(Titus 3:6) “He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”(Romans 5:5) “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (1 Corinthians 2:12) “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
According to God’s Word the Bible the Holy Spirit dwells within the life of every born again believer. God has not left us spiritual orphans but has been pleased to live in us through His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is constantly at work in us transforming us into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ and bringing our lives into conformity with the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. The purpose of this study is to show from the Word of God just what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives as believers.
1. The Holy Spirit imparts Spiritual Life to us as believers.
(Titus 3:6) “He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:4-5) “But because of His great love towards us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace that you have been saved.” (John 6:63) “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” (John 3:5-6) “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
In these verses we are told that the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual life. He imparts spiritual sight and understanding to those who are spiritually dead towards God and blind to the real truth about Him. There is a vast difference between an intellectual knowledge of the Bible and a heart knowledge of its truths. A mere intellectual knowledge of God’s Word leads to a theoretical and legalistic religion; however, heart knowledge of His Word will change the whole course of our lives. (Psalm 119:9-11,105, 130)
A person can hear the Bible read every Sunday in church and even read it from cover to cover and even have a theological degree but never find faith because they do not seek to understand it with the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As believers we can preach and share the Word with others but unless the Holy Spirit takes the seed of that word and implants it into the soil of their hearts they will not believe no matter how much they hear. Persuasive speech and methods of evangelism and emotional appeals cannot produce spiritual life in people’s hearts and lives.
Paul said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power”(1 Corinthians 2:4-5). He also said, “Because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
No amount of preaching orthodox doctrine or Bible study will in themselves spiritually regenerate anyone unless the Holy Spirit takes that word and makes it a living thing in the human heart. The Word of God is the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses in His regenerating work. Peter said, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). Likewise James said, “He (God) chose to give us birth through the word of truth”(James 1:18a). Just as we totally depend on the work of Christ for our justification so we must totally depend on the Holy Spirit to produce the new birth. Through the promises of God’s Word the Holy Spirit imparts to us God’s very own Divine nature. Peter said, “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 1:4).
What a wonderful privilege we have as God’s children to have Him living in us. Jesus explains this truth in His parable of the sewer. The soil is the human heart and the sewer is the preacher. The seed sown is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit Himself is the water of life that regenerates that seed in the soil of the heart. God’s Divine nature is the result. The Holy Spirit Himself not only imparts spiritual life but also lives in everyone who has been truly born again. Paul said, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). He also said, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1Corinthians 6:19).
If we do not have the Holy Spirit living in us then we do not belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said, “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” (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit Himself in us is a source of everlasting satisfaction and life. Through Him the Lord Jesus satisfies us fully and forever. Jesus was talking to a prostitute by Jacob’s well and he said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would gave given you living water. Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:10, 13-14).
We can drink deeply from this world’s fountains of knowledge, success or pleasures and even from that almost divine fountain of human love yet remain thirsty for more in life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true source of a deeply fulfilled and satisfying life. (John 10:10) Only the Holy Spirit Himself can bring us deep satisfaction even when everything looks bad. The world’s idea of peace is the absence of conflict; however, the Bible’s ideal of peace is a deep sense of personal fulfilment and completeness even when there is fierce emotional conflict and adverse circumstances.
The Holy Spirit Himself is the only true source of that deep spiritual tranquillity. He alone can reproduce in us the peace of God that transcends all human understanding. If this peace is not yours then it can be despite your present circumstances if you will yield yourself completely to the control of the Holy Spirit. You can be in the biggest conflict of your life yet know God’s peace. The Holy Spirit alone knows what needs to be said and done in your situation.
If you let Him go to work on your behalf He will work things out according to the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for your life. (Romans 8:28) (Romans 12:1-2) (Philippians 1:6) God’s will is that we enjoy Him and experience His enabling power despite the things we face everyday. Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”(Romans 14:17) God’s righteousness, joy and peace reproduced in us by the Holy Spirit operate in us independently from our outward circumstances.
2. The Holy Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2) “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
In Romans chapter 7:9-24 we can see what the law of sin and death is. Paul recognized that God’s law was good and right but that he could not keep it because of the stranglehold of sin in his life. Even the spiritual things he wanted to do he couldn’t do and the natural and carnal things he didn’t want to do he did. (Romans 7:15-19) Many sincere Christians believe that in Romans chapter 7 Paul describes the normal Christian experience; consequently they live in spiritual defeat, enslaved to the desires and appetites of the flesh. Others use this teaching to make excuses for their carnal living. However, when we combine Romans chapter seven with Romans chapter eight it becomes clear that we do not have to be enslaved to the flesh with its appetites and desires. The Holy Spirit Himself is able to set us free from the downward pull of temptation and the flesh.
