The Covenant Promise of the Spirit
By Charles H. Spurgeon
"And I will put my spirit within you."—Ezekiel 36:27.
No preface is needed; and the largenessof our subject forbids our wasting time in beating about the bush. Ishall try to do two things this morning: first, I would commendthe text; and secondly, I would in some measure expound thetext.
I. First, as for THE COMMENDATION OF THETEXT, the tongues of men and of angels might fail. To call it agolden sentence would be much too commonplace: to liken it to a pearlof great price would be too poor a comparison. We cannot feel, muchless speak, too much in praise of the great God who has put thisclause into the covenant of His grace. In that covenant everysentence is more precious than heaven and earth; and this line is notthe least among His choice words of promise: "I will put my spiritwithin you."
I would begin by saying that it is agracious word. It was spoken to a graceless people, to a peoplewho had followed "their own way," and refused the way of God; apeople who had already provoked something more than ordinary anger inthe Judge of all the earth; for He Himself said (verse 18), "I pouredmy fury upon them." These people, even under chastisement, caused theholy name of God to be profaned among the heathen, whither they went.They had been highly favoured, but they abused their privileges, andbehaved worse than those who never knew the Lord. They sinnedwantonly, wilfully, wickedly, proudly and presumptuously; and by thisthey greatly provoked the Lord. Yet to them He made such a promise asthis—" I will put my spirit within you." Surely, where sin aboundedgrace did much more abound.
Clearly this is a word of grace, for thelaw saith nothing of this kind. Turn to the law of Moses, and see ifthere be any word spoken therein concerning the putting of the Spiritwithin men to cause them to walk in God's statutes. The law proclaimsthe statutes; but the gospel alone promises the spirit by which thestatutes will be obeyed. The law commands and makes us know what Godrequires of us; but the gospel goes further, and inclines us to obeythe will of the Lord, and enables us practically to walk in His ways.Under the dominion of grace the Lord worketh in us to will and to doof His own good pleasure.
So great a boon as this could never cometo any man by merit. A man might so act as to deserve a reward of acertain kind, in measure suited to His commendable action; but theHoly Spirit can never be the wage of human service: the idea vergesupon blasphemy. Can any man deserve that Christ should die for him?Who would dream of such a thing? Can any man deserve that the HolyGhost should dwell in him, and work holiness in him? The greatness ofthe blessing lifts it high above the range of merit, and we see thatif the Holy Ghost be bestowed, it must be by an act of divine grace—grace infinite in bounty, exceeding all that we could have imagined."Sovereign grace o'er sin abounding" is here seen in clearest light."I will put my spirit within you" is a promise which drops withgraces as the honeycomb with honey. Listen to the divine music whichpours from this word of love. I hear the soft melody of grace, grace,grace, and nothing else but grace. Glory be to God, who gives tosinners the indwelling of His Spirit.
Note, next, that it is a divineword: "I will put my spirit within you." Who but the Lord couldspeak after this fashion? Can one man put the Spirit of God withinanother? Could all the church combined breathe the Spirit of God intoa single sinner's heart? To put any good thing into the deceitfulheart of man is a great achievement; but to put the Spirit of Godinto the heart, truly this is the finger of God. Nay, here I may say,the Lord has made bare His arm, and displayed the fulness of Hismighty power. To put the Spirit of God into our nature is a workpeculiar to the Godhead, and to do this within the nature of a freeagent, such as man, is marvellous. Who but Jehovah, the God ofIsrael, can speak after this royal style, and, beyond all dispute,declare, "I will put my spirit within you?" Men must always surroundtheir resolves with conditions and uncertainties; but sinceomnipotence is at the back of every promise of God, He speaks like aking; yea, in a style which is only fit for the eternal God. Hepurposes and promises, and He as surely performs. Sure, then, is thissacred saying, "I will put my spirit within you." Sure, becausedivine. O sinner, if we poor creatures had the saving of you, weshould break down in the attempt; but, behold the Lord Himself comeson the scene, and the work is done! All the difficulties are removedby this one sentence, "I will put my spirit within you." We havewrought with our spirit, we have wept over you, 'and we haveentreated you; but we have failed. Lo, there cometh One into thematter who will not fail, with whom nothing is impossible; and Hebegins His work by saying, "I will put my spirit within you." Theword is of grace and of God; regard it, then, as a pledge from theGod of grace.
