What does it mean to participate of the Spirit, with Christ? The old hymn says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14). This is the fulfillment of the priestly blessing spoken by Moses, which, as a kingdom of priests, applies to us through Christ, “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace” (Number 6:24-26).
His face has shone upon us, and we have become children of the light, and have entered into the peace and rest of God. When we enter this place, we have entered into the New Covenant, of which Christ is the mediator, “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15). This New Covenant is the fulfillment of old prophecy, in which God the Father has sprinkled us with clean water, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:25-27). He has cleaned us, given us a new heart (beating in sync with His), put a new spirit in us (the spirit of a child, of that which He has called you to be; your identity in Christ), and He has put His Spirit in us. All this is so that we can now do His will. This is us becoming like Christ (one in Him), of whom it is said, “. . . but a body have you prepared for me. . . Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book” (Psalm 40:7; Hebrews 10:5,7). This prophecy is inclusive of His earthly body in which He suffered, and of us as His body. For He has accomplished all things in Himself, yet, we see that not all things are accomplished. They continue to be accomplished, until the day of there completion, through His body. This is why Paul has said, “. . .in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body” (Colossians 1:24).
For this reason, we are blessed to participate in the sufferings of Christ through the Spirit. Without the Spirit we are unable to participate; we are like Peter before the cross, swearing we will follow Him to the end, but denying Him in the first hardship. By the Spirit we are able to participate with joy, because we are participating in the will of the Father with Christ. How can we face persecution with joy? The Spirit reveals to us the risen Lord! He shows us the finished work that is reality in Spirit. He shows us the kingdom of heaven where the will of the Father is done and all things are in order. He shows us the surpassing glory of things to come, which breaks the chains that attach us to the world. We long for our true home, understanding we are not of this world, and are now here in the same capacity as our Lord, “a body have you prepared for me. . . Behold, I have come to do your will, O God!” We are His body that continues the work until it’s completion, when time passes, and the heavens and earth pass away. This work is already accomplished. We are to bring the kingdom of heaven to bear on earth. We are to walk in the Spirit where all is finished; in the trustworthy word, “It is done!”