Greetings Friends! In celebrating the season of Pentecost, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the role of the Holy Spirit, since it was on the Day of Pentecost when Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit was given to humanity. Jesus promised His followers, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-18).
There are a couple of important points to be mindful about Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will remain with Jesus’ followers ‘forever.’ Therefore, they will not feel empty or abandoned even if He (Jesus) left them physically. For Jesus had earlier intimated about His impending death to His disciples. (Matt.16:21) His followers would be aware of the Spirit’s presence in their lives for He will guide them in the truth and true path of life.
That being said, to say that the work of the Holy Spirit is an indispensable part of the Christian life, is a gross understatement to say the least. For the Christian life has no legs to stand on without the Holy Spirit, plain and simple. (Rom.8:9) Yet, about half (49%) of all who say they are Christian do not believe the Holy Spirit is real, according to the research group called “Barna Group” (https://www.barna.org). It also found that “Americans are constantly trying to figure out how to make sense of biblical teachings in light of their daily experiences,” without realizing it’s the absence of the Holy Spirit which leaves this vacuum in their Christian life. Yet, the realization of the Spirit’s presence was one of the signs Jesus gave His followers: “…the world cannot receive (Him), because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17-18). In other words, Jesus will never leave them for Jesus and the Spirit are One in the Triune Godhead.
Let’s discuss this vital aspect and see what exactly is the role and work of the Spirit in the Christian’s daily journey. There are many facets of His work, but we’ll discuss His basic foundational role in this post.
The Holy Spirit is given to those who believe and receive in Jesus as their personal Savior sent by the Father to be mankind’s eternal Mediator. (Act.2:38-39; John 3:16) Jesus is the One who opens the door for the Holy Spirit to enter human life once more. For since the fall of Adam about four thousand years before, the way to the Spirit’s presence was sealed off as pictured by the mighty angel who stopped them from gaining access to the Tree of Life which symbolized and represented the Holy Spirit. We read this utterly despondent time for Adam and Eve, “The LORD God therefore banished him (Adam) from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken. He expelled the man, stationing the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword east of the Garden of Eden, to guard the way to the Tree of Life” (Gen.3:23-24).
Through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is given as a gift, which Jesus as the Immanuel, inaugurated at His baptism at the hands of John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Here, we see Jesus was baptized for humanity’s forgiveness and repentance. Recall, after Jesus’ baptism the heavens had opened signifying the open door which the Spirit was given to join humanity again beginning with Jesus, when the Father uttered those welcoming words for all humanity, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I Love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matt.3:17). Yes, and the Father makes the same pronouncement to all who receive Jesus as Savior and are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.
Paul gives us this beautiful picture of what the Spirit does as He enters the door Jesus opened for humanity: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16; also John 7:37-39; 1 John 4:13; 1 Cor.6:19, NLT). What does the Spirit do as He dwells in the life of a believer? The role and work of the Spirit is to make “Holy” by sanctifying and bring the Love and life of God to human beings.
Note what Paul said, believing human beings are made temples for the indwelling Holy Spirit. A temple is a place of worship where God and humans meet. The Bible says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Rom.8:9). Yes, Jesus is our heavenly temple where He is High Priest who mediates for us, and on earth He is also High Priest of the earthly temple of the human hearts of His people (the Church). This tells us that God is Trinitarian, so, you cannot have the Holy Spirit without Christ, and you cannot have Christ without the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of the Spirit is to unify believing humans to Jesus, who in turn unifies us to the Father.
Jesus told the disciples about the role of the Spirit, “I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you” (John 16:12-15).
Yes, the Spirit’s sole purpose is to reveal Jesus, for Jesus is the revelation of God’s glory in humans. The Spirit does not glorify Himself to humans (“He will not speak on His own”), instead, He glorifies Jesus to humans. His purpose is to reveal all that Jesus means to a person in as far as God’s purpose and destiny for every single person.
