Monday, December 3, 2012

The Holy Spirit's work in Christ's first coming

Hebrews 9:11a "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come...."

Yesterday we began exploring how the Holy Spirit prepared for the arrival of Jesus Christ in His first coming.  We noted that the Holy Spirit used the entirety of Old Testament history to prepare for the Son's arrival at Bethlehem.  Today I want to get more specific and help the read understand a little bit more of what the Holy Spirit did in making it possible for God the Son to enter into this world as a virgin born human being.   

The Holy Spirit's involvement in bringing Christ from eternity into time
How is it that Jesus Christ, God the Son, came into this world from eternity into time? Answer: by the working of the Holy Spirit. If it had not been for the Holy Spirit's active involvement, the first Christmas or Advent of Jesus would not had been possible. Think of how the Holy Spirit was involved in Christ's arrival into this world by consider three main activities: His work of inspiration, the virgin birth (incarnation) and His working of Providence. 

1). Inspiration of the Scriptures. 1 Peter 1:11 tells us concerning the Old Testament Prophets: "seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow." In Isaiah 7:14, we see such an example of the Spirit's work of Divine inspiration: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."

2). The Virgin Birth (incarnation). As we just read, the Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah predicted the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.  Bible scholars refer to the whole journey of God the Son from Eternity to humanity as His incarnation (literally His coming "in the flesh").  The virgin birth's relationship to the truth of Christ's incarnation explains "how He arrived", with the term "incarnation" simply explaining "what took place".  Both truths are cornerstone doctrines of the Christian faith. The angel Gabriel told Mary in Luke 1:35 - "The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God."

The Holy Spirit's work in the virgin Mary's womb enabled the Divine Son to journey from eternity into time, since it was the Spirit who worked with Mary's DNA to fashion a body of humanity for Christ to assume. (Hebrews 10:5-9) The Holy Spirit's work in the virgin birth preserved Jesus' humanity from inheriting the original sin of Adam, since the sin nature is transmitted through the father's bloodline going all the way back to Adam. (1 Peter 1:18-19) 1 Timothy 3:16a gives insight into the Holy Spirit's preservation of Christ's human nature from sin: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit...." (KJV). 

In a miracle that we cannot fully comprehend, the Holy Spirit used the womb of Mary to create a genuine human nature for God the Son to assume. Simultaneously the Spirit bypassed the need for a natural human father to ensure that the Son's human nature would be sinless. Quite literally Christ in his humanity was the genuine Son of Mary while in His Deity remained Eternally the Son of the Father, equal in power and glory. (John 1:1)

3. The Spirit's work in providence in Christ's first coming.  We alluded to the Holy Spirit's work in yesterday's blog with regards to His usage of time and events in the Old Testament.  When we speak of God's right to reign - we call that "Sovereignty".  When we refer to God's ruling reign - we call that "Providence".  Being that the Holy Spirit is as much God as the Father and Son are God, it only stands that He too works forth in Providence. (compare Acts 5:4-5; 2 Corinthians 3:16-17).  The Holy Spirit is the one who in conjunction with the Father, orchestrated and synchronized times and seasons. Consider Galatians 4:4 - "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law".  Who "made" Christ's humanity in the virgin's womb?  The Holy Spirit.(Luke 1:35)  Who revealed the coming of Jesus as a virgin born baby? Again, the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 7:14).  Who then providentially used time itself to bring about the right moment in which the humanity of Jesus would be conceived and birthed?  The Holy Spirit. (1 Peter 1:10-11)