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Spirit of truth III

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The Holy Spirit came knowing that the eleven had not only disbelieved, disobeyed and delayed His outpouring, but had used the casting the of lot to decide on Judas’ replacement.  As such, the composition of the twelve would forever be, could never be perfect… for they had not waited for Him to tell them what Jesus’ choice for Judas replacement was.

It has been asked, “If Matthias was not the Lord’s choice for the replacement of Judas, then why didn’t the Holy Spirit correct the mistake?  Surely He could have spoken to the eleven and told them their mistake?”

The problem laid in the way Matthias was chosen.  He was chosen by the casting of the lot.  A method the Lord had used in the past for the division of land, for the decision of the scapegoat, and for guiding Nebuchadnezzar to attack Jerusalem.  If the Holy Spirit were to then say that Matthias was not the correct choice, then the Holy Spirit would have gone against the decision of the casting of the lot, whose every decision, as it is written, comes from the Lord.  It would have destroyed the Oneness of the Lord.

It is when you understand the situation that the Holy Spirit found Himself facing, that you can begin to appreciate fully the work of the Holy Spirit and why Jesus called Him the Spirit of truth.

The twelve was now composed of the eleven and a man who was never intended to be part of the twelve.  However, the Holy Spirit continued to work with them, confirming the words of Jesus with signs following as they preached, so that the words of the Lord Jesus continued to be proved true.  The Lord gathered the three thousand on the day of Pentecost… the Lord grew the church and worked miracles through the disciples so that the church grew even though it was no longer following the exact plan of the Lord.  The church would grow under grace and the Holy Spirit became the Spirit of grace for Christ’s sake.  Grace was what would flow from the Holy Spirit as the dominant aspect for the next two millenniums.  Why?  Because no one would admit to the truth.

Not one of the eleven mentioned that they had not gone on resurrection morning.  The gospel of Matthew gives the reader the impression that they did go, until you read the gospels of John, Mark and Luke.  In the letters of John and Peter, there is not a mention by the two that they did not go that morning, and Peter forgot to mention the command they had received on the Mount of Transfiguration.  The truth that they had not believed, not obeyed and delayed the Lord is not written plainly in the epistles… giving the impression that everything went according to plan, when in fact nothing went according to plan.  It was Israel all over again.  Just as the first generation did not enter the promised land for Israel, so the first of the apostles never entered into the fullness of the Kingdom of God.

So, the Lord had to work with what He had to still bring glory to Jesus without allowing the enemy to taunt God.  As a result, salvation, indeed, everything in the church, would be run on grace.  So much grace that Paul could write that salvation is by grace through faith and not by truth through faith.  How different would our salvation be if it was by truth, not grace, that we are saved through faith?  The difference is that we would love the truth more than we love the grace.

When we led the Lord down the path of grace, we began to walk right next to the law… for the law with all its demands and punishments is the opposite of grace with all its forgiveness and lack of demands.  And in order to solve the problem that is inherent to grace, we then had to make up new rules or turn back to the old ones to give grace boundary and definition.  For grace has no definition or boundary.  It is just grace.  It has no limits.  It is excellent for the sinner and the repeat sinner, but useless for perfection.

That is why we see the church as it exists… adopting parts of the obsolete law and devising new rules.  By Acts 15, the grace had so infiltrated the church that all manners of doctrine were being released, even for things as basic as salvation… resulting in the fateful meeting where James the Younger spoke up.  The abuse of grace made the reintroduction of the law more and more of a necessity, and for more and more rules to be added.

The grace that would come before the truth was the grace that brought Jesus.  That grace brought Him as the Saviour who healed the sick, drove out demons and made Him a Friend of drunks and prostitutes, until the truth could be revealed through Him – that God is God and He does whatever He pleases.  To make that point, God made Him who was without sin to be sin so that we might be the righteousness of God.  To prove the point, He who fulfilled the law broke the law in His silence, and taught His disciples to break it likewise with the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood.  Truths that the eleven could not comprehend because their hearts were still for Israel and its traditions.

The Holy Spirit coming as the Spirit of truth was meant to take that revelation of truth and make it manifest in and through the disciples, so that with His power they would do the things that Jesus has been doing and greater things than these would they truly do.  The Spirit would manifest this truth for the glory of Those who had sent Him, so that They – Father and Son – are God and They can do whatever They wish and no one would be able to stop Them, for They are the Lord God Almighty.

From that truth would flow grace… not the grace that allowed drunks to repent of their sin, but drunks to master their sin.  (One who could produce a wine that gladden the hearts of men, but can never cause them to be drunks.)  For the latter and the greater grace that we have never seen is the grace that allows a person to master the sin after he repents.

However, the church by Acts 15 only had the former grace… and so the only advice the elders could give to the gentiles was these words of powerlessness:  You will do well to avoid these things. [Acts 15.29] (Meaning things they considered to be sin, such as the eating and drinking of blood and strangled meat and of food sacrificed to idols.)  And so life in Christ became a life of avoidance of sin until we make it to the gates of Heaven for some peace.

No mastery ever comes out of avoidance, but without the latter grace – the grace of the Holy Spirit – we could not even begin to do what Jesus did.  He mastered sin and used it for the salvation of mankind.

The sovereignty of the Lord that He does what He pleases was demonstrated on the Mount of Transfiguration when He chose who He wanted – Peter, James and John – and left out Andrew.  And when the Lord and the Lord appeared in the cloud, They commanded that only Jesus be listened to… without a mention of Moses or Elijah even though they were right there.  This sovereignty was the truth the Spirit was to have brought and taught to the eleven – things they could not bear to hear – and the grace is the ability to apply these truths, showing that we are the true heirs of Christ by mastering the sin He removed from the world so that sin would never have dominion over the Earth and men again.

So who can bear to hear and see the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth?  Those who love truth, that is, those who love to produce that which glorifies the one who sent them, and those who are not afraid to master the sin.

Life in Christ was meant to be a life lived in the mastering of sin through the practice of the words of Jesus, as we made the peace of the Kingdom of God come on Earth.  If we master sin, then death has truly lost its sting… for the master does not receive wages from the servant.

It is then those who live and believe who will bear witness to this truth – they will live and never die because in them is the Spirit of Life.

Hr. Ed Kwan, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Factory

Copyright Information: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION [NIV] All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.  www.zondervan.com

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