“Behold, the ark of the covenant of Jehovah of all the earth shall pass over before you into the Jordan. And now, take for yourselves twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. And it shall be, when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of Jehovah, Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters which come down from above. And they shall stand in one heap.”
Just as the ark of the Lord went before the people to open the new and living way before them, so our Great Priest has passed through the veil, tasting death as a man but raised to life as the maker of our peace with God; that we might also have access to cross over into the fullness fellowship with God even as the Father is one with the Son.
And by the faith of these priests, God moved to cut off the waters which ran into the Dead Sea; the sea representing the true results of the power of sin unconquered, a power which had to literally be cut off from even flowing if the people would ever be found abiding in His rest. Although their fathers had at one time been passed over by God’s wrath on account of the Blood of the Lamb (Ex 12), and although they also passed through a type of the baptism of repentance out from Egypt; yet most of those backslid, keeping themselves from ever entering the land to walk in the fullness of the newness of Life. But now this new generation was given the opportunity to walk in that which their fathers had never reached because of unbelief. What mercy! And may God have such mercy upon us now, we who have such great need in this dark day; a day in which few now remain who have not floundered and collapsed in the wilderness, not having passed through the Jordan into His rest, the place of His power for the fulfilling of all righteousness. And He has surely prepared this rest for His faithful people; having gone over before them and being prepared to seal the way behind them. So today, let the grace of God not be in vain for us as it was for those who fell in the wilderness, who remained under the power of sin in the flesh and so died in their sins. But upon entering into the place of resting in the labors of the Spirit, the earnest cry of those passing through wilderness is answered: “My soul clings to the dust; give me LIFE according to Your Word.” (Ps 119:25)
And it happened, as the people pulled up stakes from their tents to cross over the Jordan, and as the priests bore the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those bearing the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the waters (and the Jordan was full, over all its banks all the days of harvest); that the waters stood still, those coming down from above rose up into a heap, very far above the city Adam, which is beside Zaretan; and those going down by the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite to Jericho. And the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of Jehovah stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan. And all Israel crossed over on dry ground until all the nation had completely passed over the Jordan.
“…the people pulled up stakes…”
In this we see the sincerity of faith in their actions: that when the word came to remove their dwelling from the hard soil of the wilderness, they were willing and able. This is the attitude of faith: it waits upon the command of God and acts in obedience according to the foreknowledge that He will perform what He has promised to the faithful. So let us be in such a place of surrender, forsaking all else but that for which we hope in the will of God. “For we are saved in hope…” True surrender to His will is an act of such hope, by which we may live rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God; who is able to keep us walking in the holy Life of His Son by the same Spirit which raised Him from the dead. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; how much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life.” (Rom 5:10)
“…and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the waters…”
Just as these dipped their feet in the channel flowing with that which leads to stagnancy and death, likewise Jesus as our merciful mediator stepped into the likeness of sinful flesh and by the grace of God tasted death for every man. For, “Since the children have partaken of flesh and blood, in like manner He Himself also shared the same things, that through death He might cause to cease the one having the power of death, that is, the devil… …becoming like His brothers, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things respecting God, in order to make propitiation for the sins of His people.” (Heb ch 2)
“…the waters stood still, those coming down from above rose up into a heap, very far above the city Adam, which is beside Zaretan; and those going down by the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off…”
Here we see the flow of sin in the flesh, which leads to death, being cut short, even as far back as Adam. In this we see how God, “sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…” – That is to say in essence: He who partook of our weaknesses yet remained without blemish thereby had all authority beyond doubt or accusation to rebuke and overcome for every man the very power of sin itself! He was the fulfillment of which Adam was only a partial type (Rom 5:14): since He partook of His bride’s weakness so that in the suffering of the Righteous One, those who fell short might pass through death unto Life in He who overcame all things. Therefore, having cut off the power of sin by setting foot in its channel, He has given us this new and living way into the most holy place where we may now dwell – that is, through His flesh (Col 1:22, Heb 10:20).
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be MADE RIGHTEOUS.”
The gospel is not the lowering of God’s standard of righteousness: it is rather His power unto salvation for those believing, by which His righteousness may be revealed in those who walk by faith in Him. A gospel with no power to transform a man is a gospel worthy to be ashamed of, since by such a message no one has truly beheld the righteousness of the living God! (Rom 1:16-17) Those who hold to such a gospel are truly vowing to the Lord with neither a “yay” nor a “nay,” but rather with only a “maybe;” and so we see that this “cometh of evil.” It is therefore a lukewarm gospel, making those who live proudly in its allowance for continual sin ready to be vomited out of the Lord’s mouth.
“…but you will receive power, the Holy Spirit having come upon you; and you will be witnesses of Me.” (Acts 1:8) – Being a true witness to the power of Christ requires that His power be clearly at work in us. We will only be His witnesses to the degree that we allow HIS power to be operative in us. Does your walk bear the fruit of one having received power? You are not a witness to the power of His blood while you wallow in condemnation; you are not a witness to His freedom while you are still bound.
“If Christ is in you, then although your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
But if the SPIRIT of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life even to your mortal bodies through His Spirit dwelling in you.”
So we can have the Word of Christ dwelling in us in some measure; but apart from a direct work of power by His Spirit, we simply remain in a deep struggle between the two natures: our own regenerated spirit having been made alive by the conviction of His righteousness, yet our body-life remaining continually subject to the manifestations of sin in the flesh. This cycle is not meant to continue, but rather to dwindle and die – hence the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our own strength is insufficient to power the new creature because it is in fact counter-productive to the work of the Spirit. The best intentions of our own efforts still amount to nothing but works of the flesh; and we do not have to live in those any longer.
Such is the confidence we have through Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the SPIRIT. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives Life.
(2 Corinthians 3:4-6)
The trade of our own power for God’s power, and the trade of our own life for God’s Life, is the trade of deeds which amount to filthy rags for deeds which are manifest as having been wrought in God. When we are operating out of any power except God’s power we are placing ourselves back under the law of the letter rather than the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. Our growth from children into manifest sons of God is accomplished only through the very Life of the Spirit of God operating through those who are dead to self. It is one thing to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise – it is another to be led in the Father’s will through His power.
So, then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to flesh, for if you live according to flesh, you are going to die.
But if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For just as one cannot be a Christian without the seal of the Spirit of God and the implantation of the Word; likewise, one cannot continue growing deeply in fellowship with God through that Word without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with whom we are to be continually filled. We cannot run effectively for long on yesterday’s power for today’s work. God forbid that the scripture should be speaking of the Holy Spirit when it says, “He came unto His own, but His own did not receive Him.” – yet I fear that such is often the case. But the righteous requirement of God is so high beyond anything we can imagine that it will be not be fulfilled in us except God Himself be allowed to show up in power. Let this be our humble posture in sincere faith, which is the substance of those things hoped for, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us!
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, being weak through the flesh; God has done, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemning sin in the flesh: so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
This is the power to remain in His rest and to commune with Him in His temple always, even the holy of holies, even on earth as it is in heaven.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”
I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.