Lecture 3.

The Holy Spirit in Sanctification — Indwelling; Communion; Anointing; Prayer; The Walk in the Spirit.


"O gracious Father! God of Love,
We own Thy power to save, —
That power by which the Shepherd rose
Victorious o'er the grave.

Him from the dead Thou brought'st again,
When, by His sacred blood
Confirmed and sealed for evermore,
Th' eternal cov'nant stood.

O may Thy Spirit guide our souls,
And mould them to Thy will,
That from Thy paths we ne'er may stray
But keep Thy precepts still.

That to the Saviour's stature full
We nearer still may rise,
And all we think, and all we do,
Be pleasing in Thine eyes."

Our subject tonight is, "The Holy Spirit in sanctification," and it will be well for us before entering upon our theme to note the various uses of the word sanctification in Scripture, and its significance in connection with what is directly before us.

We will read first a verse from the tenth chapter of Hebrews, verse 10: "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all," also verse 14: "For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." Here, sanctification is declared to be by the one offering of Christ in death; it is perfect and eternal in its efficacy. If by "perfect sanctification" this were meant, we would all express our belief in it; yea, we would as believers in the Lord Jesus claim to be perfectly sanctified.

But evidently this sanctification is outside and not within ourselves. It is a sanctification by position. We were formerly aliens, away from God, and under the guilt of all our sins. Through the blood of Christ our Lord we have been made nigh — taken from our position of distance and set apart to God as belonging to Him. This is the general theme of Hebrews, together with priesthood. Thus you have, "He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified" (Heb. 2:11). "For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, . . . purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:13, 14). So also even the apostate is spoken of as having been sanctified by the blood of the covenant (chap. 10:29), that is he was set apart, outwardly in his case, as belonging to a people connected with the blood of the covenant. The allusion is to the blood of the first covenant, spoken of in Heb. 9:19, 20. In Ex. 24:8, we see that Moses did this in connection with the legal covenant; the People engaged to be obedient. Under grace there is a new covenant and a better sacrifice, even the precious blood of Christ. It sanctified, or set apart, men to God. Where the faith was real, the sanctification or setting apart was real; and where it was mere profession, a dreadful responsibility was incurred.

In the Old Testament, this use of sanctification was constant. Israel was a sanctified people, in the sense of being set apart as God's. Even where true grace has wrought, the sanctification by blood does not refer to its work in us, but for us. Thus the precious passage: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin," does not refer to inward purity, but to the removal of guilt, so that the soul is without spot or stain.

But we are also said to be sanctified by the Spirit. Thus, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:2). "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? . . . and such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Now these passages, while referring to sanctification by the Spirit, contemplate new birth, rather than the subsequent life of the believer. In Peter the work of the Spirit is connected with, or follows after, the Father's election. Sanctification, or new birth, is unto obedience. That is, we are born again — set apart to God by regeneration, in order that we may now walk in obedience, and it is this that was contemplated in the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. As obedient, we are in a position to enjoy what is meant by sprinkling — the atonement. How many of God's children do not enjoy this.

So in the passage in 1 Corinthians: "Ye are sanctified," is evidently the work of new birth, as justification is on the ground of Christ's work. Every child of God is sanctified in this way, by the Spirit's work. The ordinary designation of believers is, "saints," or sanctified ones. They are saints by calling, by blood and by new birth. Thrice perfectly sanctified, by the work of Father, Son, and Spirit. We would not speak of them as saints because of their walk, because that is not perfect, and is variable in different persons. They are "sanctified in Christ Jesus."

There is, however, another use of the word sanctification, and that is to describe the practical daily life. The standard is Christ Himself, and who that knows Him would say that he had been fully conformed to the Lord's image? If a Paul, with his devotedness, love, and apprehension of Christ could say, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect," how much more should we. We are perfectly sanctified by the blood of Christ, setting us apart to God in all its value; perfectly sanctified by new birth, in which we have received a new and sinless nature. But there is a practical work in us which is progressive. And this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Such scriptures as the following contemplate this progressive sanctification: "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom — even righteousness, sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30); "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). It is with this that we are to be engaged tonight.

I will first call your attention to the truth of the indwelling of the Spirit — a subject upon which we touched in the first lecture, as being one of the characteristics of the Spirit's presence and work during the present dispensation. It is for us now to go more fully into detail, for in this indwelling of the Spirit lies all the possibility for practical sanctification.

There is a passage in the Old Testament which is beautifully typical of this sanctification by the Spirit's indwelling. "This shall be a continual burnt-offering . . . at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord, where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory" (Ex. 29:42, 43).

