The Holy Spirit and His work in the “born again” believer
When Jesus was physically on earth He had asked people to believe in Him and follow. Jesus said to His disciples that He was going to leave and go back to where He came from, Heaven (John 3:13; 6:38.) But He would not leave us without a Helper; he called Him the comforter, (another like himself). In Jn.14:16 Jesus says to the disciples, soon to be apostles of the church “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.” John 16:13-14 “ when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” The Spirit hears' things from Jesus; this is a personal communication (in the same manner as Christ did with the Father in John 3.32; 7.16, 8.38, 12.49), and the Spirit delivers it to man which is also personal communication. The main way is through the Scriptures the apostles were appointed to write.
God is willing to help us, he’s not hiding. He wants to be involved in all aspects of our life. Before we are saved God is there working through the Holy Spirit He sent “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:8-9). Once someone believes they are a sinner they can turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
For the unbeliever the Holy Spirit has a ministry of leading them to the Son. He has been sent to convince unbelievers of sin, righteousness and judgment. Sin-To show they are sinful, having fallen short of God’s standard. Righteousness- To convict them of not having a righteousness of their own to be accepted by God, but in need of God’s righteousness that he freely gives through accepting the gospel. This righteousness is only found only in Christ. And judgment- in that there is more than meets the eye, that there is a time they will have to answer for how they lived their life. There is a hereafter, as eternity is in our hearts. We know that there is more than just a physical life
To sum this up simply- the first work of the spirit is to show one that they sin and are in need of a righteousness that they do not possess. As His work progresses eventually one will hear about Jesus Christ who forgives sin, the gospel so they can be saved.
He is to have a moral influence on our live and thus produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the executor of God’s nature. He is the source of the new birth and brings out the nature of Christ in the individual believer. He conforms us to the nature of Jesus, who is God as well as the ultimate human. He reveals the nature of God by transforming believers to be like him. His indwelling restores the image of God in man that became damaged by the fall, now we can reflect God’s moral qualities and characteristics as He intended. The Fruit of the spirit is only displayed when we walk in the spirit. All these qualities are reflective of Jesus Christ who was seen in the flesh.
For the one who believes in the gospel (1Cor.15:1-4) the Spirit is immediately given as the seal of ones justification or right standing in the New Covenant. They are cleared of all guilt before God and start with a new slate. Eph 1:13 “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.”
1 Cor. 12:13-14 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free-- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” We are put in the spiritual body of Christ and we partake of the Holy Spirit who now resides in us, literally.
This is all completed by faith Eph. 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love”
Rom 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
Galatians 3:26-27 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” As we have just read to be baptized into Christ by the Spirit, however there is still water baptism. One should be water baptized as soon as possible. Water baptism is the seal of the New covenant. Just as Circumcision was for the Abrahamic Covenant and The Sabbath for the Mosaic covenant.
Because we now have the helper with us, in us, life is going to radically change. 2 Cor 6:16 “For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 1 Cor 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you” Rom 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you”
Every believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and the Holy Spirit is the anointing given (1 John 2:27). Thus every believer is “anointed” with the Holy Spirit. All believers have the Holy Spirit otherwise they have not been born again. If a believer has the Spirit, he has all of the Spirit, because God is not divisible. However how we die to self and not be attracted to the world and the flesh, and cooperate in obedience to the Lord will dictate how much He can use our life. Jesus promises John 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Man was originally made in the image of God but it is passed down to us corrupted. The Lord restores the moral nature that man had lost in the garden from Satan’s temptation by having the Holy Spirit sent to live in ALL believers. He has the same nature as Jesus, but His purposes are not the same. He is to comfort us; guide us; lead us into truth by explaining the Word; convict us of sin, and conform us to the image of the Son as we go through trials and suffering. His work is mostly moral, restoring holiness, the image of God in man. We are to become like Jesus in His moral likeness, having His character and bear his fruit. We are predestined “to be conformed to the image of His Son” For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
This process can be at times painful and a learning experience depending how much we cooperate with him along the way. Trials are sent to build up our faith and teach us to trust in the God we now have a personal relationship with.
We don't have to strive for more of Him, what we need to do is to give Him more of us. If you try to have more requirements to make you holy or you need more of the spirit, “another baptism”, anointing, you are seeking it the wrong way. All that we need are already in the believer’s possession. It’s not that we need more of the Spirit, but that he needs more of us! “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4). Those things consist of two main things.
