Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our resurrected and ascended Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
Each year, the Christian Church will celebrate Pentecost, one of the highest festivals in the church year. You will remember that before Jesus’ crucifixion, He promised that He would never leave us as orphans. He promised to send us a Holy Comforter, who would abide with us forever. This precious promise was fulfilled on Pentecost Sunday as the Holy Spirit came into the midst of the Church in Jerusalem in a profound way (Acts 2). Luther continually emphasized the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. In fact, he goes into great detail in the explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.”
As we prepare our souls for Pentecost, let us reflect for a few moments upon these important dimensions of the Holy Spirit:
- The Holy Spirit is fully God; the third person of the Godhead.
- The work of the Holy Spirit is called Sanctification. As Christ has accomplished our redemption through the crucifixion and resurrection (justification), the Holy Spirit applies Christ’s redemptive work to our souls.
- The Holy Spirit continually works in our lives to sustain and strengthen us in the one true Christian faith. We are to treasure God’s Word and the Holy Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper through which the Holy Spirit enriches our faith life.
- When the Holy Spirit enters our life, He creates faith in our souls. This faith which Jesus describes as being “born again” results in our confession through thought, word, and deed that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord!
- Through the entry of the Holy Spirit in our life, we are each blessed with certain unique gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are bestowed upon us as members of Christ’s kingdom to be used in the building up of the Christian Church (the body of Christ). These varied gifts are described in 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and Romans 12. The ultimate purpose of these gifts is that our life would give honor and glory to the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- As the Holy Spirit works in our daily lives, we are strengthened in our faith and enabled to bear witness to Jesus as Savior and Lord through the daily fruits we bear in our relationship with others. The Apostle Paul describes these fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- When we are struggling in life, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of our heavenly Father (Romans 8). How beautiful to know!
God is so faithful to us and loves us so much that He comes and makes His abode in our souls. We will never be alone! God is truly with us forevermore! How wonderful it is to be able to confess that Jesus is Lord of our life (1 Cor. 12)! Thanks be to God for the wonderful blessing of the Holy Spirit and His work of sanctification in our lives. May the Spirit of God continue to beautifully mold and shape you as His redeemed disciple. May the world see in you, Christ living, and thus be led to glorify God in heaven (Matt. 5)!
Blessed Pentecost Season to all of you,