The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Part Twelve)


Romans 8:9-10

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this one is not his. But if Christ is in you, on the one hand the body is dead because of sin, but on the other, the Spirit is life because of righteousness (my translation).

“Union with Christ is really the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation not only in its application but also in its once-for-all accomplishment in the finished work of Christ” (Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p. 161). At the moment we are united to Christ, several blessings become ours. While we lack space in this article to comment on them, it is worth listing them, so that we know the richness of what it means to be in Christ.

  • We become part of the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). To say this another way, we participate in Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-12; 3:1-4).
  • We are justified or declared right with God (Romans 3:24; 8:1) and our sins are forgiven (Colossians 1:14).
  • We are adopted, with the position of adult sons in God’s family (Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:5). This supplies a relationship with God and his people in a family sense. We belong to God and one another.
  • We are sanctified or set apart to God (1 Corinthians 1:2). Since we are sanctified, we have a basis to live lives set apart for the glory of God.
  • We are sealed with the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 4:30). Our spiritual position is secure.
  • We are called into fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9).
  • We have the privilege of bold access to God (Ephesians 3:12). The throne of grace is always open for us.
  • We have God’s grace for strength (2 Timothy 2:1).
  • We have freedom (Galatians 2:4; 5:1). God has released us from bondage to sin, Satan, and the law covenant, so that we can freely serve one another in love.
  • We are seated in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). This provides security in the tumult and spiritual warfare of this world.
  • We are built into God’s temple, the church (Ephesians 2:19-22). In addition, we become part of a holy priesthood to serve God through Christ (1 Peter 2:5).
  • We have fullness (Colossians 2:10). We have all we need for life and godliness. We’re already equipped for a spiritual journey and not on a quest to become equipped.

Since we have all these blessings in Christ, what kind of people should we be?

The reality of being in Christ by this Spirit-produced union is the essence of salvation, from first to last. Every step from before the beginning of the world through all the ages of future glory is by grace through our union with Christ. The Holy Spirit applies these blessings to us.

  • We were elected in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-4)
  • We have redemption in Christ (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We are a new creation in Christ (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Our present life is in Christ (Galatians 2:20; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:12-20)
  • We die in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
  • Our resurrection is in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22)
  • We will share in Christ’s glory (Romans 8:17)

Are you united to the Lord Jesus Christ? Are these benefits yours? Why should you live in spiritual death and poverty when you can be a child of the King? God offers you great blessings. Will you turn your back on him and refuse him? I plead with you; do not act so foolishly. Trust in Christ today for salvation.  If you know the Lord and are in Christ, live by faith in the power of the Spirit as richly blessed people ought to live.

Grace and peace, David

The Sword of the Spirit (Part Two)

20150523_101132Ephesians 6:17

Next, let us think about relationship between the Spirit and the word. What are some reasons the word of God is called the “sword of the Spirit”? The Holy Spirit is the author of the word. He spoke through the human writers (2 Samuel 23:2; Mark 12:36). He guided the human writers to accomplish his intended goal (2 Pt 1:20-21). The Spirit did this so that what they wrote would be the word of God. When we engage in spiritual battle, we are to take with us the word of the Almighty Holy Spirit of God. As we strike with it, he is very able to accomplish his purpose (Isaiah 55:11).

The Holy Spirit enables people to understand the word (1 Corinthians 2:10b-14). Every human heart by nature is unable to understand the truth of the Scriptures. Yes, people can comprehend what we say, but it does not convince them, it does not change their outlook. For example, someone might say, “I just don’t get it; how can the death of Jesus save anyone?” But the Spirit is given to Christ’s followers, so that we do understand (1 Corinthians 2:12). Then we accept the word and it effectively works in us. When we take the sword of the Spirit, we must rely on Christ’s power to work through the Spirit to achieve results. Don’t just post a Bible verse; pray for spiritual application. The Holy Spirit uses the word to produce spiritual results. For this reason, we must avoid overemphasizing one truth at the expense of another. Don’t rely on the Spirit without the word of God. Don’t rely on the word of God without the Spirit.

God’s word is very useful to us in our spiritual warfare. The word of God is essential in practical sanctification or Christian growth. The classic example of this is Christ’s use of the Scripture in resisting the temptations of the evil one (Matthew 4:1-11). In every situation Jesus rightly applied the word to his way of life. He lived out the word. Every Christian needs to have a large supply of ammunition from God’s word against every temptation to violate God’s commands, whether the temptations are to commit what God forbids or temptations to fail to do what God commands. A good section to put to heart is Ephesians 4:17-6:9, or in a more concise form Colossians 3:1-4:6. Read either passage many, many times and think through them until you know them well. However, the Lord intends that his entire word has a wider use in our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12). The Spirit says that the word can work comprehensive changes in us, down to our thoughts and attitudes. We must see change at this inner level to realize outward change. For example, if you want to speak godly counsel, his word needs to be operating in your heart or inner person (Matthew 12:34). You must be convinced in your heart before you will truly change. This is why we must read and study and think about God’s word. In this whole study, we have been urged to put on the full armor of God. That is the goal, but if we will begin to put on one part, it might cause tremendous changes in our lives and in the churches we attend!

The word of God is essential in evangelism. The word of God is the spiritual seed used by the Holy Spirit in producing regeneration (or the new birth from above). As the Spirit works in us with the word, a change of mind and faith are given, and we turn from our rebellion against God to rely on Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Has this happened to you?

Grace and peace, David