“The Indwelling Holy Spirit”

The Indwelling Holy Spirit

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul asked the Christians there a seemingly innocent rhetorical question: “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:2).  However, the answer to this question informs so much of what we know about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Now that’s a super-religious term: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  But what does it mean?

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the means by which God dwells in the heart of those who are his.  Paul tells us that “you, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9).  Elsewhere, Paul says, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

We are anointed with the Holy Spirit when we are baptized into Christ’s death, and that anointing conveys some very special spiritual benefits to all Christians:

The indwelling Spirit is a sign that we belong to God (Romans 8:9)

If you’ve ever been to a used bookshop, or browsed someone else’s bookshelf, you’ve seen a bookplate.  It’s the little paper glued to the inside cover of a book with the owner’s name on it.  A bookplate is a sign of ownership, a mark of identification.  The Holy Spirit works within us to identify us as belonging to God (2 Corinthians 6:16).

The indwelling Spirit is God’s guarantee of what we’ve been promised in heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Most people can’t afford the full purchase price of a new home.  Instead, we offer a smaller amount of cash as a down payment, or as earnest money, against the full price which we promise to pay later.  God puts his Spirit into our hearts when we become his children, as a promise that the future glory of heaven and an eternity with him is ours.

The indwelling Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27)

I’ve been blessed to be part of several mission trips to Costa Rica, and without question, the most important part of a successful mission trip overseas is a good translator.  What a tremendous blessing we have from God, that his Spirit working within us translates and interprets the prayers of our hearts!

The indwelling Spirit gives us the means by which we can overcome (Galatians 5:16-25)

God’s Spirit dwelling in our hearts gives us the strength and the support we need to overcome our carnal selfishness, our pride, our greed, our anger…it is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we can truly say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Grace and peace to you!

- Daniel Stauss

September 17, 2018

This blog entry is a companion piece to our September 16, 2018 Sunday AM sermon