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might by His Spirit in the inner man. remind us of the encouraging declaration of our blessed Lord to His disciples, If ye being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.45 Here we learn one purpose, and a principal one, for which the Holy Spirit is given to the children of God. We are exposed to the assaults of various spiritual enemies, against whom we are unable successfully to contend, because of our weakness; unless Divine aid and strength be supplied to uphold us in our spiritual warfare. It is the inner man, the mind and understanding, the heart and affections, that needs to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. The warfare in which the members of the church militant here on earth are engaged, is an internal warfare; a warfare against Satan and his angels, against wicked spirits which are continually suggesting evil thoughts to their minds, and endeavouring to stir up the evil propensities of their fallen nature; a warfare against innate corruption, which seconds the assaults of the powers of darkness; a warfare against the world that lieth in wickedness 46 which tries, as opportunity offers, by its smiles or by its frowns, to allure or to intimidate the Christian to walk in a way that is not good, 47 contrary to the word and will of God. Strength from on high is needful to enable him to maintain the conflict with his powerful foes. It must however be maintained through life vigorously and incessantly, if we would obtain the victory, and receive the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus.48 Nothing but the might of the Spirit of God will enable us to hold out to the end. If then we be Christians indeed, we shall pray earnestly for ourselves, that we may be strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner. man, to fight the good fight of faith49 against the world, the flesh, and the devil. The apostle represents this conflict in the most serious light, when he says, We wrestle not against flesh and blood, not merely against our own innate depravity, which it requires the most painful self-denial to resist, and not merely against the ungodly who surround us; but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness, (or wicked spirits) in high places.
45 Luke xi. 13.
46 1 John v. 19.
47 Isaiah lxv. 2.
Nothing but being strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man will ensure to us victory over these powerful foes. They carry all before them in the world, without resistance; their dominion is quietly and willingly submitted to by mankind. Hence Satan is called the god of this world,51 and the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the child
48 Phil. iii. 14. 491 Tim.vi. 12. 50 Eph.vi.10-12; ii. 2. 512 Cor. iv. 4. 52 Zech. iv, 6. 53 Rom. xvi. 20. 54 Psalm xvii. 5. 55 1 Sam. ii. 9. 56 James iv.7. 57 Col.i. 27, 20; iii. 3,4. 58 Rom.v. 3,10; xv.13.
ren of disobedience.50 He worketh effectually and powerfully, or with energy, as the word means. The true Christian alone, of all the people of the world, resists this powerful adversary. And he does this not by might, nor by power of his own; his own strength for resistance is perfect weakness; but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.se It is the Spirit of God who strengthens him to maintain the conflict, and to obtain the victory. It is the God of peace who bruises Satan under his feet.53 The believer is made strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. He puts on the whole armour of God, that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil ;60 and thus he is enabled to go on conquering and to conquer, and to triumph over all the power of the enemy. But in consequence of the subtilty and vigilance of his spiritual adversary, he is often in danger of falling; it is only while he depends upon Divine aid, and looks for the help of the Spirit of God to strengthen him with strength in his soul, that he is safe. This made the Psalmist pray, Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.54 It is the purpose of Satan to overthrow our goings; but while we seek strength from Him who will keep the feet of His saints,56 all the efforts of the enemy of our souls will be counteracted and defeated, so that he will not be able to prevail against us; but being thus resisted, he will flee from us.
The apostle next prays, That Christ may dwell in your
hearts by faith; or that He might possess the best affections of their souls; that they might enjoy His spiritual presence, and have communion and fellowship with Him in the spirit of their minds; that He would lift upon them the light of His reconciled countenance, and grant them His favour and protection. What blessedness is this! When Christ dwells in the heart, He is the hope of glory.57 Those to whom He manifests Himself as He does not unto the world, are enabled to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. He brings peace to their consciences and joy to their souls, so that they abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost.58 Their life is hid with Christ in God; and when Christ who is their life shall appear, then shall they also
then shall they also appear with Him in glory.57 But it is by faith that Christ dwells in the hearts of His people; according to the language of St. John, they know and believe the love that He hath to them, the love which He manifested in giving Himself for them, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. is the belief of this that wins their hearts to Him; the belief that He made peace through the blood of His cross ;67 so that they are reconciled to God by the
death of His Son 36 and are permitted to call Him their Father, and to come into His presence at all times as His children, in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make known their requestsø9 at His footstool, through their Me. diator and Intercessor; that asking they may receive and their joy.may be full.60 It is on account of believing in the efficacy of His atonement for sin, that His people love Him. This was the great proof given of the love of Christ, for which they will love and praise Him throughout eternity.
The apostle prays further, That they might be rooted and grounded in love ; or that they might strike root in this love of Christ, as trees strike root deep and wide in a good soil; that they might have such a firm hold upon it, as could not be loosened or eradicated, the full assurance of faithôi in His merits and propitiation; that their foundation might be laid deep and large in the love of Christ, so as to support a lofty and massive superstructure to the praise of the glory of His grace. Here we learn how deeply our minds ought to be impressed, and as it were imbued with the love of Christ. In order to strike root in it, so as to bear corresponding fruit, our meditations must be continually directed towards it; that gratitude may fill our hearts to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
And if our
59 Phil. iv. 6. 60 John xvi. 24. 61 Heb. x. 22. 62 Eph. i. 6; v. 25.