Christ Our All (1935)
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 3 - The Anointing

"Now it came to pass... that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon Him." Luke 3:21-22.
"...Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you." Acts 1:6-8.
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 1:6-8.
"And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things ... The anointing which ye received of Him abides in you." 1 John 2:20,27.

The most important thing in the believer's life is to learn Christ. "In Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." That fulness is for us, for: "In Him we are made full." And because Christ, as our fulness, is in the glory, therefore Paul writes to the Ephesians: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." That means we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies. That implies that our relationship with the Lord Jesus must be a heavenly relationship. Only as we come into a heavenly union with Christ can we partake of these heavenly blessings.

Now we have already seen that there has to be a wilderness first in our lives before we can experimentally know the all-sufficiency of Christ for us. Israel's life in the wilderness meant a complete separation from the old nature, and an utter dependence upon resources outside of this earth. The wilderness in itself provided nothing for them, and all their natural capacities were of no use in such a place. But these conditions were just given to make the wilderness a place of revelation where they had to learn Christ, in a special way, as their sufficiency. Christ is the living Bread which came down from heaven. He is the Water of Life. The "spiritual rock that followed them" was Christ.

Let us therefore emphasise again that in order to know Jesus Christ in fulness we have to come to the place where the world and all its natural resources cannot help us, and have to be completely ruled out.

We have pointed out that Jesus Christ Himself accepted that position, that He voluntarily chose to live on a faith-basis. He chose to depend entirely on His Father. He could do absolutely nothing without Him; He had nothing Himself but was drawing everything from the Father. That is the more negative side of our meditation. Now let us turn to the positive side.

What is the basis of a life lived in a heavenly union with Christ, where all the resources have to be of a heavenly nature? The answer is: That basis is the Holy Spirit.

When Israel was separated from Egypt, and brought out into the wilderness, God gave them the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night. That cloud is a type of the Holy Spirit. The forty years in the wilderness typify that Israel's life became entirely governed by the Holy Spirit. When we come to the Lord Jesus we see the reality of this, and how true it was in His case. When He stepped out into public life, God separated Him for His special ministry. He came under the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22). From that moment His whole life was governed by the Holy Spirit (Heb. 9:14).

If we want to live a heavenly life in the wilderness, the Holy Spirit is essential. He is given for that very purpose. Through the Holy Spirit the same resources are at our disposal upon which Christ, in the days of His flesh, had been living. It is very important to recognise the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily accepted our position, and was fashioned like a man, taking the place of one who is dependent on God for everything. If we do that, we shall rejoice to live a life which is governed by the Holy Spirit, a life through which our Lord Jesus Christ shall be glorified, even as He, living in the Father, glorified the Father. This then is our relationship with Christ. The basis of a heavenly life is the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus lived His life in the Holy Spirit. By that Spirit He was doing His work. He moved continually, in all His ways, as governed by the Holy Spirit. He refused to move or act under the influence of man, or be pressed by circumstances. He only did that which the Holy Spirit witnessed in Him. The secret of His triumphant life was the government of the Holy Spirit.

Now what is true of the Lord Jesus has to be true for us. It is the same Spirit which is anointing us. We have come to see that this world is a wilderness. We are called to let go our natural resources, and to live a life entirely out from God, in direct communication with Him. In the things of God we cannot use natural resources. Neither the world nor we in ourselves can produce anything for God. But let us place the emphasis upon the positive side: the Spirit of Anointing makes everything possible. The Holy Spirit, the Anointing which we have received, brings us into oneness with Christ. Just as Christ was one with the Father by the Spirit, so we are made one with Christ by the same Spirit. This is a wonderful union! It means that the Lord Himself is doing the work in us in order to work it out through us.

What we want to say is, that God Himself will do His work. It cannot be done through our trying to do it. To ask Him to help us to do His work is a great mistake. If it is the Lord's work, then it is HE who is doing it. He never gives His own work into our hands. The Lord does not give His work to you or to me. We are but His employees, like the workman who uses his tools. A tool never thinks out what it should do. It simply yields to the hand of its master. He has the plan. He has the skill and the strength, and the tool is only expressing what is in the mind of the workman. The responsibility lies with HIM. The tool is only allowed to do what the master wants to do through his instrument. Imagine an instrument getting up in the morning determined to do this or that, hoping the master would help it. This is not the right attitude. Let us think of the tool which takes this attitude and says: "Now Master, you know what you will do. You have the plan. You know how you will work, and at what time you will do it. I am here at your disposal. I am willing to serve you in any way you please. I am altogether consecrated to you and your purpose. I look to you concerning the work which lies before us. You must be the wisdom, the strength and the power of endurance behind me. If I should become blunt you can sharpen me again. Everything depends upon you, but I am one with you."

