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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all SO beautiful and so simple, that nothing could
any longer keep it back. And perhaps, as it
accepted of what was seen to be so sure and so
near, it entered into an enjoyment and experienced
a power before unknown. But it did not last.
There was a worm at its root. Vain was the search
for what the cause of the discomfiture was, or the
way of restoration. Frequently the only answer
that could be found was that the surrender was not
entire, or faith's acceptance not perfect. And yet
the soul felt sure that it was ready, as far as it
knew, to give up all, and it did long to let Jesus
have all and to trust Him for all. It could almost
become hopeless of an impossible perfection, if per-
fect consecration and perfect faith were to be the
condition of the blessing. And the promise had
been that it would all be so simple, — just the life
for the poor and feeble ones.

Listen, my brother, to the blessed teaching of
God's word to-day. It was the confidence in the
flesh that spoilt thy glorying in Christ Jesus. It
was Self doing what the Spirit alone can do ; it was
the Soul taking the lead, in the hope that the Spirit
would second its efforts, instead of trusting the Holy
Spirit to lead and do all, and then waiting on Him.
It was following Je-sus, without the denial of self.
It was this was the secret trouble. Come and
listen to Paul as he tells of the only safeguard
against this danger : * We are the circumcision, who
worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ
Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh/ Her«


are tlie two elements of spiritual worship. The
Spirit exalts Jesus, and abases the flesh. And if we
would truly glory in Jesus, and have Him glorified
in us, if we would know the glory of Jesus in per-
sonal and unchanging experience, free from the
impotence which always marks the efforts of the
flesh, we must simply learn what this worship of
God by the Spirit is.

I can only repeat, once again, what it is the
purpose of this whole book to set forth as God's
truth from His blessed word : Glory in Christ Jesus.
Glory in Him as the Glorified One who baptizeth
with the Holy Spirit. In great simplicity and
restfulness believe in Him as having given His own
Spirit within you. Believe in that gift ; believe in
the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. Accept this
as the secret of the life of Christ in you : the Holy
Spirit is dwelling in the hidden recesses of your
spirit. Meditate on it, believe Jesus and His
word concerning it, until your soul bows with
holy fear and awe before God under the glory of.
the truth : the Holy Spirit of God is indeed
dwelling in me.

Yield yourself to His leadinsr. We have seen
that leading is not just in the mind or thoughts,
but in the life and disposition. Yield yourself to
God, to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all your
conduct. He is promised to those who love Jesus
and obey Him : fear not to say that He knows you
do love and do obey Him with your whole heart.
Bemember, then, what the one central object of His


coming was : to restore the departed Lord Jesus to
His disciples. ' I will not leave you orphans/ said
Jesus ; ' I will come again to you.' I cannot glory
in a distant Jesus, from whom I am separated.
When I try to do it, it is a thing of effort ; I must
have the help of the flesh to do it. I can only truly
glory in a present Saviour, whom the Holy Spirit
glorifies, reveals in His glory, within me. As He
does this, the flesh is abased, and kept in its place
of crucifixion as an accursed thing : as He does it,
the deeds of the flesh are made to die. And my
whole religion will be : no confidence in the flesh,
glorying in Christ Jesus, worship by the Spirit of

Beloved believer ! having begun in the Spirit,
continue, go on, persevere in the Spirit. Beware
of, for one single moment, continuing or perfecting
the work of the Spirit in the flesh. Let ' no con-
fidence in the flesh ' be your battle-cry ; let a deep
distrust of the flesh, and fear of grieving the Spirit
by walking after the flesh, keep you very low and
humble before God. Pray God for the spirit of
revelation, that you may see how Jesus is all, and
does all, and how by the Holy Spirit a Divine Life
indeed takes the place of your life, and Jesus is
enthroned as the Keeper and Guide and Life of the

Blessed God and Father ! we thank Thee for the
wondrous provision Thou hast made for Thy children's
drawing nigh to Thee, glorying in Christ Jesus, and


worshipping by tlie Spirit. Grant, we pray Thee,
that such may be our life and all our religious

We feel the need of asking Thee to show us how
the one great hindrance to such a life is the power
of the flesh and the efforts of the self-life. Open
our eyes, we pray Thee, to this snare of Satan.
May we all see how secret and how subtle is the
temptation to have confidence in the flesh, and how
easily we are led to perfect in the flesh what haa
been begun in the Spirit. May we learn to trust
Thee to work in us by Thy Holy Spirit, both to will
and to do.

