The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit in New Testament Essay

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Friedrich Nietzsche, an existential philosopher of the nineteenth century narrates a story of a blind man, who on a bright morning lighted a lantern, ran to a marketplace looking for God, and then announced to the jeering crowd that God is dead. We have killed Him- you and me. We are all murderers¦Whither are we moving now¦Do we not wander through an endless nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? (Lavine.1984 p.324) What Nietzsche means is not the death of God but the death of belief in God.

Due to consumerism and materialism, life of man has become a commodity. Belief in the Absolute good, the personal God, the God who as father involves in our lives every moment of our day, has taken the back seat. As Karl Marx says, money is the jealous God of Israel.(Lavine 1984.p.276) He says that the modern commercial world is a religion of money worship. Thus, we find more cases of depression, more cases of suicide, new cults arising everyday trying to pull people towards the darkness. However, are we not believers? What is missing in our lives? The early Christians lived in joy and radiance.

Their life was a life of love and happiness that non-Christians identified them by the love they had for others. Theirs was a life filled with the Holy Spirit. We see the spiritual power among Christians has waned. George Smeaton of Scotland says that whenever Christianity was an active force the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was uniformly regarded with the Atonetonment and Justification by faith. The distinctive feature of Christianity, as it address to the life of man, is the work of the spirit. (Pink, 2005, chp.1)

    However, in todays world is the Holy Spirit relevant? Samuel Chadwick in his book The joyful news says, The gift of the Spirit is the crowning mercy of God in Christ Jesus. It was for this all the rest was. The Incarnation and Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension were all preparatory to Pentecost. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit all the rest would be useless. The great thing in Christianity is the gift of the Spirit. The essential, vital, central element in the life of the soul and the work of the Church is the Person of the Spirit. (Pink, 2005, chp.1)

      The great importance of reverent and prayerful study of this subject should be apparent to every Christian. The importance of the Holy Spirit is reflected in words of Christ in his final discourse to His disciples during the last supper (John 14 to 16).Everything that proceeds from God is through the Holy Spirit.Therefore, we must be well instructed in the doctrines concerning him. The doctrine so important is mostly neglected. In the last two generations lot have been written about the Holy Spirit, but mostly inadequate and erroneous. (Pink, 2005, chp.1)




                                            The Divinity of the Holy Spirit.




One of the well-known declarations in the Bible is the Great Commandment: You shall love the Lord your God, with all your soul, and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5).Jesus also spoke about this commandment in Matthew 22:38-39.He calls this the first commandment. First in terms of importance.However, before we can begin to love God with all our heart, soul, and might, we must first must have a concept of the God we are to love. (Sproul, 1990, p.35)

     The life of every Christian should be lived in personal knowledge and joyful communion with the Holy Trinity.However, personal joyful communion cannot be attained unless we have a clear apprehension of the Trinity. Correct views of the Divine character lies at the foundation of all genuine godliness. Without true knowledge of God, in his true nature and attributes, we cannot love him or worship and serve acceptably. Therefore, let us try to understand the character and attributes of the Third Person of the Trinity. Under what character can we accept the Holy Spirit? Is He the Creator or a creature? (Pink, 2005, chp.3) Robert Hawker says:

He is either God, possessing, in a distinction of Person, an ineffable unity of the Divine nature with the Father and the Son, or He is the creature of God, infinitely removed from Him in essence and dignity, and having no other than a derivative excellence in that rank to which He is appointed in creation. There is no medium betwixt the one and the other. Nothing intermediate between the Creator and created can be admissible. So that were the Holy Spirit to be placed at the top of all creation, even as high above the highest angel as that angel transcends the lowest reptile of animated life, the chasm would be still infinite; and He, who is emphatically called the Eternal Spirit, would not be God.(Pink,2005,chp.3)

     We will now endeavor to show that the Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, is distinguished with such names and attributes, endowed with plentitude of power, which transcend finite ability, and as such to belong to God Himself.(Pink,2005,chp.3) The mystery of the Holy Trinity is inexplicable to finite human reason.St.Augustine says that no other subject is so difficult and subjected to danger of erring than the subject of the Holy Trinity.(Knight,2007) However, if we submit ourselves in humility to the revelation of the Holy Scriptures we can arrive at a conclusion that there subsist three Divine persons who are co-existent, co-equal, and co-essential.(Pink,2005,chp.3)

