“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18. (See also Acts 1:4-5)
On the day of Pentecost, ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples received the greatest and most significant gift from the Father; a gift with an unfathomable value.
The beginning of Christianity
The Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who was present when the foundations of the earth were laid, the Spirit by whom our Savior was conceived, the Spirit that was with Him every day of His life on earth, that same Spirit came and made His dwelling place with the sons of men. (Acts 2:1-4)
In that rush of wind, in those tongues of flame, as the Holy Spirit came and filled the disciples, the church of the living God was born. (1 Timothy 3:15) In that moment Christianity became more than Jesus’ life alone: it became life in everyone who receives the Holy Spirit and walks in Him, not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
The difference that the Holy Spirit makes in the lives of those He fills is immeasurable. He fills them with a power that is inconceivable to the human mind. The same weak Peter, who weeks earlier had denied Jesus three times out of cowardice and fear of the consequences, now stood and spoke so powerfully about the life and resurrection of Jesus to the masses of Jews who filled Jerusalem, that 3000 people became believers that day. (Acts 2)
The Holy Spirit gave Peter the boldness, the authority, the truth that he had never possessed until then. If that is what the Spirit can do in a person in a day, imagine the results in the life of a person who lives every day, week to week, month to month, year to year being obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. How could they not be transformed into vessels for God’s honor? (2 Timothy 2:21) As per the example of Peter, personality types mean nothing. The Holy Spirit gives power beyond human capabilities.
Who gets the Holy Spirit?
Anyone can ask for and receive the Holy Spirit into their heart as their Helper and guide to the truth. God willingly gives to all who obey Him, who seek to be disciples of Jesus and follow Him on the way He opened through the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:32; Hebrews 10:20) But it is what you do through the Spirit once He dwells in you that changes your life. If you are not faithful to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your heart, the Spirit can be quenched. (Romans 6:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:19) The role of the Spirit is to show you the truth – the sin in your flesh that needs to be eradicated – and to give you the power you need to overcome that sin, which you cannot do in your own strength, no matter how hard you try.
“Therefore brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:12-13.
All those who receive the Holy Spirit and live in obedience to Him are a part of the same church that was started on the day of Pentecost when the disciples stood and testified about Jesus. This obedience transforms your life.
What the Holy Spirit does for us
It is written “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. It is not written that the Holy Spirit will do it for you. It is written that you are to do it. (Romans 8:12) It is not something magical that happens when you receive the Holy Spirit, but it is through sweat and tears and prayer and sufferings in the flesh that we battle the lusts and desires of the flesh. That is the way Jesus did it. (Luke 22:44; Hebrews 5:7; 1 Peter 4:1) But what we find now is that which was impossible before – to keep from sinning, for example when it comes to lustful thoughts – is now possible because we have the help of the Holy Spirit.
Through the Holy Spirit our own spirit has connection with God. Through the Holy Spirit we find out what God’s will for our lives is, and through the Holy Spirit we see how to accomplish that will.
Nothing would be possible without the Father first putting a desire for the good into our hearts and turning our hearts to Him, without Jesus having first come down to earth and opening up the way back to the Father, which had been closed since the first people sinned and were expelled from the garden of Eden. Nothing would be possible without the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to guide us on the way. (Romans 8:26-27)
But because all of this is a reality, even the sky is not the limit to what we can accomplish. The Holy Spirit leads us to freedom from sin, divine nature, incorruptibility, power in our spirits, becoming established in Christ and becoming brothers of and inheritors with Christ for eternity and beyond anything that we could possibly imagine.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.