The Holy Spirit: God with Us
There is no little confusion these days over the person and work of the Holy Spirit. People are making all sorts of claims: some true and good, some heretical, and some downright ridiculous. There are numerous factors which give rise to such ideas, including a poorly interpreted, yet genuine movement of the Spirit, as well as the doctrinal problem of the “great divorce” between a Biblical understanding of creation and its counterpart, redemption. This divorce plagues evangelicalism like a wet blanket on a cold night.
Therefore, since a proper understanding of the Spirit is such a pressing need, we have decided to suggest two companion articles on the subject. You will want to study these articles well, taking sufficient time to digest the material. These articles are part of a series called, ABCs for Christian Growth. In particular they are part of the second section of the series called, “The Transformed Life.”
The Article: The Spirit-Filled Life (Part 1)
This article discusses the personality of the Spirit as evidenced in numerous Scriptural statements concerning the fact that he possesses a mind, emotions, and a will. He also performs actions consistent with genuine and full personality—actions such as leading, teaching, and convincing. He also receives ascriptions due only to a person, i.e., he can be obeyed, grieved, blasphemed, insulted or lied to. As a genuine person, then, he is to be distinguished from his power. He is not an it, some mindless force, so to speak, as certain people would have us believe.
But the Spirit is also fully divine, possessing all the attributes of deity in their infinite perfections. His attributes of omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence prove that he is divine, along with the titles which are given to him, including “God.” His work of creating, redeeming, and sustaining all demonstrate his divinity. Believers need to understand these truths, coupled with the fact that his advent at Pentecost has inaugurated the long awaited age of the Spirit. We are now living in an age where the Spirit has taken up permanent residence in the heart of the believer. His primary purpose is to reveal Christ to us and keep us safe from the enemy until the day of our glorification.
1. Before you had read this lesson, what was your understanding of the personality of the Spirit? How has this lesson changed your views?
2. According to Ephesians 4:29-30 how do we grieve the Spirit? What are some other sins we commit against the Holy Spirit?
3. What is the primary role of the Spirit in your life? What other functions does he carry out?
4. How is the present age of the church, in which the Spirit indwells all believers permanently, different from the previous age described in the Old Testament?
5. On what basis was the Spirit given to you and how is this foundation unchangeable?
The Article: The Spirit-Filled Life (Part 2)
The article, The Spirit Filled Life (Part 2), carries on where the first article left off. It discusses the important distinctions between indwelling and filling so that the believer is not confused over these important issues. Confusion here can result in depression and discouragement since a person may not be sure if they possess the Spirit or not. But if you’ve trusted Christ alone, you possess the Spirit! The real question is not, “Do I possess the Spirit?” but “Do I understand some of the basics about how he works in my life?”
The article lays great stress on why it is important to walk by and be filled with the Spirit and the inevitable consequences of not living this way. Therefore, it is important that one learn how to be filled and how to walk by the Spirit. Though the Bible gives no set formula, per se, there is more than enough information in Scripture to determine what is generally meant by these two commands. This article is designed specifically to explore this issue.
1. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
2. What are some differences between the indwelling and filling of the Spirit?
3. What is the difference between “walking by” the Spirit and “being filled” with the Spirit?
4. Explain why it is vital to the Christian life to walk by and be filled with the Spirit.
5. Explain how to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How is that similar to or different from what you’ve heard before? Why do you think the Bible gives no set formula, only guidelines on this issue?