HOLY SPIRIT BECOMES THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER

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THE HOLY SPIRIT BECOMES THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVERCopyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

("The Holy Spirit Becomes the Life of the Believer" is taken from Christ In You, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)

The Holy Spirit Becomes the Life of the Believer

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5,6)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

Eternal life is another name for the Holy Spirit.

When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the blood of Jesus washes away our sins. We then are born again and our new spiritual nature (Christ in us) is raised to dwell in Christ at the right hand of God. At the same time the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell in us forever. The Holy Spirit becomes our life.

Following the Holy Spirit. Eliezer of Damascus is a type of the Holy Spirit. He was sent from Abraham (the Father) to obtain a bride for Isaac (Christ). Rebecca (the Church) was led back to Isaac by the guidance of Eliezer (Genesis, Chapter 24).

Rebecca never had seen Isaac previously. She may have had a general idea where Isaac lived but she certainly could not have made the trip by herself.

If Rebecca had decided to remain in her home in Mesopotamia and enjoy the gifts that Eliezer had brought with him she never would have seen Isaac. She would have grown old and died while thinking about how wonderful it was that she had been chosen to be the wife of Abraham's son.

So it is with a Christian. He must, upon having accepted Christ, immediately devote his whole attention to going exactly where the Holy Spirit invites him to go.

If the believer, having made a profession of Christ, does not start out on his pilgrimage toward Christ in strict submission to the guidance of the Spirit of God, his conversion to Christ may prove to be fruitless.

It is one thing to start in a race. It is another matter to finish the race. Christ has the wisdom, authority, and power to complete His work in us. We are required to live every day with the same dedication and faith in Christ that was true of us the day we first came to Him (Hebrews 3:14; 10:38).

The Christian discipleship never is static. It is a daily seeking of Christ with the whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We are to follow Christ at all times, just as was true of the first apostles.

The Christian discipleship is dynamic at every moment. When we cease looking diligently to Christ we are attacked immediately by the forces of decay and death. Eternal life and eternal death constantly are striving for mastery over our conduct in the world. The one who is saved is he who endures to the end. Salvation is not completed in us until we finish our course.

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)

To be a true Christian requires every second of our attention, our whole interest and love. No man can serve two masters. If we give less than our best we cannot be an overcomer (Revelation 12:11).

The Lord Jesus Christ always is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He alone can bring a person to the Father. Jesus of Nazareth is infinitely more than a master teacher who instructs us in a philosophy of living. He Himself Is the Way to God. We must keep on pressing forward in Him and toward Him.

As we move forward in Christ, truth is created in every part of our personality. We are the flesh being created the Word of God. As we are being made the Word of God, resurrection life increasingly is the force that moves us and by which we live. Our experience of eternal life is developing at every moment.

Our fleshly life is dying and indestructible resurrection life is taking its place. After we commence this process we ought never to look back. We are to keep our eyes steadfastly on Christ until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12).

Accepting Christ as our Savior and Lord includes taking up our cross and following Him (Matthew 16:24,25). Our position from then on is that we have the life of the Holy Spirit in our inner self because of the righteousness of Christ that has been given us as a gift. Our mortal body remains in death because of its sinful tendencies.

Our task is to sow to the Holy Spirit until resurrection life is perfected in us. We must yield ourselves to the Spirit rather than to our flesh. Our fleshly mind continually is conspiring with Satan and the spirit of the present wicked age in the attempt to divert our attention from Christ.

If we allow the resurrection life of Christ to work in us, then, at the coming of the Lord from Heaven, the same resurrection life that already is in us will make alive our physical body. This is the redemption of the body and the point at which our body is adopted as a son of God (Romans 8:23).

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

We must give our attention to grasping eternal life. Romans, Chapter Eight teaches that if a Christian walks in the appetites of the flesh after having made a profession of Christ he will die spiritually. The Divine Seed will be choked out by the cares of the present world (Luke 8:14).

As Romans 8:11 states, we already possess the life that will redeem our mortal body when the Lord returns. If we choose to live in the desires of the flesh we will lose that indwelling grace. We will defeat our own resurrection. As in the case of the foolish virgins we will not possess enough "oil" to go with the Bridegroom when He appears.

If by the power of the resurrection life of Christ the believer keeps on bringing his body under subjection to the will of Christ, he will live before God. The grace that already dwells in him will make alive his mortal body at the coming of the Lord.

When we receive Christ we are given the authority to be a child of God (John 1:12). In order to transform this authority into the actual attainment of sonship we must take up our cross and follow the Holy Spirit of God.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

In the United States, each person has the authority to receive a high school education and his parents are prohibited by law from putting him out to work when he is a young child. Many American citizens do not achieve a high school education, even though they have the authority to do so, because they cease attending classes or become ill or some other problem develops.

So it is in Christ. Each person who receives Christ is given the authority to be a child of God. But in order to actually become a son of the Father he must follow the Holy Spirit just as Rebecca followed Eliezer of Damascus.

The new covenant. The Holy Spirit is the law of the new covenant. The Law of Moses, consisting of the Ten Commandments and the accompanying ordinances, was the law of the old covenant. When we died on the cross with Christ we became legally free from the Law of Moses so that we may live under the new law of the Spirit of life.

The new covenant is not an adherence to the letter of any law. Rather it is obedience to the Spirit of God. The letter of the law always kills us. The Spirit of God always gives us incorruptible resurrection life.

The Holy Spirit gives us life. What a difference there is between the old covenant and the new covenant! The law of God of the first covenant does not bring life, it brings death. "And the commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death" (Romans 7:10).

Our first personality cannot fulfill the law of God.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

The "law of sin and death" consists of the Ten Commandments working together with the sin which dwells in our flesh. When the commandments come to our sinful nature and deeds the result is spiritual death. The Law of Moses is perfect—absolutely righteous and holy. The sin which dwells in us is contrary to the Law and will not obey the Law.

The Law of Moses makes one fact clear to us: "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

The new covenant does not consist of a new set of laws that we are to obey. The new covenant is the Holy Spirit working in us.

