Galatians: The Holy Spirit

Happy Pentecost!

Icon of the Pentecost
Icon of the Pentecost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acts 2 records the fulfillment of a centuries-old prophecy: God sent His Holy Spirit in an unprecedented way. Some years later, the apostle Paul would write to the “bewitched” congregations in Galatia straightening them on their knowledge of the Spirit:

  • The person rescued by the Lord Jesus Christ receives the Spirit by believing the message of the gospel (3:2)
  • That person begins, continues and completes his/her spiritual life with the Spirit (3:3)
  • God gives His Spirit to the person who believes the gospel (3:5)
  • The Spirit is made available to Gentile believers through faith in Christ Jesus (3:14)
  • God sends the Spirit of his Son into the believer’s heart, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (4:6)
  • The son born by the Spirit is persecuted by the son born the natural way (4:29)
  • The people Christ died for eagerly await by faith through the Spirit the righteousness for which they hope (5:5)
  • Those who are called to be free live by the Spirit (5:16)
  • The Spirit desires what is contrary to the flesh (5:17)
  • Those who aren’t under the law are led by the Spirit (5:18)
  • The Spirit produces fruit in the lives of those who willl inherit the kingdom of God (5:22)
  • Those who belong to Christ Jesus live by and keep in step with the Spirit(5:25)
  • Those who sow to please the Spirit from the Spirit will reap eternal life (6:8)

3 thoughts on “Galatians: The Holy Spirit

  1. Thanks for the rundown of the Spirit in Galatians. I don’t know about you, but this has been an extremely difficult subject for me. Do we have the Spirit in the same way as the first century? For example, Galatians 3 seems to suggest that they received the Spirit at the hearing of faith and could work miracles and evidence of the manifestation of the Spirit. Did all individuals receive the Spirit or did the church collectively receive it? Miracles were evident in first century church, but I don’t see that same kind of activity today. I don’t doubt the Spirit works today, but I find it difficult to put my finger on exactly how all that happens.

    1. Do we have the Spirit in the same way as the first century?

      Short answer: I don’t know.
      Long answer (that’s actually a question in disguise): For some years, I was involved in Charismatic circles. When I think back to some of the experiences I had, I wonder whether I was impressionable, or whether the Holy Spirit was truly at work or if it was a counterfeit.

      One thing I’ve come to appreciate in my post-Charismatic phase is the less sensational work of the Spirit in the believer’s life—helping us live upright and godly lives, for example. That never crossed my radar before when I focused on the miraculous, and yet it is more fundamental. Every Christian must live a life that pleases God, though not each one will be the agent or recipient of a miracle.
      Don’t know if that helps.

      1. I agree with your short answer. There are many things that are a mystery about the Spirit, but I appreciate your focus on what we can know. I believe you are right that the Spirit can help us to live upright and godly lives, and that should be our focus. Thanks for your thoughts!

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