“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NLT)
The Holy Spirit’s presence in a person’s life WILL be evidenced in the way a person lives. If there’s no evidence of the Spirit’s presence living in and through them, there’s no Holy Spirit residing in that person. Isn’t that a bit harsh? You decide.
In 2 Peter 1:5-8 Peter wrote: “In view of all this (God’s divine power in us through His Holy Spirit) make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As with many other words in the Bible, the word “Work” in the verse from Hebrews above, carries the clear implication of “YOU work.” And just for clarification, “Holy” doesn’t mean sinless, it means to be set apart for sacred use. It means “consecration,” which means “to devote solemnly to a purpose.”
Our devotion to Jesus is impossible to live out apart from the presence of His Spirit living in us. That’s the only way anyone can be “sanctified.” Sanctification, like salvation, is an ongoing process. There are past, present, and future uses of both of these important words. We point to the time of our initial commitment to Jesus by referring to it as the day we were saved. But the truth is, as long as we live in this mortal body we are still being saved. Then one day, at the moment of our death or at Jesus’ coming, we will be eternally saved.
When we are saved, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our heart and becomes our “Pilot” in maneuvering us through the storms of life as we grow in Jesus’ likeness or, in other words, are sanctified or become holy. God does His part, the part only He can do, but He has expectations of us, the parts only we can do.
Just because we’re dependent on the Spirit’s leadership doesn’t negate the demands He places on us to do our part. For example, in the verses from Peter above, we are the ones who must “make every effort to respond to God’s promises.” God will not force us to do anything against our own will. We must supplement our faith with moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, etc. But how?
A.W. Tozer wrote: “Go to church once a week and nobody pays attention. Worship God seven days a week and you become strange!” When the Holy Spirit not only lives IN you, but THROUGH you, people are going to take notice. Why? Because you won’t be living the same life you used to live. There’s no question about it – we WILL change as we yield our lives and allegiance to Jesus, or we’re living a lie.
The “proof” is in the proverbial “pudding.” Just as you can talk all day about how good your “pudding” is, no one will know for sure until they “taste” it. J.C. Ryle wrote: “Where there is no holy living, there’s no Holy Spirit.” So, the question becomes, how will people know that I’m a believer, that I’m being “set apart” by God for sacred use? I’m so glad you asked.
Let’s look at this more closely over the next few posts.
Blessings, Ed 😊