God Wants to Reveal Himself
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
Our world will soon see glory and God’s Son. It is undeniable that God is preparing to reveal Him to our world. The darkest depth of sin and the ugliest work of Satan cannot stop what He is about to do. The Bible is exceedingly plain that God will finish His work and subdue all wickedness. Sin must be destroyed. Living careless may seem acceptable but it will be firmly beaten. God’s glory will shine.
One of the most breathtaking truths in the Holy Scripture is related to the “born again” experience and the witness of the Holy Ghost in the believer’s heart and spirit. Salvation by the cleansing blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is much more than some positional state that we accept only in our heads. Too much of today’s evangelical religion is nothing but religion. It does not have an experience side. It has no witness, but only some kind of perceived mental idea and, more importantly, does not affect people to truly surrender their lives to live only for the Lord. In other words, there is no inner supernatural testimony that the life of God has been imputed into the life of the individual. That is not New Testament Christianity.
The Apostle Paul certainly experienced a very different encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Apart from the visions and voices, his life was dramatically changed and a deep abiding witness of the Spirit possessed him. The Scriptures Paul wrote affirms that this inward testimony never diminished right up to his martyrdom. He concluded the book of II Corinthians by stating, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (II Corinthians 13:14). Note that statement, “…the communion of the Holy Ghost…” This Apostle said to the Romans in his book to Rome, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11). Paul knew that this Holy Ghost witness in the spirit of a believer was awesome and life changing. There is no way that an individual can experience this inward union between the Holy Ghost and their own spirit and not be totally transformed. This is the missing element in much of today’s church world.
The more emotional charismatics are satisfied with a bodily witness of some ecstatic feeling, such as cold chills or a display of a joyous state. The intellectual evangelicals are willing to accept someone’s word that the whole matter is positional and without feeling. They are told just to affirm their acceptance of Jesus and settle for head knowledge. Both completely miss the real experience of a witness in the spirit of the believer by the supernatural work of adoption and redemption. It’s too deep to be just a display of emotions and too supernatural just to occur in the realm of reason. It is reality on a transforming scale.
The Romans Road
The Holy Ghost spoke about this matter with undeniable terms in Romans chapter eight. Let’s read some remarkable words, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:14-17).
It is very clear that this activity by the Holy Spirit is occurring in the believer’s personal spirit. Heaven and earth are meeting in the person’s heart and something is occurring that cannot be just a blind fact. They have been made into a new person. The Holy Spirit has found a dwelling place and He immediately becomes the source of all decisions. This person is no longer a slave to sin, but led by the Spirit.
In each verse of the above text, the individual that has received the Lord Jesus is seen in a new state of spirit and consciousness. He did not receive the “spirit of bondage again to fear” or a return to fear, but the “Spirit of adoption.” You must remember that the Holy Ghost represents the greatest adoption agency in the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the legal document by which every repentant sinner that surrenders wholly is translated from lost to found, from pagan to saint. It is stated best in Ephesians. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6).
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
This witness of the Holy Ghost is a supernatural testimony in the believer’s spirit that eliminates the fear which sin had produced. Eternal judgment for sin is now a thing of the past. Fear of Satan and his consequences are over and this individual is a child of God. His or her new Master is none other than the Heavenly Father and he is invited to live by the cry, “Abba (My) Father.” The Holy Ghost, who is indeed the “Spirit of the Father,” is fully able to create this new assurance, called “witness” in the unshakeable recesses of the “born again” person’s inner spirit. Remember, Satan can operate in the human soul, where the adamic nature resides, but he cannot touch the human spirit. It is the very life of God, given by the Creator and cannot be invaded by our enemies. You can allow your spirit to wither and dry up if you fail to feed on spiritual food, but Satan has no entrance.
As “new born” sainst, we are part of His family and heirs of every promise in the Scripture. The Scripture states our new position as “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” This position is not an endless trip down blind alleys, knowing God only in our imagination. It is reality, we are His sons and daughters, and the kingdom that the Father gave the Son is ours, also. We are a kingdom of priests, having fellowship and communion with the Father and His Son. The Holy Ghost is the communion link between us and the Father and Son. This kind of relationship and reality will turn the world upside down just as it did in the Book of Acts.
The Firstfruits of the Spirit
The “Romans Road” plainly presents this Christian life as experiencing the “Firstfruits of the Spirit.” It is clearly presented as far above this unredeemed world, but less than our future hope. Look at this breathtaking passage that immediately follows the earlier passage previously discussed. It is really a continuation of this subject. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:18-23).
