The Grace of God- Part 4 - Jesus and the Holy Spirit
By Colleen Donahue
I had always thought of grace as a kind of a “commodity” – maybe like kindness, mercy, or forgiveness. But in this study, we are going to discover that grace is a person and not a commodity at all.
A SUMMARY SO FAR
When sin entered the world through the choice Adam and Eve made, we all (you and I included) lost four things. We lost our right-standing with God (righteousness) and therefore our relationship with Him. This led to losing our rights as his children in the family of God, and our rulership over the world we live in.
Jesus was sent by the Father to our world to get all of this back. In the last section we saw Jesus as God’s saving grace to restore us to the way God originally made us. Let’s review this before we move on.
- Grace is God sending Jesus to do the work called redemption. By his shed blood on the cross He forgives all the things we have said and done against God and others. In this way Jesus deals with our past. What is our part to regain righteousness, and our relationship with God?
Ephesians 1:7 / Acts 3:19 / 1 John 1:9
2. Next, as part of God’s saving grace, God put all of us INTO JESUS on the Cross (a cosmic miracle) so that our old sinful nature died (or was rendered inoperative). What does this free us from?
3. This is how Jesus deals with our present situation. It’s the old sinful nature that we inherited “in Adam” that keeps us sinning in the present. Now we no longer have to keep doing what we don’t want to do. Jesus himself becomes our righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 / Galatians 5:1 / Philippians 3:8-9
4. Why is it that Jesus could do this work of restoring our righteousness and relationship with God?
5. Finally, God’s grace is Jesus giving us His own Spirit (called the Holy Spirit) to indwell our own.
Acts 2:38 / Romans 8:9-11
In this way Jesus deals with our future and that is our topic for this Bible study.
THE MAIN REASON FOR CHRIST’S COMING
The wonder and horror of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was but the first part of Christ’s work. It was the work needed to “clean us up” from the effects of sin.
6. We don’t become children of God on our own. It’s God giving his grace to us (or His Son Jesus) that enables us to become His sons and daughters whom He cherishes. Jesus had come to his own people (the Jews) and on the whole they refused to believe that God had sent Him. But for those who did believe in Him, what did they become?
And to become this they had to have a rebirth that was of God.
This was all a prelude to Christ’s main reason for coming – to pour out the Holy Spirit to indwell our lives. It’s the way God made us in the first place – His Spirit filling our human spirit so that we would have the power and ability to be productive members of the Kingdom of God and to rule and reign in the part of the world where God put us.
The tragedy of modern Christianity is that we have been content to have our sins forgiven in the past while struggling with sin in the present and future. This is because we have not gone on to receive the Spirit of Jesus as the power needed to live our lives. So, let’s look together at this main reason for which Christ came.
7. Many, (if not most of us), at the time we become a Christian receive Jesus’ work for the forgiveness of our past sins. But then we proceed into our Christian walk trying to “do and obey” in our own strength. What does this produce in our life?
Romans 7:15, 18-19, 21-24
Did you conclude that is produces MASSIVE FRUSTRATION?
8. We are frustrated because we are the same people we were before coming to Jesus except that we now have our past sins forgiven and somehow, we feel that we have to try hard to be better in our own strength. This was the situation that the Apostle Paul found when he reached Ephesus.
9. All of us are dead in our sins BEFORE Jesus comes into our life. (Ephesians 2:1-3). But when we believe that His blood flowed for us, our past gets forgiven.
Acts 13:38-39 / Hebrews 10:17-18
10. But then we feel we have to face the awful present on our own. In truth, God put our old sinful nature into Jesus on the cross so that when He died, we also died. What becomes the result of this? Reread:
This is just a factual statement of what God did for every person, so that our old nature would not keep us sinning in the present.
11. Having our old nature crucified with Christ then gives all of us a reprieve – or some time – to receive a new “operating system”.
The “law of the Spirit of life” is the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives us to indwell our human spirit. The Holy Spirit replaces our old sin nature and frees us from the “law of sin and death”.
As Christians, unless we go on to receive the Holy Spirit, we will have no power to live the Christian life.
HOW DO WE RECEIVE THE GRACE OF CHRIST’S SPIRIT?
When we become a Christian, a true conversion occurs as we finally see ourselves the way God sees us – a sinner in need of a Savior. We see our inability to make ourselves right with God and then accept the fact that God has made a way for us through His Son Jesus.