     The doctrine of Trinity is that, in God there is one essence or being, not three, but that there are three subsisting personalities in Godhead. The names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit indicate personal distinctions in Godhead but not essential division in God. The concept of being is fundamental concept in philosophy. When we are speaking of the being of God, we are talking about what God is. We believe that God is his attributes. He is simple unified Being in sense that there are no parts in God. He is essential One. The Church insists on the tri-unity of God. To think of trinity as three parts of God would be falling under tritheism. (Sproul, 1990, p.60)

     The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of God: The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit along with the Father and Son comprise a unified Godhead called the Trinity. The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the consubstantial. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire. (Catechism, Para 253)

There is that in the Father, which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one. (The Assembly of God,2006)

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not just names of the divine but they are distinct from one another. (Catechism, para 255).When the Church speaks of three persons in Godhead it appeals to the Holy Scripture for support. There some important verses in the Scriptures that is crucial to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity,




Proofs of the Spirits Deity.

 

     The Holy Spirit is called Jehovah, a name that can be used only to God Almighty. It is Jehovah who spoke by the mouth all the prophets, yet in 2Peter 1:20 it is implicitly declared that the prophets spoke by the Holy Spirit. It is Jehovah whom the Israelites tested in the wilderness (PS:78:17-18),yet in Isaiah 63:10 it is specifically termed as rebelling against the Holy Spirit. In Deuteronomy 32:12 we read, The Lord alone did lead them, yet in Isaiah 63:14 we read, the Spirit of the Lord did lead them.(Pink, 2005, chp.3)

     The Holy Spirit is expressly called God. To Ananias Peter says, Why hath the Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit then in the very next verse he says you have not lied unto men but  unto God(Acts 5:3-4).If lying to the Spirit is lying to God then it follows that the Spirit is God. In 1Corinthians 12, where the diversity of his gifts are mentioned he is referred as the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God. In 1Corinthians 6:16, the Holy Spirit is called the living God. (Pink, 2005, chp.3)

     The perfections of God are all found in the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures very clearly and abundantly confirm that the Holy Spirit has the properties, which belong to God alone. They ascribe to him absolute Holiness. As God is called, the Holy One so is the Third Person of the Trinity called the Spirit of Holiness (Rom.1:4).The Spirit is eternal (Heb.9:14).He is omnipresent whither shall I flee from thy Spirit (Ps.139:7).He is Omniscient (1Cor2:10-11).He is omnipotent, being termed the Power of the Most High (Luke 1:35). (Pink, 2005, chp.3)

The absolute sovereignty and supremacy of the Spirit manifest his Godhead. In Mathew 4:1, we read that the Spirit of the Lord led Jesus into wilderness. Who but a Divine Person can lead the Son of God? In John 3:8 Lord Jesus draws an analogy between the wind that blows wherever it wishes and the Imperial operations of the Spirit. (Pink, 2005, chp.3)

     The works attributed to the Spirit clearly denotes his Godhead. Creation itself is attributed to Him. The Spirit of the Lord hath made me (Job 33:4). He is concerned with work of providence (Isa.40:13-15).He is the source of inspiration (2 Peter 1:21).Christ was anointed for His work by the Spirit (John 3:34).His miracles were performed by the power of the Spirit (Mat1:20).He was raised from the dead by the Spirit (Rom 8:11). St.Paul ends his second epistle to the Corinthians with this formula of benediction, which can be called the blessing of the holy Trinity The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all. (Pink, 2005, chp.3)

     In a Barna Survey in 1997, 61% of US residents surveyed believed that the Holy Spirit is a

symbol of Gods presence and power, but it is not a living entity. (Pink, 2005, chp.2) This brings us to another important topic, the personality of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is just not a force or a power. Not only is the Holy Spirit God but He is a full Person of the Holy Trinity. A person is a living entity endowed with understanding and will. All elements of a person are ascribed and found in the Holy Spirit. In Scriptures, the Spirit is endowed with intellect, will, and emotions, which are straits of a person.

