J N Darby – French Letter No. 140 – Philippians and Ephesians

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

140[1]

London – 6th June 1869

To Mr B

Beloved Brother

I am so glad of news which you give me of Italy. I hope to be able to go there, but God alone knows if and when this will be possible. I very much feared having perhaps to go back to America; however I counted on God and He has put His good hand where the enemy had sought to put things in disarray; and had for a short time.

I propose to go to France, but I also have Germany in view where they complain a little about my prolonged absence. For the moment, I am occupied with the new edition of my New Testament. I am waited on to this end and that holds me back for now. Others can do the corrections at the press, but the verification of all my new notes and little corrections that I have had to do require my care. It could well be that next year, if God preserves my strength, I will go again to Canada and the United States.

Things are good in the West Indies, and they have been encouraged by our visit. I will return to my Italian. F writes to me in this language and I have no difficulty at all in understanding his letters, but to speak is something else. I bless God with all my heart for these meetings in Italy, which I know by repute by means of L F.

As to your journey, dear brother, often a brother who has something is less well-placed than he who has nothing. It is supposed that perhaps he has enough, while another has to be sent. I know of such cases. If I remember well, Mr E sent something that you returned him for a motive that I could perfectly appreciate. I hope that this will not happen a second time. There are very humbling cases of discipline in Switzerland, better this than covert sin, but it is sad, and it must humble those who are not there. However, God is always good and faithful and full of patience towards us, although we are such a poor expression of the life of Jesus. There are two principles of Christian life: that of the Philippians and that of the Ephesians, according to the point of view from which one views the Christian. [In Philippians] he goes through the wilderness, looking towards the glory and pursues it, or rather desires to gain Christ[2]. [In Ephesians] he is seated in the heavenlies[3] and must manifest the character of God as His dear children. What a position! This requires us to do as Paul has done, that one always bears about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus[4]. This is Christ, God manifested in flesh, who is the perfect expression of it. The first principle gives the grounds which deliver you from what is of this world and of the flesh; the second the communion with the sources of those ways of God in which we must walk, communion with God Himself. Truly, when one sees what the prize of our privileges is, we are small indeed, but while judging ourselves as we must, one must look to Jesus, not to oneself.

I hope that my letter will find your wife perfectly recovered. I will write a word when I get going.

My affectionate salutations to all the brethren

Yours very affectionately

 

Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013

Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

[1] a different version of this letter also appears in JND’s published Letters – vol 3 p26

[2] See Phil 3: 8,14

[3] See Eph 2: 6

[4] See 2 Cor 4: 10

Darby on Romans – Introduction to Romans

We need to understand two aspects of man’s state of sin

Man as living in evil ways, alive to sin and lust. According to Romans, death must come in to free him from the evil – redemption by grace.
Man as dead towards God. Ephesians treats man as dead in sins and gives us new creation.

RomeBackground in Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians

It may facilitate our apprehension of the epistle to the Romans, if we briefly survey Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians.

We need to understand two aspects of man’s state of sin

  1. Man as living in evil ways, alive to sin and lust. According to Romans, death must come in to free him from the evil – redemption by grace.
  2. Man as dead towards God. Ephesians treats man as dead in sins and gives us new creation.

Galatians

Galatians brings out the following points: –

  1. Promise, in contrast with law, which brought a curse and no justification of man
  2. Redemption from that curse, by Christ’s being made a curse for us
  3. The promised Seed, come of the woman (once the source of sin), to redeem those under the law.

The law had been the school-master until Christ came. Now, as sons by faith, having the Spirit, we are consciously heirs – not servants but sons.   The flesh, our evil nature, may lust against the Spirit, but, we are not under law. There can be no law against the fruit of the Spirit – elementary, though most important teaching.

 

Ephesians

Ephesians begins with the counsels of God:

  1. Our place before God, morally like Himself
  2. Christ’s position, as gone to His Father and our Father, His God and our God
  3. God’s purposes as to the Christ Himself, head over all as Man
  4. The inheritance and the earnest of the Spirit given to us
  5. The present exaltation of Christ
  6. The working of the same power in us, so we are raised with Him
  7. The church His body associated with Him
  8. Christ as Head over all things, to the church.

Eph. 2 gives Christ’s work. God’s power comes in and raises us up into His place of glory and blessing. We are sons and heirs.   The church, Christ’s body is united to Him, something hidden from all ages and generations, impossible to exist or be revealed till the middle wall of partition had been broken down.

The gifts of the Spirit from the Man on high builds up the saints, forms the body in union with Christ, and evangelises the world. From Eph. 4:17 onward we have practical conduct.  Having been brought to God in Christ, we are to display God’s own character, Christ being the perfect pattern in man. Having put off the old man and put on the new, we love one another as Christ loves His church. Finally we are God’s warriors in Canaan – that is, in heavenly places – and have need of God’s whole armour against spiritual wickedness, walking in dependence on God.

 

Colossians

In Colossians saints are not sitting in heavenly places, but with a hope laid up for them in heaven. Their are affections are to be set on things above, where Christ sits. They are buried with Him by baptism unto death (as Rom. 6). The believer is looked at as previously alive in his sins, but now quickened with Christ (Col. 2:13). Colossians does not reach on to the full level of Ephesian doctrine, but we do not get these thoughts in Romans at all.

