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Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Cross and the Eternal Glory # 18

The Spirit of Glory: The Medium of the Glory (continued)

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle had a lot to say at the beginning, which bears I think, very much upon this matter. You remember how in that part, which is marked by our chapter two, he is speaking about "the wisdom of this world." Now, he is talking to Christians, "the wisdom of this world," and the utter inability to understand the things of the Spirit of God, by reason of natural wisdom. Yes, you may have all the wisdom of the philosophers, all the wisdom of the great Greek world and empire, and yet, you are utterly incapacitated where the things of the Spirit of God are concerned. It is no use! It is no use approaching the things of God, the Word of God, with the most complete intellectual outfit naturally, whether you are born with it or whether you are trained to it. You may bring the fullest, ripest scholarship, the best education, the finest brain to the Word of God, and there is no life. It does not produce life. it is all dead. You handle the Word of God in that way and it does not communicate life to anybody. It is very wonderful, of course, it may be very interesting, almost fascinating, but afterward has it ministered life? And has it resulted in this transformation into the same image? No! And I am going further. We may have the most thoroughgoing knowledge of the Bible, so that we are able to analyze every book of the Bible, and have it there in our head clearly and tell anybody at any moment what is in this Book, or in this chapter and that. We may have the whole thing and yet it may still be in the natural mind and neither changes us nor the people to whom we give it. And worse than that, it may entirely incapacitate us for understanding spiritual things. We may be altogether in another realm from what is real spiritual understanding.

It is necessary, dear friends, for you to recognize this that it is not a matter of Bible knowledge, though that is so important. It is not a matter of brain and intellect and scholarship. It is not at all a matter of our attainments in that realm. However valuable such things may be given the other, but it is a matter of God having shined into our hearts, to give the knowledge, Another kind of knowledge by the in-shining. An altogether different knowledge comes by the in-shining.

Now I take it that this natural knowledge, this natural wisdom, of which the apostle spoke in his first letter, corresponds to the "tables of stone." After all, "tables of stone" are cold dead things. Hearts of flesh are warm living things. And that is the difference between a natural apprehending, grasping and handling of the Word of God. However great may be the natural ability in that realm, the difference between that and the Spirit revealing God's Christ in His Word in our hearts: they are two different worlds. I am not talking now about the unsaved on the one hand, and the saved on the other. I am discriminating as this Word does, between the people of God.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 19)

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