Posts Tagged 'The Holy Spirit and You'

Mystery of the Trinity, Part 5


Human beings were created to need fellowship. As a matter of fact, as soon as God created the first man, Adam, He said this:

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18 | KJ21)

But what does fellowship look like? A group of people hanging around together? Or eating together? We can learn about true fellowship by looking at the Trinity. There is no more perfect example of fellowship than how the three Members of the Trinity relate to each other.

Submit to the Father

The first Person of the Trinity is known as the Father. There’s a clue in this title as to how we should relate to Him. In the book of James, we read something so simple we miss it, but it’s the foundation upon which our relationship with God the Father is built.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:7 – 10 | TNIV)

The word is “submit,” and it’s a word we don’t like. It means to put our will under God’s. Often it means behaving or thinking in a way we don’t really like but we do it because we know that’s what God wants. But our submission is not the submission of a subject to a tyrant, but that of a child to a Father. There’s a difference. One is done out of fear of punishment, the other is done out of respect and even love.

There’s a chilling statement Jesus made that has to do with submission:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21 | TNIV)

Anybody can claim to be a Cristian, but Jesus wants disciples, not Christians. There’s a difference. The test of true discipleship is not what you call yourself or what others call you, but rather the test is one of submission. And the true test that a person belongs in the Kingdom is not just words, but also deeds. Verse 20 amplifies verse 21, so we should look at it:

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:20 | TNIV)

Our Lord is actually referring to false teachers here, but He’s laying down a pattern. What is true of false teachers must also be true of anybody claiming to be a follower of Jesus. One can call himself a Christian all day long, but if his actions don’t pass “the smell test,” then he can’t be a true follower of Jesus; he can’t be a disciple.

So doing the will of God – submitting to God – is the very least you should be doing if you want to be disciple of Jesus’.

That idea of humble submission is exemplified, not only in how we are to act, but even in how we pray. The very words we choose to use show whether or not we have learned submission to God.

He said to them, “When you pray, say: ” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.’” (Luke 11:2 | TNIV)

Jesus began teaching His disciples how to pray by giving them an example. It’s not that He expected all of His followers to memorize and repeat this particular prayer all the time, but that we should take not of and appreciate the attitude in which it was prayed, and that means looking at the words Jesus used. For example, Jesus began the model prayer with using the title “Father,” which comes from the Greek, pater. So when we pray, we should consider the fact that we are praying to our heavenly Father and that we are His children. Again, that’s a relationship made possible by Jesus’ redemptive work on the Cross, and by praying like that – in that attitude – we are acknowledging what Jesus did for us and we are behaving in prayer as submissive, humble children.

Jesus also used an old fashioned word, “hallowed” in the prayer. That’s a word essentially unknown to modern readers, even though the TNIV, a very modern translation of Scripture, uses it. But what exactly does it mean? And do we need to use that word in our prayers? In answer to the second question first, no. Jesus probably didn’t mean for us to use “hallowed” in all our prayers. The idea behind the Greek word “hallowed” is found in many Old Testament prayers, like this one:

He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. (Psalm 111:9 | TNIV)

It’s more of an act of worship than a statement of fact, though it is a statement of fact. When we pray, we ought to be worshipping God – the “holy and awesome” heavenly Father, and the fact that His name is “hallowed” should influence, not only the words we use, but our very attitude as we pray. He is “hallowed” and He is “holy and awesome” and we should pray in that attitude.

Follow the Son

We are able to have fellowship with God the Father because of what God the Son did for us. Our relationship with God the Son is slightly different than our relationship with God the Father. While we are to relate to God the Father as our Father, we are to follow God the Son. Jesus helps us understand how to do that.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25 – 30 | TNIV)

The first thing you should notice in verse 25 is how Jesus addressed God in His prayer, which is what part of this paragraph is. He is following the model prayer He gave His disciples! Our Lord refers to His Father as, “Lord of heaven and earth.” That’s another way to “hallow the Lord’s Name.”

He also reveals a vital piece of doctrine. Nobody can know that Father except those who know the Son because the Son reveals the Father to them. It doesn’t matter what a person may say, only followers of Jesus the Son can know God the Father.

