This month, I want to wrap up my answer to this question on the Holy Spirit. To be honest, as I look over my numerous thoughts that I have written, my overwhelming feeling is one of incompleteness. But I am completely okay with that, because meditating on the Holy Spirit is meditating on our Infinite God, and describing the life of a person inhabited by the Holy Spirit is like describing the wind (John 3:5).
But as I thought of what to write to wrap things up, I pondered on the final and ultimate goal of the Holy Spirit. And for me, as I look farthest into the Bible, I think about our future life after this here on earth is done where we know Christ fully (what we also call eternity). With that end point in mind, and as I think about the Holy Spirit’s primary work, I can’t see anything more exciting than the final and ultimate wedding.
The Bible describes a wedding where Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride. Now the Bible does indeed describe Jesus as the Husband and the church as the wife (e.g. Ephesians 5:25-32). So there is a sense in which God already sees Christ and the Church as being one. There is a dual sense of “already is/not yet” in this imagery, since we’re dealing with a God who is not bound by time. But I do believe that there is going to be a real wedding feast in eternity, where there is the wedding and the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9).
So with that wedding in mind, I want to describe the Holy Spirit’s role in preparing for it.
HE LABORS TO PREPARE A BRIDE
Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
This verse comes near the very end of the Bible. Revelation 22 is the last chapter in the Bible, and this verse is one of the final few verses in this chapter. So after reading about the final days of this present earth, the final judgment, and the new heaven and new earth in vivid detail, we are left with the present work of the Holy Spirit with that end in mind. And the call of the Holy Spirit is simple. It is a request to come to God.
But He is not alone in making the call. He stands alongside the Bride of Christ. I see the Bride here to be a picture of the entire Bride of Christ. She consists of every person who lives their lives on this earth with a simple and pure devotion to Jesus Christ. This is the heart of the Bride that qualifies her to be married to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2-3).
So these two stand on the other side of this life, and give this simple but clarion call to all of us: Come! All of us can easily say that this is simple and easily understood.
But yet, we find from this verse that yet not everybody comes:
There are some who are so attracted by the things of this world that they do not even hear the voice of the Spirit and the bride. These are the people of whom John writes about in 1 John 2:15-17 – that they love the world and the things of the world. For such people, John tells me that the love of God is not in them at all. That is why we read that only those who hear also say “Come.” These acknowledge the call they have heard. The rest miss the call altogether, so they carry on in their addiction to this world, and being enslaved by the ruler of this world.
But then, even among those who hear the call to come, there are some who do not end up coming because they are not truly thirsty. Such people want Jesus as an accessory but not as a Bridegroom. They want Jesus as a part-time convenient Friend to help them, but they don’t have hearts that are constantly thirsty for more of His presence. They don’t genuine enjoy and long for His company. Most of their days pass without much thought for Him. Such people may clearly hear the Spirit’s and Bride’s call. But they cannot come because they will simply not find the need to drink of the water given to them – because they are not thirsty.
But there is also one more requirement for those who will fully enter into the simple request to come. All who desire to come must wish to take the water of life without cost. The complete absence of cost to the water of life indicates an utter rejection of all one’s deeds (bad AND good) as being at all useful to receive the water of life (see Philippians 3:7). Some folks never receive the water of life because they think they’re not good enough. Some others never receive the water of life because they think they do have some good works that can serve as compensation for the water of life. Both such kinds of people suffer from an underlying problem – they don’t believe that the water of life comes without cost. And so they miss out on being able to enter into the call of the Spirit and the Bride.
But in spite of all these folks who miss out, it is of great encouragement that there is a holy remnant of sincere people all across the world that do end up coming. And such people come and drop off all that they have at the garbage dump outside. They know that all the good and bad that they bring are useless. And this act only heightens their sense of poverty and their thirst (in their hearts). So when they hear the call of the Spirit and the Bride to come, they do come with their hearts FULL of gratitude, and glad to receive the water of life that comes without cost.