Receiving the Holy Spirit happens in much the same way. Often, we start living our new life with Christ – but we do it in our own strength. Pretty soon, with one failure after another, we begin to see that we have no power to live the Christian life on our own. It’s at this point that some give up, while others try harder leading to even more frustration. But I hope you’ll be part of a third group who will realize their need for the Holy Spirit and receive Him as your eternal partner.
12. When we come to Christ to get right with God, we enter into a battle whether we know it or not. The grace of God within us (the Spirit of Jesus) will be the only way to win.
1 John 5:4-5
13. The Holy Spirit is God’s power at work in us to overcome any circumstance we find ourselves in. We want to walk strong for God but when does God’s power manifest itself best in us?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
14. The Apostle Paul uses himself as a prime example of God’s grace. Why was God able to work so mightily within Paul?
1 Timothy 1:12-16 (especially vs 13-14)
This should serve as a great encouragement to any of us who might think we are beyond the grace of God because of our life so far. Quite the opposite is true. We are God’s prime candidate for His Spirit to operate through.
In fact, the only ones qualified to receive Christ’s Spirit are sinners: the humble, the weak, the needy, and the dependent. If you are strong and capable in yourself, then you’ll have no need for the Holy Spirit. You’ll be sufficient in yourself. But it will be a great day for you when you discover you can’t be victorious without Christ’s Spirit.
15. Everything comes back to God’s grace. Grace is God loving us so much that He chose to make His home in us. Therefore, we redeemed sinners are now His temple!
1 John 4:16
16. When you commit your life to follow the Lord Jesus, the gift of His Spirit is promised to us.
17. Where will the Holy Spirit live?
1 Corinthians 3:16
18. Grace is God giving us the same Spirit that indwells Jesus and Himself. When we let the Holy Spirit guide us and work from within us, what will we stop doing?
19. It’s by the Holy Spirit within you and me that Jesus continues to live his life on earth. The Holy Spirit is our source for new life that is real life.
Romans 8:6 / 1 Corinthians 15:22
20. Jesus gives us His Spirit to replace our old sinful nature that died on the cross with Him. In fact, this verse makes it plain that without the Spirit of Jesus living within us, we do not belong to Him at all.
21. It’s having the Holy Spirit filling our own human spirit that makes us alive to God. Unless we have this “born again” experience what will never happen?
To not see the Kingdom of God is much more than not going to Heaven. We become a citizen in God’s Kingdom when the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us. He is the one who makes us part of God’s family while we live here on earth. So, if we claim to be a Christian without the Holy Spirit indwelling us, then we are not walking in the truth.
22. The Holy Spirit indwelling us is the “fuel” by which we best operate and are able to walk in righteousness fulfilling God’s purposes.
1 Corinthians 15:10
23. When the Spirit of Jesus indwells our own spirit, then we have the full measure of God within us. What will this look like in our life?
24. So, the Spirit of Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) indwelling us awakens us to the fact that we have ALL of God within us!
1 John 4:13-15
25. Jesus was with the Father from the beginning and is the complete or full life of God. When Jesus comes to indwell our lives through His Spirit, we have the complete Godhead within us which unfolds into blessings.
26. For some of us there is a complete ignorance about the Holy Spirit. “Repenting of sin and accepting Jesus” (as we were told to do) means our sins are forgiven and our future is secure which initially is wonderful. But it leaves the day to day present a challenge to get through on our own.
We are not alone in our ignorance, for many today (as was true in early church times) have not been told that Jesus’ main reason for coming was to bring back the Holy Spirit to indwell men’s hearts. Paul asked a question to some early believers in Ephesus. What was their response?
Perhaps that is your response as well.
27. What was Paul’s second question to these believers?
The “baptism of John the Baptist” was but the first step to receiving “the baptism of Jesus Christ”. John’s baptism came because you repented of the way you were living and made an about face to follow Jesus. It ensured that your past was forgiven and that your future was secure. But Christ’s baptism gives us the power of His own Spirit to live our lives TODAY in victory and in power.
28. So, if you have been a “Christian” without knowledge of the Holy Spirit what should you do?
29. God delights to answer anyone who asks for the Holy Spirit. And even though you thought you were a Christian prior to this, the truth is; this day upon receiving the Holy Spirit, is your true day of conversion. Why? Reread….
Romans 8:9 (especially 9b)
30. The normal pattern for every new Christian was to be: repentance, forgiveness, and filling of the Holy Spirit at the time we first believe. But often through ignorance this has become a two-step process separated by a lot of trying and frustration.
The truth is, that we have all of Christ’s Spirit dwelling within us at the time of our conversion (whether that be sooner or later) but as an old saint once said: “The real issue is -- does the Holy Spirit have all of me?”
