“He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
Beloved In The Bonds Of The Covenant Of Grace: – It is only as my heart is exercised with the things of God that I find any satisfaction in either speaking or writing. When it is otherwise how mechanical, what a task to attempt to utter anything relating to God. It seems to me that I am a mass of contradictions. In my flesh there dwells no good thing, yet I, a very worm, love the Lord, and have affection for those who fear his dear name. It seems incredible that such opposite emotions should exorcise the same person. But the mystery is declared in the Scriptures as being the two natures in the child of God. The old man and the new man, the flesh and the Spirit, and these are contrary the one to the other; as diverse as light and darkness. The vile and sinful nature is derived from our natural head and progenitor, and the pure and incorruptible nature, which is the source of all our yearnings after the living God, is derived from our divine Head and Husband, the Son of God, the Lord from heaven, the last Adam. That I am related to the first man Adam, (1 Cor. xv. 45,) by whom sin entered the world, and death by sin, I feel I have every evidence. I am a sinner, and the life derived from Adam is unholy and sinful and mortal: in Adam we all die. But that I am related to the Incarnate Word, the last Adam, is not always so evident. The natural, vain, sinful life is so uppermost, so thrusts itself into the moments of my sojourn here, that I go about with a sort of despairing cry, sighing for some evidence of divine life. O, where art thou, my love, my dove, thou sweet communion with the Lord, thou fountain of life, Hast thou deserted me! Art thou gone! Hast thou failed? Wilt thou not spring up again? O well, I thirst, I pant, I pine to prove, to taste the life of Christ in my soul. Ah, though I know it not at the time, these very yearnings, sighs and supplications are evidences of the very life of God in the soul, bubbling up, and overflowing, rising above all the oppression of the world, the flesh and the devil. It is written, “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” Am I then joined to the Lord? Am I in oneness of spirit with him? Am I married to Jesus Christ? Is he my Husband, am I his bride? Am I included among those who are said to be members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones? (Eph. v. 30.) These are vital, important questions, and it is only under the assuring power of the Comforter that they can be answered in the affirmative. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” If we have the Spirit of Christ we are his. (Romans viii. 9.) We are joined unto him by such ties that all the powers of sin and Satan can never sunder. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” You know how blessedly the apostle Paul declares that nothing shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus or Lord. Let us bear in mind that the Savior is both God and man; the Word made flesh. In his eternal Godhead he is the fellow of the Lord of hosts, and in his holy manhood be is one with, and the fellow of all his chosen people. (Zech. xiii. 7; Psalm xlv. 7.) Christ Jesus the Son of God, is God. (John i. 1.) The equal with God, (Phil. ii. G,) and the image of God. (2 Cor. iv. 4.) The express image of the Father, and brightness of his glory. (Heb. i. 3.) lie who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, was made in the likeness of sinful flesh; he took into union with himself our manhood, for it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren (the elect, whom the Father predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will). Our Redeemer then is truly man, the seed of Abraham, the firstborn child of the Virgin Mary. (Luke i. 31-35.) It is very precious to contemplate that our Lord Jesus Christ is in his person verily God and verily man. “Thou shalt call me Ishi.” [my husband] – Hosea ii. 16. The Spirit of Christ was in the saints before the coming of our Redeemer in the flesh, and from the testimony of the Scriptures we learn they were deeply exercised concerning Christ. They yearned to know the signification of Christ’s sufferings and the glory that should follow. Their yearning hearts reached forward to the time when he should come and fulfill that which the Spirit testified in them he should accomplish. That is, their emancipation from sin and the curse, from hell and the grave, and present them in perfection of beauty, in justification of life, in eternal glory, before the throne of God, with exceeding joy. (1 Peter i. 11.) The saints then of old times were joined unto the Lord, and this union was very comfort ingly declared unto them as being a marriage union. Truly, “This is a great mystery.” – Eph. v. 32. “For thy Maker is thine Husband; The Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” – Isaiah liv. 5. “I am married unto you.” – Jer. iii. 14. Thus the Lord testified unto his people that he was joined unto them, and they unto him, and he put a new spirit within them. (Ezek. xi. 19.) This was his Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. (Joel ii. 28; Acts ii. 17, 18.) If then we are joined unto the Lord, married to him in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten, as in the marriage of