Today's Foundations Devotional: The Father’s promise

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Memory verse:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse

for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’—in order

that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might]come to the Gentiles,

so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

(Galatians 3:13-14)

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These distinctive features of the gift provide two reasons why it could not be given so long as Christ remained in bodily presence on earth.

First, while Christ was present on earth, He was the personal, authoritative representative of the Godhead. There was no need, and no place, for the Holy Spirit also to be personally present on earth at the same time. But after Christ’s ascension into heaven, the way was then open for the Holy Spirit, in His turn, to come to earth as a Person. It is now He, the Holy Spirit, who in this present dispensation is the personal representative of the Godhead here on earth.

Second, the gift of the Holy Spirit could not be given until after Christ’s ascension because the claim of every believer to receive it is in no way based upon his own merits, but simply and solely upon the merits of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. No one could receive the gift, therefore, until Christ’s atoning work was complete.

Paul links the promise of the Spirit directly to Christ’s atonement.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal. 3:13-14).

Paul here establishes two facts of great importance concerning the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Christian believer.

First of all, it is only through the redemptive work of Christ upon the cross that the believer may now receive the promise of the Spirit. In fact, this was one main purpose for which Christ suffered on the cross. He died and shed His blood that He might purchase thereby a twofold legal right: His own right to bestow, and the believer’s right to receive, this precious gift of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, the receiving of the gift does not depend in any way upon the believer’s own merits, but solely upon the all-sufficiency of Christ’s atonement. It is through faith, not by works.

Second, we notice that Paul uses the phrase “the promise of the Spirit,” for he says, “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” This agrees with Jesus’ final charge to His disciples just before His ascension into heaven.

Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).

Jesus is here speaking to His disciples of the baptism in the Holy Spirit which they were to receive in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. He uses two phrases to describe this experience. He calls it an enduement “with power from on high” and also “the Promise of My Father.”

This second phrase, “the Promise of My Father,” gives us a wonderful insight into the mind and purpose of God the Father concerning the gift of the Holy Spirit. Someone has conservatively estimated that the Bible contains seven thousand distinct promises given by God to His believing people. But among all these seven thousand promises, Jesus singles out one from all the rest as being in a unique sense the Father’s special promise for each of His believing children. What is this unique and special promise? It is what Paul calls the “promise of the Spirit.”

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Prayer:

Father, what a special thing to remember that receiving Your Holy

Spirit was such a very specific, promise from You. Work in me

deeply Lord, the special character of Your Holy Spirit, constantly

working through in my life so I that increasingly look more like

You. Amen.

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