THE RESURRECTION THE GREATEST OF MIRACLES
IN HIS New Creation God began to create something entirely distinct from anything that He had yet made. The New Creature is not an earthly creature; and nothing that is of the earthly being will ever have a part, to our understanding, in that New Creation, either now or at any time. Nothing will carry over from the human to the Divine, the human to the spiritual.
The human being is more or less depraved. He hears something about God, about the Divine nature, about what sin is and why it is undesirable, about the reconciliation which God has provided through Christ, and about the invitation to become joint-heirs with Christ in His Heavenly Kingdom. He becomes conscious of all this through his ears, through human power; for he has no other power. He must have a hearing ear, else he would not hear the Message at the present time. Some have more of the hearing ear, others have less. The one who has more of the hearing ear would be more attentive, more pleased, when he learns that God has a provision for the assistance of repentant sinners. The more the depravity the less of the hearing ear. The depraved person lives on a natural plane; therefore he has less inclination to come to God and less of the hearing ear to hear anything that God would have to say. But the class who cannot hear more or less distinctly have had their ears dulled by the Adversary with false doctrine.
HOW TO BECOME A NEW CREATURE
What we do see, then, is God's gracious invitation to become associates with Jesus; and this is Good Tidings to those who have the hearing ear. We say, "I am glad that God has invited me to come back into His family, and that He has provided for the covering of my imperfections. I am pleased to know that there is a special invitation now to those who have the mind of Christ and who desire to walk in His steps, and I gladly avail myself of the arrangement. In harmony with this invitation I offer myself a living sacrifice."
When we have done this, we have been converted. In what way? We are turned around from the way of sin and from our own will, turned to go in the way of righteousness. This is conversion.
The next step for us to take is that of making a consecration to become a living sacrifice to God. And that consecration of our all to God includes everything that belongs to us--all that we are--the human ego, personality --all of its hopes, aims, possessions, for the future in every shape and form. Everything is included in that consecration to God. Did this make us New Creatures? No. But it puts us in the way that we are eligible to that position. What is the next step? The next step is the application of the merit of Jesus, put over us as the wedding garment, covering our imperfections. Of what use is this to us? It makes us acceptable to God. The Apostle tells us to present our bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, and our reasonable service. --Romans 12:1.
The next thing in order is for God to indicate His acceptance of that which we offer and which is accepted. This He does by begetting us of the Holy Spirit. Just what this means we are not wise enough to know. God foreknew Jesus Christ as the Head of the Body and He foreknew us, the class predestined to be the members of that Body. And now by coming under the required conditions we are accepted as members of this class. We are to show our devotion and our loyalty, to show that our surrender of our will is a genuine thing. This we do by being exercised by our contact with the Truth. If we have been in error, our loyalty will be determined by the way in which we weigh the matter and decide it. If we decide the matter slowly, it means that we are a little obtuse. If we decide the matter quickly between the truth and the error, it means that we are loyal to God's will, His Truth, and thus we are all the more pleasing to Him, as a loyal child. If we decide the matter slowly He will not cut us off, but perhaps will give us some chastisements; for we are in the School of Christ.
HOW THE NEW CREATURE GROWS
In one picture we are represented as embryos, not yet born; in another picture as children, not yet having reached manhood, but as growing in grace and knowledge [R5560 : page 314] and character. Either picture is very beautiful. But we cannot mix them. We cannot imagine the child not born as growing in knowledge, etc., nor can we imagine one developing toward manhood as an embryo. In the embryo picture we perceive that every human child must grow, and that in order to do so it is dependent on nourishment. If some accident happen, that embryo might die; if there were some miscarriage, the embryo might never be brought forth into life. We see that from the time we became New Creatures in Christ, we began to develop the new mind. The brain is the same as before the new will developed, and the body the same; just as a mother is the same person that she was before the child was begotten.
Let us consider the subject from another viewpoint. This New Creature is the governing power--the only thing that God recognizes, and that we recognize, as having control of this mortal body. Why does the New Creature have the control? Because the will is transferred from human interest to God's will. God's will is now our will as New Creatures. We have full rights and control in this body, whose earthly rights are given up. God has accepted the sacrifice, and the New Creature must be loyal in controlling the body in accord with the Divine will. Henceforth we are to see that the mortal body is kept under. Some people might say that we are treating it unkindly; but from God's standpoint we are treating it as wisely as possible, in order to do God's will. If it were God's will that we undertake some great work, we would certainly put the body through a course of training to fit it for the undertaking.
Practically, the New Creature says to the mortal body, "You are my body only for the time being. I am the New Creature, desiring to use you in God's service, in order that I may see how obedient I can be to God's [R5560 : page 315] Cause." The old creature might say, "But I have some rights." The New Creature replies, "You have no rights. I shall use my judgment as to what you shall do or not do." If the New Creature yielded to the old creature, the latter would prosper in its own aims and projects, and the New Creature would be puny and weak in courage, strength and everything else. The New Creature is to assume control of all the interests of the old creature, to sacrifice all that is to be sacrificed to the will of God.