We have already seen that the cloud or Shekinah, the visible emblem of the presence of God, was the type of the Holy Spirit. This cloud led them through the desert, and after the tabernacle was erected, it descended, and filled the sanctuary. The tabernacle was sanctified, set apart for the service of God, by this glory. Everything that was inconsistent with that glory was put out, and the whole house was ordered according to the requirements of the holiness of God. You will also notice that this glory took up its abode in connection with the burnt-offering. Christ's work is the basis of the Spirit's presence.

Thus the believer, as temple of the Holy Ghost, is sanctified by that presence. He is marked out as belonging to God, and everything inconsistent with His holy will should find no place in the heart or life. We see then how the truth of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit must occupy a prominent place in any consideration of the subject of His sanctifying work.

Read, if you please, the following: "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16, 17). We have already considered this indwelling as contrasted with the visitations of the Spirit in the previous dispensations. What is for our special attention now, is the permanence of this indwelling: "He shall abide with you forever." All is stability and permanence in the new era of reality, for all is based upon a finished redemption and Christ taking His place on high. The law must be set aside, for it was "weak through the flesh." Its ceremonies were but shadows of good things to come. Man in the flesh was under trial, in the sense that he had not been judicially pronounced worthless.

But when Christ died, He not only provided a perfect atonement, but by His death sentence was pronounced upon the whole human race. Sin in the flesh was condemned; our old man was crucified with Him, and its worthlessness declared. Now, "if any man be in Christ there is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." I do not touch the fact of the presence of the old nature, and the deeds of the body to be mortified; but there is a new man, who has life eternal. Everything here is of God, and the Spirit will have no occasion to leave for there are no conditions upon which He remains, save the fact of accomplished redemption.

Did you ever think of the awful dishonor done not only to the Spirit of God, but to Christ by the denial of the perpetuity of this abiding? If the Spirit could leave, after having taken up His abode in us, it would involve a denial of the work of Christ. His work would have ceased to avail before God. It would drag Christ from His throne in glory, if the Spirit could depart from a believer.

It cannot be too clearly understood that this indwelling is not because of anything in us, either at the beginning, or at any stage of the Christian life. From first to last, the Spirit dwells with us because of the unchanging value of the work of Christ. Cease forever to dishonor the value of that work by doubting the presence of this Holy Person. Your feelings, your faithfulness have nothing to do with this basic fact.

But what holy ground we are upon here! If Solomon could ask the wondering question: "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?" when His visible glory filled the temple (2 Chron. 5:14; 2 Chron. 6:18), what shall we say when the living God in the person of the Holy Ghost comes to abide in us? My brethren, I am persuaded we little realize what this means. If we did, what lowliness would mark us; what abhorrence of sin, what quickness in the fear of the Lord, and the detection of the most subtle forms of evil, what reverence. Who can describe the sanctifying effect of simply a deep realization of the stupendous fact. I can but speak of it, and pray that all of us may know practically what the consciousness of this abiding would bring.

Let us turn to another scripture: "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of (or from) Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:13, 14). I do not question that this promise had its first fulfilment in the inspiration and guidance of the apostles. But to limit it to this would be to rob us of the preciousness of the greater part of this discourse. In fact, it is impossible to conceive of this. Fruitfulness and all else spoken of in the fifteenth and other chapters, surely is not limited to apostles.

This scripture teaches us the character of this indwelling of the Spirit, how He operates. I will ask you to notice particularly that He works by the truth. He guides into all truth. God is light, and when He takes up His abode He must enlighten. "Holiness of truth" is an expression in the epistle to the Ephesians that suggests how it is secured. It is by the truth; even as our Lord prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy word is truth."

It is the spirit of man that understands, and this is the highest part of his being, controlling all the rest. This is God's order, and when the Spirit engages in His sanctifying work, it is through the action of truth. You will notice that again and again; we will return to this fact. Spiritual intelligence is the very corner stone of piety. The dictum of Rome, "Ignorance is the mother of devotion," is as far removed from truth as it is possible to conceive. The lines of teaching as to the Spirit's work cross and recross, and we will find that the points of intersection are at truth.

The truth of God is embodied in His word. In that we have the full revelation which He has been pleased to make of Himself and His counsels, centering in Christ. This is not the time to enter upon this subject, but I am increasingly convinced of its overwhelming importance. The word of God — the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments — is the vehicle of the Holy Spirit, the instrument which He uses. The spiritual condition of a person may largely be gauged by his estimation of the word of God. If that be neglected, or thought lightly of, no matter how high the pretensions, how ecstatic the feelings, how deep apparently the piety, there is not much true work of the Spirit of God. He ever honors the word of God.

Joshua is a figure of Christ, but we might say of Christ in us by the Spirit, for he led Israel in person. The Spirit it is who leads us into the practical enjoyment of our portion in Christ. This portion is described in the word of God. May we not say that, for faith, the believer's portion is the word of God? And is not the constant word of the Spirit "There remaineth very much land to be possessed"? Ah, what a fulness there is in that Word! Let us not be slothful in making it our own, under the guiding energy of the Spirit of truth.