While we enjoy the “firstfruits” of this redemption experience, it is not free from the pains of this present world. There are sufferings, as seen in verse eighteen, but they are minor compared to our future glory. The emphasis on prosperity, wealth, and the life of pleasure, which our world has gone crazy about, is clearly unscriptural and even unimportant when we live for the Biblical future. Our hope is in the redeemed tomorrow and we willingly confess ourselves pilgrims and strangers as the champions of faith did in Hebrews chapter eleven. This world’s system has no foundation and we refuse to live by its false concepts.
Please notice what was said about Abraham in the chapter of champions mentioned above, “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:9-10). “He looked for a city which hath foundations” because, even in his wealth, he saw the futility of it all. This present world and all of its wealth is built on sinking sand. Naked we came and naked we leave. Abraham was wealthy, but he had no prosperity concept. It was all going to pass away, because it had no lasting foundation. His vision was the eternal city that has an eternal foundation and will last forever.
In verse nineteen we begin to see what this Holy Ghost witness creates in the saint’s life. The Holy Ghost calls the results of His witness in us, “earnest expectation.” Listen again, “The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” What a statement about what is happening in the inner resources of the child of God. We could care less about this world’s pleasures and gold because the testimony in us gives absolute assurance of what our future will entail. There is going to be a “manifestation,” an “unveiling,” a “revealing” of all that befits the sons of God. Kings in this world will look like paupers in the world to come. Gold will be the pavement of streets, so whatever the value that wealth is measured by will be far greater than gold.
1 Corinthians 15
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
The Holy Spirit then speaks of the “glorious liberty of the children of God” as a future fullness that we shall experience. Words are hard to find that fully express what our future will represent. We shall be like our Lord in His glorious resurrection and experience an unlimited state of bliss and glory. No wonder the Scripture states the “whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” This life, where sin has invaded every domain of the world, even the atmospheric heavens, cannot rest fully until all is redeemed. But, we that are saints of God are experiencing the firstfruits of that redemption as we abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit.
The Saints “Groan Within” as we Wait
The last verse of the second main passage is breathtaking truth. There are two phases to our adoption. We are adopted into His family at redemption, but we will be adopted into an eternal state when our body is redeemed. That’s what the Scripture is suggesting when it states that we “have the firstfruits.” The same Holy Ghost that effects our adoption when we are born again will effect the total supernatural change when we are made incorruptible. Please remember it is the same Holy Ghost that floods us with the “firstfruits” that will totally transform us at the “main fruit.” It cannot be less than supernatural at either moment. To suggest that a person is saved when there has been nothing but a mental decision is a cheap treatment of truth. That is why we have an inferior and empty state of spirituality in most churches.
It is important that we do not reduce our experience below the Bible level, but it is also important that we do not create illusions about our spiritual life. We are not in heaven ye,t and our world is hostile to any level of genuine spirituality. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b). We are called to be pilgrims and strangers because He wants us to live for the world to come. Let’s read this special verse again, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23).
Regardless of our present life, whether we have plenty or suffer want, we are not overly moved in either circumstance. Our “firstfruits” of His Holy Ghost has made this world as of little worth to us and we “groan” within anticipating the fullness of that which we have tasted. Once someone has tasted the “firstfruits,” there is no way to ever be satisfied with this world. This is why we must return to the reality of being truly “born again.” Our altars have got to become more than a quick fix of shaking the preacher’s hand. We must encourage men and women to stay before the Lord in prayer until they are utterly transformed and made new.
Our flesh cannot please God. The Spirit stated in this same chapter this very fact. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:8-9).
The word, “flesh,” as used in this verse does not mean the body, but the carnal passions that control the self-life. When self is perfectly willing to die that the Spirit of life might take full control, then this “Witness of the Spirit” is sure to manifest. Putting all of yourself on His altar in total surrender will open the windows of heaven for a “blessed life in Christ.”
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
“The Witness Of The Holy Ghost” in the believer’s heart is a supernatural reality. If you have never had the assurance of salvation that the “witness of the Holy Ghost” is ordained of God for you, then do not cease to pray and wait before God. This is your “firstfruit” of eternal redemption. If you do not have the “firstfruits,” how can you be certain of your eternal salvation? This is your guarantee. This is God’s way of manifesting Himself in your redeemed soul. He wants you to know that you know that you know that you are saved and a “new creature in Christ.”
Salvation is not something of the mind only. Salvation is a radical transformation. The “sinner” is made into a saint. The moment you are saved, you are made as holy as you will ever be. You will grow in your own surrender and you will clean up the external temple (your body) so that it reflects holiness to the world. No one will have to force “pure living” on you when the inward man is transformed. You will delight in the “holiness of God” because your character has been transformed to express the nature of God.
The Holy Spirit waits at the door of your heart. Open to the Lord Jesus today and that sweet Spirit of Jesus will come rushing in to testify of His saving presence.