Teach us, too, we pray Thee, to know how the
flesh can be conquered and its power broken. In
the death of Thy beloved Son our old man has been
crucified : may we count all things but loss to be
made conformable to that death, and have the old
nature kept in the place of death. We do yield
ourselves to the lead and rule of Thy Holy Spirit.
We do believe that through the Spirit Christ is our
life, so that instead of the life of effort and work,
an entirely new life works within us. Our Father !
in faith we give up all to Thy Spirit to be our life
in us. Amen.

/. Christ is ttie Wisdom and the Power of God. The root of all trust in our
own strength is trust in our own wisdom, the idea that we iinow how to serve
God, because we have His word. This wisdom of man, in his accepting God's
word, is the greatest danger of the Church, because it is the secret and most
subtle form in which we are led to perfect in the flesh what was begun in the

2. Our only safety here is the Holy Spirit. A great willingness to be taught
by Him, a holy fear of in the least thing walking after the flesh, a lovirtg


surrender in everything to the obedience to which Christ promises the Spirit,
and with all this, the living faith that the Spirit will in Divine power possess
our life and live it for us,- this is the path of safety.

3. Let us try and realize fully that there are these two animating principles
of man's life. In most Christians there is a mixed life, yielding now to the
one, and then to the other. God's will is that we walk 'not '—never, not for a
moment— 'after the flesh, but after the Spirit.' Let as accept God's will. The
Holy Spirit has been given to bring our life into conformity with it. May God
show us how entirely the Holy Spirit can dispossess the life of the flesh, and
Himself become an entirely new life in us, revealing Christ as our life. Then
we can say, 'It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.'

4. The Church must learn from this Epistle that Justification by faith is
only the means to an end, the entrance to a life of walking by the Spirit
of God. We must return to the preaching of John the Baptist, — Christ who
bears the sin of the world, Christ who baptizes with the Holy Ghost.

5. ' Why is it that people lay stress, almost exclusively, with a view to faith
fn Jesus, on this, that He bears the sin of the world, and neglect so much
the other point, that He is able to baptize with the Holy Ghost ? The prophets
and apostles, on the contrary, lay stress on this gift of the Spirit as the
source of a new life, a new disposition and walk, in which both the im-
pression and the expression of God's law is to be seen. Prophets and
apostles treat the matter in its ethical aspect, whereas the traditional
treatment represents the gift of the Spirit chiefly as a seal of forgiveness
and adoption, and holds that from the Joy of gratitude for this, — that is,
from a mere psychological factor,— the new life and strength for good are
to spring. This view we find in our best authors. The Scriptures, on the
contrary, lay stress on the new creating and satisfying power of the Holy
Ghost as the principle of all Christian disposition and personal activity
{Rom via. 2). Christ's sin-bearing only prepares the way for the coming
of the Spirit (John oil. 39 ; Gal. Hi. 13, 14) ; it is the foundation, but not tfi«
U/ kole. ' — Beck, rastoi-allehreii. (Tr. Pastoral Theology. Clark.)


Twenty-seventh Day.

W\}t Spirit t{)roucj{) Jaitlj.

'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse, that upon the
Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus ;
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.'' —
Gal. iii. 13, 14.

THE word faith is used the first time in Scrip-
ture in connection with Abraham. His
highest praise, the secret of his strength for
obedience, and what made him so pleasing to God,
was that he believed God ; and so he became the
father of all them that believe, and the great
example of the blessing which the Divine favour
bestows, and the path in which it comes. Just as
God proved Himself to Abraham the God who
quickens the dead, He does to us too, in fuller
measure, in giving us the Spirit of His own Divine
life to dwell in us. And just as this quickening
power came to Abraham through faith, so the
blessing of Abraham, as now made manifest in


Clnist, even the promise of the Spirit, is made ours
hy faith. All tlie lessons of Abraham's life centre
in this : ' We receive the promise of the Spirit
through faith.' If we want to know what the
faith is through which the Spirit is received, how
that faith comes and grows, we must study what God
has taught us of it in Abraham's story.

