over the road already traversed and at the new beauties that greeted us the higher up we went. At one point in the way we caught sight of just the summit of a pyramid-shaped, snow-covered peak different from all others we had seen. It arrested our attention and provoked inquiry because of its distinctiveness in shape and its purity of covering. How thrilled we were to learn t learn that it ws the jungfrau, that queen of the Alps.

But oh! what joy when we reached the Waldspitz and how amply repaid we felt in just one moment's time as we gazed at that indescribably beautiful panorama of several of the highest snowcapped Alpine mountains, which is thought one of three of the most beautiful views in Switzerland. Below us the valley and everything in it seemed dwarfed; the glaciers that in the valley towered so high were now so far below; and the nearer mountains that from the valley seemed so high as to live in the clouds were overtowered by the majestic Schreckhorn and the peerless Jungfrau.

We were very, very far yet from reaching the highest height of the Alps but we had gone far enough on such a mountain climb to know that it was worth all it cost, and to get a vision of what majestic glory must be in store for one who dared to go to the top where he could look up to God's heaven and out over God's world from the highest plane.

Dare I hope that the studies in this book have meant just such a spiritual ascent to some readers? Did the book find you living in the heat and stress and strife of life below sea level, on the plane of the natural but with a true desire to seek relief in a higher spiritual altitude? Or had you already left the old sphere of the natural and were enjoying life a few hundred feet above sea level, on the plane of the carnal? Had you settled down in complacent self-satisfaction with what you could see from the little window of your valley experience and had you become content to live at the halfway house of spiritual achievement? Did you aspire for nothing higher than the pleasant walks you could take on the level road where you would not need spiked shoes, a traveler's kit and a climber's stick but could still wear your best clothes and high heeled shoes and only get comfortably tired? But when the book found you was there a stirring of discontent in your soul because at times when walking in communion with Him alone, or in the companionship with some saint of God who had reached the highest plane and told you of its glories, you had seen glimpses of a life in Christ immeasurably beyond anything you had ever seen or dreamed of, and your whole soul cried within you for an experience of such victory, glory, peace and holiness as you knew were possible?

Dare I hope that you essayed to make the climb and that the studies, chapter by chapter, have pointed the way for you out of the natural into the spiritual life in Christ Jesus? I know from experience that it has not been an easy climb. Besetting sins and hindering weights have had to be left behind and only those things taken with you which would strengthen and assist you on the upward climb toward God; the sunshine of God's chastening has heated you to the highest pitch of endurance at times; your feet have been cut and torn by the temptations anndd afflictions along the way; unused muscles of faith, love, long-suffering, patience and devotion have been stretched to the point of strain; perhaps you have been easily winded by the buffeting and blows of the world, the flesh and the devil. I am sure that before you had gone very far from the valley experience of life on the carnal plane you found that every part of your being was feeling the pull of the climb; and that spirit, soul and body needed to be wholly sanctified and surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ and put under the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit, that you might not be overcome by the difficulties and might not miss the blessings God had strewn along the way.

But now you have reached the place where you may look out upon God's spiritual Alpine range of salvation and get one glorious panoramic view of peak upon peak which altogether reveal the infinite grace and boundless love of the triune God. Off yonder in the range of vision are the twin peaks of Forgiveness and Justification; next in sharp, clear outline is the lovely peak of Regeneration; further to the back is a majestic peak which one does not see at all from the valley viewpoint of the carnal life because it is hidden by the nearer mountain of Regeneration, the peak of Identification with Christ in His death, resurrection, ascension and present life in glory. But off in the distance is one peak different from all the rest, distinctive in its snow white purity and holiness, the crown of all the others. It is Sanctification, the Jungfrau of spiritual experience. As you have gazed upon the flawless perfection, the indescribable grandeur, the overpowering majesty of the wonders of God's infinite grace and perfect love has not everything in the valley of your carnal life seemed to sink into utter insignificance? Have not things which seemed high above you and that overpowered you by their weight taken their proper place beneath your feet? Have you not realized how shut in you were down there by narrow interests, selfish enjoyments, petty pleasures, puny aspirations? Do you not feel that life for you can never again be the same now that you have felt the thrill of the climb on the ascent and have viewed God's gracious, glorious plan of salvation from the mountaintop?

