Who is the Holy Spirit and Why is He Important to Christians
by Rich Deem

Introduction

Why is the Holy Spirit important in the life of Christians? In some of my interactions with Christians, it seems that they see the Holy Spirit as something that happened in the early days of the Church, who has now left the scene. However, the book of Acts makes it clear that the Holy Spirit, first given to the disciples,1 was poured out to thousands of early Jewish believers2 and eventually the Gentiles, also.3 How important is the Holy Spirit? Blasphemy against any other member of the Trinity (e.g., the Father or the Son) can be forgiven, although blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.4 The Holy Spirit empowers1, 5 the believer to perform acts of faith greater than their own physical capabilities.6 Feeling powerless these days? Tap into the Christian's power source and live the Christian life to its fullest.

Be Filled!

Although all believers possess the Holy Spirit, who lives in them,7 not all believers allow the indwelling Spirit to affect their lives. We are commanded to "be filled with the Holy Spirit."8 How are we filled with the Spirit? Most important is living within God's moral directives.9 Paul gives the specific example of not being drunk with alcohol.8 However, any Christian living in sin of any kind will not experience the joy of the Holy Spirit, but will become enslaved to sin.10 An equally important aspect of being filled with the Spirit is being involved in spiritual endeavors. Paul gives examples of reciting Psalms, singing hymns and spiritual songs, giving thanks to God for all things, and being subject to one another.11 Part of being filled certainly involves setting our minds on heavenly things,12 so that we may be transformed and renewed to the will of God.13

Benefits of obedience

Being filled with the Holy Spirit produces a sense of peace and joy in the believer.14 The fruit (i.e., harvest) of the Spirit is described as being joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.15 Spirit-filled Christians are just different.

Consequence of disobedience

Since the Holy Spirit is so important, we are told to not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit:

When we deliberately sin, we are not walking with the Spirit.16 When we do sin, our conscience testifies that we are not in the Spirit, so we lose the peace of walking with the Spirit.17 A good example of losing a sense of the Holy Spirit's peace comes from David's 51st Psalm. When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba, he sensed this loss and pleaded with God to help him and to not take the Holy Spirit away from him.18 Confession (agreeing with God that we were wrong) and repentance (turning from our sin) will put us back into fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion Top of page

The Holy Spirit lives inside the Christian and guides the actions of those who desire His presence. The Spirit empowers the believer to step outside his comfort zone to do extraordinary acts of faith for God. Being filled with the Spirit involves transforming our minds to the mind of Christ19 as we engage in spiritual activities. Walking in the Spirit leads to a sense of peace and joy, as we partner with God in His glorious plans. Violating our conscience through acts of disobedience lead to a loss of filling by the Holy Spirit, which takes away our joy and peace. Although God will not take the Holy Spirit away from a disciple of Jesus Christ, the continual practice of sin and a lack of spiritual activities will lead to a life that is no different than the life of a non-believer.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)



References Top of page

  1. He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8)
  2. Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit... So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:37-38, 41)
  3. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. (Acts 10:45)
  4. "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:31-32)
    "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him. (Luke 12:10)
  5. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
    For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:18-19)
    and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (1 Corinthians 2:4)
    that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (Ephesians 3:16)
    for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
  6. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (Acts 2:4)
    Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. (Acts 2:43)
    At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico. (Acts 5:12)
    And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)
    Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. (Acts 14:3)
    All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. (Acts 15:12)
  7. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
    Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
    However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:9)
    But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
    Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:14)
    Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? (James 4:5)
  8. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18)
  9. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
  10. Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. (John 8:34)
    knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; (Romans 6:6)
    Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
    But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)
  11. speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-21)
  12. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
  13. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, (Romans 8:6-7)
    and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Ephesians 4:23-24)
    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
  14. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:52)
    for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
    Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
    You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
  15. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  16. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
    If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
  17. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16)
    I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 9:1)
  18. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:10-11)
  19. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Reflections
We are what we think.

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Last Modified April 21, 2005

 

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