The Spirit Gives Life
We serve a Triune God. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit all have a part in our salvation. The Father gave His Son to die for us, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, and the Holy Spirit transforms us. In John 6:63 Jesus stresses the role of the Spirit in our salvation. He said, “‘It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.'” From this statement we can draw several principles for our lives.
- One, we must receive life from the Spirit.
Jesus says, “‘It is the Spirit who gives life.'” The Holy Spirit quickens the believer and gives life. He communicates the life of the Person of Christ. This makes the new birth and life in Christ possible. In John 3:5 where Jesus told Nicodemus, “‘Truly truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'”
When we believe in Christ, the Spirit does His work. The Spirit regenerates us. We become transformed sons of God. Our new life in Christ begins. All of this is through the gateway of faith. So let us believe in Jesus. The Spirit will do the rest!
- Two, we must realize that we cannot rely on the flesh.
Jesus says, “‘the flesh profits nothing.'” The issue here is, “What does Jesus mean by flesh?” In my view Jesus means flesh in an unqualified sense. In other words Jesus states a general principle about flesh; that is, human flesh and human nature do not profit. They cannot do anything to bestow eternal life. Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:6), “‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.'”
Our tendency is to rely on everything but the Spirit of God to gain life. Many rely on wealth and possessions, physical pleasures, relationships with the world, and many other factors. The idea that salvation is the free gift of God through faith is difficult to grasp. However, true salvation comes through the Spirit. We cannot rely on anything or anyone else. We need an entirely new heredity, and that heredity comes from the work of the Spirit.
- Three, the flesh of Christ has a special role in our salvation.
When Jesus died on the cross, His entire Person was involved–body, soul, and spirit. The flesh of Christ included His body and His human nature. Thus, His flesh was involved in our salvation. The flesh of Christ was uniquely imbued with the Spirit. The flesh of Christ by itself would be insufficient for salvation, but with the Spirit His sacrifice gives life.
Earlier, Jesus said (John 6:54), “‘He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.'” We eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ by believing in Him. When we believe in Christ, we exalt Christ. And, when we believe in Him, the door is opened for the Spirit to do His work. At this moment the Spirit gives life.
- Four, the words of Jesus are vital to our spiritual life.
Jesus declares, “‘the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.'” The life of the world-to-come, eternal life, has to be communicated to us. God communicates Spirit and life through the words of Jesus. Unless we hear and understand His words (Romans 10:14), we will not have eternal life. Several points are meaningful.
First, Jesus speaks the words of God. He said (John 7:16), “‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.'” Jesus speaks the about God’s life, character, and qualities. He makes known God’s intent, desires, and will. The words of Jesus reveal God. All of this is included in life. Thus, the words of Jesus are life.
Second, the words of Jesus are Spirit. According to Godet (p. 45), the meaning of this verse is: “My words are the incarnation and communication of the Spirit; it is the Spirit who dwells in them and acts through them; and for this reason they communicate life.”
Third, the words of Jesus are life. In John 5:26 He declared, “‘For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.'” When Jesus speaks, He communicates His life to us. The life given to us by the Spirit is the life of the Son.
It is the Spirit that gives life. The Spirit draws us to Christ, exalts Him as the living Lord, empowers His words, and regenerates us when we believe. We worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Together, they provide our full salvation. Today let us warmly receive all that the Spirit does in us.