To me there is much charm in the furtherthought that this is an individual and personal word. The Lordmeans, "I will put my spirit within you": that is to say, withinyou, as individuals. "I will put my spirit within you" one byone. This must be so since the connection requires it. We read inverse 26, "A new heart also will I give you." Now, a new heart canonly be given to one person. Each man needs a heart of his own, andeach man must have a new heart for himself. "And a new spirit will Iput within you." Within each one this must be done. "And I will takeaway the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heartof flesh"—these are all personal, individual operations of grace.God deals with men one by one in the solemn matters of eternity, sin,and salvation. We are born one by one, and we die one by one: even sowe must be born again one by one, and each one for himself mustreceive the Spirit of God. Without this a man has nothing. He cannotbe caused to walk in God's statutes except by the infusion of graceinto him as an individual. I think I see among my hearers a lone man,or woman, who feels himself, or herself, to be all alone in theworld, and therefore hopeless. You can believe that God will do greatthings for a nation, but how shall the solitary be thought of? Youare an odd person, one that could not be written down in any list;peculiar sinner, with constitutional tendencies all your own. Thussaith God, "I will put my spirit within you"; withinyour heart—even yours. My dear hearers, you who havelong been seeking salvation, but have not known the power of theSpirit—this is what you need. You have been striving in the energyof the flesh, but you have not understood where your true strengthlieth. God saith to you, "Not by might, nor by power, but by mySpirit, saith the Lord"; and again, "I will put my spirit withinyou." Oh, that this word might be spoken of the Lord to that youngman who is ready to despair; to that sorrowful woman who has beenlooking into herself for power to pray and believe! You are withoutstrength or hope in and of yourself; but this meets your case in allpoints. "I will put my spirit within you"—within you as anindividual. Enquire of the Lord for it. Lift up your heart in prayerto God, and ask Him to pour upon you the Spirit of grace and ofsupplications. Plead with the Lord, saying, "Let thy good Spirit leadme. Even me." Cry, "Pass me not, my gracious Father; but in me fulfilthis wondrous word of thine, 'I will put my spirit within you.'"
Note, next, that this is a separatingword. I do not know whether you will see this readily; but itmust be so: this word separates a man from his fellows. Men by natureare of another spirit from that of God, and they are under subjectionto that evil spirit, the Prince of the power of the air. When theLord comes to gather out His own, fetching them out from among theheathen, He effects the separation by doing according to this word,"I will put my spirit within you." This done, the individual becomesa new man. Those who have the Spirit are not of the world, nor likethe world; and they soon have to come out from among the ungodly, andto be separate; for difference of nature creates conflict. God'sSpirit will not dwell with the evil spirit: you cannot havefellowship with Christ and with Belial; with the kingdom' of heavenand with this world. I wish that the people of God would again wakeup to the truth that to gather out a people from among men is thegreat purpose of the present dispensation. It is still true, as Jamessaid at the Jerusalem Council, "Simeon hath declared how God at thefirst did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for hisname." We are not to remain clinging to the old wreck with theexpectation that we shall pump the water out of her and get her safeinto port. No; the cry is very different—"Take to the lifeboat! Taketo the lifeboat!" You are to quit the wreck, and then you are tocarry away from the sinking mass that which God will save. You mustbe separate from the old wreck, lest it suck you down to suredestruction. Your only hope of doing good to the world is byyourselves being "not of the world," even as Christ was not of theworld. For you to go down to the world's level will neither be goodfor it nor for you. That which happened in the days of Noah will berepeated; for when the sons of God entered into alliance with thedaughters of men, and there was a league between the two races, theLord could not endure the evil mixture, but drew up the sluices ofthe lower deep and swept the earth with a destroying flood. Surely,in that last day of destruction, when the world is overwhelmed withfire, it will be because the church of God shall have degenerated,and the distinctions between the righteous and the wicked shall havebeen broken down. The Spirit of God, wherever He comes, doth speedilymake and reveal the difference between Israel and Egypt; and inproportion as His active energy is felt, there will be anever-widening gulf between those who are led of the Spirit and thosewho are under the dominion of the flesh. The possession of the Spiritwill make you, my hearer, quite another sort of man from what you noware, and then you will be actuated by motives which the world willnot appreciate; for the world knoweth us not, because it knew himnot. Then you will act, and speak, and think, and feel in such a way,that this evil world will misunderstand and condemn you. Since thecarnal mind knoweth not the things that are of God—for those thingsare spiritually discerned—it will not approve your objects anddesigns. Do not expect it to be your friend. The spirit which makesyou to be the seed of the woman is not the spirit of the world. Theseed of the serpent will hiss at you, and bruise your heel. YourMaster said, "Because ye are not of this world, but I have chosenyou out of the world; therefore the world hateth you." It is aseparating word this. Has it separated you? Has the Holy Spiritcalled you alone and blessed you? Do you differ from your oldcompanions? Have you a life they do not understand? If not, may Godin mercy put into you that most heavenly deposit, of which He speaksin our text: "I will put my spirit within you"!
But now notice, that it is a veryuniting word. It separates from the world, but it joins to God.Note how it runs: "I will put my Spirit within you." Itis not merely a spirit, or the spirit, but myspirit. Now when God's own Spirit comes to reside within our mortalbodies, how near akin we are to the Most High! "Know ye not that yourbody is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" Does not this make a mansublime? Have you never stood in awe of your own selves, O yebelievers? Have you enough regarded even this poor body, as beingsanctified and dedicated, and elevated into a sacred condition, bybeing set apart to be the temple of the Holy Ghost? Thus are webrought into the closest union with God that we can well conceive of.Thus is the Lord our light and our life; while our spirit issubordinated to the divine Spirit. "I will put my spirit withinyou"—then God Himself dwelleth in you. The Spirit of Him that raisedup Christ from the dead is in you. With Christ in God your life ishid, and the Spirit seals you, anoints you, and abides in you. By theSpirit we have access to the Father; by the Spirit we perceive ouradoption, and learn to cry, "Abba, Father"; by the Spirit we are madepartakers of the divine nature, and have communion with the thriceholy Lord.
I cannot help adding here that it isa very condescending word—"I will put my spirit within you." Isit really so, that the Spirit of God who displays the power andenergetic force of God, by whom God's Word is carried into effect—that the Spirit who of old moved upon the face of the waters, andbrought order and life from chaos and death—can it be so that Hewill deign to sojourn in men? God in our nature is a very wonderfulconception! God in the babe at Bethlehem, God in the carpenter ofNazareth, God in the "man of sorrows," God in the Crucified, God inHim who was buried in the tomb—this is all marvellous. Theincarnation is an infinite mystery of love; but we believe it. Yet,if it were possible to compare one illimitable wonder with another, Ishould say that God's dwelling in His people and that repeated tenthousand times over, is more marvellous. That the Holy Ghost shoulddwell in millions of redeemed men and women, is a miracle notsurpassed by that of our Lord's espousal of human nature. For ourLord's body was perfectly pure, and the Godhead, while it dwells withHis holy manhood, does at least dwell with a perfect and sinlessnature; but the Holy Spirit bows Himself to dwell in sinful men; todwell in men who, after their conversion, still find the fleshwarring against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; men whoare not perfect, though they strive to be so; men who have to lamenttheir shortcomings, and even to confess with shame a measure ofunbelief. "I will put my spirit within you" means the abiding of theHoly Spirit in our imperfect nature. Wonder of wonders! Yet is it assurely a fact as it is a wonder. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ,you have the Spirit of God, for "if any man have not the Spirit ofChrist, he is none of his." You could not bear the suspicion that youare not His; and therefore, as surely as you are Christ's, you haveHis Spirit abiding in you. The Saviour has gone away on purpose thatthe Comforter might be given to dwell in you, and He does dwell inyou. Is it not so? If it be so, admire this condescending God, andworship and praise His name. Sweetly submit to His rule in allthings. Grieve not the Spirit of God. Watch carefully that nothingcomes within you that may defile the temple of God. Let the faintestmonition of the Holy Spirit be law to you. It was a holy mystery thatthe presence of the Lord was specially within the veil of theTabernacle, and that the Lord God spake by Urim and Thummim to Hispeople; it is an equally sacred marvel that now the Holy Ghost dwellsin our spirits and abides within our nature and speaks to uswhatsoever He hears of the Father. By divine impressions which theopened ear can apprehend, and the tender heart can receive, Hespeaketh still. God grant us to know His still small voice so as tolisten to it with reverent humility and loving joy: then shall weknow the meaning of these words, "I will put my spirit withinyou."
