Substance of a Reading on Ephesians

J. N. Darby.

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The nature of the Epistle to the Ephesians is quite distinct from that of Romans. In Ephesians we have nothing to do with the responsibility of man; we have with Christ, and man is looked at as dead in sins, and there is a new creation. Consequently the question of justification is not raised in Ephesians, but acceptance is. We have seen before that these are the two great subjects in connection with the gospel: namely, the meeting of the responsibility of man; and the counsels of God before ever there was a responsible man at all. These counsels are in the second Man, not in the first. The first man was the responsible one; the Lord Jesus is the Man of God's counsels, the last Adam or second Man. In Ephesians these counsels of God are taken up; in Romans the responsible man (in grace, but still responsible), sinners, every mouth stopped, and a propitiation through faith in Christ's blood, the whole question of God's meeting us in grace in our responsibility and failure, is fully brought out. In the Ephesians there is nothing of this. It begins with the counsels and intentions of God, and puts us in Christ.

Now the structure of the epistle is this. In chapter 1 we have these counsels of God as to glory, as to Christ, and as to our inheritance. Only at the end the apostle begins to unfold how far the foundation is laid for their accomplishment in what He has already done. So that, after stating the counsels, he enters on what God has done. That is, He has taken Christ from the dead and set Him up far above all heavens, principalities, and powers, and every name named. He commences, observe, with the raising of Christ from the dead. There you get not merely counsels, but the accomplishment, so far as exalting the second Man into glory above all heavens.

Chapter 2 shews how far God has accomplished that mighty work in us. We have been raised from being dead in sins and put into Christ, sitting in Him (not with Him, we are not there yet) in heavenly places. It is the operation of God putting us into His place. It is in Christ I am sitting, not with Him. This makes us God's workmanship; and then He brings us forth a step farther in making both Jews and Gentiles one. It is still what He has accomplished or is doing so far. He has put down the middle wall of partition, and reconciled us in one body by the cross, that is, down here; and He is not only building a holy temple to the Lord (it is not built yet), but we are builded together, Jews and Gentiles, for the habitation of God by the Spirit down here. This is what God has accomplished. He has raised Christ from the dead, and set Him in glory; He has raised us up spiritually from the dead and put us into Christ; He has abolished all differences of Jew and Gentiles, and He has not only made peace between Jew and Gentile, reconciling them, but He has reconciled them both in one body by the cross. They are reconciled to one another and reconciled to God, and they are going to be a temple, and they are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit, that is, down here. This is what is accomplished of His purposes, the foundation being laid for them all.

62 In chapter 3 follows another thing. It is neither God's counsels nor God's operation, but Paul's administration of all these, the dispensation committed to him. As to the substance of it, it is Paul's administration of the mystery, not God's counsels about it, but the apostle's administration of it; and at the end, as it refers to earth, there is the second prayer which is addressed to the Father of our Lord Jesus, where Christ is looked at as Son. The first prayer, which is found in chapter 1, is addressed to the God of our Lord Jesus as the glorified Man; but this is addressed to the Father, and Christ is looked at as Son, a divine Person. Therefore it is here not the object, or the thing objectively, but rather that Christ may dwell in our hearts, that is, power brought in down here according to His counsels. So that there is to be glory to God in the church in all ages. This is a power that works in us, as the other was toward us.

Having the counsels, and the operation, and Paul's administration, the effect is looked for in chapter 4 as regards there being a habitation of God through the Spirit down here; and then, secondly, here too the individual gifts. This goes down to the end of verse 16. Verse 17 begins the ordinary exhortations as to how to walk. They were to walk together. All distinctions of Jew and Gentile have disappeared. He has brought them together as one habitation of God through the Spirit, and now they are to walk together and keep the unity of the Spirit. Then we go on to individual gifts, and in verse 17 we begin the practical exhortation for all saints, which is continued in chapter 5. At the end of chapter 5 occasion is taken from the case of the husband and wife to bring in the relationship of Christ and the church. After going into the different relationships in which saints are to be faithful, the conflict in heavenly places is taken up.

63 Now another thing may be remarked as to the epistle, that is, that everything refers to heavenly places; not that we are not upon earth, for we are, but that now to principalities and powers in heavenly places may be known through the church the wisdom of God. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and we are sitting in heavenly places in Christ, we are a testimony to principalities and powers in heavenly places, and we are fighting with wicked spirits in heavenly places. Our blessing, our place, our testimony, and our conflict are all in these heavenly places. Now you will find that ministry here is connected with all these.

Farther, what God is working in chapter 2 is that the whole building effectually framed together groweth into a holy temple. It is only growing up to this end. But moreover "ye are builded together for a habitation of God." This is taking place. The holy temple will be in glory. They are to be a building for a temple even as Christ said, "I will build my church." The temple that is to be is that spoken of by the Lord in Matthew 16: "Upon the rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it." You get it also in Peter, "Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood." There they are built up stone after stone. So in Ephesians, "and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." It is growing unto an holy temple, but it is not yet finished. The house that Christ builds is a perfect thing, it is not finished yet, but what people commonly call the invisible church. But then there is an actually manifested thing by the Holy Ghost being here: "Ye are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit."

In short there are two characters of the assembly, the body of Christ, and the habitation of God now by the Holy Ghost. When we speak of the body of Christ, the members are looked at as united to the Head in heaven, and, spoken of as the house, will be a holy temple; when we speak of the habitation, it is by the Holy Ghost down here. It is the same thing as far as they went, but they soon ceased to be identical.

64 In verse 21 it is a temple not yet completed; when it is completed, it will be in glory. We are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit (v. 22); this is the present thing. It is just the confounding of these two things that has made popery and ritualism. That is, they have attributed all the privileges which belong to what Christ is building and has not yet finished to the thing that is built on earth. Now when you get a thing built upon earth, God sets it up all right; but like everything else, like man himself when he was created, it is put into man's responsibility. God carries on His own purpose, and against what Christ builds the gates of hades shall never prevail. But always in the first instance, whatever God sets up, He puts into man's responsibility; and then it is all ruined. Nevertheless God's purpose is all accomplished in Christ. This is true of everything. It is true of Israel. It is true of individual saints, and of the whole church. What Christ is carrying on, the gates of hades shall not prevail against. The administration of it is on earth. In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul says, "As a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." This is not Christ's building. It is not Christ carrying out, "I will build my church"; nor the living stones coming and growing into a holy temple. In the latter case there is no agent but Christ. It is He that is building; and therefore, of course, Satan's power cannot prevail against it. In 1 Corinthians 3 it is not Christ building; it is man's responsibility, as it is said, "Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." Wood and hay and stubble can be built in; and if you attribute to wood and hay and stubble the security of what Christ is doing, you will be making a grave mistake. Papists and Puseyites are taking what has been built by man, and confounding it with Christ's work, saying the gates of hades cannot prevail against it. They confound two different works.

God set up right even what is upon earth: "the Lord added to the church* daily such as should be saved." God's work was right; but soon false brethren came in unawares, Simon Maguses and I know not what, because man was put under responsibility, and the first thing he does is to sin. Noah had the sword put into his hands for governing, and the first thing he does is to get drunk. The law was given, and the first thing the Jews did was to make a golden calf. Priesthood was set up, and the first day they offered strange fire, and Aaron never went into the holy place with the garments of glory and beauty. When royalty was set up, the son of David loved many strange women, and his heart went after their gods. The church was set up, and it failed. Christ will be the perfect Man; Christ will govern the world in righteousness; Christ is the perfect priest; Christ is perfect as the Son of David; He will arise to reign over the Gentiles. He will be glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe. Every one of the things put under the responsibility of man will be perfectly carried out. If I confound this accomplishment of purpose in Christ with what is placed under the responsibility of man, and attribute what belongs to the one to the other, I am justifying all the evil and corruption about us. That is the question now in the church of God.

{*[The true reading would run thus, "was adding together daily," etc. - ED,]}

65 The body is never looked at as incomplete in itself, it would spoil the whole idea. When the purpose of God is brought out, it is looked at as in that purpose. In chapter 1 He gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His body. There it is looked at as complete when all things are put under Him. All things are not yet put under Him: it is not accomplished yet; it is in counsels. The moment I get it down here, I get both the house and the body.

Chapter 2:21 contains the same thought as Matthew 16:18, and also the same as 1 Peter 2.

Verse 22 is the house as set up now upon earth: only when God set it up, He set it up all right. "Ye are builded together for a habitation of God." It is a present thing.

The dwelling of God with men down here is a distinct definite fact, and the fruit of redemption. God never dwelt with man apart from redemption. He did not dwell with Adam; He never dwelt with Abraham, He never dwelt with anybody down here until Israel was redeemed out of Egypt. No doubt this was an outward redemption, still it was in a certain sense redemption. God redeemed His people out of the bondage of Egypt, and in the end of Exodus 29 He says, "And they shall know that I am Jehovah their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them." The moment redemption comes in, He makes the redeemed people His dwelling-place, and He comes down and dwells among them in the tabernacle. This was given up at the captivity when the times of the Gentiles began.

