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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Words of Wisdom and Revelation # 17-3

Words of Wisdom and Revelation # 17-3

The Holy Spirit An Earnest, continued -

You see how we answer all our questions. I answer all my technical questions by looking to see what it means to me that the Holy Spirit is in me. What is the spirit pointing to? What is the significance of today's touch of the Spirit upon my spirit? That is an earnest of something. If that is followed through it will grow and develop and it will lead me somewhere. That is going to answer all my questions if I have got that principle. Have I been too difficult for you? Oh, listen to the Spirit, and then, when the Spirit checks you, urges you, moves in you, gives you a bad time or gives you joy in your heart, note what that means, what it is leading to. Oh, there is something bound up with that, there is something at the end of that.  I interpret everything in life by that touch of the Spirit and that answers all my questions. If the Spirit touches my mortal body today with His living finger and quickens it, I do not at once conclude that I have become immortal, that death for ever has gone and in corruption has settled down in my mortal frame. But I can say, "My resurrection body will be like that in fullness. It will simply be the consummation of that touch I have known today. I have a wonderful accession of life today, but the time is coming when that very thing will have been developed to its fullest extent and I shall live utterly by Divine life. I have the Spirit as an earnest." I am trying to illustrate this thing. The Spirit touching us in any way, dealing with us in any way as sons of God, is pointing on to what it will be when sonship is manifested (the day of the manifestation of the sons) and the creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption.

Now all that is detail. You can drop the detail and get back to the foundation. What is it? The Holy Spirit is basic to everything. We shall never get anywhere without the Holy Spirit; we shall never know anything without the Holy Spirit; we shall never reach anything in the purpose of God without the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit has to be a conscious life with us: growingly so, as in the case of a baby. The baby has very little self-conscious life to begin with. As a baby,most things are done for it. But it is not long before the very first and remote signs of conscious life are there. Whereas up to a point there seems to be no consciousness of anything in particular, suddenly you will see a baby get its eyes fixed upon something; suddenly it sees something. From that time, the baby is taking account of something. It does not understand, but it is aware of some object and cannot take its eyes from it. It comes back to it and, as the days go by, seems to look for it. Self-conscious life has started, and from that time onward that grows. In the spiritual life it is just like that.

At the beginning, most things are done for us from the outside, although there is a remote sense of a new self-conscious spiritual life. But, as we grow, the Spirit's presence in us has to become more and more a conscious life of government; and these who are led by the Spirit of God are sons. That is the foundation. It is the foundation of growth, it is the foundation of understanding, it is the foundation of God's purpose, it is the foundation of all that is wrapped up in our relationship with God.

Forgive me for being so elementary, but if we can only get this, it is the key to everything. We do not want to have certain questions answered in a technical way to the satisfaction of our minds, but we get at the answer spiritually. We are never really satisfied by having a question answered so that our minds can grasp it. Presently we shall come up against new features of the thing and want new explanations. But if we can have the answer conveyed to our spirit - ah, then we are satisfied, and I say the answer is found in the presence of the Spirit and what the Spirit is indicating by His present dealings with us. What do His dealings with us indicate? What is the end of it all? If the Spirit today touches us upon a question of wrong, of evil, of something doubtful, what is the end of that? The end is holiness, perfect holiness. It will take some time because there are many things to be dealt with. But the end, when reached, is a holy being. So with everything else. In this the Spirit is therefore the foundation.

