The most effective witness for outreach is one in whom the Lord takes up every place in him so that the work is, not by us in the Lord, but by the Lord in us—everywhere in us. It’s very instructive to know there is no place in us the Lord is not to take up and that it is attained by the law of displacement.
John the Baptists inspiringly stated, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Similar to as we have two physical eyes we also possess two spiritual “I’s”—the old I and the new I. The Lord does not want to displace you, but your nature. He does not want it to be, all Jesus and none of you, but Jesus and you. God’s desire is to have you in your personhood, plus the new nature!
Notice John did not say, “I must be eliminated”. This does not design the removal of the old nature but its restraint (Gal 5:17), because the Lord continues use the Adamic nature to teach us for our growth in Christ, just as He used it to draw us to Christ. We came to Christ because we were made to realize the seriousness of sin and the more we are shown the depths of its decadency, the more we realize the depths of God’s holiness.
I like what John Gill commentated concerning something Christ said on the Cross; “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus was referring to their ignorance to the fact that they did not realize they were crucifying the Messiah, nor the prophecies concerning Him, nor the evil they were committing in putting Him to death: not that their ignorance excused their sin; nor was it without sin; nor does Christ use it as a plea for pardon, or found His intercession upon it, which is always done upon His own propitiatory sacrifice; but this is mentioned as descriptive of the persons Christ prays for, and points out a branch of His priestly office He exercises, in having compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way. (J. Gill bible commentary)
The issue of sin is not so much the wrongs of people as much as it is their lacking the realization of the seriousness of the wrongs; which comes not by discovery but by revelation--by the Spirit’s enlightenment (John 14:26). One cannot judge, nor expect an unregenerate person to live the Christ-life any more than expecting a pig to stay out of the mud after cleaning it. A sinner is expected to sin willfully just as a pig is expected to willfully return to the mud. If the model is to keep a clean pig, the goal is not in cleaning its body but in addressing its nature. -NC
“Most would say, “The work of the Holy Spirit is to save souls.” Yes, but why? Just to have them saved? No; but in order that the Lord Jesus might have His place. These souls are the residence of Christ. The Spirit may instruct believers and build them up—for what purpose? Just that they should be more mature Christians? Not at all; but so that the Lamb of God shall have a larger place. No matter what the Holy Spirit does, He has one all-inclusive object and end—the glorifying of the Lord Jesus Christ; that is, giving Him place and then filling all things with Him. Do not think of the “being filled with the Spirit”, or the “fullness of the Spirit”, in any other way than this: the Holy Spirit’s filling of all things with the Lord Jesus—He is “all, and in all” (Col 3:11). –MJS/Person To Person/WithChrist.org.
“. . . that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18).
4-11. INWROUGHT FOR OUTREACH
"Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:7).
At first our concern is to be used, to serve; but it is our concern. Then He begins to impress His concern upon our hearts, that we be like Him. Finally, it is His concern and ours that others may be reached by Him and established in Him.
"The Holy Spirit indwells us and thereby accomplishes our sanctification--an adjustment of our personal lives to His own person and character, to the dropping away of sin's power over us and the implanting of His Christ-imparting attributes in us. But to what purpose is all of this? For the beautifying of our personal lives? To terminate upon us? Not at all. His work in us is that He may have an instrument adjusted to His use, thus to work through us to the blessing of others. -N.B.H.
"It is not so much a matter of our attainments or full conformity to Christ, but rather our progressive movement towards the final goal. Even if we were perfect in ourselves, that would not make us ministers, for ministry consists in the Spirit's manifesting in our lives something more of Christ that was not there before, and then making it shine out for the blessing and transformation of others." -H.F.
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men" (1 Thessalonians 3:12).
The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.'" -MJS
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