|- George Hawtin -
THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH
The hour is at hand when the glory of the kingdom of God will cast its gladdening rays over the entire earth, for the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings will have arisen forevermore. "Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be shine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." Isa. 60:2022.
The hour is at hand when Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords will take His seat upon the throne of David His father in Jerusalem, the city of the great King. Matt. 5:34,35. Upon His right hand will be the one hundred forty and four thousand chosen sons of Israel, each with the seal of the living God in his forehead, and upon His left hand the one hundred forty and four thousand chosen sons of Zion, each bearing the name of God in his forehead. By those who minister at His right hand shall all the earth be covered with truth, and by those who minister from His left hand will all the earth be governed in righteousness, for "the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
The hour is at hand when the will of God shall be done in all the earth below as it is done in all the heaven above. For six thousand years the inhabitants of the earth have drunk deeply of the cup of bitterness, bondage and oppression of a realm governed by the will of man. Judgment, justice, truth and equity have been banished from the land while kings and conquerors, dictators and despots have sought to establish their human wills, rejoicing at the sighing of the needy and ignoring the groaning of those they oppressed. But the kingdom of God will not be governed by the craven will of self-centred men, who know nothing as they ought to know, but by the will of Him who created the universe for Himself, who knoweth all things and loveth all His creatures. Those who shall be counted worthy to share His kingdom must first depart forever from their own will to become one with Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.
That the will of God should be done in earth even as it is done in heaven was the prayer of Jesus Christ, the Lord. In heaven the will of God is always done. Those peaceful shores are never cursed by the carnal mind. No distorted vision blights their habitation. No selfish purposes disrupt the calm of that realm. There angels resplendent in wisdom and strength always behold the face of our Father in heaven. With sacred joy they bow their heads before Him to worship, or speed away as on wings of light to carry His edicts to the uttermost universe. In heaven the seraphim, covering their faces with their wings, cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!" The heavenly hosts forever hymn His praises. There the sun and the moon and all the stars of light praise Him. The heaven of heavens praise Him and the waters which be above the heavens, for His will is always done in that celestial realm. Psa. 48. But now let God be praised, for the hour is at hand when His will shall be done in earth even as it is done in heaven. A new sun is about to rise over all the earth. "Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him: Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name in the dance: Let them sing praises unto Him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written: This honour have all His saints." Psa. 149.
We must through great tribulation enter the kingdom of God, but, when that tribulation is past, all nations will walk in the light of the Lord. Therefore, "praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps: fire and hail, snow and vapours, stormy wind fulfilling His word: mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl: Kings of the earth and all people, princes and all judges of the earth: Both young men and maidens, old men and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven." Psa. 148:7-13. Thus in that day it shall be that all things in earth, whether fire or wind, snow or vapour, mountains, hills, trees and forests, beasts and cattle, creeping things and flying fowl, young men, maidens, old men and children, all will live in praise to the will of Him who created them. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.
If I were asked to name that which in all the universe is of greatest importance, I think I should have to name the will of God, for in the will of God all else that we might seek of Him lies eternally hidden. Apart from the will of God there can be no possession of the mind of Christ. Outside the will of God there can be no knowledge of the purpose of God All those who shall be accounted worthy to share the glory of Christ's kingdom in the age to come must first experience in this age the wonderful knowledge of God's will, for before the will of God shall be done in the earth where we are, it must first have been done in the earth which we are.
The following teaching concerning the will of God is to me a matter of special revelation. If you will ask God to enlighten your mind, you will find an entirely new conception of what the will of God really is. I think you will be able to see clearly that the will of God has nothing whatsoever to do with many of our former conceptions of it, such as, "Is it the Lord's will for me to do this or that," or "Is it the Lord's will for me to go here or there?" God is no longer interested in slavish servitude, but sonship. He is interested in the will of God as it springs spontaneously from the hearts of His sons. We are becoming what He is and what He is we are becoming. He who formerly called us servants later called us friends, because a servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth. Later still He called us brothers, (Matt. 12:49, 28:10), for brothers are sons of a common Father. They have the Spirit of sonship. They do the will of God as it springs spontaneously from what they are.
