The Spirit Within

Not too many months ago, I encountered a commenter on another blog who expressed doubt that Jesus’ promise of His Holy Spirit in John 14-17 was meant for anyone but His gathered disciples then and there in the upper room.

He believed the promise was not meant for us, in other words; that the Spirit of truth would counsel and comfort us; remind us of everything He has said; bring us peace; testify of Jesus in our time; or guide us into all truth.

Just them.

Just then.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” ~ Acts 2:38-39

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 … And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, ~ Ephesians 1:13 … And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ~ Ephesians 4:3

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:14 … For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:13

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:13 … he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, ~ Titus 3:5

And what about the whole of Romans 8? 1 Corinthians 12? Galatians 3, 4 and 5?

How could anyone read these verses, become familiar with them, know them backwards and forwards and maybe even in Greek, and still wonder whether Jesus was speaking to us about the gift of His very own, indwelling Holy Spirit?

Or believe that He would live within us only as a seal, performing no other work in us or through us to glorify God and draw ourselves and others closer to Him?

You would have to earn a doctorate in mental kinesthesiology to perform the feats of inductive gymnastics required to land that conclusion with both feet firmly planted in the pages of God’s Spirit-breathed word.

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48 thoughts on “The Spirit Within

  1. Keith said, “How could anyone read these verses, become familiar with them, know them backwards and forwards and maybe even in Greek, and still wonder whether Jesus was speaking to us about the gift of His very own, indwelling Holy Spirit?

    Or believe that He would live within us only as a seal, performing no other work in us or through us to glorify God and draw ourselves and others closer to Him?

    You would have to earn a doctorate in mental kinesthesiology to perform the feats of inductive gymnastics required to land that conclusion with both feet firmly planted in the pages of God’s Spirit-breathed word.”

    Keith I am sure you weren’t referring to me, but I will confront the problem with your interpretation anyway.
    First I’m sure you are going to show us where the phrase ”
    indwelling Holy Spirit?” is located in scripture, and what “spirit within” means.

    These are the closest I can find to what you say, notice what the words mean that have been translated “within” .
    Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    mesos—-1) middle2) the midst
    3) in the midst of, amongst

    Isa 63:11 ¶ Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, [and] his people, [saying], Where [is] he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where [is] he that put his holy Spirit within him?

    within – qereb — 1) midst, among, inner part, middle.

    If I could make a suggestion, I would I would suggest, you replace within with among. after you show me where this word “indwelling” is I might have a suggestion there as well.

  2. sorry, I intended to give another’s opinion on what Isa 63 said.

    Isa 63:11 Then they remembered those days of old when Moses led his people out of Egypt. They cried out, “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd? Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit to be among his people?

  3. Keith, Let’s look at the meaning of this word translated, comforter.

    Strong’s G3875 – paraklētos = 1) of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.

    1) summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid

    a) one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate

    b) one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor

    1) of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins

    c) in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant

    Hummm, this guy needs a doctorate in mental kinesthesiology too, whatever that means.

  4. “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” ~ Ephesians 2:22

    “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” ~ Ephesians 5:18

    “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:14

    “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. … And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” ~ Romans 8:9, 11

  5. I think that many folks are uncomfortable with the idea that the birth is spiritual and that we receive a new innermost being when we are born again. Most Christians may have the Holy Spirit living in them but they do not understand what it means to lives from that part of them. Most prefer to lean on the own understanding rather than the voice of the Spirit. For most Evangelicals the brain most always trumps the innermost being.

  6. I will just take the first two examples you gave, if necessary I will explain the others.

    “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” ~ Ephesians 2:22

    Keith, unless I am mistaken this is speaking of adding the gentiles to the family of God/church.

    “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” ~ Ephesians 5:18

    Keith if this referrs to “the holy spirit” the third person in your trinity God, why is it compared to the spirits of wine/hard drink. No it is not a person spoken of here. it is a mindset.

  7. Jhn 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
    Jhn 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

    No Keith, when you pray and they are not answered, you don’t have to feel badly, this is not a promise to you.

    Jhn 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
    Jhn 14:19 ¶ Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

    What event do you think Jesus is speaking of in John 14:18,19. And when he returned who saw him, who did he speak with?

  8. Laymond, I’m not terribly interested in Strong’s, but in scripture.

    You and I can spend all the pixels and time we want explaining or explaining away what we wish to, and it won’t change the fact that God wants to live in our hearts, minds, souls, and strength – and offers that possibility.

    Our bodies are temples of that Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), who is in us – whether collectively, individually, both, or in a way we perhaps can’t fathom.

