Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

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John 14b – “The Home of God in Us”

Categories: Glimpses of Christ, Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Because of Christ and through the indwelling Spirit, the very presence of God, we get divine counsel/comfort, truth, recall of Jesus' teaching, the promise that we will never be abandoned.

3-crosses-at-left-2READ JOHN 14:15-31

The initial precept in Jesus’ teaching here in this passage is the close relationship between love and obedience. This must be recognized as an inescapable priority for us and an appropriate expectation from Christ. If we’re not careful, we can seem to think that Christ is calling for proof, advocating a legalistic, performance based structure to our relationship. It could easily smell like death if we only look at the words. This is why it is so important for us to make sure that the God-Man, Jesus, is the filter through which we interpret His Words. From studying His ministry, His relationships, and His message, it is difficult to understand how anyone could come to the conclusion that Jesus was demanding, “Prove your love to me – obey me!” in a near petulant, tyrannical tone. One needs to look no further than His love and affection for His disciples displayed on this ominous night. Knowing that they would betray, deny, abandon Him, He refuses to speak to them in derisive, judgmental tones. Christ would soon offer His life freely to sinners without first striking a deal with theme. He is the One who instructs us about the quality of our love being expressed out of the character of our obedience.  If He is our Lord, if we have been touched by His love and sacrifice, if we have Him residing in us, then our love will be shown through a lifestyle where obedience is the characteristic mode of our life as an expression of trust and love.

Before one complains at what we have to do, inventory this passage for what we get. Because of Christ and through the indwelling Spirit, the very presence of God, we get divine counsel/comfort, truth, recall of Jesus’ teaching, the promise that we will never be abandoned. This passage implies Trinitarian Residence: because of Christ, the whole divine family, Father, Son, and Spirit move in to take up residence in us. Here is where the amazing grace shows up.

I think of the plight of the Dalits of India who are considered sub-human by caste and therefore not worth the investment of any of the dignities customary to human beings. In their culture, the gods won’t waste time and energy on them, they are disqualified from public worship in customary temples because they are so far beneath that their worship is ignored. Indeed, they are capable of worshiping the gods. But the Christian God in Christ comes to them and through Christ they are told that not only does God love them but that He, the perfect righteous God of the universe, the God of all gods, desires to reside within them. Thus, in this new relationship, they no longer have to go to temples to worship God, they have become temples of God. Wow! The fact that the Triune God dwells within me says something about this God  I worship and it says something about my value to Him. I am temple of God. The Spirit of God dwells in me. That establishes a new order in me and calls me to a new lifestyle all because of who has made His home in me.

But there is a necessity to clarify the environment. The essence of residence, as Jesus points out, is peace: peace with God and the peace of God, the sense of well-being grounded in our being unconditionally forgiven and loved by God as His beloved children. This peace, with divine grace as its source and energy, is maintained through our submission to His presence. More simply, it is the natural byproduct of life lived in loving obedience to a God of grace and love. The question for the believer, for me, is not did God take up residence in me, but is He at home in me and I in Him? Is there His peace in my/His house? If there isn’t, that may be evidence that something else is interfering with His reign…something has diluted my love for Him and diverted my obedience to Him.

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Imprinted with God!

Categories: Spiritual Formation, Tags: , , , , , ,

...the mark of God, impressed upon a Christian, is God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not merely give us the mark, He, as the seal, is the mark!

imprinted-logo1You know how it is… you come up with a new idea for a new product, or company, or music group, etc., and then you want to establish it as a household name with an ingenious, evocative word that will remain on the lips and minds of every human being for several at least several area codes. After interminably, eternally, long seconds of concentrated brainstorming, you finally hit on the new moniker with euphoric ecstasy, sensing you have indeed been blessed with something akin to divine convergence. With absolute glee and prideful delight you publish the title with the hopes that others will bask within the aura of your innovative brilliance! But I digress…

Almost 25 years ago my friend and I went through a similar exercise to create a name for our new ministry. Though with somewhat less effervescence than the preceding vignette, we came up with the term, “imprinted” but it did come complete with special symbolism and significance. I honestly don’t think we thought anything further of it as we got busy in the actual execution of the ministry through music concerts, and church affiliated engagements. But now, 25 years later, and in lieu of the launch of this new website, I have given the name more thought.

I researched the word, “imprint” and its manifold derivations in various dictionaries, as well as cross-referenced similar words in lexicons, online reference resources, and biblical word studies. My findings have been intriguing. I found some simple definitions:

  • to impress, to indent, to stamp”;
  • to make and impression; to have an effect
  • to fix indelibly or permanently, as in the mind or memory; to impress (a quality, character, distinguishing mark, etc.)

…and more complex definitions — from the field of psychology:

“A learning process occurring early in the life of a social animal in which a specific behavior pattern is established through association with a parent or other role model.”

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

There are significant implications for those who are both children of God and temples of His Spirit by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ as we consider the power and purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Which leads us to the key verse for this concept of  ‘imprinted’.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)

Scripture affirms that being “marked with a seal” has to do with identification of ownership, authentication and approval, certification of genuineness and security or assurance. But where, in times past, these were made by placing a mark on the object (like an official insignia pressed into wax), the mark of God, impressed upon a Christian, is God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not merely give us the mark, He, as the seal is the mark! As believers of God and followers of Christ, born of the Spirit, we are not merely marked by God, we are also marked with God!

Consider all those terms: identification of ownership…authentication…approval…security…assurance. The Holy Spirit of God is all these and, I am sure, so much more! But all of this is resident within the life of the Christ follower and with that the call to live up that mark, that seal. This is cause for great celebration but also great demonstration.
(Coming in a subsequent blog)