Nor have I yet done with commending mytext, for I must not fail to remind you that it is a veryspiritual word. "I will put my spirit within you" has nothing todo with our wearing a peculiar garb—that would be a matter of littleworth. It has nothing to do with affectations of speech—those mightreadily become a deceptive peculiarity. Our text has nothing to dowith outward rites and ceremonies; but goes much further and deeper.It is an instructive symbol when the Lord teaches us our death withChrist by burial in baptism: it is to our great profit that Heordains bread and wine to be tokens of our communion in the body andblood of His dear Son; but these are only outward things, and if theyare unattended with the Holy Spirit they fail of their design. Thereis something infinitely greater in this promise—"I will put myspirit within you." I cannot give you the whole force of the Hebrew,as to the words "within you," unless I paraphrase them a little, andread "I will put my spirit in the midst of you." The sacred depositis put deep down in our life's secret place. God puts His Spirit notupon the surface of the man, but into the centre of his being. Thepromise means—"I will put my spirit in your bowels, in your hearts,in the very soul of you." This is an intensely spiritual matter,without admixturing of anything material and visible. It isspiritual, you see, because it is the Spirit that is given; and He isgiven internally within our spirit. It is true the Spirit operatesupon the external life, but it is through the secret and internallife, and of that inward operation our text speaks. This is what weso greatly require. Do you know what it is to attend a service andhear God's truth faithfully preached, and yet you are forced to say,"Somehow or other it did not enter into me; I did not feel theunction and taste the savor of it"? "I will put my spirit withinyou," is what you need. Do you not read your Bibles, and even pray,and do not both devotional exercises become too much external acts?"I will put my spirit within you" meets this evil. The goodSpirit fires your heart; he penetrates your mind; he saturates yoursoul; he touches the secret and vital springs of your existence.Blessed Word! I love my text. It love it better than I can speak ofit.
Observe once more that this Word is avery effectual one. "I will put my spirit within you, and causeyou to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and dothem." The Spirit is operative—first upon the inner life, in causingyou to love the law of the Lord; and then it moves you openly to keepHis statutes concerning Himself, and His judgments between you andyour fellow-men. Obedience, if a man should be flogged to it, wouldbe of little worth; but obedience springing out of a life within,this is a priceless breastplate of jewels. If you have a lantern, youcannot make it shine by polishing the glass outside, you must put acandle within it: and this is what God does, He puts the light of theSpirit within us, and then our light shines. He puts His Spirit sodeep down into the heart, that the whole nature feels it: it worksupward, like a spring from the bottom of a well. It is, moreover, sodeeply implanted that there is no removing it. If it were in thememory, you might forget it; if it were in the intellect, you mighterr in it; but "within you" it touches the whole man, and hasdominion over you without fear of failure. When the very kernel ofyour nature is quickened into holiness, practical godliness iseffectually secured. Blessed is he who knows by experience our Lord'swords—"The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well ofwater springing up into everlasting life."
