Andrew Murray.

The Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church online

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In olden times believers met God, knew Him,
walked with Him, had the clear and full conscious-
ness that they had dealings with the God of heaven,
and had, too, through faith, the assurance that they
and their lives were well-pleasing to Him. When
the Son of God came to earth, and revealed the
Father, it was that such intercourse with God, and
tlie assurance of His favour, might become clearer,
and be the abiding portion of every child of God.
When He was exalted to the Throne of Glory, it
was that He might send down into our hearts the
Holy Spirit, in whom the Father and the Son have
their own blessed life in heaven, to maintain in us,
in Divine power, the blessed life of fellowship with
God. It was to be one of the marks of the New
Covenant that each member of it should walk in
personal communion with God. * They shall teach
no more every man his neighbour. Know the Lord :
for they shall all know me, from the least to the
greatest of them, saith the Lord ; for I will forgive
their iniquity.' The personal fellowship and know-


ledge of God in the Holy Spirit was to be the
fruit of the pardon of sin. The Spirit of God's
own Son, sent into our hearts to do each moment a
work as Divine as the work of the Son in redeeming
us, to displace our life and replace it by the life
of Christ in power, to make the Son of God
divinely and consciously present with us always —
this was what the Father had promised as the
distinctive blessing of the New Testament. The
fellowship of God as the Three-One was now to be
within us; the Spirit revealing the Son in us, and
through Him the Father.

That there are but few believers who realize this
walk with God, this life in God, such as their Father
has prepared for them, no one will deny. Nor will
it admit of dispute what the cause of this failure is.
It is acknowledged on all hands that the Holy
Spirit, through whose Divine Omnipotence this
inner revelation of the Son and the Father in the life
and the likeness of the believer is to take place, is
not known or acknowledoed in the Church as He
should be. In our preaching and in our practice
He does not hold that place of prominence which
He has in God's plan and in His promises. While our
creed on the Holy Spirit is orthodox and scriptural,
His presence and power in the life of believers, in
the ministry of the word, in the witness of the
Church to the world, is not what the word promises
or God's plan requires.

There are not a few who are conscious of this
great need, and earnestly ask to know God's miud


concerning it, and the way of deliverance out of it.
Some feel that their own life is not what it should
and might he. Many of them can look back to
some special season of spiritual revival, when their
whole life was apparently lifted to a higher
level. The experience of the joy and strength of
the Saviour's presence, as they learned that He
would keep them trusting, was, for a time, most
real and blessed. But it did not last : there was a
very gradual decline to a lower stage, with much of
vain effort and sad failure. They would fain know
where the evil lies. There can be little doubt that
the answer must be this : they did not know or
honour the Indwelling Spirit as the strength of
their life, as the power of their faith, to keep them
always looking to Jesus and trusting in Him.
They knew not what it was, day by day, to wait in
lowly reverence for the Holy Spirit to deliver
from the power of the flesh, and to maintain the
wonderful presence of the Father and the Son
within them.

There are many more, tens of thousands of God's
dear children, who as yet know little of any
temporary experiences of a brighter life than one of
never-ending stumbling and rising. They have
lived outside of revivals and conferences ; the
teaching they receive is not specially helpful in
the matter of entire consecration. Their sur-
roundings are not favourable to the growth of the
spiritual life. There is many an hour of earnest
longing to live more according to the will of God,


but the prospect of its being really possible to walk
and please God, worthy of the Lord to all well-
pleasing, has hardly dawned upon them. To the
best part of their birthright as God's children, to
the most precious gift of the Father's love in Christ,
the gift of the Holy Spirit, to dwell in them, and
to lead them, they are practically strangers.

