God's Life in Us
Let's meet our challenges with the Spirit's energy.
Sadly, the Holy Spirit that is essential to God's nature is sometimes referred to as the “forgotten member of the Trinity.”
The Trinity itself, of course, is hard to understand. We might give some clarity by saying that God the Father is ruling, God the Son is redeeming and God the Holy Spirit is reviving. The Holy Spirit recreates the life of Christ in us and reﬂects the Father. He carries on the work of redemption.
Pentecost, the beginning of the work of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in believers, might have been the most important event to happen to the church outside of the appearance and work of Jesus. Pentecost comes from the root word meaning ﬁfty (see Pentecost in Lev. 23:15-25, and the Year of Jubilee, the ﬁftieth year, in Lev. 25:8-10), because it occurred ﬁfty days after Firstfruits, which coincides with Jesus’ Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:50). Since the church was to wait until they were endued with the Holy Spirit’s power, this would point to our need also to be “ﬁlled with power from Heaven” (Luke 24:49). Pentecost, then, becomes for each of us a coming of Christ a second time, this time within.
Being somewhat comfortable with the role of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, we can turn to thoughts about what the Holy Spirit does in us.
1. God Associating
At the Holy Spirit’s appearance at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) we see rushing wind, tongues of ﬁre and speaking in tongues—outward signs of God’s favor on those 120 who waited in the Upper Room. God gladly associates with His people, puts His seal on them and displays them as receptacles of His grace.
While discussing the Holy Spirit with my seventh grade class, I asked them if they had ever heard the word “Paraclete.” One student conﬁdently told me they were those small pretty birds that people often keep as pets.
No…that would be Parakeet!
The Paraclete is what we often call the Holy Spirit, which comes from the Greek word parakaleõ, meaning to be “called alongside.” We call Him the Comforter or the Helper because of this word. The Holy Spirit walks with us. He is God associating.
Much has been said about the change in people, like Peter, from weak and vacillating to empowered and effective after the Holy Spirit’s coming. Our case should be the same. Have we carefully examined our lives to see if they reﬂect the enormous power that the Holy Spirit brings?
Holiness is a work of God, not of us. What is inhibiting holiness in us is our failure to allow the Paraclete full sway, who was sent to operate freely
2. God Assuming
I am not using this word in the negative sense like: you sure make a lot of assumptions! But positively like: God assumes responsibility for His people’s welfare.
God is omnipotent and so there should be omnipotence in our lives. Andrew Murray stated in his book Absolute Surrender:
Never mind if in the practice of fellowship there comes failure sometimes. If you maintain your position and say: Lord, I expect Thee to do Thy utmost, and I trust Thee day by day to keep me absolutely, your faith will grow stronger and stronger, and you will know the keeping power of God in unbrokenness.
The Holy Spirit will bring God’s omnipotence to bear in our lives, each and every moment, but we must understand this and cooperate with Him.
3. God Accentuating
There is a word in Greek that we need to grow comfortable with, and that is energeõ. Like many Greek words you can see the meaning when you pronounce the related English word, energy. This verbal form of the word means literally “I work,” or “I am energized.”
1 Corinthians 12:6
“God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.“
“That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”
There are frequent times in the New Testament where this word indicates God working for us (Gal 2:8, Eph 1:11, 20), through salvation or puriﬁcation, but there are other times where it indicates He is working through us, to give us the necessary energy to do His work (Eph 3:20, Phil 2:13).
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to do God’s work. He perfects His holiness in us as we “go.” He is the inward agent that carries God’s effectiveness forward and works His works.
4. God Affiliating
When one afﬁliates with another, he is participating in their welfare. When a stronger entity afﬁliates with us, he offers help. In this case, God offers permanent help through gloriﬁcation with Jesus. The New Testament uses a very simple concept to explain this, one that most of us are familiar with: That is a down payment, or a guarantee.
If I want to enter a ﬁnancial agreement with another party, they usually require me to give them a down payment. This not only assures that I am going to stay with the contract, it shows that I have something to verify my ability to meet the conditions.
God, the greater party to our contract, gives to us a guarantee.
He reverses the order, however, in that He did not need to give us a guarantee, but He did. The Holy Spirit is our internal witness that more is coming! The idea is translated different ways in the New Testament, with words like guarantee, treasure, deposit, pledge, or down payment, but they all mean the same thing: that God veriﬁes a future unveiling of glory to those who walk with Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:5
God Himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee He has given us His Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.
God’s glory is ultimately in view, but He promises that we will participate in that glory.
Let us not grow discouraged; when we have God as our Father,
Jesus as our brother, and the Holy Spirit as the always present friend and
enabler, we can meet our challenges with His energy.
Dr. David Downey of Fort Worth, TX is a teacher and freelance writer and the author of His Burden is Light: Cultivating Personal Holiness.
1. Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1957), 100.