So last post I talked a bit about who the Holy Spirit is and why we have the Holy Spirit. Well I didn't tell you that the Spirit as evidence of God is just a microscopic speck of dust compared to the main reason we have the Spirit. The real and true reason we have the Holy Spirit is because the Spirit actually lives within those who follow Christ. This post is about what it means to have the Holy Spirit live within us.
Let's begin with one of my favorite verses, Galatians 2:19-21, "For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the Law, Christ died for nothing."
We are told that if we believe in Jesus' death and resurrection, and if we pursue a relationship with him, then we will be saved. But God's grace is so much great than simply us being saved! Not only are we granted access to the most holy, most joyous, most incredible place ever created, but we are justified! Our wickedness has been taken away, washed white as snow by the blood of the Lamb who was slain! (This fact alone never really hit me in full strength until I began reading Isaiah and was shown just how much God hates sin; indeed the extent of God's wrath and hatred of sin is something I still cannot grasp and fully appreciate, and never will, but I know that my sin has ALREADY been forgiven.) But the gifts of God's love for us is greater still: He has given us not only a new life in Heaven after our earthly bodies die, but he has given us a new life here on earth. We have been crucified with Christ, and we have been raised up from the dead with him, to share in his glory and to be filled with the same Spirit that Jesus had.
Backing up, Jesus was not the first person to have been filled with the Holy Spirit: King David had it (1 Samuel 16:13), all the Prophets had it (2 Peter 1:21), and numerous others. However, Jesus had the fullness of God within him, and he received the Spirit when baptized, but at the time Jesus was the only person who could receive the Spirit by being baptized. And yet, with his death, Christ showed the world his love for us all, every single one of us, and he rose victoriously three days later, putting sin and death to death and bridging the void that separated God from man. Jesus' death allowed man to one again connect with God, for the first time since sin entered the world. At the beginning of Acts, we see the first Pentecost celebration since Jesus rose, and on that day the Apostles were filled with Spirit "like tongues of fire" brought by "the blowing of a violent wind" and they all began to speak in the tongues of the local people (Acts 2:1-4). By the work of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles, about 3000 people were moved to follow Jesus and were baptized.
Far too many Christians today believe that believing in Jesus is the key to Heaven. While this is a topic for another discussion, I will say that Satan and the Demons believe in God, and yet they will never enter Heaven (James 2:19). We will receive salvation not when we BELIEVE in Jesus, but when we FOLLOW him DAILY (Matthew 16:24). And when we follow Jesus we are reborn: our sinful ways are killed and buried, but our new body, formed in Christ Jesus, is risen again, and we are pleased to have the Holy Spirit reside within that new body. And just look at the new church in Acts 2:42-47, how joyful and loving everyone is after what could very easily have been only days since Pentecost and the mass baptism. THIS is the very same revival that we should receive when we decide to follow Jesus, an entire new view on life, on loving others, on joy, on good deeds and selfless dedication to serving others. When we follow Jesus, when we are baptized with water and the Holy Spirit we are not only being saved, but we are being given the Holy Spirit to live within us, to change us and mold us into a people truly worthy of God's love. We are given the Spirit to show the world that we love Jesus, and furthermore that He loves us.