Christ and the Spirit, Life-Study of Galatians, Message Thirteen, pp. 112-115
CHRIST AND THE SPIRIT
In Romans 8:2 we see the relationship between the Spirit of life and Christ: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and of death." What does it mean to say that the Spirit of life is in Christ? Traditional teaching would lead us to believe that the Spirit and Christ are separate and distinct Persons. But if the Spirit is a Person separate from Christ, how can the Spirit be in Christ? Some Christian teachers say that Christ the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, is sitting on the throne in the heavens and that the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, is now working within us. In contrast to the traditional teaching that the Spirit and Christ are separate and distinct, the Bible tells us that the Spirit is in Christ.
The Lord's answer to Philip's question in John 14 helps us to understand this matter. When Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father and it suffices us" (v. 8), the Lord answered, "Am I so long a time with you, and you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How is it that you say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words which I speak to you, I do not speak from Myself; but the Father Who abides in Me, He does His works" (vv. 9-10). The Lord's word indicates clearly that the Father and the Son are not two separate Persons. On the contrary, the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. They cannot be separated. Furthermore, the Son was sent from with the Father (John 6:46, Gk.). On the one hand, He was sent from God; on the other hand, He was always with God. The Son did not actually leave the Father; neither was the Father separated from the Son. Therefore, the Lord said, "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me" (John 14:11).
The principle is the same concerning the relationship of Christ and the Spirit as the relationship between Christ the Son and the Father. The fact that the Spirit of life is in Christ means that an intrinsic relationship exists among the Three of the Godhead. The Son is the Son, and the Father is the Father. Nevertheless, the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. Likewise, while the Son is the Son and the Spirit is the Spirit, yet the Spirit is in the Son. This indicates that the Three of the Triune God cannot be separated.
A further indication of this truth is found in Romans 8:9-10. In these verses Paul says, "But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any one has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is life because of righteousness." In these verses we read of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and Christ. These titles all denote one reality—the all-inclusive Spirit. The Spirit of God is God, the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God, and Christ Himself is the Spirit of Christ. Christ is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God is God Himself. All these titles refer to the all-inclusive life-giving Spirit. This One is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of life, Christ, and God.
In Romans 8:2 and 9 there are three titles of the Spirit: the Spirit is the Spirit of life, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ. Hence, the Spirit is of life, of God, and of Christ. Certainly these titles do not refer to three Spirits. It is utterly wrong to say that the Spirit of life is separate from the Spirit of God or that the Spirit of God is distinct from the Spirit of Christ. On the contrary, the one Spirit is the Spirit of life, of God, and of Christ. Life, God, and Christ are not three separate entities or substances. Rather, life is God, God is Christ, and Christ is life. There fore, the Spirit of life is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ. These three are one entity, the all-inclusive Spirit.
I. CHRIST AND THE SPIRIT BEING ONE
First Corinthians 15:45b says that the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. Second Corinthians 3:17 tells us that now the Lord is the Spirit. The last Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45b and the Lord in 2 Corinthians 3:17 both refer to Christ. This indicates clearly that today Christ and the Spirit are one.
II. CHRIST CRUCIFIED ON THE CROSS
In 3:1 Paul declares that before the eyes of the Galatian believers "Jesus Christ was openly portrayed crucified." The Lord was crucified on the cross as Christ, not as the Spirit. We cannot say that the Spirit was crucified for us. It was Christ who was crucified.
III. CHRIST ENTERING AS THE SPIRIT
INTO THE BELIEVERS
The Galatians through hearing the gospel believed in the crucified Christ, but they received the Spirit (3:2; 4:6). The One who was crucified on the cross was Christ, but the One who entered into the believers was the Spirit. In crucifixion for the believers' redemption He was Christ, but in the indwelling to be the believers' life He is the Spirit. This is the all-inclusive life-giving Spirit, who is the all inclusive and ultimate blessing of the gospel. The believers receive such a divine Spirit by the hearing of faith, not by the works of law. He enters into the believers and lives in them, not by their keeping the law, but by their faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ.
We should not think that the One who died on the cross is different from the One who enters into us. The One who died for us is the very One who has entered into us as our life. When this One died on the cross, He died as Christ. When He enters into us to be our life, He comes in as the Spirit. In crucifixion for our redemption He was Christ (3:13). But in the indwelling to be our life He is the Spirit (Rom. 8:2, 9-10).