“THE Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” – Rom. viii. 16.
The Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, heareth witness, testifies to the same truth that our spirit testifies to, viz., “That we are the children of God.” This fact being established in the mouth of two important witnesses, becomes a certainty that We are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” There seems to be no doubt among believers about the meaning of the Words: “the Spirit,” “the Holy Spirit,” “the Spirit of God,” though no man can define the word Spirit in any way, but we just confess that the word means God, but there is a doubt among believers about what the words “our spirit” mean in the Scripture cited above. If we take the position that “our spirit “ here means our fleshly, natural spirit, how then can it know anything of the Spirit of God, believing as we do, that natural things are naturally discerned, and that spiritual things are spiritually discerned? I hope I am not wrong when I say that I believe there can be found among the children of men both spirits: a natural spirit that accompanies the flesh, and a heavenly spirit that testifies of Jesus and of the powers of the world to come. It is not in accordance with Baptist teaching to say that our natural spirit bears witness with the Holy Ghost, or that the Spirit of our God bears witness with our natural, fleshly spirit. We cannot tell what a spirit is, ‘but we know that a spirit hath not flesh and bones. None can worship God only those who worship him in spirit and in truth. The hour now is, “when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” – John iv. 23, 24. The spirit in which we worship God is given us of God, or else it would be impossible for us to worship him. Why should we oppose the thought that God gives us a new spirit in the kingdom of grace, when Paul expressly says that he is the Father of spirits? A holy writer of old declares that the Lord said he would give the out- casts of Israel anew spirit. (Ezek. xi. 19; xxxvi. 26.) It is only by and with this new spirit that we can know and worship God. They who have been sanctified (set apart) by God the Father “are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Enough Scripture has been cited to show that no natural spirit of man can worship God; that the new spirit must come from God, and that in this spirit God’s people worship him. I have observed the order of the Scriptures in writing the word “spirit,” whether in a small or large “S,” that we may not have any conflict on that ground, for sometimes the size of a letter may mean a world’s difference from that of another. If the man of God in his journey through this world had only the natural spirit of man to lead him, why then does the apostle John in writing to the “beloved “ say, Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God ? From this it seems in early days that there were many false prophets gone out into the world. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God [that is, every spirit that has come from God]: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God.” –1 John iv. 1-3. One spirit is called the Spirit of Christ, the other the spirit of antichrist. One the Spirit of truth, the other the spirit of error. It seems that all of the spiritual household of God who comprehend the deep mysteries connected with the salvation of sinners must do so through the spirit given unto them. That disciples of Jesus may at times be led by a different spirit is shown in Luke ix. 55, where Jesus rebuked his disciples for manifesting carnal desires, and said unto them, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. This spirit that the disciples manifested did not comprehend any wisdom from God. They did not serve the Lord in that spirit, or else Jesus would not have rebuked them. Those who serve the Lord do so “in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Ministers of the new covenant arc made able ministers through the Spirit, and not through the “letter” or forms of old lime. This “ ministration of the spirit “ is glorious, though natural eyes cannot see the glory or the natural spirit comprehend it. Something real is imparted to man before he becomes a believer in the riches of Cod’s grace. If this were not true, how could he come up from the grave which all men have fallen in, except in “newness of spirit”? I think the “newness of spirit” is “the earnest of the Spirit,” which Paul speaks about in 2 Cor. i. 22, and v. 5. Earnest is something real; it is not mythical or lacking in real substance. Earnest is a pledge given of a promise made which seals the recipient in the bundle of grace which contains all the promises of God in Christ Jesus the Lord, making him secure, without the shadow of a doubt, to the end, or final fulfillment of the stipulations embraced in the real pledge given, though centuries roll between the time of the giving of the pledge and the time of the redemption of it. The earnest so well secures the full crop that the gates of hell, the devil and all his angels cannot prevail against it. It is in the old way, made known unto Abraham by promise, and confirmed by the oath of God; these are two immutable things: first, God’s promise that is unchangeable, and second, his oath in his own name, puts an end to all strife, so that any warfare that may be waged against this way shall never prosper. All opposition to the crowning of God’s saints is decreed to come to naught. Again, to try to illustrate the meaning of “the earnest of the Spirit,” I might say that earnest means an advance payment that secures the fulfillment of the promise in the time to come. Then the child of God in his believing state has received the gift called by the apostle “the earnest of the Spirit,” “the first fruits of the Spirit,” and more nearly expressed to our understanding in 2 Cor. iv. God hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This shining in our hearts is a treasure, a given treasure, a heavenly treasure, the germ of immortality, or an advance manifestation of eternal life. Paul to Titus calls this treasure, “In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began.” “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” – 2 Cor. iv. 7. God put this treasure in earthen vessels, man did not do it, hence the power is all of God; all excellence is of God; we did nothing to bring God down, unless it be our vile sinning, which sent us to the bottom of that horrible pit and miry clay from which it was impossible to extricate ourselves. “Our spirit” is the evidence of things not seen, and is itself in evidence that we are the children of God; but it does not stand alone, the Spirit of God confirms and is with it. The spirit of man rejects all testimony relating to the power of the Spirit in the quickening and in the confirming of sinners in the faith of God’s elect.
This is at the disposal of the editors of the SIGNS.
In hope of immortality,
J. F. BEEMAN.
Tiawah, Okla., May 12, 1914.
Signs of the Times
July 15, 1914