mountain top

August 27, 2015

the sky is the limit

The solution of the moral problem in the Christian life through the power of the Spirit is remedied by the Holy Spirit filling the life of the believer and enabling him to achieve the miracle of a God-honoring life. It is clear, however, that the ministry of the Spirit to a yielded believer who is walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit has tremendous effects upon the total life of the believer, all of which are related in one way or another to the moral issue. An important result of the ministry of the Spirit to the believer is that he is taught the things of God. Christ in the Upper Room prophesied that the Spirit would teach His own. He told His disciples, “When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of himself, but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you.” The Spirit of God is the Master Teacher, who as the omniscient God can guide the Christian in the comprehension of all truth. As such He will not speak primarily of Himself, but shall be a means of communicating to the believer that which God wants him to know. It is most significant that His primary task is to glorify Christ or to magnify the perfections of Christ, and make Christ real and precious to the believer.

Another major passage dealing with the teaching ministry of the Spirit is found in 1 Corinthians 2:9—3:2 . Here revelation is given that the believer in Christ is taught things by the Spirit which cannot be known by man naturally. This requires, however, on the part of the pupil that he be teachable, that is, be sensitive and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Corinthians who were carnal or fleshly were able only to receive the milk of the Word, the partial and simple truths that were related to their limited spiritual experience. Inasmuch as comprehension of the truth of God is essential for intelligent life and service, so a walk of fellowship with the Spirit in which the divine Teacher can display the things of God is an important aspect of God’s present program for His own.

The ministry of the Spirit is not only to instruct Christians in the revelation of the Word of God and to understand what might be called normative truth, but the ministry of the Spirit is also to apply this to the particular situation of the individual Christian in the form of guidance in decisions that need to be made. It is only as the Christian is a living sacrifice, is transformed by the renewing of his mind and not conformed to this world, that he is able to “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2). Guidance is given those who are already committed to the will of God as illustrated in the servant of Abraham who testified in his search for a bride for Isaac, “I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren” (Gen 24:27). Guidance is not only the privilege but the mark of a true believer as brought out in Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The leading of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:18 is far superior to direction by the Law in that it is personal and adapted to the individual life.

One of the by-products of the ministry of the Spirit to each believer is that he has assurance of salvation. According to Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” The same thought is brought out in Galatians 4:6; 1 John 3:24; 4:13 . Obviously a real intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit speaks of a relationship which includes salvation and brings comfort and joy to the believer because of assurance of his present and future salvation.

In like measure the presence of the Holy Spirit leads the believer into a true worship of God and an admiration of the infinite perfections of God. The believer who is filled with the Spirit is able to enjoy worship, fulfilling the description, “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:19-20). As the Spirit reveals the glories of Christ and the perfections of God, the believer is inspired by the Spirit to worship in spirit and in truth. Such exercise of heart is far superior to the rituals of man which often lack reality of experience.

The ministry of the Spirit to the believer also is related to his prayer life inasmuch as he needs to be guided in his prayer life, burdened by the love of God for others, and constrained to become involved in the prayer needs of those about him. According to Romans 8:26, the Spirit also intercedes for Christians “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Inasmuch as the Spirit is ministering to the believer as well as interceding for him, He can guide and direct the effective prayer exercise of a believer, presenting his petitions and worship to the Lord.

The ministry of the Spirit to the believer in all of these things—teaching, guiding, assuring, inspiring worship, and guiding prayer—is vitally related to the spiritual life and holiness of the individual believer and affects the quality of his life as it reflects the holiness of God.

The ministry of the Spirit also is manifested in holy works or service for God, and it is clear that only as the Holy Spirit works within an individual can he really have the bountiful life of service for others which is the Christian calling. This was anticipated by Christ in John 7:38-39 where He spoke of rivers of living water as proceeding from within the believer. Such an abundant blessing is not possible to man naturally and can only be fulfilled as the believer fulfills the good works for which he was created in Christ (Eph 2:10). The holy life of service is, therefore, also a result of the ministry of the Spirit in the life of the yielded believer and is related to the ministry of the Spirit to promote holiness in the life.

In addition to all these important aspects of spiritual life, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit of God also works in the character of the believer himself and produces in him the evidence of His working in the fruit of the Spirit. According to Galatians 5:22-23, in contrast to the works of the flesh, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.”

The entire work of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, related to the moral experience of the believer. This, of course, begins with his salvation which makes it possible for him to be released from the slavery of sin and able to choose the way of righteousness. The indwelling Holy Spirit is provided by God to give the enablement and provide the ministries which are necessary to the believer as he lives in this sinful world.

The most important aspect of the Holy Spirit in relation to the moral life of the believer is found first of all in the necessity to yield to the Holy Spirit and to let Him direct, guide, and empower according to His will. The inevitable areas of failure which come into the life of the believer through unyieldedness and sin are bound to require confession of sin and restoration according to God’s invitation. The child of God must be in fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit in order to achieve the high quality of moral experience which is expected of believers whose proper standard of life is the holiness of God Himself.

Many factors are related to the holiness of God as seen in the believer, including the ministry of the Spirit in teaching the truth of God, in guiding, in decisions based upon the normative truth of the Word of God, in worship, in prayer, in service, and finally in the transformation of the believer himself. The fruit of the Spirit is manifested through him and that which is so contrary to the flesh becomes the dominant experience and fruitage of his spiritual experience. It is only when all these factors combine that true morality is achieved and the believer’s life is indeed that which reflects the glory and perfection of God’s own infinite holiness. Although the experience of this is necessarily somewhat qualified and relative in this world, the believer is assured that his longing for complete conformity to the will and character of God will be achieved in eternity if only partially realized in time. The tragedy is, however, that so many are content with living in the low lands when they could be having the joy and peace of Christian experience and the fruitage in their own lives and in the lives of others that comes from dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Holy living is possible only by the Holy Spirit.

God bless from

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