The New Creation in Christ
As you hopefully remember, we are traveling through the Song of Solomon, and currently examining the 4th chapter. Here we see a wonderful description of this New Creation that our maiden has received from her persistent pursuit of her Beloved.
1. Her eyes as doves
The Holy Spirit appeared at Christ’s baptism in the form of a dove. The Lord lays his eyes on the same Spirit in his bride. He sees her as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
She is also a dove to the Lord, because she has lost the resentful spirit of the old life; she prays for those who spitefully abuse her, and in her helplessness makes her nest only in the cleft of the rock (Jeremiah 48:28). Before, in her captivity, she laid among the pots, but now she is to him as having wings covered with silver and feathers with yellow gold (Psalm 68:13 KJV).
2. Her hair is compared to goats on Mount Gilead
The hair of goats in the East is like fine silk. The Nazarite‘s hair marked him as separated to God (Judges 16:17). Samson‘s separation to God was the secret of his marvelous strength; when his head was shaved, that typified being separated, he was as weak as any other man.
So it is in the life of a believer brought into union with the Lord. Our strength is in the Lord and in the power of his might, and this strength will be manifested only as we live on the mountain with God, separated to his will, and for his pleasure.
3. Her teeth are compared to a flock of newly shorn ewes
An old writer suggested that the teeth signified the mind or intellectual powers, because the intellect receives and, so to speak, chews what is given it, like our teeth chew natural food.
The particular comparison of the teeth to newly washed and shorn sheep shows us that the Bridegroom means more than a mere description of natural beauty, although primarily the point is the lovely whiteness of the sheep after shearing.
The priests who entered within the veil for ministry were not to enter wearing woolen garments, because wool suggested the animal or earthly life. Pure linen, on the other hand, represented the righteousness of the saints. “The righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
The ewes shorn of their wool, being reduced in their weight and size, very accurately describes the renewed mind, stripped, as it were, of the wisdom of this world. The wisdom which fails to “gain by its wisdom the ability to know God” (I Corinthians 1:21).
If the teeth signify the mind, it appears that the mind has been renewed in knowledge — has come up, so to speak, from the washing of the waters of death — in identification with Christ.
In the work of redemption, the mind must be renewed, as well as the heart. The understanding must be purged from old ideas, old ways of thinking — the wisdom of the natural man (I Corinthians 2:14) — as well as his sins. This is the only way the Lord can truly put his laws into the mind so that we can be transformed by the renewing of the mind to discern the will of God (Romans 12:2).
There is a childish stage of the new creation which should eventually develop into the stature of a “full-grown man” (Ephesians 4:13) “ripe in understanding” (I Corinthians 2:6).
The word perfect used by Paul refers to this full-grown man (according to Conybeare in his notes on Philippians 3:13). To bring every believer into the presence of God “full-grown in Christ” was the greatest desire of Paul (Colossians 1:28).
These full-grown believers are able to know the mind and heart of the Lord. They are able to enter intelligently into his purposes as full-grown sons — able to know his will so they pray not only with the spirit but with the understanding also (I Corinthians 14:15).
I can think of three things that would characterize the renewed mind:
a. A sound mind
The sound mind is one which is no longer controlled by the emotions, but is fixed on God, enabling the believer to walk by an intelligent faith, calmly, and clearly knowing and doing the right thing on principle, as well as through love.
It doesn’t place undue importance on glorious experiences, nor is it entirely guided by voices, signs, and impressions — because the line between right and wrong becomes defined to it perception, and it sees and chooses deliberately the path of obedience to God, even when it means great cost to itself.
It doesn’t need any argument or incentive, or promise of reward, or stirred up emotions, or weighing of consequences, to persuade it to do the right thing. Instead, it is governed by an inward principle that proceeds from Him, the scepter of whose Kingdom is a scepter of righteousness.
b. A lowly mind
The matured believer has lost all delusions about itself! He soberly recognizes his responsibility to cooperate with God up to his measure of faith (Rom. 12:3). He knows his calling so that in all lowliness of mind it can be exactly what God has called him to be in the Body of Christ.
Paul said he knew the limit which God had given him. He did not stretch beyond his limit in going with the gospel to the Corinthians. He knew his measure and the extent of the grace entrusted to him. (See II Corinthians 10:12-17).
When you are taught by the Spirit, you will know how to use the measuring rod so that it will not go beyond your limit (II Corinthians 10:13 margin). Serving the Lord in all humility of mind, you will not be puffed up because your calling is that of an “eye” in the Body of Christ — nor will you get all flustered because your place may be in the “feet” (See I Corinthians 12:15-17).
