A few years ago my wife and I were at a picnic with some of her relatives along a river in southern Alberta called the Oldman River. While they were visiting after the meal I went for a stroll over to the brink of the river. I watched the water flowing and the swallows flying over a bluff on the opposite bank. There was a sense of great age about the place; the sandstone along the bank had long since been worn smooth. This Oldman River had been flowing for a long, long time, sustaining the creation all around it.
As I looked across the water, suddenly a very strong impression arrested me. It wasn’t a vision, but I knew it was Spirit birthed. On the other side of the river I could see in my mind’s eye a New Man, a new-creation man. The thing that arrested me was…oh the simplicity of the life and walk of this Man. Just as the earthly life is to the earthly man, just as sin is to sinners, life in the Spirit was simply nature to this man.
And I realized that this is all God is seeking.
Not that this Man has not yet come into being; He is here, and growing to full maturity, but usually is not recognized for who He actually is. This is the major focus of the New Testament—the transition from one humanity to another, from one man to Another, from the first man Adam to the second Man, Christ, who is the outshining of the glory of God. So we find this expression “in Christ” over and over again in the New Testament—77 times according to the Blue Letter Bible search function. And what does it mean to be in Christ?
If any man be in Christ he is a new creation; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new (2 Cor. 5.17).
This new creation Man, as I said, is all God is seeking. This is what church is all about—or should be: a new-creation Man who walks according to a new Rule of life—the rule of new creation life, which is hardwired in him; this law is written in his heart and mind. So he walks in righteousness and holiness and life and love as simply and as easily as the old man walked in sin.
His life is sustained by a new River, the River of the Spirit of God. The Newman River, I guess you could call it. And not only does this River sustain this New Man, it also flows out from Him. John saw this River proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the City of God. It was running down the middle of the street of the City. In other words, you would have to walk in the water to walk down the street—a beautiful picture of our walk in the Spirit. In this City you must walk in the Spirit to get anywhere.
And the River flows outward, outward from the Throne of God. And so the Throne of God and of the Lamb is in that river of the Spirit, bringing life and healing wherever it flows. It brings an end to the curse God laid on the old creation.
Ezekiel saw this river. He saw it flowing from the temple of God—this Man. It began as a trickle. The man in fine linen with the line of flax measured out a thousand cubits and led Ezekiel through the waters. This happened four times at various depths—water to the ankles, to the knees, to the loins, till the river had become “waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over” (Ezek. 47.5). Ezekiel could no longer touch bottom now, could not find a foothold on anything earthly for a sense of security. He was moving in the total control of the Current of the river wherever that Current was going.
Beloved, God has this for us, a walk in the Spirit that is nature to us, instinct, and we are totally released from the law of sin and death—and from all that is earthly. Moving out into these waters means we must let go of all our securities.
And our insecurities. I’ve been thinking much of this—that the reason we hang on to our insecurities so tightly… it’s actually a sort of security to us, an attempt to secure our own little world.
But we must release our securities, let go of them—and our insecurities, and abandon ourselves to the Current of this River. Being totally ruled by the Spirit of God is the answer to every problem we face either in our own lives or in the whole world. Our own mental toilings are futile; in fact this itself is one of the problems.
It can be a very difficult thing to let go of thought patterns, to break the bondage of anxious or negative thought; we mull over things, dwell on them, feed on them: problems, troubles, difficulties. The answer is to simply get into the Current of this River. The New Man is no longer debtor to anything of the first man, the old man. We are not debtors to his mode of thinking, to the carnal mind. There is another mind, the mind of the New Man, the Lord from Heaven who has all things under His feet.
All things under His feet? Because of this there is a great warfare for this Mind; it is fiercely resisted. But we must wage this warfare and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. For “the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8.6). This is why Paul emphasized again and again that we are to “be transformed by the renewing of our mind,” that we are to “be renewed in the Spirit of our mind,” that we are to “put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Eph. 4.23, Col. 3.10).
More and more we are going to see this new-creation Man in the earth, this Man I saw along the Oldman River that day. We are going to see Him walking in the earth, walking in the Spirit… walking in this River that flows from the Throne of God… and which has that Throne in its waters. That River, the New Man River, is Lord; it flows out from the Throne of God and of the Lamb, and therefore the Throne is in its flowing waters.
All those problems and difficulties that are growing more intense by the day… the New Man is the answer, the new creation Man with the mind of Christ. And so we have great hope in the midst of the grievous things that are taking place in our world. I believe we are entering when days when men will despair of finding answers to the things that are coming upon the earth. All the wisdom of the natural man is going to utterly fail, as the Bible prophesies (Jer. 49.7, Jer. 8.9, 1 Cor. 1.19,20). The wisdom of the mind of Christ—the greater than Solomon—is the only wisdom that will avail.