All Christians are unanimous on the fact that God the Father’s greatest act of perfect love was sending His Son to be the perfect and only acceptable sacrifice for our sin. But if you were to ask what the second greatest demonstration of the Father’s love is, you might find some disagreement and a few who might scratch their head and say, “I’m not sure.” The good news is that we are all in complete agreement on the first and if we are clear on that fact alone, everything else is secondary. Yet I don’t think God’s second act of perfect love is that hard to see, especially if we pay attention to the teachings and promises of Jesus himself. It is really an extension of the first. But before we go directly to His teachings and promises let’s take a look at how God revealed it to His people centuries before Christ walked the streets of Jerusalem and made His way to the cross.
Following along in Isaiah 11:1-3, we have looked at how the Spirit can and will come to rest on us, providing the peace we so desperately need in times of fear, anxiety, and in periods of crisis. We also have read how the Spirit’s rest allows us to clear our mind of destructive thoughts and then He replaces them with the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that only comes from God. The next two provisions of God made available to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit are listed by Isaiah in verse two, “the Spirit of counsel and of power.” It would be a fair observation that the first three prepares our minds or thoughts and the next two, counsel and power, our actions. It’s like the old saying, what you think and do are often two different things. Well this not the outcome that God is looking for in His followers and since we are all prone to such inconsistency and hypocrisy, God provide the solution.
Jesus spoke repeatedly to his disciples of what would happen when He left this world to be united with His Father in heaven and He speaks to them about it one last time before His ascension saying “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about (Acts 1:4).” Jesus’ mission to save and deliver us was complete and He would not return again until it was time to bring this world, Satan’s world, to an end and bring His children home. But until then Jesus told them, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” I’m sure they were thinking, this is all very comforting but who is this Counselor and for what reason is He being sent? Jesus answers them saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives.” The Counselor was sent to be our advocate in this world and the next, and teaches us “all things” that are of God and not of this world. Furthermore, the Spirit was sent to remind us of what Jesus taught while on earth and in doing so brings us the peace of God. Jesus finishes these words of comfort saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:25-27)”
Jesus promised that He would never leave us alone and He fulfilled that promise in the person of the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Spirit is the source of our wisdom, knowledge and understanding and also our Counselor, sent to bring us the peace of God so we can enter into His rest. But that’s not all, the Holy Spirit is the source of our power, enabling us to act on what we know and understand to be true. But what are we are to do with this power, how is it to be used? Did the Spirit come to us simply so that we might enjoy the peace we so desperately need, or is there more to it? Jesus answers this question saying, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).” The power of the Spirit, the power to transform people’s lives, is like a life saving vaccine that must be shared with all, in order to be effective. It is part and parcel of our salvation and deliverance, compelling us to tell all we meet of its power to bring real peace. Once received, they too will be compelled to share the “good news” and the process will be repeated again and again; as our Lord describes it, “to the ends of the earth.” The fact that these were the final words spoken by Christ to the disciples before “he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight (v.9)”, is a wake-up call to just how important it is to share the “good news” with others.
So what is God the Father’s second greatest act of perfect love? The sending of the Holy Spirit of course, but in reality all that God has done for us, from creation to the end of the age, is one continuous demonstration of love and grace, on a scale we can never fully understand or appreciate while residents of this world. But this is clear and unambiguous, our job while on this earth, in our communities and in our own households is to be a witness for Christ, both in what we say and by what we do. We can know what to say and what to do because Christ did not leave us alone, but sent the person of the Holy Spirit to be our Counselor and provides us to power to fulfill our obligation.
Tool #359 You are not alone, no matter how isolated or abandoned you may feel. The Spirit of God is with you, as your Counselor; providing you the power you need to overcome, be at peace and most important, be a witness to Christ.