If I should fail in expounding the text,I hope I have so fully commended it to you, that you will turn itover and meditate upon it yourselves, and so get a home-bornexposition of it. The key of the text is within its own self; for ifthe Lord gives you the Spirit, you will then understand his words—"Iwill put my spirit within you."
II. But now I must work upon THEEXPOSITION OF THE TEXT. I trust the Holy Spirit will aid me therein.Let me show you how the good Spirit manifests the fact that He dwellsin men. I have to be very brief on a theme that might require a greatlength of time; and can only mention a part of His ways andworkings.
One of the first effects of the Spiritof God being put within us is quickening. We are dead bynature to all heavenly and spiritual things; but when the Spirit ofGod comes, then we begin to live. The man visited of the Spiritbegins to feel; the terrors of God make him tremble, the love ofChrist makes him weep. He begins to fear, and he begins to hope: agreat deal of the first and a very little of the second, it may be.He learns spiritually to sorrow: he is grieved that he has sinned,and that he cannot cease from sinning. He begins to desire that whichonce he despised: he specially desires to find the way of pardon, andreconciliation with God. Ah, dear hearers! I cannot make you feel, Icannot make you sorrow for sin, I cannot make you desire eternallife; but it is all done as soon as this is fulfilled by the Lord, "Iwill put my spirit within you." The quickening Spirit brings life tothe dead in trespasses and sins.
This life of the Spirit shows itself bycausing the man to pray. The cry is the distinctive mark of theliving child. He begins to cry in broken accents, "God be merciful tome." At the same time that he pleads, he feels the soft relentings ofrepentance. He has a new mind towards sin, and he grieves that heshould have grieved his God. With this comes faith; perhaps feebleand trembling, only a touch of the hem of the Saviour's robe; butstill Jesus is his only hope and his sole trust. To Him he looks forpardon and salvation. He dares to believe that Christ can save evenhim. Then has life come into the soul when trust in Jesus spring upin the heart.
Remember, dear friends, that as the HolySpirit gives quickening at the first, so He must revive andstrengthen it. Whenever you become dull and faint, cry for the HolySpirit. Whenever you cannot feel in devotion as you wish to feel, andare unable to rise to any heights of communion with God, plead mytext in faith, and beg the Lord to do as He hath said, namely, "Iwill put my spirit within you." Go to God with this covenant clause,even if you have to confess, "Lord, I am like a log, I am a helplesslump of weakness. Unless thou come and quicken me I cannot live toThee." Plead importunately the promise, "I will put my spirit withinyou." All the life of the flesh will gender corruption; all theenergy that comes of mere excitement will die down into the blackashes of disappointment; the Holy Ghost alone is the life of theregenerated heart. Have you the Spirit? and if you have Him withinyou, have you only a small measure of His life, and do you wish formore? Then go still where you went at first. There is only one riverof the water of life: draw from its floods. You will be livelyenough, and bright enough, and strong enough, and happy enough whenthe Holy Spirit is mighty within your soul.
