The Law of the New Man
Third “Verily, Verily”
The Law of the New Man
Thus far we have only seen the Home of the New Man, and the one only Door of Entrance to it. We are now to see the Law by which he lives. And this is no mere external commandment, saying to him, “Thou shalt,” or “Thou shalt not,” but the very law of his being, like the laws of nature, bringing about certain results, by an inward force which moulds and forms the whole life. In a word, the law here set before us is what the Apostle calls “the law of the spirit of life, which makes us free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). The one is the innate tendency of the new man, as being partaker of God’s life, to do God’s works; the other, the natural tendency of the fallen old man, as corrupted by the serpent, to live in sin and self-will rather than in God.
The law by which this new man lives is here opened to us, and the results of such a life, in all which he is a perfect contrast to the fallen old man. For what specially characterises the old man is, that in all he acts from self, and so brings death and judgment upon himself and his posterity; while that which marks the new man is that “he does nothing from self, but only that which he sees the Father do”; the result of which is that to him it is given both to “quicken and to judge,” that is, to be the Father’s viceregent in the ministration both of life and death to fallen men. Thus is all that died in Adam quickened in Christ, and all that rose up in Adam cast down in Christ, and judged by Him for ever. This is the subject of the third reiterated Amen. “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that He himself doeth; and He will show Him greater works than these that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:19-22).
First notice the occasion of these words; for it shows how the children of the kingdom, if themselves lacking the life of God, may pervert the very ordinances, which were given to lead them to the heavenly life, into so many reasons for rejecting that life when it appears and works among them. Here Christ, in the life of God, Himself the true fulfilment of the sabbath, had just given power to an impotent man to pass from a life of infirmity to a life of health and rest. But because this was done upon the sabbath day, the Jews condemned, not the healed one only, but the Healer also. Hardened by the letter of truth, they judge the acts of love. His simple answer is, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,”–in other words, “I am not acting in self-will,–if I did, I could neither give nor possess rest. I am only doing what my Father does. God does works of mercy every sabbath day. I therefore work, because it has been proved,–this man’s misery proves it,–that this sabbath, this rest of the first creation, is indeed no sabbath.” God did indeed rest in an unfallen world; and since the fall, before finally giving up the first creation to condemnation, He tried it once and again, first without, then under, law. But spite of law sin works in it, for self-will reigns in man; therefore neither God nor man can rest. Therefore instead of “God did rest the seventh day,” the truth now is, “My Father worketh still; and I, as Son of God, do what my Father does,–I also work.” And then as showing the secret of His own life, which, because it is a life of rest, can communicate the same rest to as many as will receive Him, He utters the words descriptive of the law of the New Man. His life is rest and can give rest, because it never acts from self, but only does the Father’s will.
Thus are introduced the words which open the law or way of the New Man: “Verily, Verily, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do. For what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son in like manner” (Greek word).
- First, “He does nothing,” nay more, “He can do nothing from self.” Now this exactly reverses the way of old Adam. The old man always acts from self, wanting to be something in himself, which is the sure way really to remain nothing. Self, too, is the end of all his doings; self-seeking, or self-exalting, self-will and self-love in some form or other ever mark him. Thus the old man does “according to his will” (Dan. 8:4). Hence even his good works may be sin, for indeed in all its shapes sin in the creature is nothing else but self-will; and this even in things which, seem to be holy, as in prayer, almsgiving, or fasting, which should all be sacrifices to God, but which, as our Lord shows, may all be done for self, merely to “have glory of and to be seen of men” (Matt. 6:1, 2, 3, 5, 16). And indeed it is in his religion that the self-will of the old man is most offensive in the eyes of God, because religion should be reunion, the merging of our own will in the Lord’s that His will and not our own may be accomplished in us. But, instead of this, self-will is often busy, as an angel of light, in forms of godliness without the power, which only add greater strength to the workings of that fallen life, which must die if we would see God. For fallen man would fain be something, instead of wholly yielding up himself, that all that is done in him may be of God.
