Friday, April 17, 2015

The Purpose of Christ: The Holy Spirit

(1) When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord[a] in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  - Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Image courtesy of WikiMedia.org
It has nearly been two weeks since Christians around the United States celebrated the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  As such, this was a great opportunity to address each part of the celebration of Yeshua.  First we talked about the cross. For that blog post visit,

http://toinebo.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-purpose-of-christ-cross.html

Then we talked about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ which can be found here:

http://toinebo.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-purpose-of-christ-death-burial.html

Today, we will look at the last and largely overlooked piece of the plan for the Son of God - the Holy Spirit.

In the grand scheme of things, there has been a plan since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned against Yahweh, there was a plan in place to redeem man back to Himself.  It would be a long while before the full plan would be fulfilled, but the Father paved a way for us to get to where we are now.

Sin and the Law

First, man was given the Law of Moses.  "The Mosaic Law was a bilateral covenant made specifically for Israel alone to govern her life in the promised land. From the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen.12) we see Israel was a chosen nation, an instrument of God to become a channel of blessing to all nations. Yahweh was her Theocratic King who was to rule and guide the nation in her destiny that she might not become polluted or contaminated by other nations and could thus fulfill her purpose. For this the Mosaic Law was instituted to direct Israel as a nation in all spheres of her life—morally, socially, politically, economically and religiously" (The Mosaic Law: Its Function and Purpose in the New Testament, Bible.org).  In addition, the the law revealed the people's sin to them and as such, they had to atone for those sins.

About five years ago, I did a study on the different types of offerings in Leviticus and one of those was the sin offering.  Rather than duplicating efforts, I will copy a snippet from that blog entry:
The reason for the sin offering was for the atonement of the people. TheFreeDictionary.com defines atonement as "[a]mends or reparation made for an injury or wrong".  In looking at all of Leviticus 4 and 5:1-13, you will notice that blood is the key ingredient in which God requires to be burnt. The Burnt, Meat, and Peace Offerings were all ones that were voluntary and provided a sweet-savory aroma for the Lord.  The Sin and Tresspass (which we'll discuss the next time) Offerings did no such thing.
"He is merciful and will forgive based on Christ's sacrifice, which these offerings represent, but even though He accepts the offerings, He takes no satisfaction in sin".1
Therefore, there would have been no communion with God on that occasion.  At least in this case, "[n]o restitution was necessary because of the nature of the sin."2  (Leviticus Lessons: Offerings V; also see Leviticus 4; 5:1-13)
The key is the part which talks about Yahweh's acceptance of the offering, but there was no satisfaction of it.  No matter how many times this was done, the Israelites still could not restore themselves back to Yahweh.  The only sacrifice that would satisfy the Father was that of the Passover Lamb, which was without sin.

Fulfillment of the Law

We have heard that Yeshua died for our sins and this was definitely preached on Easter or Resurrection Sunday.  But, it should be explained WHY we no longer live in sin and how we are free from the penalty of sin. Something important to remember is that the Christ was sent to fulfill the Law.  He tells us this Himself.
Matthew 5:17-18  (17) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (18) For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (NKJV)
What does this mean?  It means that He came to complete the law; put a period on it; end a chapter in the lives of those who were under the Law. Yeshua fulfilled the law because He was the only one who could walk perfectly in the law and uphold all of the law.  The moment He died, the law died with Him.  In addition, the veil of the temple was torn which meant, everyone had access to Yahweh again.
"The veil of the temple was torn in two: The veil was what separated the holy place from the most holy place in the temple. It was a vivid demonstration of the separation between God and man. Notably, the veil was torn from top to bottom, and it was God who did the tearing" (JESUS' TRIAL, DEATH, AND BURIAL, David Guzik :: Study Guide for Matthew 27).  
After Christ's death, we know that He walked among the people for a short while.  He was seen by various people, including the disciples to confirm that He had risen from death (see, Luke 24:36-37).  Even at this point, there was a piece of the plan that had not been executed.  The Law had been fulfilled, but now what?

