Last week we saw that it is essential to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the Trinity, the Spirit of God. Our Triune God is one true God revealed in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each with individual characteristics, responsibilities, and operations, yet are equal and work in total unity and harmony. We discovered that the Holy Spirit possesses all the attributes of God and has roles and functions, i.e., Helper, Teacher, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby, Author of Scripture, etc. (John 14:26; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation
Every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them through the new birth. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior, it is the Holy Spirit that comes to make His home in us when we are born again and causes our spirit to be re-born with the Spirit of God, and our bodies become His temple (John 3:3-8; Romans 8:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; 3:3; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 6:19; Jeremiah 31:33; Titus 3:5-7). God no longer dwells in buildings, but He makes His tabernacle in us as individuals who make up His body, the Church (1 Corinthians 12:27). Jesus promised the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit and that He would dwell with and be in us forever (John 14:16-17; Ephesians 1:13-14).
When Jesus breathed on the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, they became born-again (John 20:21-22). The Church began when Jesus breathed on His disciples and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” They returned to Jerusalem with great joy (Luke 24:52-53). He also told them to wait in Jerusalem until He sent the promise of the Father upon them, which would empower them to be witnesses for Him (Luke 24:49). We will discuss the promise of the Father next week.
Jesus illustrated the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation with the woman at the well as a well or fountain of water springing up into everlasting life, a one-time occurrence, for your personal use.
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 (NKJV)
Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Believer
The Holy Spirit, who now dwells inside the believer, helps us to grow from the inside out. This process is called sanctification, which means to set apart or declare holy; to consecrate. We are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this process. The Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:9-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Titus 3:5). This process of sanctification or transformation occurs as we spend time in the Word and walk in the Spirit, which gives us freedom from the power of sin. Only our spirit was re-born, so we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit by renewing our mind bringing transformation of our soul (mind, will, and emotions; Romans 12:2). When we walk in the Spirit and follow the leading of the Spirit, we won’t fulfill our fleshly desires (Romans 8:1-17; Galatians 5:16-25).
The Holy Spirit has given us His divine nature. The Holy Spirit has deposited the love of God (Romans 5:5) and the nine fruit of the Spirit into our re-born spirit. The development of the fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of our maturity in Christ. The fruit appears and develops when we walk in the Spirit so that our behavior and actions reflect them. Jesus said that when we abide in Him and Him in us, we will bear much fruit for, without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
We live by the Spirit because the life we have in Christ is only by the work of God’s Spirit and by His grace. We are in the Spirit because the Spirit of God dwells in us and gives us life (Romans 8:9-10). The new birth is the beginning of our life with the Holy Spirit. God has put His laws in our hearts and has given us a new heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26, 27; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Jeremiah 31:33; 2 Corinthians 3:3).
If we live in the Spirit, we should also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Walking in the Spirit pleases God (Romans 8:8), and it is the Spirit of God that enables us to be victorious over the desires of our flesh. He is our Helper and power source to overcome sin and live victoriously (Romans 8:11; 1 John 4:4).
Our flesh does not desire or value the things of God, but prefers to do things independently of God, and gets its pleasure from power and the things of the world. The flesh and the Spirit are contrary and opposite to one another. Giving in to the desires of the flesh is the opposite of walking in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-21). To be led by the Spirit means to cooperate with Him and to follow His initiative and enablement. The Holy Spirit gives us desires for God’s will and ways and to obey Him. We are to put off the old man and put on the new man who is in Christ (Ephesians 4:17-24; Galatians 2:20; Romans 13:14).
If we are led by the Spirit and walk in the Spirit, we are neither under the law nor condemnation, but we are sons of God (Galatians 5:18; Romans 8:1, 14-16). The law is the commandment of God that we can’t keep or follow in our strength. The law shows us that we can’t keep it and draws us to Jesus who became our sinless substitute to pay for our sin by His death on the cross so we could become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ is our peace and reconciliation (Ephesians 2:14-18; Romans 5:11).
We are to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7) and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40), which is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14). However, we are helpless to do this without the Spirit’s help (Romans 7:18). He will help us and give us the power to walk in love when we ask Him (1 Thessalonians 3:12; Hebrews 13:20, 21; Romans 6:11-14). He is at work in us (Philippians 2:12-13).
How we walk is essential. We are to walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5); walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and our calling (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; Philippians 3:14-16); not in the futility of our mind (Ephesians 4:17). We are to walk in wisdom, making the most of our time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-17). The Bible tells us to abide in Christ, be filled with the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and don’t grieve the Spirit. These all declare how we are to live for Jesus Christ by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ, and so should we (John 16:14-15). We are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1)!
The anointing that teaches us and empowers us to walk as a believer dwells in us, i.e., laying hands on the sick, cast out demons, speak with new tongues, etc. (1 John 2:20, 27; Mark 16:15-18). The anointing is the person of Jesus Christ manifesting Himself by grace in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We have the same anointing that Jesus had when He walked on the earth because He lives in us (Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 11:2; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22).
Once we are born again, we can hear His voice as He speaks to our spirit because we are His sheep, follow Him, and will not follow another (John 10:4, 5, 27; Romans 8:16). The Holy Spirit is just waiting for us to come to Him so He can reveal things to us (Jeremiah 29:13)! He speaks primarily through the written Word and other times by the inward witness, prophecy, and dreams and visions. The Bible is our foundation for truth and is a sure word (2 Peter 1:19-20). Any word that we may receive through prophecy, dreams, or visions, must be compared with the Word. The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word.
We don’t look to the outside to get answers and direction, but look on the inside (Colossians 1:27; 1 John 4:4)! When we don’t hear Him, it may be because we don’t believe He is speaking, we’re not paying attention, we’re allowing interference to drown out His voice, or we’re not listening with our spiritual ears (1 Peter3:4). We need to be in the Word so we can learn to hear His voice and know the truth because He is the Spirit of truth. He teaches us, reminds us of what Jesus has said and speaks of things to come (John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13-15; 1 John 2:20, 27).
The power to walk victoriously comes from the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), and we can experience the Holy Spirit’s power by being filled moment by moment as we yield to Him (Ephesians 5:18). Without His power, we will fail and fall back into sin and bondage. We know this because the Bible tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17), so only the Spirit sets people free and empowers them to walk in freedom. With the Holy Spirit, we have the power to fight sin effectively because He strengthens our inner man (Ephesians 3:16).
Remember what a great love He has for us and that He desires an intimate relationship with us. His desire is for us to walk in the victory, freedom, and the abundant life that Jesus came to give to us!
Next week, we will look at the Holy Spirit – Promise of the Father, in-filling power. There is more! There are rivers on the inside of every believer (John 7:37-39) waiting to be released and poured out. Come hungry for more of Him. Come expecting!