Now we have established that every Christians has the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them from the point of conversion we must look at the next misconception…
Misconception 2: You can lose the Holy Spirit
This is a classic problem for many Christians – have they ‘lost’ the Holy Spirit by grieving Him or sinning against Him? Indeed on a pastoral level this can be torturous. I spent hours as a UCCF staff worker with students who had been taught terrible pneumatology that made the Holy Spirit an extension of subjective/felt experience.
But Ephesians1 is clear – the Holy Spirit is a deposit guarantee.
He is the demonstration of the promise. He is the proof that we are saved. The person who is truly converted is certainly going to heaven. Why? Because it is based on Jesus’ work on the cross and not ours. We are saved and kept by grace. The Holy Spirit is our proof and guarantee of this.
Sometimes we get confused becuase we read certain Old Testament passages where people do lose the power of the Holy Spirit – but we need to remember what we learned before: At Pentecost everything changed! It was a one-time event that meant that all believers would have the Holy Spirit – permenantly.
Saul lost the Holy Spirit because he was pre Pentecost.
David was scared of losing Him because he was pre Pentecost.
But we are post Pentecost believers – we stand in this age.
You see, Pentecost not only teaches that all believers have the Spirit, but we all have it for all time. We have entered the age of the Spirit – a new way. In these last days we have the Holy Spirit as a guarantee!
God is a faithful because it is based on the finished and perfect work of Christ on the cross.
But although we all have the Holy Spirit and we cannot lose Him as much as we cannot lose our Salvation because of Christ’s effective and final work on the cross, there is a sense in which we can grieve Him.
What does it mean to ‘grieve’ the Holy Spirit? ( Ephesians 4:30)
The context of this verse is in living in the light of the gospel. In Ephesians 4:1: we are to live a life worthy of our calling. In 4:17 Paul wants us to live as children of light. and in v29 Paul is talking specifically about words and relationships.
The Holy Spirit wants our sanctification – He wants us to be more like Jesus in our lifestyles, thoughts and words. He gets upset (as He is a Person of the Godhead) when we refuse to do this. This is where we need to work if we want to please the Holy Spirit and live in His power – in our relationships.
He is not so much concerned about how we sing songs (which seems to be many peoples perceptions – how often have I heard someone say that the wrong song at the wrong time can spoil the Spirit in worship… absolute rubbish!!!!!! Anyway, back to the point…) as with our motives for doing it and how we treat others in the church.
It really upsets me when I see the thing that causes disunity the most is our various thoughts on ‘Spirit filled’ worship! Do we really think that out worship is Spirit led if it causes disunity and friction? Do you really believe that someone is under the influence of the Spirit is they cause a church split or become angry and forceful over tunes, instruments and hymns?
Let me be plain – if a persons lifestyle is not marked by the fruit of the Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control) then we can rightly question his claims to various gifts of the Spirit and their use in the local church.
We must not believe everyone who says they are led by the Spirit – we should first look for evidence of the Spirits work in their lives. Scripture is clear: Test the Spirits.
Let us attempt to keep unity at all times so that we may not grieve the Holy Spirit.
Richard Baxter said these wise words:
‘In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.’
In the final installment we’ll ask how to be filled with the Spirit.