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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Church, and let Thy Spirit, the Spirit of the Divine
Sending, fill all her children.

O my Father ! I dedicate myself afresh to Thee,
to live and labour, to pray and travail, to sacrifice
and suffer for Thy Kingdom. I accept anew in
faith the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, the very
Spirit of Christ, and yield myself to His indwelling.
I humbly plead with Thee, give me and all Thy
children to be so mightily strengthened by the Holy
Spirit that Christ may possess heart and life, and
our one desire be that the whole earth may be
filled with His glory. Amen.

/. 'Sent forth by the Holy Ghost.' The Holy Ghost was Himself sent by the Son
from the Father, to continue His worii on earth. He does it by sending forth
men for the worii. The Mission of the Spirit was meant of God to give the
Church the Spirit of Missions. His outpouring is upon all flesh. He cannot
rest till all have heard of Christ,

2. 'A Missionary Spirit ! what is this but a Christ Spirit— the pure flame of
His love to souls burning brightly enough in us to make us first willing, then
longing to go anywhere, and to suffer any priuations, in order to seek and find
the lost in the distant mountains and trackless deserts of the earth.'

3. 'Is it true that we belong to Christ at all ? "If any man have not the
Spirit of Christ, He is none of His." We know that the Spirit of the Sauiour
was that of Self-sacrifice for the Salvation of the World. We must apply th«
test to our own hearts.'

4. Jesus sent down the Holy Spirit to take possession of our hearts for Him,
that He might Hue there, and work in and through us, even as the Father worked


in and through Him. Let me accept this afresh in faith. I will wait on m§
Lord tin my whole soul is filled with the assurance that the Spirit dwells in
me, yea, with the very presence of His Spirit Himself. To this Spirit I yield
myself, even as the disciples did of old. ' They saw with Christ's eyes, they
felt with His heart, they worded with His energies; for they had His Spirit'
And i have His Spirit too.

5. On his last birthday but one Livingstone wrote : 'l^y Jesus, my King, my
Life, my Ail. I again dedicate my whole self to Thee.' He died on his knees,
with his face buried in his hands, praying.


Seventeenth Day.

C{)e iSctunesiS of t\}t Spirit*

* But now we have been discharged from the law, having died
to that wherein we were holden ; so that we serve in newness of
the Spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.' — Eom. vii. 6.

' If ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.' — Gal.
V. 18.

THE work of the indwelling Spirit is to glorify
Christ and reveal Him within us. Correspond-
ing to Christ's threefold office of Prophet, Piiest,
and King, we find that the work of the Indwelling
Spirit in the believer is set before us in three
aspects, as Enlightening, Sanctifying, and Strength-
ening. Of the Enlightening it is that Christ
specially speaks in His farewell discourse, when
He promises Him as the Spirit of Truth, who will
bear witness of Him, will guide into all Truth, will
take of Christ's and declare it unto us. In the
Epistles to the Eomans and Galatians His work
as Sanctifying is especially prominent : this was
what was needed in Churches just brought out o{


the depths of heathenism. In the Epistles to
the Corinthians, where wisdom was so sought and
prized, the two aspects are combined ; they are
taught that the Spirit can only enlighten as He
sanctifies (1 Cor. ii., iii. 1-3, 16 ; 2 Cor. iii.). In
the Acts of the Apostles, as we might expect, His
Strengthening for work is in the foreground ; as
the promised Spirit of Power He fits for a bold and
blessed testimony in the midst of persecution and

In the Epistle to the Church at Eome, the
capital of the world, Paul was called of God to
give a full and systematic exposition of His gospel
and the scheme of redemption. In this the work
of the Holy Spirit must needs have an important
place. In giving his text or theme (Eom. i. 17),
' The righteous shall live by faith' he paves the
way for what he was to expound, that through Faith
both Eighteousness and Life would come. In the
first part of his argument, to v. 11, he teaches what
the Eighteousness of faith is. He then proceeds
(v. 12-21) to prove how this Eighteousness is
rooted in our living connection with the second
Adam, and in a justification of Life. In the indi-
vidual (vi. 1-13) this Life comes through the
believing acceptance of Christ's death to sin and
His life to God as ours, and the willing surrender
(vi. 14-23) to be servants of God and of righteous-
ness. Proceeding to show that in Christ we are
not only dead to sin, but to the law too as the
strength of sin. he comes naturally to the new law


which His gospel brings to take the place of the
old, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

