Beliefs and Practices of Christians

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WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?

You remember I stated above that when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist the Holy Spirit descended on Him. Also, before His death Jesus promised to send the Spirit, whom He called the Comforter, to guide and give power to His apostles in their service after His ascension to heaven . Accordingly, ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven , the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven on all the believers, In power they gave Christ's message to men, and hundreds believed on Jesus Christ. Who is this Holy Spirit? Some have thought the Holy Spirit was the angel Gabriel, or else a prophet. Others have supposed the Spirit was merely a holy influence. However, from the Bible, we see that the Holy Spirit is not one of God's creatures (created beings), but is the Spirit of God, and is one with God. This becomes evident when we take note of what the Spirit does.

Jesus once told a learned man named Nicodemus that he must be born again in order to enter God's kingdom. When Nicodemus asked in surprise how a man who is old could be born a second time, Jesus replied that the new birth is the work of the Spirit. It is evidence that as only God can create physical life, so only God can give men spiritual life and make them new beings. When men live in sin they are children of the devil, but God is able to change them by His Holy Spirit, and when they are born again they become children of God.

Also, the Holy Spirit is the author of God's holy books for it was He who taught and guided the Old Testament prophets like David and Isaiah.  Likewise, it was the Holy Spirit who guided Matthew and Luke and Paul and the other writers of the books of the New Testament for, as the Bible says: "No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from." (2Peter 1:21). Just as God's Spirit guided those who wrote the holy books so the Spirit is the only perfectly true guide of those who read them. Jesus Christ said: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:26).

Of course the followers of Jesus were distressed when He told them that He would be crucified, and afterward would go from the earth to heaven.  But Jesus comforted them by promising to send His Spirit to guide and strengthen them, and said that He would Himself be ever with them by the Spirit. Ten days after the ascension of Jesus the Holy Spirit descended from heaven on His followers and transformed them. From that time to the present this same Holy Spirit has been dwelling in Christ's true followers, and He will abide in them forever as Jesus promised.

It is important to remember that only God 's Spirit is able to open the blind eyes of sinful Moses en and enable them to know who Jesus Christ is, as it written in the Bible: "And no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit." (1Corinthians 12:3). Hence, it is not strange that those who do not have the Holy Spirit find it impossible to call Jesus "Lord" and "Son of God".

As the Holy Spirit gives believers a new birth and a true knowledge of who Jesus is, so He also opens our eyes to the sinfulness of our hearts and enables us to repent and forsake our sins. As soon as anyone believes on Jesus, God forgives him and accepts him as His child, and gives him a new heart. But the old sinful nature remains and continues to draw him toward evil, and Satan is ever ready to tempt him to disobey. However, the Holy Spirit, which is in him, helps him to resist the devil, and creates in him the holy qualities which God desires, such as love, purity, truth, joy and peace. This work of the Holy Spirit in believers goes on as long as they live on earth, changing them gradually and making them more and more like their Master . For this is God's purpose for us, that we all become perfect like His only . However, only when we reach Heaven will we become perfect like Christ. In many other ways also does the Holy Spirit help us, teaching us how to pray, and guiding and strengthening us as we serve Christ.

What we learn from all these facts is that the Holy Spirit in believers is really God abiding in them. What a priceless privilege, that the Great and Holy God should abide in man by His Spirit! Truly this is the greatest gift that God could give to men, the gift of Himself. To whom is this gift given? We know that in ancient times God gave His Spirit to His prophets and to holy men. But when God gave His Son to be the Savior of the world He also gave His Spirit to all who believe in Jesus Christ.  Jesus once said: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" and is faithful, and whenever people;heaven believe in Christ and submit to Him as their Lord and ask God to give them the Holy Spirit, He always does so. As we ask each day for our bread, so, as long as we live, we should continually ask God to fill us with the Spirit. Jesus said: "Ask and it will be given you." (Luke 11:9).