Confused about the Holy Spirit?


John 14:16-18

Many people are confused about the Holy Spirit. In this age of spiritism and new age practices, how are we to understand the Holy Spirit?

First, we must dispel some misnomers. The Holy Spirit is not a force or manifestation of some ephemeral power that we get in touch with. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is God. The Christian ought to submit to him, as he or she would to the Father and the Son. Furthermore, not all that is called “spiritual” is from the Spirit. The word “spiritual” originally referred to things that were of the Holy Spirit. Nowadays, in our new age environment, all sorts of things are called spiritual, whether intuitions, sensitivities, or an interest in other realms. “Spiritual” in the biblical sense refers to none of these things. “Spiritual” refers to things that come from the third person of the Trinity. So, who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit first appears at the very beginning of the Bible. He is hovering over the primordial waters of creation (Genesis 1:2).

Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Sprit came upon people to empower them for certain tasks or leadership roles. For example, the Holy Spirit came upon the Judge Samson, so that he tore apart a lion with his bare hands (Judges 14:6).

The prophets of the Old Testament prophesied of a time when all God’s people would be filled with the Holy Spirit. God told of a future New Covenant he would make with his people through the prophet Ezekiel, who said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you… (Ezekiel 36:26).”

This New Covenant was inaugurated as part of Christ’s earthly ministry. Before his death, Jesus told his followers that he would not leave them as orphans but would send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18). This he did (John 20:22). Now the Holy Spirit abides in all who believe, leading them to salvation (Acts 2:38), producing the fruits of their salvation in their lives (Galatians 5:22-23), and equipping them for the ministry Jesus has called them to (Acts 1:8).

Christians receive the Holy Spirit by believing. Once we believe, we are to submit to the Holy Spirit and walk in him (Galatians 5:16). Christians can quench the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19), so they do well to submit to him.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is for all who believe. If you have not entrusted your life to Christ, do so today. If you have, make sure you are in step with the Spirit who dwells in you.

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