    But to try to reduce the Holy Spirit to simply a “mindset,” rather than a person, requires that same sort of expertise in mental gymnastics I mentioned above. Jesus spoke of “him” as a person in John 14-17. Explain it away all you want.

    As a simple person, I’ll stick with the simple conclusion.

  9. I think that Christianity is distinct in the idea that God not only exists around us but wants to live in us. It is a difficult concept to grapple with because most religious people simply want an exterior set of concepts/precepts to adhere to with their mind rather than an inner presence that guides them from within. Just look at how many Evangelicals tout the Ten Commandments as the cornerstone of Christianity. Christians are people that are led from within rather than from without. Following a bunch of external rules may be religious but it is not Christian.

  10. When we miss the promise of God concerning His Spirit we miss a little bit of heaven. The Spirit is promised as a deposit. The Spirit is God’s earnest guaranteeing what is to come. God wants to dwell in us and work through us. I don’t think I could continue my walk as a Christian without the strength the Spirit brings to me as He dwells in me. That my brothers is no state of mind!

  11. Keith, I strive to be like you, and others who claim to be guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit but , I cannot because if I were , I would not make as many mistakes as I do, I even sin against God’s wishes from time to time, yes it saddens me to know that I am just human and have to rely on my own spirit, and the bible to guide me along with words of God the Father transmitted through his begotten son Jesus Christ, I read about Jesus and try (as futile as it is) to be like him. But he was indwell ed by the spirits of God. I was given the word to guide me, and the example of Jesus to follow, also as Paul said we have a good conscience to help guide us even if we are not Jewish. Yes I would like to be sinless, but I can’t claim to be, but if I were indwelled by the Holy Spirits of God, as his Son was, I too could be perfect. But I am not perfect, so I will trust in the one human who was, and the promise of salvation, given from God through his son. Unless you have no sin, and you claim the Holy Spirit lives within your body, you claim the Holy Spirit accepts sin in the place where he dwells.

  12. All due respect, laymond, the conclusion you’ve reached – that anyone who sins cannot have the Holy Spirit – does not square with scripture.

    David committed several heinous sins, including adultery and murder, yet wrote at the Spirit’s breathing many beautiful psalms of praise to God – like Psalm 110, which Jesus quotes in Matthew 22:44. He also wrote Psalm 51 in penitence for his sin with Bathsheba and begged for God not to take His Holy Spirit away from him (v. 11).

    You said, “…if I were indwelled by the Holy Spirits” (singular, Ephesians 4:4) “of God, as his Son was, I too could be perfect.”

    Was Paul perfect? No, but he was inspired. (I know you have difficulty with that concept, but it’s true nevertheless. Read Romans 7 and don’t stop there; read Romans 8, too! It is the Spirit who is given to us to help us battle sin in our lives, not to guarantee perfection!)

    • All due respect, laymond, the conclusion you’ve reached – that anyone who sins cannot have the Holy Spirit – does not square with scripture.

      Keith you seem to always take what I say to extremes, I have never said a sinner can not have the Holy Spirit as their guide, This discussion between you and I has always been, where the Holy Spirit resides, you say he resides within the sinner, I say he resides in heaven and communicates to the sinner’s spirit, which does reside within the sinner. I say the Holy Spirit is God the Creator called by a different name, you say the holy spirit is a totally individual person.

      I start my prayers like this, My Father who is in Heaven, do you start by saying , my guide who resides within me. ?

  13. Religions like Judaism and Islam are law based with the focus on obeying external rules. Christianity is Spirit based and focused on obeying the inner voice of the Spirit. Apart from the inner presence of the Holy Spirit Christianity is really no different than other religions.

    • Bob, Christianity is based on Jesus Christ and his mission from God the Father.
      Yes Jesus said God is Spirit and must be worshiped in spirit and truth, some who clain to be Christian have forgotten the “TRUTH” part, how was the truth delivered ? by Jesus Christ, to the apostles, how do we recieve the truth, through the written word of these wittnesses, of that mission. Yes we are guided internally by God if we are truly searching for the truth, how are we guided spirit to spirit.
      The Spirit of God guides the spirit of man, if we ask. and if our requests are deeply ingrained within our hearts, It is said God sees the heart, and answers the spirit.

      • Jhn 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;
        Jhn 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

  14. Laymond – I’d be interested what you think it means to be born again. What do you think it means to be born of the Spirit? Religious people like Nicodemus didn’t seem to understand the concept when Jesus talked to him about it. Many religious people today seem to not as well. It is a difficult concept for the brain to grasp. And maybe some have the Holy Spirit but simply do not understand His workings? For me though I agree with Jesus –

    “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

    “‘You must be born again.”