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

If you recall, the Mosaic Law was put into place to guide the Israelites and to reveal their sins. However, since Christ fulfilled the law, what were those who lived by Yahweh to do?  By this point, I am sure you know where we are headed.  It was the promise of the Holy Spirit that completes the plan of Yahweh.
John 16:5-8  (5) “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ (6) But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. (7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. (8) And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  (NKJV)
Yeshua told the disciples this before He died, but they did not understand what was happening.  We see in Luke 24 that they were afraid when He reappeared before them.  It was at this point that He would help them to understand why He had to die and what was to come:
Luke 24:44-49  (44) Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” (45) And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  (46) Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[h] from the dead the third day, (47) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And you are witnesses of these things. (49) Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[i] until you are endued with power from on high.” (NKJV)
Here, the promise is the Holy Spirit.  It is this Spirit that would fall down on the disciples like a mighty rushing wind that made them speak in the tongues of their own language (see, Acts 2:1-4).   However, this could not happen until Yeshua ascended into heaven to be with the Father.

The Purpose of the Holy Spirit

Today, many will ask the Holy Spirit to help them, but I do not believe many understand the purpose behind Him.  See, the Holy Spirit is now what guides man since there is no need for the Mosaic Law. The Law was completed when Yeshua died for our sins. By Him ascending into heaven and sending the Holy Spirit we were given the will of the Father!  Thus, we have a new covenant with Yahweh and are all reconciled back to Him!  There are numerous scriptures that show us this.
Hebrews 10:8-10  (8) Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), (9) then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.”[b] He takes away the first that He may establish the second. (10) By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  (NKJV)
The first that is taken away is the Law.  The second is established by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in man.
Romans 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NKJV)
The law is no longer our prosecutor, but we now live under Yahweh's grace.
Galatians 3:19-25  (19) What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. (20) Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. (21) Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. (22) But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (23) But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. (24) Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  (NKJV)
I thought it good to share a good portion of Galatians here to add context, but verses 24 & 25 sums things up really well.

One might ask about the moral law. Doesn't that mean anything?  Well, we are still not allowed to steal, covet, or lust, but this is not because of the Law.  It is because we NOW know the will of the Father through the Holy Spirit that resides in us.  If we know Yahweh's will and intentions, then there is no need for the law.  Besides, scripture tells us that we are no longer under the law. We are not to cherry pick the laws which we want to apply because they seem good to us.  We are either under the law (death) or have the Holy Spirit (life) and if we are saved we are called to live by grace. The law doesn't apply to us.  For more in depth information on the Law, I would highly encourage you to read, Laying Down the Law, by Joseph Herrin. You can download a copy here:

http://www.heart4god.ws/index_htm_files/Laying%20Down%20the%20Law.pdf


Wrapping Things Up

It is interesting that most people do not realize that Yeshua actually lived under the Law of Moses until he began his ministry. He grew up in the same times and place where the Law was in enforced. It was not until He was baptized, that he began to live by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3:13-17  (13) Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. (14) And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” (15) But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. (16) When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He[c] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (17) And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (NKJV)
At this point, Christ is walking among the law-keepers with the Holy Spirit.  This is why He was able to do things like heal on the Sabbath.  He knew the Father's will because He was living by the Holy Spirit!!  The law did not matter to Him because it was ultimately Yahweh's will that prevailed and He continued living by the Spirit even unto death.  For example, just before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed the following:  "...Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will" (Mark 14:36, NKJV).

Yeshua is our perfect example of living by the Holy Spirit.  If we have been truly baptized by the Spirit and not by water alone, then we too will know the Father's will (see, Acts 19:1-6).  This is very important to remember as many may have been led to believe in Christ on the celebration of His resurrection two weeks ago.  It is my prayer they understand the symbolism of water baptism, but more importantly that they are baptized in the Spirit as Paul discussed in Acts 19:1-6.  If this is so, then one will be able to see and understand that going to the cross was not enough.  We needed Yeshua to die, be resurrected, ascend to heaven AND have the Holy Spirit come, so that the will of the Father could be known to us throughout our walk in Christ to the end.

Be blessed!

Antoine E. Hall


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