"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," will be our connecting link with the next scripture I wish to read. The truth emancipates. "The law of the Spirit, of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). Here we have the emancipating power of the indwelling Spirit.

You who have studied the epistle to the Romans are aware that this eighth chapter occurs in the second portion of the book. The first deals with the question of sins, our actual trespasses, and of our justification from them all by faith without the deeds of the law, on the ground of the sacrifice of Christ our Lord. We have peace with God, access to His presence and joy in Him.

In the second portion of the epistle, from the middle of the fifth chapter through the eighth, you have the subject of sin, the principle of evil which controls the natural man. As linked with the first Adam, head of a fallen race, we have inherited a nature alienated from God and prone to corruption. It is also a blessed fact that we are now linked with a second Man, Head of a new race, and have life in Him. But here is sin — is it to reign in me? Here is holiness — is it not for me?

The sixth and seventh chapters develop the truth that emancipates. The cross is the end of me judicially; "Our old man is crucified with Him that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Rom. 6:6). Thus we are dead to sin in the death of Christ, and are to reckon ourselves so, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus. God has put the stamp of death upon me as part of the old creation, so that faith can now say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). But this death puts me out of the reach of law, not only as that which condemns, but as a rule for man in the flesh.

Into the struggles of the seventh chapter I do not enter, beyond stating the bare fact that so long as the soul seeking holiness turns to the law it finds the bonds of sin drawn tighter, for "the strength of sin is the law" (1 Cor. 15:56). The law cannot afford help; sin, by the commandment, becomes exceeding sinful, but there can come no help from the knowledge of this. The two natures are recognized, and two laws, but still no deliverance, and "Oh, wretched man that I am I" is the bitter cry.

But the way of escape is seen, and the life in Christ Jesus is a life of liberty. This we reach in the beginning of the eighth chapter. Here is freedom; no longer a hopeless, unavailing cry, but the calm after the storm, and it is the Spirit who has given that deliverance by the truth. Instead of the law we have the Spirit, and all through the eighth chapter it is the Spirit. Thus we have deliverance by the Spirit. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Once more, let us note another feature of this indwelling. "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:13, 14). In the previous chapter our Lord uses water as a type of the Word — the Word used by the Spirit — for cleansing the soul. That cleansing is not the "putting away the filth of the flesh," the reforming of the natural man, for the sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mire. But the cleansing is that of a new life, a new nature — a new thing entirely, and therefore perfect and complete.

Here, in the interview with the woman of Samaria, the water is used as a type of the Spirit, but as that which ministers life, and refreshing. "We have been made to drink into one Spirit." The figure is different, but equally clear, and most precious. I cannot do better than to trace this figure in the Old Testament, as seen in Israel's history. This will enable us to see the beautiful appropriateness of the figure used by our Lord with this poor sinful woman. But first let us listen to His words just prior: "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again." On every fountain — broken cisterns, are they not? — of man's digging we may write these words. No matter where man turns for refreshment, he fails to find that which can truly quench thirst; pleasure, reputation, power, wealth — whatever the heart of man craves — can never satisfy. As in the book of Ecclesiastes, those who have most diligently drawn water out of these wells have been constrained to confess "vanity of vanities." Let us as Christians take note of this and refuse that which does not satisfy even the world.
Whom have we, Lord, but Thee,
Soul-thirst to satisfy?
Exhaustless spring! the waters free!
All other streams are dry."

You remember that shortly after Israel's emancipation from Egypt, when scarcely had the echoes of the song of triumph died out, they had to face the question of thirst. There was no water in the desert, the very place where without it they must die. So they murmur and begin to learn something of the trials by the way; but Marah and Elim teach them some lessons — true refreshment and sustenance come by way of the cross. But they seem not to have learned this lesson fully till they come to Rephidim (Ex. 17). Here the rock is smitten and the waters flow out. I need hardly point out the lovely type. "That Rock was Christ" (1 Cor. 10:4). Christ, smitten of God for our sins, sends forth the Holy Ghost for our refreshment. The Rock smitten insures safety and the abundant supply for all our needs in the wilderness, through the Holy Spirit.

We link with this the similar scene in the book of Numbers (Num. 20). In the wilderness of Zin the water fails, and God tells Moses to go out and speak to the rock. A hasty word, a failure to obey God, a marring of what he intended to teach us, and Moses shut out of the land — these are the results. But by his very failure the lesson is simply emphasized. Once the rock was smitten; that is never needed again. "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." No need for that to be repeated, "then must he often have suffered." All that is necessary ever after is to "speak to the Rock." It is through the ministry of the Word that Christ is ministered in the refreshing power of the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, near the close of the journey (Num. 21:16-18), we have the well, of which God said: "Gather the people together and I will give them water." They sing a song at this well — "Spring up, O well, sing ye unto it" — for joy and praise follow the opening up of channels for the Spirit to flow forth. This well is dug with the staves of the princes — pilgrim wands opening up the refreshing streams.

