Why is the Christian experience so vital? What makes it unique? Is there something to this way that's supernatural, experiential, that's beyond adopting a new philosophy, embracing historic salvation facts, or simply believing the Bible? Jesus said there was more, something beyond just believing (John 7:37). He said his followers would receive a gift, the Holy Spirit. Later the apostle Paul asked the question, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" So, there's more, something beyond possessing faith in God.
That something is actually Someone -- a person -- the Holy Spirit. Recognizing that He is a person, the same as the Father or Jesus are persons, is the key to understanding what a marvelous gift his company is to those of us who believe in Jesus. Jesus referred to the Spirit often. He told the disciples, "When He comes..." The biblical language makes the word "spirit" gender-neutral, but Jesus violated rules of grammar by personifying the Holy Spirit as "he," emphasizing that the Holy Spirit is a person just like you and I are persons.
Persons have a personality. They have a will, knowledge and feelings. If you like, we could address Him as Mister Holy Spirit. Unlike evil spirits (demons) loose in this sinful world, the Holy Spirit is different. He's holy, pure, clean, not from this world. He delights to bear witness of (or testify about) Jesus Christ. He is full of the knowledge of God and shows us things to come. He reminds us of the words of Christ and guides us when we listen. One word that describes the Holy Spirit's role is Advocate (Greek- Paraclete). He's on our side, for us, not against us, a source of strength and courage. He is our helper, someone called alongside to intercede for us, fight for us and assist our faith. I like the King James title for the Holy Ghost -- Comforter. I often use a modern term for my friend, the Holy Spirit -- Companion.
The fact is, after I was introduced to the Holy Spirit subsequent to my commitment to Christ and water baptism, I've never been lonely. Since being filled with the Holy Spirit, there hasn't been a single day in decades that I have felt lonely. He is always there. He is delightful, full of peace, a constant companion in good times and bad.
One of the many valuable things the Spirit does for me is to help me pray effectively. Sunday, a friend reminded me of this event. Three years ago he was suffering with hundreds of kidney stones. I'd prayed for him already but to no avail. Major surgery was scheduled. This time I prayed using my Spirit language. Overnight, the stones disappeared! X-rays were taken; surgery canceled. Thank God, the language of angels can lift us into a heavenly realm beyond earthly limitations. There may be things too deep for words, beyond our human language, or a dilemma requiring prayer outside our knowledge. I can appreciate and understand the apostle Paul saying, "I will pray with my understanding and I will pray with the Spirit also. I will sing with my understanding and I will sing with the Spirit also."
The Holy Spirit is like the wind. This means he is non-corporeal, a being without a body. However, the Bible teaches us that He has a body if we receive Him. We receive Him as a gift by faith, through grace. Then the church, with its many millions of members, becomes an expression of "Christ Incorporated" to represent Jesus to the world.
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Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Email him at email@example.com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Editorial on 11/06/2019
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