The Indwelling of the Spirit

John 14  •  16 min. read  •  grade level: 6
John 14
Having taken up on other occasions the quickening power of the Spirit and also the Spirit as a well of water springing up to everlasting life, I now desire to look at the further blessing connected with the Spirit of God dwelling in us.
We have seen how the quickening is connected closely with Christ, and not only with Christ, but entirely and simply with Christ; born anew of the second Adam in contrast with the first. Then we saw the Spirit of God become a spring, or source in us; and there are the blessings flowing from that. There are also relationships flowing from it. There is not only power given through the Spirit dwelling, but there are relationships resulting from the redemption accomplished. There are not desires only, but development and power of union and communion.
We have the Holy Ghost in virtue of the work of Christ, which gives perfect rest. In Christ we are set in the presence of God. The Spirit unfolds all the consequences of our being thus brought into God's presence by the work of Christ: the consequences in glory, the glory to come; and more than that the Spirit of God becomes the power for the exercise of those relationships. No man can know the blessedness of a relationship except in the exercise of it. As in nature it is so, so with the Divine relationship. All depends on the presence of the Holy Ghost down here.
Two great truths are connected with this:-First, The accepted Man, the Second Adam, the Lord from heaven, (not any man in creation) is in heaven.
The one who came down is gone up and is in the presence of God. Secondly, The Holy Ghost down here is associating us with all that Christ is in heaven. All that the Church has here is founded on this.
Thus we have three important truths as the result. First, The Holy Ghost makes my person His temple. Therefore it is said, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." I must use my body as a vessel, an instrument of the Holy Ghost. His presence is the measure of my condition, His dwelling in me is the measure of my conduct. It is joy to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Power also is the result of being anointed with oil.—" We have an unction from the Holy One," &c.; and again, "led by the Spirit." The fact of the Holy Ghost's being here is the immense principle of the Christian's life. The next thing is, we are brought into fellowship with the Son-and the next is fellowship with the Father.
When Christ ascended on high, by virtue of his having become man, He could say, " I ascend to my God and your God," and in virtue of His being God He could say " to my Father and your Father." His having made us children by adoption we have this special relationship with God, and so true, so deep, so real a thing is it, that He says, "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God;" thus being rooted and grounded in love, that we may know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fullness of God. This is the amazing infinite sphere of blessing which we are brought into by the Holy Ghost. Because the Holy Ghost dwells in us He becomes the spring of affections and feelings suitable to the relationship. He cannot help it. A man feels it in his prayers. He finds his heart going out after the Lord. He has desires he cannot help expressing about the Church, &c. See the case of Ananias in Acts 9:1313Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: (Acts 9:13). There is that kind of intimacy between him and Christ that he can reason as it were with Him, " Lord, I have heard by many of this man." Again, if it is a question which concerns me as a child, I naturally ask my Father for certain things I want, but the soul cannot have freedom of intercourse with God in His majesty unless our hearts are clear before Him as our Father. We want in certain things to go to God as God, and in others as Father; and in both we have this blessed freedom of intercourse through the Spirit, as well as that of the members of the body, with Christ the Head. All are the free gift of God. When I fail I fly off to my Father to get help, for I cannot have communion with God when I've failed; and as a member of the body I need the Holy Ghost to take of Christ and make it mine because His. This is not community, all is gift to us, but all that Christ has and is in glory as man is ours, for he has given it to us-"Another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." This is consequent upon Christ's going up to the Father. Christ goes up and receives the Holy Ghost because of what he has done for others. As Head of the Church he receives it that the members may share it with Him. Jesus received the Holy Ghost down here for service. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, Acts 1, but what is said in Acts 2:3333Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (Acts 2:33), is "Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost." In the one case He was sealed by the Spirit at His baptism; in the other He received the Holy Ghost to shed abroad on us at His ascension to the Father,-" I will send you another Comforter." He calls Him "another," because Christ himself was their comforter while he was with them. Christ was to go away. He could not abide here. He must ascend to heaven. " By His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place." Christ being our advocate there, the Spirit comes to advocate our cause here.
It is said, "The Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive." The world having broken with Christ, can have nothing whatever to do with this Spirit of truth.