The fullness of the Godhead is in Christ in Colossians; in Ephesians it is the body that is His fullness. The glory of an exalted Christ is before the Christian’s eyes – the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

This should enable us to study the epistle to the Romans more intelligently. Romans does not develop the counsels of God, but lays the ground for their accomplishment. All have sinned, Jew and Gentile, and have the same fleshly nature. There is no difference: God’s righteousness is applicable to both. Sins are put away, and we have deliverance from the old man. Romans treats the responsibility of man, explains God’s righteousness, and unfolds His grace unfolded as the source and principle of God’s dealings with us.

The epistle to the Romans furnishes the eternal principles of God’s relationship with man – the way in which, by means of Christ’s death and resurrection, the believer is established in blessing.   It reconciles of these things with the promises made to the Jews, by Him whose gifts and calling are without repentance.

 

Romans comprises several parts:

 

 A simplified summary of part of the introduction to John Nelson Darby’s  Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans 

 

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Ephesians

In Ephesians we have the relationships of the saints with God the Father, and with the ascended Christ.

Outline of Bible coverIn Ephesians we have the relationships of the saints with God the Father, and with the ascended Christ.

First we have our calling, involving our relationships with God and with the Father. Then we have our acquaintance with all God’s plans, everything being headed up in Christ. Hence we know our inheritance, and our place as heirs, the Holy Spirit having been given as earnest till the redemption of the inheritance.

In chap.1, Paul prays to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ (Christ being looked at as man), that the saints might know what God’s calling and inheritance is, and that we might appreciate the power that works in us. This power was shown in Christ, when God raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand, setting Him over all things, and making the church His body and completeness.

Then, in sovereign grace, we are quickened, raised, and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ. This shows the exceeding riches of His kindness to us. The Gentiles were afar off; the Jews were dispensationally near, all forming one new man in Chris – the dwelling-place of God on earth by the Spirit. Thus we have the assembly connected both with Christ as His body on high, and as God’s dwelling-place on earth by His Spirit.

The mystery is now introduced for the first time. It is a witness of the all-various wisdom of God in heavenly places. The apostle then prays to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that we may realise the full blessedness of this, Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. Being rooted and grounded in love, we are to be able to comprehend the infinitely wide extent of the character of God’s glory, and to know the love of Christ. So we can at the centre of it all according to the fullness of God Himself. With this he ascribes glory to God in the church in all ages, implying the distinct, continuous existence of the assembly.

Note that in chapter 3:15 read “every family,” instead of “the whole family.” (As in Darby version) In verse 18, the breadth, and depth, and length, and height is not “of the love.” The whole of chapter 3 is parenthetic, and the first words of chapter 4 connect themselves with the beginning of chapter 3.

At the start of chapter 4 the apostle unfolds, in connection with the headship of Christ, the various unities into which we are brought. There are three unities: a real one, one of profession, and a universal one in God. First, one body, one Spirit and one hope. Secondly, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Thirdly, one God and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in us all. We are to walk in lowliness, so as to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Then we have the gifts – instruments of building and edification. The gifts are from the ascended Man, who overcame Satan and led him captive, so as to gather and perfect the make those who were formerly Satan’s captives, the instruments of His own warfare in power. At the same time He who ascended is the One who first descended into the lower parts of the earth, so as to fill all things. The measure to which the saints are to be brought up is that of the stature of the fullness of Christ Himself; the body being fitted together, and supplied by every joint in order for its own building up. We start with the individual. Then we get exhortations connected with the new man being created of God in righteousness and true holiness. It is only the new man which has to do with righteousness and holiness.

We are to be imitators of God, and act as Christ Himself has acted in love – the perfect expression of God – the new man. Furthermore, in this new man we are light in the Lord.   The measure of our walk and works is the light itself, of which Christ, if we are awake, is to us the perfect outshining. Hence we are to be wise in the midst of this world. In going through our relative duties, Paul speaks of the relationship of the church to Christ, founded on the working of His love. He first gives Christ’s giving Himself for it; next, Christ sanctifies and cleanses it by the word; and, thirdly, He presents it to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Two things are to be noted:

  1. That, in the analogy with Adam and Eve, Christ stands in the place both of Adam and God.
  2. The intimate connection between Christ’s present operation and the glory.

He sanctifies and cleanses the church, so that He might present it to Himself. Then, the church, as well as being His wife, is presented as His body. According to the analogy of Eve. Christ is looked at as nourishing and cherishing it, as a man would his own flesh (chap. 5).

Finally, Christians are exhorted to put on the whole armour of God, and in His might enter into combat, entirely dependent on Him (chap. 6).

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  September 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Canticles
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation

lay-preachingIn addition to his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, John Nelson Darby produced a short outline.  They were based on a series of lectures in Birmingham.   This is being reproduced here.

As time allows I will go through it, making the language clearer and up to date, only where necessary.  This will not be a summary.

Click on the appropriate book for the summary.

To download a DRAFT version of the booklet in PDF format, please click here. – Outline to the Bible

The Old Testament

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

The New Testament

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation