Tag Archives: devotion

The Personal Identity of the Holy Spirit

Although spirituality is an attribute of God, for “God is spirit,” it is misleading to assume that the Holy Spirit can be reduced to a characteristic of God alongside other divine attributes like eternity and omniscience. That would be to deny to the Spirit that personhood which scripture attests. Rather the Spirit is a distinct divine person who possesses these characteristics and qualities ascribed as divine attributes. The Holy Spirit is not merely a quality or attribute or emanation of God, but rather a distinct person within the Godhead. 

The Spirit acts personally engaged in Gospel Ministry. Not impersonal but personal pronouns are regularly used to refer to the Spirit—Jesus told his disciples, “I will send him to you” (John 16:7). This personalization was taken for granted when the council at Jerusalem declared, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28) that a particular action was to be taken, as if to say that Peter and James and John and others were there, and the Holy Spirit was also there in the conversation, personally sharing with them, dwelling with them as an incomparable partner in their effort. 1

The characteristic properties of a person are those that are continually attributed to that person. The properties regularly attributed by scripture to the Holy Spirit are teaching, comforting, guiding, giving, calling, and sending into services of ministry.

“Thus it is said that [the Holy Spirit] teaches, comforts and guides us in all truth, that he distributes gifts as he will; that he calls and sends apostles”

God the Spirit is actively leading as persons lead. The apostolic testimony applied intensely personal analogies: guiding (Rom. 8:14), convicting (John 16:8), interceding (Rom. 8:26), calling (Acts 13:2), commissioning (Acts 20:28).

Like a person, the Spirit can be resisted (Acts 7:51), avoided, or responsively answered (Acts 10:19–21). Only a person can be vexed (Isa. 63:10) or grieve (Eph. 4:30). Only one with intelligence and the capacity for communication can speak from heart to heart. These are qualities of personhood. Only a person can teach, talk, reveal his will to other persons, or feel anger (Isa. 63:10). As persons speak and communicate, so does the Holy Spirit speak in scripture to the faithful (Mark 13:11; Acts 8:29; 21:11; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:7) to disclose his will and listen responsively to creatures.

Only a person can be lied to—no one can lie to a stone or vegetable. Ananias was condemned not for lying to Peter but for lying to the Holy Spirit. Those who lie to the Holy Spirit, lie to God (Acts 5:3–90)

The Spirit is found actively directing the mission of the apostles. The Spirit set aside Paul and Barnabas for their specific work (Acts 13:2); selecting overseers for the flock (Acts 20:28); bearing witness (Acts 5:32; Rom. 8:16), distributing gifts freely as he chooses (1 Cor. 12:11); leading into all truth as Jesus noted to his followers (John 16:13).

These functions imply intelligence, will, feeling, purpose—all characteristic of personhood, which God possesses in incomparable measure. The Spirit searches our hearts (1 Cor. 2:10–11), teaching human persons individually and within the church community (Rom. 8:12–27). 

If “the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?” (2 Cor. 3:7, 8). If he speaks, forbids, appoints, witnesses, is lied to, and resisted, the Spirit must be personal and free, for only a person can do these things. So the Spirit is not merely a metaphor of Jesus himself, but as much a living person (prosōpon, personal face) as Jesus himself. The Spirit in scripture is God himself. The Christian community confesses its belief not merely about but in God the Spirit. “Belief in” is directed to a person; “belief about” is directed to things. 3

The Interpersonal Mystery God works person to person, within human wills and consciousness, in the heart, through language. God the Spirit relates interpersonally to apostles on an intimate basis, while maintaining His own distinctive pre-temporal relation to God the Father and God the Son in the eternal mystery of the communion of the triune God.

