The Presence of the Holy Ghost in the Soul
Ephesians 1:17-19
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…

I. The two mysteries which exist in the manhood of Christ, and in His mystic body, exist also in the ransomed soul; the presence of the Spirit, and union with the Son of God. You may conceive of the indwelling of the Spirit in Christ's human nature. It was spotless: original sin found no place there. In the foundations of Christ's created nature, there was no intermingling of the taint of the Fall. In His birth no sin, in His temptations no inward response. His soul was the mirror of unsullied holiness, and therefore a fit dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. But we are conceived in sin, born in sin, may have lived in sin, bear still the remains of a corrupt nature, "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit." Who would dare then to speak of the indwelling of Almighty God the Comforter in our souls, had He not unmistakably affirmed it? The New Testament points to it as the characteristic glory of Christian life. The Spirit, who first dwelt in Jesus in His fulness, extends His presence to all in union with that manhood. As the little cloud about the size of a man's hand, when it rose up into the heavens, spread itself out over the whole sky, and there was an abundance of rain, so the Ascended Lord gathers His Saints around Him, and pours down upon the parched earth streams of Divine Life. Each soul in grace is a partaker of the Divine Nature. The pure nature of Christ is the instrument of the Spirit in the soul. There is in every baptized soul, not only the indwelling of the Comforter, but a jet of the Life of Jesus, through which the transformation of our nature is being accomplished, and His character gradually impressed.

II. Again, the expansion of the Church into the world finds its counterpart in the progressive development of the Kingdom of God within the soul. The same vital principles in both, if permitted to put themselves forth, will overcome all opposing forces. Of the Kingdom of God, it is said, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This may be true, too, of the reign of Christ in the soul. The Kingdom of God within has its persecutions to pass through. At its secret beginning, the whole of nature is in revolt; but if we are steadfast, grace will finally gain the ascendency, and sit in calm possession of the throne. The command of the Church, to disciple all nations, is only by degrees accomplished; so the leaven of grace in the soul will only gradually penetrate into our whole being, and in the end produce "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." The treasure of Divine truth, which the Spirit unfolds in the understanding, we will now consider. The understanding, through the Fall, is in a state of darkness as to supernatural things. Reason and conscience are two lights which "rule the night." They are the only guides by which we find our path. The understanding being thus overclouded, much of the sin that is committed may be traced up to some error in this faculty. The Holy Spirit, as the Illuminator, dispels the darkness, and amplifies the view, correcting and ennobling the natural faculty with the grace of faith, and the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel. Faith is the dawn upon the soul of a supernatural world. It is the first fissure through the cloud. It may be only like the breaking of the day, an imperfect view, like the glimpse of the blind man, the sight of "men as trees, walking"; yet it is a revelation of the Invisible. The Invisible becomes a reality. Hence the gift of faith is the one the Spirit employs against the adversary. It is with the shield of faith we are to "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked," whom we must "resist steadfast in the faith." Why is faith the chosen engine against the Evil One, the shield of our spiritual armour? It is because through it a new set of motives is brought to bear upon our conduct. For instance: a temptation awaits us; the flesh is weak, and some powerful influence is required to prevent a fall. Faith supplies it. In the early stage of the spiritual life, the thought comes, "There is heaven; if I commit this sin, I may lose it"; or fear is excited; "Here is hell; if I commit sin, I may fall into it." If there is a deeper life. the thought of the Cross of Jesus and His constraining love will be felt; "If I commit this sin, I shall be crucifying Him afresh." The light of faith furnishing motives which act either upon our fears or hopes, or rekindle our love, fulfils the office of a shield in the day of battle. Besides this grace, the Holy Spirit provides certain gifts which complete His work in the understanding, and are auxiliary to Divine faith. When the apostle used the words of the text, he was praying not simply for general enlightenment, but that his converts might possess and develop certain specific forms of spiritual knowledge. The gift of wisdom is the chief of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul prays that the Ephesians may be endued with "the spirit of wisdom"; and Isaiah places it first, when he enumerates the gifts as they dwelt in our Lord. It is the highest quality which the Spirit bestows. The apostle links with the spirit of "wisdom" that of "revelation." This may correspond with the gift of understanding, for it is a spiritual insight into the mysteries of the kingdom of grace. The gift of knowledge is another form of light, having for its object not God and His perfections, nor the mysteries of grace, but God as He is seen in created things. It discloses His designs in them, what they are in themselves, what purposes they are intended to fulfil, what portions of His being they reflect, how they may be enlisted in His service, and brought through our instrumentality to minister to His glory, how they may be rightfully used or enjoyed. This gift, too, is important as it relates to our inner life. Self-knowledge is obtained through it. The gift of counsel completes our intellectual equipment. Its name describes its nature. It guides the soul in the choice of the best means to be used for arriving at the desired end. It seeks advice from all past occurrences; teaching us how to use our falls, the various remedies to which we have been directed to resort, those which have best suited our disposition, what have been the occasions of sin, what the results, — in short, the gift of counsel treasures up all the complex experiences of the spiritual life, and puts them to account. There are two thoughts which suggest appropriate lessons on this part of our subject. If it be true, that the Holy Ghost dwells within us; that each one is a temple of His presence, and a member of Christ; that our understanding is now replete with such wonderful powers, supplied with Divine lights for the removal of the darkness which sin has occasioned; that the same gifts which the mind of Christ possesses, are in their measure communicated to all His brethren: then, surely, sin committed in such a state, will have a special heinousness about it. Hence there is a more minute inspection of sin in the new dispensation. The inward presence brings up to light inward sin. What a thought to influence our conduct, "I am the temple of God!" The rebuke of the apostle is not now unnecessary, or out of date — "know ye not that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Another practical conclusion is to be drawn from what has been said. Life is manifested by action. A Divine life will be manifested by actions which exceed the power of nature. If I possess this life, I am thereby rendered capable of doing works which shall be pleasing to God. Grace, as a new principle of action, enables me to do works, which, by nature, I could not do. A supernatural life bestows on my actions a new value, so that they partake of the Eternity of God. The presence of the Holy Spirit imparts to them, when they are wrought in grace, and with a pure intention for God's glory, an imperishable character. "They are wrought in God."

(W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

WEB: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;

The Hope of His Calling
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