Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Spirit Brings the Bible's Message to Life

The Spirit gives reality to the Old Testament, the prophetic record, and to the New Testament, the historic record of Christ's life. He impresses upon us the fact that Jesus is living and present — that He is what He was. His birth, His sermon on the mount, His parables, His miracles, His farewell discourse, His high-priestly prayer, His words on the cross, to Spirit-illumined souls do not belong to a distant antiquity, but are perpetually as fresh as the morning paper. The Spirit telegraphs the Gospels across the chasm of centuries and millenniums as recent news from heaven. What are you so greedily reading, grandpa?" said a child to a Bible-studying saint of four score years intently reading the word of God. "News," was the reply. To the spiritual mind Christ is present giving life to His words spoken eighteen hundred years ago. Thus He verifies His own promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Thus He makes His words spirit and life.

Statesmen are present in the governments which they have founded. Thus Washington is present in the American Constitution, and Bonaparte in the Code Napoleon. Authors are present in succeeding ages in their books. Thus Homer and Plato are marching down the generations. But the presence of Christ through the Comforter is entirely different. It is a real spiritual and personal presence, invisible to all, but felt by the truly regenerate. "The Paraclete takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us. "He shall testify of me. He shall glorify me." It is said that the personal presence of Napoleon on the field of battle was equal to a re-enforcement of ten thousand men. But he could not be present in every battle of the French down the ages, for the allied nations caged him up in St. Helena, and death soon imprisoned him in the tomb. But Jesus Christ is present to every tempted believer and in every Waterloo of His church, not as a hallowed and inspiring memory, but a veritable personality, manifesting Himself to the loving heart. This is true because the Comforter is emphatically the Spirit of Christ. To fail to realize this truth is not to have heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

We are to be on our guard against commingling the risen Son of God with the Spirit. They are distinct personalities while one in substance. The Spirit is the organ through which the Son now communicates with the believer and with the world. He is the revealer by whose activity in human hearts redemptive truth is transformed into knowledge in such a manner that faith becomes knowledge (Eph. iv. 13). The Holy Spirit is the channel of reality. He gives eyesight to the spiritually blind. He gives visibility, substance, color and weight to truths which are as airy nothings to the sense-imprisoned soul. Vague, shadowy and unreal are spiritual truths to the carnal heart. The inward vision, the spirit of revelation (Eph. i. 17) is wanting. "Whom the world receiveth not, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." Granite realities indeed are gospel truths to him who has received the Comforter. The sordid earth and the shining orbs are soap bubbles in comparison. The things that are seen are temporal and evanescent, and the things that are not seen are changeless and eternal. Thus the Holy Spirit leads us up to that mount of vision where we see things with God's eyes, where the world's reals become the believer's unreals, and the things unreal to blind unbelief become real to open-eyed faith. The feet which press this mount will not be lured by mammon from ministries to the Master.

"As by the light of opening day
The stars are all concealed,
So earthly glories fade away
When Jesus is revealed."

The Gospel of the Comforter (1898) Chapter 1.