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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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A Revelation of Divine Love

Andrew MurrayI have heard that one of the Church fathers said, “We cannot better understand the Trinity than as a revelation of divine love. The Father is the loving One. The Son is the Fountain of love in whom the love is poured out. The Holy Spirit is the living love that unites both and then overflows into this world.” Andrew Murray writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

We read, “Love is the fulfilling of the law”‘ (Romans 13: 10), and my desire is to speak on love as a fruit of the Spirit with a twofold object. One is that this word may be a searchlight in our hearts, and give us a test by which to try all our thoughts about the Holy Spirit and all our experience of the holy life. Let us try ourselves by this word. Has this been our daily habit, to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of love? “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Has it been our experience that the more we have of the Holy Spirit, the more loving we become? In claiming the Holy Spirit, we should make this the first object of our expectation. The Holy Spirit comes as a Spirit of love.

Oh, if this were true in the Church of Christ, how different her state would be! May God help us to get hold of this simple, heavenly truth that the fruit of the Spirit is a love, which appears in the life. Just as the Holy Spirit gets real possession of the life, the heart will be filled with real, divine, universal love.

One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the lack of love. When the body is divided, there cannot be strength. In the time of their great religious wars, when Holland stood out so nobly against Spain, one of their mottoes was: “Unity gives strength.” It is only when God’s people stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love, one toward another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the world can see – it is only then that they will have power to secure the blessing, which they ask of God. Remember that if a vessel that ought to be one whole is cracked into many pieces, it cannot be filled. You can take one part of the vessel and dip out a little water into that, but if you want the vessel full, the vessel must be whole. That is literally true of Christ’s Church. And if there is one thing we must pray for still, it is this – Lord, melt us together into one by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit, who at Pentecost made them all of one heart and one soul, do His blessed work among us. Praise God, we can love each other in a divine love, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” Give yourselves up to love, and the Holy Spirit will come; receive the Spirit, and He will teach you to love more. (“The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”)

Living Life with the Holy Spirit

Andrew MurrayAs the Holy Spirit takes possession of a person’s life, his heart will be filled with divine, holy power. We must always pray for this power in our lives to be active in helping us to live holy lives. If we receive the Spirit with gladness, He will teach us how to really live. Andrew Murray writes:

Under the Old Testament, you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But He did not dwell in them then. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for work. But, they know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and renewing the whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the formation of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual disposition, and what we need, above everything else, is to say:

“I must have the Holy Spirit sanctifying my whole inner life if I am really to live for God’s glory.”

You might say that when Christ promised the Spirit to the disciples, He did so that they might have power to be witnesses. True, but then they received the Holy Spirit in such heavenly power and reality that He took possession of their whole being at once and so fitted them as holy men for doing the work with power, as they had to do it. Christ spoke of power to the disciples, but it was the Spirit filling their whole being that worked the power. (“The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love”)

Pursuing Holiness

As you read these excellent comments by Andrew Murray today, I would like to add that one of the best tests of holiness is to find if it produces an increasing humility in you. Humility is needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in you. Counterfeit holiness is identified by its lack of humility. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

And what work do we have to do to receive this holiness of Christ through the Holy Spirit? “God bath chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. The holiness of Christ becomes ours through faith. Naturally, there must first be the desire to become holy. We must cleanse ourselves from all pollutions of flesh and spirit by confessing them–giving them up to God–and having them cleansed away in the blood. Then, holiness can be perfected. Then, in belief of the truth that Christ Himself is our sanctification, we have to take and receive from Him what is prepared in His fullness for us. We must be deeply convinced that Christ is wholly and alone our sanctification as He is our justification. We must believe that He will actually and powerfully work in us what is pleasing to God. In this faith, we must know that we have sufficient power for holiness, and that our work is to receive this power from Him by faith every day. He gives His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in us to communicate the holy life of Jesus to us.

Young Christian, the Trinity is three times holy. And this Trinity is the God who sanctifies you. The Father sanctifies by giving Jesus to you and confirming you in Jesus. The Son sanctifies by becoming your sanctification and giving you the Spirit. The Spirit sanctifies by revealing the Son in you, preparing you as a temple for the indwelling of God, and making the Son live in you. Be holy, for God is holy.

Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, what thanks will I render to You for the gift of Your Son as my sanctification, and that I am sanctified in Him. And what thanks for the Spirit of sanctification to live in me, and transplant the holiness of Jesus into me. Lord, help me to understand this correctly, and to long for the experience of it. Amen. (“Holiness”)

Sanctification

When God saves a sinner, He justifies and sanctifies him. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him and the principle of holiness is imparted to him. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us sanctification.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

[W]hat is this holiness that I must have? Christ is your sanctification. The life of Christ in you is your holiness. In Christ you are sanctified – you are holy. In Christ you must continually be sanctified. The glory of Christ must penetrate your whole life.

Holiness is more than purity. In Scripture we see that cleansing precedes holiness. Cleansing is the taking away of that which is wrong – liberation from sin. Holiness is the filling with that which is good and divine – the disposition of Jesus. Holiness is conformity to Him. It is separation from the spirit of the world and being filled with the presence of the Holy God. The tabernacle was holy because God lived there. We are holy, as God’s temple, after we have God living within us. Christ’s life in us is our holiness.

And how do we become holy? By the sanctification of the Spirit. The Spirit of God is named the Holy Spirit because He makes us holy. He reveals and glorifies Christ in us. Through Him, Christ dwells in us, and His holy power works in us. Through this Holy Spirit, the workings of the flesh are mortified, and God works in us both the will and the accomplishment. (“Holiness”)

Are You Growing in Holiness?

As a Christian, do you possess a “cultural holiness”? There are many Christians who simply adapt their behaviors to the Christians around them. God, however, has not called us to be like the people we like or associate with; He has called us to conform to His Character. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15, 16)

“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us sanctification.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Not only has God chosen and called us for salvation, but also for holiness – salvation in holiness. The goal of the young Christian must not only be safety in Christ, but also holiness in Christ. Safety and salvation are, in the long run, found only in holiness. The Christian who thinks that his salvation consists merely in safety and not in holiness will find himself deceived. Young Christian, listen to the Word of God – Be ye holy.

And why must I be holy? Because He who called you is holy and summons you to fellowship and conformity with Himself. How can anyone be saved in God when he does not have the same disposition as God?

God’s holiness is His highest glory. In His holiness, His righteousness and His love are united. His holiness is the flaming fire of His zeal against all that is sin. This is how He keeps Himself free from sin, and in love makes others also free from it. It is as the Holy One of Israel that He is the Redeemer, and that He lives in the midst of His people. Redemption is given to bring us to Himself and to the fellowship of His holiness. We cannot possibly take part in the love and salvation of God if we are not holy as He is holy. Young Christians, be holy. (“Holiness”)

The Way Of Humility

In the words of Andrew Murray:

The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us. In man, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility. The holiest will be the humblest.

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