Christ and the Church: Part 2

WE are in the wilderness now, and so we count by weeks and days, and the time seems long; but look up to the Lord Jesus and you can forget all this, for He, up there, looks upon you and says to you, " Surely I come quickly." To you, looking on things here, it may seem long, but to Him it is but a little while, and He can make it so to you. Reckon on His love. " Having loved His own, which were in the world, He loved them to the end." Is not this known to all who believe in Him, known from their own experience of that love? And, oh! how sweet is the experience of Christ's love in this cold world. When the heart is chilled, and yearns for a little warmth, to turn to the. Lord Jesus to feel the warmth of His love! Looking up to Him my heart is always warmed. What an unfailing secret of purest happiness is this!
And what is it that feeds His love to His church? From what source flowed the springs of that love? In the Epistle to the Ephesians we get the setting forth of that which would feed the love of Christ in regard to His church. In the first chapter we have the scene laid before time was (ver. 4). I am here taught that when the Lord Jesus looks at me, He sees me as one who was chosen by the Father before time was, to show forth the glory of that grace that could accept me in the Beloved. He sees not only the poor lost sheep to bring home, the poor prodigal brought into the Father's house, but more, He sees, in me, one chosen of the Father, a secret purpose, He and the Father one in it. And can He have ought against me, or against you, poor saint, when He sat in council about us? And ought He not to have us seeing our association with these counsels of the Father in Him, before the foundation of the. world?
But, secondly, His love is fed by the association of the Church with Himself, not only as one with Him, but as having Himself left all for it (Ep. v. 28). In the devotedness of His heart, He gave Himself for the church. Having borne our sins in His body on the tree-God Himself laying on Him then your iniquity and mine-He places us now in His presence without any other thought than that of His love. And can we look upon Him up there, raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, and not feel the unspeakable grace, purest and richest towards us, that raised us up together, and made us sit together is heavenly places in Him? When the Lord Jesus looks in the face of a poor sinner, thus saved by grace, does He not in effect say, " I do, and I must love you, but I love you for My Father's sake. I loved you because He chose you in Me before the foundation of the world, and I must love you to the end for His sake?
As a child of God, wandering in the world's wilderness, it is very sweet to have comfort poured down to me in all my circumstances and my exercises, from Him who is unceasingly loving me; but even this is not so sweet as the thought that I can, by His grace,.
have fellowship with the heart of the Father, as to His thoughts about His only begotten Son, and His love towards Him. Oh, what can compare with this-to enter into the revelation of God the Father's affection towards the Son of His love
And this is where grace has placed us. " Ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." And, " Because ye are sons, God bath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Our hearts thus get rest, blessed rest, in sonship, simply by believing in Christ Jesus; and the Spirit of His Son in our hearts, enable their happy throbbings to find expression in this wondrous cry of " Abba, Father; " this new name, unknown to the Patriarchs or to the Jew. God has set us in His presence as sons, and life has flowed down to us, so that we can rise up and contemplate there the delight the Father has in His Son, and can have communion with the joy of the Father's heart in the Son. This it is that gives the church its highest point of glory.
Does the thought ever steal over your heart, Let things here be ever so clouded, there the Father's heart is fully satisfied, for there the Son is, and there, in infinite grace, my portion is, for I can say, my Father. In this sense alone the Lord calls us His brethren, thus alone can we be in association with Him who is on the throne of the Father, and it is thus the Spirit can feed us, administering all the thoughts of the Father and the Son to our hearts. Blessed truth! that Son, the Lord Jesus, having become a man, and wearing man's form up there, we as men are associated with Him forever. As man, that Son brought out the character of the Father, so that I, as a man, can understand it. Oh! how one ought to admire and adore the way Christ brought out the character of God on earth as love to the poor prodigal, and lost sheep. But He has given us to say, " His God is our God," and likewise, by His grace we-can say, " His Father is our Father."
Thus we can look up and realize His present joy, even as He said, " If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father." Does it ever come to you what happiness is there? How happy God must be with such a Son! How happy Christ must be!
No person save a child of God can be of the Bride, and it is the purpose of God that the Bride shall be shown out before the world, that the world may see the glory Christ has given her. The Father gave it to Him, but He cannot keep it for Himself. He must share it with those dear -CO Him (John 17:22, 2322And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:22‑23)). The world will be forced to admire the Church in glory, and it ought to be admired as bought with His blood, for the Father's delight is in the Son, and there He is on the Father's throne, claiming all glory to give it to His bride.
But I do not find my deeper joy in this. I feel the Church's glory will be, the sense of being loved by the Father even as the Son is loved. This will surpass all else. That One in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells, causing all the love of the Father, as He knows it, to flow forth to us, and making us capable of receiving and enjoying that love-this is the deeper glory, the joy that surpasses all understanding.
We knew " the Lamb," worthy of all glory, but we also know Him under another title
I can say, " I know Thee as the Son who has revealed Thy Father to me. All, all would be nothing to me did I not know Thee in the deeper glory, " the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." That name SON He ever bore. He bore it deep down here. He bears it high above in heaven. He is indeed the Son of Man, but this as having been made flesh. When He, as Son of Man, again enters this scene, why shall we fall down at His feet to worship? Because we know Him as the only begotten, Son, of God.
Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, before there was anything-there was the Son in the bosom of the Father. The Father's house, the Father's bosom must be the resting place of the church. Nothing can satisfy the Son but her being there, where He had rested from all eternity.
But we have this place of rest, by faith, even now. I shall never be more a son than I am now, else where were the force of that word, " Beloved, now are we the sons of God? " I have got the best part now. He has made me a son. He has given me to see and to enter into communion with the. Father and with His Son (1 John 1:33That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)). He makes me to enjoy the delight of the Father and of the Son as a fresh taste of heavenly joy in my soul day by day. If I am in trial down here, it is because this is no resting place for me. I know the Father is in perfect rest up there, and it is this that makes the heart happy, to have the same object and the same affections as He; for " truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Very little is said about the Father's house in Scripture, except in John 14 One is never weary of these verses, because they tell of the personal love of the Lord Jesus. But locality is not defined, nor the thought of heaven introduced as meaning any particular locality. In John 17 Jesus lifts up His eyes to heaven. Many found their ideas of heaven on some early association in their mind of a place of glory beyond the clouds, and connect it, more or less, with what the Word of God has made familiar to them. But breaking down all this would leave the blessed thought of the Son now upon the Father's throne, and the Father setting them together in Him. Whenever my faith goes up there, what does it realize? The thought of One there who was once in all my circumstances of sorrow here, and the thought of home being up there with Him. Oh, what a warm, happy feeling the heart experiences at that thought. A man's heart is in his home, not because of the place, but because the object of his affections is there. The same in regard to heaven. I find uncommonly little of detail as to circumstances there, but I find unfading reality in one or two simple verses. For instance that one, " If ye loved me, ye would rejoice because I said I go unto the Father." What a volume in that! The Lord Jesus Christ wanting us to enter into the joy of His heart at the thought of His being at home with His Father, saying, as it were, " I want to share the thought of my joy with you. I want you to rejoice with me, that so soon I shall be with the Father, and. not only that, but you shall soon be with me too." I: we could see all the glory of heaven it would be pool in comparison of seeing Him, the only begotten Son on the throne of His Father. G. V. W.
(To be continued.)