If this be true of you, dear fellow traveler, may we not just rest a while with this glorious vision before us and sit in quiet meditation upon what we have seen life on the highest plane to be.

 

IT IS A LIFE SAVED THROUGH GOD'S GRACIOUS PROVISION

The salvation which God has provided for the sinner is a perfect salvation. It is without flaw. It provides for his past, present and future. It covers every need of every part of his being under every circumstance. It relates him rightly to heaven and to earth; to the divine and to the human; to God and to man for time and for eternity. It is a salvation to the uttermost.

Such a salvation is the gracious provision of God in Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ no man can be saved; in Christ any man may be saved to the uttermost because in Christ incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended and exalted, God found everything needful to restore a believing sinner to fellowship with Himself.

Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must he saved."

2 Timothy 2:10, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."

The provision that God made in Christ for every believer is threefold. He sent Him to die on the cross as our Saviour; He raised Him from the dead to make Him the Head and the Lord of the Church, His Body; and He exalted Him to His right hand and gave Him all power in heaven and upon earth that He might share Himself and His possession in the heavenlies with His joint heirs on earth. The one who has reached the goal of life on the highest plane has accepted Christ as his Saviour, yielded to Him as his Lord, and appropriated Him as his Life.

 

IT IS A LIFE CONFORMED TO GOD'S PERFECT PATTERN

Complete conformity of the penitent, believing sinner to the image of his perfect Saviour was the purpose of the wondrous plan of salvation wrought out in the eternal counsels of the triune God before ever the world or man was made.

God laid the foundation for such an achievement in the creation of the first man in His own image. In His second Man, God gave mankind the perfect pattern to which He would conform every believer in Christ Jesus. May we see, then, what were the constituent elements in the life of this perfect pattern that we may fully understand and quickly respond to the operation of the Holy Spirit as He works to fashion us according to it.

We have seen in our study on the incarnation that the life of the God-man was a truly human life in every sense in which our life is human, except in its sinfulness. He lived in the same kind of a world and was involved in the same kind of relationships. So the constituent elements in His moral and spiritual character that enables Him to be a perfect pattern to all mankind must be in us if we are fully conformed to His image.

The God-man's surpassing perfection is seen most clearly in His relationship to His Father which was one of unimpaired obedience and of unintermittent dependence. The will of God was the center and the circumference of His life, and all that took place from His birth in the manger to His death on the cross was the execution of His Father's will. He came, He lived, He died, that His Father's will might be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Obedience was the invariable, unalterable rule in the life of Christ on earth. He always said yes to God. Self-will had no place in His life.

Hebrews 10:9, "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, 0 God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."

John 6:38, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."

John 4:34, "Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

Christ, the perfect pattern, was also absolutely dependent. Self-trust had no place in the life of the God-man. The last Adam lived the life of dependence which the first Adam refused to live. Never was a life lived on earth so dependent upon God as was His. His thoughts, His words, His works, were those of His Father. He was a Sent One and He did only what He had been sent to do. He never initiated or executed anything which had its spring in Himself for His was a life "insulated in God's will." In His utter dependence upon God the last Adam was the perfect pattern.

John 5:30, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."

John 14:10, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."

The God-man's surpassing perfection is seen again most transparently in His glorious victory and in His spotless holiness. Tempted in all points as we are, having no companionship but that of sinful men and women in a world of sin, tested by His Father and tempted by the devil, yet He came forth so victorious that both friend and foe alike acknowledged no fault in Him.

Luke 23:22, "And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go."

1 Peter 2:22, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth."

But the perfection of His character did not consist so much in the negative quality of sinlessness as in the positive one of holiness—a holiness so rare, so wondrous, so unearthly that it compelled His Father to break the silence of heaven three times that He might speak forth His divine appreciation and evaluation of it.

Luke 1:35, "And the angel answered and said unto her, 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."

Matthew 17:5, "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."

