The Wilderness

J. N. Darby.

<41020E> 239

(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)

That the wilderness is a place of learning self practically is evident, but it is a testing - you are with God - His ways, as said elsewhere. He humbles and proves to know what is in our hearts, but He has brought us to Himself. Up to the Red Sea, it was a question of Satan's power (Pharaoh), and God's deliverance, by which, as to our standing we are brought out of the flesh to Himself - death and judgment executed, but while on the Lord's enemies it was ruin, that death and judgment became deliverance, in that Christ has passed there, and this judicially goes the whole way. We are redeemed, delivered; sin, Satan, flesh, judgment are in this respect all done with, and we are, in a new place - brought to God. We are not only forgiven by the blood on the lintel and doorposts, but in a new place, judicially and livingly - Romans 8 gives us this - not merely peace with God as justified, but brought to God by deliverance as to our judicial standing, Christ being our life. The experience up to this, we have, I may say, up to Sinai - the Red Sea crossed; our place in the flesh left, and we in Christ as to acceptance, from which indeed nothing shall separate us.

Now begins the wilderness journey, only with the Holy Ghost instead of the law. We are indeed dead to sin, to the flesh, and to law, because not in the flesh to which the law applies; instead of that we have the Spirit. But all this applies to what God's judgment passes upon; our relative condition to God, the whole creation indeed groaning, and we as to the body, the Holy Ghost given to us, and, as to acceptance - in Christ and knowing sonship - without fear in the midst of a groaning creation, and the vessels of its groans, through the Holy Ghost given to us. But all this is our condition relatively to God, and a most blessed one - reconciled in a poor ruined creation, and rejoicing in hope of the glory. For in His purpose "whom he justified them also he glorified," and we count on faithful love to bring us there. And in our place judicially we are with God in Christ, and God with us - in us - so as to know our relationship and place.

The question now arises as to experience in this place, and how far it applies to Canaan as well as the wilderness - Romans 7 or Egyptian experience - from Rameses to deliverance or even to Sinai, does not come in here - it is in a good measure sifted. The character of wilderness experience is not that. It is Deuteronomy 8, God is with us, amongst us, and we pilgrims even if we forget it. It is the way, God who has delivered testing us; and a deal there is to learn, not now as to judicial standing, but state, and state in it having to say to God - in His presence, He in us by His Spirit - that He may know what is in our hearts (not we what is in His heart, though we know it far better by it, far better) humbling us, proving us; though at the end He has not seen iniquity in Jacob, nor beheld perverseness in Israel, and it will still be said as to Israel at that time: "What has God wrought!" But Israel had been fully tried; it was not uncertainty and distrust, when they had, seemingly as called, to find their way to deliverance, but when delivered their state of soul tested - and written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come. Of this, Numbers being the account of it, and Deuteronomy partly the commentary, we have spoken as being the ways, not the purpose of God, an important principle, which Romans 8, Colossians 1, and the thief on the cross teach us clearly.

240 How far then does the entrance into Canaan connect itself with experience? This is clear that, though both the desert and Canaan are parts of our Christian state and exercises: one, God testing us as here, what is in us, our state - the other, our conflict with wicked spirits in heavenly places - yet success in this is dependent on our faithfulness, though from God's power; yet Canaan in its nature comes when past the desert, and Canaan per se is part of the purpose of God, which the desert is not, and this makes a great difference. We have long seen that the Red Sea and Jordan coalesce in the cross, but not in experience. The desert is by the bye.

But, for faith, we are not in that flesh which is tested experimentally in the desert. In the desert, the Christian as in the Epistle to the Romans, is looked at as down here though justified and alive, and having, being justified, the Holy Ghost (see chapters 5 and 8) who dwells in us, but the cross, even as death and then resurrection, has a double character. It is deliverance and redemption, so that we are brought to God out of slavery to sin; and it is also passing out of the whole scene (even the desert) in which we live as living men and passing into heavenly places by resurrection. This raises the question, for Romans 6 bears on it and its connection with Colossians 2. In Romans 6 we have no change of place but I am dead to sin, that is my state as reckoned by faith.

