For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB

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Our God in the Heights

The Holy Spirit, Jesus and You

The family resemblance is uncanny. Jesus' earthly relationship with the Holy Spirit is exactly mirrored by our own, practically in every detail. The few remaining parts of the image require our trusting obedience to fill in. Will we allow God to finish the portrait He desires to paint upon the canvass of our life?

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.” Matthew 10:24-25 ESV
 

Jesus our Example

The unnamed writer of Hebrews tells us that in order to save us from sin-bondage, death and temptation, Jesus had to be made like us “in every respect.”[1] The Eternal Son of God became Jesus' Baptism: Jesus, Holy Spirit and Us - Family Likenessfully human in order to be both our representative at the cross and our example for how to live the new life He would give us. This radical descent of God into His creation never fails to astonish, whenever we pause to consider what it must have meant for Jesus to become like us (see His Incomparable Life). But there is a “flip side” to the Redemption which Jesus’ descent accomplished: what it means for us. Through faith-conversion have now been “raised up” into being “like” Him.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 ESV
 

At the very least the above passage should clue us in that many things about us are radically changed from what we might have imagined ourselves to be like—based on our past (earth-bound) experience and understanding of ourselves. Now that Jesus is “in us” and we are “in Him” all bets are off! We can only truly know ourselves and our world from Christ’s perspective. Since that perspective is heavenly it is guaranteed to be a) filled with delight and b) incredibly strange.

Get ready to re-adjust your thinking about yourself by seeing what scripture has to say about you, now that you have received Jesus as your indwelling Savior and Redeemer. Some of the following seven likenesses have already been accomplished at your conversion. Some will require your willing participation to enter more fully into the mystery and power of new life. Whatever you decide to do, don’t hold back.[2] No one loves you better or has greater joy planned for you than Jesus. See what He has done for you and let that be both a recommendation and an invitation to follow Him further into the dynamic union that He desires.

“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:23 ESV
 

Our Likeness to Jesus in the Holy Spirit

1) Born of the Spirit (see New Life Through Spiritual Birth)

And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. Luke 1:34-36 ESV

Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit. The miracle of His birth sets the pattern for our re-birth: Jesus of Nazareth is truly the flesh and blood child of Mary; He is also from conception the Eternal Son of our heavenly Father. It was the Holy Spirit who accomplished this. Now it is our turn, if we are willing to turn back to God. Just as Jesus was born from above by the sinless Spirit of God, so, too, we creatures of flesh and blood are born from above by the same Holy Spirit.

Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'” John 3:5-7 ESV
 

2) Filled with the Holy Spirit (see The Indwelling Presence)

For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. John 3:34-35 ESV

Just as Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit without measure, so, too, are we. It is immensely comforting to know (by faith) that God gives His Spirit to us “without measure.” Otherwise it could easily seem that we only got a very tiny portion, since what we usually sense of the Lord’s presence with us may seem fairly slight. There is a huge difference, however, between the Holy Spirit’s actual presence and His manifest presence. Holy Spirit is always in us in fullness, though we may not sense any manifestation of His presence. Part of our high calling is to press in to this unchanging reality through faith so that (experientially) we can be filled with the fullness that lies within.

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV
 

3) Baptized with the Holy Spirit  (see The Baptism of Power)

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. Matthew 3:16 ESV

Immediately after being baptized with water, Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus didn’t need faith-conversion or water baptism to be cleansed of sin as we do, but He submitted to it as an act of obedience.[3] Our faith-conversion and water baptism “catch us up” with Him for the new birth and the indwelling Spirit provide us with a sinless nature united with God just as Jesus enjoyed from birth. The one piece that still needs to fall into place is the baptism in the Spirit. Jesus received it immediately; most of us don’t. According to Jesus' own words, we are to pray and seek this further experience of empowerment.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1:4-5 ESV
 

4) Led by the Holy Spirit (see Walking in the Spirit)