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

The Law, the Torah , never will be done away. It is of the eternal Nature of God. Under the new covenant the Holy Spirit puts the Torah in our mind and writes it in our heart.

We are to keep the commandments of the New Testament writings, and of the old wherever applicable, until Christ, the Day Star, the Torah made flesh, is formed in us. It is the Holy Spirit of God who forms Christ in us until we keep the Torah by nature.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

The Torah that is formed in us is not the Law found in the Book of Exodus but the eternal moral law of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged form.

When we walk in the Spirit of God we are legally free from the law of sin and death because our death in Christ releases us from the legal obligation of the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses has jurisdiction over the individual only as long as he or she is alive.

As we continue to walk in the Spirit of God we are becoming actually free from the law of sin and death because the Holy Spirit, working through the authority of the blood of the cross, gives us the wisdom and power to stop sinning—to put to death the deeds of our body.

There are practical admonitions written in the New Testament to which we must give heed. These admonitions are not of the essence of the new covenant. They are guidelines for our conduct and must be obeyed, by our adamic nature for the most part, until we are able to walk in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit by our transformed nature.

As the Christian learns to walk in the Spirit, just as a baby learns to coordinate his muscles so that he can begin to take some steps, he starts to realize in daily living a measure of the enormous resources of resurrection life available to him in the new covenant.

It is the Holy Spirit who makes the new covenant operate, who changes our flesh into the Torah of God.

In its purest sense the new covenant is an impartation of the grace of God—Divine virtue that transforms us into the image of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who is the guiding Force that keeps on bringing us to a stronger grasp on Christ.

Every person, Christian or not, has a tendency toward sin and rebellion. Left unchecked our fleshly nature brings us down to destruction because it lusts for the things that are hurtful to us and that cause God to turn away from us. The law of sin and death is so powerful in us that we by nature sin against God, destroying our spirit, soul, and body in the process.

The Law of Moses magnifies the state of corruption in which we live and warns us of the consequences of sin against God and against people. The Law of Moses interacts with the law of sin in our flesh with the result that we are deceived and slain (Romans 7:11). God has a method for bringing us up out of this death. God's method is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ.

The law of the Spirit of life. The law of the Spirit of life frees us from the law of sin and death that is in our body. We have been released from the jurisdiction of the Law of Moses by means of our identification with Christ on the cross.

Now we are free legally to come under another law—the law of the Spirit of life. We have righteousness while we are living in accordance with the law of the Spirit of life because of the righteousness of Christ that is given freely to every person who lives in the Spirit of God.

The law of the Spirit of life creates in us righteousness, peace, and joy (Romans 14:17). We can attain righteousness, peace, and joy only by a power greater than the power of Satan. The power of Satan keeps us in unrighteousness, turmoil, and misery.

The Holy Spirit is power—the power of endless, incorruptible resurrection life. The power, the energy, of the Spirit of life brings us health, strength, wisdom, righteous behavior, holiness, obedience to God, joy, peace—victory in every circumstance.

Satan would have us depressed, weak, confused, in a state of lethargy. The galactic energy of God's Spirit gives us the power to serve God in confidence and joy.

The law of the Spirit of life brings conviction on the sins we are committing and also brings to us the wisdom and power that are necessary if we are to overcome the tendencies toward sin that dwell in us.

If an instant and complete deliverance from sinful tendencies were possible to us there would be no purpose for the many sections of the New Testament writings that are directed toward the need for Christians to follow the Spirit of God and cease sinning.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

Getting rid our sinful ways does not happen all at once. The victorious Christian discipleship is a lifelong walk of continuous cooperation with the Holy Spirit as He leads us into dominion over our sinful nature and over the sinful environment in which we live.

The Holy Spirit brings us to victory by a multitude of operations on us. We do not achieve lasting victory over sin by our vain struggling against the adversary, the spirit of the world, and our fleshly nature. Victory over sin is possible and it is commanded by the Father. Victory comes about by the daily appropriation of the law of the Spirit of life.

Walking in the Spirit.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

The righteousness of God Himself is given us as a gift through Christ provided we "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

The righteousness of the law of Moses is fulfilled in us as we follow the Spirit. The ascribing of Divine righteousness to us is based on Christ's becoming sin and taking our sentence in our place. It is a substitutionary work, and we receive the benefit of an ascribed righteousness equal to the righteousness that would be ours if we were able perfectly to keep the Law of Moses.

The righteousness of the Law of Moses is added to our spiritual bank account as long as we are walking in the Holy Spirit and not following our fleshly mind. Walking in the Spirit means that we are giving our attention to obtaining the will of God for our life, that we are presenting our body a living sacrifice to the Lord (Romans 12:1,2).

We no longer are spending our days in the pursuits of our mind and body, bent on serving the impulses of our fleshly lusts, indulging our desire for the possession of material treasures, and nourishing our pride and rebellion against the Spirit of God.

Instead we are being brought into cross-carrying obedience to the will of Christ.

If we are living each day as a "whole burnt offering" to the Lord, our human reasoning and emotional, soulish, lustful body continually being brought under strict obedience to the Spirit of God, then the righteousness of the Law of Moses is added to us on the basis of Christ's death on our behalf.

Christ took on Himself the judgment that legally should have fallen on us. Therefore He has the legal right, according to the Divine standard of justice, to share His own righteousness with whomever He desires.

Living in the appetites of our body and soul means we are spending our days in the ordinary pursuits of human beings. We are occupied primarily with eating, sleeping, working, playing, and reproducing. This is our life and it is the life of the animal.

We are not praying, reading the Bible, pressing on to know the Lord, gathering together with fervent believers, putting Jesus first in every decision. Rather, we are devoting our time to obtaining as much of the riches of the world as possible, indulging the lusts of our eyes and our flesh, and putting our own will, way, and understanding ahead of God's will, way, and understanding.

The daily life of the average person in the world is lived in the appetites of the body, not in the Spirit of God. If we live according to the appetites of our body after we become a Christian, we cannot claim that we are the possessors of the righteousness that is by faith in Christ. The Christian redemption is not an exemption from the first commandment—that we love God with all our mind, soul, and strength.

Walking "in the Spirit" means that each day we are putting Christ first in all circumstances. We are spending some time in prayer and Scripture reading. We are assembly with fervent disciples on a regular basis whenever possible. We are pressing forward in the knowledge of Christ.

We think and talk about the Lord Jesus frequently. We are known as a Christian (except in countries where there is persecution). We are distinguished by our devotion to Jesus. We are meeting the difficulties that come our way by seeking the mind and help of the Lord and are growing in grace as a result.

The supremely important motive of our life is obedience to the Lord. He comes first in our plans and pursuits. We have a sense of direction and momentum in our life as we move forward in holiness and the knowledge of the Lord. We are not trying to find how many worldly things we can do and still be saved, how close to the Lake of Fire we can walk and not topple in. Rather, we always are looking for ways in which we can gain a greater grasp on Christ.

We count ourselves dead and resurrected with Christ. All of our personality, relationships, and possessions are on the altar of God. The world is crucified to us and we to the world. We are diligent in the use of our spiritual talents, and when Jesus returns we will have spiritual profit to show from what He has entrusted to us.

Walking "after the Spirit" is referring to first-century discipleship. It is a sincere, "take up your cross and follow me" life of dedication to the Master. This is the normal, true Christian discipleship. Every other way of life is below standard from the viewpoint of the Lord.

The fullness of the inheritance of the saint cannot be attained apart from the fullness of the discipleship required of the saint.

Utter dedication, discipleship, rejection of the claims of sin, rejection of self-love and self-will, are the normal requirements and experiences of the new covenant. Such complete abandonment to Christ is expected of each believer.

The Holy Spirit of God stands ready to bring each believer in Christ, each living stone in the eternal Temple of God, into unwavering, single-minded discipleship.

The Holy Spirit is God. He has all the resources of Christ to draw upon. If we will allow Him to do so He will perfect our walk in Christ.

The Holy Spirit is our Life. He is our Comforter. He is our Helper. He is our Strength. He is our Wisdom, our Counselor, our Teacher. The Holy Spirit is in the world now in the place of the Lord Jesus so that every bit of wisdom, strength, and inspiration we need for the service of Christ may be available to us.

The new covenant is Christ and is the Holy Spirit. The new covenant is the power of incorruptible resurrection life entering us so that by nature we shall love righteousness and hate sin and rebellion.

We who minister the new covenant do not minister only the letter of the writings of the Apostles, as important as the Epistles are to our understanding and to godly living. Rather, we minister the Holy Spirit. He is the Life of the believer. He brings us to Christ every day.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)

The important issue in Christianity is not what church we attend or what doctrines we believe. The important issue is whether we are attending to the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit.

A Christian believer may be quite sound in doctrine and may attend an assembly where the Scriptures are taught by the elders, and still be spending his time and energy in the things of the flesh. The greater part of his or her day may be occupied with what is being eaten, what is being worn, how his or her job is progressing, and all the other "legitimate" concerns of human beings. He thus will remain ignorant of God's will until the flood comes and carries away all his treasures.

In fact, it happens in churches and theological institutions that the Scriptures themselves become a thing of the flesh, a corpus of knowledge, a cadaver dissected by scholars who are as full of the pride of knowledge as scholars of any other discipline.

The Scriptures do in fact lend themselves to an intellectual approach, becoming an object of fleshly ambition. The lawyers and Pharisees of Jesus' day knew the Scripture but were dead spiritually. There is a great gulf between knowledge gained by a disciplined study of the Scriptures and other sacred books and knowledge that comes from the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The Pharisees had the one. The Lord Jesus had the other.

Christians who are walking in the appetites of the flesh do not enjoy being around the true saints. They would not enjoy being around Peter or John or Paul even though they may pride themselves on their knowledge of the writings of the Apostles of the Lamb.

The true members of the Body of Christ, while they are diligent in secular affairs (they are commanded so to be), are occupied primarily with the Person and will of Christ. They are growing, growing, growing in the things of Christ. Christ is All in all to them. For them to live is Christ and to die is gain. The Spirit guides and comforts them in all areas of living.

For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

The believer who is spending the greater part of his time and energy in worldly concerns is not attaining eternal life. Even though he may have accepted Christ as his Savior he still is dwelling in death as far as his spiritual life is concerned.

His spiritual nature, if he hasn't already killed it, is at the right hand of the Father in Christ. However, His life on the earth is not reflecting his heavenly position. His human personality still is saturated with the death that always follows the lusts of the body and soul. "What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).

After we are saved we must choose each day to come under the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we are dwelling in the death that accompanies the lustful nature of our physical body rather than in the eternal life that accompanies our new nature in the heavenlies in Christ.

Because the fleshly mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7)

If we walk according to our own understanding, trusting in our own wisdom and abilities to guide us through the world, even as a Christian, we soon will end up in confusion and misery. Our natural mind is the enemy of God and never will come under the law of God. The natural mind must be renewed by the transforming Virtue that is in the Spirit of God.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

As long as we are following the dictates of our fleshly mind and bodily passions we never will please God even though we have accepted Christ, have been baptized in water, and are sound in doctrine. We can receive Christ as Savior and then continue to walk in our own understanding and strength. To do so is to displease God. The only true life of the Christian is the Spirit of God Himself.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)

As we understand the meaning of Romans 8:9, Paul is not teaching that once we make a profession of Christ we automatically are in the Spirit and therefore are pleasing to God. Such an interpretation would be inconsistent with other verses of the eighth chapter of Romans.

Rather, what Paul is stating may be paraphrased as follows: Christian, bring to mind that you have been washed in the blood. Maintain the concept that you have been crucified and have risen with Christ. God has given to you His Holy Spirit. You no longer are merely a flesh and blood creature. Your life no longer is animal and soulish in nature. If you truly have received Christ you possess the Spirit of Christ. Therefore you should be giving attention to the things of the Spirit because your new life is in the Spirit.

