Daily Devotion | Day 312
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29, NKJV).
Yesterday we saw that the giving of the Holy Spirit was the Father’s chief promise to Abraham and his descendants. Our aim today is to conclude what we started by answering the following question: Why was it necessary that God pour His Spirit on the children of Abraham? Let’s find out, starting with today’s opening Bible passage.
Note carefully what is happening in the passage. What we have is a conditional statement with a basic logical structure. The passage contains one premise and two conclusions which flow from the premise. If the condition is met, then the two conclusions will automatically execute. The condition is this: “If you are Christ’s” (i.e. if you belong to Christ). If this condition is true in your life (that you are Christ’s), then the following are necessarily true about you: “you are Abraham’s seed [descendant] and you are heir “according to the promise.” The implication is, if you are not Christ’s, then you are not Abraham’s seed. And if you are not Abraham’s seed, then you have no claim (as heir) to the blessings promised to Abraham. At this point the question we must ask is: How does the Holy Spirit fit into all of this? Thankfully, the Bible has the answer, and it comes from the pen of the same Paul who wrote Galatians.
In Romans 8:9, Paul wrote, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” This latter part of Paul’s statement completes what he said in Galatians 3:29. Earlier, we saw that to qualify to be Abraham’s seed, one must be Christ’s. Now Paul adds another condition. He says, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ [the Holy Spirit], he is not His.” In other words, that you have the Holy Spirit is the unmistakable sign that you belong to Christ. Put another way, if you have the Holy Spirit, then you are a Christian. Conversely, if do not have the Holy Spirit, then you are not a Christian. Knowing this about the Holy Spirit, let us ‘reconstruct’ what Paul said in Galatians 3:29. It will look like this:
“If you have the Spirit of Christ, then you are Christ’s; and if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” This is the complete picture of how we become children of Abraham and heirs of divine blessings. It all has to do with receiving the Holy Spirit. To qualify as heirs of God or joint-heirs with Christ, it is necessary that we possess the same Spirit they both possess: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit binds us to the Father and enables us to become His children. Therefore, the “Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs . . .” (Romans 8:16-17). If someone puts his spirit in you, you and that person have become one (John 17:21; 1 Corinthians 6:17). And when you become one, then you share things in common.
God promised to share divine blessings with Abraham and his seed. But for this to be fulfilled, He had to share His Spirit with us. A common Spirit is what leads to a common inheritance. This is why Paul talks about the “fellowship [communion] of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13:13). It is the Holy Spirit who initiates and sustains our fellowship with the Father and the Son. And our fellowship with them (made possible by the Holy Spirit in us) is the legal basis for our inheritance. Fellowship guarantees access. Therefore, no Holy Spirit means no fellowship. And no fellowship means no inheritance. If God had not given the Holy Spirit, His promises to Abraham (and his seed) would have been void. Now we understand why Jesus went great lengths to prepare His disciples to receive the Spirit.
Let us sum up:
To be a child of Abraham means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not some interesting add-on to our Christian life. He is the Christian life, for the Christian life is essentially a life in the Spirit. Outside the Spirit, there is no Christianity. If you have the Spirit, then you have the promise. If you have the promise, then you have the power.
May the Lord enable you to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that you can enjoy the full range of your blessings in Abraham. Amen.
For further study: Romans 8:1-17 and Ephesians 1:11-23