Thus the refreshing power of the Spirit all through our life is set forth in the water. To the woman of Samaria, seeking satisfaction in the pleasures of sin and the world, He promises not only the gift of a draught of water, but a well springing up evermore. As in new birth we have the bestowal of life by the Spirit, so here we have Him dwelling in us, maintaining and developing the life.

In the 110th Psalm it is said of our Lord: "Thou hast the dew of Thy youth." His vigor and freshness are perennial, eternal. To Ephesus it was said: "Thou hast left thy first love." They had lost the freshness that marked the early stages of the divine life in the soul. Of how many, beloved brethren, must this be said! No outward fall has marred their testimony; they are above reproach, and in many ways commendably zealous; but there is no "dew." Truth has taken clear form, doctrines can be distinctly stated, a keen scent for error is present; but oh, where is that freshness which ever marked our adorable Lord?

Therefore, ere leaving this part of our subject I have dwelt upon this. We have a well in us, an inexhaustible supply.
"Within us dwells that well from heaven,
The Spirit of our God."

But as in Isaac's day the Philistines choked the wells which his father Abraham had dug, so now formalism chokes the upspringing of the Spirit, and we lose the refreshment the blessed Spirit of God would ever give. The Spirit is in us, just as the water is in the wells, but the stones prevent our getting at it for practical uses. There is nothing for us but to return to the first love, to dig again, to open up again the channels for the welling up of the Spirit. God does not give His Spirit by measure, and if we are straitened it is in ourselves.

Thus we have looked at four features which characterize the indwelling of the Spirit; first, the permanency of it, "He shall abide with you forever"; second, the enlightenment of it, "He shall guide you into all truth"; third, the liberty of it, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death"; and lastly, the freshness of it, "a well of water springing up unto everlasting life." Surely, with such abounding fulness, our sanctification should be deep and full and complete.
"Lord, 'tis enough we ask no more;
Thy grace around us pours
Its rich and unexhausted store,
And all its joy is ours."

As I have already said, we will find many of our lines of search intersecting, and I feel this is especially true of the subject of communion. In one sense we hardly need devote a special section to it, for it permeates our entire subject; and yet it is a word of such frequent use, and withal so little apprehended, that a few words as to it will be in place here.

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all" (2 Cor. 13:14). "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit . . . fulfil ye my joy" (Phil. 2:1, 2). Here we have the expression, "communion of the Spirit," and it evidently has an important significance.

The word occurs in a number of passages through the New Testament, and in various connections. Thus we have fellowship or communion (the same word in the Greek) of God's Son, of His body and blood, of His sufferings; with the Father and His Son. Here evidently the thought is sharing in the benefits, or in the experiences, or in the companionship. Similarly we have the same root used in such passages as "they were partners with Simon," "partakers of the altar," "companions of those who suffered," "partaker of the glory," "partakers of the divine nature." The liberality of the saints was called fellowship.

Now the meaning all through is clear and consistent. Communion means sharing or participating. So the communion of the Holy Spirit means sharing or participating in His thoughts, affections, purposes. I may sit on the same seat with a person on a train, riding miles side by side, and yet have no communion, because we are strangers. Or I may know him to be an ungodly, worldly person, and therefore have no communion with him, because we have nothing in common. On the other hand, I may meet a perfect stranger, and in a few minutes find we can enjoy full communion, because he is a child of God and one who loves His word. We have a common life and common objects, and that makes communion.

Thus we have life by the Spirit and a common object with the Spirit — Christ; so we share and participate with Him in our little measure. That I believe to be the main factor in communion. Many Christians have a very unhealthy, distorted idea of communion. They think of a dreamy sort of life, elevated far above its common duties and affairs, the soul in rapt gaze looking heavenward, the body chiefly prostrate in the attitude of prayer. This thought has peopled the convents and monasteries with those who thought communion too holy a thing to come even in outward contact with this world.

But even where such extremes are not reached, how many twist the thought of communion into a certain state of feeling, or into certain strange and rare experiences. Many would say they have no time for communion; business or family cares press too much. But how unhealthy all this! How forced and unnatural! Whereas the communion of the Holy Spirit is simply sharing in His thoughts. If the word of God engages us, if the love of Christ attracts us, if the will of God controls us, that is participation with the blessed Spirit. We are often too much engaged with the results of communion, rather than the fact. Joy, freedom, exultation — all flow from communion. The great thing is to be practically sharing with that blessed One what He is ever ministering to our souls.

When we come later to look at the walk in the Spirit we will look at the practical side of this communion and the hindrances to it. Let it suffice here to say that there is never any excuse for the Christian not to be enjoying this communion of the Spirit. The busiest are not debarred from it, and it is the strength of the weakest. Love is the atmosphere of communion — the love of God. And this love is shed abroad — poured out — in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). Let our hearts expand under the warmth of that infinite, tender love; let them revel in it, be at home in it; "keep yourselves in the love of God." That is communion. Fear is cast out; sin can have no place in the life where the love of God is enthroned. Remember, it is His, not our love.

Our next subject is the Anointing of the Spirit, under which a number of Scriptures demand our consideration. Let us first trace the Scripture use of the term. I might say, first of all, there are two words, one in Hebrew and one in Greek, that are the chief words used respectively in the Old and New Testaments. They are the words of which our terms Messiah and Christ are the English equivalents. And this will, I think, give us the first great and prominent thought of anointing. Messiah or Christ means the Anointed One. Other words are used both in Hebrew and Greek, but they are of secondary prominence, and, so far as I am aware, are never used in the way we find the others. This certainly is suggestive.

"Thou shalt take the anointing oil and pour it upon his head and anoint him" (Ex. 29:7). This is the anointing of Aaron to be high priest. "And thou shalt take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is therein; and shalt hallow it and all the vessels thereof, and it shall be holy" (Ex. 40:9). This is the anointing of the tabernacle and all its furniture. The same was to be done to the altar of burnt offering and the laver to sanctify them. "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward" (1 Sam. 16:13). Here it is as king he is being anointed. "And Elisha, the son of Shaphat, shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room" (1 Kings 19:16). This last is striking as being the only case where the anointing of a prophet is spoken of. Elisha was a successor to Elijah, and so was to be officially designated. As a rule there was no successor to a prophet; he was called of God for a specific purpose, and none could take his place.

These various instances, which are samples of their kind, give us the significance of anointing. It was setting apart to a specific position or office. Thus the priest and king were anointed, set apart to their respective offices. A similar thought lies in the anointing of the tabernacle and its furniture; it was set apart, sanctified, for the special and exclusive service of God. Christ is both Priest and King. "He shall sit a priest upon His throne." Thus doubly does the title Messiah or Christ belong to Him.

Passing to the New Testament, I quote from Acts 10:38: "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him." Here we have not only a definite and official designation of our Lord, but, it is added, "with power." May not the horn of oil in the anointing of David have suggested the power? The word for power here is not the one usually to be rendered "authority," but is the ordinary one for strength or might. Thus our Lord was not only designated, but qualified, for His work.

Turning now to the saint, we have first a general statement that he is anointed. "Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God" (2 Cor. 1:21). This is not apostolic anointing, but, as the term "with you" shows, common to all saints, as in the next verse. We have nothing definite here save the significant expression, "stablisheth us with you in Christ." The connection is suggestive: all in Christ are anointed — officially designated as His.

But there is something more specific in our next quotation "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him" (1 John 2:20, 27). Connected with this unction from the Holy One is the knowledge of all things. You will observe here a point of intersection with the other lines of this truth, and it is in connection with the word of God. "He shall guide you into all truth." Possessing this knowledge, the saint is able to discern error, and he needs no one to teach him.

I need hardly say this does not refer to Christian teaching. The text has been abused by some to deny the need of God-given teachers. This is not the thought at all. But we have received an anointing from God — we need no human teaching, only divine. Some one comes to you and claims to have discovered some wondrous truth in Theosophy, Spiritism, Christian Science. You are not to be tempted to inquire; the unction you have already received teaches you. There is nothing beyond that.

Notice, too, it is the babe who has this unction. It is no question of attainment, or even of experience; it is a divine instinct enabling us to detect and refuse error. We recognize it as not truth, for it does not give us the Christ of God; therefore we reject it. This anointing abides in us and teaches us to abide in Christ our Lord.

Gathering up these thoughts, we shall find, at least so far as we have gone, a distinct meaning of the anointing of the Spirit. For Christ, it was His official designation for the place to which God had appointed Him, Priest and King, and his qualification in power for the place. For the saint, it is the distinct designation, in the gift of the Spirit, that he belongs to God, and a qualification to live here in separation from all evil. By the fact of my anointing I am set apart to God. I am His for the service to which He has called me. The anointing oil is upon me, and abides. Nor is this a mere past, formal act; but a living Person who guides, teaches, empowers me for everything I meet. Above all, the Holy One teaches me to abide in Christ, to cleave fast to Him.

As I have said, there are other words, both in Old and New Testaments, translated "anoint," whose use is also suggestive. We have, for instance, "Thou anointest my head with oil" (Ps. 23:5). See also 2 Chron. 28:15, where the captives of Judah are reclothed, fed and anointed, and then returned to Jericho to their brethren; Ezek. 16:9, where God's adorning of Israel is spoken of. Also Isaiah 61:3, where the "oil of joy" is given instead of mourning, reminding us of the oil which maketh man's face to shine. All these and many others are most suggestive; adornment, honor, joy, are all the results of our having been anointed by the Spirit. I only suggest a few passages; others will occur to you, and the concordance will show more. The Holy Oil is upon us, dear brethren, and we are not our own. I leave the question of service for another time.

There are just three Scriptures as to prayer in connection with the Holy Spirit that I wish to read. First, however, I will ask if you have ever noticed that there is no instance in Scripture of prayer to the Spirit. That He is divine, is God, we saw at the outset; and yet He is never addressed in prayer. Now, there is a divine reason for this which is clear and beautiful when once you see it. The Spirit is here; as to His work, He is in us. He forms and guides our prayers; He is in them, and therefore they are not addressed to Him. Once this fact is grasped, and we will see the unscripturalness of addressing the Holy Spirit. He is the one who, as it were, is speaking in us. Let it not be thought for a moment that this degrades this blessed Holy One. We know He is divine, is omnipresent. We know when we address God, He is God. But I speak of His distinctive places and work in this present dispensation. He dwells in the Church, and in the believer. He is the power for all service, prayer and praise, but not the object.

Read first, Romans 8:26, 27; "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, that He maketh intercession for the saints according to God." Christ is our intercessor on high; "He ever liveth to make intercession for us;" and the Holy Spirit is our intercessor down here. You have been struck with this double provision. The gifts of the Spirit, in 1 Corinthians 12, are in Ephesians 4 the gifts of Christ on high. In the first case it is administration; in the latter, source. In somewhat the same way, Christ is before God maintaining us through all our journey, in all our weakness. Our great High Priest ever liveth, and, in the beautiful language of the type, bears His people, graven in the jewels of His own glory, upon His shoulders of strength and His heart of love.

That is the heavenly side. On earth there are sighs and groans as we feebly and in much ignorance lift our hearts to God. But there is a mighty intercessor within, leading us unconsciously to prayer. And our blessed God understands these inarticulate groanings. Have you ever felt your inability for prayer? Words have failed, and under the pressure of a groaning creation in which we live you have been mute. You had no words to frame the deep yearnings of your heart over a lost world — over a Christless crowd passing on to eternity; or other loads pressed heavily, and as you have bowed before God there was more groaning than speaking. Well, beloved, these were doubtless the intercession of the Spirit, leading you out in prayer beyond yourself, and giving voice in a language understood by God alone. The Spirit helpeth our infirmities. What a comfort! He is the helper. The weakest of us can pray with such assistance. And God, who searches the heart, knows the Spirit's desires, even if the saints in their infirmity have not given clear utterance to them. He knows that the Spirit maketh intercession according to God.

"But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 20, 21). Here we have prayer in the Spirit — in the wisdom and power of the Spirit. In Jude everything is in ruins; apostasy, the history of which he traces from the fall of the angels to the present, has set in. False professors, a blot upon the Church, have crept in — the days of Enoch and of Noah are repeated. In the midst of all this chaos the saints are to stand firm. Because of the love of many waxing cold, all the greater need for them to keep themselves built up and established.

In this steadfastness there are four features — building themselves up on their most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keeping themselves in the love of God, and looking for the coming of the Lord. Here prayer is a most important part, but it is prayer in the Holy Ghost. There is all the reality which the Spirit gives, as well as the intelligence and discernment which He affords and there is the persistence. If there is to be stability, it must be in the power of the Spirit of God. All else will fail — human strength and human wisdom all falter here. But He who has this living link with God perseveres unto the end. There is a vast difference between formal prayer and praying in the Holy Ghost. None but those indwelt by the Spirit can truly pray.

In Romans our infirmities were dwelt upon, and the Spirit helping them. In Jude stability was the prominent thought in view of abounding evil. We reach another stage in Ephesians 6:17, 18: "And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." Here it is conflict. The entire passage gives the familiar picture of the Christian engaged in conflict with the hosts of evil. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. It is no human adversary whom we are called to withstand, but Satan and the wicked spirits in heavenly places. These would rob us of the enjoyment of our portion, either keeping us from taking possession of it by faith or snatching it from our grasp after we had laid hold of it.

In this conflict there are various weapons of defense, and one of offense, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word, or saying, of God. When mention of the word of God is made it is quickly followed by prayer, for the two go together. You remember, in the "Pilgrim's Progress," how, in an apparently hopeless conflict with Apollyon, Christian betakes himself to a weapon called "all-prayer," and the enemy is forced to take his flight. Ah, brethren, if we are to be victors in this unequal contest, it is in the power of the Spirit. There must be dependence and prayer. Coupled with it is watching and intercession for all saints. It is only in the power of the Spirit that we can thus fight or pray. Left to ourselves, we would fall an easy prey to this mighty foe. But thank God that in the very time of greatest weakness the Spirit leads out our hearts in believing prayer.

