ISSUE: 2018, Volume 15, Issue 1
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In this final study, we will look at the Holy Spirit and individual Christians.
It was through Him that we learned we were sinners and needed to be saved. When the Holy Spirit spoke to us we felt our need as sinners, so we repented and believed.
It was through Him that we were born again. When we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came to live within us and we were born again, John 3. 7. We then knew our sins were forgiven; we were given new desires to honour God, to be with other Christians, and to read His word.
It is through Him that we are sure about our future. Ephesians chapter 1 verses 13 and 14 teaches, ‘in whom [Christ] also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession’. First, notice that we are ‘sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise’. The death of Christ is the price God paid to purchase us, and the Holy Spirit in us is the seal that shows that we now belong to God. Second, note that the Holy Spirit is the ‘earnest of our inheritance’. He is the deposit that God has left with us, which guarantees that He will one day take us to Himself.
It is through Him that we can live victorious lives. In Romans chapter 8 we learn that by obeying the Holy Spirit within us we can live lives that are pleasing to God, and meet His standards, ‘that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’, Rom. 8. 4.
It is through Him that we grow. Through the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, we have all that we need to grow. We begin with milk, ‘as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby’, 1 Pet. 2. 2. As we read the Bible, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to obey what we learn. The more we do this, the more we will grow and become ‘spiritual’, 1 Cor. 2. 15. Spiritual believers see things how God sees them, and live in the way that God expects them to live. This happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to change how we think and act.
It is through Him that we are fitted for service. The Holy Spirit dwells in all believers. Our ability to give effective service for God depends on us being ‘filled with the Spirit’, Eph. 5. 18. Being filled with the Spirit means that His influence in our lives is not limited in any way by our behaviour.
But we can fail to grow. Paul told the Christians at Corinth that, ‘I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ’, 1 Cor. 3. 1. They had not become ‘spiritual’. In many ways, they still acted the same way as the people around them. They were still under the influence of the old sinful nature instead of the Holy Spirit.
And we can upset the Holy Spirit. Did you know we can make the Holy Spirit ‘sad’? The Bible word for this is ‘grief’. Paul warned the Christians in Ephesus about causing the Holy Spirit distress: ‘and grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption’, Eph. 4. 30. This will happen if we do not listen to Him, and by continuing to allow things in our life that are sinful.
If we keep doing this and do not repent, the Holy Spirit may stop speaking to us, because we are ignoring Him. Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica about this and warned them to ‘quench [extinguish] not the Spirit’, 1 Thess. 5. 19.
There is much more that could be added. The most important thing to remember is that if we are to please God in our lives and be useful in His work, then we must listen to and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us through the Bible.