all-inclusive rule of the new creation is that "all things
are of (out from) God." Concerning this fact the Apostle
Paul uses the word "but" - "But all
things are of God" - as though he would anticipate,
intercept, or arrest an impulse to rush away and attempt life or
service upon an old creation basis, or with old creation
question then is: What does it mean that all things in this new
creation are out from God? What kind of a life will such a life
be? To answer that question adequately would be a very
comprehensive task and the most revolutionary thing conceivable.
with, we should have to be settled regarding the difference between
the old and the new creations, and then as to how far-reaching
that difference is. In addition, we should need to see that God
has put these two creations asunder, utterly and forever, and
however gracious and forbearing He may be with us in our
ignorance and slowness of apprehension, He never accepts the
overlapping or intertwining of the two. Then there would be the
further need of an inward, intelligent judgment and power by
which we are made aware of the Divine veto upon the one and
energy toward the other.
There are a
few things which, precisely stated, sum up this matter.
things out from God means that all things, in the first place,
are in God. A truism though it be, that fact is one of great
significance. Whatever man may have, or think that he has, or
knows, or can do in the realm of the old creation, nothing of the
knowledge, ability, or power of the new creation originates with
man. He has to begin as a helpless, ignorant, innocent infant.
Everything for him is in God, he has nothing in himself.
God may impart, of wisdom, knowledge, or ability in the new
creation, He never does so outright. That is to say, He never
gives the resource to be held apart from Himself. He never
constitutes men gods, with independent Divine resources. He never
allows man to become a possessor in himself, in such a way that
man of himself is something. Everything must be held in abiding
dependence upon God, both for receiving and using, and nothing
can be absolute. It was the violation of this law or the attempt
to have it set aside, that brought ruin in the first instance.
Man had all by dependence, faith, obedience, and humility. He
yielded to the suggestion to have it in himself, with freedom
from this law - to "be as God." God is not leaving that
door open in the new creation, and nothing that savours of man
will ever get through at last. Here is the importance for life
and service of a life wholly in God.
larger the measure of what is of God the more utter will be the
application by God of the law of dependence. This means that God
will have no plenipotentiaries-at-large. The life and instrument
related to God's fullest thought will be kept on a basis of
step-by-step guidance and strength. There will be no making over
of plans, schemes, schedules; no seeing of the way from beginning
to end; no resources to draw upon without Divine witness, or to
endanger exactness as to the Divine intention; no making of men
into authorities and courts-of-appeal by reason of their being
a fountain of wisdom and knowledge: in a word, nothing that would
infringe the law that for all things, at all times, and in all
ways, "all things are out from God."
certainty is God. An apostle may be led to move in a particular
direction, and then by reason of need and opportunity he may
conclude that certain regions are the objective, but when he
reaches a point he will be met by a double, Divine "No"
to those thoughts, and be shown something unthought of. (Acts 16:6-10.)
To the old
creation such a life is most unsatisfactory and irregular. Yes,
and in a thousand other things this life is utterly different
from what man naturally wants and likes. But that does not mean
that God is not more honoured, glorified, and satisfied. Let us
read the New Testament with this one thought in mind, the Gospels
as well as the rest, and see if it was not true in the case of
Christ, the Apostles, and the teaching.
4. If this
is all true, then it is its own reflection upon those other major
questions. The difference between the two creations, their
extent, and the Divine attitude toward them, is clearly and
forcefully revealed by such issues as we have pointed out. The
difference is irreconcilable and cannot be bridged. The extent
reaches to mind, heart, and will. It is a matter of mentality,
capacity, and the very springs of life. We are not only
confronted with the fact of limitation when we come to probe the
question of the old creation, but with a state with which God can
have nothing to do. Even though it appear in religious form, and
that in the red-hot devoutness of Saul of Tarsus, its deeper
nature will be proved inimical to God.
remains one thing to be referred to. In the divide between the
two creations there is planted the Cross of Christ. The Cross has
a death side and a life side; death to the old, life to the new.
The recognition and acceptance of the Cross in this twofold
meaning is God's only way to the new creation. To the believer
who receives Him by faith the Holy Spirit is given as the inward
intelligent power for witnessing to the Cross against the one and
for the other. Hence the immeasurably great importance of a life
governed by the Holy Spirit at all points and in all things. Only
that which, by the Spirit, is immediately out from God will
survive or get through. All else must perish with the creation
which God has placed under condemnation.
It is not
what is done for God that will last, but what is done by God.
of spiritual value is determined by the measure in which God
promotes it, not the measure of human activities according to
human judgments and energies in the name of God.
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony"
magazine, Jan-Feb 1937, Vol 16-1