The result of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. How can we be sure we indeed are a Christian and that the Spirit of God is dwelling in us? We know that we are a Christian and that we possess the Spirit of God because of the change taking place in our personality.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)

If we claim that we belong to Christ and have the Spirit of God but are exhibiting hatred, misery, unrest, impatience, harshness, an evil nature, lack of faithfulness, lack of self-control, and are yielding to our fleshly lusts, we are deceiving ourselves.

We may begin the Christian discipleship with such a disposition. But if we are not changing into the moral image of Christ over a period of time, if some signs of the fruit of the Spirit are not appearing, then we are not walking in the Spirit of God. We may be doctrinally correct. We may speak in tongues, prophesy, and work miracles in the name of Christ. But Christ does not know us. We are none of His.

There is the fruit of the flesh and then there is the fruit of the Spirit of God. If we are walking in the appetites of the flesh we will reveal in ourselves the works of the flesh: lust, murder, covetousness, occult practices, envy, spite, backbiting, gossip, slander, bitterness, unforgiveness, and every other evil behavior.

If we are walking in the Spirit of God we will demonstrate love, joy, and peace.

Adherence to correct doctrine is not a substitute for love, joy, peace, and brotherly kindness.

Spiritual manifestations and gifts are not a substitute for loving God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves.

The proof of the Christian discipleship is the development of the fruit of the Spirit in our personality.

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

Our mortal body is dead spiritually, being cut off from the life of the Holy Spirit. The body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it.

Our body is alive physiologically. We breathe, eat, think, move, speak. This is not the only life God desires that we have. Eternal life is the possession of Christ who Himself Is eternal Life. We do not have the Life of Christ in our body because our body contains a sinful nature that is an enemy of God.

We do possess eternal life in our new spiritual nature because the Holy Spirit in us gives us of the Life of Christ. The Spirit of God is the Life of the Christian. We have eternal life in our new spiritual nature because the righteousness of Christ has been ascribed to us. Eternal life always follows righteousness.

The righteousness brought to us by the Spirit of God is both imputed (ascribed) and imparted. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us in that God has declared us to be righteous on the basis of our acceptance of the shed blood of Christ for our justification. God has declared us guiltless and has given to us His own righteousness through Christ.

The righteousness brought to us by the Spirit of God also is imparted , as the Spirit leads us into paths of righteous conduct. The Spirit empowers us, prompts us, warns us, comforts us, encourages us, teaches us, exhorts us, invites us to stop serving our fleshly mind and our flesh and to follow the righteous and holy ways of the Lord.

The Spirit works in us the love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, teachableness, and self-control that are so highly prized by the Father in Heaven.

It is the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the law of sin and death. Before we were Christians we were ruled by the lusts of our body. We may have desired to obey the law of God but we found that we were unable to do so because of the law of sin that governs the physical body.

The Presence and power of the Holy Spirit changes the condition of bondage. When we are obedient to His leading He furnishes us with wisdom and power sufficient to enable us to put to death the deeds of our flesh.

If we are willing to bring ourselves under the gentle rule of the Spirit He will make it possible for us to conquer our sinful deeds, words, motives, and imaginations. He frees us by bringing to us the Presence, authority, power, and moral Nature of Christ. We are set free from the lustful, murderous, idolatrous tendencies of our flesh by the Presence of God.

We always must keep in mind that the enabling power for righteous living that comes to us in the Holy Spirit is founded on the fact that our sins have been, and continue to be, forgiven by the merits of the atoning blood of Christ on the cross. We must regard ourselves as having been crucified with Christ and resurrected with Christ in order for the Holy Spirit to release us from the lordship of sin.

As we press forward in the Spirit of the Lord, bringing under subjection by Christ's power the lusts of our flesh and the rebellion of our mind, we grow in eternal resurrection life. We develop and mature in the new covenant. We move along in the purpose of God for us, which is that we be changed into the image of Christ.

By walking in the Spirit of God we keep on drawing closer to the day when we are fit to be part of the eternal Temple of God. It is God's will that we become transformed by consistent and increasing exposure to His Glory.

The Day of the Lord is breaking over the horizon of our soul. The light of His Presence will shine more and more brightly until our whole being is filled to fullness with His glorious radiance and we know as we are known.

The Word of God Is Nourished and Grows

But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:13)

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (I Peter 2:2)

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

We feed on the body and blood of Christ that are given us in the spirit realm, as portrayed in the material realm by receiving the elements of the Lord's Table.

The milk and solid food of the Word of God are added to us by the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Himself provides the wisdom, power, and virtue that enable us to share the Divine Substance.

The Gospels and the New Testament Epistles demand that we be in the moral image of Christ. We cannot obey the commandments of the Scriptures by our own wisdom and strength. Fortunately we do not have to be formed into the image of Christ by our will power and ability. The new covenant utilizes the full resources of the Godhead in order to bring about our complete transformation into the image of Christ.

We have a part to play. Our part consists of cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He works with the Word of God (both in the Scriptures and also in personal revelation to us), with the body and blood of Christ, and with ministries and gifts acting together with our circumstances. All of these are carefully controlled by the Lord for the purpose of creating Christ in us.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The Holy Spirit brings us step by step into beholding the Glory of the Lord. As we behold the Glory of Christ our flesh is brought down to the death of the cross and our inner man is renewed day by day by the impartation of His resurrection life.

Death and life. Death and life. Day by day. Day by day. We—sometimes without realizing it—are being transformed from our fleshly self-life into the image of Christ.

The process of transforming a justified (blood-washed) human being into a saint of God is termed sanctification . We commence in a state of alienation from God because of our sins, and finish as the holy habitation of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

How marvelous is an atonement that can bring a person from total separation from God all the way to complete reconciliation—reconciliation to the extent that there is a marriage between God and the believer and the believer is perfectly in union with God and God with him!

The Word of God. In the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation there were three articles of furniture:

The Table of Showbread (Exodus 25:23-30).