How does the Holy Spirit get all of me?
LIFE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT – THE PATH OF OBEDIENCE
31. When the Holy Spirit fills our life, our direction gets changed. Whose will must we now follow as per Christ’s example?
John 14:31 / John 15:10
32. In the case of Jesus, God had a mission for him to fulfill. How would this be accomplished?
33. So, if you desire that the Holy Spirit have all of you, it will require you to “set your sail” in the same direction that Jesus set His sail. That direction is repeated two times in these verses.
34. In the same way that God had a definite work for Jesus to do, He has a definite work for you and I as well.
35. Does this mean that we are to leave our careers, our marriage, or family when we are filled with the Holy Spirit? Paul answers this emphatically in his letter to the Corinthians. All of us live as Jesus in this world in whatever situation we are in. Therefore, what advice does Paul give us?
1 Corinthians 7:17-24
Notice the same advice repeated in verses 17, 20, and 24.
This is important because it would be chaos if when coming to the Lord we decided to walk out of our marriage or leave our area of service. There is no need because we live as Jesus did by God’s grace --- by Jesus Christ indwelling us with His Spirit. He will be the one to move and direct our lives so we can fulfill our assignment.
Listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us and then obeying that direction is the key to the Holy Spirit having all of us. The more we hear and obey, the more His influence grows in us and the more He can use us with others.
36. Grace is Jesus within us enabling us to fulfill God’s commission to us by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. What does He want us to do?
Matthew 28:19-20 / Mark 16:15 / Luke 9:23-24 / Acts 1:8
It’s Acts 1:8 that gives us a big clue for how we are to go throughout the world. The early disciples were to start fulfilling what’s called “the great commission” at home in Jerusalem first. Then He would guide them out a bit further to Judea and Samaria. Finally, some of them like Paul would be sent out to “the ends of the earth”.
For example, if you are a college student you start there at your college. The Holy Spirit will lead you to get to know other students in your classes and dormitory. Then perhaps after graduation He may lead you to take a job in another city or state. So, our lives gradually are lived in a concentric circle that gets wider and wider.
37. The work that God commissions us for can feel scary and beyond our capability. That’s normal – but God gives us the Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen us for our tasks.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
38. In fact, God gets to work within us by the Holy Spirit, giving us the desire and power to do the part He has planned for us. This is God’s grace working for us and in us so that we an do His will.
39. This grace enables us to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of God with boldness because God protects us and gives us supernatural powers – the power of His Spirit abiding within us.
40. Because God covers us with His grace, He allows us to do the same works as Jesus did and even greater ones!
41. If that seems overwhelming to think about, you are not alone. But the grace of God gives us confidence to go to our Heavenly Father with everything in life that concerns us. God then pours out his answers and provisions to meet the “anything” or the “whatsoever” spoken of in these verses.
1 John 5:14-15
GRACE IS THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN US TO OVERCOME OUR PROBLEMS
42. Big obstacles (mountains) fall when God’s grace (His Spirit) is poured out.
43. God in His abundant grace towards the murderous Saul, first took care of his pressing need to see (blindness) and then what happened?
As with Saul, God’s abundant grace to us is in filling our spirits with His own Spirit so that we can carry out the work God gives us to do.
44. Grace during times of trouble can manifest itself in many ways. Here are some of them:
A. It can be a definite awareness that Jesus is right with us in the dark place we are walking.
B. It can look like Jesus being steady within us when anxiety and worry fill us.
Psalm 56:3-4 / Psalm 94:19
C. Grace can look like Jesus guarding our heart and mind so that we can operate in peace.
John 14:27 / Philippians 4:6-7
D. Grace is God lifting us up and caring about the things that vex us.
1 Peter 5:6-7
E. Grace looks like God holding us, speaking truth to us and then helping us even in the midst of our enemies. For this reason, what does God say to us two times through Isaiah?
F. Grace can look like the Spirit of Jesus supplying and helping us.
Philippians 4:13, 19
G. Grace can be the Holy Spirit praying for us when we don’t know what or how to pray.
45. In all our trials, grace to us will be God NOT ALLOWING any one temptation to overpower us. What will he do for us instead?
1 Corinthians 10:13
46. God has grace for our every need and trial at the time that we need it (not before). If we don’t receive His grace what can happen to us? What can happen to others?
47. When we are in our trials, we are not to seek the Lord for a commodity such as strength or wisdom. No, we seek God for Himself and then God from the inside of our life becomes what we need.
1 Chronicles 16:11
This is grace: the power from within to do all that God asks of us. And even if we grow weak, God will remain the same.