" And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them." EZEK. xxxvi. 25, 27.
THE full Pentecostal blessing is for all the children of God. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God. 1 God does not give a half portion to any one of His children. To every one He says: " Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine" 2 Christ is not divided; he that receives Him
1 Rom. viii. 14. " Luke xv. 31.
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receives Him in all His fulness. Every Christian is destined by God, and is actually called, to be filled with the Spirit.
In the preceding chapters I have had in view especially those who are to some extent acquainted with these things, and have been already in search of the truth: such as have been already led after conversion to make a more complete renunciation of sin, and to yield themselves wholly to the Lord. But it is quite conceivable that amongst those who read this book there may be Christians who have heard but little of the full Pentecostal blessing, and in whose hearts the desire has arisen to obtain a share in it. There is, however, so much that they do not as yet understand, that they are willing indeed to have pointed out to them in the simplest possible fashion, where they are to begin, and what they have to do, in order to succeed in their desire. They are prepared to acknowledge that their life is full of sin, and that it seems to them as if they would have to strive long and earnestly, ere they can become full of the Spirit. I should like much to inspire them with fresh courage and to direct them to
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the God who has said: " I the Lord will hasten it in its time." l I should like to take them and guide them to the place where God will bless them, and to point to them out of His Word what the disposition and the attitude must be in which they can receive this blessing.
First of all, there must be a new discovery and confession and casting away of sin.
In the message of Ezekiel, God first promised: " I will cleanse you," and then: " I will put My Spirit within you." A vessel into which any thing precious is to be poured must always first be cleansed. So, if the Lord is to give you a new and full blessing, a new cleansing must also take place. In your conversion, it is true, there was a confession and putting away of sin. Yet this separation was but superficial and external. The soul was still half enveloped in darkness: it thought more of its heinous sins and the punishment they might entail. After conversion it did indeed endeavour to overcome sin, but the effort did not succeed. It did not
1 Isa. Ix. 22 (R.V.).
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know in what holiness the Lord desires His people to live: it did not know how pure and holy the Lord would have it be and would make it be. This new cleansing must come through new confession and discovery of sin. The old leaven cannot be purged away unless it be first searched for and found. Do not say that you already know sufficiently well that your Christian life is full of sin. Sit down in silent meditation and with the express purpose of seeing of what sort your life as a Christian has been. How much pride, self-seeking, worldliness, self-will, and impurity has been in it. Can such a heart receive the fulness of the Spirit? It is impossible. Look into your home life. In your intercourse with wife and children, servants and friends, do not hastiness of temper, anxiety about yourself, bitterness, idle or harsh or unbecoming words testify how little you have been cleansed? Look into the current life of the Church. How much religion is there that is merely intellectual, or formal, or pleasing to men, without that real humiliation of spirit, that real desire for the living God, that real love for Jesus, that real subjection to the word, which constitute worship
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in spirit and in truth. Look into your general course of conduct. Consider whether the people amongst whom you mingle can testify that they have observed, by your honourable spirit and disinterestedness and freedom from worldly- mindedness, that you are one who has been cleansed from sin by God. Contemplate all this in the light of what God expects from you and has offered to work in you, and take your place as a guilty, helpless soul that must be cleansed before God can bestow the full blessing upon you. On the back of this discovery follows the actual putting away and casting out of what is impure. This is something that you are simply bound to do. You must come with these sins, and especially with those that are most strictly your own besetting sins, and acknowledge them before God in confession, and there and then make renunciation of them. You must be brought to the conviction that your life is a guilty and shameful life. You are not at liberty to take comfort from the consideration that you are so weak, or that the majority of Christians live no higher life. It must become a matter of earnest resolve with you that your life is to
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undergo a complete transformation. The sins that still cleave to you are to be cast off and done away with.
Perhaps you may say in reply that you find yourself unable to do away with them or cast them off. I tell you that you are quite able to do this; and in this way. You can give these sins up to God. If there should happen to be anything in my house that I wish to have taken away, and that I myself am unable to carry, I call for men who shall do it for me, and I give it over into their hands, saying: " Look here: take that away; " and they do it. So I am able to say that I have put away this thing out of my house. In like manner you can give up to God those sins of yours, against which you feel yourself utterly impotent. You can give them up to Him to be dealt with as He desires and He will fulfil His promise: " I will cleanse you from all your filthiness." There is nothing so needful as that there should be a very definite understanding between you and the Lord, that you on your part really confess your sin and bid it everlasting farewell and give it up, and that you wait on Him until He assures you that
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He has taken it, or rather has taken your heart and life, into His own hands to give you a complete victory.
In this way you come to a new discovery, and reception, and experience of what Christ is and is prepared to do for you.
If the knowledge of sin at conversion is superficial, so also is the faith in Jesus. Our faith, our reception of Jesus never goes further or deeper than our insight into sin. If since your conversion you have learned to know the inward invincible power of sin in you, you are now prepared to receive from God a discovery of the inward invincible power of the Lord Jesus in your heart, such as you have hitherto had no idea of. If you really long for a complete deliverance from sin, so as to be able to live in obedience to God, God will reveal the Lord Jesus to you as a complete Saviour. He will make you to know that, although the flesh always remains in you, with its inclination to evil, the Lord Jesus will so dwell in your heart that the power of the flesh shall be kept in
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subjection by Him, in order that you may no longer do the will of the flesh. Through Jesus Christ, God will cleanse you from all unrighteousness, so that day by day you may walk before God with a pure heart. What you really need is the discovery that He is prepared to work this change in you, and that you may receive it by faith, here and now.
