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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with others, step by step. As you are faithful in
keeping conscience pure, the light will shine more
brightly from heaven into the heart, discovering sin
you liad not noticed before, bringing out distinctly
the law written by the Spirit you had not been
able to read. Be willing to be taught ; be trust-
fully sure that the Spirit will teach. Every honest
effort to keep the blood-cleansed conscience clean,
in the liiiht of God, will be met with the aid of the
Spirit. Only yield yourself heartily and entirely to
God's will, and to the power of His Holy Spirit.

As you thus bow to the reproofs of conscience,
and give yourself wholly to do God's will, your
courage will grow strong that it is possible to have
a conscience void of offence. The witness of con-
science, as to what you are doing and will do by
grace, will be met by the witness of the Spirit as to
what Christ is doing and will do. In childlike
simplicity you will seek to begin each day with
the simple prayer : Father ! there is nothing now
between Thee and Thy child. My conscience,


divinely cleansed in the blood, bears me witness.
Father ! let not even the shadow of a cloud inter-
vene this day. In everything would I do Thy will :
Thy Spirit dwells in me, and leads me, and makes
me strong in Christ. And you will enter upon
that life which glories in free grace alone when it
says at the close of each day, ' Our glorying is
this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holi-
ness and godly sincerity, by the Grace of God, we
have behaved ourselves in the world ' : ' My con-
science bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.'

Gracious God ! I thank Thee for the voice Thou
hast given in our heart, to testify whether we are
pleasing to Thee or not. I thank Thee, that when
that witness condemned me, with its terrible Amen
to the curse of Thy law, Thou didst give the
blood of Thy Son to cleanse the conscience. I
thank Thee that at this moment my conscience ca/i
say Amen to the voice of the blood, and that I may
look up to Thee in full assurance, with a heart
deansed from the evil conscience.

I thank Thee too for the Witness from heaven to
what Jesus hath done and is doing for me and in
me. I thank Thee that He glorifies Christ in me,
gives me His Presence and His Power, and trans-
forms me into His likeness. I thank Thee that to
the presence and the work of Thy Spirit in my
heart, my conscience can likewise say, Amen.

my Father ! I desire this day to walk before
Thee with a good conscience, to do nothing that


might grieve Thee or my Blessed Lord Jesus. 1
ask Thee, may, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the
cleansing in the blood be a living, continual, and
most effectual deliverance from the power of sin,
binding and strengthening me to Thy perfect
service. And may my whole walk with Thee be in
the joy of the united witness of conscience and Thy
Spirit that I am well-pleasing to Thee. Amen.

7. In a well-ordered house the windows are kept clean, especially where the
owner hues to rest and look out on some beautiful prospect. Oh ! see to it
every day that the windows are kept clean, that not the shadow of a cloud
obstruct the light from aboue shining on you, or your look of loue as it seeks
the Father's face aboue. Involuntary sin is at once cleansed by the Blood, if
faith claim it. Let euery failure be at once confessed and cleansed too. Be
content with nothing less than walking in the light of His countenance all the

2. ' Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many
things.' Faithfulness to conscience as the lesser light, is the only way to the
enjoyment of the Spirit as the greater light. If we are unfaithful to the
witness we have, how can God commit us the True Witness ? We cannot say
it too earnestly : Tender conscientiousness is the only way to true spirituality.

3. Is not the preaching of Conscience, and to Conscience, in connection with
the preaching of the Blood, what is needed in the Church ? Some preach Con-
science, and say little of the Blood. Some preach the Blood, and say little of
Conscience. This is one of God's wonderful words, 'How much more shall the
Blood of Christ cleanse your conscience, to serue the living God l' Conscience
is the power that pleads for Duty, the doing of Right. And the object and
effect of the Blood, when preached and believed as God would have it, is to
restore conscience to its full power and action. *The blood shall cleanse
your conscience, to serve the living God.' The power of holiness lies in
ihe insight into, and the careful maintenance of, the wonderful harmony of
the two.


Twenty-second Day.


