Slideshow image

 Today on Pastor’s Pen we are continuing our devotional on the Holy Spirit and his role in our lives.  One of the things that is often missed in Christianity is to understand the Holy Spirit as God’s gift to His people.  We often have a hard time remembering that for centuries the Spirit of God did not dwell in or with people.  Even the people of God were restricted from God’s presence.  Ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden the Spirit of God had not dwelt with man.  Throughout the Old Testament we are shown that the presence of God was not accessible but only in a restricted way.  One could only get access to God in Israel, at the tabernacle and later the temple in Jerusalem.  Access was only permitted through the blood of animals, then by the priestly tribe of Levi, then only by partial entrance to the temple.  Even within the priestly tribe ultimate access to God was restricted to the High Priest and he only once a year on the day of Atonement.  The Spirit and presence of God was filtered through these means.  Furthermore, we discover in the Bible that it is the Spirit of God that brings life.  This is seen in the creation account where the Spirit hovers of over the waters to bring order out of chaos.  In Psalm 104 the writer says, “When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.  When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.”  In this verse we see that where ever the Spirit is there is life, but where the Spirit isn’t there is no life.  This truth rocks us to the core because if the Spirit is not accessible to us then we have no true Life.  Gratefully God has taken to reverse the effects of the fall and the loss of His Spirit within His image bearers.  This comes to us in the form of a promise, a baptism and the gift.  What are these? To begin with the Bible in the Old Testament promises a day when the Spirit will in fact be poured out upon all flesh.  “And it will come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh …” says the prophet Joel.  In the ministry of John the Baptist, the prophet picks up on the Spirit promise and says, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  These passages reveal that God intends to once again give His Spirit to His prize creation – people.   This leads us to the Baptism of the Spirit that John speaks about.  What is it?  This phrase has often been misunderstood.  In I Corinthians 12:13 Paul says, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews and Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”  This verse teaches us that the Baptism is one of the Bible’s way of describing what happens to a person when they believe in Jesus as their Savior.  John says, Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit.  Meaning that when a person trusts in what Jesus has done through his life, death and resurrection they are baptized into the body of Christ.  So, baptism happens at salvation and for every believer.  It is the life of the Spirit of God moved into the one who looks to Jesus for salvation.   Which brings us to a final thought.  In Peter’s Pentecost sermon the people respond to his message with the question, “Brothers what shall we do?”  Peter answers, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  This passage tells us the moment someone repents and turns to Jesus they receive two gifts from God; the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Once again, the Spirit of God can dwell with men and women since through the work of Jesus we can be cleansed.  This means that we don’t go into the presence of God as much as in Christ the presence of God comes into us by the Spirit of God.  One final thought in this meditation.   In J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy the Fellowship of the Ring there is a scene where Frodo is given a special coat of chain mail by his Uncle Bilbo.  His uncle tells h,im that this coat is made of mithril, a special material stronger than any metal but lighter than ones overcoat.  Its value was unsurpassed.  Frodo, seemingly unimpressed, tosses the mithril coat into his bag and forgets about it.  Sometime later he is listening to some traveling companions who are having a discussion about mithril and is amazing qualities and value.  One says to the other that he as heard rumors that somewhere there is a whole coat made of mithril, the other says in astonishment, “a whole coat!  Can you imagine a whole coat, what its value would be!”  At that moment Frodo, realizes he’s wearing that coat and reaches under to feel it between his fingers.  It finally hits him, what he’s got.  It sinks into him the value of what he has received.  When we think about the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us who call on the name of Jesus.  Has that happened to you and me?  Has it finally hit you what you have received?  May God help us to understand what we have been given.  Thank him today.  “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”