Thursday, August 15, 2013

Come Holy Spirit: True Life is Found Only in Christ!

The Scripture clearly teaches that true Christian believers are defined by a willingness on their part to submit to the Words of Christ and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Many are still to this day unaware of the work of the Holy Spirit in the transformation and regeneration process of believers. In the first century, even the disciples of the Lord did not understand the plans that God had in store for His church. They seemed to be Restoration minded1 and not so much Resurrection minded. But shortly after He had again spoken to them of His coming departure from earth, and just when the time was right, Jesus revealed those plans to the disciples. The news that He would be leaving them after three years of close fellowship saddened them greatly. So, as a word of encouragement, He seizes the moment to reveal the next step of His plan for the life of all believers. He explains that it is very advantageous that He arise and go to the Father (John 17:5) because of the gift He was going to bestow in doing so, the Helper, Comforter, or the Holy Spirit. Here is His statement of revelation and encouragement:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11 (NKJV))

Jesus speaks of a threefold work the Holy Spirit (Helper) who would be coming to them as a constant presenceeven reminding them that all that Jesus said and taught was true. In His threefold work, the Holy Spirit would function as the source of internal conviction that would come upon all who do not believe in the Lord. He also would be the key influence in the believers life, leading them through the pruning process as He shears away the old life and transforms us into the new. Finally, He impresses upon the heart that judgment is coming. This conviction of judgment reveals that the Prince of the Power of the Air (Satan) has been judged and all who follow his deceptions will receive a similar fate.

For the Christian, these are some very revealing facts! But for this post I want to concentrate on one, the conviction of righteousness. Jesus verified that He alone was righteous when He ascended to heaven to be in the presence of the Father. The contrast in the passage is starkly seen when you compare our sinfulness to His holy and sinless perfection. But the Holy Spirit, who generates this illuminating truth in our hearts simultaneously points us back in the direction of Jesus who alone can wipe away the sin and impart to us, again through the power of the Holy Spirit, His righteousness. So there is hope for all. The way may be narrow and the gate may be straight but nonetheless it is still available for all who will come to Him.

Jesus' work was the greatest act of compassion and love
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote:

"Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one's community back from the path of sin."

Emotionalism which can be seen in a fear of abandoning the ones you love to their sin without showing them that sin separates us from God, is an aberrant and deceptive type of love. It only serves to love another into hell. We cannot allow feelings for others to desensitize us to the truth. God's word is truth and forever it must be proclaimed. It is the lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, Psalm 119:105.

This emotional abandonment was never so with Christ. Rather it is this compassionate work of God, in illuminating our sin by showing to us through the resurrection that He is righteous, that the key to open that straight gate to life is acquired. prompting the confession of our sin and the reception of the grace of forgiveness. It is this work of God in which we finally see ourselves as sinfully nauseating that pulls us from the fire and into the glorious path of true life. It is a truth that absolutely must be upheld. He must increase and we must decrease.

True life can only be found in Christ
On this earth we have a less than perfect existence. As a matter of fact, we struggle with broken and imperfect things all the time. The things we experience are very repetitive and serve to only pass time as we struggle for existence. The rich will say just work hard and get ahead in such a way that your debts will be of no hindrance to your happiness. And to that end many strive. Others have just given up. They live life hoping for another to come to their assistance so they do not have to ask, "where will I find another piece of bread." Still others eek out their existence barely making it from one paycheck to the next. And all of these examples for what end? Honestly, their lives all end in death. It is not earthly life that is true life but that which is spiritual and found in Christ. It starts with being born-again, not physically but spiritually through the Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus said, true life does not consist in things one possesses, whether they be material or intellectual, Luke 12:15, but in knowing He has the power to deliver you from death. The Christian mission is to preach the truth to all people.

Jesus gave His all for us that we may have the true life He promises. As the Creator of the world and all that is seen He surely has the wisdom to illuminate to us the true life originally given to our first parents in the Garden of Eden. They sinned and for a moment it was taken from them and they were driven out of that holy paradise, but God in His mercy clothed them with His grace and rescued them from that fall. God's desire still, is to clothe us with His grace and it is found in Christ. True life and living comes alone through a personal relationship to Jesus.

God Bless
Bro. Mike

* Restoration Minded: By this I mean they were focused on the Jews being freed from the rule of Rome. They wanted their kingdom to be restored in its preeminence.  See Acts 1:6