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.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Law of the Spirit of Life

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death." — Romans 8:2 RV

In the Epistle to the Romans Paul speaks of the two laws or uniform and controlling forces — the law of sin producing spiritual death, and the law of the Spirit inspiring spiritual life which becomes eternal on the condition of persevering faith.

In the thought of many people the Spirit is capricious in His action, and sovereign in the sense that He is a law unto Himself, observing no conditions and establishing no regular order of sequences by which His aid may be secured. Perhaps this error may be truthfully ascribed to that religious teaching which magnifies the sovereignty of God as exercised unconditionally. In some instances it may be traced to a misunderstanding of Christ's comparison of the mystery of the new birth to "the wind blowing as it listeth," He did not intimate that the winds are not under physical laws, but rather that science had not then, as it has not now, a knowledge of pneumatics sufficient to predict with infallible certainty what will be the direction and intensity of the wind an hour hence. Some infer that the Holy Spirit acts on men in promoting revivals of religion with the same uncertainty and apparent lawlessness. Hence revivals come to a church like thunderstorms, without regard to any human conditions. This idea is confirmed by a faulty translation of a sentence in Peter's sermon in Solomon's porch, Acts iii. 19, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." This rendering of the text commands sinners to be ready for the blotting out of their sins whenever it may please God to send the times of refreshing. The correct rendering makes the times of refreshing or revival depend on the commanded human condition of repentance, "Repent . . . that so there may come seasons," etc. (Revised Version).

In fact the Spirit is endeavoring to produce in every sinner penitence for sin and faith in Christ, in order that He may impart spiritual life and be God's messenger of adoption, inspiring the joyful cry, "Abba, Father." This is the purpose for which He is reproving the world. He yearns to inspire in every human soul the gladness of the filial feeling in place of the dread and foreboding of punishment which haunt conscious guilt. He delights to take up His abode in the believer. His personality interpenetrates ours just in proportion to the perfectness of our self-surrender. It is a wise remark of Dr. A. J. Gordon that the Spirit, like the wind, always moves toward a vacuum. By entire consecration make your heart vacant of all love of the world, and the Holy Spirit will come in Pentecostal power and fill the vacuum.

The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 12.