"OUR HIGH CALLING."
We are called to be saints (holy ones) for without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Also, we must crucify the old man, that thus we might destroy the body of sin, and henceforth not serve sin. We that are baptized into Christ, are baptized into His death...and he that is dead is freed from sin. Even before we have succeeded in putting to death the flesh, if we do that we would not it is not us but sin that dwelleth in the flesh; for we delight in the law of God after the inner man; hence, when we have succeeded in crucifying the flesh and its lusts, we are freed from sin. The law of the mind wars with the law in our members until the former has completely overcome the latter. So long as we are carnally minded we are not subject to the law of God, and while we are in the flesh cannot please Him. If we live after the flesh, we shall die, but if we through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live. By crucifying the flesh, we become dead with Christ. During the crucifying we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together; and if we do not share in the suffering, we have no right to expect to share in the glory. I know of nothing else that could be filling up the sufferings of Christ which are behind, except the crucifixion of the flesh, and many will find that to cut off desire, is more painful than to cut off a right hand, but though it be as dear, we should do so if we would follow in the footsteps of Christ, and overcome as He overcame, and thus have a place on the Throne and reign with Him. We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. By the death of Christ we were justified to life natural. Now we have the chance of giving this life as a sacrifice and thus gaining spiritual life, and as the latter is so much higher than the former, it is only reasonable service for us to accept the conditions.
It seems to be in God's plan that there are to be two lives, perfect natural and spiritual. The first we get by the death of Christ, the latter, by sacrificing or crucifying what he gave us; we cannot have both. We prize the former because the stepping stone to the latter, that is we value very highly that which Christ purchased for us by His death, because were it not that His death justifies us to the natural life, we would not have anything to give in order to gain the spiritual, but like Christ we are willing to give the natural to gain the other, for then we partake fully of the divine nature. This explains to us how many may be called and few chosen; also, narrow the way and few find it, and many shall strive to enter and not be able, because many do not crucify the flesh. We used to think that it was the degree of light that decided whether we belonged to the little flock or not, but now I am convinced that any who put to death the flesh, and presents their bodies living sacrifices and Holy, will receive the spiritual body and share the glory of their Lord, when the time comes and which we think is not far distant.
Paul says: "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death." He further says: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God." Yes, friends, if we are truly Christ's, we have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, therefore, set your affections on things above...for ye are dead (to this world), and our life is hid with Christ in God. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin. But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when His [R139 : page 6] glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. It is well worthy of notice that the glory is always associated with the sufferings. No cross, no crown, is true, for 'tis a faithful saying, that if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. There are many apparently who do not see that we must die with Christ, if we would be one of the Bride Company. This fact we think is clearly brought out in Lev. 16, as has been shown by Bro. Russell, Aaron was to offer a bullock for a sin offering, this bullock was for himself (or instead of himself) and for his house and represents the offering made by Jesus when He gave himself for the church and became the Saviour of His body. (Eph. 5:23-25.) The world does not seem to have been the object primarily in the death of Jesus, but the church. This we think is shown by the caution of Adam and Eve--Eve was taken from Adam and so the church is taken from Christ. The world of mankind came into existence from the uniting of those two, and when united God called their name Adam. It was in the two all died, and we can show that it will be in the Second Adam and Eve, all will be made alive. Paul in 1 Cor. 15is speaking of death which came by man. But as Eve was the instrument direct in their death, she must be included in the statement, "as in Adam all die," and if she is, the next, "so in Christ shall all be made alive," must include the church. The first two God called Adam, and they brought death and misery on the human family. The second pair God calls "The Christ or seed" (Gal. 3:16-29) and they bring life and bless all nations of the earth. That the church is included in the sin offering which justifies the world to life is shown by the type.
Aaron was to take two goats from out the congregation for a sin offering. He was to cast lots upon them, and the one on which the Lord's lot fell, he was to offer for a sin offering. With this goat he was to do just as he had done with the Bullock (verses 15-27). This goat was the sin offering for the people. Now we will turn to Heb., and see by the connections, if we cannot prove beyond a doubt that the goat is just as sure a type of the church as the Bullock was of Jesus. In the 9th chapter, where Paul is speaking of the patterns and that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these (that is by the blood of bulls and goats) but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these, it must here be noticed that the blood of the two animals is contrasted with the sacrifices, (plural) not sacrifice which seems to include Christ and church.
But to be more sure let us look at Heb. 13:11. For the bodies of those beasts (plural) whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the High Priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Let us go forth therefore, unto Him without the camp...then there would be two without the camp, (He and us) just as there were two beasts taken without. Certainly then those two beasts represent Christ and the church. Hence the age of sacrifice and suffering continues all through the Gospel Age. And not until the last member has ceased to suffer will the sufferings of Christ be completed. And so when the Prophets searched to know what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, they referred to both Head and Body--Christ and the Church, which is His body. Surely, friends, ours is a "high calling," and while we bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, it is that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh, for we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, and though the outward man perish, the inward man is rewarded day by day, and our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Therefore, dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (life) and humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. And while here may we like the Captain of our salvation be made perfect through suffering and thus be able to sympathize with others and then when glorified together with Jesus we shall reign with Him as Kings and Priests to rule and bless the world. Yes a King shall reign in righteousness and Princes rule in judgment and Saviours shall come up on Mt. Zion, when the kingdom is the Lord's.
A. D. J.