What kind of a gift is the Holy Spirit? This article considers the person and work of the Holy Spirit to show what a wonderful gift the Spirit really is.

Source: The Messenger, 2014. 3 pages.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:38

“Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). What a wonderful promise Peter could set before the multitude gathered before him at Pentecost! He told them that all who would repent of their sin and believe on the Saviour would “receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” That gift is not just something that the Holy Spirit gives, but the Holy Spirit Himself is the Gift. What a wonderful Gift!

A Matchless Gift🔗

The Holy Spirit is a matchless gift. Sometimes we hear about matching gifts – for example, someone promises to match every dollar donated to a cause. That’s a matching, equivalent gift. But when God gives the Spirit to every believer, then no one can match that giving or this Gift. He is matchless!

Why is that? It is because the Holy Spirit is no One less than God Himself! He is divine as much as the Father and the Son. Who or what gift could be greater than having God the Holy Spirit given to you, even to live in you?

A Helpful Gift🔗

What is more, the Holy Spirit is not only very great; He is also very helpful. In fact, He is helpful before He is officially given to us. For example, it is the Holy Spirit who first brings us to Christ and joins us to Christ. In other words, we owe our spiritual life to the Holy Spirit. It is He who works in us to believe and who powerfully unites us to the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes a home for Himself in us by cleansing us from our sin and renewing our hearts. Using both law and gospel, He shows us our sin and our guilt and then He leads us to Jesus, inclining us and enabling us to believe in the Saviour. It is this faith and that connection that opens the way for the Lord Jesus to pour forth the Holy Spirit in us.

The Holy Spirit Helps Us to Abide in Christ🔗

The Holy Spirit works in us to keep us in Christ. Why is that so important? So that our whole life is hid in Christ and in Christ alone. Everything we need is to be found in Him – our salvation, our pardon, our righteousness, our hope, and our glory. It is only when we are united to Christ that we are safe, now and forever. The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is especially necessary to keep us in Christ. He keeps that union vital and alive. He keeps us believing when the devil would make us doubt and even deny the Lord. The Spirit keeps us from falling and from turning our back on the Lord. He keeps us sensitive to sin and works in us so we turn away from sin to the Lord and His grace.

The Holy Spirit Conforms Us to Christ🔗

Not only does the Spirit keep us in Christ, He also makes us like Christ. This is also essential. The Holy Spirit enters the hearts and lives of believers to sanctify them. He takes up residence in your life and begins to purify you of all that is unholy and unlike the Lord of glory. Think of that great text in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The Spirit’s work is to make us like Christ, so that we reflect Him – His love, His patience, His purity, His holiness, and His grace in our conversation and in our conduct, when we are with family and friends.

How does the Holy Spirit make us like Christ? He works in us through the Word of God. He confronts us with God’s will and way in the Scripture. He convicts us wherever and whenever we fall short. He conveys to us the grace of the Saviour, and thus He challenges us to walk in conformity with the Scriptures. Even more, He supplies the power and strength to walk in that way, as stated in Romans 8:13: “...Through the Spirit (we) do mortify the deeds of the body...”

The Holy Spirit Causes Us to Delight in Christ🔗

The Spirit also delights us with Christ. Jesus Himself refers to this ministry of the Spirit in John 16:14, when He tells the disciples that the Spirit’s work will be to “glorify me (i.e. Christ), for he shall receive of mine (i.e. Christ), and shall shew it unto you.” It is the Spirit who by His Word points every believer to Christ and helps us to appropriate the precious blood of Christ – blood so effective that it can cleanse from any and every sin. Likewise, it is the Spirit who rejoices to draw attention to the privilege of being in Christ, particularly the privilege of adoption into the family of God.

The Holy Spirit Helps Us to Proclaim Christ🔗

The Spirit also helps us to proclaim Christ. On Pentecost the Spirit came to fill and help Peter and the others to preach the Saviour. In Acts 4 it is recorded that He emboldened them after a brush with the law, with the threats of the religious leaders ringing in their ears: “Speak to no man in Jesus’ name.” The apostles met together and prayed: “Grant us boldness”. “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

The Holy Spirit helped them to preach Christ. The same is still true for you and me. We are part of the church which is called to disciple the nations. But we cannot do it on our own. We lack the courage and the power and the wisdom that is needed to be faithful to this great task. What do we need? We need the Holy Spirit! We need Him in us, helping us, empowering us, and emboldening us.

An Enduring Gift🔗

The Holy Spirit is also infinitely precious because He forever stays with believers. You never have to return this Gift, as is stated in the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 20, “He will abide with you for ever.”

That means that when He lives in you, He leads and guides you throughout life to all eternity. When He is in you, He will keep you forever in union with Christ. He will continue to make you like Christ, until it’s done and we shine in glory like the brightness of the Sun! And never, ever will the Spirit cease to delight you with Christ or cease to satisfy you with His grace and beauty. Every day the Spirit will help you to proclaim Christ until that moment when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. What an incomparable blessing! The matchless, helpful Holy Spirit is a gift that endures forever.

Do We Have the Spirit?🔗

Therefore, how important it is for us to be sure that we have the Holy Spirit living in us. If we are not born again, we do not have the Holy Spirit. If we are not truly Christians, we do not have the Holy Spirit. If we have not turned from our sin and begun to trust in Jesus alone for our salvation, we do not have the Holy Spirit. Let us be sure then, to have the Holy Spirit.

How do we receive Him? Go to Acts 2:38, which explains that we have the Spirit when we repent of our sins and believe in the Saviour. Then “ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Cherishing the Spirit!🔗

How important it is that when we have the Spirit living in us, we cherish the Spirit. That means to prize Him, to value Him, and to treasure Him. Why is that important? Because it is very possible to grieve the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that He will forsake us or leave us, but He may hide Himself and withdraw for a time, He may let us feel forsaken for a while. Paul writes about grieving the Spirit in Ephesians 4:30. We can make Him sad. We do that whenever we allow sin to continue unchecked in our life - especially sins of the tongue, of attitude and relationships. Such sins are the consequences of failing to cherish the Spirit.

Walk In the Spirit🔗

The Lord calls us also to walk in the Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit” (Gal.5:25) – that is, if we’re true Christians, “let us also walk in the Spirit,” – let us live as true Christians. Walking in the Spirit includes living “in the comfort of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:31) – that is rejoicing in the Spirit’s ministry which focuses us on the Lord Jesus. It also means seeking to bear the fruit the Spirit would produce in our lives, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. That is the Spirit’s goal and that is why He is given to us. That is where He would concentrate His holy time and energy.

Therefore, submit to Him. Walk in Him. Be totally open and obedient to Him. When we have the Spirit in us, our calling is to walk in Him.

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