God’s Generous Gift of the SpiritMay 2010
by Howard Freeman
Christians around the world will celebrate Pentecost on Sunday, May 16. The day remembers Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16), which we see realized in the account in Acts 2.
Jesus’ promise came at a particularly tense moment, the night before his crucifixion when he was comforting his disciples. They were troubled, confused and even doubting that they knew the way to the Father. To reassure them, Jesus reminded them of who he was, and he promised them the Third Person of the Trinity.
God is constantly giving. In Genesis, he breathed life into us and gave us the world to take care of and each other to love. To right a world we stewarded poorly, he gave us his One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. This month we mark his generosity in giving us the Spirit of truth.
John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople in the 4th century, said, “God has given us the greatest gift possible and in profusion... What is this gift? It is the Holy Spirit!” Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
God has been unceasing and extravagant in his gifts to us. And they’re not over yet! At the end of the Bible we see that he gives his chosen people a new garden-city to replace the one from which we were banished.
If the fully restored City of God is our destination, of which we are already citizens (Phil. 3:20), and if God has already given both his Son as an atoning sacrifice and his Spirit to guide us, what more do we need? We are freed up to discern by the Spirit what our neighbors’ needs are and meet them proactively. We are strengthened by the Spirit to do so unceasingly, even as our flesh fails us. And we are given the fruit of the Spirit to give out of love rather than out of pride or guilt. From Acts 2:42 on, we see believers loving one other and the community around them as a result of the Holy Spirit’s coming.
Truly, God always gives more than we can even imagine.
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