There are two maxims which it will be well for us to have settled quite early. One is that we can only “go on” in the Holy Spirit. The other is that the Holy Spirit can only take us on as the foundations and “principles” are laid and settled. There are many of the Lord’s children who, after many years of being such, are under arrest, paralyzed, ineffective, and almost counted out because they are in a state of unsettlement about the “first principles.” With some it is a matter of “faith toward God”; with some it is the matter of baptism; with some it is “eternal judgment.” Let it be clearly recognized that on all such matters the Holy Spirit Himself will demand an absolute settlement and will not take us on to “full growth” until the “principles” are established. Why are there so many old-aged infants, elderly dependents, spiritual “Peter Pans” amongst the Lord’s people? Why is it that after years of work and service so many come to a place where they are beaten and helpless because of being “without understanding” in that sense in which the words are used? Col. 1:9; 1 Cor. 14:20; Matt. 15:16.
It may be – and certainly sometimes is – because at some time the Spirit’s requirement as to some basic principle was unheeded, argued aside, discussed, passed, or definitely refused. That is a sin against the Holy Spirit – while it may not be the sin – and that sin is bound to find us out sooner or later. What we have to say here as we proceed will make clear what we mean by this being found out. The letter to the Hebrews marks the transition from the fragments of the Prophets to the fullness in Christ, this fullness is spiritual and is consequent upon spiritual revelation which leaves all the “earthlies” behind and comes into the “heavenlies,” even in the matter of Divinely constituted institutions, which nevertheless were but as a “schoolmaster” to lead to Christ and maturity. We can still go on with the “things” and stand still as to the “meaning.” For instance, it is impossible to have a revelation of the true nature of the Church the Body of Christ and remain a denominationalist or sectarian without joining issue with the Holy Spirit. It is equally impossible to remain a Jew as such (in the matter of Judaism) and be a member of Christ. Once the Holy Spirit has spoken or enlightened, tremendous crises are reached on foundation principles, and these crises if not settled soon will come up later. The Holy Spirit never moves a fraction from His original premise.
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