« PrécédentContinuer »
parents, to train up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” He dealt with them individually, not in a lump.
Prayer for the salvation of souls is much more common than for the growth of souls. The souls' growth, however, should not be the chief thought in our minds, but God's being pleased in His children ; otherwise our affections and behaviour to them are marred. We fail in fully representing Christ, if we do not begin and end with God.
The aim of Col. ii, is to lead us up into Christ the heavenly wisdom, and to turn us away from all worldly wisdom. The word “wisdom occurs six times in the epistle, and in one case, chap. ii. 23, it is Satan's counterfeit, “a show of wisdom.” This epistle corresponds with the book of Proverbs in the use of the words “wisdom," “knowledge,” and “understanding;" it is intended to
; warn and make us wise according to New Testament teaching
In these days the deadliest enemy in the human heart is the pride of wisdom; it is the chief weapon in the hand of Satan for marring the communion of saints with God, with Christ, and with one another. There are gross and base sins as drunkenness, brutishnesss, love of money, love of power, but that which the Church of God needs to watch most against, is man's wisdom. We are only safe from it when we see that all the fulness of the Godhead, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, are laid up for us in Christ, and when we deal with them accordingly. Then we see man's wisdom to be foolishness. We are in danger if we admire it, and only safe when we despise it, as we are taught to do in 1 Cor. i. “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise ” is the apostle's quotation from the prophet. What a unity there is between Isaiah and Paul !
HIDDEN TREASURES OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.
We know that there is a human wisdom, which can properly be called such, in relation to the things of time; and in this the world excels more than ever. But Satan takes occasion by man's wisdom in things temporal to puff him up, and to make him think he has a right to judge in God's eternal matters. His very wisdom in earthly things is used to make him a fool in divine things. But the world by wisdom knew not God;" and we only escape this snare as with largeness of heart we seek to comprehend the breadth and length, and depth and height of God's love.
If we think we must get some of the world's wisdom to understand the things of God, we place ourselves under the power of Satan. Man's wisdom uses “enticing words” (1 Cor. ii. 4), and the apostle's warning is “lest any man beguile you with enticing words." This reminds us of how Eve was deceived.
The expression used in Gen. iii. 6, “to make wise,” rather means “to give good success : it was this that tempted Eve. The same word is often used of David, as a man of understanding, who successfully brought to an end what he had in view. It also occurs in Josh. i. 8, "then thou shalt have good success.” To Eve, the devil offered good success through disobedience. God tells Joshua that He gives it through obedience. In 2 Cor. xi. 3, Paul says he fears lest the minds of the Corinthians” should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ,” or rather “from singleness towards Christ ' through the serpent's subtilty. Having Christ as the one object before the eye is our safeguard.
As the treasures of Egypt were all under Joseph's hand, and Pharaoh's word was, “Go to Joseph,”
“Go to Joseph,” so God's treasures are in the hand of Christ for us. The supplies that Joseph had could not be reckoned, and Ps. cxxxix. teaches
us to say, “How precious are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.” In the wonderful doxology at the end of Rom. xi. there is the same thought of treasures, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”
It is very important to see that apart from Christ, the Son of God, man cannot attain any intimacy with God, and God has no means to reveal Himself and to tell out His bosom secrets. The apostle John is one with the apostle Paul on this point : “ The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." Men of the world will pay compliments to the Scriptures, and say, that in their time they have fulfilled a very good office, but now it is time to lay them aside, that men's minds may grasp higher and deeper things. But this is setting aside God's true revelation of Himself for the scanty things that the mere creation can reveal. “The heavens declare the glory of God” to men that know nothing of God in Christ, and this renders them without excuse according to Rom. i. 20. But it is only in Christ
i that any
of God's hidden secrets can be learned by man; and to have this thoroughly settled in the soul is a great preservative against Satan's delusions.
From the bosom of God the secrets of God must be obtained, and He is ready to reveal them—“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in
the hope of glory. (Col. i. 27.) In chap. ii. there are two mysteries — the mystery of God, and the mystery of Christ; and they are distinct. The mystery regarding the Church is, “ Christ in you, the hope of glory.” God's purpose is to reproduce Christ Himself in the believer, morally now, and bodily also at the resurrection. The
fulness of Christ, that is, His body, will not be complete until we are in His likeness in glory.
To the Corinthians Paul says, “ We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery ;” but he could not unfold it to them because they were carnal and babes in Christ. To the Ephesians and Colossians he could speak of the heavenly mysteries, because they were in a condition to receive them. Both epistles are addressed “to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ."
In Col. ii. 2, the apostle sums up the two mysteries of which he had already spoken in chap. i. (vv. 25-27). The mystery of Christ had been kept hid in the past. But having a revelation of it now, we can go back to certain Old Testament types, and see it hidden in them. We also get a glimpse of it in John xvii., in Christ's prayer that those whom the Father has given Him may be one, and may be brought into His glory.
The world has some notion of the A, B, C, of the gospel as a remedial system, and they think there is nothing more than this in the Scriptures. But the believer is in the secret of God, and knows what God's purposes are in Christ, and awaits their fulfilment.
THE FIRST ADAM AND THE LAST.
Rom. v. 12-21. The teachings of this profound section of Scripture are but feebly apprehended by any of us, and it is to be feared that by many they are much neglected; yet the truths set forth in these few verses are of exceeding importance, and it was never more necessary that believers should be established in them. Learned men are inventing all kinds of theories rather than bow to the simple state
ments of Scripture concerning God's ways with man, and it would be well if all the Lord's people would seek by a more prayerful study of this whole epistle, and not least of this weighty portion of it, to fortify themselves against the fair speeches that are so calculated to deceive the simple.
The word “ Wherefore,” with which this section begins, connects it with the whole preceding argument, though especially with the former verses of this chapter. The writer has shown very clearly at the end of chapter iv., how all believers in the Lord Jesus are affected by His death“ on account of” their sins, and by His resurrection “on account of"* their justification. He now by an illustration hows how it is that “th
are affected by the action of "the one," and makes it plain that in God's ways with man there was always something beyond individual dealing. Thus the federal headship of Christ is brought into marked contrast with the natural headship of Adam; the “first man ” being the cause of condemnation and death to all who spring from him by natural generation, and the "second Man” being the
“ source of justification and life to all who are linked with Him by regeneration.
Adam was the appointed head of the race, and therefore not by the woman, but by him sin entered. Sin was in the universe before, but by Adam it entered the world ; it invaded the race of man, and became a power reigning over man, a principle within him, and a state involving righteous condemnation. Sin entered, and death by sin, and thus by the one sin of Adam death spread through to the whole race, because his sin was regarded as the sin of the race, which stood or fell in him. All sinned, “ for until the law sin was in the world,” and
dla with the accusative in both instances.