J. N. Darby.
What has all failed in the first Adam will all be accomplished in the last Adam, and much more, gloriously fulfilled. In Ephesians 1 there are two things as the portion of the church: one is not entirely fulfilled, and the other we have nothing of yet, the calling of God, and God's inheritance. The calling we get in Ephesians 1:4-5. The first part of the calling is what is before God (v. 4), to be holy and without blame, etc. The second part of the calling is in connection with the Father (v. 5) as children. He has not only put us in a certain place, but has made known to us the mystery of His will, that is all His plan for Christ's glory, which is to gather together in one all things in Him. And the moment that comes I get the inheritance - not the calling only, but the inheritance. Of this we have nothing now but the earnest of the Spirit. We have the calling. Colossians presents the same general truth, but more developed as to Christ.
In Colossians 1:15-18 I get the two headships of Christ - Head over all things, and Head of the body. He takes as Man what He created as God; and, besides, He takes other men as fellow-heirs with Him. Thus we see in verse 21, that us who not only were in confusion and disorder, but were positively enemies, He reconciles. This consciousness has been lost by the professing church - that we are reconciled. The state of things is not reconciled; but we are reconciled. The inheritance we cannot have, till the true Heir take it. Christ is not sitting on His own throne now, but on His Father's throne. When He sits down on His own throne, He will have us there with Him. He sits on His Father's throne by His title of Son. "To him that overcometh will I give to sit down with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne." Our present condition is to know that Christ is exalted, and we reconciled. But He has not taken the inheritance, nor, of course, have we. Our place before God is His calling - everything that is created will be our inheritance.
In Psalm 2 you have the counsels of God about Christ, to set Him on Zion as king. Adonai shall have them in derision - not Jehovah as such. These two points, Christ set as king on the holy hill of Zion, and owned to be the Son of God, you find in Psalm 2. In Psalm 8, you do not get Him as Son of God, but as Son of man, put over everything that God has created - that He has created, for He is God. In John 1:49 you hear the Lord applying these two things. There Nathaniel owns Him as King of Israel, according to Psalm 2 and He says as it were, "That is over: I am not going to be King of Israel now." But you shall see greater things, the Son of man according to Psalm 8, with every creature subject. The place the church gets is to be joint-heirs. We take the place of suffering now. We only see half of Psalm 8 fulfilled yet We see Him at the right hand of God, but not with all things put under Him. He is gathering now the joint-heirs. Nothing is yet fulfilled. For the redemption of the purchased possession He must come again.
134 Yet in Him we have redemption. There is no such thing recognised in Scripture, as a Christian doubting he is saved. And it is all a totally false pretension of humility. If my Father forgives me, and I doubt His forgiveness, I am not trusting Him. It is doubting God's word, or not receiving the truths He gives us: we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. Let a man fear temptation - doubt his own heart, that is another thing; but not doubt God, or dread God. There is no such thing in scripture as a Christian without the Spirit of adoption, crying "Abba, Father." There is no such thing after Christ's death recognised in Scripture as a Christian not knowing he is saved. The thief on the cross was as fit to go to heaven as Paul, and he went there; and none went not fit. I know that there is growth, of course; but there is no meetness or fitness for heaven, except the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not Christianity to doubt, though many a real honest Christian does doubt. It is Christianity to know we are reconciled. If you have not peace, you have not got what Christ left for you. He says, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest." If you have not rest, am I to say either you have not come? or Christ does not speak truth? It may be bad teaching. Many a one will cry "Abba, Father," most heartily in his prayers, who would not own, if you asked him, that he was a child of God. Of course, he has the Spirit of adoption, though he does not know it. It is just selfishness that makes him doubt. In Romans 7, what is it he is talking about? Just self - not Christ at all. Is that humility? not a word about Christ and the Spirit! and I am told that is a Christian. There is nearly forty times "I" and "me," and not once Christ and the Spirit, just the law and me; and poor things those are to bring together! Very useful for ploughing up, bringing down to self-knowledge. Then he sees there is no good in himself, and he gets set free, and it is all at an end. Romans 7 is just a quickened man, without the knowledge of redemption.
135 In 2 Corinthians 5:18 we are reconciled, but the state of things is not reconciled. After that we have the Spirit of God taking up our infirmities, and sympathising with us, as we are - taking up our groans.
When the Lord Jesus comes, the first thing He does is to take us up to Himself. He cannot take His inheritance till He get His joint-heirs. The object of Christ's love is to take us into the enjoyment of all that He enjoys Himself. Is He a son? I am a son. Is it life? He is my life. Is it peace? He says, My peace I leave with you. Is it love? As Thou hast loved Me I have loved them. There is nothing He has not taken us into. Of course, I do not mean His incommunicable Godhead. But He takes us into the same place with Himself, and over everything. When He comes again, then, and then only, we get the full fruit, when "he shall see the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied."
