Why has the Holy Spirit come? Oh! Not that we might have blessings and what we call power and influence and opportunity and service. No, He has come as Representative and Agent of the Christ, who has secured the rights of God in His own Person. To bring about the recognition and realization of the rights in this earth, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
The second thing that comes out of this is that the Holy Spirit always demands the ground of the Cross for His activity, if the glory of God is in view. But then, the Cross registers the removal of all that serves Satan. What was it that served Satan in Cain? Covetousness, personal ambition, jealousy, pride! That worked itself out in the murder of Abel which was an expression of hatred for God. What was it that served Satan in Balaam? Greed, covetousness, world-gain. The Cross registers the removal by destruction of all that served Satan, and for us it is gathered up in one word: SELF.
What a wide word that is – what a comprehensive word! The stronger term is “the flesh”. Some people do not know what you mean when you talk about the “flesh”. They begin to think of positive vices and iniquities of deep dye. But the “flesh” is only another term for “self”. Self is a very subtle thing, a many-sided thing. It includes self-interest, self-glory, self-preservation, self-realization, self-advancement – all those considerations of influence and good-standing and prestige and following, and being understood and spoken well of. The phases of “self” are legion, and they, every one of them, serve Satan.
Moreover, they serve him in this other sense, that they divide the rights of God and usurp the place of God: and therefore, wherever there is the slightest suggestion or insinuation of self, the Glory of God is obscured and the Cross has got to be applied there. The Cross is not applied in the work of God just because God wants us out of it for the sake of having us out of it, to humble, to crush, to break us; no, it has this great end in view – HIS GLORY. The Cross, dear friend, means utter devotion to God’s glory.
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