Holy Spirit and the gifts are not a ‘gospel’ on their own. They are not to be lived silo-ed off as a sub-set of Christianity as if they are the whole. By itself this cannot be the Gospel of the Kingdom. A focus on the gifts and the signs that neglects the new covenant and the incarnation is an incomplete gospel that does not produce sons of God.
THE FULL GOSPEL
There was a time when communities spoke of the full gospel as the gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit. They were correct to do this because a gospel minus Holy Spirit’s presence is a form of Godliness without power. But so is a charismatic expression disconnected from the oneness that is ours as a result of the cross and the incarnation. A Holy Spirit gospel detached from the new covenant is not a full gospel.
IN YOU AND WITH YOU
God is not absent from you if you do not have the Spirit. God lives in you when you choose Christ as your life. John specifically asserts that the trinity make their home in anyone who obeys Jesus’ teaching. What is this teaching? Not the law and not the gifts. Not even church. This teaching is that Christ is our life. The gifts and the anointing function properly when they are the expression of healed lives that are healed and whole because they live in a real oneness with God.
THE GREATER HEALING
Gifts of the Spirit, miracles and signs are advertisements pointing to our healing in Christ. This healing is the foundational healing in which ‘The two are made one in Christ’. This healing is the undoing of Adamic separation and the alienation from God that is the fall. The healing is god’s impartation to us of the union that is Himself. This is to say the gifts of oneness with God in Jesus Christ and the consequent oneness with self and others that comes from the healing of the breach.
Unless this healing is a feature and the foundation of our ministry in the Spirit it is not the ministry of the Spirit and heaven has not invaded earth.
IT’S ABOUT CHRIST
Thomas Torrance observes, “Like Christ the Holy Spirit is one in being and of the same being as the Father, but unlike Christ the Holy Spirit is not one in being and of the same being as we are, for he incarnated the Son but does not incarnate himself, he utters the Word but does not utter himself. He directs us through himself to the one Word and Face of God in Jesus Christ in accordance with whom all our knowledge of God is formed in our minds.” (1)
It is Jesus Christ by whom we are woven into God and God is woven into us.
ONE SUBSTANCE WITH FATHER AND WITH US
Jesus Christ is one substance with God and humanity. Holy Spirit is not. He is simply deity and never human. Thus salvation and oneness with God is ours because Christ has come in in the flesh and is incarnated in our being. We may be empowered by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and we should flourish in this empowered agency. But the salvation of God and the oneness with God comes to us by the Christ of God who is both a human being and fully God. We are joined to God because Jesus is Jesus of Nazareth and fully God.
Nevertheless it is Holy Spirit who manifests the presence of Christ and who draws us into the reality of God’s reconciliation of ourselves to God in Christ. Holy Spirit is a Helper and the Comforter because He makes real to us the reality of our inheritance in Christ. Torrance observes again,
“God was accessible to his people [Israel] within the covenant relations he had graciously established with them, nowhere more evident than in his personal interaction with Abraham, Moses, or Samuel.
“Nevertheless it is also clear that he did not make himself personally accessible to them but remained hidden behind his mighty acts of revelation and salvation. St Paul tells us here, however, that access to knowledge of God as he is in himself has now been provided [by the incarnation] for us through the reconciliation with God brought about by the Cross of Christ. By his blood Christ has reconciled us to God and thereby opened the way for all who believe in his name to enter with him into the holy presence of God and share in the gift of the Holy Spirit which he received from the Father.
“Thus through the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Communion of the Spirit we sinful human beings have access to the Love of the Father, and know him not from afar but intimately as he is in himself.” (2)
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (p. 66). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.