Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How does the Holy Sprit enable and empower me to live as a Christian?

[I don't always enjoy writing my relay study responses. I alwaus enjoy the study, but taking what Wayne put into my head and getting it onto a screen is often not easy. which is why i often enjoy the personal responses the most. and here's my latest one]

I think it was CS Lewis who said that if it wasn’t for the Trinity he would still be an atheist. Slightly changing that for my own purposes I think it’s fair to say that if it wasn’t for the real and active work of the Holy Spirit in my life and on my heart, I wouldn’t be a Christian. I wouldn’t have been saved in the first place, and I certainly wouldn’t be here five years later writing this!

I believe that the Bible teaches that from birth we are all sinful, we are all born with Adam as our federal head and counted to have sinned with him because of that. Even if that’s not totally how it works it’s clear pretty early on that we’re not good people who sometimes do bad things, we are just bad people. The same is obviously true of me. I spent seventeen years actively and passively rejecting God, and then I became a Christian, not quite ‘over night’ because my salvation was, from my point of view, the result of six months and discussion and argument with my then girlfriend, but more or less. I remember about a week or so before I was saved thinking about Christians that they were a dangerous bunch, and should be locked up. So how come so quickly I believed the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit.

It was the Holy Spirit that convicted me and convinced me that all the arguments in favour of the Gospel were real and true. It was the Holy Spirit that convicted and convinced me that I wasn’t a good person but that I was a bad person, and that apart from Jesus I was going to Hell. It was the Holy Spirit that made my heart feel and know it was alive for the first time in the days and weeks after I asked Jesus to come into my life. The Holy Spirit working to show me the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). The absoluteness of His glory and the horror of my sin. That’s how the Holy Spirit enabled me as Christian…He convinced me I needed to be one!

And now He empowers me as a Christian. Probably my absolute favourite single verse in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 3:18. It is the Holy Spirit who helps me to see the Lord, and it’s seeing the Lord that empowers me as a Christian. That keeps me as a Christian. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit alone that convinces me that reading the Bible first thing in the morning is a more urgent concern than checking my facebook. It’s the Holy Spirit that gets my heart excited when I see things about Jesus in the Bible that I hadn’t seen before. It’s the Holy Spirit alone who makes me want to read good books about church, or theology, or good biographies. It’s the Holy Spirit alone who gives me that sick feeling in my stomach when I’ve sinned, that feeling of disquiet when I’m sinning and the Holy Spirit alone who makes me want to do good to and for the people around me.

How can I be so sure? The Bible leaves me with little alternative. Genesis 6:5 says that the only desire of man’s heart is only evil continually. That’s pretty damning. So damning in fact that God is moved to wipe man about, except Noah, and start again after the flood. Even in the middle of explaining a parable, Jesus almost incidentally describes man as ‘evil’ in Luke 11:12. When Nicodemas comes to meet Jesus in John 3, he is told that the only answer is for man to be ‘born again’ And Nicodemas very fairly points out that man can not enter for a second time into his mother’s womb. But this is not the birth that Jesus is talking about, He is talking about being born of the Spirit. That it is by the Spirit that we are born into the new life that we need to be saved. The way the Holy Spirit worked in my salvation, in salvation itself to secure that, and now work’s in my life to make me hate sin and desire God is evidence of His work in my life and fruit of His mercy. Praise the Lord!

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