Tradition By T. Austin-Sparks

Daily Thoughts


By T. Austin-Sparks

From the latter days of the Apostles till now, the history of Christianity is a history of prisons. This history is not of literal or material prisons, though there have been not a few of these. It is a history of prisons, which are the result of man’s long established habit of bringing the Spirit into bondage.

How many times has the Spirit broken loose and moved in a new and free way only to have that way brought under man’s control and crystallized into another form, creed, organization, denomination, sect, order, community, or the like! The invariable result has been that the Spirit’s free movement and life has been cramped or even killed by the prison of the framework into which He has been drawn or forced.

Every time we seek to express something divine in word or form, we at once limit it. When that expression or form becomes the established and recognized formula, we have, in effect, put fetters on the Spirit. God gives a vision, and every God-given vision has unlimited potential and possibilities. But all too soon the vision is laid hold of by men who never received it by the Spirit. Then the grapes of Eschol turn to raisins in their hands. So very many of the living fruits of the heavenly country have suffered in this way and become dried, shrunken, and unctionless shadows of their early glory.

Successors, sponsors, or adherents build an earthly organization on a living movement of the Spirit, born with fire in the heart of some prophet. They imprison the vision in a tradition. A message becomes a creed; a heavenly vision becomes an earthly institution; a movement of the Spirit becomes a work, which must be kept going by the steam of human energy and maintained by man’s resourcefulness.

Any real (or seeming) departure or diversion from the recognized and traditional order of creed or practice will sooner or later become heresy, to be violently suspected, repressed, and cast out. What was, at its beginning, a spiritual energy-producing living organism, expressing something that God really wanted and to which He gave birth has too often become something which the next generation has to sustain and struggle hard at to keep going. The thing has developed a self-interest, and it will go hard with anyone or anything interfering or seeming to interfere with it. The Spirit has become the prisoner of the institution or system, and as a result the people become limited spiritually.

All along the way the Spirit must be referred to and deferred to. In anything in which the Spirit may have His liberties limited, the Spirit will be a rebel. And if He is in us, He will make us to rebel against unspiritual restrictions.

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Union With Christ By T. Austin-Sparks

Daily Thoughts

Union With Christ

By T. Austin-Sparks

Union with Christ is the heart or centre of all that has been revealed of God’s thought concerning man and of mans’ relationship to God. Union with Christ is like the hub of a mighty wheel. There are many spokes to that wheel ­ election, creation, redemption, salvation, sanctification, glorification; and then, like a series of subsidiary spokes ­ repentance, faith, justification, conversion, regeneration, and so on. These are the spokes of the wheel, but they all centre in Christ and radiate from Christ and reach the rim, which is God. They unite us in Christ with God.

To give all this its true and full value, it is necessary to contemplate or have revealed to us the meaning of Christ, to see what an immense thing has taken place by the Son of God becoming the Son of man, by God becoming incarnate. It is a question of our being taken, not into Godhead or Deity, but into God’s Son incarnate.

Now, the first preachers of the Christ evangel preached Christ. They did not, in the first place, preach salvation or sanctification or forgiveness, or judgment or heaven. That does not mean that they did not preach those things: they did; but not in the first place. They preached Christ, and all those things were included in the preaching of Christ; Christ as inclusive of all and as transcending all; for, after all, such things as salvation and sanctification, forgiveness, justification, are subsidiaries, they come afterward. Christ was before them all and Christ will be after them all. They are inside of Christ, but He vastly outstrips them all.

From: Union with Christ.

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