When the Holy Spirit enters, afterquickening He gives enlightening. We cannot make men see thetruth, they are so blind; but when the Lord puts His Spirit withinthem their eyes are opened. At first they may see rather hazily; butstill they do see. As the light increases, and the eye isstrengthened, they see more and more clearly. What a mercy it is tosee Christ, to look unto Him, and so to be lightened! By the Spirit,souls see things in their reality: they see the actual truth of them,and perceive that they are facts. The Spirit of God illuminates everybeliever, so that he sees still more marvellous things out of God'slaw; but this never happens unless the Spirit opens his eyes. Theapostle speaks of being brought "out of darkness into His marvellouslight"; and it is a marvellous light, indeed, to come to the blindand dead. Marvellous because it reveals truth with clearness. Itreveals marvellous things in a marvellous way. If hills andmountains, if rocks and stones were suddenly to be full of eyes, itwould be a strange thing in the earth, but not more marvellous thanfor you and me by the illumination of the Holy Spirit to seespiritual things. When you cannot make people see the truth, do notgrow angry with them, but cry, "Lord, put thy spirit within them."When you get into a puzzle over the Word of the Lord, do not give upin despair, but believingly cry, "Lord, put thy Spirit within me."Here lies the only true light of the soul. Depend upon it, all thatyou can see by any light except the Spirit of God you do notspiritually see. If you only see intellectually, or rationally, youdo not see to salvation. Unless intellect and reason have receivedheavenly light, you may see, and yet not see; even as Israel of old. Indeed, your boasted clear sight may aggravate your ruin, like thatof the Pharisees, of whom our Lord said, "But now ye say, We see,therefore your sin remaineth." O lord, grant us the Spirit within,for our soul's illumination!
The Spirit also works conviction.Conviction is more forcible than illumination: it is the setting of atruth before the eye of the soul, so as to make it powerful upon theconscience. I speak to many here who know what conviction means;still I will explain it from my own experience. I knew what sin meantby my reading, and yet I never knew sin in its heinousness andhorror, till I found myself bitten by it as by a fiery serpent, andfelt its poison boiling in my veins. When the Holy Ghost made sin toappear sin, then was I overwhelmed with the sight, and I would fainhave fled from myself to escape the intolerable vision. A naked sinstripped of all excuse, and set in the light of truth, is a worsesight than to see the devil himself. When I saw sin as an offenceagainst a just and holy God, committed by such a proud and yetinsignificant creature as myself, then was I alarmed. Sirs, did youever see and feel yourselves to be sinners? "Oh, yes," you say, "weare sinners." O sirs, do you mean it? Do you know what it means? Manyof you are no more sinners in your own estimation than you areHottentots. The beggar who exhibits a sham sore knows not disease; ifhe did he would have enough of it without pretences. To kneel downand say, "Lord, have mercy upon us miserable sinners," and then toget up and feel yourself a very decent sort of body, worthy ofcommendation, is to mock Almighty God. It is by no means a commonthing to get hold of a real sinner, one who is truly so in his ownesteem; and it is as pleasant as it is rare, for you can bring to thereal sinner the real Saviour, and He will welcome him. I do notwonder that Hart said:"A sinner is a sacred thing,
The Holy Ghost hath made him so."
The point of contact between a sinnerand Christ is sin. The Lord Jesus gave Himself for our sins, He nevergave Himself for our righteousnesses. He comes to heal the sick, andthe point He looks to is our sickness. When a physician is called inhe has no patience with things apart from his calling. "Tut, tut!" hecries, " I do not care about your furniture, nor the number of yourcows, nor what income tax you pay, nor what politics you admire; Ihave come to see a sick man about his disease, and if you will notlet me deal with it I will be gone." When a sinner's corruptions areloathsome to himself, when his guilt is foul in his own nostrils,when he fears the death that will come of it, then he is reallyconvinced by the Holy Spirit; and no one ever knows sin as his ownpersonal ruin till the Holy Spirit shows it to him. Conviction as tothe Lord Jesus comes in the same way. We do not know Christ as ourSaviour till the Holy Spirit is put within us. Our Lord says—"Heshall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you," and you never seethe things of the Lord Jesus till the Holy Ghost shows them to you.To know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, as one who died for you inparticular, is a knowledge which only the Holy Spirit imparts. Toapprehend present salvation, as your own personally, comes by yourbeing convinced of it by the Spirit. Oh, to be convinced ofrighteousness, and convinced of acceptance in the Beloved! Thisconviction cometh only of Him that hath called you, even of Him ofwhom the Lord saith, "I will put my Spirit within you."
