Saturday, August 14, 2010

Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit has been on my mind on an off for the past four years. I've been mainly trying to figure out ‘what is the Spirit?’ and ‘what does He do?’. In my quest for understanding the Spirit, I recently listened on audio book to Forgotten God by Francis Chan, which addresses the topic of the Holy Spirit, and as the title alludes, how He is the forgotten God. These are some of my thoughts based on the Bible and other credible godly sources, and also some of my own insights mixed throughout.

The churches I have attended in the past (along with the churches of most churchgoing Americans) do not properly understand or talk about the Holy Spirit. So much of the credit due the Holy Spirit is improperly credited to the believer based on this improper understanding. When there is triumph over sin or trials we often say, "thank God you were able to overcome," but this is wrong to say. The correct response is, "thank God through the power of the Spirit you were able to overcome.” This may seem like a slight distinction but it is not. To be filled with the Spirit is the pulse of what it means for someone to be “Christian*" or "saved." And to be Spirit filled determines the activity level of one who is filled with the Spirit. When we have the ability to do anything good (good in the biblical sense of the word), it is only through the power of the Spirit. So the reason to say, "thank God through the power of the Spirit you were able to overcome,” is necessary because it's true.

When a nonbeliever is a hopeless unregenerate sinner, by what work does he enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ? Was it by the work of himself or by a work of God known as grace? With this truth in mind why then do believers (including myself) act like sanctification is up to us? I was saved by grace through faith, yet from there I act like my relationship with God depends on me. I can do nothing on my own, but in Christ I can do all things. And when Jesus left the earth He sent a helper to represent Him until his return, so it is in the Spirit I can do things, and all forms of spiritual good are possible. If I need to work on anger, contentment, pride, jealousy, or love; this is only accomplished by the work of the Spirit who is within each true believer.

Perhaps a post for a later day, but the Bible is very clear on the marks of a true believer i.e. one who is filled with the Spirit. Not all who believe in Jesus are regenerate, and not even all who are perceivably doing work in Christ's name are truly regenerate (Matthew 7:21 & 22). Knowing this is not for speculation on others' salvation, but for personal reflection. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). You want to know the greatest disappointment imaginable? Someone who gets to the gates of heaven and hears “depart from Me; I never knew you.”

*The term Christian should be put to death because unfortunately it hardly means anything anymore in America, because of all the baggage attached to it, but that is a conversation for another time


Down Memory Lane said...

I hope you will have that conversation soon, as it is a great subject. Thanks for this input on the Holy Spirit. Provokes a lot of thought!

Mamá to the best 3 said...

great post, lots to think about.. might need to ck out that bk!

Anonymous said...

ummm did you say you wanted to be a pastor instead of lawyer?? thanks for the words, dan