First off, it is necessary to determine the biblical usage of the following words. Although they are interchangeable on a basic level, I have supplied this word study for those who enjoy the subtleties of the language. "Received" is the word most commonly used in conjunction with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and means "to get hold of, especially something given", denoting active participation by faith. The second most common words used are "filled" and "full", which mean "complete; overflowing or saturated". Another word "baptized" is better understood as a metaphor rather than a definition. It bears a likeness to water baptism in which one is fully immersed in the cleansing of sin. One who is baptized in the Spirit is fully immersed and permeated with a new spiritual identity. Also used are "fell, rested, or came upon", all of which indicate a downward motion or pressure, as the Spirit rested upon Jesus at His baptism. "Bestowed upon", "poured out" and given" denotes the Spirit as a free gift.
Also, as mentioned earlier, when we begin to understand the Oneness of the Trinity, we will not be confused by verses that refer to the Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of His Son"and "the Spirit of God." When speaking of the indwelling of the person of Holy Spirit, it is just as correct to say that the Spirit of Christ or God abides within us.
When we initially and truly give ourselves to Christ, God gives us the free gift of His Holy Spirit to authenticate us as His children, His begotten. This is what is called being "born from above", "born again" or "born into the Spirit". (We have seen that God accepts the faith and confession of those who cannot be water baptized.) The actual Person of the Holy Spirit takes residence in us. To our spirit (our breath of physical life), is added God's Spirit (His breath of eternal life). It is one of God's great mysteries as to how His Spirit can live within us, especially while the sinful nature resides there also. From that point on, we do not just adopt new attitudes, but we become a new creation with a new set of privileges and responsibilities. John wrote in his first epistle several verses concerning the intensely
intimate relationship the Spirit has with the believer.
As Jesus said, unless one is born of the Holy Spirit, they can never enter the kingdom of God. To the true believer, receiving the Holy Spirit is a deposit or title deed on their heavenly possession to come. The supernatural operation of the Spirit fulfills the promises of God. He takes our willing hand and leads us into an ever-increasing reflection of God's glory. He works side by side with us to bring God's will to pass. He opens doors of opportunity and windows to hearts and tears us away from ourselves so we may effectively witness and serve. We receive anointing from the Holy Spirit to have our ministries prosper. But His graces are not only for individual blessing. In John 17:11 and 21-23, Jesus prayed for unity among believers. It is only the baptism of the Holy Spirit that can accomplish this. We can grieve and suppress Him. Because the Spirit is within us, the Trinity, through the indwelling, witnesses the very thoughts and actions that spiritually separate us from His love and keep Him from developing the fruit of that love within us to bring His purpose to pass in our lives. This will eventually disrupt the working of the Spirit in our lives and the congregation. This is indeed a sobering thought.
The Holy Spirit as Counselor and Guide
In nearly seamless continuity, Jesus' early followers passed from the presence of Christ in human form to the presence of Christ in Spirit form. This Holy Spirit not only continued in the role of their spiritual teacher, but He also brought to their remembrance all things that Jesus had taught them. Because we do not know how to properly serve God, the Spirit assigns, activates and maintains our ministries. The Spirit (figuratively) walks along side us in a dynamic relationship in every godly capacity to bring God's perfect will to pass. The Holy Spirit is ready to empower the willing believer with any knowledge or ability they need. He lights the pathway to truth no matter how well we are spiritually equipped to understand His ways. But even a true believer must make the choice to continue walking in the Light.
For us, the Holy Spirit primarily provides guidance through His Word, though through that same Word, He also lends personal revelation. Appropriately, we read in the book of Revelation that the Holy Spirit is the giver of prophecy, that is, the knowledge and guidance of God's will, so we may be a living testimony and reflection of Jesus. Long ago, God spoke audibly to people, whether it was He, His Spirit or His angels. I'm sure there are many Spirit and faith-filled people living today, and yet there is no widespread report of such direct communication as took place in Bible times. However, we are given abundant proof that the Spirit speaks to us by His blessings, convictions, chastisements and the orchestration of situations in our lives. Some may even include the gift of the word of prophecy and even dreams and visions.
The more faithful and obedient we are, the more distractions we push out of our hearts and minds, and the more clearly we hear His guiding voice. We receive wisdom that allows us to interpret spiritual things, as well as explore God intellectually. This insight is to be cherished indeed, because it gives us glimpses into the very mind of God.
Next month we will continue examining the workings of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life.