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Friday, November 24, 2017

The Holy Spirit, Love, Grace and Holiness: Open Mindedness


endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:4-5


Romans 5:5 says that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 text doesn’t say God’s love was poured out through the Holy Spirit who gave us the Scriptures

containing the command to love one another – which is how some like to read this. No, God’s love has been

poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. In other words, God gave us His Spirit, and the Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts. That sounds direct and personal to me. 1 John 3 and 4 overflow with God’s command to love one another, but those two chapters also mention the Spirit being given to us. The command and the person.


And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1 John 3:23-24


No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:12-13


Both 1 John passages say that we know God abides in us by the Spirit He has given us, but the context is about

our loving one another. To know God is to know God is love. The God of love abides in us. The Spirit in us reminds

us that God is love and his people are to be loving. The following Scripture from Galatians is remarkable:


For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but 

through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as

yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.  6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 5:13-6:10


In other words, if we walk by the Spirit, the Spirit’s fruit will be produced in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


Jesus demonstrated this fruit of the Spirit. He was guided throughout His life by the Holy Spirit – from His birth to His resurrection, and everything in between. Luke 1:35; 3:21-23; 4:1,14-21; John 3:34; Acts 1:2; 10:38; Matthew 12:28; Isaiah 11:2-3; 42:1-4; Matthew 12:15-21; Hebrews 9:14; Romans 8:11.

“Jesus Christ is our pattern. 1 John 2:6, "the first born among many brethren." Romans 8:29. “What He realized through the Holy Spirit is for us to realize today.” – R.A. Torrey.


As Galatians 5 ends it is clear that to walk by the Spirit is to love one another and to have all the Christian graces - sweetness - towards one another. As you continue the reading into chapter 6 you see how this theme of loving your brother continues, even if your brother has been sinning. Galatians is arguing that we are no longer under the law, but living by faith through love! In 5:14, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” is a fulfilment of the law, while 6:2 says that if we carry one another’s burdens (an aspect of loving one another) we fulfil the law of Christ. Christ’s law is that we love one another as He loves us!! We don’t “bite and devour one another” (5:15); we love one another! Precisely what the above Scriptures are emphasising!!


Grace, like love, is an attribute dispensed by the Spirit:


How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:29. 


Read Titus 3:1-7 to see the Spirit’s work of grace. Also Colossians 1:3-12. Can you see the Spirit of grace in the Christian written all over the passage, even though not specifically mentioned? The Spirit of grace! How about that? And He can be outraged or insulted, as well as grieved!! Ephesians 4:30. “Sorry for the outrage, your Grace!”

The letter to the Galatians ends with: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.”

Jesus’ grace will be with our spirit when we walk by the Holy Spirit. Faith, love and grace are key emphases in Galatians. So is the Holy Spirit. Do we realize what a privilege it is to have been given the Holy Spirit as a gift when we became Christians? Not simply a gift, but a gift to help us. Galatians 3:5 gives an initial summary of the giving of the Spirit, but the next four chapters fills it out – minus the miracles.


Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone

who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so

that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14

Christ redeemed us so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith!  That privilege again! Having received the Spirit when converted, we must resolve, every day, to walk in the Spirit.


In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-10, we also see a juxtaposition of holiness and love through the indwelling Spirit.  Remember the hymn, Take Time to be Holy, written by W.D. Longstaff? There’s a line in it that reads: “Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shall be fitted, for service above.” The Spirit, holiness and love united.


The Holy Spirit inspired God’s revelation, Ephesians 3:3-5, confirmed that inspiration with signs and wonders, Hebrews 2:3-4, and also seals, Ephesians 1:13, sanctifies, 1 Peter 1:2, intercedes, Romans 8:14-27, strengthens, Ephesians 3:16, comforts, John 14:16-17; Acts 9:31, and delivers. Philippians 1:19. As with Jesus, in the lives of the apostles, the Holy Spirit did more than reveal and confirm truth. He lived in and with them, led, interceded, comforted, strengthened and delivered. But those are other studies for another time. Enough for now, except for:

the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Is “more grace” given through the Holy Spirit to counter the sin that tears at our spirits? See James 4:1-10 !! Ponder.


P.S. Read Luke 24 from v.13. Before promising to send Holy Spirit power, Luke twice says that Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. Who opened the apostles’ minds when Jesus was gone? Who opens our minds now to understand Scripture? 2 Timothy 2:7; 1 Corinthians 2. Why do we not all understand alike? Open-mindedness. The mind of Christ. “Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3. David Hunter


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