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No, XVI.

ON FELLOWSHIP TOGETHER WITH CHRIST,

PART VII.

ON SITTING TOGETHER WITH HIM IN HEAVENLY

PLACES.

“And made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. ii. 6).

The words, made sit together, are here the rendering into English of a compound verb, which is made up of a preposition, expressing together with, and a verb signifying to seat, set, make sit. This verb, in its uncompounded form, is that which is used to mark the position of the blessed Lord Jesus since His ascension into heaven. We will tnrn to some of the places of its occurrence; for instance:

First: Eph. i. 20. “ He [the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory] . . . . raised Hinn from the dead, and set Him [or made him sit] at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (20—23). The context which I have quoted shows here, that "recognition in glory is the leading idea of the whole portion. The Lord Jesus Christ took a servant's place. As Son of Man He could say, " My God,” to Him to whom we through grace, say “ Our God” (John xx.17). Here the action is from God Himself as such: the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of Glory, has acted towards Him in a way to mark His estimate of Him, and hath declared it in the Word to us, that we, having the eyes of our under

standing enlightened, as well as being endowed with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, might know these things about the Christ.

The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, hath made Him (who said of Himself, when upon earth, “ The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head"), to sit down at His own right hand in heaven; and hath heaped upon Him there titles of honour and glory. The making Him sit at His own right hand, marks in this place, the character of the Divine recognition of His worthiness who is so placed,- the conferring upon Him the honour that is due. That the word," seated," " made sit,” suggests naturally enough the idea of personal rest, is true, as we shall see shortly from other passages in which it is used; but, then it is used here in connection with the thought of glory, and in those other passages as connected with the taking of a position which supposed a certain work or character of service ended. And this makes an important difference. Very similar to this in some respects is

Secondly: Heb. i. 3, "God ... hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the

express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down [took His seat] on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (2, 3).

It is to be remarked, that the action here is on the part of the Son: not viewed in that character of glory attaching to Him as the Son of the Father, but in that which He has as Son of God. Having made by Himself purgation of sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. It is there we see Him, crowned with honour and glory. Office and service are in this passage not at all the question — but rather the glorious pos tion and honour taken by Himself and recognised as justly His by God, and owned with joy to be His by those who have faith. He is at rest in glory; His humiliation ended and in contrast with it; glory in the Majesty of the highest taken by Himself; owned by God to be His,

in that He has crowned Him with honour and glory;but, if thus personally glorified, He there waits, amid the glory proper to Himself which he alone from among men could occupy, until He can take that glory which He can share with His people. He sits at that right hand until the time come for His taking the kingdom. His position is looked at as in glory in chapters i. and ii., and having glories many connected with it; but the idea of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man, is not introduced until the third chapter. This is to be noticed, the rather because, afterwards, the same idea of His session is introduced again, after various functions which connect themselves with worship have been treated of (see chap. x.) Government and worship are two truths inseparable from the thoughts when God, known as He is now, is revealed. In chaps. i. and ii., many allusions are made to government as to man under God's direction. With chap. iii. truth about worship begins, and in chap. viii. 1, we find the supremacy of Christ in the connection noticed. We will turn now to this passage.

“ Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum. We have such a high priest, who is set (or seated] on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” Both these passages (i. 3 and viii. 1) ascribe the highest place to the Christ, but the former refers rather to dominion, and the latter to worshp. Both tell of the pre-eminence of His glory

Again; in another passage the stress is not laid upon the glory in which He sits, nor upon that which attaches to Him who sits, but there is a contrast marked between the position of standing and sitting. Under the law

every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away

sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. x. 11, 12).

The many priests, typical, all of them, of THE ONE * A perusal of the Psalms and Scriptures, referred to in chap. i., proves this most abundantly:-dominion is the leading thought of them all ; so the references in chaps. viii., ix, and x. show that, in these chapters, worship is the governing thought.

which was to come; daily ministering and oftentimes offering, -one sacrifice and only one; standing too to do the work — seated because the work was ended; these are the points set in contrast. The Levitical priest necessarily had to repeat the sacrifice, because the tabernacle was on earth, and merely served the glory of God as King of Israel, and the needs of that people, and was done in a cycle of time which was limited to a year. Christ shed His blood on earth but presented Himself, in the power of the blood, in the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man; His work subserved the glory of God, as God, for eternity, and also the needs of all that believe, whether heaven or earth be the place in which they are met by God; and His work was done in God's own eternity. “For ever sat down on the right hand of God," "may very well apply to the work which is the subject of the passage, -which does not treat of the place where Christ's ultimate glory is to be, nor of what is His present service, but of the value of the atonement offered on that great day of atonement in which He presided :-the work was done;-ended for ever; and, as to it, He sat down. Most reasonably, too, because by that “ one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (ver.14) Now if I, by faith in the blood, am sanctified, I am by that one offering perfected for ever: my conscience has for its answer before God, that which God has done in order to justify Himself in acting in mercy as on the throne of heaven: Christ, who has the full understanding of God's estimate of things, and of the correctness thereof also, could not assert there was need still of sacrifice without disparaging His own work and God's estimate of it; and the soul's estimate (that it needs nothing further as to sacrifice) is thus shown to be correct.

Again; where the subject is (not the completeness and sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice, once and only once offered, ---but) the sympathies of Christ towards His suffering, faithful witness (as in Acts vii. 55, 56), there the Lord Jesus is represented (not as sitting down, but) as stand

“He [Stephen] being full of the Holy Ghost, looked

ing up

down here.

I find that many really overlook the unit of the life of the Christ and His members; they me think of a store of life in Him in God for them; the may admit that He has given to them eternal life; the the Spirit dwells in them to nourish an incorrup! seed, etc.; but the UNITY OF LIFE between thems and the Christ they do not see or own; and, there they cannot act on and from it. All of those in the Spirit of God and of Christ dwells are, really, vit one with the Christ who is on high. The union the Spirit, but it actually exists and is known to exist — and it is a union which excludes for ever idea of separation between the Head and members. see it and to enjoy it and the grace which has mai ours, gives intelligence to the mind and warmth to affections of the believer, such as nought else can intelligence and affection such as are needful for heavenly walk here below of any who are sons daughters of the Lord God Almighty.

I have sometimes thought that there is no part of doctrine of the fellowship of the believer with Chi which shows the reality of its being a fellowship in so markedly as the passage before us, and others like which show the recognition by God of our union His Son as the Christ, in the interval which takes between Christ's rejection by man, and His taking session of the glory which is yet to be conferred Him. The Son of God, “ being in the form of thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Phil. ii. As Son of the Father we read of Him: “No man seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, whic in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared H (John i. 18). Divine glory was proper to Him. had glory with the Father before the world was (xvii When He became Son of Man, in grace and mercy became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grie, that so (for so alone it could be), He might share titles of glory pertaining to the Son of Man, with oth from among, inen.

His work on earth finished, but earthly people not being ready to receive the blessin yea rejecting it,—He went on high, and took His

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