[Column] Welcome the Works of the Holy Spirit

Among the greatest gifts God has given us are the Word (the Bible), the Son (Jesus Christ), and His Spirit (the Holy Spirit). The ways in which the Holy Spirit becomes active in the faithful are numerous. Then how does the Holy Spirit work within the believers?

First, He works through indwelling. Simply put, this is cohabitation of the Spirit with the faithful. You and I have a house to live and stay in. Where is God’s house? What is God’s address? It is heaven but there is another dwelling place for God: the souls of the believers. John 14:16-17 says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with (para) you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with (para) you and will be in (en) you.” In the Old Testament, God descended on Mount Sinai and manifested His presence in the tabernacle. God took human flesh, became man, and came down to earth. After His ascension, Jesus Christ granted to us the Holy Spirit as a gift. That Holy Spirit makes our body His temple and dwells with us in us.

Second, the Holy Spirit works through manifestation. Not only does He dwell within the believers, but He also manifests Himself to them. Acts 1:8 reads, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on (epi-over) you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Greek preposition used in this verse is epi meaning above, over, on, or upon. This signifies that the power of the Holy Spirit overflows when He descends on the believers. In other words, it is the filling of the Holy Spirit.

The signs of the Holy Spirit are many. Internal signs are assurance of salvation, joy, peace, diligence, dedication, and etc. External signs include love and obedience towards one another, tongues, prophesy, the new life as a witness to the gospel and so on. It is for these reasons that our Lord said upon His ascension, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away” (John 16:7). The gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot be granted unless He goes away. The distinction can be made between rebirth and filling of the Spirit. Although Philip witnessed great joy among Samaritans as a result of their conversion and baptism through his preaching of the gospel of Christ (Acts 8:5-8), it was not until Peter and John prayed for the descent of the Spirit that the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15-16). Apostle Paul also asked the believers in Ephesus, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2). We must not content ourselves with attainment of salvation but seek and pray for the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Lastly, the Holy Spirit works through communion. Here, communion refers to an intimate fellowship. One of the professors at my seminary once referred to the Holy Spirit as the energy of God. This is a distorted understanding of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not energy but the third person of the Holy Trinity. The Bible warns us not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). If He is devoid of personhood, how can He possess intellect, emotions, and will?

The man named Simon from Samaria underwent conversion and became baptized, yet he lacked understanding of the Holy Spirit. As the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place through Peter and John, Simon offers money for the sings and wonders of the Spirit. Apostle Peter then harshly rebukes him saying: “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart” (Acts 8:22). Simon sought to further his own interests and desires by possessing the power and authority to summon the Spirit. It was not the Holy Spirit Himself Simon earnestly sought. How true it is for all of us. Although we feel as if we truly believe in Christ and abide in the Holy Spirit, we are still bound by selfish desires and self-centered life. Let us meet the personal Holy Spirit. Let us welcome Him and fall in love with Him. The communion with the Spirit along with the grace of Christ and the love of God is the greatest blessing man can attain. Let us seek and pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit and delight in the personal communion with Him.

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