The Mountains Around Jerusalem
Be on your guard not to be carried away by the deception of people who have no principles. Then you won’t fall from your firm position.
(2 Peter 3:17 GW)
From the high altitude of the first years as set before us in the book of the Acts, the church began to decline. When we get out of the apostolic age we find that decline steadily going on, until the church publicly, generally, becomes a thing of this world, even becoming politically attached to the earth. The battle all through the ages has been in this very connection, as to whether the church would maintain or retrieve the loss of its heavenly high position, or for any reason at all, by prosperity or adversity, accept something lower. What is and has been true throughout all its history is true today and is true with us. It is true in the case of every individual believer, as it is of the whole – the tendency to come down; and everything from the side of the enemy is directed towards creating a lower level of things than God intended, and therefore a lower level than that to which the Lord can wholly commit Himself. It is only as the Lord’s position for His people is held that the Lord can commit Himself.
It is at this point that we need to recognize something that may solve some problems or just give the final answer to a lot of our difficulties. That to which the Lord really does commit Himself wholly is the spiritual side of things, not the temporal side of things, even in relation to His work. He may facilitate; He may help; He may send resources; He may rule and overrule in temporal matters; but we would agree that it would be very dangerous for the Lord to make that His realm of complete operations. That is, whenever a difficulty arises in the temporal realm, if the Lord immediately came right in and swept that out of the way and gave us an easy, clear path to His work and His servants, it would really militate against true spirituality, and it would bring the whole thing down to a temporal level, and you can see what would happen. Multitudes would come in because of the advantages. “It is a good thing to be a Christian; God does everything for you if only you will be a Christian,” and so you become “rice Christians,” as they are known in certain parts of the world. So the Lord neither can, nor will, nor does, commit Himself fully to the temporal aspects of His own work…. Spiritually the position in union with a heavenly Lord means fullness, and the measure of fullness depends entirely upon that heavenly life and the heavenly nature of everything.