The Christian Life

by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 1 - The Immense Significance of the Christian Life

The general subject then, is what it means to be a Christian. I think we might be quite safe in dividing this company into three categories generally. One, those who would not claim to have had a definite experience in relation to Christ of what the New Testament calls the new birth, or being born anew. Another group are those who have perhaps more recently had such an experience and are what might be called "young Christians"; not necessarily young in years, but young in Christian life. And the third group: the people who know all about it. Now, it will be necessary for there to be quite a bit of give and take in what is being said. That is, that if there is that being said that does not fit your group, your category, you must remember that it may just be what someone else needs, and in that way be co-operative so that we are working together. And the mature experienced people who know all about it, must realise that I am also speaking to those who have no experience at all in this matter, or whose experience is very immature. Having said that, we can come to our subject: what it means to be a Christian.

There are many misconceptions as to what the Christian life really is. There's quite a bit of confusion, quite a lot of mistaken ideas, and certainly there is a great deal of limited apprehension of what a Christian really is. I am not going to speak about the negative side very much - that is, as to what it is that is either mistaken, confused or inadequate. I think the best way of dealing with all such difficulties is to get right on to the positive line, and seek to state the thing in its fullness, as we are able, and so leave the comparisons to be made by those who hear. The corrective for wrongs or mistakenness is always get on positive lines and not trying to deal with the faults and the weaknesses and imperfections. So we are going to get right away onto the positive side of what it means to be a Christian.

And our first phase of this matter is, as you see:

The Immense Significance of the Christian Life.

When we put it into such a phrase we are saying something of very great importance. It is this: that we shall never really appreciate anything until we see it in its full setting. If it is just something in itself, we miss a great deal. We've got to get its great background and its great setting in order to feel the full impact of its significance. And that is what we are going to seek to do, as we are Divinely enabled - to see something at least, of the immense significance of the Christian life.

I think we shall all be on the ground of common agreement when I say that the Christian life begins with Christ. But that means a great deal more than it sounds. To say that Christianity began with Jesus is true if you put Jesus in His right setting. And it is just at that point that an adjustment may be necessary in order to grasp the immensity of this matter. You see, neither the Christian life nor Christianity did begin with the historic Jesus. They did not begin when Jesus was born, when Jesus lived here, when Jesus died and rose again. It is just there, I say, that we need to make an adjustment. We must know what it is that the Bible shows as to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now you take up your New Testament, and open with the gospels. You find that Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham. Luke takes Him back still further, to Adam. Mark begins his life of Jesus with Jesus at thirty years of age, at the time of His baptism. But John overreaches them all; back through the thirty years, beyond Bethlehem, back, ever back to Abraham and beyond Abraham, to Adam; and he doesn't stop there, he still goes further back: "In the beginning". Whenever, wherever, that dateless time - "in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God." That is a statement - and it is only a statement, a statement of truth, of fact as to the Person of the Lord Jesus; but that, with one or two other sentences, is all that John gives us.

But we have in the New Testament, through another apostle, a very great deal more concerning Jesus right back there in that dateless time. Through the apostle Paul we are taken back there and we are shown a very great deal about God's Son "before times eternal", not only before He came into this world, but before this present world order came into being.

It is the universal custom to begin a biography with the ancestry of the person in view, leading up to his or her birth, and the whole thing is but an account of the human and earthly history of this person. But the biography of Jesus Christ goes right back not only long before His own birth in this world, into this world, and beyond His human parentage or ancestry. A large section of the biography of Jesus Christ in the Word of God relates to that which is called "the before times eternal". Here are some fragments of Scripture. We hear Him praying. He is praying to His Father, and He is saying: "Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was". That's a bit of His biography, or autobiography - "the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." And then the apostle Paul, in that matchless description of Him, just has this one clause, this one mighty clause of only five words: "He is before all things". "The glory which I had with Thee before the world was" - "He is before all things."

So, it's right back there that we travel to find the meaning of a Christian, the Christian life, and Christianity. Let us contemplate Him back there, from the standpoint of definite statements in the Scriptures as to His Person - what He was like, then. Here it is: "God hath... spoken unto us in His Son... who being the effulgence of His glory, and the very image of His substance..." that certainly does not belong to the days of His humiliation. That goes right back, as we shall see in a moment, in the very connection or context of those words - "the express image of His substance", "the effulgence of His glory". That's what He was like before the world was.

