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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 10

The New Cruse (continued)

We must keep clearly and strongly before us the fact that, while the Lord must have His testimony maintained in the earth, and while He desires all His people to enter into the fullness of light and truth, and while there are clearly seen to be different companies of His people in Heaven, both as to time and as to position, the main characteristic of any company may be termed "a remnant", or "overcomers", is that of vocation: that is, they stand in a vocational relationship to all other really born-anew children of God. It is something which they are called to be and to do which is preparatory for the rest. They have, among other things, to "pass over armed before their brethren" (Deut. 3:18), to cleave a way and take the first shock of spiritual antagonism.

Now, before defining the nature of this instrument, we will say just a little more on this matter of fellowship. We have recognized two things, namely, that fellowship is limited to the measure of life and of the Spirit, and that for fuller fellowship there must be progress in the life of the Spirit; and then that, inasmuch as every true child of God has something of Himself in them, there should be care and diligence in discovering, unearthing, and fostering that. We have now to see that, no matter how we may seek to go on with the Lord, there can only be true building up of the Body on the ground of fellowship and love.

A satanic Master-Stroke

Perhaps one of the most significant things to any who are "not ignorant of his (satan's) devices" is that there never has been a specially spiritual movement of God in the earth, calculated to serve Him in a particularly useful way, but what satan's animosity thereto has been manifested along the line of division, schism, discord, separation, and a breaking down of fellowship. And how often has the real sting and stigma been modified by a feigning of love unbroken and preserved, when the divided parties would have no association with each other in the things of God. Love, let us again say emphatically, is incumbent upon the Lord's people toward "all men", whether of the "household" or otherwise (Galatians 6:10, but fellowship is something more. It is the most spiritual things which suffer the greatest shocks in this matter, and again we say this carries its own satanic significance.

The methods of the enemy are numberless, the "wiles" unfathomable by human wit. A suggestion of suspicion, if it finds lodgment, is enough to completely paralyze the work of God and spiritual progress. Have a doubt and you are done. There never  was a time when positive spiritual work was more jeopardized by suspicion than now. It would seem that hell is largely employed in issuing forth smoke, clouds, vapors, mists of suspicion, question, reservation, in order to infect with uncertainty, mystification, prejudice, fear, discrediting, distrust, aloofness. It is in the "heavenlies" that this is most registered; that is, the higher ranges of spiritual things. It is an atmosphere, and it is everywhere. You sense it wherever you go. In some places it is stifling - there is no clear breath of the Spirit, and a word of life is almost choked back.

Of course, this is no new thing, although now so intensified. The New Testament is full of it. The Lord Jesus met it - not in spiritual people, only in religious people. John met it. Paul met it in every direction. It was made to circle around his person, his methods, his character, and his message. Even some members of the assembly at Jerusalem showed suspicion and lack of cordiality toward him. Paul's setting aside of the Law, for instance, seemed to them to go beyond even the Lord Himself, Who had not openly abrogated it. Then Paul appealed to "visions and revelations" (2 Corinthians 12:1), but they asserted that these were dubious, or at best they could only serve to ratify his own personal convictions. Again, both Paul and his opponents appealed to the Old Testament, but the letter of the Old Testament seemed undoubtedly to favor the literalists, and his "attempt to read new meanings" into the old revelation seemed to them mere cleverness. They looked on it as barefaced denial of the Divine Word. To them it looked as though he did not believe the Bible. They regarded his innovations as morally dangerous.

Of course, this in substance ought to have no parallel today, but it has in spirit. There is nothing added by revelation to the Scriptures since the New Testament was closed, but there is much to be recognized in them by the enlightenment of the Spirit. There is no new meaning, but there is much new recognition of the meaning.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 11 - (Causes and Precautions)

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