God must be a speaking person via the Holy Spirit. If it is through our own personal spirit that we breathe out words, God the Spirit is experienced as a person is experienced, endowed with free volition, energy, communicative language proceeding from the Father and residing now in  the Word/the Bible (Luke 1:70; John 16:15; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:11, 21; Acts 1:16)

The Spirit is God’s own quiet coming to execute the Father’s plan, to attest to the Son’s saving work, to enlighten, counsel, strengthen, and enable life until the Son’s return.

The Depersonalization of the Spirit. Although the work of the Spirit may be spoken of in the neuter tense, God the Spirit is not properly addressed as “it” or “object” or “impersonal being” or “force” by any expression that suggests that God the Spirit has no proper name as a person. “Holy Spirit” is that proper name, which by analogy to human proper names is best spoken of either as he or she. To persistently think of God the Spirit as “it” (not as Thou) is to apply a mistaken analogy.

The depersonalization of God the Spirit has occurred in the period of philosophical idealism. Hegel reduced the Spirit to a logistic of history. Tillich reduced the Spirit to an existential category of being itself. Process theology reduced the Spirit to creative energy. Theosophy and its philosophical twin, the Law of Attraction reduced the Holy Spirit to a destiny-achieving force. Each reduction is tempted by an unconstrained application of a mistaken impersonal analogy to the person of the Spirit.

God the Spirit soon becomes reduced to a symbolic generalized dimension of our own view. As Karl Barth noted: Nor does it stand as an improvement to replace the term person with an alternative expression like “mode of being”. 4  

1 Calvin, Comm. XIX, pp. 77–80; cf. Luther, Answer to Emser, LW 39, pp. 175–78, 197–99.

2 Ursinus, Comm. Heid. Catech., p. 272.

3 Oden, T. C. (1992). Life in the Spirit: systematic theology, vol. III (pp. 19–21). San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco.

4 Barth, Dogmatics I/1, p. 407

Humility: As Taught by Jesus

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 ESV); and “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Matthew 20:26-28 NLT).

Scripture reveals that Jesus Christ, while on earth, lived a life of humility. He laid open His heart to his disciples in verbal teaching and to us now by scriptural reference.  His lessons on humility which he repeatedly taught, inferred that Christians are to be just as humble as He was. Let’s look at Christ’s teaching on humility to get a gist of the seriousness of this virtue so often overlooked by Christ’s followers. To understand Christ as Creator will help you perceive why he laboured so intensely to teach behavioural values to men and women. (Colossians 1:15-20; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:1-4). Since we are created by God, we are highly potentiated created, humans.

Here are several lessons:

Christ’s view of the poor and meek. In the Beatitudes with which the Sermon on the Mount opens, He speaks “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:3, 5) To the poor, who have nothing in themselves — to them, the kingdom comes. To the meek, who seek nothing in and of themselves — the earth will be theirs. The blessings of heaven and earth are for the humble. Here in our earthly life, humility is the secret of spiritual grace.

Jesus asks Christians to take humility seriously. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 ESV) He tells us that the spirit of humility is an attribute which we can learn and receive from Him. Humility and humbleness of mind and manner of life are what He explains. We learn via His Spirit’s leading when born again. Our minds must be humble and calm — in these states of mindfulness, we will find perfect rest of soul. Humility is to be evidence of our deliverance from the world’s distractive ploys to trick us to put ourselves first. When freely led by His Spirit, we properly enjoy our salvation in discipleship — doing His will as He leads day by day.

Modesty begets Greatness. A few of the disciples were desiring to be the greatest in the kingdom and agreed to ask the Master, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Luke 9:46). The Lord set a child in their midst, and said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Further, “…the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.” (Luke 9:48) True heavenly-mindedness, the chief of the graces, is humility.