Imagine an airplane when it goes to take off it has to pull against the law of gravity. At first it slowly defies that downward pull and eventually flies heavenward. The pull of gravity is still there but it no longer affects the planes’ flight. As long as the pilot keeps the fuel turned on the plane flies free from that downward pull of gravity. Likewise in the spiritual life if we keep ‘fuelled up’ with the power of the Holy Spirit then we will be able to live free from the downward pull of the flesh and temptation. This is what Paul is telling us in Romans. At times we will experience fierce conflict between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit but we do not have to yield to the desires of the flesh because the Holy Spirit will enable us to have the victory. (Galatians 5:16-18) (Romans 8:9, 12-14)
If we are walking under the Holy Spirit’s control then we will be free from condemnation. In Christ there is no condemnation. Sometimes Satan will accuse us because he is ‘the accuser of the brethren’ and he may knock us around emotionally and bring adverse circumstances across our path but in Christ we are free from condemnation as far as the Lord is concerned. (Romans 8:31-39) It is only when we attempt to live independently from the Holy Spirit that we get into trouble with the desires of the flesh and the downward pull of the sinful nature.
Now we can come to a place in our spiritual walk where we are so full of the Spirit that we may not even be conscious of the presence of the sinful nature and it seems dead and gone but it is only kept in the place of death as we obey the Holy Spirit moment by moment. If we take one step in our own strength we will fail to maintain our walk with God. We must live constantly under the Holy Spirit’s control if we want to have continuous victory over the world, the flesh and the Devil. If we have life through the Spirit then how do we keep in step with the Spirit?
a. We need to be constantly studying the Bible everyday.
If we do this regularly we will be able to see and to hear what God is saying to us. The Bible is our street directory around the kingdom of God. It is our manual for building our lives on a solid foundation. David knew this when he said, “The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). God will not give us further guidance until we obey the guidance He has already given us from His Word. The Lord Jesus Himself said that the wise builder who builds his life on the rock of God’s Word would be able to stand against the winds of adversity when they come.
If we need guidance from the Lord then the first thing we need to do is go to His Word for the answer. Sometimes we will need to go back again and again until we have the answer. Sometimes we will need to dig deeply into the word of God and seek to find God’s answer, as we would seek for buried treasure. Only when we do this will we gain true insight and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-9) Often we do not find the answers we need because we do not persevere in our reading and study of God’s Word. Another reason we often loose the victory over our flesh is because we do not obey what the Word tells us to do in our circumstances. If we really want God’s best in our lives then we need to be doers as well as hearers of His Word. (James 1:22)
b. We need to be always joyful, praying constantly and giving thanks in all of the changing circumstances of our daily lives .
This is the only way we can keep ourselves in God’s will for our daily living. Paul says, “Be joyful always; Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). The Bible says that the joy of the Lord will be our strength. Joyless Christians are powerless Christians. We can only maintain our joy in the Lord by praying constantly and by being thankful for what we have. Often we are robbed of joy because we do not pray and give into grumbling and complaining. Thankfulness is the highest form of praise we can give to the Lord. When we are thankful God can do wonders for us, with us and through us. We are to give thanks in all circumstances whether they are good or bad. Our praying should always include thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:4-7)
c. We need to be constantly controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Paul the apostle said, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit”(Ephesians 5:18b). In the Greek text it is written in the present continuous tense. It actually says, “Be always being filled with the Spirit.” It is also a command in the Greek not an optional requirement. Here the Lord commands us to be continuously controlled by the Holy Spirit. This is the plain meaning of the text. The power of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself outwardly in our lives. The character of Jesus will be seen in our daily living as we seek to obey the Word of God. If we really love Jesus then we will love the Bible. The Lord Jesus is the Living Word of God revealed in flesh and blood. (John 1:1-2, 14)
The Bible itself is the mind and heart of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. If we do not love the Bible then we do not love Jesus! If we really love Him then we will allow His Spirit to reign over our lives. Sometimes we fail to obey Him and sometimes we sin but if we really want to be continuously filled with the Spirit then we must keep short accounts with God. When we become aware of something in our lives that grieves the Holy Spirit we need to confess it for what it is and ask God to help us put it away once and for all. His blood is always sufficient to cleanse us from all sin and keep us from every sin as we yield moment by moment to the control of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 1:7-9) (Romans 8:12-14)
In Ephesians 18:19-21 Paul list the marks of the Spirit filled life. If we are really filled with the Spirit we will be seeking to build others up in their faith with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and experiencing the joy of the Lord and be able to give thanks in all things and be able to submit to each other out of reverence for Christ. Paul goes on to say that being filled with the Spirit will enhance our personal relationships in every walk of life. If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to control us then the lusts and appetites of our old nature will control us.
