Why is the Holy Spirit so important to living a true Christian life? Many people know that because they are Baptised they have received the Holy Spirit and that that fact should be good enough for them. I fully believe that in Baptism we have the fullness of our faith and empowerment. But there is more.
Scripture gives us at least three experiences of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is with us, He will be in us with His presence for our sanctification, and He will be upon us to empower us for work in the Kingdom of God. Why such an emphasis about the Holy Spirit being ‘with us, in us, and upon us’?. To understand this better we need to go the the Word of God. In it we find; “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you,( John 7,39, tells us that the Holy Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified ) and will be in you” (John 14: 16-17). In Luke 24:49 we also read; “And behold I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:8 also states: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; …” In this statement we find that the Holy Spirit is with us even before we decide to give our lives to Jesus, and acknowledge Him as our Saviour. We can say that Father God loves us, and He Himself sends the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and to make us realise that we need a Saviour. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus to us as the Saviour of all men and the only person who will justify us before the Father, through faith in His death, resurrection and baptism. When one takes the step in faith in the finished work of Jesus, Jesus will come to dwell inside of the individual through the presence of His Holy Spirit.
In Luke 24:49 we read, that after Jesus had breathed on them (John 20,22) and had given them the presence of the Holy Spirit, He tells His disciples; “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.” He added “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1: 8). What is evident from these texts is that by receiving the Holy Spirit upon them they were receiving power, power to do something. We receive this power for a reason, and that is to be witnesses. The presence of the Holy Spirit is for the individual’s sanctification, but the power upon us is for ministry to others. With this reassurance Luke tells us; “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”(Luke 11:13)
In order to speak of the Holy Spirit what means do we have at our disposal? None – only Scripture and Tradition. However we do have one means, a great means, one that does not belong to any human science. We have “spiritual” experience! (Before the Holy Spirit was a ‘theology’ in the Church, He was an experience). Jesus Himself indicated this when he referred to the Spirit, stating that the world: “neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you” (John 14:17). Therefore the Holy Spirit is God who loves relationship, who wants you to experience Him. Whether you acknowledge Him or not He is with you, once you receive Him He dwells within you, and once you move in the name of Jesus He will be upon you to move in His own power.
I often asked what are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and I was almost always told that we find the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11. I always found it a bit hard to just stop there. Isaiah 11 is talking about the branch of Jesse. Now we all know that Jesse was the father of David and a direct descendant from Judah, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. Isaiah 11 is a clear Messianic prophecy in fact some Biblical scholars point out that the Hebrew word used by Isaiah for “Branch” is “Netzer”. That could be a direct reference to Nazareth the place where the Messiah would come from. My point is that Isaiah is clearly describing the attributes that the Messiah will have, a direct description of the character of Jesus. This is the Old Testament describing the character of Jesus whose life and ministry is described in the New Testament. As baptised believers in Christ we inherit these spiritual characteristics of Christ. We can say that we have the character of Jesus once we believe and allow him into our life through Baptism. This comes through having a healthy relationship with our Lord. We can’t ignore the New Testament, and how the first Christians experienced the Holy Spirit first hand.
Isaiah 11 talks about what is personal, what we receive as Christians. What Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 12, 4-11 are the works of the Holy Spirit that allow us to move in His name for the sake of the Church and the world. Therefore as I pointed out the Holy Spirit is with us, in us and upon us. Stopping at Isaiah 11 we are only talking about the Spirit being with us, and in us, and leaving out the fact that the Holy Spirt wants to be upon us so that we can work for his glory and be witnesses of Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” – 1 Corinthians 12, 4-11.
Today pray the most powerful pray you can ever pray and say “Come Holy Spirit”, and expect to move in His charisms. I can guarantee that by doing so you and I will set the world on fire.
“Come Holy Spirit”