The Spirit of God and His Work (cont’d)

In the first part of this short study on the Spirit of God (found at this link), we looked at five different designations for that “one and the same Spirit”.  Let us dig a little farther into this profound subject now, with the Lord’s help.

One Spirit:  The truth that there is one Spirit has already been referenced above, and is found not only in I Corinthians 12, but also in Ephesians 2 and 4.  It is no coincidence that these two epistles more than any other give us teaching on the church, or assembly, of God – Ephesians emphasizing the doctrinal aspect of the “one body” of Christ, and I Corinthians developing the practical working of that one Spirit in the functioning of the assembly. It seems clear that sound doctrine concerning the church, and right practice in the church, depend upon these convictions in a Christian’s soul: that the one body of Christ was formed by the baptism of that one Spirit¹; that this body can only really be edified by the gifts distributed by the one Spirit²; and that ecclesiastical independence and denominational division is contrary to the “unity of the Spirit”³ and a real grief to Him.

The Spirit of Christ:  This title is used in I Peter 1:11, and seems to be referred to as well in I Peter 3:18-20.  Peter reveals to us that Christ (the “Anointed” or “Messiah” of the Old Testament) was operative by His Spirit upon the spirits of men in earlier ages. God’s Spirit and God’s Anointed act in perfect concert, both before and after the incarnation. We find in Romans 8:9 that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are the same person viewed from a different aspect. It should read like this: “. . . but if any one has not the Spirit of Christ he is not of Him” (JND translation). The Spirit of Christ is now operative upon the believer’s spirit, to bring about deliverance from sin in the power of Christ’s risen life. If His Spirit is not dwelling in a person, he is not really “Christian”, though he or she may have been born again or quickened, as Old Testament saints were.

The Spirit of His Son:  This appellation has everything to do with God’s grace in providing for our enjoyment of our dignified position as adopted sons of God.  “God sent forth His Son . . . that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:4-6).

The Spirit of your Father:  In Matthew 10:20, the Lord Jesus uses this designation for the Spirit to impart assurance to His disciples of the tender care and guidance of their heavenly Father, whom He was revealing to them progressively throughout His ministry here. “It is not ye that speak [before governors and kings], but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.”   We can count on that same care and guidance from a loving Father by His Spirit through any difficulties or persecutions we may face in these last days.

The Spirit of grace:  This phrase is found but once in the Bible, and its context is a very sobering one.  Hebrews 10:29 gives a fearful warning to any Jew who is in danger of turning back from the Christ he has professed to believe, which would insult the Spirit of grace, because it is that Spirit by whom God in Christ revealed such marvelous grace toward all men for the salvation of their souls (Titus 2:11; John 1:17).  The Hebrews who came in among true Christians in the church, and experienced all that God was doing among them in divine power (Hebrews 6:1-9), but turned back without truly believing (Hebrews 10:38-39), perpetrated an unpardonable sin in despising the grace of God the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit of promise: This blessed name for the Spirit is found within the portion giving us the lofty truth of all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ, in Ephesians 1:3-14.  We who have believed are “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance” until we are fully brought into that inheritance upon the redemption of our bodies. Is it possible that a true Christian might perish who was sealed (with a mark of ownership) by a divine Person who acts as a promise or earnest?  Never!  “Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n; more happy, but not more secure, the spirits departed to heav’n” (Augustus Toplady, 1771).

There are several more designations for the Spirit in the word of God, and each one is meaningful, but we will leave off here. May “the Lord the Spirit” work in each of our souls an ongoing transformation into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we look upon His glory with unveiled face (II Corinthians 3:18 JND).

 

¹  I Corinthians 12:13; Acts 1:5 and 2:1-4; Ephesians 2:11-22

²  I Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:11-16

³  Ephesians 4:1-6; I Corinthians 1:10-13 and 11:17-19

 

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