Many centuries ago Moses with head bowed, feet bare and heart trembling stood before the God of the burning bush. The zeal and fire of former years had ebbed from his spirit and he wanted nothing more than to be left alone with himself and his sheep. This, however, was not to be, for God was speaking to the old man, telling him of a work that was yet future and of a ministry of deliverance that was soon to begin. He must go back to visit his enslaved brethren in Egypt and bring them the blessing of the greatest emancipation ever known. He did not want to go, and we can scarcely blame him, but when finally he reluctantly consented to do the will of the Lord, he dubiously asked, "Who shall I say has sent me?" And God replied, "I Am that I Am. Tell the people that I Am hath sent you." It seemed a strange name and surely it was one that would bring misunderstanding to those who heard it, yet the magnificent truth wrapped up in those two words has never yet been fully told or understood. Centuries later when the Pharisees disputed with the Saviour about His authority and divine origin, He told them "Before Abraham was, I Am." Jno. 8:58.
No name known to the human tongue can describe the Saviour like this name. No sentence ever spoken by eloquent orator, no phrase ever written by sage or philosopher, no song ever sung by angel or seraphim can describe in such all inclusive excellence the almighty magnitude of what He really is. I Am, I Am, I Am. That is His name above all names and includes in itself all that He is and shall be forever.
"Lord, we know not whither Thou goest and how can we know the way," complained Thomas. "I am the way," Jesus replied, "I am the truth, I am the life."
"I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day," sobbed Martha sadly. "I am the resurrection," Jesus answered, "and I am the life."
"I am the vine. I am the door. I am the good shepherd. I am the light. I am the Alpha. I am Omega. I am the first. I am the last. I am the beginning. I am the end. I am thy redeemer. I am thy strength. I am He that liveth. I am He that was dead. I am He that shutteth and no man openeth and openeth and no man shutteth. I am the root and the offspring of David. I am the bright and morning star." There is no end to what He is, for He is everything. He is the Christ. He is the Lord. He is the redemption of the entire universe.
Jesus Christ is the will of God. He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him who sent Him. The works that He did and the words that He spake were never His: they were given to Him by the Father. All His wonderful acts were the acts of God. "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works." All His mighty statements were the words of His Father. He Himself was "the Word of God." The blessed Christ was not merely a preacher of the Word of God; He was and is the Word of God. The same thing is true of His works. He did not merely perform the works of God, but He is the work of God.
Through suffering and obedience He had come to be the will of God. Nothing He ever did throughout His life was contrary to that divine will. "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" He asked. "Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done." "In all things" He pleased the Father, and in consequence the Father was well pleased in Him.
It will not be necessary for me to take time here to show that Christ was the first Son in a vast family of sons who were yet to follow. He is the firstborn, the eldest of many brethren, even as it is said, "Behold, I and the children which God has given Me." Heb. 2:13. This vast company of children is through suffering and tribulation entering into sonship. They are coming into His glorious image. What He is they are becoming. "The glory which Thou gayest Me I have given them," He said. "As the Father has life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." Likewise also the Son has given that glory to us that we too may have life in ourselves through Him. I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly." Let us think of any ineffable glory contained in the name "I Am" and wonder of wonders He has given that glory to the Son, and the Son in turn has passed it on to that vast family of brothers who are coming into His glorious image. "The glory which thou gayest Me I have given them," He declared; and it is absolutely true. Christ was the visible manifestation of the complete will of God and in Him we are becoming not merely reluctant doers of the will of God, but we are actually becoming the will of God. "Of His own will begat He us that we should be a kind of first fruit of His creatures."
There has always been a conflict between the mind of God and the mind of man. The struggle between the will of God and the will of man never ceases. In all things Christ pleased the Father. It is impossible to please the Father and to please yourself at the same time. Even Christ pleased not Himself Not my will but Thine be done will be the theme of your life. It will be your meat and drink and the breath you breathe. "My meat," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and finish His work." You cannot serve God and Mammon, for if you obey the will of one, you will hate the will of the other, because God's will and man's will are the antithesis of each other. Paul declared, "If I yet please men I should not be the servant of Jesus Christ." There is no concord between Christ and Belial, and there is no communion between the will of God and the will of man. To love the one is to hate the other and to serve the one is to despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.
