Man of God
FE RAVEN – New Series – Volume 8 Copied 1/27/09
THE MAN OF GOD
I TIMOTHY 6: 11,12
I feel constrained to follow up what we have had before us by adding a few thoughts in connection with “the man of God.” It is very important to understand the import of this expression, and to see how the man of God is formed morally for the place that he has to occupy. The expression is not limited to New Testament times. The course and action of the man of God in any one day being what was suited to that day would not however be descriptive of the man of God in another day.
What I understand by “the man of God” in the present time is characteristically what continues till the Lord comes. Timothy represents the ministry until the Lord should come. He is to continue in the truth till the appearing of Christ. Paul being an apostle is not designated a man of God. We cannot be apostles, but we can be men of God, and for this we need to be more individual. It is not sufficient to maintain in a collective way what is orthodox. I think we have, in the present time, in the ruin all around, to be to a large extent individual. We shall not be any real help if we are not this, for we shall be looking for support from others. If we are not strong individually there is not much power in our fellowship.
One thing is certainly true of the man of God—he becomes manifest in a day of apostasy—he stands in the breach. We see this in the case of Moses when Aaron had made the golden calf, and afterwards in Elijah and Elisha in the darkest days in Israel, they had to stand in the truth of God in the apostasy of Israel. I think, as I said before, that the man of God in this day abides until the Lord comes. He can stand in the ruin of Christianity, when all has become like a great house, and alone, when there is no outward support. It is not a question of doing great things. We have to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand. No one will stand in an evil day but by divine support. Then it is that you are a real help to others. If one could not be a help to the people of God, it would not be worthwhile to be here at all.
What comes in in connection with this is that the church is now God’s object here. A man will not have much experience of divine support if he has not God’s object in view. A man of God is one who can act for God because he is in the truth of the calling. It is noticeable that in the first epistle Timothy is addressed as “ thou, 0 man of God,” in the second the man of God is more general, that is, typical of a class. It is of great moment in our time.
I will refer now for a moment to the qualifications of the man of God. The first thing is that his soul must be consciously in the full light in which God has shone out. There are comparatively few who are in the enjoyment of the place in which God in His grace has set them before Him. In Romans I see a sort of progress in apprehension in chapters 4 and 5. In chapter 4 we get deliverance from the judgment of death by Christ risen. I am in the light of this. In chapter 5 we get a point further, we joy in God —through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. I am now in the light as God is in the light. The distance which was the effect of sin has been removed, and God has made himself known in the greatness of His love. As I understand it, that is the light in which we are—God has come out. The second point is, that to be a man of God you must have gone in. You cannot come out from God if you have not gone in to God. This is not quite so simple as the truth that God has come out. If you are to go in you must travel the path by which the Christ has gone in. He has gone in for us by death and resurrection, and we go by that road. Death and resurrection have to be realised in the soul, not simply accepted doctrinally. You have to die to sin, to part company with the man that is here both as to his nature and his culture. The former is more simple than the latter. But by human culture you can never get hold of the clear knowledge of the mystery of God. This is not gained but by conflict. We get hold of it in apprehending the purposes of God centred in the Head. You must die as to the man that is here. When I die, I cease to live in regard of the judgment and culture of man. I reckon myself dead, and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
These two points are simple. The first that God must be known as revealed in love. The second that if you go in you must go in by the way that Christ has gone in. We heard in the former address that life was that by which imitators such as Jannes and Jambres were confounded. It is in this way that I understand the admonition to Timothy to “lay hold on eternal life.” You must first go in to God if you are to come out from God. You can then stand for God in the breach. A man who is always looking for props for himself is no help to others.
And in regard to difficulties that arise in the assembly — where do you expect to get light? From men or with God? The great importance of what I have said, that is, of going in to God, is that you get true light in regard to things here. Moses had light as to what was going on in the camp before he came down to it. Many are content with Christian privileges who have not been exercised as to the thought of going in. It is blessed to know that if I am with God I can stand here supported by God.
May God give to us to see what is the great thought of the man of God, and the means by which he may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work.