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1 ESV

Immediately after being baptized, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. There was nothing accidental about this: Jesus was following a clear leading of the Spirit. Since Jesus explained elsewhere that He always did what He saw the Father doing, being led by the Spirit was something Jesus had been practicing consciously all His life.[4] Naturally, we have some catching up to do here. Sometimes the leading of the Holy Spirit will be without our conscious knowing; at other times it will seem to depend entirely upon our willing participation. Nevertheless, whether it is conscious or un-conscious we are now being led by the same Holy Spirit who led Jesus.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14 ESV
 

5) Sealed by the Holy Spirit

“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." John 6:27 ESV

The Father set His seal upon Jesus. In the ancient world the seal was an authoritative sign, representing ownership or origin. Documents were sealed as a declaration of the sender’s identity and as a guarantee that what they conveyed was an authentic expression of his will. We, too, have received a seal set upon us by the Father as a guarantee that everything He has promised will come to pass for those who desire to enter into this New Covenant. Just as ancient seals also proclaimed ownership of goods, we have been sealed as a sign of our belonging to Jesus, body, soul and spirit.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
 

6) Empowered by the Holy Spirit

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. Luke 4:14-15 ESV

Jesus lived and ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit. This was the secret of His effectiveness at teaching, healing and casting out demons.[5] God wants the same empowerment for us. A great deal of that power comes through the indwelling Spirit who enables us to recognize truth, witness about Christ, grow in the fruit of the Spirit and stand firm against temptation. What further power could we need? Power for the supernatural works that Jesus did![6] This kind of empowerment comes through the baptism of the Spirit. Significantly, it is this empowerment which Jesus commanded His recently born again converts to seek.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8 ESV
 

7) Anointed by the Holy Spirit

You yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:37-39 ESV

Prophets, priests and kings were anointed with oil in the Old Testament as a sign that the Holy Spirit would be working through them in their calling. The anointing was thus a sign of the Spirit’s presence and power upon an individual for accomplishing things which they could not do by natural ability alone. Jesus lived under this anointing in every area of His life, including His capacity for joy and for setting captives free.[7] We get to follow Him in this! We are also anointed by the Holy Spirit to help us carry out our assignments. This anointing increases as we abide in Christ.

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything—and is true and is no lie, just as it has taught you—abide in him. 1 John 2:27 ESV
 

Some “Unfinished” Business

Jesus sets the standard: He is our Model for ministry and Example for how to live. If He needed all of the above seven aspects of relationship with the Holy Spirit, why wouldn’t we? Three of the seven have already been provided for us through faith-conversion: born by the Spirit, filled by the Spirit and sealed by the Spirit. Three have begun, but will need our intentional cultivation: being led by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit and anointed by the Spirit. One will require deliberate seeking, if we are to receive it at all: the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus abided in God, doing whatever He “saw” the Father doing. In the same way we need to abide in Christ, doing everything we see Him doing.
 

More to Explore about the Holy Spirit

The Indwelling Presence  Surprise! The Holy Spirit of God is now living inside of you! He has always been with you, but now He is in you. This is our “guarantee” that we are indeed going to heaven, but it is so much more. Holy Spirit has been sent to bring into our lives everything necessary for life and right living. It is impossible to live as a true Christian without God’s help and we don’t have to: the Helper is always as close as your next thought. 

The Baptism of Power  Jesus actually told the first disciples “Don’t leave home without this!” So important is this spiritual empowerment that even the followers who had been trained by Him in person, who had received saving faith and the indwelling Spirit on Easter evening, even these dedicated believers were told to stay in Jerusalem and pray to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If they needed it, don’t we?


Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:14-18 ESV
[2]  Our confidence in God’s loving plans for us is what gives the Lord pleasure; He can take “no pleasure” when we “draw back” since such fearfulness is never in our best interest:  "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:37-39 ESV
[3]  Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Matthew 3:13-15 ESV
[4]  So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." John 5:19 ESV
[5]  "But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."  Luke 11:20 ESV
[6]  "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12 ESV
[7]  Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. Psalms 45:7 ESV; It will happen in that day, that his burden will depart from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the annointing oil. Isaiah 10:27 WEB