All Christians will agree that the Bible reveals God. What has interested me lately is what kind of God?
With a surface reading of the Bible, it seems that God has a drastic mood swing between the Old Testament and the New Testament, bordering on a fundamental change in personality. But the revelation of God in the Bible is consistent, although it’s progressive. The trouble to many people is uncovering what that central thread is which ties it all together.
Part of this thread is the revelation of God being Spirit. The Spirit of God is mentioned in the SECOND verse in the Bible! This story of God continues, unfolds, and builds until it reaches the peak FIVE verses from the end of the Bible with the last mention of the Spirit! That means there are only five verses in the Bible outside of the revelation brackets of the Spirit (Gen. 1:1 and Rev. 22:18-21). Why is God Spirit? While this may seem like a topic of interest for only the theologically inclined, trust me it is far from that.
The intrinsic flow of the Bible is the Spirit.
To many believers the Spirit is either spooky, a funny power, or an ill-defined third component of God. Proof of this vagueness is seen in the King James Version’s use of the impersonal pronoun for the Spirit. Romans 8:16 is translated, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” If God the Father and God the Son garner a He when referred to by pronoun, why is the Spirit who is equally God and who is most crucial in the accomplishment of God’s purpose referred to merely as an it?
How you view the Spirit will determine your Christian experience.
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness –John 4:24
God’s nature or essence is Spirit. The context of this verse is a conversation between Jesus and an unnamed Samaritan woman. Jesus was weary from His journey and she was weary from sin. They didn’t have anything in common except thirst so they had a conversation about getting a drink of water.
I don’t think its hyperbole to say that you’ve been in this situation hundreds of times at Starbucks. You need a coffee to make it through the after-lunch hour. You walk up to the register and meet an unlikely candidate (in your mind) for the gospel. You’re not interested in telling him how you are really doing because it easier that way. You’re weary. Well, so was Jesus.
It was in this kind of situation that God choose to reveal His essence! Not in a synagogue to the religious and intellectual, but in the despised region of Samaria to a dissatisfied and sinful woman. The implications of this are huge: God is Spirit not for calculated theological analysis but for our experience and satisfaction.
In order to know how to relate to something you need to know what its essence is. If you want to cut a table you need to know if it is wood or metal. God is no different. If you want to contact God you need to know that He is Spirit. That is how He reaches you, comes into you, and satisfies your thirst. That is how you drink Him (1 Cor. 12:13). And that is how you can help others drink Him too. Without the Spirit, your Christian life would amount to trying to please a far away God and imitating a historical Jesus. Because God is Spirit, He is subjectively related to the believers. In fact, the Spirit of God has been joined to your spirit and these two have been mingled as one spirit. Look at 1 Cor. 6:17 if you don’t believe me!
The Spirit brings us into the experience of Christ and the move of God.
Drinking the Spirit for our enjoyment gets us into the intrinsic flow of the Bible. The Bible ends with a call to thirsty sinners to come and drink the water of life freely (Rev. 22:17). I think we need to realize how many opportunities Christ is providing us to give others a drink of God. The more you drink the Spirit to quench your own spiritual thirst, the more you will be burdened for others to experience the same.
If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink… out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. –John 7:37-38
1. Witness Lee, The Spirit with Our Spirit, p. 30