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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that there is in Christ. Out of that Life, when
filled as it was in the resurrection and ascension
with the mighty energy of God's power (Eph. i. 17,
21), and admitted on the throne to the omnipotence
of God as the Eternal Spirit — out of that Life there
descended the Holy Spirit, Himself God. The Law,
the Power, the Dominion of the Life in Christ Jesus,
made me free from the Law, the Dominion of Sin
and Death in my members, with a freedom as real
as was the slavery. From the very first beginnings
of the New Life, it was the Spirit who breathed
faith in Christ. On our first entering into justi-
fication, it was He who shed abroad the love of
God in our hearts. It was He who led us to see
Christ as our Life as well as our Eighteousness.
But all this was in most cases still accompanied
with much ignorance of His Presence, of the great
need and the supply of His Almighty Power. Aa


the believer in Eom. vii. (14—23) is brought to
the discovery of the deep-rooted legality of the old
nature, and its absolute impotence, the truth of the
Holy Spirit, and of the Mighty Power with which
He does make practically free from the Power of
Sin and Death is understood as never before, and
our text becomes the utterance of the highest faith
and experience combined : ' The Law of the Spirit
of Life made me free from the Law of Sin and
Death.' As real, and mighty, and spontaneous as
was the Law of Sin in the members, is now
the Law of the Spirit of Life in those members

The believer who would live fully in this liberty
of the Life in Christ Jesus will easily understand
what the path is in which he will learn to walk.
Iiom. viii. is the goal to which Eom. vi. and
vii. lead up. 1\\ faith he will first have to
study and accept all that is in these two earlier
chapters taught of his being in Christ Jesus ; dead
to sin and alive to God, free from sin and the law,
and married to Christ. * If ye abide in my w^ord,
ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make
you free.' Let fehe word of God, as it teaches you
your union with Christ, be the life-soil in which
your faith and life daily roots; abide, dwx^l in it,
and let it abide in you. To meditate, to hold fast,
to hide in the heart the word of this gospel, to
assimilate it in faith and patience, is the way to
rise and reach each higher truth the Scripture
teaches. And if the passage through the experienca


of carnality and captivity, which the attempts to
fulfil the law we delight in hriiig, appears to be
anything but progress, let us remember that it is
just in the utter despair of self that entire sur-
render to the Spirit, to bring and keep us in the
liberty with which Christ makes free, is born and
strengthened. To cease from all hope in the flesli
and the law, is the entrance into the liberty of the

To walk in the paths of this New Life it will
further be specially needful to remember what is
meant by the expression the word so distinctly nscs,
a * walk after the Spirit.' The Spirit is to lead, to
decide and show the path. This implies surrender,
obedience, a waiting to be guided. He is to be the
ruling Power, we are in all things to live and act
under the Law, the legislation, the Dominion of the
Spirit. A holy fear to grieve Him, a tender watch-
fulness to know His leading, an habitual faith in
His hidden but most sure presence, a lowly adoration
of Him as God, must be the mark of such a life. The
words which Paul uses towards the close of this
section are to express our one aim : * If ye, through
the Spirit, make to die the deeds of the body, ye
shall live.' The Holy Spirit possessing, inspiring,
animating all the powers of our spirit and soul,
entering even into the body, and, in the power of
His Divine life, enabling us to make and keep dead
the deeds of the body, this is what we may count
upon as the fulfilment of the word, ' The law of the
Spirit of the Life in Christ Jesus made me free


from the law of Sin and Death.' This is the * salva-
tion in sanctification of the Spirit ' to which we
have been chosen.

* We walk by faith : ' this is what we specially
need to remember in regard to a ' walk after the
Spirit.' The visible manifestation of Christ to us
and His work is so much more intelligible than
the revelation of the Spirit within us, that it is
here, above all, in seeking the leading of the Spirit,
that faith is called for. The Almighty Power of
the Spirit hides Himself away in such a real union
with our weakness, with our personality in its
abiding sense of weakness, that it needs patient
perseverance in believing and obeying to come into
the full con,sciousness of His indwelling, and of His
having indeed undertaken to do all our living for
us. It needs the direct fresh anointing day by day
from the Holy One, in fellowship with Christ, the
Anointed, and in persevering waiting on the Father.
Here, if ever, the word is needed, ' Only believe ! '
Believe in the Father and His promise ! Believe in
the Son and His life as thine : ' Our life is hid with
Christ in God.' Believe in the Spirit, as the bearer,
and communicator, and maintainer of the Life and
Presence of Jesus ! Believe in Him as already
within thee ! Believe in His power and faithful-
ness to work, in a way that is Divine and beyond
thy conception. His w^ork in thee ! Believe, ' The
Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus made me
free from the Law of Sin and Death.' Bow in
deep silence of soul before God, waiting on Him to