We all know how an impression is heightened
by the force of contrast. Just as the apostle had
contrasted (vi. 13-23) the service of sin and of
righteousness, so he here (vii. 4) contrasts, to bring
out fully what the power and work of the Spirit is,
tlie service in the oldness of the letter, in bondage
to the law, with the service in newness of the Spirit,
in the liberty and power which Jesus through the
Spirit gives. In the following passage, Eom. vii.
14-25, and Eom. viii. 1-16, we have the contrast
worked out ; it is in the light of that contrast
alone that the two states can be rightly under-
stood. Each state has its key- word, indicating the
character of the life it describes. In Eom. vii.
we have the word Law twenty times, and the
word Spirit only once. In Eom. viii., on the
contrary, we find in its first sixteen verses the word
Spirit sixteen times. The contrast is between the
Christian life in the law and in the Spirit. Paul
had very boldly said, not only. You are dead to
sin and made free from sin that you might become
servants to righteousness and to God (Eom. vi.),
but also, ' We were made dead to the law, so that,
having died to that wherein we were holden, we
serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of
the letter.' We have here, then, a double advance
on the teaching of Eom. vi. There it was the
death to sin and freedom from it, here it is death
to the law and freedom from it. There it was


' newness of life ' (Eom. vi. 4), as an objective
reality secured to as in Christ ; here it is ' newness
of spirit' (Eom. vii. 6), as a subjective experience
made ours by the indwelling of the Spirit. He
that would fully know and enjoy the life in the
Spirit must know what life in the law is, dnd how
complete the freedo7n from it with which he is made
free by the Spirit.

In the description Paul gives of the life of a
believer, who is still held in bondage of the law,
and seeks to fulfil it, there are three expressions in
which the characteristic marks of that state are
summed up. The first is, the word fle^h. ' I am
carnal (fleshly), sold under sin. In me, that is, in
my flesh, dwelleth no good thing' (14, 18). If we
want to understand the word carnal, we must refer
to Paul's exposition of it in 1 Cor. iii. 1—3. He
uses it there of Christians, who, though regenerate,
have not yielded themselves to the Spirit entirely,
so as to become spiritual.^ They have the Spirit,
but allow the flesh to prevail. And so tliere is
a difference between Christians, as they bear their
name, carnal or spiritual, from the element that is
strongest in them. As long as they have the
Spirit, but, owing to whatever cause, do not accept
fully His mighty deliverance, and so strive in
their own strength, they do not and cannot be-
come spiritual. St. Paul here describes the regene*

^ See chapter xxiii. There is a small difference, that of one
letter, between the word used there and here in the Greek, but
nut such as to affect the application of the te.\t.


rate man, as lie is in himself. He lives by the
Spirit, but, according to Gal. v. 25, does not walk
by the Spirit. He has the new spirit within him,
according to Ezek. xxxvi. 26, but he has not
intelligently and practically accepted God's own
Spirit to dwell and rule within that spirit, as the
life of His life. He is still carnal.

The second expression we find in ver. 18: * To
will is present with me, but how to do that which
is good is not.' In every possible variety of ex-
pression Paul (vii. 15-21) attempts to make clear the
painful state of utter impotence in which the law,
the effort to fulfil it, leaves a man : ' The good
which I would, I do not; but the evil which I
would not, that I practise.' Willing, but not doing :
such is the service of God in the oldness of the
letter, in the life before Pentecost (see Matt. xxvi.
41). The renewed spirit of the man has accepted
and consented to the will of God ; but the secret of
power to do, the Spirit of God, as indwelling, is not
yet known. In those, on the contrary, who know
what the life in the Spirit is, God works both to
will and to do ; the Christian testifies, * I can do
all things in Him that strengtheneth me.' But
this is only possible through faith and the Holy
Spirit. As long as the believer has not consciously
been made free from the law with its, *He that
doeth these things shall live through them/ con-
tinual failure will attend his efforts to do the will
of God. He may even delight in the law of God
after the inward man, but the power is wanting.


