FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
July 25, 2014
The Holy Spirit: do we really know Him? – Part II
We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3: 18, N.K.JV.
It is by the Holy Spirit that truly repentant sinners, who mourn over their sins, are transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12: 2) into the same image-glory of our Savior, who we see “with unveiled face,” i.e., increasing clearer vision of His person yet as through a mirror, for now. This is how living faith in Christ is developed which is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11: 1. While many consider this verse the definitive definition of Biblical faith, M. L. Andreasen says: “This verse is not so much a definition of faith as a statement of what faith will do. It presents faith so strong and vital that the person not only feels himself in possession of that which he has not as yet received, but is caused to experience the strength, the courage, and the confidence that ordinarily only actual possession would give.” –The Book of Hebrews, p. 472.
This glory revealed in our yet sinful, fallen, mortal, and corruptible flesh (subject to decay at death) nature is the glory of His eikon, moral “image,” or “likeness” which Christ perfectly demonstrated in His adopted human nature as the victorious Son of man, Son of David, the “second” or “last Adam. 1 Cor. 15: 45-47. In our true spiritual rebirth, every Christian retraces his new spiritual human genealogy to Christ, the heavenly second Adam four thousand years ago, who gained perfect victory against Satan exactly on the same grounds the first Adam lost in Eden.
And when retracing our fallen human genealogy, we go farther back to the first earthly Adam, six thousand years ago. “Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread [passed into] all men, because all sinned” Rom. 5: 22.
Once more, see John 3: 1-21 on Nicodemus’ late night, one-soul-audience with Jesus on his quest for the truth regarding how to be born-again. All must experience this simple two-step spiritual rebirth in order to enter the kingdom of God: first, baptism by water immersion, as the public confession of the symbolical death and burial of the “old man”— which the pagan method of sprinkling will never illustrate—of the past life of ignorance and sin, followed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus modeled this for all His followers. He Himself was baptized in 27 A.D. by the John the Baptist at the Jordan, followed by the Holy Spirit’s descent upon Him in the form of a gold-burnished dove, and the thunderous voice of the Father announcing and inaugurating His Son’s mission as the long-awaited Messiah. Immediately after He was led by the Holy Spirit into the Wilderness to fast 40 days and night, and in the most extreme weakened condition was subjected by Satan, disguised as a powerful glorious angel sent from heaven, to the fiercest temptations by which all man are tempted with.
By completely trusting in the Father in His weakened human state, He gained the perfect victory for and in our behalf over the vastly superior position of Satan, then, with “It is written,’—His, and our only weapon—“the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Eph. 6: 17.
“There is no such thing as a loveless Christian ‘for God is love.’. . . .The Lord will help every one of us where we need help the most in the grand work of overcoming and conquering self. Let the law of kindness be upon your lips and the oil of grace in your heart. This will produce wonderful results. We will be tender, sympathetic, courteous.
We need all these graces. The Holy Spirit must be received into our character; then it will be as holy fire, giving forth incense which will rise up to God, not from the lips that condemn, but as a healer of the souls of men . . .The common, severe, harsh words that come from our lips so readily must be withheld, and the Spirit of God speaks through the human agent. By beholding the character of Christ we will become changed into His likeness.
The grace of God [imparted through the Holy Spirit] alonecan change our hearts and then we will reflect the image of the Lord Jesus. God calls upon us to be like Him,–pure, holy, and undefiled [Heb. 7: 25, 26]. We are to bear the divine image.” – (From Sons & Daughters, E.G. White, p. 102.).
There is no more accurate or more revealing of these truths than by the diagnostic tool of His moral law, the Decalogue, which is the plain, unembellished transcript of His character, seconded by the irrefutable evidence of the “fruit(s) of the Spirit.
Note that these are the “fruits of the Holy Spirit, not fruits of the person, who is merely the medium, the clayish “earthen vessel” (2 Cor. 4: 7; 1 Thess. 4: 4, 5; 2 Tim 2: 21] through which Christ’s character is reproduced by the Holy Spirit by the sinner’s willing submission and whole-hearted participation in the work of moral renovation and restoration in the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5: 18, 19 ) with God.
That the world and the churches may be relieved of the anxiety and galling yoke of confusion and endless debate over who the real Christian is—Christian simply means Christlike. And only by the Holy Spirit dwelling within and infilling us can this be miraculous work be wrought in us.
It is with eagerness that we anticipate with a hope that does not disappoint, that when we shall finally see Jesus face to face at His Second advent, with no longer the veil of sinful nature, mortality, and corruptible flesh in between, then we shall see Him in as He is–in all His glorified lumen glory, in our glorified flesh given at the resurrection morning “in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.”1 Cor. 15: 51-55.
It is thus, from character glory on earth to luminous glory in glorified flesh in heaven—from a lesser glory to the greatest glory! Only if, on earth we faithfully and cheerfully followed His injunction: “Whatsoever you eat or whatsoever you drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10: 31), conscious that “our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which we have of God and we are not our own.” 1 Cor. 6: 19, 20.
Paul says this of the children of light (in contrast to the children of darkness), who are growing up into the “full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.”Eph. 4: 13, 14. John echoes this of true followers of Christ, members of household of faith: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that whenHe is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3: 2.
If we truly believe in heart, not by lip service or mere assent of faith that Jesus is truly, by experience, our personal Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, our all and in all (Rev. 21:6), we will be daily pressing closer to Him, increasing individual communion and growth with and in Him through the Holy Spirit.
“Christ said, “Whosoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. . . .As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. . . .It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are Spirit and they are life.” John 6: 54-63.
It is thus that the transforming power of the Holy Spirit changes our heart and life as Paul says, “into the same image” of the Lord Jesus, “from glory to glory.” It is Holy Spirit who reveals God’s thoughts and engraves His law in the two tables of our heart and mind in the new covenant (Heb. 8:10; 10: 15, 16). We then become His “living epistles, seen and read by all men” (2 Cor. 3: 2, 3), representing Him in all walks of life.
“The High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isa. 57: 15), Creator of heaven and earth, came down from His throne of glory in heaven to glorify the Father whose character and name had been maligned by Satan since the fall in Eden to the close of time. This Christ accomplished in the same flesh and blood nature of man, four thousand years after the fall, and as the Son of man, standing at the head of fallen humanity as the Elder Brother of the human race.
He demonstrated by living example what all His followers will be if they follow His example and receive His empowerment and grace through the Holy Spirit, His Successor. In his adopted human nature and body, He broke asunder the chains of the grave as a Conqueror over Satan, temptation and death and ascended to the Father to stand at His right hand as merciful High Priest, Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator for all His penitent followers on earth.
And in His closing work of atonement just before He returns with His eternal rewards, He is conducting His final work as righteous Judge of all the earth, while the Holy Spirit is still wooing, convicting, guiding, enlightening, and reminding the unworthy subjects of His grace. But the Holy Spirit will not always strive with men! “Today, if you will hear His voice[speaking to your conscience], harden not your hearts!” Heb. 3: 7-15.
Jesus Christ, “God’s unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9: 15) glorified the Father by “doing nothing but the will of Him that sent Me.” John 6: 38-40. Upon His ascension, the Holy Spirit, Christ’s greatest gift He could bestow upon His disciples, descended as His Successor in order to glorify Jesus (John 16:14 ) who is in heaven ministering for His people. This is the working arrangement and relationship of the Godhead among themselves for the redemption of man and the earth! (Continued next week)