The ministry of the Holy Spirit in sanctification
The Holy Spirit comes to abide in us when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. He is the seal of the New Covenant (Ephesians 1:13). But He does not only seal us, He is the contract of our inheritance until the day of redemption. We are purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ and have the seal of the Holy Spirit as the legal binding contract.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit can be seen in the book of Acts where the Spirit fills the believer(s), (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31; 9:17; 13:9; 13:52).
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4 KJV)
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,” (Acts 4:8 KJV)
Here the ministry of the Holy Spirit gave them the gift of tongues to fulfil prophecy, to glorify Jesus and to open the door to preach the Gospel, through Peter, Paul and other disciples in whom the Holy Spirit filled, (Acts 2:4; 4:8 also see 4:31; 9:17; 13:9, 52).
The Holy Spirit Sanctifies true believers and gives them gifts and the fruit of the Spirit. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 KJV; also see Galatians 5:22-23). These gifts are used in believers not only to bring others to Christ by God’s power and His Spirit but to increase the faith in the believers so they will continue to see God working through them and will want to sanctify themselves more to God for His good pleasure. We can also see the Ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 14:26; where He teaches us all things and brings to our remembrance all the things that Jesus has said to us; in Chapter 15:26 He guides us into all truth and will show us things to come; and in Chapter 16:1-13 the Spirit works through believers to ultimately glorify God and Jesus Christ. As the Holy Spirit works through the believer there is a fellowship forming in which the believer hears the still small voice of God indwelling in them. The voice of God is a conscience to the regenerated spirit in the believer that acts as a checking station. When the believer is tempted or enticed by their own desires the Holy Spirit brings to their remembrance the word of God which will convict them of God’s truth(s). This is the progressive work of the Spirit that works sanctification in the believer in each part of their being. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV). God is sanctifying the whole body, soul and spirit in the believer who will yield to God’s indwelling Spirit. We can see this in the following verses as well.
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (2 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV)
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2 KJV)
The Holy Spirit is working in us through the belief in the truth, God’s word is truth. He is our comforter, coach, teacher, counselor, guide and so much more. When the Christian reads the word of God and comes across a verse that opposes what they were taught or believed the Spirit will convict them of sin and they will have to make a choice. When they choose to line up with God’s word they are being sanctified; by moving away from sin and becoming more dedicated to God. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, it would be impossible to understand spiritual things because the Holy Spirit is the one Who teaches the true believer, (see 1 Corinthians 2:10-16). The Holy Spirit also lusts to envy over the believer. When I first received this verse I thought, how can the Holy Spirit lust after anything? But after a good explanation of why it certainly makes sense. O, I guess you want me to tell you? James 4:4 and 5 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” The Holy Spirit dwells in us, What don’t you know we are the temple of the Holy Spirit? We are God’s temple and the Holy Spirit does not want to share His temple with adulterers or adulteresses much less any other type of sin. The temple is a well decorated shrine. Picture yourself as a will decorated church with a crystal clear baptismal, and some stained glass windows which depict the gospel and works of Christ. Picture other parts of the church which are pristine. Now let sin enter into your temple. What would you think the Holy Spirit would say or feel? You were just pristine. Now your added sin to His temple and the baptismal looks like it has mud in it and someone (you) have thrown bricks through the stained glass windows. Wouldn’t you lust to envy? If you thought about your body like this maybe you would want to align yourself with the Holy Spirit and be sanctified which is part of your responsibility. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1 KJV). To perfect holiness is to perfect sanctification. Praise God we have a guide and a coach Who will come along side of us, (Allos Parakletos), and remind us of God’s word so that we may live a more abundant life.
The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and to fill us so we may live a lifestyle of holiness and to be like Christ and so much more.
