Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Simply Christian - Thoughts on the Holy Spirit (part 1)

God’s Breath of Life

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…

God doesn’t give people the Holy Spirit in order to let them enjoy the spiritual equivalent of a day at Disneyland.

God’s Spirit and God’s Future

One key element of living as a Christian is learning to live with the life, and by the rules, of God’s future world, even as we are continuing to live within the present one (which Paul calls “the present evil age” and Jesus calls “this corrupt and sinful generation”).

When Paul speaks of the Spirit as the “guarantee of our inheritance,’ he is evoking this whole exodus tradition, the story which began with Passover and ended with the Promised Land. He is saying, in effect, You are now the people of the true exodus. You are now on your way to your inheritance. That “inheritance” isn’t a disembodied heaven. The whole world is now God’s holy land.

What does it mean to say that this future has begun to arrive in the present? What Paul means is that those who follow Jesus…these people are given the Spirit as a foretasted of what the new world will be like.

God’s Spirit between Heaven and Earth

Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.

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