Acts 1:4 – And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Acts 1:5 – For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Hello readers, new blog today, the promise of the Father. This is a great part of the Bible, but also a part of the Bible which somehow disappoints us. Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus stayed rather than ascended? We can feel that way… indeed, Jesus’ disciples felt that way. But Jesus said it was necessary. Why was it? Because if he didn’t ascend, we wouldn’t have the Holy Spirit. Why is the Holy Spirit such a big deal? Wait for the promise of the Father Jesus said… a promise which had been waited for so long since the fall of man.
You see, to understand the promise of the Father we have to go back to salvation. Our spirit was murdered by sin…. with sin came the complete collapse of humanity. Flesh failed. We disobeyed God and mankind was plunged into sin. We were created perfect, but that perfection hinged upon the relationship of Adam and Eve to God. Because life comes from God, God is the source of life, indeed our breath of life is God’s. So it is little wonder that mankind’s fallen image is so catastrophically corrupted when separated from God.
Why is the Holy Spirit such a big deal? The Holy Spirit is a person, he is one of the three persons of what the Bible calls the Godhead… consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, all we have are our dead spirits… our spirits which were murdered with Adam and the beginning. We need God’s Spirit… and it is God’s Spirit which makes us alive, which transforms our nature, our very identity. Without the Holy Spirit of God, nobody is ever changed. In our flesh nature, we can reform it, or train it, or attempt to tame it… but it’s fallen, it’s sinful, it cannot be salvaged.
When Adam sinned in the garden of Eden mankind fell. We die physically as an evidence that we are under a curse. Death is a curse, it is a universal law. The very nature of man was altered… where there was goodness, righteousness, fellowship with God… with disobedience, sin, came evil. Bad things happen. We do bad things. We think bad things. We are bad things. Now we all like to think we are pretty good, but honestly we are not, you are not, I am not. Spiritually, we are all dead. That is why Jesus said we must be born again. Our first birth is one that is born into a world of sin, slavery to sin, subjects of the devil.
Salvation is so much more than just escaping hell. It is a new creature. This is why so many people aren’t actually born again today. While hell is the end point of a life of sin, it is a consequence, but God created us with purpose, and although sin has mucked it all up, God has provided a way by which we can not only be saved, but given new life… a life which is eternal. Remember, God didn’t create us to die, death came in because of sin. People want not to go to hell, but they in fact love their lives here… they love their sin, they don’t want to be born again. It seems ironic that people expect to go to heaven, a place wherein dwelleth righteousness, yet live a life marked by sin, by pride, by envy, by covetousness, by lust, by lies, by selfishness, by bitterness. Do you really expect if you love your sin so much here, to suddenly love righteousness so much in heaven? Do you even really belong in heaven at all?
The Bible says he that is filthy let him be filthy still. You know what that means. If you are an unsaved, unredeemed sinner in this life here, you will be that in eternity. It is so essential to get a true picture of what salvation is. This doesn’t negate the fact often we might die never getting victory in certain areas of our life, but we go to heaven based on who Jesus Christ is and what he has done, not on our own effort. But with that in mind, if you are saved, and his holy Spirit comes to live in you… how can your life not be changed? He is Holy… so if you check your spirit… is it holy? Do you have a holy, righteous, truthful, sweet, merciful, gracious, gentle spirit? Or is your spirit marked by lust, hatred, pride, selfishness, darkness?
The reality is, many people today using the grace of God as their excuse to a sinful rebellious life have no idea what grace is, nor what salvation is. The very thing they claim is what they are entirely destitute of. Understanding God’s grace is essential in understanding salvation. God’s grace is not a blank cheque to sin, it’s not a free pass… God’s grace is God giving us heavenly ability through his Holy Spirit to repent, to believe, to be able to live the Christian life… to be able to obey him. Think about this… before you are saved, you cannot live a life pleasing to God… you can’t refuse your flesh. Why do you think so many people are addicted? Why do so many people do things which are so destructive and harmful both to others and themselves… which they may never have grown up planning to do? It’s because Satan is their master, and with unsaved, unredeemed fleshly nature… they don’t have the grace to be able to do right. God’s grace is in this world, if he withdrew his grace it would be a hellhole, but that’s why unsaved people in the flesh don’t all just consume each other… but we see today a society which is going further and further from God… and look at how evil the times are!
