Faith In Relation to Life (continued)
a. Freshness (continued)
The Church is His new creation. The Church is His new cruse, to refer to Elisha and the falling fruit of the trees of Jericho, because of the lack of this vital element in the water. "Bring me a new cruse," he said, "and put salt therein" (2 Kings 2:20). The waters were healed. And Pentecost is the counterpart of that. The Church is the new cruse with the life in it, to counteract all the death in this world: there is newness of life, and newness of vessel. The Lord Jesus put His finger upon this very principle when He said: "No man" (He might have added, 'much less God') "putteth new wine into old wineskins" (Mark 2:22). It is folly. 'If you do that, you will lose everything', He said. "No man seweth a piece of undressed cloth on an old garment" (vs. 21); neither does God do that kind of thing. He must have everything new and fresh. We could go on. If you look up the words "new" and "Newness", you will be surprised how much they cover in the New Testament. Everything is new where this life is.
The second feature of this life is its productiveness, or productivity. That is God's method of increase. There is all the difference between putting on, adding to, accretion from the outside, and increase from the inside. That is God's principle, the organic principle of increase and multiplication by life from within, and it really does happen that way. Life produces life, and life produces organisms after its own kind: the seed has the life in itself to reproduce, to multiply a hundredfold.
That is a testimony, but it is also a test and a challenge. If there is no increase, then there is something wrong in the matter of the life. If you and I are not bearing fruit, if we are not really in the way of increase, then we need to look to this matter of our life. For it is inevitable, it is spontaneous. If there is to be productivity, there must be life: and if there is life, then there is reproduction - unless, of course, we thwart the life or get across the life. If somehow or other we block up the wells, then our fruitfulness ceases.
(continued with # 29)