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New Book-[The Economy of God]-Chapter14-Part2

THE CENTER OF THE OLD CREATION

These twelve items added together are the old creation. The old creation includes so many things. But we need to be clear at this point that fallen man became the very center of the old creation. He is related to each one of the twelve items of the old creation. First, Satan got into man and became one with him. Included with Satan is the kingdom of Satan; therefore, since Satan is in man, the kingdom of Satan is also in man. Satan is the prince of the world, so the world too is included in Satan and is also in man. And, of course, embodied in man are Sin and sins, which issue in death. The flesh, the old man, and the self are also in man; and man was, and still is, the head of all creation. (According to Genesis 1, man was ordained head of the whole creation.) Thus, man is related to the entire creation, and the whole creation is related to man and centralized in man. Man is the very center of the old creation in every aspect. He nearly becomes all-inclusive, but not in a good sense. If one would meet Satan, there is no need for him to go to some special place—by going to man he will meet Satan. If he desires to meet the kingdom of Satan, there is no need for him to go to the moon—by going to man he will meet the kingdom of Satan. It is the same with the world. Within man, as representing the old creation, there is Satan, the kingdom of Satan, the world, Sin, sins, death, flesh, the old man, etc. We are not a small man! On the contrary, we are a big, all-inclusive man in a bad sense. Now, the whole creation is centralized in man.

THE ENDING OF THE OLD CREATION

Praise the Lord, one day something happened: God Himself became incarnated in this man! This means that God put all creation upon Himself. When God put man upon Himself, He put all things of the old creation upon Himself. For example, it says in the Scripture, that God made Christ to be Sin—not plural sins, but singular “Sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). God has also laid all our iniquities upon Christ (Isa. 53:6), who “bare our sins in His body upon the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). He was “in the likeness of the flesh of sin” (Rom. 8:3): the likeness is the likeness of the flesh, and this human flesh is the flesh of sin. John 1:14 says that “the Word became flesh,” that is, He became a human person. When He became a human person in flesh, He became a human person in a flesh of sin, since by that time sin was within the human flesh. The flesh had become the flesh of sin, and the Lord became incarnated in this flesh. However, we must be careful, for if we say He became the exact flesh that we have, that is, as far as our sinful nature is concerned, we are wrong. Hence, Romans 8:3 tells us that He became just the likeness of the flesh of sin, not the sinful nature of the flesh of sin.

In John 3:14, the Lord Jesus Himself told us that He was typified by the brass serpent hanging on the pole, i.e., the cross. The brass serpent had only the likeness of the serpent, not the poisonous nature of the serpent. The Lord Jesus was born of a virgin that He might have the likeness of the flesh of sin, but He had nothing to do with man as far as the sinful nature of the flesh was concerned. We must be very careful about this matter. When the Lord was made sin, He was made in the likeness of sin.

He not only put man upon Himself, but He also put Satan, the kingdom of Satan, the world, Sin, sins, flesh, etc., upon Himself. Here again we have to be careful. The Lord was incarnated as a man, not as a serpent; but when He was crucified on the cross, He was crucified as a man in the form of the serpent. Why? Because at this stage man was one with Satan, the serpent. So the Lord Jesus and even John the Baptist told the Pharisees that they were the seed of the serpent and a generation of vipers. They were the seed of the serpent, because they had the serpent’s life; the poisonous nature of the serpent was in them. In the eyes of God, they, as sinful people, had become the serpent. But the Lord, incarnated as a man, had only the likeness of the flesh of sin, not the sinful nature that sinful people have. Like the brass serpent on the pole, the Lord had only the likeness of the serpent, not the nature and the poison of the serpent.

Now we come to the cross. Christ first put on such a man, who was all-inclusive of the old creation, and then brought this man to the cross. There at the cross this all-inclusive man was crucified. This means all things were put to an end. This is the principle of the Cross. By this kind of death Christ brought man to the cross and thereby brought everything to an end. Not only was Christ crucified there, but so were man, the world, Satan and his kingdom, Sin, sins, the old man, etc. All things of the old creation were brought to an end by the cross of Christ. We must experience this all-inclusive death.

The following verses reveal the principle of the cross in putting all things of the old creation to an end:

1) The angelic life: Colossians 1:20;

2) The human life: Galatians 2:20;

3) Satan: Hebrews 2:14 and John 12:31;

4) The kingdom of Satan: Colossians 2:15 and John 12:31;

5) Sin: 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Romans 8:3;

6) Sins: 1 Peter 2:24 and Isaiah 53:6;

7) The world: Galatians 6:14 and John 12:31;

8) Death: Hebrews 2:14;

9) Flesh: Galatians 5:24;

10) The old man: Romans 6:6;

11) Self: Galatians 2:20;

12) All things, or creation: Colossians 1:20.

John 12:31 says that the world and the prince of this world, who is Satan, were to be judged and cast out. When did this happen? According to verse 24, it happened at the death of Christ on the cross. By His death, the world was judged and the prince of the world was cast out. Hebrews 2:14 declares that Christ took part in flesh and blood, that through death He might destroy, or annul, him that had the power of death, that is the devil. This verse reveals that Christ, by His death in flesh and blood, destroyed or annulled Satan, who had the power of death. Colossians 1:20 says He reconciled “all things” unto Himself. This proves that not only man was wrong with God, but all things were also wrong with God; otherwise, there would be no need for reconciliation. According to the context of this passage, all creation was dealt with by the cross.

We need to be deeply impressed with the kind of death that Christ died on the cross. That death was an all-inclusive death—this is why we must experience it. All that we have, all that we are, all that we do and all to which we are related have been brought to the cross. The cross is the end of all things related to us. Everything has been dealt with and already crucified on the cross. The cross is the only ground for all that we are and have. We have to put all things to the cross: our knowledge, our wisdom, our ability, etc. This is the principle of the cross. There is no other ground. We may think how “good” we are. The young people especially are always thinking how good they are: “We are young, we are good, we are not like the old folks....” No matter how good we are, we have to come to the cross. We have to be crucified and crossed out. The more good we are, the more we must be crossed out. Never be proud of being good. Regardless of whether we are good or evil, we all have to pass through the cross. We should not evaluate ourselves wrongly. There is but one evaluation; that is, we must put ourselves to death.

Nothing of the old creation is in the Church. The Church is the new man, the new creation. All things have passed away and everything has become new. This means that all things have been put to an end in death, and everything is new in resurrection. We have now seen the principle of the cross, and in the next chapter we will see the principle of the resurrection. We do trust that our minds will be open to see that all the things related to us, whether they be good or bad, must be utterly put to death. Then there will be the way for us to come into the resurrection and into the new creation.

[Continued Tomorrow]