Self-righteous self-elevation is disdained by God. The apostles John and James expressed this when they asked Jesus to sit on His right and left hand when he goes back to heaven, the highest place in the kingdom. (Mark 10:35-45) Jesus referred such query to the Father’s authority. Their mission was a redemptive mission that would culminate in the Lord’s supreme humiliation  — death on the cross.  These men must be prepared to go on and build on Christ’s teaching of the importance of loving others. This is the essential message of the new covenant that Jesus taught in His Gospel

Loving others begets Serving others: “…whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the servant of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44-45) Humility, as seen in the life of Christ, as the one who came down from heaven to serve, will be the primary standard of glory in heaven. The lowliest mindset is the nearest to God. Primacy in the church is promised only for the humblest. Conversely, a pompous attitude among a church leader stinks of power-tripping. The silent movie of the 20s reveals Joan of Arc being asked theologically devious questions by politically motivated priests determined to judge her as a heretic, which culminated in her being burned at the stake.

Who Is the Greatest? Even during the last supper, the disciples still disputed who should be the greatest. Jesus said, “let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves.” (Luke 22:26) The unpretentious life which He presented to us as our example, the power and gentle spirit in which He bore insult to bring our salvation, is the only demonstrative humility that can influence today’s’ Christians to be servants to others.

Speaking of the Pharisees and their love of the supremacy. Christ said once again: “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12). Humility is the only path to honour in God’s kingdom.

God will humble the proud. On an occasion, in the house of a Pharisee, He taught the parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher (Luke 14:1–11), and ended with: “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” The demand is apparent: there is no other way. Self-abasement alone will be exalted. At first, this may appear difficult because our pride will prefer domination to some degree.

Don’t be too proud of your biblical knowledge. After the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Christ spoke against self-exaltation again: “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14). In the temple, in the presence and worship of God, everything — even knowledge of doctrine is worthless unless pervaded by a deep, true humility towards God and men. The Pharisees were educated in the scriptures above the average Jew in the days of Christ. Never should we feel more exalted due to our theological knowledge.

Be supportive and help others when the opportunity arises. Jesus said, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14). The symbolic message of foot-washing is to defer to help others, not look to be exalted nor pampered by others. Christ’s absolute authority and example, every thought, either of obedience or conformity, make it quite evident: humility is the primary essential element of discipleship.

Men sometimes speak as if humility and meekness would rob us of what is noble and bold and manlike. You can see this attitude in movie episodes of “The Game of Thrones”. There is a Machiavellian spirit of tribal one-upmanship; a devilish desire to usurp and control others at all costs.

Is it your heart’s desire to understand humility? If we realize that self-will is a problem that we all must deal with. Our lizard brain 1 is a destructive mindset harmful to mankind. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to envision a better understanding of humility. Church fellowship, our peace and joyful appreciation of our kindred unity in Christ, is possible when mindful of this significant primary teaching.

Humility reveals character growth in grace. Presenting the character trait of humility represents evident progress — of a maturing, abiding relationship with Jesus — sanctification in our Christian growth. Based on this study of the teaching of Jesus, no place in the church will be too low, no service beneath our stature. Let us happily prove the like-minded fellowship with Him who spoke, ‘I am among you as a servant.’

Jesus, the meek and lowly One, calls us to learn of Him the path to God. Let us study humility until our heart agrees: My one need is humility. And let us believe that what Christ shows, He gives by His Spirit; what He is, He imparts. As the meek and lowly One, He will come in and dwell in the open-minded, humble heart. 2

1 The lizard brain term is a metaphor for the self-willed, lustful human mindset that prefers political manipulation, violence, domination, retribution, and sexual perversion.

2 Glen Jackman’s summary edit of Andrew Murray’s thinking. This is from Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (pp. 11–16). New York; London; Glasgow: Fleming H. Revell. (1800) In the public domain.

Humility: A proper attitude to Systematic Theology

Peter tells us, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” ’ (1 Peter 5:5).

Those who study systematic theology will learn many things about the teachings of Scripture that are perhaps not known or not known well by other Christians in their churches or by relatives who are older in the Lord than they are. They may also find that they understand things about Scripture that some of their church officers do not understand, and that even their pastor has perhaps forgotten or never learned well.