241 What the world is to me, as alive to God in Christ, is changed. I am redeemed, not in the flesh but in the Spirit, in Christ and Christ in me, and the world a wilderness, as it was to Christ, not the Egypt of my lusts. We have a new life (v. 4), the life of Christ in us. But Romans 6 is purely subjective, as is indeed chapter 8, our old man is crucified with Him that we should not serve sin. We reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord; we, alive in the flesh, are baptised to Christ's death - openly take part in death as in Him. In getting righteousness by His obedience we take our place with Him in death, and we walk de facto in newness of life. It is the likeness of His death, i.e., in baptism - His death - such is the profession - not in Egypt, that is the flesh; we are professedly identified with Him then in baptism, we shall be as a consequence in His resurrection; and we go in the knowledge that our old man is crucified with Him, that we should not serve sin - all subjective, so we cannot be charged with a lustful nature of fleshly will, if dead, and life is in Christ - so faith reckons, so I reckon myself, verse 11. Nor does chapter 8 go further, save that we have the Spirit.

In result after the Red Sea, after the days of grace - but only grace for earth up to Sinai - they took the promises on the ground of law and their own obedience, whereas we are on the ground of the Spirit - this gives hope. The law could not do, we have learned, because of the flesh; but we are not in the flesh, supposing the Holy Ghost dwells in us, thus far we get hope, saved in hope and helped through the wilderness, and God orders there all things for our good. We are not in the flesh, but we are in the world, but having the Holy Ghost the power of hope and comfort in it, and sons and heirs, groaning and waiting for the redemption of the body - in Christ and Christ in us - so Romans looks at us. This Colossians accepts, i.e., death with Christ, but adds we are risen with Him too.

Now this, though it does not take us circumstantially out of the world, makes us belong to another; a risen man is not of this world, even if in it. "Touch me not; but say unto my brethren, I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God" - He belongs now even as Man to another place. The glory of the Father is involved in His resurrection. Besides Christ and we are looked at thus in a wholly new state. I look at Him - when I speak of His being risen - not with divine life in the wilderness: that He had when alive down here. When I look at one risen, death closes all behind him, I see nothing beyond death, for it is death in which he was, the nullity of all in which he had been, and here alone quickening comes in. So we were dead (spiritually towards God) in sins, and are now quickened with Christ - the passage is in Colossians 2:11-12 - but verse 13 takes up the ground of being dead, and Christ having died in our sins and so put them away - come down, in the putting of them away, to where we were, though it were not possible He should be holden of it, yet we are then quickened with Him out of the death, where we were lying, and into which He came in grace, so that the sins were put away.

242 Hence it is not only our state, but we are dead with Christ to the rudiments of the world (not here to sin) we are not alive in the world, but have died as to that - died with Christ (this is a putting off) - and being risen with Christ, seek the things which are above where Christ sits. We belong to a new place, though not got there yet, and our affections are there where Christ has got. So that though de facto in the desert, we are as to heart and associations in a new place - we belong, and consciously, to another world; we walked in evil when we lived in them - we are dead and not only have a new life, but it is hid with Christ in God, and we shall appear with Him in glory. There is no rapture, nor are we sitting in heavenly places in Christ - it is a risen heavenly man upon earth. Life is hid, but up there with Christ, also hid - when He appears, we shall, so that it is now, and then, on earth, or then not of it, the heavenly part of it being a hidden time, only we are in life identified with a risen and hidden Christ, quickened together with Him. It is not subjective merely, but actually here, and in life there connected with Christ in life, not purpose - Ephesians is purpose. The fact there is, Christ is glorified to be Head over all things to the Church, and we are sitting in heavenly places in Him. In Colossians, it is Christ in us, the hope of glory. Clearly in Colossians we stop at resurrection, and resurrection as consequent on dying, not on quickening when dead; we have no dying in Ephesians - we are dead and quickened, raised and sitting in heavenly places in Christ. In Colossians, we have been buried with Him in baptism unto death (are dead from the rudiments of the world - not to sin here), and we are risen with Him, not of course actually, through faith of the operation of God who raised Him. We have passed by death out of relationship with the world, for, as to status and relationship, a risen man belongs to the new creation not the old, he has died out of that. God in power has raised him out of death, as Christ the forty days He was here - His resurrection was the basis of all. As to the status of the man, it was the new thing, but he had not yet got possession of what was given to the second and new Man - but he was it. Hence we have, in circumcision, a putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision which is of Christ. But this is a passage out of, and into a state of the person, not possession of the things. "Touch me not, I am no longer of this corporeal world, and back in it as your affections think. I am not yet ascended, but tell my brethren I ascend, and their personal relationship is with my Father and God as so risen." Hence verse 12 gives the reality or ground-work of verse 11 in Colossians 2. I am put out of the world into death (of the old man) and risen up again, and as to acceptance, place, title, relationship, essential state, belong to the new thing; in it, as to my essential status, passed through death to the old world out of it, but not yet ascended, my conversation is in heaven - I look to His coming from heaven to change my body of humiliation and fashion it like unto His glorious body.* That He had not when risen and not ascended; but the glory and heaven is a given possession according to promise, grace, and purpose, not a needed state as resurrection is, and that connected with a life, in and to which we die. Hence in Gilgal the stones of death were set up as a memorial; it refers to putting off - to Jordan, and entering into death - dying. No doubt it was past death, but it was, after all, putting off the body of flesh to which in us sin attached, and in which Christ was made sin. Hence we bear about in the body the dying - that which is the putting a living thing to death (nekrosis), as of Sarah's womb. True you cannot separate the quickening what is dead and in it a new creation, and the dying and rising; because all that God was, was glorified in what Christ there did to become the Head and beginning and centre of that new creation, filling it with redemption glory. Hence we find them together as in Colossians 2; still they are separate. In Romans, we have one; in Ephesians the other; in Colossians, both - only stopping short, in the quickening, at our being out of the dead state, and connecting it with forgiveness. In resurrection out of death (dying), we carry the memorial of dying with us and the memorial of Christ's dying too where the power of death was** for us gain and blessing.

