The New Humanity
January 18th, 1970 @ 8:15 AM
THE NEW MAN AND THE NEW HUMANITY
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1-18-70 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled The New Man and the New Humanity. We are expounding the letter of Paul to the Ephesian church, and do begin this morning at the eleventh verse of the second chapter:
Wherefore remember . . .
That in time past ye were without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man . . .
And that He might use us in the service of God.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
In the Scriptures, always there [are] only two categories—not three, not one, there are two, but always those two—we are either dead or alive; we are either lost or we are saved; we are either in Christ or we are out of Christ; we are either in the world or we are in the household of the saints. And there is never any third denomination or declaration or delineation in the Scriptures; always just those two. You are either in the Lord and on the way to heaven, or you are in the world and on the way to damnation and judgment. There is no other category.
Now as Paul writes this passage in Ephesians, he describes us as we were before we were saved: that at that time we were without Christ. And there is no poverty like that; there is no destitution comparable to that. In sorrow and in trial we have no Savior and no God to turn to. And in death we have no comfort and no hope. “In time past ye were without Christ, and ye were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise” [Ephesians 2:12]. This refers to the chosen people of Israel and to the chosen worship of the Lord. There is no sanctuary unless God has appointed it. There is no sacrifice unless God accepts it. There is no priest unless God ordains him. There is no fire from heaven unless God sends it. There is no acceptable avenue of salvation unless God provides it.
Ken Bourne, a moment ago, referred to the fact that this last week I have been preaching through the evangelistic conference for the state of Florida. And in coming back to Dallas on the plane, I read through two of the most popular modern magazines. To my surprise both of the magazines were filled with articles about religion. There is no doubt but that among youngsters and in college groups and in the citizenship generally there is a renewed interest in religion. But I give you the last sentence and the gist of the whole concourse of articles in one of those magazines. The last sentence said in a summation, “You ought to try all of these religions; for in them you might find something you might like.” All of which reduces religion to human speculation and human effort. There is no true faith except as God reveals Himself. There is no sanctuary but the one appointed of the Lord. There is no priest and no sacrifice except that ordained of God. And if religion is speculation and human trial, then our religious forms are but chains of slavery, and our religious services are nothing but burdens, and our religious profession is nothing but human and empty words, and our religious commitments and efforts are nothing but carnal achievements. There is something about religion that has to be of God, or it is nothing at all. And that’s why the prophet says, the apostle says, that, “When we were lost, we were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” [Ephesians 2:12]; for it was in that chosen people that God appointed His sanctuary, and His sacrifice, and His priesthood, “and we were strangers from the covenants of promise,” we were outside the holiness of the revelation of God, however we might be Greek philosophers or pagan worshipers, “having no hope” [Ephesians 2:12].
If you have read Dante’s Divine Comedy, in the introduction of the pit in the inferno, Dante says above the door of that abyss are written these word: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” And we, in our lifetime, without Christ, are like that: we are without hope.
We live in a race in this life between us and death. When you are young, you are far ahead of death in that race around the track. But as the days pass and as the days multiply, closer and closer and closer and closer will you find death approaching and overtaking. And in age, look over your shoulder, and you can see him breathing down your neck. Like the staghound that pulls down the deer, we inevitably and inexorably and ultimately fall prey to that grim reaper: without hope, there is no hope of escaping. The grave and the worm and the corruption are our inevitable lot in this life, and however we may find ourselves laid out—when I was pastor of very poor people, I buried my dead without embalming them. Today they are beautifully casketed, washed, and groomed; but they are no less dead. And our human efforts are like the staff of Elisha’s servant laid on the face of that dead child [2 Kings 4:29-32]; ineffective and ineffectual, without hope.
Outside of Christ there is no hope; and without God in the world, separated, isolated, damned, but not annihilated. God, in His presence, and in His holiness, in one place, and we who are lost in another, facing the penalty of our sin which is ultimate and final death; this is Paul’s description of us when we are lost, without God, without Christ, and without hope in the world. “But now in the blessed Lord Jesus, but now in Christ Jesus, ye who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” [Ephesians 2:12-13]. We who were separated and isolated and far off, between us and God there was a mountain of debt, between us and God a whole range of mountains of sin, separated and far off, but we who were thus separated and isolated from God, have been brought nigh by the blood of Christ [Ephesians 2:13]. He paid the debt [Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 4:10]. He died for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3]. He forgave us our iniquity [Colossians 1:14; Titus 2:14]. He lifted us up and saved us from the night of despair and the certain sentence of judgment and damnation [Romans 8:1; 1 John 5:12]. He did it! [Romans 8:1; 1 John 5:12].
