Life on the Highest Plane
Vol. 3: The Believer's Response to the Holy Spirit's Inworking
The Spirit-filled Life
In our studies so far we have considered God's wondrous plan of salvation as wrought out in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have seen what Christ came to do for us, to be in us, and to work through us. We have faced what life in Christ may be and, therefore, ought to be in every Christian. Let us now honestly face its real worth to us individually.
Is God's salvation in Christ perfect? Can anything be added to it? Can anything be taken from it? Surely the answer will quickly come from any life in vital relationship with the Lord Jesus: Yes, God's salvation is perfect; it provides for every need; it satisfies every desire; it furnishes an all-sufficient Saviour. As I look into my life's deepest need I can think of nothing to add to it nor of anything that could be taken from it. God's salvation wrought out in Christ for me is of infinite worth through its perfection.
But is it practical? Is it possible for an ordinary person to live a life in Christ such as God seems to expect? I can imagine the answer of some to be: The truth regarding a life lived on the highest plane is biblical and logical but it does not match my experience nor the experience of many Christians of my acquaintance. Is not God's plan of salvation too perfect to be practical for such a world as this? Is not life on the highest plane possible only to those who are called into special Christian service?
Everything in God's Word contradicts this suggestion. God's plan of salvation is not only perfect but it is practical and possible for every individual believer. The Good Shepherd spoke concerning every sheep within His fold when He said, "I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." Whoever has Christ's life in any measure may have it in its fullness.
Colossians 2:9-10, R.V., "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power."
John the Baptist in two wonderful proclamations declared the entire scope of Christ's work in salvation when he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" and "He that sent me to baptize with water, . . . the same is that which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost" (John 1:29, 33). Christ would do a twofold work for those who trust Him as Saviour; He would take away their sin and He would baptize them in the Spirit. Thus John the Baptist states that part of Christ's work is to bring the believer into as definite a relationship to the Holy Spirit as he bears to Christ, although it is to be a different relationship.
What John the Baptist had said Christ corroborated in two remarkable invitations which He gave to sinners to come to Him and drink of the water of life.
John 4:14, R.V., "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto etternal life."
John 7:37-38, R.V., "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water."
Jesus Christ promised to bestow a gift upon the one who believed in Him as Sin-bearer which would bring perfect satisfaction and sufficiency within the believer's inmost life and which would then overflow in rich and abounding blessing into the lives of others. Christ's offer to the Samaritan woman was a gift which would change her source of supplies from a water pot to a well and then convert her life into a channel through which rivers of this living water would flow.
THE HOLY SPIRIT CHRIST'S GIFT TO THE BELIEVER
We are left in no doubt as to what this gift was, for the Lord Jesus states most explicitly that it was the gift of the Holy Spirit.
John 7:39, R.V., "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified."
Please note that in this verse the Lord Jesus tells us three things:
It is evident from these words that His finished work as Sin-bearer must first be accomplished and then as the glorified Lord in heaven He would bestow this wondrous gift upon every believer which would make real within him that abiding and abounding life which Christ had made possible for him.
Still further light was thrown upon the nature of this gift in Christ's last conversation with the disciples on the eve of His exodus. He told them He was to live in them as an abiding spiritual Presence; that there would be a divine inflow of life supernatural in quality, and a divine outflow of life supernatural in power. They were to live as He lived and to work as He worked. To provide power for such a life He promised that "another Comforter" would come to take up His permanent abode in them.
John 14:16-18, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
"Another Comforter" these words are descriptive and defining and very significant. The "Comforter" (Paraclete) means "one who is called alongside of another to help." "Another" means one just like Himself. Someone was to come to dwell in each of them in perpetual presence and through His indwelling Christ Himself would be brought back to live within them. The One who was to abide in them was the Spirit who had indwelt, infilled and empowered the God-man when He was upon earth. Christ promised that upon His return to glory He would send back this same Spirit to indwell, to infill and to empower them. This He did on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down to form the Church, the mystic Body of Christ, and to dwell in it on earth. On that day the disciples who tarried in the upper room were baptized in the Spirit.
From that day, as the divine record shows, everyone who through faith in Christ as Saviour, has been organically and vitally united with the living Lord as a member of His Body, has received the gift of the Holy Spirit.