Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 13
The Key to the Secret
"Then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28)
When we speak of entire consecration, we are frequently asked what the precise distinction is between the ordinary doctrine of sanctification and the preaching of the gracious work that has begun to prevail in the church in recent years. One answer that may be given is that the distinction lies solely in the little word "all." This word is the key to the secret. The ordinary method of proclaiming the necessity of holiness is true as far as it goes, but sufficient emphasis is not laid on this one point of the "all."
Why, then, is the fullness of the Spirit not more widely enjoyed? That little word "all" suggests the explanation. As long as the "all" of God, of sin, of Christ, of surrender, of the Spirit, and of faith is not fully understood, the soul cannot enjoy all that God wants it to be.
Let us consider the full Pentecostal blessing from this standpoint. Do this in a spirit of humble waiting on God and with the prayer that He will make us, by His Spirit, feel where the evil lies and what the remedy is. Then we will be ready to give up everything in order to receive nothing less than everything.
The All of God
The answer lies in the very being and nature of God that He must be all. "Of Him and through Him and to Him are all things" (Romans 11:36). As God, He is the life of everything. Everything that exists serves as a means for the manifestation of the goodness, wisdom, and power of God in His direct and continuous operation.
Sin consists in nothing but the fact that man determined to be something and would not allow God to be everything. The redemption of Jesus has no other aim than that God should again become everything in our hearts and lives. In the end, even the Son will be subjected to the Father so that God may be all in all. Nothing less than this is what redemption is to secure. Christ Himself has shown in His life what it means to be nothing and to allow God to be everything. As He once lived on the earth, so does He still live in the hearts of His people. According to the measure in which they receive the truth that God is all, the fullness of the blessing will be able to find its way into their lives.
The all of God - this is what we must seek. In His will, His honor, and His power, He must be everything for us. There should be no word of our lips, no movement of our hearts, no satisfying of the needs of our physical lives, that is not the expression of the will, glory, and power of God. Only the man who discerns this and consents to it can rightly understand what the fullness of the Spirit must bring about and why it is necessary for us to forsake everything if we desire to obtain it. God must be not merely something, not merely much, but literally all.
The All of Sin
What is sin? It is separation from God. Where man is guided by his own will, his own honor, or his own power; where the will, the honor, and the operation of God are not manifested, sin must be at work. Sin is death and misery because it is a turning away from God to the creature.
Sin is in no sense a thing that may exist in man along with other things that are good. No, as God was once everything, so has sin in fallen man become everything. It now dominates and penetrates his whole being, even as God should have been allowed to do. Every part of his nature is corrupt. We still have our natural existence in God. All is in sin and under the influence of sin.
The all of sin - some small measure of the knowledge of this fact was necessary even at the time of conversion. This, however, was still very imperfect. If a Christian is to make progress and become fully convinced of the necessity of being filled with the Spirit, his eyes must be opened to the extent in which sin dominates everything within him.
Everything in him is tainted with sin, and therefore the omnipotence of God must take in hand the renewal of everything by the Holy Spirit. Man is utterly powerless to do what is good than what the Spirit actually works in him at any moment. He learns also to see the all of sin just as distinctly in the world around him. Everything must be sacrificed and given over to death.
All of God must expel the all of sin. God must again live wholly and entirely within us and continually take the place that sin usurped. He who desires this change will rightly understand and desire the fullness of the Spirit, and as he believes he will certainly receive it.
The All of Christ
The Son is the revelation of the Father - the all of God is exhibited to our view and made accessible to us in the Son. On this account, the all of Christ is just as necessary and infinite as that of God. Christ is God come upon the earth to undo the all of sin, to win back and restore in man the lost all of God. To this end we must thoroughly know the all of Christ.
The idea that most believing disciples have of the all of Christ is that He alone does everything in the atonement and the forgiveness of sin. This is indeed the glorious beginning of His redemptive work, but still only the beginning. God has given in Him all that we have need of life and grace. Christ Himself desires to be our life and strength, the Indweller of our hearts, who animates our hearts and makes them what they ought to be before God. To know the all of Christ and to understand how Christ is prepared to be everything in us is the secret of true sanctification. He who discerns the will of God in this principle and yields himself to its operation has found the pathway to the full blessing of Pentecost.
Acknowledge the all of Christ in humble, joyful thanksgiving. Confess that everything has been given by God in Him. Receive with firm confidence the fact that Christ is all and the promise that He will work all, yes, all in you. Consent from the heart that this must be so, and confirm it by laying everything at His feet and offering it up to Him. The two things go together: let Him be and do all, and let Him reign and rule over all. Let there be nothing in which He does not rule and operate. It is not impossible for you to accomplish this change. Let Him be everything; let Him have everything in order that by His almighty energy He may fill everything with Himself.
The All of Surrender
Leave all, sell all, forsake all - this was the Lord's requirement when He was here on earth. The requirement is still in force. The chief hindrance of the Christian life is that, because men do not believe that Christ is all, they consequently never think of the necessity of giving Him all.
Everything must be given to Him, because everything is under sin. He cannot cleanse and keep a thing when it is not yielded up to Him so that He can take full possession of it and fill it. All must be given up to Him, because He alone can bring the all of God to its rightful supremacy within us. Even what appears useful or lawful or innocent becomes defiled by the stain of our selfishness when it is held fast in our own possession and for our own enjoyment. We must surrender it into the hands and the power of Christ; only there can it be sanctified.