66 Since Christ's rejection and the accomplishment of the better redemption, the church is established on earth for God to dwell in. This habitation of God through the Spirit was set up, consequent upon redemption, but down here it is trusted to man's responsibility. What it has become now is Christendom.

The increase of the body is spoken of in chapter 4. It is merely the fact that here it grows. You afterwards see the different gifts and all of them exercised, and you find the body grows up, just as a child grows up. There are persons brought in; but they come into it all as a complete thing. The individual persons come in and are a part of that growth. You get evangelists as well as pastors and teachers. Still when individuals come in, they are only part of the same body. So when I eat my body grows. Of course, they are mere figures after all.

But in speaking of these things, you get the individual before anything of the body or the house. You will always find the individual has the first place. The individual relationship is with the Father; the corporate relationship is with Christ as a man: and the house relationship is with the Holy Ghost come down. There are the three. The first is that we have the adoption of children (sons) to Himself; and then that He has given Christ to be head over all things to the church, which is His body. Here is our relationship with Christ as raised and glorified, but before that comes all about the individual. Then in the third place there is the Holy Spirit come down to dwell. It makes a wonderful scheme and plan to put all these things together.

If you look further to the application of all this to ministry, you see, when he is beginning, he says, "Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith [it is the ground and basis that is given for ministry], When he ascended upon high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that he might fill all things. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers." We first get the basis of all these gifts, Christ, but not Christ on earth as the Jew had Messias. All this has disappeared from the apostle's mind; and he sees Him going down into the dust of earth, and then ascending far above all heavens, whereof he takes up the effects. He went down into the lower parts of the earth, the grave, but hades for his soul. He went into the under world, the lower parts of the earth, and then He is far above all heavens. He has been below creation, for death and hades are in a certain sense below it, and then He is above it and in this way He fills all things. We see Christ in His redemption power filling everything. All service and ministry have their place in that, and they flow from it. He has come down where Satan had his power, death and hades (called hell). He goes down where Satan's power was, and breaks it; He leads captivity captive; and He puts man in the glory of God in His own Person far above all heavens; so that He has met on the one hand the power of evil, and on the other set man in the glory of God. As Man He gets these gifts, as we were reading in the Acts, "Being by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit" (the Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father), "he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." He has done that as Man, not merely as God, observe; but Christ, in virtue of this redemption by which He fills all things, receives the Spirit and sends Him to men whom He has rescued out of Satan's hands and builds up His church here. It gives a wonderful place to ministry.

67 Here in Ephesians we find the individual saints the first object, as it is said, "for (pros) the perfecting of the saints," and then it is added "for (eis) the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." The first thing is that each saint should grow up to Him who is the head, that is, Christ. There are three objects. One object is first of all distinct. There is a different preposition in Greek. He does all things "for the perfecting of the saints" (there He is the first-born of many brethren); and it has these additional characters, it is for work of ministry down here, and for edifying the body as a whole. You must not lose sight of the individual when you get into the body. He carries on the perfecting of the saints to the end of verse 15, and in verse 16 He comes to ministry and building up of the body. "Till we all arrive at the unity of the faith" (that is, each individual, of course) "and of the knowledge of the Son of God, at the full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ" (nothing short of that); "that we be no longer babes, tossed and carried about by every wind of that teaching which is in the sleight of men, in unprincipled cunning with a view to systematised error; but holding the truth in love, we may grow up to him in all things, who is the head, the Christ." There we see individuals, and they grow up to Christ. Then he goes on - "From whom the whole body [now we have the corporate thing] fitted together and connected by every joint of supply, according to the working in its measure of each one part, worketh for itself the increase of the body to itself - building up in love." That is the second thing, or additional aim. First, the individual saints grow up to the Head in everything, and, secondly, the building up of the body. It is the body building itself up; but still it is service and ministry. It is wonderful grace that He who went into the lower parts of the earth has gone to glory and has done this immense thing - put the saints in personal connection with Him.

68 The prayer in chapter 3 is wonderful, "that he might give you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." He asks that the power of the Holy Spirit might work in the heart of the individual, and that Christ might be in the affections, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith," that is, that Christ may be realised by faith. I have now got Christ - who is the centre of the whole universe of blessedness - dwelling in my heart. Thus I have the centre in me, and this is perfect love sure enough, for we are dwelling in God and God in us; and thus rooted and grounded in love. Being there my heart takes in all the saints, "rooted and grounded in love that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints." You cannot leave them out, for they form part of this plan of God, the nearest circle to Christ. Then, getting the whole scene of God's glory and purpose, we apprehend the breadth and length and depth and height, that is, the whole scene of God's glory. All the glory that God surrounds Himself with we have by having Christ in the heart, by faith realised in the power of the Spirit. But as we might be lost in this glory, we get back to Christ with whom we are familiar, and he prays that we may "know the love of Christ which surpasseth knowledge." We find in this galaxy of glory ourselves perfectly intimate with the Person that is the centre of it all. He dwells in the heart, and we know the love of Christ. Accordingly this does not narrow, but really quite the contrary, because it passes knowledge. Therefore He says, "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fulness of God." We have what surrounds God in the glory, and now having known the personal love of Christ we have got to God Himself. "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." This passage is generally quoted as referring to what God can do for us. People in their prayers say (piously no doubt; I do not attribute any harm) that God can do more than they ask or think. That is quite true, but it is not what is here. He says, "to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Thus it is a very different thing. "To him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages." We are carried out into all this of which we have been speaking; it is a power that works in us so that He is glorified in the church in all ages and of course now. That is where He sets us before He takes up the question of ministry.

69 The prayer is not that we might know the hope of His calling and the glory of His inheritance, but that the Father of our Lord Jesus according to the riches of His glory may strengthen us with might. It is according to all this thing in which He is glorified that He strengthens us. In the first prayer he prays that the eyes of our hearts may be opened and we may know the things that are ours. The glory is ours and the inheritance is ours. Here he comes not to what is objective, but to what works in us. The prayer is to the Father, not to God; and He looks for Christ dwelling in our hearts. He is looking for power in us, not objects before us, "that we may be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." He prays that this power may work in us, but it may not be working. He is not looking that we may know certain things that are ours, but that the things may exist. I may not be strengthened with might in the inner man, though I may have the Spirit. It is a positive state he is praying for.

70 The first prayer is not a prayer for anything to work in us, but that we may see the things, and He puts the things before us as objects. The things are ours. We have got the calling: we are partakers of the heavenly calling, as it is said in Hebrews, and if we have not got the inheritance actually, we are joint-heirs with Christ. He prays that the eyes of our hearts may be opened so that we may look at these things, but they are ours. It is wonderful that the Holy Ghost cannot shew us anything of glory that is not ours. The power spoken of at the end of the chapter which does the work in us, is a power that has taken us when dead sinners and put us in the Christ where He is. But this is all settled. "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." There we find that you who were dead in sins He has quickened. That is the power that has wrought and made a Christian of me. Here is chapter 3 he is praying that the power may work in us now. Practically it is the realisation of it.

In chapter 4 is one of the three "worthys" in the walk. We are called to walk worthy of God who has called us to His kingdom and glory; we are called to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing; and here we are called to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, that is, the habitation of God through the Spirit - the whole thing, but specially the last part. They are all brought into unity, reconciled to God, brought together as the habitation of God through the Spirit. Here he tells them to walk worthy of that calling. It is striking how he goes on directly to lowliness and meekness. This is the walk that is worthy of the vocation. We would feel our own nothingness if we thought of this place. It is very simple if we could take it practically. He has made us all one by the Spirit; we are all builded together like stones in a house; and He looks to us walking in that unity and the spirit of peace. We are to walk in the sense of these great things and of our own nothingness.

71 There is threefold unity, one body, one Spirit, and ourselves called in one hope of our calling. We then get the outward profession, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; and afterwards a still greater circle - one God and Father of all, above all, and through all, and in you all. In other words, we get unity of the Spirit, the unity of the lordship, and the unity in connection with one God and Father. It is the Spirit, the Lord, and God, as you find it in 1 Corinthians, where he speaks of gifts, diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; diversities of administrations, but the same Lord; and diversities of operations, but the same God that worketh all in all. It is not Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; this is not the thought, though it is connected with it, but the Spirit and Lord and God. You have the Spirit, the active agent down here, the Lord under whose authority the work is carried on, and after all, it is a divine thing - the same God that works all in all. So it is in the Corinthians, but just the same principle as here. There is a difference between the gifts there and here, and a very important difference, though here as there the Spirit and the Lord and God. We have the Holy Ghost down here; then Christ as Man in glory (He is more than that, but still He is Man; God has made Him Lord and Christ; He has got an official place. It is not that He has not a human nature, and a divine nature: that is all true; but He has an official place): one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Then follows a wider larger circle, one God, who is above all, through all, and (bringing it back to the internal power) He is in us all. Scripture is remarkably correct. Pantheism puts God into everything, and makes it all God; but Paul gives us the truth.