When I was in Oklahoma pastoring, I heard of an Indian who was asked, “You say you have been saved in Christ. Tell us how. How did Christ save you?” And the old Indian took some dry leaves and made a circle. He took a caterpillar and put that worm in the circle. He set fire to the leaves. And as the fire burned around and surrounded the worm, the worm crawled this way, and that way, and that way; but every way he turned he met the fire; finally, curled up in the center to die. And the Indian picked up the caterpillar and lifted it out, and he said, “That is what Christ has done for me!”
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise His name, He lifted me!
[“In Loving Kindness Jesus Came”; Charles H. Gabriel]
For we face inevitable judgment and inevitable death [Romans 6:23]. It is Christ who lifts us up, who saves our souls [John 14:6; Acts 4:12]. When He died, that is our atonement [1 John 2:2]. When He slept in the grave, that is the burial of our sins [Matthew 27:57-60]. And when He was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7], that is our justification [Romans 4:25]. We who were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ [Ephesians 2:13].
“For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments which was against us; for to make in Himself of twain one new man” [Ephesians 2:14-15]; the new man and the new humanity in Christ. I speak first of that personally. Having made a new man, God does not dress up cadavers; He doesn’t take dead corpses and use rouge, or paint, or grooming, or dressing in order to present the new life. God doesn’t take the old nature and He reforms it here, and He bends the life there, and puts on a new nose here, and has a little operation there. The Book says that God gives us a new nature [Colossians 3:10]. He does not dress up cadavers, but He gives us a new life, and a new heart, and a new love, and a new vision [2 Corinthians 5:17]. The old man, the Bible says, dies; and the new man is born in Christ [Ephesians 4:22]. Oh! To me that is the profound difference between the Christian faith, the revealed religion of God, and all of the other philosophies and metaphysics and faiths and man-made religions of the world. The whole group of them, however they are named, whether in books of philosophy or in stories and histories and practices of religion, the whole mess of them are dedicated to some kind of reformation. We’re to lop off this, or we’re to change that, or we are to add this. But the Christian faith is in a different world: it buries the old life, and the old love, and the old man, and it recreates, and it regenerates, and it brings into being another person; he is somebody else when he’s saved [2 Corinthians 5:17].
Like the Philippian jailer, God, how the Lord took that Philippian jailer, who had beat with many stripes Paul and Silas [Acts 16:23-24], but after he was saved [Acts 16:30-31], he was washing stripes, mixing with the baptismal water his tears [Acts 16:33]. He is another man. He is a new man. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation” [2 Corinthians 5:17].
This hath the Lord done for us; and not only that, but He is making a new humanity. If I could exegete the passage actually, he is saying here, “There has been in days past the Jew, and there has been in days past the Gentile, but now in Christ Jesus all of those old partitions have been broken down” [Ephesians 2:13-18]; and he mentions the wall and the walls that a worshiper met if he sought to find God in that ancient temple. When you went to Jerusalem, the holy city, and when you went up to the temple there, you were met by a tremendous high wall of partition [1 Kings 7:9, 12; 2 Chronicles 4:9]. When you went inside, there was the Court of the Gentiles, and once again you met a high wall [Ezekiel 8:3, 16, 10:3]. When you went into the Court of Israel, there again you met a high wall [1 Kings 6:36, 7:12; 2 Chronicles 4:9]. Then when you went beyond that into the Court of the Women, there again you met a high wall [Jeremiah 36:10]. Then when you went into the Court of the Priests, there again you met a wall. Then when you came to the sanctuary itself, there again you met a wall [1 Kings 6:19-35]. Then when the priest entered the sanctuary, there again he met a partition, the veil in between [2 Chronicles 3:14]. All through the temple were those walls of prohibition, those walls of isolation, those partitions of separation. But he says that in Christ all of those walls have been torn down, all of them [Ephesians 2:13-18]. And the worshiper coming to God finds himself face to face with the Lord: in the blood of Christ, and in the name of Jesus he walks directly into the sanctuary, whoever he is [Hebrews 10:20]. As Paul writes in Galatians 3:28, “In Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, there is neither Jew nor Greek; but we are all one in Jesus.”