d. We must put on the whole Armour of God everyday and resist the Devil.
When we read Ephesians 6:10-18 we are told by Paul that we are constantly in a wrestling match with the devil. Satan is constantly working around the clock to turn us away from following the Lord Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. He is always scheming and seeking ways to stop us from being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Only when we put every piece of God’s spiritual armour on and continue to pray will we be able to defeat him when he attacks us. With the armour of God we can take our stand in the evil day when it seems that all of hell is arrayed against us. James tells us that if we resist the devil he will flee from us. (James 4:7). The apostle Peter also tells us that we can resist the devil with our faith. (1 Peter 5:6-11)
e. We must be willing to give to the Holy Spirit everything in our lives that can hinder our spiritual growth.
As we pray and read the Word of God everyday the Holy Spirit will show us from the Word those things in our lives that need to change and how we can change them for the better. (Psalm 139:23-24) If we continue in the Word of God then we will be Jesus’ true disciples and we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. (John 8:31-32)
3. The Holy Spirit imparts spiritual strength to us in our innermost being.
(Ephesians 3:16-19) “I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
In these verses we are told that the Holy Spirit strengthens us spiritually down on the inside. But how does He do this?
First, the Holy Spirit strengthens us by dwelling in our hearts.
The word “dwelling” used in this text implies “a permanent settling” and has the idea of us being indwelt permanently by the Holy Spirit as an abiding presence in our lives. This is the anointing we have received from the Holy One and through whom we know the truth. (1 John 1:20) The Holy Spirit is the only one who can enable us to overcome everything that Satan throws our way. Isaiah the prophet said, “When the enemy comes in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a (battle) standard against him (putting him to flight)” (Isaiah 59:19).
Many believers do not realize the tremendous strength and power that the Holy Spirit can give them in times of spiritual conflict. He does not jump in and out of our lives. He can be grieved but will persevere with us if we really want to do the will of God. We may stumble at times and fall and make mistakes but if we desire God’s will above everything else in our lives then the Holy Spirit will correct us. Sometimes His correction hurts but the scripture says, ” Discipline may seem painful now but it yields forth the fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
We need to always remember that the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just a Divine force or power but the character and divine nature of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Even though Jesus is physically at the right hand of the Father interceding for us He is also living in us through His Spirit who is also interceding for us according to God’s will. When Satan attacks us he is not only coming against us but against the Lord Jesus Christ because we are part of His body. Whoever persecutes us persecutes the Lord Jesus Christ. In times of persecution and testing the Holy Spirit strengthens us and enables us to be spiritual winners.
Second, the Holy Spirit strengthens us through our faith.
The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
As we believe so we will be strengthened. Faith is not only believing but also being faithful. When we are faithful to Jesus we will experience His power and presence in our lives. The Lord Jesus will be very real to us. The way to increase our faith is to be faithful in our study of God’s Word because “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The solid foundation upon which we build our faith as well as our lives is the indestructible rock of God’s Word (Luke 6:46-48)
Third, The Holy Spirit strengthens us through God’s love that He has shed abroad in our hearts.
The apostle Paul said, “And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5). As we experience God’s love and care for us in our daily lives and obey His Word our trust and faithfulness to Jesus will increase. We will find ourselves being able to respond to the Lord Jesus in any situation facing us whether good or bad. John said, “We love Him because He first loved us and gave himself for us.” As we begin to love others in the Spirit’s power and not in our own strength God Himself Will establish our lives on a strong foundation. Only when we are really filled with the Holy Spirit will we be able to grasp how long and high and deep is the love of Christ that surpasses all human knowledge. Only then will we be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God!