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Can You Tell Me The Way?

Lives Made New

We have reached the pivotal point of our journey. Recognition of Jesus, and submission to him as Lord and Saviour are defining factors of our faith. Two complementary Biblical phrases help us to understand our position. We are now "in Christ" (Romans 8 v.1), and Christ is "in us" (Colossians 1 v. 27). When we are in Christ, we become one with all his experiences.We are one with him in his crucifixion and in his resurrection, and as a child of God, belonging to him in eternity. When Christ is in us,we become one with his nature and character. This is a process of transformation and is the work of the Holy Spirit who is now within us, making us like Jesus. Another work of the Spirit is to empower us for service. We cannot be obedient in our own strength, but only as the Spirit equips us and gives us power. In the next part of our journey we will see how the indwelling Holy Spirit is available to help us.

Part Six

A New Creation

Once we have recognised Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and committed our lives to him, we can experience more of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We have now been "born of the Spirit." This is what Jesus required of Nicodemus, when he said, "You must be born again". This he went on to explain was not another physical birth, but a Spiritual birth. Now the Holy Spirit lives in us to continue his work of transforming our lives. This is the positive aspect of making us into a new creation, that is re-making us in the image and likeness of Christ. We need to understand what is happening, so that we do not hinder the work of the Holy Spirit, but accept and be obedient to what he is doing, that is making our character one of holiness.

Other Bible expressions we find are to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. These are not the same as being born of the Spirit. They may happen at the same time, or there may be an interval of time between them. These experiences of the Holy Spirit do not happen in the same way for everyone, so we need to be aware that our experience may not be the same as that of others. We must turn again to the Bible to learn more of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit. These truths are a natural consequence of what we already know. In fact, as we grow in understanding, we see how all the Biblical truths belong together, how they intertwine and confirm each other.

1. Luke 4 v.I. "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert." Jesus, being 'full' of the Holy Spirit knew what it was like to have the Spirit 'in you'. In him the Holy Spirit dwelt in all his fullness. If it is our desire to identify with Jesus, and to be truly like him, then it is our wish that the Holy Spirit will dwell in us. There is nothing about Jesus, either what he was or did that we should not desire for ourselves.

2. John chapter 20. Read the whole chapter, for this is a detailed account of the resurrection of Jesus. Understanding this event and believing it as a real account of what actually happened is very important, because it has many implications.
(a) It affirms the divinity of Jesus, the truth that was revealed to Peter and acknowledged by Jesus (Matthew 26 vv. 63 and 64) that he is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
(b) It confirms the effectiveness of Jesus' death on the cross. His death for the forgiveness of sins is vindicated. It has served its purpose.
(c) It proclaims victory over the power of Satan and over the power of sin; over all the forces of darkness and despair.
(d) It gives assurance for our own resurrection from the dead. Jesus is the 'firstfruit' of the coming harvest. Because he has risen, we know that all who belong to him and are 'in him' will rise from the grave with him in glory.
(e) There is an implication which concerns us now. The hope is not just for eternity but for the present. Romans 8 v. 11 says this: "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies .... " How will he do this? Paul goes on to explain: " ... through his Spirit who lives in you". God the Father, who raised Jesus from death, is able to impart new life, a new spiritual life, now, into the mortal bodies of all who believe in him.
(f) We have seen the reason why we should desire the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is because this was the experience and the mark of Jesus. Verse 22 of John 20 reveals that it is the wish of Jesus that we receive the Spirit. He was with the disciples; "And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" On an earlier occasion (see John 16 verse 7), Jesus had told the disciples that the Spirit would not come to them until he had gone back to the Father. Here he is saying to them that he wants them to receive the Holy Spirit, that they should be open to receive, and that they should be ready to receive when the outpouring came. The words of Jesus are for disciples of all times and places.