1) The Holy Spirit
Rom 14:17 “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 5:5)
2) The Scripture
2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Eph. 5:18-19 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” This a word that means to be continually filled, under the Spirits control. To be filled with the Spirit is a daily thing it involves our dying to self and allowing God to clean out and control those areas that were once dictated by our fallen nature and the devil. We have a song in our heart and it is a continual praise to God for what He has done and is currently doing. I’m not the same person I once was and I’m still being changed into His Son’s image. The Holy Spirit is the executor of God’s nature, we become subject to the law of the Spirit. He becomes our direct instructor not the Old Testament commandments in the Mosaic covenant. He is the source of the new birth and brings out the nature of Christ in the individual believer. He conforms us to Jesus on a daily basis. Jesus represented God the Father perfectly as God the Son in human flesh- He is God as well as man, the ultimate human being. God alone is Holy and so Jesus reveals the nature of God by transforming His children to be like Him in nature. To be walking in the spirit means you are spiritual, you are living a spiritual not carnal life. This means you are allowing God’s word to mold your life you are not listening to a voice that would sound like God to lead you and is contrary to the scripture.
In Eph 2:8-10 Paul explains that “by grace you have been saved through faith, and tells us it is “not of works” but he goes on in the next verse “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God’s first priority is to change us into the image of His Son that we can be used for his kingdom. This is an ongoing process called sanctification (Rom 15:16; 1Cor 6:11; 1Pet 1:2.) He will remove the boulders first before he removes the rocks and pebbles. We are to do good works that our Father may be glorified to the world and they may know whom we serve. The Holy Spirit helps us, prompts us to do good works. This of course is nothing new and was instructed under the covenant of the law Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
We are to be aware that we represent the Son to others around us, we become living epistles to the world. The image of God in man that became damaged by the fall is restored and able to reflect God’s moral qualities and characteristics. From this they can know that Jesus is alive and His word is true.
It is by yielding and surrendering to His guidance throughout the day that we do not walk in the flesh.
The way God gets rid of sin in the life of a believer is by getting rid of the sinner, getting rid of us, our self must decrease for Him to increase. If someone tries to get rid of sin by concentrating on the sin it will never go. Everyone has something to improve on. The only way to have victory is not by concentrating on the sin, but by putting it to death. The sinner with his sin must die to it and live to Christ in resurrection power of the Spirit. If you walk in the Spirit that problem will fall away by itself because you are using the solution ,not concentrating on the problem. The focus is Christ not the sin itself. We may be aware of it but our eyes and faith must be on Christ.
The Lord asks “Be ye holy as I am holy.” The only way possible is that he takes your sin and gives you his righteousness to your account and walk in the new nature. This is done by picking up your cross daily and dying to ourselves. Our part is Rom 8:13 “... by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, then you will live.” Since the old nature must be put aside for the new nature to rule.” 2 Cor. 4:10 (NIV) “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” As Christ was dead to sin we consider our old nature dead, so the life of Christ can be seen by all. As Jesus said we must pick up our cross daily and die to self.
Jesus’ solution to overcome sin Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” By doing this we live a spiritual life. We suppress or have our old nature dies and the new nature rules in us daily. By practicing this we are continually changed and become victorious. Romans 6:11-13 (Weymouth) ...You must regard yourselves as dead in relation to sin, but as alive in relation to God, because you are in Christ Jesus. Let not Sin therefore reign as king in your mortal bodies, causing you to be in subjection to their cravings; and no longer lend your faculties as unrighteous weapons for Sin to use. On the contrary surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead, and surrender your various faculties to God, to be used as weapons to maintain the right.
To increase our faith means hearing the word- it is our instruction in truth. The spirit will never lead us away from the word but in it. The Bible presents the way to become mature in the faith is by reading the Word, gaining understanding and living it, fleshing it out. This is where the struggle is, our allowing the Spirit to take what God has said and change us from the inside, so it affects us in our spirit (and mind) first and it changes our ways of living. It is worn on the outside for others to see what we believe on the inside..
We need to submit to His teaching and guidance from the word. Remember the Holy Spirit is sent to glorify Jesus. How will he do this? By having us understand what Jesus said. He will lead us into the truth. We are to be submissive to Him, just as Jesus gave the example in Phil. 2:5, although He himself was God He willingly was submissive to the Father. The same mind that was in Christ is to be in us, we are to have an attitude of humility, as he was under submission so are we.
The first thing I recommend to any new believer is to get grounded in the basics of Christianity. To learn the core doctrines and get some of your questions out of the way, these are often offered at churches and called foundation classes. If you do not lay a good foundation what you build on it in the coming years will not be straight. I have seen to many people backslide or become stale because they did not build right. It makes a huge difference in their growth as well as immune them to deception that is increasing in these last days.