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Sin has involved the race of mankind in spiritual death. We are plainly told that â€śby one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all menâ€ť (Romans 5:12). â€śTo be carnally minded is death.â€ť â€śWith God is the fountain of life,â€ť but, saith the Lord, â€śYour iniquities have separated between you and your God.â€ť
But through Christ our union is again restored and spiritual life regained. â€śI am,â€ť saith He, â€śthe way, the truth and the life.â€ť â€śI am the bread of life.â€ť â€śHe that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never dieâ€ť (John 11:25-26).
It is in the new birth that the Lord breathes again the breath of life into the soul.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together. (Ephesians 2:1, 5-6)
These texts plainly teach that the soul is brought to life when saved from â€ścondemnation,â€ť from â€śtrespasses and sins.â€ť But Christ is more than the author and giver of life. He is life itself.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (1 John 5:11-12)
We have seen that spiritual life is received in justification, but here we find it identified with Christ Himself, yet He only enters the soul fully by the Comforter, which is received after regeneration. This involves the apparent contradiction, that we have life before receiving Him who is our life. But the Lord solves the difficulty in these words: â€śI am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantlyâ€ť (John 10:10).
Here we learn that the Lord speaks life into the believing soul, â€śdead in trespass and in sins,â€ť and subsequently fills and floods the soul, body and spirit with more abundant life; which latter experience, the natural inference is, relates to the incoming Comforter, the full baptism of the â€śSpirit of life in Christ Jesus.â€ť
There is no incongruity in speaking of a larger measure of life conferred where life already exists. Do we not often see branches of trees that possess life in a very faint degree, as compared with others that are fresh with vigor, and laden with fruit? Now, if that which prevented the supply of sap could be entirely removed, would there not soon be an increase flow of life to that branch? So life enters the soul as we are engrafted into the true vine; but when the Father purges out the acrimonious and obstructing canker of inbred sin, the full life of Jesus naturally flows into, and permeates . . . every part of the branch, enabling it to bring forth â€śmore abundant fruit.â€ť
When the â€śbody of deathâ€ť that remains and wars in unsanctified babes in Christ is fully destroyed and cast out, is there not room for a more abundant influx of divine life? When, by a personal experience, Christ is made unto us sanctification, He also becomes the complete life of the soul. As the Scriptures distinguish between â€śpeace with Godâ€ť and â€śthe peace of God,â€ť so we are first made alive unto God through Christ Jesus; second, receive the â€ślife of God;â€ť â€śas God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in themâ€ť (2 Corinthians 6:16). The Apostle Paul presents the foregoing as promises by which his â€śdearly belovedâ€ť brethren were to â€ścleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,â€ť and thus â€śperfect holiness in the fear of God.â€ť As natural life is commensurate with physical health, so holinessâ€”complete wholeness, or soundness of the soulâ€”is necessary to the enjoyment of perfect spiritual life.
This higher Christian experience of the true God-life in the soul is the identical glory that comes upon the church through Jesus Christ, and the holy reign of the Paracleteâ€”the representative of the God-head; for thus saith the Lord: â€śThe glory which thou gavest me I have given them that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in oneâ€ť (John 17:22-23). Hence, for the Ephesians, who had already been quickened from the dead, Paul prayed â€śthat Christ may swell in your hearts by faith,â€ť i.e., that Christ may exclude from the heart, every other spring of action and become Himself the only and all pervading life of the soul. Yea, he adds, â€śthat ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.â€ť O, who would not part with his own life for the hidden and eternal life of the invisible God? Notwithstanding the â€śgreat things,â€ť the Apostle to the Gentiles was called to suffer in consequence of this divine union; he gloried alone in its crucifixion. â€śI am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.â€ť He accepted the death of self that he â€śmight live unto Godâ€ť (Galatians 2:19-20). Here is the secrete of a life that tells for good, a life that teams with rich fruitage of praises and hallelujahs to God, and sends forth perennial streams of life and gladness to lost and perishing humanity. It is not good resolutions, or self-culture, or mortifying discipline, or natural genius, or acquired learning, but the more abundant and all constraining life of Jesus, manifest in the soul that â€śturns many to righteousnessâ€ť and lights up this dark world with the glory of God and songs of salvation. Neither is this divine and world-moving life conferred by an arbitrary act of Godâ€™s providence; nay, â€śthis honor have all the saints.â€ť But, â€śVerily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.â€ť Ah! Here is the condition from which the flesh shrinks. At these sayings of the Son of God, many go away sorrowful and forever abide alone, frozen up in the frigid zone of self. O, may the infinite love of Jesus constrain my dear readers to â€śfall into the ground and dieâ€ť that ye may â€śbring forth much fruit,â€ť for â€śherein is my Father glorified.â€ť Jesus never can enter and become the life-pulse of a soul until self gives up the ghost and sinks into the earth as the above scripture teaches. For it has not, as some think, an exclusive reference to Christ, because He immediately adds, â€śHe that loveth his life, shall loose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternalâ€ť (John 12:24-25).
There must not only be a perfect renunciation and crucifixion of self, but also an all-appropriating faith in Christ. Yea, â€śexcept ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood,â€ťâ€”except ye receive the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God, to the full extent of its saving virtuesâ€”ye cannot have this wonder working life of God in you.
It is only in the abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we can taste and fully drink in the â€śpowers of an endless life.â€ť
Dear brother, has the Day of Pentecost fully come to your soul? If not, may you go at once to the upper room and tarry there until you are â€śfilled with the Spiritâ€ť and â€śmore abundant lifeâ€ť of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My soul is only longing
For the hidden life of God:
And its crystal stream is flowing,
From the precious living Word.
Life, a river, more abundant,
All proceeding from the throne;
Hallelujah! It is Jesus;
And His life is all my own.