death, discerning the spirits, encouragement, eternal life, experience, Fellowship with God, freedom, God, Jesus Christ, new life, resurrection, spiritual power, T.A. Sparks, the new self, the old self
The following excerpts from T.A. Sparks make clear the difference between the natural man and the spiritual man who allows himself to be guided by God 24/7. We cannot reach this blissful state unless our old self has died completely since only then we are “transferred” or baptized into Christ (see Gal 3:27) and are enabled to enjoy a life of perfect obedience to Him. We may know that it is a process, a long process, until we utterly despair of our old Adam nature and leave it all up to Him. But once we have died to our old self, Christ’s resurrection power begins to flow into a renewed mind and into a completely new heart that was given by God also. And from that time on, REAL LIFE in the kingdom of God begins. What I meant by ‘real life’ is a spiritual life that no longer knows the sting of death. These who “loved not their lives even unto death,“ (Rev 12:11 ESV), or in other words, these believers who hated their old self life, are enabled to enjoy God in all circumstances instead, just as Jesus promised us here,
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Jn 10:10 ESV)
Eventually, here is T.A. Sparks’ exposition on ‘Fellowship with God’ which I found to be very helpful for me. I hope it serves you too, dear reader. As a side note, I became aware of this article by TAS as I read another quote from him in this blog article by Becky Johnson yesterday. Thank you, Becky! 🙂
The hallmark of the natural man is self-sufficiency. He always finds the springs of his resources in himself.
The natural man acts according to his own natural wisdom. He seeks to reason out a situation, weighing up things for and against it, and proceeding according to what he thinks to be ‘common sense’. He directs his conduct by his own natural wisdom and reason. For some people reason is the strongest part of themselves. The source of things for them is in their own reason, and only what they think and mean to understand has any value for them. All the rest does not count. With others feelings are the strongest factor. According to what they feel they act.
The natural man moves out from himself, but the result is always death. If we project our own will, our own desires, our own reason into things, however alive they may appear, the result will be death. Only that which comes out from God is Life. In connection with this the meaning of the word of the Lord Jesus is of primary importance: “The Son can do nothing of Himself.” If others believe they can, the Son cannot. Here is the tremendous difference between the Lord Jesus and ourselves. He can only move as from the Father. He can only go if the Father leads Him.
It was the law of an inward communication and fellowship with the Father which moved the Lord Jesus to take action. He was not governed by the natural mind, nor by the letter of the law; He did not try to reason out what might be the will of the Father. It was the law of the Spirit of life in Him which disclosed to Him the Father’s will, which gave to Him that inward assurance of His acts and which resulted from an inward hearing and seeing.
Now the same relationship holds good for us. In the letter to the Romans the apostle Paul says: “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.” Free from the law of sin. Free from the law of death. It is the freedom of a life in God through Christ.
Now let us just say a few things as to the outworking of that relationship. It is a relationship by Life and its testimony is Life. Notice how true it was in the case of the Lord Jesus. It is significant how often He used the expression “My hour” in His life. It clearly shows us how much His whole life was governed by His Father. He was led in His actions and movements by God’s timing. Sometimes it was only a matter of hours or minutes. But He knew no unfulfilled moments in His life. Yet He was never in a hurry. Everything in His life was timed in a wonderful way. Any time would not do for Him, neither all times. To try and accomplish things out of God’s timing would mean death. When, at Cana, His mother came to persuade Him to meet the need which had arisen, He only took action when ‘His hour’ had come, perhaps only a few minutes later. Again when His disciples sent for Him to come to the help of Lazarus who was dangerously sick, or when His brethren asked Him whether He was going up to Jerusalem to the feast with them. He waited for the right time, for His Father’s commandment. In all these cases we see the same restraint in Him. He was not following His own reasonings, but waited for the time the Father had appointed.