{*But this is Philippians. In Colossians we shall appear - all is here what is meanwhile - is hid.}

{**When were the twelve stones put into Jordan?}

244 We are in this, thus in a transition place - we eat the passover which remembers judgment and atonement, we eat the old corn of the land, Christ in glory, but we have not the land and have done with this world - the manna ceases. No foot of Canaan ground is possessed, yet in our status we are past death, having put off our old man - we do not belong to the world at all, we have died and are risen - I have died with Christ and have risen with Him. It is not a new creation, but something that has happened to me as in Christ when I was alive as to the old man, though as to my status, it is the life in which I live in the new creation; but that leaves all that was before death, dying, and deliverance behind. I did not exist for the new thing. There is an analogy between Red Sea to Sinai, and crossing Jordan. The bitter waters realise Christ's death (the Red Sea) but experimentally - it is made sweet by the cross. Gilgal is more a thing done. I have the manna, Christ and the passover answers to it, but the manna tests my being satisfied with it. I have the water, but conflict is there and which succeeds, and then the millennium, but am I victorious, yes or no, according to Moses' hands? After Jordan, the corn of the land - Christ glorified - and then Him by the Spirit, not the millennial picture and the wife brought back. Red Sea to Sinai is down here, though all be grace - the Sabbath with manna - the grace side of down here, but still down here. After Jordan the body of the flesh is put off - the corn of the land, Christ in glory, fed on; but the memorial of death kept in us and in Him. Not rest or conquest yet, nothing possessed; status as we have seen, not possession - not in the world but death to it. "Touch me not" - fit for heaven not earth, but "I am not yet ascended" - but the status of the disciples, His brethren, His status.

Going back to Gilgal is not testing, but faithful going back to renew one's strength with God, in practical recognition that we are nothing, not in the flesh, and as the flesh tends to spring up, going to our true place with God where it is nothing - the body put off, as 2 Corinthians 12, only there it was wrought practically. Paul realised the corn of the land and his Gilgal. Ephesian truth, as said, is purpose, and that is a new creation not by passage out of the old; we were dead in sins, wholly dead, and Christ is looked at as, when dead for our sins, raised out of it - it is not dying to sin. There is no life in us as towards God, and as Christ was raised and set at God's right-hand, a Man in the divine glory, a wholly new thing (though life was intrinsically in Him) we are raised from this death in sins, quickened with Him, and made to sit in heavenly places in Him. There is nothing but the new thing which begins (not in Christ, of course, He came into it in grace, but in us, in Him as Man, it was new and began) - a new creation - God's workmanship created in Christ; nothing existed of it before in us. It is not setting right our status by death to sin, but Man according to the purpose of God, a second new created Man, belonging to the world of His purpose, only as I said, Christ had brought life into this world, only went down into death as to His existence here and then took dead man, first as to status fitted for it, but then actually into the glory of God's purpose about him. But as yet, for us, it is in Him - we sit in heavenly places in Him - "if any man be in Christ Jesus," kaine ktisis (a new creation) evidently old things have no place there, "all things are of God." We begin with non-existence as to those things - not dying to them. Only in Ephesians, the new man is after God created in righteousness and true holiness; in Colossians, renewed into knowledge after the image of Him that created him. In Colossians, the new man is neon - a fresh start, but anakainoumenon eis epignosin (renewed in knowledge). In Ephesians it is kainou - what is actually, totally new; this as the putting off, is past (aorist) but the renewing, not letting it grow old, is present and ananeousthai; this is practical.