Psalm 22. As soon as He is heard from the horns of the unicorns, He says, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren." So in John 20. "I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." He is alone in the work of atonement, but as soon as that is accomplished, He says, Now I am going to have others with Me. "In the midst of the church I will sing praise to thee." When all the joint-heirs are gathered, then He comes and takes them all; and after that He begins to take the inheritance. The wilderness is the place in which we are tested and tried, not for fighting. When we get into heavenly places to possess spiritual privileges, then we must fight Satan. Supposing I can say I am of the Lord's host, I am dead, I have crossed Jordan - not merely redeemed or simply crossed the Red Sea; but if I am dead, crossed Jordan, and become one of the Lord's host, then I need all His armour to fight His enemies; and if I get a wedge of gold, or a Babylonish garment, it will be detected by my want of power, by my being conquered in the fight.
When Christ takes us up there to be with Him, He puts Satan out. We shall be taken up to God and His throne (not the Father's throne, that is the prerogative of Christ), then Satan is cast down. He will be in this world, then, in great rage, knowing his time is short; but we shall be above it all. Satan will never get up there again. When, those years being over, the Lord comes with us (when He appears, we appear with Him), then Satan is put in the bottomless pit, and the kingdom is fulfilled. Satan then is not merely turned out of heaven, but out of earth too. Before judgment begins to be executed, we are in glory in Christ. He that believeth shall not come into judgment, John 5:24. There are two things in the chapter shewing Christ's power: first, He quickeneth whom He will, this is, life-giving power; then judicial power, by which the wicked are obliged to own His power in spite of themselves. Christ will not have to make good His power in judgment where He has made it good in life. We are passed from death unto life. There is the resurrection of judgment in John 5. We are raised in glory when He changes our vile bodies, and fashions them like His glorious body. We shall ALL be conformed to the image of God's Son.
136 But there is another privilege we have now by grace, that of being workers together with Him. So when that time comes, as regards the blessing of Christ I shall have that as much as Paul, but as regards the activity of love and its results, Paul will have fifty thousand times more than I. For instance, Paul will have the Thessalonians for his crown, and I shall not. There comes in every man's little bit of service - in that you will have yours, and I mine. When He appears with us, then He sets up His kingdom. For Christ has a three-fold title. He created everything - that gives Him a title. He is the Son, and consequently the Heir; and He is the Man to whom God has determined to give everything - the title of redemption.
If I look for the worst power of Satan now, I must look for it in the so-called church. The responsible church has totally failed. In 1 Corinthians 3 you get three cases: first, a wise master builder, who did his work well; then you get persons who build badly, but who are saved themselves, building with rubbish, as wood, hay, stubble; and lastly, if a man corrupt the church of God, him will God destroy. Think of men bringing in Gnosticism. I will not refer to modern times. This is not merely building badly (all do so) but it is antagonism to the church of God and even to Christ.
137 Not one of the fathers, so-called, saving Irenaeus, held the full deity of Christ, or held redemption as Irenaeus did, who was a saint. They were affected with Platonic philosophy, which brought out Arianism after. Justin Martyr positively declares that the supreme God could not become a man - that it was a certain inferior Logos who did. People say we must have what was at the beginning. Knowing of nothing more primitive than Peter and Paul, I will therefore have what was at the beginning; but I will not have what was one hundred and forty years after the beginning. Justin Martyr was about so long after.
In the four first of the seven churches we see the history of what is called the Apostolic succession; in the three last, the history of Protestantism. There are three things in the Revelation: "Things thou hast seen," that is, the glory of Christ; "things that are," that is, the seven churches; "things which shall be hereafter," when we are caught up into heaven, and the final judgment of God sets in. In the first four churches, is given the complete history of the church to the end, closing in popery. There are two ways God uses to judge the existing thing by. He contrasts our condition with what He set up at first, and with the readiness to meet the Lord when He comes. The previous churches were referred back to what had been. Thyatira is referred on to His coming; and hence His coming is here first mentioned.
In the last three churches the Lord's coming is already named, and is kept before them till Laodicea, which is spued out. First, we have the Protestant warning, "a name to live and are dead." To Sardis He threatens what in Thessalonians is spoken of as only belonging to the world, His coming as a thief, that is, I will treat you just like the world. Philadelphia is a solemn word to us. It is the character of Christ which we are to suit ourselves to - "He that is holy, he that is true." After Thyatira we never get a reference to what he had seen walking among the golden candlesticks. There is no ecclesiastical position after that. What marks the thing the Lord owns now is, the absence of infidelity, or of ecclesiastical pretension: Christ's word against all such pretensions, and Christ's name against all infidelity. "Kept my word, and not denied my name": the promise to these is complete identification with Himself - "a pillar in the temple of my God - the name of my God - the city of my God - my new name." To those who keep the word of His patience He says not now, "I will come to you as a thief, and ye shall not know when I come," but "Ye have had patience: have a little more, I will soon be with you." Those who had a little strength are made pillars in the temple of His God.
138 We never get the direct work of God in the seven churches, because God cannot judge His own work. He walks through and sees how this thing has turned out and how that has; but you never get a direct intervention of God all through Isaiah's prophecy, "the heart of this people is waxed fat,"; etc., was spoken nearly eight hundred years before the judgment was executed in nearly the last piece of New Testament history. Paul says in Acts 28, "Well did Isaiah say, the heart of this people is waxed fat"; "be it known unto you that the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles," etc. It is more than eighteen hundred years since it was said of the church, judgment must begin at the house of God; and for all this time God has borne with it, but assuredly the judgment of the church will come.