Next we come to "everyone of us." Each of us has his own special niche; we all fill some little service, whatever it is. "Unto every one of us is given grace": it is individualised. It is to every member of the body.

"Every one" is contrasted with that unity. He takes them first all as one thing, and then He takes them separately. It is according to the measure of the gift of Christ. We have Christ the giver now. You do not get this in 1 Corinthians 12; and the difference is an important one practically. There it is the Holy Ghost come down and distributing divinely. The Holy Ghost distributes to every man severally as He will, and therefore in the Corinthians they are merely looked at as powers. Must a man necessarily speak with a tongue because he is able to speak with it? No, says Paul, you must think of the building up of the church; everything must be done to edification. If the gift you have does not edify, you must be quiet. If there is no interpreter, you are not to speak. That is, we have power, but power subject to the ordering authority of the Lord in the church of God. They were speaking two or three at a time. They said they were all speaking by the Holy Ghost, and they thought they must utter what they had got to say. "No," says the apostle, "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." There must be order. There was power, but this power was restrained and authorised by the God of order. The possession of power was no proof that the person possessing it was to exercise his power; he was only to exercise it when it would edify the church. In consequence we find in the Epistle to the Corinthians what are called sign-gifts. There are no miraculous gifts in Ephesians, whereas in 1 Corinthians appear healings, miracles, tongues and various signs of power, which you do not get here. There it is the Holy Ghost down here. Here we have Christ on high caring for His own body, and looking for its edification, and hence we have only those gifts which are permanent for its good. The apostles and prophets were the foundation. The foundation is not being laid now; but the other gifts are given till we all come to the unity of the faith, to a full-grown man. That is, it is not a mere question of power, but of the faithfulness of Christ to His own body, the assembly, which He nourishes and cherishes as a man does his own flesh.

72 The word "gift" has a double sense. If you do not see this, you might be apt to take it in verse 7 as if it was Christ that is given. It denotes the giving as well as the thing given. Grace is merely a favour given, as a special grace conferred in giving a man such a qualification from Christ for service. To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. That is, I have got this grace, this thing that is conferred upon me, in the measure Christ has given it. You cannot say grace is given me to use a gift when the grace is given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

The grace is the gift. It is according to the measure of the giving of Christ that He gave this. If grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ, everyone would have perfect grace according to the gift He had given.

It is character, it is God's grace given; but it is a gift, whatever it may be. "To me is this grace given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."

73 It is tantamount to every member of the body having a gift. Also He makes a distinction between permanent gifts and what every joint supplies. He does not give pastorship, He gives pastors. This is not unimportant, because Paul a prophet was not always prophesying, though always a prophet, and he was an apostle, though not always exercising his apostleship. Therefore Christ does not give apostleship but apostles. Taking it as such given to him, it is a certain position and place of service given to him, and he is that. Christ ascends up on high and gives him. In Psalm 68 it is said that, when He ascended up on high, He received gifts in man. The point is, that Christ as a man has gone up and is a giver. It is the measure of the gift of Christ, not of the Holy Ghost, though it operates by the Holy Ghost.

Supposing I say I give to you an act of pastorship to-day, and that is all about it. This is not the case here. He gives the man as a pastor, and he is always a pastor, though God might deprive him of it if He liked. The man has that place and function. Paul was always an apostle. It was not a certain thing that came upon him and was gone, but he was an apostle always. When we get to the power of the Holy Ghost in 1 Corinthians, we read that God "set in the church first apostles, then prophets"; but it is much more an action of the Holy Ghost present down here as power.

Here then we find what we have referred to already - we come to the immense truth, Christ going down to the place of death, His soul to hades, and His body to the grave; and then going far above all heavens and filling everything. Having led captivity captive, He now comes in power, and makes other men the instruments of His power. Then, being so exalted, He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, etc.

There are first the apostles and prophets. They are passed away, but we have their writings, and these are precious. I mean we have not their personal presence, but are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets; and of course there is no foundation to be laid now. Then he takes that which must come first to have the church, for you cannot have pastors and teachers till you have had an evangelist to bring people there to be nourished. You see the foundation must be laid first, whence you have apostles and prophets first. Then how are you to get souls to be taught if there are no evangelists? "How shall they hear without a preacher?" Hence evangelists come next. It is a most blessed gift. I think more of evangelists than of pastors and teachers. They face the world more for Christ. Still I believe a pastor is a rare gift. The work of the evangelist is simpler. He stands in the face of the world for Christ. A pastor must be like a doctor; he must know the right food, and the right medicine, and the right diagnosis, and all the pharmacopoeia, and must know how to apply it too. In one sense it is a rare gift, and very precious.

74 Pastor and teacher are distinct things, but they are in Greek (and indeed in English) joined. They are connected, but not absolutely one, because a pastor includes in a certain sense the other; whereas a teacher has nothing to do with the office of pastor, so as to care for souls. I might expound the scripture, and yet not really have wisdom to deal with individual souls as a pastor has to do. That of pastor is a wider gift. Still they are closely connected, because you could hardly profit an individual without teaching him in a measure. A person may teach without being a pastor, but you can hardly be a pastor without teaching in a certain sense. The two gifts are closely connected, but you could not say they are the same thing. The pastor does not merely give food as the teacher; the pastor shepherds the sheep, leads them here and there, and takes care of them. I think it is a thing greatly wanted, but I believe it is a rare gift and always was. Pastors must have a heart for the sheep. There are degrees of completeness in it, but that is what the pastor has to do. The testimony is in the evangelist, but his work is simpler. He carries the gospel to the poor sinner, whereas the pastor has saints on his heart and cares for them.

One has taken some comfort out of the thought that the evangelist was not so important, for God would be sure to do the work. But it is not the way the apostle put it, for he says, "How shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?" There is nothing like going to the word of God God can do anything He pleases in that way, I have no doubt; still His ordinary way is by preaching.

The extent of an evangelist's work is to announce the glad tidings. It extends till they receive Christ and remission of sins. The evangelist throws the net into the sea, and it gathers of every kind, and then the fishermen put the good fish into vessels. It is the same figure in that parable. No distinction is made there. The net is drawn to shore at the close of the dispensation. Their business was good fish. They got a lot of bad ones into the net, and they put the good ones into vessels. Hence it is now a question of sorting. Then an evangelist distinguishes between those truly converted and those not. That parable speaks in general of all. Those that were pulling at the nets were putting in the vessels too.

75 But the evangelist has nothing to do inside the church as an evangelist. A man may not be a public speaker very much, but there will be evangelising going on, if there is much life. Saints always rejoice in the truth. There is a great deal of the teaching gospel now. Saints want the gospel very often as much as sinners (I mean the clear plain gospel); and therefore what I call a teaching gospel really has its place. It is another kind of thing from what awakens the sinner.

It is a mixture of a teacher's and evangelist's work. You will hear one man praying and beseeching God to bring in poor sinners, and you will hear another praying that Christ may be glorified in His sheep; the one in principle has a pastor's heart, and the other an evangelist's. You thus see where a man's heart is. The one is for people outside, and the other's desire is that Christ's sheep may glorify Him.

Owing to the perverse teaching which is abroad, you have to get converted people to the gospel. It is not the same thing as going out to the highways and hedges, and compelling them to come in. To such one would preach not only about their sins, but the grace of Christ for them in their sins. Romans 3 comes before chapter 7; but I was in the seventh before I got to the third, because I had nobody to preach to me. The first thing a person wants to know is that he is guilty, and when he knows his guilt in his conscience and his responsibility, the blood of Christ meets it, and there is forgiveness and cleansing.

Recollect we are talking about preaching the gospel when all the world professes to believe in Christ. When Peter preached the gospel to the Jews, he says, You have crucified and slain Him, and God has raised Him from the dead. You go and tell a sinner in the street that God has raised Him from the dead, and he will say, "I know that as well as you." They preached facts then. I believe that the gospel is really a great deal more powerful when we preach or bring forward the great facts of the gospel. There is immense power in these facts; but at the same time in the ordinary sense they are admitted, and hence you have to press their power and value upon people. When they went to heathens first, they told them that God had sent His Son into the world, that the world had crucified Him, and that God had raised Him. If you tell that to people now, they do not deny it. We have now to take the other part, "Be it known unto you, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." This is the effect of it. I believe the more facts are brought forward by the evangelist, the more power will be in his testimony.

