The Holy Spirit, the one who sanctifies

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Have you ever wondered why the Holy Spirit is called that? Yes, he is holy, but God the Father is also known for his unfailing holiness, and this attribute also belongs to God the Son. There is no reason to say that the Holy Spirit would have a higher degree of purity than the other two members of the Trinity. It is therefore not his superabundant holiness that leads us to call him the Holy Spirit. Likewise, he is indeed a spirit, but so is God the Father and God the Son is a spirit in his being, as logos, the second person of the Trinity. It is therefore not because he is a spirit that we designate this third person in God as the Holy Spirit.

There are several reasons why he is known as the Holy Spirit. First, the term “saint” is attached to his title because of the special task that the Spirit performs in our redemption. Among the persons of the Trinity, the Spirit is the principal actor in the area of ​​our sanctification, carrying out the process by which we are conformed to the image of Christ and made holy.

Many times Christians ask me, “What is God’s will for my life?” » They have all kinds of questions about who they should marry, what career they should pursue, and a myriad of other decisions. But the Bible is very clear about God’s primary will for our lives. The apostle Paul wrote: “What God desires is your sanctification” ( 1 Thess. 4: 3a ). At other times, I hear Christians talking about being moved by the Holy Spirit to do this or that thing. Yes, the Holy Spirit sometimes leads people toward specific goals or tasks, but His primary mission, as defined in Scripture, is to lead us to holiness. It is his power, working in us, that helps us grow in holiness. We must be sure to consult the Scriptures and pay close attention to know the will of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, and not just listen to the popular teachings of the Christian subculture in which we live. Thus, one of the main reasons why the Holy Spirit is so-called is that He has the specific task of making possible the sanctification of Christ’s followers.

Furthermore, the third person of the Trinity is called the Holy Spirit because there are several types of spirit. Scripture makes a distinction between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. But what is even more important for our study is that the Bible speaks of evil spirits that are not of God, of demonic entities that want to hinder the progress of the Christian in his march toward sanctification. The essential difference between these evil spirits and the Holy Spirit lies precisely at the level of holiness. Evil spirits are ungodly, but the Holy Spirit is entirely holy. It is because of this distinction that the apostle John warned us: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God” ( 1 John 4:1a ).

Justify our sin

I emphasize these points for the following reason: in the Christian world, many of us have become masters at justifying our sins, and one of the most common ways of doing so is to say that we have been led to do this or that by the Holy Spirit. This is not a phenomenon that I encounter only once every ten years; It happens at least once a week when I talk with someone who calls themselves a Christian and who tells me that he or she is going to divorce without their reasons being biblical, that he or she is preparing to enter into a marriage that contravenes the teachings of Scripture, or he or she runs a business without conforming to the principles found in the Bible. Whatever the subject, they do not fail to tell me that they feel free to do so and they add: “I prayed about it and God gave me peace” or “The Holy Spirit led me to act in this way.

When I hear these kinds of justifications for unbiblical behavior, I realize that people may believe what they tell me, but they are not speaking the truth. They are wrong – a very serious mistake. I know this for two reasons, and these are based on two crucial assertions about the character of the Spirit of God. The first is that he is the Holy Spirit. The second is that Jesus repeatedly called him “the Spirit of truth” ( Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). He never tempts us to do something ungodly or accept a lie.

We refer to the Bible as the Word of God, and it is. One of the reasons the Church has confessed its faith that the Scriptures are the Word of God is the biblical assertion that the texts of the Holy Scriptures were originally inspired by God the Holy Spirit. Naturally, the Bible teaches that he not only inspired the writing of the biblical books but that he works to illuminate the Scriptures and make them understood by us. Paul wrote about this: “God is not a God of disorder” ( 1 Cor 14:33 a ), and this also applies to the Holy Spirit. This means that He never commands us to do anything that He expressly prohibits in the Holy Scriptures.

So when the Bible says we must test spirits to see if they are of God, how should we do this? What kind of test can we use? It must be biblical, for we know that the teaching of the Spirit of truth is found in the Scriptures. Therefore, if I have an inclination, a feeling, or a desire within me, and I want to associate that internal guidance with the Holy Spirit, but I also see that this yearning in my heart is opposed to what is being taught I have clear proof in the Scriptures that I am confusing lust, lust, or any other internal feeling with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is a terrible thing to do.

We rarely hear about this in the Christian community today because Christians easily put on a spiritual appearance by saying that God put this or that on their hearts or led them to do this or that. thing. Every time I hear this kind of statement, I want to ask the person concerned: “How do you know that it is God who inclined your heart towards this? How can you be sure that this is not a manifestation of your ambition or greed? » I want the person to show me the biblical basis for their statement. As I said above, I do not doubt that the Holy Spirit can place a burden on a believer’s heart and lead them supernaturally, but He always does so within and through Scripture. He never goes against his revelation in the Bible. Therefore, the best way to test spirits is to judge them according to the truth of the Holy Spirit himself.

Hostility toward the doctrine

An important part of our growth in sanctification is growing in our understanding of the things of God. Unfortunately, I feel very concerned about a movement that seems to be spreading throughout the Christian world. I find in fact that the study of doctrine or theology is the subject of generalized indifference, even hostility. I’ve even heard it said that there are two kinds of people in the Church: those who believe theology is important and those who don’t. But I also hear this corollary comment: it is said that people who are interested in theology are not loving and that this is a problem because God is more interested in us loving one another than ‘so that we have theological knowledge.

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