About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
To The Spirit
In a recent article
I reminded us of our ever-present tendency as Christians to replace the
Holy Spirit's activity in our lives with our own fallen human effort.
This was the problem the Apostle Paul addressed in his letter to
the believers in
You can read Paul's
letter to the Galatians for yourself but after calling his readers foolish
he explained the difference between law and grace.
Obedience to a law of works saves no one.
Trusting your life to Jesus both saves you and keeps you saved.
Paul then maintained that Christian maturity as seen in the fruit
of the Spirit cannot be attained apart from the Holy Spirit.
He went as far to say that if anyone forsakes the gospel of grace
and the Holy Spirit he would be alienating himself from Christ (Galatians 5:4).
However you interpret that, it sounds pretty serious to me.
In my opinion,
today's Evangelical Christianity is riddled with humanism more than most
realize, much of which is borrowed from the non-Biblical culture in which
we live. If we are to depart
from our humanistic ways we must first recognize its existence and admit
to its influence. This may be
difficult. We are so
entrenched in human effort that we fail to realize its impact on us as
individuals and on us as the church. Departing
from human effort would mean a drastic change to our lives and to the life
of the church. For example, if
a Sunday school teacher is not called by God to teach children and does
not have the God given ability to do so, then he or she should not be a
Sunday school teacher. You can
imagine the strain this might place on some local congregations.
If there is no one called and enabled by the Spirit to a ministry,
you don't arbitrarily appoint someone to that ministry.
Of course, if all those in the congregation were living life in the
Spirit, I'm sure the Spirit would call and enable someone to that
Attempting to work
out our salvation as Paul encouraged us to do in Philippians 2:12 apart
from the power of the Holy Spirit is not only unbiblical, it's ineffective
in accomplishing God's will. We,
therefore, must be sure we have the Spirit of God residing in us as
individuals and then submit to His leadership.
He will point his finger of conviction on our lives and He, with
our cooperation, will enable us to depart from human effort to live life
in the Spirit. The same
applies to the local expression of church.
There is no departure from humanism in the church without returning
to the power and influence of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
Why the believers
Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build" (Psalm 127:1).
Whether it's the house of your life or the house of the church,
without the Spirit's enabling, it's just fallen and depraved human effort.