Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The help of the Spirit (Philippians 1:19)

Paul expected the Philippians to pray for him. The answer to their prayer is summarised as ‘the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ’. It is not clear if the word ‘supply’ refers to the Spirit himself or to what he supplies. Probably both options are included.

Behind the meaning of the word ‘supply’ is the idea of a wealthy person meeting the expenses of a group of people: for example, a person could provide freely all that choir members would require such as training, practice facilities, and accommodation. The Holy Spirit is infinitely wealthy and is able to meet all our needs, wherever we are. Whatever Paul’s spiritual needs would be at any given time would be met by the Spirit. If he needed a sense of assurance or a feeling of joy, he would receive them from the Spirit.

In particular, the Spirit functions as the Spirit of Jesus Christ, which indicates that he will provide for us the things that belong to Jesus Christ. In the Upper Room, on that last evening when he was arrested, Jesus had taught his disciples many aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit. For example, Jesus had instructed them about the way the Spirit would deal with the world: ‘And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged’ (John 16:8-11).

The Saviour also promised them that the Spirit ‘will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you’ (John 16:14).  Already in this chapter, Paul has mentioned how he possessed the affections of Christ and how spiritual fruits of righteousness come from Jesus Christ. These blessings had come from Jesus to Paul through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

The best request we can make for ourselves and for one another is to ask the Lord to send the Spirit of Christ to our empty hearts and fill them with the blessings of Christ.

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