When you mention the word power to religious and spiritual people, the first thing that comes to their minds is a force or an act of a spiritual being (God). And among Christians, when the word power is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is the gifts of the Spirit. But the power of God is not just an act of God and it is not just the gift of the Spirit but it is a person — Christ.
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” (Col 1:15).
“He [Christ] is the radiation of His [God] glory and the expression of His nature,” (Heb 1:3).
The Son has always been there to reveal the Father; whenever God is revealed it is Christ. In whatever way God manifest it is Christ, even before anything was created Christ has always been there to make God visible [you can read more about this in the post, Christ Is the Visible Image of the Invisible God]. And the same Christ is the one always expressing the Father. He is the action of the Father, for when God speaks it is the Christ (John 1:1), and whatever God does is Christ.
“Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1Cor 1:24).
Christ is the power that God manifests. Christ is the power that parted the red sea, the power that sink the wall of Jericho, the power that caused fire to fall from the sky, shake the civilization of the Egyptians, cause manna to fall from heaven, raised the dead, healed the sick, won great victories and gave us salvation. It has been Christ all the way.
Now back to the Christian and the gift of the Spirit. If Christ is the power of God what then is the gift of the Spirit. First we must understand the relationship between Christ and the Holy Spirit. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is the Helper.
“the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses” (Rom 8:12).
As we pursue Christ and his fullness (maturity in Christ) the Spirit helps us in the weakness (shortcomings) of immaturity. He helps us by giving us a foretaste of that fullness.
Christ is the Power of God, and as we grow into Christ we are growing into the power of God. But in the state of immaturity, where we have not fully grown into Christ (the power of God) the Spirit comes to our aid and allows us have a foretaste of that fullness even though we have not yet grown into it, hence, the gifts of the Spirit.
The gifts of the Spirit are the Holy Spirit coming to our aid in our state of immaturity to give us a foretaste of the fullness (maturity). The fullness in this case is Christ as the Power of God. So through the gift of the Spirit we enjoy now a fullness that we are yet to grow into. We have not yet grown into it but we are enjoying it via the gifts of the Spirit.
You see how the Helper has helped us, seeing that we would need this power even though we have not yet grown into it.
Still, we must understand that Christ is the Power; he is the one we must pursue. Yes, the Spirit will help us in our infirmities and that is good, we can always count on the Spirit, but that gift of the Spirit is not the power itself but a foretaste of that power which is Christ himself.
So when we say we are pursuing power, we do not mean that we are pursuing gifts of the Spirit, but we are pursuing Christ, the fullness. And on the way to that fullness the faithful Spirit helps us. But we must not pitch our tent on that “help”, rather moving forward to attain fullness.
It is sad how many have pitched a tent on the help; they have focused on the help and pursued it as if it is a goal. The help is only there to assist you as you pursue Christ (the power of God). Our goal should always be Christ. The help is not the fullness (the power) but a foretaste of that fullness that is why it is very limited. You see, we have nine gifts of the Spirit but the power of God is unlimited, it is infinitely rich and diverse.
“until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13).
Our goal should not be foretaste; it should not be that which is limited. God wants nothing less than fullness for us; he wants us to come into the fullness of Christ, the fullness of His power. So enough discussion on the gifts of the Spirit let us focus on Christ. The Spirit came not to speak of himself but to speak of Christ, to point us to Christ. We miss the purpose of the gifts when we start focusing on the gifts. Its purpose is to speak of Christ, to point us to Christ the power of God.
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