HE LABORS TO TRANSFORM US INTO THE IMAGE OF THE BRIDEGROOM
2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
As the people described above respond to the call of the Holy Spirit and the Bride, they know that they are not coming just to be satisfied. There is a satisfaction and rest that they obtain for sure, but there is a work that must be done as well – to be transformed into the heart of the Bridegroom.
That is what we see in 2 Corinthians 3:18. The Spirit summons us to come. And when we come, He shows us the tremendous glory of Jesus – and He helps us see this as clearly as we see our face in a mirror. As I wrote previously, He makes Jesus more and more special to us. And as we behold the glory of the Lord, He comes as a Helper to slowly but surely help us to be transformed into the same glorious image of our precious Lord.
The Holy Spirit is the only one who can do this kind of transformation. We might be able to become better people, and we might be able to reform our character. But I don’t think ANY of us actually believe that we can somehow transform ourselves to match the same glorious image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even the most proud Christian is probably not that vain!!! So we need the Holy Spirit to do the transformation in us.
And we must also realize that it is only just and fair that the Bridegroom get married to a Bride that is fit for Him. It is the Father’s great pleasure to celebrate a wedding feast where the Bridegroom gets married to a Bride that is fit for Him – a Bride that has been transformed into the same glorious image as the Bridegroom Himself.
So the Holy Spirit and the Bride ask us to come. They want to take us to see the glory of Jesus, and be transformed into His image. So when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, it is because He is longing to make us part of Christ’s Bride. And when He comes as a fire to cleanse us of sin, He is doing that to make us pure like Jesus is pure.
The Apostle John tells me the same thing. He says that when we see Christ, we will be like Him. But the proof that this is our unmovable hope is that we will purify ourselves just as Jesus Himself is pure (1 John 3:2-3).
As we compare our lives to the purity of Jesus, we find that we need much help to purify ourselves just as He is pure. So as we respond to the call of the Spirit and the Bride, we see that the Spirit is inviting us into a walk with Him where He helps us purify ourselves.
So I hope that we will keep this goal of the Holy Spirit foremost in our minds.
Let us never, ever lose sight of the marriage on the other side of this life.
Let us never, ever lose sight of the wonderful event that is going to happen.
And let us always embrace the ministry of the precious third person of the Trinity who only desires our very best.
So as I wrap up, let me summarize the 12 themes I sought to amplify over the last year:
1. POWER TO BE A WITNESS FOR JESUS – Acts 1:8 and Acts 5:29-32
2. STAYING HONEST – THE IMPOSSIBILITY WITHOUT HIM
– Luke 1:30-40
3. STAING HUNGRY – YEARNING WITH INSATIABLE THIRST
– John 5:37-39
4. STAYING HUMBLE – COMPARING MYSELF ONLY TO JESUS
– Isaiah 66:1-2
5. THE VOICE OF GOD TO US – KNOWING GOD AS A DADDY
– Romans 8:16
6. A DOVE AND A FIRE – Matthew 3:16; Acts 2:3; Matthew 3:11-12
7. A HELPER WHO WASHES – Titus 3:5; John 14
8. A HELPER WHO GROANS – Romans 8:24-27
9. HE MAKES JESUS MORE AND MORE SPECIAL TO US – John 16:14
10. HE WANTS UNITY
a. HIS FRUIT – FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL – Galatians 5
b. HIS GIFTS – FOR THE CHURCH – 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12; Ephesians 4; Matthew 7
11. HE COMES TO DWELL (LIVE) WITHIN US – John 14:16,17;
1 Corinthians 6
12. HE IS FOCUSED ON THE FINAL / ULTIMATE WEDDING
Dear brothers and sisters as fellow family members of God, I am convinced more than ever that I have not provided an answer to the question. But I hope if nothing else, I have provided some thoughts that make you hungry and thirsty to know the precious Person of the Holy Spirit. If so, I have done my job. Now you can go to God with this hunger and thirst, and He will SURELY fill you with the Holy Spirit. Receive Him right away by faith, just as children readily receive the bread and water that their parents give them. He will change your life in an infinitely more profound way than anything I could have possibly written.
And I sincerely pray that God will make this a reality for many in this increasingly dark world.
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