But the Son does nothing, and can do nothing, from self. His life is to do what the Father doth. Instead, therefore, of living to appropriate or claim or retain for self what is not his own, which in one form or another is the law or ruling principle of the old man, while he remains without religion,–instead of being busy in religious forms, which leave self-will untouched, which is the way of the same old man, when he turns to occupy himself with what he calls the things of God,–the new man “does nothing from self. Wherefore when He cometh into the world He saith, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:7). Even when he would do good, His Word is, “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). As to His words too He says, “I do nothing of myself, but as my Father hath taught me I speak these things” (John 8:28);–“I have not spoken of myself” (John 12: 49); –“My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me” (John 7:16). For he is filled with the Holy Ghost, who “speaks not of Himself” (John 16:13). Not one act or word therefore is self-derived or independent. It seems as if He had no will of His own. And yet because he is man, he must possess a will; for God has a will, and man is made in God’s likeness.
Only in this does the will of the new man differ from that of the old, that in everything it is subject to God, even to “do the will of Him that sent him, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). So “morning by morning wakening his ear to hear” (Isa. 1:4) the Father’s voice, He “does always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). The very times of his service are not his own. While others hurry, he waits, saying “My time is not full come” (John 7:8). For “he is not able” (Greek words) to act in independence. Therefore “he cannot sin” (I John 3:9); and this, like the corresponding language respecting God, that “He cannot lie” (Titus 1:2), so far from limiting His power is rather the secret of it. For as he commands nature who obeys her, so he whose will is one with God must in willing His will command His almightiness. The angels which excel in power are those which do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word (Psa. 103:20). And the Son who “does nothing from self,” though for a season lower than the angels, and subject through our fall to all the changes and burdens of pain, sorrow, and death, which make up the course or life of this world (Eph. 2:2), by yielding up Himself in all to God, brings in another power by which He can bear and do all things.
What such a life costs man, though set forth in Christ, can be seen only by those, who, living the same life, in some measure know what it is to be conformed to Him. Not without sore trial is this done. For as gold is tried by fire, so are acceptable men in the furnace of adversity (Ecc. 2:5). The will has to be proved whether it will choose its own, or wait the Father’s pleasure. The well-beloved Son is the perfect pattern. I say nothing of all the years of obscure toil at Nazareth, where, as a saint (Bonaventura, Life of Christ, chap. xv. § 13) observed of old, “His doing nothing wonderful was in itself a kind of wonder.” But even after the spirit of God comes upon Him, and He is anointed for His work, and the voice from heaven declares His true relation to it, He yet does nothing from Himself, but in man’s state and lot, still has His will tried to the uttermost, whether in all He will be faithful and obedient.
He must have no will but the Father’s, and this He must fulfil or suffer, whatever the consequences of such obedience, and whatever the temptation to save Himself rather than to bear what is appointed for Him. In such a path He must give up even His rights, except as God may please to give them, assured that He is in the Father’s hands, and that, whatever the trial, all is perfect love. But what this costs poor flesh and blood, those know who have endeavoured even in their little measure to follow the Pattern.
For the trial is not the giving up of friends, money, station, nor even those dear to us as the apple of the eye. These are sacrifices; yet are they little in comparison with giving up one’s own will, that is one’s self, in everything, to do or suffer what God may please from day to day; not using what is in our hands, like Peter, to resist, even when we unjustly suffer wrong; nor pleading with the Father to escape the cross, even when we might, if we chose, so pray, as the Blessed Master said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall give me twelve legions of angels” (Matt. 26:53); but in the faith of Christ Himself, which is far more than faith in Him (Footnote: Compare the words, “the faith of Jesus Christ,” with “believing in Jesus Christ,” both of which occur in Gal. 2: 16, and elsewhere in the New Testament.) yielding up ourselves to God in everything, even as He did. For faith in Christ ever comes and claims the promised help, and receives for answer present blessing, with such words as, “Be it unto thee according to thy will” (Matt. 15:28); while the faith of Christ, in the face of darkness, says only, “If it be possible let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.” Blessed be God, One in our nature has done and borne all this; and in our nature He still gives His members power to do and bear the same. But all this costs a man himself, though in thus losing self we find God.
If such a life is now rarely to be seen, the simple reason is that the cross or dying of the Lord, though boasted in, is not yet known, and therefore the life of Jesus is not made manifest in us (II Cor. 4:10, 11). Yet the new life by grace may be and is in souls, in whom it is not manifested. The veil, that is to say this flesh, conceals the light. But where the new man lives, the law of his life is this:–he “can do nothing from himself.” And many a Christian knows, that, though as yet he finds not how to perform that which is good (Rom. 7:18), the spirit is willing, though the flesh is weak. It is in his heart to obey in all things, and “it is well that it is in his heart” (II Chron. 6:8). Yet this is our calling, that the outward should be as the inward, and that through a daily death the life of Jesus should be manifested even in our mortal flesh.
