Author: Ron Graham
It is wonderful that God gives the Holy Spirit to all Christians.
When we study the nature of this gift, we find it described in seven ways, each of which is a wonder in itself.
Speaking to all Christians, Paul said, "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his". Paul said that you have life from Christ only "if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Romans 8:5-17 esp v 9-11).
Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him" (John 14:23). There is no reason to limit this promise to the apostles alone, any more than the promise in verses 1-3. However, there are "signs of an apostle" which the Spirit does not impart to everyone (2Corinthians 12:12).
Since a "dwelling" or "abode" is a place where one lives, we understand that God's "indwelling" and "making his abode" with us means that God lives in us (2Timothy 1:14, 2Corinthians 6:16, 1John 4:12-13). This is hard to understand, but we can accept the gift of the Holy Spirit as an indwelling of God without fully understanding its operation.
The indwelling of God's Spirit means that our bodies (not only our hearts) become a sanctuary of God, and we should treat and use our bodies accordingly (1Corinthians 6:19, Romans 12:1).
All who are saved by God's mercy have experienced "the washing of new birth and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:4-7, John 3:5, Ephesians 5:26, 1Peter 3:21).
The terms "rebirth", "new birth," "regeneration", "born again", "born anew", all refer to the same thing: the newness of life imparted when we are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:4,6,13, 2Corinthians 4:16, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:23-24).
All who are saved through "the washing of new birth" have the Holy Spirit "poured out abundantly" upon them (Titus 3:4-7).
God gives his Spirit without measure (that is abundantly) to us (John 3:34). We may enjoy and use the fullness of the blessing (Ephesians 1:3, Romans 15:29).
False teachers will say we cannot understand the truth without their help —they claim to have unique knowledge without which Christians would misunderstand truth and be astray. However, it's the other way around. Christians have an anointing (the gift of the Spirit) which helps them discern truth and avoid being led astray by false teachers (1John 2:20,24,27, John 16:13, 1John 4:6).
The anointing does not do away with the need for being properly taught from the scriptures, which are what was "heard from the beginning" and our source of truth. We are not referring to receiving divine inspiration or direct revelation. But the Spirit helps us all to discern genuine teachers and to understand the scriptures properly in the midst of error and confusion spread by antichrists.
We need guidance and assistance in our daily lives, so that we might be wise and circumspect, and apply God's truth to our lives (James 1:4-6, Ephesians 5:15-18, 1Corinthians 10:13).
This leading is part of God's providence. We should gladly accept it as a normal blessing of the Christian life. We do not always see God's hand in our lives until well after the event. But knowing it is there gives us confidence.
Paul said that those who heard the gospel, and who believed, were sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of their salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 4:30, ,2Corinthians 1:22).
The Spirit is given to us in a way that guarantees us eternal life. In other words, he ensures that we will always be able to fulfil the conditions required for inheriting eternal life (Ephesians 3:16-17). We are guaranteed that as a right, and nobody can take that right away from us.
The Spirit is our paraclete, a helper and intercessor (John 14:16-17).
An example of this is when we are inadequate to pray. It is a very great blessing to know that our prayers, unworthy as they may be, are presented to the Father by the Spirit and the Spirit's intercession makes our prayers presentable to God (Romans 8:26-27). How wonderfully reassuring it is to have this helper to bring our petitions and praises to God. We can be confident that, through Jesus who is also our advocate and intercessor (Romans 8:34), we "have access in one Spirit to the Father" (Ephesians 2:18).