'But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him were to receive: for the Holy Spirit
was not yet: because Jesus was not yet glorified.' -- John vii.39.
'The Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things.' -- John xiv.26.
'God chose you to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.' -- 2 Thess. ii.13. (See 1 Pet. i.2.)
It has sometimes been said, that while the Holiness of God stands out more prominently in the Old Testament, in the New it has to give way to the revelation of His love. The remark could hardly be made if it were fully realized that the Spirit is God, and that when He takes up the epithet Holy as His own proper name, it is to teach us that now the Holiness of God is to come nearer than ever, and to be specially revealed as the power that makes us holy. In the Holy Spirit, God the Holy One of Israel, and He who was the Holy One of God, come nigh for the fulfilment of the promise, 'I am the Lord that make you holy.' The unseen and unapproachable holiness of God had been revealed and brought near in the life of Christ Jesus; all that hindered our participation in it had been removed by His death. The name of Holy Spirit teaches us that it is specially the Spirit's work to impart it to us and make it our own.
Try and realize the meaning of this; the epithet that through the whole Old Testament has belonged to the Holy God, is now appropriated to that Spirit which is within you. The Holiness of God in Christ becomes holiness in you, because this Spirit is in you. The words, and the Divine realities the words express, Holy and Spirit, are now inseparably and eternally united. You can only have as much of the Spirit as you are willing to have of holiness. You can only have as much holiness as you have of the indwelling Spirit.
There are some who pray for the Spirit because they long to have His light and joy and strength. And yet their prayers bring little increase of blessing or power. It is because they do not rightly know or desire Him as the Holy Spirit. His burning purity, His searching and convicting light, His making dead of the deeds of the body, of self with its will and its power, His leading into the fellowship of Jesus as He gave up His will and His life to the Father, -- of all this they have not thought. The Spirit cannot work in power in them because they receive Him not as the Holy Spirit, in sanctification of the Spirit. At times, in seasons of revival, as among the Corinthians and Galatians, He may indeed come with His gifts and mighty workings, while His sanctifying power is but little manifest. (1 Cor. xiv.4, xiii.8, iii.1-3; Gal. iii.3, v.15-26.) But unless that sanctifying power be acknowledged and accepted, His gifts will be lost. His gifts coming on us are but meant to prepare the way for the sanctifying power within us. We must take the lesson to heart; we can have as much of the Spirit as we are willing to have of His Holiness. Be full of the Spirit, must mean to us, Be fully holy.
The converse is equally true. We can only have so much holiness as we have of the Spirit. Some souls do very earnestly seek to be holy, but it is very much in their own strength. They will read books and listen to addresses most earnestly; they will use every effort to lay hold of every thought, and act out every advice. And yet they must confess that they are still very much strangers to the true, deep rest and joy and power of abiding in Christ, and being holy in Him. They sought for holiness more than for the Spirit. They must learn how even all the holiness which is so near and clear in Christ, is beyond our reach, except as the Holy Spirit dwells within and imparts it. They must learn to pray for Him and His mighty strengthening (Eph. iii.16), to believe for Him (John iv.14, vii.37), in faith to yield to Him as indwelling (1 Cor. iii.14, vi.19). They must learn to cease from self-effort in thinking and believing, in willing and in running; to hope in God, and wait patiently for Him. He will by His Holy Spirit make us holy. Be holy means, Be filled with the Spirit.
If we inquire more closely how it is that this Holy Spirit makes holy, the answer is, -- He reveals and imparts the Holiness of Christ. Scripture tells us: Christ is made unto us sanctification. He sanctified Himself for us, that we ourselves might also be sanctified in truth. We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. We are sanctified in Christ Jesus. The whole living Christ is just a treasury of holiness for man. In His life on earth He exchanged the Divine Holiness He possessed into the current coin needed for this human earthly life, obedience to the Father, and humility, and love, and zeal. As God, He has a sufficiency of it for every moment of the life of every believer.
And yet, it is all beyond our reach, except as the Holy Spirit brings it to us and inwardly communicates it. But this is the very work for which He bears the Divine Name, the Holy Spirit, to glorify Jesus, the Holy One of God, within us, and so make us partakers of His Holiness. He does it by revealing Christ, so that we begin to see what is in Him. He does it by discovering the deep unholiness of our nature (Rom. vii.14-23). He does it by mightily strengthening us to believe, to receive Jesus Himself as our life. He does it by leading us to utter despair of self, to absolute surrender of obedience to Jesus as Lord, to the assured confidence of faith in the power of an indwelling Christ. He does it by, in the secret silent depths of the heart and life, imparting the dispositions and graces of Christ, so that from the inner centre of our life, which has been renewed and sanctified in Christ, holiness should flow out and pervade all to the utmost circumference. Where the desire has once been awakened, and the delight in the law of God after the inward man been created, there, as the Spirit of this life in Christ Jesus, He makes free from the law of sin and death in the members, he leads into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. As God within us, He communicates what God in Christ has prepared.