In Abraham's life we see what faith is : the
spiritual sense by wliich man recognises and accepts
the revelation of his God, a spiritual sense called
forth and awakened by that revelation. It was
because God had chosen Abraham, and determined
to reveal Himself, that Abraham became a man of
faith. Each new revelation v/as an act of the
Divine Will ; it is the Divine Will, and the revela-
tion in which it carries out its purpose, that is the
cause and the life of faith. The more distinct the
revelation or contact with God, the deeper is faith
stirred in the soul. Paul speaks of 'trust in the
Living God : ' it is only as the Living One, in the
quickening power of the Divine Life, draws nigh
and touches the soul, that living faith will be called
forth. Faith is not an independent act, by which
in our own strength we take what God says. Nor
is it an entirely passive state, in which we only
suffer God to do to us what He will. But it is
that receptivity of soul in which, as God comes
near, and as His living Power speaks to us and
touches us, we yield ourselves and accept His word
and His working.

It is thus very evident that faith has two things


to deal with : the Presence and the Word of the
Lord. It is only the Living Presence that makes
the Living Word, so that it comes not in word only
but in power. It is on this account that there is so
much reading and preaching of the word that bears
so little fruit; so much straining and praying for faith,
with so little result. Men deal with the word more
than with the Living God. Faith has very truly been
defined as * Taking God at His word.' With many
this has only meant. Taking the word as God's ;
they did not see the force of the thought, Taking
God at His word. A key or a door handle has no
value until I use it for the lock and the door I
want to open ; it is alone in direct and living con-
tact with God Himself that the word will open the
heart to believe. Paith takes God at His word ;
it can only do this when and as He gives Himself.
I may have in God's book all His precious promises
most clear and full ; I may have learnt perfectly to
understand how I have but to trust the promise to
have it fulfilled, and yet utterly fail to find the
longed-for blessing. The faith that enters on the
inheritance is the attitude of soul which waits for
God Himself, first to speak His word to me, and
then to do the thing He hath spoken. Faith is
fellowship with God ; faith is surrender to God ; the
impression made by His drawing nigh, the posses-
sion He takes of the soul by His word, holding and
preparing it for His work. When once it has been
awakened, it watches for every appearing of the
Divine Will ; it listens for and accepts everj"


indication of the Divine Presence ; it looks for and
expects the fulfilment of every Divine Promise.

Such was the faith through which Abraham
inherited the promises. Such is the faith by which
the blessing of Abraham comes upon the Gentiles
in Christ Jesus, and by which we thus receive the
promise of the Spirit. In all our study of the
work of the Holy Spirit, and of the way in
which He comes, from His first sealing us, to His
full indwelling and streaming forth, let us hold
fast this word : ' We receive the promise of the
Spirit by faith.' Whether the believer be striving
for the full consciousness that the Spirit dwells
within, for a deeper assurance of His shedding
abroad of God's love in the heart, for a larger
growth of all His fruits, for the clearer experience
of His guiding into all truth, or for the indue-
ment of power to labour and to bless, let him
remember that the law of faith, on which the whole
economy of grace is grounded, here demands its
fullest application : ' According to your faith be it
unto you.' * We receive the promise of the Spirit
by faith.' Let us seek for Abraham's blessing in
Abraham's faith.

Let, in this matter, our faith begin where his
began : in meeting God and waiting on God. ' The
Lord appeared unto Abraham. . . . And Abraham fell
on his face : and God talked with him.' Let us look
up to our God and Father as the Living God, who
is Himself, by His Omnipotent Quickening Power,
to do this wonderful thing for us : to fill us with


