There is something that consummates relationship to Christ. Apart from that something, Christian life is largely negative or neutral, in a position or state of suspension, indefinite, tentative, as though there is something more yet to happen. The disciples had believed, but there was something yet that needed to be. That is how it works out; there is no doubt about it. There are multitudes who have believed that Jesus is the Christ, believed in the facts of His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, and even of His coming again, and much more of the Christian doctrine and, having believed, they have come into a certain relationship with Him; and yet there is a pause, there seems a lack of something, and as time goes on, that lack becomes more accentuated, more apparent, more real to those concerned and to others who know them. In the Church they are either negatives or neutrals, or somehow suspended, tentative. You feel that something has to happen to them, something is needed.
Paul asked a question in this form, “Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?” – for this is the proper translation; not, “Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?” which implies that some kind of relationship with Christ is possible without receiving the Holy Spirit. That seems to me to be implicit in this very question. Paul at once regarded these disciples as believers, but he had a question about them and put his question to them.
He at once sought to get to the root of it and to have it put right; and it was found to be that, though they had believed – had accepted certain truths which resulted in their accepting Jesus – they were not right out liberated, regnant, effective. Something still had to take place. Their relationship with Christ had to be in some way brought to a fullness, a completeness.
This consummation places life on an altogether new basis. Indeed, it places life upon what we call a supernatural level. There is no doubt about it in the case of those mentioned in the New Testament. Witness was borne that this does bring in supernatural features and factors, and puts life on that level. The Holy Spirit consummates relationship to Jesus Christ.