by Mike Ratliff
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3 KJV)
Our salvation is the start of our new life in Christ. We will never be more saved than we were at that moment. When God justifies one of His people by faith, that declaration is complete and eternal. (Romans 8:30) Also, each saved person receives the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13) That is all of the Holy Spirit each of them will ever have. However, God’s will for each of His children is their sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) This is a process through which God conforms them unto the image of the Son.
There is a great deal of speculation about this phase within which are all genuine Christians who are still physically alive. Some teach that there is a “second blessing” that takes believers to a higher plane of spirituality once they reach a certain spiritual level. I believe that this teaching is simply a misinterpretation of something God does within believers who learn to be Spirit-filled. We have looked at Paul’s teaching on this from many angles in our discussions and in various posts.
It can be quite discouraging to deal with professing Christians who have no concept of the necessity of Christians being Spirit-filled. They will accuse those who preach and teach it of being Pharisaical or judgmental or worse. Why? We teach that instead of keeping rules or being ultra-religious, Christians should learn to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. They do this by confessing their sins, permeating their entire lives with the Word of God, and submitting to others as they serve God in all they do. God works in this by giving them joy and the ability to serve Him in ways they could never even conceive of without Him. Their knowledge of God and His ways increases and they can see clearly the foolishness of trying to live the Christian life any other way. They understand that they cannot please God outside of Him working in and through them. In fact, all work done in the name of Jesus that is done in the flesh are works of lawlessness.
With this seemingly permanent conflict in place that sometimes becomes quite ugly, it can appear that the Spirit-filled walk is of a very precarious nature. To the contrary, The Holy Spirit, in the New Testament Epistles, tells us repeatedly about the security of the life hid with Christ in God. The sanctified or Spirit-filled walk is looked upon by most professing Christians as something iffy or nebulous. However, the Bible is very clear that it is the most secure thing. How? Why? God Almighty is in it and behind it. Spiritual reality is the opposite of the natural man’s or the baby Christian’s perception. While the Spirit-filled walk is seen as hazardous or temporary, the fleshly walk is seen as easy and the default. That perception is true for the lost, but it is quite wrong for the Christian, no matter how mature he or she is.
Spiritual reality is that it is the most precarious thing to try and live without God. A born again person will find that it is the easiest thing to live in right relationship to God, and the most difficult thing to walk in disobedience. Why? God upholds those who are His and will rebuke, reprimand, and convict them until they repent. If God’s people obey Him and heed His warnings and stay in the light, they will find that the Holy Spirit will control them more and more, guiding them into obedience each and every day.
Another perception is that the Spirit-filled life is like a huge and distant mountain peak. Christians naturally believe that it is unattainable for them. They are right unless God gives them the grace to do so. Since it is God’s will for us to be sanctified and become Spirit-filled do you suppose that He would withhold His grace from those who seek Him and a life of obedience for His glory alone? When believers do follow hard after God in repentance, worship, and obedience they will find that the mountain peak is actually a plateau with ample room to live and to grow. The foundation, our Lord Jesus Christ, is strong and firm and will enlarge our steps under us.
Who really sees Jesus? The Spirit-filled do. Who doubts Him? Those who are not Spirit-filled doubt. Jesus tells us to not let our hearts be troubled. That is a command. How can we do it? Our Lord gives His peace and joy. With those within us we will have an irrepressible confidence because our life is hid with Christ in God. In this hidden life, we do not doubt and we are bold in our humility.