For our scripture reading Sunday, Abe has chosen some verses that draw our attention towards the marvelous and at times, seemingly mysterious work of the Holy Spirit both in history and in our lives today. From the very beginning of time, we see the activity of the Spirit of God as He was “hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2) as God prepared to create our universe. For many though, the question seems to be, “What role does the Holy Spirit play in the Christian’s life today?” Although we won’t be able to answer every aspect of that question, there are some fundamental truths we can be confident about.
The first text is 2nd Peter 1:1-21 where we read of this “divine power” which has supplied the Christian with all things pertaining “to life and godliness” (1:3). This came about “through the knowledge of Him,” speaking of Jesus Christ. Because of this amazing gift, the Christian is to seek to mature, adding to their faith various qualities which will help them to be effective in God’s kingdom, the church. So, important is this knowledge of Him (Christ), that Peter talks of reminding them of it often. He would teach them and remind them by use of the Scriptures, which at that time referred to the Old Testament. These scriptures were trustworthy because the source was the Holy Spirit. Paul would speak of it this way, saying that “all scripture is given by inspiration” and can make man “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come and guide His apostles into all truth, where that knowledge would be proclaimed, which leads us to our next text.
In Acts 2:1-38, the scene is dramatic, as the Lord’s church is brought forth with the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. “Divided tongues, as of fire” came upon the apostles and they were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (2:3-4). The promise given by Jesus to them now comes to bear and the proclamation of the gospel begins. Because people with varying dialects were present on this day, it would take the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit to enable the apostles to speak the gospel “in our own tongues” (2:11). We see Peter, powerfully proclaiming the message, a message that “cut to the heart” (2:37) of many there. On that day, many would respond to that message, receiving both remission of sins and “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (2:38). This gift of the Holy Spirit in the Christian’s life, is that of a seal, “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:14). This, of course, leads us to our final text for today.
In Galatians 5:13-26 we find that seal within us, fighting with us, as we journey homeward. There is this battle within the Christian, one we would be foolish to deny: it is the battle between the Spirit within and flesh, “they are contrary to one another” (Galatians 5:17). Both want us to submit to them, for when we do, various things come forth: the flesh brings forth worldly things and the Spirit brings out the godliness which was mentioned at the beginning of this article. When we choose to “live in the Spirit” and thus “walk in the Spirit” (5:25), God will be glorified in all that we do.
So here is what we can be confident about concerning the work of the Holy Spirit today. First, the very bibles we carry came about through His work through men in history. That truth we now have can equip us thoroughly. That same Holy Spirit now seals us as we journey homeward, helping us to fight against those fleshly tendencies. Thank you Lord for the ongoing work of Your Spirit in our lives.