First Steps in Christ–Step Four–Life in the Holy Spirit

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STEP FOUR

LIFE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

God exists in three Divine Persons: the Holy Spirit, Father and Son. United as One God, they comprise the Divine Trinity. The New Testament contains very specific directions on how we must interact with the Holy Spirit.

God the Holy Spirit

“But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has satan filled you heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain you own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'” │ Acts 5:3-4, Page 1707

In this passage, we see that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, and then we see that lying to the Holy Spirit is the same as lying to God. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3, 4, Page 1707). The human writers of the Bible, writing under the inspiration of God, consistently described the Holy Spirit as God. Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah and said that the Holy Spirit, as God the Lord, spoke through Isaiah (Acts 28:25, Page 1757; Isaiah 6:8-13, Page 1079). This same pattern of equating the Lord God to the Holy Spirit can be seen in other passages (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, Page 1807; Romans 8:9, Page 1768; 1 Corinthians 2:11, Page 1784; 12:3, Page 1796).  Furthermore, the Holy Spirit also displays divine qualities: self-existence (Romans 8:2, Page 1768), eternal (Hebrews 9:14, Pages 1878-1879),  and omnipresence (Psalm 139:7ff., Page 992). The Holy Spirit performs the works of God in creation (Genesis 1:2, Page 1), resurrection (Romans 8:11, Page 1768), and conviction of sin (John 14:8ff., Page 1684). The Holy Spirit also plays a divine role in the production of Scripture: the Holy Spirit moves the disciples to remember the very words of Christ (John 14:26, Page 1685); the Holy Spirit moved men to speak prophecy, recorded in Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21, Pages 1901). In summary, the uniform testimony of Scripture indicates that God exists in three divine Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20, Page 1557; Matthew 22:41-45, Page 1542).

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He Who comes after me is mightier than I, and I am not able to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” │ Matthew 3:11, Page 1504

At the moment of salvation, Jesus baptizes each believer in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Page 1504). The Holy Spirit comes into your life and makes your body His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19, Page 1788). At that same moment o of salvation, Jesus baptizes you into the Body of Christ, the church (1 Corinthians 12:13, Page 1797). 

Some people wrongly teach that the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes at some time after salvation, perhaps weeks, months or years later. They sometimes point to three passages in the Book of Acts (Acts 1:5, Page 1799; Acts 8:14-17, Page 1714; Acts 19:1-7). Those passage present the fulfillment of Acts 1:8, Page 1699. There, Jesus prophesied and commanded that the apostles must wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, and then they would be the witnesses of Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fulfilled the promise of Jesus that the Father would send the Holy Spirit so that the disciples of Jesus would perform greater works after the ascension of Jesus than Jesus performed during His ministry in the flesh (John 14:16, Page 1685; John 14:12, Page 1685). The apostles began their ministry in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them and filled them (Acts 2:1-4, Page 1700). From Jerusalem and Judea, the word of God spread salvation to Samaria, just as Jesus prophesied (Acts 1:8, Page 1699). As part of the testimony to the believing Jews that even Samaritans could be saved by faith in Christ just like Jews, Peter and John laid their hands upon the new Samaritans believers and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17, Page 1714). Likewise, the Ephesian disciples (apparently including some Gentiles) living far away from Jerusalem, received the Holy Spirit when Paul laid his hands upon them. In both the Samaritan and Ephesian accounts, the believers had not yet heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but had only heard about baptism in the name of Jesus taught by John the Baptist. Both the Samaritan and the Ephesian accounts of the Holy Spirit filling believers have something else in common: only when the people heard and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ did they receive the Holy Spirit. Notice that the baptism of the Holy Spirit happened immediately upon salvation for the Samaritans and the Ephesians. Furthermore, the Bible contains no record that  the Holy Spirit only comes into the life of a believer by the laying on of hands. None of the New Testament letters indicate that only through the laying on of hands does a believer receive the Holy Spirit or get baptized by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let no one deceive you into believing that some believers receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at a time later than salvation. Nowhere in the Bible does God reveal such a teaching, but God demonstrates how salvation spread and how Jesus baptized all new believers in the Holy Spirit at the moment they heard and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In contrast to this false teaching of men, God taught us that at the moment of salvation Jesus baptized us into the Body of Christ, His Church (1 Corinthians 12:13, Page 1797). Notice that every believer at Corinth has been baptized into the Body of Christ, His Church. So, just as John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus would baptize all believers, so also Jesus baptizes each believer at salvation into the Body of Christ (Matthew 3:11, Page 1504; 1 Corinthians 12:13, Page 1797).

