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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Hiding of His Power

Not long ago, we came across a letter in an old "Witness and Testimony" magazine that was written in January 1945; and, even though we know that in England they had been suffering through the intense years of World War II, it seemed that the ink was still wet and it had been written to the Body of Christ just yesterday.

Beloved of God,

What a time of faith's testing the saints are in just now! And what a time of satanic fierceness! What does it all mean? There seems to be only two answers. Either the Lord is preparing for some fresh, and perhaps final, movement to the consummation of His purpose on the earth; which movement requires a state that will guarantee depth, strength, and lastingness, so that real fullness shall mark the ingathering to glory at His appearing; or else this is the end of a phase and the Lord is coming for the ripe fruits. If Revelation 12 represents an end-time situation, then there is very much just now that conforms to it. The words there are undoubtedly prophetical, for the "Revelation" was not written as history but as prophecy - in the main, that is, not what was past, but what was, and was to be. The great issue of that chapter is "Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down ..."

In "Salvation" there is "deliverance from every calamity, victory over enemies, recovery from disease, and release from captivity." The kingdom and authority referred to are withstood by the great accuser, and a great warfare in heaven is waged to circumvent the establishment thereof by the emancipation of the elect from the realm of satan's power. Does not this throw light upon the test of faith and the intense conflict through which the saints are passing? Here is the explanation to long unfulfilled manifestations of answer to prayer; the deferred deliverances, the passing of the power of God from the temporal to the spiritual realm in our experience - "THE HIDING OF HIS POWER."

The combination of tested faith in relation to things seen, and the intense conflict in the spiritual life, is very true to this issue. As we have cried for "salvation" in one or other of its forms, and have only been conscious of conflict and delay, the accuser has come and raised the ultimate questions of our relationship to God, and of His to us. It is the old issue - "If Thou be the Son." So, to cast us down, he accuses and seeks to make us accept a setting aside, a casting off, a having finished with us by God. Triumph over this by the witness against him by the blood of the Lamb, the declaration of our testimony, and the elimination of self-interest and concern - loving not our life unto death, is to result in his casting down, and this is the nature and object of the trial and the battle. What an immense issue is bound up with a little word - "if". If ... then why? That was Gideon's question. That was presented to Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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