The Spirit-ual Octane Boosted Life
The Spirit-ual Octane Boosted Life
Wed-4-Revival Reed DePace July 29, 2020
A Weekly Prayer Devotional Seeking God
to Pour Out His Spirit in Revival on Us[*]
Dirty fuel Injectors
Even though I am mechanically declined (I stink at fixing mechanical things), I do understand the basics of the combustion engine. One of the simple things I know is that the car won’t run if the fuel isn’t rightly mixed with air and injected into the cylinders. This is the job of your car’s fuel injector.
The Christian life is like this. You need a clean spiritual fuel injector. If you’re going to experience the Spirit’s power that fires faith-fuel, propelling your life forward into the wonders of God’s glory and joy that already belongs to you in Jesus Christ, you need the dirt of your continuing sin cleaned from spiritual fuel injectors. Many professing faith in Christ are not experiencing the Spirit’s propelling power because they either don’t have the right fuel (they’re running on flesh-fuel instead of faith-fuel), or their spiritual fuel injector is dirty. A simple diagnostic is available in Romans 8:1 and 15. Following it will help us diagnose the sputtering of our own spiritual lives, as well as the stalling and dying of the nominal Christian lives filling our community.
Using the combustion engine as our analogy, let me identify a few critical components. The fuel for our spiritual lives is faith/repentance (2Co 5:7). Only this fuel works to bring us to final redemption’s goal, glorification in Christ. The octane (it’s power quotient) in this fuel is the Bible. In our spiritual fuel injector the Spirit combines this fuel with the air of prayer through the ordinary means of grace processes. Firing these off with the spiritual spark plugs (the law/gospel), the Spirit uses these to power our lives.
If a person isn’t saved, they will be running off the wrong fuel, their flesh. Dirty (filled with corruption), and weak (having a low spiritual octane), this fuel will in time destroy their life-engine. If a person is saved, but they’re running with dirty fuel injectors, clogged with the dirt of flesh-fuel, their spiritual lives will sputter and stall at times. Eventually this person will cross the gospel’s finish line, but without any race prizes to show (1Co 3:14-15; 9:24).
Clean Fuel Injectors
It is assurance that cleans, and keeps clean, your spiritual fuel injectors. Explaining how to live by the Spirit’s power (i.e., running a Spirit-powered life-engine), Romans 8:1-15 is in response to the problem of sin in the Christian life (Rom 7:7-25). It begins with assurance of justification in Rom 8:1:
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1 NLT),
And it concludes with assurance of adoption in Rom 8:15:
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." (Rom 8:15, ff. 16-17)
In between, this passage contrasts running your life on self-powered/flesh-fuel vs. Spirit-powered/faith-fuel. The key here is the notion of assurance – the Spirit works to assure our faith that we are indeed saved, in all the details of life. This then powers our faith, making it effective in walking with Christ in our daily lives. The rest of the chapter continues to develop the Spirit’s ministry of assurance, and its spiritual-octane boosting effect: vs. 18-25 assurance of perseverance, vs. 26-27 assurance of prayer, vs. 28-30 assurance of all the components in the order of salvation, and vs. 31-39 assurance of preservation!
Fuel Injector Cleaner
Let’s apply this analogy with a picture of how the Spirit uses assurance as a spiritual fuel injector cleaner. While this applies to all these assurance components (and the rest of these listed elsewhere in Scripture), take just the assurance of justification in Romans 8:1. The Spirit’s cleansing-unto-power effect begins in the conclusion in the prior chapter:
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25a Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. 25b So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (Rom 7:24-25)
The cry in v. 24 is the cry of a believer when they see their sin in all its dirty vileness. V. 25a then summarizes the gospel’s solution, how Jesus’s life-death-resurrection cleanses sin from our lives. V. 26b begins the application of assurance, in that it summarizes the principle that sin still is found in a true believer’s life. Romans 8:1 then offers the power boosting effect of the assurance of justification.
Consider an example. Bring to mind the worst sin you’ve committed. No, not the one you’re thinking of right now, but the really dirty one that you hope no one ever finds out about, the one you pray God never brings up. So you feel guilty about it, right? (That is the proper response.) The law drives you to see how hopeless you are to fix this sin. Worse, the law shows you that on account of this sin, you are liable to the eternal wrath of God (Ps 60:3; 75:8; Rv 1414:8-11).
In the Christian life this is all under the ministry of the illuminating Spirit. This is where the Spirit’s assurance ministry begins to cleanse you of the power-draining guilt of this sin. First the Spirit reminds you that Jesus drained that cup of wrath for you (Mt 26:39; Jh 18:11). Next the Spirit reminds you that Jesus not only drained this cup of fiery wrath, he quenched it for you (Heb 9:12, 26; 10:10)! Finally the Spirit reminds you that this means that Jesus did away with both the sin and its consequences (Ezk 36:25; 37:23).
This is where the powering effect of assurance comes in. This glorious process is not merely a fleshly reminder which requires you to give it power in your life. No, rather it is a process used by the Spirit which includes not merely intellectual understanding, but emotional conviction, conscience desire, and the willing choosing to believe it is true, and live out that belief! Through assurance, the Spirit cleanses your life of the guilt of your sin. This empowers your faith (and repentance), propelling your life toward growing godliness (love for God) and holiness (living for God). This assurance empowering process is simply this:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1 ESV)
Maybe this explanation is too much for you to fully grasp (at this point in your faith). That’s ok. Unless you’re a continually-being-trained car mechanical, you don’t understand all the details of how your car works. But that doesn’t stop you from getting in it, starting ‘er up, and driving off. Likewise here in your life. You don’t need to understand all the details of your spiritual combustion engine. The Spirit will still work. You will experience the Spirit-ual Octane-Boosted life. As you do, let your gratefulness for your new life propel you into witnessing to those around you. Some of them are driving their lives into the doom of hell. Others may or may not be saved, and need to know how you’ve learned to live by the Spirit-powered, faith-fueled new life in Christ. Both kinds of people will rejoice to learn how the gospel works!
Dear Lord, forgive us for trying to self-power our lives on flesh-fuel. Teach us how to live by the Spirit, who uses assurance to power-boost our lives. Grow us in greater godliness and holiness. Then use us to win multitudes to faith in your Son! Restore to us the years the locusts have eaten. Pour out Your Spirit in revival on us. To Your glory, together with Your Father and Your Spirit, we ask, Amen.
[*] This weekly prayer devotional focuses our attention on some aspect of our need for the Holy Spirit to bring revival to our church. Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you (Ps 85:6)? For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams (Isa 44:3-4). Pick a 15 to 30-minute time-block in your schedule over the next week and use this devotional to focus your prayers. As you can, consider fasting from a meal and using that time to pray for revival in our church.