As the Lord said in Matthew 23, “There is one Master, and all ye are brethren” [Matthew 23:8]. Whether you are a man or whether you are a woman, whether you are a Jew or whether you are a Gentile, whether you are rich or whether you are poor, whether you are black or whether you are white, whether you are an American or whether you are an Asian, in Christ we are all alike.
Then he closes, “Therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints of the household of God” [Ephesians 2:19]. We have the one great sanctuary; it’s in heaven. We call this a sanctuary by convenience; our sanctuary is in heaven. We have one great God-appointed altar, it’s in glory. We have one God-ordained Priest; it is the blessed Jesus in heaven. We have one great Mediator and Intercessor; He is in the New Jerusalem, He lives there, that’s His home, and that’s where the saints are gathering unto Him when they lay down the course and the pilgrimage of this life [John 14:3]. And we all are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, and find help in time of need [Hebrews 4:16]. All of us alike: no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God, made nigh by the blood of Jesus [Ephesians 2:12-13].
And so nigh, that language in the New Testament has trouble describing how close we are. Sometimes the Bible will say we are the stones in the temple of the Lord [1 Peter 2:5]. Sometimes the Bible will say that we are the members of His body. As close to God as my hands, and my feet, and my breath, God is there, there, there, where you are, there. Close that door and you’re alone in the room; that is, alone with God. Driving down a highway, you are by yourself; that is, with God. Out in a solitary place, solitary, that is, with God. For now there are no partitions, and no veils, and no separations in between. And we’re no longer aliens or foreigners with mountains of debt and sin separating us, but in Christ we are in God’s presence, and always there [John 17:21, 23].
Talk to Him. Ask Him. Lay all of your heart, thoughts, and visions, and dreams before Him. Like a friend, like a Savior, like a helper, like a strong elder brother, there He is, always. Why should I ever be discouraged? It’s a human weakness; for He is there. Why should I ever lack wisdom? It’s a human weakness; for He is there. Why should I ever fear or be afraid? It’s a weakness; for He is there.
O Lord, that I might come to realize the riches of the grace and love of God in Christ Jesus toward me and toward us [Ephesians 1:7]. That’s what it is to be saved, and to be a Christian, and to give your heart to Jesus, and to love God [Ephesians 2:8-9].
In a moment we’ll stand to sing our appeal, and while we sing it, a family you, or a couple you, or a one somebody you, while we sing the hymn, on the first note of that first stanza, come. Into the aisle and down to the front, in the balcony round down one of these stairways, “Here I am, and here I come”; make it now. Make it this morning. Do it now. In your heart, make that decision now. And in a moment when we stand up to sing, stand up coming. God’s arms are open. The love and prayers of this church are extended. Come, do it now, while we stand and while we sing.
I. What we were
A. Without Christ(Ephesians 2:12)
2. No substitute
for it(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
B. Without a spiritual
home – “aliens and strangers”(Ephesians 2:12)
1. We were
outside of covenant between God and Israel
2. Man cannot
invent his own religion
3. True religion
is from God and His revelation
C. Without hope(Ephesians 2:12)
1. Dante’s Inferno
2. The race of
D. Without God(Ephesians 2:12)
1. Separation and
II. What we became
A. “Made nigh by the
blood of Christ”(Ephesians 2:13)
1. He has paid
our debt, forgiven our sins, suffered in our stead
2. Indian asked
what Christ had done for him
a. Hymn, “He Lifted Me”
3. When Christ died and
was buried, we died and our sins were buried
When He was raised, we were raised in righteousness and justification (Romans 4:25, 8:17)
B. “A new man”(Ephesians 2:15)
and a new humanity collectively(2 Corinthians
more partitions(Ephesians 2:14, Galatians 3:28,
C. “No more strangers,
foreigners” (Ephesians 2:19)
1. Now so near to
God (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Peter 2:5, Ephesians
2. We can boldly
approach the throne (Hebrews 4:16)