Vision is the background, the foundation, the basis of life and service in relation to the Lord Jesus. Vision has a wonderful power amongst the Lord’s people. One of the effects of true vision, God-given vision, is to emancipate them from all that is less than the Lord, and that is no small effect. It is an emancipating power. This is where vision is needed so badly today. The Lord’s people are so cramped, so small, so narrow, so bound, so shut in, hedged in, so parochial in their spiritual horizon. They are so limited by the common traditional acceptances, by “as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be” so far as a system is concerned. That is something which has become static, fixed. Paul himself moved in a very rigid and fixed realm, the realm of “Thou shalt,” and “Thou shalt not,” which had almost countless points of application in the sphere of a very rigid system of religious life, which mainly held him down to this earth. Then he had the vision of the Lord, and in the day in which he received his God-given vision he was emancipated from this earth, emancipated from everything earth-binding even in a religious way. He was emancipated from all that which had so rigidly and firmly, and with such terrific power, bound him all his previous life. It is one of the miracles of the New Testament how a rabid Pharisee, such a deeply dyed Jew as was Saul of Tarsus, should be stripped of the whole of that tyranny and bondage of Judaism, and come right out into a clear place where he said such a thing as this: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
Think of a man like Saul of Tarsus saying that, with all the history behind him, the birth, the upbringing, and the training. It is not easy to get rid of a thing which is in your blood, and has been in your blood for countless generations. That was Judaism. All that tremendous vehemence of Saul of Tarsus as he was, more zealous than the rest; “I advanced… beyond many of mine own age… being more exceedingly zealous…,” he said all that was in the man’s blood. And then you find that man out of it, repudiating it and turning upon it, ready to fight it, with a new force and a new power to lay it low. What has done that? Vision! Not just a mystical vision, but something more than the psychical. It is the miracle of a revelation of Jesus Christ, and nothing other than that will do it. This kind of vision emancipates from all that is less than the Lord, even though it be of a religious order.
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