E\}t Eebelatton of tfte Spirit

* My preaching was not in persuasive words of man's wisdom,
but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith
should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect: yet a wisdom not
of this world; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even
the wisdom that hath been hidden, which none of the rulers of
this world knoweth. But unto us God revealed it through the
Spirit. But we received, not the spirit which is of the world,
but the Spirit which is of God, that we might hnouj the things
which are freely given to us by God ; which things also we speak,
not in the word which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the
Spirit teacheth. Now the natural man receiveth not the things
of the Spirit of God. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things.'
—1 Cor. ii. 4-15.

IN this passage Paul contrasts the spirit of the
world and the Spirit of God. The point in
which the contrast specially comes out is in the
wisdom or knowledge of the truth. It was in
seeking knowledge that man fell. It was in the
pride of knowledge that heathenism had its origin ;
' professing themselves to be wise, they became fools *
(Pom. i. 22). It was in wisdom, philosophy, and the


search after truth, tliat the Greeks sought their glory.
It was in the knowledge of God's will, 'the form of
the know^ledge and of the truth in the law ' (Eom.
ii. 17-20), that the Jew made his boast. And yet
when Christ, the wisdom of God, appeared on earth,
Jew and Greek combined to reject Him. Man's
wisdom, whether in possession of a revelation or not,
is utterly insufficient for comprehending God or His
wisdom. As his heart is alienated from God, so that
he does not love or do His will, so his mind is
darkened that he cannot know Him aright. Even
when in Christ the light of God in its Divine love
shone upon men, they knew it not, and saw no
beauty in it.^

In the Epistle to the Eomans, Paul had dealt
with man's trust in his own righteousness, and its
insufficiency. To the Corinthians, especially in the
first three chapters, he exposes the insufficiency of
man's wisdom. And that not merely when it was a
question of discovering God's truth and will, as with
the Greeks ; but even where God had revealed it, as
with the Jews, man was incapable of seeing it with-
out a Divine illumination, the light of the Holy Spirit.
The rulers of this world, Jew and Gentile, had
crucified the Lord of glory because they knew not the
wisdom of God. In writing to believers at Corinth,
and warning them against the wisdom of the world,
Paul is not dealing with any heresy, Jewish or heathen.
He is speaking to believers, who had fully accepted
his gospel of a crucified Christ, but who were in

' See Note M.


danger, in preaching or hearing the truth, to deal
with it in the power of human wisdom. He reminds
them that the truth of God, as a hidden spiritual
mystery, can only be apprehended by a spiritual
revelation. The rejection of Christ by the Jews
had been the great proof of the utter incapacity of
human wisdom to grasp a Divine revelation, without
the spiritual internal illumination of the Holy Spirit.
The Jews prided themselves on their attachment to
God's word, their study of it, their conformity to
it in life and conduct. The issue proved that,
without their being conscious of it, they utterly
misunderstood it, and rejected the very Messiah
whom they thought they were waiting for and
trusting in. Divine revelation, as Paul expounds
it in this chapter, means three things. God must
make known in His word what He thinks and does.
Every preacher who is to communicate the message
must not only be in possession of the truth, but
continually be taught by the Spirit how to speak it.
And every hearer needs the inward illumination : it
is only as he is a spiritual man, with his life under
the rule of the Spirit, that his mind can take in
spiritual truth.^ As we have the mind, the dis-

^ In thus contrasting the Spirit of God and of the world, Paul
first describes, verses 6-9, the hidden wisdom in its Divine contents
and cliaracter : in verses 10-13 he teaches that this Divine wisdom
must be divinely revealed, and its preaching divinely guided by
the Spirit ; and then, from verse 14 to iii. 4, that for its reception
on the part of the hearer, the influence of the Spirit is needed :
even the Christian, unless he be living a spiritual life, cannot
Rpprehend it.


position of Christ, we can diooern the truth as it is
in Christ Jesus.

Tliis teaching is what the Church in our days,
and each believer, specially needs. With the Re-
formation the insufficiency of man's righteousness,
of his power really to fulfil God's law, obtained
universal recognition in the Eeformed Churches, and
in theory at least is everywhere accepted among
Evangelical Christians. The insufficiency of man's
wisdom has by no means obtained as clear recogni-
tion. While the need of the Holy Spirit's teaching
is, in a general w^ay, willingly admitted, it will be
found that neither in the teaching of the Church,
nor in the lives of believers, has this blessed truth
tliat practical and all-embracing supremacy without
which the wisdom and the spirit of this world will
still assert their power.