What was His position then? Here it is: "Though He was equal with God, He counted it not as something to be grasped at" to be on an equality with God, equal with God, on equality with God - that was His position then.

Then as to His appointment. Here again is the Scripture and the context of the words we quoted just now, "hath... spoken unto us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things". "Appointed heir of all things". When did that happen? That was not done in time, that was not at the time of His birth or subsequently. That was right away back there in the eternity past. There was something done in the counsels of the Godhead, whereby the Son of God was appointed Heir of all things, when it was determined that all things should be the heritage of God's Son, His rightful inheritance as God's Heir. Not to come into it, of course, on the demise of God, but God bound up all things with His Son, and made Him their Inheritor. These are things that we know through the Scriptures. How the men who stated them come to know? Well, they tell us. Paul, who says most about this, tells us quite definitely that it was given to him by revelation: God made it known to him. Well, there it is.

That, then, as to the "before times eternal". And out of that relationship with God, out of that fellowship with God, and out of that appointment of God, came the next move: the creation of the present world, not the creation of the present world condition, but the present cosmic order; and again we are given a lot of information and light as to the relationship of Christ with the creation of this present world order.

We are told in the first place that He was the Agent of it, God's Agent in the creation. Here is the statement: "All things were made through Him; and without Him was not anything made that hath been made". Or again another statement: "For in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him, and unto Him" - the Agent. And if it needs another word to bear that out, here it is: "There is... one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things". Through whom are all things - the Agent in creation.

The Object of Creation

"In Him were all things created". He is before all things. "All things were created through Him, and unto Him". All things created unto Him, and another statement: "For of Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things". And then a further movement is indicated, or a further constituent of this creative activity and purpose and it is found in the little clause which completes what we have just read: "He is before all things, and in Him all things consist". The Agent, the Object, the Integrator. "In Him all things hold together" - integrated. He is therefore the very reason for the creation. And remove Him, and the creation will disintegrate. When they crucified Him and He committed His Spirit to God, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit", there was a great earthquake, and the sun was hidden, and darkness over the face of the earth. The very Object of the creation has been put out of His place by man. The creation knows that its very Integrator has been rejected. These are but tokens of a great fact. Jesus Christ is the meaning of this creation: and without Him the creation has no meaning.

Perhaps some of you who are a thinking people are saying, "Well, these are tremendous statements; they are ideas, they may be a wonderful theory, a system of teaching, but are they facts? How can you prove them?" My dear friends, you are all yourselves the proof of them! You see, we are moving toward the meaning of the Christian life. You have no meaning in your own creation until you find Jesus Christ. And the first thing that is livingly true about anybody who finds Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour is that they are conscious of having found the meaning of their very being - why they are alive! Life then takes on its meaning, and these are not just great wonderful truths, suspended in an abstract way for our contemplation, acceptance or rejection. They are borne out in the creation, and you and I are a part of it. There is no unification of our own individual lives until Jesus becomes the centre, there's a marvelous integration when that happens; until then we are divided, scattered people; life is not an order at all - it's a chaos. But as a statement we have, of course, got to come back to that presently, but we are at the moment occupied with Jesus Christ, and away back firstly before the world was, and then as the Agent, Object and Integrator of the creation. "Through Him... all things being created".

Out of this, three wonderful, though simple things quite clearly arise. Firstly, His likeness to God, His likeness to God - the very image, or "impress", as the word is, of His, God's substance; likeness to God, oneness with God, and agency of God. I want you to hold those things, because they are carried over and they come very much into this matter of the Christian life. With all this, we have to recognise a uniqueness and exclusiveness about Him, and I want to underline that as many times as I can, lest presently it might look as though I am on very dangerous ground. But I want you to extract those three things: likeness to God, oneness with God, and agency of God's purposes and God's work - but in His case something unique and absolutely exclusive, gathered into the word Deity, 'very God of very God'. Having said that we can pass on to what the Bible has to say about man. That in brief, but oh, what a comprehensiveness, what a profundity, what a fullness, in brief is what it says about Jesus Christ before He came into this word. We pass to the next phase of things:

What it Says About Man.

