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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ready to be blessed in whichever way He comes.

And what are now the conditions of this fulness
of the Spirit ? God's word has one answer — faith.
It is faith alone that sees and receives the Invisible,
that sees and receives God Himself. The cleansing
from sin and the loving surrender to obedience,
which were the conditions of the first reception of
the Spirit, are the fruit of the faith that saw what
sin was, and what the blood, and what the will and

U •


the love of God. Of these we do not speak here
again. The word is for believers who have been
faithful in their seeking to obey, and yet have not
what they long for. By faith they must specially
see what there is that needs to be cast out. All
filling needs emptying. I do not here speak of the
cleansing out of sin, and the surrender to full
obedience. This is always the first essential. But
I speak of believers who in this think they have
done what God demands, and yet fail of the
blessing. The first condition of all filling is
emptiness. What is a reservoir but a great
hollow, a great emptiness prepared, waiting, thirst-
ing, crying for the water to come ? Any true
abiding fulness of the Spirit is preceded by empty-
ing. ' I sought the blessing long and earnestly,'
said one, * and I wondered why it did not come. At
last I found it was because there was no room in
my heart to receive it.' In such emptying out
there are various elements. A deep dissatisfaction
with the religion we have hitherto had. A deep
consciousness of how much there has been of the
wisdom and the work of the flesh in it. A dis-
covery, and confession, and giving up of all in life
that had been kept in our own hands and manage-
ment, in which self had hitherto reigned, of all in
which we had not thought it necessary or possible,
that Jesus should directly be consulted and pleased.
A deep conviction of impotence and utter helplessness
to grasp or seize what is offered. A surrender, in
poverty of spirit, to wait on the Lord in His great


mercy and power, 'according to the riches of His
glory, to strengthen us mightily by His Spirit in
the inner man.' A great longing, thirsting, waiting,
crying, a praying without ceasing for the Father to
fulfil His promise in us, and take full possession of
us within. Such an emptying is on the way to the

With this is needed the believing which accepts,
which receives, which holds the gift. It is through
faith in Christ and in the Father that the Divine
fulness will flow into us. Of the same Ephesians, to
whom the command is given, ' Be filled with the
Spirit,' Paul had said, ' In Christ, having believed,
ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.'
The command refers to what they had already
received : the fountain was within them ; it had to be
opened up, and way made for it ; it would spring up
and fill their being. And yet not as if this was in
their own power : Jesus had said, ' He that believeth
in me, rivers of living water shall flow out of him.'
The fulness of the Spirit is so truly in Jesus, the
receiving out of Him must so really be in the
unbroken continuity of a real life-fellowship, the
ceaseless inflow of the sap from Him the living
Vine must so distinctly be met by the ceaseless
recipiency of a simple faith, that the upspringing of
the fountain witliin can only be in the dependence
on Jesus above. It is by the faith of Jesus, whose
baptism with the Spirit has as distinct a commence-
ment as His cleansing with the blood, but is also
maintained by as continuous a renewal, that the


inflow will grow ever stronger until it comes to the

And yet the faith in Jesus, and the hourly and
evergrowing upspringing of the Spirit, will not
dispense with faith in the Father's special gift and
the prayer for His special renewed fulfilment of His
promise. For these same Ephesians, who had thus
the Spirit within them as the earnest of their
inheritance, Paul prays to the Father ' that He
would grant you, according to the riches of His
glory, that ye may be strengthened with power
through His Spirit in the inner man.' The verbs
both denote not a work, but an act, something done
at once. The expression, ' according to the riches
of His glory,' indicates something which is to be
a great exhibition of the Divine love and power,
something very special and Divine. They had the
Spirit indwelling. He prayed for them that the
direct interposition of the Father miglit give them
such mighty workings of the Spirit, such a fulness
of the Spirit, that the indwelling of Christ, and a
life in the love that passeth knowledge, and a being
filled with the fulness of God, might be their blessed
personal experience. Wlien the flood came of old,
the windows of heaven and the fountains of the
great deep were together opened. It is still so in
the fulfilment of the promise of tlie Spirit : ' I will
pour floods upon the dry ground.' The deeper and
clearer the faith in the Indwelling Spirit, and the
simpler the waiting on Him, the more abundant
will be the renewed down-coming of the Spirit from


the heart of the Father dhect into the heart of His
waiting child.