76 It is not always knowledge. If a man has just got his soul saved, he is sometimes more in earnest than one who is a long time saved. You find persons just converted in that aspect better evangelists than others. But then you must bear in mind that we are evangelising in Christendom, we are not going to Hindoos or Chinese. If you do not take account of that, you will have a very superficial gospel. Evangelising in Christendom is not evangelising in heathendom; it is in worse case if you please.

But take a fact, when a man's sins are brought forward and you press it upon him - you shew him Christ. It is not the teaching that does the thing; it is a certain character of gospel that deals with the condition of soul, and after it they cannot go on with what they have got.

The parable in Matthew 13 is descriptive of the kingdom of heaven, how it goes on. You do not get directions how to do it, nor will directions ever do. If you want an evangelist, you must get a man who has love for souls; and counsel as to the manner of it would never do anything. Of course I may suggest to another; that is very well in its place. But the thing to be desired is a fervent spirit and love to souls.

The gospel is the glory of His grace. I get a much clearer gospel in its first elements if I know the glory. It is a more teaching gospel. I may say, How can you stand before God in glory? and Christ is in glory; and if you look to Christ, and He has borne your sins, they must be gone; for He has not got them in glory. This is the thing that gives peace to the conscience. I might take the coming of the Lord and present it as terror, and it might be used to awaken the conscience, and there is nothing done till conscience is awakened. It is a bad sign to receive the word at once with joy, unless there has been a previous work. You must have one consciously brought into God's presence, or you will never have anything real. There is no bringing the soul to God except by the conscience; because a man cannot be in God's presence without his conscience being awakened. What a preacher has to do is to bring the light to bear on a man's conscience, and make him thus find himself out in the light.

77 There may be a preliminary work - what the old Puritans call the common operations of the Spirit. There may be appeals to the conscience, which may have reached it, and the soul going on as before. The conscience may be reached, and a man may be quickened, or he may not; and the conscience may be reached and bring out the bitterest enmity against God. The consciences of the people whom Stephen addressed were reached, and made them gnash with their teeth. When God quickens, the conscience is reached, and the man is made to feel he is a sinner. The conscience may be reached, however, without that inward work as well as with it.

Whenever the Holy Ghost works, it produces a want. In Nicodemus's case, it went on to quickening. You have the words, "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost." It is not His work in the sense of saving or quickening, but the conscience is reached. That is the reason why the Puritans call such the common operations of the Spirit.

There is a conscience in every man. The fall of a tree may alarm a conscience. If God accompanies it in grace as He did in the case of Luther, whose friend was killed by a flash of lightning, the work is effectual. You see men alarmed and plunge into greater wickedness to get rid of it. They are distinct things, though they may go together.

In the last of the seven parables the gospel is the net that takes the fish. But then they caught bad fish as well as good. It is all God's work, but He employs workmen. Not only God works, but He works alone as to everything good. The net is cast into the sea. "How shall they hear without a preacher?" is what God says. I quite admit God will have His own. Scripture is plain upon it, but He has His way of doing things. His ordinary way is by the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." This is the ordinary rule of God. I see two ways of God's love manifested. One is His own essential blessedness in Himself; He gives us to enjoy this in communion by the Spirit. There is another thing in God, and that is, the activity of love towards those that have no communion with Him; and He gives us a part in it too. And the fact that He acts by instrumentality, as He speaks here, is an enormous blessing. He leaves poor creatures like us a part in this activity of saving souls. If it is man's work, it is good for nothing.

78 Servants are addressed in Luke 14, "Go and compel them to come in." And the point insisted on there is that, when the Jews would not come in, He would have the Gentiles. He first went and took the poor Jews, the poor of the flock, and brought them into His house, but they did not fill it, and then He sends to the Gentiles. He does not speak of whom He sends out.

But I do not think you will ever teach anybody to be a good evangelist; he must have it from God. He must have the love of souls in his heart. If he lean on the Lord, he will win souls.

You cannot have the church without the evangelist. Looked at as an evangelist, you see his point of departure is the church because he is a member. When things were right, the power went from the centre and gathered into that centre. "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." All gifts are independent of the church; they are all dependent on Christ. All service is simply to Christ. I quite admit discipline. If a man teaches wrong, he must be disciplined; but the service is to Christ. They are all for the Lord, and I believe the Lord would add them to the church if things were in order. The church is what is formed upon earth in which He is to be glorified. It is where He glorifies Himself now in the world, and therefore the evangelist gathers people in. This is all true; but when you take the person of an evangelist or pastor, he is Christ's servant. He is a great deal happier if he goes in fellowship with the assembly, but the fact of evangelising is not the assembly's act. The assembly will not go on well, unless there is a spirit of evangelising in it, to which the love of Christ will constrain them. I quite admit that which has taken place in connection with revivals: the action which converted, and that which gathered, have been in a measure disconnected. I see clearly in the operations at the beginning that they went together. The Lord then added to the church daily such as should be saved. This was the regular order of things.

79 At the beginning there was the church which God had set up and power was there. They commend Paul to God, and he comes back and tells what God has done by his means. There is action and reaction, but now this has all got dislocated. You are in an immense thing called the church, which is far indeed from Christ. Therefore there is this difficulty for a man who feels pressed to go and speak to souls, when he does not know there is such a thing as the body of Christ. If a man was a heathen or Jew and became a Christian, he was added to the church, but that is not the case now; and therefore it requires more real power and wisdom to do the work rightly now, and not simple power merely which evangelises the sinner.

We had most happy exercise of heart about it in  - . When they first went out, they did not know anything about the body of Christ. They went and devoted themselves to people that were gathered, some going to the world and some to sects, as they knew no better. The work goes on more slowly, but a great deal more solidly. They did not cease to evangelise, but it was more connected with Christ outside the world. It told more healthfully. After all there is as much real work done and a better kind of work. A difficulty arises that we are not preaching to heathens. If you go to China or India, the persons converted to Christ come amongst those Christians that are there. If you go and convert a man now, and he belongs to the Independents or Presbyterians or Methodists, he goes on with them. The man belongs to Christ, but the whole thing is lost in a morass. By a clear gospel the person will get hold of things that will make it impossible to go on as he had been doing; he will be led to consider that to continue as he had been doing will not do. It is one of the reasons that hindered me from preaching in dissenting places, that the gospel I preached tends to break the whole system to pieces. How can a man who believes me preaching that by one offering he is perfected for ever, go and listen to a man that is dinning about the law every day? If he does, the condition of his soul is lowered. I might not have been talking of any particular doctrines or separation from the body to which he belonged - and never would so speak; yet the preaching of a really full gospel would (if received) bring a man necessarily to that centre.

80 If you preach a full gospel, it will tell in the way described. It will gather to Christ without effort or persuasion. Indeed I never could and never did make one Christian leave the systems. I believe that there are people among the poor Roman Catholics that will go to heaven. But there is one thing wrong, and that is all those divisions; for I defy anybody to shew me such a thing in the word of God as what is now called the church. One must come out of confusion. But, further, we are told to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The gift of a pastor is a rare one. Could anyone exercise the office of a pastor without having a gift, that is, do a pastor's work without being specially gifted? He will do it very badly if he has not got the gift. If he does it really, he has got the gift - he cannot do it really without that. It is possible that I did not quite convey what I meant. In the present state of things is the work of a pastor done in any way by any one who has not the gift of a pastor, or can it be? Much depends on the spirit of the thing. You may have him in the place and office, but he cannot do the work of a pastor because he has not got the gift. Supposing a person says, I do not profess to have the gift of a pastor, and yet I must look after souls as well as I can? One has no objection to that, for it is brotherly love. If you get a person in brotherly love doing what he can, it is very well: we all ought to care one for another. A very young Christian cannot do as much as an older one, but in a certain sense everybody ought to care for his brother. In verse 16 after the chief positive gifts, evangelists, pastors and teachers, which go on to the end, you get "from whom," that is, Christ, "the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth." That is what you refer to. One has not a specific gift and office, but he does whatever he can do. "Fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying itself in love." Here then all the members have something or other. They have each their place and service: one may exhort, one may have a little word of wisdom and never appear in public at all. There is that which "every joint supplieth." It is real and approved of Christ.

81 It is connected with verse 7 of course: only there he spreads that out into these gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; and then he goes on to what "every joint supplieth." You first get the positive gifts. A person may evangelise, though he be not actually an evangelist; he may take an opportunity of speaking for Christ. Compare Acts 8:4.

