The Spiritual Clinic (1946)
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 2 - The Paralysis of a Spiritual Irregularity

From observation of the maladies which come upon the people of God and bring arrest to His work through them, we have been much impressed with the fact that the violation of a Divine order is the cause of much trouble. If it is true that what God is doing in this age is not just saving individuals as such but constituting a "Body" and building a "House" by the addition of each saved one, then the right position of each is vital to perfect functioning and heavenly order. There is an order, and there is a position for each member. It is not given to us - let us say it with emphasis - to appoint the place or to manipulate into position. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. What we do say is that each member has his or her place, and God knows what it is. Under the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit each member should come into that place. If they fail to do so, or get into a wrong place, they miss their essential ministry and upset the effectiveness of the Body.

"Now hath God set the members..." (1 Cor. 12:18). Articulation is essential to life.

"Unto each... was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Eph. 4:7).

"Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us..." (Rom. 12:6).

There are not a few illustrations of dislocation and irregularity in the Scriptures:-

Dathan and Abiram and their company (Numbers 16).

Aaron and Miriam (Numbers 12).

Saul going over the head of Samuel (1 Sam. 13:9).

Uzziah presuming into the priest's office (2 Chron. 26:16).

Paul has very much to say on matters of order in the Church, and it is not merely the individual position which is of importance, but the relative factor and element. Independent action is as dangerous as dislocation, it robs of covering and protection and exposes to enemy forces. There is a heavenly order, a spiritual system, and the relationships and ministries of believers are to be according to those spiritual principles and a reflection of that heavenly order.

What Paul says about woman's place in ministry and the domestic relationships of the saints can only be understood and appreciated in this light.

When one called of God to do the work of an evangelist assumes the role of a teacher, or vice-versa, or any one marked out for a particular functioning attempts to do some other, or when one goes beyond the scope and assumes any prerogative which is not theirs by Divine ordering, they are in the way of an arrested ministry; and more, they will be landed into serious confusion. People and things - otherwise occupying a vital position in the Divine plan - put into their wrong places have the Divine unction withdrawn from them. This becomes manifest, and the spiritually undiscerning conclude that the thing or the person is outside the Divine purpose and accordingly rule them out. Thus much confusion and loss ensues.

Undoubtedly in New Testament times there was the recognition of the corporate nature of the Church, and the definite prayer which followed the baptism of everyone who thereby testified to their identification with Christ was the initial setting forth of this relative position and this truth of articulation, adjustment, and function. The Holy Ghost came in and took up the superintendence from that time, and any disorder thenceforth was against Him. In these few lines we have encircled a very wide and important field of truth and would plead for a prayerful retracing step by step with the Word. The Holy Spirit's method is to set His seal upon us as we move according to His leading, not according to our fancy, choice, aptitude, predilection or ambition.


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