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Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Wendy Wippel

Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to take the Holy Spirit for granted. (Internal inventory: liver, spleen, lungs, and oh, the Holy Spirit.)

Maybe it's because He stays behind the scenes. (John 16:12-14)  But He's worthy of consideration, and, improbably, an analogy from modern life can make Him a little more understandable.

If you really dig into it, the Spirit is the bedrock of our Christian faith, the foundation through which the living water bubbles up into our souls.

He was there at creation, "vibrating" over the waters. (Which gives us insight into string theory, that says that matter is vibration on the nanoscopic strings that make up the universe.) 

He initiated our redemption: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) 

He sustains it: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5)

And He will complete it: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

He's the source of our power: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8a)

He's the one that draws us to God and that gives us the ability to claim Jesus as Lord.  "No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit."  (I Corinthians 1:23)

He enables us to proclaim Jesus to the nations: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

He reproves us of sin (John 16:8) He teaches us truth. (John 16:13)  He pours the living water of God's love into our hearts. (Romans 5:5)  He speaks comfort to our souls through the promises in God’s word. (John 14:25-26)

In short, He’s our connectivity to God.

Which is kind of interesting because if you look at the Old Testament Saints, they did not have a guarantee of a continual indwelling of the Spirit.  I Samuel 16 tells us that when the Spirit came upon David it left Saul.  David later prays that God, after Nathan  confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba, would “not take your Holy Spirit from me.” The spirit came upon various Biblical figures like Balaam, Gideon, and Ezekiel for a specific purpose, but then ostensibly it went away.  The spirit came and went.

In contrast, the church was born when, as a body, the Spirit came upon them at Pentecost with tongues of fire.  The indwelling of the Spirit, for us, is a guarantee of the glorification to come.  He has “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (II Cor 1:22 NIV) The Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:14 NIV)

A deposit that will never be taken back, guaranteeing our inheritance.

Our perishable bodies are indwelt by the imperishable, and it is that indwelling of the divine that give us, in the presence tense, a certainty of eternal life.  Our familiar physical bodies, though still corruptible, now have the Spirit of God in residence, and thus we are “made alive (“one with God”) by the Spirit.  (I Peter 3:18Romans 8)

As indwelt believers, it is within our spirit that we commune with God (Isaiah 26:9), and within our spirit that we choose whether to seek God or to indulge our own desires and flatter our own understanding (Job 32:8). But the irrevocable indwelling of the spirit is itself an irrevocable guarantee of our future redemption.

And here’s the relevance to 21st century earth: The Old Testament saints, bless their souls, only had dial-up.

We have DSL.

There’s more to unpack here.  The sleekest state-of-the-art computer is nothing more than an expensive and fairly unaesthetic desk ornament without the software.  And the most powerful, code-dense program out there will not, upon loading, add any weight to the hard drive.  Why?  The software is information—nothing more—and therefore without mass.

And by definition, by the laws of physics, that which is without mass is eternal because it is unconstrained by time.

Christ, on the cross, committed His spirit to God—an eternal spirit.

Just like the one that resides in you and me. Our bodies, are bodies and are basically a sack of biochemical processes, but our spirit, the software to our hardware is without mass, and by definition, eternal.

So what happens to a man’s spirit after the body returns to dust?  Well, that depends.

Without the Spirit of God indwelt, the potential for connectivity is permanently disrupted. System crash. Game over.

Thanks be to God we have a different expectation.  Those who are “networked” by His Spirit with the source of life (the server—He came to serve!), in continual communication with that source  (although by grieving the Spirit , quenching the Spirit, or not keeping in step with the Spirit, we can negatively influence the bandwidth) . 

Have this assurance: "Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body[b] they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;For your dew is like the dew of herbs,  And the earth shall cast out the dead." (Isaiah 26:19)

When a Christian dies, His spirit-- protected in “the server”-- remains connected.  And, when placed in a new operating system, will run much faster, much better, and (a programmer’s dream) with no bugs, glitches, viruses or patches!

(Or, like Satan, for example, no corrupted files?” But I digress.)

We can say with Job, that, “And after my skin is destroyed, this I knowThat in my flesh I shall see God.  Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 38:2) 

And we will not only see Him, we will live in sweet fellowship with Him forever. We shall see Him clearly, face to face, and know Him fully, just as we are already fully known. (I Corinthians 13:12)  What a cherished hope!  What precious, precious promises!

Anyone else ready for an upgrade?

Originally written: May 25, 2012 

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Call Me the Wanderer

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