Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

9.06.2011

The Holy Spirit, Part I


The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Before Sarah, Lauren, and I left for Utah in June, we knew that we wanted to spend some of our time there in pursuit of God and His Word. Lauren suggested that we study the Holy Spirit, and we all immediately knew He was Who God wanted us to learn about. So we listened to two sermons from Alistair Baggs on the topic before we left, checked out a few books from the library (as well as raided our Dad’s library), and headed off to Utah.

That first morning we sat down, however, I felt very awed and somewhat intimidated by our chosen subject. The Holy Spirit is by far the most ignored part of the Trinity, and the most misunderstood amongst Christians, and yet Scripture has much to say about Him. We started out by writing down four questions we had about the Holy Spirit, and we managed to answer three of them in varying degrees of completion. I think, however, that all three of us came away from the study unsatisfied. We were intrigued by what we had learned, but we were hungry for more, and not at all willing to rest in the feeble knowledge we had gained. That, at least, is my reasoning for delaying a blog post on this topic for as long as I have. And now, finally, I have concluded that I must just share what I have learned this summer, despite my lack of understanding of the Holy Spirit’s interaction with my spirit and my inability to communicate the freedom and awe the Holy Spirit brings to my relationship with God.

The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testament
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever: so, too, is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has always been responsible to indwell humans to reveal God and bring glory to God. With that said, there is a definite difference between the function of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Before the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit’s indwellment was temporary, as seen in the life of Saul (I Samuel 16:14). “That which was sovereignly given could be sovereignly taken away (Lewis Sperry Chafer).” In this present age, however, believers receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation (I John 2:20, 27) for the entirety of their lives. The Holy Spirit’s presence is not based on merit, and He does not leave when a believer sins (John 7:37-39, Romans 5:5, etc.).

Nevertheless, Christians can quench the Holy Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19) through rebellious stubborness and get to the point of being unable to hear or detect the Holy Spirit. What a tragic thing this is! To live life as a sepulchre of a Christian, without the breath of life inside, the testimony of salvation, or the precious conviction of wrongdoing. If you are living in doubt of your salvation, consider whether you have quenched the Holy Spirit, for it is He who is a witness of our salvation (I John 5:10).

Just last week, at prayer meeting, we were gathered together to worship and beseech God. I settled on a hymn and requested that we sing it, and the gentleman next to me exclaimed, “I was just looking at that very one!” And later, as we were all still bowed in prayer, but nearing the end of our time together, someone began to sing, and we all followed him. And as we concluded, opening our eyes and looking up at each other, one girl in the circle remarked that she had just been about to begin the very same hymn. These were not coincidences! Rather, they were exciting examples of the Holy Spirit moving each one of us to worship God together with one mind.

I hope that you walk in the Spirit this week!


 

9 comments:

  1. Mikaela, thank you for sharing some of the insights you gleaned about the Holy Spirit. Some of my recent reading (in the Bible and "My Utmost for His Highest" and listening (audiobook "Come Thirsty" by Max Lucado) have turned my thoughts more and more to the Holy Spirit, His indwelling, His function, etc. I appreciated what you wrote.
    I look forward to the follow-up posts!

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  2. I have really enjoyed learning about the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, too. He has been teaching me so much!! The comfort, peace, and direction He gives is amazing.

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  3. Mikaela, I also thankyou for sharing what you have been learning of the Holy Spirit (HS) and am looking forward to follow-up posts.
    I have a question of clarification regarding the moment of salvation. When is this?
    As is not the HS required before this can occur, rather than the receiving of the HS when this occurs?
    God Bless

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  4. A powerful reminder! thank you!

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  5. Ruthie--Max Lucado is fantastic, isn't he? I'll have to check out that book by him.

    Rebecca--It has been amazing to me to see how much more aware I am of His work in my life now that I better understand Who He is. I am so glad you, too, have been able to experience this.

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  6. Lenora--Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify! This is a tricky question, but Scripture does give clear answers for it, so I'll do my best to convey that.

    Acts 2:38 very clearly shows when the Holy Spirit indwells the believer: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" It's worth adding, too, that this occurred after the Pentecost, which is found in the first part of Acts 2.

    However, with that said and understood, the Holy Spirit is most definitely involved in the salvation process. I Corinthians 2:14 shows that an unregenerate person is powerless to understand spiritual things: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." And in John 6:44, Jesus says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."

    Once we are saved, we begin a precious relationship with the Holy Spirit that never could have been possible before. Ephesians 1:13-14 says, "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."

    Is the Holy Spirit involved in the salvation process? Absolutely! Is the Holy Spirit indwelling, sealing, and habitually guiding the unsaved? No--that is the gift for those who have repented and been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

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  7. The Holy Spirit is such a wonderful gift! I cannot believe how amazing He is! For the past month I have been learning more and more about the Him through church services and personal Bible study. Today I received an email from a blog follower of mine telling me about your blog. My husband is on vacation so I am not spending much time online, at first I thought I would look at your site later, but I felt I needed to log on today and I am so glad I did! As I am learning more about the character of the Holy Spirit I am experiencing Him in an all new level and it is wonderful! Learning to hear Him speak and listening to His guidance is changing my life. Thank You for sharing. I look forward to reading your future posts.

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  8. Brandy--you're welcome! Thanks for commenting!

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  9. Such a souldull post. I would not dare to comment on the subject because at this point I am better of reading and educating myslef...still in search and so gratefull I have a Blog like yours to visit and to read. Wishing you wonderful Fall weekend!

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