By T.M. Anderson
"The Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive." John 7:39.
The promise revealed has become the promise received, having been fulfilled in spiritual realization at Pentecost. The expectant faith had achieved the experienced fact; the visitation in prospect was now the victory of promise.
What shall we find to be the direct results of this gift of the Spirit? The answer will be discovered when we carefully consider the truth in the formula employed by the Saviour, and recognize the facts in the Scripture recorded.
Jesus said that "rivers of living water" would flow out of the inner-most self. In the analogy there are three things revealed; and three things realized. We have stated the formula to be the measure, movement, and means. These three are one. When applied to the promise received, we find that the measure is fullness; the movement is freedom; and the two unite in the means to produce fruitfulness. Thus the promise received is fullness; freedom; and fruitfulness. These three are one. Embraced in this trinity of truth we see the promise realized. "This spake He of the Spirit."
The fullness received. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:4. Our minds must conceive of this fullness to be that of a Person taking complete possession of the believer; The Holy Ghost is a Person; and to Him the entirety of the human personality must be yielded. He is to hold title deed to all we are in body, mind and soul. From this habitation of our hearts the
Spirit is to pour out the streams of living water to bless the world, and the church. When the promise is realized in the fullness, there are three facts evidenced in heart experience; the Person, the power, and the pledge. The Person is the Spirit; His power is our strength; and His pledge is our seal.
The Person of the Spirit given to believers in the office of the Comforter is the crowning work of redemption. This fullness is the gift of the Saviour confirming the completeness of the Atonement. When the Son was glorified, then the Spirit was given. The Saviour cried "It is finished;" the Spirit came in His fullness. The completed Atonement and the Comforter abiding are complements of each other in full salvation from sin. In the Person of the Spirit we have God in holy habitation in the human heart. He has moved His residence from Solomon's temple to the soul's temple. He has come from the holy of holies, where He dwelt in shining glory; and has taken up His abode in the sinless soul of a redeemed man. Jesus said, "We will come unto him and make our abode with him." In this is satisfaction complete. God was too far away when He dwelt in the holy place of the temple. He came closer when He dwelt among us in the incarnate Son. But God had designed to come and dwell in us, and walk in us; and we were to be His people; and He was to be our God. In the Person of the Spirit God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us. 'Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit." John 4:13.
God can not do more than give Himself to us; nor can we do more than give ourselves to Him. In this love is made perfect with us. The relationship in this union is one of mutual possession. God possesses us, and we possess Him. All our resources become His property; and all His resources become our riches. The human soul supplies the Spirit with the channel through which He pours the "Living water" as He ministers to reprove the world; and to reveal the word.
There is in this fullness an impartation of power which is our strength. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." There is no power apart from the Spirit; only so long as He abides do we achieve in our witnessing and working for the Saviour. There is no inherent power in any believer. "Without Me, ye can do nothing" said the Saviour.
There is no lack of power while the Spirit abides in the fullness. From Him we have power to serve, power to survive, and power to sustain. In the power to serve, the Spirit enables us to work, and witness, and walk, in the holy way. "It is God that worketh in us to will and do of His good pleasure." By His grace we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, as the Scripture hath said.
The power to survive enables us to remain alive in the conflicts of life. We can endure because we are indued. He will strengthen us with all might according to His glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. He will impart the grace "Wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Not only so, but we can glory in tribulations also through the strength imparted by the Spirit. This is the Lord's way of enabling His people to enrich their lives through trials. Many things are discovered in the trying experiences of life. We are enlarged when in distress; faith and love grow exceedingly during the developing of patience in tribulations. The power to sustain life is received by that ministry of the Spirit which enables us to feed on the promises of God. The promises are the bread of life, and the water of life. The Word of promise is a living truth by which we are made partakers of the Divine nature. Jesus said except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood ye have no life in ye. This was spoken of the Spirit. "They are Spirit and they are truth," said the Master. All the promises are the food of the flock.
Peter said there were exceeding great and precious promises given unto us. "That by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." This fact is further seen in the words of Jesus spoken of the Spirit. "He shall not speak of Himself; but what He hears that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come." John 16:13. This reveals the Spirit as the Messenger of the spoken Word. He receives the word from Christ and speaks it to our hearts and minds. How often have we been made to realize the living truth in a promise just when it was most welcome and helpful knowledge. Perhaps the promise had been known for some years; yet it had never become so real and alive as at the moment the Spirit spoke to us, of what had been spoken for us. These promises are the food on which we survive. This is the Divine diet of the saints. "More to be desired than gold, yea than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." When these truths are revealed to faith, then they can be realized in fact of experience. This sustains the soul in spiritual growth in grace.
