through the Holy Spirit

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8:1-4 ESV)

In the previous posts I gave excerpts from Francis Schaeffer's talks with students in Lausanne in the 1960s. Crossway published these in 1998 as The Finished Work of Christ. I have been very enriched by reading through the Epistle to the Romans, using Schaeffer's easy-to-follow commentary. In chapter 6 of Romans, he shows how we must reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ. In chapter 7 he shows that trying to live up to the moral law -- no matter how hard we try -- is ultimately unproductive because of the principle of indwelling sin (the "flesh"). In chapter 8 we see God's purpose in sending the Holy Spirit to empower us and to make real the truths of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. 

Here are a few more excerpts from his discussion on Romans... 

The answer, for Paul, can be found only “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The law is not enough. There must be a yielding to the power of Christ.

We can live the Christian life only through the power of Jesus Christ. We need the power of the resurrected Christ (7:4). He is not the dead Christ. He is the living, ascended, and glorified Christ, and it is only through His power that we can live the Christian life. 

This is mysticism of the highest order. It does not deny the validity of the present seen world. It does not, like Hinduism, consider history as merely the dream of God. Nor is it like some kinds of monasticism, which would acknowledge the reality of the present world but find very little value in it. Unlike these so-called mysticisms, true Christian mysticism means that, within this present life, living in the real world, I have the holy calling to be the creature glorified. It means that, through faith, I am to die to all things both good and bad, but then to take my resurrected body, as though I had already been raised physically from the dead, and step back into this present world, to serve in the power of the indwelling Spirit.

But this [2 Cor 13:14] is a profound statement and should always be said with deep worship: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.” The French translate it as, “the communication of the Holy Spirit.” There is to be a communication of the Holy Spirit with the individual Christian in the present life, and in a sense the Holy Spirit’s communication carries with it the entire Trinity. In a sense the Spirit is the Trinity’s agent in communicating with us humans. 

The Spirit who indwells us is our point of contact with the resurrected Christ. Paul has shown us the need for this power of Christ, whereby we might bring forth fruit to God. 

God forbid that we should talk about these things as just cold theological truths. There is a deep calling here to our whole person-to the will, to the mind, to the emotions. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, there is a point of contact between the whole Trinity and the whole person. As moral, rational beings, beings who think and act and feel, we are to experience the reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our thoughts, in our actions, and in our emotions. The Holy Spirit indwells us, and He is personal. He is the line of contact, the means of communication between the whole Trinity and the whole person.

"Through Jesus Christ our Lord" now begins to take on real meaning. Don't you see how far away this is from the current theological trend of turning all things into merely abstractions and ideas? You see how far away this is from the new transcendentalism, which deals only with myth and the nonhistorical. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is the agent in our present space-and-time historical relationship with God. 

Our strength as Christians is not in our Christian character. It is in the power of Jesus Christ crucified, raised, ascended, glorified, the living Christ. And how is this power to be laid hold of? Are we merely to think about it? No! We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He is the agent who brings us in touch with the whole Trinity.

--Francis Schaeffer, The Finished Work of Christ (Crossway, 1998), pp 188-190.



Popular posts from this blog

Update on BSI

knowing and willing