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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 5

"God's Full Intention Governs Everything That He Does" (continued)

5. The Only Real Value Is the Spiritual

Now I come to the last principle for the present, number five: the only real value is the spiritual. We must remember this when we are reading and studying the Bible, and we must keep this in mind in these times in which we are together. We must not come here just with a thirst for more information or a craving for more and more knowledge and education. Now that constitutes a danger. That is exactly how Adam was caught. You see, satan said: "If you take of this tree, you will know"; it was "the tree of knowledge." And there is always a danger in eating of that tree. It might just lead us into death and not into life. So, I repeat this principle of Biblical interpretation: the only real value is the spiritual. And spiritual value is just how something affects our life with God! I do wish that Adam had recognized that! When satan tempted him to take of "the tree of knowledge," if only Adam had said, "How will this affect my life with God?" he, and we, should have been saved all the trouble!

So, let me say this again, spiritual value is just how something affects our life with God. Shall I put that in another way - spiritual value is just how much something increases the measure of Christ. If Christ is the interpretation of the Bible, then the spiritual knowledge of the Bible results in an increase of Christ. If our days together do not result in an increase of the measure of Christ, we have missed the Way. If we do not go away more Christ-like men and women, with a larger measure of the Lord Jesus, this training course has failed. So I beg of you to pray all the way through that this time together may mean spiritual increase, and not intellectual enlargement, but spiritual knowledge.

Everything has got to be judged by how much it contributes to the Ultimate Purpose of God. We have to ask, "Where does this lead us? Is it leading us anywhere? What is it leading us to?" All spiritual knowledge leads to an increase of Christ; it contributes to the ultimate purpose of God. The question always is "How much of Life is there in it?" It is not a matter of interest; it is not a matter of fascination with Bible truth; it is not a matter of making us more important people, by the enlarging of our natural statue, but it is just a matter of the measure of Christ. That is the real spiritual value.

Now, let us go over our five principles of the interpretation of the Bible. In our second hour together we shall take them over into our special subject for study, just as we will continue to do in the coming days: 1. The Eternity of God; 2. The Comprehensiveness of Christ; 3. The Interpreter is the Holy Spirit; 4. The Final Mention of Everything containing all its Meaning; and 5. The Real Value is the Spiritual.

Also, brethren, before the next session, I would like for you to read the first three chapters of the Prophet Ezekiel. You will have to read them more than once in these coming days, but it would be a help if you will refresh your minds with what is in those three chapters.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6 - "God's End Is Always Present In His Beginnings")

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