Here, then, is what the new man cannot do: “he cannot act from self.” What he can do is “what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, those also doeth the Son in like manner.” Yet the measure in which he does this, (for he does at one stage what he cannot at another,) is according to the measure in which he seeth what the Father doeth. “For the Father loved the Son and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth, and He will show Him greater things than these” (John 5:19, 20). Here is hid and yet revealed a law of the divine working, as to the way in which the Father shows, and the Son sees, all things which the Father doeth. For, as Augustine says, “it is not, that the Father first does a thing without the Son, that the Son thus may see what the Father doeth; but the Father shows what He doeth by doing it by the Son, for the Father does noting that he does not by the Son.” (Tract. In Johan xxi. § 2). This is the way in which old Adam shows us what he does; by doing it in us; for we do not really see his works without us till they are done within.
Do what you will before a babe, it does not see it. And thus too does our Father show us what He doeth. It is only as His works are wrought in us that we see or understand them. And the Eternal Son when he took our place revealed this law to us, so that He “grew in wisdom” (Luke 2:52) as He did the Father’s works. Therefore, though from everlasting He was the Son, “by whom all things were made,” only when the Spirit like a dove came upon Him did heaven open, and mighty works begin to show forth themselves in Him (Matt. 14:2 and Acts 10:38). Thus, as the Father showeth Him all that Himself doeth, does the Son see and do the same. What are these works? For what the Father doeth, that also doeth the Son in like manner. Briefly then, for God is love, the works of God are works of love, which manifests itself in meeting every form of need and evil; which hears all, believes all, hopes all, endures all; and which shall never fail till all are overcome and ruled by love. If, therefore, when all was darkness, God said, “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3); if when the creature was void and formless He wrought till all was very good (Gen. 1:31); if when sin again came in He still worked on, with call, and promise, and gift, meeting the creature’s need; (Gen. 3:9, 13, 21); if, in spite of all that men have been, He is still a refuge for us (Psa. 62:8); if He looseth the prisoners, and openeth the eyes of the blind, and raiseth up those that are bowed down; (Psa. 146:7, 8); if, to crown all other mercies, He gives the brightness of His glory to come into the form and place of sinful men, to bear their curse and burden for them (Heb. 1:2); if these are the Father’s works, these also doeth the Son; He too comes saying, “Let there be light”; He too works to bring forth a new creation; He too looseth the prisoners; He too openeth eyes of the blind; He too raiseth up those that are bowed down. And so too must His members, each according to their measure, because it is not they that live, but Christ who liveth in them.
They too, therefore, can say, what things soever their Father doeth, these His children must do likewise, and be perfect even as their father in heaven is perfect (Eph. 5:1; Matt. 5:48). Nay, more, because the righteousness of God is in them,–a righteousness without the law (Rom. 3:21), for God is not righteous because any law is laid upon Him, saying, “Thou shalt,” or “Thou shalt not,” but simply because He is unchanging, perfect love,–as sharers of His life and love, they do His works, because, according to His promise, He dwells and works in them (II Cor. 6:16 and Phil. 2:13). Great, therefore, as are the Father’s works, so great indeed that “there is no end of His greatness,” for after all that we have seen we must cry like Job, “Lo, these are but parts of His ways, but how little a portion is heard of Him” (Job 26:14), because “what things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son,” of His works too it may be said, that, “if they should be written everyone, even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). For the whole creation is wondrous, but much more so is the new; and the sons of God are fellow-workers with their Father; His heirs, in and by whom, according to His will, all the kindreds of the earth, yea, all creatures, shall be blessed.
- It remains to mark here what our Lord adds, as to the results of such a life, and the wondrous privileges which follow and accompany it.
These are the right and power both to “quicken” and to “judge,” and thus to be God’s viceregent in the administration of His kingdom. The New Man is ordained to be the judge of quick and dead. “For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will; for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” (John 5:21-23); and again, “As the Father hath life in Himself, so that He given to the Son to have life in Himself, and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:26, 27).