What does the Bible say about man as the very first thing that it says? It says a great deal about man, but what is the first thing that the Bible says about man? "And God said, Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness". "Let us make man in our own image, and our own likeness..." that's the conception, the Divine conception, that's the Divine idea. And what does that amount to? Surely it amounts to representation of God. Any image of a thing is supposed to be the representation of that thing, and the idea or conception of man in the Divine mind was that man should represent God. Now, not in that exclusive sense of which I've spoken - Deity - that doesn't come into it with man at all; but this matter of being an expression of God, bearing the likeness of God: so that if you should meet a man who answers to the Divine idea you have a very good idea of what God is like. Oh, that that were more true - but in a very limited way we do know, very limited, far too limited, but in a limited way sometimes we meet what we call a 'godly' man (and 'godly' is only 'God-like' abbreviated), and sometimes we are able to say in a little way, "When you meet that man, you seem to meet the Lord, you seem to find something of the Lord - you seem to touch what you think the Lord would be like."

Now, that was the Divine intention, idea, conception, as to man; but it was the intention that it should be in a full way, that man's being and existence should convey the knowledge of what God is like in His moral character, in the beauty of His personality, that you should touch God, and be led back to God by that expression of God. And therein is a principle, mark you, a principle that we ought to take up, and that is to be carried into this matter of what is a Christian, what it means to be a Christian. All our talking about God or Christ is utterly worthless unless we convey God and Christ - unless our Lord is found in us. That's the best thing, and sometimes that does its work without any talking, whereas a vast amount of talking will do nothing unless there is the touch of the Lord there. The conception of man in the heart of God is just that: that He, HE should be found in a creation and in a manhood. That's the conception then, the relation to God in God's intention was just this: likeness in nature. Likeness in nature, not Deity, not Godhead, but God's nature.

You see, the Lord Jesus when He was here was always trying to convey, by different means, sometimes by stories or parables, an impression of what God is like. He was speaking to people of very small spiritual apprehension. He could not go beyond illustrations, pictures and figures such as (was it a parable, or was it a life-story?) known as 'The Prodigal Son', I think a misnomer, it would be far better to call it "The Story of a Father's Love", and you would get to the heart of what the Lord Jesus was after. What He was saying was that when you have contemplated that man, that father, his broken heart and his marvelous forgiveness and restoration, even smothering confession before it's finished, and lavishing upon that renegade son all that he had, you've got a faint idea of what God is like! And man was intended to be endowed and endued with the Divine nature. Peter even uses those words, "There are given to us exceeding great and precious promises whereby we shall become partakers of the divine nature". Leave Deity out of it; you've got enough when you come to the Divine likeness without aspiring to Deity. Likeness in nature... oneness in life; that was God's thought concerning man, that man should become an inheritor of the very uncreated Life of God. He was put on test, on probation, and missed it. It was there in the symbolic form of the Tree of Life, to be had on condition, but he missed it. And so man, by nature - all the children of Adam right up to our own time and ourselves - never have possessed that Divine Life outside of Jesus Christ. But that is the gift. As we shall see later, perhaps next week if God wills, that is one of the great things that happens when we become a Christian: partakers of God's own, Divine, eternal, uncreated Life. I won't dwell upon that at present, but then again, not only likeness and oneness, but:

Fellowship in Purpose.

That was God's idea for man, that he should be brought into a working relationship with God in His great, His vast purposes in this universe. The statement of Scripture is: "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands" - fellowship with God. And here again we have a vast amount in the New Testament. I think we could say that ninety percent of the New Testament is occupied with this co-operation with God in His great purposes, on the part of Christians. The apostle is so fond of using that very phrase, 'called according to His purpose'. Fellowship in the purpose of God - that was in God's mind in making, in creating man.

But note, all this, all this: likeness in nature, oneness in life, and fellowship in purpose, all this related inseparably with God's Son, Jesus Christ: none of it, apart from the appointed Heir. We are said to be "joint-heirs"; that is, we come into things by union with Christ. So the apostle Paul has as his abundant phrase, found everywhere (two hundred times) in his writings - "in Christ", "in Christ", "in Christ" - nothing apart from Christ, nothing outside of Christ - it is all in Christ, inseparably bound up with God's eternally appointed Heir of all things. Before we can follow that through into the Christian life, we have to look at that, shall we say, this tragic interlude:

The Failure of Man.