In Romans 8:27 we read the mind of the Spirit (intellect), in Romans 15:30-the love of the Spirit (emotions), in 1Cor.12:11-Divides every man as He wills (will). Moreover the Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), lied unto (Acts 5:3), blasphemed (Mark 3:29).You cannot do these things to a mere symbol or influence. These are characteristics of a person. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is truly God and truly a Person equal in all aspects with the Father and the Son. (Pink, 2005, chp.2).




The Titles of the Holy Spirit.




The Three Persons of the Holy Trinity have revealed Themselves through variety of names. We cannot understand the nature of God, but we can understand His attributes and character through the names revealed to us. Thus, whatever name God has revealed to us that He is, for he will not reveal a false name to us. The Third Person in the trinity is called the Spirit, which expresses His Divine nature, for God is Spirit. He is called the Eternal Spirit. (Heb.9:14) which carries with it most convincing proof his Godhead. He is called the Spirit of the Lord which expresses his Divine authority. He is also called the Spirit of Christ, which means the Son sends him and since He carries on the redemptive work of the Son. (Pink, 2005, chp.4)




The Trinity and the plan of redemption.




      When we speak about the deity of the Holy Spirit as co-eternal, and co-essential with the Father and the Son we need to clarify some of the phrases that are used, for example, we say the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and the Father sends the Spirit. These phrases may mislead people to think that the third Person of the Trinity is lesser of the Three. However, it is not so. In the plan of creation and redemption, we speak of the subordination of certain persons in the Godhead to others.

For example, though God the Son is co-eternal and co-essential with the Father, in the work of redemption the Father sends the Son into the world. In the same manner, we read that the Son is begotten by the Father; Father is not begotten by the Son.Similiarly we believe that the Holy Spirit is sent by and proceeds from the Father and the Son. In the work of redemption, the Son is subordinate to the Father and the Spirit is Subordinate to the Father and the Son. (Sproul, 1990, p.70)




      To be Subordinate in the work of redemption does not mean to be inferior. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all equal in Being, glory, dignity, and power. (Sproul, 1990, p.70)




                                    Role of Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus Christ




      In on writing the Holy Spirit and our Lord Jesus Christ, we should now contemplate our Lord not as the second Person of the Trinity but as the God-man mediator, the savior of the world.Similiarly the Holy Spirit should be considered in his official discharge of His mission in the redemption of man. (Pink, 2005, chp.7)




The Spirit in the Gospel before the birth of Christ (Luke 1-2).




     Here we see the Spirit as Spirit of prophecy in the expectant Israel. Luke portrays number of prophetic activities in association with Jesus conception, birth, and infancy.(Turner,1996,p.23) Zachariah and Elizabeth are filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesy giving assurance of salvation.Simeon is also filled with the Holy Spirit and recognizes the Messaiah.This concept of Spirit of Prophecy was common in Judaism.Therefore, in filling the people with his holy presence the Holy Spirit   proclaims the dawn of restoration of the Spirit of Prophecy in Israel by the coming of Messiah.(Turner,1996,p.23)




The Spirit and the conception of the Holy Son of God.




     The role of the Holy Spirit is manifested especially  in the conception of the Messiah.(Luke 1:32-35)The Child to be born is to be hailed the Holy Son of God because he will conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is seen as the miraculous power of new creation. The Spirits creative activity embodies the messianic son of God with the power that he may become the fountainhead of restoration of Israel. (Turner, 1996, p.25) The Spirits action also makes the child to be born Holy (Luke 1:35).This was in fulfillment of the hopes built by Isaiah (Is 11:1-4), where the Messiah will exhibit a radical righteousness grounded in the wisdom, knowledge and fear of the Lord granted by the Spirit. His humanity was endowed with all spiritual gifts from his conception. (Turner, 1996, p.25)




The promise of John the Baptist.

 

John contrasts his own baptizing activity with that of Jesus who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Thus, the Spirit of fire and spirit of judgment is presented as the powerful tool of the messiah. (Turner, 1996, p.27)




The Spirit and the second anointing of the Lord.

