Bible study in | What role does the Holy Spirit play in our salvation and lives?
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit”. We all enter this world through the natural birthing process (the water), but in order to be a part of God’s eternal Kingdom, we must also be born of the Spirit.
What part does the Holy Spirit play in our lives?
The works of the Holy Spirit are continuous
throughout our lives as believers: through his gifting, his guiding,
empowerment, and teaching. However, there are specific roles He plays
in our conversion process- in that moment in our lives when we make a
decision to become a follower of Christ and the Holy Spirit of God
comes to live within us. First, the Spirit convicts us; then He regenerates us; and finally, He indwells us, and seals us.
Conviction is the first aspect of our conversion- to know that we have a need in the first place. Jesus told his disciples the Holy Spirit would convict the world. “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment”. The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts of the truth- we are guilty of sin, we have missed the mark of God’s perfection. This conviction becomes the driving force for us to seek peace with that verdict.
The Holy Spirit convicts the whole world, yet not all will listen to this conviction. Some people will simply ignore it, never questioning what the nagging feeling is in their conscience, eventually hardening their hearts to the truth. There are also those who will agree that they are “sinners”, a term often used to simply mean, “hey, I’m not perfect, but I’m not so bad either”, excusing away how they live their life. They will often have the hope that when they die, the good will have outweighed the bad and heaven will receive them. These same people will not seek the pardon from conviction. They are without peace and remain captive to sin. They will spend their lives seeking relief from the weight of the guilt by any means that will mask or divert it. They are relying on their own righteousness to bring them into God’s presence.
However, for those who seek relief and pardon by the redemptive work of Christ, we accept in faith the need for forgiveness and new life. It is through the Holy Spirit we are regenerated or “made new”. Titus 3:5 tells us: “he saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”. It is through this washing, or baptism of the Holy Spirit, that regeneration takes place.
God's gift to us
Regeneration defined as “The act of begetting by God, which imparts eternal life” (McCauley).
This life is our “new life” in God’s Kingdom, beginning here and now on
earth. The old life of sin has passed away. We are born again, pardoned
and set free from sin's captivity. II Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
This regenerative process takes place by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit actually resides in us. I Corinthians 6:19 asks the question, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” The Holy Spirit is in us, indwelling us. Now that He has come in and made his home with us, He “seals us”.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory”. (Ephesians 1:13-14). What does this mean when the Bible tells us He seals us? The word “sealed’ brings to mind a jar that is closed tightly. In Ephesians, from the original language, “sealed” is transliterated, Sphragizo.
Sphragizo, used fifteen times in the New Testament and is defined as the following:
to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal for security: from Satan since things sealed up are concealed (as the contents of a letter); to hide, keep in silence, keep secret in order to mark a person or a thing; to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp; angels are said to be sealed by God; in order to prove, confirm, or attest a thing to confirm authenticate; place beyond doubt of a written document; to prove one's testimony to a person that he is what he professes to be.
God's gift is forever
When the Bible tells us we are “sealed”, it means we “are securely hidden” from
the reaches of Satan. The seal of the Holy Spirit brings great hope and
joy. It acts as an assurance of the thing that we hope for: the
redemption of our body and spirit for eternity. It is one of the
greatest actions of the Holy Spirit in our conversion process. For in
it, we can rest in His work and not our own. As stated earlier, it is
by God’s mercy, and not our own righteousness, that we are born again.
It is also a permanent action, “Believers may lose the filling – but not the indwelling”. Once the Holy Spirit has makes His dwelling with us, it is by His seal upon us that we know we no longer belong to ourselves. This is an area often misunderstood as we confuse the” indwelling of the Holy Spirit” with the “filling of the Holy Spirit”. The filling of the Holy Spirit is one of those actions of the Spirit that is continuous over our lifetime.
It is reliant on many things. “Being filled means being controlled by the Spirit”. The role of the Holy Spirit at conversion is to indwell us. Afterwards, how much He fills us, has to do with how much of our lives we give over to Him, living a Spirit filled life. This is probably why so much of God’s word instructs us on how we behave and live in this life. He knew our struggles after conversion would be the battle of either walking by the Spirit, or walking in the flesh.
The role of the Holy Spirit is truly a gift. He first makes us aware of our need. He then gives us the ability to have faith to turn from sin; allowing His regenerative work in us; bringing about our new life in Christ.
In addition, His seal upon us is our assurance of our hope. As we walk through life, He gives us the power to live and be like Christ. He gives us gifts to use for the good of others. He teaches us, leads us in the way of Christ, and intercedes for us.
The gift of God is eternal life and it starts the moment you allow God's spirit to work in you.
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