Lesson 5 - The Ministry of God the Holy Spirit to Believers

Lesson 5 - The Ministry of God the Holy Spirit to Believers

Lesson for January 29, 2012

Christian Integrity

The Ministry of God the Holy Spirit to Believers

Regeneration

Regeneration, a theological term for being so-called “born again,” is the term for when God creates a human spirit in the believer at salvation.  “Born again” is a poor translation of the Greek and leads one to think that the human spirit already exists and is simply being regenerated.  The Greek words for born again help us to fully understand the meaning: born - “gennao,” means to bear or to bring forth a child; again - “anothen” means “anew or from above”.  The word regenerate in English can mean to be restored, to reform, to bring into existence again, but it can also mean to be made anew.  The Greek word for regeneration is “palingenesia” and means a new birth.  Regeneration is therefore a new birth, a spiritual birth from above (from God).   It is the “new creation” of II Corinthians 5:17, which is better translated “a new spiritual species.”  When a person is “born again” he becomes God’s seed according to I John 3:9.  It is a brand new nature, something that did not exist prior to faith in Christ. The Greek word for seed is “sperma” and means to sow.  From the context we see that John is referring to the “new birth.”  (John 3:1-8; I Thessalonians 5:23; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:1,5; II Corinthians 5:14-21)

It is the human spirit that provides the believer with the ability to have a relationship with God, to learn, to understand and to apply Bible doctrine and to produce divine good (service to God).  (Romans 1:9; 8:16; Job 32:8)  An unbeliever does not possess a human spirit and is therefore unable to have a relationship with God, to understand spiritual things or to produce divine good. (I Corinthians 2:14) 

It is the human spirit that the Holy Spirit teaches and this becomes the positive influence in your soul.  Divine Viewpoint Thinking is the result of this influence and overrules Human Viewpoint Thinking when properly applied.  The soul of man has the potential to be corrupted since it contains “free will.”  The human spirit, on the other hand, does not contain free will and, therefore, has no potential for corruption.  The creation of the human spirit also sets up a battle in the soul.  This battle between the sin nature and the new spiritual nature (the human spirit) is for the control of the soul. (Galatians 5:16-17; I John 3:9)

Another key word in this verse is remaineth and is the Greek word “meno.”  “Meno” means to abide, to stay, to be at home with, to dwell or to reside.  The final key word is “him.”  “Him” is the Greek word “autos” and can be translated him or it.  The context determines which one is used.  In this verse “autos” should be translated it. 

Considering all of these Greek words and the context of the verses, I John 3:9 can better be translated:  “At the moment when a person is born of God, he is not sinning, because God’s seed (the believer) keeps on residing in it (God’s power system or the filling of the Spirit).  Furthermore, he is able not to sin if he resides inside this power system because he has been born of God.”  God’s power system is given to all believers at the moment of salvation.  Whether or not they live within it is strictly a matter of a believer’s volition.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was prophesied by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.  This prophesy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit began.  This event marked the beginning of the Church Age.  Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for the Church Age believer only.  Since it is the means of placing the believer into union with Christ, the baptism of the Holy Spirit assures the believer of sharing Christ’s inheritance.  This inheritance includes becoming a member of the Royal Family of God.  We actually share Christ’s royalty, a royalty He received by defeating Satan in the Angelic Conflict. Christ won this victory by His spiritual death, physical death, resurrection, ascension and session at the right hand of God the Father.  Because of our union with Christ we are different from believers of other ages and we are given a higher spiritual position.  What a privilege and what a responsibility!  (Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 11:15-17; Colossians 2:9-15)

The baptism of the Holy Spirit results in a union, which never before existed for the believer.  This union with Christ is unique and sets up many potentials for the believer.  Being placed in union with Christ is called Positional Sanctification.  Positional Sanctification describes our new relationship with God through Christ.  It is a permanent relationship based on our faith in Christ and never changes, regardless of a believer’s spiritual condition.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit, therefore, sets up the potential for a believer to make his daily experience (Experiential Sanctification) align with his position in Christ (Positional Sanctification).  This means that we are to exhibit the character of Jesus Christ on a daily basis by means of the power of the Holy Spirit Who is indwelling us. (John 14:20; I Corinthians 12:12-27)

Sealing of the Holy Spirit

The sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit is our assurance from God of a secure future.  The word in Greek for sealing is “sphragizo” and means to secure, to signify ownership, or to authenticate.  We must always interpret Scripture in the time in which it was written.  In Biblical times a seal or signet was used to authenticate a transaction or to show ownership of property.

A perfect illustration of this is found in the Book of Esther in the Old Testament.  In this story the king sends his ring with his servant, which is to be used as the seal of authority.  Even though it was used by a servant (who has no authority himself), it carried the authority of the king.  It is the person behind the seal that has the authority, the seal being authentication that the king has authorized the transaction.

In the same manner, God seals the believer at salvation with His seal.  God’s seal is not a ring, but rather the Holy Spirit Himself.  “The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”  What exactly does the Holy Spirit seal for the believer?  We are told in Ephesians 1, where Paul enumerates certain spiritual blessings that belong to all believers.  In verse four he states that we are the elect (chosen for privilege) of God and that we are made holy (set apart) and blameless before Him (a reference to our position in Christ).  In verse five we are told that we have been predestined (a predetermined plan for each of us) and that we have been adopted into the family of God.  Verse six tells us that we have been accepted in the beloved.  In verse seven we learn that we have been forgiven and redeemed and in verse eight and nine we are told that God’s will has been revealed to us.  In verses ten and eleven we find out that we have an eternal inheritance as a result of being in union with Christ.  And finally in verses twelve and thirteen we are told that God places His seal on these blessings by sending His Holy Spirit to indwell us because of our faith in Christ.

The reason God the Holy Spirit is our seal is that He is the one Who is able to search and know the “heart” of man.  The heart in Greek is the word “kardia” and refers to the soul, which is a compartment in the mind of a person.  It also refers to the center of man’s will, intellect and emotions.  It is not referring to the pumping organ.  The reason the word for heart is used to designate the soul is that the physical heart circulates blood to the entire body.  In like manner the soul circulates information.  It is doctrinal information circulating in the soul that the Holy Spirit uses to teach and guide the believer.

Every believer is sealed at the moment of faith in Christ (salvation).  We know this from an examination of Scripture in the original language.  The correct translation, for example, of Ephesians 1:13 is “In whom ye trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also having believed (not after you believed) ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”  The sealing work of the Holy Spirit is immediate and simultaneous with our faith in Christ.

Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit begins immediately at salvation and is permanent.  This ministry is unique to the Church Age in which we live.  It is this ministry that assures our royal status, since all believers regardless of their spiritual health, are equally indwelt by the Holy Spirit.   This ministry also creates a temple in the body of each believer for the indwelling of Christ, the Shekinah Glory.  “Shekinah” literally means “dwelling.”  It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that sets up the potential for a believer to understand spiritual truth, to glorify Christ, to be mentored, to be guided through life and to witness for Christ.  It is still up to the individual believer to use his/her volition (free will) to choose to allow God the Holy Spirit to control his/her life.  (Galatians 3:2-3; 4:6; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 2:12; 3:16-17; 6:19-20; John 14:16-20; Colossians 1:27)

Teaching and Guiding

God the Holy Spirit is the believer’s teacher and guide.  It is His ministry to guide the believer to, and teach the believer truth.  He uses pastor-teachers in this age to teach Bible doctrine, but it is the Holy Spirit Who makes that information understandable.  Believers learn Bible doctrine when they expose themselves to it under the control of the Holy Spirit.  The result is storage of doctrinal information that can be used by the Holy Spirit to guide you into a victorious Christian life.  Ignorance of God’s Word means limited guidance by the Holy Spirit. (John 7:17; 14:26; 16:13-14; Romans 8:14; I Corinthians 2:10-16; II Timothy 2:15; 3:16)

Intercession

The ministry of intercession is the Holy Spirit mediating on behalf of the believer.  This is a normal function of a priest.  The believer is a royal priest, Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest, but the Holy Spirit is never said to be a priest (strictly a human function).  However, we are told that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for believers.  The reason this is possible is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Since He is indwelling a priest, He is able to “make groanings which cannot be uttered” for us.  His intercession is for us in times in which we are unable to pray properly due to intense suffering, distress or when we simply don’t know how or what to pray. (Romans 8:26-27)

Glorification of Christ

The ministry of glorification of Christ is accomplished in the life of a believer as he/she executes the Christian Way of Life.  If a believer chooses to allow the Holy Spirit to control his/her life, and learns, believes and applies Bible doctrine, the character of Christ can be formed in him/her.  It is this formation of the character of Christ that glorifies Him. 

We cannot live a sinless life like Christ lived, but we can develop virtue, integrity, wisdom and understanding.  God’s idea of virtue (strength of character), integrity (loyalty to the truth), wisdom (application of doctrine) and understanding (faith applied to knowledge of God’s Word) is found in only one source, God’s Word.  These characteristics of believers are expressed as the fruits of the Spirit, which is the character of Christ.  By following Christ’s example we can become “winner believers” and advance to spiritual maturity and glorify God to the maximum. (John 16:14; Galatians 4:19; 5:22-23)

Sustaining

In the same manner that the Holy Spirit sustained Christ in His humanity, He sustains the believer.  “Sustain” is defined as supplying the needs of a person.  For some believers, who are not advancing in their Christian lives, they are sustained with only the daily necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing.  For the advancing believer whose needs are greater, God the Holy Spirit sees to it that all of that believer’s needs are met.  The needs may be physical, spiritual, emotional or material.  God in His wisdom knows our needs and has promised to meet them.  This is a part of the sustaining ministry of God the Holy Spirit. (John 14:16-18,26,27)

Spiritual Gifts

At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit, in His sovereignty, gives every believer at least one spiritual gift.  These gifts are given so that the local church can properly function.  Some of these gifts were temporary or foundational, as the early church was being formed.  The church has been formed and we have the completed canon of Scripture as our written guide and authority.  Therefore, the temporary gifts are no longer necessary. Permanent gifts are essential for the function of the local church. (I Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 4:11)

Filling of the Holy Spirit

The filling of the Holy Spirit begins at salvation and is temporary.  When a believer sins he/she is no longer filled with the Holy Spirit.  Filling means to be guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  One of the means that Satan uses to distract believers from the execution of the Christian Way of Life is the sin nature.  Influencing the sin nature of believers through temptation is one of the main ways Satan distracts and distorts.  However, succumbing to temptation is a choice.  This is where the power of the Holy Spirit is utilized to resist the temptation to sin as a believer resides in God’s power system.  Recovery of the filling of the Holy Spirit is done by simply acknowledging your sins directly to God.  This act of free will on the part of a believer also results in restoration to fellowship with God.  The Greek word used for acknowledging your sins is “homologeo” and it means to name, admit, acknowledge or cite (as in a courtroom).  Rebound is a word used to describe this technique system because it means to bounce back.  (I John 1:5-10; James 4:7; I Corinthians 10:13)