The golden Lampstand (Exodus 25:31-40).

The Altar of Incense (Exodus 30:1-10).

The Table of Showbread represents the Word of God, the Divine Substance, the body and blood of Christ that we must keep on eating and drinking until Christ is formed in us and the Divine Godhead can dwell in us.

The Lampstand portrays the Holy Spirit who reveals the Substance of Christ to us and enables us to partake of Christ. The Altar of Incense symbolizes the Spirit-filled prayer, praise, worship, adoration, intercession, supplication, that must ascend continually to God from the heart of the of the disciple who has laid down his life in total consecration to God's will.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle was a tent, and there was no light in it at night except for the shining of the golden Lampstand. The Table of Showbread could be seen by the light thrown across it by the Lampstand.

So it is in the Christian discipleship. The Holy Spirit "throws light" on the Substance of Christ. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ and makes Christ alive to us and in us.

The Word of God is being formed in us by the enabling Presence and actions of the Holy Spirit.

Each day by faith we take our place with Christ on the cross. Each day we are raised up by the Holy Spirit to walk in newness of life in Christ. All the while the living Word of God is being created in us a little bit at a time.

But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:13)

The preceding verse describes the manner in which the Word of God is brought to us and formed in us. The Word of God is a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces, and our heart is the rock. The Word of God is a fire that burns up the chaff in our personality (Jeremiah 23:29). Command upon command, rule upon rule, here a little, there a little, the Word of God is being formed in us.

We are becoming the Word of God. We rush forward in enthusiasm for the Lord, but then fall backward because of problems and are broken, and snared, and captured. The Lord God in His love for us snares us in His net.

We often kick against the instruments with which God fashions us into the image of His dear Son. The Lord is patient, knowing that our end will be glorious.

The Father has given His Word to us so that we can understand His will for us. God's Word brings:

Guidance (what we should do in a specific instance).

Wisdom (the ability to solve problems and resolve dilemmas, and the right way to behave in general).

Judgment (the ability to separate the lawful from the unlawful, the holy from the unholy).

Knowledge (a consciousness of what is, was, or will be true in both the spiritual and material worlds)

Understanding (a deep awareness of the will and purpose of God in the heavenlies and on the earth, coupled with a compassion-filled appreciation for the many factors and pressures that cause people and situations to be as they are).

The Word of God renews our mind (Romans 12:2) resulting in the transformation of our personality. Our renewal and transformation enable us to escape being changed into the spirit and ways of the evil age in which we live and to be fashioned instead into the image of Christ, God's Son. The Word of God enables us to prove the will of God for ourselves.

The Word of God is both general and specific. The Word of the Father to us is both general and specific. In the Scriptures, the Word of God is general. The Scriptures contain the plan of salvation that God has provided in Christ plus a history of people and events that have been involved directly in the revealing of God's provisions and purposes for the earth and for the heavenlies.

Every Christian who sets out to be a conquering saint must take care to study the Scriptures daily, reading and meditating in the Old Testament and New Testament writings. The man of God renews his mind continually by daily study and contemplation of the written Word and by consistent exposure to the spoken ministry of the Word as it is preached and taught.

The Word of God comes to us also in a specific manner. This may take the form of a dream, vision, prophecy, or other anointed ministry of the living Word, a sudden illumination of a Bible passage, a consciousness of words or a voice framed in our mind or heart, or even an angelic visitation.

Christians need specific guidance, wisdom, judgment, knowledge, and understanding. We must hear from the Lord from time to time and must keep ourselves in the place where we can hear His voice and are sensitive to the Presence, will, and leading of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has promised to reveal Himself to us personally.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

The Scriptures are our infallible authority and guide by which we can judge the spirits that come to us and also gain a broad knowledge and wisdom concerning God's provisions and purposes related to salvation. The Prophets and the Epistles teach us how God wants us to behave in the world.

We also must be growing in our ability to discern His specific guidance for us as an individual, as the Spirit assists us with the many decisions with which we are faced as we press on in our pilgrimage toward the fullness of Christ.

The Word of God that we have just discussed is both general and specific as it renews our mind. The Word brings the necessary knowledge, wisdom, and understanding without which we are drawn into the likeness of the ways of the world.

When religious people do not submit themselves to a daily walk with the Lord, as in the case of many church leaders throughout the centuries, they lack understanding of God and His ways. They end up destroying the work of God and persecuting and killing those who do walk with the Lord. They do always err in their heart. They do always resist the Holy Spirit.

We must have the revelation of God's will in constant application to our consciousness so that His will acts as a mold on us. As the mold comes down on our thinking and awareness we are transformed into His image. The mind of Christ is being created in us.

Impartation of the Divine Substance. The Word of God comes to us not only in terms of information and understanding by which we obtain salvation and by which our consciousness and judgment are renewed, but also in terms of the impartation of the Divine Substance.

We must eat the Word. We must eat the sacrifice. We must partake of the Divine Substance of God. This dimension of the Word of God (the Divine Substance) passes the level of our consciousness and judgment and has to do with what we are in essence.

We become one with Christ, our Passover Lamb, by eating Him. Christ is in us and we are in Him. It is the will of the Father that we be in complete union with Christ. When the fullness of the atonement has been developed in us we will be so identified with Christ that separation from Him or existence apart from Him will be inconceivable. We are being made one with Him as He is one with the Father.

The Word of God was made flesh. We must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to become one with Him. His flesh and His blood are our eternal life.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

Christ is the Word of God made flesh. He is the Bread of life. Without Him we have a deep spiritual hunger that nothing in the world can satisfy. Christ Himself is the tree of life. He is eternal, and when we eat His flesh we have eternal life.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (John 6:53)

Before we accept Christ we are dead spiritually, along with the rest of the people of the world. When we come to Him and believe in Him, He gives us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. These elements are eternal life.

How do we eat His flesh and drink His blood?

