The Spirit of Revelation
by James Smith, 1860
"The Spirit will take from what is Mine — and make it known to you." John 16:15
There is very much about Christ that we do not know. We can know nothing experimentally about Christ — without divine teaching. And yet our holiness, our happiness, our usefulness, very much depends on our knowledge of Christ. This attainment therefore is of the greatest importance. Paul deeply felt this, and therefore exclaimed, "That I may know Him." And when expressing his desires for the Ephesians, in prayer to God, though they knew much of Christ already, he prayed, "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation — so that you may know Him better!" Ephesians 1:17. He here prays that the glorious Father would send the revealing Spirit, to teach them to know Christ more fully. This is just what we need — may the Lord confer on us the same blessing.
It is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ. He has revealed Him already in the Word — and He stills reveals Him to the understanding and hearts of the Lord's people.
To see Christ in the Word — is like looking upon a well-drawn portrait; but to see Christ by the revealing of the Holy Spirit — is like being introduced into the company of the living person!
There is a reality, a vividness, in our knowledge of Christ — when it comes from the teaching of the Holy Spirit, which cannot otherwise be realized. When the Spirit teaches us to know Christ, our former knowledge appears to be like mere hearsay, or like ideas we have obtained in a dream. O for more personal, experimental knowledge of Christ!
The Spirit reveals the glorious PERSON of Christ, and then, apart from all human reasonings — we know him to be fully human, and we are sure he is fully divine. We see that while he is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh — that in him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily. We perceive that he is not more one with us — than he is one with God; that he has not more really our nature — than he has the Father's nature.
The Spirit unveils to us, the exact ADAPTATION of Christ: that he is just what we need — and all that we need. For he has whatever we need, and all that he has — he is ready to impart to us. He is all we need as sinners — to save us; and all we need as saints — to satisfy us. His glory is great in our salvation, and his grace shines conspicuously in all that we enjoy. Precious Savior! you are all our salvation, and all our desire.
The Spirit shows us our SAVING INTEREST in Christ, and under his holy teaching, we discover that we are personally, and eternally interested in the person, property, and work of Christ. Then we see, that the wife is not more entitled to the wealth and dignity — which comes to her by her marriage-union with her rich and honorable husband; than we are to the riches of grace and glory — which comes to us by our union with Christ. Yes, we see that the heir is not more entitled to his inheritance — which comes to him legally by heirship; than we are to the inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away — in consequence of our being constituted joint heirs with Christ.
We perceive, that in the eye of the law, Christ and our souls are one — he the head, and we members of his body. O glorious union! Christ and the believer one. He took all our blame, and bore all our shame — that we may be entitled to his merit, and share in all his glory.
The Spirit makes known to us our title to the PROMISES; all the great and precious promises which God has made, which the death of Christ confirmed, and which he lives to make good. All the blessings promised — are in him. All the promises are now signed with his name. Every promise, when pleaded, shall be made good to us.
The promises are perfectly adapted to our circumstances . . .
for they comprise all that we can need for body or soul,
for ourselves or those connected with us,
for time and eternity.
In the promises — God speaks to our circumstances, and pledges himself to supply all our needs, and to answer all our prayers, if for our good and his glory. By the Spirit he speaks the same promises to our hearts — and then we believe them, appropriate them, plead them, and expect their fulfillment. Precious promises, they contain all our salvation, and all our desire; may the Spirit of wisdom and revelation unfold them, apply them, enable us to plead them, and then wait for their fulfillment with faith and patience!
The Spirit unfolds the glorious DOCTRINES of Christ to us, and then we see that as all the doctrines are in Christ, so Christ is in all the doctrines. Every doctrine of the gospel leads directly to Christ; and when the doctrines are unfolded by the Spirit's teaching, then Christ and our souls are brought together in sweet and hallowed fellowship.
If we learn Scripture doctrines from the teachings of men — they will be dry and lifeless; but if we are taught them by the Spirit of God — we shall find them to be full of unction and savor, and they will prove sanctifying as well as comforting to our souls! The Spirit will endear Christ to us by every doctrine, and will endear every doctrine to us, by showing us its connection with Christ, and its direct tendency to exalt Christ. Blessed Spirit, teach me doctrine! Let me have all the doctrines of the gospel unfolded to my mind by you, that I may have fellowship with Christ in them, and communion with God through them.
As the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Christ, this divine teacher will show us . . .
Christ in nature — as the creator of all things;
Christ in providence — as the director of all things;
Christ in grace — as the author of salvation;
and Christ in glory — as its source and center.
He will . . .
show us our need of Christ,
prompt us to expect good and great things from Christ,
and teach us to ascribe all glory to Christ.
Christ is the text from which the Holy Spirit preaches.
Christ is the subject the Holy Spirit unfolds.
Christ is the object to which the Holy Spirit points.
Christ is the end to which the Holy Spirit leads.
To reveal Christ,
to exalt Christ,
to lead souls to Christ,
is at once the work and the delight of the ever blessed Spirit. And if we had more of the Holy Spirit's presence and influence — we would . . .
think more of Christ,
speak more of Christ,
do more for Christ, and
enjoy more of Christ,
have more personal dealings with Christ.
Low thoughts of Christ,
living at a distance from Christ,
seldom speaking of Christ, and
having little enjoyment of Christ
— proves that we have but little of the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Christ.
Blessed, blessed Spirit, as the Spirit of wisdom — make me truly wise; and as the Spirit of revelation — give me a deep, thorough, abiding, practical knowledge of Christ.
O you who are the glorious Father of Christ, and the giver of the Holy Spirit, I beseech you to give to me and all your people, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ — that we may better know him, love him, trust him, publish him, and glorify his dear and precious name!
Gracious Savior, give, O give us grace — that we may give you glory, honor, and praise, henceforth and forever. Amen.