The all of surrender - it is because Christians are so ignorant of this requirement that all their praying and hearing avail so little. If you are really prepared to turn to God for the fullness of the Spirit and to have your heart purified and kept pure, then be assured that it is your blessed privilege to regard and deal with everything - everything that you have to strive for or do - as given up to Him. The all of surrender will be the measure of your experience of the all of Christ.
In a preceding chapter we have seen that surrender may be carried out at once and as a whole. Let us not merely think of this, but actually do it. Yes, this very day, let the all of Christ be the power of a surrender on our part that will be immediate, complete, and everlasting.
The All of the Spirit
The all of God and the all of Christ demand as a necessary consequence the all of the Spirit. It is the work of the Spirit to glorify the Son as dwelling in us and by Him to reveal the Father. How can He do this if He Himself is not all and does not penetrate all with His own power? To be filled with the Spirit, to let the Spirit have all, is indispensable to a true, healthy Christian life.
It is a source of great loss in the life of Christendom today that the truth is not discerned that the triune God must have all. Even the professing Christian often makes it his very first aim to find out what he is and what he brings in God in the second place to secure this happiness. The claim of God is not the primary or main consideration. He does not discern that God must have him at His disposal even in the most trivial details of his life in order to manifest His divine glory in him. He is not aware that this entire filling with the will and the operation of God would prove to be his highest happiness. He does not know that the very same Christ, who once lived on the earth entirely surrendered to the will of the Father, is prepared to abide and work in like manner in his heart and life now. It is on this account that he can never fully comprehend how necessary it is that the Spirit must be all and must fill him completely.
If these thoughts have had any influence with you, allow yourself to be brought to the acknowledgment that the Spirit must be all in you. Say from the heart, "I am not at liberty to make any, even the least, exception - the Spirit must have all." Then add to this confession the simple thought that Christ has come to restore the all of God, and the Spirit has been given to reveal the all of Christ within us. Remember that the love of the Father is eagerly longing to secure again His own supreme place with us. Then your heart will be filled with the sure confidence that the Father actually gives you the fullness of the Spirit.
The All of Faith
"All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23). "Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them" (Mark 11:24). The preceding sections of this chapter have taught us to understand why it is that faith is all. It is because God is all. It is because man is nothing and has nothing good in him except the capacity for receiving God. When he becomes a believer, what God reveals becomes of itself a heavenly light that illuminates him. He sees then what God is prepared to be for him, and he keeps his soul silent before God and open to God. He gives God the opportunity to work all by the Spirit. The more unceasingly and undividedly he believes, the more fully the all of God and Christ can prevail and work in him.
The all of faith - how little it is understood in the church that the one and only thing I have to do is to keep my soul open before God so that He may be free to work in me. This faith, as the willing acceptance and expectation of God's working, receives all and can achieve all. Every glance at my own powerlessness or sin, every glance at the promise of God and His power to fulfill it, must rouse me to the gladness of faith on Christ that God is able to work all.
Let such a faith look on Christ today and move you to renounce every known sin and receive Him as One who purifies you. Oh, that faith might receive the all of Christ and take Him with all that He is! Oh, that your faith might see that the all of the Spirit is your rightful heritage and that your hope is sure that the full blessing has been bestowed on you by God Himself!
If the all of God, the all of Christ, and the all of the Spirit are so immeasurable, if the dominion and power of the terrible all of sin is so unlimited, if the all of your surrender to God and your decision to live wholly for Him is so real, then let your faith in what God will do for you also be unlimited. "He who believes in Me ... out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).
Reader, there is something that can be done today. The Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you will hear His voice: do not harden your hearts" (Psalm 95:7-8). I cannot promise that you will immediately overflow with the light and joy of the Holy Spirit. I do not promise you that you will today feel very holy and truly blessed. But what can take place is this: today you may receive Christ as One who purifies, baptizes, and fills you with the Spirit.
Yes, today you may surrender your whole being to Him to be forever wholly under the mastery of the Spirit. Today you may acknowledge and take hold of the all of the Spirit as your personal possession. Today you may submit to the requirement of the all of faith and begin to live only and wholly in the faith of what Christ will do in you through the Spirit.
This you may do; this you ought to do. Kneel down at the mercy seat and do it. Read once more the earlier chapter that deals with what Christ is prepared to do, and surrender yourself this very hour as an empty vessel to be filled with the Spirit. In His own time, God will certainly accomplish it in you.
There is also something, however, that He on His part is prepared to do. Today He is ready to give you the assurance that He accepts your surrender and to seal on your heart the conviction that the fullness of the Spirit belongs to you. Wait on Him to give you this today!
Pay close attention to my last words. The all of God summons you. The all of sin summons you. The all of Christ summons you. The all of the surrender that Jesus requires summons you. The all of the Spirit, His indispensableness and His glory summons you. The all of faith summons you. Come and let the love of God conquer you. Come and let the glorious salvation master you. Do not back away from the glorious tidings that the triune God is prepared to be you all. Be silent and listen to it until your soul becomes constrained to give the answer,"Even in me God will be all." Take Christ anew today as One who has given His life so that God may be all. Yield your life for this supreme end. God will fill you also with His Holy Spirit.