[August 11]--The Spirit at Work: Dead and Alive

Heb 9:13-14; Eph. 1:18-21; Rom. 8:11

It’s my contention that the Spirit is an integral part of--and active participant in--every aspect of our salvation. The Spirit conceived Jesus within Mary’s womb, and he anointed our Savior at his baptism. He led Jesus and was the means by whom the Father instructed Jesus every step of the way. There are indications that Jesus performed his miracles and preached in the power of the Spirit. How does all this jibe with the fact that he’s the Son of God and can therefore do whatever he darn well pleases? The best explanation I’ve found is that within the Father’s plan, he somewhat limited himself, and utilized the power of the Spirit in order to accomplish that plan.

Now we come to the reason why Jesus came. He didn’t come primarily to teach, although his sermons and teaching sessions are the best human ears have ever heard. He didn’t come primarily to heal, although his miracles were astounding. Find someone who can raise up someone else who’s been dead for four days. Find anyone else who can heal blindness or deafness or paralysis with a touch and/or a word. Whatever Jesus does, he does it extremely well, actually the best that anyone ever experienced. When he made wine, he didn’t make some stuff that only tastes better after you’ve “had a few.” He made the best of the best of the best. That’s the type of God/man he is.

No, he came primarily to die. Behind all this was his all-consuming desire to glorify and obey his Father, but in practical terms it came down to him dying a horrible death. He offered up himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. I mean the word “ultimate” literally: Not just in the sense of “most important ever” but “final.” His once-and-for-all sacrifice was all that was needed to cover all the sins of humanity, yours and mine.

Now, I can’t go into too much detail here, because Scripture doesn’t. In fact, the Hebrews passage is the only one I can find which even mentions this. In some mysterious way (there’s that word again!), Jesus offered up himself to the Father through the Spirit. Just as all the members of the Trinity were included in his Incarnation, baptism and earthly ministry, now they were each involved in the actual act of atonement for our sins.

And of course you know what happened three days later. One moment you have a cold, dead, lifeless corpse lying in a tomb. No breath, no heartbeat, no synapses firing in the brain. Then the Spirit brings our Savior back to life. Air comes back into lungs and is expelled in respiration. A heart starts to pump blood once more. The once-dead body of Jesus stands up and steps out of his grave clothes. And this is the Spirit’s doing.

Again the Savior’s actions are the pattern for us. We can never atone for sin, but right now the Father still desires sacrifices. Not dead ones—That train has left the station. No, he wants living sacrifices. Think about it for a moment. Once you set fire to that body of a lamb or goat, it was given over to God. There was no going back. Whatever use I had for that animal was gone forever. Whatever was on the altar now belonged totally to the Lord.

As believers, we're to be living sacrifices. I’m walking around, I’m breathing, etc. But I’m supposed to be as much given over the Lord as that barbecued animal on the altar. And how is this accomplished? Through the work of the One who lives inside me, the Holy Spirit of God.

I’m supposed to be offered up to God through the Spirit just like my Savior was, and the pattern continues after that. The same Spirit who raised up Jesus lives inside me as well. In fact, there are two ways in which this is fulfilled in my life. First, this all-powerful Spirit gives me the strength I need to accomplish God’s will. Think about the power that it took to raise Jesus from the dead. That’s the power we have access to when we’re tempted or under assault from the Enemy or the world. Second, the same Spirit who raised Jesus will someday do the same thing to us. If my Lord delays his return, then one day I’ll be laid in a grave. My body will be as cold and lifeless as my Savior’s once was. But the same Spirit who breathed life into the first man (Adam), and who breathed life into the Second Adam (the Lord Jesus) will breathe life into me. Seems like kind a pattern with him, huh?

Holy Spirit of God, you are the Life-bringer. Would you please blow through once more this dusty temple? Would you breathe new life into me? Please?

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