The God-man's surpassing perfection is seen again most wondrously in His regal righteousness and in His sacrificial love. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." He was despised, persecuted, rejected and finally crucified by the very ones He came to save yet there was never a trace of bitterness, malice or revenge in His heart. Even from the cross He prayed for His murderers. He was reviled, yet He showed no trace of retaliation; He suffered unjustly, yet He made no threats of redress. When He drove the money changers from the Temple and when He spoke the scorching, scathing denunciations of the hypocritical Pharisees it was but the outward expression of His own regal righteousness. Whether dealing with friend or foe, in mercy or in judgment, Christ Jesus was always the perfect pattern.

1 Peter 2:21-23, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."

But it was in His sacrificial love for men that the perfection of Christ's character shone forth even more than in His righteous treatment of them. Christ Jesus never pampered or pleased Himself. Though weary and hungry the soul need of a prostitute in Samaria would detain Him by Jacob's well while the others went on into town to buy food; His night's sleep was gladly forfeited that He might talk with the man who feared to come to Him by day; He did not stop short with self-emptying and self-humbling, costly as they were, but kept on giving Himself even unto death, the death of the cross. The God-man pouring out His soul unto death in sacrificial love is the perfect pattern.

John 15:12, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."

The spiritual man is the man who lives his daily life according to the perfect pattern. In Him are to be found the same constituent moral and spiritual elements which were regnant in the character and conduct of the God-man. He has made the will of Jesus Christ the center and the circumference of his life, and so he is obedient. He acknowledges that he has no life apart from Christ and takes the Lord Jesus for everything in his inner life, his environment and his service, and so he is dependent. The spiritual man has crowned Christ Lord and placed his life completely under the control of his Master, therefore he is gloriously victorious. He has appropriated Christ as the Life of his life therefore he becomes the partaker of His holiness. The spiritual man has accepted Christ's commission as one sent into the world to save sinners even as Christ accepted this commission from His Father, so his attitude to all men whether friend or foe is based on Christ's principles of righteousness and love.

The spiritual man is one who is being conformed to the image of Christ, the perfect pattern. When this has been said, everything has been said. In God's reckoning there is nothing for man beyond conformity to the image of His Son. Christ is God's perfection and to be fully conformed to His image is to be perfect before Him.

The process of conformity is going on day by day in the spiritual man's life. It is a transformation from obedience to obedience, from dependence to dependence, from victory to victory, from holiness to holiness, from righteousness to righteousness and from love to love. As the spiritual man gets a larger vision of this perfect pattern through daily study of God's Word, he takes higher ground along the line of the God-given revelation, so that his life is a continuous growing up into Christ in all things.

2 Corinthians 3:18, R.V., "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit."

Ephesians 4:15, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."

The consummation of this conformity will not be experienced until the Lord Jesus returns to take His own to be forever beyond the presence of sin into the presence of the Saviour (1 John 3:2).

 

IT IS A LIFE PERFECTED BY GOD'S HOLY PRESENCE

I hasten to this point because I would not have anyone think even for an instant that conformity to the image of Christ is effected by imitation of a pattern, no matter how perfect. Such conformity as the Bible speaks of is not wrought in the believer through the imitation of a pattern without but through the presence of a Person within. It is only through the union whereby the Vine lives in the branch and the branch in the Vine that such conformity is found. It is only the man who apprehends his position in Christ and Christ's possession in him who grows up into likeness to his Lord. It is only the man who consistently can say, "Christ liveth in me" who can say honestly, "To me to live is Christ." It is not the imitation of the incarnate Son but it is the indwelling of the crucified, risen, ascended, exalted Son that perfects conformity to His image. What He was I am to be because of what He did on the cross and now does from the throne. It is the Father's answer to the last three words of His Son's high-priestly prayer that produces conformity to Christ in the believer. Oneness with the Lord makes likeness to the Lord.

John 15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

John 17:26, "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

 

IT IS A LIFE ENERGIZED BY GOD'S MIGHTY POWER

One has only to begin to live his life on the highest plane to know that life can never be maintained on that level in one's own power. Living steadfastly and habitually in the altitude of the heavenlies is the spiritual man's greatest difficulty. Even after taking Christ Jesus as his perfect pattern and realizing His holy presence within, the believer often has periods of dismal failure and terrible defeat.

