The following excerpt comes from Frank Viola’s just released book, Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ. Frank’s book is 50% off between May 5th and May 8th at parable.com (the best price anywhere) PLUS you’ll also receive the Study Guide as a FREE gift. Click here to get the book from Parable this week.
The Holy Spirit is the reality of Christ’s presence. The Spirit dispenses to us the very life that Jesus lived.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came as the Spirit of the glorified Christ, the Spirit of the incarnate, crucified, and exalted Jesus. Note that the risen Jesus didn’t become the Holy Spirit.
He rather came in the Spirit. Today, Jesus is present with us through the Spirit.
For this reason, the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of Jesus (Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1:11; Acts 16:7; Phil. 1:19). And Jesus is called a “life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45).
The continuing humanity of Christ in heaven is the guarantee of the new humanity that awaits every believer.
Because the Holy Spirit has been sent to earth, authentic humanity is now a reality made possible.
Ephesians 4 uses the images of descent and ascent. These terms remind us of the Old Testament high priest when he ascended the steps of the temple on the Day of Atonement
for the forgiveness of sins. Then he descended to where the people were. Jesus ascends to heaven, and the Spirit descends to earth while Christ’s throne is established at God’s right hand.
Jesus ascended to the place from where He descended (John 3:13; 6:62; Eph. 4:10). Our eternal hope is found in His ascension, for He secured the glory for all who follow Him.
The incarnation was Jesus leaving God’s space to enter man’s space. The ascension was Jesus in His incarnation leaving man’s space and going back to God’s space.
The Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven in the same body in which He lived, was crucified, and rose again. Now, as a life-giving Spirit, Jesus communicates His life and presence to the members of His body across all realms, times, and distances (1 Cor. 15:45).
Because Christ is now in the Spirit, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are sometimes spoken of interchangeably in the New Testament, even though the Spirit and the risen Christ are distinct persons (John 14–16; 2 Cor. 3:14–18).
The Holy Spirit is able to connect all believers to Christ. For this reason, Jesus said it was better for Him to go so that the Spirit could descend (John 7:39, John 16:5-15).
A careful look at John 14–16 reveals that Jesus would return again in the Spirit after He ascended. And He did so at Pentecost.
In sum, the Holy Spirit unites us to Jesus Christ and to His body. He reveals Christ to us, gives us His life, and makes Christ alive in us.
The Spirit takes the experiences of Jesus—His incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—and brings them into our own experience. Because of the Holy Spirit, the history of Jesus Christ becomes our story and experience.
The Holy Spirit grants what Christ bestows. He makes real and experiential the work of Jesus. Therefore, we cannot separate what Christ does from what the Spirit does.