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A Ghost in the Family

images-1wonder if many of you, like me, have avoided much thought about the third person of the Trinity. We exalt Jesus Christ as Savior and King because we feel close to one who is a son and our elder brother. We pray to our Heavenly Father and either compare or contrast Him with our earthly ones. But whose family has a ghost or a spirit in it? And how can you get close to one?

As we continue with our Synod-wide focus to understand better the imprint of God on His own, the Holy Spirit is worthy of our consideration. He is the One who enlightens the very words that bring us life. He is the One who indwells each believer for sanctification. He is the One who produces fruit which glorifies God and blesses others.

Puritan pastor Thomas Watson said,

“There is not more or less in the Trinity; the Father is not more God than the Son and Holy Ghost. There is an order in the Godhead, but no degrees; one person has not a majority or super eminence above another, therefore we must give equal worship to all the persons.” The Holy Spirit is God indeed, worthy of our worship.

The imprint of the Holy Spirit is in every word on every page of the Bible. These precious words of truth which give life are Spirit-breathed (II Timothy 3:16). From the prophets of old to the apostles, He inspires all the men who write. Jesus tells His disciples (John 14:26) that the Holy Spirit will bring to their remembrance all that He had said to them. Their faithful record of these words during the first century closes out the canon of Scripture.

The Spirit preserves through the inter- vening centuries the Holy Word from all enemies. The Word lives today because the divine enabling of its author, the Holy Spirit, accompanies its reading and teaching. In our hearts and minds He illumines these powerful words to encourage, to comfort, to challenge, and to correct. He takes these words and personalizes their application for each believer who meditates upon them. No, we are not orphans (John 14:18), for we are Spirit-born. In a world of lies, He imprints our hearts and minds with the truth.

The imprint of the Holy Spirit is on every Christian. Jesus said that it was necessary for Him to return to the Father but that He would send a Helper, the Spirit of truth to dwell in us (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit’s very name is a reminder of His mark. He is holy; we are not holy but are called to be so. The indwelling Holy Spirit accomplishes this work. He comes in full agreement with the Father and the Son to meet our deepest need.

When the Spirit comes on the first be- lievers, it is with wind and fire. A mighty rushing wind and tongues as of fire appear to them and rest on each one of them, and they are all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4a). Wind blows away the chaff leaving life-sustaining grain. Fire purifies, purges, and refines leaving pure metal.

Still today, this Holy One is about His sanctifying work. We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). A seal, an identifying mark of ownership, carries all the authority of the one whose imprint it bears. Think of the implication – Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, and the promise that we will inherit is backed up by the full authority of God! No, we are not our own, for we are Spirit- sealed. In a carnal world, He imprints our lives with holiness.

The imprint of the Holy Spirit is on the fruit He produces. He gives out- ward evidence of His inward dwelling. Through His enabling, the greater works Jesus refers to in John 14 begin in the first century with the thousands who believe the apostles’ testimony concerning Jesus. These follow the way not because of the outward signs but because of the inward prompting and drawing of the Spirit. They willingly suffer reproach and even death on the basis of their new Spirit life.

Things that endure are spiritual rather than physical. Therefore, anything ac- complished in the spirit of a person is far more significant than something done in the body. In the lives of believers the Holy Spirit produces His genuine fruit – abounding love, unspeakable joy, endur- ing peace, remarkable patience, overcoming kindness, uncompromising goodness, unending faithfulness, refreshing gentleness, and powerful self-control. These sure manifestations of the Spirit’s handi- work speak louder than words. No, we are not barren for we are Spirit-enabled. In a desolate world, He imprints our lives with fruitfulness.

The Holy Spirit delights in displaying His imprint in believers’ lives. Yes, we are family because of the illumined words and the sanctifying seal of the Holy Spirit who produces fruit that endures. Let us sing anew in worship and adoration the words penned in 1926 by Presbyterian minister Daniel Iverson: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Come close to this One whose blessed imprint marks us indi- vidually and corporately in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.?

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