“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.” -Acts 10.44-46a
The Spirit of God is not confined to our categories and limitations. When we have settled into starchy subjectivity, and have failed to keep our hearts open to the Lord in child-like faith, it becomes His mission to burst our ideas at the seams, and to reveal His righteousness and love in ways that transcend our limitations.
The early Jewish apostles were mostly bound in their understanding of the spreading of God’s Gospel. Though they had heard the “great commission” firsthand, it had yet to break into their practical understanding and faith. It was precious that they were setting forth the Son of God in Jerusalem and it’s surrounding regions, but the idea of Gentiles receiving the same Life was still blurry or contradictory in their minds.
When Peter and his brethren witnessed the inbreaking of holy power in the house of Cornelius, their minds were changed immediately and dramatically. It required a trance and a vision to move Peter the first step from his subjective thinking, and it required a remarkable outpouring of the Spirit to seal the deal in his heart. The Lord is merciful to move us toward the reality of His heavenly Kingdom, and we can be intensely grateful that He is, for if we reject the work of His Spirit now, we become candidates for hardening our hearts towards the full expression of the Kingdom which is yet to come.
The Spirit of God poured out in the midst of weak souls who are pursuing Him is the tangible foretaste of eschatological power and life. The joy, fire, conviction, wonder, intensity, and love that results from the activity of the Spirit is but a glimpse of the glories to come.
When we speak of the Spirit as eschatological, we mean that it is eschatology made present. -Helmut Flender
We would do well to open our hearts entirely to the Lord in hunger and anticipation of the work of His Spirit. To quench that hunger and faith is to cut ourselves off from the blessed “deposit” that He longs to give us, that we might be rooted and grounded in love, and prepared for the day of shaking to come.
A church which seeks to restrict and control the Spirit, as too dangerous and unpredictable may be safe, but has signed its own death warrant. A church which seeks to follow where the Spirit leads will have to expect the unexpected and be prepared to be shaken to its core. -J.D.G. Dunn
Lord, we invite you to shake our categories. Pour out Your Spirit on all flesh, that we may know and walk in Your own purity, power, and love. Amen!