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Today’s article will focus on what God has done for through the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
The Experience of the Holy Spirit
We often speak of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we were to use precise language, we would phrase it like this: “A personal relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit brings the presence of God into our lives.
Paul told church in Corinth, “You show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3.3).
I will be eternally grateful to God for the privilege of seeing his work at Maywood Baptist Church. This congregation is filled with people who have been radically transformed by the saving power of God.
I don’t want to make light of childhood conversions and the new life that God gives “normal” people. Yet, when God takes someone from a life of addiction, pain, crime, and brokenness and gives them a full and abundant life, it is remarkable.
How does God accomplish this? He works transformation from the inside out. The experience of the Holy Spirit in their inner self is truly life-giving.
I believe this is what Paul was describing when he said the the Spirit of the living God writes on the “tablets” of human hearts.
The Promised Holy Spirit
The message of the prophets was that God would transform the inner life of people by giving them a new inner self.
Ezekiel wrote, “I will give them one heart, and put a new Spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
“So that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11.19-20).
Speaking on behalf of God, Ezekiel promised, “I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37.14).
Paul was able to declare to the church that the promised Holy Spirit was a present reality in their lives. Thus, he reminded them that “the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3.6).
One of my friends has several years of sobriety. Just recently, I asked him how he stays sober. He told me, “God took away my craving for drugs.”
This is exactly what God promised through Ezekiel. God removes our inner-self that craves addition and all other aspects of self-centered living. He replaces it with his life-giving Holy Spirit.
Indeed, the Spirit gives life! Praise God!
Freedom and Transformation
I frequently write about the transforming friendship that God offers every human. The Holy Spirit makes a personal, transforming relationship with God possible.
Paul wrote, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3.17-18).
Where is the Spirit of the Lord? He is with people who are open to his activity in their lives?
What does the Holy Spirit do? He uncovers the character and nature of God.
What happens to people who regularly interact with God’s Spirit? Degree by degree, they are transformed and begin displaying more and more of God’s character.
One of the most refreshing experiences is to be in the presence of a truly spiritual person. By that, I am referring to someone who is truly shaped by their interaction with the Holy Spirit.
When you meet one of those people, you will see these traits: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5.22-23).
Heaven and the Holy Spirit
A few years ago, I discovered a new dimension of the assurance of heaven from Paul’s words about the Spirit.
He wrote, “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first installment” (2 Corinthians 1.21-22).
We know that we are living in a personal relationship with God, because the Holy Spirit helps us sense his presence in our lives. Paul calls the the “seal” of the Holy Spirit.
This daily presence of God’s Spirit gives us confidence that when our life on earth is over, heaven awaits.
I have been present with many people as they made the transition from earth to heaven.
On one occasion, a fully conscious lady was about to be disconnected from life support. She wrote on a tablet, “I am ready. Let’s go.”
Her doctor, nurse, husband, and I sang Amazing Grace and had prayer. Life support was removed and she entered heaven almost immediately. That experience was definitely a “holy ground” moment.
How could this woman be so confident of heaven? She lived daily in the presence of God through the Holy Spirit. He was the “seal” of her relationship with God and the future glory that awaited her.
May We Pray for You?
The Maywood Baptist Church’s prayer team is honored to pray for you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. We will pray for you.