This is a very simple illustration of the truth. That was exactly the relationship of the Lord Jesus with His Father. He said: "My Father works even until now, and I work." He only worked because His Father worked. He also said: "The works which the Father has given me... the same works I do." The link between Him and the Father was the Holy Spirit. He brought about that marvellous oneness. Now we are under the same anointing. That anointing is the guarantee for meeting every need to which we are called, and to do it at the right time.

When we are under the anointing, which brings us into oneness with our Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies, there is no need to get into a state of anxiety concerning 'our works'. The Holy Spirit will come in and show us where we have to act as under the Lord's commission, and where we have to stand back and wait - in spite of apparent need and pressure which comes upon us - because the Lord's time has not yet come to meet that need. 

"The anointing teaches you concerning all things." Has this not been true many a time in our lives? For instance, a difficult situation arises, a problem has to be solved, and we are asked to meet that need. Now we get worked up into a state of anxiety, but all our thinking and planning is getting us nowhere. We cannot see what we should do; we have no light. But when we have handed it over to the Lord, when we put our confidence in Him, trusting Christ to be our wisdom and strength, the light comes, and we are able to give the needed counsel, and touch the vital points as we, in ourselves, would never be able to do. It just comes by revelation. The experience is true: "In that hour it shall be told you what to speak." The Holy Spirit is given us that we may, through Him, continually stand in unbroken and direct fellowship with our Lord in heaven. Immediately we begin to work at things with our mind, and count upon our resources, or look at circumstances, we take upon us a responsibility which is beyond us, and which we cannot meet. The result is that we become anxious, worried and fretful. We begin to ask other people to tell us what to do. We look round for some help from outside, and thus enter more and more into the realm of the natural world which, we know, cannot help us in heavenly things. But if we abide under the anointing, we have the certainty that all we have to do is but a part of a completed work.

How often attempts were made upon the life of the Lord Jesus to destroy it. His life was beset with danger. He had hardly stepped out into public ministry, and we see His murderers at work. We are told that such an attempt was made when He went into the synagogue of Nazareth. The people were offended by His words and led Him to the brow of the hill of their town to cast Him over. But He went right through their midst out of their hands, and their attempt failed. He could not be destroyed even one day before His time because of the anointing. God had ordered His life to the very "hour". "No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of myself". What is anointed and abiding under the anointing will complete the work. We too can be assured to complete the work to which God has called us in life, and for which He has appointed us in Christ. "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them." What a mighty comfort to know that it is the anointing, which takes the full responsibility for the completion of our life! So we just have to abide under the anointing.

The book of the Acts is a wonderful demonstration of this very thing. Before the Lord left His disciples He gave them this commission: "Go ye into all the world...". But He added: "Tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high." When the Spirit of Anointing came upon them on the day of Pentecost, they had no desire to hold a committee meeting and say: "Now we must organise our work. We must arrange to collect money, and make plans how to run this thing well. It will be necessary to think of all the emergencies which may arise." No, the apostles were delivered from all this. The anointing which they had received took charge of it all. They did not have to think it out. They went to fulfil their commission with great joy, and let the Holy Spirit see to all the emergencies. He took the full responsibility for them. All they had to do was just to yield in complete obedience to Him.

When the church came into being they did not have to find fresh members for the church. They did not come together to organise this or that, in order to build the church. The Holy Spirit took full charge. We read: "The LORD added to them day by day those that were saved." But perhaps the other statement was even more important; the Holy Spirit did not allow just anyone to join them. We read: "But of the rest durst no man join himself to them." It is sometimes easier to bring people into the assembly - outwardly - than to get them out again. But for that too the Holy Spirit took full responsibility. That is an important factor. It is a grand position to be in when, for all matters concerning the church and our calling, the Holy Spirit is taking the responsibility.

But let us not forget that such a position does provoke the enemy. Immediately after the anointing the Lord met the enemy in the wilderness. The adversary does not care much where the anointing is not working. But if you and I come under the anointing, if the Holy Spirit is making Christ in the glory the Christ which is "the hope of glory" in us, we shall become the object of the enemy's hatred. If one can say of believers that they are under the Anointing, truly they shall be hated of the devil. He will do all that is in his power to destroy such instruments of God. But the anointing also secures the victory. The Holy Spirit gives us the victory.

But don't forget that our natural strength and the power of the Holy Spirit can never go together. It is absolutely essential that the natural man is ruled out. Only when we know our own weakness shall we be strong. Think of the apostle Paul when he said: "When I am weak then am I strong." So our natural wisdom and God's wisdom cannot go together. Therefore the wilderness is needed, and we have to say 'yes' to God's dealings with us. We have to be willing to forsake our self-life and let go of everything in order to come to the fulness of Christ. The fulness of the Holy Spirit is the birthright of every child of God. He brings us into a heavenly union with our exalted Head. In Him the heavenly resources are available for us, because God has made our Lord Jesus Christ to be our fulness. Where the Anointing abides it will be true again and again that: "God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever."

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