The Holy Spirit gives us the flesh of Christ and the blood of Christ in the spirit realm, often through the ministry of the members of the Body of Christ. Preaching, teaching, prophecy, counsel, exhortation, the word of knowledge, tongues, and all the other ways by which the Holy Spirit reveals Christ are the means for the impartation of the flesh and blood of Christ to us.

The Holy Spirit brings the Life of Christ to us in our personal devotions as we wait on the Lord and meditate in His Word.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:54,55)

When the word of God comes to us through the Holy Spirit it enters us and affects us in two different ways. First, the Word of God builds up our mind, renewing our thinking along the lines of the mind of Christ. We understand what is preached or taught or prophesied or what we read, and our grasp on God and His grasp on us are strengthened and enlarged. We keep on being transformed by the continual renewing of our mind.

Second, the Holy Spirit brings the Word of God to us in the form of the body and blood of Christ. The Substance of God enters our personality and we partake of the Divine Nature. We eat His broken body and we drink His blood as the Holy Spirit imparts to us the Substance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of God comes to our mind as we study the Scriptures and as it is given through the ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ. The Word of God also enters our heart in the form of the body and blood of Christ.

The Word of God to our mind brings guidance, wisdom, judgment, knowledge, and understanding. The Word of God to our heart gives us life in our inner being—the Life that is the Substance of Christ and that will raise us up at the last day.

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56,57)

It is the will of God that we partake of Christ continually so that His Divine Substance can be increased in us. He is our Life. As the Holy Father is the Life of Christ, and nothing that Christ is or does is apart from the Father, so we are called to exist and act as part of Christ. We are "the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

It is His will that this relationship develop until nothing—absolutely nothing—that we are or do is apart from Him.

The Communion service. The Communion service illustrates our coming to Him and eating His body and drinking His blood.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

As we eat the flesh of Christ we become one with Him in His death and resurrection. We eat the Passover Lamb and become one with the sacrifice. Our sins are forgiven through His blood. As we drink of it, the justifying, healing authority and power of His blood enter our body, soul, and spirit and we are delivered from bondages of all kinds—spiritual, mental, moral, emotional, and physical.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [sharing] of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion [sharing] of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (I Corinthians 10:16,17)

As soon as the flesh of Christ was broken and distributed He never again can be made whole until every last bit of His flesh comes together into the one Body of Christ. Such is the greatness of His eternal love. Christ will remain "imperfect" until each member of His Body has been made perfect and brought into oneness with Him, and through Him into oneness with every other member (Ephesians 4:13).

Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? (I Corinthians 10:18)

Under the Levitical law the priests, and in certain instances the worshipers, ate of the animal sacrifices after they were offered (Leviticus 7:6). Those who ate the sacrifices became one with the altar and with all that the altar represents.

As we eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood we become one with Him in His death and resurrection. Our sins continue to be forgiven as we walk in the Spirit of God, and His flesh and blood in us fill and transform our being.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (I Corinthians 11:23,24)

Every time we Christians sit down together and partake of the Communion we are remembering our Lord Jesus Christ. We are announcing the fact that through His death on the cross His body and blood are given to us so we may eat and drink, and thereby live.

The Communion calls to our mind that Christ is our Life and that we are to live by Him and not by the perishing physical existence that we have in the world.

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (I Corinthians 11:25,26)

The blood of Christ washes away the sins of the past, when we receive Christ as our Savior, and of the present as we confess and forsake our sins.

The blood of bulls, goats, lambs, and birds acted as a covering over the sins of Israel. There was no authority or power in the animal blood to take away the sin, only to cover the sin until God provided His Lamb—the Lord Jesus Christ.

Under the new covenant we drink the blood of the Lamb of God, and that blood is the justifying, remitting, purging, reconciling, eternal Life from God Almighty. We live by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. His flesh and blood are our eternal Substance and Life. Every time we choose to turn away from evil and do the will of God we are fed in the spirit realm with the body and blood of Christ.

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (I Corinthians 11:27)

The Communion elements are not merely a venerable church tradition that we observe because it seems to be a good thing to do. The Communion elements, from God's point of view, are the Divine Substance and eternal Life of the Godhead given to death-doomed people that they may live in the sight and Presence of God.

It is important that the believer receive the Communion elements as the body and blood of the Lamb of God with all due reverence, awe, giving of thanks, and purity of heart and mind.

If there is known sin in the worshiper's heart he must confess it to God. Also, he must make restitution if his sin is against another person and the circumstances seem to indicate that the offended person has an apology or payment due him.

If the worshiper is bound in sin he may need help in prayer from other members of the Body of Christ.

It often is needful and helpful to confess our sins to our husband or wife or to another good friend in the Lord (of the same gender as ourselves). Confession to another Christian enables us to expose the deceitfulness and pride that keep our thoughts and motives hidden in the dark recesses of our heart.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. (I Corinthians 11:28)

Self-judgment is an important part of the growth of Christ in us. As we are learning to walk prayerfully before the Lord the Holy Spirit brings to our heart and mind the various sins that are part of our personality. We must practice diligence in bringing these sins before the Lord in confession so that we may be forgiven and cleansed (I John 1:9).

If we would judge ourselves, it would not be necessary for God to judge and chasten us. We must cleanse ourselves by bringing our sins of imagination, motive, word, and deed to the fountain of the blood of Christ so that we may be forgiven and delivered from all sin and rebellion.

If we partake of the Communion elements, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but are not keeping ourselves in the place where we can hear the reproofs of the Holy Spirit concerning the uncleanness in our life, we will be judged by the body and blood of Christ. The judgment may result in our sickness or death.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (I Corinthians 11:29)

When we do not judge ourselves the Lord chastens us so we will not be condemned along with the world.

Human beings can obtain eternal life only in the Word of God. The Word of God in the form of words and phrases is given to our minds as the Holy Spirit, through ministries, books and other media, and special revelations, brings guidance and understanding concerning the working and purposes of God.

The Word of God in the form of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is imparted to our whole being, bringing Substance and Life.

