THE HOLY SPIRIT‑THE GIFT OF GOD
Firm Foundation Chapter 5
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God "given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession" (Eph. 1:14). "The Holy Spirit is given to us as a promise from God that He will redeem us completely‑‑body, soul and spirit." When we receive the Holy Spirit, we have the means by which we can be transformed into the very image of Christ. The Spirit within us bears witness that we are truly children of God, and our hearts' cry out to God "Abba Father" (Rom. 8:14‑16). We have entered into eternal life, which is to know the one true God, starting now and continuing throughout eternity (John 17:3). Through the power of the Spirit of God, we may come into a close relationship with God and experience the "fullness of the resurrection life" as we learn to be led by the Spirit instead of our own fleshly desires.
Some of the benefits of having the Holy Spirit are that we are empowered for "effective witness and service." The Holy Spirit equips us with a variety of gifts and graces to accomplish God's purposes in the church and on the earth. Just as miracles and healings were performed in the early church's history through the power of the Holy Spirit, the same signs and wonders can and are being performed today with reliance upon the Spirit of God. Jesus Himself said the following in Mark 16:17‑18:
And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
To be baptized in the Holy Spirit means to be totally immersed with God's Spirit. Some evidence of having had this experience is the ability to speak in tongues (a language unknown to ones' mind) and to prophesy (Acts 19:6). When a believer in Christ speaks in an unknown tongue, he is speaking to God and speaking mysteries which edifies himself (1 Cor. 14:2,4). The Bible says that the Spirit within us intercedes for us according to God's will when we pray in tongues (Rom. 8:26‑27). Jude 20 says that we build ourselves up by praying in the "Holy Spirit."
Whenever Christians gather together they should be prepared to give of themselves in various ways. 1 Cor 14:26 states that when we assemble together, we should bring "a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue with interpretation." The Holy Spirit has equipped each believer with gifts and graces in the following three distinct functions: variety of gifts (motivation gifts), variety of ministries, and variety of effects (manifestation gifts).
The Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit
The variety of gifts given to individuals by the Holy Spirit will "motivate" us to the work of service. Some of these gifts, found in Romans 12:6‑8,13, include: prophecy, service, encouragement, giving, leading, showing mercy, contributing to the needs of the saints (helps), and practicing hospitality. Every person is born with motivation gifts, but they are fully developed as he lives the Christian life. Each member of the body has been given a separate ministry, function, and ability to be used for the building up of the body in love.
The variety of ministries given to individuals include: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, workers of miracles, gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues (separate from prayer language). These ministries are found in Eph 4:11 and 1 Cor 12:28.
The variety of effects "manifest" themselves by the leading of the Holy Spirit as the need arises, and they "generally operate in pairs or groups." These gifts that are found in 1 Cor. 12:8‑10 include: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, effecting of miracles, prophesy, distinguishing or discerning spirits, tongues (separate from prayer language), and interpretation of tongues.
In addition to the gifts which are given to us, there are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit that reside within us that need to be developed. These fruits include: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self‑control (Gal. 5:22‑23). The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts should arise together for the common good of all (1 Cor. 12:7).