In all of these situations, it would be very easy to adopt an attitude of pride or superiority toward others who have not made such a study. But how ugly it would be if anyone were to use this knowledge of God’s Word simply to win arguments or to put down a fellow Christian in conversation, or to make another believer feel insignificant in the Lord’s work. 1

James’ counsel is good for us at this point: “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20). He tells us that one’s understanding of Scripture is to be imparted in humility and love:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom … But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13, 17–18)

Systematic theology rightly studied will not lead to the knowledge that “puffs up” (1 Cor. 8:1) but to humility and love for others.

1 Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 33). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.

How the Lord led me as a Literature Evangelist

For seven years after accepting the Lord, I worked in a peculiar ministry. As a Literature Evangelist, I shared quality Bibles and simplified commentaries on scripture for families: for adults and children.

Eventually, I trained other men of faith to do the same work as me. I would also preach the Word of God, often to replace pastors unable to be in their pulpits in various areas of Ontario, the Maritime province of Nova Scotia, and in Newfoundland.

How I learned to live by faith in the Lord’s leading

I will share one of those stories here. Scheduled to preach in Bellville on Sabbath, I drove from Peterborough, Ontario, via an old road I had never before driven.

Several miles from the city, I became fatigued and pulled over into the entrance drive of a cornfield. After the nap, I prayed over my open Bible, asking the Lord to be with me and give me words of encouragement to the people (the pastor’s son had just drowned in Lake Ontario).

A knock came on my car window. It was a young boy about 12 years of age. Asking if I was okay, he noted my Bible and said: I am a Christian too. I asked, “Which church do you attend, son?” Well, his answer revealed that I was preaching in his family’s church tomorrow! I asked the lad if he would mind if I told the folks how we met while preaching my message tomorrow — the title being: The Just Shall Live by Faith.

How the Lord led me to another young man 

As usual, I took my lunch on the road while working as a Literature Evangelist. This day, I was by Lake Ontario in a park in Trenton. Praying for guidance, I felt that the Lord was holding me back without question. Then all of a sudden, I heard a still small voice say “go now”. As I drove from the park, I stopped at the road junction to ask for directions from an approaching teenager. He noticed a small book on my passenger seat: Steps to Christ, and said: “my mother has that book”.  We chatted about how he was living away from home, his mother being a believer in my church’s College Park family in Oshawa, Ontario. I said to him. “I am certain that your mother is praying for you”. I spoke more words of encouragement and praised the Lord for his patience with me that he would use me to talk to this young man.

I have many more stories like this recorded in my written journals over the seven years in this sacred ministry.

Seek first the kingdom of God and all blessings will follow

Scriptural Meditations Part 2:  God moves in His natural kingdom to bring blessings my way when I seek him first. He alone is the Great Rearranger who moves upon the atomic nature of the universe; giving ideas that bring forth results for the provision of his own children.

  • I am recognizing that all power, wealth and honour comes as directed from you Yahweh; you created everything in heaven and on earth; everything good is of Your Kingdom and I am exalting you as the head over all. 1 Chronicles 29: 11-12
  • All good things related to my life’s needs are coming my way for provision because I seek first our Lord’s kingdom and His righteousness. Matthew 6:33
  • My God is an enabling God who activates nature to manifest and change form by faith for his children when asked. Psalm 107: 29; Joshua 10: 11-13; Jonah 1: 10-17; Matthew 8: 23-27; Mark 4: 38-40; John 21: 4-12; Matthew 21: 19-22; Exodus 3: 1-4, 15: 3-5; 1 Kings 18: 36-46
  • My Lord hears my prayer claiming his covenant promises that he puts in my heart and mouth and then acts on my behalf to bring justice my way. His hand is not shortened, that he cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that he cannot hear; He sets up a standard against my enemies to protect me. Isaiah 59:1, 16, 19
  • I have courageous action-based faith that Yahweh will give me the tools to prevail to give me success in all my ventures despite major obstacles in life or business, just as He gave David victory over Goliath. 1 Samuel 17: 45-53

Prayerful meditations for God-directed blessing in life

Scriptural Meditations Part 1:  Over the years in ministry and business life, I believe I have succeeded abundantly based on trusting the Lord’s blessings. My meditations include this kind of prayer-based thinking. Here I share only a part of a large document of scriptural prayer meditations on many life and business subjects. I am also careful not to advocate a prosperity gospel, yet in my mind, I must trust the Lord for the provision of life’s necessities and recognize his blessings when accrued.