There is one more aspect in which it is essential
to remember that this fulness comes to faith. God
loves when He appears to come in lowly and un-
likely appearance, to clothe Himself in the garment
of humility which He wants His children to love
and wear. ' Tlie Kins^dom of Heaven is like a
seed : ' only faith can know what glory there is in
its littleness. Thus was the dwelling of the Son
on earth ; thus is the indwelling of the Spirit in
the heart. He asks to be believed in, when nothing
is seen or felt. Believe that the fountain that
springs up and flows forth in living streams is
within, even when all appears dry. Take time to
retire into the inner chamber of the heart, and
thence send up praise and offer worship to God in
the assurance of the Holy Ghost within. Take
time to be still and realise, and let the Spirit Him-
self fill thy spirit with this most spiritual and
heavenly of all truths — that He dwells within thee.
Not in the thoughts or feelings first, but in the
life, deeper than where we can see and feel, is His
temple. His hidden dwelling-place. When once
faith knows that it hath what it has asked, it can
afford to be patient, and can abound in thanks-
giving even where the flesh would murmur. It
can trust the Unseen Jesus and the Hidden Spirit.
It can believe in that little and unlikely seed, tlie
smallest of all the seeds. It can trust and give
glory to Him who is able to do exceeding abun-


dantly above all it can think, and can mightily
strengthen in the inner man, just when all appears
feeble and ready to faint. Believer ! expect not
the fulness of the Spirit in tlie way which thy
human reasoning deviseth, but even as was the
coming of the Son of God without form or come-
liness, in a way that is folly to human wisdom.
Expect the Divine Strength in great weakness ;
become a fool to receive the Divine wisdom which
the Spirit teacheth ; be willing to be nothing, be-
cause God chooseth the thino-s that are not to brincj
to nought the things that are. So shalt thou learn
not to glory in the flesh, but to glory in the Lord.
And in the deep joy of a life of daily obedience
and childlike simplicity, thou shalt know what it is
to be filled with the Spirit.

my God ! Thy fulness of love and of glory is
like a boundless ocean — infinite and inconceivable.
I bless Thee that, in revealing Thy Son, it pleased
Thee that all the fulness of the Godhead should
dwell in Him bodily, that in Him we might see
that fulness in human life and weakness. 1 bless
Thee that His Church on earth is even now, in all
its weakness, His body, the fulness of Him that
filleth all in all ; that in Him we are made full ;
that by the mighty working of Thy Spirit, and the
indwelling of Thy Son, and the knowledge of Thy
love, we may be filled to all the fulness of God.

Blessed Father! I thank Thee that the Holy
Spirit is to us the bearer of the Fulness of Jesus,


and that in being filled with the Spirit we are
made full with tliat Fulness. I thank thee that
there have been men on earth since Pentecost, not a
few, of whom Thou hast said that they were full of
the Holy Ghost. my God ! make me full. Let
the Holy Spirit take and keep possession of my
deepest, inmost life. Let Thy Spirit fill my spirit.
Let thence the fountain flow through all the soul's
affections and powers. Let it flow over and flow
out through my lips, speaking Thy praise and love.
Let the very body, by the quickening and sancti-
fying energy of the Spirit, be Thy temple, full of
the Life Divine. Lord my God 1 I believe Thou
hearest me. Thou hast given it me ; I accept it
as mine.

Oh, grant that throughout Thy Church the Ful-
ness of the Spirit may be sought and found, may
be known and proved. Lord Jesus ! our glorified
King, oh, let Thy Church be full of the Holy Ghost.

/, Filled with the Spirit. It is not in the emotions, not in conscious light
or power or joy, that the filling of the Spirit must first be sought, but in
the life, in the hidden, inmost part, deeper than knowledge or feeling,— the
region to which faith gives access, and where we are and have before we
know or feel.

2. Would you know what it is to be filled with the Spirit— see Jesus. Look
at Him on the last night, ' knowing that the Father had given all things into
His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God, ' washing the
disciples' feet. In the deep calm of the consciousness that He was of God,
see the fulness of the Spirit. Seek it thus ; in due time it will break out
in testimony, in the fellowship of the saints, or for the saving of the lost.

3. Notice carefully the connection : 'Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to
one another.' It is only in the fellowship of the body, its building up in hue,
that the Spirit reveals His presence. Jesus said, 'The Spirit shall bear wit-
ness, and ye shall bear witness.' It is in action on our part, in obedience,
that the full consciousness of the Spirit's presence comes. ' They were filled


with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak,' Hauing the same Spirit of faith,
therefore we speak. The fountain must spring up : the stream must flow.
Silence is death.

