A Grace-Expanding Experience

Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent. – Isaiah 62:6

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8

Luxembourg City

One of the many bridges in Luxembourg City (notice the walls surrounding parts of the city) | August 2018

When I first understood the essential role of the Holy Spirit in bringing people to repentance and faith, it was grace-expanding experience. The way I have thought of it from that time on is that God and his grace and love is on both sides of the faith relationship.

God is the One offering the gift of grace to broken, sinful, and rebellious people. He is also the One who works in the hearts of the sinner, turning him from his evil ways and creating faith in the heart. “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ without the Holy Spirit,” says Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. God is both giver of salvation and of faith which receives the gift. This is a mystery beyond our understanding which leads to the crux of theology: “Why are some saved and others not?” to which there is no satisfying answer.

But wait! There’s more. For the Holy Spirit has an essential role in the mission of God through his people. The Holy Spirit inspires mission, propels us forward in mission, and emboldens our witness to the world of Jesus’ gift of salvation and our need for it.

For David, when the Holy Spirit was not taken from him, sinners would be converted to God (Psalm 51:). The Holy Spirit told the church in Antioch to set aside Paul and Barnabas for their missionary endeavors. The Holy Spirit emboldened the apostles to speak courageously of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

If we have been brought to faith we can thank God for that. We can also be sure that he will help us witness to God’s faithfulness and inspire others to believe in Jesus Christ and come to him through our witness. Some speak of the full work of the Holy Spirit as having to do with miracles, signs and wonders.

I’ll not deny the Holy Spirit’s miraculous work. But the fullness of his work will lead us to be bold and courageous to share the message of Jesus near and far. In fact, without the Holy Spirit, I know I’d never do it.

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