Friday, March 09, 2007

Trembling Before the Spirit (Part I)

Upon recently meditating on John 3, I was reminded of how I ought to tremble in worship before the Holy Spirit.

When Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees, comes to Jesus bringing what seems to be praise owing to the signs that he and others have seen Jesus perform, he probably wasn’t expecting Jesus to respond the way He does. Jesus responds, in effect, by saying, “Nicodemus, you haven’t seen anything.” We know that Jesus isn’t impressed by anyone commending Him on the basis of the signs that He does because we see just before this interaction with Nicodemus that Jesus doesn’t entrust Himself to those who “believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing (John 2:23).”

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:3

Everyone can see signs. Everyone can see miracles. Everyone can see magic tricks. But “seeing they do not see (Matthew 13:13)” unless, Jesus says, they have been born again or, the more appropriate rendering from the Greek, from above.

But we all know that we didn’t do anything to bring about our first birth. We came into this world breathing and crying for reasons owing nothing to us. So when Jesus says we must be born again, in the same way we can do nothing to bring about this second birth. This becomes clear as Jesus continues.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:5,6

Our first birth is of the flesh. Our second birth is of the Spirit. Flesh cannot create spirit. It can only create more flesh. Flesh needs Spirit to come and create spirit. So how does one who is of the flesh get the Spirit to come and create spirit? Jesus tells us the devastating, self-determination destroying, and autonomy crushing answer.

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
John 3:8

The conclusion is inescapable when you discover that the same Greek word means both wind and spirit. The Spirit blows where it wishes. The Spirit goes where the Spirit wants. The Spirit is self-determining. The Spirit is autonomous and NOT the human will. The human will can only hope and pray and cast itself desperately upon the Spirit for His grace and mercy.

Do you see the kingdom of God? Then worship with fear and trembling before the Holy Spirit who was pleased to blow upon you. He didn’t have to come your way. And He didn’t come your way because of anything you did. You weren’t born of the Spirit because you believed but rather you believed because you were born of the Spirit whether it happened when you were 7 or 37 years old.

Do you want to see the kingdom of God? Then throw yourself desperately before the Holy Spirit with fear and trembling in humble acknowledgement that you are completely at His mercy and utterly hopeless without Him.

Holy Spirit, thank You that You do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. May You be pleased to blow on all who read this so that they may see and enter Your magnificent Kingdom. May You get all the glory. Amen.

1 comment:

talischris said...

Amen, my brother.

Indeed, we have not chosen Him, but rather He has chosen us.