His Holy Spirit. The blessing He has for us is the
same He gave to Abraham, but only larger, fuller,
more wonderful. To Abraham, both when his own
body was now as dead, and later on, when his son
was already bound on the altar, the prey of death,
He came as the Life - giving God. ' He believed
God, who quickeneth the dead.' ' He offered up
Isaac, accounting God able to raise him up.' To us
He comes, offering to fill spirit, soul, and body
with the power of a Divine life, through the Holy
Spirit dwelling in us. Let us be like Abraham.
' Looking at the promise of God, he wavered not
through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith,
giving glory to God, and being fully assured that
what He had promised, He was able also to perform.'
Let us have our souls filled with the faith of Him
who has promised, our hearts fixed on Him who
is able to perform : it is faith in God opens the
heart for God, and prepares to submit to and
receive His Divine working. God waits on us to
fill us with His Spirit : oh, let us wait on Him.
It is God must do it all with a Divine doing, most
mighty and most blessed : let us wait on Him. To
read and think, to long and pray, to consecrate
ourselves and grasp the promise, to hold fast the
blessed truth that the Spirit dwells within us ; all
this is good in its place, but does not bring the
blessing. The one thing needful is, to have the
heart filled with faith in the Living God ; in that
faith to abide in living contact with Him, in that
faith to wait and worship before His Holy Presence.


Id such fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit fills
the heart.

When we have taken up this position, let us
keep in it ; we are then in the right state for the
Spirit, in such measure as He already has had
access to us, further revealing what God has pre-
pared for us/ As we then think of some special
manifestation of the Spirit, of which the conviction
of need has been wrought, or go to the promises of
the word to be led into all the Will of God concern-
ing the life of the Spirit in us, we shall be kept in
that humbling sense of dependence out of which
childlike trust is most surely begotten. We shall
be preserved from that life of strain and effort
which has so often led to failure, because in the
very attempt to serve God in the Spirit we were
having or seeking confidence in the flesh, in some-
thing we felt, or did, or wished to do. The deep
undertone of our life, in listening to the word or
asking God to listen to us, in silent meditation or
public worship, in work for God or daily busi-
ness, will be the assurance that overtowers every
other certainty : * How much more will the
Heavenly Father give,' has He given, and will
He always be giving, ' the Holy Spirit to them
that ask Him.'

Such a faith will not be without its trials.

Isaac, the God-given, faith-accepted life of Isaac,

had to be given up to death, that it might be

received back in resurrection-type, as life from the

' Sec on trusting tlu- Spirit, Note 0.


dead. The God-given experience of the Spirit's

working many a time passes away, and leaves the

soul apparently dull and dead. This is only until

the double lesson has been fully learnt ; that a

living faith can rejoice in a Living God, even when

all feeling and experience appear to contradict the

promise ; and that the Divine life only enters as

the life of the flesh is given to the death. The life

of Christ is revealed as His death works in us, and

as in weakness and nothingness we look to Him.

We receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

As faith grows larger and broader, the receiving of

the promised Spirit will be fuller and deeper.

Each new revelation of God to Abraham made his

faith stronger and his acquaintance with God more

intimate. When his God drew near, he knew what

to expect ; he knew to trust Him even in the most

unlikely appearances, when asking the death of his

son. It is the faith that waits every day on the

Living God to reveal Himself ; the faith that in

ever-increasing tenderness of ear and readiness of

service yields fully to Him and His Presence ; the

faith tb^t knows that only as He wills to reveal

Himself can the blessing come, but that because He

always does love to reveal Himself, it will surely

come ; — this faith receives the promise of the Spirit.

It was in God's Presence that this faith was

wakened and strengthened in Abraham and the

saints of old. It was in Jesus' Presence on earth

that unbelief was cast out, and that little faith

became strong. It was in the Presence of the


Glorified One that faith received the blessincj of
IVntecost. The Throne of God is now opened to
us in Christ ; it is become the Throne of God and
the Lamb : as we tarry in humble worship, and
walk in loving service before the Throne, the river
of the water of life that flows from under it will
flow into us, and through us, and out of us. 'He
that believeth, rivers of water shall flow out of

Ever-blessed God ! who dost in Thy Divine Love
and Power reveal Thyself to each of Thy children
as far as he can possibly bear it, increase within us,
we pray Thee, the faith through which alone we can
know or receive Thee. Whether Thou comest as
the Almighty, or the Eedeeming, or the Indwelling
God, it is ever faith Thou seekest, and according to
faith we receive. Father ! convince us deeply
that we have just as much of the Spirit as we have
of faith.