And if we ask once more how the working of this Holy Spirit, who thus makes holy, is to be secured, the answer is very simple and clear. He is the Spirit of the Holy Father, and of Christ, the Holy One of God: from them He must be received. 'He showed me a river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb.' Jesus speaks of 'the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name.' He taught us to ask the Father. Paul prays for the Ephesians: 'I bow my knees to the Father, that He may grant unto you, according to the riches of His glory, that ye may be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.' It is as we look to God in His Holiness, and all its revelation from Creation downward, and see how the Spirit now flows out from the throne of His Holiness as the water of life, that our hope will be awakened that God will give Him to work mightily in us. And as we then see Jesus revealing that holiness in human nature, rending the veil in His atoning death, that the Spirit from the Holiest of all may come forth and, as the Holy Spirit, be His representative, making Him present within us, we shall become confident that faith in Jesus will bring the fulness of the Spirit. As He told us to ask the Father, He told us to believe in Himself. 'He that believeth in me, rivers of living water shall flow out of him.' Let us bow to the Father in the name of Christ, His Son; let us believe very simply in the Son as Him in whom we are well-pleasing to the Father, and through whom the Father's love and blessing reach us, and we may be sure the Spirit, who is already within us, will, as the Holy Spirit, do His work in ever-increasing power. The mystery of holiness is the mystery of the Trinity: as we bow to the Father, believing in the Son, the Holy Spirit will work. And we shall see the true meaning of what God spake in Israel: 'I am holy,' thus speaks the Father; 'Be holy,' as my Son and in my Son; 'I make holy,' through the Spirit of my Son dwelling in you. Let our souls worship and cry out, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts.'
The Holy Spirit. All true knowledge of the Father in His adorable Holiness, and of the Son in His, which is meant to be ours, and all participation of it, depend upon our life in the Spirit, upon our knowing and owning Him as abiding in us as our Life. Oh, what can it be that, with such a Thrice Holy God, His Holiness does not more cover His Church and children? The Holy Spirit is among us, is in us: it must be we grieve and resist Him. If you would not do so, at once bow the knee to the Father, that He may grant you the Spirit's mighty workings in the inner man. Believe that the Holy Spirit, bearer to you of all the Holiness of God and of Jesus, is indeed in you. Let Him take the place of self, with its thoughts and efforts. Set your soul still before God in holy silence, for Him to give you wisdom; rest, in emptiness and poverty of spirit, in the faith that He will work in His own way. As Divine as is the holiness that Jesus brings, so Divine is the power in which the Holy Spirit communicates it. Yield yourself day by day in growing dependence and obedience, to wait on and be led of Him. Let the fear of the Holy One be on you: sanctify the Lord God in your heart: let Him be your fear and dread. Fear not only sin: fear above all self, as it thrusts itself in before God with its service. Let self die, in refusing and denying its work: let the Holy Spirit, in quietness, and dependence, in the surrender of obedience and trust, have the rule, the free disposal of every faculty. Wait for Him -- He can, He will in power reveal and impart the Holiness of the Father and the Son.
BE HOLY, AS I AM HOLY.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts! the whole earth is full of Thy glory! Let that glory fill the heart of Thy child, as he bows before Thee. I come now to drink of the river of the water of life that flows from under the throne of God and of the Lamb. Glory be to God and to the Lamb for the gift that hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive -- the gift of the Holy indwelling Spirit.
O my Father! in the name of Jesus I ask Thee that I may be strengthened with might by Thy Spirit in the inner man. Teach me, I pray Thee, to believe that Thou hast given Him, to accept and expect Him to fill and rule my whole inner being. Teach me to give up to Him; not to will or to run, not to think or to work in my strength, but in quiet confidence to wait and to know that He works in me. Teach me what it is to have no confidence in the flesh, and to serve Thee in the Spirit. Teach me what it is in all things to be led by Thy Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Thy Holiness.
And grant, gracious Father, that through Him I may hear Thee speak and reveal Thyself to me in power: I AM HOLY. May He glorify to me and in me, Jesus, in whom Thy command 'BE HOLY' hath been so blessedly fulfilled on my behalf. And let the Holy Spirit give me the anointing and the sealing which bring the perfect assurance that in Him Thy promise is being gloriously fulfilled, 'I MAKE YOU HOLY.' Amen.
1. It it universally admitted that the Holy Spirit has not, in the teaching of the Church or the faith of believers, that place of honour and power, which becomes Him as the Revealer of the Father and the Son. Seek a deep conviction that without the Holy Spirit the clearest teaching on holiness, the most fervent desires, the most blessed experiences even, will only be temporary, will produce no permanent result, will bring no abiding rest.
2. The Holy Spirit dwells within, and works within, in the hidden deep of your nature. Seek above everything the clear and habitual assurance that He is within you, doing His work.
3. To this end, deny self and its work in serving God. Your own power to think and pray and believe and strive -- lay it all down expressly and distinctly in God's presence; claim, accept, and believe in the hidden workings of the indwelling Spirit.
4. As the Son ever spake of the Father, so the Spirit ever points to Christ. The soul that yields itself to the Spirit will of Him learn to know how Christ is our holiness, how we can always abide in Christ our Sanctification. What a vain effort it has often been without the Spirit! 'As the anointing taught you, ye abide in Him.'
5. In the temple of thine heart, beloved believer, there is a secret place, within the veil, where dwells, often all unknown, the Spirit of God. Do bow in deep reverence before the Father, and ask that He may work mightily. Expect the Spirit to do His work: He will make Thy inner man a fit home, Thy heart a throne, for Jesus, and reveal Him there.
I cannot say how deeply I feel that one of the great wants of believers is that they do not know the Holy Spirit, who is within them, and thereby lose the blessed life He would work in them. If it please God, I hope that the next volume of this series may be on The Spirit of Christ. May the Father give me a message that shall help His children to know what the Holy Spirit can be to them.