It is only when he submits to the law of faith, * He
that liveth shall do these things/ because he knows
that he has been made free from the law, that he
may be joined to another, to the living Jesus, work-
ing in him through His Holy Spirit, that he will
indeed bring forth fruit unto God (see Eom. vii. 4).
The third expression we must note is in verse
23: * I see a different law in my members, bringing
me into captivity under the law of sin which is in
my members.' This word, captivity, as that other
one, sold under sin, suggests the idea of slaves sold
into bondage, without the liberty or the power to
do as they will. They point back to what he had
said in the commencement of the chapter, that we
have been made free from the law ; here is evidently
one who does not yet know that liberty. And
they point forward to what he is to say in chap,
viii. 2 : ' The law of the Spirit of life in Christ
Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and
death.' The freedom with which we have been
made free in Christ, as offered to our faith, cannot
be fully accepted or experienced as long as there is
ought of a legal spirit. It is only by the Spirit of
Christ within us that the full liberation is effected.
As in the olduess of the letter, so in the newness
of the Spirit, a twofold relation exists : the objective
or external, the subjective or personal. There is
the law over me, and outside of me, and there is
the law of sin in my members, deriving its strength
from the objective one. Just so, in being made
free from the law, there is the objective liberty va


Christ offered to my faith, and there is the sub-
jective personal possession of that liberty, in its
fulness and power, to be had alone through the
Spirit dwelling and ruling in my members, even as
the law of sin had done. This alone can chansje
tlie plaint of the captive : ' Oh, wretched man that
I am, who shall deliver me from the bondage of
this death ? ' into the song of the ransomed : ' I
thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord,' ' The
law of the Spirit made me free.'

And how now have we to regard the two states
thus set before us in Eom. vii. 14-23 and viii.
1-16 ? Are they interchangeable, or successive,
or simultaneous ?

Many have thought that they are a description
of the varying experience of tlie believer's life. As
often as, by the grace of God, he is able to do what
is good, and to live well - pleasing to God, he
experiences the grace of chap, viii., while the
consciousness of sin or shortcoming plunges him
again into the wretchedness of chap. vii. Though
now the one and then the other experience may be
more marked, each day brings the experience of

Others have felt that this is not the life of a
believer as God would have it, and as the provision
of God's grace has placed it within our reach. And
as they saw that a life in the freedom with which
Christ makes free, when the Holy Spirit dwells
within us, is within our reach, and as they entered
on it, it was to them indeed as if now for ever they


had left the experience of Eom. vii. far behind, and
they cannot but look upon it as Israel's wilderness
life, a life never more to be returned to. And there
are many who can testify what light and blessing
has come to them as they saw what the blessed
transition was from the bondage of tlie law to the
liberty of the Spirit.

And yet, however large the measure of truth in
this view, it does not fully satisfy. The believei
feels that there is not a day that he gets beyond
the words, * In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth
no good thing.' Even when kept most joyously in
the will of God, and strengthened not only to will
but also to do, he knows that it is not he, but the
grace of God : ' in me dwelleth no good.' And so the
believer comes to see that, not the two experiences,
but the two states are simultaneous, and that even
wdien his experience is most fully that of the law
of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus making him free,
he still bears about with him the body of sin and
death.^ The making free of the Spirit, and the
deliverance from the power of sin, and the song of
thanks to God is the continuous experience of the
power of the endless life as maintained by the Spirit
of Christ. As I am led of the Spirit, I am not
under the law. Its spirit of bondage, its weakness

* Mark the difference between a state and an experience. As a
state, bearing about in his body (Rom. vi. 6, viii. 13) the flesh
that is enmity against God, no believer ever gets beyond Rom. vii.
As an experience no believer need abide in it, because the life of
the Spirit gives from moment to moment the deliverance and the


tlironoh tlie flesh, and the sense of condemnation
and wretchedness it works, are cast out by the liberty
of tlie Spirit.