I leave every person to his own conscience as to places where he may be free to evangelise. At first I preached in every church or chapel where I was permitted; but I found it was not a good plan. If I saw a man preaching the gospel honestly or fully in the streets and there was opposition, I could identify myself with him without asking who he was or where he came from; but this is a different thing from planning to go out with him. I could not; but I leave every person free. You cannot control any man's conscience; you may advise him. I do not conceal that I am outside the camp. It makes people angry sometimes; but I am deliberately outside the camp, altogether and totally, and I think I know what I am about from Scripture. If I go there, I mix myself up with what is in the camp, and I give an uncertain sound. My deliberate judgment is that in the present state of the church of God one should be outside these connections. I think it is all going on to judgment as fast as it can, and it is not charity to go on with it so as to enfeeble the testimony. I have seen it going on these forty or fifty years nearly, with persons attempting to go on with it; and I have never seen such persons either grow up into the truth or make others clear in their walk. After an experience of many years I am perfectly clear in my judgment about it.

As to how far one could wish God speed to or have fellowship with any work going on outside, if I knew of a person preaching Christ even of contention, I would rejoice as the apostle says. I could not go and join with a man that was doing it in contention, yet I am glad he is preaching Christ.

With certain preachers I would not have fellowship for special reasons. It is a matter of discipline. I separate between having fellowship with Christ preached and co-operating with the men that preach. Do you think I should join with a man that preaches from contention? I am glad he is doing it in one sense, because Christ is made known by it.

82 In this way I can own all ministry where it is true, apart from recognising a man in the sense of co-operating. It is the thing that gives a character to the evangelising itself. My experience is that it is not the way to get souls on. I have seen both done. I have seen brethren doing it; of course they stand or fall to their own Master. I would go with them in preaching the gospel, but not with the camp. I think it is a great thing for our souls to get hold of - you cannot expect the newly converted soul to get hold of it at once - that there is this immense system, "the camp," which is not of God, though there are many people of God in it. Therefore you must leave individuals to judge in each case. But that which associates me with it I cannot do. It would be building again the things I destroyed. If I am to associate myself with it, why did I leave it? I never should attack anybody nor ask anybody to come. I never would and never did; but I am not going to be driven out of what is plain in Scripture.

There is no true Christian that has not something or other given him for service in the body, merely perhaps a little bit of wisdom. Everybody has got something for service to the body, as a hand or foot or eye; but not everybody a prominent gift as a pastor or evangelist. Everybody has got something according to the measure of what Christ has given him; and if he go beyond that measure, it will be mere human action or no good at all.

We now come to the ordinary exhortation as to walk. He shews the state they were in - ignorance and sin. "As the truth is in Jesus"; it is not doctrine, though doctrine is contained in it. The truth as it is in Jesus is the having put off the old man and put on the new - this having been done by faith. Then he adds, "and being renewed in the spirit of your mind." The putting off and the putting on are not in the present tense, whereas being renewed in the spirit of your mind is. The truth is, that you have put off the old man, but you do want renewing. In Colossians (chap. 3) this is distinct: "Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new." In the Epistle to the Ephesians he is not saying directly to them what they have done, but saying what the truth is in Jesus. So it is more abstract. The truth in Jesus is having put off and having put on. Being renewed is present; the renewing of the spirit of your mind is a thing that is always going on.

83 After this we get another immensely important principle in the new man, which according to God is created in "righteousness and holiness of truth." This is the character of God Himself. The first man was innocent; he was not righteous but innocent. There was no evil in him. To be righteous and holy you must have the knowledge of good and evil. God is perfectly righteous and perfectly holy. He judges with authority what is evil and good; but innocence does not know good and evil. The new man is after God. Another expression is found in the Colossians, which is of great importance - "renewed in knowledge according to the image of him that created him." There is a positive knowledge of God. It is not merely that there is an absence of sin, but I have a positive knowledge of God Himself, and it is what God is that is the character and essence of the new man.

So Peter speaks of being "made partakers of the divine nature." It is not merely that a man is born again. It is the truth as it is in Jesus. Of course a man is born again. Abraham had to be born again; but he did not know anything about putting off the old man and putting on the new. You never find this in the Old Testament. You find there the knowledge of sin working, but the Old Testament saints did not make a difference between the old man and the new. The moment that death came in, the believer and man took his place with God in Christ, I get the old man and the new.

We get here the putting on the new man, created after God in righteousness and true holiness. I have put on this new man, but then I have put off the old. It is a totally new thing. It is Christ who has died, so that the old thing is done with. For faith I have done with the flesh. I am not a debtor to the flesh; I am crucified with Christ: the old man is done with. We are quickened together with Christ. This is more than being born of God. Christ quickening as the Son of God, which He does - He quickeneth whom He will - is a different thing from being quickened with Christ as risen; because, when I am quickened with Christ as risen, I have left all that is the old thing behind me and have gone into a resurrection-state. The old man is crucified with Christ. This is of all importance as being one of the two great elements of Christian walk. These are, first, the putting off the old man and the putting on the new; secondly, that the Holy Ghost dwell in us and we are not to grieve Him. These are the two grounds of Christian walk in Ephesians.

84 To be made partakers of the divine nature is the moral character of it. It is after God; it is the pattern of what God is. God is righteous and God is holy; and now it is not merely setting us up as innocent, but we, being actually partakers of the divine nature, have a character according to what He is. It is after God, created in righteousness and holiness.

It is morally like God's nature, but still, that might be rather a bold way of saying it. Morally it is the same; else you could not delight in Him. He chose us in Christ that we should be "holy and without blame before him in love," which is God's nature. He is holy, He is blameless, He is love. And so it is with Christ. If you look at Him down here, He was holy and blameless, and He was here in love. So in Hebrews "he that sanctifieth," that is Christ, "and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."

85 But the putting off the old man we had better not pass over. The Christian, in virtue of Christ's death and having Christ as his life, as a Christian does not own the flesh at all. The mind of the flesh is enmity against God, but he does not own it. He has not to die to sin but to reckon himself dead, Christ having died and all being available for him. What Christ has done he reckons himself to have done in this respect. How can you be alive? I say I am not, but Christ lives in me. "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." We have put off the old man (not, are to put it off), that is, if we have heard Him and have been taught of Him. Besides, this new man is after God.

Observe the two in Romans 8. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (that is, the new man) "hath made me free from the law of sin and death; for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." When Christ was on the cross, He not only bore our sins and put them away, but God condemned sin in the flesh there, so that I see it is all put off. Faith reckons it. Christ died to sin; He is the only Person that died to sin; so God reckons us alive unto God, not in Adam, but in Jesus Christ our Lord. My life in which I live is not flesh: "ye are not in the flesh," but in Christ. When you come to realise it, you take the putting off first; you say I have put off the old man - I am not a child of Adam - and put on the new man, that is, Christ. In short I believe in the testimony of 1 John 5 where it is said, "this is the record [or, testimony] that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." It is entirely a new thing in Christ; and as a proof that eternal life is not in Adam but in Christ, he shews the Spirit, and the water, and the blood - what has living power and what cleanses, what expiates - all coming consequent upon Christ's death. The water came out of His dead side, as did also the blood, while the Spirit came after He was glorified. These are all witnesses that eternal life is not in the first man but in the Second. I reckon myself dead, I am crucified with Christ. Thus it is a nature that is after God Himself. Then we get another element - the Holy Ghost dwells in me, and I am not to grieve Him.

The putting off of the old and the putting on of the new occur at the same time really; but practically, when you come to details, you find you have the one first, and then you realise the other. In real truth you put on the new man first. When you come to practice, you have to treat the old thing as dead, and the other comes free. In point of fact we must get the new man in order to treat the old man as dead. If the old man was treated as dead first, I would have no man at all. When I have got Christ as my life, I come to look at myself, and it is all over with the old man. There are many who own that they must be born again, but they do not recognise that they put off the old man. The moment I have got the death and resurrection of Christ, I say I am not a debtor to the old man. This is not merely the fact of being born again; it is not merely saying I am born again, but the other thing I have put off, that is, to faith.

Of course the old man is part of the old creation. "If any man be in Christ, there is a new creation." We are the firstfruits of His creatures. "He has begotten us that we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." When he speaks of dealing with the condition I am in, which you do not get here but in Colossians, which is a little lower, he does not say, Mortify the old man, but your members which are upon earth. He does not allow any life but Christ - "Your life is hid with Christ in God." "Ye are dead"; now mortify (that is, put to death) your members. This implies power. It is never dying to sin, but that I am dead to sin and alive to God in Christ, and therefore I can mortify.

86 Romans 8:13 ("Ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body"), and Colossians 3:5 ("mortify your members") are but a different way of expressing the same thing. In Romans we are not viewed as risen with Christ, whereas in Colossians and Ephesians we are. In Romans we are presented as dead with Christ, because the object of Romans never is to take us out of our place in this world. It shews us that we are in Christ, but at the same time still here; whereas in Colossians the apostle will not let them be alive in the world. "Why," he says, "as alive in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?" All ritualism flows from not knowing we are dead.

Then we get another immensely important element, namely, that God dwells in us - the Holy Ghost; for we are told, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." The Christian is to do nothing that displeases God who dwells in him. You have no mortifying the members here in Ephesians. It is a new creation and nothing else. The epistle to the Colossians does not go as far as that to the Ephesians. In the former you get us risen, but not sitting in heavenly places as in the latter.