  15. you must be born again, When you are baptized, you are emersed a physical child of God, and you are raised a spiritual child of God.
    Your spirit is added to the church, not the body the body remains sinful as always, but your spirit has to control that sinful body. what do you think it means.

  16. @Laymond – In the same way that your physical body is born via natural birth your spiritual body is born via a supernatural birth. Baptism has nothing to do with it.. if it did the the thief on the cross was not born again.

      • @Laymond – You are asking a black and white question that has a gray answer. Some are born again the moment they first repent.. for some it takes longer because their repentance is not genuine.. sometimes the new birth is a quiet one.. sometimes it is quite loud.. sometimes it comes in the waters of baptism and sometimes on a cross crying out to Jesus. Surely you don’t feel that there is some baptismal formula for being born again. To reduce the new birth to some sort of formula is to, IMO, put it and God in a box.

        But the question remains about what happens at the new birth. I believe that is the time when we are given a new spiritual Holy Spirit filled heart and a new relationship with God. It sounds like you might consider this a time when one just turns over a new leaf and by will power become a Christian.. but I may not be understanding you.

    • @Laymond – Good stuff in Hebrews for sure.. this is a theme throughout it:

      “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

      It speaks to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our innermost being.

      That aside I am thinking that you are in agreement with my last comment? Just joking. I am okay to leave the conversation for another day.

  17. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

    It speaks to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our innermost being.

    Bob in order to get the message you got from what was said, you have to have a preconceived notion, as you do.

    What is actually said here is, if you understand the message of Jesus, don’t be stubborn, don’t deny the word of God, as Pharaoh did, you will be lost as Pharaoh was.
    I believe there is another place in this book, that warns, After you have gained the knowledge and accepted Jesus as the messenger of God, and the bearer of truth, after accepting his blood as forgiveness of sins, and then you turn away, there is no more forgiveness of sins for you.
    I believe this parallels the statement you quoted, about hardened hearts.

  18. @Laymond- I do think that there are preconceived notions about the Holy Spirit in our comments. You apparently believe that the Holy Spirit no longer speaks and therefore a person cannot hear His voice. I simply disagree with you.

  19. Well, I guess that is what makes an interesting conversation, learning what others get differently from the same book, read by both. bless you Bob.

  20. Keith and Bob, and every one else who claims the Holy spirit dwells, makes his abode within their body, talks with them, and gives advise from within.
    I would like to ask how it is when I get in a discussion with you, about this, you always refer to scripture written within the pages of my bible. I have never once heard, a sane “indwelled” person say, “Well I was speaking to the spirit within me and he said” no it is always scripture they quote.
    I have seen court cases where a criminal was sent to jail, while all the time saying “God made me do it” . I know there is reference to the human body being a temple, that is fine , we should act as if we represent God at all times, because we as Christians do just that. But God does not live in a broken, sickly, dieing human body. How does God live in us and us in him?
    God lives within our Heart Soul and Mind, the things that make up our spirit. Strangely enough he lives in the spititual part that will not die at the demise of this old body. We have a choice, we can allow God to live in our spirit, or satan will take possession of our heart, soul, and mind. We as a creation of the almighty God can choose Good, or evil, I try my very best to choose good every time, sometimes I fail but it was my choise, not something God led me to do. yes we do have a choice, thanks to God’s sacrifice of his only begotten son. What we owe, we owe to God, not a spirit seperate from our own, sharing our earthly body. God lives mentally within us, not physically.

  21. “But God does not live in a broken, sickly, dieing human body. How does God live in us and us in him?”
    “God lives within our Heart Soul and Mind, the things that make up our spirit.”

    Laymond, where do you get these ideas? They’re not from scripture.

    People who live by the Spirit are naturally going to quote the scripture He inspired; that’s how God speaks verbally to men in an objective way. It’s not like the Holy Spirit is going to speak to someone and sau things that contradict what He has already said.

    • Laymond, where do you get these ideas? They’re not from scripture.
      “If I may be so bold” I disagree .

      Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
      esō- a) the internal inner man
      b) the soul, conscience

  22. That’s a very Greek distinction – in philosophy as well as language, Laymond. Scripture says “inner man” or “soul” – but it doesn’t say “not in the body.” It doesn’t say “only in the ‘inner man’ or ‘soul.'”

    Greek philosophy saw the two as separate; scripture doesn’t.

    God created everything – including our bodies – and pronounced it “good.”