All of the material resources of the world, all the wisdom, knowledge, riches, and pleasures of the mental and physical domains—all that the world is, in other words, can never bring eternal life to a single man, woman, boy, or girl. Christ Himself is the Bread of life. Unless a person eats His flesh and drinks His blood he or she cannot live. He remains spiritually dead. Christ is our Manna from Heaven.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

When we attempt to find peace and satisfaction in the world apart from Christ we soon discover that they cannot be attained. When we have only material resources to fill our deepest needs we dry up in our inner being and soon our life becomes an unbearable chore. When we eat His body and drink His blood we satisfy the hunger and thirst that are in us.

Christ keeps on feeding us and giving us to drink of Himself so that we never hunger or thirst again. Mankind died through Adam's sin. Restoration of life in the Presence and sight of God (and there is no life worth living apart from God) comes only through the Lamb of God, Christ.

The milk and solid food of the Word. When first we are converted to Christ and begin our pilgrimage we need to be nourished continually with the milk (first principles) of the Word of God.

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (I Peter 2:2,3)

We can receive the milk of the Word from the anointed ministries of the Body of Christ as the Word is preached and taught, and also from our own reading and meditating in the Scriptures.

There are few things in the Christian discipleship as necessary for the development of the victorious life as daily reading and meditation in the Scriptures. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. We escape the corruption that is in the world by laying hold by faith on the words that God has written to us.

We grow in wisdom, understanding, knowledge, judgment, faith, love, and hope as we keep on reading and meditating in the books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Many Christians do not spend enough time each day learning the Scriptures. As a result they remain weak in faith. They do not grow properly in the Lord.

As soon as we begin growing in the Lord we need to start on the solid food (advanced principles) of the Word of God. The evidence that we are growing in the Lord is our increasing ability to distinguish between good and evil, and our increasing strength and willingness to embrace the good and renounce and reject the evil.

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine [the elementary instruction] of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 5:12-6:1)

A baby cannot eat solid food because its system is not able to digest it. However, when the baby grows into a boy or girl there is a hunger for solid food, provided normal development has taken place. A healthy child has a good appetite. He craves food and will cry if he does not get it. A sick child loses his appetite because his body is occupied with a higher need—the overcoming of disease.

A healthy, growing Christian craves the solid food of the Word of God. As soon as a Christian gets a taste of solid food he will become restless until he finds a place where it is available to him on a regular basis. If solid food is not available anywhere, spiritual immaturity, deformity, and death may follow.

The ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ. God has provided a variety of ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit by which the Word of God can be brought to the mind and heart of the disciple.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12)

If we are to have the milk and solid food of the Word of God we must have the full set of ministries God has provided. It is necessary that there be apostles and prophets as well as evangelists and pastor—teachers ministering to us in these days so that Christ can be formed and brought to full development in each disciple.

Christians must pray without ceasing that God will restore all the ministries to the Church of Christ and that every saint will be brought into the fullness of the image of Christ and into the complete knowledge of Christ and union with Christ.

The Christian churches of our day are pouring almost all of their resources into gaining new converts. This is not a balanced emphasis. While some resources should be pointed toward preaching the Gospel toward those who never have heard, the major effort should be to bring to maturity those who already believe.

Because of the imbalance in the distribution of effort the world is full of baby Christians. They present little or no threat to Satan's empire. Many of them do not continue to make a profession of Christianity after a few years, falling back into sin. Those who do continue in the churches soon become filled with the various sins and failures that plague church people. We may have enough evangelists but we have a sore need for apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers. How else are we to come to the measure of maturity as measured by the fullness of the stature of Christ?

Mature Christians are not always in evidence in the Christian churches, as numerous pastors understand only too well!

The plan of God is as follows: as the several different types of ministry in a variety of ways bring the Word of God to our heart and mind, two aspects of our personality are affected: (1) we grow in the ability to minister to the Body of Christ and to mankind in general; and (2) Christ is formed in our personality. As these two aspects operate and develop in each member, the Body of Christ is brought to unity and maturity in Christ.

The Substance and Life of Christ (His body and blood) are added to us when the Holy Spirit reveals Christ through the members of the Body of Christ. Our mind is renewed as the Word of God creates in us the mind of Christ. Understanding of the purposes and methods of the Lord grows in us. Also, we gain wisdom and knowledge that enable us to better meet the practical daily needs that arise while we Christians are making our journey through the wilderness of this life.

Christ is formed in us by the gifts and ministries given us by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:11). Each Christian has his or her own ministry by which he can build up himself and also make his individual contribution to the perfecting of the whole Body of Christ.

There is no instance in which a member of the Body of Christ has nothing to give. If we are not aware of our own role in the building of the Body of Christ we should present our body a living sacrifice that we may "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" for our life (Romans 12:1,2).

Chapters 12 and 14 of I Corinthians discuss the subject of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of the gifts and ministries in the assembly of the saints. The purpose of the gifts and ministries is to build the Body of Christ—that Christ may be brought to full stature in the Church (I Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 4:13-16).

Christ is the Cornerstone of the living, eternal Temple of God. The Temple of God is being constructed as each member of the Body of Christ exercises the ministries and gifts given to him or her by the Spirit of God.

The Spirit of God has given to every Christian a spiritual enablement so that he may be adding to the building of the Body of Christ.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)

The Holy Spirit has distributed a wide assortment of gifts and ministries to the members of the Body of Christ that the Body may be brought to full stature.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:4)

These gifts are given to us by the Lord with the understanding that we are to learn from the Holy Spirit how and when they are to be used. The members of the churches, for the most part, do not know what their gifts are. Many who do possess functioning gifts do not understand how or when to use them.

Because the gifts and ministries are not operating properly the Body of Christ remains to this day a valley of dry bones. The gifts and ministries must be functioning if the Body of Christ is to be brought to maturity and unity.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (I Corinthians 12:7)

The ministries and gifts that the Lord gives us are the money, the talents of the Kingdom of God. It is Christ's understanding that we shall spend His money in the marketplace and show a profit. If we do not use the Lord's money in a profitable manner (in the building of the Body of Christ) He will, at His coming, take away the responsibility that He has given us and will entrust it to another Christian who has been wiser and more diligent (Matthew 25:26-28).