Verses 28 – 30 are among the most beautiful verses in all the Bible. In spite of our sin and corruption, Jesus never said, “Get lost, you good for nothing bums!” Instead, He put out the invitation for lost, sinful man to “come” to Him. Why would those dragging around sins want to come to Jesus? It’s because that burden of sin is so heavy and the only One who can give relief is Jesus. It’s a measure of the wickedness of sin that it deludes the one it has control over into thinking it’s easier and more pleasurable to go on sinning than it is to come to Jesus and be set free. In comparison to the awful weight of sin, the “yoke” of Jesus is easy and the burden of following Jesus is so much lighter than that of sin. You can’t help but be reminded of the terrible words of Jacob Marley to Ebinezer Scrooge. Scrooge asked the specteral Marley why he was dragging around a very long length of heavy chain as he walked by night. Marley answered:

I wear the chain I forged in life! I made it link by link and yard by yard! I gartered it on of my own free will and by my own free will, I wore it!

The crushing weight of sin, like the chains of Jacob Marley, can only be removed when a sinner comes to Jesus for the rest only He can give. But to receive that rest means to submit to Christ’s authority. That’s what is meant by “yoke.” There’s definitely a give-and-take here. The sinner comes to Jesus, Jesus takes his sin away, giving relief and rest, and the one-time sinner becomes a submissive follower of Jesus. The idea is you either follow the difficult way of sin where there is nothing but difficulty and drudgery or you can follow the way of Jesus, where there is rest and peace in His presence.

But there’s more to it than that, as those of us who have been following Jesus can attest to. It isn’t always easy to follow the Son.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even life itself—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, 27 | TNIV)

If you’re like me, you probably prefer the verses in Matthew over these found in Luke’s Gospel! It’s startling to read verse 24, especially. Did Jesus really mean that following Him means we must hate our family? Or even our very life? It’s really a matter of love in degrees. The Aramaic word Jesus used for “hate” simply means, “to love less.” To be a true disciple of Jesus means that you must love Him more than anything or anybody in your life, including your very life. That sounds good, and it makes a great deal of sense. But it’s not easy to put into practice. If you are on Facebook, for example, take notice of how mothers (it’s almost always mothers who write such things) refer to their kids. Often the phrase that accompanies the latest picture of their little darling is something like, “This kid…he’s my life/my whole world/I love him more than anything.” Now, we know what she means, but what sideways insult to Jesus! Not to mention it’s a terrible witness. Of course, social media begs for the use of hyperbole and exaggeration, but if you’re a Christian, your witness ought to be: “This Jesus…He’s my life/my whole world/I love Him more than anything.”

Loving Him more than your family is hard enough, but it’s hard to get all worked up about having to “carry your own cross.” We know Jesus is simply saying that being His disciple means that your life will be a life of submission (there’s that word again!). There may be times when you’ll have to deny yourself something because you are a follower of Jesus. You may have to put Him or an activity for Him ahead of what you’d rather be doing. It’s all part of “carrying your cross.” Jesus the Son submitted to His Father’s will – death on the cross – and so you must also submit to God’s will.

Rely on the Spirit

If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15 – 17 | TNIV)

Very shortly before Jesus was crucified, bringing His earthly ministry to a close, He gathered His friends around Him to tell them that soon He would “give them another advocate.” Other translations use the word “comforter.” What Jesus was trying to tell them was that while He was their present Advocate and Comforter, when He left them He would send them another One to take His place. We know He was referring to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would take His place and do what He had been doing for them and in them. Think about what Jesus did with His disciples during His three years of ministry on earth. He taught them God’s word; He explained to them what all those verses meant. He showed them how to apply all those teachings they knew since childhood to their lives today. They saw Jesus working miracles – miracles of healing and deliverance, for example. They saw Jesus do amazing things, like walking on water and changing the weather and feeding thousands of people with what amounted to a snack! By using the word “another,” Jesus was telling His friends that the Holy Spirit would what He did.

Jesus began by talking to them about submission. If that seems to be a repetitive theme, that’s because it is. I began this study by stating that submission is the very foundation of a relationship with God the Father, so it’s natural that the notion of submission keeps popping up. Fellowship with Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives all begins with submission. You cannot get away from it. As a Christian, there is nothing more important than submission to God. You can claim to love Him, but if you can’t submit to Him, just how valid is your so-called love for Him?

