(51) I believe in the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost reveals himself by what he has done. He works as silently as the June sunshine when it is growing grass, as invisibly as a magnet. I can detect him in my own life as he moves me out about my Father’s business, to do what I was always meant to do. When someone rushes past my tableful of papers, the whoosh of wind blows the papers around and lands some of them on the floor. Even if I didn’t see anybody, I would know that someone had passed by, because of the look of the papers. When God the Holy Ghost moves purposefully through this world, things move along with him, going his way. When my thoughts begin turning toward doing the kind of things Christ would have done, the Holy Spirit is at work.

In the beginning, when the Spirit of God moved over the face of creation, the waters brought forth their creatures, and the earth brought forth plants yielding fruit. By the Spirit men have always been moved to have fuller being. From the climate, the land, its bacteria, vegetation, indeed everything around us and in our history, the Spirit has unfolded the constructive possibilities which God built into the world and human life. He has always used some men to bring out the best that is in other men. Through inventors, artists, craftsmen, scientists, leaders, and the like, he brought the world’s cultures and civilizations into being, with all that is worthwhile in human history. It was because the Hebrew prophets were enabled to discern God on the move in the story of their nation and the world that the Scriptures were written. By the Spirit Israel’s history and leaders became a fitting cradle for the coming of Christ.

The Holy Spirit’s greatest triumph was the life of Jesus Christ. By a special visitation of the Spirit, a maiden named Mary was enabled to conceive Jesus in her virgin womb. Attended by the Spirit, Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. By the Spirit he was designated as the one to bring men the good news of their liberation from sin and death, a liberation which he personally made possible by his own life and death in perfect truth and love. No man was ever so responsive to the touch of the Spirit as was Jesus. This was the secret of the power of his words and person. By the Spirit men were drawn to him and made whole. But for the world’s sake the Spirit, who ordinarily aims to exalt all men, had to stand by and turn away as Jesus was humiliated, crucified, descending to the very depths of death. By the Spirit, however, Jesus was raised from death and hell to become the means of raising the rest of men to eternal life.

Through Jesus the Holy Spirit came to dwell in men. In Jesus’ wonderful love for men God recognized an earthly counterpart of that divine love which unites the Holy Trinity. Jesus’ love toward God was perfect. His human nature could therefore be exalted safely and expanded unimaginably, taken right into heaven and filled forever with all the fullness of God. This unreserved coming together of God and man in the ascended Lord made possible a wonderful new development. Till then the Holy Spirit had worked upon men more or less externally. The results, though sometimes spectacular, had always been quite temporary. But now that God was totally at one with the human nature of Jesus, the Holy Spirit could dwell within human beings permanently and eternally.