The very moment Jesus Christ proclaimed, "Lo, I come to do Thy will, oh God!" the heavenly Father openly declared that He would take away the first (which is the will of man) and establish the second (which is the will of God). The sacrifices and offerings dragged from man's unwilling and rebellious heart could never be the foundation and order of the kingdom of God but when the sons of God come, saying in truth, "I delight to do Thy will, oh my God," then nothing can delay the coming of His glorious reign. His kingdom will have come because His will shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven. The moment anyone delights in God's will, all sacrifice and offering is done away, for how could anything ever be a sacrifice to one who delights in God's will?
There is a path that leads to the will of God. You will never find it by struggling or striving. You will only find it in the great I Am. One day Jesus told His disciples, "Whither I go, ye know, and the way ye know." Thomas replied doubtfully, "Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way?" What those poor troubled disciples did not know was that Christ was both the way and the destination at the end of the way. It is into Him that we are going, for He dwells in the Father and the Father dwells in Him. Christ is truth. He cannot be anything but truth, because God is truth and He dwells in God. He cannot be anything else but life, for God is life and He dwells in God. Therefore, because we are in the way of truth that leads to life, we become both the truth and the life, for He that dwelleth in Christ, dwelleth in God. When we lay down our will and pick up His, we are becoming the will of God, for Christ is the will of God and we know that He is the way and He is the end of the way.
As Noah in the long ago approached the great tribulation when the whole earth was to be destroyed by water, God called him aside and said, "The end of all flesh is come before me." God is speaking again in these last days, saying, "The end of all flesh is come before me." There is going to be a fantastic and unbelievable change from the will of man to the will of God. I have no hesitation in saying that the last particle of church tradition is about to vanish away, and everything will become completely new. Unknown to us there are still things about us that retain the nasty odor of the old disorder, but these also will have to go that nothing outside the will of the Lord may remain. God is going to make a complete riddance of the flesh during the coming wrath and judgment of the tribulation. The kingdom of God cometh on apace. Then His will shall be done in earth as it is done in Heaven.
We must settle it in our hearts that we are not going to try to please man and we are not going to try to please ourselves. In all the life of Christ His testimony remained true. He pleased not Himself. Oh, how we do love to please ourselves. We love to exact our labours. We like to find excuses to pick up what we once laid down and rebuild the things we once destroyed. We love to pad our shoulders so that the cross will be easy to carry, or else we lay it down altogether. The cup which we have been given to drink we flavor to our taste to make it more pleasing and less bitter. We exact our labours and change our days of fasting and prayer for comfort and ease. In consequence our spiritual eyes grow dim and we lose sight of the celestial hills afar.
Paul spent a long lifetime in pleasing God. From the time it pleased God to reveal His Son in him until the end of his earthly pilgrimage, he never tried to please men. Many bitter and different experiences had taught him the truth, "If I yet please men, I am not the servant of Jesus Christ." There is only one person in the universe that you can please and that is God Himself. Though you may spend a whole lifetime trying to please men, you will find in the end you have not succeeded. The first thing you do to displease them will be thought sufficient to cancel out all the good things you have done, and they will turn against you and cry for your blood. Paul found it that way. One day he could scarcely restrain the multitude from offering sacrifice to him, but the next day they were stoning him.
As we come closer and closer to the end of this present age, we hear more and more about the manifestation of the sons of Cod. Whenever one thinks of the manifestation of the sons of God, his mind begins immediately to dream in terms of ecstasies and glories indescribable. Is it not wholly true that we begin to think of all the marvelous things we will do, of the signs and wonders that will be performed, the miracles done on sick bodies, the raising of the dead, the control of the elements, and the bowing of all men to God? I am quite sure that these in part are the general thoughts of each of us whenever we meditate upon this subject. Have we not longed to break through the barrier that binds us to this present age of impotence so that nothing will any more be impossible to us?