  • I confidently trust, lean on, and rely on Yahweh/Father God, that I will be supported when I declare His righteousness in His entire kingdom on earth among the nations; because He will not hide His face from me, as He listens to me when I cry out to Him, who alone is my help. Psalm 22: 4, 5, 9, 22, 28-29, 30
  • I joyfully dance in the Lord being established with strength and boundless prosperity. Psalm 30: 6, 7, 11; Psalm 122: 6-7
  • I am calm and courageous speaking wisdom from an understanding heart, submitting godly thoughts to musical meditations expressing my inherent redemption as He guarantees to receive me into my inheritance of eternal life.  Psalm 37: 30-31; 40: 3, 9-10; 49: 3-5; 7-8. 15
  • The Lord increases my family’s peace, protection, and firm prosperity increasing in proportion as we trustingly take refuge in Him; He makes our right and just behaviour shine like the noon-day sun in all effects of causation. Psalm 37: 4-7; 11, 19; 22-26
  • I am committing my works unto Yahweh and my thoughts and plans are established and succeed. Proverbs 16: 2-3
  • I order my thoughts, conduct, conversation, and actions in the will of Yahweh’s Word and his entire revealed will, and manage my decisions to not wander from his commandments; and I, therefore, am rewarded by inheriting all your promises. Psalm 119: 1-7
  • I am succeeding, increasing my business sales, selling continuously and vigorously in the marketplace, making entire penetration in my field of business expertise, because as a partaker of the divine nature, all my natural springs issue from you and you are able to make all grace abound toward me that I may have abundant provision in all good things. 2 Peter 1:4, Psalm 87:7, 2 Corinthians 9:8
  • God reveals my moment of timing with regard to my life purpose with all the plans clear before me as with Moses, including what I am to preach regarding His current truth. John 9: 3, 4, 22, 13-34
  • God keeps His secrets and protects my business and life purposes from idea-theft of ungodly men. 1 Sam 21: 12-13
  • I trust Yahweh to give me Spirit led insights like David when he said “I knew it” regarding anyone who would tell one of my business secrets. 1 Samuel 22: 22; 23: 9-12
  • I am waiting to see what God is going to do for me in all my business ventures. 1 Samuel 22:3; Genesis 31: 10-16, 50: 18-21
  • As a sinner, I have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 1:9
  • I am a son of Yahweh attested to and confirmed by Jesus Christ. Psalms 82:6; John 10: 34-36; Romans 13: 1-2

Divine guidance can save you much grief

“The Lord will guide you into all the truth” applicable to you. (John 16:13)

To live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and be led in all your most beneficial ways one must learn the discipline of ongoing listening for the direction of the Lord and acknowledge His methods of opening up our viewpoint to see the right way to walk. David won most of his battles because he always wanted to hear God’s view first (Psalm 27:7, 11)

We live in a world order which is becoming increasingly difficult to hear God speak to us through His Word, or the “still small voice” (Isaiah 30:21)

This is increasingly true when you are surrounded by excess talking and clamour while facing a choice when in need of information that may be yet unknown or purposely held back from you by men who feel superior in education, religion, or health care. For example, it was found out that many hysterectomies were unnecessary in the 60s yet many a doctor ran ahead with multiple surgeries even when it was known it was unnecessary. No one should hold back pertinent information because money per operation is a primary goal. I see this mindset continues today in some disciplines.

