We Have the Spirit
The mighty power of God is at work, first of all, in sending Christ into this world to live the perfect life in our place, to die on the cross for our sins, to be raised up from the dead, to be exalted into heaven, and now to be seated in glory at the right hand of the Father—thereby earning for himself a people whom God chose before the foundation of the world to be his. And the Holy Spirit is active in all of that. It’s a key moment in the beginning of Christ’s ministry when the Spirit of God is poured out upon him in his baptism.
But the Spirit of God does not leave us. In fact, that’s the whole point of what Christ says right before his ascension. He says to his disciples, “I will not leave you orphans. I won’t leave you on your own—even though I, Christ, am going back to the Father’s right hand, I’m going to pour out the Holy Spirit upon you.”
The Holy Spirit’s work is to be growing us, sanctifying us, glorifying Christ in our hearts, and through us, glorifying Christ in the world around us. So the Spirit is at work both in the history of redemption, accomplishing our salvation, but also actively in our sanctification.
Others Have the Spirit, Too
And it’s really important that we grasp that for ourselves and for others. Otherwise, we can often be frustrated. Sometimes we’re frustrated with the lack of sanctification of those around us: our spouses, our children, our workmates. When will they get their act together?
The Holy Spirit’s work is to be growing us, sanctifying us, glorifying Christ in our hearts, and through us, glorifying Christ in the world around us.
Often we pressure them, sometimes in ways that are less than helpful, instead of remembering that the Holy Spirit is responsible for their sanctification. This means we can pray for them and we can trust that the Holy Spirit will not leave them half-sanctified. If they belong to Christ then the Holy Spirit is at work in their hearts as well as ours and he will bring their work of sanctification to completion on the day of Christ Jesus.
This is comforting in the midst of a world where Christians around us are often very broken (including us), and we wonder, Will my life ever be different? Will I ever get victory over this particular besetting sin? Will I ever be able to live to God’s glory the way I want to? And the answer is yes. The Holy Spirit guarantees it. He is at work. He will continue to be at work, and he will finish that work on the day of Christ Jesus.
Iain M. Duguid is the author of The Whole Armor of God: How Christ’s Victory Strengthens Us for Spiritual Warfare.
- Do We Play Any Role in Our Sanctification? (Iain M. Duguid)
- Life Is a Battle; Dress Appropriately (Iain M. Duguid)
- Why We Need the Armor of God (Iain M. Duguid)