The Four Imperatives Concerning

the Holy Spirit

In the New Testament, God revealed four commands concerning the Holy Spirit. Each of those commands guides us in living with the Holy Spirit in our lives. God lives within us each day, and He seeks to fill our lives.

The Filling of the Holy Spirit

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” │ Ephesians 5:18, Page 1832

Although at the moment of salvation Jesus baptizes each believer in the Holy Spirit, God commands believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Because God commanded believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we know that being filled with the Holy Spirit requires obedience. Therefore, we also recognize that being filled with the Holy Spirit can never be considered automatic and permanent for each believer. Filling with the Holy Spirit requires obedience to the command of God. Furthermore, being filled with the Holy Spirit remains separate from being baptized in the Holy Spirit, which happened once and for all time at salvation. God commanded believers to avoid being drunk with wine, but commanded believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18, Page 1832). Because all believers must be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must be “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual sons, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:19-20, page 1832).

Walk Everywhere by the Holy Spirit

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” │ Galatians 5:16, Page 1825

God used the most common Greek word for “walk” to describe how we relate to the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16, Page 1825). Just as we walk normally around, so also we walk in the Holy Spirit. In other words, we carry out all of life’s activities by the power of the Holy Spirit. We live every aspect of our lives, all day, by the power of the Holy Spirit. He becomes an absolutely essential part of everything we do everyday. In this same passage, the Holy Spirit leads us to overcome the desire of the flesh, which oppose the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. When we walk in the Holy Spirit, we see Him produce spiritual fruit in our lives. That fruit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, Page 1825). He removes from your life immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness and carousing (Galatians 5:19-20, Page 1825).

Walk in Order by the Holy Spirit

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” │ Galatians 5:25, Page 1826

God used a different Greek word for “walk” to describe how the Holy Spirit helps us interact with other people, and particularly with other believers (Galtians 5:25, Page 1826). God draws attention to walking in rank or formation with others. Consider a marching band. Every band member must turn at the right time or else the band falls into disarray. Walking in rank with others allows you to stay in place with all of them and walk as a cohesive whole. The Holy Spirit allows you to walk in rank with the whole body of Jesus Christ. God has a place for you and the Holy Spirit helps you to stay in just the right place and make all the right moves. In the passage, the Holy Spirit keeps you from being boastful, challenging one another, and envying one another. Notice all three of those problems arise in the context of relationships. Count upon the Holy Spirit in your life to keep you in line with other believers and be a blessing to the whole body of Christ.

Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” │ Ephesians 4:30,  Page 1831

As believers, the Holy Spirit abides with us continually. At the moment of salvation, God seals you with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30, Page 1831) and Jesus baptizes you in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Page 1504; 1 Corinthians 12:13, Page 1797). Having sealed you with the Holy Spirit, God will never leave you or forsake you. He will always live within your body, forever. When we sin, however, God takes it very personally, because He loves us so much. God the Holy Spirit grieves over our sin. Consider the God of this entire universe shedding tears over our sins. The Holy Spirit personally feels and reacts to every choice we make with our lives. As a Person, the Holy Spirit has emotions, which God gave to mankind at creation. When we do well, the Holy Spirit rejoices in us, and when we sin, He grieves. God commands us to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit, because He lives within us, feels our sin, and guides us to repentance; because we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, we never lose our salvation, no matter how much He grieves in our lives. He seeks, however, to produce all the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, including love, peace, and patience.