We must not trust every word of others or the feeling within ourselves, but cautiously and patiently try the matter, whether it be of God. Do not give ready heed to every news-bearer, for they know man’s weakness that it is prone to evil and deceptive in dialogue. It is supreme wisdom, not to be hasty in action, or stubborn in our own opinions. It is essential wisdom to not believe every word we hear. An obedient life, submissive to the Lord, makes a man wise toward God and gives him experience in many things. The more humility and obedience within and without to God’s will, the more knowledgeable will he be in all things, and the more shall his soul be at peace. 1

Amidst others of rank, where you cannot hear yourself think let alone hear God speak it is hard to make a rational decision. Montaigne noted in his essay on presumption: “occasions surprise me and move me contrary to my premeditation”. The smartest contemplative person can be derailed from original rational thinking in a few minutes of chaos under decisional pressure.

This is particularly true if we replace the guidance directly from God with an: if, then, else flowchart, which I am prone to do because I have been trained in writing computer code. I learned the hard way that this can be like rolling the bones or tossing the dice without rational thought versus the leading of God directing as we pray for guidance in His Word and discern what light He has on the subject at hand. Dreams even if frightening, where warnings can come in the wee hours can save you from a bad decision. If the Spirit of Christ leads in either of these two methods sit up and go to your journal and immediately write down the leading and ask what this means – it is vital to do this before it is lost. Carry your journal and ponder the guidance and take it to heart and change course if necessary.

As a Christian resist the temptation of trying to find things out only on your own.

When the founder of Buddhism was bidding his followers farewell, he said: “You must be your own light”. When Socrates was about to take that fatal cup one of his disciples mourned that he was leaving them orphans. When Jesus was about to ascend to heaven He said of the Holy Spirit, “if I go I will send him to you” (see John 14:18; 16:5-7,13; Luke 1:79; John 10:4)

Divine guidance is only available to Christians, who obey the directives of and rely on the Father in Heaven. Such obedience offers: Peaceful quietude (Psalm 23:2), good decisions (Psalm 25.9, 32:8), lifetime guidance (Psalm 48:14), wise counsel (Psalm 73:24), internal divine directions (Isaiah 30:21, John 16:13), lead amidst uncertainties (Isaiah 42:16,48:17).

Praise the Lord for His amazing grace. May He lead you into the paths of a peaceful life in all your decision making away from the chaos of mankind who can ruin your choices and bring regret for not taking the time to listen in the quiet hour with the Lord Jesus Christ in His sacred scriptures daily.

1 Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Glen Jackman modern edit

Humility: Exemplified by Jesus

‘I am among you as one who serves.’—Luke 22:27 NLT.

In the Gospel of John, we see Jesus frequently speaking of His relation to the Father, presenting the spiritual motives that guided Him. His consciousness of the power and the guidance of the Holy Spirit linking Him to his Father’s mind — echoed by how He acted kindly and gently among men — proved the clearest picture of humility ever lived among humankind.

Though He is the Son of God in heaven, as a man upon earth, He took the place of entire subordination, giving God the honour and the glory which is due to Him. And what He taught so often was made true of Himself:everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’ (Luke 14:11; 18:14)

Listen to the words by which our Lord speaks of His relation to the Father — see how frequently He uses the words not, and nothing, of Himself. The not I, in which Paul expresses his relationship to Christ, is the very spirit of what Christ says of His relation to the Father: “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (see Galatians 2:20) Jesus taught self-abnegation by the way He lived. Hover over these texts to see each one of His statements relating how the Father led Jesus as He sought to reconcile humanity to God: (John 5:19, 30, 41; 6:38; 7:16, 28; 8:42, 50; 14:10, 24)

The above scriptures reveal insight into Christ’s life and work. They tell us how it was that the Almighty God was able to work His mighty redemption work through Jesus. They show what mindset Christ’s enlightened consciousness viewed His dependence as a man, respectfully reliant as the Son upon the Father. They teach us about Christ’s essential nature and life as a man while His work of redemption was accomplished. He was nothing, that God might be all. Jesus resigned Himself, His will and His powers entirely for the Father to work in and through Him — as He offered us reconciliation, mercy and grace. Of His own power, His own will, and His own glory, of His whole mission with all His works and His teaching,— of all this He said, It is not I; I am nothing; I have given Myself to the Father to work; I am nothing, the Father is all.