    Where does your idea come from that “Heart Soul and Mind, [are] the things that make up our spirit”?

    • Keith, you might want to read on, further.

      Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

      kardia – 1) the heart
      2) the centre and seat of spiritual life

      a) the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours

      b) of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence

      c) of the will and character

      d) of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions

      • @Laymond – Interesting that you quote Ephesians 3:17. Seems another verse that supports the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer which you seem to take issue with and which Keith’s post is about. Maybe it has all come full circle?

  23. Keith all my religious philosophy depends upon that Greek distinction.
    That is all we have until someone finds those hidden scrolls written in English. 🙂

  24. Bob, there is a great difference in how I see what influences us to do right, and a special person living inside our body, co-habitation. As a matter of fact I have never heard you say you believe “the Holy Spirit” Is a person aside from God, that co-inhabits your body. others do. I have never said we are not influenced by God, I believe God performs certain miracles even today, as I know you do. I believe God is “The Holy Spirit” not a separate being issued to each Christian at baptism, to care and lead them, I believe that might be called a guardian angel, some believe that version also, I just have seen no evidence of it. I place my trust, all of it in God the almighty creator, the one who sent Jesus Christ to redeem the world. The one Jesus worshiped as God, The father Jesus called greater than himself. I believe Jesus brought the truth, the word of God, because if he didn’t his word would be worth no more than yours. Yes our inner self is influenced by God, if it is not than it is influenced by Satan, and sometimes Satan creeps in anyway. So with God’s help we have to fight him off.

  25. When the scriptures speak of Christ dwelling in our hearts it refers to the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Christ. That interpretation seems to resonate with the previous verse that speaks of being strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.

    What is your understanding of what Ephesians 3:17 means? What or Who is it that lives or dwells in our hearts?

  26. What is your understanding of what Ephesians 3:17 means? What or Who is it that lives or dwells in our hearts?

    2) the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated
    a) the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides
    If we live by the teachings and principals of Jesus, we have the spirit of Jesus. The spirit lives in us by faith, our faith not his.

    If you believe the spirit of Jesus remains on earth within the Christian, what was raised, what ascended to the Father’s side.
    Even the bible has a hard time describing the spirit, it is like the wind, it goes where it wants. I believe the modern day description would be physique.

  27. @Laymond – Not sure what you mean by:

    “The spirit lives in us by faith, our faith not his.”

    How is this different than the Holy Spirit living in us?

  28. Bob, before I continue to answer questions, without getting any answers to my own, answer me this one question please.

    Do you and others who claim indwelling of the spirit, mean to say you are possessed of the Holy Spirit in the same way these people were possessed by evil spirits.
    Mat 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with [his] word, and healed all that were sick:
    If not what is the difference except that one is “Good” and one is “evil”. are you possessed by the spirit, or do you possess the spirit.

  29. @Laymond – I think I was the last to answer a question when I said:

    “When the scriptures speak of Christ dwelling in our hearts it refers to the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Christ. That interpretation seems to resonate with the previous verse that speaks of being strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.”

    But to indulge your question 🙂

    It is absurd to compare the Holy Spirit to demons. God is not interested in possessing anyone but He does dwell in our hearts by faith. So, my answer would be that we are in control of our actions. We either yield to the Holy Spirit or to our flesh.
    +++++

    Your turn:

    Not sure what you mean by:

    “The spirit lives in us by faith, our faith not his.”

    How is this different than the Holy Spirit living in us?

  30. As we shall see there are many things described in the scriptures as “The spirit of” when they are not spirits at all.
    at least not a person.

    Num 5:14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
    NLT – Num 5:14 – If her husband becomes jealous and suspicious of his wife, even if she has not defiled herself,

    Job 27:3 All the while my breath [is] in me, and the spirit of God [is] in my nostrils;
    NIV – Job 27:3 – as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils,
    Pro 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
    NLT – Pro 18:14 – The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed? ]
    (this is most likely speaking of will and determination)

    Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
    (wisdom, understanding,counsel, might, knowledge, and fear) all gifts from one God, not many persons indwelling one.

    Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
    Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
    (the spirit of love)

  31. Love the photo of Christ coming up out of the water. It’s the one we use on the certificates we give the woman in the jail when they are baptized.

    Good thing I am not as smart as you guys regarding the above discussion to be able to participate in it. Really glad for my poor humble soul that I believe he, the Holy Spirit, took up residence in my innermost being (read that, my heart and soul) when I was baptized and that I feel free to speak with him daily seeking guidance. He usually comes through for me, if I am truly seeking truth that day.

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