For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16)
The Cost of Love
If I say romantically to a woman with honesty and genuine, long-term intentions: “I love you,” then a secondary, unspoken but very real question goes with this proclamation of love. The question I should consider before I utter these words and going forward is: “What will this cost me?” “What do I need to give up” or put another way: “What do I need to give of myself” to make the relationship work?
God says to mankind: “I love you.” God gave no less than Himself for us. He purchased us with His own blood at Calvary. Jesus Christ the Son of God set aside His glory in heaven in order to take on the form of a human being, at the high cost of everything that is valued in worldly conventional normalcy. It is medically said that when blood and water came out after a Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a spear to confirm that Jesus was actually dead on the cross, that this means that Jesus died of a ruptured heart…a broken heart. God gave His all for the new covenant Christian church…the bride of Christ…made up of Jews, Gentiles, and every other nationality across the globe. People are being added to this church…the sparkling and radiant love of God’s heart…one-by-one every day.
There is one last point I want to make in this section on divine humility.
Another remarkable thing about the character of God is the unselfish, self-effacing humility of the Holy Spirit…the third Person of the Trinity.
When John the Baptist testified that at the Jordan River: “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him” (Jn. 1:32), the Holy Spirit came to glorify Jesus the second Person of the Trinity…who has the difficult task ahead… and not Himself.
In John 16:15, Jesus says of the Holy Spirit: “that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” In John 14:26, Jesus says of the Holy Spirit: “he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” In John 15:26 Jesus says of the Holy Spirit that “he shall testify of me” and in John 16:14 “He shall glorify me.”
At Pentecost, Acts 2:4 says: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…” Peter and John making their defense before the Sanhedrin council in Acts 4:8 says of Peter that he was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” As Stephen is about to be martyred, Acts 7:55 says he was “full of the Holy Ghost.”
As Spirit-born Christians we will know the Bridegroom Jesus someday in heaven not only through our current relationship with Him crafted through a God-composed adventure of faith, but also through the things we learn about God in our guided, premeditated, formal schooling through the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus setting aside His heavenly glory through the incarnation, the Holy Spirit glorifying Jesus is the epitome of selfless service through divine love.
The Holy Spirit power in us is therefore also selfless and glorifies Jesus. The divine character trait of radical humility is all over this narrative. It soars far above the horizontally conventional, literary invention of human imagination. It is complete, in-place, and fully functioning at the outset of the biblical narrative stories of faith.
The worldly-based question of “whom maketh thou thyself” and the divine calling to “take of mine and show it” unto others is energized from the character baseline of humility…of the emptying of ourselves like Jesus and the lifting up of the one Person Jesus Christ who is our hope and our salvation…like the Holy Spirit has done and is doing in self-effacing, divinely loving humility.