But the spiritually minded man has learned God's way of maintaining his life in the heavenlies and his life is energized by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit whom God bestows upon every child of His. The Holy Spirit is given when the new nature is imparted to the believer for the very purpose of effecting this growing conformity to the image of Christ.

Ephesians 3:16-17, 19-20, "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; That ye might be filled unto all the fulness of God . . . Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."

Life on the highest plane is consistently and continuously maintained by the energizing power of the indwelling power of the indwelling Spirit of God.

 

IT IS A LIFE FULFILLING GOD'S ETERNAL PURPOSE

Before ever the world was created or man was made to inhabit it God had a purpose which He intended to carry out through His Son.

Ephesians 3:11, "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

2 Timothy 1:9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

This purpose God kept hid in His heart, yet throughout all the centuries preceding the incarnation of His eternal Son He was working toward its fulfillment. Then Christ came, lived, died, rose again and ascended into heaven. Now the time had come both for the revelation and the realization of this purpose. Through the apostle Paul, God's chosen vessel, the revelation of this eternal purpose of God in Christ Jesus was made and its clearest unfolding is given to us in the epistle to the Ephesians.

Through the finished work of Christ upon the cross and from the throne God would call out a people unto Himself who during this present period of His Son's absence from earth would witness and work for Him here as His Body and upon His return to earth to reign would come with Him as His Bride.

Ephesians 1:22-23, "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

Revelation 21:9, "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife."

The Holy Spirit as a purifying and energizing power works within the Church to prepare it to live on earth as Christ's Body and to present it in heaven to Christ as His Bride.

2 Timothy 2:20-21, "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."

Ephesians 5:25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

But there are two things which are absolutely essential in the relationship between Christ and the believer if God's eternal purpose is to be fulfilled; one is communion and the other is cooperation. God is love and love is a reciprocal thing. Love must both give and receive. There is no such thing as love between God and move the fuller is the communion and the cooperation.

In the eternity of the past the eternal Son rested in the bosom of the eternal Father—that was communion. And when the triune God initiated the wondrous plan of redemption the eternal Son offered Himself as the Lamb to be slain—that was cooperation. In the Garden of Eden the Lover-Creator and His first man must have walked often in the garden in the cool of the day—that was communion. And the sovereign Lord God gave to His subject the dominion over everything on earth—that was cooperation. The night before His crucifixion the God-man sat at supper with the twelve—that was communion. And before He ascended into heaven He said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you"—that is cooperation.

The spiritual man apprehends this truth and appreciates the significance of it. He sees that it means such a yielding of himself to Jesus Christ as Lord, as will make possible the perfect possession, the complete control and the unhindered use of his entire being. He clearly perceives that salvation includes sanctification and that life on the highest plane demands not only a separation from sin but a separation unto God, and he rejoices in being thus wholly set apart unto communion and cooperation with the Lord of glory.

 

IT IS A LIFE FASHIONED ON GOD's ORIGINAL PLAN

In God's original plan the human personality was a unity. The human spirit, dominated and directed by the Holy Spirit, was supreme in authority over the soul and the body so that the Holy Spirit through the channel of the human spirit made and kept the whole being spiritual.

As we have seen in chapter 17 sin began its deadly work in Adam's spirit by severing it from the divine Spirit thus alienating it from the life of God and making it a death chamber. Sin also dethroned it as sovereign over the human personality and made it a slave to the soul and body. Thus sin left the human spirit darkened and dethroned. Salvation must begin where sin began; the human spirit must be quickened. The sovereignty of the Holy Spirit over it must be restored, and its supremacy over soul and body must be revived.

The human spirit was made the receptacle of the eternal life of God. Salvation always outruns sin for "where sin abounded grace did much more abound." In the quickening of the human spirit God not only made it cease being a death chamber but He made it the receptacle of the eternal life of the triune God. Through the new birth He implanted within it something which had never been there before, the divine, spiritual, eternal life of the triune God in the Person of Christ the Son in whom "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9).

