Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Work out your salvation

Philippians 2:12-13  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Though we can’t earn salvation through good works, not all of the effects of salvation can be seen immediately in us and we’re called to persevere in our faith and “work out” our salvation.  As we progress in our walk with Christ, God works in and through us.

At the point we would call conversion, we do become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), our old nature dying and our new nature being in Christ.  It’s through persevering faith, though, that we really take on the new attributes of a Christ-follower, the fruits.  The Holy Spirit works in us “to will and to work for His good pleasure”. This means our very desires begin to change because of God’s work in us.  We don’t just change because we think we’re supposed to change, we change because we now desire to do so.  Our wants begin to align with God’s will and purpose.

When we follow Christ, we take on His plans as our own and God has us bring about His will by transforming us to be more like Him.

Three in One – God revealed

The Trinity

Deuteronomy 29:29  The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Anyone who’s ever tried to understand the triune nature of God knows that it’s a difficult task.  It’s even harder to describe than it is to understand.  People have attempted many different ways of describing God over the centuries and all of them fall short.

The water analogy (God is like water:  it exists as liquid, solid and vapor) fails to capture the nature of God because H2O cannot exist as water, ice, and steam simultaneously and each of these three has different properties.  God is simultaneously Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Each contains the same essence.  The candle analogy (Father=candlestick, Son=light, Spirit=flame) is even worse as each fail to coexist with each other in a way that would even come close to a picture of the Trinity.  Likewise analogies like the courtroom (which gives a good idea of the roles of the Trinity in judge, bailiff and defense attorney) cannot capture the triune nature of God because saying that all of these make up “one court” is nothing like the oneness of our God.  Analogies fall short because God is above our understanding.

We have a tendency to think that we need to figure everything out, that there is somewhere out there a perfect analogy to show just what our God is like.  But God is not like anything in creation.  He is God.  And it’s ok to not understand the mysterious things about Him.  But when He reveals something about Himself, it’s worth taking note.  Through the Scriptures, God has revealed that He is Three in One, and we do well to believe it to be so.  All of the details of this fact may remain a mystery, and we need to be willing to accept that God is more complex than we could ever understand with our finite minds.  If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be much of a god.

Three in One – Perfect Community

The Trinity

Ephesians 4:4-7  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

So how does believing in the Trinity affect your life?  How do you live differently because of the triune God?  What part of believing that God is made of one substance but three persons makes this doctrine “Christian” and what does it mean for the church?

While many religions around the world focus on works and performance, Christianity stands out.  We, as Christ followers, don’t give all of our focus to our performance, but the core of our belief is relationship.  God is about relationships.  In fact, the very first model of a perfect community is given in the Trinity.  In the Bible we have Father, Son and Holy Spirit as an example for us of relationships.

There is no sin in God so He is not tainted by its effects.  Among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are truth, love, humility, peace, service, honor, and unity.  There is no grumbling or complaining, no backstabbing, no gossip.  Though all three persons of the Trinity are equally God, there are different roles for each.  But we never see the Son disgruntled about carrying out the will of the Father, we never see the Holy Spirit resent bringing glory to the Son.  Because within each person of the Trinity there is the others (all one God, all one essence), they work together in perfect harmony.

We can’t be perfect, so we can’t live in the unity and harmony of God, but we have an example set before us to mimic to the best of our ability.  Not to gain perfection, but to carry on good relationships, both with other people and with God.  God is about community, about selfless relationships and love.

Three in One – Calling

 

The Trinity

Matthew 3:16-17  And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

What we see at the baptism of Jesus is the Father confirming the ministry He was sent for and the Holy Spirit empowering Him by coming upon Him.  Jesus, being God himself, is at all times filled with the Holy Spirit, but the picture we get here as believers is that when God calls us to something, He empowers us to do it.  We have the blessing of the Father, the authority given by the Son (Matthew 28:18), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to carry out God’s mission.

All three persons of the Trinity are at work as we carry on with what God has called us to do and each plays a part in their own respective roles along the way.  As finite humans who are quite incapable of fully understanding how God works, we may never know exactly how God is working in a given situation, but we can know that He is working and that He is simultaneously acting in the distinct persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These three are one and they equip us to do what we’re called to do.

Three in One – prayer

The Trinity

1 Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Ephesians 6:18a  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

One aspect of Christian belief that does not often make its way into devotions or teaching on how to apply biblical truth to daily living is the Triune nature of God.  We neglect to focus on the nature of God as three persons in one as part of our view of God in daily life.  But it’s essential that we remember who God is as we seek to know Him more, as we petition Him, as we carry out His will.

As we pray, we are in fact engaging with all three distinct persons of the Trinity.  We speak to the Father, asking Him for our needs to be met, giving Him praise, interceding for the needs of others, and giving Him thanks.  We do this through the Son, who is our mediator.  Were it not for the role of Jesus Christ standing in the gap between man and God, we would have no access to the throne and our prayers would go unanswered.  Since God himself is spirit, we must act in the Holy Spirit to communicate with Him.  All three persons of the Triune God are present and active as we pray.

