I might write a couple of posts on this section. For now I wanted to put down some thoughts about having the Holy Spirit. For at least the first few years that I was a Christian all I knew about the Holy Spirit was that it was he who did the wierd stuff in people at church- he who made them happy, dance, fall over, shout, cry. He who made them speak in tongues and prophesy. But I had very little concept of how that related to the good news about Jesus death....
It was as if, we started off having Jesus and the Cross. And then do be proper spirit-filled Christians we needed to move on to the Holy Spirit. This seemed a bit odd, but there seemed to be Biblical basis for all this (or most of this) Holy Spirit stuff, so I ran with it.
But it was dissatisfying. Where was Jesus in all this? This vibrant Spirit-Spirituality seemed to be missing something. It seemed to have forgotten where we'd come from. It seemed fairly gospel-less.
Galatians 3-4 sets me free! Here I see again history. Once supervised - held by law and sin... now free to live. Why? Free because the right time came (4v4) God sent Jesus to set me free from law and give me sonship. Sonship! Inheritance! Earlier in Galatians we found ourselves asking - "ok, so we get the Holy Spirit, from the promise to Abraham... but what's so good about that?"
Here it is:
"And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. "The Spirit guarentees my inheritance in Christ! Having the Holy Spirit is God's proof to God of my inheritance in Christ! God looks my way and hears the Holy Spirit cry out Daddy. (Abba=Daddy)
And so it becomes clear that I cannot have a gospel-less view of the Spirit, nor indeed any concept of spirit-less Christians. Neither carries any credence. As Paul wrote at the start of chapter 3 - Christ's death believed in by faith, the Spirit receieved by faith. It cannot be that one begins by faith in Jesus and then earns the Spirit for great works and miracles. By faith in Christ's death I am justified before God, by the same faith the Spirit is received who cries out to God "Abba Father" - a cry I am free to echo as a son. Guarenteed inheritance and counted as a glorifier of God, for all my remaining sin and evil ways.
Overwhelmed, let me echo the cry of the Holy Spirit within me - Abba, Father! Jesus death was not for nothing - I am free from sin, from its stain and from the law.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
In heaven above and earth below
Praise God the Father and the Son
Praise God the Spirit, three-in-one
From all that dwell beneath the skies
Let the Creator’s praise arise
Let our Redeemer’s name be sung
Through every land, by every tongue
Eternal are Your mercies, Lord
Eternal truth attends Your Word
Your praise will sound from shore to shore
Till suns shall rise and set no more
© Sovereign Grace Ministries, from the CD Upward
I want to return to this passage to think more about the role of law later.... and quite how that applies to a Gentile believer like me....