The proof of what we have said will be found
in wliat Paul says of His own preaching : ' Our
preaching was 7iot in man's wisdom, hut in the
Spirit ; that your faith might not stand in the
wisdom of men, hut in the power of God.' He is
not writing, as to the Galatians, of two gospels, but
of two ways of preaching the one gospel of Christ's
cross. He says that to preach it in persuasive
words of man's wisdom, produces a faith that will
bear the mark of its origin ; it will stand in the
wisdom of man. As long as it is nourished by men
and means, it may stand and flourish. But it
cannot stand alone or in tlie day of trial. A man
may, with such preaching, liecome a believe]', but


will be a feeble believer. The faith, on the other
hand, begotten of a preaching in the Spirit and
power, stands in the power of God. The believer
is led by the preaching, by the Holy Spirit Himself,
past man, to direct contact with the living God :
his faith stands in the power of God. As long as
the state of the great majority of our church
members, notwithstanding such an abundance of
the means of grace, is so feeble and sickly, with so
little of the faith that stands in the power of God,
mighty to overcome the world, to purify the heart,
and to do the greater works, we cannot but fear
that it is because too much, even of our true gospel
preaching, is more in the wisdom of man than in
the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. If a
change is to be effected both in the spirit in which
our preachers and teachers speak, and our congrega-
tions listen and exjoect, it must commence, I am
sure, in the personal life of the individual believer.
We must learn to fear our own wisdom. * Trust
in the Lord with thy whole heart, and lean
not to thine own understanding.' Paul says, to
believers : ' If any man tliinketh that he is wise,
let him become a fool, that he may be wise '
(1 Cor. iii. 18). When Scripture tells us that 'they
that are Christ's have crucified the flesh,' this in-
cludes the understanding of the flesh, the fleshly
mind of which Scripture speaks. Just as in the
crucifixion of self I give up my own goodness, my
own strength, my own will to the death, because
there is no good in it, and look to Christ by the


power of His life to give me the goodness, and the
strength, and the will which is pleasing to God,
so it must be very specially with my wisdom.
Man's mind is one of his noblest and most God-like
faculties. But sin rules over it and in it. A man
may be truly converted, and yet not know to what
an extent it is his natural mind with which he is
trying to grasp and hold the truth of God. The
reason that there is so much Bible reading and
teaching which lias no power to elevate and sanctify
the life is simply this : it is not truth which has
been revealed and received through the Holy Spirit.
This holds good, too, of truth which has once
been taught us by the Holy Spirit, but which, hav-
ing been lodged in the understanding, is now held
simply by the memory. Manna speedily loses its
heavenliness, when stored up on earth. Truth
received from heaven loses its Divine freshness,
unless there every day be the anointing with fresh
oil. The believer needs, day by day, hour by
hour, to feel that there is nothing in which the
power of the flesh, of nature, can assert itself more
insidiously, than in the activity of the mind or
reason in its dealing with the Divine word. This
will make him feel that he must continually seek,
in Paul's language, ' to become a fooh' He needs,
each time he has to do with God's word, or thinks
of God's truth, in faith and teachableness, to wait
for the promised teaching of the Spirit. He needs
ever a'^ain to ask for the circumcised ear : the ear
in which the fleshly power of the understanding


lias been removed, and in which the spirit of the
life in Christ Jesus within the heart listens in the
obedience of the Ufe, even as Christ did. To such
the word will be fulfilled : ' I thank Thee, Father,
that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.'