Here again every word describes a state the very opposite to that of the fallen old man. For old Adam, through his self-will, not only dies, but is also judged; the new man, doing nothing from self, both “quickens” and “judges” others. These works are nothing less than a participation with God Himself in those operations which are peculiarly His own. For when He would set forth His own glory above all gods, these two powers, to “quicken” and to “judge,” are what He claims for Himself as His distinctive prerogative. “See now,” He says, “that I, even I, am He; I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal” (Deut. 32:39). Yet these are the very powers committed to His sons, who do nothing from self. O wondrous grace, that the creature formed of clay, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth (Psa. 139:15), being renewed after the image of Him that created him (Col. 3:10), should be, not only quickened with God’s life, but the means to quicken it again in others, and should also be God’s agent in judging and subduing, whether in heaven or in earth, or under the earth, every will which has rebelled against His authority.
But why should these special gifts of “quickening” and “judging” be committed to the Son of Man? Because both life and death are needed to redeem man from his fall and bring him back to heaven; and the Son, and those who by grace are sons in Him, being God’s heirs (Rom. 8:17), in and by whom He will restore all, need to this end both the power to “quicken” and to “judge,” even as they themselves have first been judged and quickened. For by the fall, as we have seen, we are without God’s life, not lost only, but dead in trespasses and sins. Therefore this life of God needs quickening in us; and the Son, and those in whom He lives, are the appointed means and channels for this quickening. And again since by the serpent’s lie we are not only dead to God, but have had another life quickened in us, which can never rest, this fallen life must somehow be destroyed; for the only way out of any life in which we may be living is to die to it.
And inasmuch as fallen souls, living in self-will, either cannot or will not judge themselves, God’s elect are appointed by the Word not only to quicken, but also to judge, those who yet require such a ministry; by the Word, as Gospel, to quicken those who still are dead in sins, by sowing in their hearts that seed which shall grow up and blossom into the kingdom; by the same Word, as law, to judge that evil life which keeps men far from God, that by a death to it they may be delivered out of it, according to the word, “He that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:7); this judgment or “ministration of condemnation” being only for a season, and “to be abolished,” as St. Paul declares, that the “more glorious” “ministration of life,” “which remaineth,” may abide for ever (II Cor. 3:9-11). God’s sons, therefore, “quicken” and “judge,” because God Himself in love does both, and they are called to do what He doeth. He judges, because thus only can the evil life, in which His creatures are captive, be brought to a conclusion. He quickens, because without His life we cannot enter or live in His kingdom. And so His sons do the self-same works; killing to make alive; bringing down to the grave that they may bring up (I Sam. 2:6). This is the end of all; though death and judgment to bring forth that promised new creation, where there shall be neither death nor crying any more (Rev. 21:4, 5).
But to look more closely at these works.
First, the elect “quicken” others. “For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will” (John 5:21). Here God’s purpose shines out, that “as by man came death, by man should come,” not only the resurrection from, but also “the resurrection of, the dead” (I Cor. 15:20, 21 Compare verse 20 and 21), in due season. For the “resurrection from the dead” is the special portion of the Son, and of His members, who are elect with Him, that, being first-fruits, they may be also fellow-workers with God in the “resurrection of the dead,” that is the final restitution (Acts. 3:21). Nor does it rob Him of His glory to say that this is wrought “by man.” Rather is it to the praise of the glory of His grace that the whole remedy for sin shall come “by man,” even as the sin did; according to the words, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” A niggardly God might grudge to give such glory to those who once were rebels, and who are by nature children of wrath even as others yet are. But our God is love, and love delights to give itself to the beloved, that others may be shares of its blessedness. God therefore even in nature, that wondrous veil which hides His glory, while also it reveals Him, shows Himself as the Almighty Worker who always works His works, not apart from, but in and by, His creatures. Even in giving earthly life, it is quickened and conceived, not without, but by the operation of, his creatures. To them is given to be fathers and mothers, that is to give life to that which is as yet without it. Everywhere, even to the lowest forms of life, in herb, or tree, or beast, whose seed is in itself (Gen. 1:11), is this power given, to reproduce the life proper to each respectively. So is it with the life which shall abolish death. It too is “by man.” And so “the Son,” in and by His members, “quickeneth whom He will.” Thus do they work out, not only their own, but others salvation also, for it is God that worketh in the, both to will and to do His good pleasure.