The sons of God are not manifest by what they do, but by what they are. Sonship is not doing, but being. It is quite possible for one to be a son of God without having any record of works at all. On the other hand it is possible for one to have a long and impressive list of good works and not be a son of God at all. There is a record given in Scripture that has been disconcerting to many people. It tells of certain remarkable people, possessing a magnificent array of good works, who were not permitted into the kingdom of the Lord. They were very, very surprised and disappointed, and with a show of injured pride over the evident mistake God had made, they began to number their mighty works to prove that there certainly was an error somewhere. "Lord", they said, " We have prophesied in Thy name, we have done many wonderful works." See Matt. 7:21-23. These people are not Iying; they are telling the truth. They had done all these wonderful things. For years they had been patting themselves on the back in pride. People had looked at them with admiration. They had decided that their works were evident tokens of their acceptability with God. They were appalled when they were told by none other than God Himself, "I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work in iniquity." I have heard many explanations of this story which purport to prove that the miracles were false and the people who performed them were everything that is bad, but that is not the answer. The truth is that sonship is not what you do. Sonship is what you are.
Now let me explain what I mean. In the days of Israel's sojourn in the wilderness, many, many offerings were made to God and many things were done to gain the favor of the Lord. I do not mean that they were wrong in so doing, but I do mean it was no evidence of sonship. They offered the blood of bulls and of goats. Their offerings were continual. Every priest stood every day offering sin-offerings, burnt-offerings, trespass offerings, offerings for individual sin and offerings for the sin of the nation. But none of these things made the offerer perfect. Heb. 10:1. In other words, it did not produce sonship.
Then He says, "In burnt offering and sacrifice for sin, thou hast no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come to do Thy will. O God. . . ." He taketh away the first, namely, all the things they were doing, doing, doing, doing. God had no pleasure in them at all. Neither has He any pleasure in the things that we do for Him. But now one has come to do Thy will, O God; so He takes away the first that He may establish the second. The first means the multitude of works which we do for God. The second is a very different thing: doing God's will. The first He takes away. The second He establishes. Please read Heb. 10:1-10.
Just so long as we are busying ourselves rushing here and there making a big show of the things we are accomplishing for God, the old order will continue to persist, but when we begin to take sincerely the attitude that "if God does not want the thing neither do I," then we are approaching sonship. Why should I insist on raising up a big work in some corner of the earth if God does not want it? If He is not going to deal with the Jews or the Gentiles just now, why should I try to do it? Oh, the useless labour and hardship that men have endured because they were bound to accomplish something in which God had no interest.
We are like the legendary wise men of Gotham who, wanting the sun to rise earlier than usual, rolled great stones to the east to make the earth turn faster. Do you think they speeded up the sunrise? I don't think so. It was labour in vain. It is like the men who built a wall around the garden to keep the lark in, and like the man who took the door off his house so the thieves could not break it down. We would call such people morons, but I trow they are no more morons than those who think that the works they do are proof of their sonship.
There is only one attitude of heart that is pleasing to God; "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God." This has nothing to do with the worn out phrase, "the Lord led me" or "it is the Lord's will," for there are many who follow the desires and ambitions that spring from their own hearts. They lead themselves to believe that these personal desires are actually the will of the Lord for them. Usually this has nothing whatever to do with the true leading of the Spirit of God. As long as there is any personal ambition, we cannot lay claim to being led by the Spirit of God. God knows whether you are being led by His Spirit or by your own fancy and personal desire. It is those who are led by the Spirit of God who are truly the sons of God.
Please notice now that just as soon as one came "to do Thy will, O God," it is said, "He taketh away the first." A dispensation ends right there and then. Truly doing the will of God springs directly from being the will of God. You can never truly do God's will until you have become God's will. As soon as this happens, you find all the old things are done away. Your ambitions go and His ambition becomes yours. Your ministry begins to change. Instead of worrying about your ministry as you did in the past, you now find that doing the will of God is your ministry. Nothing else. Absolutely nothing else. It is not how abundantly you preach, prophesy, heal the sick or give to the poor. It is how you accomplish the will of God.
