The Spiritual Condition
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
(Colossians 2:8 NIV)
It is absolutely useless, dear friends, to refer to tradition and say, “Well, God did this in the beginning, and this is the place where the oracles of God are found and the temple of God is and the great tradition of Israel as the chosen people. It is here, and we rest on that.” No, tradition will not support now. History will not support now. Institutions will not support now. It seems as though God has no regard, at length, for temple or ark or altar or priesthood. He cries through the prophets: “Away, away with you all. I want none of your sacrifices” in Isaiah 58. What a chapter! “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice.” Then, what follows? “Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways.” “I will have none of it”, says the Lord. “I will have none of it. These are not the sacrifices I want. This ritual is not what I am after. This traditional system is not what I desire. It is a spiritual state.” And only on that can the Lord associate Himself, ally Himself, to Zion….
If you look again at this letter to the Hebrews, you will see that we are come to Zion. We are not come to some thing, some religious thing, some tradition, we are not come to historical Christianity – if I may put it that way – we are come to a spiritual situation which is calculated to startle us. Oh, we say, “We are in the day of Grace. This is the dispensation of Grace.” True! Is the Letter to the Hebrews on any other ground than the ground of Grace? Surely not, but do you know that in this letter the most awful things in the Bible are written? “How shall we escape (we, we escape, we Christians, we believers of this dispensation) how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? …Our God is a consuming fire… it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” This is said to these people, these Christians; and other things like that are said. But I am pointing this out, that this letter is written in the day of Grace; and it is a day which brings into view not some new Christian system, nor the formation of a new Christian tradition, but a spiritual condition, without which everything else is as nothing. You have come to Zion, yes, but you have come to the controversy of Zion. You have come, we have come, to the great battle of Zion; and it is a spiritual battle.