If Romans puts us into Jordan, it does not go on to the coming out of Jordan. Colossians puts us up on the bank; but Ephesians takes us and sets us down in Canaan to eat the old corn of the land where there is no manna any more. You cannot say they are a figure of that, it is going into details, which the figure does not. You get a figure of the whole thing that I have passed through Jordan. I am not in the wilderness, but am in heavenly places, and seated there in Christ; and not till then do I get circumcised. You get this in Colossians. There are two things in the Romans: man is dealt with, looked at as alive in sin; and death is brought in - Christ's death. By Christ's death their guilt is gone, and by it also they died. They are in Christ, but they are looked at as persons that have died, though not risen with Him. In the Ephesians, although the fact is looked at, as to the doctrinal statement, they are not looked at as alive in sin; they are dead in sins, which is another aspect of it, but the same state. When I am alive in sins I am dead towards God; there is not a single movement of thought, heart, or feeling in that state towards God. God can create me over again spiritually. Ephesians looks at a man as dead in sins, and says we are created in Christ Jesus. It is not justifying sinners there.

87 The man is justified in Romans; he is a new creation entirely in Ephesians; while in Colossians you get both. In the latter there is death and the new creation, but not yet seated in heaven. They are looked at as on the earth, and there is a hope laid up for them in heaven - "ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." In chapter 2:11-12, we read, "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; buried with him in baptism [there I get the doctrine of Romans], wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead [I have now got beyond the Romans]. And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh hath he quickened together with him." There we get Colossian doctrine, but it does not take us up to heaven. When he speaks of that in Ephesians he says, "He hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Colossians is, as it were, between Romans and Ephesians. Therefore in Colossians you get, instead of sitting in heavenly places, "set your affections or things above," "the hope that is laid up for you in heaven," and such expressions. He does not talk of the Holy Ghost in Colossians. What we find in Colossians is life, and this is as important in its place as the Holy Ghost dwelling in us. In Ephesians you get the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, and therefore the body; whereas in Colossians you never get the Holy Ghost mentioned except in the expression "your love in the Spirit." For example, in Ephesians we read, "Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another," whereas in Colossians he says, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds." Instead of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, it is God's nature the measure of how we are to behave ourselves.

The Holy Ghost works in the new nature, but is not said to dwell in it. It is said, that "Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." The Holy Ghost operates in the new nature. Still the dwelling is never spoken of as in it, but in the body; we need Christ to dwell in our hearts by faith.

88 I have got a new nature, and of course have not to pray to get one. The effect of this is most striking. In the Ephesians we are brought to sit in heavenly places, we have put off the old man and put on the new, and we have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us. In Ephesians it is, "As God in Christ hath forgiven you." We have got the nature, the state that I am in, to be able to walk: we have put off the old and put on the new; and the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, and then we are told to be imitators of God as dear children. If it be said, How can we talk of imitating God (of course it is not Almighty power, but refers to moral things), how can poor worms such as we talk of imitating God? I answer, is not Christ your pattern? You are to follow that. This shews the absurdity of making it merely the law as our rule of life. If a dear child of God, I am to have a sense of it in my soul and exhibit it in my walk; I am "to walk in love as Christ hath loved us, and hath given himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." "Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren"; we are to go and walk as He walked.

We have had the two subjective elements (that is, the state I am in) consisting of the new man, and the old man put off, and the Holy Ghost dwelling in us. Then follow as a measure the two essential names of God - love and light. This is what Christ was in this world. "While I am in the world," He says, "I am the light of the world," and He was the expression of divine love. You are to be an imitator of God, and if you ask, How can that be carried out in man? you get Christ, that is, God manifested in a man. How clearly the thing is entirely above law! If law was carried out in the world, we should have the world all happy, and righteous, and peaceful; but this supposes the world to be all right. I am to care for another as much as for myself, but that will not do in this world, and therefore I get this, "He gave himself." It is not taking love to self as the measure of love to my neighbour, but going beyond the law, and giving oneself up for others. If all went on rightly, the law would be your rule now, but it is otherwise. As Christians, when you come to a world of wickedness, you have to follow God.

89 Let us look at the double character of this love, which is entirely practical. There are two kinds - what I may call love up and love down; and they are entirely different in kind. The care of a father and his child will illustrate the difference. The father loves down, and the child loves up; the one is to something above it, whereas the other is in condescending goodness. If you take a case of loving up, the more excellent the object the more excellent the affection. If one love a base thing, it is a base affection. If one love a man of noble character, it is a noble affection. If one love God, of course, it is the highest of all. Then on the other hand, if you take love down, the baser the object the greater the love. Such is the character of God's love to us. We get both in Christ. He loved His Father perfectly as Man (which was loving up), and He loved us when vile sinners (which was loving down); and we are to go and do likewise. Therefore I read here "as Christ hath loved us and given himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." He gave Himself for us and to God. This is perfection. He had an infinitely high object, and an infinitely low one, and He was perfect both ways. We have to seek to walk as He walked. There is fellowship also one with another. Of course when we can see, the thing to imitate is Christ walking in love - "as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God."

This is the side of love wherein you are imitators of God. Then you get the other essential name of God, and that is, light; which he says we are too. We are partakers of the divine nature - "ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord." God is love, and God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. We were darkness, but now in Christ we are light in the Lord. "Awake, thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light." I get the full light in Christ, also the full love. Thus are the two essential names of God brought out. I am a partaker of the divine nature, and the Spirit of God dwells in me, and I am to act as God acted, and that acting was in Christ. "Awake, thou that sleepest," that is, looking at Christians, not committing sins, but gone to sleep in the world. In the world the people are all dead: but if a man goes to sleep, he is just as much alive as when awake, but he is as much as dead; he does not hear, nor speak, nor think; he is like a dead man. Look at the Christian that is going on with the world - he is with the dead. What am I to do, then? Christ is the light of the world, and "ye are the light of the world," He says to His disciples. It is a wonderful exhibition.

90 In 1 John it is said, "If we walk in the light," that is, absolutely; but, realising position, we walk in it. It is position; we are actually there. It is not like standing in righteousness. Here he is looking at practice. Walking is a real thing. It is not as if I say, Christ is my righteousness. It is a real living place we are walking in. Of course he judges in detail all sins. All the Gentiles are walking in darkness - I refer to the passage in Ephesians. "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but wise." Uprightness is not sufficient. If I have to go through a bog, I may be perfectly sincere in seeking a house on the other side; but if I do not look about me, I may sink in the bog. I must look about me. It requires wisdom to go through this world, I mean as a Christian.

The expression "redeeming the time" is apt to be always misapplied. It means seizing opportunities. You get it in Daniel 2, where the king speaks to the Magi: "I know ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me." They wanted to redeem the time. Here I am to walk in such a way, so full of Christ, that, when an opportunity offers, I can bring Him out. The days are evil. You cannot always have an opportunity; you might be casting pearls before swine; but you must be in a condition to embrace every opportunity. In Daniel it is "gain the time," or as in the margin "buy" the fit moment. A thousand more opportunities would present themselves of bringing Christ before people if we were living in the power of the Spirit of God. The days are evil, we are told. The power of evil is there. You must not complain because the days are evil. The Lord can guide us through one day as well as another.

"Instant in season" is to the saint. The time will come when they will not receive sound doctrine. This applies to the dealing with the saints. It is often applied to the gospel; but the mischief is, that people take passages without reading the context. I am sure we could find a great many more seasons if we were faithful to Christ. "Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine, for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables." He is evidently looking to Christians. Timothy was to go on earnestly pressing, because soon they would not listen to him. Whether it were seasonable or not, he was to go on with it, because very soon there would be no season at all.

91 I do not think the apostle here means the gospel. The previous chapter speaks of the departure. He is speaking of the evil days. It is not that we are not to be preaching everywhere we can to sinners, but the special thing he has in his mind is that the church would get into such a state that they would not listen to truth. When we preach the gospel now, we preach to people that call themselves Christians. You may meet infidels, it is true. It is of the last days he is speaking. In John's time they were come in. It was the last time then, though morally developed since. Peter says, "The time is come that judgment will begin at the house of God," and Jude says, that these men "have crept in unawares," and also that these are they that the Lord comes to judge.

The latter times bring it up to the last days, being the more general term: "In the latter days some shall depart from the faith," and in the last days they shall have a form of godliness. It is rather more distinctly characteristic; because in John you get the last days marked by antichrists being there. He does not use them to say they are the last of the latter. In the latter days you get celibacy and asceticism, as it is called; so the apostle shews in Colossians. He speaks of that system which was already dawning. God allowed it all to begin before the apostle went, that we might have scripture upon it. It ripened afterwards. Therefore he speaks of the latter days as those coming in after he was gone. They are used in the Old Testament pretty much in the same sense. Still the last days are more definite. "As ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists."

