A TRUE SPIRITUAL MAN
“The Spirit of life.” Rom. 8:2
Man is dust and Deity; of the dust, God in-breathed; linked to the material, offspring of the Spirit, of the earth, of the heavens. It is all poetry, but it is true poetry. Man becomes the conscious and capable ego, when by this mystery, baffling all explanation, the God of heaven by breath Divine makes man - Adam.
What is this man's consciousness? First, he is subject to the government of God. That is the first consciousness of personality, as Genesis reveals it. Secondly, he is conscious of the creation that he finds about him. He is able to name things, able to speak with clarity, able to understand things shared from God, able to till the soil, able to touch the resources of nature and make them blossom more perfectly. He is a being capable of co-operation with God, and all this in the power of the Spirit.
But I turn from the story. It is disappointing, it is heartbreaking. Just as the glory of it is growing upon the imagination, the vision is clouded and spoiled, and we leave it, and, passing through the centuries, come into the presence of the "last Adam." The story of the human life of Jesus from beginning to its unending condition—for there is no end to it—is the story of this truth, THAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS THE SPIRIT OF LIFE. All the human life of Jesus, naturally—not supernaturally—was life in the Spirit. His very existence was by the Spirit. He was a Man of the Spirit by processes different from those by which man at first was man of the Spirit.
In His ministry it becomes more obvious. He was anointed for ministry by the Spirit of God. He went down into the wilderness to temptation, driven by the Spirit of God. He came out of the wilderness and went back again to ministry in the power of the Spirit of God (Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:14), preaching and teaching in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:18). He wrought miracles, as the record declares, by this selfsame power of the Spirit. He came to the sublime mystery of His death, and we hear the word again, "through the eternal Spirit He offered Himself without blemish unto God." (Heb. 9:14) He came to the morning of resurrection, and by the power of that Spirit He took life again, and came back into human consciousness and being. He tarried for forty days among His disciples, and, as Luke, the accurate Greek, the cultured scholar, tells us, He instructed His disciples by the Holy Ghost long before the Spirit was poured upon them (Acts 1:2-3). I open the Gospel of John, and read: "In Him was life"—essential life—"and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4) What is the life of Jesus? Spiritual life, not spiritual life as we too often use the phrase, as though it were something distinct from human life; but spiritual life in the simplest, and broadest, and profoundest sense of the truth that all life is life by the Spirit of God.
The life of Jesus is life in the Spirit from beginning to end, and when I read that "in Him was life, and the life was the light of men," (John 1:4) I understand the evangelist to mean that if I want to know what life really is, I must look at Him—physically, mentally, and spiritually—and see this truth, that all life is by the Spirit of God. Man's being, in all its complex wonders, is the creation of the Spirit of God, and the proper use of all the powers of the being is possible only in submission to the Spirit of life.
So that when we speak of regeneration, or of the filling of the Spirit, or of the anointing of the Spirit, or of spiritual life in the deepest and profoundest sense of the term, we are not asking men to enter a range or realm of life for which they were not made. We are calling them back to normality, to naturalness, to the fulfillment of the deepest and profoundest meaning of their own first creation. A man does not by his new birth become something other than himself. He becomes himself, as he never has been until by that new birth he finds himself. Not angels did Jesus Christ come to make; and if His terms are drastic and hard, if before He can baptize a man with the Spirit of life the man must consent to death, it is in order that he may find by the same new life, not some foreign life, but his own life. If you differ from the exposition, hear the actual words: "He that loses his life... shall find it," (Matt. 10:39) the very life he is willing to lose.