Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

January-February 1947

Beloved of God,

It is a great joy that, with this issue of the "Witness and Testimony," we are so much nearer our pre-war size. Not quite as large as originally, but considerably larger than for all these war years. We are trusting that this is but a part of enlargement in general, so far as this ministry is concerned, and that the law of the grain of wheat is in operation again. There are not lacking signs that this may be so. Not only have we known the outward straitening which has been the lot of so much of the work of God, but never before have we experienced so intense and bitter spiritual pressure and conflict. "Pressed out of measure" has certainly been our experience, but we believe to have the other side as our testimony - "In pressure hast thou enlarged me."

We want to say again at the commencement of this year that our burden of message is the fulness of Christ. Not the establishment or extension of a Movement; not the propagation of a particular Teaching; not the constituting of a new "Fellowship"; but Christ! We have no tradition to keep going, and nothing here on this earth that we want to preserve. We think that we have seen something - however little - of God's thoughts and intentions for His Son, and if we do not follow the generally recognised and established system and order of organised Christianity it is only because we have seen how much this limits real spiritual measure and so often puts things in either His place or His way. We feel that the New Testament shows that the Holy Spirit can do His work quite effectively and adequately in direct spiritual ways. In some measure we have proved this through the years. Hence for silent, steady, deep, and growing spiritual work it is possible to dispense with very much that has become the strength of the Christianity of our time.

Our motto for the year embodies our experience and our faith. "I will work and who shall hinder?" God is working "all things after the counsel of his will," and that "counsel of his will" is specific and concrete. It is "the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ." That purpose is to fill all things with Christ, and to "sum up all things in Christ." To be in line with this is to be in the way of unfrustrated purpose. It then only resolves itself into a matter of whether we are more or less in immediate fellowship with God in His way, method, patience, and suffering. The nearer we are to His spiritual mind the greater the cost of all that is just natural or carnal or earthly. After all, it is the measure of what is essentially spiritual that matters and counts.

The Lord give us all the grace needed to "wholly follow the Lord," and to be true to the fullest spiritual value, whatever the cost. We would pray, then, that this year shall be one of very great spiritual increase - the increase of Christ - in every one of our readers, in His whole Body, and in the securing through the preaching of Him of many fresh vessels of His indwelling.

With love and greetings in Him, our one exalted Lord,
T. Austin-Sparks

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