“He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What is God’s will? Here are a few passages that help answer this question:
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.”
“So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
“He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
Simply put, God’s will is to save the world through and in Jesus Christ, through His death, resurrection, and ascension. But notice that last passage, in its final statement: “to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
That again is Jesus, the man in Whom earth and heaven are united, for He Himself has an earthly nature as well as a heavenly nature. But what does all this mean?
Here, today’s passage comes in. What Jesus means for us – what is witnessed and seen in Him – is testified both in heaven and on earth. What the Holy Spirit witnesses in heaven is united with what the apostles witness on earth. The Holy Spirit witnesses Jesus – the Second Adam – sitting at God’s right hand. He witnesses the restoration of humanity in Christ.
His witness animates the apostolic witness. When they on earth by their ministry work adoption to God through Christ, it is the Holy Spirit working His testimony on earth as it is in heaven. The Church sees only adopted, holy children of God gathered around the throne of God. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, to inspire our “Abba Father” and work our adoption in us.
This is the “finishing” of God’s work of creation, the lifting up of humanity to His right hand through His Son. What Christ has by nature, we have by grace worked by the Holy Spirit.
It is by the Holy Spirit that we “look on Christ” and “believe” in Him. We cannot look on Him without the witness of the Holy Spirit, for we are not in heaven. But the Holy Spirit works that vision, so that by faith we can confess ourselves to be in divine realms.
This all plays out liturgically, of course, for that is where we are brought into the presence of God and gather around His throne. This is why the claim, “I’m spiritual but not religious” is ridiculous. Here, “spiritual” is a stand-in for “subjective” or “idiosyncratic.” Meanwhile “religious” is a stand-in for “formal” or “externally dogmatic.”
But everything the Holy Spirit works is rooted in formal and external things, because He Himself bears witness of a formal and external Person, Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father. The manifestation of that witness on earth occurs through all the externalities of the Church: its preached word, its sacraments, its formal worship, and its people.