"The Ministry" - A General Outline of the Testimony for Which We Stand
Let it be emphatically stated that we regard the Cross of Jesus the
Christ as the source and fountain-head of all things relative to the
purposes of God and our fulness in Christ.
Firstly, the Cross represents a work of redemption which was
unique, exclusive, inclusive, and conclusive on God's part - for it
was God in Christ Who did it, or in Whom it was done - to which and
in which we can add nothing and share nothing.
Secondly, for the outworking of all the purposes of God to
their consummation the Cross does represent and demand the
inclusiveness of every member of a fallen race in Adam.
It has often been stated thus, "When Christ went to Calvary, He not
only took our sins but He took us."
"Identification with Christ," is no new theme, but while few
have entered into its glorious meaning experimentally, there are
many who have only apprehended it mentally, and there are also many
who have either failed to see it or have refused to recognise it. To
our mind this is the failure out of which have come all the other
failures in Christian life and service. This was dealt with from one
important aspect, namely "Power," in our last issue. [The article is called "Position and Power"] Dr. H. C. G.
Moule, late Bishop of Durham, has put it thus:-
"Truly this truth is a thing which, if revealed, must be worth the
grasping. Is it a divine certainty for every human being who really
accepts God's witness about His Son? Yes, for every such being, that
he is not only very near Christ, but IN Christ... Not only touched
and held by the Lord, but 'joined to the Lord, one Spirit.' How full
is the divine testimony to the fact; how frequent is that phrase
full of eternal life 'In Christ.' 'In Christ' the true church was
chosen (Eph. 1:3,4), and blessed with all spiritual blessings before
the universe began. 'In Christ,' 'the Beloved' was given to it
acceptance before the Holy One (Eph. 1:6). 'In Christ' we have
redemption through His blood (Eph. 1:7). If any man be 'In Christ'
he is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). 'In Christ' the believer is
'created unto good works' (Eph. 2:10), etc., etc.. It is
inadequate, and it is a spiritual loss, to terminate our faith or
teaching within such phrases as 'The Lord has loved me,' 'has
sought me,' ' has found me,' 'has saved me,' 'has shed His blood
for me,' 'has given His grace to me,' 'has changed me,' 'leads me
and guards me.'"
It will require but a cursory glance through the New Testament
letters - especially if a literal translation such as Conybeare's is
used - to see that this Identification or Incorporation or vital
oneness has its origin in Christ's death. Here we merely affirm it,
in future issues we shall deal with each point more thoroughly. If
the Cross means such a relationship to Christ, not that of a man's
watch to himself, but rather that of his hand to his head, this must
be true in every phase of the meaning of that cross as present
spiritual experience, namely:-
1. Death, an acceptance of the finish of our old self in one all
inclusive reckoning, and a willingness to have this wrought out at
every point throughout our life on earth. To every enticement,
appeal, interest, provocation, temptation to think, speak, feel, or
act in the flesh and according to the natural life, an abiding
attitude of "Lord, I die to that." Thus a "putting to death, through
the Spirit, of the deeds of the flesh."
2. Resurrection. Through this initial acceptance and progressive
reckoning of death, a glorious sharing of His life, and that, the
life of a triumphant resurrection. This life begins and has its
residence in the spirit, but moves through the whole being, spirit,
mind, and body, making possible in every part what on the natural
plane is impossible.
3. Ascension: The transference of one's life-source, relationships,
standards of judgment, scales of values, points of view, interests,
ambitions, purposes, conceptions, citizenship, and resources to the
4. Enthronement. "Reign in life by the One Man Jesus Christ." This
throne-life resulting in the functioning of the Sovereign Head
through the members of the Body, firstly against and over the
Satanic hierarchy, the spiritual background which breaks through so
constantly in the narrative of scripture (see previous issue,
'Position is Power'), and then in dealing with the naked situation
among men. Not only so, but also in knowing the special sovereignty
of the Head in the life of each member of the Body and of each
member to the others. This all gives a wonderful new illumination of
the subject of service, and opens up a new world of spiritual
possibilities. In fact it really does put THE key to real and
effective vocation into one's hand.
Much remains yet to be said on each point touched, but this will
suffice for the moment to imply our basis. For many of us and others,
life has been a new and romantic thing since it pleased the Lord to
take us down into that death where earth, the world, and the
self-life ceased to be of any account, and we were "raised together
with Him to share His life."
There is a great demand for a simple and concise statement of these
blessed truths afresh, and it is most probable that we shall
commence in the next issue a series on 'Incorporation into Christ.'
ONE with Thee the Son Eternal,
Grafted into Thee by faith,
Sharing in Thy filiation
And Thy uncreated life.
One with Thee the Son Beloved,
Made by grace of Thee a part,
Habitation of the Spirit
Homed within the Father's heart.
One with Thee the Son Incarnate,
Member of Thy mystic frame
Joined to Thee in Thy begetting,
Born with Thee at Bethlehem.
One with Thee the Son Anointed
With the Spirit's mighty power
Fused in conflict and in service,
Day by day and hour by hour.
One with Thee the Son Forsaken,
Passing through the judgment woe,
Dying unto sin forever
Overcoming every foe.
One with Thee the Son Arisen
From the deadness of the grave,
Merged with Thee in reproduction,
Bearing fruit each day I live.
One with Thee the Son Ascended
Seated now upon the throne,
Coalesced with Thee in reigning,
Thy authority mine own.
One with Thee the Son Returning
Given universal praise
Grown together in Thy beauty,
One with Thee through endless days.
F. N. DOUTY, U.S.A.
Mr. Sparks and Mr. Douty had blessed fellowship during the
former's recent visit to the States, and as remembrance of the
subject so often enjoyed in conversation and ministry, Mr. Douty
wrote the above lines and handed them to Mr. Sparks.
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Feb 1926, Vol 4-2