The Spirit of God apportions the ministries and gifts as He has determined in His own sovereign counsel, although it is wise on our part to covet ministries and gifts and to pray for them (I Corinthians 12:31,14:13,39, Luke 11:5-13).

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (I Corinthians 12:11)

Each of us has a unique set of spiritual abilities and a ministry in the Body of Christ that we are to perform. No one else has been assigned the task that is ours to do. The Body of Christ depends for its unifying and maturing on our performing the job, on adding the part, that has been delegated to us by the sovereign purposes of the Holy Spirit. God wastes nothing and He makes no mistakes.

The only way in which we can find what our ministry is and start to perform it is to present our body a "whole burnt offering" on the altar of God (Romans 12:1,2).

At first the presentation of our body as an offering to God may seem like an unreasonable demand by the Lord in that we are prevented because of it from pursuing our own life as we consider to be desirable.

When we remember that God in His love has set us aside (and this is true of every member of the Body of Christ) as a priest and deliverer so we may represent Him to His creation, the offering of ourselves to His will is viewed by us as no more than reasonable and appropriate.

We Christians must grasp the importance of the assignments of the King and hasten to give ourselves to the offices to which He directs us. His gifts of service are far more important than any sacrifices we are invited to make.

In the event that we as an individual do not build the Body of Christ with our gifts and ministries, God will follow another route in order to provide the part for which we were responsible; for the Body of Christ shall become a enlargement and counterpart of the Son of God, Christ. God already has spoken that fact into existence.

We ourselves will be stripped of our assigned office, now or at the coming of the Lord, and it will be given to another.

God is not a person with whom to trifle. The day in which we live is not a time to float about in indecision. The end-time spiritual battle is ready to be joined. Eternal destinies are being decided. Each of us must choose whether or not to give himself over to God's highest calling for his life.

God promised Abraham a Seed who would overcome the enemies of the Seed and who would be the source of blessing for all the nations of the earth. Galatians, Chapter Three states that the Seed is Christ and that there is no other seed. The Seed of Abraham is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer toward whom the prophets point.

Most students of the Scriptures in all probability have been aware of these facts. What has not been realized as commonly, although the Scriptures are clear enough, is that Christ consists not only of the Head, Jesus, who is the Lord of Glory, but also of His Body.

"If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29). Being Abraham's Seed means we shall overcome our enemies (the enemies of Christ—Luke 10:19) and shall be the source of blessing for all the nations of the earth.

The Anointed Deliverer who is to come, the eternal resting place of the Lord God of Heaven, is made up of the sovereign Head—the Lord Jesus Christ, and also of His Body, which is His Bride—the Church.

The Body of Christ is being created at this time on His broken body and shed blood just as Eve was created on the rib of Adam. The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are one of the principal means by which the Body of Christ is being fashioned. Also, suffering plays an important role.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

God Almighty has designed the Body of Christ according to His own wisdom and love.

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (I Corinthians 12:18)

God has provided every element necessary for the creation of the Body of His Son. The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are given to the Bride of the Lamb to help with her preparation.

The ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit are not to be identified with a particular denomination or local assembly of saints. The ministries of the Spirit are given to the Church, the Body of Christ. Each disciple is to use his gifts and ministries faithfully wherever God places him and in the manner in which God directs. When ministering in the local assembly he is to be subject to the elders of the assembly.

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:28)

The gifts and ministries are given for the building up of the members of the Body of Christ. Each member of the Body must be brought to maturity so that the Body will be prepared to be joined to the Head.

There cannot be so much as one member who has not been made ready, who still is opposed to the Holy Spirit concerning the loving of righteousness and obedience and the hating of sin and disobedience. One imperfect member would be an imperfection in the Body of Christ—and that is not acceptable. The Bride will be presented to Christ by His Father without any blemish (Ephesians 5:27).

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. (I Corinthians 14:26)

The Body of Christ has not been brought to maturity as yet because many of the members of the Christian Church are not functioning in the several gifts and ministries on which the maturing of the Church depends. Also, we must have more of the solid food of the Word of God added to our heart in the form of the body and blood of Christ, and to our mind in the form of knowledge and understanding.

We need, in addition, a mighty outpouring of power from on high—an additional and more powerful baptism with the Holy Spirit and with the fire of Divine judgment. "Holiness to the Lord" is the cry of the Spirit of God in the present hour. Many glorious areas of Christ's Kingdom await us as we press forward in God.

The final act of God needed to separate the tares from the wheat, and to bring the Body of Christ to the unity and maturity necessary for Her union with the Head, is the great tribulation period. The great tribulation will serve as the burning "sun" that will mature the Lord's "wheat." Apart from that time of unprecedented trouble the Church would remain as it is today—an intolerable mixture of the flesh and Christ.

The "Christ," part of whom is in Heaven at this time and part on the earth, will be brought to perfection as the various members of the Body, the anointed ministries and gifts, work together effectively. As we are able, let us present ourselves to the Lord so that He may reveal Himself to us and through us.

It is the demonstrating, the revealing of Christ through the Holy Spirit that brings the broken body and shed blood of Christ to the inner man of the Christian. It is the "pure milk" of the Word made alive in the Spirit that causes us to grow until we are able to partake of the "solid food" of the Word (I Corinthians 3:2). We are built up "according to the effectual working in the measure of every part" of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16).

It is not the will of God that His Seed lie dormant in us. The Divine Seed, Christ, has been planted in us for the purpose of growing into a son of God, a brother of Christ. Christ is to be formed in us.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

The farmer waits patiently for the fruit of the earth. God is waiting patiently until Christ comes to maturity in the believers.

The development of Christ in us is the rising of the Day Star mentioned in II Peter 1:19:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

There must be a full and continuing revelation of Christ through the Holy Spirit in every assembly of the saints. Each disciple must take up his cross and pursue a consecrated life saturated with prayer, Scripture reading, personal holiness, faith, hope, love, perseverance, courage, and unswerving obedience to God.