husband and wife they are no more twain but one flesh, so he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Let us consider this one Spirit that is in Christ and his own, and which evidences the union of Christ and his church. In him love, meekness and truth were ever exemplified. Are we joined in this selfsame spirit of love and meekness and truth unto Jesus! Vain are all our religious pretensions if we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his. Jesus our Savior loved God, and loved his people. If therefore we are joined in bands of life, knit unto the Son of God in life eternal, if he, the last Adam, a quickening Spirit, hath quickened us that were dead in trespasses and sins, and has thus joined us unto himself, this life that is in him, and is derived from him, will (as the sap in the branches of the vine) spring up in us, and animate our souls. Paul says, “Christ liveth in me.” His love we shall feel, we shall love what Jesus loved. He loved the Father, loved the church, loved all the attributes of God, his holiness, wisdom and power, he rejoiced in the sovereignty and mercy of God to the lowly and helpless, as it is written, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” If we are one spirit with our Lord, we will love the truth of the gospel, and that truth, though humbling to the flesh, will be precious, and held fast in our affections. We receive from him the love of the truth that we might be saved. In this love we have the witness and knowledge that we are of God, born of God, that we know God; there is a divine intimacy between our souls and God, and we are passed from death unto life. Christ Jesus was full of tenderness and forgiveness. What a cry was that, how dear! “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” – Luke xxiii. 34. And that martyr Stephen was evidently joined unto the Lord when he cried aloud with his dying breath, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” – Acts vii. 60. What exalted, lovely teaching flows from the lips of our Beloved. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children [evidentially] of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Is there not within us that which falls in love with this, and we inwardly say, I want in my heart to so live and walk before the Lord? Another token that we have the Spirit of Christ is, that sin is our grief. Jesus was grieved in Spirit, (Mark iii. 5,) and he was put to grief when he bare our sins, and all that are led by the Spirit of God, mourn over their iniquities. (Ezek. vii. 16.) Every one shall know his own sore, and his own grief. (2 Chron. vi. 29.) The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity dwells with the humble and contrite in spirit to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. I will not attempt to present all the features of the one spirit which believers have in union with the Lord, but one more thought let me set before you. “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” – Gal. iv. 6. “And I said, Thou shalt call me, my Father; and shalt not turn away from me.” – Jer. iii. 10. This is wonderful, that a creature, a sinful creature, should have such favor bestowed upon him to have the power to call the everlasting God, “My Father.”
“As many as received him, [the only begotten Son of God] to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” However easily religionists may utter the language, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” those who are in truth born of God, feel that they need a continual supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ to say from their hearts, My Father. How near we are to the Holy One of Israel, when in our hearts we cry, Abba, Father! Sometimes I have been afraid to call God my Father. I felt I was so far off from him, so carnal, it seemed as though it would be wicked to thrust myself into the inner chambers of the palace of the Most High, claiming by such language recognition and acceptance in his sight as his child. O, the relationship has appeared too sacred and near for me to claim. So, poor and miserable sinner that I am, I have as it were stood afar off, outside the gate, my unbelief has wasted my courage, and timid and trembling I have addressed the Lord calling him God. O, I have wanted to call him my Father, but have felt I am in my secret life living so far from God, how dare I lift up my face and say, My Father? I feel because of my worldliness and carnality, too ashamed to do so, and yet though I cannot frame the words and speak them, I feel I have that hope that I am his child, till at length after much inward conflicts in humility, and love and grief, there has burst forth from my heart the cry, O, my Father, have pity upon me. Many times, since I first believed on his name, has my experience been such as I have attempted to portray, and I And it is only by the power of the Spirit of Christ the Son of God, that I can feelingly say, “Our Father who art in heaven,” and in this spirit I have hope that I am joined unto the Lord. I feel this is a great thing to say, but at present I can say no less.
I am, I hope, your brother in Jesus,
FRED. W. KEENE.
North Berwick, Maine.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67, No. 18.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1899.