Christ in You, The Hope of Glory (Part 1)
Christ in You
To the new Christian:
You have been baptised (that is, immersed in water) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. MATTHEW 28:19
You have received the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking in tongues. ACTS 2:4
You have been born again of water and of the Spirit. JOHN 3:5 This means that RIGHT NOW, YOU are living a completely new life in Christ:
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
"Therefore if any man be IN CHRIST, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things ARE become new."
From the very moment you were baptized and received the Holy Spirit you began a new life: the 'old you' is now dead and buried!
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
This scripture shows us that THE OLD LIFE IS GONE; we have begun a new life, and are expected to live accordingly!
"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that OUR OLD MAN IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
If we died when we went under the waters of baptism, where does the power to live this new life come from?
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
We see clearly that the 'old man', that is, the old way of life, has completely perished and that Christ the King is now in complete control. This is the key fact of the whole Bible.
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY."
From now on everything stems from the fact that Christ dwells in YOU: this alone is your hope of glory, and what glory! The Son of God, raised from the dead by the power of God, lives in your heart with that same power.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened US together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus."
God says that through the power of Christ in you, YOU are NOW seated with Christ in heaven at the right hand of God: indeed, you are IN CHRIST. Thus, with you in Christ and Christ in you, the two are completely bound together.
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is OUR LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
God's Word says we are completely dead, and now live only through Christ in us: HE IS OUR LIFE. (Jesus says,
'I AM THE LIFE:' JOHN 14:6). We have no existence apart from Him, and so God views us just the same as He would Christ, who lives within: He treats us as His sons and daughters.
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the SONS OF GOD. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ ..."
In other words: After we have received God's Holy Spirit, and while we are following Him, we live with God as His adopted children and share everything which belongs to Him. This means, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. On the other hand, of course, we belong to Him.
1 CORINTHIANS 3:22-23
"Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; ALL are your's; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."
What have we done to deserve this? Answer: NOTHING.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US."
"For by grace (an undeserved gift)
are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."
What does the Lord expect in return?
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Half-heartedness is not enough for God. You are dead to the things AND habits/ways of life of the world, in order to begin a dynamic new life in JESUS CHRIST, as a son or a daughter of the living God. It is therefore only appropriate that you leave EVERYTHING ENTIRELY up to Him in this new life.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
We are realising that God wishes us to give our lives unto Him and to understand that our lives are NOW totally dependent on Christ in us.
1 CORINTHIANS 3:16-17
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
We know that with Christ in us, there is nothing which could be more wonderful and pleasing: If we see the love God has for us, how can we resist loving Him ourselves?
1 PETER 1:8-9
"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
Never let anyone take away this joy. What you have read is nothing fantastic or a fairy-tale: it is the TRUE WORD OF GOD. Your worst enemy will be your own understanding, which tells you that it is impossible or too simple or something similar. When this happens, IGNORE IT and hold onto the Word of God. We soon find that our own understanding is not always able to grasp the scriptures anyway. God writes them into our hearts by His Spirit. Begin your prayers by first of all reading through the sheet and then pray in the new tongues which God has given to you. While the Spirit is flowing, it will convince you of the truth of what God has written, and He will make you see more and more of what it means to be IN JESUS CHRIST. This - the knowledge of Christ - is now the only aim in your life, and it is worthwhile to sacrifice everything else to see this in your heart.
"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count ALL THINGS but LOSS FOR THE EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS MY LORD ... (10)
That I may KNOW HIM, and the POWER of his resurrection ... (13)
But this one thing I do, FORGETTING those things which are behind, and REACHING FORTH unto those things which are before, I PRESS TOWARD the mark for the prize of the HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS."
Your old life ended when you were baptized in water and received the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Now Christ has come to dwell IN YOU and your life is dynamically bound up with Him and in Him.
Scriptures: COLOSSIANS 1:27, COLOSSIANS 3:3-4, GALATIANS 2:20.
"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."
The Bible tells us that all men are sinners:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."
'Righteous' means completely without sin. It is the same word in the Bible as 'just'.
"For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Now, in God's righteous judgment, those who have sinned are punished with death: only the righteous can be saved.
"For the wages of sin is death ..."
1 PETER 4:18
"And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
"The soul that sinneth, it SHALL die."
Can any then be saved? God's Word says YES and shows us the ONLY way:
1 TIMOTHY 1:15
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS."