I would indeed count it an unspeakable privilege
if my God would use me to bring to these His
beloved children the question of His Word : ' Know
ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the
Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? ' and then to tell
them the blessed news of what that glorious work
is which this Spirit, whom they have within them,
is able to do in each of them. I would, if I might,
show them what it is that has hitherto hindered
that Spirit from doing His blessed work, and how
divinely simple the path is by which each upright
soul can enter into the joy of all that He has been
given to work within us, even the full revelation of
the presence of the Indwelling Jesus. I have
humbly asked my God that He would give, even in
my feeble words, the quickening of His Holy Spirit,
that through them the Thoughts and the Truth, the
Love and the Power of God, may enter and shine
into the hearts of many of His children, and bring
in blessed reality and experience the wondrous Gift
of Love of which they tell — the Life and the Joy of
the Holy Ghost, as He brings nigh and glorifies
within them that Jesus whom hitherto they have
only known at a distance, high above them.


I must confess to having had still another wish.
I have strong fears — I desire to say it in deep
humility — that in the theology of our Churches the
Teaching and Leading of the Spirit of Truth, the
anointing which alone teacheth all things, has not
the practical recognition which a Holy God demands,
which our Saviour meant Him to have. If the
leaders of our church-thought and church-councils,
if our professors of theology and our commentators,
if our ministers and students, our religious writers
and workers, were all fully conscious of the fact
that in everything that concerns the Word of God,
and the Church of Christ, and the work of Saving
Love to be done on the earth in the name of Christ,
it was meant that the Holy Spirit should have the
same distinct and supreme place of honour that He
had in the Church of the Acts of the Apostles,
surely the signs of that honour given and accepted,
the marks of His Holy Presence would be clearer.
His mighty works more manifest. I trust it has not
been presumptuous in me to hope that what has
been written may help to remind even our Masters
in Israel of what is so easily overlooked, that the
first, the indispensable requirement for what is
really to bear fruit for eternity is, that it be full of
the power of the Eternal Spirit.

I am well aware that it is expected of what asks
the attention of our men of mind and culture, our
scientific theologians, that it shall bear such marks
of scholarship, of force of thought and power of
expression, as I cannot dare to lay claim to. And


yet I venture to ask any of these honoured brethren
under whose eyes these lines may come, to regard
the book, if in no other aspect, at least as the echo
of a cry for light rising from ten thousand hearts,
as the statement of questions for the solution of
which many are longing. There is a deep feeling
abroad that the Scripture ideal, that Christ's own
promise of what the Church should be, and its actual
state, do not correspond.

Of all questions in theology there is none that
leads us more deeply into the glory of God, or
that is of more intense vital and practical im-
portance for daily life, than that which deals with
what is the consummation and culmination of the
Revelation of God and the work of Eedemption : in
what way and to what extent God's Holy Spirit can
dwell in, can fill, can make into a holy and beautiful
temple of God, the heart of His child, making Christ
reign there as an Ever-present and Almighty Saviour.
It is the question in theology of which the solution,
if it were sought and found in the presence and
teaching of the Spirit Himself, would transform all
our theology into that knowledge of God which is
eternal life.

Of theology, in every possible shape, we have no
lack. But it is as if, with all our writing, and
preaching, and working, there is something wanting.
Is not the power from on high the one thing we
lack ? May it not be that, with all our love for
Christ and labour for His cause, we have not made
the chief object of our desire what was the chief


object of His heart when He ascended the throne —
to have His disciples as a company of men waiting
for the clothing with the power of tlie Holy Ghost,
that in that power of the felt presence of their
Lord they might testify of Him ? May God raise
up from among our theologians many who shall
give their lives to secure for God's Holy Spirit His
full recognition in the lives of believers, in the
ministry of the word by tongue and pen, in all the
work done in His Church.

I have noticed with deep interest a call to union
in prayer, in the first place, ' that Christian life and
teaching may be increasingly subject to the Holy
Ghost.' I believe that one of the first blessings of this
united prayer will be to direct attention to the reason
such prayer is not more evidently answered, and to the
true preparation for receiving an abundant answer.
In my reading in connection with this subject, in my
observation of the lives of believers, and in my per-
sonal experience, I have been very deeply impressed
with one thought. It is, that our prayer for the
mighty working of the Holy Spirit through us and
around us can only be powerfully answered as His
indwelling in every believer is more clearly acknow-
ledged and lived out. We have the Holy Spirit
within us ; only he who is faithful in the lesser will
receive the greater. As we first yield ourselves to
be led by the Spirit, to confess His presence in us,
as believers rise to realize and accept His guidance
in all their daily life, will our God be willing to
entrust to us larger measures of His mighty work-


ings. If we give ourselves entirely into His power
as our lifo, ruling within us, He will give Himself
to us in taking a more complete possession, to work
through us.

If there is one thing I desire, it is that the Lord
may use what I have written to make clear and
impress this one truth : it is as an Indwelling Life
that the Holy Spirit must be known. In a living,
adoring faith, the Indwelling must be accepted and
treasured, until it become part of the consciousness
of the new man : The Holy Spirit possesses me. In
this faith the whole life, even to the least things, must
be surrendered to His leading, while all that is of
the flesh or self is crucified and put to death. If
in this faith we wait on God for His Divine leading
and working, placing ourselves entirely at His dis-
posal, our prayer cannot remain unheard ; there will
be operations and manifestations of the Spirit's power
in the Church and the world such as we could not
dare to hope. The Holy Spirit only demands
vessels entirely set apart to Him. He will delight
to manifest the glory of Christ our Lord.

I commit each beloved fellow-believer to the
teaching of the Holy Spirit. May we all, as we
study His work, be partakers of the anointing which
teacheth all things.

Andrew Murray.

Wellikqton, 15th August 1888.



1. A New Spirit, and God's Spirit— Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27

2. Tlie Baptism of the Spirit — Jolin i. 33,

3. Worship in the Spirit — John iv. 23, 24,

4. The Spirit and the Word— John vi. 63, 68,

5. The Spirit of the Glorified Jesus — John vii. 37, 38,

6. The Indwelling Spirit— John xiv. 16, 17,

7. The Spirit given to the Obedient — John xiv. 15, 16,

8. Knowing the Spirit— John xiv. 17,

9. The Spirit of Truth— John xv. 26, .

10. The Expediency of the Spirit's Coming — Johr

11. The Spirit glorifying Christ— John xvi. 7, 14

12. The Spirit convincing of Sin— John xvi. 8, 9

13. Waiting for the Spirit — Acts i. 4,

14. The Spirit of Power— Acts i. 5, 8,

15. The Outpouring of the Spirit — Acts ii. 1, 4,

16. The Holy Spirit and Missions — Acts xiii. 1-^

17. The Newness of the Spirit — Rom. vii. 6,

18. The Liberty of the Spirit— Rom. viii. 2, 13,

19. The Leading of the Spirit — Rom. viii. 14,

20. The Spirit of Prayer— Rom. viii. 26, 27,

21. The Holy Spirit and Conscience — Rom. ix. 1

22. The Revelation of the Spirit — 1 Cor. ii. 4-15,

23. Spiritual or Carnal — 1 Cor, iii. 1-3, .

24. The Temple of the Holy Spirit— 1 Cor. iii. 1-16,

25. The Ministry of the Spirit— 2 Cor iii. 6, 7, .




























26. The Spirit anrl the Flesh— Gal. iii. 3,.

27. The Spirit through Faith— Gal. iii. 13, 14,

28. Walking by the Spirit— Gal. v. 16, 24, 25,

29. The Spirit of Love— Gal. v. 22,

30. The Unity of the Spiiit-Eph. iv. 1-4,

31. Filled with the Spirit— Eph. v. 18, .





A. The Baptism of the Spirit,

B. The Spirit as a Person,

C. The Place of the Indwelling, .

D. Growth in the Knowledge of the Spirit,

E. The Spirit of Truth, .

F. On the Mission of the Spirit, .

G. On the Name Comforter,
H. The Glory of Christ, .

I. On the Presence of the Spirit in the Church,

J. The Outpouring of the Spirit,

K. On the Spirit of Missions, ,

L. On Conscience, . •

M= The Light of the Spirit,

N. On the Spirit guiding the Church,

0. On Trusting the Spirit,

P. The Spirit of Christ and His Love,

Q. On the Spirit's Coming, ,


,.^^y OF Nt^ ^ORK.

