The Coming of the Spirit

~by Meg Saunders

[Jesus speaking] “‘When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about Me . . . But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you (John 15:26;16:7).

[At another time Jesus speaking again] “‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:8).

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
God, thank You for Your living presence on earth through the Holy Spirit.

With the coming of Christ into the world came a renewed hope — a confident assurance that God keeps His promises. From Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection the story of God’s redemption in the world continues.  It wasn’t a one-off or a swipe of some magic wand, but Christ’s presence on earth was God’s action in human history to redeem human beings from their sin.  It’s a coherent story continuing up to the present day.  Two thousand years have passed since Jesus was resurrected from the dead.  There is sufficient skepticism in our current public debate trying to discount God’s presence on earth.  But cynicism, no matter how loud or polemic, can’t keep God silent or pronounce Him dead. How do we know?  Because Jesus made it clear.  The Holy Spirit would remain.

Read the full story in Acts 1.  After Jesus left the world, God’s presence through the Holy Spirit came in power.  One of His main actions is telling the truth.  God tells us the truth.  And it’s with this knowledge that we can trust God.  The Holy Spirit (or the third person of the Trinity) is God’s living presence on earth.

What then is one of the main attributes of the Holy Spirit with regard to truth?  He empowers us to share with others about God’s love and redemption in our lives.  Look at Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8.  The only way we can truthfully share with others is through the power of the Holy Spirit.  God’s plan of salvation included a way for us to be restored into relationship with God.  As mentioned in previous weeks, sin had separated us from Him.  But once we are restored, it’s not back to business as usual.  In other words, we don’t accept God’s gift of grace and forgiveness only to turn around and ignore Him.  Rather, through the Holy Spirit — through God Himself — we have the opportunity to act and speak, communicating God’s peace and hope to others.

Do you see how all of this is connected?  The story of God’s love is often misunderstood, or told in segments so that it’s not fully comprehended.  But taken in light of the whole Bible — and including Jesus’ specific words whilst He was on earth — life as a child of God begins when we accept His invitation of salvation, but then doesn’t somehow fade away.  No, by and through the Holy Spirit, we become children of God. And we then have the distinct opportunity to share God’s love and forgiveness — His freedom — to those around us.  And it is the Holy Spirit who actually testifies in us about God (see John 16:7, above).

This week consider the larger lens of God’s plan of redemption for the whole world.  Consider His larger view.  As you think about these things, also ponder the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was intentional by telling us about Him.  His presence should put us at ease and stir in us a confidence in God.  God’s message of love and forgiveness is for every human being – — no matter social status, race, class, origin, or anything else.   And we have the opportunity to share it.

Continue to process out loud in prayer to God all that you are thinking.  He loves you dearly and desires for you to understand. Remember,

He’s waiting for you . . . .

2011 © First Thoughts, M.V. Saunders
All rights reserved. Pittsburgh, PA

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2011 Winner of Christianity Today’s Award of Merit for Apologetics/Evangelism:
Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith, Francis S. Collins, Meg Saunders
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