J Statement on Sanctification from the CMA Manual
- W. Tozer expressed this idea with an image:
He [the Holy Spirit] wants to be Lord of your life, and He wants to possess you so that you are no longer in command of the little vessel in which you sail. You may be a passenger on board, or one of the crew, but you definitely are not in charge. Someone else is in command of the vessel
The predominant use referred to an empowerment for divine proclamation by the prophets. And it is precisely this understanding that dominates in the writings of Acts where the six occurrences of the verb “to fill” are associated with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31; 9:17; 13:9; 13:52). Luke applies the verb to the work of the Holy Spirit as an empowerment for gospel proclamation. In each of Luke’s accounts, the filling of the Holy Spirit results in powerful proclamation.
the Holy Spirit as the source of enablement for powerful witness. Examples of this usage occur not only in the Acts texts but also in Luke 1:41 (the case of Elizabeth) and Luke 1:67 (the case of Zacharias). In both instances the consequence of the filling of the Holy Spirit is prophetic proclamation
The Call to Holiness
The Holy Spirit
To grasp meaningfully the New Testament teaching on the “filling of the Holy Spirit,” consider the following theological synthesis:
(1) The filling of the Holy Spirit means the “controlling” or “governing” of the believer by the Spirit. This conclusion is deduced from the meaning of the verb, the grammatical structures and logic of the Pauline admonitions.
(2) The filling of the Holy Spirit is based upon and/or grounded in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This assertion is based upon the meaning of the verb, “to fill,” as control and as denoting a qualitative rather than a quantitative meaning. Such an understanding makes logical sense of the Pauline admonitions, assuming that the Holy Spirit already indwells the believer but needs to assume lordship. To interpret the filling of the Holy Spirit by means of a quantitative approach overlooks the Holy Spirit as a person. The personhood of the holy Spirit is not divisible. To have the Holy Spirit indwelling in regeneration and yet at the same time not to have the Spirit seems theologically and logically contradictory.
(3) The filling of the Holy Spirit is based upon a definite decision of the believer to give control of his life to the Spirit. This assertion finds confirmation in the use of the imperative mood. While the Holy Spirit indwells the believer at conversion, uniting the believer with Christ, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is in control of all the areas of the believer’s life. Such control requires a constant yielding and surrendering of our thoughts, attitudes, and actions to the Holy Spirit.
(4) The filling of the Holy Spirit is directly and specifically related to empowering the believer for effective witness both by word and by life.
Dr. Keith M. Bailey says,
All of us who are Christians are born of the Spirit and we have the Spirit. He is the Giver and the Sustainer of the spiritual life that we have. But there is a world of difference between having the Spirit in his regenerative power and being filled with the Spirit, knowing the enduement of His power. The baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire purifies the life and brings the glorious power of the risen, living Christ into our own personal experience.6
Some use the language of Pentecost to describe this entrance into the Spirit-filled life. Others prefer Pauline terms. These various formulations of truth and outlines containing “steps” may help guide an honest seeker. However, the critical issue is the reality of the person’s surrender to the Lord. Our commitment to the Lord is not complete until we recognize His right to exercise continuous authority over all phases of our lives. By whatever means and with whatever terms may be used, the important thing is that believers be led to:
(1) an understanding of the Christian’s position in Christ,
(2) a comprehension of the holiness and usefulness God promises and provides for His children,
(3) an awareness of the futility and fruitlessness of living according to self-effort,
(4) a spirit of humility and repentance,
(5) a decisive yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and
(6) a conscious asking for the filling of the Holy Spirit.
H8-6 & 7
Jesus, Himself indwells us by His Holy Spirit and lives out His life in and through us. Christ is the life-transforming power of sanctification. In the words of Dr. Simpson, He [Christ] actually comes into our being and becomes the source and strength of our very life, reliving His own life in us.7 He further said,
This is the end to which the Spirit is always working, not to develop in us a character, a set of human virtues and high qualities that we call our own, but to form Christ in us and teach us to live in constant dependence upon Him.8
While the doctrine of sanctification is by definition concerned with the life of Christ being formed in us, the same Spirit who gives victory over sin also empowers for service. The seeking Christian should anticipate that the Spirit-filled life will produce both fruit and gifts. They are intended to flourish together.