The Inner Man of the Heart
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 4

Having been so definite in pointing out that all the Divine operations in the "New Man" are directed toward the complete ascendency of the spirit over the soul and body, and that the anointing of God rests within and upon the "Inner Man," we can only stress two things. One is that whatever may appear to the contrary in emotion, pleasure, gratification, enjoyment, activity, resolve, etc, only that which comes out from the Holy-Spirit-indwelt-spirit is spiritual and effects spiritual ends. The natural - soulish - man can make an oil which is an imitation of "The Holy Anointing Oil," or fire which is "False Fire," which seems to serve the same purpose and produce similar results. Thus in the same meeting one may speak by revelation under the anointing of the Spirit of God, bringing those present face to face with issues of tremendous significance, and another may launch out on to a churning sea of beautiful ideas and strong emotional currents, and capture the meeting, apart from any spiritually discerning people present.

The pressure and strenuousness of life lay many open to the peril of such emotional, mental, and volitional stimulants, but it may only be in the religious realm what alcohol or drugs are in the physical realm. The pernicious results are that people must have more and more, and they select such as can produce them, and gather round such a man. This is clearly shown by Paul to be "carnal." It is the opposite of "The anointing which ye have received abiding within you, and ye have no need that any should teach you." This makes necessary the second thing, namely spiritual discernment.

We must seek more and more from the Lord a quickening and purifying of spirit, and we must walk after the spirit in whatever discernment we have so that we are saved from the imitation "oil" which deceives and at length lands us either into error or gets us into a spiritual cul-de-sac. Such are they that are "carried about by every wind of teaching." Spiritual discernment is one of the most vital needs of God's people today. Nothing can take its place, not even the wisest and best teaching or counsel. Only those who have it will be saved from the distraction and despair of the bewildering mass of conflicting teaching, "manifestations," and movements of these and the coming days.

There is another thing that Christian workers should remember. It is always a dangerous and paralysing thing to allow soulish human feelings to come in and take precedence over the spirit in relationships where spiritual help is needed. Compassion, love, sympathy, concern, interest, desire to help, etc, must be absolutely under the control and direction of the spirit. Failure to observe this law has resulted in some of the most ghastly moral and spiritual tragedies in the lives of Christian workers. If we allow either natural attraction or human desire on the one hand, or natural repulsion and human distaste on the other, to have any ruling place, the consequences may be disastrous, and the result will certainly be spiritual failure. Very often even in the case of a loved relative the human interest has to be made quite secondary - sometimes ruled out altogether - before a spiritual issue can be effected. OUR will and wish has to be surrendered to God's.

Before closing there are just two things which one feels should be mentioned. Having seen that the basis of all fellowship and co-operation with God is spiritual, in and through the born-again spirit, we must realise that this at once defines the real nature of our service. The background of all Cosmic conditions is spiritual. Behind the things seen are the things unseen. The things which do appeal are not the ultimate things.

"The whole world lieth in the wicked one." There is a spiritual heirarchy which, before this world was, revolted against the equality of the Son with the Father in the Throne, and in spite of the hurling out of heaven and the eternal doom which followed, has been in active revolt and antagonism to that "eternal purpose" right through the ages. A certain judicial hold upon this earth and the race in Adam was gained by Satan through the consent of that first Adam, through whom the purpose of God should have been realised on this earth.

Thus we have Paul telling the members of the Body of Christ - The Last Adam - that their "warfare is not with mere flesh and blood, but with principalities, and powers, the world-rulers of this darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies."

What a lot is gathered up into that inclusive phrase "This darkness." How much is said about it in the scriptures. The need for having eyes opened is ever basic to emancipation (see Acts 26:18). The cause of all "this darkness" is said to be "Spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies." Literally translated the words are "the spiritualities" or "the spirituals," meaning, spiritual beings. "Wickedness" here does not just mean merely inherent wickedness or evil, but malignancy; destructive, harmful.

"In the heavenlies" means simply inhabiting a realm beyond the earthly; not limited to earthly geographical localities; moving in the realm surrounding the earth and human habitation.

"World rulers" means that these malignant spiritual hosts are directing and governing the world wherever the government of Christ has not been superimposed through His Body - the spiritual Church.

"Principalities and Powers" (authorities) represent order, rank, method, system. Satan is not omnipresent, hence he must work through an organised dividing of the world under these principalities and authorities, and he himself "goes to and fro in the earth," and has seats here and there. (Job 2:2, Rev. 2:12, &c).

The Apostle declares that the explanation of situations is to be looked for in the unseen, behind the actual appearance.

What looks like the natural has its rise too often in the supernatural. Man is always trying to give a natural explanation and therefore to put things right by natural means. But when he comes up against a situation in which interests of the Christ of God are involved, he is floored and beaten. Such situations are becoming the common places - nay more - the overwhelming order of the day amongst "Christian workers" in these days, both abroad and at home. We have no intention of dealing with the subject at length here, but are stating the fact, and reminding the Lord's people especially that in more realms than that of Divine activity "What is seen hath not been made out of the things which do appear," but that multitudes of the things in daily life which are inimical to spiritual interests must have their explanation from behind. Let us emphasise that this spiritual union with God in the super Cosmic significance of the Cross of Christ means that our supreme effectiveness is in the spiritual realm. We who are the Divine "spirituals" are to be energised by the Holy Spirit to take ascendency in Christ over the Satanic "spirituals," and thus know something more than mere earthly dominion but "seated together with Him in the heavenlies" (as to our spirit) we are to learn to reign in that greater "kingdom of the heavens" of which the earthly millennial kingdom is only an earthly counterpart.

Again, let us affirm, that all the energies of God in our spirit are toward a corporate spiritual union with Christ whereby the impact of His victory and sovereignty shall be registered among and upon the "principalities and powers," etc., and their domination paralysed, and ultimately destroyed.

The last word is to point out that it is because man has, and centrally is, a spirit that he can have intercourse with fallen spirits. We believe that this explains the whole system of spiritism (spiritualism) and that the supposed departed with whom spiritualists communicate are none other than these "spiritual hosts" impersonating the departed, whom they knew in lifetime. Leaving the many phases of this thing in its outworkings and issues at the end of the age, let us note the terrible nemesis in wrecked minds and bodies: haunted, driven, distraught, reason-bereft souls; crowded asylums, prisons; suicides, moral and spiritual wrecks, etc., is because that which was given to man specifically for union, communion, and co-operation with God, namely the spirit of man, has been used as the medium and instrument for this demon invasion and control of his life. The tremendous warnings and terrible judgments associated with all kinds of spiritism; necromancy, witches, "familiar spirits," etc., are because of the spirit complicity, dalliance, consorting, with fallen spirits whose purpose is always to capture men and women through their spirits. This they will do even by adopting the guise of an angel of light and talking religion. Strange, isn't it, that fifty years ago men threw off the belief in the supernatural in the scriptures, and today they and their school so strongly embrace spiritism? Surely this is "the working of error" sent that they who received not the truth for the love of it "might believe A LIE" "in order that they might be condemned" (2 Thess. 2:11).

It was the spiritual background of their life which led to the destruction of the Egyptians, Canaanites, etc, and this was spiritism in different forms; but it was their being joined to demons that involved them.

The most spiritual people apart from new birth union with God are in the greatest peril here, and even the Lord's own people by reason of their very spirituality need to constantly abide in the Cross of Christ that they shall not become exposed to "The wiles of the devil."

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