 

     When Jesus was baptized by His forerunner, John the Baptist, the heavens opened up and Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a Dove and the voice of the Father was heard testifying to His immense pleasure in his incarnate Son. The first action of the Holy Spirit was for formation of Christs human nature and enduing it with perfect wisdom and faultless holiness. The second was to endow Him with supernatural powers for his work. Thus, the former was personal and private while the second was official and public. The first was bestowing on him spiritual gifts and the second bestows on him ministerial gifts. (Pink, 2005, chp7)




The Spirit and the defeat of Satan in the Wilderness.

 

     And Jesus filled with the Spirit, returned from Jordan and was lead by the Spirit into the wilderness (Luke 4:1).There in the wilderness Jesus was tempted by the Satan. Here the Spirit confirms the humanity of Christ. (Pink, 2005, chp.7) The emphasis here falls more on the one filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1) now being led to the wilderness by God Himself. This manifests the messianic empowering of Christ. The temptations of Christ stay as contrast to that of Israels. The Israelites rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit (Isa.63:10), but the new representative of Israel overcame the temptation and defeated the Satan. In Luke, 4:14 we see Jesus then returned in the power of the Spirit, to Galilee, this highlights the power character of the gift of the Spirit to Jesus. (Turner, 1996, p.31)




The Spirit in Jesus ministry

 

     Jesus starts his ministry with a reading from Isaiah 61, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and declared, This

day  this Scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:18, 19, 21).

In Matthew 12:28 the words of Jesus, if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has upon you explicitly attributes Jesus exorcisms to his empowering  with the Spirit.(Turner,1996.p.32)

As the mediator, Jesus Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit for the execution of all his ministerial works. Before His ascension, he instructed his chosen apostles to wait until the Spirit comes. Thus, the Holy Spirit was a great guiding principle in the life of Christ. This reflects the order of operation in the Holy Trinity, all proceeds from the Father, through the Son and is by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit formed His human nature and guided him through out His mission. Nothing was undertaken but by the Spirits directing, nothing was spoken but by His guidance, nothing executed but by His power. (Pink, 2005, chp.7)




                                                The Holy Spirit in Paul




     Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17), the words of Ananias sent by the Lord to heal Saul. Thus, started the mission of one of the greatest apostles of Christ. He is one of the most important persons in the history of Christianity. Paul was a vociferous advocate of the Holy Spirit. In all his epistles, he refers to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus as the liberator, as the source of wisdom and spiritual gifts.Let us see some of the characteristic themes seen in the teaching of Paul.




The Spirit as the Spirit of the new covenant.

 

     In 2Corinthians 3:3-18 Paul explicitly contrasts his own ministry through which the Spirit of God wrote on human hearts and not on tablets of stone, referring to Exodus 34.This covenant is a covenant of the Spirit. While the old covenant brings condemnation and death, the Spirit of the new covenant brings life and freedom. The Lord is spirit and where the Spirit of lord is, there is freedom. (2Cor 3:17) The glory that accompanied the old covenant was a fading one. It was hidden by a viel.In the new covenant this veil, which hides the glory of God, is removed when a person turns to the lord whom Paul says is the Spirit. (Turner, 1996, p.114)




     The essence of the new covenant was that God would put His Spirit in the hearts of men and women and thus create a new heart and a new obedience. This means, for Paul the reception of the Spirit is receiving the indwelling spirit who regenerates the inner person, bringing life, new covenant relationship and obedience. (Turner, 1996, p.115) This is the reason Paul ties the receiving the Spirit so tightly to conversion. For Paul the Spirit is essentially the spirit of the new covenant. Without this gift, there is no new creation, no new heart, and no new life. Without the Spirit of the new covenant, there is no Christian existence at all. Pauls old covenant/new covenant, Spirit/Torah antitheses receives major attention in Galatians 3:1-4,5:1-6,13-24;Romans7:4-6 and 8:1-30.In these places he makes a point that Torah had become an instrument of condemnation and death. The Spirit alone is necessary and sufficient to enable this life and obedience. (Turner, 1996, p.116)




     At the same time 2Cor. 3 does not forget the concept of the Spirit of Prophecy.It is the Spirit who removes the veil of misunderstanding that binds Judaism. The Spirit also enables us to behold the glory of the Lord. These actions presupposes that the Spirit acts as the revealer and illuminator of the Christ-event. (Turner, 1996, p.116)




The Spirit as the Spirit of the new creation




Already in the Old testament the giving of a new heart and a new soul was regarded as a new creation.Thus, for example the psalmists cries, Create in me a pure heart O Lord, and put a new Spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).Here the language of new creation and of a new heart and spirit is a metaphor for individual renewal and restoration to God. For Paul, believing in Christ and being filled with the Spirit of God is the new creation.

