Theology of the Holy Spirit


The Holy Spirit and me … we talk.” (aged Pastor friend)

1. Foundations of Our Relationship with the Holy Spirit

No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

Discussion: what springs to mind when we hear the term “walking in the Spirit”?

On a theological level, we have seen that:

Living in the Holy Spirit” is the “extra dimension” that distinguishes Christians from non-Christians. However, within the broad Christian community there are issues we need to keep in mind:

  1. theological “liberals” accept much of the teaching and history of the Bible, but tend to approach it as allegorical, or non-literal, including the concept of a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit

  1. conservative evangelicals accept the teaching and history of the Bible, but relegate a lot of it to past centuries and down-play or restrict aspects of the active role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians today

  1. some Pentecostal groups emphasise freedoms that the Holy Spirit brings to Christians in the current era, along with His gifts and the importance of personal experience with God, but embrace extremes because they lack depth and neglect balanced teaching

2. What Walking in the Spirit is Not

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 21:25)

Living in the Spirit is not:

3. Hindering the Spirit

The Bible teaches that it is possible to:

How can we hinder the Holy Spirit?

4. What does Walking in the Spirit Look Like?

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step (στοιχω = proceed in a row, as the march of a soldier, go in order, to walk, to direct one's life) with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25)

The Christian life is a pilgrimage, not a once-off event. Our strength as Christians is commensurate with the way we live, and the role of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day experiences.

During much of Christian history the Holy Spirit has been neglected or marginalised, because Jesus words, “He will not speak of Himself” (John 16:13) have been misunderstood. Let’s not fall into that trap, but learn how to “walk in the Spirit” each day.

What is involved in “keeping in step” with the Holy Spirit?

5. The Character of the Spirit in Daily Life

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. (Acts 13:1-5)

The Holy Spirit wants to be actively involved in our individual and church life:

6. What we need to do

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:5-11, NIV)

Discussion: what is the Holy Spirit saying to us? what are we doing about it? are we obediently walking ”in step” with Him? are we teachable? do we pray, “Lord, lead me, guide me, show me how to do your will”?


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