THE HOLY SPIRIT
In the last blog post "The Journey" we briefly looked at the Holy Spirit's role in helping us become more like Christ. In this post we will take a closer look at who the Holy Spirit is and how he works to accomplish God's purposes in our lives.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his followers, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). He also said, "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). In other words, the Spirit of God, the Creator of the universe, is active in the world today, and he helps us to know Christ and to bear witness to the gospel.
This same Holy Spirit dwells within us if we allow him to. As Paul said to the church in Corinth, "Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16).
What's more, we can relate to the Holy Spirit on a personal level. Throughout the Bible, the Spirit is referred to as if he is a person. He has a mind, emotions, and a will. The theologian Gordon Fee notes that "the Spirit is the subject of a large number of verbs that demand a personal agent: The Spirit searches all things (1 Cor 2:10), knows the mind of God (1 Cor 2:11), teaches the content of the gospel tobelievers (1 Cor 2:13), dwells among or within believers (1 Cor 3:16; Rom 8:11; 2 Tim 1:14), accomplishes all things (1 Cor 12:11), gives life to those who believe (2 Cor 3:6), cries out from within our hearts (Gal 4:6), leads us in the ways of God (Gal 5:18; Rom 8:14), bears witness with our own spirits (Rom 8:16), has desires that are in opposition to the flesh (Gal 5:17), helps us in our weakness (Rom 8:26), intercedes in our behalf (Rom 8:26-27), works all things together for our ultimate good (Rom 8:28), strengthens believers (Eph 3:16), and is grieved by our sinfulness (Eph 4:30)."
When we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we have God's seal of ownership on our lives. Ephesians 1:13 says, "When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession."
In short, the Holy Spirit is God's gift and it is available to every one of us, not only to those who have reached a certain level of "spiritual maturity" or who come from a certain culture or who practise certain rituals. The Holy Spirit is available to you and me. He guides us in our walk with Christ and sets us apart for salvation. Without him we simply cannot live a Christ-centred life.