245 Thus too in Colossians, the hope is laid up for us in heaven; in Ephesians, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, we are before God holy and without blame; in Colossians, made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Our life is hid, with Christ, in God; save in life and hope the heavenly part is left hid, we are not in it, when He appears we shall appear - the intermediate time is passed over - we seek the things above, are not sitting in heavenly places in Him. So Christ is in us, the hope of glory, and we eat the old corn of the land in chapter 1:10 et seq, but it is still, "if ye continue" for it is under heaven, only we are out of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love, only it is deliverance from its power, not fighting its rule in heavenly places with God's armour on.

246 Another thing is important to remark in Colossians; it is character not relationship. They are elect, holy, and beloved, followers of God as dear children, to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing - not as being with God in heavenly places, to come out, like Christ, and manifest God. So we have not the bride as in Ephesians 5 - "walking worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing" is, as filled with the knowledge of His will and strengthened with all might down here; this connects itself with there not being any thing of the Holy Ghost in Colossians.

In Ephesians it is the counsels of God, and accomplishment so far as Christ raised from death to God's right hand (that He might fill all things), and we, dead in sins, quickened with Him and put into Him on high. It is the heavenly places and we in spirit in them, and contrasted with the old and corrupt world, and we coming out from the heavenly places into it - only it is by the Spirit which gives consciousness of these relationships. Hence there is no coming in Ephesians or appearing; we have the thoughts of God, not His way of bringing them about, only Christ glorified as He actually is, and we, in Him, coming out to act like Him; then the Church's relationship, and being there, and Satan not actually cast down, conflict in heavenly places with him. But it is Christ's dealings in love as to the Church, and so not finished yet - it is what is in Christ's mind.

In Colossians there is the new creature or new man in its own nature and character, and the heavenly things matter of knowledge, but there are the heavenly things themselves, and in Ephesians we are in them in Christ, compare 2 Corinthians 5:17, et seq, where both, the whole subject is taken up in a brief but comprehensive way. This extends even to Christ's connection with the old things the whole system parelthen, gegone kaina - new things have come in, in their stead. It is a blessed thing to think that these are all of God. We must remember that neither Colossians nor Ephesians suppose us to be actually seated in or in possession of heavenly places. We are at best, as in Ephesians 2, there in Christ, and this consequently puts us in warfare with spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. The purpose is all there in Ephesians - Christ actually there, He is set down and we in Him. The Colossians gives us the status which, in us, fits us for it. In no case are we actually in it. In Joshua it must be physically realised as a picture.

247 The desert then is properly experience - the testing of the heart down here. In Jordan, and even in Gilgal, there is a given state wrought belonging to faith - which is experimentally realised, or rather the desert up to it (not merely Egypt) and we are placed in our status - our own place - meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. God says: "Ye are dead and ye are risen, ye are circumcised," the standing is realised by faith (we reckon). But then it is when the purpose of God as to us is realised (Ephesians 1), we are active warriors to take possession - the Lord's host. And hence it is here we have armour and not till now; only it is even so, "having done all to stand" in Ephesians, not possess. Our experience is only on actual failure, self-confidence as at Ai, not taking counsel with God as at Gibeon, so we have to return to Gilgal after victories to renew our sense of nothingness and separation - have His presence produce its effect downward on ourselves, not merely be strength with us, and so have power and faithfulness in combat, so that experience comes in as an effect but it is not the place of experience. Colossians 2:12-13 clearly bring out going to death, but so, for faith, become dead - putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, and, as dead in sin and uncircumcised flesh, quickened together with Christ when He was dead and gone to everything here. Now in that He lives, He lives unto God, always perfect He has now nothing to do with anything else. It is a life, and ours in the new man. But in Romans it is only dying to sin. But when dead in sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh, we have been quickened out of death, a dead man has nothing to do with the world or anything around him, he is dead - we had nothing to do with God or the new creation at all, not now looked at as dying to it, that is verse 12, but dead - non-existent as to God or any feeling there, nor any to be awakened, dead (though there be always a conscience) and with Christ we are risen with Him from this state, and have a nature belonging to another creation. The first belonged to this world, the second to the new one, so does our life, for He is it as so risen, the guilt being put away; with this Colossians is occupied, not with the world we belong to - 2 Corinthians 5:14-18, we have the general view of it.

