The Spirit In Us
By Horatius Bonar (1808 – 1889)
In Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He has the Holy Spirit for us, and this Spirit He gives freely and plenteously; for that which we receive is “grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:7). The early saints were “filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:52), and we are to be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), for it is the Holy Ghost Himself, not certain influences that are given unto us (Rom. 5:5).
He falls on us (Acts 8:16; 11:15); He is shed forth on us (Acts 2:33); He is poured out on us (Ezek. 39:29; Acts 10:45); we are baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 11:16).
He is the earnest of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14); He seals us (Eph. 1:13), imprinting on us the divine image and superscription; He teaches (1 Cor. 2:13); He reveals (1 Cor. 2:10); He reproves (John 16:8); He strengthens (Eph. 3:16); He makes us fruitful (Gal. 5:22); He searches (1 Cor. 2:10); He strives (Gen. 6:3); He sanctifies (1 Cor. 6:11); He leads (Rom. 8:14; Psa. 143:10); He instructs (Neh. 9:20); He speaks (1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:7); He demonstrates (or proves) (1 Cor. 2:4); He intercedes (Rom. 8:26); He quickens (Rom. 8:11); He gives utterance (Acts 2:4); He creates (Psa. 104:30); He comforts (John 14:26); He sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts (Rom. 5:5); He renews (Titus 3:5).
He is the Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4), the Spirit of wisdom and understanding (Isa. 11:2; Eph. 1:17), the Spirit of truth (John 14:17), the Spirit of knowledge (Isa. 11:2), the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29), the Spirit of glory (1 Pet. 4:14), the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11), the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3), the good Spirit (Neh. 9:20), the Spirit of Christ (1 Pet. 1:11), the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15), the Spirit of life (Rev. 11:11), and the Spirit of His Son (Gal. 4:6).
Such is the Holy Spirit by whom we are sanctified (2 Thes. 2:13), “the eternal Spirit” by whom “Christ offered Himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14). Such is the Holy Spirit by whom we are “sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30), the Spirit who makes us His habitation (2:22), who dwelleth in us (2 Tim. 1:14), by whom we are kept looking to and looking for Christ and by whom we are made to “abound in hope” (Rom. 15:13).
On the right receiving and entertaining of this heavenly Guest, much of a holy life depends. Let us bid Him welcome – not vexing, nor resisting, nor grieving, nor quenching Him, but loving Him and delighting in His love (“the love of the Spirit,” Rom. 15:30), so that our life may be a living in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25), a walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), a praying in the Spirit (Jude v. 20). While distinguishing Christ’s work for us and the Spirit’s work in us, and so preserving our conscious pardon unbroken, yet let us not separate the two by any interval; but allowing both to do their work, let us “follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14), keeping our hearts in “the fellowship of the Spirit” (Phil. 2:1), and delighting ourselves in “the communion of the Holy Ghost” (2 Cor. 13:14).
The double form of expression, bringing out the mutual or reciprocal indwelling of Christ and of the Spirit in us, is worthy of special note. Christ in us (Col. 1:27) is the one side; we in Christ is the other (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20). The Holy Spirit in us (Rom. 8:9) is the one aspect; we live in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) is the other. Nay, further, this twofold expression is used of the Godhead also, in these remarkable words: “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).
It would seem as if no figure, however strong and full, could adequately express the closeness of contact, the nearness of relationship, the entire oneness into which we are brought, in receiving the divine testimony to the person and work of the Son of God. Are we not then most strongly committed to a life of holiness, as well as furnished with all the supplies needful for carrying it out? With such a fullness of strength and life at our disposal, what a responsibility is ours! “...What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:11). And if to all this we add the prospects presented to us, the hope of the advent and the kingdom and the glory, we shall feel ourselves compassed on every side with the motives, materials and appliances best fitted for making us what we are meant to be, “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Pet. 2:9), “zealous of good works” here (Titus 2:14), and possessors of “glory and honor and immortality” hereafter (Rom. 2:7).