Tomorrow is Pentecost. Once, God espoused himself to his people through the letter at the first Pentecost. Now he has espoused himself to his people through his Spirit at the latter Pentecost.
Be filled with the Spirit. — Ephesians 5:18
How can we obey this command?
- We pray for the Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12)
- The Spirit is the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4). Our sin quenches the Spirit and our receptivity to his work: so we are more filled with the Spirit when we pursue holiness and flee sin. Of course, it is only by the Spirit that we pursue holiness, but this is not a cruel irony because God is at work in our working. In other words, we are filled with the Spirit when we submit to him and to his will.
- The Spirit is the Spirit of the body (1 Cor 12:13, Eph 4:4), and the purpose of the Spirit is to build up the body (1 Cor 12:7). The Spirit is about interpersonal life and ministry. This is an extension of what theologians call the “procession” of the Spirit — the Spirit proceeds between the Father and the Son (Augustine and Edwards describe the Spirit as a sort of personified love), and proceeds to us from the Father and from the Son. But in a lesser way the Spirit also proceeds from us to one another. Because of this activity of procession and ministry in the body, the Spirit is particularly associated with corporate worship. The Spirit kindled the fire on God’s altar and now kindles a fire on us as living sacrifices. The Spirit is particularly active when we gather together before the Lord’s throne on the Lord’s day for corporate worship (Rev 1:10). Putting this together, an additional way that we can be filled with the Spirit is to persevere in being joined to the body, to allow ourselves to be ministered to by one another, and in particular to participate in corporate worship so that we are ministered to by Jesus. We go up to God’s house to meet with our husband, king and commander, and are commissioned by him to go out into the world again, freshly equipped with his Spirit.