If it be asked, What this one Thing that essential and only available to our Rising out of our Fallen State, and becoming, as we were at our Creation, an holy Offspring of God, and real Partakers of the Divine Nature is? It is the SPIRIT OF GOD brought again to his FIRST POWER OF LIFE IN US. Nothing else is wanted by us, nothing else intended for us, by the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel. Nothing else is, or can be effectual, to the making sinful man become again a godly Creature.
What do we need to enable us to rise out of our Fallen State? The Reverend Mr. Law says that it is nothing but the Spirit of God. It is not knowledge of the Father in His everlasting Word that shall save us. Knowledge is not virtue. Rather, it is that stirring of the heart that would embrace the same knowledge and allow that knowledge to rule and govern our lives. And thus what we need is to say 'yes' to the offer of salvation that the Spirit brings to us. There is nothing worse in this sorry world of ours than to see Christians assuming that what they know will save them. ‘Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.’ (St. Matthew vii. 21-23) It is never what we know that will save us but that we desire what we know to change, transform, redeem, sanctify, and save us. The voluntary act is essential. Without it, we shall perish in a way worse than those who claim no such knowledge and thus are not hypocrites. And so, O Christians, it is the Spirit of the Father’s Word whom we must embrace, that he might make us not only to seem and appear to be Christians, but to be Christians in verity and truth.
Everything else, be it what it will, however glorious and Divine in outward Appearance, every Thing that Angels, Men, Churches, or Reformations, can do for us, is dead and helpless, but so far as it is the immediate work of the Spirit of God breathing and living in it.
Thus we must supplicate the Spirit of the Father and the Son not only to dwell in us, for that He already does, since if He didn’t, we wouldn’t be living, moving, and breathing. What we must ask is that Our Lord the Holy Spirit should begin ‘the immediate work’ of sanctifying us or making us into what the full reach of His power intends. His work for us is nothing other than making us obedient to the Father through the Son by the motions and stirrings of our deepest desire and delight. And thus while He is always present, He is not ever active until we surrender our wills to His will, our desire to His desire, and our loves to His love. To keep the Holy Spirit under lock and key in a prison-house of our own making will ensure that we never be in deed and in truth everything that our God wants us to be.
All Scripture bears full witness to this Truth, and the End and Design of all that is written, is only to call us back from the Spirit of Satan, the Flesh, and the World, to be again under full Dependence upon, and Obedience to the Spirit of God, who out of free Love and Thirst after our Souls, seeks to have his first Power of Life in us. When this is done, all is done that the Scripture can do for us. —Read what Chapter, or Doctrine of Scripture you will, be ever so delighted with it, it will leave you as poor, as empty and unreformed as it found you, unless it be a Delight that proceeds from, and has turned you wholly and solely to the Spirit of God, and strengthened your Union with and Dependence upon Him. For Love and Delight in matters of Scriptures, whilst it is only a Delight that is merely human, however Specious and Saintlike it may appear, is but the Self-love of fallen Adam, and can have no better a Nature, till it proceeds from the Inspiration of God, quickening his own Life and Nature within us, which alone can have or give forth a godly Love. For if it be an immutable Truth, that no man can call Jesus, Lord, but by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. xii. 3), it must be a Truth equally immutable, that no one can have any one Christ-like Temper or Power of Goodness but so far, and in such Degree, as he is immediately led and governed by the Holy Spirit.
We can never desire and delight in God’s truth until we have exchanged our earthly, temporal, fickle, unsteady, wavering, hesitant, and uncertain love for the love of God that is found in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit yearns and longs to come alive in us as the First Power of our created humanity. Our humanity is incomplete, limited, and sinful until our Lord the Holy Spirit overwhelms, overtakes, and overturns our tendency to self-love. It is only in that perfect love exchanged between the Father and the Son that man can discover and actualize his intended meaning and destiny. The Father makes us through the Word or Wisdom that is His Son. In His Son we find knowledge of our true human nature. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can live in the Redeemed Human Nature that the Son offers to share with us. If we embrace the effectual desire of the Holy Spirit, the mind of the Son will rule and govern us and we shall be reconciled with our Heavenly Father. Dear Christian Friends, let us desire to be ruled and governed by God’s Life and Nature through the Holy Spirit. Let us forever long to become what He alone can make out of us through the free reign of the same Spirit. Let us never quench this Spirit of Divine Love but open up to those horizons in which we shall forever be made better and new.
St. Michael and All Angels Sermons