PERSONALITY MAKES SOUL
The more we do this, the stronger we become spiritually; and the stronger we become spiritually, the more ready we shall be for our change. What is our change? It is the spirit birth in the resurrection. Not one atom of this old body will go into the new condition. What, then, will go into the new condition? It is the New Creature? What is the New Creature? It is the ego which lives in the mortal body, which feeds not upon natural bread, but upon every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
If God has a work for the New Creature to do in the present time, then we are to take reasonable care of this body. To misuse the body would not be in harmony with God's will. The body has become the New Creature's property. The New Creature will take the dominant control of that body. A spiritual body would not be a soul without the ego, the personality, the being, any more than would the earthly body. It is the ego, the personality, that makes the soul. Simply one hundred and fifty pounds or so of matter does not make soul.
The soul is the thing that comes down from the father to the child. Adam and Eve gave soul to their children, and so that spark of life which God gave originally continues to come down. In the resurrection that soul, or spark of life, is carried over and becomes the new soul. This spark of life which God recognizes all the while and preserves in all of its development, is to be transferred to a new body that will be fully in harmony with it. There will not be any discord, any inharmony, between the new mind and the new body. If the new mind grows very strong now, it will have all the more difficulty and conflict with the old body and will have all the more desire for the new body.
PROCESS OF TRANSFERENCE NOT KNOWN
Can you explain to us how this new life will be transferred to the new body? We cannot. In the case of our Lord Jesus, we have the explanation that the Logos, a spirit being, left the spirit condition, came to earthly conditions and became the personality, ego, man, in earthly conditions. And we have the account that this same One who came into the world, the same One who died and went away again to Heaven, is coming again. It is the same ego. It has changed its character, its power, according to the different body. At first it had a spiritual body; afterward it had a human body; it now has a Divine body, superior to all. But the ego, the personality, has persisted with all of these bodies.
Our ego, our personality, is to pass from this earthly body and be given a new body. The power by which this can be done is Divine Power. If anybody can explain what that is, of what the first man was made a soul, perhaps we could explain how it is with the New Creature. Or if any one can explain what makes the germ of wheat grow, perhaps we can explain how the New Creature has this germ and how it grows. We must trust in God's Power for this whole matter of the resurrection, not only of the New Creature, but also of the world in general.
Whoever doubts Divine Power cannot believe in a resurrection. We cannot imagine, for instance, how Moses or Abraham or anyone else of the remote past can be raised to life so that he would know himself, read the story of his life in the Bible, and remember that the events therein recorded were true. How that can be God only knows. We believe it because God says it. If we knew how to do it, perhaps we could make a resurrection ourselves.
A HELPFUL ILLUSTRATION
But it is just as easy to understand about the resurrection of a man to the human plane and the bringing of him into a new human body as to understand how the New Creature, the new soul, can be brought into its new body. It is the New Creature that will get the new body. When we get our spirit bodies we shall know all about the process; for it is written that when we get the spiritual bodies we shall know even as we are known.-- 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Meantime, however, we might find illustrations to help us to understand. Take, for instance, the making of a record for the phonograph. Something went out of the mouth, and made little indentations on a cylinder of wax. Later on, from that very wax cylinder the voice of the speaker is reproduced. Now, then, if we know how to reproduce the human voice, it gives us a little illustration of how God, with His unlimited Power, can preserve everything recorded by the convolutions of our brain, and of how these could be preserved in the future absolutely --everything by which we could know ourselves in the future. We do not know ourselves by the number of pounds weight we are or by the difference in our beard. We know ourselves by something in our mind. But if our reason be gone, then we would not know ourselves.
God has made us New Creatures. He is the All-powerful One who knows how to do this. And the more we come to know about Him and the length, the depth, the height and the breadth of His Wisdom, the more we know how to appreciate all He has told us, and the more we have absolute confidence in Him. It is wise foolishness that God should promise a resurrection. The world cannot understand--to them it is foolishness. They cannot believe in a resurrection; therefore they cannot have the joy we can have through the exercise of our faith.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORD
"The light of the Word shines brighter and brighter
As wider and wider God opens my eyes;
My trials and burdens seem lighter and lighter,
And fairer and fairer the Heavenly prize.
"The wealth of this world seems poorer and poorer,
And farther and farther it fades from my sight.
The prize of my calling seems surer and surer
As straighter and straighter I walk in the light.
"My waiting on Jesus is dearer and dearer
As longer and longer I lie on His breast.
Without Him I'm nothing, seems clearer and clearer,
And more and more sweetly in Jesus I rest.
"My joy in my Savior is growing and growing
As stronger and stronger I trust in His Word.
My peace like a river is flowing and flowing,
As harder and harder I lean on the Lord.
"My praise and thanksgiving are swelling and swelling
As broader and broader the promises prove;
The wonderful story I'm telling and telling,
And more and more sweetly I rest in His love."