"Having Not the Spirit" (Jude 19)
What then are these general effects which the Spirit always produces on those who really have Him? What are the marks of His presence in the soul? This is the question which now remains to be considered. Let us try to set down these marks in order.
1. All who have the Spirit are quickened by Him, and made spiritually alive. He is called in Scripture, "The Spirit of life." (Romans 8:3). "It is the Spirit," says our Lord Jesus Christ, "that quickeneth." (John 6:63). We are all by nature dead in trespasses and sins. We have neither feeling nor interest about religion; we have neither faith, nor hope, nor fear, nor love: our hearts are in a state of torpor; they are compared in Scripture to a stone. We may be alive about money, learning, politics, or pleasure, but we are dead towards God. All this is changed when the Spirit comes into the heart. He raises us from this state of death, and makes us new creatures. He awakens the conscience, and inclines the will towards God. He causes old things to pass away, and all things to become new. He gives us a new heart; He makes us put off the old man, and put on the new. He blows the trumpet in the ear of our slumbering faculties, and sends us forth to walk the world as if we were new beings. How unlike was Lazarus shut up in the silent tomb, to Lazarus coming forth at our Lord's command! How unlike was Jairus' daughter lying cold on her bed amidst weeping friends, to Jairus' daughter rising and speaking to her mother as she wont to do! Jesus as unlike is the man in whom the Spirit dwells to what he was before the Spirit came into him.
I appeal to every thinking reader. Can he whose heart is manifestly full of everything but God, - hard, cold, and insensible, - can he be said to "have the Spirit"? Judge for yourself.
2. All who have the Spirit are taught by Him. He is called in Scripture, "The Spirit of wisdom and revelation." (Ephesians 1:17). It was the promise of the Lord Jesus, "He shall teach you all things;" "He shall guide you into all truth." (John 14:13). We are all by nature ignorant of spiritual truth. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: they are foolishness to him." (1 Cor. 2:14). Our eyes are blinded. We neither know God, nor Christ, nor ourselves, nor the world, nor sin, nor heaven, nor hell, as we ought. We see everything under false colors. The Spirit alters entirely this state of things. He opens the eyes of our understandings; He illumines us; He calls us out of darkness into marvelous light; He takes away the veil; He shines into our hearts, and makes us see things as they really are. No wonder that all true Christians are so remarkably agreed upon the essentials of true religion! The reason is that they have all learned in one school, - the school of the Holy Spirit. No wonder that true Christians can understand each other at once, and find common ground of communion! They have been taught the same language by One who lessons are never forgotten.
I appeal again to every thinking reader. Can he who is ignorant of the leading doctrines of the Gospel, and blind to his own state, - can he be said to "have the Spirit'? Judge for yourself.
3. All who have the Spirit are led by Him to the Scriptures. This is the instrument by which He specially works on the soul. The Word is called "the sword of the Spirit." Those who are born again are said to be "born by the Word." All Scripture was written under His inspiration: He never teaches anything which is not therein written. He causes the man in whom He dwells to "delight in the law of the Lord." (Psalm 1:2). Just as the infant desires the milk which nature has provided for it, and refuses all other food, so does the soul which has the Spirit desire the sincere milk of the Word. Just as the Israelites fed on the manna in the wilderness, so are the children of God taught by the Holy Spirit to feed on the contents of the Bible.
I appeal again to every thinking reader. Can he who never reads the Bible, or only reads it formally, - can he be said to "have the Spirit"? Judge for yourself.
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 7)