Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Spirit of Christ

The Promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Ephesians chapter 1 gives us a helpful picture of the Godhead in the work of salvation. It is against this background, in the course of his work, that we come to understand the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus spoke of the Spirit he promised, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

The Greek translated ‘another’ is allos, meaning another of the same kind. If Jesus had intended another of a different kind he would have said heteros. Last time, we saw how Jesus was there in the beginning, created ‘all things,’ is eternal and divine in nature and is to be given the same honour as the Father. Now, Jesus promises to send the Spirit, describing him (note ‘him’) as ‘another of the same kind.’ Here is the Christian God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is variously known as The Holy Spirit, indicating his divinity (John 14:26); The Eternal Spirit, indicating his eternal nature (Hebrews 9:14); Lord, showing God’s glory and Lordship in the lives of Christians (2 Corinthians 3:17); Power of the Almighty, meaning the very power of God (Luke 1:35); God, for to lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God (Acts 5:1-4)…

The Spirit of Christ

The expression ‘the spirit of’ is used in the Bible to express similarity of nature. The Son of God is, by nature, God. The Spirit of Christ has the same nature as the Son, who has the same nature as the Father, he is the Spirit of God (Matthew 3:16) the Spirit of the Son (Galatians 4:6) the Spirit of Christ -

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (Romans 8:9)

Note in this reference that he is ‘the Spirit of God’ and ‘the Spirit of Christ.’

In our Ephesians text we see all three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, working together in the salvation of mankind:

Verses 3—4 show us that the Father is the originator of our salvation. It was ‘He who chose in in him before the foundation of the world.’

Verses 4—12 show that Jesus is the one who makes it all possible.  ‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…’

And verses 13—14 show that the Holy Spirit is the one who equips and makes it real within the lives of God’s children who are ‘sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.’

The fullness of our salvation has not yet been fully revealed but it will come because of the Holy Spirit within our lives.

Gifts and Fruit

We may not always feel that we are filled to overflowing: the widow who spoke to Elisha certainly did not (2 Kings 4.) She had to be reminded that she had the small jar of oil tucked away in some dark cupboard. Then she was encouraged to use it under the direction of Elijah, and what a miracle! The small amount of oil became a house full. Oil in the Old Testament is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we only have a small amount tucked away somewhere but we need to pour it out at the Lord’s command. We, too, will find it will keep pouring until the need is met.

The Holy Spirit also distributes gifts as he pleases (1 Corinthians 12:11). These enable us to bring the reality of the life of God to people in this world. When we see the Lord face to face we will not need the gifts, but until then they reveal God to people, and we should be seeking the Lord to release them through us.

‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.’ (Galatians 5:22-23)

Paul goes on to urge us, ‘If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.’ (v.25)

Welcome the Holy Spirit into your life and give him the oppor­tunity to produce the fruits. Fruit is not just for you to hold and say how wonderful it looks. Fruit is to be tasted. Others will see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in you and will want to taste and see what it is.

Here is a remarkable truth. If you have believed and been saved it is because God chose you (vv 3-4), Jesus redeemed you according to God’s plan (vv 4-12), and the Holy Spirit sealed you in him as God’s possession, guaranteeing your inheritance in Christ (vv 13-14). We should exercise gifts and produce fruit according to the Spirit who gives them.

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