There is a consciousness of power and a confidence of power in the sustaining grace of the given Spirit. Both are necessary factors in the spiritual progress of Christian development. We are at the very first made aware of spiritual power; a power to perform in holy living. We are able to love, and live, and labor for the Lord. His commandments are not grievous. This is the power of which one is conscious. But there is the future yet to face with its ever increasing problems as the days come and go. The power for that which is yet unknown is assured us by the presence of the abiding Comforter. There will be grace for help in the time of need. As our days, so shall our strength be. We will be more than conquerors through Him that loves us. No temptation shall befall us that shall be greater than we can bear. He will with the temptation make a way of escape, that we might be able to bear it. "I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
The third fact in the fullness of the Spirit is the Pledge. In the pledge we have the "Seal of the Spirit, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." Eph. 1:13, 14. The historic account of this sealing of the "Holy Spirit of promise" is in the Acts, chapter nineteen. The writer of the Acts did not mention this as a seal of the Spirit. Paul later gave this fact in the Ephesian letter. Paul makes no mention of the miraculous gift of tongues, and prophecy when he speaks of the seal of the Spirit being the earnest of our inheritance. If these gifts were of any spiritual value in salvation, he evidently would have emphasized their necessity. What ever purpose God had in the bestowment of these miraculous gifts, it is certain that they were not a necessary part, or proof of saving grace. Neither tongues nor prophecy are given as evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Since these errors have distressed the church it is necessary to treat of the matter in the light of truth. Obviously the gift of prophecy can be counterfeited, because we are warned of "False Prophets." But what of the gift of tongues being an evidence of the Holy Ghost? We do know that the heathen worship has a gift of tongues; and they are not in any sense Christian believers. If the gift can be duplicated in false religions; then it stands to reason that God would not make a gift so readily counterfeited to be proof of the Holy Ghost. In such an event we would be resting our eternal hope on something the devil could duplicate and deceive us into false security. Furthermore how could the person born dumb receive the evidence? If one cannot speak with the natural tongue; how could the Spirit impart the evidence? The error is at once apparent; for if there is one exception to be made because of physical limitation; then the whole scheme is unsound.
God saves and sanctifies human beings who never utter a sound of word. Their physical limitation is no exception.
But what is the truth? The Spirit is the "Earnest," said the Apostle. Now an earnest is an evidence; it is a part payment given in hand. He is an earnest to assure us that the whole purchased possession will be given at the proper time. The Spirit is this pledge given of God to assure the believers of the inheritance reserved in heaven for them. It is like one that should take a bag of the soil from the land contracted for in the purchase. When the deed is delivered, and the price fully paid, the soil in the bag, and the soil of the whole property will be the same. The Holy Ghost abiding in our hearts is the earnest, or part payment of the eternal inheritance. He is the earnest "Until the redemption of purchased possession. We do not have all of redemption until we are resurrected and glorified. But we are the purchased possession that will be delivered to the Father to the praise of the glory of His grace.
The Holy Ghost is given as an earnest to be kept until we are at last presented "Faultless before the Presence of His Glory with exceeding joy." We do not rest upon a gift of speech; but upon the gift of the Spirit. He does not need to prove His presence by a miracle; He proves it by sweetly witnessing to our purity. "Now are ye clean, through the word which I have spoken unto you." This is the witness to the heart.
He comes to abide; and holiness and heaven are in the heart. This is the heritage of the holy on earth; and will perfectly fit into the whole measure of redemption in final salvation.
The seal of the Spirit is a mark of value. The spirit is the stamp of God's approval; He is God's endorsement of the work, the word, and the walk of His saints. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His." 2 Tim. 2:19. This is the eternal endorsement of God. This evaluates the person in the sight of the Lord. This is the sure foundation on which we rest; the unshaken rock of Christ on which the church is built. The gates of hell cannot prevail against this fact. The devil cannot duplicate this seal of God in the soul. The government puts a stamp on the coin, and gives it a seal of value. This authorized the coin to circulate in all markets of trade; it has the resources of the nation behind it. So the Lord, also puts His image upon the cleansed person, and gives authority to transact business for Him in all places of the earth. He will identify His work in all places, and certify the value of it at all times. The favor of God rested on the company that received the Holy Ghost; their ministries, and messages always received His acknowledgment. He stood to welcome the first martyr when Stephen was stoned.
