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Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Gospel According to Paul # 34

In His Letter to the Colossians (continued)

The Evidence That the Answer Is Satisfactory

But perhaps you may say, "It is all very well for Paul to make a categorical statement like that, but what is the evidence? Well, the evidence is quite real. And it must be said that, if we are asking for the evidence, something has gone wrong with us? WE ought to be the answer, WE ought to be the evidence: because the witness to this is first of all the personal, spiritual experience of the child of God. You can leave the vast universe for the moment, if you like, and come to the little universe of your own life - for, after all, what is true in the microcosm is only a reflection of what is true in the great cosmic realm. God brings down His evidence from the circumferential to the very center of the individual Christian life, and the answer is there. What is the experience of a truly born-again child of God?

Now you can test whether you are born again by this, and, thank God, I know that many of you will be able to say, "Yes, that is true to my experience." But I ask you: What is your experience as a truly born-again child of God? When you really came to the Lord Jesus - however  you may put it: when you let Jesus come into your heart or into your life, or when you handed over your life to Him; when there was a transaction with Him, a new birth, by which you became a child of God - not by any "sacrament" applied to you, but by the inward operation of His Spirit: when you became a child of God in a living, conscious way, what was the first consciousness that came to you, and has remained with you ever since?

Was it not, and is it not, this: "There is now a purpose in life, of which I never knew before; there is a purpose in things. Now I have the sense - indeed I know - that I was not just born into this world and grew up, but there was a purpose behind it." There is a design in things; a sense - you may not be able to explain it all, what it all means - but you have the sense now that you have arrived at, or at least begun to realize, the very purpose of your existence. Is that true? When the Lord Jesus at last has His place in our hearts, the big question of life is answered - the big question as to "WHY" of our existence. Till then, you wander about, you do all sorts of things, you fill up time, you employ heart and mind and hand, but you do not know what it is all for. You may have a very full life, a very full life indeed, outside of Christ, and yet come to the end without being able to answer the question, What is it all about?

One man, who had enjoyed such a full life, who had become well-known in the schools of learning, a great figure in the intellectual realm, in his dying moment cried: "I am taking an awful leap into the dark." He had no answer to the question. But the simple child of God, immediately they come to the Lord, has the answer in consciousness, if not in explanation, in his or her heart, and that is what is called "rest." "Come unto Me", said Jesus, "and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). Rest is in this: "Well, I have been a wander, but now I have come home; I have been searching - I have found; I have been in quest of something - I did not know what it was - but now I have it." There is a purpose in this universe, and when Jesus Christ comes into His place, as this letter says, then you know there is purpose in your universe, and there will be purpose in the universe of everybody else, if only they will come that way.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 35)

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