The Holy Spirit In the Believer

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God’s gift to believers

Jesus spoke these words the night before his betrayal at the Last Supper. Jesus anticipated returning to His Father in Heaven, but He would not leave His followers helpless and alone. Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit would be with them—giving them comfort, guidance, and strength. But instead of being with them physically as Jesus was, the Holy Spirit would reside in them (See also 1 Corinthians 3:16). I think this is one of God’s greatest (and mysterious) miracles: giving us new life through the baptism of His Holy Spirit—spiritual birth (John 3:3-8).

When we understand that Christ died in our place for our sins, rose from the grave, and we place our complete trust in Him for salvation—the Holy Spirit comes and indwells the believer.

Security in Salvation

Believers can be secure in their salvation. We are sealed by Christ through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). Jesus, who is stronger than the grips of death, is our Sealer. His seal is the Holy Spirit, “given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Believers are chosen [in Christ] before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-6). Why? Paul says: to create a family of people who are passionate for God’s honor and glory (Ephesians 1:10-12). This is made possible through the Holy Spirit.

God’s children now have direct access to Him because Jesus has made us acceptable in His sight (unlike the Old Testament era when people could only approach God through priests, operating under the old sacrificial system, Hebrews 10:19-23).

Benefits of the Believer’s Security in Christ (Romans 8)

The Holy Spirit plays an active role in the believer’s life by:

  • Removing chaos and confusion with life and peace
  • Protecting against Satan
  • Assuring no condemnation
  • Uniting us with Christ, (no separation from God)
  • Preserving and protecting what the Father brings into being

Have you been sealed with the Holy Spirit by placing your complete trust in Christ?

Is it possible to grieve the Holy Spirit? How?

How can believers cooperate with the Holy Spirit and glorify God?

 

Where Is Jesus Now?

Have you ever wondered where Jesus is now and what He’s been doing since His resurrection?

As a child I believed Jesus went back to heaven after He arose from the grave. But other than preparing a place for us, I wondered how He spent the rest of His time. After all, who enjoys building all the time? My young mind imagined Him enjoying activities I’d love to do. You know, things like jumping on fluffy clouds, soaring over colorful universes, and landing a quadruple back flip, just to name a few. 🙂

Not to say Jesus can’t, or doesn’t, engage in “fun” activities. But Scripture doesn’t promote Him as a thrill seeker or as One who is consumed with Himself. Rather, His thoughts and prayers are for His children.

Don’t you love that Jesus isn’t like a cartoon depiction of a Genie floating on a heavenly cloud, sipping Cherry Coke while being entertained? Not only did Christ accomplish His mission on earth through His teaching, atoning sacrifice and resurrection, but He still engages in our lives, helping us navigate all of life’s twists and turns. Having been through fiery trials and temptations Himself—without sinning—He not only knows what we need, He is also able to help us. And He presents His prayers and petitions to God the Father on our behalf!

Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

The apostle Paul also paints a beautiful picture of God’s children sitting victoriously with Christ in the “heavenly realms” over the dark canvas of what we used to be: objects of God’s wrath due to our sin (Ephesians 2:1-9). This is made possible because our sinless Lord took our deserved punishment upon Himself (Isaiah 53:4-12). Our eternal life is secured only through Jesus Christ (1 John 5:11-12).

God the Father raised Jesus up in the power of His Holy Spirit, seating Him at His right hand―to His original position before Christ took on flesh (John 1:1-5). Jesus now reigns victoriously (Philippians 2:9-11) and will one day reign in justice over a new earth (Revelation 21).

Maybe you’re unsure if you are God’s child. This is a decision you must make yourself. The church can’t save you. Your parents’ faith won’t save you. There are no guarantees for tomorrow, but you have today. Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.”

For more on where Jesus is now and why Scripture emphasizes the right hand of God, see the following links at gotquestions.org: Is Jesus in Heaven?, Right Hand of God.

Have a wonderful week!

