Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is promised to every believer. For instance Romans 8:9 says:

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

Thus, if a person does not have the Holy Spirit , he is not a believer. If he is a believer, He has the Holy Spirit indwelling in Him.

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" - 1 Corinthians 3:16

Amazing indeed! The third person of the holy trinity actually inhabits the hearts of sinful men! This is unique to the New Testament age of grace. In the Old Testament, certain individuals were given the Holy Spirit for fulfilling  their special missions. The Holy Spirit could be withdrawn. It is only in the New Testament that all the people of God have the Holy Spirit permanently indwelling in them.

There are two reasons why the Holy Spirit indwells in believers:
  1. His presence is God's pledge to us that we are saved.
  2. He does certain things in and through us.
The Holy Spirit as Pledge:

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." - Ephesians 1:13,14

 An Old Testament illustration of "earnest" is Judah's contract with Tamar (Genesis 38:17). He gave her his signet, bracelets and staff as a promise to send her a kid in return for her services. We can note the following about Judah's pledge:
  • The signet was the stamp that Judah used as a signature for his business. It was the pledge of his wealth - it was unique, tied to his own identity. Someone who had his signet could do business in his name.
  • The bracelet was the cord that bound the signet to him. The cord signifies security.
  • The staff was for strength, support and protection.
The word for pledge in Gen 38:18 is equivalent to the earnest of Ephesians 1:14. Note the following about our New Testament pledge/earnest:
  • An "Earnest" is not a down payment. The security of the believer is not in installments. Christ's death at Calvary was not a down payment. The payment at Calvary itself was in full (hence the seal in Ephesians 1:13 - even in Jeremiah 32, the seal there is evidence that the payment has already been made in full)
  • The pledge is a guarantee for something in the future. Although God cannot lie, He's given to us sinners a pledge - a guarantee of the inheritance that awaits us in heaven.
  • Judah's pledge itself was of much more value than the kid (that which it guaranteed). Here also, the earnest is worth more than the inheritance that we're going to obtain - because priceless as our inheritance is, the pledge is a Divine Person living within us - a person of infinite value, not a lifeless signet. He provides us all the things that Judah's pledge symbolizes.  
What the indwelling means (or should mean!) for us:

We have a tendency to live oblivious to the fact that God dwells in us. Peter mentions our inheritance in the context of asking us to be holy.

The presence of the holy Spirit should be equivalent to Jesus physically standing next to us. This also means that we don't have to envy the disciples who were physically present with Jesus (John 16:7). When Jesus was bursting the disciples' kingdom bubble, He reassures them saying that the Comforter will come and reveal things to them. He actually says that they will be better off.

We love Jesus today, because the Holy Spirit has introduced us to Him, as a person. Thus, because of our earnest, we can know Christ now itself, without waiting for eternity.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to live a righteous life. He births His fruit in us, gives us gifts, and makes us more like the Lord Jesus Christ.