The lesson for all ministers and teachers, all
professors and theologians, all students and readers
of the Bible, is one of deep and searching solemnity.
Have we felt, have we even sought to feel, that
there must be perfect correspondence between the
objective spiritual contents of the revelation, and
the subjective spiritual apprehension of it on our
part ? between our apprehension of it and our
communication of it, both in the power of the
Holy Spirit ? between our communication of it,
and the reception by those to whom we bring it ?
Would God that over our theological halls and
our training institutes, over the studies of our com-
mentators and writers, our ministers and teachers,
there were written those words of Paul : ' God hath
revealed it unto us by His Holy Spirit.' Would
that our ministers could influence and train their
congregations to see, that not the amount, or the
clearness, or the interest of the Bible knowledge
received will decide the blessing and the power
that it brings, but the measure of real dependence
on the Holy Spirit. 'Them that honour Me, I will
honour : ' nowhere -will this word be found more
true than here. The crucifixion of self and all its
wisdom, the coming in weakness, and in fear, and


in much trembling, as Paul did, will most assuredly
be met from above with the demonstration of
the Spirit and of power.

Believer ! it is not enough that the light of
Christ shines on you in the Word, the light of the
Spirit must shine in you. Each time you come to
the Word in study, in hearing a sermon, or reading
a religious book, there ought to be, as distinct as
your intercourse with the external means, a definite
act of self-abnegation, denying your own wisdom,
and yielding yourself in faith to the Divine Teacher.
Believe very distinctly that He dwells within you.
He seeks the mastery, the sanctification of your
inner life, in entire surrender and obedience to
Jesus. Eejoice to renew your surrender to Him.
Eeject the spirit of the world which is still in you,
with its wisdom and self - confidence ; come, in
poverty of spirit, to be led by the Spirit that is of
God. ' Be not fashioned according to the world,
with its confidence in the flesh, and self, and its
wisdom ; but be ye transformed hy the rcnciving of
your mind, that ye may prove wiiat is the good, and
perfect, and acceptable will of God.' It is a trans-
formed, renewed life, that only wants to know God's
perfect will, that will be taught by the Spirit.
Cease from your own wisdom ; wait for the wisdom
in the inward parts which God has promised : you
will increasingly be able to testify of the things
which have not entered into the hearts of men to
conceive : ' God hath revealed them to U5 by His


God ! I bless Thee for the wondrous revelation
of Thyself in Christ crucified, the wisdom of God,
and the power of God. I bless Thee, that while
man's wisdom leaves him helpless in presence of
the power of sin and death, Christ crucified proves
that He is the wisdom of God by the mighty
redemption He works as the power of God. And
I bless Thee, that what he wrought and bestows as
an Almighty Saviour is revealed within us by the
Divine light of Thine Own Holy Spirit.

Lord ! we beseech Thee, teach Thy Church that
wherever Christ, as the power of God, is not mani-
fested, it is because He is so little known as the
wisdom of God, as the Indwelling Spirit alone can
reveal Him in Thy sight. Oh ! teach Thy Church
to lead each child of God to the personal teaching
and revelation of Christ within.

Show us, God ! that the one great hindrance
is our own wisdom, our imagination that we can
understand the Word and Truth of God. Oh !
teach us to become fools that we may be wise.
May our whole life become one continued act of
faith, that the Holy Spirit will surely do His work
of teaching, guiding, and leading into the truth.
Father 1 Thou gavest Him that He might reveal
Jesus in His glory within us ; we wait for this.

1. 'God chose the foolish things of the world that He might put to shame the
wise ' (7 Cor. i 27. Comp. 19, 20, 21 ; Hi. 19, 20). Was it only at Corinth
that believers needed this teaching ? Or is there not in every man a wisdom
that is not of God, and a readiness to think that it can understand the word,
9i)en without direct contact with the living God Himself? This wisdom see(i9


to master even the most spiritual truth, to form a clear conception or image
of it, and rejoices in that instead of the liuing power in which the Spirit
reveals it in the life.

2. Jesus had the spirit of wisdom. How did it manifest itself? In His
waiting to hear what the Father spake. 'Morning by morning He wakeneth
mine ear to hear, as they that are taught.' Perfect teachableness was the
mark of the Son on earth. This is the mark of the Spirit in us too : ' What
things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak.' The life is the light ; as the
Spirit finds our life in perfect obedience to Him, He teaches by what He works
in us. '/ will destroy the wisdom of the wise. '

3. It is inconceivable, until God reveals it to us, how a Christian may deceive
himself with the semblance of wisdom in beautiful thoughts and affecting
sentiments, while the power of God is wanting. The wisdom of man stands
in contrast to the power of God. The only tru6 mark of Divine wisdom is
its power. The kingdom of God is not words, and thoughts, and knowledge,
but power. May God open our eyes to see how much of our religion consists
in beautiful words, thoughts, and feelings, but not in the power of God.