"Jesus saith unto him, I AM THE WAY, the truth, and the life: NO man cometh unto the Father, BUT BY ME."
How does this come about? How do we cease being sinners?
The answer is in ROMANS 8:10 quoted above.
"The body is dead because of sin." When the old man died we received the reward of our sin, which is death. We were baptized in water
"for the remission (sending away)
of sins" ACTS 2:38. When Jesus Christ came to dwell in our hearts, He made in us a NEW CREATION which has NO CONNECTION with the sinful old one: He brought HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS with Him and in that righteousness, we begin the new life:
"the Spirit IS LIFE because of RIGHTEOUSNESS".
1 CORINTHIANS 6:11
"And such (great sinners)
were some of you: but ye (ALL)
are WASHED, but ye are SANCTIFIED (set apart for God)
, but ye are JUSTIFIED (made righteous)
in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
This is the first great consequence of 'Christ in you': YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS. GOD SAYS SO. You are NOT a sinner: you were once, but NO LONGER. YOU ARE JUSTIFIED. When confronted with this amazing FACT the mind rebels and says 'impossible'. But God SAYS it is possible and it is DONE. Who decides whether or not we are sinners? God does, not us. HE SAYS WE ARE NOT, SO WE ARE NOT. He puts this in the strongest possible language.
1 JOHN 3:9
"WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN; for his seed remaineth in him: and HE CANNOT SIN, because he is born of God."
Everyone who has been buried with Christ by baptism, and raised with Him by the Spirit is in this position: CHRIST DWELLS IN HIM, the incorruptible seed of God, and this is all God sees. Christ does not sin, therefore we do not sin: CHRIST IN YOU IS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:30
"But of him (God)
are YE IN CHRIST JESUS, who (Christ)
of God is made unto us WISDOM, and RIGHTEOUSNESS, and SANCTIFICATION, and REDEMPTION."
That is, God has made Christ all these things for us: not just righteousness through Christ, but CHRIST OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah foresaw this in JEREMIAH 23:6.
We must note carefully how we can be miraculously changed from being a sinner and an enemy of God to one of His sons or daughters. God declares that once a sin has been committed it can only be forgiven by the offering of an appropriate blood sacrifice: HEBREWS 9:22. This is just what Jesus did for ALL our sins when He was crucified on Calvary.
"But now IN CHRIST JESUS ye who sometimes were far off ARE made nigh (near to God)
by THE BLOOD OF CHRIST."
Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth and died so that His shed Blood could take away YOUR sin and make YOU righteous. This cleansing keeps going on for ever and ever, as long as Christ dwells in you (that is, as long as you are filled with His Spirit).
1 JOHN 1:7
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN."
This cleansing is so COMPLETE and so FINAL that we are as righteous as Christ - AS RIGHTEOUS AS GOD!! This is not blasphemous, but a wonderful FACT revealed dynamically in God's Word: we have THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD!
"But now THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD without the law is MANIFESTED, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto ALL and upon ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being JUSTIFIED (made righteous)
freely by his grace through the redemption that is IN CHRIST JESUS: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (appeasement)
through faith in his blood, to declare HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: that he might be just, and the JUSTIFIER of him which believeth in Jesus."
This passage points us to many wonderful facts about YOUR righteousness - the righteousness that God has given to YOU.
Firstly, in ROMANS 3:25, God speaks of
"sins that are PAST". This means that all the sins that we have committed AND the things that we will do in the future that would be reckoned as sin IF we were not saved, are ALL done away with, and forgotten.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and THE LORD HATH LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL."
Thus when we make a mistake or do something we ought not, it is NOT a sin of the new creation: Christ dwells in us and God CANNOT condemn us without condemning His Son.
"Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
God has declared us RIGHTEOUS and cannot contradict His Word because WE ARE IN CHRIST.
"There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus."
With Christ within, we are a NEW, SINLESS CREATION (2. CORINTHIANS 5:17). ALL the old things, including the sins, are PASSED AWAY.
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us (which He says He is),
who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for US all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, WHO ALSO MAKETH INTERCESSION FOR US."
Christ stands always at God's right hand to intercede or pray for us, so that His Blood is CONTINUALLY CLEANSING.
Returning to the passage in ROMANS 3 quoted earlier, we notice in verses 23 and 24 that NONE of us deserve this righteousness; rather, it is a free gift. The biblical word for an undeserved gift is GRACE: there is NO OTHER WAY to be righteous.