This life of entire self-abnegation, absolute submission and dependence upon the Father’s will, Christ found to be one of perfect peace and joy. He lost nothing by giving all to God. God honoured His trust, and manifested all for Him, and then exalted Him to His right hand to administer the kingdom, beside Him, reflecting the majestic glory of this fact: When God reaches out to us to bring us to Himself, by seeing Jesus, we recognize that the Father is waiting in love, to bind you to Him in love. And because Christ had thus humbled Himself before God, and God was ever before Him, Jesus also found it possible to humble Himself before men, and to be the Servant of all. His humility was simply the surrender of Himself to God, to allow Him to do in Him what He pleased, whatever men around might say of Him, or do to Him. The primary purpose of this demonstration of humility was to draw all men to Himself and thereby to the Father.

It is in this state of mind, in this spirit and disposition, that the redemption of Christ has its virtue and potent effectiveness. It is to bring us to this disposition of self-abnegation that we are perceptive to and taking on the mind of Christ. This is the true self-denial to which our Saviour calls each of us: the acknowledgement that self has nothing good in it, except as an empty vessel which God must fill, and that any claim to be or do anything self-warranting may not for a moment be allowed. It is in this, above and before everything, in which the conformity to Jesus consists, the being and doing nothing of ourselves, that God may be all.

Here we have the root and nature of true humility. It is because this is not understood or sought after, that our humility, individually and in the church is so superficial, and lacks vitality. We must learn of Jesus, how He is meek and lowly of heart. He teaches us where true humility rises to find its strength—in the knowledge that it is God who works all in all, that our place is to yield to Him in perfect resignation and dependence, in full consent to be and to do nothing of ourselves.

Christ came to reveal and to impart to us, by example—a life which fully honours God, that came through death to sin and self. If we feel that this life is too high for us and beyond our reach, let this felt inability, drive us to seek it in Him; it is the indwelling Christ via His Spirit who will live in us, this meek and lowly life. Without abiding in Christ, we can do nothing useful in His kingdom. (John 15:5)

If we long for this, let us, above everything, seek the secret of how God works on this earthly plane among humanity. Every moment God works all in all; the mystery, of which, every child of God, is to be the witness — that we are nothing but a vessel, a conduit of lovingkindness, through which the living God can manifest the riches of His wisdom, power, and goodness.

The root of all virtue and grace, of all faith and acceptable worship, is that we know that we have nothing but what we receive from our Creator, and bow in most profound humility to wait upon God for it.

Christ’s life manifested a pure conscience, an existential humility witnessed by the very spirit, demeanour and tone of His whole life. Jesus was just as humble in His intercourse with men as with God. He felt Himself the Servant of God for the women and men whom God made and loved. As a natural consequence, He counted Himself the Servant of men, that through Him God might do His work of love. He never for a moment thought of seeking His honour or asserting His power to vindicate Himself. His whole spirit was that of a life yielded to God to work. 1

It is not until Christians study the humility of Jesus which he taught as the very essence of His redemption, as the very blessedness of the life of the Son of God, as the only true relation to the Father, that we will begin to understand the first and the chief of the marks of the Christ within us.

1 Glen Jackman’s summary edit of Andrew Murray’s thinking. From chapter three of the book Humility: The Beauty of Holiness New York; London; Glasgow: Fleming H. Revell; in the public domain.

