God's Great Gift
As believers, a vast inheritance is ours, for we are “heirs of God, and Christ’s joint heirs” (Rom. 8: 17). This inheritance is beyond the ability of the greatest human mind to grasp, and baffles the most prodigious imagination on earth—for what creature intelligence can take in the vast inheritance of God? But this is not all, for the “earnest of our inheritance” (Eph. 1: 14)—the One who makes it real—is the Spirit of God, and the earnest is greater than the inheritance itself. The gift of the Spirit is thus the greatest gift that God can confer upon His beloved people.
The Lord spoke of this great gift on the eve of His departure out of the world, giving His disciples to understand that they would be better off in the possession of the Spirit (see John 14: 12; 16: 7) than they were in having His bodily presence in their midst. While the Lord was here upon earth, He could only be said to be with them, but when He was glorified and the Spirit here, the Lord (by the Spirit—see 1 John 3: 24) would be in them. He says, “In that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14. 20).
The Spirit could not be given until Christ was glorified (see John 7: 39) because the new order of relationships and blessings for man were not brought fully to light until redemption was accomplished and Christ set on high at the right hand of God. The Spirit was not promised in connection with Adam, either innocent or guilty, but with the new sphere and order of things which lay in the purpose of God “before [the] world’s foundation” (Eph. 1: 4). He was sent in connection with the determination of God to “head up all things in the Christ” (v10), and to set up the redeemed “holy and blameless before him in love” (v4) maintained in divine power before His face by “the Holy Spirit of promise” (v14).
Think of the intimacy with God into which this wonderful gift brings its recipients! The Apostle asks the question in 1 Corinthians 2: “For who of men hath known the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” (v11). There can be only one answer to such a question, and the answer is, No man. Had I the spirit of another I should know all about him. I should know him as well as he knows himself. There would be none of his thoughts, feelings, or affections hidden from me. Nothing of that man would remain a secret from me. But we have got the Spirit of God! What for? That we might know the things that are “freely given to us of God” (v12). Could we know them without the Spirit? No, for they are “Things which eye has not seen, and ear not heard, and which have not come into man’s heart” (v9). But the Spirit knows them, “for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (v10). There is nothing hidden from the Spirit, and from the divine treasury “God has revealed to us by [his] Spirit” (v10) things above and beyond the limits of man’s imagination.
By Him we become acquainted with the counsels of the Father. By Him we are enabled to enter into the greatness of the revelation God has made of Himself in Christ. By Him we are in the enjoyment of the love of God that was declared in the cross of Christ, for it has been “shed abroad in our hearts by [the] Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5: 5). By Him we know that we are children of God. By Him we are enabled to address God as our Father. By Him we are able to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. By His power we are made free from the law of sin which works in our members, and through His power we produce fruit towards God. He is also the power for all worship and service. In fact He is the power of all our relationships with God, for He is the power of the life we have from, and in, the risen Christ. How very thankful we should be for such an unspeakable gift!
Were we able to communicate our spirit to another person there is not a soul on earth to whom we would give such a gift, for we would never wish people to know us too intimately. We are too evil to desire to be well known. By contrast, God desires us to know Him in order that all our delight might be in Him. With men, the better we know them in their natural condition the more we recoil from more than a very limited degree of familiarity with them. With God, the better we know Him, the more closely we are drawn to Him, and the happier we are. It is that we might find our home in His presence that He has bestowed upon us this gift of His Holy Spirit.
If we contemplate for a moment the greatness of this gift He has given for us, we shall not be so much surprised at the gift He has given to us. In Christ, God has Himself provided a lamb for the sacrifice in order that “whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal” (John 3: 16). Can we, as we reflect on that love, wonder that He who gave His own Son to die our death and save us from our woe, should give His Holy Spirit to us? Seeing He has given up to the judgment of the cross His well–beloved, we need not be surprised at anything He may give us after that, for “He who, yea, has not spared his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him grant us all things?" (Rom. 8: 32). As the gift of the Son was the only thing that could meet our deep need as sinners, so was the gift of the Spirit the only thing that could meet our need in view of the position given to us in divine counsel, for it is only by His power we can occupy that place. Wonderful gift!