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· Andrew Murray,The Spirit of Christ,devotional

Andrew Murray on ‘The Spirit Gives Life’ #3.3

In chapter 25 of The Indwelling Spirit, Andrew Murray, lays open the means by which we are able to become a true minister of Christ. He basis his exposition on what St. Paul had to say about the matter in 2 Corinthians 3:5-8.

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenantnot of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The Spirit in our hearts

Murray now makes an important observation. He says that if we study the various passages that make mention of the Spirit in the first half of 2 Corinthians, we shall see what St. Paul views as the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 St. Paul says:

  • Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.
  • He anointed us
  • Set His seal of ownership on us
  • Put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

The Unity of believers

The St. Paul writes with a deep sense of unity which comes out throughout the Epistle.

2 Corinthians 1:6

I had confidence in all of you that you would all share my joy.

2 Corinthians 5

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent.

2 Corinthians 4:13

We have the same spirit of faith . . .

Commenting on the above texts, Andrew Murray says that the consciousness of being members one of another is necessary for all believers.

2 Corinthians 1:6

I had confidence in all of you that you would all share my joy.

Murray now turns to 2 Corinthians 3:3 as another example verse which gives the work of the Spirit prominence.

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Just as God wrote the law on tablets of stone, says Murray, just as surely does He write the new covenant on the believer’s heart. He does this through the Holy Spirit who acts like a pen upon God’s command.

In Corinthians 3:6-7 the text teaches us the special characteristics of the new covenant ministry of the Spirit:

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

  • The Spirit gives life 


  • The letter kills

This applies not only to the law of the Old Testament but to all preaching and knowledge that is not in the quickening power of the Spirit.

The Gospel, too, has its letter, says Murray.

The ministry of the Spirit when preaching

Murray, as a young pastor, spent much time in anguish over the fact that the Spirit did not always appear to be present while he was preaching. The result was that he found it difficult to get through to his Boer congregation in Bloemfontein. But by contrast, he was able to preach freely and with power during the 1860/61 revival that swept through the Cape in South Africa.


Based on this revival experience and the quickening power of the Spirit that accompanied his preaching in later life, he makes the following points:

  • The Gospel may be preached most clearly and faithfully, yet the faith that comes of it may stand in the wisdom of men.
  • The Church needs to plead for the restoration of the ministry of the Spirit in full power on behalf of its ministers.
  • We need to pray that God will teach them what it is to personally live in the anointing of the Spirit.

He adds:

The Spirit of God stands in contrast to the flesh, the world, the self. . . . It is as these are broken down and the flesh has nothing to glory in that the Spirit will work. . . . He will then do the work for which He was sent—to reveal the glory of the Lord in us; and as we behold it, we shall be changed from glory to glory.

How to be clothed with power from on high

It is as we wait at the foot of the throne that we will be clothed with power from on high. It is not a question of whether we submit to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit’s working, but whether we give a commensurate portion of our time to secure His presence.

--Andrew Murray


Murray, Andrew, The Indwelling Spirit. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2006, chapter 25.

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