Saturday, April 22, 2017

You gotta watch Benjamin

When we read Jacob's words to his sons on his deathbed (Genesis 49:1–33), we might notice his words to Benjamin are a little strange:

[as] a wolf will he tear to pieces; In the morning he will devour the prey, And in the evening he will divide the booty (Genesis 49:27)
Benjamin is a wolf, you don't want to turn your back on Benjamin.

I really think scripture has the flesh in mind when it talks about Benjamin. We've all got some of that Benjamin in us. And make no mistake, it's a ravening wolf.

Scripture tells us the stories of two different men from Benjamin named Saul. In the old Testament we have the story of the Saul the son of Kish, the first king of Israel. He was a great man. There came a day when God told Saul He was going to replace him with another man (1 Samuel 15:26), and Saul resisted and fought against that plan until the end, when he died on Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:4–8).

In the New Testament we have the story of another Saul, a Pharisee from Tarsus. He, too, was a great man. There came a day when God told this Saul He would replace him with another Man, and Saul agreed with God that this was a good idea (Galatians 2:20). Rather than fighting God's will to have another Man in his place, Saul went along with the plan. Like the earlier Saul from Benjamin, he had a lot of boast about. Unlike the earlier Saul, he realized that what God really wants is only found in one Man (Philippians 3:3–11).

Like the two Sauls, we find out that it's God's plan to replace us with Christ. Christ has died in our place, and God's plan is that He should live in our place too. I can't see another way to understand Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ, and no longer live, *I*, but Christ lives in me." The real question is, how do we respond to that? The first Saul resisted, the second Saul capitulated. It's not at all a stretch to say that we have that same choice to make.

The essence of the gospel is Christ in my place. Christ in my place under God's judgment brought forgiveness – Christ in my place as alive in this world produces a walk worthy of our calling. I need to meditate on this more.


Susan said...

"we find out that it's God's plan to replace us with Christ"
That's not my understanding of Galatians 2:20
I will be away for a while. My mother (89) fell and broke her shoulder requiring around the clock care at her home. No internet available

HandWrittenWord said...

Susan -
Our prayers are with you and your mother.
Stay connected with HIM -- incomparably better than the internet!

Robert said...


We continue to think about and pray for you.

"In John 19:34 it is recorded that "one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." The blood and the water flowed from a dead Christ. Hence we see how manifestly the link between the natural man and God is broken, and broken for ever! For "in that he died, he died unto sin once." All that Christ could have blessed in nature is now entirely and for ever gone; and if there is to be any blessing now, it must be in a new nature, and through a dead Christ; as also all connection and association with God. Expiation, purity, life, can alone be had through a dead Christ. It is a dead Christ that must purify me if I am to be purified; for it was from a dead Christ that the water (the symbol of cleansing) flowed. Until the death of Christ, God was dealing with nature, to see (or rather to teach us, for He knew what it was) if any good thing could come out of nature. But the cross proved - God's rejected Son proved - that it was not possible that any good thing could come out of nature. Man is not merely a sinner driven out of paradise, as we know Adam was; but man's state now results not only from his being turned out of God's presence because of sin, but from the will and energy of his evil nature, which has cast God out of His own world. 296 The cross shews that man's nature is utterly incapable of being acted on by any motive whatever which could set it right. This is very humbling, yet very blessed."

The Three Who are Witnessing: The Spirit, and the water, and the blood. JND

Susan said...

Your prayers are greatly appreciated. My mother is now in a rehab hospital - my brother, sister or I have been with her at all times. !When she leaves she will no longer be able to live alone.

Darby's quote - So true - so humbling - so blessed!

Concerning "God's plan to replace us with Christ" can be misunderstood and that is what I am wanting cleared up. The "exchanged life" folks would say something like this and some of the "deeper life/higher life" folks as well But should we?

"Our Father is not seeking to abolish us as human beings and have the Lord Jesus replace us. He is seeking to restore us as human personalities so that we may be the vehicle through which Christ will express Himself. Redemption is the recovery of the man, not the destruction of the man." MJS

Robert said...

Susan - good to hear she is in a safe place.

I was speaking over Easter on the Identity, Individuality and Solidarity of the believer in resurrection 1 Corinthinans 15: 35-49. I therefore would need to agree with you that God is not abolishing us. Paul uses the expression, 'but Christ liveth in me' so I must still exist. But Christ and not Adam is seen in me, so the way I speak, react and live in the different circumstances of life shows Christ through me rather than Christ instead of me.

I knew a very spiritual man who stayed with a family while he was having meetings in the area. There was a little girl aged 4 in the family. One day he had to return to the house unexpectedly and he rang the doorbell. The little girl looked out the window and shouted, 'Mommy, Mommy, Jesus is at the door'. I kind of think that's what Paul was driving at in Galatians 2:20

Susan said...

Thank you, Robert! "Christ through me rather than Christ instead of me" -
That is exactly what I was wanting to hear!!!!!
Totally agree!