work mightily in thee hy His Spirit. As self is
laid low, He will do His blessed and beloved work.
He will reveal, will impart, will make and keep
divinely present Jesus Christ as the Life of thy

Ever blessed God and Father! we do praise Thee
for the wonderful gift of Thy Holy Spirit, in whom
Thou with Thy Son comest to make abode in us.
We do bless Thee for that wonderful gift of Eternal
Life, which Tliy beloved Son brought us, and which
we have in Jesus Himself, as His own life given
to us. And we thank Thee that the Law of the
Spirit of the Life in Christ Jesus now makes us
free from the Law of Sin and Death.

Our Father ! we humbly pray Thee to reveal to
us in full and blessed experience what this perfect
Law of Liberty is. Teach us how it is the Law of
an inner Life, that in joyful and spontaneous power
grows up into its blessed destiny. Teach us that
the Law is none other than of the Eternal Life,
in its power of continuous and unfading being.
Teach us that it is the Law of the Life of Christ
Jesus, the living Saviour Himself, living and main-
taining it in us. Teach us that it is the Law of the
Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit
revealing and glorifying Christ in us as an indwell-
ing Presence. Father ! open our eyes and
strengthen our faith, that we may believe that the
Law of the Spirit is indeed mightier than the Law
of Sin in our members, and make free from it, so


that through the Spirit we make dead the deeds of
the body, and indeed live the life of Christ.

Father ! teach this to all Thy children. Amen.

/. Let us pause a moment here, and ask if this is our experience, 'From
the law of sin and death ' in my members, as it made me groan for deliuerance,
'the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free.' Am I living
in this blessed liberty ?

2. Let every one who would do so remember the path as set before us in
the gospel of Christ by Paul. You were reconciled to God by the death of His
Son ; you are now to be saved by His Life (Rom. v. 10). By faith you bnow that
that life is yours in all its power (ui. 1, 11). In the strength of it you gave
yourself to be a servant of God (vi. 15-22). But the service was to be in no
legal spirit under the law, but in newness of spirit (vii. 1-6). Because you
did not understand this, you sought in the power of the new life to fulfil
the law you delighted in, and yet utterly failed (vii. 14-25). Listen. Here
comes in the Holy Spirit (viii. 1-16). Faith in Jesus and His life leads
the way to the life of the Spirit in you. The Holy Spirit frees from the law,
and maintains the life of Christ in the power of His living presence. Rom.
viii. 2 is the key of the Blessed Life.

3. 'As Adam's life is reproduced in the entire human family, so the new
life of the God-man flows ever to all His people : our life is the repro-
duction of Christ's spiritual life in His people. The new birth connects us
with the Second Man, who, by the Holy Spirit, gathers His people under
Him by a self-communicating ac^ '—Smeaton.

4. Would you live that life ? Remember our one great lesson as we go
along. Acknowledge the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. Study above everything
to be full of the faith of His Presence as the revealer of Christ and His life
in you. Give up to Him to rule ; be ready to wait on Him and ' to walk after
Him. ' The law of the Spirit, the force or power of an inward life, the Law of
the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, made me free from the Law of Sin and


Nineteenth Day.


^\^t Heatiing of tlje Spirit.

As many as are led by the Spirit of Godj these are sons of
God.' — Rom. viii. 14.