All the old ambitions fade out of your life to make way for God's will. You no longer have a will of your own. God's will is your will, God's plan, your plan, God's purpose, your purpose. You kneel long in prayer before Him, but you have no requests to make. Your whole being proclaims, Amen! Amen! Thy will be done! And from the thousand corridors of your spirit echoes the joyful sound: Amen; Thy will be done! Thy will be done! Old things pass away all around you. They must pass away to make room for the new things. Everything changes. Everything becomes new. Your planning, scheming, organizing, advertising until you are in a state of exhaustion is gone and in its place comes the rest wherewith He causes the weary to rest, and oh how sweet is the refreshing! When the body of Christ, like Christ the Head, has no more pleasure in the multitude of works but has come "to do Thy will, O God," then He taketh away the first order to establish the new order, even the order of the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the ages.
If you were to ask me where you might find the will of God and in what place does it dwell, I should have to answer, "The will of God dwells in that place where your will does not dwell, and there and there alone will you find it." If for a moment we could stand in that place where no creature dwells, then without a moment's delay we could hear God speak. There are so many voices in the world, all clamouring to be heard. There are so many voices within, all shouting for our attention. Only when we have passed beyond the will of man and the will of the flesh can we become acquainted with the will of God. God is not far away from us, but He can never speak to us because our will never ceases to instruct us and our minds never cease to think of ways and means to gather more things about us. But could we but for an hour cease from our own thoughts and cease from our own will, then eternal hearing, speaking and thinking would begin within us and we would understand and know the will and the mind of God.
If you do not believe this to be the truth, then come before God for an hour and see how your own thoughts drag your soul away from God and your own self-centered will comes into conflict with that of the Eternal. Your own will completely obliterates the will of God within you, and the sound of your own voice speaking its demands within you hushes His voice so it never can be heard by you.
The voice of God is seldom heard in the rush and bustle of life. He seldom thunders His edicts from Heaven, but waits with great patience until all sounds of earth have died away and then speaks with a voice both small and still. Not while we are slaying our Egyptian and burying him in the sand does God speak, but in the back side of some desert where earthly wills have drifted with the barren sands of time, where youthful ambitions have faded, and where the glittering sun of human purpose has cast its last flickering ray upon all earthly resolve. Not while we are riding in triumph to bind the saints does God disclose His secrets to our hearts, but in desolate Arabia, alone and apart from persistent quibblings of scribe and Sanhedrin, He lifts us into the third heaven to hear unspeakable things that concern His will. Let the wicked banish the faithful to some rocky Patmos of the sea, yet there beyond the reach of earthly voices where angels hymn their anthems will one appear like the Son of man, having eyes like lamps of fire and a voice as the sound of many waters. God is not far from any of us, but His will is found in that realm where our will does not come, and His voice is heard only where creature voices are hushed and silent.
If you can come to the place where your will is silent, where even the inner voice of your mind and soul is stilled, there you will be enfolded by His will and become a part of His mind eternally. God existed before any creature, and before the creature there was silence. Only the voice of God was heard; only the will of God was done. When you come to the place where no voice is speaking within you and no will is asserting its demands, then you have come back to the condition that existed before God made a creature. It is God's will that I should exist, not in self will, but in His will.
When Adam and his wife rejoiced in the effulgent wonders of the heaven blest land of Eden, they knew nothing but the will of God. Every perfumed path they trod was in God's will and all their exalted thoughts were from the mind of Christ. The thought of living apart from Him never once saddened their pure hearts, but they dwelt in Him who possessed heaven and earth and, dwelling in Him, they possessed all things. No gloomy shadows ever darkened their bright minds, for in Him there is no darkness at all. Neither doubt nor fear tormented them, for in Him there is no sorrow nor doubt nor any torment of fear. Want or hunger distressed them not, for they dwelt in Him for whom and by whom all things exist, and there where the perfumed breeze swept through the trees, they basked in His ineffable love and rejoiced in inexpressible joys.
