Christ Our All (1935)

by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 7 - The Hidden Manna

"The bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life unto the world... I am come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me... For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholds the Son, and believes on Him, should have eternal life... My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." John 6:28-34,38,40,53-58.
"If any man wills to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself." John 7:17.

"My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to accomplish His work." John 4:31-34.

In that statement of our Lord Jesus there are three things implied.

Firstly: the Lord Jesus has a secret source of strength. "I have meat to eat that ye know not".

Secondly: There is a link between the will of God and LIFE. "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me." We remember that at this time the Lord Jesus was hungry and very faint. He sat down at the well weary from His journey. When the disciples came back from the town where they had bought food, they found Him remarkably revived. They thought that somebody had brought Him some food. But the Lord explained to them that the renewal of His life had come from doing His Father's will. That shows a close connection between the doing of the will of God and 'Life'.

Thirdly: The link between this is a divine purpose and the fulfilment of it. "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to accomplish His work". The Father's will represented a divine purpose, and the Lord Jesus says that He was linked with that purpose. To accomplish that divine purpose was a greater satisfaction to Him than earthly things. We can say that He found His Life in doing the will of God.

Therefore, an important factor for us is that obedience is the way to God's fulness. It was so in the case of the Lord Jesus. When He said: "For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholds the Son, and believeth on Him, should have eternal life", it clearly shows that union with Christ, according to God's will, means Life for us. Thus God's will is in vital relationship and oneness with the Son.

Now, food is taken for the maintenance of our life. It satisfies our need, and serves for our development and growth. But all this is related to the will of God. The doing of the will of God is like taking food in order to live. When we do the will of God we are taking what maintains our Life. Our need is satisfied. The spiritual growth is maintained. The Lord Jesus said of Himself: "I live because of the Father", and "he that eats me shall live because of Me." The Lord Jesus lived by reason of His union with the Father. And we live by reason of our union with the Son.

What is essential in that union is obedience. Satan was out to destroy the life of the Lord - the last Adam - by the same way he had succeeded to destroy the first Adam: in getting him to disobey God. But the Lord Jesus met the devil by appealing to the Word of God. Three times He said to him: "It is written". This maintained His life, and overcame the prince of darkness and death.

Obedience towards the revealed will of God means deliverance from death. That is what we mean by the maintenance of our life. This attitude was true of the Son of God throughout His life. Being obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross, He overcame death. Therefore He is alive for evermore. So everything is bound up with obedience in the matter of life. Immediately we withhold obedience to God, we arrest the Life of the Lord in us, and make it impossible to go on. Obedience is Life.

This spiritual meat is not only maintaining our Life, it also increases our Life. It is leading us into the fulness of Christ. We grow by taking that meat, and Life increases by obedience. In Philippians 2 we are told that the Lord Jesus was obedient to the Father to the uttermost, "wherefore also God highly exalted Him and gave unto him the name which is above every name." That is fulness resultant from obedience. Every fresh act of obedience leads us into a greater fulness in Christ, into spiritual enlargement. But disobedience brings limitation and holds up the flow of Life.

This then, is the meaning of spiritual food: the doing of His will, being obedient in all things. This spiritual feeding is related to our union with Christ in His resurrection. It is a living upon that which Christ is in death and resurrection. In the background of John chapter 6 we have the Passover. In connection with what that means spiritually, the Lord Jesus fed a great multitude. The Jews were about to eat the Passover lamb. But before that took place we have here a hungry multitude, and He - God's Lamb - feeds them with bread saying: "I am the bread of life." He links that with the Passover, the Cross, the Lamb slain, saying in effect: "I am yours. In my death and resurrection, that is, in ME you have Life." It is Christ imparted to us.

Now, there is a remarkable clause in John 6:27, where the Lord says: "Work not for the food which perishes, but for the food which abides unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him the Father has sealed." Those to whom the Lord addressed this word knew quite well what He meant. They knew that they were not allowed to take any lamb for the Passover. It had to be one without blemish. Then every lamb had to be brought to the temple to be examined by the priests as to its absolute perfection. And when it was according to the demanded requirements the priests put the temple-seal upon it and it was slain. Everybody knew what that seal meant. So the Lord Jesus took that familiar custom, relating it to Himself saying: "Him has the Father sealed." Christ was going to give Himself to His people as one whom the Father had declared absolutely perfect. He was giving Himself to be their food that they might live through Him and walk in obedience to Him as He had been obedient to His Father.

We too are 'sealed' by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians that they are "sealed with the Spirit of promise". God knows them that are His. We are His possession. We receive the Father's seal as an earnest that He has chosen us, that we are accepted in the Beloved One, that He has not rejected us. We are accepted in Christ as perfect. That complete fellowship with Christ implies nothing less than an utter abandonment to Him, a putting aside of all which is personal, all self-will, so that we can say in truth: "I am crucified with Christ. Christ lives in me."

Meat and drink are a spiritual thing. It means abiding "in Christ" and is related to the doing of the Father's will in every part of our life. But the question which arises here is: Do we really want to live? Remember, we only 'live' in truth, if we accomplish the will of our Lord, if we allow the Lord Jesus to be our Life, being perfectly obedient to Him. Our will is a corrupted will. Personal desires are always corrupted. We are flesh. But there has to be none of that 'in Christ'. Sin has been dealt with and judged in the Cross. There it was made manifest that Christ's perfect humanity was maintained and free from any corruption right to the end. Now that perfect Lamb of God is given for us. We are allowed to receive Him, to abide in Him. He who wholly accomplished the will of God will abide in us. Thereby we grow. To eat His flesh and drink His blood means growing up into Him so that His power in us becomes manifest. He will, and must, increase until we are transformed into His likeness, until His image is seen in us.

Now, what is God's purpose for us? The Lord Jesus said that the will of the Father was "to accomplish His work". What was that work? Let us look once more at chapter 4 and the need of that woman of Samaria. She did not know the true life. When she came to the well she was in great need. Brought into a conversation with the Lord concerning life, she eventually saw that Christ was the Life. "He that believes on Me has eternal life." And the woman believed. When the disciples came back from the town they found the Lord Jesus wonderfully renewed. He was fully satisfied, because He had accomplished the will of the Father. What was that will? It was to give Life to all whom the Father had given Him.

God's work is to lead poor souls to know the Life in Christ. When we fulfil our ministry in being channels of Life to others, we shall soon discover that this is more satisfying than anything else. If you have led a soul to Christ you know what satisfaction means. To carry the divine Life to needy souls fills the heart with such joy and satisfaction, that earthly desires fade away. Let us seek to lead poor sinners to Christ, for when we are in that work we shall know what true Life is, a life of perfect obedience to God, devoted to the Father's will. This was the law of Life of the Lord Jesus. This is the hidden Manna, the secret sustenance of our life. Those who do not know the Lord know nothing of this. But he who lives out of Christ knows that meat. He knows that to do the will of God is Life. The more we are obedient to that divine will, the more the rivers of His Life will flow in us. Let us seek that kind of meat which the world does not know, but of which the Lord said: "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to accomplish his work."

"For we are Hs workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).

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