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Friday, November 6, 2015

The Gospel According to Paul # 35

In His Letter to the Colossians (continued)

The Evidence that the Answer is Satisfactory (continued)

And not only purpose, but more - control. The child of God very soon begins to realize that he or she has been taken under control, brought under a mastery; that there is a law of government set up in the consciousness, which is directive: which, on the one hand, says, "Yes", the glorious "Yes" of many liberties; on the other hand, "No" - careful,steady, watch!" We all know that. We do not hear those words, but we know that that is what is being said to us in our hearts. The Spirit of Christ within is just saying, "look to your steps - be careful, be watchful". We have come under control. That is extended in many ways over the whole life but it is a great reality. This universe s under control, it is under government. The evidence of it is found within our own experience when Christ comes to His place. And you can extend that into the future ages, when the whole universe will be like that, under Christ's control.

And then again: "in Whom all things hold together". The wonderful thing about the Christian life is its integration, or, if you prefer another word, its unification. How scattered, how divided, we were before Christ got His place! We were 'all over the place', as we say - one thing after another, looking this way and looking that; hearts divided, lives divided; we in ourselves divided, a conflict within our own persons. When the Lord Jesus really gets His place as Lord within, the life is unified. We are just gathered up, poised, concentrated upon one thing. We have only one thing in view. What Paul said of himself becomes true: "but one thing I do ..." (Phil. 3:13). We are people of "one thing". Christ unifies the life.

What about life itself, the life of the child of God? When the Lord Jesus is in His right place, the life of the child of God is secured, is established, is confirmed, and grows; there is spiritual growth and maturity. It is a wonderful thing. If, in some Christian lives, it is not realized as a fact, it is for very good reasons - or for bad reasons! - but if the Lord Jesus really is "all, and in all", in the life, if He "in all things has the preeminence", it is wonderful to see the spiritual growth. Those who have much association with, or experience in dealing with, young Christians, have found this one of the most impressive things, - how, where the Lord Jesus just gets His way, they go ahead spiritually, they grow. They come to understanding and knowledge which so many of the scholars seem to have missed. They have come to a real spiritual understanding. While other people are trying to get on along other lines - intellectually and so on - these young ones, who have not, many of them, the background of intellectual or scholastic  training - they are just simple people - are just leaping ahead spiritually.

This growth in spiritual intelligence and understanding does not rest upon anything natural. It is coming about because Jesus has such a large place, and He is the source and center and sum of all spiritual knowledge. Over against that, it is  possible to have great acquisitions and qualifications in the academic realm, to be doing big things in that realm, and yet to find that the simple things of the Lord Jesus Christ are to you as a foreign language. You do not know what it is about - you cannot follow or join in at all. This is sad, but true. There are Christians, yes, true Christians, who just cannot talk about the things of the Lord. If there is to be growth, it can only come about through Jesus being given His place, fully and without question.

And then, as to destiny. The statement is that the destiny of this universe is with the Lord Jesus, and that that destiny is universal glory. But that is just a beautiful idea, an enchanting vista, is it not? How are you going to prove it? In your own heart! Is it not equally true with the other matters that we have already been considering, that, when the Lord Jesus really gets His place, you have a foretaste of that glory? No one can understand the Christian who has not the Christian's experience, but there it is. it is not just that we are making out that we are having a good time. It is something coming from the inside; it is something of a foretaste of the glory that is to be. We have got the answer to all these immense questions in our own spiritual experience.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 36 - (The Witness of the Church)

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