We had before the oppositions of science, falsely so called, and the forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, and we all know it is going on since. In England you can hardly go into a cathedral without finding the monument of a bishop who lived forty days without eating anything: I have seen them when I used to go into such places. Now one may fast very profitably if one has occasion to do it. As such I recognise it: but to set about making a virtue of it in the way usually done is wrong because it went upon the principle that matter was an evil thing, and denied the atonement entirely, for they said that Christ could not have a body. This is the reason the apostle John insists He is come in flesh, and that His disciples had handled Him. It was denied that He was really a man in that way, because they thought all matter was a bad thing; and therefore the great thing to be done was to get the Spirit, which was good in everybody away from matter. Therefore they fasted to keep the matter down. This was a torment to the church. Though some of them were very strict, a great many were grossly immoral. It spread everywhere and affected even the orthodox. The Gnostics died out, but they left their taint in the church, and the whole system of celibacy and monasticism continued. I used once to fast in that way myself. On Wednesdays, and Fridays, and Saturdays I did not eat anything at all, but on the other days I did eat a little bread. I said, If I fast three days I can fast four, and if four, five, and if five, better six, and if six, better seven; and what then? I had better die. Thus there was something that made it impossible to go through with the thing. I went on with it, but God delivered me.

92 The Spirit of God had them in view. They were dawning then, because it says, "The Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter days some shall depart," etc. You see that evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, and that, when once the evil was introduced, it could not be put out.

It had been among the heathen before. The system of monasteries, and celibacy, and begging friars, was all in existence five hundred and forty years before Christ, and many think it was actually borrowed from the East. Certainly it is the same thing morally, but, as I said, many think it was actually borrowed from the East; as a great many of their doctrines were, I have no doubt. A Roman Catholic priest, when visiting the East, was perfectly astounded, and did not know what to think when he found among the Buddhists exactly the same things as Roman Catholics had at home. He told them he was a Lama from the west, and he was received in all their monasteries and elsewhere.

Returning to our epistle, we see that another element comes in. When we have them all in order, he says, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Such is the joy they were to have, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." There are two things - my own will gone, and the perfect certainty of God's love. "Giving thanks always for all things": take away my fortune and I say, "Thank God." It is not easy, and of course the will must be broken; but on the other hand, God makes everything to work together for good to those that love Him. Then you get a spirit of grace, "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ." It is not submitting to do evil if you want me to do it, but that in faith there is no will. If you want me to do wrong, I cannot do it because it is not God's will, but in everything in which my will is concerned I give way to you. We are to submit to one another in the fear of Christ. It is what sitting in heavenly places produces upon earth. Christ when here, could say He was in heaven, and He is given as our pattern, though to us it is purely by grace.

93 Next, there are two other main subjects that follow - the love of Christ to His church, and the conflict of the saints with spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. We have passed away from what we are with God, and now we come to the special relationship of Christ with the church. The main thing in His mind is the church. "The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the Saviour of the body." This I believe to be our body.

I get two things He does in consequence of His love to the church. He gave Himself for it out and out. This is the first thing He does in consequence of His love to it. Then, having taken it to be His own, He sets about to make it what He likes. He does not make what He likes to be His own, but takes it to be His own to make it what He likes. Next, I get present sanctifying and washing by the word; and afterwards His presenting it to Himself as a glorious church. This is special. It is not God loving poor sinners, but the special love of Christ to the church. The purification that we get here is that which we have in heaven; as far as it goes, it is the same nature, and quality, and standard, and measure, and everything else as will be in heaven. He washes it here that it may have no spot there. "Beholding with unveiled face the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into the same image from glory to glory." Looking at Christ in glory our hearts get filled with the motives that are there, and this effect is produced upon earth. The effect is produced here, but the motives are all above. He "loved the church and gave himself for it." This is the starting-point - "that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water by the word, that he might present the church to himself glorious, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish." It is a great thing for us to see that the condition we are to be presented in to Christ is the power and measure of our sanctification here.

94 It is manifest that we find the same thing all through the epistles. For instance, "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 every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." I know I shall be perfectly like Christ in glory, and I purify myself according to that standard. It is not that I am pure according to it. I cake that measure and apply it now. Every step I take I see it clearer, and I may apply it to something else; but this is the only thing I am looking at to judge by.

In 1 Thessalonians 3 the same truth comes out in a striking way. "The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints." This is a passage that looks perfectly unintelligible until you get hold of what I have been saying. Instead of saying unblameable in holiness before God at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should have said, "unblameable in your walk down here." He looks at their realising their Christian position - "to the end he may establish your hearts," and draws the veil and there they are unblameable when Christ comes. This is where it is all measured.

But it is evidently a very important principle for this day and every other. All the perfection which is spoken of, Wesleyan or whatever it may be called, is clean gone. It does not come into the question, good or bad, because what I am shewn is the perfection of Christ in glory. I do not get it till I am in glory, and there is no other object presented to a Christian as the standard but Christ in glory. We are to be "conformed to the image of his Son that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Again, "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly; and as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Therefore the apostle said that he had not yet attained, but there was no other thing before him. He was always running on to it. We retain in heaven the impress got here; but this is Christ. There may be degrees of realisation. We shall be perfectly like Christ when we get there; all of us will be perfectly like Him. We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of God's Son; and as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall bear the image of the heavenly. I am like a person in a straight passage with a light at the end; I have more of the light every step I take, but I do not get the light till I come to the end. When He shall appear, we shall be like Him. I get a sight of this, and say, This is what I am going to be. It sounds strange to say that we cannot be as Christ was here, because He was absolutely sinless, and if I say I have no sin I deceive myself. But I shall be like Him there, and this is brought to bear upon me now that I should have no motive working in my soul but Him there. This is what the apostle means when he says, "not looking at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."

95 It has been said, indeed, that God would not give a measure that we could not attain to; but I take the bull by the horns and assert that He never gave one that a man could attain to. He made man innocent, and there was no demand necessary; but the moment man becomes a sinner, God put something beyond him, which he is to run after. God gives him a law when he is in the flesh, and he is not subject to the law of God. It is an unattainable measure. Again, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." This is our measure. Are you as perfect as this? When things are fully developed, I get Christ in glory. This is perfectly unattainable here, because God wants me to be always running on and having the one thing always before me. "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 meaning of John 17:19 ("For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth") is, that for their sakes Christ sets Himself apart as a model man (though I do not like the expression), that we might be made into His likeness.

96 The passage in Hebrews 12 ("Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus") is more the difficulties we have to encounter that he is looking at there. He says, Christ has got there; you take courage and run on. It is just the same race exactly. It is wonderful that we shall really be conformed to the image of God's Son, when we think of what we are. But it has nothing to do with our responsibility as to salvation. You are not set in this path until you are saved. Our responsibility as men, God's creatures, is not affected: as responsible men we are lost. It is over in that sense. Take, by way of illustration, a man in business who has contracted debts; suppose I go to him and tell him how he is to manage not to get into debt, he would only tell me I was mocking his misery, for he had nothing to manage. Responsibility is over in that sense; not that a man is not responsible for all he has done, but that he is ruined already, and of this the cross is the proof, because the highest act of grace is that Christ came to seek and save the lost. As to the history in Scripture, the whole system of probation concluded at the cross. "Now," said Christ, "is the judgment of this world"; as it is also said in Hebrews, "now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." When it is all over with man, sovereign grace steps in, and saves people out of their ruined condition. A person may get all his debts paid, but be left without a penny to begin the work again. God has not dealt with us in that way. He has paid our debts, and has given us the same glory as His own Son. This was a matter of His counsels before the foundation of the world; and it belongs to all Christians. There is labour which God rewards, for every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour; but in the likeness of Christ every saint will then be.

We shall all be conformed to the image of God's Son in glory. It was God's counsel before the foundation of the world, but never brought out till the cross. He "hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works [which is responsibility], but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but now is made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ." It was before the world in God's purpose about His people, but it was never brought out till Christ had laid the foundation for it in the cross. In Titus 1 there is a similar statement, "In hope of eternal life which God that cannot lie promised before the world began; but hath in due times manifested his word through preaching." All this glorious purpose, glorious for us and for God, never was brought out - never hinted at - until Christ laid a righteous ground for it in the cross. Then God brought it out and said, "That is what I am going to do." This with much more is what we find here in Ephesians.