We know the story, how it is written and how it is put. I often, at risk of course, at risk of being misinterpreted, feel inclined to say you need not worry so much about the story as to how it is put, what is important is to get hold of the laws and principles and truths lying behind which create the story. I know the difficulty and problems that so many have, Bible students here tonight, you have your difficulties, your intellectual difficulties about the Bible, all this. Well, you know, after all, after all, I'm not saying that it is not true, that it doesn't matter, but I'm saying that after all it's the result, the result and values and implications that matter. If you and I can get hold of what the Bible embodies as a matter of principles, and not allow the framework of those principles to be the primary thing, the all-important thing, we'll get to the message, we'll get to the meaning! Well, we know the story of what is called "the fall", we want to get into that, man's failure.

We are told, the Bible tells us of what the source of that failure was. Here again, marvelously, we are taken right back before the creation. The veil is drawn aside and we are shown something happening outside of this world, somewhere where those counsels of God have become known, His counsels concerning His Son and the appointment of His Son as Lord of creation, as Heir of all things. It's got known amongst the angels, the hierarchy of Heaven, and there is one there, the greatest created being of all, Lucifer, son of the morning, who becomes acquainted with this Divine device and scheme. How? This is the mystery - how into that realm iniquity should enter, we don't know, the origin of sin, but what we are told is that iniquity was found in him. Pride was found in his heart. Pride!

And pride immediately works out in jealousy, does it not? Think of pride again. It always immediately shows itself in jealousy, rivalry. Pride cannot stand either a peer or an equal. Pride will always lead to a trying to go one better in whatever realm it is. And so all the jealousy and all the rivalry sprang into that heart. And we are told in the Scripture that that one said: "I will be equal with the Most High; I will exalt my throne above the clouds..." - jealous of God's Heir, a rival to His appointment; and Heaven was rent. That one was cast out, we are told, he was cast out of his estate with all those who entered into that conspiracy with him against God's Son. The angels, this is a passage of Scripture, "the angels which kept not their first estate" were cast out.

Well, the next thing we see is the appearance of this one in beautiful guise - not with horns and tail and pitchfork - but in beautiful guise to deceive; coming into the realm of God's creation, and to man and his partner. You know the story, that's the origin. The motive? Jealousy. Pride. Rivalry. What was the method? We'll never understand the meaning of the Christian life until we get these things. What was the method, what was the focal point, of the great arch-enemy's attack upon the man that God had created to come into fellowship with His Son in the great purpose of the ages?

The focal point was man's self-hood. Man's self-hood. I doubt whether the man had any consciousness of the self-hood until Satan touched him on that point and said, "Hath God said? God is keeping something from you that you might have; He is limiting you. God knows that if you do this thing which He has forbidden, you yourself will have the root of the matter in yourself, you will have the capacity and faculty in yourself for knowing, knowing, knowing. At present, under this embargo of God, you've got to depend entirely upon Him, you've got to consult Him, refer to Him, defer to Him; you have got to get everything from Him! And you can have it in yourself! And God knows that, and you see, you see, God is withholding something from you that you might have, and you are less of a being than you might be - so God is not really favourable to you and your interests."

This maligning of God... but the focal point was this: "You, you, YOU can be something, you can do something, you can be "in the know" about things. You see? Self-centredness, self-interest, self-realisation, and all the other host of 'self' aspects. The 'I' awoke, that 'I' which had brought the enemy out of his first estate: 'I will be exalted above the clouds, I will be equal with the Most High'. Now to awaken the 'I' in man... instead of man having his centre in God, deriving everything from God, aspiring to have the centre in himself; instead of being God-centred, to be self-centred - that was the focal point. And man was led into the same pride, leading to the same act of independence - making a bid for personal freedom from God.

