Operations of the Holy Spirit

by:  J N Darby

I would desire to say a few words on the operations of the Spirit of God—the connection of His working in us with Christ; and the separateness too of the operation of the Spirit inus, from the work of Christ as wrought and perfected for us already.

I do not assume, by any means, to give a full or adequate view of the operations of the Spirit—“Who is sufficient for these things?” I see enough, indeed, to see the paucity and dimness of what has appeared to my mind, compared with the glory of what is still shewn to be onward. Blessed that it is so—most blessed—eternal blessings! Still I would speak of that which the scripture seems to make clear. If others have learned more, they can be led forth to communicate it; if less, they will not begrudge what I do: what I hope is, that it may lead into more searching and attainment of the power of these things.

Christians, and real ones, are too apt (though this may seem a strange assertion) to separate, and too apt to confound, Christ and the Spirit. That is, they separate Christ and the Spirit in operation in us too much; and they confound the work of Christ for us too much with the Spirit. The consequence of both is, uncertainty, meagreness of judgment, and doubt.

The work of the Spirit of God in me, in the power of life, produces conflict, labour, discoveries of sin, and need of mortifying my members which are on the earth; and the more what “Christ is” is revealed in my soul, in the comparison with the discovery of what I am, the more do I find cause of humiliation—the more do I find, by the contrast of Christ looked at as in the flesh here sinless, God condemning this evil root of sin in the flesh in me. And much more, by the discovery of what my blessed Lord is, as glorified, do I see through the Spirit, how short I am of “attaining,” though I may be still changed into the same likeness, from glory to glory. Hence, though at peace, hope, perhaps animating hope, and joy betimes filling the soul, yet there will be exercised self-judgment and sorrow of heart at the discovery of how every feeling we have towards God, and every object spiritually known, is short of the just effects they should produce and call out; and hence, too, in case of any allowance or indulgence of evil, deep self-abasement and utter abhorrence. Hence, when the fulness and finishedness of our acceptance in Christ is not known, anxiety and spiritual despondency arise, and doubt, sometimes issuing in a very mistaken and evil reference to the law—a sort of consecrating the principle of unbelief, putting the soul (on the discovery, by the Spirit, of sin working in it) under the law and its condemnation; and not “in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”24