Sanctification: The Predominant pre-2nd Advent Message to Christ’s church

We are told that to enjoy the presence of the Lord and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, we must overcome sin in our lives: “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21: 7)

Paul articulates the same thinking, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9)

In the same context, we find the first mention of the New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation, conjoined with a compelling warning — the need to overcome sin in our lives. “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name”. (Revelation 3: 12)

Again in the last chapter of Revelation, we find the same direct warning that articulates a period prior to the Lord’s descent from heaven, on the final day of Judgment. A clear preparatory close of probation warning prior to the pre-Second Advent of Christ cautions strongly to not close our minds to this vitally important message:

“Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right, and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” (Revelation 22: 10-11)

Then we hear Jesus speaking directly to us of the coming day when He will sit in Judgment over all creation and mankind: “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”. (Revelation 22: 12-13)

Once again the blessing of those who overcome sin, and turn from the allurements of Satan, is pronounced by Jesus:

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood”. (Revelation 22: 14-15)

Pay careful attention to this verse. Jesus is indicating the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify and cleanse your mind body and soul from all sin (see Romans 8:9), using the symbol of washed robes, to depict those who enter the city, and have the rights to the benefits of the work of the indwelling Spirit; have a right to the tree of life, which is the source of all Life.  Those purified among the Christian church’s remnant are contrasted to the ones who have not entered into a relationship with Christ and remain outside of a holy unity with Him, during the time others have entered the gates of the “New Jerusalem”, a term primarily used for the entire church as a temple of people within whom the Lord’s Spirit dwells, individually and collectively.

The message is of such importance that Jesus sent His angel to give this message to the apostle John:

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”  Revelation 22: 16

This is a pre-Second Advent direct warning to the church because warnings make no sense after the divine verdicts are in.

Understanding Regeneration by the Spirit

“If you are not born again you cannot enter the kingdom of God” Jesus (John 3:3–8).

Regeneration enables being born again

The doctrine of Regeneration is a Calvinistic term used by the reformers inspired by John Calvin, early Puritans, and today among many Baptists, Presbyterians, and Reformed churches. It refers to a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us. This is more often known by the biblical term used by Jesus: “being born again” of the Spirit’s motivating influence (John 3:3–8).

Regeneration Is the entire work of God

Though we play an active part in sanctification and perseverance; in the work of regeneration, we have no active role at all. Rather it is in entirety the work of God. John teaches that Christ calls people into His church at a specific time in their life to reconcile with God. He enables them with the power of the Spirit to become children of God (John 1:13). Those who are “born … of God” are not operating by “the will of man” to bring about this kind of birth.

Our passivity in regeneration is indicated in Scripture by referring to the occurrence as being “born” or being “born again” (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3; John 3:3–8). We did not choose to be made physically alive, and we did not choose to be born—it is something that happened to us; similarly, “these analogies in Scripture suggest that we are entirely passive in regeneration”. 1

The necessity of regeneration by the Spirit

Jesus noted that the entrance to the kingdom, is opened by the Spirit’s power causing this effective experience (John 3:3, 5); there is an equipping of a new heart and new motive to serve God which circumvents death (Ezek. 18:31). Those who do not receive a new heart will die spiritually.

The Bible never reveals one saved person without being born again. Civility, knowledge, tact, living by the golden rule or being externally religious will not achieve it. Nicodemus who was taught about being born again by Jesus was a teacher in Israel without objection (John 3:3–8). Paul, blameless according to the law, experienced conversion pivoting his viewpoint from the hateful murdering of Christians to preaching Jesus with persuasive power. He wasn’t motivated to preach the gospel until he met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:4) He was on the way to arrest and persecute Christians.

No one can have true heartfelt communion with God without regeneration by the Spirit. Initially, before being born again we are at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). God, resides in unapproachable light and holiness (1 Timothy 6:16; 1 John 1:5) while the ungodly cannot be in His presence (Psa. 5:5–7). Therefore, in order for a person to have fellowship with God, he or she must be born again and led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14).

1 Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine – The Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith