It seems to me that, in a gracious superiority to all the petty conflicts and jarring voices of the day, the Spirit of God continues to unfold the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ to the hearts of His blood-bought people everywhere. For this is ever His ministry. “He shall take of Mine” (said our Lord in John 16) “and shall show it unto you.” This ministry proceeds throughout the centuries, be they dark or bright; and, in thus bearing witness to our rejected Master, the Spirit of God works continuously. He will not be hindered by the power of sin or Satan. He is God. Now this is full of encouragement, and happy it is, in days admittedly dark and difficult, to trace His working, and to discover that the enemy is far from having things all his own way.
We are too prone, alas, to regard the triumph of evil and get under its power. This is depressing. It is not faith in God, but the result of looking at things seen and temporal with consequent feebleness.
“We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5), and God would have us “regard the work of His hand,” and in so doing be strengthened. Now there is no question in the minds of those who have taken the trouble to appraise events, that during late years there has been an unprecedented ministry of Christ, both as to the value of His death and resurrection, and also of His personal glories, whether as Son of God or Son of Man. He has been the theme and subject-matter, as never since apostolic times, of His more intelligent servants everywhere. Christ has been preached with a fullness unknown for long, and this, it is needless to say, is the direct and blessed work of the Spirit of God.
That He was loved and cherished and followed by many a faithful heart through ages dark and cruel we can easily trace. The page of history sparkles with the devoted lives and martyr-deaths of hosts to whom Christ was more precious than all things here. Of these the world was not worthy. They paved the way amid the darkness of their surroundings for the light which shines on us today—a light so little appreciated!
The glorious Reformation (so called) was that work of God which drew universal attention to the work of Christ, and of our justification by faith thereby. This poured a perfect flood of light over the face of Christendom, and made the Word of God a new Book to countless numbers. It was the dawn of a holy liberty, and a death-blow to the corruptions of Rome. But what need to hold fast that which we have! What need to stand fast in that liberty and to hold to the Word of God! But then, is our liberty everything? Can we feed on our own personal emancipation alone? Does the knowledge of justification (however precious) suffice for the soul? Has God no further revelation?
He has! What is redemption without the Redeemer, or salvation without the Saviour? What is the servant without his Lord; or the church without its Head?
Nay, what is Christianity without that Christ who, on ascending to the right hand of God, sent down the Holy Ghost to baptise into one body all who believed the gospel, and to be the power of life and testimony in the saints till Christ shall take all hence to be for ever with Himself in the Father’s House?
Absolutely nothing! As well have the solar system without the great and all-essential orb of day. This were impossible. “A pleasant thing it is to behold the sun,” and a far greater pleasure it is for the saints of God to hear of the deep, boundless glories of His eternal Son!
I am bold to say that these glories have been and are the specific testimony of the Spirit of God during the last and undoubtedly closing years of this dispensation. The best wine comes last although contained in the original “firkin.” The Word of God has His Son for its highest theme.
Nor do I doubt that this ministry is having the present effect of reuniting at least the hearts of great numbers of saints who see in it something beyond traditions and mere ecclesiasticism, something that will eventually bind their hearts and minds and tongues together in common and eternal adoration in heaven.
Pity, a thousand times over, that such adoration should be broken up into fragments today by the unhappy “shibboleths” and warring factions into which the church is now divided!
But, thank God, today will quickly pass, and then and for ever one all-commanding Object will fill our gaze, and bring about that concentration on Himself, who is the One Shepherd of the one flock and the Head of the one body, which in our every heart we so ardently desire, and which, amid other things, He died to accomplish.
He “died for our sins” indeed, but, notice, He also “died to gather together in one the children of God which were scattered abroad”; and the fulfilment of this is certain. That unity is bound to be brought about; only may each of us seek, in his prayers, and ways and associations, to give personal effect to it now.
How cheering, how stimulating the truth! This is, most assuredly, part—and a very great part—of the ministry of the Spirit of God today.