97 But we have to notice another thing also: "No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ the church, for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." There I get not simply this purpose of presenting us to Himself, but how He loves and cherishes us as a man does his own flesh. It is His present care of the church. "We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." This shews that the church could not have existed at all till Christ was glorified, because it is with Christ as a man it is connected. It is not that the Son quickened us (though this is true), but that we are members of Christ's body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

After exhortations to children and parents, slaves and masters, there is another great subject in this Epistle, the conflicts of the saint. We do not find the conflict except in Ephesians. It is not a conflict of flesh and spirit, nor is it a conflict of conscience when a man is quickened. The Jews were slaves in Egypt as an unconverted man is in his sins. When God brought them into Canaan, were they at once to have rest? There was conflict; and the proper sense of conflict with Satan is for us in heavenly places.

In the Authorised Bible "high places" is inserted in place of "heavenly places," which shews that the translators were afraid of the truth, and so altered the word. A similar alteration occurs in Revelation 4. There we get One seated on a throne, and the four and twenty elders also seated on thrones; but though the word in the original is quite the same, the translators altered the thrones of the elders into "seats." In our epistle they were afraid to translate "heavenly places," and they made it "high places"; but the word they have translated "high" here is the same as the one they have translated "heavenly" elsewhere, as chapter 1:3.

98 People speak of Jordan as death, and quite rightly too, for it is a figure of death; but then is it not strange that, when they crossed over Jordan and got into Canaan, Joshua met a man with a sword drawn in his hand, and they had to fight? Is it not strange that, as soon as heavenly places are entered, conflict has to be entered on? Now what is Jordan? After passing through death into these heavenly places we begin to fight. Thus it does not mean actual rest in heaven as supposed. If I say I have put off the old man, this is the same as that I am dead with Christ. I have passed through death, and been circumcised with the circumcision of Christ, and now I can fight the battles of God with Satan. This is what we get here.

Redemption brought us into the wilderness. The wilderness is our passing through this world where our flesh is tested. Canaan is the other part of the Christian's life, where he reckons himself dead. Christ in spirit is there as the Captain of the Lord's host, and He has to fight the battles of the Lord Himself. That is what we get in Canaan. I sometimes wonder that it does not strike people what an odd thing it is, that if Jordan means death, and Canaan heaven (which they do), fighting should characterise the place in Joshua, for the first thing he meets there is a man with a sword drawn in his hand. The whole book of Joshua is about the battles of the Lord. There we get death brought in, as we have been saying, reckoning ourselves dead - I am crucified with Christ. This is what Jordan is: "If ye be dead with Christ." By-and-by it will be our place of rest. Yes, heaven will be ours. I am not quarrelling with the use of the image in that way. Jordan is a type of death, and Canaan of heavenly places. In the account we get in Numbers they are going through the wilderness and tested by God; and in Canaan they fought with flesh and blood, which is a figure of spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. We do not get there till we have passed through Jordan, that is, till we are dead and risen with Christ. This is every Christian's place; but I speak of realising it.

The Christian is in both at the same time, but not in experience, though his condition down here affects his power of fighting. He must have the armour on. I have to go through the world with the cares of family or business, or meeting the contradiction of sinners. But this is not a moment in which I am fighting God's battles: I am then fighting my own, so to speak. We are with God down here, or God is with us; and we fight with the devil in heavenly places. Until Revelation 12 he is in heaven. It is not where God dwells in unapproachable light; he is not there; but how could he be the accuser of the brethren if he be not in heaven? He went with the sons of God about Job, for we find Satan was amongst them. You could not have him accuser of the brethren, if he were not there. He tempts them down here, but accuses them there.

99 Suppose a Christian was preaching the gospel: in that would he be in wilderness circumstances? No, he is rather fighting the battle there. He might be in wilderness circumstances as to various things, but he is fighting the battles there, and he must use the wisdom of God against a subtle spiritual adversary. Suppose a man is attacked in the street and abused? You never get the question of the flesh away. When they did not consult Jehovah, they made mistakes, as in the case of Ai and Gibeon. Our contending with Satan would be against heresy, superstition, and other things. Satan may raise up opposition and violence in the streets, and hence the Christian would need wisdom; but you cannot separate the idea from having the flesh, because you will be making blunders. Thus there are doubts, and things of that kind, which Satan brings into the mind - infidelity, for instance. Satan in them acts directly; they are not mere temptations of an ordinary kind.

In this connection he adds, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might." We have no strength of our own. We have nothing to do with any carnal or fleshly weapons. "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise." As long as the saints lean upon flesh and influence, they are not leaning on God, but flesh. The world has all the upper hand there.

Take an example in our Lord in His conflict in the wilderness. There was no sin in being hungry. This is hardly the kind of conflict; still the Lord overcomes. There was more wilderness work; still it was Satan. He too hindered the apostle from going to the Thessalonians. If one were endeavouring to make void all this truth, brought out up to this point, and say it was not true, it would be Satan's work. Infidelity, and heresies, and things of that kind, are referred to in this warfare. In a case of discipline Paul says, "we are not ignorant of his devices." Satan was trying to divide Paul and the Corinthians, and he says, "If you forgive it, I also forgive it. I see what Satan is at: he wants to make a split between us." Error as to any doctrine is Satan's power. I merely took the other as an example. In Canaan it is not so much as a roaring lion, but he might be. "In nothing terrified by your adversaries." In the case of Paul being prevented by Satan from going to the Thessalonians, God allowed it in His providence, as He allows everything in that dealing. In the case of Job, it was God commenced the matter. He overrules all that. "We would have gone once and again, but Satan hindered us." Opposition was raised up that he could not go. All that is conflict. We do not believe enough that there is such a thing.

100 The rulers of the darkness of this world are Satan and his angels. The darkness of the world is ignorance of God, who is light. Conflict of Satan is not characteristic of the wilderness. If there is anything of the kind, it is an attempt to go up and get beaten. They might have gone in at Kadesh Barnea, but they did not; and when they found how foolish they were, they attempted and were beaten altogether.

It is not what characterises the wilderness. God might give them a specimen of what they were to meet. He destroyed them unto Hormah. All our war is with the people that possess the land, that is, the devil and his angels. The wilderness is the patience of going through this world according to God. At Sinai is not the wilderness, it is totally apart. The general character of the wilderness is going through that where they had only manna and the cloud - Christ and the word and Spirit. They were to go through this world dependent on God. It is this characterises the wilderness, and not fighting. In Canaan they had not any manna. It meant characteristically the heavenly places, and the Lord set them to fight. In the type we get what characterises it. The first thing is the wiles of the devil; it is not his power here. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." He has no power if you resist him, so far as we are concerned. His wiles are dangerous enough. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood" as Joshua did; we wrestle against wicked spirits in heavenly places. "And having done all to stand" (that is, to make good your ground), "stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth": you must have the mind and affections tucked up with the word of God.

101 "Having on the breastplate of righteousness," that is, practical righteousness. It is not before God, but with Satan here. If I have not practical righteousness, Satan has got something against me: I am afraid. It is a good conscience I must have; my loins thoroughly tucked up and in order. I must have a good conscience and be walking in the spirit of peace.

We have not got the sword yet; the defensive armour comes before the offensive. In that state (having a good conscience, and the spirit of grace and peace) I now come to the shield from Satan. I am to look up to God with entire confidence; this is the shield of faith. Then comes the helmet of salvation. I can hold my head up; and, having got all the offensive armour complete, I take the sword. The sword of the Spirit is God's word.

And then, mark further, when I have got the armour and weapon, I am thrown back in entire dependence on the Lord - praying always. The word is first of all applied to myself - I am girded with truth, and, having got the rest of the armour, the word comes into activity which is the sword of the Spirit. Lastly I am cast entirely upon God.

When I begin to take the sword, it may be service among saints or in the gospel. People have sometimes fancied that the armour of righteousness here described is Christ as our righteousness; but this is with God. He is my righteousness with God; but I do not want armour against God; it is armour against wicked spirits I need. There is only one offensive weapon - the word. It is wonderful how the Lord has provided everything for us in Scripture. There is the love of Christ, who loves us like His own flesh; and the fighting with Satan follows. After we are put in our place, we get the love of Christ, and then follows the conflict with Satan.

Watching is another element in it. He says in this place, watching with prayer. If I am watching in my path in everything with God, it turns to prayer. If my heart is engaged about the blessing of the saints, I cannot get on without it. Watching in it is perseverance in it. The object of Satan is to keep us from realising these heavenly things. There is conflict for the benefit of all, as well as for ourselves. We have to put the armour on ourselves, but when we have got it on, we must fight Satan. The first part of verse 18, namely, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication," refers to the individual, then to all saints. It is for themselves, and then it widens out. It is a general principle first. You get this constantly in the Ephesians; as for instance, "That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints." The moment he gets to the thoughts and purposes of God, he cannot leave out the saints.

102 Confidence is in God known in Himself. I am not likely to go and ask you for something if I have not confidence in you. "The mystery of the gospel," in verse 19, includes not only the church but the whole testimony. Glad tidings take in really everything with Paul. He was a minister of the gospel in the whole creation under heaven, and a minister of the word to complete the word of God.