The Dispensation of the Spirit (continued)
Then again, this was all being stated with such an air of assumption. It seemed to be assumed that the coming of the Spirit was a part of the course of tings, and essential as the complement of Christ's word. In what ways would this be?
1. Christ physical presence was outward and objective. The Holy Spirit would be within and subjective.
2. Christ physically would be limited to one place at a time, and by all the straitness of time and geography. The Holy Spirit would be immanent, omnipresent; with all, everywhere, at all times - or apart from time.
3. Christ physically must do His work and return to the Father. The Holy Spirit would "abide for ever" ("unto the age").
4. Christ came that in the body He might accomplish eternal redemption through the Cross. The Holy Spirit would make that work the basis and means of world-wide and continuous conviction as to man's need of it.
5. While the relationship of men to Jesus in the flesh remained, it would remain a matter of following and faltering responding to commands and regulations imposed, with all the contradictions which did actually mark the three years with Him. By the coming of the Holy Spirit to reside in them, they would become actually spiritual men, with the Spirit of Christ within.
The proof and evidence that this was right - this great and critical change-over from Christ in the flesh to the Holy Spirit - is seen abundantly in the transformation which took place in these same men with and from the Day of Pentecost. It is a very profitable thing to tabulate the points of difference in them before and after that event. Not only was that immediately so, but the progress spiritually was more in three months than it had been in three years; and so it continued.
This is the inclusive and fundamental difference between this dispensation and the earlier, and it is a challenge to us as to whether we have really entered into the distinctive nature of the dispensation in which we live, according to God's order. More on this later in another connection.
The next primary thing in this section of the discourse is -
The Holy Spirit's Work in Relation to Christ
The Lord said that the Holy Spirit would make it His active business to work in relation to Himself Jesus Christ.
This work would be in two directions.
1. As to themselves.
2. As to the world.
1. As to themselves, He would be to and in them the Spirit of revelation.
It is positively affirmed that, as they were before, and without this definite gift and reception of the Spirit as an event, they were without the capacity or ability to receive and "bear" the much that Christ had to say to them. Let us note - "I have many thing to say to you." Into that statement must be gathered all that they came to know in after years, much of which comprises our "New Testament". But even Apostles had to confess to being unable to say all that they wanted to because of the limited spirituality of believers.
What was true of the Disciples before Pentecost is true comparatively of believers always, according to the life in the Spirit.
Spiritual knowledge is not only the result of study, reason, deduction or information.
The Scriptures, or what the Lord has said and which is recorded for us, are essentially the Holy Spirit's basis and means of operation, but revelation as to what the Lord meant, and of the inexhaustible content of any Divine utterance, is a plus, an extra, while at the same time consistency with Divine principles is preserved.
The proof that the "eyes of the heart have been enlightened" is that the truth has become a power, a life, a revolution, not just a system of doctrine. Christ never violated any Scripture or Divine principle, and yet the mass of those who believed that they were the custodians of the truth firmly and fiercely believed that He did so. This stands to emphasize the fact that in the realm of Scripture there can be two positively opposed positions that of the men of the letter, and that of the men of the Word plus the Spirit.
(continued with # 66)