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life by one, JESUS CHRIST."
There is therefore nothing a Christian is forbidden to do, because his sins are removed, but there are many things that he WILL NOT DO because he loves God: with Christ in us, we live like Christ did.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:12
"All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient ..."
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
1 JOHN 2:6
"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
We do not abuse and take advantage of God's grace, but rather YIELD ourselves in gratitude.
"Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but YIELD YOURSELVES unto God, as those that are ALIVE FROM THE DEAD, and your members as INSTRUMENTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS unto God. For sin SHALL NOT have dominion over YOU: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
God says that this grace itself teaches us how we should live:
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, DENYING ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, and GODLY, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from ALL iniquity, and purify unto himself a PECULIAR PEOPLE, ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS."
Back in Romans 3:26, we notice that this righteousness is GOD'S ALONE, and that CHRIST is our justifier - NOT OURSELVES. We are dead, and live only through Christ: what we do, then, we do not really do at all; CHRIST IN US IS ALL THAT COUNTS. To try to turn the good works mentioned in the last scripture TITUS 2:14 to OUR account is impossible: we cannot 'improve' our standing with God because OUR righteousness can never be accepted: only Christ's can, and what WE do does not affect Him.
"But WE are all as an unclean thing, and all OUR righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
God feels so strongly about this that He tells us: if we try to make ourselves 'better' by good deeds, that is, to justify ourselves or make OURSELVES righteous, then Christ can do no more for us until He causes us to see our mistake.
"Christ is become of NO EFFECT unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
Put simply, it is this: if we ask God to give us 'credit' for the good things we have done, we must expect Him also to condemn us for the others, and Christ is left out of the picture. The alternative is to FORGET any notions of pleasing God by good works and accept the righteousness that Christ gives us as a COMPLETED FACT. Of course, with Christ within we WILL be ZEALOUS of good works, but WE do not get the credit for this as it is only CHRIST WORKING THROUGH US. God has already judged us RIGHTEOUS and is no longer concerned with judging our works: those things that Christ does in US have already been determined by the Father.
"For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in CHRIST JESUS unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
We cannot improve on this, by works or anything else. Neither can we make ourselves worthy of this grace, not because we can never be worthy, but rather, because GOD HAS ALREADY MADE US WORTHY!!
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath MADE US MEET (suitable)
to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."
So a Christian is never ashamed or self-condemned: we do not approach God feeling unworthy or timid, because CHRIST IS IN US and WE ARE IN HIM. Only sinners need tremble before God: we were once sinners, but by God's grace and love towards us we no longer sin at all. This is the way He shows His love for us:
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
We can do nothing in return except to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind (MATTHEW 22:37).
"We love him, because he first loved us" (1 JOHN 4:19). The Blood that Jesus shed for us was the price that He paid to redeem you, that is, to buy you back from your sins: it follows that WE BELONG TO HIM.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20
"What? know ye not that YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST which is in you, which ye have of God, and YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore glorify God in your body."
We know that we are no longer sinners but instead are the children of God, called to serve Him and love Him with all our heart. Because of the righteousness He has given US in Christ, we need never fear, but simply come before Him as trusting children to a loving Father, KNOWING that He has MADE us worthy of this wonderful privilege.
"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness QUIETNESS AND ASSURANCE FOR EVER."
"Let us therefore come BOLDLY unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
AS YOU READ THROUGH THESE STUDIES TURN TO THE SCRIPTURES IN YOUR
BIBLES AND READ THEM CAREFULLY. THEN PRAY ABOUT THEM AND ASK GOD
TO REVEAL FULLY TO YOUR HEART WHAT HE HAS SAID.
IT IS HIS WORD - ONLY HE CAN SHOW IT TO YOU.
If you are not used to the way of finding a scripture in the Bible - read through the next section as well.
How To Use A Bible
The Bible is divided into two Testaments, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each of these is divided into books; thirty-nine in the Old, twenty-seven in the New. The books are divided into chapters (except for five very short ones: OBADIAH, PHILEMON, 2 JOHN, 3 JOHN and JUDE), and these chapters are then divided into verses. Each verse is described by giving first the name of the book, then the number of the chapter of the book in which the verse lies, and finally the number of the verse. The only exceptions are the five books with only one chapter, where all we need is the name of the book followed by the number of the verse. Thus ISAIAH 27:3 means the third verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of Isaiah; 1 PETER 4:10 means the tenth verse of the fourth chapter of First Peter; JUDE 11 means the eleventh verse of Jude, and so on.
