Throughout the Old Testament we find one major problem that continually hindered man from experiencing full fellowship with God. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17: 9), and out of the heart comes all manner of sin. Nevertheless God also gave a special promise that would remedy the problem forever: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
God’s Power Within
“Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). When the Holy Spirit was outpoured on the Church, He fulfilled every detail of the Father’s promise in Ezekiel 36. The Spirit’s infinite power was given to the believer so that he could live a life pleasing to God. The Spirit does this by:
1) Delivering us from the power of sin … “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
2) Making us right in God’s sight … “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3: 5-7).
3) Giving us immediate access to the Father … “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).
4) Empowering us … “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man … And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:16,19-20).
Now, with the Holy Spirit living inside, the believer has all power – out of the treasure house of God’s vast “riches” – to live the way God wants him to live (2 Corinthians 4:7). But there is also something required of the believer to do: We are encouraged to appropriate what the Holy Spirit has given us. “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Walking in the Spirit
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-17). We have been given the Holy Spirit, but He is only works in our lives as we allow Him to. We are not only to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22), but are to ‘”walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25) – to live under His presence and allow Him to have full influence over our daily lives. This “walk” in the Spirit is also described as:
1) Walking in the Light … “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7).
2. Walking in Love … “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Ephesians 5: 1-2).
3. Walking in Faith … “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
The Holy Spirit works in the believer by prompting and encouraging him toward the kind of life He wants him to live (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 4:1-8). If we respond, the Holy Spirit is released to do a work of change in our lives, so that we grow to be more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). If, however, a person deliberately chooses to resist the Spirit’s promptings, he can, in successive stages, end up:
a) Grieving the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).
b) Quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
c) Insulting the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29).
The Holy Spirit birthed us into a new life in God, and now it is the Spirit who helps us live that life. As we live in Him we experience the “life and peace'” (Romans 8:6) that we were created for, and it is as we walk under his covering that the fruits of the Spirit, as well as His gifts, begin to operate.