Think about it: the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you and me. That is astounding! No matter what kind of physical problems you may be experiencing—the Holy Spirit within you is more powerful still.
It’s good to be with you again as we continue with our theme for this week, “The Holy Spirit in You.”
We’ve been studying together various ways in which the Holy Spirit, as our indwelling Helper or Comforter or Counselor, gives us supernatural help to lead the kind of Christian life that the New Testament reveals is God’s plan for His believing people. So far, we’ve looked at the following forms of help we receive from the Holy Spirit. First, He brings us revelation and interpretation of God’s Word (that’s God’s Word, both written and living; both the Bible and the personal word, the Lord Jesus Christ). Second, through the Holy Spirit, we are lifted onto a supernatural plane of living. The epistle to the Hebrews says, “we’ve tasted the powers of the age to come.” Thirdly, yesterday I spoke about supernatural direction and power and ability in prayer which the Holy Spirit brings to us.
Today I’m going to explain how the Holy Spirit imparts supernatural life and health to our physical bodies. We need to understand, first of all, that Jesus came to give us life. Oh, that’s such a beautiful realization! This is what Jesus says about His coming and His purpose, in John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
You see, we have two persons set before us there, we need to distinguish very clearly between them: there’s the Life-giver, Jesus; the life-taker, Satan, the devil. The devil only comes into our lives to take life. He comes to steal the blessings, the provisions, of God; he comes to kill us physically; and destroy us eternally. Every one of us needs to understand that if we permit the devil to have any place in our lives, that’s what he’s going to do: steal, kill and destroy to the measure in which we permit him to do it.
On the other hand, Jesus came to do the exact opposite: He came that we may have life and that we might have it to the full (or, more abundantly).
Now, it’s very important for us to realize that this life that Jesus came to give us is administered by the Holy Spirit. We only have this life in proportion as we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us. If we resist or refuse the work of the Holy Spirit, then we cannot experience the fullness of divine life which Jesus came to bring us. We need to understand, first of all, that it was the Holy Spirit who raised the dead body of Jesus from the tomb. Paul says this in Romans 1:4, about Jesus. He says:
“...through the Spirit of holiness [Jesus] was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.”
The Spirit of holiness is a Greek translation of the Hebrew phrase for the Holy Spirit. It’s interesting to me that though Paul was writing Greek, he was thinking in Hebrew. And so, when he says, “through the Spirit of holiness,” it’s the same as saying, “through the Holy Spirit, Jesus was manifested (declared) to be the Son of God by the power that raised him from the dead (that’s the power of the Holy Spirit).”
Then, further on in Romans 8:10-11, Paul goes on to say that the same power that raised the dead body of Jesus from the tomb is also now dwelling in our physical bodies.
In my talks last week I pointed out that, in a certain sense, this was the climax of the redemptive process of God in this age; that God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit should indwell our physical bodies and make them His temple, His dwelling place. And so, in Romans 8:10-11, Paul says this:
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”
When Christ comes in, when we’re converted and regenerated, an old life ends, a new life begins. The old, carnal life is terminated and our spirits come alive with the life of God. Then Paul goes on to say, in verse 11 what it means for our physical body. And he says this:
“...if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”
It’s very clear. The same Person, the same power, that raised the body of Jesus from the tomb, is now dwelling in the body of each yielded believer and is imparting to that mortal body the same kind of life that He imparted to the mortal body of Jesus and raised Him with an eternal body. Now, I want to say very clearly, this process of imparting divine life to our bodies will not be consummated until the general resurrection from the dead. We do not now have resurrection bodies. It’s very important that we see that. But what we do have is resurrection life in mortal bodies. And Paul implies, in fact he goes on to say in various different passages that resurrection life in our mortal bodies can take care of all the physical needs of our body until the time that God separates spirit from body and calls us home.
You see, it’s important to understand how our bodies were formed in the first place because it all relates together. In Genesis 2:7, we read this:
“The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath [or the Spirit] of life, and man became a living being [or a living soul].”
What was it that produced man’s physical body? It was the inbreathed Spirit of God that transformed a form of clay into a living human being with all the miracles and marvels of a functioning human body. It was the Holy Spirit who originally brought our physical body into being. Logically, He’s the one to sustain it. You see, this is so logical, if only Christians can see it. Divine healing, divine health, are most logical in the light of Scripture.
For instance, if your watch goes wrong, you don’t take your watch to the bootmaker, you take your watch to the watchmaker. Now, apply that. If your body goes wrong, where do you take your body? In my opinion, the logical thing to do is to take it to the bodymaker, and that is the Holy Spirit.
Here in the United States we’re very familiar with seeing on the chassis or the body of one of the commonest cars in the United States the little phrase, “Body by Fisher.” Well, when I look at a fellow Christian, I say, “Body by the Holy Spirit.” That’s what gave him his body, that’s what sustains his body, that’s what gives power to his body.
Listen to Paul’s testimony (I’m always impressed by this, what he was able to go through), 2 Corinthians 11:23-25:
“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea...”
It’s almost incredible that a man could go through all that and be so active, so healthy, so courageous. What was the power that sustained Paul in all that? The power of the Holy Spirit. Listen to this account of the stoning of Paul in Lystra in Acts 14:19-20:
“Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. [And it takes a lot of stones to make a man even appear dead. Then it says:] But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”
What a man! Do you know I’ve heard some people suggest that Paul was a kind of invalid; that he walked around sick most of the time. Well, my comment on that is: “If Paul was an invalid, God give us a lot more invalids like Paul.”
We’ve looked briefly at the remarkable record of the physical endurance and resilience of the apostle Paul. Now let’s look at his secret; what does he say about this? I believe we find it in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay [What’s ‘this treasure’? It’s the indwelling Spirit of God.] to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. [We’re not different kinds of persons in ourselves but we have a different kind of power in us. And then he says how much he had to go through:] We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. [Things that would crush other men don’t need to crush you and me because we’ve got a power in us that makes us resilient. And then Paul goes on to say:] We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
There is a beautiful contrast: we reckon ourselves dead with Jesus, but when we reckon ourselves dead, then His life is manifested in our physical body. It’s very clear, it’s not in the next age, it’s in this age that that supernatural, indwelling resurrection life of Jesus in the Holy Spirit is to be manifested in our physical bodies. Paul continues, verse 11:
“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.”
Let me read those last words again: “...so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” It’s not just a secret, indwelling presence that no one can see, it’s a presence that works such results in our physical body that it’s manifest to everybody. The resurrection life of Jesus is revealed in our mortal body. Then he says:
“So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
When we receive the sentence of death in ourselves, we come to the end of our own physical strength and ability, then a new kind of life works through us to others.
In closing, let me read 2 Corinthians 4:16, which I think are beautiful words:
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”
The outward man decays but there’s a life in the inner man that’s renewed day by day, and that inner supernatural, miraculous life of God takes care of the needs of the outer man.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing how the Holy Spirit pours out God’s love in our hearts.