Our Holy God ! we know that it is Thy Presence
wakens and works the faith in the soul that yields
to Thee. Draw us mightily, we pray Thee, yea,
irresistibly into Thy Holy Presence, and keep us
waiting there. Oh, deliver us from the terrible
fascination of world and flesh, that Thy Divine
Glory may be our all-absorbing desire, and our
whole heart emptied to receive the Holy Spirit's
revelation of Christ within. We desire to take
Thy words, and let them dwell richly in us. We
desire in stillness of soul to be silent unto God and


wait for Him ; to trust and believe that the Father
hath given us His Spirit within us, and is in secret
working to reveal His Son. God ! we do liveth^
life of faith ; we do believe in the Holy Spirit.

7. Faith is the one thing that pleases God. in all worship and work fhcA
is acceptable to God in Christ Jesus, it is faith that receives the tesiiMOfiyf
that we are well-pleasing to Him. And why? Because faith goes um'' c/
self, gives God alone the glory, only looks to God's Son, and is raeptive of
God's Spirit. Faith is not merely the positive conviction that God'/t word or
promise is true : this confidence there may be, even in the power 0/ the flesh.
Faith is the spiritual organ of the soul, through which it waits on the Living
God, listens to Him, takes His words from Himself, has communion with Him.
It is as this habit of soul is cultivated, as the whole life we Hue is by faith,
that the Spi'it can enter freely and flow fully. 'He that believeth, rivers shall
flow out of him.'

2. ' The Spirit is called (1 Pet. i. 21) the incorruptible seed, because He is
cast into the soul with the Word, as its prolific virtue : the Word is the
seed materially, but the Spirit is the seed virtually,' — Goodwin,

3. You long for the power of the Holy Spirit to keep you ever looking to
Jesus, to reveal Jesus as ever present as a Saviour from sin — 'only believe.'
Begin each day with a quiet act of meditation and faith. In quiet self-
collectedness turn inward, not to see the work the Holy Spirit does, but to
yield your spirit to Him who dwells there in secret. Say in deep humility :
I have within me, small and hidden, the Seed of the Kingdom, the Seed of the
Eternal Life. I have found the Seed of the Living Word, the Seed of God,
within me. I know now where it dwells. Bow before God in fear and
trembling, because He worketh in you, and let faith take time before Him to
become confident and fully conscious : I have the Holy Spirit within me
this day.

4. 'His seed abideth in him, and he cannot sin.' Go out into daily life in
the strength of the faith that the Holy Spirit dwells within, and that the
Father will grant that He works efl'ectually to keep you from sinning. Pause
frequently, in holy self-recollection, to let the Spirit remind you that you are
God's Holy Temple. And say with holy trembling : I bear within me the
Living Seed of the Life of God.

5. As individual believers enter into this life of faith and walk in it, there
will be power to pray for the Spirit coming from above in power on all flesh.


Twenty-eighth Day.


*Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the
flesh. They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh,
with the passions and lusts thereof. If we live by the Spirit, by
the Spirit let us also walk.'— Gal. v. 16,/ 24, 25.

* TF we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us
J- walk.' These words suggest to us very
clearly the difference between the sickly and the
healthy Christian life. In the former the Christian
is content to ' live by the Spirit ; ' he is satisfied
with knowing that he has the new life ; but he does
not walk by the Spirit. The true believer, on the
contrary, is not content without having his whole
walk and conversation in the power of the Spirit.
lie walks by the Spirit, and so does not fulfil the
lusts of the flesh.

As the Christian strives thus to walk worthy of
God and well-pleasing to Him in all things, he is
often sorely troubled at the power of sin, and asks
what the cause may be that he so often fails in



conquering it. Tiie answer to this question lie
ordinarily finds in his want of faith or faithfulness,
in his natural feebleness or the mighty power of
Satan. Alas ! if he rests content vvith this
solution. It is well for him if he press on to liiid
the deeper reason why all these things, from which
Christ secured deliverance for him, still can over-
come. One of the deepest secrets of the Christian
life is the knowledge that the one great power that
keeps the Spirit of God from ruling, that the last
enemy that must yield to Him, is the flesh. He

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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 17 of 27)