Because the Holy Spirit can be grieved, we must understand that the Holy Spirit is a Person, like God the Son is a Person, and God the Father is a Person. The Trinity means one God, eternally existing in three Divine Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). So, when God says the Holy Spirit grieves, the Bible reveals the emotions of a Person: the Holy Spirit. As a Person, the Holy Spirit has intelligence (1 Corinthians 2:10-11, Page 1784) and a will (1 Corinthians 2:11, Page 1784). He can also be lied to, just as anyone may lie to a person (Acts 5:3,5, Page 1707). Because He is a Person, and not some ephemeral spirit, the Gospel of John uses masculine personal pronouns (“He,” “Him”) to describe the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-14, Page 1688; 15:26, Page 1687; 16:7-8, Page 1687). Furthermore, He acts like a Person in our lives: He commands us (Acts 8:29, Page 1715), He teaches us (John 14:26, Page 1685; 1 Corinthians 2:13, Page 1784), He leads us (Romans 8:14, Page 1769), He testifies to us (Romans 8:16, Page 1769), He helps us with our weaknesses (Romans 8:26, Page 1769), He intercedes for us (Romans 8:26, Page 1769), and He reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Corinthians 2:11-13, Page 1784). He now lives within you.

Do Not Quench the Holy Spirit

“Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” │ 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Page 1851

The Holy Spirit seeks to burn like a fire in our lives. He indwells every Christian (Romans 5:5, Page 1764; 8:9, Page 1768; 1 Corinthians 3:16, Page 1785; 6:19, Page 1788) and performs a variety of ministries in our lives. God cautions us against quenching His activity. To quench means to stop. When applied to fires, quench means you take away the fuel from the fire. Spiritually, God encourages us to do nothing to stop the activity of the Holy Spirit. It also means that you must make a conscious decision to submit yourself to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He provides unlimited power for living, and burns in our lives. When we realize that we have quenched the Holy Spirit, all is not lost. We repent, and confess our sins, so that we resume walking in the Holy Spirit, cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, Page 1904). Remember, because God sealed us with the Holy Spirit, He will never leave us (Ephesians 4:30, Page 1831).

We must also be careful to confess our sins as we become aware of them. When we worry, speak evil words, indulge impure thoughts, and do things displeasing to God, we must be quick to confess our sins. God immediately forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. See Confession of Sin Video.

Variety of Gifts, But the Same Spirit

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the Same Spirit.” │ 1 Corinthians 12:4, Page 1796

At the instant you were born again by faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit blessed you with at least one spiritual gift for building up the church. He intends to use that gift within you for His purposes, and everyone you touch with your gift will benefit from God’s ministry through you. The Holy Spirit gives the gifts just as He wishes, and then He empowers us to use those gifts. Please look at the total picture here.

Every believer, including you, has been given a spiritual gift and no two believers are identical. In fact, the same spiritual gift, like teaching, will produce different effects and yield different ministries in different believers. Yet, although each of us differs from other believers, making each of us unique, the Holy Spirit of God unifies us into one total body. Therefore, just as the human body has different members that produce sight, touch, smell, and all the other functions, so also the Holy Spirit produces essential spiritual functions through different people using different gifts to benefit the entire body. Ever notice that your whole body benefits from sight? If not, try walking into a wall and see which part of you hurts first.

The Holy Spirit produces unity in diversity among believers in the church. Through His ministry of gifts, and His essential unity, we rejoice and suffer with other members of the Body of Christ. You can check out several lists of gifts in Romans 12:3-8, Page 1775; 1 Corinthians 128-10, Page 1796; 1 Peter 4:10,11, Page 1898; Ephesians 4:7-16, Page 1830. Although you may have natural talents, do not jump to the conclusion that your talents equal your spiritual gifts. Only time, prayer, ministry, and effort will illumine the spiritual gifts in you. Seek your gift and God will bless others through you. You see, the Holy Spirit performs the work of ministry through the saints using their gifts. People, not just pastors and missionaries, minister to the church, and you must perform an essential ministry. You already have your gift, so seek to use it.

First Steps in Christ–Step Four–Life in the Holy Spirit