the work of the Holy Spirit on the Christian

Bible Questions and Answers – Holy Spirit or the Word?

“Dear Editors: A preacher claimed that you people at GOSPEL MINUTES do not believe the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian separate and apart from the word of God. Please reply.

– S.G., PA”

If this preacher read our paper carefully, he would not have been so quick to point out what we believe, nor be as wrong in his conclusion. I don’t like that phrase, “Separate and apart from the word,” for it means different things to different people. How about this instead, “Do you believe that the Holy Spirit actually dwells in Christians?” I have no hesitancy in answering with a resounding, “Yes!”

Let me show you the problem with the phrase, “Separate and apart from the word.” If someone asked you, “Do you believe Christ saves people today, separate and apart from the word of God”, how would you answer? If you answer “Yes” that would be a denial of what God said in Romans 1:16, “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” But if you answer “No” that implies that Jesus Christ is not really involved in saving people today. That same basic problem is found with that phrase when used with regard to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. The question comes, “How does the Holy Spirit dwell in Christians?” And the truth is I have yet to find the man who understands how his own spirit dwells in him! So, let’s forget the catchphrase and just look at the Bible.

I firmly believe the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian, for the Bible says so: “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him” (Acts 3:38-39). Compare that with Acts 5:32, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” Or, again: “And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). These texts show that when people become Christians, God gives them the Holy Spirit. Now add Acts 2:41, “They then that received his word were baptized; and there added (unto them) in that day about three thousand souls.” Notice the order: Only those who believed and repented were baptized, and only those who were baptized received the Holy Spirit. They received the word, they were baptized, they then received the Holy Spirit. Thus, the reception of the word and reception of the Holy Spirit were two different things. (more…)

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Renovated by God

Renovations done the right way are hard work! Planning, moving out the furniture, tearing out the old, putting up the new and bringing the furniture back in can be exhausting – but when it’s needed it’s worth it! This is important to remember because it’s easy to get disillusioned in mid-renovation, but the motivation to continue can from remembering the goal, looking at how far you’ve come and by finding a little help along the way. Come to think of it, a renovation is a lot like Christianity.

When someone believes in the gospel of Christ and they are baptized into Jesus, the Spirit of God begins renovating our soul. Paul said this much when he told Titus that our salvation came, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). We are washed, justified and sanctified from our old life by the work of Jesus upon the cross and work of the Spirit in our soul (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Once God begins this renovation we have to remember to make room for the improvements that he has in mind. A refusal to let go of the old can halt a renovation fast! God is patient with us, and he will even help us with the heavy lifting, but God will not provide new doors by kicking down the old ones! Just remember what Revelation 3:20 says. We have to keep our heart and mind open as God completes his renewal or the old will become ugly in a whole new way (Matthew 12:43-45). When we keep the goal in sight we can find the energy, finances and encouragement we need to get spiritually renovated. EA

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavensTherefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

(2 Corinthians 5:1, 17)