The results? Well, we know them. The older this world becomes, and the greater the development of this race, the more and more terrible is the manifestation of this original thing: man trying to get on without God, man saying that he CAN get on without God; man seeking to realise himself, fulfil himself, and to draw everything to himself and himself to be the centre of everything, not only individually, but collectively. That's the story, isn't it? That's history. The results? Well, it's a terrible thing, you look at the world and all this terrible, terrible suffering, all the misery, all the horror. And we would never have believed, had it not become an actuality in recent years, what man is capable of doing - because, because of his break with God. We won't dwell upon that; it's too awful. The point is: why? Why should all this suffering and misery and wretchedness go on in the world? Surely the answer is this: God can never remove from man the consequences of this act of pride and disobedience, independence and complicity with His arch-enemy; could not remove the consequences without letting man go on in his independence. All this is God's way, the way in which God is compelled to say - "It's an awful thing, an awful thing, to be without God, to be in a state of breach with God". It's an awful thing!

Now you come into the Christian life, you see, you don't remove all the misery and suffering in the creation, and you don't remove the suffering from yourself, but there's a difference. The mighty difference between those who are outside of Christ and those who are in Christ is this: all suffer, but the one suffers unto despair and hopelessness, and in the sufferings of the other there is the grace of God turning it all to account to make them Godlike again. The sufferings of a Christian make that one like their Lord. It's just marvelous to see the likeness of Christ coming out in His own through their sufferings. While the others suffer without hope; die without hope. That, by the way, the results.

Now, just for a few minutes let's get to this next phase of things:

The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus.

For it is just at that point that all that was appointed for Him, all the Divine design and conception of God's Son in this universe, all the creative activity through Him and by Him and unto Him, and just at that point all the meaning of man's creation, as we have been showing or trying to show, at the point of incarnation all that is taken up in a definite way for realisation. There first of all has something to be undone in this universe.

Oh, this incarnation, the coming of the Lord Jesus into this world, is a far, far greater thing than anyone has yet appreciated. But the Word of God makes a great deal of this coming into the world. You know, we've just been recently talking all the time about the birth of Jesus - Jesus born in Bethlehem. There's been so much about that in carols and in talk. It's all been, all been the birth of Jesus. Jesus born. But you know, the Word of God, while it uses that phrase, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem...", the Word of God says far, far more about His coming. That was not the beginning of Jesus: that was the coming of Jesus. He definitely and deliberately and consciously, in that full form of His eternal existence with God, made a decision about this matter, a deliberate decision to come. Coming in babe form had its own meaning - we dare not stay with all the details of this - it had it's own meaning coming that way, but it was a coming.

And what the Word of God says about that coming first of all, was that it was a mighty, mighty renunciation on His part. Listen again. "Who being in the form of God counted it not something to be grasped at, to be on equality with God, but emptied Himself, emptied Himself... took upon Him the form of a bondslave, being made in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross". And there is, you see, an inference, an implication in that sentence in His great prayer: "Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" - "I had..." He's let it go, given it up. That mighty renunciation of God's Son of His heavenly, eternal glory, of His position - down to what? Servanthood. The word is a 'bond-servant', a bond-slave, the form of a bond-slave. You and I cannot grasp all that, because we cannot grasp what it meant for Him to be equal with God. We cannot understand all that He was and had in the eternity past. We know so little about that; we understand less. But here it is: it's all been renounced, and He is now here in incarnation, not as a master, but a bond-slave. "The Son of man", said He, "is come not to be ministered unto, but to minister". "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). "He took a towel, and girded Himself... He poured water into the basin, and washed the feet of His disciples". The God of the slave... the bond-slave, not an angel but the man... assuming responsibility for the state of things and for the recovery of what was lost and the re-instating of what had been forfeited, the redeeming of man and creation. For that He became incarnate, and then straight to the Cross, straight to the Cross. He had come for that - He had no illusions about that - He'd come for that. One of His great imperatives was always related to the Cross. "The Son of man must be delivered up... must be crucified". That imperative was in His heart as overruling and overriding everything else. He knew it, and that is why He repudiated and rejected the cheap offer of the kingdoms of this world at the hands of the Devil; because He'd come, not to have them as they were, but to have them as God ever intended them to be, and that could only be by the Cross.

