The Indwelling Nature of the Holy Spirit (continued)
Now we proceed to speak of the Lord's special concern with the inner man. Firstly, we must realize that His supreme quest is for sons of His Spirit. The underlying and all inclusive truth of what has come to be called the "parable of the Prodigal Son," is the transition from one kind of sonship, e.g., on the ground of law, to another, e.g., that on the ground of grace. From the flesh to the Spirit. There is a sonship of God by creation on the basis of law. In this sense "we are all the offspring of God." But by "the fall," the "going astray" or "deviating" (Genesis 6:3), all the Divine purposes and possibilities of that relationship have broken down, and that relationship is no longer of value, "He has become flesh," hence is "separated from God", in "a far country," and "dead," as well as "lost." Here grace enters and the Spirit through grace. The Spirit begins operations in that realm of death and distance, convicting of sin "against heaven" (the only adequate conviction), compassing the end of the works of the flesh in despair and destruction, constraining, assuring, producing penitence and confession, and at length bringing to the place of forgiveness and acceptance. From death unto life, but not the same life as before, there is no "again" in the original of the last clause of Luke 15, it is a life which never was before. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is "spirit."
This man is the product of the travail and energizing of the Spirit, and everything in the relationship afterward is new. A "new robe," the robe of Divine righteousness. "New shoes," a walk and a way in the Spirit (Romans 8:2, 4). A ring, the symbol of authority, the jurisdiction of sons (John 1:12, 13). The fatted calf; food such as never was before, the best of the Father's house. Each of these points has in the scriptures a whole system of teaching.
The spirit of man being then the place of the new birth, and the seat of this only true sonship (Galatians 4:5-6). It also therefore being "The new man" - for it is "in newness of the Spirit" that we are to live (Romans 7:6) - here it is that all the operations of God in our education, fellowship, and co-operation have their base.
(continued with # 6)