“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 5:5 (ESV)
Let’s think for a moment on what we learned about yesterday. Faith believers in Jesus Christ have the promise of a new forever perfect body. Compared, for visual purposes, as getting out of our raggedy rotting clothing and putting on our permanent perfect and glorious garment. This passage states emphatically that the believer’s heavenly existence will come to pass according to God’s sovereign promise and purpose. We have complete and perfect confidence of this promise when we recognize and believe that God has given to us the Holy Spirit as a permanent indwelling presence. That’s His guarantee to us. Other words for the same meaning call it a pledge. Like the times when we promise with a pledge support to another person or organization, we’re obligated to fulfill that pledge. Also stated in Ephesians 1:13-14 “having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge.” Paul also stated this earlier in 2 Corinthians 1:22. There is no plausible reason that God cannot be trusted to fulfill this promise to us. It’s an absolute guarantee, a pledge as good as a seal with His name embed in it.
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” – Ezekiel 36:27 (NASB)
All who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have experienced a great change in our lives. The prophet Ezekiel was used by God to explain in part these words from God. The promise is for us as well. God’s plan and promise is that when we believe in Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit is sent to dwell, to live within us spiritually. When Jesus was still on earth He also made this promise of the Holy Spirit and He mentioned several functions which He would fill. One of these promised functions is in today’s verse. The Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of believers to motivate us to obey the Lord. As we trust in Him, we learn to sense the impulse within us often to do what is pleasing to God. In Hebrews 10:24, we are encouraged accordingly: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” It may reading the Bible or hearing the Word preached that our hearts are stirred with the desire to do what God says He wants in His Word. The stirring is the work of the Holy Spirit moving us to follow God’s will.
“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 5:5 (ESV)
One fact that we can know and rejoice in is that God has plans for us who have believed and accepted the free gift of salvation. We are reminded of this in our verse. God has and is continuing to prepare us for living with Him in heaven. It is God who had made this happen, for there is nothing we can do to receive the Holy Spirit who is our guaranteed promise. We realize that His plans for us are really beyond our ability to comprehend. God knows, and that is the reason He has given us His Spirit. In part the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to show us a bit of what heaven will be like. Even that we take by faith for our eyes have not seen, our ears have not heard, all that God has prepared for us who love Him. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives guarantees eternal blessedness for us in heaven. Paul emphatically states that the believer’s heavenly existence will come according to God’s sovereign purpose. Let’s be sure our hearts are open to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us about heaven.
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24 (NASB)
Worship is an essential element of the life of all who truly believe by faith in Jesus. True faith cannot be separated from the act of worship and remain true faith. We worship not what is a physical or material nature. We worship The Spirit with our spirit. Much more than the popular use of the word ‘spiritual’ which describes some metaphysical feeling or sense of being beyond the physical. This verse represents the classical statement on the nature of God as Spirit. The phrase means that God is invisible as opposed to physical or material. Therefore, when we worship God there is only one absolutely necessary way⸺we must worship God in spirit and truth. That may well relegate much of the ‘acts of worship’ used to day to the ‘unnecessary category.’ While these may help us focus on God, they are a physical and material means. The word “spirit” does not refer to the Holy Spirit but to our human spirit. Jesus’ point here is that a person must worship not simply externally with traditionalism to religious rites and rituals or places and outward appearance but inwardly (“in spirit”) with the proper heart attitude.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13 (ESV)
Three words which we use often in our thoughts and conversations. But does our use reflect the power and fullness of these words for us? The first is Joy and this verse should fill our hearts with rejoicing. We fully believe that these blessings are for us today just as they were available to the Christians in Rome to whom these words were written long ago. God desires to fill us with joy. God also offers to us Peace. But the peace God gives is not the peace found in this world. Peace treaties and conferences and summits all mean just one thing – lack of conflict between warring parties. The peace from God is the removal of the hostility that separates us from Him and binds us to His love. If our hearts and minds are disturbed by some crisis or difficulty, God wants to fill us with His peace. If you are wondering about your eternal future God wants to remove the uncertainty and doubt and fill us with His Hope. His joy, peace and hope are our promise today and so we give thanks God for His love.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 (ESV)
