The Conditions of Spirituality

What are the conditions of spirituality?

A.G. Daniells. Fiji, Pacific Ocean.

In the further study of the meaning  and conditions of true spirituality, the following statements by L. S. Chafer, in his book, " He That Is Spir­itual," are worthy of careful thought: " A Christian is a Christian because he is rightly related to Christ; but he that is spiritual ' is spiritual because he is rightly related to the Spirit, in addition to his relation to Christ in salvation. It therefore follows that any attempt to discover the fact and conditions of true spirituality must be based upon a clear understanding of the Bible revelation concerning the Spirit in His possible relationships to men."

While an exhaustive treatise of the character and work of thci Holy Spirit cannot be attempted in this article, it may be briefly stated in connection with the study of " a more spiritual ministry " that " in all the Scriptures, the Spirit of God is declared to be a Person, rather than an influence. He is revealed as being equal in deity and attributes with the other persons of the Godhead. However, though ceaselessly active in. all the centuries before the cross, it was not until after that great event that He became an abiding Pres­ence in the hearts of men. . . .

" It is the Spirit's work to produce n the believer a life which is heavenly in character. This life is inimitable, yet it is commonly supposed that spirituality consists in struggling to observe a particular set of rules or the imitation of a heavenly ideal. Spir­ituality is not gained by struggling; it is to be claimed. It is not imitation of a heavenly idea; it is the impartation of the divine power which alone can realize the ideal.. . .

" The written word reveals the char­acter of the spiritual life, and exhorts to its fulfillment; but it as faithfully reveals that the life can be lived only by the inwrought power of God.. . . There is little blessing for any Chris­tian until he abandons the principle of living by rules, and learns to walk by the Spirit in God-ordained liberty and in fresh and unbroken fellowship with his Lord. . . .

" How important is the injunction, ' Be filled with the Spirit '! How great is the contrast between human nothing­ness and divine sufficiency — the one just as real as the other! It is possible to be born of the Spirit, baptized with the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, and sealed with the Spirit, and yet be with­out the filling of the Spirit. The first four of these ministries are already perfectly accomplished in every be­liever from the moment he is saved; for they depend upon the faithfulness of the Father to His child. The last of these ministries, the filling of the Spirit, has not been experienced by every Christian; for it depends on the faithfulness of the child to his Father. Spirituality is not gained in answer to prevailing prayer; for there is little Scripture to warrant the believer to be praying for the filling of the Spirit. It is the normal work of the Spirit to fill the one who is rightly adjusted to God. The Christian will always be filled while he is making the work of the Spirit possible in his life."

As an example of the Spirit-filled minister, the apostle Paul stands in the forefront. In his letter to the Roman church he refers to two funda­mental principles which guided him in his work, as follows: " I know that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ." Rom. 15:29, A. R. V. " I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established." Rom. 1: 11. Being Spirit filled,— possessing " the fullness of the blessing of Christ,"— Paul's great burden was to impart spiritual blessings which would establish the believers more firmly in the truth of the gospel. Such should be the dom­inating principles in the life and serv­ice of every minister of the gospel to-day. If we, like Paul, maintain such fellowship with Christ that we at all times go to our dear people in the " fullness of the blessing of Christ," our association with them will mean their establishment in the truth as it is in Jesus, and there will come an end to the present sad drift from our ranks of so many thousands each year.

But without the fullness of the bless­ing of Christ as a constant experience in the life, it is impossible to impart spiritual blessings. This is a fact which should come as a solemn chal­lenge to every minister who is called to proclaim the great threefold message of Revelation 14 — the last world-wide message of awakening, convicting, and delivering power for men and women dead in trespasses and sins.

The ministers and people of the remnant church, gathered out from the world by and for the proclamation of the great threefold message, are won­derfully blessed and favored with an abundance of divine instruction. It is conceded by all that the spirit of prophecy is the supreme gift of God through the Holy Spirit to the church. That being true, how great is our re­sponsibility to heed the instruction, counsel, and warning covering every phase of our experience and work!

In my study of this theme of " a more spiritual ministry," an exceed­ingly solemn impression has swept over me as I have read and pondered the repeated admonitions and warnings which God has sent us, as ministers and people, regarding our need and our great lack of true spirituality ­the " unhindered manifestations of the indwelling Spirit." Fellow workers, we must listen to these solemn mes­sages. We must obey them. When God sent a message to Jehoiakim, king of Judah, through the prophet Jeremiah, He meant that the message should be accepted and obeyed. But this mesage was not pleasing to the king. He rejected it; and to show his contempt, as fast as the parchment leaves were read to him he tore them up and cast them 1., into the fire, until the entire roll was consumed. Jer. 36: 21-23. Following this bold and defiant act, a swift mes­sage came to him from the Lord, de­claring that he should die, and that he should " be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem." Jer. 22:19. There is more than one way whereby men may reject God's messages and show disrespect for them; but the con­sequence of such a course is always fatal.

The statements in the section, " Gem Statements From the Spirit of Proph­ecy," page 8, convey the message of the Lord to His remnant people concerning the waning spirituality which is hindering the coming of the kingdom of God. The statements are positive and without any qualification. Shall we not accept them, and in dem­onstration of our acceptance remove all hindrances in our lives to the mani­festations of the Holy Spirit, that we may go forth in the " fullness of the blessing of Christ," to impart spiritual blessings to all with whom we come in contact, everywhere, at all times, and under all circumstances? Surely there could not be a more emphatic or im­pressive call from God for " a more spiritual ministry."

A.G. Daniells. Fiji, Pacific Ocean.

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A.G. Daniells. Fiji, Pacific Ocean.

August 1928

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