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit comes intous for purification. "I will put my spirit within you, andcause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, anddo them." When the Spirit comes, He infuses a new life, and that newlife is a fountain of holiness. The new nature cannot sin, because itis born of God, and "it is a living and incorruptible seed." Thislife produces good fruit, and good fruit only. The Holy Ghost is thelife of holiness. At the same time, the coming of the Holy Ghost intothe soul gives a mortal stab to the power of sin. The old man is notabsolutely dead, but it is crucified with Christ. It is undersentence, and before the eye of the law it is dead; but as a mannailed to a cross may linger long, but yet he cannot live, so thepower of evil dies hard, but die it must. Sin is an executedcriminal: those nails which fasten it to the cross will hold it fasttill no breath remains in it. God the Holy Ghost gives the power ofsin its death wound. The old nature struggles in its dying agonies,but it is doomed, and die it must. But you never will overcome sin byyour own power, nor by any energy short of that of the Holy Spirit.Resolves may bind it, as Samson was bound with cords; but sin willsnap the cords asunder. The Holy Spirit lays the axe at the root ofsin, and fall it must. The Holy Ghost within a man is "the Spirit ofjudgment, the Spirit of burning." Do you know Him in that character?As the Spirit of judgment, the Holy Spirit pronounces sentence onsin, and it goes out with the brand of Cain upon it. He does more: Hedelivers sin over to burning. He executes the death penalty on thatwhich He has judged. How many of our sins have we had to burn alive!and it has cost us no small pain to do it. Sin must be got out of usby fire, if no gentler means will serve; and the Spirit of God is aconsuming fire. Truly, "our God is a consuming fire." They paraphraseit, "God out of Christ is a consuming fire"; but that is notScripture: it is, "our God," our covenant God, who is aconsuming fire to refine us from sin. Has not the Lord said, "I willpurely purge away all thy dross, and take away all thy sin"? This iswhat the Spirit does, and it is by no means easy work for the flesh,which would spare many a flattering sin if it could.
The Holy Spirit bedews the soul withpurity till He saturates it. Oh, to have a heart saturated with holyinfluences till it shall be as Gideon's fleece, which held so muchdew that Gideon could wring out a bowl full from it! Oh, that ourwhole nature were filled with the Spirit of God; that we weresanctified wholly, body, soul, and spirit! Sanctification is theresult of the Holy Spirit being put within us.
Next, the Holy Ghost acts in the heartas the Spirit of preservation. Where He dwells men do not goback unto perdition. He works in them a watchfulness againsttemptation day by day. He works in them to wrestle against sin.Rather than sin a believer would die ten thousand deaths. He works inbelievers union to Christ, which is the source and guarantee ofacceptable fruitfulness. He creates in the saints those holy thingswhich glorify God, and bless the sons of men. All true fruit is thefruit of the Spirit. Every true prayer must be "praying in the HolyGhost." He helpeth our infirmities in prayer. Even the hearing of theWord of the Lord is of the Spirit, for John says, "I was in theSpirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice."Everything that comes of the man, or is kept alive in the man, isfirst infused and then sustained and perfected of the Spirit. "It isthe spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." We never goan inch towards heaven in any other power than that of the HolyGhost. We do not even stand fast and remain steadfast except as weare upheld by the Holy Spirit. The vineyard which the Lord hathplanted He also preserves; as it is written, "I the Lord do keep it;I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it nightand day." Did I hear that young man say, "I should like to become aChristian, but I fear I should not hold out? How am I to bepreserved?" A very proper inquiry for "He that endureth to the end,the same shall be saved." Temporary Christians are no Christians:only the believer who continues to believe will enter heaven. How,then, can we hold on in such a world as this? Here is the answer. "Iwill put my spirit within you." When a city has been captured in war,those who formerly possessed it seek to win it back again; but theking who captured it sends a garrison to live within the walls, andhe said to the captain, "Take care of this city that I haveconquered, and let not the enemy take it again." So the Holy Ghost isthe garrison of God within our redeemed humanity, and he will keep usto the end. "May the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." For preservation,then, we look to the Holy Spirit.