First Day.


S i&eto Spirit, antJ ffioti^s Spirit

*A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put
within you. And I will put my Spirit ivithin you.'

— EzEK. xxxvi. 26, 27.

r^ OD has revealed Himself in two great dis-
^ pensations. In the Old we have the time
of promise and preparation, in the New that of
fulfilment and possession. In harmony with the
difference of the two dispensations, there is a two-
fold working of God's Spirit. In the Old Testament
we have the Spirit of God coming upon men, and
working on them in special times and ways, working
from above and without, inwards. In the New we
have the Holy Spirit entering them and dwelling
within them, working from within, outwards and
upwards. In the former we have the Spirit of God
as the Almighty and Holy One ; in the latter we
have the Spirit of the Father of Jesus Christ.

The difference between the twofold operation of
the Holy Spirit is not to be regarded as if, with the



closing of the Old Testament, the former ceased,
and there was in the New no more of the work of
preparation. By no means. Just as there were in
the Old blessed anticipations of the indwelling of
God's Spirit, so now in the New Testament the
twofold working still continues. According to the
flack of knowledge, or of faith, or of faithfulness, a
believer may even in these days get little beyond
the Old Testament measure of the Spirit's working.
The indwelling Spirit has indeed been given to
every child of God, and yet he may experience
little beyond the first half of the promise, the new
spirit given us in regeneration, and know almost
nothing of God's own Spirit, as a living person put
within us. The Spirit's work in convincing of sin
and of righteousness, in His leading to repentance
and faith and the new life, is but the preparatory
work. The distinctive glory of the dispensation
of the Spirit is His Divine personal indwelling
in the heart of the believer, there to reveal the
Father and the Son. It is only as Christians
understand and remember this, that they will be
able to claim the full blessing prepared for them
in Christ Jesus.

In the words of Ezekiel we find, in the one
promise, this twofold blessing God bestows through
His Spirit very strikingly set forth. The first is,
* I will put within you a ncio spirit,' that is, man's
own spirit is to be renewed and quickened by the
work of God's Spirit. When this has been done,
then there is the second blessing, ' I will put my


Sjnrit within you,' to dwell iu that new spirit.
Where God is to dwell. He must have a habitation.
With Adam He had to create a body before He
could breathe the spirit of life into him. In Israel
the tabernacle and the temple had to be built and
completed before God could come down and take
possession. And just so a new heart is given, and
a new spirit put within us, as the indispensable
condition of God's own Spirit being given to dwell
within us. The difference is the same we find
in David's prayer. First, * Create in me a clean
heart, God ! and renew a right spirit within me ; '
then, ' Take not TIlt/ Holy Sptirit from me.' Or
what is indicated in the words, * That which is born
of the Spirit is s'pirit : ' there is the Divine Spirit
begetting, and the new spirit begotten by Him. So
the two are also distinguished, * God's Spirit beareth
witness with oiir spirits that we are the children of
God.' Our spirit is the renewed regenerate spirit ;
dwelling in this, and yet to be distinguished from it, is
God's Holy Spirit, witnessing in, with, and through it.
The importance of recognising this distinction
can easily be perceived. We shall then be able to
understand the true relation between regenera-
tion and the indwelling of the Spirit. The former
is that work of the Holy Spirit, by which He con-
vinces us of sin, leads to repentance and faith in
Christ, and imparts a new nature. Through the
Spirit God thus fulfils the promise, 'I will put
a new spirit within you.' The believer is now a
child of God, a temple ready for the Spirit to dwell



ill. Where faith claims it, the second half of the
promise is fulfilled as surely as the first. As long
now as the believer only looks at regeneration,
and the renewal wrought in his spirit, he will not
come to the life of joy and strength which is meant
for him. But when he accepts God's promise that
there is something better than even the new nature,
than the inner temple, that there is the Spirit of
the Father and the Son to dwell within him,
there opens up a wonderful prospect of holiness
and blessedness. It becomes his one great desire
to know this Holy Spirit aright, how He works and
what He asks, to know how he may to the full
experience His indwelling, and that revelation of the
Son of God within us which it is His work to