The freedom received. This was "living water" in flowing rivers. The whole picture is one of movement in freedom. But there is likewise the purity to be considered; and purity is a freedom from filth. We see the facts of pure, pouring, plentiful, "Living water." The Holy Ghost is that
"Living water" given from the Holy Son. We cannot escape the fact of purity in the truth of the promise received.
Since there are certain persons that deny that the Gift of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was for purity; it is needful to disclose the truth of purity through the baptism of the Spirit. We shall find that the freedom embraced three gracious facts; purity, peace, and perception. These three are one in the measure, and movement of the merits of Christ.
The purity. Certain facts must be constantly kept in mind if one is to know this truth. We do know that the promise made by Jesus could not become a realized fact until Jesus was glorified. To this both Jesus and John witnessed. It is also true that the Merits of the Atoning Son were to be ministered through the abiding Spirit. So when the believers in the upper room received the Spirit, they received the merits of the Saviour, and the measure of the Spirit. They had been given the "drink" of pure living water; and now they received a full measure of the pure living water. What saith the Scriptures concerning these facts?
Let us look at Jesus and John Baptist when they meet. "Then came Jesus .. unto John to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answered and said unto Him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." Mat. 3:13-15. Here we see the two persons who administer a baptism peculiar to the office of each. John baptized with water unto repentance; but Jesus is to baptize with the Holy Ghost. And note that Jesus said that it required both to "Fulfill all righteousness." Obviously the baptism unto repentance does not of itself fulfill all righteousness. But when one has truly repented he has a measure of righteousness given in the pardon of his sins, and in the regeneration received through the Spirit. But what of the baptism which only Jesus can give? This is not given 'at birth. Jesus was probably thirty years old when He came to John. No man is baptized with the Spirit when he is born of the Spirit. The water baptism pointed to the "Living water" received through the baptism of the Spirit.
John Baptist presented the Saviour's baptism in three figures. He spoke of the "fire" and the "fan," also of the "fruit." The fire and fan are figures of purity, and the good tree a figure of good fruit. The tree that produced evil fruit was cut down by the axe laid unto its root. The fire was to burn up the chaff; and the fan was to thoroughly purge. This is the symbolism of the Savior's baptism. In it we see the purity, and productiveness promised. The voice that cried, Repent, and the Victim of the cross of redemption, both met in unison to give us the Victory of righteousness.
Let us look at the witnesses of the fact revealed in the Scripture. Peter said in his report to the church after he had preached to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius; "God which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us: and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." Acts 15:8-9.
Here the Apostle witnessed to the fact of heart purity received at Pentecost; and at the same time, he witnessed to the fact that Cornelius received a pure heart through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Later He wrote these words: "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit." I Pet. 1:22.
Again we see that Paul recognized this truth, and gave it great emphasis in his writings. The Roman letter in particular sets forth this truth.
"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. 8:2-4.
Here we see the "law of the Spirit," and the "law of Sin." When the Spirit and sin meet two laws meet; that is to say, two forces meet. The greater force of the Spirit frees the soul from the force of sin Life meets death, and destroys it. This is what occurred when the Saviour met death. He was the law of life, and was greater than the law of sin and death. Through death He delivered us from death; in order that we might have life because He lived. This is the truth of the Word of God. Now here we find this Spirit of life in Christ Jesus delivering the soul from the dwelling sin; which is a law in our members, bringing us to death and damnation. Paul shows the futile struggle with indwelling sin is the seventh of Romans. The ceremonial law of the sacrifices could not give a man freedom from the sin that dwelt in him. This accounts for the wistful wail of the wretched man. "0 wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." This ceremonial law of ordinances is the law that Paul said was "Weak through the flesh." But God set aside that weak law, and sent "His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, (That is, For a sin-offering) condemned sin in the flesh." Look at the fact that God has condemned the indwelling sin of the soul. He sees it as a criminal. It is enmity against God: "for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
The thing for us to decide is whether we will let this criminal of the heart continue to live in us. God has here made provision to destroy it through the "Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus."
