E. J. Waggoner
There is something exceedingly comforting in the thought of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit; and no wonder, for the Spirit is the Comforter. But the great comfort of it is shown in the result, as illustrated in one typical case. When Samuel had anointed Saul king over Israel, he said to him:
“You will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man” (1 Sam. 10:5, 6).
What a wonderfully pleasant thought, that the Spirit turns the one who yields to its presence into another man. The old man is sinful. We are carnal by nature. We have done many wicked deeds, because sin was our very nature. The memory of those sins have often appalled us, as the knowledge of the sinful nature, whence they came, has often been to us a grief and shame. Past misdeeds which we could not wipe out, had been held up before us by Satan to discourage us, and thus to give him greater power over our sinful nature.
But now the glorious news comes to us that by yielding to the Spirit of God, we may be turned into other persons. That “new man” is “created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). It takes the place of “the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (v. 22). This new man is “renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:10); and this renewing takes place “day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
We yield, and the transformation is effected. We continue to yield, and the renewing continually takes place. And now the devil comes to us again with his old tricks. He presents the long list of sins, but they do not appall us anymore. We can say to him, “You have made a mistake; the man who used to live here, and who committed those sins, is dead, and I have no connection with him, and therefore cannot be called on to settle his accounts.” There is no more a “fearful expectation of judgment,” for we “shall not come into judgment,” having “passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
The devil tries his old temptations, through the lusts of the flesh, but again he is baffled. He used to have no difficulty in leading us astray, but now he has another man to deal with, and to his astonishment he finds that his purposes fail. There is no condemnation to us, because we walk in the Spirit.
This new man has never sinned, because it is “created in righteousness and true holiness,” and kept eternally new. How often we have wished that we might get rid of ourselves. We may. The word comes to us, “Put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:9), and with the word comes the power to put him off. And the new man cannot sin, because it is the very image of God. So our part, day by day, is to declare from the heart with the Apostle Paul:—
“For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:19, 20).
The Present Truth, January 25, 1894