The Holy Spirit is the key to living the Christian Spiritual Life. Paul’s letter to the Galatians was probably his first letter to any group of believers, and in his letter, Paul placed great emphasis on God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote,”[D]id you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” (Gal. 3:2). At the moment of first believing in Jesus (the Son of God), we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thereafter, we are instructed to walk by the Spirit as opposed to walking by the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17).
Walking by the flesh occurs when we walk by typical human desires, motivations, and lusts. In contrast, seeking God’s will must be our primary motivation. We are not required to disregard our typical human desires, but God’s will must be our foremost priority. We ascertain God’s will by His Spirit, Word, and Providence (God’s protective care and provision for us). Walking by the Spirit is how we inherit or take possession of the Kingdom of God and enjoy the fruit of Kingdom Living (Gal. 5:22-23). The “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Experiencing the fruit of the Spirit is the key to our happiness and living a fulfilled life.
John, the Elder, taught that after Jesus’s ascension to His Father, believers were going to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 7:39; Acts 2:33). As promised by Jesus (Acts 1:5), beginning at Pentecost (at or around AD 30), believers began to receive and experience the new and expanded ministry of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). Jesus taught his disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they would become His witnesses in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Jesus wants us to learn how to listen to the Spirit. The Jesus Movement is a worldwide movement; it is not confined to a particular geography or race.
Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as another Helper (allos parakletos) (John 14:26) and as the Spirit of truth (John 14:17). Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us by God, and the Holy Spirit would teach us all things (John 14:26). Jesus further explained that the Spirit of truth would guide us unto all truth (John 16:13). In this life, we may encounter or enjoy many good Bible teachers, but not one of them will be 100% correct, 100% of the time. The Holy Spirit is our primary teacher. As finite beings, we are incomparable to our infinite God.
Every believer is a temple of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19). Now, we serve God by the newness of the Spirit as opposed to the Old Covenant Law (Rom. 7:6). Now, as stated above, we are required to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Rom. 8:4-6). Paul explained that if we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9). Further, all who are led by the Spirit are the authentic sons and daughters of God (Rom. 8:14). As previously mentioned many times, life in the Kingdom of God is characterized as righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). We are told to worship in the Spirit (Phil. 3:3), love in the Spirit (Col. 1:8), walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5: 16-17), have joy in the Spirit (1 Thess. 1:6), pray in the Spirit (Jude 1:20), and listen to the Spirit (Rev. 2:11, 3:6). Jesus taught that the Spirit gives life (John 6:63).
Every believer has been sealed (sphragizo) by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and every believer has been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge (arrabon) (2 Cor. 1:22). The Greek word sphragizo means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation, … to attest.” On the other hand, the Greek noun arrabon is defined as “a pledge, i.e., part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest.” For example, when buying a home, earnest money acts as a deposit on the purchase and demonstrates one’s seriousness in buying a home. Therefore, the gift of the Holy Spirit marks or authenticates every believer as a possession of God, and further, the gift of the Holy Spirit serves as a down payment of future blessings (2 Cor. 5:1-8; Gal. 3:14). God wants to bless us in many special ways, but we will not receive all of God’s intended blessings for us unless we remain faithful and obedient.
Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has permanently indwelt every believer, but we can quench (frustrate, offend, cause sorry) or grieve (suppress) the Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19). I believe there is a distinction between being indwelt by the Spirit versus being filled by the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is synonymous with being in fellowship with God. Although permanently indwelled by the Holy Spirit, we may or may not be in fellowship with the Spirit. If we commit a sin, we will lose fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must acknowledge our sin to God and regain our fellowship with God. John, the Elder, wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Eventually (Acts 8:16), after Pentecost, every believer was indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16-17). However, before Pentecost, the indwelling of Holy Spirit was confined to a minority of believers. For example, the Spirit was said to be upon Moses (Num. 11:25), and later, some of the Spirit that was upon Moses was shared with the seventy elders of Israel (Num. 11:25). When the Spirit was shared with the seventy elders, they began to prophesy, but they did not prophesy again after that initial event (Num. 11:25). In regard to the construction of the Tabernacle, furniture, and priestly uniforms, a man named Bezalel was given the Spirit so that he would possess a special knowledge, wisdom, and skill in their construction (Exod. 35:30-35). Additionally, the Spirit of the Lord came upon various leaders like Joshua, Gideon, Jephthah, and David. Further, the Spirit was said to be upon various prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel. Primarily, the anointing of the Spirit was upon leaders and prophets. The Apostle Peter explained that all prophecy was the product of men being moved by the Holy Spirit and then speaking from God (2 Pet. 1:21). Of great importance, the Apostle Paul explained that all Scripture is God-breathed (theopneustos) (2 Tim. 3:16).
Significantly, before Pentecost, a believer could lose the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:14). As an example, because of his disobedience, King Saul lost the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Further, because of his disobedience (the Bathsheba incident), David prayed, “And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11).
The reader may want to know whether or not an average pre-Pentecost believer could ever receive the indwelling of God’s Spirit. Notably, we cannot do God’s will without God’s Spirit. At Psalm 143:10, we read: “Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God, let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” David wrote these words, but were his words of encouragement ever applicable to the average believer? When speaking before Pentecost, during His earthly ministry, Jesus said, “So if you, despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13). The old man Simeon (who held the infant Jesus in his arms) was the example of such a believer. He was described as being righteous and devout (Luke 2:25-26). We read that the Holy Spirit was upon him, and the Holy Spirit led Simeon to the Temple at just the right time to meet Jesus and his parents. Further, we read that the Holy Spirit had previously revealed to Simeon that he would see the Lord’s Christ before he died (Luke 2:25-26). We can conclude that Simeon had prayed to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit so that he (Simeon) could live in a way that was pleasing to God.
Since Pentecost, every believer can enjoy the security of knowing that he or she is permanently indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit. The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives every believer the capacity and ability to do God’s will and fully enjoy the fruit of the Spirit and life in the Kingdom of God. However, we may wonder how we can correctly distinguish between the Spirit of God, the spirit of the world, or even our own conscience (which may be the product of many things, to include our parent’s teaching, or life’s lessons). First, the voice of the Holy Spirit is always consistent with and in sync with the Word of God. Second, the voice of the Spirit builds within us righteousness, peace, and joy. Third, the Spirit always functions contrary to lust (inordinate desire). Further, it should be noted that the First Century believers, after having received the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, then devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42). Many were saved from the perverse generation in which they lived (Acts 2:40). However, most commonly, men and women have resisted the ministry of God, the Holy Spirit, and they have been accurately described as “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears … always resisting the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51).
 “G4972 – sphragizō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 30 May, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4972/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.
 “G728 – arrabōn – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 30 May, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g728/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.