Monday, February 26, 2018

The Holy Spirit and the Church (2) – The Law of God in the Life of the Church (10)

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The Holy Spirit and the Church (2)

The Law of God in the Life of the Church (10)

…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

The Spirit brings power into the life of a believer, not, in the first instance, so that we might go witnessing, but that we might be witnesses. The work of the Spirit in enabling us to do what is pleasing to God is above all a work of character formation, a work unto holiness.

And this only makes sense; He is, after all, the Holy Spirit, and we would expect any power that He exerts within or through us to be expressive of His presence and character. The Holy Spirit is working in each believer to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:12-18), and in every church to build it up as a holy temple unto the Lord (Eph. 2:21, 22). All other works and manifestations of the Spirit of God in or through the believer are incidental or instrumental to the larger end of making him willing and able to do what pleases God so that holiness may ensue.

So, what is it, precisely, that pleases our heavenly Father? Various things: it pleases Him to give us the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Luke 12:32; Rom. 14:17, 18). God is pleased with the life of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and, hence, that we should walk in His steps and follow in all His ways (Luke 2:22; Matt. 17:5). And it pleases God that we should not quench the work of His Spirit, Whom He and the Son have sent in order that we might be holy.

Thus if we as individual believers, and our churches as expressions of the Body of Christ, would realize the full working of the Spirit, we must resign ourselves to His purposes and His means of accomplishing the ends for which God has sent Him to us. And that has little or nothing to do with ecstatic utterances, mystical visions, or signs and wonders. Rather, it has everything to do with being taught the Law of God by the Spirit of God that we might live, by His power, the life of Jesus Christ unto holiness (Ezek. 36:26, 27).

If we neglect the Law of God—through indifference or outright rejection—we quench the Spirit, and thus displease our heavenly Father, to such an extent that even our prayers become an abomination to Him (Prov. 28:9).

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In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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