Praise God the Holy Ghost
Who Has Called Us Into Fellowship With Jesus Christ
THE TRIUNE GODThe God of the Bible reveals Himself as He is; He is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). The worship of any other deity is called idolatry. God reveals Himself in the Bible as Triune. He is three in one as is seen in the Old Testament (Number 6:23-27). He reveals Himself in like manner as three persons in the New Testament. (Matthew 28:19) We summarize the one and only God, the true God, as three persons in one God. There are not three gods, but one God. Not one God with three different names, but One God who reveals Himself as three separate distinct persons.
THE HOLY GHOSTThe Holy Ghost is the third person of the Trinity. This does not mean that He is third in importance. He is true God (Acts 5:3,4). He is a spirit being (John 4:24). He is equal in honor and power and glory with the Father and the Son. Some other names for Him in the Bible are the Spirit of the Lord (Acts 5:3); the Comforter (John 14:26); The Spirit, Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:10,11).
WHAT IS THE WORK OF HOLY GHOST?The work of the Spirit is called sanctification. The word sanctify means to set apart. God the Holy Spirit has set the believer apart from the ungodly world. The believer was not set apart because he was a believer. He is a believer because he was set apart (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14). Further, the Spirit is He who gives understanding of divine Truth (John 14:26).
HOW DOES THE HOLY GHOST WORK?The Holy Ghost works through means. The Word of God is the means through which He works. Through the word of the Law the Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his sin and guilt (Romans 3:20). He also, through the Law, shows the curse and wrath of God which the sinner deserves (Galatians 3:10).
THE HOLY GHOST AND FAITHFaith does not just happen. Faith is not a consequence of prayer. Faith is not a work of man, a good attitude, or change of habit. Faith is not emotion. Faith is a gift of the Spirit through which the Chritian confesses Jesus as Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3), and through which one apprehends the words and promises of God. Likewise here, the Spirit does not work without means (Luke 16:31). The Spirit of God creates faith through the MEANS OF GRACE. The Means of Grace are the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. Through the same means He confirms, affirms and keeps the believer in the faith unto eternal salvation.
SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOSTAll sin is forgiven through the merit and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one sin that is unforgivable (Matthew 12: 31,32). It is unforgivable, not because it is too great to be forgiven by the Lord, but because it is a sin against the very One whose work it is to convert and convince, as well as against the divine truths through which the Spirit works. It makes repentance impossible. Those who have committed this sin are not disturbed by it. The Christian however, who is concerned when he sins, but who feels a longing in the heart for divine grace, has not committed this sin. Nevertheless, the Christian will want to be careful to study the Word and receive the Sacrament through which faith is cultivated and strengthened against the attacks of the devil.
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRITThe Holy Spirit gives gifts to God's children as He did in the early Church (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:6-8).They are given to individuals in various measure for the common good. One of these gifts in the early church was the gift of tongues. Yet this particular gift was not to be exaggerated or used to promote self, or as though it were the ultimate gift. In fact, this particular gift is mentioned last in 1 Corinthians 12. The gift of tongues without interpretation does not edify the church. The 13th chapter speaks of love as the greatest gift of the Spirit. Without love, speaking in tongues is as a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1). Paul, who had the gift "more than you all," in fact preferred that he spoke words with understanding (1 Corinthians 14:19) The Christian's zeal is for spiritual gifts which build up the Church (1 Corinthians 14:12). Finally, the use of tongues is a judgment against unbelievers (Isaiah 28:1,2), "while the clear speech of prophecy becomes a token of God's present activity for believers to establish and confirm them in the faith" (Franzmann).
FRUITS OF THE SPIRITFruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are contrasted to works of the flesh in Galatians 5. With the call to faith through which the Christian is set apart from the world, the Spirit has also has set the Christian apart from the works of the flesh (Ephesians 2:10). That is, he that has been sanctified has crucified his flesh. The Christian manifests faith by living in the Spirit, and bringing forth spontaneously and gladly those fruits which glorify the Savior, Jesus Christ. Such fruit bearing is the will of God (Titus 2:14). Furthermore, fruits of the Spirit are possible only because of the Christian's connection to Jesus Christ (John 15:3,5). Fruits of the Spirit are just that: fruits. They do not merit eternal life and are not the cause of salvation