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THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST
By T. Austin Sparks
THE FOUNDATION OF SPIRITUAL EDUCATION
THE OBJECT OF OUR SCHOOLING IS FIRST COMPREHENSIVELY PRESENTED
Coming into this school, the very first thing that the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher and Interpreter, does for us, if we are truly brought under His hand, is to show us in a comprehensive way what it is that we have to learn, to present to us the great object of our education. We read those passages in Ezekiel which I think have a great bearing upon this matter.
In a day when the true expression of God's thought in the midst of his people had been lost and God's people were out of immediate touch with Divine thoughts, away in that far country, the Spirit of God laid His hand upon the prophet and took him in the Spirit in the visions of God back to Jerusalem, and set him upon a high mountain, and gave him that presentation of a new temple, forth from which would flow a river of life to the ends of the earth.
Then He followed this up by going into the whole thing in the most minute detail, and later instructed the prophet to show the house to the house of Israel with a view to bringing about a recovery of spiritual life in conformity to that great comprehensive and detailed revelation of God's thought, that they should first of all be ashamed.
It is a much disputed matter whether the temple of Ezekiel will yet literally be set up on the earth. We will not argue about that, but of this one thing we need have no question, that all that Ezekiel saw has its spiritual counterpart and fulfillment in the Church which is His Body; spiritually it is all in Christ.
And God's method with His people, in order to secure a full expression of His thought, is first of all to present the perfect Object: and this He did when at the Jordan He rent the heavens and said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". He presented and attested that which was the full, comprehensive and detailed expression of His thought for His people. The Apostle Paul, in words familiar to us, expressly voices the fact-
"Whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29).
"This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" -"Conformed to the image of his Son". There is the presentation and the attestation and the declaration of Divine purpose in relation to Him. Therefore I repeat, the Holy Spirit's first object is to acquaint us with what is in view in our spiritual education; namely, that He is to reveal Christ in us and then afterward to get to work to conform us to Christ. To learn Christ we must first see Christ.