Lest I weary you, I will be very briefupon the next point: the Holy Spirit within us is forguidance. The Holy Spirit is given to lead us into all truth.Truth is like a vast grotto, and the Holy Spirit brings torches, andshows us all the splendour of the roof; and since the passage seemsintricate, He knows the way, and He lead us into the deep things ofGod. He opens up to us one truth after another, by His light and byHis guidance, and thus we are "taught of the Lord." He is also ourpractical guide to heaven, helping and directing us on the upwardjourney. I wish Christian people oftener inquired of the Holy Ghostas to guidance in their daily life. Know ye not that the Spirit ofGod dwelleth in you? You need not always be running to this friendand to that to get direction: wait upon the Lord in silence, sitstill in quiet before the oracle of God. Use the judgment God hasgiven you; but when that suffices not, resort to Him whom Mr. Bunyancalls "the Lord High Secretary," who lives within, who is infinitelywise, and who can guide you by making you to "hear a voice behind yousaying, This is the way, walk ye in it." The Holy Ghost will guideyou in life; He will guide you in death; and He will guide you toglory. He will guard you from modern error, and from ancient error,too. He will guide you in a way that you know not; and through thedarkness He will lead you in a way you have not seen: these thingswill He do unto you, and not forsake you.
Oh, this precious text! I seem to havebefore me a great cabinet full of jewels rich and rare. May God theHoly Ghost Himself come and hand these out to you, and may you beadorned with them all the days of your life!
Last of all, "I will put my spiritwithin you," that is, by way of consolation, for His choicename is "The Comforter." Our God would not have His children unhappy,and therefore, He Himself, in the third Person of the blessedTrinity, has undertaken the office of Comforter. Why does your facesuch mournful colours wear? God can comfort you. You that are underthe burden of sin; it is true no man can help you into peace, but theHoly Ghost can. O God, to every seeker here who has failed to finalrest, grant Thy Holy Spirit! Put Thy Spirit within him, and he willrest in Jesus. And you dear people of God, who are worried, rememberthat worry and the Holy Ghost are very contradictory one to another."I will put my spirit within you" means that you shall become gentle,peaceful, resigned, and acquiescent in the divine will. Then you willhave faith in God that all is well. That text with which I began myprayer this morning was brought home to my heart this week. Ourdearly beloved friend Adolph Saphir passed away last Saturday, andhis wife died three or four days before him. When my dear brother,Dr. Sinclair Patterson, went to see him, the beloved Saphir said tohim, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." Nobody wouldhave quoted that passage but Saphir, the Biblical student the loverof the word, the lover of the God of Israel. "God is light, and inhim is no darkness at all." His dear wife is gone, and he himself isill; but "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." This is adeep well of overflowing comfort, if you understand it well. God'spromise is light as well as his promise, and the Holy Spirit makes usknow this. God's word and will and way are all light to his people,and in him is no darkness at all for them. God himself is purely andonly light. What if there be darkness in me, there is no darkness inhim; and his Spirit causes me to fly to him! What if there bedarkness in my family, there is no darkness in my covenant God, andhis Spirit makes me rest in him. What if there be darkness in me byreason of my failing strength, there is no failing in him, and thereis no darkness in him: his Spirit assures me of this. David says—"God my exceeding joy"; and such He is to us. "Yea, mine own God ishe"! Can you say, "My God, my God"? Do you want anything more? Canyou conceive of anything beyond your God? Omnipotent to work all forever! Infinite to give! Faithful to remember! He is all that is good.Light only: "in him is no darkness at all." I have all light, yea,all things, when I have my God. The Holy Spirit makes us apprehendthis when He is put within us. Holy Comforter, abide with us, forthen we enjoy the light of heaven. Then are we always peaceful andeven joyful; for we walk in unclouded light. In Him our happinesssometimes rises into great waves of delight, as if it leaped up tothe glory. The Lord make this text your own—"I will put my Spiritwithin you." Amen.
By Charles H. Spurgeon. A sermon delivered April 12th, 1891, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
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