Summary: What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer in Jesus? You may have some preconceptions that steer you in the wrong direction as to the Spirit’s real purpose.
If you belong to Jesus by putting your trust and reliance on Him for your salvation—then the ownership of your life has been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Part of that ownership change involves a seal put on you, but it’s more than just a mark of ownership, it (He) is actually making changes, transforming you into someone fit for the coming kingdom.
That’s where we end up in our journey through Paul’s extended praise of God in verses 3 through 14 of Ephesians 1 .
What have we seen so far:
We have been given advantages by God in His dimension (vs 3)
We have been chosen by Him to become like Him (vs 4)
We have been adopted into His family to be sons and heirs (vs 5)
We have been made clean through the purchase of our lives with the blood of Jesus (vs 7)
We have refocused our lives to come into concert with God’s ultimate plan to sum up everything and point everything to Jesus (vs 9-10)
We have an incredible inheritance through the work of Jesus: a relationship with God (both Jew and Greek) and we have also become God’s inheritance (vs 11-12).
He is a gift from Jesus (vs 16)
He brings truth (vs 16)
He is in us (vs 17, 23)
He lives inside of us permanently (gk: abode, home)
He comes to help us understand who God is and help us to be like Him and accomplish His will (vs 26)
Now in verses 13 – 14 we see a little of how this works—the process God uses to bring about this great destiny for us.
First came a hearing of a message (gk: logos). Paul wrote: Rom. 10:17 “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.”
The message is the “gospel”, where we get the word “evangelize” and it means “good news”. Very simply, someone somewhere said something to you, or you read or overhead someone talk about the work Jesus the Messiah did to “rescue” us from sin, which separates us from God and everything good.
The first step is hearing. By the way, how is your hearing these days? Jesus said on multiple occasions: “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.” What happens when you hear the words of Jesus? Do you zone out, get mad, or perhaps have preconceived ideas that crowd out the actual words.
My encouragement to you is to let the “word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16 ). Jesus often says things that are hard to understand but they will change your life!
The second step is not just hearing or knowing of the existence of something, but actually trusting in and acting upon what you hear. Belief here means to “trust” or “place confidence” in something. When I take my money down to the bank and deposit it, I have confidence that they will keep my money safe. Now that may be a vain confidence, but when it comes to trusting that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection actually did wash us from sin and procure a place in heaven for us—that is not a vain hope at all.
But you can’t simply acknowledge that Jesus lived and that He was a good man who taught us how to live. The demons believe in God—they know He exists, but they are not saved (James 2:19 ). Belief in Jesus means you put your weight down on His claims to be the One True God sent to rescue you. It’s like Peter’s words when Jesus asked if he and the other disciples were going to leave in John 6:68 . Peter said “where will we go, for you have the words of eternal life.” It means realizing you are need of a rescue (I have sinned and fallen short and can’t save myself) and reaching out to Jesus to perform that rescue for you (by washing away sin and creating in you a new nature).
So what actually happens then when you hear the gospel and put your trust in it? Paul says here that we are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead of Father, Son, and Spirit—three in One. They are One, yet distinct. You could say that the Holy Spirit is God’s mind, God’s thoughts. But when God thinks, things happen (like when He spoke the creation into existence, which is the expression of God’s mind).
Some things about the Holy Spirit: