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 started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book 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. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Christ's Mission Is Extended by the Spirit

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." — John 16:7 KJV.

It is quite obvious that Christ's efficiency in His saving contact with human souls is indefinitely increased by His representative, the Comforter. While on the earth in the limits of the body His range of beneficent effort must be restricted to a few of the many millions of mankind. His method was to individualize. In healing He laid His hands on every one. There was no healing in the mass. If men's diseased bodies required individualization, much more do their depraved souls. Through the Paraclete the Great Physician can simultaneously medicate millions of sin-sick souls on all the islands of the sea and in both hemispheres wherever His gospel is preached.

After the ascension, wherever there was a believer there was an omnipotent Christ. A thousand cities might simultaneously behold the displays of His power. On the day of Pentecost a thousand of the fiercest enemies of Christ laid down their weapons and proclaimed Him Lord to the glory of God the Father. The hearts of His own immediate disciples, so imperfectly subdued during His ministry, having been brought into complete subjection by the outpouring of the Spirit from the throne of their risen Lord, He went forth conquering and to conquer. It was sufficiently manifest then that Christ had all power in heaven and in earth. 
— George Bowen.

But not only is the quantity of His work multiplied infinitely, but the quality is vastly improved through the mission of the Spirit. While in the body on the earth the work of reconstructing fallen human nature must he done from the outside, at a distance from the centre of personality within. But the Spirit can interpenetrate the soul, impart spiritual life, and lodge the transforming principle in the very core of our being. Yea, He Himself, with my free consent makes my heart His domicile, His earthly holy of holies, thus imparting and conserving holiness at the fountain of action and character. This He can more effectually do than did Jesus in the flesh. For the Comforter does not take up His abode in my body merely, nor in my intellect, nor in any one of my mental powers; but in my spirit, which He found as a mere unused capacity and filled with His subtle energies which stream forth, quickening intellect, sensibilities and will, chastening every bodily appetite, and in this way sanctifying the material organism through which my spirit acts. Not in what we know but in what we are, does the Spirit take up His abode. Taking possession of the unexplored recesses of my spirit, the Holy Spirit, after my voluntary surrender and self-effacement, is in a position to inspire and safely guide me individually through all the perils and turning points of my probation. Thus I am, through the Paraclete, on more intimate terms with the Lord Jesus than ever was "that disciple whom Jesus loved" and who leaned on His bosom. It is this spiritual privilege, this closer intimacy with God in His Son, that makes the least in the kingdom of God, the spiritual kingdom established on the day of Pentecost, greater than John the Baptist, even though he was greater than Abraham, the founder, and Moses, the lawgiver, of the greatest nation on earth in God's eyes. Hence we emphatically indorse the strong declaration of Alford, especially his capitalized words:

 This 'the Comforter will not come if I go not,' is a convincing proof that the gift of the Spirit at and since the day of Pentecost is something TOTALLY DISTINCT from anything before that time; a new and loftier dispensation.

 — The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 10.

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