To find a given verse you first have to find the right book, and this is the hardest part. If you turn to the very front of your Bible you should find a list of all the books in their order, together with page numbers; if you have not got such a list it would be well worth the time to make one yourself by working through the Bible. Make sure you get all sixty-six books down! Once you have found the book it is simply a matter of finding the right chapter and then the right verse; they are all marked clearly. If you need help, ask somebody. To practise, look up some of the scriptures in the studies you have read and make sure that the verse you find is the one that is quoted.
Notice that the names of some books begin with a number: 1 SAMUEL (read this 'First Samuel'), 2 SAMUEL ('Second Samuel'), 1 KINGS ('First Kings') and so on. Be careful to distinguish between JOHN and 1 JOHN, 2 JOHN and 3 JOHN. In most Bibles, John will be labelled 'St. John' at the top of the page.
The first four books of the New Testament (MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, and JOHN) are called The Gospels.
The books from ROMANS through to JUDE are called Epistles, which just means 'letters'. Those from ROMANS to PHILEMON were written by Paul and are named after the church or the person to whom they were first written. Those from JAMES to JUDE are named after the person who wrote them.
Sometimes to save space we abbreviate the name of a book. Be careful when you do this, so that it is clear which book you mean: 'T' could mean 'Timothy' or 'Titus', so we would usually write 'TIM' or 'TIT'. One that always causes trouble is 'PHIL': if it is followed by chapter and verse it means 'Philippians'; if it is followed by only one number it probably means 'Philemon' plus verse number, although 'PHIL 3' might mean 'Philippians, chapter three' - we sometimes want to talk about a whole chapter. It is probably safer to always use 'PHILEM' for 'Philemon'. Some abbreviations will be used from now on in the studies: if you are not sure, ask.
Always pray to God about the scriptures you have read and ask Him to show you what is meant. It is His Word - only He can cause you to understand it.
2 TIMOTHY 2:15
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
We know that God loves us, because He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, so that by Jesus' Blood we can be justified before God. Because of this we love Him in return: we are HIS and we give our lives to Him.
1 JOHN 3:16
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR US: and WE ought to lay down OUR lives for the brethren."
We also know that God loves us, because He has made us HIS CHILDREN through CHRIST IN US.
1 JOHN 3:1
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon US, that WE should be called the SONS OF GOD: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
"For YE are ALL the CHILDREN OF GOD by faith in Christ Jesus."
Knowing that God loves us, we can trust Him to provide for us and care for us: He MUST do this as our Father, because His Son Christ is in us.
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)
for your heavenly Father KNOWETH that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; and ALL these things shall be added unto you."
"But my God SHALL supply ALL YOUR NEED according to his riches in glory by CHRIST JESUS."
Once again we note that this blessing comes BY CHRIST JESUS - the one who is our LIFE (COLOSSIANS 3:4). If we were lazy or ungrateful for such wonderful promises, we could sit back and do nothing while expecting God to look after everything: however, He does expect that with Christ in us we will want to thank Him and give glory to Him for all His blessings to us.
"GIVING THANKS unto the FATHER, which hath made us meet (sufficient in Christ)
to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."
Also, when a need arises, He expects us to PRAY to Him about it.
"Be careful (or anxious)
for NOTHING; but in EVERY THING by PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION (or, earnest pleading)
WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known unto God."
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that MEN OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY, and not to faint (cave in)
Of course, we know before we start that He has promised to supply that need, so we do not pray in doubt or uncertainty: rather, we come to God with praise and thanksgiving on our lips and COMPLETE ASSURANCE in our heart.
"Enter into his gates with THANKSGIVING, and into his courts with PRAISE: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."
The Holy Spirit
The biblical pattern of salvation is clear:
"Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST."
'Repent' means 'turn your mind about' or 'change your mind'; that is, completely reverse your ways of thinking by the power of God and look to Him. Many people mistake this for salvation, but God's Word is clear: unless BOTH of the other conditions are satisfied, there is NO SALVATION.
Jesus Himself says this:
"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."