Jesus told his disciples about the promise of the Father. You see Jesus came to die for us and to save us from our sins. We have broken the law of God, and God as judge, because he is so good, demands payment of sin. Noone likes a corrupt judge on earth, and God is the righteous judge, he judges sin. He is good and sin cannot dwell in his presence. Jesus came to die for us… and to pay our sin… he could do so because he was God, because he was perfect and sinless, and in heaping our punishment upon him, God’s wrath against sin was satisfied.
But it didn’t end there… there were great and precious promises… the promise of the Father. God didn’t just get our sins paid and dealt with. Because there is also the problem of who we are… our very identity, our nature. Look at Peter, he spent so much time with Jesus Christ… yet he denied him, yet he was fearful. Our flesh cannot get it done. Jesus told Peter, when you are converted, strengthen the brethren. He couldn’t do that until he was converted. When Jesus went to heaven, he was accepted into heaven, and he sits on the right hand of the Father… and he sent forth his Spirit, that same Spirit in him, that same Spirit which did no sin, that same Spirit by which he lived his life, that same Spirit that raised him from the dead… he gave it to us… God’s Spirit poured upon all flesh.
Why did God bother? Why is it needed? Because we need to be born again. Our first birth… we are sinners… by birth and by nature. We are fallen. Aren’t you tired of your fleshly nature? That nature which is marked by all kinds of inadequacies, shortcomings, rebellion, fear, darkness, addiction, helplessness, powerlessness, hopelessness. You see, this is what separates believing in Jesus Christ from all false religion. It’s not reformation, its a new Spirit… because when you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, he will save you so completely you will take eternity to learn what great things he has done for you. When we get saved, we don’t understand nothing really, but as we grow, we began to see truth as the Spirit of truth reveals Jesus Christ to us. Because when we got saved, that instant we repented of our sin and believe, God came to dwell in us, spiritually reviving us, his Spirit with us, and in us forever. That is the promise of the Father.
Jesus said to wait for the promise, because he wasn’t in heaven yet. It was necessary for him to go to heaven, as much as we would rather him here, he needed to go to heaven, because him being spiritually with us is greater than him being physically with us. His Spirit could not come to us before that sin debt was paid, before the work was complete…but with the debt paid, with the Father satisfied, and with Jesus with his Father, he could come to us and dwell in us through his holy Spirit. And that changes us. How can God living in you not change you? Why are people not changed, not transformed from inside out? Because they are not saved. Salvation is so much more than just getting out of hell, its having life and life abundantly. Jesus came to save us from our sins, and he came to give us life and life more abundantly. He can change you, we cannot change ourselves, but through the Holy Spirit, you can be a totally new person… a person who loves truth, who loves righteousness, who obeys God, who’s life is marked by holiness, truth, sincerity… rather than that old life of lust, pride and self. It is a battle yes, but greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.
Just as the disciples were told not to depart from Jerusalem, we should not depart from truth. We should not depart from what God has told us in his word. Jerusalem is the city of the king, we need to get to the cross of Jesus Christ and be saved. Waiting on God, you know what that is? It’s waiting for him to move, because it is God’s work. Salvation is God’s work. And living the Christian life is God’s work. We need his Holy Spirit, it’s his promise… it was Jesus who did the work on the cross. That is a restful place to be, waiting on God… a God, THE God, who always makes good on his word. The good news today is that when you get saved, Jesus comes to dwell inside you, not maybe, not possibly, but definitely. If you have been saved you have received the promise… and the Bible says, if you live in the Spirit, then walk in the Spirit. Grow in him, be filled with the Holy Spirit of God… and that’s done by him increasing in our life, while we decrease, as we submit to him and obey him and abide in him, as he abides in us. It’s not mysticism, it’s not unattainable, it’s not mumbo jumbo… the Holy Spirit is promised to all believers… it’s a wonderful promise, it’s a new creature, and it’s a new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.