4. Note well that the Spirit of the world and the Wisdom of the world
are one. The extent to which many Christians yield themselves to the
influence of the literature of the age, without fear or caution, is one of the
great reasons that the Holy Spirit cannot guide them or reveal Christ in
them. ' The Spirit, whom the world cannot receive, because it knoweth Him
not.' 'We received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of


Twenty-third Day.


Spiritual or Carnal.

• And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual^
but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. I fed you with milk,
not with meat ; for ye were not yet able to bear it ; nay, not
even now are ye able ; for whereas there is among you jealousy
and strife, are ye not carnal, and walk after the manner of
men ? '—1 Coe. iii. 1-3.

*If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.' —
Gal. v. 25.

IN tlie previous chapter the Apostle had contrasted
the believer as spiritual, with the uuregenerate
as the natural (or psychical) man : the man of the
Spirit with the man of the soul (1 Cor. ii. 14, 15).
Here he supplements that teaching. He tells the
Corinthians that, though they have the Spirit, he
cannot call them spiritual ; that epithet belongs to
those who have not only received the Spirit, but
have yielded themselves to Him to possess and rule
their whole life. Those who have not done this,
in whom the power of the flesh is still more
manifest than that of the Spirit, must be called not


spiritual, but fleshly or carnal. There are thus
three states in which a man may be found. The
unregenerate is still the ncitural man, not having
the Spirit of God. The regenerate, who is still a
babe in Christ, whether because he is only lately
converted, or because he has stood still and not
advanced, is the carnal man, giving way to the
power of the flesh. The believer in whom the Spirit
has obtained full supremacy, is the spiritual man.
The whole passage is suggestive of rich instruction
in regard to the life of the Spirit within us.

The young Christian is still carnal. Eegeneration
is a birth : the centre and root of the personality,
the spirit, has been renewed and taken possession
of by the Spirit of God. But time is needed for its
power from that centre to extend through all the
circumference of our being. The kingdom of God
is like unto a seed ; the life in Christ is a growth ;
and it would be against the laws of nature and
grace alike if we expected from the babe in Christ
the strength that can only be found in the young
men, or the rich experience of the fathers. Even
where in the young convert there is great singleness
of heart and faith, with true love and devotion to
the Saviour, time is needed for a deeper know^ledge
of self and sin, for a spiritual insiglit into what
God's will and grace are. With the young believer
it is not unnatural that the emotions are deeply
stirred, and that the mind delights in the contempla-
tion of Divine truth ; with the growth in grace, the
will becomes the more important thing, and the


waiting for the Spirit's power in the life and
character more than the delii>ht in those thoughts
and images of the life which alone the mind could
give. We need not wonder if the babe in Christ
is still carnal.

Many Christians remain carnal. God has not
only called us to grow, but has provided all the
conditions and powers needful for growth. And
yet it is sadly true, that there are many Christians
who, like the Corinthians, remain babes in Christ
when they ought to be going on to perfection,
* attaining unto a full-grown man.' In some cases
the blame is almost more with the Church and its
teaching, than with the individuals themselves.
When the preaching makes salvation chiefly to
consist in pardon and peace and the hope of
heaven, or when, if a holy life be preached, the
truth of Christ our Sanctification, our Sufficient
Strength to be holy, and the Holy Spirit's
indwelling, be not taught clearly and in the power
of the Spirit, growth can hardly be expected.
Ignorance, human and defective views of the gospel,
as tlie power of God unto a present salvation in
sanctification, are the cause of the evil.

In other cases the root of the evil is to be found
in the unwillingness of the Christian to deny self
and crucify the flesh. The call of Jesus to every
disciple is, ' If any man will come after Me, let him
deny himself.' The Spirit is only given to the
obedient ; He can only do His work in those who
are willing absolutely to give up self to the death,

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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 14 of 27)