God provides for His followers in many amazing ways. God makes us a down payment on eternity through His enablement and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
The Triune God works on behalf of Christ’s followers in many ways. Previously we have talked about the active part the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all take in our prayer lives.
Today we reflect on a passage that shows us how members of the Trinity work together to give us guidance and purpose in this life. All while preparing us for the next.
In doing so, God is preparing us to live this life, and at the same time giving us a down payment on eternity.
Christ’s Commission for Us
Christ has given His followers a mission; to make disciples and teach them all that Jesus has commanded.
While this is not the sum total of Jesus’ commands to his disciples, it is the command that moves us along in growing the Body of Christ. Much like parenting is raising the next generation of parents, Discipling others is intended to raise the next generation of disciplers.
We abide with Christ to learn from and grow in fellowship with Him. Then God will bear fruit through us (John 15:5).
What is the avenue through which that fruit comes? It is as we live our faith in Christ openly in the world, revealing ourselves through our love for each other as believers. This opens us up to opportunities to disciple others.
Christ also promised us that when He left, He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us (John 14:16-17).
The Holy Spirit’s Guarantee for Us
Yes, the Holy Spirit provides specific ministries for us. He is a gift to us from Jesus Christ, who sent the Holy Spirit to us after His departure so that we would never be abandoned. We know God is always with us because of the promise of the Holy Spirit.
In the context of today’s passage, it is the very act of the Holy Spirit being bestowed upon those who choose to follow Christ that ministers to us another way. Here He is called a “first installment” for all that God has promised us.
God’s promises to His own begin with placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
It is like getting a down payment on eternity. Sometimes you hear the phrase “little slice of heaven” in slogans or advertising campaigns. The Holy Spirit is literally that for followers of Christ. He is our direct connection that Christ left us and that helps us walk in the faith. His presence allows us a taste what Heaven will be like.
God’s Strengthening for Us
God has given us the means to inherit salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. He has given us the Holy Spirit as the “first installment” guaranteeing His promises (eternal life with Him). And God enables us to “stand firm” in our faith in Christ.
Our faith in Christ is intended to be a lifelong call. It is intended to endure. God does indeed “guarantee everything He has promised us”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t, in our free will, still reject it. The Bible tells us we must be faithful to the end (Hebrews 3:12-14).
Thankfully, God does empower us to stand firm. It is His empowerment that gives us the strength and the hope to endure. His love for us is steadfast (Romans 8:38-39).
Some people conflate that idea with a gospel of works (earning our salvation), but nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, saying that what we do with God’s gift makes no difference once we have said a “sinner’s prayer” is a cheapening of His grace.
We do our part by abiding with Christ. We do our part by being obedient to Christ’s commands. These are things that our Savior, Jesus Christ, tells us we need to be doing as His disciples. If God bought us with a price, He has the right to tell us how we are expected to live for Him, in holiness.
When we consider God’s down payment on eternity, and how much He does on our behalf to secure our salvation, it begs the question: how much love, devotion, and commitment is He worthy of from us?
God does so much to secure our salvation, give us a taste of it in advance, and help us to endure so as to inherit the promise. Understanding all this, what needs to change in our lives in response?
More verses about standing firm in Christ:
Joshua 1:9; Proverbs 10:25; John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8-9