WILL THE REAL HOLY SPIRIT PLEASE STAND UP
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Sprit of Truth.” John 14:16.17a(NIV).
So much confusion in the body of Christ about the Holy Spirit!
In past centuries He was mostly a doctrine to be understood and believed but not a real Person who is involved in our lives. Then He began to quicken the church into a better understanding of His person and role. The Pentecostal and later the Charismatic renewals swept the church in the early and middle twentieth century, bringing the realisation that He is real and active in people, healing, restoring and transforming lives.
Some streams in the church have resisted the miraculous, writing it off as “emotionalism” while others have leaned towards excesses, majoring on signs and wonders as the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence and activity in the individual and the church. Some say the Holy Spirit is about "gifts", others about "the fruit of the Spirit". But what is the truth about His ministry in us?
Our understanding of His person and work will remain fragmented and faulty if we dissociate Him from Jesus because He is essentially the Spirit of Jesus. I believe the key to understanding His work in people is found in who Jesus is and what He came to do.
First and foremost, Jesus is the Son of God. The Father put human flesh on His Son and sent Him to earth to show His people what God is really like so that they would believe in Him, represent Him to the whole world and show them God’s best way to live in order to bring heaven to earth. That included Jesus’ words, His works, His lifestyle and His sacrifice.
The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. He anointed Jesus with power at His baptism. He enabled Jesus to live the life of a perfect son and a perfect representative of the Father. He empowered Him to die a sacrificial death and He raised Him from the grave to be the pattern and firstfruits of the resurrection for all those who believe in Him.
God’s salvation is not about rescuing us from hell and taking us to heaven. God has rescued those who believe in Jesus from the kingdom of darkness and the clutches of Satan in order to restore us to sonship. He created the human race to be His family, sons and daughters who mirror Him so that He can have a family on which to lavish His fatherly love. When it all went wrong, He didn’t just leave it there. He stepped in with His plan to restore everything to His original purpose.
The Apostle Paul stated in Romans 8:13b – 16, “...if, by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
Jesus is the perfect pattern of sonship. He sent the Holy Spirit to teach us to be like Him. Whatever the Holy Spirit does in and through us is about transforming us from slaves to sons. He counsels, comforts, teaches and leads us into the truth, revealing Jesus to us and empowering us to do the same as Jesus did to show the world what the Father is like so that we can be true sons.
When we overemphasize and major on isolated aspects of the Spirit’s ministry, for example, the gifts and especially tongues, or miracles, or “goose bumps” of one sort or another, and disregard His primary purpose, we miss the point of God’s gift to us. He gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us so that we can learn to be sons. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn of many brothers.” Romans 8:29.
God has a dream and He set up the plan to fulfil it – stated beautifully by the writer to the Hebrews (2:10). “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God...should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
If we ignore God’s purpose for sending the Holy Spirit, we will never understand His work and we will not understand what our journey through life and its struggles is all about. God gave us His Spirit to lead and teach us to be sons like Jesus.. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn of many brothers.” Romans 8:29.