It was a sad day, indeed, for man when the enemy of all righteousness suggested to him that it would be possible for him to have something apart from God. "God knows," he told them, "that in the day you eat of the tree you will be like God, knowing good and evil." For the first time a dismal shadow crossed their pure minds, making them think they could have something by themselves, apart from God-something, they were told, that would increase their wisdom and make them even more like God than they already were. In hope of being more like God our innocent mother stretched out her trusting hand to take the fruit, giving it to her husband as well. In truth their eyes
were opened wide and they knew good and evil. They knew good, but it had fled back to God from whence it came. They knew evil, but it pursued them and from it they were powerless to flee. How wretched it is to possess things apart from God Things! Things! Things! Man is always wanting to possess things He spends his life collecting things and possessing them apart from God and because they are apart from God he has nothing in the end. He is able to collect only temporal things and all temporal things soon pass away. Therefore, should we possess the whole world or the whole universe apart from God, it would cease to be ours. Like mists before the rising sun, it would soon vanish away and our lives would fade as a leaf and be no more.
Poor benighted man goes on in his blindness trying to set up his own frail kingdom which, if a fox should run over it, would be destroyed, or if the wind passes over it, is gone. How often it has been my lot to stand by a tomb listening to the plaintive sobs of broken hearts, while I intoned the words, "Like as a Father pitieth His children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him, for He knoweth our frame. He remembereth that we are dust. As for man, he is of few days and full of trouble. As the flower of the field he flourisheth, but the wind passeth over it and it is gone and the place thereof shall know it no more, but the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting to them that fear Him and His righteousness unto children's children." A lifetime of labor is laid in the ravening dust and all the earthly things once possessed have fled away. Yet we walk away from the tomb and the lesson it taught us to go on as usual collecting the things of our own little kingdom about us.
I believe you will agree to what we now propose. Since the fall of man from the Paradise of God there has been a wicked carnal mind that has filled him with an insatiable desire to possess things apart from God. Perhaps man imbibed some of that Satanic mind which once said, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the congregation in the sides of the north; I will ascend into the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." (Isa.
We do not realize it, I think, but frail man not only wants to gather things about himself, but he wants to be the centre of his own little universe. The more he possesses the greater his universe seems to be and the greater his feeling of confidence and assurance. He never discovers that he has enough for this life, but, because he finds that what he has does not bring him the satisfaction he thought it would, he seeks to add more and more to it, hoping that the extra he adds will bring him contentment and rest from fear. Why do men who possess millions in earthly possessions go on adding more and more to them? There must be a reason. Think it through. Things possessed apart from God cannot ever satisfy.
Man is not satisfied by possessing earthly things. He secretly wants to possess the things of God as well and that for himself apart from God. There is no wisdom in the universe apart from the wisdom of God. In Him dwell all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Yet in the garden of Eden man conceived the idea of possessing the wisdom of God apart from God. Can you imagine that? Man possessing wisdom apart from God? Yet this is what he wanted. The Lord says, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." What are we trying to do with righteousness? Is there any righteousness apart from God? Yet here is man having a righteousness of his own, trying to possess it himself apart from God even though it is filthy rags. Why did Nadab and Abihu wickedly offer strange fire before the Lord? Did they not want to possess for themselves what only God possessed? Why did Simon, the sorcerer, offer money for the gift that Peter had? He cared nothing for God, but in the gall of his bitterness and the bond of his rebellion he wanted to possess for himself something that belonged only to God and can not be had apart from Him.
Let me ask one question further. Do you not think that this strange desire exists today? What about spiritual gifts? Do men desire them to bring all glory to God, or do they covet them as a means of self-promotion and self-exaltation? How is it that so many men who seem to have gifts from God soon become the centre of a little universe of their own where all roads lead to them and all fingers point in their direction? Let us face it. Men not only want to gather temporal things about themselves, but they also crave to have eternal things for themselves and to possess them in themselves and by themselves apart from God. The carnal mind is an eternal enemy of God. It refuses to become subject to the law of God, and indeed it is powerless to do so. But it secretly desires the things of God, wisdom, righteousness and power, so that it may be as God.
