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Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Stewardship of the Mystery # 43

The Heavenly Man as the Instrument (continued)

3. The Word (Christ) Formed Within Initially and Progressively (continued)

When, begotten of the Holy Spirit, we come at once back into our eternal relationship with God in the Son, a new consciousness springs up within us, a consciousness that was not there before. This "new man" which has been put on, has a new consciousness as to heavenly relationships.

All that is embraced in the words "eternal life." We know that eternal life does not merely imply the fact of duration; it means a kind of life. That eternal life, that life from above, that Divine life in Christ, carries with it all that relates to the Heavenly Man.

Consider the Heavenly Man personally again. "In Him was life ..."; "For as the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself..." (John 5:26). In he Gospel by John, the Lord Jesus says much about Himself as the Heavenly Man, possessing heavenly life, and that heavenly life was the seat of the heavenly nature and the heavenly consciousness; it was through that heavenly life that He conducted Himself as He did. He was alive unto God by that life which He possessed, and this is seen in His being able to know God, to know the movements of God, the directions of God, the gestures of God, the restraints of God. It was all gathered up in that life. That is the principle of His life as of His birth. It is the principle of our birth, and alike the principle of our life as the corporate Heavenly Man.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

That life is by the Holy Spirit. It is always related to a Person; it is not an abstract, a mere element. It is inseparable from the Person, which Person is the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. When you come to the Book of the Acts, you have a great deal disclosed about the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you look at it closely you will see that the coming of the Holy Spirit was invariably related to spiritual union with Christ. Pentecost marked the end of the flesh, the end of that extra ordinary period of His post-resurrection, appearances. It is the beginning of an inward, spiritual relationship with Christ. We may mark the same feature at Caesarea; they believed, and the Holy Spirit was given. At Samaria, again, hands were laid upon those who had believed, and the Holy Spirit was given. And one of the most interesting things in the Book of Acts is that incident at Ephesus. When Paul came to Ephesus, he found certain disciples, and discerned something unusual in their condition, or was it something lacking? To them he says, "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?" (Acts 19:2). That is the correct translation, not "since ye believed" as in the Authorized Version. That in itself assumes that believing implies the receiving of the Spirit. The two things go together. Paul could not quite understand this situation. It was something abnormal. Here were those who professed to believe in Christ, and who in a way had believed in Christ, but that which should go alongside of true faith was not there. Paul found himself confronted by a condition he had never met with before, and on his putting to them the question, "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?" they made answer, "Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was ..." So Paul further inquires, "Into what then were ye baptized?" to which they replied, "Into John's baptism." Ah! now we have the clue. "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Jesus." So they had been baptized into John's baptism, unto an objective, future Christ; not baptized into Christ, but baptized toward Christ. Those are two different baptisms altogether. Paul commanded them to be baptized into the Name of the Lord Jesus, laid his hands upon them, and the Holy Spirit was given. Those two things go together. Union with Christ is shown to involve the receiving of the Spirit. That is not intended by the Lord to be something later on in the spiritual life; it should mark the commencement.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 44)

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