Author: Ron Graham
Why the Holy Spirit Dwells in Us
—The Purpose of the Indwelling
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in every obedient believer in Jesus Christ, is clearly taught in the gospel. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling includes at least seven blessings, each starting with S.
1 Sanctifies our Hearts.
The Holy Spirit makes us holy. Being made holy is called “sanctification”. When Peter promised “the forgiveness of sins” to those believers who would “repent and be baptized”, he added, “you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Immediately we have been purified by Christ, the Holy Spirit is given to us to dwell in us. This makes us dedicated to God and fit to take our place among his “saints” or sanctified people.
Sanctification (Being Made Holy)
¶“13But we should always give God thanks for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2Thessalonians 2:13).
¶“2...chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” (1Peter 1:2).
¶“19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1Corinthians 6:19-20).
2 Seals our Inheritance.
Another purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is expressed in the words "seal" and "pledge". The scriptures clearly identify this purpose.
God’s Seal and Guarantee
¶“11In him we have right to an inheritance. We were predestined according to the purpose of God who does all things according to the counsel of his will. 12So we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be devoted to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; and you believed in him. You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. 14He is the pledge of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of God’s glory” (Ephesians 1:11-14).
¶“30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
¶“20Indeed there are many promises of God. So in Christ we say “Yes” and “Amen” to God for his glory. 21And God is the one who establishes us, with you, in Christ. He has anointed us. 22He also put his seal on us. And he has given us his Spirit in our hearts as a pledge” (2Corinthians 1:20-22).
¶“6God himself has prepared us for this very thing. He has given us the Spirit as a pledge” (2Corinthians 5:5).
God is anxious to cheer and reassure us that we cannot lose our inheritance in heaven by force. If we were to lose it, that would be because of our own wilful stupidity. God has given the Holy Spirit to us as a pledge or guarantee.
3 Satan-proofs our Lives
The gift of the Spirit is not just a passive indwelling. The Spirit is active within us as we shall see. He protects and promotes our heavenly citizenship and helps us on our journey. The remaining sections of our lesson talk about this activity of the Holy Spirit.
If you and I tried to withstand Satan in our own power alone, we would fail. Indeed, without his presence, we would be most vulnerable in the face of the powers of darkness. Satan is powerful and the leader of a host of demons and these dark and evil powers are against us. But whenever Satan attacks us, God is with us to help, so Satan cannot win (1Corinthians 10:13, Ephesians 6:10-13).
❖ This lesson may be split at this point, and presented in two parts, the first three points above as the first part, and the remaining points below as the second part.
4 Strengthens our Faith
The Spirit helps us to be strong and fruitful. It is through the indwelling Spirit and our faith that Christ dwells in our hearts. The Spirit strengthens our faith so that it is not weak, but empowered so that we can enjoy his loving fellowship (Ephesians 3:16-18).
Our faith is made stronger because the fruit of the Spirit are added to it —fruit such as love, joy, peace, hope, virtue, longsuffering, self-control, kindness, and so forth.
Strengthened with Power
¶“16I pray that out of his glorious riches God may strengthen you with power, through his Spirit in your inner being. 17In that way, may Christ dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray also, that you will be rooted and grounded in love. 18Thus may you be empowered together with all the Lord’s holy people. May you grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ ” (Ephesians 3:16-18).
¶“22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. 23No law is against such things. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh along with its passions and lusts” (Galatians 5:22-24).
¶“12Let those who think they stand, take heed lest they fall. 13No temptation has seized you except what people commonly experience. Moreover, God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted more than you are able to bear. When the tempter comes, God will be there as well. He will make you a way to escape, enabling you to endure” (1Corinthians 10:12-13).
¶“13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13).
¶“13What you heard from me, keep as the model of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” (2Timothy 1:13-14).
Those verses make us confident that we are not striving alone. We have divine and supernatural help in the gift of the Holy Spirit. In times of temptation, we are able to resist the devil because we are not on our own. A greater Spirit than ours is defending us.
It is not only in temptation that the Spirit helps us. We have weaknesses besides those that lead to sin. These weaknesses are dangerous nevertheless, because they hold back our spiritual progress and our value in the kingdom of Christ.
This is true, for example, in seeking to understand God’s truth and God’s way more accurately, or in being of service to God in some useful ministry. We are not able to achieve these fully all by ourselves. We need God’s help. That is also true in our prayers —as we shall now see.
5 Speaks our Prayers
Most Christians experience difficulties with prayer. But when we talk to God, the Spirit is with us to intercede and be our Helper.
The Spirit’s Intercession
¶“26In the same way, the Spirit joins in to help us in our weakness. We don't know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through groanings we cannot express. 27And God who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s holy people in accord with the will of God. 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, those who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:26-28).
¶“18For through Christ both Jew and Gentile have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18).
¶“20But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 1:20-21).
In Romans 8, Paul talks about how essential it is that “the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:8-11). Paul then talks about our glorious hope for the future even though we have tribulations in the present time.
Paul then says, "in the same way the Spirit helps our weaknesses..." (Romans 8:26). The Spirit dwelling in us is praying with us, and for us, making our prayers far more effective than if we struggled on our own.
6 Straightens our Doctrine
If you and I used only our own thinking powers, and tried to fully understand the scriptures without any help from God, we would not understand everything and we might twist the scriptures because they contain some things hard to understand (2Peter 3:16).
You and I should certainly "study to show yourself approved before God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2Timothy 2:15). However the Holy Spirit opens and empowers our thinking so that we will not become confused, but rather compare the scriptures intelligently (Ephesians 1:13-18).
7 Sharpens our Gifts
Relying on our own abilities and choices alone, we may not be very useful or pleasing to God. But when the Holy Spirit helps us, we can more wisely identify and employ the special gift or gifts that God has granted us. With his blessing, we can develop our gifts to serve God and his church effectively.
Every Christian has some special ability, something they can do well. Peter says, "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1Peter 4:10-11 NKJV).
Are we not extremely fortunate to have the Holy Spirit as a gift from God, to sanctify us; seal us; Satan-proof us; strengthen us; speak for us; straighten our teaching; and sharpen our gifts?
New Life in Christ by the Indwelling Holy Spirit
¶“4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6He poured out the Spirit on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.
¶“7So, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8What I have been saying is trustworthy. I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (Titus 3:4-8).