Prayer in the Spirit! Do we pray thus? Are our seasons of private prayer, or public, under the particular guidance and power and faith of the Spirit of God? How little true prayer there is, and yet how many words! The Lord stir us up to know this three-fold blessedness of prayer in the Spirit, our infirmities helped, our faith established, and our courage emboldened to take fast hold of the living God, while we use the sword of the Spirit.

The last division of our subject tonight will be the walk in the Spirit, under which we may gather some of the fragments which have been thus far overlooked or neglected. The walk in the Spirit is what characterizes the Christian, and is in contrast with the walk in the flesh. "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, and they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." Broadly, we may say every Christian is marked thus. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ — that is, not the disposition of Christ, but the Holy Spirit given to the believer — he is none of His.

The remainder of the eighth chapter is devoted to the walk in the power of the Spirit. The body is dead because of sin. It has been the servant of sin, and its natural appetites have been followed; the body is now looked upon as a dead thing whose appetites and lusts are no longer to be provided for. We are to mortify — put to death — the deeds of the body. On the other hand, we have a living principle within. "The Spirit is life because of righteousness." There is a new nature controlling the spirit, the highest part of man, and the result is a practical walk in righteousness. Moreover, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us is the pledge of the renovation of the body. It will be raised up at the Lord's coming, or, should we be living, changed and so conformed to His blessed likeness. What a triumph of grace! Our poor bodies, with the proofs of the fall upon them, will be redeemed from the bondage of corruption, and along with a groaning creation be brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

Meanwhile we are led of the Spirit, have the witness of the Spirit, can pray in the Spirit, and are quietly waiting for that hope — the coming of our Lord. Whatever our ignorance may be, we know that all things work together for our good. Yea, we can look back into the past eternity and link our predestined conformation to the image of His Son, with its actual accomplishment in glory yet to come. And between these we have the love of Christ, from which nothing can separate us. Such, beloved brethren, is a meagre glimpse at this wondrous 8th of Romans. Blessed be God for such a pathway of liberty until we behold the face of Him who loves us.

From what we have been dwelling upon you will rightly conclude that the walk of the child of God should be, so far as sin is concerned, one uninterrupted progress from strength to strength. The pathway of the just is as the bright light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Such, indeed, is the provision of grace, and such in some measure is the experience of His people. Alas! we must turn for a little from this brightness to inquire why it is not always thus with all His saints.

Recurring to a passage we were considering under the subject of new birth — "that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit" — we find that the impartation of the new nature does not obliterate the old. To be sure, we are known by our new nature — the old man is crucified; but there is the presence of the flesh, which is incapable of alteration.

One of the great mistakes made by the saints is this effort to sanctify the flesh. The apostle goes into it in the second chapter of Colossians: "If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances . . after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility and neglecting of the body (not in a certain honor), to the satisfaction of the flesh." Such is the rendering of a very correct version,* and it affords a most striking illustration of the result of all efforts to improve the flesh. All keeping of ordinances — "touch not, taste not, handle not" — are satisfying to the flesh.

{*New Version of the New Testament, by J. N. Darby.}

We can make the flesh moral — we can even make it religious — but we cannot make it please God. Thus the seeker after holiness in the flesh may starve or mortify his body and merely please the flesh — puff himself up with pride. "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). A crucified thing is not to be bettered or sanctified. We are, on the contrary, to abstain — hold off — from fleshly lusts that war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11). To strive against it is but to repeat the hopeless struggle of the seventh of Romans. The only remedy is the walk in the Spirit, with the flesh in its true place — "no confidence in the flesh."

But through carelessness we fail to "mortify the deeds of the body;" we give room to the flesh, and even make provision for it to fulfil its lust. As a result, the Holy Spirit is grieved. Mark, he is not grieved away — that could never be; but He can no longer occupy us with our Lord; He must occupy us with our failures. You will notice that grieving the Spirit is connected particularly (Eph. 4:30) with those forms of fleshly indulgence most common among Christians — malice, strife, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit. Ah, upon how many has the sun gone down in this wrath! — their day of communion exchanged for the night of a grieved Spirit. Other and grosser forms of fleshly indulgence are specified, but any, even the slightest yielding to that, grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

And what a mercy it is that this is the case. How many a child of God has been brought to himself by the consciousness of having grieved the Spirit. His peace is gone, his communion has ceased, he is miserable until he judges the evil, confesses and forsakes it. Instead of going on in carelessness, only to fall deeper and deeper into sin, he is made to feel the seriousness of that which blocks the intercourse between the Spirit and himself.

It is as though a guest in our house were compelled, because of some insult, to keep to his own room and avoid intercourse with the family. He remains in the house, but he cannot enjoy the unhindered fellowship there was prior to the cause of estrangement, until all has been judged and confessed. Doubtless none of us realize how often we have grieved the Spirit by our careless ways, and correspondingly have hindered the communion we otherwise would have enjoyed; and perhaps we still less realize how much we owe to the patient faithfulness of that Holy One in showing by His grief where we have drifted.