So the Cross - the great repudiation of the world as it was and is, the great repudiation of man as he had become, the man that God could not accept, in whose heart is this very pride, the repudiation of him because, representatively, the judgment and death of Jesus Christ was God saying concerning the whole race, 'I have finished with that man', and turned His face away. The heart of His Son was broken as He cried, 'Thou hast forsaken Me!' Why? Because He was there as man's representative, the world's representative as it was, and He had to repudiate it, die as it, to it, as God, closing the door on it. But by that means He redeemed, He redeemed man, He redeemed the creation. And in His resurrection-ascension to the right hand of God He re-instated man, representatively, in the place that God ever intended man to have! This is not all isolated action on the part of Jesus Christ. This is related all the time. He is the inclusive One, and what happens to Him is what God means to happen to man. Until man is in Christ, he is repudiated by God. There is no way through. "No one cometh to the Father, but by Me". But in Christ the inheritance which was lost is recovered. In Christ, personally at God's right hand as His representative, in Christ man is reinstated. He is there as the earnest of what we shall be and where we shall be, by the grace of God.

All this is the setting of the Christian life; is it not immense? Is it not immense? This is the background of a Christian! You see, we strive, we struggle for words to try to set it forth, it's so great. And all I hope to do, and really all I'm trying to do tonight, is to leave an impression on you. I cannot explain, I cannot define, I cannot set it out, I cannot convey it; but all this, which is so, so poor an expression of it, surely, surely, should leave an impression on us. And this is what we're really getting at, that that eternal background is the setting of the Christian. This little thing of becoming a Christian; getting converted and becoming a Christian, it's, well... it's wonderful, it's blessed to be saved, it's wonderful to be a Christian; but dear friends, the conception and experience of the Christian life is such a little thing compared with God's thought! You have got to get the eternal dimensions of the significance of Jesus Christ as the setting of a Christian life.

We do not begin our Christian history when we accept Christ. By accepting Christ we are placed right back there in the eternity of God's thought concerning man! We are brought into something that has been there from all eternity in the intention of God, and, as we shall see later, linked on with realisations so wonderful in the ages to come. To become a child of God, to be born again, (however you may define or explain it or speak of it) is to come right into something first of all that is not of time at all - it's of eternity. It is not just this little life here on this earth; it is of Heaven, it is universal in its significance. It's a wonderful thing, beyond all our powers of grasping, and if we could only get some conception of the cost of our salvation, the cost of redemption, the cost of recovering the lost inheritance; the cost, the cost to God, the cost to God's Son - the awful depths of that Cross - if only we could get some idea of that, we should see that it is not a little thing to be a Christian. It's immense.

And so we must close by pointing out that if this is true, and I haven't spoken outside the Word of God; you must believe me that I've been keeping closely to the Book, I haven't troubled you to turn from passage to passage, but there's a vast amount of Scripture behind what I have said. It's all in the Word of God and more than I have given you. If this is true, and I say again it can be put to the test - the importance and the value of all that I've said is it can be put to the test; and it can be made true in experience, and you can know it now, in this life that it's true or not. That's the wonder of it: a truly born-from-above child of God knows within himself or herself, 'This is true! This is true, this is why I have a being; now I've got the explanation, and much more.'

Now I put to you, by way of argument, if this is true, what an immense challenge it is to be a Christian, and what an immense thing it will be, not to be in Christ. If all that is the meaning of being in Christ, what an immense thing it will prove to be, not only in this life, but more, infinitely more, in the ages to come, to be in Christ! It's a challenge... a challenge to you who are not in Christ, you're not dealing with just your father's or your mother's beliefs or faith. You are not dealing with some thing that you call 'Christianity', and your own conception of a Christian, it may be all wrong, faulty, and at most, inadequate. You're dealing with a vast thing, an immense thing. Yes, the immense significance of the Christian life. May God help us, from this contemplation... certainly not apprehension, or understanding or grasping, but contemplation of the setting of the Christian life, help us to reach out, if we've never done so, to embrace God's gift. If we have, to make sure that we are set upon knowing all that the Christian life means, that we are not going to be content with a little Christian life, with anything less than God's fullness for us; and if we have a lot of experience and knowledge, let this all lead us to a new determination that we, we shall not stop short anywhere of God's full and ultimate intention in apprehending us in His Son.

In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks' wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of any changes, free of any charge (except necessary distribution costs) and with this statement included.