Whom then does the Son thus quicken? He “quickens whom He will” (John 5:21). And His will, as we have seen, is to do nothing from self: to do that only which is well-pleasing to the Father. What then is the Father’s will? He “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth; for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (I Tim. 2:4-6). Therefore the Son says plainly, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hands” (John 3:35). And again, “Thou hast given Him power over all flesh that as to the all which Thou hast given Him, He should give to them eternal life” (John 17:2 See the Greek). And again “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out; for I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that as to the all, which He hath given me, I should lose nothing of it, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:37-40).
Therefore the Apostle tells us, that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. After which (Gr. word. Compare the use of this word in Mark 4:17, 28) cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, that God may be all in all” (I Cor. 15:22-24). The Son is the means by whom all men shall be saved (John 3:17; 4:42; 6:33; I Tim. 4:10; I John 4:14). But in this salvation some are called before others, the first-born and first-fruits, who here die with Christ, being joint-heirs with Him, in bringing and subduing all to God, till “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10, 11).
This quickening is effected by the Word, or seed of God. But there are two distinct times when with somewhat differing results this quickening takes effect, connected with the two different relations of the Son, as “Son of God,” and “Son of Man:”–the first in this present age, for “Verily, Verily, The hour cometh and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live; ” of whom it is said, “Verily, Verily, He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath (it is a present possession) eternal life, and does not come into judgment (John 5:24, 25), but has passed out of death into life:” this being the present quickening of the “dead in trespasses and sins”:–the second, when our Lord returns, when “all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man,” when He will come to “do judgment, because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:27, 28). As to the first of these quickenings, our Lord’s words here only more fully repeat His teaching as to the way into the kingdom by the new or second birth. Life is only by the Son. Nothing can ascend into heaven, but that which came down from, and here belongs to heaven. Therefore the Word, in whom is life, has come from heaven, and as many as receive Him have eternal life. These are they over whom there is joy in the presence of the angels of God, who were dead, and are alive again (Luke 15:10, 32). These are the true Hebrews, the “passers-over” (In Gen. 14:13, Abram is called “the Hebrew.” Hebrew word, which is rendered by the LXX Bible Manuscript, or the passer-over.), who keep the true “pass-over,” and thus “have passed from death unto life.”
And these like Christ their Head, because partakers of His life, become sowers of the same seed, taking heed to themselves and to the doctrine, that in so doing they may save themselves and those that hear them (I Tim. 4:16). And as ministers, not of His word only, but of His quickening spirit also, in them is fulfilled the word, “He that believeth in me, out of His belly shall flow the living waters.” These are the “first-fruits” (James 1:18; Rev. 14:4). But “if the first-fruits be holy, the lump is also holy” (Rom. xi. 16). There is therefore another quickening; “”hen all that are in the graves shall hear, and shall come forth; they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of judgment;” “the judgment,” even as the quickening, being “committed to the Son,” “that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father” (John 5:22, 23).
This brings us to the “judging”; for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son; and hath committed it to Him as Son of Man, for “the Father hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” I will not here attempt to open all the wonderful fulness which is contained in this title, “Son of Man,” as contrasted with another kindred title of our Lord, namely, “Seed of the Woman,” which speaks of other human relationships and opens other glories, because this subject comes even more directly before us again in the Sixth Reiterated Amen, which speaks of the Divine Nature of the New Man, who is there also very distinctively “the Son of Man.” But I may say here that woman was not in the beginning separate or taken out of man (The separation was not till after Adam’s sleep. See Gen. 2:21, 22.) The title therefore, “See of the Woman,” assumes division, and ever shows our Lord in His varied relation to the “multiplied conceptions” of the woman, either separate from some, or related to others, in virtue of certain tastes or qualities in them. The other title, “Son of Man,” shows Him simply as begotten in the image in which Adam was originally made, in which case His link with men is not in virtue of certain qualities in them, but of a common blood-relationship with all.
Two consecutive chapters in the book of Genesis set forth this contrast, the one throughout giving the Woman’s Seed, the other only the Son of Man. (Footnote: The 4th and 5th Chapters of Genesis give us two different lines. In the former, under Jehovah, we have the Woman’s Seed. Throughout we read of the woman’s conceiving, and then of her seed. Thus “Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived, and bare Cain.” (vs. 1.) “And she again bare his brother Abel.” (vs. 2.) “And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and bare Enoch.” (vs. 17.) “And unto Enoch was born Irad.” (vs. 18.) “And Lamech took unto him two wives, Adah and Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents.” (vs. 20.) “and Zillah, she also bare Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every artificer in crass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.” (vs. 22.) “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and called his name Seth; for God, she said, hath appointed me another see instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” (vs. 25.) Here it is all the woman’s seed throughout, with varied qualities and tastes. Compare with all this the generation of the Son of Man under Elohim, in chap. 5: “God created man; in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” (vs. 1, 2.) “And Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth.” (vs. 3.) “And Seth begat Enos; and Enos begat Cainan, and Cainan begat Mahalaleel,” and so on. (vs. 3, 12.)
