Monday, November 26, 2012

The Holy Spirit's ministries to the believer

Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."

Yesterday we looked in detail at the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.  So fundamental is that ministry that without it, no one can be a Christian nor can many other wonderful truths of the Christian life have their beginning and continuance.  In today's blog I want to take the remainder of Romans 8:9-17 and just list the chief ministries of the Holy Spirit enumerated by the Apostle Paul.  Perhaps in the fullest way possible we get an overview of the Christian life from inception to completion through the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the Christian.

1. The Spirit's indwelling - The Beginning the Christian faith-life.
Romans 8:9-11a "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you...."

2. The Spirit's resurrection of the physical body - Completes the Faith-life
Romans 8:11b "He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."

As we have seen thus far, the "book-ends" of the Christian life are well represented in Romans 8:8-11: Conversion and Resurrection.  Much of what follows from Romans 8:12-16 represents the the faith-life that exists in between those two points: from the moment of saving faith until Christ's return and our life in a glorified resurrection body.  What ministries of the Holy Spirit are experienced by the believer in the here and now?

3. The Spirit's Sanctification of the soul - Progressing us onward and upward to live the Christian life and be like Jesus
Romans 8:12-13 "So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live."  Truly sanctification has its beginning at conversion, and progresses on in making us in experience who we are declared positionally to be by God the Father at conversion (called justification).  Since sanctification's aim is at the soul, its process is completed the moment I die and go to be with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6) 

4. The Spirit's leading of the Christian
Romans 8:14 "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.A Christian is a person who not only can hear God but follow God.  The Holy Spirit affirms His will to the Christian through scripture (Romans 10:17; 1 John 2:27) and confirms the Christian's understanding through circumstances (Acts 16:6-7); people (Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 24:6) and peace (Philippians 4:6-7)  Though not mentoned in this text, a closely related work of the Spirit is His ministry of "filling", whereby the believer is under the influence of His work in their mind, emotions and will in obedience to God's Word.  Passages such as Ephesians 5:18 command us to be "filled with the Spirit". 

5. The Spirit's ministry of Adoption
Romans 8:15-16 "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God."  It is the Spirit's ministry of adoption that welds together our position in Christ to our experience of Christ.  This truly lies at the center of know "who I am and whose I am". 

6. The Spirit's ministry of uniting us with Christ
Romans 8:17 "and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."  1 Corinthians 12:12-13 states this ministry in similar thoughts: "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

Romans 8:9-17 represents the best summary of the major ministries of the Holy Spirit you will find in consecutive verses anywhere in God's word.  My prayer is that your appetite has been whetted to consider these truths more fully. 

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