Monday, December 21, 2009

What is the Holy Spirit?

I have a few ideas for posts I'd like to write in the near future. These posts have to do with the Holy Spirit. I decided that before I write these posts I aught to write a post describing exactly what the Holy Spirit is, just to make sure that everyone knows what I'm talking about.

The Holy Spirit is perhaps the least understood member of the Trinity, particularly in the West. When the it comes to the holy Trinity, most people understand that the son is Jesus, and they understand that the Father is the one who sent Jesus, but they don't always understand the role of the Holy Spirit.

This is our loss, because the presence of the Holy Spirit is essential to the Christian life.

When Jesus died for us on the cross he died so that we could have fellowship with God. That fellowship is realized when the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is how God makes Himself known to everyone who believes in Him. It is no exaggeration to say that the whole point of Jesus going to the cross was so that we could be made ready to receive the Holy Spirit.

Jesus went to the cross so that we could be baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is how God makes Himself available to us. It is through Holy Spirit that God speaks to us and it is through the Holy Spirit that God lives within us.

This is why I say that the Holy Spirit is essential to the Christian life, because through the Spirit we have fellowship with God. In a sense, this is the only purpose of the Holy Spirit; to bring us close to God. There is more to the activity of the Holy Spirit, but all of it is aimed at drawing people closer to God.

For example, the Holy Spirit transforms us, allowing us to obey God's commands. Indeed, without the Holy Spirit it is impossible to please God, but with the Holy Spirit we are able to do what God asks of us. This is one practical way that the Holy Spirit helps us to draw near to God.

Additionally, the Holy Spirit empowers us to do the work that God has called us to. Through the Holy Spirit we receive God's power in various forms. We receive these gifts so that we may bless others. We receive them so that we may extend the love of God into the world around us. In this way the Holy Spirit allows God draw near to us and to those around us.

I know that for many of us, some of the gifts on that list seem a little strange. We are ignorant about the supernatural and we like to pretend that it doesn't exist. But this is a part of who God is. Part of getting to know God is learning to embrace those things that seem weird to us, the things we don't understand.

To summarize, the Holy Spirit is what allows us to have fellowship with God in the here and now. The Holy Spirit causes God to dwell in our heart. The Holy Spirit transforms our character so that we can obey God. And the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to experience God's supernatural power here on earth.

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