Yes: this is what Jesus Christ desires to work in you by the Holy Spirit. He came to put away sin; not the guilt and punishment of it only, but sin itself. He has not only mastered the power and dominion of the law and its curse over you, but has also completely broken and taken away the power and dominion of sin. He has completely rescued you as a new-born soul from beneath the power of sin; and He lives in His heavenly authority and all-pervading presence in order to work out this deliverance in you. In this power He will live in you and Himself carry out His work in you. As the indwelling Christ, He is bent on maintaining and manifesting His redemption in you. The sins which you have confessed, the pride and the lovelessness, the worldly-mindedness
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and vanity and all uncleanness, He will by His power take out of your heart; so that, although the flesh may tempt you, the choice and the joy of your heart abide in Him and in His obedience to God’s will. Yes: you may indeed become " more than conqueror" through Him that loved you. 1 As the indwelling Christ, He will overcome sin in you. What then is required on our side? Only this, a thing that can be done at once, namely, that when the soul sees it to be true that Jesus will carry out this work, it shall then open the door before Him and receive Him into the heart as Lord and King. Yes: that can be done at once. A house that has remained closely shut for twenty years can be penetrated by the light in a moment, if the doors and windows are thrown open. In like manner, a heart that has remained enveloped in darkness and impotence for twenty years, because it knew not that Jesus was willing to take the victory over sin into His own hands, can have its whole experience changed in a moment. When it acknowledges its sinful condition and yields itself to God, and believes that the Son of God is prepared to
1 Rom. viii. 37.
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assume the responsibility of the inner life and its purification from sin; when it ventures to trust the Lord that He will do this work at the very moment; then it may firmly believe that it is done, and that Jesus takes all that is in me into His own hands.
This is indeed an act of faith, that must be held fast in faith. When doors and windows are thrown open, and the light streaming in drives out the darkness, we discover at once how much dust and impurity there is in the house. But the light shines just in order that we may see how to take it away. When we receive Christ into the heart everything is not yet perfected: light and gladness are not seen and experienced at once; but by faith the soul knows that He who is faithful will keep His word and will surely do His work. The faith that has up to this moment only sought and wrestled, now rests in the Lord and His word. It knows that what was begun ~by faith must be carried forward only by faith. It says: " I abide in Jesus; I know that He abides in me and that He will manifest Himself unto me." As Jesus cleansed
the lepers with a word, and it was only when ii
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they were on their way to the priest that they found out they were clean, so He cleanses us by His Word. He that firmly holds that fact in faith will see the proofs of it.
So the soul is prepared to receive the full blessing of the Spirit.
The Lord gave first the promise, / will cleanse you; and then the second promise, / will put My Spirit within yon. The Holy Spirit cannot come with power or fill the heart and continue to dwell in it, unless a special and complete cleansing first takes place within it. The Spirit and sin are engaged in a mortal combat. The only reason why the Spirit works so feebly in the Church is sin, which is all too little known or dreaded or cast out. Men do not believe in the power of Christ to cleanse; and therefore He cannot do His work of baptizing with the Spirit. It is from Christ that the Spirit comes, and to Christ the Spirit returns again. It is the heart that gives Christ liberty to exercise dominion in it that shall inherit the full blessing. Therefore, my reader, if you have understood the
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lesson of this chapter, and have done what has been suggested to you; if you have believed in Jesus as the Lord that cleanses you and dwells in you to keep you clean, be assured that God will certainly fulfil His word: " I will cleanse you and put My Spirit within you." Cleave to Jesus, who cleanses you: let Him be all within you; God will see to it that you are filled with the Spirit.
Only keep in view these two truths.
First, that the gift and the blessing and the fulness of the Spirit do not always come, as on the day of Pentecost, with external observation. God is often a God that hideth Himself: do not be surprised, therefore, if your heart does not at once feel, as you should like it to feel, immediately after your act of surrender or appropriation. Best assured that, if you fully trust Christ to do everything for you, He there and then begins to do it in secret by His Spirit. Count upon it that, if you present yourself to God as a pure vessel, cleansed by Christ, to be filled with the Spirit, God will take you at your word and say unto you: “Receive ye the Holy Spirit; be it unto you according to your faith." 1
1 John xx. 22.
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At that moment bow down before Him, more and more silently, more and more deeply, in holy adoration and expectation, in the blessed assurance that the unseen God has now begun to carry on His work more mightily in you, and that He will also manifest it to you more gloriously than ever before.
The other thing you must keep in view is the purpose for which the Spirit is given. I will put My Spirit within you, and / will cause you to walk in My statutes and to keep My judgments and do them. The fulness of the Spirit must be sought and received and kept with the direct aim that you shall now simply and wholly live to do God’s will and work upon the earth, yes: only to be able to live like the Lord Jesus, and to say with Him: " Lo! I come to do Thy will." l If you cherish this disposition, the fulness of the Spirit may be positively expected. Be full of courage and yield yourself to walk in God’s statutes and to keep His judgments and do them, and you may trust God to keep His word that He will cause you to keep and do them. He, the living God, will work in you. Even before 1 Ps. xl. 7, 8; Heb. x. 7.
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you are aware how the Spirit is in you, He will enable you to experience the full blessing.
My brother, have you never yet known the fulness of the Spirit, or have you perhaps been really seeking it for a long while without finding it? Here you have at last the sure method of winning it. Acknowledge the sinfulness of your condition as a Christian and make renunciation of it, once and for all, by yielding it up to God. Acknowledge that the Lord Jesus is ready and able to cleanse your heart from its sin; to conquer these sins by His entrance into it, and to set you free; and that His purpose is to do this at once. Take Him now as your Lord, at once and for ever. Then you may be assured that God will put His Spirit within you in a way and a measure and a power of which you have hitherto had no idea. Be assured that He will do it. permit Him to begin; let Him do it in you now. Amen.