Jesus said, "No man can come unto me except the Father draw him." (John 6:44.) And the Prophet Isaiah replies, "They shall be all taught of God." Yes, says Jesus, "And every man (so taught) cometh unto me." (John 6:45.)
God, however, does not teach all in the same time, and way. For 6,000 years he has been teaching the world the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its bitter results, permitting them to remain in ignorance of his love. By and by, he will teach them the blessedness of virtue and holiness, and reveal to them his loving character. When? we enquire; and Isaiah replies, When "the glory of the Lord (through the Christ—Rom. 16:27) shall be revealed...all flesh shall see it together." (Isa. 40:5.) Before the glory of the Lord can be revealed in the Christ, a special course of training is necessary to develop that body. It is to be composed of a little flock of human beings who sacrifice their humanity and are exalted to divinity. These, all of whom except the head, (Jesus) were found under the curse of a broken law, to be finally lifted to that amazing height, require a special course of training.
Since we are of those called to walk that pathway, it becomes a matter of intense interest to understand what is the holy Spirit, and what the object and manner of our training? The Scriptures reveal the holy Spirit as the influence or power of Jehovah. And, since the Christ also partakes of the Divine nature, it is called the Spirit of Christ. The holy Spirit of the Father will dwell richly in the Son and daughter—Jesus and his bride. Nor should we, as the prospective bride of Christ, fear to claim our title as the daughter of the King. (Psa. 45:13.) Is Jesus "the express image of the Father's person?" (Heb. 1:3.)—We shall be like unto his glorious body. But though we shall be thus highly exalted to the same nature, the superiority of relationship—the headship of Father over Son, and of the Son over his bride, will always exist. (1 Cor. 11:3.)
A being may be controlled by the holy Spirit willingly or unwillingly, known or unknown to himself, yet not partake of the Divine life—not be begotten of the Divine spirit. All beings are so controlled; even Satan and his host, though unwillingly. Prophets and holy men of old were willing subjects who spoke as they were moved by the holy spirit. Angels are the willing subjects of the holy Spirit, yet unto which of the Angels said God at any time, "Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee!" But "when he bringeth the first born (the Christ complete, head and body glorified into the world,) he saith, 'And let all the angels of God worship him.'" Why? Because he has become a partaker of the Divine nature. It is fitting that all other forms of life should worship Divinity.
The holy Spirit is exercised in the creation of various orders of intelligent beings, each perfectly adapted to the end of its existence; but one small class only, the "little flock," will be given that form which will be "the brightness of (God's own) glory, and the express image of His (own) person," and "filled with all the fulness of God." (Heb. 1:3; Eph. 3:19.)
The Divine power or holy Spirit of God is not only exerted in creating, but also in upholding, directing and controlling all things which he has created, whether animate or inanimate. But the holy Spirit is exercised in a marked degree, in behalf of those now begotten, and finally to be born into the Father's express image. It directs the newly begotten creatures through the pathway of the suffering and death of their humanity, and upholds them by becoming their "comforter," by unfolding the exceeding great and precious promises of God's Word—"For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Rom. 15:4.) It shapes and controls all circumstances, so that they all work together for their good.
Now with this idea of the holy Spirit—that it is not a separate person from God, but rather that it is the mind, influence, or power of Jehovah, let us notice its object, and means, of preparing those who shall be of the anointed body. In Eph. 4:12, we learn that the object is, the complete qualification of the saints—the body of the anointed—for the work of service. (Diaglott.) From other Scriptures we learn that this service is to consist in redeeming, restoring, ruling, and blessing all the families of the earth, during the incoming age of a thousand years. In what further developments of God's plans, they may be afterward engaged, we are not yet informed. But the Divine family will always be gloriously engaged in carrying out the will of its Head—Jehovah—our Father.
With such an object in view, what means are being employed for its accomplishment. We have seen that it is a little flock of human beings who are being chosen for the high office. Though not all, yet many of the human race were called, yet few of those called, will be chosen, because not obedient to the call. Are we of those called? Yes. Our calling was made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who brought immortality to light through the Gospel. (2 Tim. 1:10.) And the holy Spirit was given as a guide and comforter of the heirs of immortality, ever since Jesus was glorified. (John 7:39.)
Though the little flock is now human, when they become Divine, like God, they cannot longer retain their humanity, for God is not a combination of Divinity and humanity—different natures are necessarily separate and distinct. Human nature is all we have, and when we consecrate that to death nothing remains. But the instant we completely consecrate ourselves to death, we are begotten by the spirit of God to the new, divine nature. Since that time, old things (human hopes, ambitions, desires etc.) have passed away; behold all things are become new. We are now embryo "new creatures."
This new nature, begun at the time of consecration, must continually develop until born into the perfection of the divine nature. As the new continues to develop, the human gradually dies, until the death of the one, and the perfection of the other is complete. As "new creatures," we have a measure of the life, spirit, mind of our Heavenly Father. This energizing spirit enables us to carry out that which we covenanted to do—viz. to make subject, and keep under, our mortal (human) body—crucifying its desires daily, so that its will shall not rule, and these bodies reckoned dead indeed unto their own desires, are made alive unto God—compelled to do the will of the "new creature." Thus while the old mind is treated as if dead, the effect of the new mind is to quicken these mortal bodies, counted dead, making them the living active servants of the new mind. Thus, Paul explained that if Christ (the Christ spirit) be in you, the body is dead to sin, but the dead body is quickened into life (made active in the divine service) by his spirit which dwelleth in you. (See Rom. 8:10,11, Diaglott.)
