Life in the Spirit

By Not Known

Confusion often abounds when we talk about ‘life in the Spirit’. Some link this with the more spectacular signs and foresee a life of speaking in tongues, miracles and prophecy. Others have a noble vision of an ascending scale of holiness and intimacy with God, in which it is ‘ever upwards and onwards’

Galatians mentions the Spirit 18 times and gives clear and positive teaching. As the following references indicate, the Spirit is essential to the Christian life and faith in Christ (3:2). He is there at the very start of the Christian’s life and is the source of progress (3:3). He is sent by God to dwell in believers’ hearts and enables them to relate to God as father (4:6)

Paul explains life in the Spirit in Gal 5: 16- 26

When we live by the Spirit, we turn from indulging our dark side and from trying to please God by the law (vs 16- 18). Instead, the indwelling Spirit produces the fruit of a holy character (vs 22- 23). On the one hand, we cannot have Christian character without the indwelling Spirit. On the other hand, Christian character is the evidence of the Spirit’s presence. It is through him that our sinful nature is restrained and we are then under an obligation to ‘walk in his ways’ (vs 24- 25)

Other passages speak more of the Spirit’s roles. He is the agent of conversion (Jn 3: 5- 7), leads us to submit to Jesus as Lord (1 Cor 12: 1), enables prayer (Rom 8: 26- 27), gives understanding of the Bible (1 Cor 2: 12- 14), and distributes gifts for Christian service (1 Cor 12). In short, the main work of the Spirit is to make us Christians, keep us there, and to enable Christian growth and usefullness.

It is right for Christians to seek more of the Spirit’s presence in their lives. And the primary evidence of his presence will be that we are more focused on Jesus in faith, life, character and service. And so the Spirit brings us to the Son that through him we may glorify the Father by being the people that he made us to be.

May God dwell richly among and in us through his Spirit. And may that be seen in our quiet dedication to Jesus and his way.