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Friday, December 26, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 19

The Overcomer (continued)

The Supreme Effort of satan (continued)

The second thing that comes out of this is that the Holy Spirit always demands the ground of the Cross for His activity, if the glory of God is in view. But then, the Cross registers the removal of all that serves satan. Now, it would take a long time to cover that ground again to see the things that served satan. What was it that served satan in Cain? Covetousness, personal ambition, jealousy, pride! That worked itself out in the murder of Abel - but the murder of Abel as an expression of hatred for God (although Cain may have been blind to the deeper nature of the thing.) What was it that served satan in Balaam? Greed, covetousness, world-gain. The Cross registers the removal by destruction of all that served satan, and for us it is gathered up in one word: SELF.

What a wide word that is - what a comprehensive word! The stronger term is "the flesh." Some people do not know what you mean when you talk about the "flesh." They begin to think of positive vices and iniquities of deep dye. But the "flesh" is only another term for "self." Self is a very subtle thing, a many-sided thing. It includes self-interest, self-glory, self-preservation, self-realization, self-advancement - all those considerations of influence and good-standing and prestige and following, and being understood and spoken well of. The phases of "self" are legion, and they, every one of them, serve satan.

Moreover, they serve him in this other sense, that they divide the rights of God an usurp the place of God: and therefore, wherever there is the slightest suggestion or insinuation of self, the Glory of God is obscured and the Cross has got to be applied there. The Cross is not applied in the work of God just because God wants us out of it for the sake of having us out of it, to humble, to crush, to break us; no, it has this great end in view - HIS GLORY. And our glory depends upon His glory. We cannot come to glory until He receives His rights in the universe; and the Cross is the way there. The Holy Spirit demands the ground of the Cross in us, because the glory of God is in view. The Cross, dear friend, means utter devotion to God's glory. The Holy Spirit only works on that ground - He has only ever worked on that ground. A pure work of the Holy Spirit, completely immune from satan's touch, requires the Cross, which means complete separation from all of the old ground.

Perhaps you have read the wonderful record of what God did in China through His servant, Dr. Jonathan Goforth - a work of the Spirit in mighty revival. I think I have read few things which are more literal fulfillments of words which are often mentioned among us: "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things, and difficult, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3). When this true man of God arrived at a certain place, he was told immediately that he must not expect anything there such as he had had elsewhere, for there were difficulties. But there the Holy Spirit came in, and under His constraint different people got up and confessed such things as were never suspected - confessed them in public - in a mighty movement of God. But the Spirit of the Lord kept very short accounts with His servant, and every suggestion and insinuation of the devil through his "flesh" had to be met.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 20 - The Altar, The House, The Name)

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