Incorruptibility

F. A. Hughes.

NOV/DEC 1978

It is an undeniable fact that corruption in every sphere is rapidly increasing; the Word of God in Genesis is true of the present day, sadly so — "And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth" (Gen. 6:12). Violence and corruption marked the whole scene. Apostolic writings confirm the existence of these features in these — "the last days." Enoch's prophecy in Jude (Jude 15, 16) envisages a scene of universal corruption, the words ungodly and ungodliness appearing four times in one verse.

Blessed indeed to have our thoughts and affections occupied with that which is incorruptible — neither corrupt nor capable of being corrupted. The Holy Spirit would direct our hearts to a deeper appreciation of the abiding purity of God's precious Word. That Word does not fail to trace corruption to its source — the one, who corrupt in himself (Ezekiel 28:17) introduced its awful features into the earthly paradise. But we rejoice to read the final verse of that chapter — "thou shalt never be any more."

The "Incorruptible God"

"Now to the King of the ages, the incorruptible, invisible, only God, honour and glory to the ages of ages. Amen" (1 Peter 1:17). Precious indeed that such references to the blessed God should appear in the Epistle which gives prominence to God as Saviour! "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Malachi 3:6). Incorruptibility embraces the thought of that which is eternal; everything connected with the blessed God is unchangeably secure and abiding. "With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," and from this unchanging eternal God "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17). His love, incomparable and precious, known and enjoyed by His own in the midst of a godless and passing scene, is eternal in its duration and its character. The whole Hebrew alphabet is used in Psalm 136 to tell that "His mercy endureth for ever." Again and again we read "He is good, and His mercy endureth for ever." "The goodness of God endureth continually." "His truth endureth to all generations." "His righteous judgments endure for ever." "The truth of the LORD endureth for ever." "Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations." "The word of the Lord endureth for ever." Every attribute of this blessed God is controlled by and magnifies His love, and His movements of grace and power will eventuate in the scene so preciously outlined in Revelation 21 — the undefiled and incorruptible realm taking its character from God Himself, in which He will eternally tabernacle with men. Something of the joy and purity of that scene is given to us to enjoy even now in the earnest of the Holy Spirit of God.

The "Incorruptible Christ"

Spotless, glorious Man — God's beloved Son. Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, spoken of as "holy" (Luke 1) before His birth; walking a pathway of absolute purity in the midst of a nation which had "deeply corrupted itself" (Hosea 9:9, etc.); His encounter with Satan in the wilderness (he who had so quickly introduced corruption into God's fair creation) resulting in the enemy's complete defeat and the manifestation of a purity in God's Anointed Man which needed not to be proved. Enduring the contradiction of sinners against Himself, yet manifesting Himself as the only Person who could challenge the whole universe — angel, man or demon — with the words, "which of you convinceth Me of Sin?" (John 8:46). Demons even were compelled to own Him as "the Holy One of God" (Luke 4). His every step was in accord with the holiness of God, His words, His acts, His every motive and movement related to the will of Him who had sent Him. How beautiful are His words in John 17, a blessed Man saying in precious confidence — "I come to thee, Holy Father." Securing the foundation upon which a Holy God could exercise His rights in love, He "through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God" (Hebrews 9:14). With what supreme joy Paul would tell us — "He whom God raised again, saw no corruption." Holy, spotless Lamb of God, our hearts bow in adoration and praise before Thee.

The Precious Blood

"For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things . . . but with the precious blood of Christ." Psalm 49 reads — "for the redemption of their soul is costly, and must be given up for ever." The shedding of that precious blood has established the foundation upon which a scene of eternal glory, peopled by an innumerable company worshipping God and the Lamb, and in which NO taint of corruption shall be seen.

Incorruptible Seed

Born again "by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" we already breathe the atmosphere of a life not subject to corruption, wholly the work of the blessed God Himself, a life which is eternal in character and duration. As enjoying this precious privilege, the result of having received the gospel which "is preached unto us," we now await the moment when we "shall have put on incorruptibility," when death and its consequences shall be manifestly "swallowed up in victory."

Incorruptible Inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)

Space does not permit of detail, but this inheritance is superbly precious. It is "amongst the sanctified;" according to God's eternal purpose; it contains "riches of glory;" it is marked by the light of God; and is eternal. How much more could be said. Let us read and assimilate the story of Naboth in 1 Kings 21 and seek grace to treasure and hold with tenacious energy by the Spirit's power the inheritance into which grace has brought us, an inheritance more precious than life in this scene itself. It is not without interest that Naboth's name indicates fruitfulness.

Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Every honour and reward in this world "fadeth away," however strived for, but Paul kept ever before him that reward for faithfulness, a crown of righteousness, of life, of glory that "fadeth not away" — a crown of incorruptibility indeed.

May our response be seen as we merge our affections "with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption" (Ephesians 6:24).