If there is one lesson the believer needs to learn,
who would enjoy the full indwelling of the Spirit,
it is the one taught in this passage with such force :
that the law, the flesh, that self-effort are all
utterly impotent in enabling us to serve God. It
is the Spirit witliin, taking the place of the law
without, that leads us into the liberty wherewith
Clirist hath made us free. ' Where the Spirit of
the Lord is, there is liberty.'

Beloved Lord Jesus ! I humbly ask Thee to
make clear to me the blessed secret of the life of
the Spirit. Teach me what it is that we are become
dead to the law, so that our service of' God is no
longer in the oldness of the letter. And what
that we are married to Another, even to Thyself, the
Eisen One, through whom we bring forth fruit unto
God, serving in the newness of the Spirit.

Blessed Lord ! with deep shame do I confess the
sin of my nature, that ' in me, that is, in my flesh,
dwelleth no good thing,' that ' I am carnal, sold
under sin.' I do bless Thee, that in answer to the
cry, ' Who shall deliver me from the body of
this death ? ' Tliou hast taught me to answ^er, ' I
thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' 'The
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me
free from the law of sin and death.'

Blessed Master ! teach me now to serve Thee in


the newness and the liberty, the ever-fresh gladness
of the Spirit of life. Teach me to yield myself in
large and whole-hearted faith to that Holy Spirit,
that my life may indeed be in the glorious liberty
of the children of God, in the power of an indwell-
in'^ Saviour workinGf in me both to will and to do,
even as the Father did work in Him. Amen.

7. It is not enough that we know that there are two masters to serve, God
and sin (Rom. ui. 15-22), and yield ourselves to God alone. We must see that in
serving God as the only Master, there are two ways of doing so, the oldness of
the letter, and the newness of the Spirit (Rom. uii. 1-6). Until a soul under-
stands the difference, confesses its danger and impotence, as pictured in
Rom. uii. 14-25, and utterly forsakes it, it cannot fully linow what service in
newness and gladness of the Spirit is. It is only out of the death of the ola
life of confidence in the flesh that the new can arise.

2. In every Catechism each question has its appropriate answer. How many
there are who never cease repeating the question, ' wretched man that I am,
who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? ' who seldom give the
triumphant answer, 'I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' 'The law
of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free.' Of that answer chap,
via. 1-16 is the exposition. Never ash the question without giving the answer.

3. The word law is used in two senses. It means the inner rule according to
which in nature a force acts, and is used to indicate that power itself. Or it
is used in morals of an external rule, according to which he must be taught
to act who does not do so spontaneously. The external is always the proof
that the inner one is wanting. When the inner law prevails, the outer is not
needed. ' If ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. ' The indwelling
Spirit makes free from the law.

4. The whole secret of sanctification lies in the promise of the New
Covenant: 'I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their
heart.' Just as each plant in its growth spontaneously obeys the law put
into its inmost parts by God, so the believer, who accepts the New Covenant
promise in its fulness, walks in the power of that inner law. The Spirit
within frees from the law without


Eighteenth Day.


E\}t ILibertg of t\}t Spirit

* The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free
from the law of sin and death. If by the Spirit ye make to
die the deeds of the body, ye shall live.' — Rom. viii. 2, 13.

IN the sixth chapter Paul had spoken (vers. 18,
22) of our having been made free from sin in
Christ Jesus. Our death to sin in Christ had freed
us from its dominion : being made free from sin as
a Power, as a Master, when we accepted Christ in
faith, we became servants to righteousness and to
God. In the seventh chapter (vers. 1—6) he had
spoken of our being made free from the law.
* The strength of sin is the law : ' deliverance from
sin and the law go together. And being made free
from the law, we had been united to the living
Christ, that, in union with Him, we might now
serve in newness of the Spirit (vii. 4-6). Paul
had, in these two passages (vi. and vii. 1-6),
presented this being made free from sin and the
law, in its objective reality, as a life prepared in


Christ, to be accepted and maintained by faith.
According to the law of a gradual growth in the
Christian life, the believer has, in the power of the
Spirit with which he has been sealed, in faith to
enter into this union and to walk in it. As a
matter of experience, almost all believers can
testify that, even after they have seen and accepted
this teaching, their life is not what they had hoped
it would be. They have found the descent into the
experience of the second half of Eom. vii. most
real and painful. It was because there is, as a
rule, no other way for learning the two great lessons
the believer needs. The one is the deep impotence
of the human will, under the law urging it to
obedience, ever to work out a Divine righteous-
ness in man's life ; the other, the need of the
conscious and most entire indwelling of the Holy
Spirit as the only sufficient power for the life of a
child of God.