1 John 5:11-12, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

Into this quickened spirit the Holy Spirit comes to dwell, feeding and fostering this new life within that it may grow up "into a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). A renewal of this divine life within is made daily by the Holy Spirit.

Ezekiel 36:26-27, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

2 Corinthians 4:16, "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."

The spiritual man is one in whom the human spirit is supernaturally recreated through the implantation of the uncreated life of God at the new birth. Into this quickened spirit the Holy Spirit has come to abide, to control, to renew and to energize. Between them "a perpetual partnership" is established. Through this supernatural reunion of the divine Spirit and the human spirit Christ and the believer are joined into one spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:17, "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."

Through this act of God in regeneration the maladjustment within the believer's human personality is remedied. True balance between the constituent parts is restored; the sovereignty of the spirit over soul and body is revived, and the human spirit is again the premier in the governmental affairs of the human being, and the soul and body are its loyal and faithful underlings.

The human soul becomes the illumined vessel of the divine Spirit.

1. The mind is renewed. The spiritual man is spiritually minded. He thinks the thoughts of God. He craves divine wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:7); he sits at the feet of a divine Teacher (John 16:13); he loves God with all his mind (Matthew 22:37); he minds the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5); he thinks on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8); he is of one mind with his brethren (Philippians 2:2); he has the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) 50 he is of sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7), and every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Intellect, reason and every faculty of his mind are renewed and illumined by Him who knows the mind of God.

Ephesians 4:23, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind."

Romans 8:6, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

2. The heart is purified. The spiritual man is pure-hearted. He wants to possess his inheritance in Christ so he sets his affection on things above (Colossians 3:2); he craves the vision of God granted only to the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8); he desires to see his Lord which is only the prerogative of the holy (Hebrews 12:14); he seeks the conformity to Christ promised upon His return to those who purify themselves even as He is pure (1 John 3:2), and so he allows the Holy Spirit to do within him all needed work of pruning and purifying.

Acts 15:8-9, "And God which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."

1 Thessalonians 3:13, "To the end that he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."

3. The will is energized. The spiritual man knows that at the center of Satan's being is self-will and that everyone in whose life self-will is supreme is the seed and the subject of Satan. He knows that at the center of Christ's being is God's will and that everyone in whose life God's will is supreme is the seed and the subject of Christ. lie has compared and contrasted the "I will" of Satan, Isaiah 14:12-15 and its result in Revelation 20:7-15 with the "I will" of Christ in Hebrews 10:5-13 and its result in Philippians 2:5-11 and has decided to cast in his lot for time and for eternity with Jesus Christ the obedient, dependent One, The spiritual man looks to the Holy Spirit to work in and then work out God's perfect will within him.

Hebrews 13:21, "Make you perfect in event good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.

Philippians 2:13, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

The human body becomes the habitation of the triune God on earth. The spiritual man apprehends the spiritual significance and sacredness of his body. Under the Holy Spirit's illumination he learns what it becomes through the new birth.

1. The body is the temple of the living God.

2 Corinthians 6:16, "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

2. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

3. The body is a member of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:15, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ. Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid."

4. The body is the container of the heavenly treasure.

2 Corinthians 4:7, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

5. The body is the channel for good works.

2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

6. The body is Christ's broadcasting station.

2 Corinthians 4:10-11, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."

The spiritual man perceives through this truth that God wishes to become incarnate and to dwell on earth and that the way in which He has chosen to do this is by having the perfect possession, the complete control and the unhindered use of the human body of the believer. Acting upon this knowledge the spiritual man has presented God with his body here and now as a living sacrifice.

Romans 12:1, "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."

Not wishing to run any risk of defrauding God or of deceiving himself in regard to the completeness of this transaction he makes a special gift to God of each individual member of his body to be used hereafter as God's instrument.

Romans 6:13, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

But the spiritual man knows also that the redemption of the body is not yet completed and will not be until the Lord comes again when this body of humiliation will be exchanged for one glorified even as Christ's is glorified now (Romans 8:23, Philippians 3:20—21, R.V.). He knows further that the flesh is still entrenched within him even though he is not now in the sphere of the flesh and that he is still environed by a hostile, hateful world.

