SURRENDER SELF-WILL--RECEIVE GOD'S WILL.
CHRISTIAN life is too often grievously destitute of real spiritual power and is essentially carnal, and it is the duty and privilege of every child of God to enter at once into the newness of life, and to walk henceforth in the power of Christ's resurrection.
Hence the starting point--instant abandonment of sin and of every known weight which prevents or hinders progress. Whatever is wrong or believed to be wrong in God's sight cannot be indulged with impunity. It is held up as utterly destructive of all holy living and testimony, as unnecessary [improper?] because wrong, and as making impossible even assurance of salvation.
Secondly, a deadly blow is aimed at self-life in its six forms: self-dependence, self-help, self-pleasing, self-will, self-seeking and self-glory; in other words, a new practical center is sought for all the life to revolve about, and in this way a new step is taken in advance. Beyond the territory of known sin there lies another almost as dangerous, where self-indulgence is the peculiar [R2164 : page 168] feature. There is a large class of pleasures, amusements, occupations, which do not bear the hideous features of secret or open sin, but which all tend to give supremacy to self.
Thirdly, the surrender of will to God in obedience. Christ must to every believer become not only Savior but Lord. (Rom. 10:9, R.V.) "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the holy Ghost." (1 Cor. 12:3.) Hundreds who accept him as Savior from sin have no real conception of him as the actual Master and Sovereign of the daily life.
Fourthly, the infilling of the spirit. Here, is perhaps the most delicate and difficult part of this teaching. But it is not well to stop on phrases; whether we agree or not on the exact form of words, we must agree on facts, and conspicuous among the facts is this: that thousands of professed believers, like the Ephesian disciples in Acts 19, do not practically know whether there be a holy ghost or not.
Dr. Gordon discriminated between sealing, filling and anointing.
Fifthly, the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the soul as an indwelling Presence.--This is the climax of this teaching. The supreme end of the holy spirit's indwelling and inworking is to manifest the personal Christ as consciously our possession and in possession of us.
Sixthly, beyond these there is always a last stage of teaching--the privileges and victories implied in this higher or deeper life, such as the rest life of faith, power over sin, passion for souls, conscious fellowship with God, growing possession of promises, and prevailing prayer and intercession.
Wherein does this differ from the teaching now common in the majority of our churches, may be asked?
(1) It makes more of Jesus as a Savior who will save us from our sins. "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly." "Faithful is he who calleth you, who also will do it."
(2) It magnifies the necessity of surrender to the will of God and breaking with the world. In apostolic times if a man confessed Christ he knew what it meant, for the world would break with him; but now it is not so. Many professing Christians go on hand in hand [R2165 : page 168] with the world, and their lives are barren and unfruitful in consequence.
(3) It makes much of the abiding presence of Jesus. The heart is opened. He is asked to come in and abide, and faith rests upon his promise to do so. His presence causes the heart to burn as did the hearts of the disciples going to Emmaus; brings peace, as when he came over the waves to the disciples on the sea; drives out evil as he cleansed the temple; and fills the soul with joy as when he appeared to the disciples in the upper room.
(4) While the object sought is freedom from sin and effectiveness in service it makes more of receiving than doing. We must, with a childlike spirit, receive the good things God is ready to bestow before we can be a blessing to others. "I will bless thee and thou shalt be a blessing," the Lord said to Abraham. The disciples must first receive the bread from Christ's hand before they could distribute to others.
Mark Guy Pearse says:--"Some years ago I was traveling in the train; seated in the carriage alone I had the Book open at Acts 1:8. I was thinking of the 'Higher Life,' of which just then we had heard a good deal--vexed and angry at the little headway, and still less heartway, that I could make in the matter. There was a life of which I could conceive, very bright and very beautiful like a star. 'Like a star indeed,' I said, half scornfully, 'a long ways off, and I have neither wings nor ladder long enough to reach it.' Then my eye fell upon the word 'receive.' This was something very different. 'Receive' I said, with my difficulties silenced, and ashamed; of course I can receive. That is what the baby can do--receive. That needs no genius, no goodness, but only want. Any beggar can take a six-pence if it is given to him. I looked out of the window. The showers fell, blessing everything. But just outside the wayside station was a little cottage, and at the corner of it the old woman had set her broken pitcher, and it was filled to the brim. 'My Lord,' I sighed, humble and grateful, 'I bring thee my poor heart--fill it to the brim!' "Ye shall receive" --stay your thoughts upon the Word until it kindle longing expectation, the boldness that claims the promise as your own." --G. C. Huntington.