248 There is another point in connection with this: how far in the Red Sea there is a dying with Christ, and how far the Romans takes this up? Now we must remember that the Romans always looks upon man as on the earth, not risen, but having Christ as his life and of course justified - alive to God in Christ but not risen with Him; that is, I may say, carefully avoided as in chapter 6. Now in Romans 6 we have "baptised to Christ" and "baptised to his death." Thus we are dead to sin, so cannot live any longer therein, but we are seen as living here. Then our old man is crucified with (Him) that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we might not serve sin. Then he that has died is justified from sin - we reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. If Christ be in us, the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit life; sin in the flesh is condemned, Christ having been a sacrifice for sin - I am, by a life, made free from the law of it. Now here we are not crucified; we are not dead, but dead to something - only abstractedly one that has died cannot be charged with sin, is justified from it as a present working, evil working in him - and I reckon myself dead, so that sin should not reign in our mortal body, the old man crucified, so that we should not serve sin.

As to the Red Sea, it is, I suppose, clearly the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and this, as to believers, as deliverance and redemption. It was judgment on the enemies as death and judgment, and in this sense closed all as death and judgment do, but being in another is complete salvation - so the thief goes straight to Paradise, and we are brought to God. But then it is not into the sphere of purpose, that though from the Red Sea to Jordan has a double character - from Red Sea to Sinai, grace, and Sinai to Jordan, or at least to the end of Numbers 20, law and sifting - yet in either case it is as in this world, even in going on to the millennium in chapter 18. It involves having done with the flesh or evil nature, but not our going out of the world as in resurrection (as in Colossians), nor into a new sphere, as in it in spirit; Amalek comes to attack them, not they Amalek.

249 But I leave this picture complete in itself as a whole up to Sinai; after that, they get their testing, as we do, with God in the wilderness. Hence, though alive in this world, and as so alive, we get the moral effect which is developed in its own sphere elsewhere, but here as still alive. Thus we are baptised to Christ's death, and so reckon ourselves dead, as we have seen. Our old man is crucified with Christ, that we know; but so that, being here, sin should not reign in our mortal bodies, for we are in them, not risen. A man that has died is justified from sin; and if we have died with Him - and that I am so to reckon myself as regards sin - I believe I shall live with Him, for He died to sin but once, and lives ever to God, and though on the earth, I reckon myself alive in Him. But the communication of Christ's life, He being alive after redemption accomplished, makes me account myself dead to sin, the old man crucified with Him; the power of the Spirit being with me through redemption, I am free, sin in the flesh being condemned in Christ.

Chapter 7, also, comes in parenthetically, showing that we are dead to the law by the body of Christ. He has died, and He is risen; by His death, by the body of Christ the bond is broken, we being in conscience killed by the law, and so not risen with Christ, but married to Christ risen, morally beyond sin and law, but alive, de facto, in this world. The end is experience under the law as often seen; hence we have not "dead to the world" - "the rudiments of the world" - "why then as alive in the world," etc.; we have been redeemed, have a new life in the power of the Spirit, see sin in the flesh condemned for us in the cross, and see the old man crucified with Him, for in the body of Christ I am delivered from the law too. If Christ be in us, the body is dead, because of sin. When the law is done with, we have died in it, as in Galatians; if it had not been through Christ it would have been condemnation too, but that was in Christ's dying. I have then life in Christ, know my old man was crucified with Him, and am married to another, not to law in the flesh.

In a word, we have all the effect morally of Christ's dying, in the life of the new man - may have died in the law if under it - but we have not died with Christ and risen, though through His dying we reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Still by our baptismal profession we have died with Christ; for here it is profession, taking the place, as redeemed by Christ's act, of the judgment of the old man - the judgment of the Red Sea, Christ's death, not as myself dying and through personal faith in the operation of God, raised with Him, and so passing at least in a new knowledge into another sphere of existence, at least so far as that my status belongs to it as risen. I judge what sin in the flesh was by Christ's death, and living here look for resurrection as a fact, but appropriate that death in that judgment of the old man, sin in the flesh condemned in the cross, and hold ourselves for dead with Him as to sin, not letting it reign in our mortal bodies, not serving sin. But it is practical, not status - the realisation and appropriation of Christ's death when alive to God in the Spirit.