Y very many Christians the leading of the
Spirit is chiefly thought of as a suggestion of
thoughts for our guidance. In the decision of
doubtful qiiestions of opinion or of duty, in the
choice of words from Scripture to use, or the dis-
tinct direction to the performance of some Christian
work, they would be so glad of some intimation from
the Spirit of what the right thing is. They long
and ask for it in vain. When at times they think
they have it, it does not bring the assurance, or the
comfort, or the success, which they think ought to
be the seal of what is really from the Spirit. And
so the precious truth of the Spirit's leading, instead
of being an end of all controversy, and the solu-
tion of all difficulty, a source of comfort and of
strength, itself becomes a cause of perplexity, and
the greatest difficulty of all.


The error comes from not accepting the truth
we have had to insist upon more than once, that
the teaching and the leading of the Spirit is first
given in the Life, not in the Mind. The Life
is stirred and strengthened ; the Life becomes the
Light. As the conformity to this world and its
spirit is crucified and dies, as we deliberately deny
and keep down the life of nature and the will of
the flesh, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind,
and so the mind l^ecomes able to prove and knoio
the good and perfect and acceptable will of God
(Eom. xii. 2).

This connection between the practical sanctifying
work of the Spirit in our inner life, and His leading,
comes out very clearly in our context. ' If by the
Spirit ye make to die the deeds of the body, ye shall
live,' we read in viii. 1 3. Then follows immediately,
* For as many as 'are led by the Spirit of God are
sons of God.' That is, as many as allow themselves
to be led by Him in this mortifying of the deeds of
the body, these are the sons of God. Tlie Holy
Spirit is the Spirit of the holy life which there was
and is in Christ Jesus, and which works in us as a
Divine life-power. He is the Spirit of Holiness, and
only as such will He lead. Through Him God works
in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure ;
through Him God makes us perfect in every good
\v(»ik to do His will, working in us that which is
w 'U-pleasing in His sight. To be led of the Spirit
im[)lies in the first place the surrender to His work
as He convinces of sin, and cleanses soul and body


for His temple. It is as the Indwelling Spirit,
filling, sanctifying, and ruling the heart and life,
that He enlightens and leads.^

In the study of what the leading of the Spirit
means, it is of the first importance to grasp this
thought in all its bearings. It is only the spiritual
mind can discern spiritual things, can receive the
leadings of the Spirit. The mind must grow
spiritual to become capable of spiritual guidance.
Paul said to the Corinthians, that because, though
born again, they were still carnal, as babes in
Christ, he had not been able to teach them spiritual
truth. If this holds of the teaching that comes
through man, how much more of that direct teach-
ing of the Spirit, by which He leads into all truth !
The deepest mysteries of Scripture, as far as they
are apprehended by human thought, can be studied
and accepted and even taught by the unsanctified
mind. But the leading of the Spirit, we cannot
repeat it too often, does not begin in the region of
thought or feeling. Deeper down, in the life itself,
in the hidden laboratory of the inner life, whence
issues the power that moulds the will and fashions
the character in our spirits, there the Holy Spirit
takes up His abode, there He breathes and moves and
impels. He leads by inspiring us with a life and

^ In this book tlicre is no separate chapter on the Sanctification of
the S})iiit, on Him as the Spiiit of Holiness. The reason is that
this work is a continuation of a previous volume, Holy in Christ,
in which there was occasion to speak of what is meant by Holiness,
both as the attribute and the work of the Holy Spirit.


disposition out of which right purposes and decisions
come forth. ' That ye may be filled with the
knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual
understanding : ' that prayer teaches us that it is
only to a spiritual understanding that the knowledge
of God's will can be given. And the spiritual
understanding only comes with the growth of the
spiritual man, and the faithfulness to the spiritual
life. He that would have the leading of the Spirit
must yield himself to have his life wholly possessed
and filled of the Spirit. It was when Christ had
been baptized with the Spirit that, * being full of the
Spirit, he was led by the Spirit in the wilderness '
(Luke iv. 1), 'that He returned in the power of
the Spirit into Galilee ' (iv. 14), and began His
ministry in Nazareth with the words, ' The Spirit
of the Lord is upon Me.'

