When you, who are anxious about your soul, are hearing much prayer offered by Christians for the Holy Spirit, you may conclude that the first thing you also have to do is to pray for the Holy Spirit; but Jesus Himself sets you right in this matter when He says, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent,” (John 6:29). If you desire to do this at the throne of grace, by all means repair thither, but do not go to it to do anything else at present. Believers in Jesus pray “In the Holy Ghost” (Jude 20) that He may revive the work of God in themselves and in their fellow-believers,—lead awakened souls to Jesus,—and convince sinners of their wickedness and unbelief: but as your only foundation for peace, pardon, purity, and glory, is to be found in the blood-shedding of Jesus, your more immediate occupation is to “Behold the Lamb of God,” (John 1:29).
No doubt, the quickening presence of the Holy Spirit is most essential to your seeing Jesus to the saving of your soul, and you should by all means expect His gracious presence to be vouchsafed as you contemplate the crucified Redeemer; but it is unscriptural to seek the sanctification of your heart through the Spirit before the justification of your person through Christ, and it is equally unscriptural to mix the two, and depend partly on the one and partly on the other: for Jesus, and Jesus only, is the object on which your anxious eyes must rest for peace with God and a change of heart. “It is Christ that died,” (Rom 8:34): and the Spirit’s office is to direct you to Him who said on Calvary, “It is finished” (John 19:30). It is nowhere written in Scripture: The work of God’s Holy Spirit cleanseth us from sin; but it is written that “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” (1 John 1:7). What you are called upon, then, more especially to do, is to receive Jesus as your Redeemer, that you may “have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,” (Eph 1:7); for it is written, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, (John 1:12).
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