Romans 8:10, "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."

John 17:15, 18, R.V., "I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one. As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world."

So he understands the need of constant vigilance over the body that it may be kept under the dominating control of the Holy Spirit lest he yield to any of the appetites, passions and lusts of the flesh or be conformed to the fashions and foibles of the world. The spiritual man is willing for any work of the Holy Spirit within him in the way of discipline that will keep the body under and enable him to possess it in honor and sanctification.

1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."

1 Thessalonians 4:4, "That every one of you shall know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour."

Thus we see that in grace the human personality was sacredly preserved as an entity as it was made in creation and remained in the Fall. All that was ruined was redeemed and restored, plus. For through the new nature imparted and the new life implanted that which in creation was earthly and human only, in re-creation became heavenly and divine. With this perfect adjustment to God, the life becomes righteous and holy; and then of necessity follows adjustment within and without. Through the spiritual man's perfect harmony with God, with himself and with others the Kingdom of God begins on earth and the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

IT IS A LIFE LIVED ON GOD'S APPOINTED PLANE

As God has never had but one plan for the life of man and iritual one, so He has never had but one plane on which He means man to live and that the plane of the spiritual. Life lived on the highest plane is a life of deep, vital, growing spirituality. When God speaks of the man who is capable of examining and understanding the things of God and of the one whom He can trust to help weak and sinful believers He calls him "he that is spiritual."

1 Corinthians 2:15, "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."

Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."

There are three outstanding marks of the life lived on the highest plane, the first is—it is an abounding life. The spiritual man draws all his resources directly from God consequently he never need lack for anything. God's granaries are always full and the doors are opened earthward. In Christ, the believer's life, "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," and in Him the believer may be made as "full" as he wishes to be (Colossians 2:9-10). The spiritual man desires with a deepening intensity to "be filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19) consequently he draws bountifully from Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:7, "Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also."

2 Corinthians 9:11, "Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God."

1. The spiritual man abounds in grace.

2 Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

2. The spiritual man abounds in hope.

Romans 15:13, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

3. The spiritual man abounds in joy.

John 15:11, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

4. The spiritual man abounds in peace.

Colossians 3:15, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

5. The spiritual man abounds in thankfulness.

Ephesians 5:20, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

6. The spiritual man abounds in knowledge.

1 Corinthians 1:5, "That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge."

7. The spiritual man abounds in love.

Philippians 1:9, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment."

The more the spiritual man abounds in the riches of God's grace the more unsearchable and exhaustless he finds them to be so that there exists in his life a strange but joyous paradox—that of always being satisfied in Christ and yet always unsatisfied. The spiritual man never stops growing because he is always reaching upward to that still higher height that is just beyond. It was this passionate upreaching toward Christ in the heart of the apostle Paul that inspired those words to the Christians at Philippi.

Philippians 3:12-14, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

The second mark of life lived on the highest plane is—it is an overcoming life. Having taken his position by faith in the heavenlies in Christ the spiritual man lives in the atmosphere of triumph which prevails there. The spiritual man is on top of his difficulties; he is the conqueror not the conquered; the victor not the vanquished. His identification with Jesus Christ in the victory over sin and Satan is a reality to him and he looks upon Satan as an already defeated foe and treats him accordingly and reckons upon his own death to sin, to self and to the world.

Romans 8:37, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

1 John 5:4, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

The spiritual man aspires to such an overcoming life on earth as will win for him a share in the reigning life of heaven.

Revelation 3:21, "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."

The third mark of life lived on the highest plane is—it is an overflowing life. The spiritual man has enough and to spare. lie does not have to hoard his spiritual riches for he is the child of a King and knows that his Father is a royal Giver and has taught His child "that it is more blessed to give than to receive." He is assured that the more he gives the more he will receive. Out of his innermost being flow the rivers of living water to bring life more abundant to every life he touches.

John 7:38, R.V., "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water."

A life lived on the highest plane is a continuous miracle of God's grace.

 

Chapter Twenty-Two

 

the curtain torn
stephen@smithworks.org

n torn">
stephen@smithworks.org