All leading claims following. It is easily under-
stood that to enjoy the leading of the Spirit demands
a very teachable, followsome mind. The Spirit is
not only hindered by the flesh as the power that
commits sin, but still more by the flesh as the
power that seeks to serve God. To be able to
discern the Spirit's teaching, Scripture tells us that
the ear must be circumcised, in a circumcision not
made with hands, in the putting off of the body of
the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ. The will
and wisdom of the flesh must be feared, and
crucified, and denied. The ear must be closed to
all that the flesh and its wisdom, whether in self or
in men around us, has to say. In all our thoughts


of God or our study of His Word, in all our draw-
ings nigh to worship, and all our goings out to work
for Him, there must be a continued distrust and
abnegation of self, and a very definite waiting on
God by the Holy Spirit to teach and lead us. A
soul that thus daily and hourly waits for a Divine
leading, for the light of knowledge and of duty, will
assuredly receive it. Would you be led of the
Spirit, give up, day by day, not only your will and
wisdom, but your whole life and being. The Fire
will descend and consume the sacrifice.

The leading of the Spirit must very specially be
a thing of faith, and that in two senses. The
beginning of the leading will come wlien we learn in
holy fear to cultivate and act upon the confidence :
The Holy Spirit is in me, and is doing His work.
The Spirit's indwelling is the crowning piece of
God's redemption- work : the most spiritual and
mysterious part of the mystery of godliness. Here,
if anywhere, faith is needed. Faith is the faculty
of the soul which recognises the Unseen, the
Divine ; which receives the impression of the Divine
Presence when God draws near ; which in its
measure accepts of what the Divine Being brings
and gives to us. In the Holy Spirit is the most
intimate communication of the Divine Life ; here
faith may not judge by what it feels or understands,
but simply submits to Gcd to let Him do what He
has said. It meditates and worships, it prays
and trusts ever afresh, it yields the whole soul
in adoring acceptance and thanksgiving to the


Saviour's word, ' He shall be in you.' It rejoices
in the assurance : the Holy Spirit, the Mighty
Power of God, dwells within ; in His own way, I
may depend upon it. He will lead me.

And then, with this more general faith of the
indwelling of the Spirit, faith has also to be
exercised in regard to each part of the leading.
"When there is a question I have laid before the
Lord, and my soul has in simplicity and emptiness
waited for His exposition and application of what
in Word or Providence has met me, Iniust in faith
trust my God that His guidance is not withheld.
As we have said before, not in sudden impulses
or strong impressions, not in heavenly voices or
in remarkable interpositions, must we expect the
ordinary leading of the Spirit. There are souls
to whom such leading undoubtedly is given ; the
time may come, as our nature becomes more
sjiiritual and lives more in direct contact with the
Invisible, that our very thoughts and feelings may
become the conscious vehicles of His blessed voice.
But this we must leave to Him, and the growth of
our spiritual capacity. The lower steps of the
ladder are let down low enougli for the weakest
to reach ; God means every child of His to be led
by the Spirit every day. Begin the path of follow-
ing the Spirit's leading by believing, not only that
the Spirit is within you, but that He, if hitherto
you have little sought or enjoyed the wondrous
blessing, does now at once undertake the work
for which you ask and trust Him. Yield yourself


to God in undivided surrender : believe with
implicit confidence that God's acceptance of the
surrender means that you are given in charge of
the Spirit. Through Him Jesus guides and rules
and saves you.

But are we not in danger of being led away by
the imaginings of our own hearts, and counting as
leading of the Spirit what proves to be a delusion
of the flesh ? And if so, where is our safeguard
against such error ? The answer ordinarily given to
this last question is, The Word of God. And yet
that answer is but half the truth. Far too many
have opposed to the danger of fanaticism the word
of God, as interpreted by human reason or by the
Church, and have erred no less than those they
sought to oppose. The answer is : The word of
God as taught by the Spirit of God. It is in the
perfect harmony of the two that our safety is to be
found. Let us on the one hand remember, that as
all the word of God is given by the Spirit of God,
so each word must be interpreted to us by that same
Spirit. That this interpretation comes alone from
the indwelling Spirit we need hardly repeat ; it is
only the spiritual man, whose inner life is under
the dominion of the Spirit, who can discern the
spiritual meaning of the word. Let us on the
other hold fast, that as all the word is given by
the Spirit, so His great work is to honour that
Word, and to unfold the fulness of Divine truth
treasured there. Not in the Spirit without or
with but little of the word ; not in the word


without or with but little of the Spirit ; but in
the word and Spirit both dwelling richly within
us, and both yielded to in implicit obedience,
is our assurance of safety in the path of the Spirit's