You and I as disciples of Jesus must rely on the Holy Spirit. He makes the Son and the Father real to us. But not only that, the Holy Spirit enables us to live for God in the world by making it possible for us to do some of things Jesus did while He was engaged in His earthly ministry. He does this through the spiritual gifts He gives us. There are several lists of the Spiritual gifts in the New Testament, but the most well-known one is found in 1 Corinthians 12 –

To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:8 – 11 | TNIV)

By using the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are able to carry on the work of Jesus within the Body fo Christ. But there’s even more. With the Holy Spirit in our lives, it just gets better and better. He also enables us to live like Jesus. With the power of the Spirit, we can work like Jesus and live like Jesus!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22 – 25 | TNIV)

Letting the Spirit live through you will result in you living a life totally different from the life you lived before you became a Christian. Back then, you were controlled by your sinful nature, but now you are – or should be – controlled by the Holy Spirit. And to be in step with Him means living the kind of life Jesus lived – a life marked by things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Really, when you cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in your life, you will be simply living like Jesus did.

The Holy Spirit wants all of us to learn to rely on Him. Living the Christian life isn’t always easy, but when we submit to God we will be relying on the Spirit and we will be living the very best Christian life we can.

The Holy Spirit and You, Part 4



The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

As Christians, we never need to worry about the Holy Spirit suddenly disappearing from our lives.  Most of us are familiar with the words of the great King David:

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  (Psalms 51:11 NIV84)

These words were written by a faithful man who knew his weaknesses.  In his dispensation the Holy Spirit had not been poured out; that was an event yet to occur.  In spite of his spiritual frailty, David’s heart’s desire was to live wholly for God and he had enough discernment to know that in order to live like that, he needed the continuous help of the Holy Spirit.  His presence in the daily life of Israel’s King was indispensable.  David may have had in mind another leader of Israel whose career was cut short because the Spirit left him.  The mighty Samson became as weak as other men when God withdrew His Spirit from him.

It is God’s plan to not only fill us with the Holy Spirit, but that He should be be a part of our  lives.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever…  (John 14:16 NIV84)

The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, is to abide in believers forever.  He is to be a part of our lives – a part of all we do.  Let’s take a closer look what it means to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you.

1.  You become His home

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.  (Romans 8:9-11 NIV84)

When a person is born again, the Holy Spirit literally comes in and takes possession of his heart for Christ so that Christ now dwells in his heart by His Spirit.  The Holy Spirit, in these verses, is “the Spirit of life,” bestowing on all believers a new life.  The implication of verse 9 is obvious:  all people that have the Spirit in them, belong to Christ, those who do not, do not! 

Paul had been writing about what it means to be living according to the sinful  nature, and he makes it clear that as Christians we aren’t supposed to.  Christians are not under control of their sinful human nature but of the Holy Spirit.  That’s the new life He gives us – a life that has the potential to please God.  Of course, reason tells us that we have to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit; that He doesn’t force us to live a God-pleasing life.  But without the Spirit, no human being can please God.   So when the Spirit comes in and takes possession of our hearts, we are given the ability to please God in how we live because the Spirit tells us what we should do and gives us the ability to do it.  We don’t have to depend on our consciences or the laws of man!  We just have to listen to that “still, small voice” and act on what He is saying.

A lot of Christians struggle constantly with living right, as many in the Roman church did.  That’s why Paul tells them how powerful the Holy Spirit is:  If He raised Christ from the dead, then surely He can help you live a good, God-pleasing life!  But make no mistake about it, it’s not our righteous acts that please God, it’s our yielding to the righteousness of Christ which is in us – imputed to us – by the Holy Spirit! 

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  (1 Corinthians 1:30 TNIV)

The Spirit quickens our mortal bodies.  This  has a reference to our future resurrection; just as Christ was raised in glory, so also will those who are full of His Spirit.  But it also has reference to our bodies today.  The Holy Spirit vitalizes the whole person today!  The mortal bodies of Moses and Stephen were “quickened” when they were in God’s presence and their faces radiated with His glory.  We should also radiate God’s glory; it’s a witness to His presence in our lives; it’s proof to the world that we belong to Him and that the Holy Spirit dwells in us and it’s a foretaste of resurrection glory.

2.  He gives you strength

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.  (Micah 3:8 NIV84)

This verse found in Micah’s book is given in the context of false prophets versus Micah, a true prophet.  Unlike these false prophets – or  “placebo preachers” as Walter Kaiser calls them – Micah was full of power because he was full of the Spirit of The Lord.  His rivals, the false prophets, were preaching ridiculous messages of peace and safety when violence abounded and sermons full of cheery bromideswhen the people wallowing in their sin. 