Pity the poor deluded teachers that offer a defense for this malady of man. These false teachers belittle holiness of the heart; and remove from us all hope of deliverance from the war of the soul. Rut let faith look at the truth; and be encouraged to believe the word. You shall find the liberty which the Lord has promised.
It is well to know another treatment of truth given by Paul in the sixth of Romans. Of the many facts in this Scripture, one is very pronounced, and this is, "That our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed." In considering this together with the eighth of Romans, we find that "Crucifixion" and "Condemnation" both apply to the freedom from depravity through Christ. When we look at the Spirit's work in these Scriptures, we find that baptism is greatly emphasized in this sixth chapter. And this baptism puts one into the death of Christ. "Know ye not, that so may of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?" If water is all that is here meant, then the whole plan of redemption is a formal ritualism; and has no experience beyond a wetting with water on the outside. This is too farcical to merit discussion.
The baptism that puts us into the death of Christ is that of the Holy Ghost. This fully agrees with what Jesus and John said, when both witnessed to the living water to be given when Jesus was glorified. There must be the fact of crucifixion, before there could be the fact of cleansing. The merits of the Cross are in the measure of the Comforter.
We each received a measure of the merits of Christ in the birth at the foot of the cross; but a fuller measure of the merits is in the Fact of the cross. Only do we come to the fullest meaning and merits of His cross when we are baptized with the Holy Ghost. In this great work of Christ we are freed from the body of sin It is most clearly stated that the body of sin is destroyed. The word destroy can never mean to counteract, nor to render inoperative, as some teach. To give it that meaning one will have to say that Jesus was counteracted by His foes; and rendered inoperative; but not really crucified. He might have been put in prison, and that would have rendered Him inoperative. But He died by crucifixion. So the body of sin is not counteracted nor rendered inoperative; it is crucified, and destroyed. The operation of God which destroys the body of sin is the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. This is the Purity that was received at Pentecost. Thanks be to God.
Peace is the result of freedom through the Promise received. This peace is a gift from the Prince of Peace Who so graciously gives the "Living water." Peace must follow purity in the order of heart deliverance because sin is a war in the soul. When this war is made to cease, then peace flows in full measure. The soul enters into that rest which remaineth to the people of God. This is that spiritual mindedness which is "Life and peace." Rom. 8:6. Peace may be defined as Confidence, contentment, and calmness. From God peace is a gift, a grace, and a guard. Peace promotes unity; it is patient toward the unruly;! and it passeth understanding
Let us look at peace as a gift from God. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27. The work of the Spirit was to give the promised purity, and the promised peace. This gift of peace was to be like that which the Saviour had in Himself. It was not like any thing the world could give. It was not in gold, greatness, nor ground, such as earth might afford. It was the peace of God; it was to provide an untroubled heart in a world of trouble. This peace rested not on things of earth; it rested on things eternal. It was the peace Christ possessed. He had no home, though foxes had holes, and birds had nests. He had no earthly riches; but He had eternal rest. This peace is part of the Kingdom that is given to the little flock. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Jesus said, "In me ye have peace." This means triumph in tribulations; serenity in stress and security in storm.
Peace is a guard. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:7. Derived from the same Source as the gift, and grace of peace, we have the guard of peace. Paul proceeds to show the worth of this garrison of peace to the heart and mind in the fickle fortunes of our life. Life has its extremes that swing like the pendulum. "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound." Here we see the swing of extremes. What distance is measured between the "Abased" and the "Abound?" We may travel this distance in one day, or even an hour of time. One day there is plenty, the next there is poverty. One day we have life's health, and the next day you have lost health. So swings the pendulum of the clock of human life. To meet these extremes, God has given the garrison of peace to stabilize the heart and mind. This peace rests and reassures the heart and mind, because it "Passeth understanding." We may never know why life was so fickle and changing in its ebb and flow. Life has its triumphs and its trials, its songs and sobbings, and its wealth and want. To guard us in these changing conditions God has given the permanency of peace. When mind has come to the brink of the void; when understanding comes to the rim of the unrevealed; there spanning the shadows, stands the bridge of peace. This peace arches the unknown; its piers are resting in the Redeeming Christ. In this calm confidence we are content with such things as we have. He hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. We may boldly say, the Lord is my Helper."
Perception is a result of freedom through the gift of the Spirit.