The question will be asked. How these two parts
of the Divine promise are fulfilled ? simultaneously
or successively ? The answer is very simple : From
God's side the twofold gift is simultaneous. The
Spirit is not divided : in giving the Spirit, God gives
Himself and all He is. So it was on the day of Pente-
cost. The three thousand received the new spirit,
with repentance and faith, and then, when they had
been baptized, the Indwelling Spirit, as God's seal
to their faith, on one day. Through the word of
disciples, the Spirit, which had come upon them,
wrought mightily on the multitude, changing dispo-
sition and heart and spirit. When, in the power
of this new spirit working in them, they had
believed and confessed, they received the baptism of


the Holy Spirit to abide in them. And so still in
times when the Spirit of God moves mightily, and
the Church is living in the power of tlie Spirit, the
children which are begotten of her receive from the
first beginnings of their Christian life the distinct
conscious sealing and indwelling of the Spirit.
fAnd yet we have indications in Scripture that there
(may be circumstances, dependent either on the
enduement of the preacher or the faith of the
hearers, in which the two halves of the promise are
not so closely linked. So it was with the believers
in Samaria converted under Philip's preaching ;
and so too with the converts Paul met at Ephesus.
In their case was repeated the experience of the
apostles themselves. We regard them as regenerate
men before our Lord's death ; it was only at
Pentecost that the promise was fulfilled, 'He shall
be i^^^oiL What was seen in them, just as in the
Old and Xew Testaments, — the grace of the Spirit
divided into two separate manifestations, — may still
take place in our day. When the standard of
spiritual life in a Church is sickly and low, when
neither in the preaching of the word nor in the
testimony of believers, the glorious truth of an
Indwelling Spirit is distinctly proclaimed, we must
not wonder that, even where God gives His Spirit,
He will be known and experienced only as the
Spirit of regeneration. His Indwelling Presence
will remain a mystery. In the gift of God, the
Spirit of Christ in all His fulness is bestowed once
for all as an Indwelling Spirit ; but He is received


~and possessed only as far as the faith of the believci

It is generally admitted in the Church that the
Holy Spirit has not the recognition which becomes
Him as being the equal of the Father and the Son, the
Divine Person through whom alone the Father and
the Son can be truly possessed and known, in whom
alone the Church has her beauty and her blessedness.
In the Eeformation, of blessed memory, the Gospel
of Christ had to be vindicated from the terrible
misapprehension which makes man's righteousness
the ground of his acceptance, and the freeness of
Divine grace had to be maintained. To the ages
that followed was committed the trust of building
on that foundation, and developing what the riches
of grace would do for the believer through the
indwelling of the Spirit of Jesus. The Church
rested too content in what it had received, and the
teaching of all that the Holy Spirit will be to each
believer in His guiding, sanctifying, strengthening
I'power, has never yet taken the place it ought
|to have in our evangelical teaching and living.^

* ' This distinction between the preparatory operation of tlie
Spirit ujpon man, by means of external manifestation, and His
actual dwelling in man, seems almost effaced from Christian con-
sciousness.' — Godet on John xiv. 17.

' The Spirit first works from without on and in men, in word
and deed, before He becomes their inner personal possession, before
He dwells in them. We must always distinguish between the
inworking and indwelling of the Spirit.' — Beck, Ethik, i. 131.

^ ' If we review the history of tlie Church, we notice how many
important truths, clearly revealed in Scripture, have been allowed
to lie dormant for centuries, unknown and unappreciated except


And thore is many an earnest Christian who will
join in the confession lately made by a young
believer of intelligence : I think I understand the
work of the Father and the Son, and rejoice in
them, but I hardly see the place the Spirit has.

Online LibraryAndrew MurrayThe Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church → online text (page 1 of 27)