October 25, 2014

Galatians 3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Some churches today act as if the promise of the Holy Spirit is no big deal, but Paul is saying here that a major purpose of Jesus’ cross was to enable us to receive the Holy Spirit by faith. No other faith has a Savior, as Christianity does, but likewise no other faith posits the indwelling Spirit of God for everyone who believes. This is a very big deal indeed! When we limit the Holy Spirit to various “manifestation gifts” we are missing most of the point. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate Emmanuel, God with us. (Matthew 1:23, quoting Isaiah 7:14) Jesus was indeed Emmanuel while He was on this earth, and it was very important for a number of reasons that He took a fully human body to do that. However, as He was preparing His disciples for His crucifixion and later ascension, He said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 14:16-17; 16:7) It is the biggest possible deal that God would indwell His people. We take that far too lightly! Spiritual gifts are nice and they are useful, but they are secondary to the incredible reality of the indwelling Spirit of God.

I am continuing to grow in my grasp and appreciation of this glorious truth. When I am aware of and yielded to the indwelling Holy Spirit, then all the irritations of life fade to insignificance. It would be nice if I could stay that way 24/7! That is the biggest attraction of heaven to me, because I have tasted enough on this earth that I am quite addicted, and in heaven there will be a limitless supply and no hindrances. I have tried to help people understand that this is available to them, but few seem to open up to receive it. Sometimes they get a taste, but then seem to forget how wonderful that was, or believe that it could never happen again, much less be part of their daily lives. Psalm 34:1 is the cry of my heart to them, that they would not just get a momentary taste but would have faith to receive the indwelling fullness of the Holy Spirit. It is clearly evident that an experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit does not insulate us from temptations of all sorts, and I need to make it clear that we are not to quench (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieve (Ephesians 4:30) the Holy Spirit, but the fundamental reality is that the Spirit of God is available to all who will repent and believe. That is Good News indeed!

Father, I feel like I haven’t focused on this message clearly enough. There is so much truth I want to impart, and people overload so quickly. Help me be fully yielded to Your Spirit myself, so that I may have the wisdom I need to say what I should when I should, to supply the truth people need when they are ready to receive it. Help me remember that it is Your truth after all, and that it is Your Spirit who imparts it to people’s hearts; I am no more than a tool. May I be an available, useful tool, so that the Body of Christ may be built up, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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