Much of the power and reality of the Christian faith seems to have been lost to most modern, Western Christians. For much of the American church, the Christian faith is understood as a set of doctrines, a creed, that people are supposed to agree to and a moral code that people are expected to live by. In that way of understanding things, the Christian faith is pretty much simply something that we human beings do.
John seems to see the Christian faith more as something that God does to us, in us, for us, and through us. For John, our faith is about a real-life encounter with a real, living Being — God, the Holy Spirit. As John expresses it here in this passage, the Christian faith revolves around the action of the Holy Spirit who reaches out and inserts himself into our lives.
Speaking about this very issues, the late Calvinist preacher and modern-day Puritan, Martyn Lloyd-Jones puts it this way: “This is what happens when a man is baptized with the Holy Spirit — this immediacy. This is not reason, or faith; but action taking place upon us and to us. It is a manifestation, God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — making themselves real to us and living in our very experiences.” (Joy Unspeakable: Power and Renewal in the Holy Spirit [Harold Shaw Publishers, 1984]).
Read 1 John 2:26-28.
Then listen to “Baptism with the Holy Spirit.”
©2012 Gary A. Chorpenning; all rights reserved.
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