 

     In 2Corinthians. 3-5 we see Paul speaking of the Spirit of the new creation. If any Person is in Christ, there is a new creation (2Cor.5-17).Each conversion is a new creation. Paul regards each act of new creation (new conversion) by the Spirit as part of the new creation yet to be consummated. He speaks of the Spirit as a guarantee; a down payment for all that is to come. In Romans 8:23 he expresses the same idea when speaking of the believers having the first- fruits  of the Spirit i.e. their experience of the Spirit is like the first fruits of the harvest in that it guarantees much more to come. Full harvest signifies the resurrection and the new creation. Paul also speaks of Spirit as the seal of God on his people, the mark of ownership of them.Therefore, for Paul the Spirit is the power of the age to come, a power that is at work in us, a power which orientates us towards the End.(Turner,1996,p.117)




The indwelling Spirit.

 

     In many of his epistles, Paul relates the Spirit to the indwelling of Christ in the inner heart. In Galatians 4:6 he says, because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.In his letter to the Romans he says, You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you (8:9).In the sentence he says, Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Therefore, the Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ are co-referential for the Holy Spirit. The description of the Spirit of Christ denotes that the Spirit brings the presence and activity of the risen Lord into the life of the believer. (Turner, 1996, p.121)




The Spirit of Christ.




Paul refers to the Spirit of God as Spirit of Christ in Romans 8:9 and as the Spirit of his Son in Galatians 4:6. In Philippians 1:19 he uses a third expression, the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is to affirm that the Spirit is Christs executive power and self-revealing experience. In other words these expressions affirm that the Spirit relates to the exalted Christ in the same way that he relates to Yahweah.Thus, as we say the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the Lord, Paul says Spirit of Jesus Christ. (Turner, 1996, p.131)




The Spirit who prays in us.




     Paul teaches us another important aspect of the Holy Spirit. He says that no prayer can be true and worthy without the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. He wrote, The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom 8:26-27). It is as if to say that the Spirit of God is the soul of our soul, the most secret part of our being. He completes what is lacking in us and offers to the Father our worship and our aspiration. Thus, Paul asks us to have a great and vital communion in the Holy Spirit. It requires greater sensitivity and attention to the presence of the Spirit. (Benedict xvi)




The Spirit of Love.




     Paul says, Hope does not disappoint us, because Gods love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom 5:5).He lists love first when he enumerates the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc. (Gal 5:22).He express the same message when he writes to the Romans. Be aglow with the Spirit and Repay no one evil for evil (Rom 12:11, 17). (Benedict xvi)




     In sum, the gift of the Spirit is essential constituent of the Christian life. Christian life begins by the Spirit (2Cor.3), is sustained by the Spirit (Gal.3) and it will be consummated in the Spirit (1Cor.15).The Spirit is the first installment of the believers resurrection life. Paul sees the Spirit as the self-revealing presence of God in Christ. The Spirit enables us to understand the Christ-event. The main Spirit/flesh anti-thesis means an ethical empowering. However, it is our responsibility to keeping in line with the working of the Holy Spirit.(Turner,1996,p.132)




                                The Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church.




     With coming of the Messiah, the stage was set for a new phase in Gods plan of salvation. This phase involves God working through a group of people, the church, who were spiritual transformed by the Holy Spirit. They were chosen by God to carry out His redemption to the ends of the earth. The Church was built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus himself being the corner stone, built as a dwelling place for God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).(United Church of God,2007)

     Jesus promise of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The outpouring had brought the early Christians a profound understanding of Gods love. God loved them. This revelation changed their lives. It was not just a statement of fact. It was so real that it removed

guilt and freed them from fear.(Acts of the Holy Spirit,2007) It warmed their hearts to accept one another. The believers prayed together. They shared their belongings with everyone. They happily shared everything with joyful hearts. Through out the history of the early Church the message that persists is very simple. Whenever Holy Spirit fell, peoples lives were changed. We see this in the apostles who together with the Virgin Mary prayed in the upper room on Pentecost. As they experienced the indwelling Spirit, the early Christian surrendered their lives to God. Their interior lives were changed to such a extend that they lived no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:15)(United Church of God,2007)