Shelter From the Storm

Although the brisk morning breeze slowed us down, we were in good spirits. We were also making good progress. A handful of gray clouds dot the sky, but the sunlight still broke through, clothing the horizon and Lake Coeurd’Alene in a purple glow.

My husband and three young kids bike in silence as we soak in the beauty of our surroundings, listen to the birds sing, and inhale the fresh mountain air. But within 30 minutes our landscape darkens and the wind picks up as the small cloud fists consolidate into a giant thunderhead. My husband and I give each other knowing looks as the monster cloud sheds a few tears. We’re going to get caught in a freezing downpour while riding all the way back to the truck! After driving this far, the two-and-a-half-hour trip home—drenched to the bone—would be the ultimate spoiler.

But just before turning around, we spot some sort of covering up ahead beside the bike trail. Yes! “Hurry!” My husband motions. One by one, before the giant cloud head unleashes his fury, we shelter under a small metal overhang. The breeze even dries our slightly damp clothes during the five minute rain stampede, drenching everything except us. Wow, thank you Lord, for guiding us here at just the right moment. Thank you for providing this covering.

On Easter, we celebrated Jesus conquering death and sin through His resurrection after laying His life down on the cross as the sacrificial substitute for our sins. Similar to my family’s shelter from the rain, Jesus becomes our shelter, but on a much grander scale. Through the shedding of His blood, Jesus provides a covering from the damning consequence of our sin (death). “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly,” (Romans 5:6).

Why the Blood of Jesus?
The disciple Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:18-19, “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” Jesus Christ’s blood is the most precious thing God has offered us. Not only is it the foundation of redemption, but also the only acceptable payment for our sins.
Because we have all failed to obey God’s laws and are guilty of doing wrong (Rom. 3:23), we are separated from the holy God. The penalty of our sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Compared to God “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Is. 64:6). Jesus alone is qualified to bridge the chasm between us and God due to our sin. His offer of salvation and fellowship is a free gift that we receive in Christ through faith (Eph. 2:8-9).

In the Old Testament, after Adam and Eve’s original sin, God accepted the death of an animal as a substitute for the sinner since one life had to be given for another. This, however, was a temporary covenant. The blood needed to be repeated daily and yearly. While blood symbolized death, it also showed that a life was spared. God would later send His only Son providing a new covenant, or New Testament through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death would be in the place of all sinners. His sacrifice completely fulfilled what the Old Testament covenant meant to. His blood would remove the world’s sins for everyone who puts their faith in Him. This sacrifice—an eternal covenant— would never have to be repeated. It’s the only provision, God sacrificing His Son Jesus in our place, that we acquire complete forgiveness. It is attained by accepting Jesus as our Savior, and accepting that He shed His blood to cover the sins of all who repent.

John the Baptist called Jesus the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). The Lamb references the unblemished animal sacrifice from the Old Testament. Although there are numerous references to the sacrificial system in the Old Testament, a more familiar one is the sprinkling of blood on the Hebrew doorposts as they were in captive to slavery by the Egyptian Pharaoh. This act of obedience sealed God’s protective covering when His punishment of the death angel passed through the streets. This was just one curse that God sent down on Pharaoh because he refused to release these Hebrew slaves.

The Hebrew Feast of Passover commemorates this event, which is now recognized as a “type” or foreshadowing of the blood of Jesus. The blood is a protective provision from God—powerful and freeing. If you have asked Jesus to be Lord of your life, then you too are covered by the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of your heart. He covers your heart and your life with his protection from eternal death and with ever-lasting forgiveness of sin.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Christ died for our sins. . . He was buried. . . He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures . . . He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred . . .” -1 Corinthians 15:3-6

As a child, and admittedly throughout my adult years, watching the reenactment of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion raises questions. Why did Jesus have to go through the fire of betrayal and agonizing suffering? Out of all the people, why Jesus? Although I know the answer, it’s still difficult sometimes to wrap the depths of God’s love for us—for me—around one’s heart and head. That Jesus willingly endured such shame and torture and then died in my place leaves me in awe (see Heb. 12:2).

We have all failed to obey God’s laws and are guilty of doing wrong (Rom. 3:23). Because of this, we have been separated from the holy God. The penalty of our sin is death (Rom. 6:23). We can do nothing by ourselves to be united with God. His offer of salvation and fellowship is a free gift that we receive in Christ through faith: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Is Jesus the Only Way to God?

“I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” -John 10:7-10 (MSG)

That Jesus is the only way to God is probably Christianity’s most controversial claim. It would be absurd for Christians to stand on this premise if Jesus didn’t claim it Himself. If the Gospels are historically reliable—which there is abundant evidence they are—then we have Jesus’ words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” (Jn. 14:6). As unpopular as this statement may be for some, there really isn’t wiggle room for debate. Jesus goes on further and states: “Whoever rejects You (God the Father) rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me, rejects the One who sent Me,” (Lk. 10:16). Jesus clarifies: There is no other path to God. “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins,” (Jn. 8:24). So if we want to follow Christ, we must accept what He said about Himself.

How is Jesus different from other religious figures? While no other major world religious founder claimed to be God, Jesus affirmed this claim (Mk. 14:61-64; Jn. 10:30-34). What would be the evidence to prove He is God? The confirmation, Jesus said, would be His resurrection from the dead (Mt. 12:38-42; Mk. 14:28). Jesus provided the ultimate evidence for His unique claims.

Jesus—God’s unique Son—was more than just a man. Because He never sinned, He alone can bridge the gap between sinful mankind and the sinless God. When Jesus freely offered His life for us by dying on the cross in our place, He took all of our wrongs (past, present and future) upon Himself and in exchange offers us His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). In so doing, He made a way to save us from the consequences of our sin, which includes God’s judgment and death (Rom. 5:8-10). Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is proof that His substitutionary sacrifice was acceptable to God. We celebrate His resurrection—especially on Easter—because it is the source of new life for all who believe that He is God’s Son (Jn. 3:16).

What evidence is there of Jesus’ resurrection?

Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection (Apologetics Study Bible for Students)

  • First-century Jews, Romans and Christians all agreed that Jesus’ tomb was empty.
  • More than 500 people saw the risen Jesus (1 Co. 15:6). Many saw Him more than once and sometimes in groups of hundreds of people.
  • Only the true resurrection of Jesus could account for the changed lives and beliefs of people like Saul (Paul), Jesus’ earthly brother, James, or the disciples.
  • Jesus’ resurrection explains how the church spread rapidly against all odds and against hostility.
  • All but one of Jesus’ disciples died martyr’s deaths because they taught that Jesus was resurrected. None of them renounced belief in the resurrection.

How Can I Become God’s Child and Receive Forgiveness and Eternal Life?

Salvation is not dependent upon our emotions, nor does it stand alone on intellectual agreement. Receiving Christ is as an act of the will through faith. Repentance involves removing self from the throne to placing God on the throne of one’s life. Like receiving and unwrapping a gift, we must act to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. It’s an individual choice. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” (Jn. 1:12). Only then can we know and experience God’s love and purpose for our lives.

For forgiveness of sin and to enter a relationship with God, we must acknowledge our sin and confess Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:8-10). When we receive Christ, we experience a new spiritual birth (John 3:1-8) and live in union with Him.

Jeremiah 29:13

The following prayer is an example. However, God isn’t as concerned about words as He is with the attitude of the heart: “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross in my place. Please cleanse me of my sin and come into my life as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for giving me eternal life and forgiving my sins. Help me to be the person you desire.”

I would love to hear from you if you took this step of faith. Wishing you a wonderful Easter!

The Kingdom of God

It has been said that, in the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus as “the Friend of the friendless” (William Barclay, The Men, The Meaning, The Message Of The Books, p. 17). This is wonderful. Jesus is our Friend. We rejoice in this great when we sing, “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” Jesus […]

via The Kingdom Of God: Luke’s Gospel — Learning From God’s Word