Every bit of life in Christ is in life by the Spirit. The Apostle John once wrote that no one had ever seen God, but the Son, who is Himself God, He has made Him known (John 1:18). He, Jesus Christ, has made God known. This is an amazing truth until you realize a subtle fact…none of us have ever seen Jesus.
However, Jesus said that this would be to our benefit–so that the Holy Spirit would be given to us (John 16:7). Because it is this Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth; who by deep relationship leads us into wisdom, understanding, and revelation of who Christ is and who we are in Him. He does this because He doesn’t speak on His own authority–meaning He doesn’t speak for His own benefit–but He declares to us everything that is Christ’s (John 16:13-14).
What is Christ’s?
Everything that is the Father’s (John 16:15).
We know the Father through Jesus, but we only know Jesus by the Spirit. It is the Spirit who reveals Christ and takes what is His and makes it known to us. Therefore, there is no learning Jesus, no living Jesus, without living by the Spirit.
Think of it this way: Jesus said that we would do the same works that He did, and greater, “Because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Why was it important that He go to the Father? Because if He didn’t go the Spirit would not have been sent (John 16:7). If Jesus did His ministry in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14), how could we do the same work without the empowerment of the same Spirit?
It is the Holy Spirit who makes the truth of Christ’s finished work the reality of our lives. And it is the Holy Spirit who works through us to bring the reality of Christ’s finished work to others.
I feel that the issue we face of not fully representing and revealing Jesus is not a matter of our understanding of who He is–at least not directly. The issue is how so far removed we have become from being a people who live in and by the Spirit.
One of the first things I ever wrote was that we will never know who we are until we know who the Father is, yet we will never know who the Father is until we walk in the identity of the Son. It is the thesis of what it is to “Live the Kingdom”. But there is no living Christ without living by the Spirit.
I recently said one Sunday morning that we are in Christ for two reasons. First, because we were drawn by the Spirit…for no one comes to Christ unless the Spirit draws him. But the second reason is this: Because we responded appropriately. The invitation changes nothing. The appropriate response to the invitation changes everything.
Now, the Holy Spirit never ceases to reveal Christ. He never ceases to draw us deeper into truth and transform us into Christ’s image. But the question remains–are we still responding appropriately? Are we continuing in deep relationship with the One who reveals Christ and the deep things of God?
We will never live out our identity as the people of God without becoming a people of the Spirit of God. Every bit of life in Christ is in life by the Spirit.