They were not only to have this Comforter as they had had Christ, who only abode as their companion and then went away, but (ver. 17) He was also to be in them, and not only with them. Here, in ver. 16, it is, " I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter." Here Christ is obtaining the Holy Ghost for them. In chap. 15:26, it is, " the Comforter whom I will send unto you"-as divine Head of the Church, though a man. He had a title to dispose of everything, and He sends the Holy Ghost. (See also chap. xvi. 7.) Then another thing is, the Father sends Him in Christ's name, because of His acceptance of His work. The immense, the unchangeable, resting-place of all blessing is the name of Jesus.
As to its present condition, all connection between the world and God is closed. (I do not speak of providence.) The world then sees Him no more, but Christ says, "ye see me." What an immense difference between the Church and the world-to see this blessed one.
He is the object before us. The Son having been rejected from the world, all communion between the world and the Father is closed. They say, " This is the heir, come let us kill him." " Now is the judgment of this world." "Upon us the ends of the world are come." " But ye see me."' When the world sees nothing, we, in the power of faith, behold Him who is invisible; our eyes thus always resting on One in whom the Father finds delight-not the natural eyes of course, but I know that my affections are set upon the One in whom the Father is fully satisfied.
There was an adequate motive for the Father to love Christ. It is undiscerned by us in our natural minds, but the Holy Ghost brings us into blessed communion with the Father's mind. "Because I live ye shall live also." Believing in Him makes me know what His estimate is of Christ; and it is also by virtue of believing in Him that I have life. Not only is the object the same as the Father Himself has, but the life is the same. " Because I live ye shall live also." He unfolds this connection afterward. (ver. 20.) " At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." This is not said at the beginning of the chapter. It could not be said until there was union through the Holy Ghost's being given. They ought to have known the Father by Christ's being with them, but they could not know this further thing. " In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father," &c. When the Holy Ghost was sent down, the Church knew not only of the union of the Father and the Son, but also then our union: "YE in me." The Holy Ghost then leads to Christ as the object of our souls-to Christ as our life-and to the knowledge of Christ in the Father, and we in Christ. This source of life is in us. " Because I live ye shall live also." This is more than the fact of the security of life. The very One in whom he lived was to be the source of life to them. We have then the Spirit of adoption, crying, Abba, Father. Instead of knowledge viewed in connection with the Father Himself, and with the Son, it is " he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." All is in virtue of accomplished redemption-the Son having taken His place at the right hand of God.
My relationship then is founded on Christ, and in all the perfectness of Christ's standing before God for me, but the power to enjoy it is the Holy Ghost. Christ takes his place on high -sin is all gone, for he has borne it away, perfectly atoned for it, in having been made sin. The holiness and the love of God have been made known by the dealing with sin upon the cross in a way in which nothing else could have revealed them. Having done it all Christ enters the presence of God the new man, and where He is, we are. Therefore the place of the Church involves entire deliverance from all fear, because having the spirit of adoption I am not before God now as my judge, because I am His child. My very existence as a Christian flows from this, I am born of God, a child in the house. In virtue of being thus born I have my existence before God as His child-the work of Christ, of course, being the foundation. He has borne judgment-law, sin, &c., are all gone, and I am free from every charge before God. The reasoning goes on, Rom. 8:1313For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13), " If children then heirs," &c. All we now have and are will be manifested in glory, but we are now speaking of the position before the Father with Christ the model man, the Firstborn of many brethren. Have we lost anything of the majesty of God in all this? Certainly not. Christ has brought God to us in all His glorious attributes instead of taking from them. The soul has all the holiness, majesty, as well as love brought home to it. Reverence, adoration are wrought there by the Holy Ghost. A son does not the less admire the excellence of his father, because he is his father. All true worship is the returning back to God from us all that the Holy Ghost has revealed to us of God. Chapter 14:26, " He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance," that is, the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name. This is the full character of our relationship with Christ. He shall bring to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you-not only what He is, but the remembrance of all that Christ expressed on earth; and it is a delight to my heart. Every word that came from Christ's mouth was God speaking through a man. Comfort, wisdom, love, all came from Him in perfection. " Thou hast given me the tongue of the learned," &c. The Spirit does not, of course, reveal to me Christ as now on earth, but I have not lost Christ a bit as to what he was down here. He brings all that He was to our remembrance now. The Holy Ghost gives me Christ as the manna that came down from heaven, as well as what He is now as the hidden manna, and that is giving me to feed on Christ.