The role of the Spirit is to guide and support human beings to become true believers of Jesus and becoming like Him in our earthly sojourn and journey. Paul said, “You are to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor.11:1). Jesus said, “The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace!” (John 14:26-27, MSG). The operative words are to “make everything plain to you.” So, the Holy Spirit is our Mentor who counsels us in the Loving ways of Jesus and the Father.
Recall what one of the New Covenant provisions affords us, “And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already” (Heb.8:11, NLT). John reinforces the work of the Spirit in this regard, “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true–it is not a lie. So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ” (1 John 2:27, NLT). Look, can another human reveal what your personal calling in God’s plan for you? No human can do that, only the Spirit can and will do it, for it is His work to reveal your gift that’s tied to your individual calling in Christ.
Let us ask, who is Jesus fundamentally and effectively to those who believe and receive Him? He is the first human ever who lived a sinless life, and now exists in His resurrected, glorified, immortalized human/divine form. When Jesus lived, and was crucified, resurrected, and ascended back to be with the Father in heaven, He took our humanity with Him, and glorified it and made it part of God’s divine species made immortal children forever. Jesus made this possible because He was and is always homoousiosly part of the Triune Godhead in heaven.
Jesus was the prophesied Immanuel, God in the flesh, for the purpose of rescuing and making humanity into the divine image of Jesus in the Triune Godhead. (Gen.1:26-27; Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23; Rom.8:29) He is the example the Father want for humans to emulate so humans may enter into His Loving presence by becoming glorious and immortal themselves like His Son. Hence, we read Paul saying, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom.8:29-30, NASB). Yes, Jesus is the first human being to be made immortal among the many who will follow Him to eternal life.
The Son stands first in the line of humanity God restored and fashioned in His image and likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) Jesus is the only human who was glorified and made immortal, and the role of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus’ reality happen across the board in all of humanity. Paul affirms this, saying, “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Rom.8:11).
God reveals how He will make this reality we see in Jesus happen, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Cor.6:16; Lev.26:12). What this says is God will Himself guide and walk us to the reality we have in Jesus. And how does He do it, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bibles reveals “We are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16a). Paul says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” (1 Cor.6:19, NLT; also, 1 Cor.3:16).
But here is the crossover many cannot and have not fathomed, including Christians: If God walks in us, and He is holy and sinless, then it stands to reason that the believer is also holy and sinless. You see, God and sin cannot co-exist. Can virtue live alongside sin? Can righteousness and wickedness live together under the same roof? Can light and darkness be bedfellows? The two conditions are poles apart. Nothing could be more diametrically opposite from each other, and the exact antithesis of each other. So, either one has to go! You cannot have both, it’s not tenable. Paul’s closing words in his discourse with the Romans is, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?” (Rom.8:31-32). Can the sin condition stand against us? No!
If the Spirit is “Holy” and lives in man as His temple, then it’s logical to conclude that man is also “holy.” The light of God’s divine Love snuffs out all darkness. This is the role of the Holy Spirit – He is called “Holy” because that is what He is and does. All He touches, He makes “Holy.” Paul tells us this, “I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit” (Rom.15:16, NLB). Yes, He is the “sanctifier” of human life.
Let me give you a metaphor to help explain this. It’s not perfect, but I hope it serves the purpose. Think of a dark room in your home. You enter the room and close the door behind you. You can’t see a thing, because it’s as dark as black can be. You move and feel your hand along the wall to the light switch, and turned the lights on. What just happened? Electricity turned the bulb on, and now you can see in the dark. Yes, but more than that, what really happened was light swallowed up darkness and made darkness disappear and became ineffectual and powerless. Darkness disappeared in the face of light. Light is virtue, while sin is darkness.
In the same way, as saved humanity who have received Jesus as Savior, whenever we come into God’s presence through Christ by the Spirit’s power, we come before the light of God where there’s absolutely no darkness or sin. Sin has been taken care of once for all time through Christ who took and glorified our humanity within Himself. Jesus is the true Light. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:13). We appear before God’s light, clothed with the light of Christ’s glorious life.
What is the spiritual mechanics whereby this reality is made to happen in the believer who is made forever “holy” in the Father’s presence? Think about this, if the Spirit is intrinsically of one substance and nature with the Father and the Son in heaven (existing as One Godhead of the Trinity from eternity), and He (Spirit) also lives and walks in the believer as His temple, then it’s logical to conclude that wherever the Spirit is the believer is with Him – vice-versa in heaven or upon earth – in God’s holy presence in heaven and the human heart on earth. Yes, God’s earthly temple is the heart of mankind. (1 Cor.6:19) It is not some ornate bulding or church cathedral. If sin can never prevail with God, then man also is holy and is in a sinless state in Jesus.
There’s something else that we may not have realized, since Jesus has glorified our humanity in Himself and brought us into the life of the Trinity, then the Spirit automatically becomes part of mankind by this inherent union. Man was spiritually birthed into the divine by Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension, and through the doctrine of substitution, when we express faith in the Messiah we are likewise reborn spiritually just as Jesus explained to Nicodemus. (John 3:5-8; Eph.1:13) Paul said, The ultimate expression of this spiritual birth will occur in the future resurrection from mortal to immortality at Jesus’ second coming.
Paul shows us, “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies” (1 Cor.15:51-53).
Therefore, the role of the Spirit is to constantly and forever transport the human believer to the heavenly courts before Jesus and our heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the believer by bringing him or her before Jesus as High Priest, the very Personified Temple of His glorious body, in heaven. In turn, Jesus mediates all the inadequate human responses and shortcomings of the believer, and presents us before the Father perfect and acceptable every time, and forever! (Rom.8:26, 34; 2 Cor.5:17)
This is the ongoing process of salvation that never stops until God’s purpose in mankind is completed when we are resurrected to immortality like Jesus at His second coming. All of this is encapsulated in the words of Paul, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness (sinless) of God in Him” (2 Cor.5:21, NASB). This is the process of salvation we are forever experiencing in Jesus through the Spirit’s power.
One might say, “But I am human and I sin all the time.” Yes, that’s exactly the point of the Spirit’s role, we live in sin always because of our human nature inherited from fallen Adam, as a result “unholy.” If we have been made perfect at any point, then we won’t need the Holy Spirit, for the responsibility of the Spirit is for the very purpose of sanctifying, making “holy,” fallen (“unholy”) human beings. (John 16:8-11) And sanctification takes place only where trespasses exist. That’s why the Holy Spirit is given to man for the purpose of leading us to Jesus – because we are trespassers, period.
David said we have “secret sins” we cannot see and don’t know about, let alone repent of. (Psa.19:12) The point is not that we become perfect in this life, but that we trust in and are brought into the “Light” of Jesus’ glorified life where all darkness is extinguished instantly. If God should enlighten us to deal with something wrong about us, He will do so and grant us the repentance to confront, and forgiveness to resolve it. (2 Tim.2:25; Act.11:18) Man’s propensity to sin is no excuse to live licentiously, but to enlighten man of his need for a permanent Mediator in Jesus who has repented for us and died in our place, and through His Spirit sanctify us.
Trespasses are snuffed out like darkness is swallowed up by the light. Of course, this doesn’t give us license to do what we like and live irresponsibly (sin) – we do not commit sin because we know we are going to be forgiven anyway. Those who live like that are still living in darkness. No, the key is to maintain an ongoing attitude of repentance, realizing that we still sin even with our best efforts to live morally good lives. Recall that we are kept safe in Jesus’ prayer to daily seek the Father’s forgiveness because we live in our fallen and depraved humanity still, but daily making amends to our ways as repentant believers ought to. (Matt.6:12) If it were not for the Holy Spirit we would remain in our spiritually corrupt condition. Paul said, “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you” (Rom.8:9, NLT). This is the miraculous life believers are given the privilege to live in the Spirit’s move and power.
What a wonderful and beautiful life God our Father has brought to live in His Son Jesus empowered in the Holy Spirit. Be ever grateful and praise Him always!
Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who is our hope and has enabled us to live the Triune Life*. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious Immanuel humanity made children of God forever.
You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination, or divisions one may espouse – but into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for the holy God, the Creator’s dwelling:
Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me and all humanity. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects listed in our archives that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net. You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Personal Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Farewell for now,
Appendix: *The “Love-Fruits of the Holy Spirit:” *the fruit of patience, *the fruit of kindness, *the fruit of contentedness, *the fruit of modesty (unboastful), *the fruit of humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *the fruit of joy, *the fruit of peace, *the fruit of goodness, *the fruit of faith, *the fruit of gentleness, *the fruit of self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal. 5:22-23; Rom. 12:9-21). These attributes may seem ordinary and mundane, but when empowered and propelled in the Spirit’s power, they are transformed into divine elements of transformation.
**”Triune Life”: Relationship with God has no meaning without Love. By its very nature, Love cannot endure in solitary existence. So, when God said “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness…” He was revealing Himself as existing in His trinitarian existence. That is, His Tri-Personal Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Gen.1:26; Matt.28:19; John 14:10, 16; 16:7) The Hebrew word for ‘God’ in the creation account is “Elohim.” It describes God in His plurality, as the Trinity – the Tri-Personal Godhead, which other scriptures attests. (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Pet.1:2; 2 Thess.2:13; 2 Cor.13:14) So, God is Trinitarian in His Love nature. He is also clothed in Freedom. For the three Persons of the Trinity are three distinct and free Persons in the triune Godhead. Love and Freedom by nature is relational as God is in His Tri-Personal Being. Hence, a human being was created a relational being possessing freedom.
Adam was solitary and incomplete until God made Eve. He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (solitary). I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18, italics mine). So, God gave Adam a family to raise composed of a father, mother, and offspring, to reflect Himself in His plural Being. The Bible states that the Church’s or humanity’s destiny is to marry Christ, the second Person of the Triune Godhead, in the new age to come which will be an everlasting divine relationship. (2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:23-27, 32; Rev.19:7) The Bible is abundantly clear about God’s nature and declaration of Himself in His relational Triune Being from the past, the present, and the future. God has never lived as a solitary Being, but a Tri-Personal Being.
It’s noteworthy to understand that Eve was not created an individual creation from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was not created apart from Adam as an individualized separate human being, instead, she was taken out from Adam’s side to show she was biologically one and indivisibly part of Adam, like God is in His Triunity. Eve was not detached (solitary) from Adam, but intrinsically inseparable from Adam’s innermost humanity. When Adam saw Eve, he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man” (Gen.2:21-23) God created humanity to reflect Himself in His unified Tri-Personal Being (Trinity).
Each one of us was created as an indivisible relational human being incubated and given birth from Adam’s mold as one species, for God created humanity to reflect the eternal likeness in His triunity. We are born for relationships with the divine triune Love as our guiding principle. All this show that humans were created to be indivisibly one to reflect God’s Tri-Personal image of Oneness (Trinity), not solitary separateness. When God sent Jesus His eternal Son, He became human in order to unify humanity spiritually to the Triune Being of God through Christ once for all time. Hence, when the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jesus’ coming, He was given the prophetic name, Immanuel. (Isa.7:14) The name means “God with us” (Matt.1:23). Humanity is ‘organically’ one with the Triune God through Christ, just as humanity is one with Adam.
Most religions believe God as some solitary being. The true God is not solitary by any means, He is the one Triunity in His Tri-Personal Being. God consist of three Persons in One divine triune Godhead. (Matt.28:18-20) They exist in One “homoousion” meaning consisting in one substance, or “consubstantiality.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in One hypostatic union, One substance, like Eve was biologically part of and never physically separate, but of one substance from Adam, for she came out of Adam. Likewise, humanity is made of one spiritual substance with the triune God through Jesus Christ who took our humanity upon Himself and joined it to the divine triune existence forever.
The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
The Christian Faith As Spoken In the Nicene Creed
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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