Adjustableness A Mark of A Life Governed By the Holy Spirit

There are some other things that come up in that connection. One of them is this, that a mark of sonship or of a Spirit-governed life is adjustableness. Now, I want you to grasp this. You see, it means that nothing is final with us, so far as our attainment is concerned or our light, and that we can never, if we are under the Holy Spirit's government, come to a fixed place. We can never come to the place where we just accept everything and go on with it rigidly as it is. Oh no, a Spirit-governed life can never do that, can never become stagnant, can never become fixed. There can never be any sense of finality about the position or state in such a life. I am not talking now about those great truths which are settled, to which nothing is added or need be added. We are settled, of course, in the matter of what Christ has done and what Christ is, those great objective truths of our faith. I am not talking about that, but of our understanding, our apprehension, our knowledge, our growth, our relationship to these things, our position. These are all things which must remain open to enlargement, to expansion, and it may be, to drastic  changes. You see, in traditional Christianity we have come into something that is more or less fixed. It is fixed in different ways. If you are a Baptist, then your position is a fixed position. If you are a Presbyterian or a Methodist, etc., it is the same. These are things which are rounded off. I am only illustrating, not judging. What is within these things is something to which you have conformed, of which you are a member. That is your bound, your world. I have only cited one or two examples. I could take any number of things.

Now then, where are we? How did we get in? Perhaps we were born, brought up, in those things, or perhaps we came into them later. But they are something, and they represent a fixed position and we, if in them, are fixed and governed by that position. That is to say, within them, certain things are interpreted in this way, certain things are practised in this way, the method there is this method; and how often, when you have been speaking of things, have you had this reaction from people, "Oh yes, but I was never brought up to that way of thinking. In the church to which I belong" (really referring to the denomination) "it is taught and practiced like this." That is a fixed position. Let me say it, without judging these things, that any fixed position is a contradiction of the Holy Spirit and of sonship. It does not matter what the position is; and it may be (I am only going to say it may be, I could put it more strongly than that) that if you really come under the government of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of sonship, you will have to make very drastic changes and cease to be this and that, and go on with God. Adjustableness is a mark of sonship, and, as the Holy Spirit has never brought any of us yet to a final position, there is more light and understanding yet to be received. The ways of God are not all known to us yet.

We must remember there is all the difference between the permissive will of God, for such instruction in us as can never be gained in any other way, and the whole will of God, which is another thing. We all have to look back on our lives and believe that certain steps which were taken and courses followed were in the will of God for us. Yet, in later life, we have had to repudiate the position into which we then came, entirely change and adjust. But, beloved, I am going to say this: it does not mean that it was not the will of God for us that we took that step. The Lord may, at one time, in His permissive will, lead us in a certain way, because of its being the only way we can learn certain things we have to learn. But it does not mean that God intends us to stay there for ever, that He has settled us there, and that, we dare not ever contemplate moving out of it. That is bondage. You and I as sons have to know liberty from bondage of every kind, and that means that we are adjustable, free for adjustments, not bound by any kind of conception that would prevent us from making changes as we are led by the Spirit; and it is true of every life that is Spirit governed that tremendous changes take place. The things which at one time would never have been considered nor contemplated, have become actualities now. The basis of the life of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit producing sonship means that you and I have to be adjustable, and if we are not adjustable there is arrest at once: we are in bondage, we are in limitation. The Lord Jesus was adjustable under the government of the Holy Spirit. He was not playing a trick on His brethren when one day they came to Him and said, 'We are going up to the feast. Are you going up with us? If you do not go, people will wonder; you will prejudice your interests.' He said, 'No, you go up, I am not going up.' Yet when they were gone up, then Jesus went up to the feast. Is He playing a trick on them? Was He simply saying, Well, I would rather go alone, I would like to get rid of you? He had not the witness of the Spirit at that moment that He was to go, and therefore He had to stand His ground and take the risk of being misunderstood. But when they had gone up, He evidently got the Spirit's witness that He should go up; and He did not say, I have told them I was not going up: they will think I have played a trick on them, that I did not want them. No, He did not argue like that, but moved in the Spirit and left it all with the Father. He was not bound by those considerations of what people would think and say either way. If they should talk because He was not there - all right, let them talk. As for Him, He must be true to the Father. Adjusting, even if it is at an hour's notice, that is life in the Spirit, that is sonship.

This is the basis of victory over the devil. There is no defeating satan save on this ground of walking by the Spirit, of being governed by Him. May the Lord give us understanding in these basic things about our life with Him.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)


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