Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Transforming Power of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the eternal God. Last week we discussed how God the Holy Spirit comes alongside believers to encourage, comfort, and strengthen them. Today's topic is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

In Galatians 5 we have two different lists. The first list gives the results of the human nature. It is what naturally comes about through humans. Galatians 5:19-21 says that when we follow our human, sinful, and selfish nature, we will find these things in our lives: " idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these." Paul (the author of Galatians) goes on to say that people who do these things will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God; in other words: will not go to heaven. 

So, if by nature we as humans do these things, and these things send us to hell, how can we be saved? Is it by trying really hard to abstain from doing wrong? Is it to try really hard to do good? No, and no. In Titus 3:4-5 we read: "But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit."

On our own we will only produce evil. But, when we put our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes in and transforms us into a new person. The Holy Spirit gives us "new birth." We are born-again, just as Jesus said we must be (John 3:3). When the Holy Spirit transforms us, we begin to produce new fruit. This is what we read about in the second list in Galatians 5, in verses 22-23: "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" When we are born-again (of the Spirit), we begin to produce new fruit. Our lives look different. The way we think is no longer the same. Our attitude is different. Everything about is is new! This is the work that God does in us at salvation. 

However, the point in which we are born-again (or "saved") is only the beginning the Holy Spirit's transforming work in our lives. For even though we are given a new nature at conversion, we still live in our fleshly bodies and live in this fallen world. Because of this, our sinful nature will always attempt to spring back to life.

Therefore, if we lack patience, self-control, or any of the other "fruit of the Spirit," we must ask the Holy Spirit to produce them within us. For, it is only Him who can do so. And, when we see things like selfishness, lustful thinking, or fits of rage in our lives, we must go to the Lord and ask him to change us. If we live our lives in this way, and continually seek Him, we will see the transformation of the Holy Spirit within us. 

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