We notice that 'the Spirit' and 'the Holy Ghost' are exactly the same thing: in the language originally used the words 'spirit' and 'ghost' are the same, so 'Holy Ghost' is identical with 'Holy Spirit'. Sometimes the word 'Holy' is unnecessary so He is just called 'the Spirit'. Other names by which He is known in the Bible are:
|The Spirit of God||(MATTHEW 3:16)||The Spirit of the Lord||(LUKE 4:18)|
|The Spirit of Christ||(ROMANS 8:9)||The Spirit of Truth||(JOHN 14:17)|
|The Spirit of Life||(ROMANS 8:2)||The Spirit of Adoption||(ROMANS 8:15)|
There are others, too, but we must notice now that these are NOT different spirits, for there is only one Spirit of God:
"There is one body, and ONE SPIRIT, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling."
So we know from the Word of God that all the names above are only different names for the same Holy Spirit.
We know when the Spirit comes into us, because of the sign that always accompanies Him: speaking in a new tongue (or just 'speaking in tongues') - see ACTS 2:4; ACTS 10:46 (with 45); ACTS 19:6. When we 'receive the Holy Ghost' He comes into us and lives in us.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another COMFORTER, that he may ABIDE WITH YOU FOR EVER; even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall BE IN YOU."
But in the next verse something more wonderful still is revealed:
"I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU."
"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and YE IN ME, and I IN YOU."
So we see again what we already know; that when we received the Holy Spirit, JESUS CAME TO LIVE IN US and WE BEGAN A NEW LIFE IN HIM (2 CORINTHIANS 5:17; COLOSSIANS 1:27; EPHESIANS 2:6, and so on). What we can now understand is how the Holy Spirit brings this about and then REVEALS IT TO US. This is His chief work: to SHOW YOU CHRIST IN YOUR HEART.
"He shall glorify me (Jesus)
for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
The Spirit then goes on to show us how, because Christ is in us, we are sons and daughters of God:
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that WE ARE the children of God."
But there is more to His work than this, for it is THROUGH or IN THE SPIRIT that we can come before God as a member of His household or family.
"For through him (Jesus)
we both have access BY (or IN)
ONE SPIRIT unto the Father. NOW therefore YE are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
The Spirit gives us free access to God in a very simple way, as another scripture shows:
1 CORINTHIANS 14:2
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit IN THE SPIRIT he speaketh mysteries."
When we pray in the new tongue that God gives us we are praying IN THE SPIRIT and speaking directly to God. The tongue which you received when the Holy Spirit came into you is NOT just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it is NOT something for rare 'special occasions' either: it is rather a VITAL and ESSENTIAL gift for YOU to use DAILY. BY THAT SPIRIT YOU STAND IN YOUR FATHER'S PRESENCE.
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR AS WE OUGHT: but the SPIRIT ITSELF maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
These verses tell us that we CANNOT pray properly without this miraculous help of the Spirit. If we try to pray always with our own words we can never do it as we ought; the Word of God says so. So does Jesus.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the TRUE WORSHIPPERS shall worship the Father IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH (i.e. not falsely)
for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him MUST worship him IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH."
We see that there is no 'way out', no substitute: we MUST pray to God in the Spirit. So, after we have prayed for the things we know God wants for us (according to His Word), we hand over to the Spirit and let Him pray to God on our behalf:
"the Spirit maketh intercession for us". To let Him do this we simply yield our mouths to Him and let Him use the new tongue He has given us to glorify God. This then keeps our own mind well out of the way.
1 CORINTHIANS 14:14-15
"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also..."
Thus our prayer life consists of two parts: prayer IN or WITH THE SPIRIT and prayer WITH THE UNDERSTANDING. All men can pray to God in the understanding, but only those who are Christ's can pray in the Spirit, and
"the Father seeketh such to worship him". He is looking for men and women who are prepared to give their time and YIELD their lips to Him for His glory, and at the same time put their own thoughts aside.
"By HIM (not ourselves)
therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God CONTINUALLY, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."
NOTE: As you find these scriptures in your Bibles, some may have been puzzled by the changes between 'Spirit' (with a capital) and 'spirit'. For instance, Jesus talks of worshipping the Father 'in Spirit', while Paul says 'in the spirit'. There is no need to be troubled here, though, because there is no difference between the two in the way the Bible was originally written (all in capital letters), so the two phrases are really the same.
