THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST.
2Ti)e Spirit of tfje glorift'erj Sesus.
'He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that beUeve on Him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet; because Jesus was not yet glorified.'—John vii. 37, 38.
OUE Lord promises here, that those who come unto Him and drink, who believe in Him, will not only never thirst, but will themselves become fountains, whence streams of living water, of life and blessing, will flow forth. In recording the words, John explains that the promise was a prospective one, that would have to wait for its fulfilment till the Spirit should have been poured out. He also gave the double reason for this delay: The Holy Spirit was not yet; because Jesud was not yet glorified. The expression: the Spirit was not yet, has appeared strange, and so the word given has been inserted. But the expression, if accepted as it stands, may guide us into the true
understanding of the real significance of the Spirit's not coming until Jesus was glorified.
We have seen that God has given a twofold revelation of Himself, first as God in the Old Testament, then as Father in the New. We know how the Son, who had from eternity been with the Father, entered upon a new stage of existence when He became flesh. When He returned to Heaven, He was still the same oiily-begotten Son of God, and yet not altogether the same. For He was now also, as Son of Man, the first-begotten from the dead, clothed with that glorified humanity which He had perfected and sanctified for Himself. And just so the Spirit of God as poured out on Pentecost was indeed something new. Through the Old Testament He was always called the Spirit of God or the Spirit of the Lord; the name of Holy Spirit He did not yet bear as His own proper name.1 It is only in connection with the work He has to do in preparing the way for Christ, and a body for Him, that the proper name comes into use (Luke i. 15, 35). When poured out at Pentecost, He came as the Spirit of the glorified Jesus, the Spirit of the Incarnate, crucified, and exalted Christ, the bearer and communicator to us, not of the life of God as such, but of that life as it had been interwoven into human nature in the person of Christ Jesus. It is in this capacity specially that He bears the name of Holy Spirit, for it is as the Indwelling One that God is Holy. And of this Spirit, as He dwelt in Jesus in the flesh, and can dwell in us in the flesh too, it is distinctly and literally true; the Holy Spirit was not yet. The Spirit of the glorified Jesus, the Son of man become the Son of God—He could not be until Jesus was glorified.
'The only three passages (Ps. li. 11 ; Isa. lxiil 10, 11) where we have in our translation Holy Spirit, the Hebrew is properly (and Stier, for instanve, in his Commentary renders it so), 'the Spirit of His holiness,' It is thus of the Spirit of God that the word is used, and not as the Proper Name of the third person. Only iri the New Testament does the Spirit bear the name of ' The Holy Bpirit.'
This thought opens up to us further the reason why it is not the Spirit of God as such, but the Spirit of Jesus, that could be sent to dwell in us. Sin had not only disturbed our relation to God's law, but to God Himself; with the Divine favour we had lost the Divine life. Christ came not only to deliver man from the law and its curse, but to bring human nature itself again into the fellowship of the Divine life, to make us partakers of the Divine nature. He could do this, not by an exercise of Divine Power on man, but only in the path of a free, moral, and most real human development. In His own person, having become flesh, He had to sanctify the flesh, and make it a meet and willing receptacle for the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Having done this, He had, in accordance with the law that the lower form of life can rise to a higher, only through decay and death, in death both to bear the curse of sin and to give Himself as the seedcorn to bring forth fruit in us. From His nature, as it was glorified in the resurrection and ascension, His Spirit came forth as the Spirit of His human life, glorified into the union with the Divine, to make us partakers of all that He had personally wrought out and acquired, of Himself and His glorified life. In virtue of His atonement, man now had a right and title to the fulness of the Divine Spirit, and to His indwelling, as never before. And in virtue of His having perfected in Himself a new holy human nature on our behalf, He could now communicate what previously had no existence,—a life at once human and Divine. From henceforth the Spirit, just as He was the personal Divine life, could also become the personal life of men. Even as the Spirit is the personal life principle in God Himself, so He can be it in the child of God: the Spirit of God's Son can now be the Spirit that cries in our heart, Abba, Father. Of this Spirit it is most fully true, 'The Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.'1
But now, Blessed be God! Jesus has been glorified; there is now the Spirit of the glorified Jesus; the promise can now be fulfilled: He that believeth on me, out of him shall flow, rivers of living waters. The great transaction which took place when Jesus was glorified is now an eternal reality. When Christ had entered with our human nature, in our flesh, into the Holiest of all, there took place that of which Peter speaks, 'Being by 1 See Notes B and Q.
the right hand of God exalted, He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost.' In our place, and on our behalf, as man and the Head of man, He was admitted into the full glory of the Divine, and His human nature constituted the receptacle and the dispenser of the Divine Spirit. And the Holy Spirit could come down as the Spirit of the God - man — most really the Spirit of God, and yet as truly the spirit of man. He could come down as the Spirit of the glorified Jesus to be in each one who believes in Jesus, the Spirit of His personal life and His personal presence, and at the same time the spirit of the personal life of the believer. Just as in Jesus the perfect union of God and man had been effected and finally completed when He sat down upon the throne, and He so entered on a new stage of existence, a glory hitherto unknown, so too, now, a new era has commenced in the life and the work of the Spirit. He can now come down to witness of the perfect union of the Divine and the human, and in becoming our life, to make us partakers of it. There is now the Spirit of the glorified Jesus: He hath poured Him forth; we have received Him to stream into us, to stream through us, and to stream forth from us in rivers of blessing.