Mark the difference between Christ's commandments and those under the law. Christ was life, and all His commands were the expression of that life which He had in Himself. So with us; for we have the life in Him. Christ is our life, and His precepts are the guidance of the life which we have in Him. Did life result from what we are doing, all would be over with us. I see the ensnaring world all around me, but I have not only the Word of Christ to direct me, but I have the power of Divine life-Christ Himself to help me. 1 John 1 " There is an object before me." There is more direction for my feet in what lie is.
Chapter 16:13. "I have many things to say to you," &c. It is not here the path and teaching in general, as we have had, "But when He the Spirit of truth is come, He shall guide you into all truth." This is a present thing; not "He shall take of mine and shall show it unto you," different to His being the remembrancer of what He had said while He was with them on earth. What He hears He speaks. These are the things in Heaven brought down to earth by the Spirit who is on earth. It is the revelation by the Spirit of all that Christ is. Having taken the place on earth as the servant, what He hears He makes known to us, and Christ is now in heaven for us. The Spirit also shows us things to come, He brings out all the glory before- us, the future hope. I thus look forward to the time when God shall unite all in Christ as Head. " In the dispensation of the fullness of times that He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth." In the future all the glory is to be Christ's and we are heirs of it. It is to come, but the Holy Ghost makes it known as ours. Thus I look forward to the time when all is manifested, and I am to share it with Him. The glory belongs to one who has identified Himself with and suffered for me. It belongs to Him who loved me and gave Himself for me, and all His glory is ours; and this is not all, for He says, "All that the Father hath is mine; therefore, said I, He shall take of mine and shall show it unto you." Thus I am to know what that is. My soul is to know all the glory which this humbled Christ is to have. " He will guide you into all truth." Everything is set in its right place in the soul, Christ being the center of all, and all being centered in Christ. All is our own as members of His body, and if He has set Him to be the Head over all, it is to His Church. The Holy Spirit leads us not only into the hope of the future glory, but also into the consequences of union with the Lord Jesus Christ now, in the most intimate relationship possible. The Holy Ghost shows us, in Christ, all the affections of Christ in exercise towards us, in virtue of that union as the bride of Christ, the Son, as Ephesians goes on to show: not only how the head is connected with the body, but how the husband is with the wife,-" Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church." This is enjoined not only as a duty, but according to the example of Christ Himself-" No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it even as the Lord the church." Thus is this ministry of Christ towards us because of this relationship.
Mark the double character of holiness and power there is in this. Take care you do not grieve this Holy Spirit who brings you into the enjoyment of all this. Whatever is of the world and of the flesh grieves the Holy Spirit of God, whereby we are sealed. It is the measure of what becomes a Christian, a spiritual man. Then as to power, we are to be filled with the Spirit-so filled that as to our place in heaven we shall be all joy. In the fullness of communion the soul gets its place in the heavenly choir, singing and making melody to the Lord. But then I am in this world of sorrow. And what am I to do? To see God in all; "giving thanks always for all things unto God and our Father," " rejoicing in tribulation." It naturally takes some time to work this thankfulness in us; but of Jesus Christ it is said when He was rejected by Chorazin and Bethsaida, "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, 0 Father." He saw God in it. And so when we can see sorrow coming from God, when we see that His hand is in it, we can thank Him for it. It is not so at once with us sometimes, but it is wrought in the soul afterward, when the risings of the flesh are subdued.
Being filled with the Spirit, is having Christ the actual source of all that arises in us of thoughts and feelings. A man's spirituality is measured by this. When there is nothing else but Christ, we are filled with the Spirit. What liberty this is! Freedom from sin and all besides to serve God. The liberty of the saints must be a holy liberty. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the law of sin and death. We have the Spirit of adoption founded on redemption; thus we have liberty towards God and from Satan. What would have been taking Christ's liberty from Him, if it had been possible, would have been hindering His doing the Father's will..
There are two things for us to think of from this subject. 1st, The amazing grace which has set us in such a place, even as temples of the Holy Ghost. 2nd, We are called upon not to grieve the Holy Ghost who dwells in us, that we may not occupy Him with our faults and failings, instead of with those blessed things which are ours in Christ.
May we keep our affections fresh and happy in fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.