Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

June 1926

Beloved of the Lord,

"The Anointing" that is within and upon our spirits, as the children of God in the Christ, is One Anointing: both as to the Lord Jesus, our glorious Head, and as to us, the members of His Body.

This is one thing to state, and to accept, mentally, as a scriptural truth; but another matter altogether is it to accept and to enter into it experimentally, as it affects our relationship and service in the Body of Christ.

Our Lord is the Anointed One. This is His title - the Christ. But what are the dimensions of this Anointing? What does the title signify?

John the Baptist knew Him not. But there was vouchsafed to him the revelation: "Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit." This is the Christ: the One in Whom and upon Whom the Spirit of the Godhead rests. The Anointing is the measure of God in Christ; that is, without measure: infinite.

The very fact that He baptizes in the Spirit of God proves His Deity; for Who can baptize in the Spirit of God save God Himself.

And Paul spoke of His Heavenly Glory in the Eternal Anointing, which is now His as glorified Man in the Throne. Thus - He "is a visible image of the invisible God"; "in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form"; the angels of God ascend, and descend upon the Son of Man; "we behold Jesus crowned as Victor with glory and honour." And many such other passages reveal the infinite dimensions of "The Anointing."

But in Him we have our fulness. "Of His fulness have all we received; and grace corresponding to His grace." It is of His Anointing we receive. We are joined to the Lord and are one Spirit: this for our inward life of grace. Even so it is of His Anointing that we share for our manifest life of service. The Spirit both in us and upon us is One Spirit.

The point we are coming to is this. The Baptism of the Spirit by which we share His Anointing is not a blessing for individual and separate service, but for corporate and universal service. We are baptized into the Body for the Body's sake, for the sake of the Anointed One, the Christ, that the Kosmic Purpose of the Body's completion and consummation might be realised.

We are led to press this home upon your hearts because this is what the Lord led us to in this Whitsuntide Conference.

There is One Anointing descending and abiding upon the whole Body of the Christ as in this world; but we must get under the Anointing, under the Covering of the Glory of the Lord. He would so gather us, under His wings, the shadow of the Almighty.

How can we thus come? Under the Blood by the Cross? Yes, but with more than a sense of individual need. We must gather under the Anointing of our Glorious Head with the vision of a blood-bought church (Acts 20:28). Oh, it is the church, the Body, that God is after!

Listen to the Spirit speaking of this gathering under the One Anointing in Psalm 133, and then heed the closing words: "For there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evemore."

There is a baptism into the death, burial, and eternal life of our Lord; but this is also the baptism by which we are made members of His Body; it is into One Spirit. There are no exclusively personal and individual ministries in this One Spirit. They are all Body ministries, in the Body, and for the Body. If your conception of the Anointing is of a local and personal blessing, how far are you from the truth! "Discernment of the Body" is the key to the work of the Spirit both in you and through you. These are days when there is a recurrence of much speaking about "gifts." But all the gifts are within the compass of the One Gift, the Gift of the Spirit of the Incarnate God in the Glory, to His Church. And what is His manifestation? What was it upon earth in the days of the Anointed's flesh? It was the Divine Love in its passion "agonizing" against sin, and all that is involved therein, and resisting unto the blood of the garden and of the Cross. Herein is Love; and herein is the Spirit.

Is such a Spirit dwelling in and upon us? This is the Anointing. Its manifestation in this kosmos is, within the church, the very Love of God in and for all the saints; without the church, a fearless loving witness among men; a testimony against the fashion and corruption of this world, against the flesh, and against the devil. This is "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, because God was with Him!"

Such a Spirit alone has the gifts within Himself that can edify the church, both in its corporate life and in its gathering unto itself those ordained unto the same eternal life. But the manifestation is the Divine Love - John 13:33,34. The chapter of the Divine Love (1 Corinthians 13) is sandwiched, you observe, in the midst of Paul's analysis of the gifted life; it is only as our gifts are found emerging out of the very love of God that they are profitable either to the church or to the world of men. But this is to come back to our first word - the Anointing is One Anointing of God the Father, Who by the Eternal Spirit dwells within and upon the Son of His Love in the Body of Glory, and it is out of that fulness that all we receive; and so the ministry is one, as the life is one; and in all the world there is one work of the Spirit going on towards the triumphant consummation of the church, the TRANSLATION. The Anointing is Kosmic for that purpose. Beloved of God, are you right under "the Anointing"?

Yours for such a unity of place in the Spirit.

In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks' wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of any changes, free of any charge (except necessary distribution costs) and with this statement included.