I like to imagine what the dinner table in heaven will be like. Who would I sit next to, if I had a choice? Peter would probably make for an entertaining evening, but I might try to squeeze in between Bonhoeffer and Augustine, and hopefully have Ann Judson or Elisabeth Elliot or Lilias Trotter nearby as well. Or perhaps I would choose all my best friends and closest family.
By then, it won’t matter who I sit with or talk to, it will only matter that we’re home. We will be united together in Christ forever.
This is easy for me to believe most days. On difficult days, when I’ve sinned against a fellow believer, a friend hurts me in a substantial way, or a distant acquaintance starts a painful rumor, my vision is blurred to the future and I live in my current wounds.
You know this feeling too. There is an impending conversation ahead where you need to address hurt or sin, anxiety and fear swells in your hearts and you know you need to have the conversation, but your hurt freezes you up. Maybe there’s not a conversation ahead, but you know a fellow Christian who bothers you unlike anyone else. It could be a relative that says inappropriate things at family gatherings, a coworker who is consistently selfish, a classmate who tries to flaunt knowledge, or someone on social media who lacks nuance.
We are masters at forgetting heaven.
How often do you think about fellow Christians in light of eternity? If your friends and not-so-close-fellow-believers are in Christ, they’ll receive the same invitation to the marriage feast of the Lamb that you do. No partiality. We will be united in Christ with every person who confesses the gospel of Jesus Christ. All secondary issues can be points of disagreement, but we’ll all be at dinner one day, whether you like it or not.
So what? What bearing should this have on your life right now? If we truly share in the same Lord, faith, baptism, God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:1-5), shouldn’t this change everything?
We are masters at forgetting the Holy Spirit too.
I don’t believe we must be best friends with everyone, but I do believe that the Holy Spirit lives in every Christian. Even the ones you and I don’t like all that much. When we are offended by another believer, it is easy to forget how much we share.
We share in power.
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.” – Romans 8:11
We are not weak, helpless creatures who stumble around like a drunkard. We are sober-minded people who have unimaginable power that comes from God himself.
Stop and think, really think about the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was dead. Not breathing, not moving. He had no heartbeat, his lungs stopped working, his brain was no longer active for three days. And then on the third day, Jesus was alive again. Just like that. The same Spirit that did the impossible and brought a dead man to life again is living in us.
When I look at a sister or brother, do I see this power? Do I believe that the Holy Spirit can overcome any sin, heal any wound, or provide any strength that you and I might need?
If we remember the power of the Holy Spirit, we will not be so quick to judge or so discouraged by sin in ourselves and others. We have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead! We are no longer dead, but alive with Him.
We share in wisdom.
“I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:25-26
Have you ever reached a point where you have no words, no thoughts, no clarity about what you should do? You might even know the truth, but feel unable to believe and act upon that truth. By God’s grace, wisdom isn’t something that’s up to us to muster.
The Holy Spirit possesses all the wisdom and knowledge in the world. The Spirit knows my sins and knows the sins of everyone around me, but he also knows the truth, and knows it perfectly.
As believers, we have access to a perfect Counselor who not only knows everything, but understands everything.
We can trust that this Spirit is not exclusive in the wisdom he gives. I do not have more or less access to wisdom than anyone else. Siblings in Christ, do we believe that God’s wisdom is given to each of us through the Holy Spirit?
If so, we have the supernatural ability to trust the discernment of a brother, listen to the corrective word of a sister, or believe the truth spoken to us by any member of God’s family. When we believe and know that we share the same Holy Spirit, any tendency toward skepticism or pride has no place.
We have the wisdom of God, ready for the taking at any point! We are no longer fools in this world, but possessors of the wisdom of the Most High.
We share in hope.
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:4-7
This world is full of trouble and suffering is bound to come. Sin has corrupted every corner of the earth, and we are groaning with creation, waiting for the day when all is revealed (Romans 8:19).
Days of sorrow and pain are inevitable. We will endure wounds from those we love. You may be walking through a season of defeat and hopelessness with a friend. You may have a broken relationship that seems as though it may never heal. You may feel lonely, unloved, and unwanted.
There is real hurt, but it cannot, it will not last for those who are in Christ.
The Holy Spirit has been poured out upon us, and we are all heirs, we are children, and we have the hope of eternal life.
Look ahead to the marriage feast of the Lamb. All your disagreements and relational difficulties melt away in the presence of Christ. All you insecurities and uncertainties are as dust before Him. And because that will be true then it changes everything now.
The Holy Spirit changes everything, truly everything about the way we live out our days on earth. The Holy Spirit, the same one who raised Jesus’ dead body to life again, who holds all knowledge and wisdom, who seals up the promise of eternal life for us, actually lives inside us. And if we actually have the Spirit, we are able to pursue unity in this life with power, wisdom, and hope.
Think on the Spirit today. It will change everything.