We can’t neglect any part of God’s nature as we seek Him.  If we forget that He is good, we will have an unnatural fear of Him.  If we forget that He is all-powerful, we will tend to pray without expecting results.  If we forget that He is all-knowing, we may fear that we won’t quite say the right thing and that God will answer our prayers incorrectly because we didn’t get our message across right.  The fact is that God is all of these things and He is present in our lives as our Father, as Jesus the Son, and as the Holy Spirit.

Sealed

Ephesians 1:13-14    In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, there was some point at which you heard God’s Word, felt His prompting, and responded.  This might not be an exact moment that you can pinpoint on a calendar, but the fact that there was a period of time over which this process was occurring is certain.  God was working in you and you responded to His call.  You became part of His family.  And He sealed you.

Much like the seal of royalty in times of old, a wax emblem placed on a document so it could only be opened by the rightful recipient, God has placed His seal on us with His Holy Spirit until the right time for our inheritance.  No one can snatch us from the Father’s hand (John 10:29).  He has guaranteed our inheritance as His sons and daughters.

Likewise, in the same way the seal of royalty showed the king’s approval of the document (his endorsement), God has stamped His endorsement on us from the time that we believed on Christ for our salvation.  Rest assured.  If you are a believer, you belong to the Lord and He belongs to You.

Who is the Holy Spirit? Holy

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own

The Spirit is holy. I know that seems obvious from the name Holy Spirit, but don’t gloss over it. We’re warned in Scripture not to believe every spirit, in fact to only trust the Holy Spirit, which is why God sent Him to live in us.  Holy means “set apart” or “sacred,” so while there are other spirits that exist, the one true God is the Holy one.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. – 1 John 4:1-4

If He’s Holy, and He lives in you, then you are a temple. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives in you, speaks to you, guides you, prompts you, comforts you, and empowers you. You have the power to overcome anything that you face because you walk in the Spirit. Embrace that and be confident that God is always with you. Don’t ever doubt His presence.

  • Do you treat your body as the dwelling place for a completely holy God? Are there any sins you need to repent of, as they have abused His holy sanctuary?

Who is the Holy Spirit? GOD

1 Corinthians 2:10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

In discussion of the Holy Spirit, we can’t glance over the fact that He is God, as though everyone knows this. Understanding God is so complex that we can’t make any assumptions.

The Holy Spirit isn’t a force, but a relational being, part of the Trinity- One God who eternally exists as three distinct persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – who are each fully and equally God and in eternal relation with each other. The Bible equally declares Father, Son, and Spirit to be God. None are more important than the other, though each person of the Trinitarian God serves a specific purpose and has a specific role.

“Persons” does not mean human beings. Only Jesus became human. Person means that each member of the Trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces. We can’t control the Holy Spirit because He has His own will. We can’t fool Him or hide from Him because He possesses all of the characteristics of God- omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, etc.

The Holy Spirit will never act contradictory to God because He is God. He won’t lead us in any way that would go against God’s will, because it’s His will.

  • Do you ever fall into the trap of seeing the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force instead of a person? How have you tried to “harness” Him instead of having a relationship with Him?
  • Do you treat the Holy Spirit as God, or do you treat Him as lesser than the other two persons of the Godhead? How can ensure to treat Him as such?

Who is the Holy Spirit? A relational being

“Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor?” Isaiah 40:13

Understanding the Holy Spirit completely may not be possible, but we’re going to get to know Him a bit more and since the Bible does say a lot about Him, there’s quite a bit we can find out.

The first thing to establish is that the Holy Spirit is not an “it.” He is not a power to be harnessed or an impersonal force. He is a relational being. The Holy Spirit is one person of the Trinity, One God who eternally exists as three distinct persons – father, son, holy spirit – who are each fully and equally God and in eternal relation with each other. Persons does not mean human beings. Only Jesus became human. Person means that each member of the trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces.

We are all susceptible to falling into the trap of trying to harness the power of some force that we refer to as the Holy Spirit rather than being in relationship with him as God. Without a good understanding of who He is, we will ignore the Spirit while trying to relate to the Father and the Son. That’s like trying to be in a relationship with some of the people who live in your home while ignoring others. No one thrives in that scenario.

The Holy Spirit is not some feeling that we get on Sunday morning, or a ghost, or something that makes us shake and shiver. He is a personal, relational being with whom we can communicate, find comfort, and abide.

The Spirit gives freedom

2 Corinthians 3:17  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

The law brings bondage.  Rule-keeping is grueling and not productive.  Real freedom doesn’t come from doing what the law says, but from God.  He has set us free by His grace and forgiveness.

We can search around for peace and joy and happiness, but we’ll only find them in Christ because only His completed work on the cross can bring us the forgiveness we so desperately need.  The Holy Spirit works in us to bring about contentment and joy and they’re only accessible because Jesus chose to come to the earth and take on our sin and put His righteousness onto us.  This is why we are free, we have the righteousness of Christ.  God looks down on us and sees His sons and daughters and not the sinners that we are because we’re clothed in Christ.  Freedom is experiencing God’s love in Christ.  The Holy Spirit enables us to experience it.