What are the effects which the Spirit always produces on those who really have him? Bishop JC Ryle examines the Scriptures
1 All who have the Spirit are made spiritually alive
He is called in scripture, “the spirit of life,” (Rom 8:3). “It is the Spirit,” says our lord Jesus christ, “who quickens,” (John 6:63). We are all by nature dead in trespasses and sins. We have neither feeling nor interest about true religion. We have neither faith, nor hope, nor fear, nor love. Our hearts are in a state of torpor; they are compared in scripture to a stone. We may be alive about money, learning, politics, or pleasure – but we are dead towards god.
All this is changed when the spirit comes into the heart. He raises us from this state of death, and makes us new creatures. He awakens the conscience, and inclines the will towards god. He causes old things to pass away, and all things to become new. He gives us a new heart; he makes us put off the old man and put on the new. He blows the trumpet in the ear of our slumbering faculties, and sends us forth to walk the world as if we were new beings.
How unlike was lazarus shut up in the silent tomb, to lazarus coming forth at our lord’s command! How unlike was Jairus’ daughter lying cold on her bed amidst weeping friends, to Jairus’ daughter rising and speaking to her mother as she was accustomed to do! Just as unlike is the man in whom the spirit dwells to what he was before the spirit came into him.
I appeal to every thinking reader: can he whose heart is manifestly full of everything but god – hard, cold, and insensible – can he be said to have the spirit? Judge for yourself.
2 All who have the Spirit are taught by him
He is called in scripture, “the spirit of wisdom and revelation,” (Eph 1:17). It was the promise of the lord Jesus, “He shall teach you all things.” “He shall guide you into all truth,” (John 14:26; 16:13).
We are all by nature ignorant of spiritual truth. “the natural man receives not the things of the spirit of god – they are foolishness to him,” (1 Cor 2:14). Our eyes are blinded. We neither know god, nor christ, nor ourselves, nor the world, nor sin, nor heaven, nor hell, as we ought. We see everything under false colours. the spirit alters entirely this state of things. He opens the eyes of our understanding. He illumines us; he calls us out of darkness into mar vellous light. He takes away the veil. He shines into our hearts, and makes us see things as they really are!
No wonder all true christians are so remarkably agreed upon the essentials of true religion! the reason is that they have all learned in one school – the school of the Holy spirit. no wonder that true christians can understand each other at once, and find common ground of fellowship! they have been taught the same language, by one whose lessons are never forgotten.
I appeal again to every thinking reader: can he who is ignorant of the leading doctrines of the gospel and blind to his own state – can he be said to have the spirit? Judge for yourself.
3 All who have the Spirit are led to the Scriptures
This is the instrument by which he specially works on the soul. the Word is called “the sword of the spirit.” those who are born again are said to be “born by the Word,” (Eph 6:17; 1 Peter 1:23).
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October – December 2017