When discussing the Holy Spirit, a person will come to find that there are many different ideas and viewpoints on the Holy Spirit. The purpose of this writing is to examine the work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation.
Let’s first consider together how one gains salvation. Some today teach that one receives salvation when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Statements such as “I felt led to respond” are not uncommon. A doctrine known as the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. However, does this doctrine fit with scripture? Notice what Paul says in Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Greek language of the New Testament is more literal “Faith comes out of hearing”. What is it that is heard? The answer is the Word of God. Thus, Paul says by inspiration that Faith comes from hearing God’s Word. Faith is not gained because the Holy Spirit has operated upon them in a direct way but because they have heard the Word of God, the Gospel, and believed it. Thus, faith in Christ as the Son of God begins here. After hearing & learning the gospel.
So what role does the Holy Spirit play in conversion. Let’s look together at Acts 2:38. “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The “gift of the Holy Spirit” in this verse is not the miraculous gift. The “gift” of the Holy Spirit is what it brings, salvation.
It’s important to note what Paul says in Ephesians 3:16-17, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”. In verse 16 we find man is strengthened by the Holy Spirit, but how? The answer is in verse 17, “through faith”. How do we get the faith that brings the strengthening we receive from God? By His Word (Rom 10:17). It all goes back to God’s Word. The Holy Spirit today works through the medium of God’s Word. Thus, man is strengthened in the inner man (his heart or mind) by the Spirit that works through the Word of God.
If we are not careful man can become guilty of falling into the trap that he requires a direct operation of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Such an idea teaches that man cannot obey the Gospel without the miraculous help of God. The truth is God has already provided miraculous help for man in the form of His Son.
Christ, the Son of God, came into this world by way of virgin birth. He fulfilled prophecy after prophecy concerning Him. He lived a sinless life and died on the cross, shedding His precious blood for the sins of all mankind. He then rose from the grave three days later conquering death and instilling in the faithful the hope of the resurrection to eternal life.
Man does not require the miraculous today. Instead God requires we obey His Word and not put requirements on Salvation which He never made. May we always turn to the Word of God for the answer and in doing so we will find not only salvation but the truth on every matter.
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