How We Get the Light of Life: (a) The Crisis
That brings us to this question. What is the way into Christ, or how do we get the light of life? Well, the answer is, of course, briefly, to have the light we have to have the life. This light is the light of life. It is the product of life. All Divine light, true light from God, is living light. It is never theoretical light, mere doctrinal light, it is living light. And how do we get this light of life?
We have these two things brought very much before us in this Gospel of John, namely, Christ in us, and we in Christ. The Lord has given us a beautiful illustration of what that means, and that illustration we have read in chapter 12. What is it to be in Christ? What is it to have Christ in us? What is it to be in the life and in the light? What is it to have the life and the light in us? Well, here it is. There is life in that grain of wheat, but it is just one single grain. I want to get the life that is in that single grain into a whole host of grains, enough grains to cover the earth. How shall I do it? Well, the Lord says, put it into the ground: let it fall into the earth and die; let it fall into the dark earth, and let the earth cover it over. What happens? It immediately begins to disintegrate, to fall apart, to yield itself up, as to its own individual and personal life alone. Presently a shoot begins to break through the earth and up the stalk comes, and eventually there is an ear, a heavy ear, of grains of wheat; and if I could actually see life and look into those grains of wheat, I should see that life which was in the one in every one of them. Then I sow that ear, be it one hundred grains I sow, and I get ten thousand; and I sow them again, and they are multiplied a hundredfold, and so on, until the earth is full; and if I could look with a magnifying glass into every one of those millions and millions of grains, and life was something visible to the eye, I should see that that same original life was the life of every one of them. That is the answer.
How does this life get into us, this light of life? The Lord Jesus says that death must take place, a death to what we are in ourselves, a death of our own life, a death to a life apart from Him. We must go down with Him into death, and there, under the act of the Spirit of God in union with Christ buried, there is a transmission of His life to us. And He, coming up no longer merely as a single gran of wheat, comes up manifold in every one of us. It is the miracle that is going on every year in the natural realm. And it is just exactly the principle by which the Lord gets into us. You see the necessity of our ceasing to have a life apart from the Lord, the necessity of our letting that life of ours go absolutely. That is a crisis at the beginning, a real crisis. Sooner or later, it has to be a crisis.
Some may say, I have not had that crisis. For me becoming a Christian was a very, very simple thing. As a child, I was simply taught, or, at some time I simply expressed my personal faith in the Lord Jesus in some way, and from that time I belonged to the Lord; I am a Christian! Are you moving on in the growing fullness of the revelation of the Lord Jesus? Are you? Have you an open heaven? Is God in Christ revealing Himself to you in every great wonder and fullness? Is He? I am not saying that you do not belong to the Lord Jesus, but I am saying to you that the unalterable basis of an open heaven is a grave, and a crisis at which you come to an end of your own self-life. It is the crisis of real experimental identification with Christ in His death, not now for your sins, but as you. Your open heaven depends upon that. it is a crisis. And so with not one or two but with many this have been the way. The truth is this, that they were the Lord's children; they knew Christ, they were saved, they had no doubt about that. But then the time came when the Lord, the Light of Life, showed to them that He not only died to bear their sins in His body on the tree, but He Himself represented them in the totality of their natural life, to put it aside. It was the man, and not only his sins, that went to the Cross. That man is you, that man is me: and many, after years of being Christians, have come to that tremendous crisis of identification with Christ as men, as women, as a part of the human race; not only as sinners, but as a part of a race; natural men and women, not unregenerate, but natural men, all that we are in our natural life. Many have come to that crisis, and from that time everything has been on a vast, a vaster scale than ever before in the Christian life. There has been the open heaven, the enlarged vision, the light of life in a far greater way.
How does it all come about? Just like that, and that crisis is a crisis for us all. If you have not had that crisis, you ask the Lord about it. Mark you, if you are going to have that transaction with the Lord, you are asking for something. This natural man dies hard; he clings tenaciously, he does not like being put aside.
~ T. Austin-Sparks~
(continued with # 27 - Part two of the Crisis)