Our verse is in a context that makes known the creation* and believers* both groan for ultimate restoration, the Holy Spirit does as well. One of the last promises Jesus made to His disciples was that he would send a helper and fulfilled it through the Holy Spirit sent from God our Father. The groanings too deep for words is communication within the Trinity that cannot be expressed in words. It is the Holy Spirit that works with our Lord Jesus in His high priestly work of intercession. All on our behalf for all who have believed in Jesus as their Savior, have the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Holy Spirit is helping us to pray by praying with us to our Heavenly Father. To start with, we really don’t know in ourselves how we should pray. God promises that if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us He will impress on our hearts what things to pray for and even how to pray. As we pray we can trust the Spirit to pray with us and we can depend
* For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23
“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”” – Zechariah 4:6-7 (ESV)
After seventy years as exiles, taken by Nebuchadnezzar from Israel had been captives in Babylon. Cyrus the Persian freed the captives and about 50,000 returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. They immediately began to rebuild the temple, but opposition from neighbors, followed by the people’s indifference from within, caused the work to be abandoned. Zechariah, is a priest and a prophet⸺contemporary with Haggai. The Lord commissioned them to stir up the people to rebuild the temple. God give Zechariah the prophet a vision for Zerubbabel to take up the task and finish the job. But a caution and a promise are also given that we can learn from and trust as a promise for ourselves. Whatever our assignment, neither our might, wealth, or physical stamina will be sufficient for us to complete the work God gives to us. Only an abundant supply of the power of the Holy Spirit, will enable us to carry out the task. Because the outcome is guaranteed, any mountain-like opposition will be leveled by God to become like a flat surface. As was promised to those rebuilding the Temple of God it was completed 4 years later in 516 B.C.
“For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” – Ephesians 2:18 (ESV)
One precious truth about believing in Jesus Christ that is not offered in any other religion is that we have access to God our Father. No sinner has any right or worthiness in himself for access to God, but believers have been granted that right through faith in Christ’s sacrificial death. The resources of the Trinity belong to believers the moment they receive Christ, and the Holy Spirit presents us before the heavenly throne of God the Father, where we are welcome to come with boldness at any time. We might think of our access as our introduction to the Father. But it seems better to understand that Christ gives us access to our heavenly Father as our Savior and our advocate. This access is also by faith into the grace of God in which we stand (Romans 5:2). In the next verse we are promised standing as citizens with all who are set apart in holiness and therefore in God’s household. We are IN by faith in Jesus through what the Holy Spirit has provided to us, direct access to God. We need no human intermediary, God accepts our prayers, our confessions, our faith one on one.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” – Philippians 1:27 (NASB)
As believers professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are called to live our lives in such a way that other’s notice a difference from those who don’t believe. Paul the Apostle frames this as ‘conduct that is worthy of the gospel.’ The Greek for ‘gospel’ means the Good News. We live and walk in Christ because of the good news of the Lord Jesus. The Old Testament spoke of the suffering and resurrection of Christ so this was not a new message. We know of the resurrection, believe in it, and have been saved by it. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Standing firm in one spirit with one mind introduces Paul’s theme of unity that core to his words of encouragement. Paul’s call for sincere unity of heart and mind is based on:
- the necessity of oneness to win the spiritual battle for the faith (Phil. 1:28–30);
- our love of others in the fellowship (Phil. 2:1-2);
- genuine humility and self-sacrifice (Phil. 2:3-4); and
- Jesus Christ our example who proved that sacrifice produces eternal glory (Phil. 2:5–11).
First as one soldier standing at his post, then as a team resisting a common foe.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” – 1 John 4:1-3 (ESV)
The mention of the Holy Spirit in the previous chapter (1 John 3:24) motivates John to advise his readers that other spirits exist, such as demonic spirits, who produce false prophets and false teachers to spread their false doctrine. We are warned repeatedly through Scripture of the danger of apostasy, especially in later times. (1 Timothy 4:1-2). We are in later times as it is the period from the first coming of Christ until His return for his Church and judgment of the world. Do be on guard against falling prey to false teaching that tickles our ears and stirs our desire for the things of the world. Our promise is this, we can know and do know the Holy Spirit of God if we by faith given to us have believed in Jesus and His sacrifice on our behalf. We just might be in a time where the opposition is increasing and it is wise for us to cling to this instruction. We can test the spirits by discerning whether they confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those who do not so confess, but pretend to be preachers and teachers, are apostate.