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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fundamental Questions of the Christian Life # 30

The Endowments of Grace

But then, as though that were not enough, grace brought endowments. First of all, the mighty, inclusive gift of the anointing Holy Spirit, and all that that implies! We have so often said that the anointing of the Holy Spirit implies that God commits Himself. It is as though He would say: 'I am going to join Myself with that man or woman, and I am going on with them, for My Son's sake.' That is the basic meaning of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

But grace brought all those other things, all those new capacities, which come by the Spirit in the new creation. Are they not marvelous in Peter? Remember, he was a fisherman. Although that does not necessarily mean that he was an uneducated man, they did say about Peter and John that they were "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13). At any rate, certain people, who considered themselves to be otherwise, said that of him in Jerusalem. Have you ever studied that discourse of Peter's on the day of Pentecost? Many years ago I made a list of all the subjects mentioned in it, and I was amazed what a catalogue I had. Almost every sentence or part sentence touches on something which, being gathered into the whole, adds up to a most comprehensive statement. There is great understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures, wonderful insight into the Word of God and the things of God. We have already referred to that critical day in Jerusalem, when Peter's counsel, supported by James with citation of the Old Testament prophets, marked a turning point in the history of the Church.

And if that is not enough, read Peter's letters. I do not know how, apart from Divine revelation, Peter knew about the atomic age! Long, long centuries before the splitting of the atom, he talked, in language which we all understand now, about 'the heavens being on fire,' 'the elements melting  with fervent heat,' 'all these things being dissolved' (2 Peter 3:10-12). That is very up to date, is it not? Where did he get it? There are endowments by the Holy Spirit of understanding, intelligence and knowledge. And there are endowments of endurance. Here is a man who breaks down at the taunt of a serving maid, and vehemently denies his Lord. But look at him here - 'when they saw the boldness! ..." And there are many other endowments which we cannot now stay to tabulate. All this is the work of grace. Yes, Peter came into a large appreciation of grace.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 31 - (The Dynamic of Service)

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