Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Spirit of Grace

I'm learning lately about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and I've come to see that I have had so many misconceptions about Him.  I think most of them have come from a faulty view of God as harsh, not kind, and of a faulty view of our relationship with Him as based on our behavior, not His grace.  In the past I was taught that part of the Holy Spirit's work was to point out my faults, but God is showing me that the Holy Spirit's work is actually to point out that I'm right with Him as a gift through Jesus' work!  That He isn't mad at me but instead rejoicing in me, the new creation He's made in Christ!  The Spirit isn't there to point out my faults but to point out the beautiful things Jesus has done in and for us. 

I think the most exhilarating thing God has been teaching me is that the Holy Spirit will never, ever harm me but will always be loving toward me.  He builds up rather than tearing down.  He won't crush a bruised person but will instead bring healing to the heart.  He ministers affirmation, not condemnation! 

I've been collecting some great thoughts about the Holy Spirit and thought I'd share them:

"'Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight:  for by the law is the knowledge of sin.'  If the knowledge of sin is by the law, why does the 'church' keep blaming it on the Holy Spirit?  Stop it.  His ministry is one of life, not death and condemnation."
                                                                       Cornel Marais

"The Holy Spirit never tries to manipulate or control you with guilt.  where He is - there is liberty."                          Rob Rufus

"The Holy Spirit is never convicting you of sin!  The Bible says He will lead you into all truth.  What is the truth?  That at the Cross God forgave all your sins - past tense...The Holy Spirit isn't telling you that you are a sinner - He is telling you that your sins are gone and that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus."    Rob Rufus

"The Spirit has to do with Christ (grace) and the letter has to do with flesh (law).  The Spirit ministers grace (His finished work on our behalf)!
                                                                        Bertie Brits

And now some wonderful verses that point out these truths to me:

I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth.
                                                                                   John 14:15b

When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—he will confirm everything about me.
                                                                             John 15:26

...when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.   John 16:12b

And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.    1 Co. 2:12

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.               Rom. 5:5b

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.             Rom. 8:15-6

Some things I see in these verses:  The Holy Spirit is our Friend and Comforter.  He's always with us, so that we need never feel alone or abandoned.  He's always confirming and testifying of Jesus and His finished work, guiding us into all truth (such as the fact that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and of the fact that we are under grace and not law).  He shows us all that we've been freely given through grace.  He fills our hearts with God's love and the assurance that we're His children.  He is the minister of the New Covenant of grace - of God's free gift of a right relationship with God through Jesus!

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for ministering grace, love and affirmation - and never condemnation and shame - to our hearts!

                               With love,

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14