What a Calling!
Ephesians 1:9-23; 3:8-11, 14-21
God displayed in Christ, for "in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell" (Col. 1: 19); and Christ displayed in the Church, His body, His bride, "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22), the ordered center of a reconciled universe, the helpmeet, the Eve of the Last Adam, in the day of power.
How then is all this to be realized in the soul? How are we to walk in the power of this calling of God? We must be strengthened with all might, according to the riches of the glory of the Father, by His Spirit in the inner man. But for what? What need of such blessed living action of God in us? It is that this Christ, this Center of all things, to whom heavenly, earthly, and infernal beings must bow the knee (Phil. ii. 10), "may dwell in our hearts by faith!" That the soul's affections may center in Him, surround Him, entwine themselves in Him; that being rooted and grounded in love, no Satan's power can disturb this planting of our souls in the soil of love! Down deeply have struck the roots there, though this will be tried and tested; far and wide the soul has spread its branches. Sorrows but unfold it; and want but finds in it its rich supply. Temptations to disturb it are met by the power of it ministered to the soul. The coldness of our brethren deepens the joy of its being ours. The world's sneer and scorn turn the heart more distinctly to Him who loves.
The entranced soul rises to the deeper contemplation of that central Sun, and looks out from Him to the length, and breadth, and depth, and height, which center in Him, and is lost in the fields of illimitable glory. Yet, it finds itself at home there, recalled by that well-known love which, as a sinner once it tasted, and found itself at peace with God; as a saint too who failed along the way, and who found its never-dying power humbling to the dust the soul with its unchangeableness; or as a chosen one of the Father before the world was--the gift of His heart to the Son, one "whom thou hast given Me." How deep the wellspring of that love must be to one who was the object of His eternal choice, whose delights were in the sons of men!
Yet this love of Christ is that which touches the heart, and makes it feel itself at home in those fields of glory. Yet while known and tasted, "it passeth knowledge." Too great for finite hearts to grasp, yet, like the babe which knows its mother's love, unable though it is to explain its power, it is the link of heart with Him whom not having seen, even now we love.
The finite vessel is thus launched upon the infinite sea of light, and love, and God--filled unto all His fullness!--"to Him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, unto all generations of the age of ages. Amen."
The more one enters upon and realizes what the Church of God is, and--connected with His counsels for Christ's glory--the place that she holds in God's plans for the ordered manifestation of His glory, the more one feels how hopeless is the ruin which lies far and wide around our path. How false is everything which pretends to be His Church on earth! How Satan has succeeded in destroying outwardly all that bears Christ's Name! How feebly do those, whose spiritual vision is opened to know somewhat of her blessing, grasp the thought of her place and calling in connection with her Head on high in glory! How few there are who care for more than that which speaks of their own blessing! How few even that have realized their personal blessing at all! How little is the voice of the Spirit heard in the bride, calling on the "Bright and Morning Star" to "come!" How His people may say, even at their best, "My leanness, my leanness; woe is me!"
Yet God would gather a people in these days to the confession of the Name of the Lord Jesus, and the truth of His body--His bride. He would awaken bridal affections which our Lord Jesus looks for in His Church, for which He gave Himself. He has brought forth in living power these long-buried truths. He would awaken His people, and recall them to the state of those who at first looked for and awaited God's Son from heaven. He would form a heavenly company of true wholehearted souls, whose aims, and life, and work, are for the glory of His Son. Are there not those who would respond to those Spirit-wrought desires? who long to answer in all things to the heart of Christ? Surely there are. Surely when God has again brought these things to light, He will find a people who will value them, and answer to His heart's desire.