Let me confess: I don’t know what I’m talking about. When we’re talking about what God is like, (and the Holy Spirit being key to understanding Him) no one does. We’re talking about something – some-One – so utterly beyond us, that we’re just scratching at the edges of a profound mystery.
Imagine a single ant trying to understand humans as we lumber over an anthill in the woods. The Ant might form some rudimentary idea about a human from your boots crashing nearby, but could it even begin to comprehend detail?
- What we are?
- How we’re similar to the ant?
- How we’re different?
– No way.
Unless what? Unless we could directly reveal information about us to that ant. How?
- Maybe someday we could inject it directly into its tiny little nervous system. Or:
- Maybe, if we became an ant, we could communicate something its own rudimentary language.
But, to do either of those things, we’d have to simplify, right?
-First, we’d have a very short time to do it in, we live 75 years, an ant lives 75 days!
-Second, the ant has no capacity for complex thought, it has 250,000 brain cells, compared to our 10,000 million.
- So we’d have to pare down the information. Lots of info would forever be a mystery to the Ant simply because the Ant has no capacity for all the information – it would fry its circuits!
- Remember, Moses – got to see God’s “back”, not his “face”. Isn’t that the same?
Now, do you believe God is as far above us, as we are above ants? At least, right? So how can we know any detail about what God is like? The same way the ant could know about us: IF and only IF the higher Being stoops down to reveal itself.
QUESTION: HAS GOD DONE THIS?
We believe he has; throughout history, climaxed in the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. So Christians believe that the ant analogy actually happened. God stooped to reveal himself to us.
But not everything about himself.
Moses, who received some of this Revelation, said:
Deut 29:29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
As we talk about the Holy Spirit this month, let’s admit always, there’s secrets here we’re never going to understand. They belong to God, and we can NEVER access them, because we’re ants.
-BUT, there’s things that have been revealed. Like ants we’d never know these things on our own. But once revealed by a source we trust, Moses says, it belongs to us, and we can KNOW it.
It’s not just dry doctrine, either. Tozer once said, we will live up or down toward the vision of what we think God is like. So, we should seek to get to the edges of the secrets we can’t know and ask, what can we know? What has God revealed? Because believing it and cherishing it, will change us.
So first God has revealed that there’s only ONE of him. Deut 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This might be a “duh” for you, but it’s a shock to Israel, immersed as they were in a polytheistic world. But after God saves them, He reveals there’s a God above all other gods. Who existed BEFORE the world. One all-powerful Architect. One Source and Father of all creation. One.
But secondly, Jesus revealed that God is a “COMPLEX UNITY”. And after Jesus promised the Spirit, his apostles and all subsequent Christians have noted the more than 200 times an entity known at the SPIRIT of God is talked about all over Moses and the Prophets. Jesus brought what was cryptic and secret out into plain view:
John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.
Emphasis on “another”. The Spirit is not the Father and the Spirit is not the SON…but the Spirit is equally God. So Three. God is one in BEING, and three in PERSON.
Let us then, never forget, the Spirit is personal. As such He can speak and guide and he can remind.
-He can be lied to: Acts 5:3-4
-He can be grieved: Eph 4:30
-He can lead us: Gal 5:25
-He can be insulted: Heb 10:29
-He comforts: Acts 9:31
This is a person! And this person is God, along with the Father and the Son. As a person, the Spirit of God cares deeply about you, about conforming you in the Image of Christ. And when we resist His refining work, we do grieve Him deeply.
Doesn’t that put a finer point on the relationship we have with the Counselor, inside? I believe if we believe the Spirit was really God and really a Person, we would care more deeply about the Holy Spirit’s grief. And if we did, there would be fewer fights, squabbles, gossip in the church. Fewer divorces, fewer splits, fewer moments of entrenched unforgiveness… why? Because we’d care more about the Spirit’s grief, than our own.
Gal 5:26: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
-Written by Rick Thiessen