When we refer to the “beginning” — meaning the beginning of Christianity — we, of course, instinctively think of Pentecost, that advent of the Holy Spirit. We then proceed to think of the early record of the Holy Spirit’s “Acts”. For a return to or recovery of such a condition there is often expressed a desire, even a longing, and in many basic respects rightly so. We here are seeking to underline some of those fundamental factors. So, we come now to point to the one which is very vital and important to the whole of New Testament Christianity. Doctrinally this would arouse little controversy among Evangelicals, but the very acceptance of the doctrine as a matter of course may mean an inadequate recognition of its cruciality. We can only trust that as we proceed, a new recognition of the greatness and imperativeness of this truth may break or dawn upon our readers.
great truth is that
The Holy Spirit has one court of
appeal from which he will on no account depart.
Holy Spirit has an arbiter, a judge, an umpire, to which
He will unswervingly appeal for a verdict on every
matter. As in a game or contest with two opposing sides
the appeal of “How’s that?” is made to the
umpire; or as in a court of law the appeal for a decision
is made to the one who is there to give judgment: so it
is with the Holy Spirit. He has a fixed basis for His
verdict, and His verdict is fixed as to death or life, as
to rejection or acceptance. It is of supreme importance
whether the Holy Spirit says “Yes” or
“No”. Go through the Book of the Acts and note
where and when that verdict was given, one way or the
other and see the result. There was a sensitiveness to
the Holy Spirit then which meant everything for arrest or
release by discovering whether His finger indicated
“Yes” or “No”.
was the Holy Spirit’s ground of arbitration,
judgment and verdict? It was ever and always the Cross.
The Cross combining the death and resurrection of Christ
was God’s almighty and categorical “No” or
“Yes”. The death of Christ was that eternal
“No” to an entire order and source of things.
The resurrection was His wonderful and glorious
“Yes” to another order.
The Holy Spirit Always
Appealed to the Cross
is seen — if we have eyes — everywhere in the
New Testament. Take in your hand the fact that the Cross
set aside one entire humanity in Adam and gave the only
place to another “Adam”, a new and different
humanity, and with it go through each book of the New
Testament. Often, most often, you will find the Cross
definitely mentioned in some way, such as “The Cross
of our Lord Jesus” or “Christ crucified”,
etc. Sometimes it will be by implication, such as in
Philippians 2:5-8. Sometimes an exhortation, a command,
an admonition, an appeal, will involve the Cross for a
response. The Cross runs the whole way through, and it
has a very great many applications and connections. On ALL
matters of life, conduct, service, movement, spirit,
speech, judgment, etc., it is as though the Holy Spirit
is saying: “That was crucified with Christ”;
“That does not live before God”; “That
belongs to a source which was ‘buried with
Christ’.” Or, on the contrary, “That has
My verdict of life and peace because it is ‘risen
with Christ’; it has God’s
Corinth there was so much carnality that sensitiveness to
the Holy Spirit’s judgment was dulled or numbed.
Hence the apostle — before coming to them —
made a positive resolve “to know nothing among you,
save Jesus Christ, AND HIM CRUCIFIED”.
“Christ crucified — the wisdom of God and the
power of God.” “We preach Christ
is an example of what we mean when we say that the
arbitration, the judgment of the Holy Spirit is always by
reference to the Cross. This can be noted in its manifold
and specific connection in every other book. Violation of
this position invariably resulted in confusion,
complications, and frustration. Lapses there were, and
sovereign acts of God saved the situation ultimately, but
the record leaves these lapses as warnings for all time.
cannot relegate the Cross to history, as an event, a bit
of Christian doctrine. It is an abiding judgment-seat;
the Lamb is on the throne now, and will be the final
verdict of judgment. The last view is of “The Lamb
in the midst of the throne”, and the whole scene
will be one of God’s mighty and eternal
“Yes!”, when everything of the “No!”
of God will have been actually removed.
come with the Holy Spirit to the Cross with all our
matters, and ask Him to register its verdict as to
whether it is alive or dead unto God.