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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 63

The Spiritual Basis of the Christian Life (continued)

A New Faculty (continued)

No one thinks that I am speaking about something that is extra to what is in the Word of God. I am speaking about the necessary faculty given by the Holy Spirit, and the necessary work of the Holy Spirit, in order that we should rightly know the mind of the Spirit in the Word of God. If we get on to any other basis than that, all sorts of things will happen, which will be very sad and very distressing and very wrong. The Holy Spirit said through Paul  to Timothy: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God ..." Paul is saying, in effect, 'Look here, we must get back to what the Holy Spirit has given, what has come from the Holy Spirit, and what, therefore, is spiritual. We must get back to what God "means".

John 3 is a tremendous offset, not only to the world of the unconverted and un-born-again, but to a great amount of Christianity as we know it, which is clearly not the Christianity of a different entity, of a different constitution, of a different capacity. Let us be sure that with us it is the right thing, and not the false and the imitation.

The Significance of Pentecost

Let me close with a word of warning. This is not necessarily a special revelation that is given to any particular persons. Be very careful there. It may sound a fine point, but it is a very important one. It does not mean that, because we are so reconstituted and have this other faculty, we get a special revelation. No, it is not a special revelation, but it is a special faculty for knowing what has been revealed.

This is the inclusive and comprehensive meaning of the advent of the Holy Spirit. What took place on the day of Pentecost corresponded, in the history of the Church, to what took place in the personal life of the Lord Jesus at the Jordan. At the Jordan He was baptized, signifying that He was buried, that something was put out of sight. In type, in figure, the natural man goes out of view. He rises in type another man. And then what? Heaven opens, the Spirit descends, and from that point everything is by the Spirit. "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness ..." And then to Nazareth: "And He opened the roll, and found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me ..." Everything is by the Spirit.

Again, let us be understood correctly. We have not said that in the baptism of Jesus an "old man" literally was buried as in the case of all other believers, but that - sin apart - He was taking representatively the ground that we all have to take in one particular respect, that is that nothing shall be in life that is not of the Father by the Holy Spirit. In Him it was wholly true, but in us it is a position to be taken and then made real as we seek to walk in the Spirit.

And so we come to Pentecost. Has the Church in its representation or nucleus been baptized into His death? Well, look at them! Before they are reestablished on resurrection ground, they are baptized into His death right enough. They have come to an end of all natural resources, either for understanding anything, for seeing through anything, or for being able to do anything. They are as good as dead and buried - no prospect, no future. "We hoped ..." - we "hoped", in the past tense - "that it was He which should redeem Israel", and that hope has now gone, there is nothing. Yes, they were in indeed baptized into His death. But now, on the day of Pentecost, what do we find? They are raised as a vessel, and the Heaven is opened, and the Spirit comes and fills it, and from that time everything is by the Spirit. They had a new knowledge - and how their knowledge grew, even in the Word of God! The Word of God, which was for them the Old Testament, had been so largely a closed book, spiritually. They had only got it in the letter, and they were all wrong in their interpretation of it, as it came to be proved. Now the Bible is new for them, because they are on new ground; potentially in the new day of the Spirit.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 64 - (The Testimony of Jesus)

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