“The Christian life, true spirituality, can never have a mechanical solution. The real solution is being cast up into moment-by-moment communion, personal communion, with God himself, and letting Christ’s truth flow through me through the agency of the Holy Spirit.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Wheaton, 1971), page 88. HT: Christ is Deeper Still
In Bible Study tonight, I was reminded in Paul's epistle to the Roman church that we have received the spirit of sonship, and not a spirit of fear:
Rom 8:15 "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.[g] And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."
In studying this passage together, I was also reminded of a story told my Rev. Russell Moore of an orphanage he and his wife had visited while going through the adoption process for his future son. He recounted how as they entered the orphanage, they were astonished by the stark silence in the halls. Here were dozens if not over a hundred orphan infants who had no parent to answer their cries, only the machines and ritual, routine, sterile feedings of the disadvantaged workers who were trained not to get attached. The infants had given up on crying out. They were convinced that no one would hear them cry or that if someone did, no one would care.
But as Rev. Moore and his wife began to pay visits to their future son, something amazing happened. Once the baby learned that these people would keep coming back, feeding him, loving him, and holding him, he began to actually cry out. They would hear him crying as they walked down the hallway leading to his room, even though the other orphans remained silent.
When our faith is mechanized, primarily fed through technological connections, by rote attendence, and by dutiful obedience sans true affection, we have lost "communion."
In our unbelief, we imagine that God is more like a difibrillator in the NICU that is just bearly keeping us breathing, and that we are like those foresaken orphans that are lucky to be alive - so we should just be happy with that.
But NO! We who are in Christ are not like this at all! Perhaps someone could argue that that is who we were, but who we are NOW is children of the Living God. Yes, we are like the infants who were adopted, in that we see our need to completely depend upon parents, our Daddy, Abba Father, for that which will sustain us, and upon seeing our need met by His loving willingness to provide, we begin to cry out to Him in our helplessness: Daddy! Abba! -- knowing that He will not foresake us or leave us there in our lonely exile.
He adopts us. He makes us heirs. Heirs with Christ. In His suffering, yes, and also in His glory. He ingrafts us into His family, and makes us members of Christ's body, in which when one of us suffers, we all suffer. He communes/tabernacles/dwells with us by His Spirit, which testifies that we are His and that He will never, ever foresake us and which enables us to put to death the deeds of the flesh, and live our lives by the spirit. This is the true Christian life.
In the holy name of Jesus Christ, I pray this truth will be manifest for all the saints this very night.