Only as in a mirror dimly do we see the high calling to which
we are called in Christ Jesus, and the purpose of God when
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that
we might be holy and without blemish before Him in Christ.
Many of the Lord's people are still lingering at the first
principles of Christ and have scarcely progressed beyond the
satisfaction of having come into the possession of eternal
life. These have not bestirred themselves to find the purpose
that God had in His wonderful plan of Redemption, which was
established in the eternal ages before the world was made.
Paul exhorts us "To walk worthy of the vocation wherewith
we are called" Eph4:1b. But only as we prayerfully seek
to know what this high calling is, can we walk worthily of
it. Only through the Word, with our hearts open to the illumination
of the Holy Spirit, can we reach any real conception of the
height, depth, length, and breadth of the eternal purpose
of God, which He purposed for us in Christ unto His own glory.
As we draw closer to the Lord, go deeper into His Word, and
begin to comprehend the thoughts which He had to usward, we
will exclaim with the inspired Apostle, "O the depth
of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How
unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding
out!" Rom 11:33. And in adoration our hearts will cry,
"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son
of man, that thou visitest him?" Psalm 8:4
All of the Lords dealings with His ancient people, all of
the ways in which He communicated to them His will and plans
were crude as compared to His revelation of Himself through
His only begotten Son. "God, who at sundry times and
in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
prophets, 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" Hebrews 1:1-2.
Through many instruments and in many ways, God spoke in those
days. He did not speak clearly, it was as in a mirror darkly;
nor did He speak in only one way and fully, but in different
ways and in part. Here a thought, there a prophecy; and a
further revelation through another prophet. And those, through
whom He spoke, did not understand with fullness that which
God was saying through them; for they sought and searched
diligently concerning this Salvation, that they might know
the meaning of the Spirit of Christ who testified beforehand
of His sufferings (I Peter 1:10-11).
The light which God gave them concerning His eternal plans
for Christ and His Body, was as the dimmest twilight, compared
with the light which has been revealed to His Saints. For
the Mystery of Christ and of the Gospel was hid in God through
all ages and generations. "Which in other ages was not
made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto
His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" Eph 3:5.
However precious were His revelations and workings among His
ancient people, they were as shadows to sunlight, compared
with the revelation of the Mystery of the Gospel, and the
light and privileges of the Dispensation of Grace. Though
we read and re-read the Word, we scarcely touch "the
fringe of His ways." Only dimly do we see a faint outline
of His plan. The vision of His eternal purpose towards us
in Christ Jesus has hardly commenced to break in upon our
The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, reminds us that
we are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens
with the saints, and of the household of God. The word "household"
not only means the members of God's family, but is from a
word which has the deeper significance of house, or temple.
"And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and
Prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Chief Corner Stone"
Eph 2:20. We are not only foreordained unto adoption as sons
through Jesus Christ unto Himself from the foundation of the
world; but we are the very stones of the building, the stones
which are growing up into a temple of God! We are the living
stones! "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual
house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" I Peter 2:5.
God has built "the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets,"
and made Jesus Christ Himself the Chief Corner Stone. And
now the glorious, stately building, not made with hands, is
going up! Every stone is being cut out and chiseled by God's
own hand. He is shaping it and will fit it into the place
which He purposed for it, before the foundation of the world.
Each stone and pillar, each individual part, however great
or small, however seen or unseen, however prominent before
the eyes of man, or hidden away, will be cut out and chiseled
by the hand of the great Builder; though unseen by human eye,
unheard by human ear, not understood by human heart, save
in a small measure realized by the soul upon which He is working.
Every part must be shaped and polished by the divine Potter.
All that is unsymmetrical must be brought into perfect outline;
all the sharp angles must be cut away, and every living stone
must be polished until it shall shine forth in glistening
light and glory, and shall reflect a sin a mirror the glory
of the Lord.