In the first half of Eom. viii. we have the
setting forth of this latter truth. In the Divine
exposition of the Christian life in this Epistle, as
in its growth in the believer, there is a distinct
advance from step to step. The eighth chapter, in
introducing the Holy Spirit for the first time in the
unfolding of the life of faith, as we have it in
chaps, vi.— viii., teaches us that it is only as the
Spirit definitely animates our life and walk, and as
He is distinctly known and accepted to do this,
that we can fully possess and enjoy the riches of
grace that are ours in Christ. Let every one who


would know what it is to be dead to sin and alive
to God, to be free from sin and the law, and married
to Him who is raised from the dead, come hither to
find the strength he needs in that Spirit, through
whom the union with Christ can be maintained as
a Divine experience, and His life be lived within
us in Power and in Truth.

Of the first half of this eighth chapter the second
verse is the centre. It reveals the wonderful secret
of how our freedom from sin and the law may
become a living and abiding experience. A believer
may know that he is free, and yet have to mourn
that his experience is that of a wretched captive.
The freedom is so entirely in Christ Jesus, and the
maintenance of the living union with Him is so
distinctly and entirely a work of Divine power,
that it is only as we see that the Divine Spirit
dwells within us for this very purpose, and know
how to accept and yield to His working it, that we
can really stand perfect and complete in the liberty
witli which Christ hath made us free. The life
and the liberty of Rom. vi. and vii. 1-6 are only
fully ours as we can say, ' The law of the Spirit of
the life that is in Christ Jesus made me free from
the law of sin and death.' Through the whole
Christian life the principle rules : ' According to
your faith be it unto you.' As the Holy Spirit,
the Spirit of faith, reveals the greatness of God's
resurrection power working in us, and as faith in
the indwelling Spirit submits to receive that power
to the full, all that is true for us in Christ Jesus



becomes true in our daily personal experience. It
is as we perceive the difference between this and
tlie previous teaching (Eom. vi. -vii. 6), as we see
what a distinct advance it is upon it, the indis-
pensable completion of the wonderful revelation
of our life in Christ there made, that the unique
and most glorious place which the Holy Spirit as
God holds in the scheme of redemption and the
life of faith will open up to us. We learn thus,
that as divinely perfect as is the Life of Liberty in
Christ Jesus, is also the power of that Life enabling
us to walk in that Liberty in the Holy Spirit. The
living assurance and experience of the Holy Spirit's
indwelling will become to us the very first necessary
of the new Life, inseparable from the Person and
Presence of Jesus Christ our Lord.

' The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus
made us free from the Law of Sin and Death.'
Paul here contrasts the two opposing laws; the
one of Sin and Death in the members, the other
of the Spirit of Life ruling and quickening even
the mortal body. Under the former we have
seen the believer sighing as a wretched captive.
In the second half of Eom. vi., Paul had ad-
dressed him as made free from sin, and by volun-
tary surrender become a servant to God and to
righteousness. He has forsaken the service of sin ;
and yet it often masters him. The promise, 'Sin shall
not' — shall never for a moment — 'have dominion
over you,' has not been realized. To will is present,
but how to perform he knows not. ' wretched


man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body
of this death ? ' is the cry of impotence amid all his
efforts to keep the law. ' I thank God, through
Christ Jesus our Lord/ is the answer of faith that
claims the deliverance in Christ from this power
that has held him captive. From the Law, the
Dominion of Sin and Death in the members, its
actual power in working sin, there is deliverance.
That deliverance is a new law, a mightier force, an
actual power making free from sin. As real as
was the energy of sin working in our members,
and more mighty, is the energy of the Spirit
dwelling in our bodies. It is the Spirit of the Life

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Online LibraryAndrew MurrayThe Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church → online text (page 11 of 27)