(This is just a slightly edited extract from Chapter 5 The Great Inheritance from the book ‘God’s New Israel’ by T. Austin Sparks. Messages given in Switzerland in 1969.)
The Cross and the Inheritance
This is the deeper, and inward meaning of the Cross, because the New Testament teaches us that the Cross is the place of spiritual circumcision. All this just says one great thing: only truly crucified Christians, and only a truly crucified Church can meet the enemy in the coming battle with any hope of victory. This entering into our inheritance is something which is withstood by all the principalities and powers. All these evil powers in the universe are set against one thing, that is, God having a people for Himself to whom He is going to give the Kingdom, when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and His Christ. I say that all the spiritual forces are set against that. As we have seen, they will fight to keep the people from coming out to the Lord, and if they cannot do that, they will work to keep them from going on. That is the wilderness story! And if they cannot prevent them from going on, they do not give up the battle.
Now you have the story of the Book of Joshua. The people are now in their new possession, and are not fighting with the world. That was in Egypt and in the wilderness. You are not now fighting with the flesh, but you have come through into the heavenly places, and the warfare is in the heavenlies. It is spiritual, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness. There is no hope of victory in this realm unless we have come through the meaning of Jordan and heart circumcision.
Now I come to my last point:
The Battle for the Inheritance
The principalities and powers have the kingdom of this world in their power at present, but that power is the birthright of God’s Son. That kingdom was eternally appointed for the Son of God, and for all who are with Him. Do you think the enemy who so strongly controls this world is going to give it up easily? He will not give up one spiritual metre without a fight! Every bit of spiritual progress is resisted by the evil forces. Surely you know something of what that means!
For many weeks I had a most terrible battle over the message of this conference. Night and day, for a long time, I was in that battle. Then some of you know what a battle it was for you to get here! And I can tell you that it has been like that for many, many years!
Whenever there is something new of the Lord in view, when there is going to be some new ground taken for the Lord, when the Lord’s people are going to move on into something more in Him, there is always a battle. It may be a battle in the spirit, it may be a battle in the soul, it may be a battle in the body, it may be in yourself, or it may be in other people and in other things, but no bit of spiritual ground is going to be taken easily.
The enemy sees the implication of the people of God taking the inheritance; his kingdom is weakened, his reign is shortened, and his days are numbered when the people of God go on to the possession. Are you going to let him win? Are you going on? Are you going to take the kingdom? Are you afraid? You notice that in the first two chapters of Joshua the Lord says to Joshua so often: “Be strong and of a good courage!” Why should we not be afraid and of good courage?
Captain of the Hosts of the Lord; Energies of the Holy Spirit
Go back to Joshua, and you find that it is not he who is in charge. Joshua looked “and, behold there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand… and he said… as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come” (Joshua 5:13,14). It is the captain of the hosts of the Lord who is in charge! Joshua, as we have said, but represents the energies of the Holy Spirit, and it is in this spiritual connection that the Apostle Paul utters some of those wonderful words: “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all ages for ever and ever” (Ephesians 3:20). We can count on the energy of the Holy Spirit! The battle may often be very fierce. The enemies may seem to be very strong, but He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world. 1John 4.4.
Be Strong in the Lord
So our last word in this connection is: “Be strong and of a good courage!”