I’ve always been struck by Jesus’s words: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” They are a humbling and refreshing reminder that our need, from first to last, isn’t partial, but total. By giving us the Holy Spirit, Christ has given us all we need and more, from first to last. The Holy Spirit gives us life. He fills our life and points us to the One who is life. He gives us life in that our starting point is not simply that we’re spiritually needy, but that we are dead in sin. Our spiritual life begins when the Holy Spirit regenerates us, giving us new life. When he turns our heart of stone into a heart of flesh, he makes the truth of God’s Word real to us, and we freely embrace Christ as he’s offered to us in the gospel. This reminds us that being a Christian isn’t about being a better person but about being a new person, by God’s grace alone, through faith alone.
Not only does he give us life, but he also fills our life. When we become Christians, God the Father adopts us as his children and gives to us his Spirit of adoption. He comes to live in us and fill us, and in doing so he guides us as a counselor would—supporting, convicting us of our sin, strengthening us in Christ, encouraging us in the way we should live, helping us to pray, and even praying for us when we’re too weak to do so ourselves. In all this, he grows us in Christlikeness, enabling us to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. And he gives us specific gifts to use to contribute to the building up of the body of Christ, and to love, serve, and obey God.
So he gives us life. He fills our life. And finally, he points us to the One who is life. Jesus said, “[The Spirit] will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He doesn’t draw attention to himself but glorifies Jesus and gives us the grace to do the same, making him who is life our life and love. So the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, has given us his Spirit to supply all we need from first to last. He gives us life, fills our life, and points us to the One who is life.