Making Sense of the Holy Spirit

Making Sense of the Holy Spirit


Introduction ... A spiritual continuum.

A mate of mine would regularly pass witty reflections. One such reflection often was a 'dose of the ghost' where he would make passing remarks to the work of the Holy Spirit. He could use this quip completely out of spiritual context, with great hilarity or perfectly and incisively placed to make a point about the real activity of the Holy Spirit in an individual's life.

The purpose of this SOULSENSE is really to canvas some of the Biblical witness to the Holy Spirit's personal work in a believer's life.

This is NOT a discussion of the trinity or a theological tome. This is a brief discussion about the Holy Spirit's activity in and amongst Christian believers.

Much opinion radiates around this (sadly) controversial Christian  topic. The opinions can be helpfully expressed as a continuum of belief.

There is the one extreme of the continuum that claims the Holy Spirit does not even exist. At the other end of the spiritual continuum, the Holy Spirit is simply all a believer requires for their daily life. Both ends of this continuum are heresy.

I guess the continuum would look like this:

The Holy Spirit does not exist #..........>...........>..........>..........>...........>...........# Only need the Holy Spirit

If the Holy Spirit does not exist then there is no regeneration or conviction of sin and God is not riune. If I need only the Holy Spirit in my daily walk then I no longer need the Word/Jesus (see Hebs 1:2). Both these positions have hell's sulphur drenched fumes across them.

As always the truth will rest upon the continuum and not at its extremities.


The Holy Spirit in conversion

God is always the perfect gentleman and will force Himself on no man.

There is no conversion without receiving the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:6-8, 2 Cor 1:21-22, Rms 8:9).
The movement of the Holy Spirit across an individual’s life is entirely dependent upon the individual’s willingness to submit. (Jn 7:16-17). It is dependent upon their desire to be obedient and to invite the Holy Spirit to indwell them daily.
At the point of conversion all Christians will receive the Holy Spirit of Jesus. There is no conversion without repentance (Mk 1:15) and it is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin (Jn 16:5-15). The Holy Spirit convicts of sin because He is the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:12).
Subsequent Holy Spirit experience to conversion will be as diverse as conversion experiences. Remember, Christ’s spirit is given for relationship, in fact Jn 14:15ff explains the Holy Spirit as our conduit of relationship to the Father and His Son.
‘Baptism in the spirit’ is a much debated topic but is not a reality to all Christians nor is it normative to defining a conversion experience. However countless Christians can recount times of unusual Holy Spirit anointing that were also demonstrated with miracles and even ecstatic feelings. Neither experience is incorrect nor invalidates the other's experience.
Personal encounters with the Holy Spirit are legitimate, are to be encouraged and indeed invited. Jesus had to leave earth so we could have this privilege (Jn 16:7).
The Holy Spirit seals an individual and anoints an individual.
The ‘sealing’ speaks of ownership, security, permanence and protection.
Anointing speaks of covering, separation, equipping and empowering.

The Holy Spirit in daily living

It is impossible to regulate the actions and work of the Holy Spirit (seeJn 3:8 and 1 Cor 12;4-11 esp.v1, Hebs 2:4) for how could any man contain God? However I can choose to pray for, desire or ignore the spiritual gifts (cf 1 Cor 14:1). I can also quench the Holy Spirit's work in me (1Thess 5:19). Even worse still I can actually hurt the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30).

The New Testament encourages Christ’s followers to engage with His Spirit. Spiritual gifts are to be desired and therefore prayed for (1 Cor 14:1), as indeed so is the Holy Spirit’s daily presence. The Holy Spirit is the equipper for the tasks God would have us do. To ask for the Holy Spirit is to simply acknowledge self-insufficiency, it is the verbal expression of humility.
The Holy Spirit is both my medium of prayer and intercessor for prayer. He speaks when I can't (Rms 8:26-27). He brings me comfort as heaven's counsellor on earth.
Spiritual gifts and experience are no badge of honour, as the Holy Spirit simply distributes them as He pleases (Jn 3:8, 1Cor 12:11, Hebs 1:2).
Spiritual gifts and experience, like salvation, are received by faith. (Mk 11:22-24 - NB I cannot receive that which I am unwilling to accept!)
The empty, the humble and those laid bare (stripped - see also Gen 32:22-32) before the Lord are those most available to receive from Him. God resists the proud and is close to the humble (Ps 138:6).
It is the Holy Spirit who equips and empowers a believer for their Christian life each day. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of power (Rms 15:19, 1 Cor 12:1-11).

Receiving ongoing Holy Spirit blessings:

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit's increasing presence as this is both an expression and response of faith, because He has already been shared with you  (Lk 11:13, Jn 3:7-9, Hebs 11:6, James 1:6-7, Gal 3:2, Eph 5:18). God will not withhold His Holy Spirit from those who would ask for Him (Lk 11:13).
  • Humble yourself before the Lord, because He is attracted to humility. (Ps 40:4,138:6, Is 66:2b). The 'emptier' I am of 'me', the more available 'space' there is for the Spirit of Truth and Holiness to come and indwell me.
  • Be obedient, because spiritual receptivity is nourished in our willingness to do God’s will. (Jn 7:16-17).



To close where I began;

A 'dose of the ghost' really is the Holy Spirit at work in all believers, all the time.

I can reject, refuse and rebuke Him, and I can receive, revere and rejoice with Him.

"But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (Jn 14:26)