No woman’s conception is referred to. It is throughout the “Son of Man.” The one seed is under Jehovah, except where, at the end, Eve says, “God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel.” The other generation is under Elohim. And the words of Eve, as to Elohim, not Jehovah, appointing her “another seed,” when Seth is born, show how the “Seed of the Woman” and the “Son of Man” are one. Every word here is significant, though, as in the wonders of nature, few eyes are opened to perceive the “open secret. In the one we have “man that is born of a woman”; in the other, “the Son of Man whom God has made strong for Himself” “(Job 14:1; Psa. 80:17). But on all this I will not enter here (Footnote: This contrast has been well shown is Mrs. Brewster Macpherson’s Parables of Judgment, pp. 77-79.).
Enough to note, that “judgment is committed to the Son, because He is the Son of Man.” And the Father does this first, that thus He may for ever silence the old serpent’s lie; for who can say that God grudges when He makes His fallen creatures the heirs and vessels of all His highest glories; but no less that, by making man who has been judged the judge of men, He would teach those who are judged that the judgment is not the end of, but only the means for the fulfilment of, God’s purpose. For man is judged by one who not only can say, “I also am formed of clay; therefore my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee” (Job 33:6, 7); but by one, who, though now the Judge, has Himself been judged with our judgment, to life us in Himself out of it, and to be a witness to the judged ones that they also may and shall be delivered in like manner. Thus does the judgment of the Son of Man witness that judgment must issue in blessing, because He who judges has Himself been judged that He may save all.
As to the judgment, its nature is first shown us. This “judgment committed to the Son” is not, as so many think, merely the proper and inevitable consequence of sin: it is rather the appointed means by which the sin shall in every case be overcome. For there are two very different classes of judgments: first those which are the natural consequences of sin, such as Adam’s fear of God, his hiding from Him, and the loss of the divine, eternal life (Gen. 3:3, 8, 10.); and secondly, those which are not the consequences of sin, but rather run counter to them, being the result of the word or sentence passed by God upon the evil-doer to correct the evil, such as the multiplication of the woman’s sorrow, and man’s bread in the sweat of his brow, and his return to the earth whence he was taken, to bring to an end the life of disobedience (Gen. 3:16-19). The first are the proper or natural results of sin: the second, the result of the sentence of the living Word of God, judging the sin, to make the sinner hate it, and to bring him out of it. And it is in this last that the elect are fellow-workers with God, judging to heal, even as they have themselves been healed by judgment. Their judging is in fact like that of the Judges whom God raised up of old, whose work was, not to destroy, but save His captive people (Judges 2:18. See also the sense of the word “judge,” in Ezek. 20:4; 22:2 and 23:36; margin.). It is indeed “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31); but it would be far more fearful thing if we could fall out of them. The saints all know this. They too, through sin, have all once been “in a great strait,” but in it, like David, have preferred God’s judgment, saying, “Let me now fall into the hands of the Lord, for very great are His mercies” (i Chron. 21:13). Shall they when called to judge with Christ ever forget their former straits? Will not their joy be that through the judgment the last captive shall at length be freed?
This judgment is begun already, for it is “eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:2), and therefore, is not future only, but even now present. Even now, where there is light, there must be judgment, for light cannot but judge: and the Son is light; and those who live His life are light also. Therefore like Him even while judged, and the world always condemns them, the sons of God, in every age, in much patience, in labours, in stripes, in watchings, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the amour of righteousness, on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, as deceivers and yet true, though the world think not of it, are surely judging all things. Whatsoever they bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatsoever they loose on earth is loosed in heaven (Matt. 18:18). For the life is the light (John 1:4 and 8:12). And as at creation, the light, as soon as it was created, was at once divided from the darkness, and thenceforward, becoming a fellow-worker with God, simply by being what it was, expelled and judged the darkness; so with those who live Christ’s life, their light, whether they will or not, because it is light, instantly judges all around that is unlike it. Hence men’s hatred to the light, so long as they are darkness, because the light smites them. But though it judges, it also renews. For the light which is of God, like God Himself, having made some who were darkness to be light, even while judging communicates that self-same light, that souls yet bound by darkness may be light also. Thus are “all things that are reproved made manifest by the light, and whatsoever is made manifest is light” (Eph. 5:8; four Greek words).