Were it possible for you to possess everything in the world and in heaven apart from God, you would have exactly nothing but if you have nothing, yet dwell in God, you possess all things. Thus it is clearly made manifest what Paul meant when he said "As having nothing, yet possessing all things." It does not seem right to me that the wood should possess the fire but that the fire should possess the wood, for the fire cannot become one with the wood, but the wood can become one with the fire. Neither yet is it possible for the ship to possess the ocean, for then it would sink; but the ocean may possess all the ships of the world without one being in sight of the other. For me to possess God or even any of the things of God will destroy me, but if God possesses me, then I possess all things because all things are His.
Is this truth not the one that was in Paul's mind when he declared, "Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, and ye are Christ's and Christ is God's." I Cor. 3:21,22. All things are yours because you are the possession of God. It is like a beggar maiden who married a millionaire. She could have roamed the dreary paths of life, receiving an occasional pittance of his charity and have nothing. But at the time she gives herself to him to become his bride he declares for the world to hear, "With all my worldly goods I thee endow."
How I wish I could explain with transcendent light the great difference between our possessing things and our being possessed of God. This, my friend, is the problem we are facing now. In the past we have wanted to possess things and have found ourselves desolate and empty, but if we give ourselves to Him, all things will be ours, because all things are His. He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again. II Cor. 5:15.
When Paul was expressing thanks for the gift given him by the Corinthians, II Cor. 8:1-5, the thing that rejoiced his heart most was that they first gave their own selves to the Lord. If we give abundant gifts to God yet withhold ourselves, we have given nothing. Everything is His anyway. It was His before you were here and it will be His after you have gone away. "Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool. What house will you build Me," said the Lord. The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, how much less a house we build Him. The early church had the truth straight when they took the attitude that "none of the things they possessed was their own."
The earth will never possess the kingdom of God as long as eternity shall endure. It must be the other way about. The kingdom of God must possess the earth. Though the kingdom of God is within me, yet I cannot possess it. It must possess me or it will never be seen or known. If I possess Christ, I will be as barren in the future as I have been in the past, but if Christ possesses me, then I will be hid with Christ in God and God alone will fill the earth with His resplendent glory.
As we consider the following thoughts, may God almighty grant that His Spirit may instruct us in the way of truth and understanding. Let us fervently pray that God will reveal the eternal truth of this subject to our hearts.
The spirit's yearning for the will of Cod is without doubt the true spirit of sonship. Mark well the all-embracing testimony of Jesus Christ to this fact as stated in John 5:30-37. "I can of Mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of Me; and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true. Ye sent unto John and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man; but these things I say that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in His light. But I have greater witness than that of John for the works which My Father hath given Me to fi nish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me that the Father hath sent Me and the Father Himself which hath sent Me hath borne witness.
I challenge you to survey the whole world today and you will scarcely find a man alive either in the church or outside the church who can truthfully testify in the words spoken above. I greatly fear that the testimony in the early church and the testimony of all men today can be truthfully given in the ,sorrowful words of Paul, "All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." Phil. 2:21. You would not have to pay a dime a dozen for men who constantly use such worn phrases as "we want God" "we want God's will" or "I'm seeking the will of the Lord about the matter," or "I think it's the Lord's will that we do his or that." But you will have to search the world over for a handful of men and women who have enough of the spirit of sonship to withdraw from every human effort and wait until God instructs them though they should wait a lifetime. It is to this truth that Jesus was testifying when He said, "I can of Myself do nothing," "I seek not Mine own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true," I do always those things that please the Father," and many other such wonderful statements of consecration.
