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1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
There was also here and there a tendency to cater for the public in the matter of worship. Knowledge for the Scriptures will cure this. It may be very "unneighbourly," and to ourselves very unpleasant to forbear to invite the public to worship God, but we must be governed by the statutes of the sanctuary or else drop the service altogether.
The public are unwashed, unjustified, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy. They are unacceptable as worshippers. This is the testimony; that "they that are in the flesh, (that is, who have not submitted to the Gospel) cannot please God": that "the whole world lieth in wickedness": that "their sacrifices (that is, their religious performances) are an abomination to Him": that only those who do His will are heard or accepted: that no man cometh to the Father but by the Son, and that no man is in the Son, except the man who has believed the testimony concerning him and taken his name in the way appointed.
Consequently, it is a mockery to invite the public to the exercises of worship. It is not according to enlightment to buy cheap hymn books, or print leaflets and scatter them about on benches as an invitation to the godless public to "sing to the praise and the glory of God." What man cares for the benediction of a sinister beggar? How can we expect God to find pleasure in the hollow compliments of the slaves of sin?
We must walk as children of the light, however embarrassing. The embarrassment is only temporary. The time will be when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. We shall be permitted to guide the chastened and obedient multitude in their approaches to God in that glad day if we are meanwhile "faithful in the very little" that belongs to our present position.
The Christadelphian, July 1896. p259-266
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Bible deliverance from Adamic inheritance is future. Thus Paul exclaimed, "Who shall deliver me"? when speaking of the state into which he was born.
"By nature children of wrath." True! But what does Paul mean? Does he mean that God is angry with us as soon as we are born? The very text in which the phrase occurs excludes such an unreasonable doctrine.
He speaks of "Lusts of the flesh," "desires of the flesh," "desires of the mind," "conversation in times past," "wherein we walked," "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," all of which have to do with nature, but which require action super-added. Of all sin it may truly be said, "it is our nature so to do." We are truly "by nature children of wrath," but it is wrath against evil-doing; any other wrath is inconceivable."
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
[The New Man - the moral Quickening]
The consummation of the judgment of Christ's house indicates the epoch of the third and last stage of the raising process. This crisis is the quickening, by which resurrection is perfected.
The analogy is found in nature, from which its divine Creator selects many processes and principles, which He employs as figures to illustrate His teaching in the word. Thus, in regard to corporeal regeneration, in the process of developing an immortal being from the dust of sheol, the terms expressive of the stages of what may be styled the spiritual gestation are conformed to the phenomena pertaining to the natural.
The same fact obtains in relation to moral regeneration, which must precede in probation, the corporeal in the resurrection state. In the moral process " the New Man " is " begotten," or conceived, when the sinner perceives " the truth as it is in Jesus " ; and he is "quickened "
unto a new and independent life, when the truth works in him to will and to do the good pleasure of Deity.
If he stop short of the quickening in moral or in corporeal gestation, he is a mere abortion; but, if in the moral, the process is matured in a " faith that works by love and
purifies the heart," the immersed believer is addressed in these words, to wit : "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . He hath quickened you together with Christ " (Ephes. ii. 1, 5).
It will be perceived by the thoughtful, that there is necessarily a marked interval between the moral conception and the quickening of the dead in sin. An unquickened intelligent sinner is a theorist-a speculator in divine thoughts, which have no moral influence over him ; while a quickened sinner has become circumcised of heart and ears, "the workmanship of Deity," "created byknowledge after His own image " (Eph. ii. 10 ; Col. iii. 10).
The moral gestatory order of development, I have said, is in strict conformity with the law of nature. According to this, quickening usually occurs about eighteen weeks after conception. During this interval, the bearer has no direct consciousness of the embryo forming within ; but when quickening occurs, the attention is strongly excited.
Now, the English law recognises the cause of the phenomena of quickening to be, the acquisition of a life by which the foetus might live independent of its bearer. This idea is probably correct; and certainly exact enough to illustrate the phenomena of the moral and corporeal generation of " the new man which, after Deity, is created in righteousness and holiness of the truth " (Eph.iv. 24).
The matrix of this new being is " the heart " of the sinner. " The word of the kingdom " is the incorruptible seed sown into his heart. For some time, he has no direct consciousness that a new creature is forming within him. In process of time, however, his attention is strongly excited, and he perceives that he carries within him new ideas, aspirations, and feelings, to which, before he began to read and study the Word, he was an entire stranger.
These are a new creation ; and, if they do not prove abortive, will ultimate in the development of the incorruptible and immortal man : for this new corporeal being is originally quickened by the truth, or spirit and-life Word, in the heart of the Old Man (John vi. 63).
" It is the spirit that quickeneth, and the words which I speak unto you, spirit is and life is. This is true, whether the quickening be moral or corporeal; in the former case, the quickening
power is in divine ideas, of which " the words " are the signs ; while in the latter, the quickening power is what philosophers would term electrical.
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
"Our commonwealth subsists in heavens, out of which also we wait for a deliverer, the Anointed Lord Jesus, who shall remodel the body of our humiliation, that it may become conformable to the body of his glory" (2 Cor. v. 1-4; Phil. iii. 20,21).
The beginning of the citizenship is he putting on Christ as the righteousness of the adopted. Hence it is written, "as many of you (believers) as have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ" (Gal. iii. 27). Christ Jesus who is in the heavens, is "put on" by individuals on earth, who "believe the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, and are immersed" (Acts viii. 12). In doing this, their citizenship begins; and it begins in the heavens, because Christ, whom they put on, is in the heavens.