"The Spirit's Law of Life"

by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 2 - The Law of Life

(Romans 8:2)

Now you see the Heavenly Man represented in the Lord Jesus on the earth. The type of what God intends us to be is the man who says, "The works that I do, I do not out from myself, it is the Father doing the works." "The words - not out from Myself, the Father speaketh the words." "There is nothing that I can do out from Myself," says the Master. These things are very simple, elementary, but you cannot get past them. If you are coming into that realm of real spiritual life you will discover "That if any man is in Christ Jesus he is a new creation and all things are new, and all things are of (or out from) God, for the old things are passed away." But how is it done? Simply by this working of Life in its simplest beginnings, its gentlest forms of expression, and you learning to listen, to put faith in that and to obey, and you find you are safe, and the Life increases, and the Lord is able to move on and do things that were impossible before the Life increased.

Now in one or two other matters one might just point out how this law of Life works. When you come into the spiritual realm, beloved, nothing of the old life will stand you in stead. Your human love will be no good in this realm. The strongest human tie will fail here; it is all right in the natural realm, you get on beautifully with those you love - the relationships are all right (I am speaking now of the best in human love where there is genuine human love), but you come into the Heavenly Life, and will very soon discover that there are factors which you have not met before, all new, and which are entirely beyond you, and beyond the power of that strongest human love to meet, and if that is all you have, and you do not recognise this principle, your human love will break down; and your relationships upon that basis will all become upset.

The relationships of husbands and wives, parents and children, children and parents in the natural life, until there is a movement into the heavenly life, meet strange difficulties and a break down. Now what is going to happen, are you going to accept that and sit down and say, 'Well, I suppose I must resign myself to it, it is my cross - there is misunderstanding and we cannot get on together any longer'? What is the way through? You need the love of the Resurrection Life which is mightier than death - I am speaking of people who are in the Lord, and here the Love has got to triumph over death. Take it in going to the heathen. You go out in the strongest sympathy for the heathen, and see how long you will stay there on that basis - it will not be long before you come home! Oh, yes, you want a Heavenly Life that can go right through with the business. Human love won't stand the strain of that. It starts off all right, but before long you find you are dealing with the forces of hell which have made their [aim] dead set upon the relationships in the Body of Christ, and human love cannot survive that. It is only the power of His Resurrection that can destroy the power of hell, as it has done in our Lord Jesus.

When we take the matter of our relationships on the natural level we shall find that all the temperamental things, the constitutional things, will begin to irritate us and influence us and affect us, and we shall soon come to the point where, because of these things in others, we recognise we cannot get on with them. It is no good, that thing is there, and we cannot have fellowship. Now when you get there what is going to happen? Is this right? This is surely a denial of the testimony, and you try to adjust it and smooth it over, but it won't be smoothed over. You tell yourself that you are not going to be affected by it, but you are affected by it. It is no good putting on blinkers, you only want to be caught at an unguarded moment and it is all up again. Oh, beloved, how are these things going to be dealt with? I have discovered this, that it is no use my dealing with the thing, but that the way out is this: an accession of Divine Life, a new uprising of Divine Life. This is death, what I need is Life, and if the Lord ministers Life, gives a new accession of spiritual Life, that thing ceases to trouble. It is there all the time, it has not gone in me, or the other. If I drop down there I have all the old trouble again, but if I am in Life it is all right.

Now you see that the law of Life is the law of our oneness in the Body of Christ. We are one by One Life, and it is only when that Life is at the flood that we have an absolute rise above all these schismatic things that are in us by nature. The need for the church in all the world to get over its divisions, all its schisms, disagreements, is the uprising of the power of His Resurrection. You cannot organise that union, that oneness: you cannot bring it about by having Conferences and decide that you will cease to regard non-essentials, and be one on the great things, and so on. You find sooner or later that you are all disagreed again; but when the Body of Christ comes to know Him and the power of His Resurrection, it will come into oneness which makes possible the impact of the one testimony of Jesus. It is the testimony that Jesus lives triumphantly by the power of a Risen Life. You see this is the principle every time. Everything, beloved, our hope of coming into the Purpose of God depends upon our Resurrection union with the Lord Jesus, upon the fact of His Resurrection becoming an experimental reality within our own spirit; we shall never get there apart from that.

Now I have only touched one or two matters by way of illustrating this thing, but it touches everything. First of all we have got to recognise and accept that the old nature must go, and we say to God's declaration about that, "Amen, I am willing to go, and by faith I do go. Now I claim upon that faith position the Life of the Risen Lord" and if you want to know really if you are born again, listen inside, you will have the answer - "The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit." The law of Life is saying to you, "Now steady, be careful." That is the proof that He is there - "Christ in you, the hope of glory." It is not the coming of some mighty cataclysm from heaven breaking through, some objective appearance, and your being swept up into something of a mighty sensation. You begin as a babe all over again with the new principle, and that principle is the promise and assurance of your full maturity to the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ if you are obedient to the law of the Spirit of Life. Oh, that the Lord would get us more on to that level, on to that basis of His own Risen Life, and there is nothing else for us to talk about, but that it is the beginning and the continuation and the end of all things.

Now I have put it in words, you apply it in your way to your own experience. What the Lord is after is to demonstrate the greatest thing in the universe, the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that it means, and He wants to demonstrate it in us, the members of Christ's Resurrection Body.

For the Lord's people there are no such words as "In the midst of life we are in death," but the other way round - "IN THE MIDST OF DEATH WE ARE IN LIFE."

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