Wednesday, December 28, 2011
more to come…
The Word for today:
2 Corinthians 1:23-2:17
mark this: 2 Corinthians 1:21-22/ New Living Translation
It is God who gives us, along with you, the ability to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment of everything he will give us. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22/ New Living Translation)
We over-mystify the Holy Spirit. It's easy to see how that can happen:
1. In the King James Version, which is far and away the most influential English translation, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Holy Ghost. Boo!
2. The Holy Spirit shines his light on Jesus, and not on himself. So the Spirit stays relatively mysterious because we just aren’t told that much about him.
Therefore, misunderstandings about the Holy Spirit often arise. Some people have claimed that we don't have the Spirit unless we audibly practice certain spiritual gifts.
At best, that teaching left the rest of us confused. It left many of us bitterly divided from other believers. But worst of all, it left us feeling left out.
Stand in the Rain is not going to revive those civil wars. But we are going to leave the left-out feeling included again…
There is no one visible or audible affirmation of the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is, after all, a spirit! That's what this verse is saying:
We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Our relationship to the Tri-une God is, from front to finish, by faith. Our forgiveness through Christ is not visibly discernible! It is revealed from faith to faith (Romans 1:17). That means it becomes real when we first believe, then more and more real as we more and more believe.
Our empowerment by the Spirit is on the same basis. We received a down payment --a promise of His Spirit--when we first trusted Jesus:
"And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
This promise then becomes more and more real to us as we more and more trust the Promis-er. That's what Paul means in 2 Corinthians 1:21, such a remarkable passage that it bears repeating:
It is God who gives us, along with you, the ability to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment of everything he will give us.
(2 Corinthians 1:21-22/ New Living Translation)
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
(2 Corinthians 1:21-22/New International Version)
First, we note that the Spirit is placed in our hearts, not on the tips of our tongues!
Next, we note that what we have of the Holy Spirit is a promise--a deposit, an installment, a pledge--of more to come!
The Bible does not teach that if your ears hear your tongue speak unknown words, it is a sure sign of the Spirit.
The Bible does teach that a sure sign of the Spirit is when your heart can make sense of God's Word:
"These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:25-26)
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:10-14)
If the Bible and its centerpiece--the cross of Jesus Christ--make sense to you (1), it is because the Holy Spirit has invaded your heart and is gathering intelligence!
(1) see 1 Corinthians 1:18-24