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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 33 - 2 Thessalonians 2:17 - The Indwelling Spirit Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The Indwelling Spirit.


"Stablish you in every good word and work."-2 Thessalonians 2:17.

"Ye have an unction from the Holy One."-1 John 2:20.

"Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."-Ephesians 1:13.

"He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit."

-1 Corinthians 1:21, 22.



     The last of these passages brings all the previous three before us; each of them containing a mine of truth; each suggesting something new concerning our own progress and blessedness; and each of them connected with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

     Let us take the fourth of the above passages as our guide, linking it on to the others, and bringing out the reference to God Himself. As in His discourses Jesus brought forward the Father and the Father's name in conjunction with Himself and His own name, and as corroborative of what He was saying; so here the apostle brings God before us as the ultimatum, the highest court of appeal, the fountainhead of all doing, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This appeal to God is for the corroboration of all that he has been saying. He brings his hearers to this ultimate point,-God himself, the doer, mover, beginner, ender of the whole, God all in all. Thus the apostle brings everything connected with the Church, and with individual saints, at once into direct communication with God, the infinite Jehovah. 'Of Him, and to Him, and through Him, are all things.' Here God is referred to in the following ways:-(1) Stablishing; (2) Anointing; (3) Sealing; (4) Giving the Holy Spirit.

     I. Stablishing.-It was of Christ and our connection with Him that the apostle had been speaking. Christ is all, and in all,-the All of the promises, the Amen of each word and oath of God. Everything depends on our relation to Him being 'stablished;' the holds between Him and us drawn closer and closer. He who chose us in Christ, redeemed us in Christ, called us in Christ, knows the necessity for this; that without Him there is no life, no peace, no health; and that it is in proportion to the closeness of our connection that these increase. He stablishes or confirms us in Him; knitting us more strongly; rooting us more deeply; fastening the stone more firmly to the foundation, that nothing may separate us. Thus He carries on in us a daily process of adhesion, fixture, vital communication. He who does all this is God; not man, nor self, but God. He has made Christ the foundation stone of the universe. Out of Him there is no stability; and the fixedness of any creature, any part of creation, depends on their closeness of connection with Him. The Christ of God is the one center round which all holy being revolves. The Christ of God is the one root of life, the one rock on which alone we can build. The Christ of God is the one link between the divine and the human, the earthly and the heavenly; that by which the mortal becomes immortal, by which the weak becomes the strong, by which the earthly becomes the heavenly. And the statement of our text does not refer so much to our being strengthened by means of Christ, as to our being fixed more firmly, closely, immoveably upon. Him. It is not so much Christ the vessel of fullness, as Christ the rock, Christ the foundation, Christ the anchorage.

     II. Anointing.-The word 'anointing' connects itself with Christ, which means anointed. God anoints; He makes us like Him,-partakers of His anointing,-His threefold unction as prophet, priest, and king. We have an unction from the Holy One; this is the true anointing with the oil of holiness, the oil of healing, the oil of gladness, the oil of light,-prophetical, priestly, kingly anointing. It is God who thus anoints us; so that as Jesus said, so may we, 'The Lord anointed me.' Every believer is an 'anointed man;' and as such he lives, walks, speaks, and acts. This is the anointing with the true oil, which, coming first on the head of our Aaron, flows down to the skirts of His garments. It is this anointing that the Church so much needs, that each of us so much needs; and He who has it has it for us,-longs to shed it fully down.

     II.  Sealing.-Sealing here (as generally in the East) is not so much for security as for identification of property. It is like our signature or subscription to a letter. So the sealing of our text is the divine stamp put upon us, authenticating us as genuine,-as His property. It is the heavenly signature, the divine initials; the outline of His own image drawn upon us, by which we may be recognized. Circumcision was God's seal in the flesh to Abraham, by which he was recognized as belonging to God; 'a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had.' So the putting off the old man,-conformity to God's likeness, is His seal upon us. It may be faint, a mere outline, only the initials; but if it be genuine, it authenticates us as the true property of God. Thus He says, Thou art mine; and thus we respond, I am Thine.

     IV. Giving us the Spirit.-This refers not merely to that Spirit through means of which we believe, but to the fullness of the Spirit which we receive upon believing: 'After that ye believed ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance' (Ephesians 1:13). The sealing is connected with this gift of the Spirit; yet the apostle carefully brings out the personality of the Spirit, apart from all His operations. It is not certain impressions or results that are the earnest, but the Spirit Himself. He is the earnest, the pledge of all that is to come. He seals us as God's property; and He is the earnest of our inheritance. He is the promise of the Father, and as such He comes to us; the gift of the Father,-the gift also of Christ,-as such He dwells in us. The fullness of this indwelling Spirit is the Church's birthright.

     Be filled with the Spirit! Only thus can we work the works of God; endure trials in our way; do battle for God and Christ against the evil one, against his temptations, against the errors of the day, for truth, against the intense worldliness and laxity and false 'enlightenment of the times. Science, wisdom, philosophy will avail nothing. It is only by the Spirit of the living God that we can do our work here, fight our battle, and win our crown.