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Personal Association

It is generally thought in Christendom that God’s Son became man in order to repair and rehabilitate the first man—the Adamic race (man and his sinful nature—NC). It has been said that man is broken china, but Christ perfect china. He is not china at all, but unique, a man of His own order*; and in His death unto sin the first man is set aside in judgment, and the new man is therefore according to God.

Consequently we must not be deceived by thinking that the human mind can form an idea of any trait of the new man, or that it can imitate Christ*, though many read the Gospels with this object. We must look entirely to God in order to understand the Man of His pleasure (Mat 3:17; 17:5) — “the holy thing also which shall be born shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35) — “the expression of His substance” (Heb 1:3) — “the beginning of the creation of God”*. He bore the judgment due to the first man and righteously removed him from the eye of God; so it is not in Adam that the believer appears before the Father, but in His Beloved Son.

What is the new man? We have seen what it is not; we have already seen that it cannot be learned by any effort of the human mind, that its structure and nature are entirely beyond the conception of man, and the next question is: How do we learn it? It is not by the mere study of the Word that we learn it, but by association and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, by beholding His glory, and hence being progressively “changed into the same image” (2Cor 3:18).

You cannot explain what you get, but you receive that which corresponds with Him; as you are with Him you acquire it. “Having put on the new man, which according to God is created in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24), is addressed to the believer who is in conscious union and personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus, seated in the heavenlies with Him (Eph 2:6). Now you come out here in a new way, beginning with a new mind, “renewed in the spirit of your mind”—not making works prominent, but in the renewed mind which is able to judge of the works that suit Christ. As we read in 1 Corinthians 2:16, “We have the mind of Christ”—we “put on the new man, which according to God is created in true righteousness and holiness.”

A believer realizes the tastes of the new man by association with the Lord Jesus. It is important to see that we derive from Him, we are in Him where He is, and He is in us where we are. He is altogether sui generis—of His own order, and it is only in fellowship with Him that His nature and mind become experientially known to us. No one can tell what he acquires by association, but he knows that he has acquired a taste and hunger for His company, and that when not in His company he has not that which suits his new taste: he finds it very partially here among His own and he is glad to return to His presence, and he knows the benefit of it.

This draws the line of difference between mere students of the Word, and those who enjoy resting in His presence, beholding His glory—the latter can form a conception of what suits Him which the former cannot. We see from Colossians 3:10, “Having put on the new man, renewed into full knowledge according to the image of Him that has created him (it—NC)”—that we cannot be with Him without becoming more like Him. We are enlightened and the Word comes with more definiteness to our sous; we are “renewed in full knowledge,” hence we become more like Him by being with Him, and we learn Him as our Life (Col 4:4) and consequently put on “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, etc.

- J B Stoney

Poster’s opinions:

* “a man of His own order”: only One presently with an indestructible physical body.

* “imitate Christ”: it’s my understanding that living “for” Christ is not the same as living “by” Christ, i.e. “not I but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). We cannot live the life of Christ, which would merely be imitating. But He is living His life in us. The doing of righteousness is not “by” us using Him—but “by” Him using us. The glove (us) works by the life of the hand (God), not the hand works by the life of the glove! God’s using us, not we using Him (simply put—difficulty understood)!

* “the beginning of the creation of God”: most likely means the first one with the creation of an immortal body, i.e. “the first begotten of the dead” (Rev 1:5; also 1Cor 15:20, 23; Col 1:18).

MJS devotional for Nov. 10:



The purpose of doctrine is to produce the personification of truth. “The sublimest truths are still needed to enforce the simplest responsibilities. As the laws which mold the stars and move the gigantic orbs of Saturn and Uranus in their tremendous circuits, shape the dewdrop that glistens at the end of a blade of grass, so should everything in the Christian’s life be regulated by the principles which lie in the Person and Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. To isolate Christian morality from Christian theology is to rend asunder the teachings of the New Testament, as to its deepest and most vital elements.” -W.G.S.

“The knowledge of doctrine, essential as it is, gives no power. One might be very well up on the doctrine of deliverance, and know absolutely nothing of its practical reality. It is as our hearts are under the sway of that grace which is ministered to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, and as we are knit to Him in affection, that we touch and taste a new life, and are severed in heart from all that constituted the life of our old man. Thus the body of sin is annulled for our hearts, and we do not henceforth serve sin.” -C.A.C.

“In the New Testament literature of the Church, creed and conduct are always related. Doctrine and practice, theology and morality, knowledge and action are inseparably connected, being related to one another as foundation to superstructure, as center to circumference, as cause to effect. Some expound without applying, and some endeavor to apply what has not been expounded, but the Apostles always do both. When revealed truth is divorced from Christian living it becomes an impotent abstraction.” -W.G.S.


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