The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

When Paul exclaimed, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift," he was thinking of the Son of God given to suffering and death for our sakes. The greatness of it overwhelmed him, and he could find no word in any language that could describe it and the love that was behind it — it is unspeakable — God's unspeakable gift! We have not got Paul's large capacity for appreciating the great divine facts of our faith, and our hearts are not as big as his was, yet I am sure that we have often been amazed as we have considered such a verse as John 3:16. May we wonder at it more and more; for, as we wonder, we worship and grow. But what next? "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things." That means that after He has given "the unspeakable gift" we need not be surprised at anything else He gives. Yet there is another gift which is also overwhelming in its greatness, God has given to us His Spirit. I do not care to put the Holy Spirit among the "all things" of Romans 8:32. It is a unique gift; it stands alone, it is incomparable from whatever point we view it.

The gift of the only-begotten Son for us reveals God's wonderful love, the gift of His Spirit to us reveals that same love from another side. We understand His compassion and desire to save us by the first gift; we realize His desire that we should draw near to Him and respond to His love by the second. I remember being greatly helped by a remark by a servant of God as to this. He said "I would not give you my spirit even if I could. Why? Because you would know too much about me if I did." But God has given to us His Spirit because He wants us to know all that is possible about Him — He wants us to know Him intimately. I had not looked at it like that before, and it drew me nearer to God, for I realized better how great His desire was that I should know Him, not theoretically, not doctrinally merely, but experimentally, as I should know a friend by being in his company and having intimate talks with him.

Most certainly the more we know God the more we shall love Him. And the better we understand His communications to us in His word the fuller will our worship be. We can only understand them by His Spirit. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:14, 10).

The gift of the Holy Spirit is many-sided, and the side that I wish to press is that He has come to take charge of us and lead us to our eternal destiny — the glory of God. When God delivered Israel from Egypt the Angel of His presence went with them on their pilgrim journey to Canaan, and Michael, the first prince of celestial hosts, watched over them during their exile in Babylon, but now we have that which is more wonderful, for we are in a closer relation to God than ever Israel was, and our destiny is greater than theirs. We are sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus, and we are travelling to the glory, there to be conformed to the image of God's Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Because of the dignity of the relationship and the greatness of the destiny, no angel would serve as our guide and "paraclete," no less a person than the Holy Ghost, who is one with the Father and the Son in the Godhead, could be capable of the great office.

We do not fully understand the infirmities within us or the foes that beset us in our homeward journey, yet we do feel them and often we groan because of them; they bend our knees before God and compel us to pray to Him, and yet how inadequate our prayers seem to be. But the Spirit of God, who dwells in us and knows every thing about us and all that there is against us, takes upon Himself the burden of our needs and He makes intercession for us "with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26). This is a most amazing word. We could never have conceived it, and would not have believed it if it had not been written; but there it is, thank God, and should fill us with thanksgiving and adoration.

We groan sometimes when our feelings are too intense for words and articulation fails us; but this is not our groaning; it is the groaning of the Spirit of God; and the groans are of such a sort that no utterance can be found for them. Pardon me if I say again that it is wonderful — wonderful! We have an Intercessor on earth, He dwells within us and He knows our deepest needs, all the weakness within and all the difficulties without, and He knows what the will of God is concerning us and intercedes according to that good and acceptable and perfect will. He occupies Himself continually with us and intercedes for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.

Look at that mother on her knees before God; she is making intercession for her only boy who works and lives in the great city; she thinks of his dangers, of the temptations and sins of the city and as she prays for him words fail her and she can only groan, her groans ascend to the ears of God; and the stronger her love the deeper the groans: it is love that causes the groaning. Infinite love lies behind the Spirit's groaning, the love of God, full of compassion and tender pity; love that was first shown in the death of Christ for us; love that was not exhausted there but continues to serve us, for the love of Father and Son and Holy Ghost is a threefold cord that shall never be broken.

The intercession of the Holy Ghost shall not fail: it shall receive an answer from heaven every day, and finally, full and complete in the glory. The multitude of God's sons, for whom the Spirit intercedes, shall stand at last within the Father's house beyond the reach of need and harm for ever. In that eternal triumph of God the glory of the work of redemption, wrought out by Christ amid the hours of agony on the cross, will be fully displayed; and the work of the Spirit within the saints, making good within them every thought of God about them, will be completed, so that, fashioned after the glorious image of God's Son, they shall find their joy in the Father's presence who is the source of all.

What confidence of heart and quietness of spirit, what joy and adoration should these things produce within us! May we by the grace of God be more under the power of them.