At times certain words of scripture strike you like a thunderbolt They impress you deeply and work a transformation m your life. Did you ever notice the words of Elijah as he stood alone before the prophets of Baal and before Israel and reel's king? "Let it be known this day that Thou art God in reel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word." I Kings 18:36. We have often heard sermons the faith of Elijah. Certainly he was a man of faith, but his faith did not stand in his ability to believe that God would do what he demanded. Rather it stood in the fact that, long before asked, God had commanded him and told him what to do. Calling down fire on the altar and the destruction of the prophets of Baal was not a grandiose scheme concocted in Elijah's head. The thing that he did was successful only because he was walking in sonship and listening to the voice of God. For three years he sat in the widow's house seemingly wasting valuable time apparently doing nothing. Why should such a valuable man withdraw himself from a society that needed his ministry so badly? But Elijah had reamed that first principal of sonship, "I can do nothing of myself" If we are going to be guided by "what the public needs, what the church system demands, what the people want, what we feel we should do" or any such thing, then we are going to be wrong. We will be found to be opportunists guided by the opportunities of the hour rather than by the will of the Lord.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, the opening request was this: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done . . ." These two requests are forever bound up in the hearts of each other. The kingdom of God can never, never come until the will of God is done in and on earth as it is done in heaven. Furthermore, the moment the will of God is done in the earth, the kingdom of God will be here. For six thousand years the earth has been governed by the will of man. We have been governed variously by kings, emperors, dictators, presidents, democracy and communism, but the net result has always been the same, for the will of man always asserts itself, seeking its own purposes, fulfilling its own desires and doing its own will.
Can anyone possibly imagine what would happen to a nation if all the members of its government were completely selfless instead of completely selfish, if they were sons of God who could of themselves do nothing, instead of handshaking, baby-kissing politicians seeking to curry the favor of men for personal advantage, or if judges judged by the Spirit of God instead of the tricky letter of the law? Jesus said, "As I hear I judge, and My judgment is righteous because I seek not My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." To contemplate such things in this age brings but a sad smile to our faces. We know that in this age of the will of man such things cannot be, for, whether it be in the world, in Israel, or in the professing church, the testimony is always the same: "All seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's." The end is always the same. Soon men seek to draw away disciples for their advantage. They compass land and sea to make a proselyte. Man's will displaces God's will. So Israel goes to Babylon, the church goes to Babylon, and the world itself becomes such a Babylon of confusion that nothing can save it. The kingdoms of this world must become the kingdoms of the Lord and of His wonderful Christ.
The first principal of sonship then is found in these words: "I seek not Mine own will but the will of Him that sent Me." The great daring programs of the church systems far too often have their roots, not in the will of God, but in self interest Like whited sepulchres they look good and commendable on the outside, but within they are full of corruption and dead men's bones. Men have gone a-whoring after physical healing in our day, not because they have any particular love for the sick or compassion for the suffering, but because the whole world has become so bodily, physically, and fleshly minded that they are led to believe that to attain physical healing is a thing of enormous importance. Because of the popularity of this idea, many men in our age have made a vast financial gain, but there has been very little sign of genuine repentance, revival, or fuming to God. All too often, if the wealth were not there, you would hear no more of their professed ministry.
In the midst of all this confusion of self-seeking the Spirit of God is calling out a people for His name. He is stripping them of self-interest, draining them of self-will, plucking from their broken hearts all personal ambition, causing them to abhor all self-seeking. From within out of their inner most being as sweet perfume wafted on the winds of God comes the constant sighing of the spirit of sonship, "Thy will be done! Thy will be done!" "And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up to God out of the angel's hand." Rev. 8:4.
The world is yet to be governed by a noble race of sons of God, every one in the image of Christ, every one a brother of Jesus, every one a son who "can do nothing of himself." Adam, the son of God, reigning supreme in his glorious kingdom in Eden, was but a type of the sons of God who will reign in the whole earth at last in the blessed kingdom of the Father. The whole earth, as Eden was, shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Oh, if I by the Spirit of God could but impress upon your holy minds the unspeakable need of entering now into the complete will of God where all earthly, fleshly wills are dead and buried beneath the dust of your crucified selves that you might stand selfless before the throne of His eternal glory! All who hope for sonship and the glory of reigning with Him must first see self crucified with Christ. In the effulgent glory of the heavenly kingdom all men shall walk in the light and counsel of the Lord. The prayer of Christ shall be answered. His will shall be done in earth even as it is done in heaven. Amen!
Writings in This Series: