The Christian life has the indwelling Holy Spirit at its center. Of course, we live and move and have our being from our Creator, the architect and builder of all things (Heb 3:4; 11:10). What distinguishes the Christian from all other people is the third Person of the Trinity, who has taken up permanent residence in every believer’s heart (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11).
The introduction of the Spirit of Christ is transformative for the one born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). A new, spiritual creature is produced by God interposing Himself on whomever He chooses to do so (2 Cor 5:17). It is God’s prerogative to save whomever He wishes from before the foundation of the world (Rom 9:15–16; Rev 13:8; 17:8; 21:27). The doctrine of election teaches us that God the Father, of His own free will, chose a people for His own possession out of the mass of humanity to be created by Him (Rom 9:11; 11:5–6; Eph 1:4–5; 1 Thess 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13).
Knowing all of His works from the foundation of the world (Acts 15:18), God’s predetermined plan included the sending of His only begotten Son to save god’s elect people from their sins (Mt 1:21; Jn 3:16). Jesus’ mission into the world was a perfect work. He was conceived without sin (Mt 1:18, 20), lived without sinning (Heb 4:15), and died with all of the sins of all of God’s people imputed to him (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24). Christ died for us on the cross (Rom 5:8; 1 Pet 3:18); and shed His precious blood for atonement (1 Pet 1:19). God was in Christ reconciling all of His people from all over the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19).
It is the Holy Spirit’s work to apply all the merits of Christ’s work to His people spanning all of human history. From the time of the first Christian Pentecost (Acts 2), Christ lives in each regenerate believer. The Christian life is actually the Spirit of Christ manifesting the Christ-life from within (Gal 2:20).
The Spirit leads each Christian in the way he or she should go (Lk 4:1; Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18). He guides us into all truth (Jn 16:13). He teaches us the Word of God (Jn 14:26). He helps us in our time of need. He comforts us in our times of loss (Jn 14:16). He causes us to walk in God’s statutes (Ezek 36:27). The Spirit inspires God’s people to be bold witnesses for Christ (Acts 1:8; 4:31; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; Eph 6:20). He produces spiritual fruit in every saint (Gal 5:22–23). He sanctifies us by the truth of the Word He gave to us in the Holy Bible (Jn 17:17; 2 Pet 1:20–21).
The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit which means the natural man does not spiritually appraise the things of God (1 Cor 2:14). The very presence of the Spirit of God in the world is a judgment from God. It is the Word of God that issues judgment against sinners, demons, Satan, and the world system that promotes and facilitates sin.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in the soul of those made alive to God is a testimony to God’s love (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 5:5; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). Love does not fail to produce what God intends for it to accomplish (1 Cor 13:8). He poured out His love to us when He gave us His Spirit as a gift (1 Jn 3:24; 4:13). This is the gift that gives life to men and affords them spiritual gifts for the work of service to Christ (Jn 6:63; Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4).
Christians no longer serve sin as slaves of sin (Rom 6:6). Instead, we walk by the Spirit, as commanded by God in His Word (Gal 5:16, 25). To walk is another way of saying that one’s lifestyle is dominated by an outside influence. There is no such thing as a autonomous free will of man; rather, we learn of the two dominant influences that persuasively affect sinners and saints.
Sinners walk according to the flesh, in the futility of their minds (Eph 4:17). They work to gratify the lusts of the flesh. They work to perform deeds that puff up pride. In this, they steal glory from God.
Saints walk according to the grace of God, which works mightily in each child of God (Col 1:23). This is God’s work zone (Phil 2:12–13); and He gets all the glory for any and all good works performed by believers (Eph 2:10). Let us remember that there is nothing good in us, that is, in our flesh (Rom 7:18). The Spirit is good because He is God the Spirit. He began God’s good work in us; and He will bring all these good works to completion (Phil 1:6).
Ours is a lifestyle of love and truth. It was the truth, who is Jesus Himself (Jn 14:6), that set us free from slavery to sin (Jn 8:32; Rom 6:6). The Spirit of truth preaches the Word of truth, as it is in Jesus (Jn 15:26; 16:13; Eph 4:21; 5:6). The truth is what sets Christians apart as holy unto God.
God loved us; and we respond with that love shown to us (1 Jn 4:19). To love God and love our neighbors fulfills the Law. We walk in love by speaking the truth and performing the good works of obedience that demonstrate our faith in Christ (Eph 5:2). Love should be the motive behind every thought, word, and action. Love covers a multitude of sins.
The manner of our calling is to be children of God preparing for our role in glory. God called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light to be sons of light, sons of the day (1 Thess 5:5). Being alert and sober to the realities of two kingdoms vying for our attention and allegiance, we stand firm on the foundation of the prophets and apostles (writers of God’s Word) with Christ as our cornerstone (Is 28:16).
As ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), we represent the kingdom of God in the kingdom of this world. The better country we serve is one we have never seen with the physical eye; but keeping our spiritual eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2), we see Jesus as He is with ever-greater clarity. As we do, we become more and more like Him who always did what was pleasing to His Father in heaven (Rom 8:29; 2 Pet 1:17). Our ambition is to please Him, too (2 Cor 5:9). We do that by faith (Heb 11:6), trusting Him to be our all in all (Prv 3:5–6).
The indwelling Spirit will never leave nor forsake us (Heb 13:8; 2 Jn 1:2); so, we have everything we need for abundant life and ministry (Jn 10:10; 2 Cor 8–9). Thus, ours is a lifestyle without fear (Rev 2:10). God supplies everything needed for every good work and then He resupplies again and again (2 Cor 9:12; Phil 4:19). When we give ourselves in the manner of Jesus, we experience the same joy that was His strength We have peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7). We give thanks in everything while praying without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17–18).
All of this is done with steadfast hope (Col 1:23; 1 Thess 1:3). Christians are people investing in the future — an eternity of serving God in pure light and love. Therefore, since all these things belong to us, let us be diligent to live and walk with our minds set on the things above and our hearts enlarged toward God.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 22, 2023