In deep humility, you will do nothing conceitedly, but rather in lowliness of mind you will esteem others better than yourself — because you will see what is better in others, and be so unconscious of yourself that comparison will never enter your thoughts.
c. A spiritual mind
In Hebrews 5, we are told that babes are unskillful in the word of righteousness because they are only able to take milk, and not solid food.
The wisdom of God can only be spoken among the full-grown (I Corinthians 2:6 margin) — those who Paul described as spiritual.
Speaking not “in words that man’s wisdom teaches,” he interpreted spiritual things to spiritual men (I Corinthians 2:13 margin), knowing that the natural man could not comprehend the teachings of God‘s Spirit (Read the entire passage of I Corinthians 2:1-6).
Enlightened by the Holy Spirit and daily renewing your mind, the powers of the renovated mind can be greatly increased.
It can be brought in order and released from all the unnecessary actions, your power of concentration can be deepened, your speed of response and recall can be increased, the accuracy and retention of your mind can be perfected. The mental detachment of your mind can be marvelously increased so that you can quickly grasp the point of view of others who are taught of God. It is, so to speak, detached from its own experience in ministering to others, and is able to give them the milk or the meat according to their need. The man who is instructed about the Kingdom of heaven and was able to bring out of his storehouse new treasures as well as old — the fresh as well as the familiar (Matthew 13:52).
The truly spiritual mind realizes that the divine life, manifested through an earthen vessel, must be given room for development and will be manifested according to the shape of the vessel. That is why it is free from all prejudice, partiality, and preconceived ideas of God‘s working. The believer is able to see God in others, and has a ready mind (Acts 17:11) to perceive indications of his will and of his working where others can find no trace.
4. Her lips are like a scarlet ribbon, the speech lovely
The Lord has created the fruit of her lips (Isaiah 57:19), and they are now cleansed in the scarlet blood of Christ, purified by the live coal from the altar of Calvary. Her mouth, signifying her speech, is lovely, such as is “helpful for building others up according the needs” (Ephesians 4:29), of those around her, and she knows instinctively that in his presence, foolish talking and jesting are not appropriate for anyone in union with him. ―Be filled with the Spirit when you speak to one another (Ephesians 5:18-19).
5. Her temples are like a piece of pomegranate
A pomegranate when cut reveals transparent seeds, like crystal tinged with red, signifying the heart adorned with a meek and quiet spirit, so precious to God. The maiden is said to be veiled because she lives hidden with her Risen Lord in the heavenly places.
6. Her neck is like a tower
Just like the woman Jesus made straight after being “bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or to look upward” (Luke 13:11-13), the maiden‘s Lord has “broken the bars of her yoke and made her walk erect — as a man set free” (Leviticus 26:13). He looks at her and compares her neck to a tower; yet she is so pliable in his hands, she is the contrary to the one described in Isaiah 48:4: “obstinate — your neck is an iron sinew and your brow brass.” Neither is she among the daughters who are “haughty, and walk with outstretched necks” (Isaiah 3:16).
The Lord also compares her neck to the tower of David, which contained the shields of the mighty men of Israel. Her steadfast righteousness, in union with the Lord —― mighty in battle — making her invincible, because her shield is God himself. She is prepared for that war with the hosts of darkness which increases in force and intensity as she goes forward in the heavenly life.
7. Her breasts are like fawns, feeding among lilies
The fawns are the young of the deer. The breasts, compared to fawns, signifies the ability of the believer for receiving the divine life on behalf of others. This capacity, as yet, is small, and in its present stage capable of little more than receiving nourishment for its own needs and the development of its own life. “Everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness — of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action — for he is a mere infant not even able to talk yet!” (Hebrews. 5:13). Paul told the Corinthians, “You are not restrained by us . . . but in your own affections . . . open wide your hearts” (II Corinthians 6:12-13).
In the metaphorical language the Lord uses to describe his maiden, and the characteristics of the new creation that Paul gave us, is striking.
The believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit, recreated in Christ, and built up with all saints “to make a house where God my live” (Ephesians 2:22); therefore it is said to have “doves eyes.” It is “strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man;” It is able to walk in high places (i.e., heavenly places) as the goats appear on Mount Gilead.
It is “renewed in knowledge,” suggested by the figure of the sheep — it has laid aside the wisdom of this world, to be filled with the knowledge of God‘s will in spiritual—as contrasted with natural—understanding. The lips of the new creation are yielded to God for the Spirit to speak. Cleansed in the blood of Christ, they are compared to scarlet, and the speech is lovely.
The heart-humility, so beautiful to God and stamping the veiled temples with modesty, is suggested by the cut pomegranate; steadfastness in the faith, by the neck as a tower; and the breasts, compared to fawns, suggest the capacity for receiving and pouring out of the divine fullness to others.
If any person is engrafted in Christ, he is a new creation—a new creature altogether; the previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! —II Corinthians 5:17
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