The Spirit does not stop at showing us Christ in our hearts: His task extends to showing us more and more of all the things of God as we go on in our walk with Him.
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, HE SHALL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
It is important that we realise how this learning is given to us. If we wanted to teach ourselves something we would study it and think it over, then store it up in our minds. This is NOT the way God works, because He knows our minds cannot handle the wonderful truths He has to show us: most of them just seem too fantastic to believe! Our minds just cannot accept what God wants to tell us.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
This is why God says
"Take NO THOUGHT" (MATTHEW 6:31). Instead He has given us the means to KNOW what He wants without ever having to think about it. This is done miraculously by the Spirit:
1 CORINTHIANS 2:12
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that WE MIGHT KNOW the things that are FREELY GIVEN to US of God."
The Spirit does not work with the mind because God has placed Him in our heart.
"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
And it is from the heart that He works, filling us with the love of God.
"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
We see then that it is by His power that we can return the love He has for us, as He commands.
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL THY HEART, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."
This is all wonderfully simple, and nothing can ever change it, but our mind sometimes tells us otherwise. It tells us we are not worthy of God's grace, but God says He has made us worthy (COLOSSIANS 1:12) through CHRIST IN US (COLOSSIANS 1:27). Our mind tells us we are sinful and deserve to be condemned: God says He WILL NOT condemn us because we are IN CHRIST (ROMANS 8:1). The mind tells us that we are lacking and inadequate in all sorts of things, but God says He has made Christ our wisdom, our righteousness, and many other things (1 CORINTHIANS 1:30) - in fact, ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.
"For in him dwelleth ALL the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power."
This is just too much for our minds to grasp. It is even too much for our heart, except that by the power of the Spirit within us He makes us to KNOW.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:9-10
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But GOD HATH REVEALED THEM UNTO US BY HIS SPIRIT: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
This is not something we can understand or explain with our minds: we JUST KNOW by the power of God. All the time the Spirit is working in us, and all the time the mind is fighting back, arguing and questioning all that God tells us, trying at all costs to keep us from the knowledge of God. Because of this, we are told to dethrone our mind and let God take over.
2 CORINTHIANS 10:5
"Casting down imaginations (or REASONINGS),
and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity EVERY thought to the obedience of Christ."
The scriptures show us clearly how this is to be done:
1 CORINTHIANS 2:14
"But the natural man (a man not born again by God's Spirit)
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Thus our mind can be cast down only by THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN OUR HEARTS. PRAY to God always for this power to work mightily in you, showing you Christ in your heart as your hope of glory - and leading you into all truth. Then, as you pray in the Spirit, the mind is ALL THE TIME BEING PUT DOWN and the Spirit is TAKING CONTROL.
1 CORINTHIANS 14:14
"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but MY UNDERSTANDING IS UNFRUITFUL."
Set aside half-an-hour or an hour daily to be alone with God, and to speak to Him in the Spirit. This is pleasing to God, as the Spirit always prays according to His will (ROMANS 8:27). It is also VERY PROFITABLE to you, because as the Spirit flows through you in prayer, He is RENEWING and TRANSFORMING your old ways of thinking, and giving you ASSURANCE IN YOUR HEART. This is precisely what your Father wants.
"And be not conformed to this world: but BE YE TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING (making new)
OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Also EPHESIANS 4:23).
As this comes to pass, the Spirit reveals yet another ACCOMPLISHED FACT: Just as we are already completely righteous, because CHRIST IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, so we already have HIS MIND.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:16
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? (See verse 9)
But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST."
This has nothing to do with our natural mind, because the Spirit (and Jesus) works ONLY from the HEART. We KNOW, deep down, that what God says is true, and we know what He wants us to do as we walk with Him day by day. Thus the Spirit LEADS us: we do not THINK our problems out, but let God decide, according to His Word as it is put into our heart by His Spirit - this is the way of life that is proper for us as sons and daughters of God.
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, THEY are the sons of God."
So, with our thoughts all in captivity to Christ and our hearts filled with Him and His love, we march on praising our Father in the Spirit - and
"if God be for us, who can be against us?" (ROMANS 8:31)
There is a great deal more that could be said (and will be) about the way in which we must pray to our Father. For the time being, here are some simple points that you should know about: if you want to know more, see your pastors or elders and ask them for scriptures.