Sin is a blindness; and deliverance from this moral, and mental blindness, results in perception. We cannot see God until we are pure in heart. This is in the promise of the Saviour when He said, "I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth." John 16:13. What unspoken words of the Saviour were the disciples unable to bear? Why must He withhold this revelation until the Spirit of truth was come? They were lacking in that deliverance necessary to see these things of the Christ. No man can perceive the full measure of the things of Christ until he has been baptized with the Spirit. Our Lord has disclosed this fact; but it needs renewed emphasis in the church and ministry today. We must behold all truth, if we are to bear all truth. A man cannot proclaim what he does not possess; he cannot explain what he does not experience; neither can he reveal what he does not realize. If we have freely received, then we can freely give. The blind cannot lead the blind; both will fall into the ditch.
Perception envisions three things; rights, riches, and rewards. "Moses endured as seeing Him Who is invisible." Abraham saw the City. The Word of God abounds in this fact of perception. Peace and purity unite with perception in Hebrews twelve fourteen. Jesus united the three in the sermon on the mount. Paul said, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them by His Spirit." I Cor. 2:14. To sum these things up in mind we have: purity is the release from sin; peace is the rest of soul; and perception is revelation of the Saviour; and all through the Spirit.
The Scriptures show much of the rights, riches, and rewards given to the children of God. The Word also shows that perceiving these things depends upon whether one has been delivered from the sin of the soul.
Paul said, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." Paul also said, "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things." Here we have two classifications of persons with respect to the things revealed by the Spirit. One is the "natural man, and the other is the "spiritual." One rejects, and the other receives. The difference is one of moral and spiritual perception. The natural man is the unregenerate person; and the spiritual is the Spirit-filled man. But Paul adds a third class, who are not of the natural, nor of the spiritual. He calls them babes in Christ. To this
third class he said, "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." I Cor. 3:1-2. Here are babes in Christ, yet they cannot receive the meat of the truth; but must be fed milk. Why this denial of the greater truths of the Word? Because they were yet carnal.
Plainly it is not a difference of maturity; but of purity. Since they were not free from the carnal mind, they could not perceive of the riches of the things of the Spirit. These babes had rights, but they could not perceive of the riches and rewards until they had received the fullness of the Holy Ghost. This is the Word of God in harmony with every other part. It is from this carnal class that the evils and errors that beset the work of God have come. Men, assuming to be teachers of the Word of God, yet plainly wanting in spiritual perception, have been led into grievous errors. They have taught for doctrines the traditions of men. Some of these will sneer at sanctification of the Spirit; then proceed to discourse upon "eternal security" with the mind of a juvenile. They would feel eternally secure, but do not want to be experientially sanctified. These would offer heaven without holiness.
Look at the rights, riches, and rewards the Apostle reveals in this discourse to these babes. Look at what our spiritual perceptions behold.
"All things are yours: the world, life, death, things present, and things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's."
Here we have Victory; the world is yours. Every thing good in the material world is yours; and every evil in it can be conquered by His power working in the heart. Life is yours; and death is yours. Victory in life and victory over death. Life in the abundant measure that expresses itself in holy love and labors. Death is not the end, it is the entrance to the eternal home. Things present, and things to come are yours. What riches and rewards are in these words we behold.
There is nothing denied, and nothing demanded except that we be the Lord's possession. Ye are Christ's; that is the all-important thing. Christ is God's; and through Him all things are yours. This spake He of the Spirit. This is the height of holy happiness in Him.
Fruitfulness is the result of the promise received. The figure of the "Living water" reveals that fruitfulness will result from the gift of the Spirit. The fullness is the measure; the freedom is the movement, and both unite to form the means of fruitfulness. Every living thing must reproduce or die. The right to live is denied the unfruitful branch. "Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away." The disciples were more fruitful after Pentecost, than before that period. It is a fact that believers can, and do produce a measure of fruit before they are baptized with the Spirit. But it is also a fact that the full measure expected by the Husbandman could not be produced until He had purged the branches.
Fruitfulness has three gracious facts to consider. The fruits of righteousness; the fruits of relationship; and the fruits of reaping.
These three have their beginning in the birth of the Spirit; but the abundance is in the baptism of the Spirit. The difference in each state of fruit bearing is not in quality, but in quantity.
