Think of it: Christ has not left Christians as orphans on earth (Jn. 14:18). In fact, after we come to Him as our Savior, the exact opposite is true; God gives us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3 NKJV). Christians do not have to flounder around in this world just because Christ has ascended to heaven. We have all of the resources we need as we await His return. What are these resources? The extremely valuable and irreplaceable resources are: the Bible, which is the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12); the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer (Eph. 1:13); prayer, that valuable means of communication with God (Heb. 4:14-16); and fellow believers, those of like precious faith (2 Pet. 1:1). This article will focus on only one of these resources – the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer. This Spirit is the divine power within the child of God to combat the forces of evil. He is essential if the Christian is going to live above the circumstances of life. Christ called the Holy Spirit another “Helper” – or “Comforter” or “Counselor” as some Bible versions translate it. The Holy Spirit, if active in our lives, allows us to display His delicious fruit. But if we “quench the Spirit” (1 Th. 5:19) and render Him inactive in our lives, He cannot disable the distasteful flesh within us. And finally, as a gift given to us, He remains with us forever. It is amazing to have this divine power residing within us!
Another Helper Comes
The Lord Jesus stated, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you” (Jn. 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit is a help and comfort to believers in the same way the Lord Jesus was to His disciples when here on earth. The Holy Spirit is another Helper. In other words, believers now have two Comforters: Christ as our Great High Priest interceding for us in heaven (Heb. 4:14), and the Holy Spirit who is able to comfort and help us in any circumstance on earth! We thank the Father that He has not left us as orphans!
The Holy Spirit does more than comfort us, He is also our teacher. The Lord told His disciples that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you” (Jn. 14:26). The same thing applies to us today by application. He teaches us as we read the Bible, and brings the Word to our remembrance as needed in every spiritual situation. In fact, the Lord said that it was to our “advantage” that He was going away, because He could then send the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:7). It is indeed an advantage to Christians, because while on earth Christ could not be in every place at once. But the Holy Spirit, being a spirit, indwells each believer individually and yet is in all of them at the same time. The Holy Spirit not only convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (Jn. 16:8), but also He comforts and helps the Christian. This power within is really an amazing blessing!
Displays Delicious Fruit
One of the greatest benefits of the Spirit of God is that He can display His delicious fruit in the life of the Christian. And believers and unbelievers alike can benefit from this fruit. It is the purpose of God to conform believers to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). One of the ways in which He accomplishes this is through the Holy Spirit. Four expressions in Galatians 5 are worth noting as they show that the Christian is under the control of the Spirit: walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18), live by the Spirit, and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25 JND). The first expression refers to one’s general manner of life. If a believer is walking in the Spirit, he is constantly under His control. The other three expressions suggest that the Christian is ruled by the Holy Spirit, or is under His authority. He is the boss! A similar thought is seen in Mark’s gospel where the Spirit of God “drove” Christ into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mk. 1:12).
The apostle Paul contrasted the fruit of the Spirit with the works of the flesh in Galatians 5. The careful reader notices that the fruit of the Spirit is one fruit (singular) with several aspects in a cluster as opposed to the works of the flesh (plural). The fruit of the Spirit can be compared to a pomegranate, one fruit with many delicious seeds. The nine-fold fruit of the Spirit can and should be displayed in the life of every believer: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
Christians have the divine power on the inside to display this godly life on the outside in the form of morality. This display pleases God and honors Christ, and is available to each Christian. But when we live in the flesh, we “grieve the Holy Spirit” and immoral things like “bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking” begin to display themselves (Eph. 4:30-31). The fruit of the Spirit is enjoyed by the believer, other saints, sinners and God. Each part of the cluster can be applied to one of these four. For example, the Christian experiences peace and joy in his soul. Other Christians enjoy his long-suffering and kindness. Unbelievers can also enjoy his long-suffering and kindness. And God enjoys his faithfulness. The display of the fruit is enjoyable to all. It is God’s desire in giving us the Holy Spirit that this fruit is seen in its entirety in all believers. Pray that Christians of every culture, race, ethnicity, generation, and geographical location exhibit this wonderful fruit of the Spirit.
Disables The Flesh
The positive effects of the fruit of the Spirit cancel out the negative effects of the works of the flesh! A glass filled with pure water cannot be filled with poison. In Galatians 5, Paul talks about the works of the flesh. The sad reality is that the Christian can display the same awful works of the flesh as an unbeliever. The works of the flesh are listed in 5:19-21, and the list is ugly!
Many believers can excuse themselves of some of the more horrific sins on this list, but because of the sinful Adamic nature they cannot escape the entire list. For example, a believer may not be an adulterer, sorcerer or murderer; but he or she may be jealous, envious or contentious. While unbelievers may be characterized by the works of the flesh, God expects His morality to be seen in a Christian’s life because he has the Spirit’s power to live differently. The rule of the Spirit in the believer’s life should disable the distasteful behavior of the flesh.
The ugliness of the flesh dishonors God in any and all settings, and should not be seen in the home, on the job, in the neighborhood, in the church or in the secret place of our hearts. The power to overcome the flesh is resident in and available to all believers. It is a matter of letting the Spirit have more of us by consistently walking in His power and allowing Him to lead us. The power is there! We have to use it!
Grieve Not, Quench Not
God wants the Holy Spirit to be active in the Christian’s life. He does not want us to grieve or quench Him. In Ephesians 4:17 the believer is exhorted not to walk after the course of this world, and not to walk as unbelievers (Gentiles). If the believer lives after the course of this world, he is liable to sin. Verses 4:24-29 encourage the believer to “put on the new man.” He is to behave in a manner that will not grieve the Holy Spirit. These verses are instructive because we are not just told what not to do, but also what to do. Yes, the believer can sadden the Holy Spirit, but he is emphatically told not to (Eph. 5:30).
The thought of quenching the Holy Spirit is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:19: “Do not quench the Spirit.” Christians are not to extinguish the Spirit. If He is urging a believer to do or say something, the Christian should not quench that urging. On the other hand, if the Spirit is urging the believer not to do something, then he should not do it. We must remember that the Spirit of God always leads correctly and perfectly. He gives the power to do and the power not to do. It is sinful to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit.
The amazing resources of the Holy Spirit are given to every Christian. God has given us everything that we need to live a life pleasing to Him as we await the imminent return of His Son, Jesus Christ. Imagine neglecting any of the resources needed to walk through a desert. Imagine discarding the proper clothing, the necessary protection or the precious water. We would be careful to value every resource for the journey through the desert. Our great God “has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). Let’s capitalize on them – the Bible, prayer, fellowship with other believers, the Church and the Holy Spirit, who is the divine power within us.
This divine power has been available to us since the day of our salvation: “You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14 NIV).
By Albert Stuart
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org