Remember the verses at the start of this study: you are a child of God and can talk freely with Him as a Father. Trust Him! He has promised to look after you, and He always keeps His Word.
Remember that you are now seated in heaven in Christ (EPHESIANS 2:6), so as you pray see God always before you: He is not far away, so there is no need to shout! You are talking with Him face to face!
Remember that after you have made your particular requests in your own language, it is simpler and far more profitable to pray in the Spirit, because you KNOW that you are then praying according to what HE wants (ROMANS 8:27). This is what God has said, so as with everything else you just trust God and believe that it is true. The scripture says that you will not understand what you are saying, and neither will anyone else (1 CORINTHIANS 14:2), because YOU ARE SPEAKING TO GOD. Just praise Him in your heart and let Him use your mouth for His glory. This is the only way you can speak to Him without your mind getting in the way.
Most of the time in your prayer you will be simply praising God in the Spirit and thanking Him for the wonderful things He has done in your life, but here are some things for which you can pray in particular:
- For all the work of spreading God's Word in all the world (2 THESSALONIANS 3:1).
- For all your brothers and sisters in the Lord (JAMES 5:16).
- For the salvation of souls, ESPECIALLY those who are opposing the Word (LUKE 6:28).
- For all in authority, in the church and in the world (HEBREWS 13:7; 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-4).
- For wisdom (JAMES 1:5).
- For revealing of the fullness of the scriptures, especially any verse that you do not understand (point out to God what He has said and ask Him to reveal its meaning to you through the Spirit that He has put in your heart).
- For love, joy, peace, patience, faith, meekness, etc. (many verses!).
- For YOU to understand the will of the Lord and to know your calling - where you fit into His work (EPHESIANS 5:17).
- For God to be glorified in the earth (1 PETER 4:11).
- For God's will to be done in all things (LUKE 22:42).
If you ever pray for some need and God does not seem to answer, do not give up: keep praying and thanking Him that He has promised to supply all your needs. If He holds it back it is because He is watching to see whether you will be faithful or not - so keep at it and pray on!
Do not feel timid before God: humble, of course, but at the same time know your rights! He wants us to be bold and barefaced before Him. Know that you have Jesus' righteousness and need never feel self-conscious or ashamed: prayer is a perfectly matter-of-fact thing - so there is no room for hysterics or strong emotion either.
When you are praying with everyone else at a meeting, keep your voice even and on a level with the others. A voice louder than the rest, or one that prays in bursts, is distracting to others.
When you have decided to be with God and pray to Him, pray! Do not try to do something else at the same time - not even reading your Bible, because this will take your attention away from the praying. (Very occasionally while you are praying, the Spirit will reveal something to you in such a way that you will need to look up a scripture: if this happens check it but get back to praying as soon as possible. If you cannot do it quickly, write it down on a piece of paper and sort it out later.)
We cannot say how much time you must spend praying, but most have found half-an-hour daily to be an acceptable minimum. In this matter and all others remember that you are dead and your life is now in God (COLOSSIANS 3:3) – EVERYTHING is done for His praise, whether you are praying or not. So it is not a question of praying for half-an-hour by the clock and then forgetting God to do other things - as you go on with Him you will naturally want to spend more and more time on your knees, and be praising God in other ways the rest of the time. Long periods of prayer are always helpful: many people try to set aside an hour each day, and once in a while two or even three hours at a time. At first you may find it hard to pray for a long time (and, of course, you have to do it in the Spirit), because your mind is being cut down all the time. Persevere, and soon it becomes quite natural. It is important not to pray in fits and starts - a minute here, five there - but rather to devote some time wholly to talking to your Father.
Never boast of the praying you have done: it is between you and God. In a meeting, do not look around or listen to other people: you are in heaven with Jesus and you should not be concerned with anything else.
If you are praying in front of a chair or a bed do not bury your head in it: look up. Speak to God as someone just in front of you. Often we lift up our hands to praise God: this is according to scripture (1 TIMOTHY 2:8).
Do not be afraid to hold God to what He has said: quote scripture at Him boldly, telling Him what He has already promised to do for you! Be fervent and diligent in your prayers! Never be half-hearted in your praying or in anything else: you are serving God now. Rather:
"Let us draw near with A TRUE heart in FULL ASSURANCE of FAITH, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
Compiled by Pentecost Revival Centre, Ballarat, Australia, approx. 1968-1972.