4. ' Grieue not the Holy Spirit of God : ' this word precedes the other,
' Be fitted with the Spirit.' We cannot give the life or the growth, but we can
remove the hindrance. We can give up to obedience ; we can turn from the
flesh to wait on God ; we can yield to the Spirit as far as we know God's will :
the filling comes from above. Wait for it, tarrying at the footstool of the
throne in much prayer. And as thou prayest, turn inward, and believe that
the Unseen Power hath indeed possession of thy whole being.

5. ' Be filled with the Spirit.' It is the duty, the calling, the privilege of
every believer. A Divine possibility, in virtue of the command ; a Divine
certainty, in the power of faith. God haste the day when every beiieuer
will belieue this I

NOTES. 313



The Baptism of the Spirit (Chap. 2).

The blessed promise that our Lord should baptize with
the Holy Spirit has given rise to considerable difterence
as to the way in which its fulfilment may be expected.
This is surely a proof of how much we are lacking its
full exppiience. Where the Spirit is in great power, He
would bring His own evidence that we have the Ba]>tism
and what it includes. There are specially two diverse
views to which much attention has been directed of
late. The one maintains that, as every believer receives
the Holy Spirit in regeneration, there can be no thought
of a Baptism of the Spirit still to be sought for. Tie
promise was fulfilled to the Church in the Gift of Pente-
cost, and of that heritage of the Church e\ ery believer
gets his share on believing in Christ. The opposite view
holds that just as Christ's disciples, and Philip's converts
at Samaria, and the twelve men at Ephesus, were true
believers, and yet needed specially to receive the pro-
mised Spirit, so now every believer must seek and may
exjtect this baptism subsequent to his conversion. A
third view takes somewhat middle ground, and \\hile
agreeing with the first, that the Holy Spirit dwells in
every believer, it maintains that the believer may from
time to time receive very s})ecial conscious renewals of
the Spiril's presence and power from on high, and that
these may justly be regarded as fre.-h baptisms of the

314 NOTES.

Spirit. I cannot better compare the two former views
than by giving extracts from two representative little
books : the one — ' Be Filled with the Spirit ; or, Scrijjtvral
Studies about the Holy Ghost,' by E,ev. Ernest Boys ; the
other, ' The Bajjtism of the Holy Ghost,' by liev. Asa

In his book Mr. Boys goes through the whole of the
New Testament, noting all the passages that have refer-
ence to the Spirit, to find the answer to the question,
' Whether believers are already possessed by the Spirit
in all His fulnf ss and power, as a permanent and abiding
])resence, or whether they are to look for some peculiar
experience called by some, "the Baptism of the Spirit." '
He thinks that ' a careful study of the New Testament
leads to the conclusion that every true believer is called,
not to wait to enjoy the possession of the Holy Si)irit
in His fulness and power, but is entitled to believe that
he already enjoys the glorious privilege, and is to act
accordingly.' 'The operations of the Holy Ghost in
producing faith and regeneration we believe to be His
work on rather than in the heart. How far they involve
His actual entrance into the heart it is beyond our
power to determine. But of this we are sure — that
when there has resulted that faith which makes one the
child of God, then there takes place, in the case of every
one, a real entrance into, and a permanent abiding in-
dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the heart.' 'Whatever
be the believer's attitude and relationship towards the
Spirit in matters of Christian life and experience, he is
not to spend his time and prayers in seeking a further
indwelling of the Spirit. This, in all its fulness, is a
glorious fact already. But he is to enter more thoroughly
into an intelligent and spiritual perception of what at
})resent actually exists.'

In speaking of the day of Pentecost, he very strongly
urges the thought that in His descent then. He came
permanently to dwell on earth. 'In Acts ii. we have
the personal descent of the Holy Ghost to take up His

NOTES. 315

abode in the Church on earth, and to " abide with it for
ever" (John xiv. 16). As the Son of God became in-
carnate by union with a really human body, so there is
a sense in which the Holy Ghost became incarnate also
at Pentecost, uniting Himself with the human bodies of
men and women who beheved in Christ. He has dwelt
in the Church, as the Body of Christ, only by dwelling
in the heart of each individual who is a real member of
that Body, and thereby uniting him with Christ as the
Head. And now, we believe, it is from this earthly
dwelling-place, and not, as it wtre, afresh from heaven,
that He communicates Himself afresh to each new
member of the spiritual body, working also in and
through the believers. Each believer is thus not only
an agent, through whom the Holy Ghost manifests and
carries home the reality of Di\ ine truth to others, but
is also, in a certain sense, a source from which He per-
sonally communicates Himself to other hearts ' (John xv.
26, 27, vii. 38, 39).

