[The following is an article written by T. Austin-Sparks and first published as an Editorial in “A Witness and A Testimony” magazine, Nov-Dec 1941, Vol. 19-6. I am including it here, interjected in the midst of the series “Tradition, Scripture, and the Church”, because of its relevance to the matters of “apostasy” and “restoration” that are the focus of the last two posts of that series. May you be enlightened and encouraged by the wisdom of the Lord as it is understood and expressed by Bro. Sparks!]
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Romans 15:5; Colossians 2:8.
“It would be a wonderful thing if in the realm of medicine one remedy could be found whereby every conceivable malady could be most certainly cured. What a tremendous amount of complication and confusion would at once be removed. It is almost too big a thought or prospect for us to take in; there is so much of life taken up with the endless systems of healing, and the countless number of remedies. Not only are there the varieties and multitudes of propositions and advocacies, but there are the strong and, sometimes, fierce rivalries in medicine and surgery; the opposing schools.
“Someone years ago gave to spiritual ministry the. name of ‘the cure of souls’. That ‘cure’ far outreaches the matter of individual salvation. The Apostle Paul, in particular, had all his time taken up with the ‘cure’ of believers, and the ‘cure’ of the churches. The maladies of individuals and churches were many; from sins of a very low level, through jealousies, factions, personal interests etc., to false doctrine, and all the complexity of church technique.
“But this servant of God had and propounded, one universal remedy, one panacea for all ills. You ask, ‘Is that possible?’ Yes! In this realm of the spiritual borders in the Lord’s people, whether personal or collective, as for the unsaved of every different constitution, temperament, inheritance, etc., there is
One Universal Remedy
“That simplifies things very much. It sets aside a thousand questions and perplexities. The evil germs of suspicion, prejudice, fear, jealousy, and many other such like things will be killed by the radium-like power of this new Life. The dislocations between people will be quickly and effectively adjusted. The whole question of order and technique in the churches, in all its particulars, will spontaneously resolve and answer itself. The malady of spiritual inertia and lack of concern for the salvation and eternal good of others will yield to a new vitality and energy.
“Yes, there is one all-inclusive cure; but to say this is of no more value than an advertisement, unless it is believed and obeyed.
“What then is this one all-embracing Remedy? It will not help a great deal just to give the answer in a simple sentence so we must illustrate or instance it. It is quite clear that every letter written by the Apostle Paul has some maladies as the occasion of it. That is to say there were things that were wrong in every place to which the letters were written, and that needed to be put right. The outstanding case is Corinth. The disorders and diseases there, both individual and collective, were many and great. While the Apostle referred to these specifically, and rebuked, reproved, exhorted, and warned concerning them, he knew quite well that they could never be cleared up as things in themselves. It was of no use to try to get a solution by discussion, debate, logic, personal persuasion, or threat. His one all-covering Remedy is announced, or prescribed very early in the first letter to them:-
“I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ… and him crucified.”
“In other words, Paul’s finally settled position was that a passion for Jesus Christ in terms of His Cross – that is, in terms of love: the letting go of all personal interest, the yielding of all natural mindedness – will solve every problem and cure every malady. Paul believed that if he could get those believers to become really captivated by a concern for Christ as the objective of an ever increasing devotion and self-surrender, all the evils and hurtful things would fade out. If something more than the initial and basic personal advantages of salvation were to fill the heart, so many of the unhappy conditions in individual and corporate Christian life would disappear. That is to say, if the Lordship of Christ were to be given its place and His fulness were to be the governing goal, life would be ever rising in ascendancy above the low level and be enlarging beyond the small and petty measure which is characteristic of so many.
“Oh, for the ability to show how the Lordship of Christ in a life, or in a church, and in all the churches, is the solution to every problem and difficulty! Will you ask the Lord to impress you firstly with this fact, and then to lead you into its reality. To this ministry, by His grace, and as helped by your prayers, we give ourselves until we – with all saints – ‘attain unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.'”
In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks’ wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely – free of any changes, free of any charge (except necessary distribution costs) and with this statement included.
Source: The Online Library of T. Austin-Sparks
Related posts and pages:
Tradition, Scripture and the Church – Pt. 4: “Tradition and Apostasy”
Tradition, Scripture and the Church – Pt. 5: “Tradition and Restoration”
“Christocentricity/Eccentricity Spiritual Theory” – Explained and Illustrated (with animated short)
Excellent as always, beautifully written, as by the Holy Spirit Himself. I, too, am reading Colossians, which is blowing my socks off — especially today, when I read Colossians 1:1-29. Then I open my email to find this awesome blog post. Thank You, GOD!
Thank you, Whitney. I’m glad this spoke to your heart as it has to mine. Bro. Sparks…the best of the best!
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David, thanks for sharing this. Thanks so much for highlighting the writing of TAS. He is without a doubt, my favorite author, his writings are so centered on Christ, unlike any other author I have read.
I marvel often over, when I am conversing with others (including pastors and other bible college grads) and I mention him that most have never heard of him. This mystifies me. Most have heard of Tozer and Nee, rarely of TAS.
For those not familiar with him, I encourage them to go to website you list at the bottom of the page, and the second rolling window that comes across your screen is for “Open windows”, which is a daily devotional. This would be well worth the effort for anyone to use in their daily reading.
As you mentioned, all his writing are free, and there are so many, literally hundreds. Books, magazines, audio and even some video. I find his written stuff easier for me to understand, as he is British, and the spoken words are sometimes harder for me to follow, but that could be just my personal preference.
Thanks again for highlighting this brother in Christ, who had such a clear revelation of Christ. JM.
A wonderful commendation, John, and I wholeheartedly agree! He does seem to be a “hidden one”, but his influence, even so, would be hard to over-estimate. In the end, he may be one of the most influential servants of God affecting the end-time Church of any that have lived in the past few centuries. That is my estimation and “prediction”, at least!
In addition to the link in this post, there is a permanent link to his online library on the sidebar under “Resources” along with the Facebook page for “Daily Open Windows”, for those that would like a daily feed that way. I encourage everyone to visit his sites and partake of this man’s works!
Thanks, again, John!