There is no disappointment as we contemplate the Lord Jesus. If you are sometimes disappointed, it is because you are looking at yourself, and reasoning from yourself to God upward, searching into your own heart to find some good reason why He should bless you, and troubled because you cannot find it; instead of gazing upon the Lord Jesus, and saying, “He is all that God would have Him to be, all that I would have Him to be, and God accepts me in Him” (Eph 1:6).
I look at the Lord Jesus at the Father’s right hand, and I say, “Satisfied.” If I expect from self, that is from what I am in the flesh, I must say, “Disappointed”; for God has declared that there is “no good thing” there (Rom 7:18). The believer ought to be able to look at the “old man” in himself without either being in bondage about its badness, or exercising the least effort to make it one bit better than he finds it to be. He detests it and distrusts it. He knows that the Father does not expect him to take up and improve what, at the Cross, He Himself has utterly condemned and laid aside forever. He knows that he now stands before the Father in the life of Another, and that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
It is not merely that the Father will not condemn us, though surely that is true, but there is no such thing as condemnation for us. When the red heifer was slain for a sin-offering her blood was sprinkled seven times before the tabernacle—the place where Jehovah dwelt—while the whole of her carcass was consumed to ashes outside the camp. Now in the blood we see the answer for what we have done—our sins; and in the burning of the victim we see the entire end, in judgment, of that with which the victim was identified—the “body of sin.” There was nothing more for the fire to do, that is, when it had consumed the victim to ashes. It then had done its all. You cannot burn ashes. They testify that the fire has found its end.
Now, the blessed Lamb of God not only identified Himself with the guilty things we had done, not only did He “bear our sins in His own body on the tree,” but He was “made to be sin” for us; and that which happened to Him under the consuming judgment of God happened for us on God’s account. In His blessed Person, God “condemned” that which never existed in Him personally—“sin in the flesh.” Could that fierce judgment ever have ought to say to Him again? Never! He endured it fully; He exhausted it perfectly; and then rose above it triumphantly. Is there any condemnation to Him? Impossible! “He died unto sin once”; raised from the dead He dieth no more (Rom 6:9). There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those that are in Him.
If in Him, in whom we now live before the Father, judgment has already been executed, there could not possibly exist any condemnation for us. Nay, what is there left to condemn? The sprinkled blood (referring to the type) testifies that sins have been atoned for; the ashes, that the judgment which once rested upon the sinner has already been put into execution. What, then, is there left to condemn? If all that a holy God could condemn has been condemned; if the believer is now alive in Him who exhausted the condemnation, there is, there can be, no condemnation to him. He is forever beyond his doom by the death and resurrection of Another.
Take another beautiful OT figure. Before Noah left the ark, as you are aware, the dove was sent forth. The patriarch was like thousands of believers in the present day—sheltered, but shut up. He well knew that the ark had stood between him and the flood, and that it had not allowed a single drop to reach him. He knew he was secure enough, but still he was not in full liberty—He was safe, but shut up.
At last the dove returned a second time with the olive leaf in her mouth. This made it manifest that the outpouring of judgment from the windows of heaven had ceased. The waters were assuaged. The judgment was over. That which was once buried beneath the waters of death was now appearing in living energy above them. But God gave Noah yet another token. He put His bow in the cloud. This was to be a constantly recurring witness for coming centuries, that He would never again destroy the world by a flood. Thus, if the dove witnessed that the judgment was past, the rainbow witnessed that there was no more to come.
Once more. When Noah came out of the ark he built an altar, and offered burnt-offerings upon it, we read, “The Lord smelled a sweet savor” (Gen 8:21). Now, the burnt-offering was in connection with the acceptance of the offerer. The offerer laid his hands upon the head of the offering, and was accepted according to all the sweet savor of that offering before God. This we learn from Leviticus 1:4: “It shall be accepted for him.” Henceforth it was no question what the offerer was, but of the offering. Therefore we read, “If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord…. It shall be accepted for him.”
To apply these figures, the Holy Spirit has come from heaven to bear witness to us who believe, that not only is our judgment past, but that there is no more to come. Thank God this witness is as true as it is blessed; for if, for us, Christ’s death exhausted the judgment due to sin, our judgment must necessarily be past; and if we are now alive unto God in Him who rose above it, there is certainly no more judgment to come. More than this, we stand in a place of unclouded favor before our Father in His Son. “As He is so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
- George Cutting
IMITATING IS IMITATION –MJS