But God's great and final purpose is far more than the revelation
of what He can do with poor earth-born, sinful humanity. His
supreme purpose is, that in Christ the whole building fitly
framed and joined together, should grow into a holy temple
in the Lord; and that in Him we also should be builded together
for a Habitation of God in the Spirit. A dwelling place for
God! Oh wondrous love that brought to birth this great plan
of Salvation! How great is the destiny to which we are called,
even to be a habitation for the Almighty God! A dwelling place
for Him, "Thou art clothed with honour and majesty; who
coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest
out the heavens like a curtain: who layeth the beams of His
chambers in the waters; who maketh he clouds His chariot;
who walketh upon the wings of the wind: who laid the foundations
of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever"
Psalm104:1b-3,5. A habitation for Him "whose Glory endureth
He has revealed Himself through the Incarnate Word, even
our precious Lord, even the Chief Corner Stone, and through
Him alone. He is the first fruit of all the workings of God
in carrying out His plan of Salvation. He is the channel through
which God is working out His eternal purposes. But now He
is building into Christ and upon Him, the stones, the living
stones of a structure, through which the glorious revelation
and manifestation of God to the universe may go forth from
glory to glory, from manifestation to manifestation, throughout
never-ending ages. All of these living stones are held together
by Christ, through whom all things consist. He is bringing
many sons to glory, and they are the stones which are being
fitted for this supreme destiny, to be to the glory of God.
Not only will the structure be perfected and glorious, but
every stone, every pillar, ever part, however small, will
receive the same careful, loving process of molding, polishing,
shaping. Not one of His jewels will He leave dull or unsightly;
not one will get His best, who has not gone through every
preparation which is needed to make them to His glory. We
are in the quarry now, in the place of preparation by the
hand of God. There is dust and lack of symmetry; there is
lack of grace and polishing; there is an incompleteness of
form and fiber, and many of us are so large, that much must
be cut away before God can fit us into the place He has chosen
for us. There is a lack of unity and fitting together, and
we appear to be lying apart and alone.
But God's hand will remove all that He has not planted, and
which cannot be to His glory. Every part which resembles solid
stone, but is in reality only hardened dust, He will cut away;
every stone, which is enlarged by an outer coating of dried
clay, will be hammered until only the real stone shall remain.
Though we may fear sometimes, that all will go under the "Divine
Hammer" and nothing remain, when He is through, He will
get glory to His Name through that which remains, however
small it may be. Those that are real stones, but do not appear
so attractive to the human eye, those that look rough and
like clay rather than like stone, will shine forth as real
stones as He polishes them, and they will be manifested as
they reflect His own image.
He will burn out all the dross, He will shake out all that
can be shaken, He will blow away all the chaff. He will polish
each several part, until He sees" that it is good."
Not only are we destined to be His habitation in eternity,
but each stone is a "lively stone," filled and indwelt
by God here in this mortal body. This is the high calling
with which we are called, to have the presence of God dwelling
in us; and this is, as it were, an earnest of that great fulfillment
of the will of God to usward, which will shine out before
the universe throughout Eternity. ONLY AS WE ARE FILLED WITH
HIM NOW, can He inwardly work and put us into the building.
And it is through this individual indwelling and possession
by God, that it is possible for Him to build that habitation
for Himself out of living souls.
He is working out His will upon every part of this wonderful,
eternal building, and when each part has been prepared, they
will all come together, they will fit together; and into that
building will He set every stone in the place He has purposed
for it. Each part and pillar, each stone and particle filled
to the uttermost with God; and thus the whole building indwelt
by Him. No place of joining will ever appear between one stone
and another, when His work is one. No place of joining will
appear between each stone and the glorious Corner Stone, for
in Him shall we "grow together!" In Him and to one
another shall we be cemented by the divine cement of His power
and divine nature, through living union with Him.
Not only are there stones in this building, but there are
pillars. Strong, stately, polished pillars, which are the
overcomers. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar
in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and
I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of
the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down
out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new
name " Rev 3:12. "And I John saw the holy city,
new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared
as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice
out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with
men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,
and God himself shall be with them, and be their God"
Rev 21:2-3. "And the name of the city from that day shall
be, The LORD is there" Ezekiel 48:35b.
Then shall His hosts in heaven and upon the earth, and all
of His enemies, behold every stone moved forward by His unseen
hand and put into its place. And the eternal habitation of
God will shine forth in glory, purity, and perfection, without
the sound of a hammer. An eternal habitation for God in the
Spirit, "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding
riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ
Jesus" Eph 2:7.
"Seeing that these things are so, what manner of persons
ought we to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for
and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God"
II Peter 3:11.