4 June 2020
We have seen in the first sharing that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and He lived and worked through the Spirit continuously even while on earth. Although the Lord lived in the power of the Spirit, He also lived as a man, fully man, truly man in every aspect of His humanity. As His natural capacities developed so the Holy Spirit worked in the Lord Jesus gradually and increasingly in the development of perfect godliness at each stage of His life on earth (Luke 2:52).
Jesus obeyed the law of God perfectly and did so in the power of the Holy Spirit in a fully and truly human way. In other words, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into a full and perfect humanity; Jesus who died on the cross did not come immediately from heaven to the cross but He developed through the natural processes of growth, accompanied by the development of holiness in the power of the Holy Spirit, and at every stage of growth into maturity, He obeyed the Father and the law perfectly and was without sin.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of our Lord Jesus serves as paradigm for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. As Jesus demonstrated a full and perfect humanity through the ministry of the Spirit, we see in this the ‘pattern’ and example for the believer; the Holy Spirit given to us would be the one to help us live as a human (created by God) ought to. Although we are in the “already and not yet” and we cannot ever live the perfect life on earth, as exemplified by the Lord Jesus, we can make significant progress through the Spirit in our pursuit of godliness and holiness here on earth. This we can do by living and walking by the Spirit on a daily basis. The Holy Spirit is able to take from what is Christ’s and make it known to us, because He has been dynamically active in Christ’s incarnate life and ministry. He is therefore able to bring to us believers all the riches of the grace embodied in Christ’s humanity and thereby transform us into the likeness of Christ. The Spirit takes from the fullness of Christ and gives it to us so that we may be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
It is a mistake to think that all we have to do in pursuing godliness is to pay attention to moral virtue and to conclude that God communicates to us only by laws and commands and we are to obey in our own strength and resolve. We may then ‘descend’ into legalism and seek to manifest godliness by our rules and regulations, ending up in a situation unlike that of the Pharisees in the time of Jesus. On the other hand, we must acknowledge that the Holy Spirit so works in us as that He works by us, and what He does in us, is done by us, albeit in dependence on Him (Philippians 2:13). The Spirit works only in and by the faculties of our own minds, and it is ridiculous for a man to say he will do nothing because the Spirit does it all; for where he does nothing, the Spirit does nothing except by granting us the understanding of how grace works in our lives.The increase and growth of grace, and the thriving in holiness and righteousness in believers depend on the use and improvement of grace received, in a diligent attention to all those duties of obedience which are required of us (2 Pet.1:5-7). In other words, growth in grace depends on the use of grace. Remember that whatever God has promised, that He Himself will perform in us; it is our duty to believe that He will do so and to live by faith. Here then is the ground of our exercising faith towards Him and of our acting it in prayer and praise!
It is upon the gift of the Holy Spirit, asked for, received and bestowed by Christ, that virtually everything in the Christian life depends. The Spirit is the agent of illumination (of Scriptures in particular), the author of regeneration, the sanctifier, the author of spiritual gifts, the Christian’s consolation in affliction, the chief evangelist and one with the missionary spirit. God willing, we shall dwell on these in subsequent sharing.