“God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him
in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
God the Holy Spirit – had always been little understood. Even though His divine presence and creative activity were first referenced in the second verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:2), His nature had been shrouded in mystery. It was the Lord Jesus who enlightened us about His qualities. He explained the unique importance of God the Spirit’s convicting (see John 16:8), empowering (see Acts 1:8), and indwelling (John 14:17) ministries.
When speaking about the Holy Spirit, Jesus declared, “He has been with you and shall be in you.” Notice the tenses – “has been” and “shall be.” They described the believer’s relation to the past and future ministry of the Godhead’s third Person. The fact that Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as – He – rather than It, finally revealed His highly personal nature! The amazing – transition of His presence from being with us to being in us explains the New Testament’s emphasis on Pentecost!
Before the Holy Spirit’s prophesied indwelling took place, our risen Savior had to first return to His former – glory! The Lord Jesus had earlier explained, “’Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:38-39)
The eternal I AM’s incomprehensible holiness completely defies our understanding! His ultimate Truth and Triune nature exceed the reach of our imagination. This is why we must accept Him by faith! Only then can we experience His fellowship. Think about what He said to Moses, “… I AM WHO I AM…” (Exodus 3:14). His very closest early servants had to accept Him by faith just as we do today!
In the fulness of time, our almighty and sovereign Creator took on the form of man (see Philippians 2:7-8). He then became His own – sacrifice for our sin. He did this out of love because of the enormous evil of mankind that had been and will be throughout history! The Bible explains that His substitutionary death actually paid for the full penalty – of our future judgment. Notice the word – be – as you slowly read and prayerfully consider the profound meaning of this verse.
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
After Pentecost, Paul wrote the church in Philippi saying, “… it is God who works in you both to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13) Only in the form of Spirit, could He universally work in the lives of every born again believer. It is equally true that only in the form of flesh (see Philippians 2:6-7) could He take our place on the cross (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). For these reasons, we can understand why our loving Creator chose to reveal Himself to us – in uniquely different ways.
God has always been in heaven as our – Father. Yet, He came to earth to teach and redeem as the – Son of Man. Today, in the person of the – Holy Spirit, He continually indwells us as His true believers! This is why Paul could say, “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20)
Because, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our Lord lives in us, He can easily teach, convict, guide, and protect us. God is eternally one, yet we spiritually relate to Him with the understanding that He functions – as three. His triune nature is the timeless mystery which requires all those who are redeemed to experience knowing and obeying Him in sincere faith!
You may be silently thinking, how could salvation’s miraculous substitution have taken place? Fortunately for us, God graciously explains how He works, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6-7)
Spiritually, accepting the gift of God’s substitution – calls for the faith to accept the fact that we are actually loved – to this amazing degree! The Scriptures elaborate on this saying, “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This explains why the Bible declares, “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
As you pray for the privilege of serving today – remember that it takes time for even a highly sincere seeker to finally grasp the wonder of the Father’s grace. Never forget that the Lord was and is patient, “not wanting any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter: 3:8)
By Billie Hanks Jr.