Robert Griffith | 26 February 2024
Robert Griffith
26 February 2024

 

Romans 5:5  “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit …”

These words teach the inwardness of true, Christian faith. Christianity is not only something believed; it is something experienced. Whatever Godward bearings Pentecost may have, this is its first meaning for us. Christian conversion is nothing less than a supernatural impartation to the soul.

Christianity was never meant to be a religion. It is the love of God in the heart. Moreover, our text teaches the immediateness of true Christian faith. Our experience of God is not mediated through priests or sacraments, but a direct infusion by the divine Spirit.

At Pentecost, where did the outpouring of the Spirit occur? In the temple? No. Temple, priests and altars were all passed by. Christianity is God, no longer in temples of man’s building, but immediately known and possessed in the human heart through direct invasion by the Holy Spirit.

Notice also where it is imparted, “in our hearts,” not just to our reason or intellect, but to the very centre of desire, emotion, and responsive capacity.

Notice further how it is imparted: “by the Holy Spirit,” not by some impersonal influence, but by One who is as personal as the Father and the Son. That is surely the most wonderful fact of all. See the little word, “shed,” indicating abundance. Notice also the word, “abroad,” which implies wide inclusiveness – for all of us, not just some in the clerical class.

Well, such was apostolic Christianity. Do we measure up to it today? It seems beyond doubt that Paul was referring to something which was a conscious reality to those early believers.

There are some things in our Christian life and faith which are not matters of emotional experience. Election, predestination, and other great divine activities in our salvation, are quite outside us, and utterly beyond us. But this in-flooding of God’s love is surely, necessarily, intentionally a conscious possession in mind and heart. Indeed, it has been so, all through the centuries, among evangelical, sanctified, prayerful believers.

So, let me ask you: Are you living in this heart-enrapturing experience? Do you at least enjoy recurrences of it, when released from nagging work-day obligations?

Note three things about those first disciples:

First, they loved the place of prayer (Acts 1:14).

Second, they were in “one accord” (Acts 1:14) – no grudges, place-seeking, or cruel gossip!

Third, they really believed the promise, “You shall be immersed in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).

Tragically, from my observation, comparatively few Christian believers are living in the vivid experience of those early days. The continually luminous inward glow of the saturating heavenly Spirit seems a rare feature among our church members. It was the general experience in those long-ago days. It always flames forth again in visitations of revival.

Surely it is time that we gave ourselves again to prayer – to long and earnest secret prayer, until, in sanctifying power and joyful reality, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”