The glorifying of Jesus and the streaming forth of His Spirit are intimately connected; in vital organic union the two are inseparably linked. If we would have, not only the Spirit of God, but this Spirit of Christ, which 'was not yet/ but now ia the Spirit of the glorified Jesus, it is specially with the glorified Jesus we must believingly deaL We must not simply rest content with the faith that trusts in the cross and its pardon; we must seek to know the New Life, the Life of Glory and Power Divine in human nature, of which the Spirit of the glorified Jesus is meant to be the Witness and the Bearer. This is the mystery which was hid from ages and generations, but is now made known by the Holy Spirit, Christ in us; how He really can live His Divine life in us who are in the flesh. We have the most intense personal interest in knowing and understanding what it means that Jesus is glorified, that human nature shares the life and glory of God, that the Spirit was not yet, as long as Jesus was not glorified. And that not only because we are one day to see Him in His glory, and to share in it. No, but even now, day by day, we are to live in it. The Holy Spirit is able to be to us just as much as we are willing to have of Him, and of the life of the glorified Lord.
'This spake Jesus of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet; because Jesus was not yet glorified.' God be praised! Jesus has been glorified: there is now the Spirit of the glorified Jesus; we have received Him. In the Old Testament only the unity of God was revealed; when the Spirit was mentioned, it was always as His Spirit, the power by which God was working: He was not known on earth as a Person. In the New Testament the Trinity is revealed; with Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended as a Person to dwell in us. This is the fruit of Jesus' work, that we now have the Personal Presence of the Holy Spirit on earth. Just as in Christ Jesus, the second Person, the Son came to reveal the Father, and the Father dwelt and spoke in Him, even so the Spirit, the third Person, comes to reveal the Son, and in Him the Son dwells and works in us. This is the glory wherewith the Father glorified the Son of man, because the Son had glorified Him, that in His Name and through Him, the Holy Spirit descends as a Person to dwell in believers, and to make the glorified Jesus a Present Eeality within them. This is it of which Jesus says, that whoso believeth in Him shall never thirst, but shall have rivers of waters flowing out of him. This alone it is that satisfies the soul's thirst, and makes it a fountain to quicken others; the Personal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, revealing the Presence of the glorified Jesus. He that believeth on me, rivers of water shall flow out of him. This He said of the Spirit. Here we have once again the blessed Key of all God's treasures: He that believeth on me. It is the glorified Jesus who baptizes with the Holy Ghost: let us believe in Him. Let each one who longs for the full blessing here promised only believe. Let us believe in Him, that He is indeed glorified, that all He is and does and wishes to do is in the power of a Divine glory. According to the riches of His glory, God can now work in us. Let us believe that he has given His Holy Spirit, that we have the personal presence of the Spirit on earth and within us. By this faith the glory of Jesus in heaven and the Power of the Spirit in our hearts become inseparably linked. Let us believe that in the fellowship with Jesus the stream will flow ever stronger and fuller, into us and out of us. Yes ; let us believe on Jesus. But let us remember: thinking on these things, understanding them, being very sure of them, rejoicing in a fuller insight into them, all this, though needful, is not itself believing. Believing is that power of the renewed nature which, forsaking self and dying to it, makes room for the Divine, for God, for the glorified Christ to come and take possession and do His work. Faith in Jesus bows in lowly stillness and poverty of spirit, to realize that self has nothing, and that Another, the unseen Spirit, has now come in to be its leader, its strength, and its life. Faith in Jesus bows in the stillness of a quiet surrender before Him, fully assured that as it waits on Him, He will cause the river to flow.
Blessed Lord Jesus! I do believe, help Thou mine unbelief. Do Thou, the Author and Perfectei of our faith, perfect the work of faith in me too. Teach me, I pray Thee, with a faith that enters the unseen, to realize what Thy glory is, and what my share in it is even now, according to Thy word: 'The glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them.' Teach me that the Holy Ghost and His power is the glory which Thou givest us, and that Thou wouldst have us show forth Thy glory in rejoicing in His holy presence on earth and His indwelling in us. Teach me above all,, my blessed Lord, not only to take and hold these blessed truths in the mind, but with my spirit that is in my inmost parts, to wait on Thee to be filled with Thy Spirit.
O my glorified Lord! I do even now bow before Thy glory in humble faith. Let all the life of self and the flesh be abased and perish, as I worship and wait before Thee. Let the Spirit of Glory become my life. Let His Presence break down all trust in self, and make room for Thee. And let my whole life be one of faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. Amen.
1. In Christ there was an outward lowly state as Servant, which preveded His state of glory as King, it was His faithfulness in the first that led Him to the second. Let every believer who longs to partake with Christ in His glory, first faithfully follow Him in His denial of self; the Spirit will in due time reveal the glory within Him.
2. Christ's glory was Specially the fruit of His suffering of the death of the cross, it is as l enter into the death of the cross in its double aspect, Christ's crucifixion for me, my crucifixion with Christ, that the heart is opened for the Spirit's revelation of the glorified Christ.
3. lt is not having glorious thoughts and impressions at times of my Lord's glory that can satisfy me; it is Christ Himself glorified in me, in my pergonal life, in the way of a Divine and heavenly power uniting His life in gloty with my life; it is this alone can satisfy His heart and mine.
4 Again l say: Glory be to God l this Spirit, the Spirit of the Glorified One, is within me. He hath possession of my inmost life. By His grave l will withdraw that life from the ways of self and sin, and wait, and worship in the assured confidenve that He will take full possession, will prepare tin heart, will glorify my Lord in ml.