by T. Austin-Sparks
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, May-June 1943, Vol. 21-3. An extract from "Spiritual Sight" - Chapter 5.
When will the Lord's people, who have the Scriptures and who know the Scriptures so well in the letter, when will they come to realize and to recognize that if truly they have been crucified with Christ, if they have died in His death and have been raised together with Him and have received the Spirit, they have light in their dwelling? ''The anointing which ye received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you, but... His anointing teacheth you concerning all things'' (I John 2:27). When will believers, when will Christians, come to realize that? Why must Christians who have the knowledge of the Scriptures in the letter run about here and there to seek advice from others on matters which vitally affect their own spiritual knowledge? I do not mean that it is wrong to get counsel, wrong to know what other children of God of experience think or feel about matters. But if we are going to build our position upon their conclusions, we are in great danger. The final authority and arbiter in all matters is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the anointing.
We may get help from one another, but I do hope that you are not going to build your position upon what I say now because I say it. Do not do that. I do not want you to do it. I do not ask you to do it. What I say is, listen, take note; and then go to your final authority Who is in you if you are a child of God, and ask Him to corroborate the truth or to show otherwise. That is your right, your birthright, the birthright of every child of God: to be in the light of the indwelling Spirit of light, the Spirit of God.
I wonder where Paul would have been had he taken the opposite course to that which he did take? ''When it pleased God, Who separated me from my birth...to reveal His Son in me...straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia'' (Gal. 1:15-17). I wonder what would have happened had he gone up to Jerusalem and laid every matter before those who were apostles before him? We know from subsequent events that one thing they would have said to him would have been, Look here, be careful, Paul! You tell us that on the Damascus road Jesus is supposed to have said something to you about going to the Gentiles; be careful! They would have put him back about this Gentile business. You know what happened afterward. You know how on that point even Peter was caught in dissimulation years after. You know how those apostles which were before him at Jerusalem were all the time very chary about this matter of the Gentiles, and had Paul capitulated to them, we should never have had the great apostle to the Gentiles, the great apostle of the Body of Christ, with his revelation of the mystery, of the oneness of all in Christ, Jew and Greek. He did not submit that thing even to those who were apostles before him, to ask them whether he was right or not, whether this was sound or not. Oh no! He had the anointing in Damascus; Ananias laid his hands upon him and he received the Spirit, and from that day, although Paul was quite ready and happy to have fellowship with his brethren, though he never took a superior or independent position, though he was always open to conference, nevertheless he was a man governed by the Spirit.
I know you have to be careful how you take what I am saying. It will only be safe for you as you are one who does not set yourself up as some independent party with the Holy Spirit, but who keeps perfect fellowship, humility, submissiveness, openness of heart, with readiness to listen to and obey what may come through others, as the Spirit bears witness to the truth. But all that depends upon your inward condition, whether you are on natural ground or on spiritual ground, on old creation ground or on resurrection ground. But being on resurrection ground, where it is not the life of nature but the Spirit that governs, beloved, you have the right and the privilege and the blessing of knowing the Spirit bearing witness in your heart, and the anointing teaching you all things with regard to whether any given matter is right or wrong. When will the Lord's people know that, recognize that?
You see, it is this other thing all the time that is robbing so many of the light that the Lord would give them. The Lord would lead them into the greater fullness of the knowledge of His Son, of the enlargement of their spiritual understanding, but they are neglecting the gift that is in them. They are neglecting the Holy Spirit as their illuminator and teacher and instructor and guide and arbiter, and they are going to this one and that one, to this authority and that, and saying, What do you think about it? If you think it is wrong, then I will not touch it! It is fatal to spiritual knowledge to do that. That is going on to natural ground.
Now the Lord wants us off that ground. This matter of occupying resurrection ground, of living a life in the Spirit, is all-important in coming to the full knowledge of God's Son. How much more we could say about that! Let us be careful as to who our authorities are. So many dear children of God, individually and collectively, have come into dire and grievous bondage, limitation, and confusion by all the time going back to human authorities, to this great leader and that, to this man who was greatly used of God, this man who had a great deal of spiritual light.
''The Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from His Word'' than even this or that servant of His possessed. Do you see what I mean? We get all the benefit of the light given to godly people and seek to profit by true light, but we will never come into bondage and say, That is the end of that matter! That must never be. We must maintain our resurrection ground. And who can exhaust that? In other words, who can exhaust the meaning of Christ risen? He is a boundless store, the land of far distances. No man yet has ever done more than begun to know the meaning of Christ risen. If there has been one man who has that meaning more than another, I suppose it was Paul. But to the last from his prison he still cries, ''That I may know Him!'' "I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things and do count them but refuse" (Phil. 3:8). Right at the end of a life like his, he is still saying, That I may know Him!