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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fundamental Questions of the Christian Life # 12

The Essential Seal and Constitution of the Christian Life (continued)

b. Order and Fruitfulness

Paul has many other allusions to the creation, as he takes it over into the spiritual life. What a lot he made of the power of the Word of God in the life - creative power in the life of the believer! How much he has given us concerning order as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit! At the beginning of the Bible we see order developing or emerging out of the chaos and disruption, under the influence of the brooding Spirit. Now, in the spiritual life, under the influence and power of the Spirit of God in this new creation, the same thing is taking place: a new order is emerging in the life of the believer. And as, out of the barren desolation in which the earth is found at the beginning of the Bible, fruitfulness emerges and develops, so is it, Paul teaches, with the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22, 23). Instead of the barrenness of the unbeliever's life, there comes this fruitfulness. It is a work of new creation by the Holy Spirit. And as at the beginning in the material creation we see a progressive development and growth, so Paul has much to say to us about growth and progressiveness under the government of the Spirit of God. A life governed and led by the Spirit is one that goes on developing, growing, increasing in Christ. In a life in which the Holy Spirit is having His way there is no stagnation. Such a life is not the same today as it was  a year ago - that would be all wrong. The progressive factor in the new creation, as a part of the work of the Holy Spirit, is made very clear by the Apostle.

c. Revelation of Man's Destiny

How profoundly and how fully does Paul teach concerning the purpose and the destiny of man! At the beginning of the Bible we have hints that God created man with a great purpose and a great destiny, but Paul divulges it all. He tells us exactly what was in God's thought before He created man or the world - what He intended in creating man - what the destiny of man was to be. All this comes out through Paul. How is this possible? Because the Holy Spirit Himself has revealed it to Paul, and then Paul, by the Holy Spirit, has been enabled to reveal it to us. And by the same Spirit this great Divine work of a new creation is to be carried on to its final fullness. The last thing in the material creation was: "And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). God entered into His rest. That is the crowning work of the Holy Spirit: bringing everything ultimately to the pleasure and satisfaction of God -  not only bringing God into His rest, but bringing God's rest into His creation.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 13 - (d. New Consciousness and Capacities)

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