     Miraculous signs marked the beginning of the New Testament church. God wanted to draw attention to this small group of believers. In Acts, 2:43 we read that the apostles were doing many miracles and signs and everyone felt great respect for God.(United Church of God,2007)




     Despite arrests and persecution the early Christians continued to proclaim Jesus crucified and risen. As they opened their hearts to the Holy Spirit, they experienced a burning desire to share the Gospel with others. The Holy Spirit touched their lives so deeply that they longed to see the face of Christ. He gave them a taste of what eternal life with Jesus would be like and so the Church called out Amen, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)(United Church of God,2007).




                The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church and World Today.




Holy Spirit is present in todays Church through spiritual gifts he bestows on the faithful.




The physical experience of the Holy Spirit.




The speaking in Tongues, which has come down from the day of Pentecost, reveals the presence of the Holy Spirit. Beyond conveying a message, the tongue speech also functions to deepen ones relation with and worship of, the Lord. It makes a person more aware of the indwelling Spirit. In tongue speech, the Spirit communicates with people at sub-conscious level. For some renewing experience of God is closely linked with tongue speech.(Turner,1996,p.301)




Healing today.




      There do appear healings that we may reasonably call miracles, which are sufficiently well documented and analyzed by competent professionals.(Turner,1996,p.329) They may be comparatively rare but similar case can be rare in early church too. It can be reasonably claimed that these modern healings are spiritual gifts in continuity of the healings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. They are experienced by the beneficiaries as an act of liberation and as fresh inbreaking of Gods reign into their lives. Such healings make them joyfully aware of the Christ, presence in their lives through the Spirit. In some cases, healings have freed the believer to fresh service that would have been impossible without it. The healings have functioned as a path to the gospel.(Turner,1996,p.329)




Prophecy.




     Prophecy too when rightly understood exists in many streams of evangelicalism. Spiritually- minded Christians often seek Gods guidance on decision, which they know the Bible cannot settle for them and many expect that God will give them a definite and direct guidance. When such is experienced, we call them prophecy.(Turner,1996,p.339) The spirit touches our lives through the word of God. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are found in abundance in the Church. Everyday we find living witness to faith, hope, and charity. If the Holy Spirit is not present and active in todays world there will not be a single soul proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord.




                                                       Conclusion.




If the Church is to be a viable force in revealing God then it is crucial that we realize the absolute importance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the task of the Church march together. (Wright, 2005) One of the ironies of the history is found in the criticism of Christianity by Frederick Nietzche.He complained that Christianity was a religion of weakness, a religion that caused men to deny their most fundamental drive to will to power. Nietzsche called for a new humanity that would be ushered by a superman.




The chief characteristic of the superman would be courage. He would be a conqueror. Here is the irony of Romans 8.St.Paul says we are more than conquerors. The Greek word is hupernikon, which means hyper-conquerors. If Nietzsche is looking for supermen, he must look to those who have been strengthened by the power and presence of God the Holy Spirit (Sproul, 1990, p.190). To conclude Christianity seems to loose the appeal and power because Christians lose sight of the power of God manifested in Holy Spirit. He is the fire that can bring light to the darkened soul.




      Let us conclude with a reflection on a question. In spite of huge sums being spent, inspite of large labor put in, inspite of all modern aspects of evangelization Christianity is at far lower level than it was earlier. Number of professing Christians has increased, number of denominations has increased, pious activities have also increased, but the spiritual power has waned. The reason is, there is a grieved and quenched Spirit within us. While His blessing is withheld, there can be no improvement. Therefore, we need to get on way knees and pray that the channel of blessing can be opened up.Untill the Holy Spirit is given the rightful place in our hearts, thoughts and activities there can be no improvement. Christianity can be a redeeming force only if the Spirit is active in our midst. (Pink, 2005, chp.1)



















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     Wright, Tom. (2005).The Holy Spirit in the Church. Fulcrum renewing the Evangelical centre




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      http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/events/2005/inthechurch.cfm?doc=120

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