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What is the Life-giving Spirit?

The revelation of the Holy Spirit in the Bible includes many divine titles, such as, the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20), the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7), the Spirit (John 7:39), the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19), and the seven Spirits (Rev. 1:4). Each divine title has its own significance, revealing a different aspect of the Holy Spirit in the plan of God and in the experience of the believers. One of the most profound titles in the New Testament concerning the Spirit is “the life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). This aspect of the Spirit is for imparting life. First Corinthians 15:45 says, “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul’; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” The last Adam is Christ (Rom. 5:14) who terminated the old creation through His death on the cross (Rom. 6:6). Then in resurrection the last Adam, Christ, became a life-giving Spirit to germinate the new creation. Now in resurrection Christ as the life-giving Spirit imparts Himself as life into all of His believers. The life-giving Spirit is Christ in resurrection as the Spirit giving life to His believers; Christ with all His attainments and obtainments is now the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17).

As the Spirit, His believers can easily receive Him.

God’s intention is to give His life to man (John 10:10b; 3:16; 1 John 4:9) and to be man’s life (Col. 3:4). But there were two problems preventing the accomplishment of His intention. First, man is sinful not only in his outward deeds but also in his inward nature. Second, God was not in a form that man could receive (1 Tim. 6:16). To solve the first problem, Christ came as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) to deal with the entire problem of sin, shedding His blood for our redemption (Eph. 1:7; Rev. 1:5). To solve the second problem, God became a man; then through death and resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit. Through incarnation, God as life was embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus (John 1:14; 11:25; 14:6). The divine life was expressed and fully manifested through Him (1 Tim. 3:16), and His disciples observed His living while they were with Him in His earthly ministry (1 John 1:1-2). Although the divine life, the eternal life, could be seen and appreciated, man could not participate in this life. The Lord Jesus said that He was indeed life (John 14:6), the bread of life (6:35), and the water of life (4:14; 7:37-38), but before His death and resurrection, He was not yet in a form man could receive. Through death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus passed through a process that transfigured Him from the flesh into the life-giving Spirit. Hence, on the day of His resurrection, the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples and breathed into them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (20:22). In this way, the Lord imparted Himself as life into His disciples, fulfilling His intention. As the Spirit, His believers can easily receive Him. Today this life-giving Spirit is available to be received and applied by all of the Lord’s believers.

For further reading on this subject, please see The Stream, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 14-24; Life-study of First Corinthians, pp. 613-619; The Conclusion of the New Testament, p. 861; and note 1 of John 20:22 in the New Testament Recovery Version, published by Living Stream Ministry.

From Issue No. 52, August 2002

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