2009-04-29 - Two Works of the Spirit.
Joel 2:28, "I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind."
There are two primary works of the Spirit in our lives. They are both evident in all those who trust in Christ for all their hope, forgiveness of sin, and blessed righteousness. The Spirit is given to us as a first principle giving us grace. The Spirit comes to us and opens our blind eyes so that we see, and understand spiritually, the things of Christ. We would never do this on our own. It is the Spirit's work to bring us to faith. Scripture represents us as blind, dumb, and lame. We cannot see our need. We do not understand our need. We cannot come to Christ without the aid of the Spirit. Scripture puts it even clearer, when it says simply that we are "dead in our trespasses and sins," Eph. 2:1. There is only one way to life for all. We either have it, or we are dead spiritually. This is the first thing that the Spirit must do. The Spirit must bring us to grace. The Spirit must open our eyes to spiritual things, before we will see them.
The second thing that the Spirit does is allow us to daily live as followers of Christ. The above is a one-time event. The Spirit gives us life when we are dead in sin and we respond in faith, but this second work of the Spirit is ongoing. We are taught by the Spirit, 1 Cor. 2:13. We walk by the Spirit, Galatians 5:15. This is where holiness of life comes from. It comes from the Spirit working in our hearts. From the Spirit comes our zeal. The inner life is a secret life, but from that inner life flows a life that is vital and changed. This is the public life that the Christian lives. We do not court the praise of this world, but we also do not take the blessings that the Spirit has given to us and hide them so they are unseen. The Spirit works in us, so that as we grow in our Christian walk, we may be useful for the good of others. It is interesting to note that there never was anyone who was more separate from sinners than Christ, but there was also never anyone who went among them more than Him. We are to have that inner grace of the Spirit that we might be useful to the Lord in the lives of others. It flows from the inward grace implanted by the Spirit, and then grows in us as we daily live upon, feed upon, the grace He gives.
If you have this first principle of grace in you, the second will be progressing. But what if you do not have, or have not experienced the transforming power of Christ's mercy applied to you by the Spirit? We cannot enter in the second, until the first takes place. Order here does matter. The Spirit cannot work in you (in a progressive manner) if He has not already worked in you (in a foundational manner) by imparting grace. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," John 3:3. There may be some reading this who do not know what it is that I speak of. It is a sad consideration. If you do not have the Spirit, you will perish - and you cannot get it yourself. The Spirit alone can give life in Christ. Having said that, it is in His power to give mercy. That first principle is given to those who seek it. It is for those who cry, "Lord, forgive me, save me, renew me." It is for those who come to Christ by faith. We come because we are sinners. We need forgiveness. We need mercy, or we will know God's wrath. We come, because He has promised to pardon the sins of all who seek Christ's mercy.
Soli Deo Gloria,