Speaking of the prayer in Eph. iii. 14-21, he writes:
' In searching Scripture, we sliall find tliat in no one
single case are believers after Pentecost exhorted to
ask for the Holy Spirit as a gift not yet received, but
that the Holy Spirit, already dwelling in them, mav
carry on with power His various offices in the inner
man.' And in summing up at the conclusion, he says :
'If language means anything at all, we have the con-
stantly-repeated assurance of the inspired writers, that
the indwelling of the Holy is a present reality in
every one who is a true child of God. ... It must be
confessed, however, that there is very little indication uf
the Spirit's indwelling to be seen in the lives and con-
duct of a vast number of Christian professors. In view
of things as they are in the Christian Church, we do not
wonder that godly people are looking about for a
remedy, and that they turn to the Holy Spirit as they
look for this. But we are astonished that men do not
Bee that the secret is an open one, and that the remedy

316 NOTES.

is very near them — indeexl, already witliiii tliem. What
we want is that same simple childlike faith in the person
of the Holy Spirit within us, as we have heen taught to
exercise in all the work of Christ on our behalf. . . .
All spiritual experience springs, in the first instance,
frum a simple belief in facts which cannot appear real
to our consciousness until we simply believe them, in
spite of all feelings and appearances to the contrary.
Let us bring this simple and childlike f^iith to bear upon
the truth of the Holy Spirit's indwelling in our hearts,
and let us start afresh on a lift^ of surrender to His
leadings, and in the realization of the Scrijjture exhorta-
tions which have been unfolded in the previous chapters.
So shall we find the true secret of happiness, of holiness,
of spiritual power — which is, daily and huuily to be filled
with the Spirit.'

I have of set purpose given somewhat full extracts,
both because I wish to insist on the deep importance of
the aspect of truth here presented, and to indicate how
after all it is only one side of the truth. In connection
with the former object, I may say that for a Conference
held in the course of this year, at which some twenty-
seven ministers met and spent six days in prayer and
study on the work of the Holy Spirit, a copy of Mr.
Boys' book had been sent to each member some weeks
before. When we met, more than one testified to the
blessing that had been received in using it. There was
one passage to which one referred as having been made
a great blessing to him, and by which others had been
struck, as making clear the position we ought to take
tuwards the Holy Spirit, without which our prayers for
His workings would avail but little. Mr. Boys Avrites
(p. 29) : ' H" we were asked very briefly the true mean-
ing of being "filled with the Spirit," we should say that
it involved, 7iot, our having ^^more of the Spirit,'' hut rather
the Spirit having more of us. There is a vast difference
between the two ; and many who earnestly seek this
fulness of the Spirit fail to see this. They are longing,

NOTES. 317

waiting, praying for God to give tl em something more ;
when, in order to be *' iilh'd with tlie Spirit," they must
give Him something more than they have given already.'
Not many days later a similar testimony was received
from oiie who had been prevented from coming, but who
wrote of its having been to him Hke a new revehition, to
see that he had all of the Holy Ghost he needed to have
or ever conld have. I am certain that there are many
CliristianvS, and many ministers in Christ's Church,
with whom this is the one thing they lack, the hving
faith that the Spirit is dwelling within them, equal to
every emergency, and only waiting to be admitted to a
more entire possession and a more complete control.
In our evangelical preaching we need to have every
young convert fully instructed in this truth, that the
only living assurance of acceptance, the only power of
holiness and fi'iiitfulness, the only i)ossibilily of the
enjoyment of Christ's presence and indwelling, are to be
found in the faith of the indwelling Spirit.

Let us now turn to the other side. In Dr. Mahan's
book. The Baptism of the Spirit, we have an entirely
different aspect of God's truth from one who equally
desires only to know what the mind of God in Scri])ture
is. A few sentences from the pi'eface to a new edition
will make his position clear. Referring to John xiv.
15-17, he writes : 'The Holy Spirit had convinced the
disciples of sin, had induced them to believe in Christ,
to love Him, and to keep His commandments. From
the hour of their conversion He had been with them,
and their bodies had been His temples. During the ten
days these disciples waited at Jerusalem, waiting the
promise of the Father, the same Spirit was with them
still, perfecting their obe

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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 20 of 27)