But the judgment which is thus proceeding is hidden. Living in sense, while it yet lasts, men will not credit that “he that believeth not is condemned already”; or that, when the elect are now judged, “they are chastened of the Lord, that they should not be condemned with the world” (I Cor. 11:32). Therefore the days come when the judgment now hidden shall be revealed, when Christ’s members, now judged with Him, shall come with Him to judge the world (I Cor. 6:2). And as in that day the world shall look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourn; so shall they look on His brethren, who with Him and like Him have been chastened by the Lord, and pierced by sharp arrows, even bitter words; and they shall mourn to see the sufferers set as princes over the earth, judges of those by whom they have been judged and cast out. Nor is this all, for “we shall also judge angels” (I Cor. 6:3), those mighty spirits, which kept not their first estate, and since then have been accusing God and man. This is the glory which awaits God’s sons, who by grace “do nothing from self.” Having first been judged and rejected they shall judge the world, in that great coming Pentecost when with tenfold light and power they come forth with tongues of fire to quicken, and the mighty rushing wind to shake all that must be shaken. Then shall the elect run to and fro as sparks among the stubble, to consume and purify all with the fire of God; yea, “they shall shine as the sun in the glory of the Father,” “for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Matt. 12:43; Rev. 12:5).
But can these words, which our Lord adds, “that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” (John 5:23), be applied to man? We know that some, jealous for God, who “will not give His glory to another” (Isa 42:8), have scrupled to give, even to the Only Begotten Son, the honour which they think is due to God alone; stumbling at the grace of the holy Incarnation; not seeing that the Son is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), the brightness of His glory; and the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3); and that therefore “he that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which sent Him” (John 5: 23). Such shall one day see, that “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10, 11). But of those who give all honour to the Son, even as to the Father, there are not a few who stumble at the thought of any like honour being given to His members. And the true heirs, like the beloved Son, seek not their honour here, saying with Him, “I receive not honour of men” (John 5:41); nor of men seek they glory, when they might be burdensome as the apostles of Christ (I Thes. 2:6).
And yet ought they none the less to be “counted worthy of double honour” (I Tim. 5:17), and to be “esteemed very highly in love for their works’ sake” (I Thes. 5:13). For in the honouring of those in whom the Lord reveals Himself, the honour is not to the vessel, but to Him who puts His glory in it. For just as when He said, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me” (Matt. 10:40), and “Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). He shows that to receive them is to receive Him, and that service done to them is done for Him; so in the honour given to them is the honour given to Him, because the glory is not theirs, but His, even as the works they do are not theirs, but His who worketh in them. No man taketh this honour unto himself (Heb. 5:4). First the Head of the body “received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (II Pet. 1:17); and so in His members, when they share His glory, shall the glory be the Lord’s, for “He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day” (II Thes. 1:10).
Then shall it be seen how He honours those who honour Him. For He has said, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Rev. 3:9). This honour have all His saints. For “he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to pieces; even as I received of my Father (Rev. 2:26, 27). For “the city,” which is “the Bride,” “has the glory of God,” ” and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour to it” (Rev. 11:11, 24, 26). Well might Paul say then, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18); for “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal right of glory” (II Cor. 4:17). <>Such is the law or way of the New Man, and such its glorious end. From first to last it is not of this world, even as Christ is not of this world. It is indeed the very law or way of God, His own life working in the creature, which, in virtue of its very nature, and because it is love, must quicken and give life, while it no less inevitably corrects and judges all that is opposed to it. Just in proportion therefore as we live this life, only doing what the Father doeth, because it is He who works in us, His power and light must shine out through us. And strange as it may seem to fallen men, that the power to quicken and to judge should be the fruit of yielding up our creature-will to God in everything, Christ’s life if the witness that such self-surrender receives all power in heaven and earth, while the self-will of the old man on leads to death and darkness. Blessed are they who through all temptations to self-pleasing are steadfast in this law, to do nothing from self, but only what the Father doeth. No evil shall hurt, though all may gather round them, for they are blessed, and shall be blessings to others, for evermore.