The results of this new sap (the new mind, the spirit, power, or will of God, dwelling within) introduced into the dead tree, is seen in the fruits. Now the fruits of the spirit are love, faith, diligence, patience, humility, etc.; in short, Godliness (God-likeness) and "if these things be in you and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the KNOWLEDGE of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:5-8.) Such a spirit we are told (John 16:13) will guide us into an understanding of all truth due. It will guide the body as a whole, into all truth.
If we are thus led of the Spirit, we will take God's standpoint of view in every matter. Our love, will beget a desire to know that we may do his will; our diligence and patience, will leave no means unemployed to gain that knowledge; our faith in God, will lead us to place implicit confidence in his word regardless of all the traditions of men to the contrary; our meek humility, will cast out pride and love of self exaltation; enabling us to accept of truth through whatever channel it may flow. Such will cherish no preconceived ideas of their own, when found inharmonious with God's word though their names are connected with them. No, the Spirit of God in us enables us to take his standpoint and to desire TRUTH, for the upbuilding of the "new creature."
This is the sole object of truth. It is not given merely to gratify curiosity, nor simply to reveal God's character, but by that revelation to transform us into his likeness. Therefore God has so carefully provided us with means for ascertaining truth when due, with such certainty that not the shadow of doubt may linger about it. He has given us the holy Spirit (spirit or mind of Christ) as our infallible guide, in the understanding of his written word. The measure of the Spirit first received, leads us into some knowledge of God, and that knowledge enables us to drink more and more into his Spirit. Thus we continue to grow in knowledge and favor with God.
While the exceeding great and precious promises revealed by the Spirit inspire with joyful hope, we find it to be God's will, that for the present we must tread the thorny path of suffering, even unto death. But in this, the Spirit of God becomes our "comforter," not by removing our distresses and trials, but by unfolding the glory, honor and immortality promised in God's Word. Thus we are indeed comforted and enabled to esteem them light afflictions, not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." (Rom. 8:18.) And again, who possessing the Christ spirit has not found wonderful comfort in the blessed rest from pride, envy, strife, and vain glory? While enabling us to take God's standpoint—with him viewing the necessity of present evil, and the all-sufficient [R386 : page 7] remedy to be developed and manifested in due time—we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Truly we have "meat to eat that the world knows not of," and a peace and joy which the world cannot give nor take away.
The indwelling of the Spirit of God then, we see to be the first, and all important agency, in acquainting the body of Christ with the revelation which God has given relative to his plans and purposes, and in building up the "new creature." It is not God's plan however, to build each member up in the knowledge of the truth independent of every other member. No, each member of the body must perform its part toward the building up of the whole body; and no one member can say to any other member, I have no need of thee. Some members of the body may be able to do greater service than others, but the least is necessary. Paul tells us that God appointed some of the members as Apostles, (the specially sent founders of the faith,) and some Prophets, (Interpreters of his Word) and some Evangelists, (Proclaimers of the good news) and some Pastors and Teachers. (Feeders, care-takers, teachers of truths learned, to the sheep and lambs.) All these, he tells us, are chosen for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, (a ministry to the world, in the coming age) for the edifying (building up) of the body of Christ.
Paul says we should all earnestly desire, or seek to cultivate, the best gifts of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:31.) But in vs. 29 he intimates that all may not obtain the same gifts—"Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all Teachers, etc.?" But though some of us may possess none of these gifts, yet as the Lord's sheep we may all be full of love ("charity") and love is the greatest gift of all. Without it the others prove worthless. Therefore let us follow after love; and desire (seek to cultivate) the other gifts that thereby we may render greater service. Even the different sheep promptly and lovingly obeying the voice of the great shepherd, now present, and feeding in the rich green pastures to which he has led them, by their example invite other sheep to do the same.
But some inquire, How shall we know what is truth when different members differently interpret the Word? We answer that just here is where we must apply the test.—Which interpretation brings harmony—which confusion? If we have been careful students, walking in the shining pathway, we need not long hesitate in discerning truth. We should avoid following human teachers as leaders. Their teachings should be received only so far as they harmonize with the word of truth. Who can tell but that an able teacher might become puffed up with a fleshly mind, and thus losing the spirit of truth, soon get far out of harmony with the Word.
The Spirit of God in us, will enable us to discover that such are permitting the old nature to come to life; and to such extent as that old nature triumphs, will the light of the new nature become darkness. If the old nature is not speedily subdued, more and more of error will come in, until the light that was in them becomes total darkness—and "How great is that darkness." No increase of light through such, should be expected, until the old nature has again been crucified. Nor will the indwelling Spirit of truth permit us to follow such, though they may have been right-hand members. We will not love a right hand more than the Head. Therefore we should always look to God as our Teacher while making use of all the helps and agencies through whom he is pleased to bless us.
Thus the members of the "one body of Christ," all "taught of God," "called in the one hope of their calling," being "knit together in love" and "holding the Head" in supreme reverence, shall "all come in the ("full assurance" and) "unity of the faith" and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man (the Christ complete) unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Thus complete, they will be perfectly prepared "for the work of the ministry"—restoring, ruling, and blessing the world in the incoming age.