This brino's us back to the lesson we urGjed at
the commencement : the leading of the Spirit as
inseparable from the sanctifying of the Spirit. Let
each one who would be led of the Spirit begin by
giving himself to be led of the word as far as he
knows it. Begin at the beginning : obey the com-
mandments. * He that will do, shall know,' said
Jesus. ' Keep my commandments, and the Father
will send you the Spirit.' Give up every sin.
Give up in everytliing to the voice of conscience.
Give up in everything to God, and let Him have
His way. Through the Spirit mortify the deeds of
the body (v. lo). As a son of God place yourself
at the entire disposal of the Spirit, to follow where
He leads (v. 14). And the Spirit Himself, this
same Spirit, through whom you mortify sin, and
yield yourself to be led as a son, will bear witness
with your spirit, in a joy and power hitherto
unknown, that you are indeed a child of God,
enjoying all a child's privileges in his Father's love
and guidance.

Blessed Father ! I thank Thee for the message
that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they
are the children of God. Thou wouldest not have
Thy children guided by any one less than Thy own


Holy Spirit. As He dwelt in Thy Son, and led
Him, so He leads us too with a Divine and most
blessed leading.

Father, Thou knowest how by reason of our
not rightly knowing and not perfectly following
this holy guidance, we are often unable to know
His voice, so that the thought of the leading of
the Spirit is more a burden than a joy. Father,
forgive us. Be pleased graciously so to quicken
our faith in the simplicity and certainty of the
leading of the Spirit, that with our whole heart
we may yield ourselves henceforth to walk in it.

Father, here I do yield myself to Thee as Thy
child, in everything to be led of Thy Spirit. My
own wisdom, my own will, my own way I forsake.
Daily would I wait in deep dependence on a
guidance from above. May my spirit ever be
liushed in silence before Thy Holy Presence,
while I wait to let Him rule within. As I
through the Spirit make dead the deeds of the
body, may I be transformed by the renewing of
my mind to know Thy good and perfect will.
May my whole being so be under the rule of the
IndweUing, Sanctifying Spirit, that the spiritual
understanding of Thy will may indeed be the rule
of my life. Amen.

7. Note very carefully the order of the three verses : — 13. The making dead
of the deeds of the body through the Indwelling Spirit precedes the leading
of the Spirit, u. 14. And those two again prepare the way for 15, 16, the
abiding witness to our sonship in the living power of the Holy Ghost,

2. • //, by the Spirit, ye make to die the deeds of the body, ye shall Hue.' One
of the deepest teachings of the word in regard to sanctifi cation. Sin remains
in the body to the end. The deeds or doings of the body, each sin as it seeks


to rise up, each root of sin, can be put to death. It is the presence and life of
Christ, through the Holy Spirit, does this. Through the Spirit the believer,
who yields to Him, does it. Sin will never be rooted out. But sin can,
without ceasing, be put to death, be kept in the place of death. To do this we
must simply be full of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. The life of Christ in
us brings with it the death, the unceasing making dead of sin.

3. The mortifying or making dead of sin has a threefold reference. When
a believer has fallen into an actual sin, the Spirit, by the application of
the blood, makes it dead. When he fears the evil tendency that may come
up and betray hini, the Holy Spirit is able to keep that sin down in the
power of Christ's death. With the involuntary sin that is utterly beyond
his control, he trusts the Holy Spirit so to reveal Jesus and His power that
it shall be conguered too. But, let us remember, it is by revealing Jesus,
in the power of His death and life, and filling the soul with Him, that the
deeds of the body are made to die through the Spirit. It is on this life in
the Spirit that the leading of the Spirit depends.

4. ' There can be no safe guidance that is not perpetual. The advantage of
I a year may be lost in an hour. If we act independently of the Spirit in little
I things, we shall look for Him in vain in great things.'— Bov/es,


Twentieth Day.


5ri)e Spiiit of ^rager*

♦ In like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity : for we
know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself
maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be
uttered; and He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is
the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the

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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 12 of 27)