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The Holy Spirit

When a person has truly repented and has been baptized, God then grants the gift of the holy spirit.  In this article we want to discuss the nature of that gift, how it is transmitted to us and what the results of receiving that gift are.  These articles are designed to be introductory overviews to basic Christian doctrines and truly, three articles longer than this one would not cover these topics in depth.  We hope that we are able to spur your interest to learn more about the vital truth about God’s precious gift to His offspring, His own spirit.

Only a few people in the Old Testament were privileged to receive this gift.  The prophets and King David were among them.  The prophet, Joel,  predicted that this would not always be the case, however:

JOE 2:28  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:  29  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 

When was this to occur?  On the day of Pentecost in 30 A.D., Peter said the time had come that this prophecy was to be fulfilled:

ACT 2:14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  15  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  16  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  18  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 

Peter was explaining why the followers of Jesus had just been given the ability to communicate with foreigners in their own language.  It was an empowerment of the holy spirit.  Only a short time earlier in the day, 120 Christians had witnessed a stunning display of God’s power:

ACT 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 
 
This was the fulfillment of a promise Christ made to the disciples just before His crucifixion:

LUK 24:46  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  47   And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  48   And ye are witnesses of these things.  49   And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 

This power came, as promised, on Pentecost, 30 A.D., in Jerusalem, in the form of the holy spirit.  The room was filled with the sound of wind, as of a screaming jet engine. Flames shot through the air just below the ceiling and  alighted on the head of each person present.  This display of wind and fire was God’s physical demonstration of something completely unlike anything in the physical realm:  The spiritual power of God! Those 120 people had just been endued, as Christ promised, with power from on high.  They were all filled with the holy spirit.

This holy spirit is the power that God used to create the heavens and the earth:

PSA 104:30  Thou send forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewed the face of the earth. 

Jesus did his work by the power of the holy spirit. Here is an example:

MAT 12:28   But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 

Jesus was an enormous reservoir of spiritual power.  When it flowed out of Him, He could sense the change in energy.  When Jesus unintentionally healed a woman with a chronic disease, He could feel the power drain away from Him, even though He did not know why:

LUK 8:43  And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,  44  Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.  45  And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?  46  And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue [Gr. “dunamis” or power] is gone out of me.  47  And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.  48  And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 

It was by the power of the holy spirit that God made the creation.  It was by the power of the holy spirit that Christ cast out demons and did His miracles of healing.  The fantastic truth is that this same power is available to Christians today!  You can have residing in you the same power that made the stars and the planets:  The same power that Jesus used to perform incredible miracles is available to Christians today!

What is the result of having the holy spirit of God?  The benefits are truly fantastic.  First, it is the indwelling of the holy spirit that makes us Christian, belonging to Christ:

ROM 8:9  But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, {Or [spirit]} since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  … 14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

It is the spirit of God that converts our minds and allows us to understand God and His value system.  Just as the spirit of man gives humans a higher level of understanding than animals, it is the spirit of God that elevates one’s thinking to a higher plane:

1Cor 2:9 NRSV  What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,  nor the human heart conceived,  what God has prepared for those who love him"--  10  these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  11  For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God.  12  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.  13  And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. 14  Those who are unspiritual  do not receive the gifts of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  15  Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny.  16  "For who has known the mind of the Lord  so as to instruct him?"  But we have the mind of Christ.

This verse tells us that the holy spirit is actually the mind of Jesus Christ.  It is the holy spirit that makes us able to appreciate the value of God’s law—something that is not accepted by the natural mind of man:

Rom 8:5 NRSV  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6  To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  7  For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law--indeed it cannot,  8  and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  9  But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.
 
The spirit of God imparts different gifts to each Christian.  These spiritual gifts are to be used to serve the Church and to do God’s work on the earth.  These are covered in 1Corinthians 12 and Romans 12.  The holy spirit is like God’s DNA in that it produces Godly characteristics in us.  This concept is discussed in Galatians, the fifth chapter (fruits of the spirit).

Ultimately, it is because of the holy spirit residing in Christians that God will be able to change or resurrect them from mortal life to eternal life.  This principle is covered in Romans 8:11:

ROM 8:11  KJV But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. 

The scriptures tell us that the holy spirit is a wonderful gift from God (Act 2:38).  It empowers the Christian to know and appreciate God’s value system and understand Godly principles that are otherwise inaccessible. The holy spirit is the power of God, that God used to make the physical creation.  This same power that made the stars and galaxies can reside and work in us.  It is freely available to all who repent, are baptized and receive the laying on of hands that symbolize the transfer of that holy spirit (Acts 8:18).

God fervently desires to give this power to you.  Jesus verified this when He cried out passionately,

JOH 7:37 KJV… If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  38   He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  39  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 

To be a Christian, to be one of Christ’s, you NEED  to have the holy spirit in you.  Therefore, repent of your sins, be baptized and receive the laying on of hands that you may  be given this vital and priceless gift from God.

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Copyright Hugh Buchanan 2010

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