Micah, in the face the difficult situation of having to tell his people how sinful they were, was given the strength to do just that by the Holy Spirit!   The Holy Spirit empowered Micah, as he empowers all believers today, to impartially declare the Word of God to those who needed to hear it.   It was the Holy Spirit that gave the prophet the boldness to say the right things and to live the right way; the Holy Spirit put something in Micah that wasn’t there before.  And He can do that for you, too, if you would let Him.  In fact, He wants to do that.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  (Philippians 2:12, 13  TNIV)

God, through the Holy Spirit, enables you to “will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”  He not only gives you the strength, but also the will.   Very often we may be aware of God’s will and we obey it, yet our hearts may not be in it.  But part of the work of the Spirit is to bring our hearts along and get them in-line so that God’s will eventually becomes OUR will, too!

Both Micah and Paul recognized that the good in their lives – the good they were doing for God – was not a work of their own abilities but a work of the Holy Spirit in them.  These men didn’t boast of their talents or achievements or great plans, their focus was on God who sent them to do work for Him.  Peter and John experienced the same thing and it was noticed by people around them:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.   (Acts 4:13 NIV84)

That “courage” was not native to Peter or John; it was put in them by the Spirit, which is why onlookers were “astonished.”  That’s the wonder the Spirit!  That’s what He does for believers in the here and now.  But notice, in the cases we have looked at, the Spirit put power in people to do the work of The Lord, not to make money or win friends and influence people. 

3.  He is LIFE

Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  (John 4:13-14 NIV84)

Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman whom He had asked for a drink of water.  He took the opportunity to teach her about the kind of “water” He could give her as opposed to the natural water she was giving Him.  The water from her well, natural water, would quench a person’s thirst temporarily; that person would need to have another drink some time.  But the “water” Jesus could offer was not natural water but spiritual water.  Of course, He’s not really talking about H2O, He’s talking about LIFE – specifically the kind of LIFE given by the Holy Spirit.  But the figure of “water” and “drinking” is a powerful one.  The “water” is LIFE and the “drinking” is FAITH.  It is by faith that we receive the new life of the Holy Spirit.  But this new life is so powerful, ONE drink lasts FOREVER! 

Not only does the Holy Spirit give us LIFE – both eternal life but also a new life for today – but that blessing in us is not confined to us only:

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.  (John 7:38-39 NIV84)

This precious Holy Spirit flows out from us, touching others. 

Those who thirst will find satisfaction is Jesus Christ.  As we are filled with His Spirit, He overflows us and we become spiritual fountains for other people.  When we trust Christ, we not only receive the “water” that produces eternal life, but we become a source of that life for others!  The fact is, nobody can possess the Holy Spirit and keep Him to himself.  Jesus is teaching us that where the Holy Spirit is, He flows forth.  If there is no “flowing forth, He is not there” (William Temple).

The Holy Spirit and You, Part One


It may not seem like it, but the Holy Spirit occupies a very conspicuous place in our present dispensation.  The name “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit” is seen 93 times in the New Testament; over 50 times in the book of Acts alone.

In the Gospels we see the ministry of Jesus.  In Acts we see the ministry of the Holy Spirit and we are currently in the age of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The apostle Paul, when writing to the Corinthians church, tried get that point across to that congregation:

Now if the ministry that brought death [the letter of the Law], which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?  (2 Corinthians 3:7, 8  TNIV)

 1.  The old kind of glory

Paul had been comparing the Old and New Covenants; he wrote about the intensity of Moses’ glory but said it was only temporary.  The great theologian compared the glory of the two covenants and showed that the New was far more splendorous than the Old.  Why is that?

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after meeting with God, he carried the two stone tablets, on which God had carved the Ten Commandments.  When he reached the encampment, what did he find?

When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.  (Exodus 32:19  TNIV)

What followed was an expression of God’s anger against His people:  three thousand of them died because they broke the Covenant God had made with Moses.  When Moses came a second time to the Israelites carrying the second set of stone tablets, we see how gracious God was and how willing He was to renew His Covenant with Israel.  But by worshiping the golden calf, the people had already broken the Law God had given them and abrogated the covenant.  When Paul wrote what he did to the Corinthians – that the “letter of the law” brought death –  he was referring to the effect the Covenant had on those disobedient Israelites.

Indeed, because of the unbelief and rebellion throughout their 40 year desert wandering, that generation of Israelites was condemned to die.

Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.  (Numbers 14:212-23  TNIV)

No wonder Paul thought the “ministry of the law” was really “the ministry of condemnation.”  But at the same time, the Old Covenant was glorious.  At Mount Sinai, the Israelites witnessed the glory of God manifested in incredible atmospheric displays:  thunder, lightening, and smoke.  In the Apocryphal book of Sirach, we read this:

He made an eternal covenant with them and revealed his commands to them. They saw the splendor of his majesty and heard the glory of his voice.  (Sirach 17:12-13 GNTCE)

Why was the Old Covenant glorious?  It’s because it came from the heart and mind of God; it was holy and righteous.  As the Law radiated God’s glory, so did the face of Moses.  The Israelites couldn’t even look at the face of Moses, so great was their sin.

That glory, though, was very temporary; it did fade away.  The glory of the Old Covenant was fading away, not because of any fault of the Covenant, but because of the hardened hearts of the people.  The hard hearted Israelites caused the nullified the Law because they externalized it; they obsessed on the “letter of the law,” not the spirit.

2.  A new kind of glory, a new kind of Law

Very typical of Paul, he compares the lesser to the greater; in this case, the lesser glory of the Law to the greater glory of the Spirit

will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?  (2 Corinthians 3:8  TNIV)

The answer is not needed. Of course, Paul is saying, the ministry of the Spirit is light years greater than that of the Old Covenant.   But just what is “the ministry of the Spirit?”  Naturally the Holy Spirit was busy in the Old Testament, but what Paul has in mind here is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer, which began on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

The ministry of the Spirit is far superior to that of the Old Covenant because unlike the Law, which had been externalized by the Jews, the ministry of the Spirit actually gets inside the believer and transforms him into the likeness of Christ.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  (2 Corinthians 3:18  TNIV)

So, then, the New Covenant, infused with the dynamic of the Holy Spirit, is able to do something the Old Covenant couldn’t do, and was not designed to do:  change the man.  The Old Covenant was glorious.  It really did offer a man a way of salvation but man was too weak to fulfill its demands.  The Old Covenant would have resulted in a fulfilling, glorious way of life that would have been completely pleasing to God, but man, because of his sinful and rebellious spirit, turned the glorious Law into a ministration of death.

Now, what Paul had said about the Old Covenant seems harsh.  But we must remember that the Old Covenant was the only the promise.  The New Covenant is the fulfillment of that promise.  The Old Covenant, with all it’s regulations pointed to something more – something greater – and that “something greater” is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Dynamic of the New Covenant.

The New Covenant, unlike the Old, is not written on tablets of stone!  It’s written on our hearts!  That’s another way of talking about the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.  Under the Old Covenant, the Jews obeyed the letter of the written Law.  Under the New Covenant believers are to willingly submit themselves to the “still small voice” of the Spirit of God dwelling in them.  And as we do that, we become like Christ.  We are fully co-operating with this work of the Spirit; He does not force us to submit to the will of God.  We have a free will and it’s up to us to hear the Word of God and to submit to that Word through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

That’s the glorious nature of the New Covenant!   There is a power within every believer that has the potential to re-create that believer in the very image of Christ.  All we have to do is yield ourselves to that power, and that power is personal:  He is the Holy Spirit.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV84)

 3.  He, not it

Most Christians instinctively know that the Holy Spirit is a person, not an “it,” but they don’t consciously think about that.  The personal pronoun is routinely used in Scripture in talking about Him:

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.   (John 16:13-14 NIV84)

The Holy Spirit and the Covenants:  Why New is Better

The Holy Spirit is as much a person as the Father and the Son, and it is He who has taken up residence in the hearts of all believers.  He is not a mere feeling or emanation or warm feeling!  However mysterious and  unfathomable it may seem, the simple fact remains that this mighty, powerful, holy Being, whose presence in our lives is soul-moving and life-changing is a Person.  And that Person – the Holy Spirit – is God!

Then Peter said, Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?  Didnt it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasnt the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.  (Acts 5:3-4 NIV84)

How precious is the gift of the Holy Spirit?  How loving and compassionate is our Heavenly Father that He has given us the gift that keeps on giving:  His presence in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  No Christian ever has to be a failure if he is living for Christ.  No Christian ever has to play the victim, no matter the circumstances.  Every Christian, without exception, has been given the ability to live his life full of optimism, good cheer, abundance, and above every circumstance by the Holy Spirit.  He is our partner in this life.


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