What Selwyn writes about today is important because so many people in mainline churches think of the Holy Spirit as a member of the Trinity but not as God’s indwelling Spirit; who lives in us so that we may do the things, God has planned in advance, for us to do. In one sense a Christian may know this as somethingÂ they should believe; but, in general,Â do they really live the reality of what this means?
I like Chapter 14 of John’s Gospel because it outlines for us some of the important aspects concerning God’s Spirit. I think it’s worthwhile slowly reading these words and let the meaning flood into your heart and mind (verses 15-21, Jesus talking to his disciples): “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
What these words actually mean (referring toÂ our relationshipÂ with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit; as representedÂ by the concept known as the Trinity)Â is something that we will not fully understand until the last day: “On that day you will realise that I am in my Father and you are in me, and I am in you.” [Richard Wright is right re his comment, when he says, that ‘On that day’Â is a referenceÂ to the Day of Pentecost & not to the ‘last day’, which my clumsy sentence structure appears to imply. Thanks Richard for picking this up.]
Yet,Â there is no doubtÂ that it does mean that God’s Spirit dwells within us – knowing this truth should strengthen our resolve to do God’s work; do you agree?
Selwyn’s conclusion sum up these thoughts well: “We must, of course, be careful that we do not lose sight of the value and significance of our Lord’s incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection, but the fact remains that had not the Holy Spirit moved into the lives of the believers with the empowerment they needed to make known the good news, the story of the Christian Church would now be a different one.”