“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:10-11, ESV).
Do you ever want to get past all the doctrine and opinions and traditions of Christianity and get to the basics of what it means to be a Christian?
Well, here it is! The bottom line. The who, what, how, and why of being a Christian rolled into a couple of verses!
Two verses that in just a few words and phrases provide such a profound and succinct explanation about Christianity.
“Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, ‘Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives me does not receive Me, but him who sent me'” (Mark 9:36-37, NASB).
I am a trinitarian. I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that God reveals Himself to us in the Bible as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. My comprehension of God and my personal experience of God is trinitarian.
I want my children to have a complete and accurate knowledge of God as they grow up. Yet, I’m not sure that I really completely understand the Trinity.
So, how do you explain this complex trinitarian theology to your children when you don’t really understand it yourself?
“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:16-17, NLT).
Have you ever been so proud of your son or daughter that you just had to tell someone how wonderful they were and how proud you were?
That’s the way I imagine this story of Jesus’ baptism.
God the Father is so proud of His Son because He has been called to ministry and is fulfilling that calling. And so the Father just had to tell somebody how proud He was and express His delight to His Son.
It’s as if God the Father is saying, “Son, I am so proud of you. You make me very happy. I love you.”
God the Father has that same feeling about you.
You are the Heavenly Father’s dearly loved son or daughter and you bring Him great joy.
When you accomplish His plans and purposes for your life, it pleases Him and He is so proud of you!
“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10, NLT).
“And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” It is the dispensing of the Spirit to believers that is the mark of incorporation into the redeemed community of God. This promise of the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit, is the distinguishing feature of your salvation (see Luke 24:24, John 14:16, Acts 2:33). It is what identifies you as belonging to Christ–a Christian. The Spirit is your spiritual ID and membership card. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes the creative and redemptive work of God personal to us as God’s people both individually and collectively. The indwelling Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the eternal life He promised us through the sacrifice of His Son. Our understanding and experience of God, however, often centers on God as Father and God as Son and not so much on God as Holy Spirit. But God is best known from a trinitarian perspective—God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The role of the Holy Spirit in identifying us with Christ as God’s sons and daughters and bringing the presence of God into our lives is often not as well understood or experienced by Christians as is the creative work of the Father or the redemptive work of the Son. Yet, it is the active presence of the Holy Spirit in your life that affirms you are saved! Your eternal life begins when God gives you the Holy Spirit. “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” The Greek word for “home” (monē meaning dwelling place) used in this verse is the same word used for for “many rooms” in vs. 2 of this chapter: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” In vs. 2 Jesus gives the assurance that each of His followers has an eternal dwelling place with Him and He is going there to prepare it. In vs. 23 Jesus and the Father come to dwell (by the Holy Spirit) with those who love Him and keep His word so that His followers can prepare for their eternal dwelling place: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (vs. 15-16). Jesus gives us an assurance for this life that there is an assurance of eternal life with Him. The Holy Spirit (and Father and Son) dwell with us to help prepare us for our eternal life with Them. In other words, you will dwell with God then because He dwells with you now so that you will be prepared to live eternally in the place Jesus has prepared for you!