Viewpoints on The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit
|The Anglican Catechism says,
"We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as
Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our
neighbors, and with all creation" (Book of Common Prayer, p. 852). That
is, you know the Spirit's presence not by looking to God's Word alone, but by
looking to the harmony you might have with other people or within
||Some people try to achieve
man-made harmony by seeking common emotional feelings. True Christian harmony
comes by being one united in God's Word. "Conduct yourselves . . . with one
mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel" (Phil. 1:27). You have true
harmony not merely when you are in emotional harmony; but rather when the Holy
Spirit leads you "to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of
God" (Eph. 4:13).
|In his Institutes on the
Christian Religion, John Calvin said, "Until our minds are intent on the
Spirit, Christ is in a manner unemployed. . " (III, 1, 3). In other words, the
Holy Spirit does not really teach you the things of Christ until your mind is
focused on Him (the Spirit).
||Jesus said that the Holy
Spirit will "bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (Jn. 14:26) and
"He will testify about Me" (Jn. 15:26). The Holy Spirit is working not when
your mind is intent on Him, but when it is intent on Jesus Christ and His
forgiveness of sins.
||The Baptist Faith and
Message (p. 41) says that when you surrender to the Holy Spirit, you
"should get buoyancy and exhilaration" and "should have a permanent lift and
glow." This directs you to look to your feelings to make sure the Holy Spirit
is working in you.
||If you do not experience the
buoyancy and exhilaration, the lift and glow, you could doubt that God loves
you and saves you. But God says that no matter if you are up or down
emotionally, nothing "will be able to separate [you] from the love of
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:39).
||The Book of
Discipline says, "'Life in the Spirit' involves diligent use of the means
of grace such as praying, fasting, attending upon the sacraments, and inward
searching in solitude." In other words, you can find the Holy Spirit working in
you when you search your inner feelings and experiences.
||Jesus warns against trusting
what is in your heart, because "out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries" (Matt. 15:19). Instead, God wants you to look to "the sacred
writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through
faith which is Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15).
||R. A. Torrey, a leader of
the Pentecostal movement, said, "The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is an
operation of the Holy Spirit distinct from and subsequent and additional to
His regenerating work" (What the Bible Teaches, p. 271). In other
words, Torrey says the Holy Spirit may make you a Christian, but you should
look for an additional experience from Him apart from your water Baptism.
||St. Paul said, "There is one
body and one Spirit one Lord, one faith, one Baptism" (Eph. 4:4-5), and Jesus
said, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot
enter the kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:5). Your water Baptism is your "washing of
regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3:5).
|In the Smalcald
Articles, Lutherans boldly say, "It must be firmly maintained that God
gives no one His Spirit or grace apart from the external Word which goes
before" (3, VIII, 3), and "We should and must insist that God does not want to
deal with us human beings, except by means of his external Word and sacrament.
Everything that boasts of being from the Spirit apart from such a Word and
sacrament is of the devil" (3, VIII, 10).
||God does not want you to
rely on your inner experiences or feelings, which are constantly changing.
Instead, He wants you to be confident that the Holy Spirit works only through
the Word of Christ "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son
of God; and that believing you may have life in His Name" (Jn. 20:31).