“If you then though you are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
In His meeting one night with the Pharisee Nicodemus Jesus very clearly taught him;
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:3-5)
People do not wander casually into the Kingdom. Something specific needs to take place – something as life-changing as new birth – a completely fresh start without the sin and the guilt of the past. This new birth, Jesus says, has two aspects to it – one is of water and one is of God the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism in water was a ‘baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’ – and Jesus Himself preached ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ So the first step towards the new life that Jesus offers us is to acknowledge our sins and sinfulness before God and, therefore, our need of a Saviour.
However, repentance is not enough to bring us into the kingdom – for that we also need the baptism in the Holy Spirit – acknowledged in the Nicene Creed as ‘the Lord the giver of life.’ Where repentance sees our sin and separation from God dealt with in Jesus on the Cross, baptism in the Spirit sees us plunged into a new life, an eternal life, with God Himself at the centre and as the source and sustainer of that life. Without the Holy Spirit there may appear to be a form of life but true life has not yet arrived!
Such is the love and grace of our wonderful God that He not only takes our sins upon Himself and deals with them in the horror of the Cross, but He also gives us His own Spirit to live within us. And this so that He may have the joy of our love and companionship throughout eternity – and we may be both saved and enabled to share it with Him. There is no other love like this! We mustn’t miss it.
Ask God for (more of) the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Seek His guidance.
Heavenly Father, please fill me and continue to fill me with the wonderful gift of Your Holy Spirit –and help me to recognise and to be attentive to Him. Amen.