John 14:16. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.
When you think about the Holy Spirit what comes to mind? Because I am a Baptist the answer is supposed to be “not much.” For others, the Holy Spirit is the miracle working, sign producing, power of God. Maybe you’re somewhere in between.
If you look at the Holy Spirit all throughout scripture, what you will find is that the Spirit is life. His name literally means breath. In Genesis, the Spirit gave physical life to all creation including mankind. The Spirit also gave people God’s power for living. Joseph, Samson, David, the prophets, all did amazing things by the Spirit’s power. Even Jesus received the Spirit’s life giving power at his baptism and it empowered him in love towards the cross.
But Jesus didn’t just receive the Spirit. He and the Spirit are one. Look closely at John 14:16 again. Jesus says I will give you ANOTHER Helper. What does this imply? It implies that Jesus himself is the first Helper and that the Spirit will be another form of Jesus to them.
There is much confusion today about the Holy Spirit and his work in us. What exactly is the Holy Spirit doing? What is his ministry? Christians often talk about being guided and led by the Spirit. And rightly so. The Apostle Paul will say “walk in the Spirit,” and “keep in step with the Spirit.” But what does this mean? How is it done? Is the Spirit of God a mystical force or a deeper knowledge that we “tap in to?” Does the Spirit guide me from experience to experience making me more and more “spiritual” as I go?
Or could it be that the work of the Spirit in us, is the work of conforming us into Christ’s image? That the “next Helper” makes us like the “first Helper” in his suffering and death?
We all want the Spirit’s power, but it is important to remember that the Spirit’s path to power is Christ’s same path to power – the path that leads through the weakness and suffering of the cross. Gaining by giving. Winning by losing. The yoke of rest. The hard and narrow way of simply trusting. Putting to death the self, and receiving the grace of the finished work of the cross.
Any work of the Spirit that is not the application of the finished work of Christ’s cross is NOT a work of the Spirit.
Christian, you do not grow spiritually or experience the life of Christ by focusing on having spiritual experiences. To be spirit filled requires no conditions to be met or any special yielding to God. No, the Spirit of Christ has been fully yielded to us by God in our salvation by grace alone. The life of the Spirit is the gift of God by our new nature.
Sadly, many Christians have forgotten simple faith. The pursuit of the Spirit has become the pursuit of the self. The flesh. Christians are told to yield, abandon, dedicate, consecrate, commit, surrender. But this is a self-powered work. A discouraging work. A defeating work. Am I yielded enough? Committed enough? Dedicated enough? How will I ever know?
But the Spirit’s true work in us is the work of the cross. The work of the Spirit is the work of acknowledging weakness. Of admitting that we will never be yielded enough, abandoned enough, dedicated enough, committed enough, good enough, “spiritual” enough. But in Christ, this defeat is victory. By trusting in Christ’s work alone. His yielding. His dedication. His commitment level. His surrender. Now I am free.
“To live is Christ” is to have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, ministering the death and resurrection of Christ to my life. To be filled with the Spirit is to be filled with the life of the Lord Jesus Christ as a seed. He IS at work in us, Christian. And he is not waiting passively for us to meet a series of conditions before he begins his work. In fact, the work is already finished. We are fully alive in Christ. Fully justified. Fully sanctified. Fully glorified. Now the finished work of Christ is the ongoing work of the Spirit in us. By the Spirit, his death IS our life. And our dying is now our living.
How would you describe the Spirit’s work in your life?
You in Christ
The Spirit’s work is the work of ministering Christ’s finished work to your heart. Let that sink in.
Christ in you
How can you live from the Spirit today? Remember it will look like the cross.
Playlist: Songs of the Spirit.