But think, beloved brethren, of that word "grieve." Is not the grief of Christ our Lord over our sin sufficient? "The Lord hath put Him to grief" when He bore our sins. Is it possible that we should now cause pain to the blessed Spirit of God? Oh, how it should make us hate and abhor all forms of sin!

I do not dwell here upon the full provision of our blessed Advocate with the Father, and of the feet-washing — removing the hindrances to communion by the action of His word. Here doubtless we have the work of the Spirit in applying the word to heart and conscience. The sin is judged, confession made, and joy is restored.

There is one remark to make, however: That is a poor kind of Christian life made up of perpetual failures and restorations. How abhorrent the thought that grieving the Spirit is a necessity! How dreadful to hear it spoken of without regret or shame! God keep us all from spiritual hardness. No, dear brethren, a walk in the Spirit does not mean a grieving of the Spirit.

I do not think I can do better in this connection than to read the passage applying to this from Galatians 5, verses 16 to 25: "This I say, then, walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot (rather, may not) do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

We all know that since the fall the ground produces thorns and briars, and many are the expedients that have been resorted to to get rid of them. Experience has taught the farmer that there is but one way to do this. He may plow and harrow, but for every root he breaks two plants will grow up, and his field will become a briar patch. Let him instead sow the field with grass seed, and as the grass grows up it will drive out the briars. This is overcoming evil with good. It is also equivalent to the walk in the Spirit. Let the positive things of Christ fill the heart; let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, and we will have little room and less inclination for the lusts of the flesh. May our gracious God lead us into the liberty and joy of these things.

I am quite aware that what I have said on the Spirit for sanctification will seem very incomplete and unsatisfactory for those who believe that there is a certain definite experience through which a saint passes into a wondrous life of enlarged liberty. Now, I have said that there is such a fact as deliverance by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ. But this is not sufficient for many. They claim, with more or less objectionable statements, that something is necessary on the part of the believer, and that is usually defined as a full surrender. Let the believer make the surrender, and he will experience the blessedness of the new life. Such terms as "a baptism of the Spirit," "the second blessing," "higher life," "perfect love," "perfect sanctification," "a Spirit-filled life," have been applied to this experience, but under whatever name it is an experience, and it is made dependent upon the surrender of self, as it is called.

Now, while I do not doubt that many a child of God has received distinct and marked blessings at certain stages of his life, I believe it is a great mistake to construct a theory out of it. Many a devoted Christian has enjoyed the liberty of the Spirit under some such name as I have indicated above. But, notice: It occupies us with self instead of Christ. It may be a very lovely self, but self-occupation never helps the soul. It begets a subtle pride. There must be a fresh, daily feeding upon the manna. Again, it tends to divide God's people into classes; some have experienced the blessing and others have not. Now, while it is perfectly true that there are various stages of maturity in the Christian life, and while Scripture speaks of "fathers, young men, and children" (1 John 2), yet it is not in this way of attainment. People do not set themselves to be fathers, etc. It is matter of growth. Further, I am convinced that surrender is not what God calls for first, nor in this connection. You will find that where these systems call for surrender, God's word puts the cross.

Ah, beloved, it is not a surrendered self, but a crucified self that the Spirit of God fills and uses. The sixth of Romans comes before the twelfth. In the latter we have the surrender, but it is not to get, or to attain; it is because he has entered into what is his; he has accepted the precious and wondrous fact of his death with Christ, and of the Spirit's presence and power. A crucified man has no experience to speak of. To him Christ is all. How different — how radically different from every form of sanctification that devout minds have ever devised!

With this I close. Keep the cross before you, dear brethren. Let us ever say with the apostle, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Not surrender, but death — an accomplished death — in the person of Christ. Thus we pass dry-shod, as the type has it, out of the Egypt of bondage to sin, into the Canaan of the liberty of the Spirit. And still with the sense of all the wondrous fulness of blessing in Christ, we will say with the same dear servant of Christ we have just quoted, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I was apprehended of Christ Jesus."

"To me to live is Christ."


"Saviour, we long to follow Thee.
Daily Thy cross to bear,
And count all else, whate'er it be,
Unworthy of our care.

We are not now our own, but Thine,
The purchase of Thy blood,
And made, by grace and love divine,
The sons and heirs of God.

Thy Spirit, too, the present seal
Of all the Father's love,
Dwells in our souls and does reveal,
The glorious rest above.

Thy life is now beyond the grave;
Our souls Thou hast set free;
Life, strength, and grace in Thee we have,
For we are one with Thee.

O teach us so the pow'r to know
Of risen life with Thee;
Not we may live while here below,
But Christ our life may be."