The Revelation of the Father, Discipleship in the School of Christ

In the article “The Revelation of the Father” and the four chapters of “Discipleship in the School of Christ” T. Austin-Sparks focusses on the great significance of God as Father. If God’s Name is “Father”, it implies that He wants a family, a family redeemed out of all the nations. That family is to be a ruling family. It is, therefore, learning to reign in life, on the basis of the victory of the first-born Son, Jesus Christ. And to know what it means to reign, the family has to learn to look at the Son and see the way He went that led to victory, a way that is totally different from the natural concept of ruling. It is clear that the result of the fall is that mankind cannot fulfill its calling to be God’s family. The fall caused a terrible contradiction in man, the greatness of man and his great depravity at the same time. Jesus came to take away that contradiction and bring mankind back to the glory God intended for him originally. That is the greatness of Salvation unto glory. We are not only saved from our sins, but also saved unto glory. This should cause us to bow down in worship and commit our lives to Him without reservation and with full assurance.

These articles are almost mere expositions; the listeners are hardly being addressed. The exhortation comes at the very end. Typically, brother Sparks points to fulness of glory, the theme that has governed his ministry through the years and which has encouraged believers from all over the world to keep on seeking the Lord. His quotation of the RV margin rendering of Heb. 6:1, “Let us … press on unto full growth,” may need some further study of the passage. An exegetical attempt can be found
here. Again the family aspect of the Christian community comes into view. Isn’t it true that a child of God cannot “press on unto full growth” without his fellow believers? Indeed, spiritual maturity is a corporate matter and should be a top priority for any Christian group, if it wants to be a strong witness and defensible against all kinds of attacks. Moreover, a strong awareness of belonging to the family of God will help the individual believer to develop a serving attitude, following the example of the Firstborn of the family.

March 2020
On behalf of The Golden Candlestick team,
Hugo de Jong, Twello, the Netherlands