Having begun by the Spirit…?

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture
Today’s Readings: Mark 14:53-65; Gal. 3:1-14; Ps. 112; 1 Sam. 13

So important is the need for us to understand the glory of having received
Christ’s Spirit, that in Gal. 3, Paul virtually summarizes what it means to have
the fulfillment of the Covenant promises all in our having received Him. And so
I quote John Owen here to emphasize what this really means. It is a bit longer
than usual, but I think you will find it well worth the few moments extra it takes
to read.

John Owen: “We are taught in an especial manner to pray that God would give
his Holy Spirit unto us, that through his aid and assistance we may live unto
God in that holy obedience which he requires at our hands, Luke 11:9-13. Our
Savior, enjoining an importunity in our supplications, verses 9, 10, and giving us
encouragement that we shall succeed in our requests, verses 11, 12, makes the
subject-matter of them to be the Holy Spirit: “Your heavenly Father shall give
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him,” verse 13; which in the other evangelist
is “good things,” Matthew 7:11, because he is the author of them all in us and to
us, nor doth God bestow any good thing on us but by his Spirit. Hence, the
promise of bestowing the Spirit is accompanied with a prescription of duty unto
us, that we should ask him or pray for him; which is included in every promise
where his sending, giving, or bestowing is mentioned. He, therefore, is the
great subject-matter of all our prayers. And that signal promise of our blessed
Savior, to send him as a comforter, to abide with us forever, is a directory for
the prayers of the church in all generations. Nor is there any church in the
world fallen under such a total degeneracy but that, in their public offices, there
are testimonies of their ancient faith and practice, in praying for the coming of
the Spirit unto them, according to this promise of Christ. And therefore our
apostle, in all his most solemn prayers for the churches in his days, makes this
the chief petition of them, that God would give unto them, and increase in them,
the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, with the Spirit himself, for sundry
especial effects and operations whereof they stood in need, Ephesians 1:17,
3:16; Colossians 2:2. And this is a full conviction of what importance the
consideration of the Spirit of God and his work is unto us. We must deal in this
matter with that confidence which the truth instructs us unto, and therefore say,
that he who prayeth not constantly and diligently for the Spirit of God, that he
may be made partaker of him for the ends for which he is promised, is a
stranger from Christ and his gospel. This we are to attend unto, as that
whereon our eternal happiness doth depend. God knows our state and
condition, and we may better learn our wants from his prescription of what we
ought to pray for than from our sense and experience; for we are in the dark
unto our own spiritual concerns, through the power of our corruptions and
temptations, and “know not what we should pray for as we ought,” Romans
8:26. But our heavenly Father knows perfectly what we stand in need of; and,
therefore, whatever be our present apprehensions concerning ourselves, which
are to be examined by the word, our prayers are to be regulated by what God
hath enjoined us to ask and what he hath promised to bestow.”

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