The fruit of righteousness is shown in the measure, manner, and ministry of the spiritual person. The measure and ministry of the fruits are given; "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Phil. 1:11. In this measure we are filled, and the ministry is to the "Glory and praise of God."
This coincides with the words of Jesus: "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." This is the grand purpose of redemption.
The manner of the fruits of righteousness are shown to be: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law." Gal. 5:22-23.
Here are nine manner of fruits in this list; yet all are one, being the "fruit of the Spirit" in a single unit. These are the fruits of life. This life is received through Christ, Who has given the full measure of the living water. Paul has shown that the believer had come to this righteousness through the Spirit. "We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." Gal. 5:5. Righteousness is expected and experienced through the Spirit; and then it is exemplified in the fruit of the Spirit. This is the Word of God.
The ministry of the fruits of righteousness is further revealed in this word; "The fruits of righteousness are sown in peace of them that make peace." Jas. 3:18. In this blessed truth we have revealed that the seeds of righteousness are sown in the world by the saints. When we view this in the light of what Jesus said, we are shown that the Saviour sows the saints; and the saints sow the seed. "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man. The good seed are the children of the kingdom." Mat. 13:37-38. These good seed of the kingdom go forth bearing precious seed, the seed of righteousness, and sow beside all waters; and in all places. The streams of the Spirit bear these seed on the flowing fullness, and gives them fruitfulness in the earth for men to see.
The fruits of relationship are shown. This fruit is also shown in the measure, manner, and ministry. The fruits of relationship are products of love. We mean that the relationship of love produces children; which are fruit of kind. Our children are the fruit of love in wedded union. This is the truth in the fruits of relationship with Christ.
This union that produces fruit of kind is revealed in the parable of the Vine and branches. The vine only bears one kind of fruit; yet there are many of the same kind. In the relationship of love only one kind is produced, that is children. There may be more than one in number, but all are the same in nature of kind.
This is the truth in the unity of relationship. with Christ; we do produce our spiritual kind; we do have spiritual children. The very fact that God will bless this union with fruitfulness is the Joy of the ministry. "I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit; and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you." John 15:16. Behold the array of facts in the word of the Saviour. We see reproduction, rights, and rejoicing. The reproduction is the fruit; the rights are in His Name; and the rejoicing is in the facts. Like a wife shares the rights of her husband's name; and shares in all his wealth; so do we in the relationship of love shown in this parable. We find prayer, praise, and performance, resulting from the rights of this relationship.
The fruits of reaping are revealed and realized in the promise. This fruit is shown in the measure, manner, and ministry. Jesus discloses this fruit of reaping in these words; "He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto eternal life: that both He that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice." John 4:36. This is the fruit of labor.
The manner of the fruit of reaping is the grain that has been sown. Those who sow are to live by the fruits of their sowing; and also to have some to sell to others that they might have life. We sow the seed of righteousness to the Spirit; and of the Spirit we shall reap life everlasting. Jesus shows that there is a remuneration for the present sowing, and a reward to be given at the harvest time. We receive the wages here, and then in the end-time, we shall receive the gift of life eternal. Both the Saviour, who has sown us, and the saints who have sown the seed, will rejoice together at the harvest. We shall reap life, and receive a reward of life. Our conduct will be crowned. This is a great truth, and should receive our sincere consideration. Life here is too valuable to be wasted in worthless ways. We shall reap our sowing; and if the sowing has been small, we shall reap sparingly. Time is too valuable to spend it in preparing programs that entertain. We shall give an accounting to God in the Judgment for our time. If we redeem the time, we shall reap from our toil.
The crowning will come when the Chief Shepherd shall appear. In that day we shall receive the fadeless crown of life. Others may sow, and we reap the reward of their sowing. Jesus said, "I have sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor other men have labored, and ye are entered into their labors." This is so often seen in the way and work of the Lord. Many before us have sacrificed, and sown the seed of righteousness; and we reap the harvest after they have passed on to their home in heaven. We sow in hope, and we gather in the harvest at the end. One prepares a sermon, and another preaches it. But if in all the Master is honored, we should be happy. Each has a part in the whole harvest that shall be to the glory and praise of God.
Let each one remember that God is not unrighteous to forget the labor of love given in faith. Perhaps not in the lifetime will some see the fruits of their toils; but be faithful to the end; and He shall reward thee in the eternity, where all shall share in the rejoicing.