Posted by: missionventureministries | March 1, 2018

THE VITAL MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – Galatians 3:1-5

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:1-5) 

Paul begins addressing the Galatians as fools, because of the lack of understanding and the absence of the Holy Spirit in them. Many today, fall in this same category having no concept of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and therefore, make a mockery of Him. But true Christians that have the leadership of the Holy Spirit know that: “God is not a God of disorder, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). 

It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and righteousness and judgment. It is the Holy Spirit who produces in us repentance. It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates us and gives us new life. We are born of the Spirit once we have a full knowledge of who He is, and why Jesus promised that He would send an Advocate once He departed from this earth to be our Intercessor in heaven before the Father (John 14:16, Hebrews 10:10-14). 

It is the Holy Spirit who produces in us faith and submission to Christ. It is the Spirit then who gives us life eternal. We are then indwelt by the Spirit, baptized by means of the Spirit into the body of Christ, gifted by the Spirit to have spiritual gifts that are used to minister for the edification of the body of believers. We are secured unto eternal life by the Spirit. We are separated from sin by the Spirit. All of this occurs at the time of our salvation when we accept His free gift of grace. 

In verse 3 Paul is asking the Galatians, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” Basically he is asking them is, ‘now that you are saved, is it time to set the Holy Spirit aside and rely on your own wisdom, on your own strength, on your own ability to achieve perfection?’ 

Today, this is also a huge problem in contemporary Christianity. There is very little discussion, very little talk, very little dialogue, very little emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in sanctification; and many religions teach the erroneous doctrine that you can only get to heaven by doing good works when the Bible teaches us that: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

We need to understand that the only way to be perfected in the Christian life is by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is not something you can attain on your own, since it is only the Spirit who brings us into intimacy with God. The Spirit illuminates the Scripture. The Spirit glorifies Christ in us and to us. The Spirit personally guides us into God’s will. The Spirit ministers through us, as Acts 1:8 tells us, that when the Holy Spirit has come to live in us we will be witnesses to Him. The Spirit intercedes with us constantly before God, always in His perfect will. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). 

When we walk in the Spirit, He produces humility (Ephesians 4:2-3), purity (Romans 13:13), contentment (1 Timothy 6:6), faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), good works (Ephesians 2:10), separation (2 Thessalonians 3:6), love (Ephesians 5:2-3), light (Ephesians 5:8-9), wisdom (Ephesians 5:15-16) and truth (3 John 3:4).  

God has spoke through the Holy Spirit to His people for hundreds of years, and He revealed to Jeremiah the wonderful prophecy of the New Covenant, indicating that one day He would bring to them salvation, and that all New Covenant believers would also benefit from. “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, (this is the Mosaic Covenant, the Covenant of Law given on Mount Sinai) – My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:31-35). In this New Covenant God writes His law in the heart; and instead of being an external pressure to which man obeys and conforms to, it becomes an internal motivation of the soul. 

Ezekiel was also inspired to write about the New Covenant: “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). And in the following chapter he reiterates the message: “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life…Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:14). 

The New Covenant life then is life in the Spirit. The Spirit becomes for us that living fountain of divine waters flowing endlessly, providing all the spiritual resources we could ever need and far more. How foolish is it then when we live out our Christian lives to turn from this fountain of living waters, the indwelling Holy Spirit, to broken cisterns that can hold no water, as stated by Jeremiah 2:11-15. If we want to live on the spiritual level, if we want to live in the power of God, we must live in the Spirit. 

Keep in mind that until we are in heaven, sin is still present and all around us. Only when we obey the Holy Spirit will we not carry out the desires of our sinful nature, meaning the desires are still there even though we are in Christ and have been justified. Sin will conquer us if we don’t listen to the Holy Spirit. 

To help us, Galatians 5:16 sums it all up on how to live the Christian life. “Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”. That’s triumph, that’s victory, that’s conquering sin, the flesh that is in us. It’s that simple; as our life as a Christian unfolds each step that that we take needs to be in the power and under the control of the Spirit. 

When you are tempted remember that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). 

Here are Jesus’ last comforting words to His disciples, and should likewise be to us: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you(John 16:13-15).

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