250 The Romans thus is man, as a fact, alive on this earth, but spiritually realising the bearing of Christ's death when redeemed and brought to God, and His resurrection as far as justifying goes, but it is only faith and spiritual apprehension of it, redemption having put him into the desert as in this world, also Marah is sweetened to him by the cross. But he looks at all as done in Christ - only as alive in Him he judges the old man crucified with Him, that in this world he should not live after the flesh. It does not go on into a new state, but, redeemed and alive in Christ, judges that from which he is delivered; and we must remark that, though we apprehend more Christ's being raised and we with Him, and sitting in Him in heavenly places, there it is only faith too, and the possession of the Holy Ghost and life according to resurrection, not merely life. This is not in Romans; in Him, known by the Holy Ghost, and He in us, is.

We look out from life (as here) by the Holy Ghost, at what the effect for us of Christ's work, death and rising is as to what is not of Him, as in the condition in which He is. Place is not openly spoken of, nor consequently the world as in contrast; only he lives to God in the totally new state, and knowing his redemption out of flesh. On the whole, the more it is studied, the more it seems to me that Romans looks at a man as alive in this world, but by faith called to realize what the bearing of Christ's death, to which he has been baptised, is. Hence he looks at the old man as crucified with Christ, he being alive here, with Christ's life too. Hence no charge of sin (in the flesh, condemned in the cross), you cannot charge a dead person with it. Hence we are dead with Christ; but we are not with Christ in the Red Sea, but baptised unto Him when it is over, and He is risen, so that we reckon ourselves dead, though alive in this world. And the wood has made the bitter waters sweet, for baptised to His death makes a rejected human nature; but He being our life we can do so, and hold ourselves, though alive, as dead to sin, not letting it reign, though in these bodies. But the "dead with" is by baptism, not by the Red Sea, and if we be dead with Him, we shall also live. It is a conclusion drawn, not a new state; but the status of the Christian is recognised as that from which all is judged.

251 It is clear to me that Romans 6 is, as alive, a realisation by faith of the meaning of baptism - we can take it in, but our status is alive in the world, and I reckon myself and my life (living) Christ; for, otherwise, I am dead and gone. It will be a new one, but I am in a mortal body - not dead though I reckon it so, Christ being dead. But dead in sins, and dying, supposes us living - quickening does not; in this we are nekron, a corpse. Hence it is a new creation. Resurrection, in unity in a new state, comes after quickening comes in Ephesians; resurrection is after having died in Colossians, and when dead we have only quickening.

We are not seen in Christ in Colossians, but Christ in us - hope. But in Christ as above is above, not hope but a fixed place. Man is not presented in Colossians; it is "that we may present," etc. - so that testing is not over. The doctrine is "being made meet," but that is tested, i.e., whether we possess it really. Romans takes it all up as the work of God, and therefore it is "being reconciled, we shall be saved," etc. In chapter 8 we are in Christ, hence secure, no condemnation. It has not the testing character, because it is God's work. In Colossians, God's work is doctrinally assumed, but man not being in Christ, is in a tested state. It is not journey towards, but my state, which leaves the question of whether it is real, till I am in possession. There is exhortation in Romans, but no question. God justifies; who condemns? If He does, He glorifies, and nothing separates. It is God's side of the matter.

Colossians is our state, Christ being in us; but till we are passed out of this scene remains the question "Is it really so, do I hold fast to the end?" The status is a man dead and risen, that gives the character to the Christian, but is he really such? Hence in Romans if reconciled - justified, glorified, saved. In Colossians reconciled, hoping for glory, to be presented, if we continue; not exactly an end to be reached (as the wilderness), but a state to hold fast, continue in the faith, etc. So that in Romans we are saved men but here, dead to sin. In Colossians, risen men, but here, presented if we continue. It is an experimental tested state, though not a journey, and so after all was Canaan. Paul was striving that it might be so.

252 NOTE. - The wilderness ends in Numbers 20, the end of Aaron's ministry, by whose rod they could be led through. In chapter 21 begins combat and war, and then the question with Balak of being able to curse them, Satan's power, so as to hinder their entering into the Land. And then justification there refers back to all the course of the wilderness - not merely original redemption, when it was a question of the accuser with God. It throws considerable light on the structure and force of the Book, seeing this division. What makes it so striking morally is first comparison with Deuteronomy 9, at the same time, and it shall be said - not of God, but "of Jacob and of Israel: What hath God wrought!"