Introduction: Expectations of the Holy Spirit
that we have accepted Christ, the promise from the Lord is
we receive the Holy Spirit, who becomes our Helper.
What then can we expect from the Christian walk at this
point? Should we expect to live a sinless life? What
expectations does God have for us?
One of the
greatest problems for a believer is to understand the
changed life. Learning how to struggle with the old
nature and live the new nature. Paul pictures
the Christian life like a race (Philippians 3:14), and in a
race there is a method to winning.
The goal of
the believer should be to win the race set before us.
Anybody who runs knows there is a process to training the
body to endure the trials of a race. Before race-day, the
runner trains with the race in mind. The greater the
training, preparation and planning, the more serious the
runner is about the race. The writer of Hebrews uses the
imagery of the race with spectators watching as the runners
head toward the finish. Only here the spectators are those
who have run before.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a
cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the
sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with
endurance the race that is set before us,
in Hebrews instructs the runner (the believer) to cast off
weight and sin, so we can endure the race. The Christian
life is an endurance run; we must train and prepare
ourselves for this contest. Examining the lives of many
“successful” saints, both Old and New Testament, we will see
they strived for personal holiness, they are not born with
it; they choose to strive for holiness. Paul seeing Jesus
on the road to Damascus did not just rest on seeing a
vision, but battled his old nature, through discipline
bringing it under subjection to the new nature.
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but
one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may
obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize
is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a
perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight:
not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body
and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached
to others, I myself should become disqualified. I
Paul had to struggle with his old nature, we like Paul need
to be focused the prize. Let us ask ourselves, are we
focused? If not, are we willing to focus on the prize of
holiness, being like Christ?
expect from the Holy Spirit?
expect us to be perfect and sinless, now that the Holy
Spirit is dwelling within? Scripture is clear God
understands our frailties and our sin nature. This however
is not an excuse for sin. Now that the Holy Spirit is
dwelling within, we have power, which we did not have
before. We should expect the Holy Spirit to move in our
lives, to help us be like Christ. We in turn must allow
God’s Spirit to operate in our life, by submitting to His
will. To know His will, we must approach the throne of God
in prayer, seeking God’s will. To know God’s will means we
need to read God’s Word, which communicates His will.
Christian walk is journey from the time of conversion until
the time of perfection. Once we come to Christ, the Holy
Spirit moves in our life, transforming us into the image of
Christ. The extent of our transformation on this side of
eternity depends on how willing we are for the spirit to
work in our life.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror
the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same
image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the
Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18
have to understand God does not require perfection for
salvation, Paul like us did not attain perfection in this
life, it was his goal. Perfection should be our goal, but
we will only reach it at the resurrection. Therefore, in
this life, we must always remember sanctification,
is an ongoing process, lets not give up when we fail, but
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already
perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one
thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and
reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call
of God in Christ Jesus.
our expectations should not be too high, that we become
dejected and give up, we must understand we are in a
process, and walk in the Spirit. When we do fall, we need
to confess our sins, and not wallow in the mire. By
confessing, we are cleansed from the sins, and restored by
the blood of Christ.
8 If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is
not in us.
9 If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar,
and His word is not in us.
I John 1:8-10
This is the
difference between the victorious and defeated Christian
walk. The victorious Christian understands their position
in Christ, that they are being perfected, but not perfect.
Therefore, they know they can fall, but when they do fall,
they can confess their sins, and be restored and continue
the journey. This does not give us license to sin, but
mercy when we do. While the defeated Christian, refuses to
move forward, wallowing in their sin, not understanding they
have the power to move forward and upward in their walk.
They see their sins as evidence of being powerless, they
give up, therefore they prevent God’s Spirit from working in
defeated Christian, who walks in the flesh has decided God
does not have the power to transform their life, therefore
they live a life of bondage and defeat. Israel did
not think God could lead them into the Promised Land;
therefore, they spent 40-years wandering the wilderness of
Sinai. We don’t want to be like “faithless” Israel, who
always questioned God’s ability to deliver on his promise.
We want to be like “faithful” Israel, Joshua and Caleb, we
need to believe the Lord, and act on His word, moving
forward with our lives.
in describing the victorious Christian life uses military
terms, because in many ways there is a battle. There is the
personal battle within, as the new man wars against
the old man. Secondly, there is a spiritual battle
without, as Satan tries to prevent the advance of the
Kingdom of God, by warring with the Lord’s army, His people,
the saints. We need to understand the battle at hand, our
battle is a spiritual battle, but its still a battle. For
this reason, the Bible uses military images to help us
understand, terms such as conquer and triumph
help us to understand the war between the flesh and spirit.
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us. Romans
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in
Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His
knowledge in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but
if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you
will live. Romans 8:13
One key to
victory, is understanding the battle at hand, and being
engaged in the conflict. We have the weapons to wage war;
we need to learn how to use them. If we submit to our old
nature the fleshes, then we die, we loose the victory made
available to all who have the Spirit. This is not about
salvation, but about victorious living.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in
Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but
according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life
in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and
is our target?
Aiming too low
One temptation is to rest in our salvation, sometimes I hear
an inner voice say, “Come on man your saved! God doesn’t
expect you to be perfect, just stop trying”. Sometimes its
easier to stop trying and just give up, this is what my
flesh tells me. If I listen to that inner voice, my old
man, then what I am do is open myself up to spiritual
ways, the world aids our old nature, when rejecting the
concept of sin, and assigning the blame to those around us.
Rather then look at our sin nature, we refuse to deal with
our choices. Robertson McQuilken contrasts two models of the
human condition, one biblical, the other secular.
The idea of
self-worth or self-esteem could be viewed in both a
secular view or a biblical view. Our value
according to the Bible is not because of who we think we are
when compared to others, but who God says we are. We are
made in the image of God, and God loved us enough to die for
our sins. We can be restored to a relationship with God, we
are highly valued, by God. This is the biblical way of
viewing self-worth. The secular way, looks for value as a
result of self-effort, and personal accomplishment. For
example, by reaching a certain level of success in world, I
therefore have worth.
Healing (restored self-image)
Freedom & Fulfillment
Freedom & Fulfillment
under these two models of self-worth, often times its easy
to excuse our sin. Its easy to say, “because I have
suffered in the world, and have low self-esteem I can’t stop
sinning”. While if we use the biblical model, we understand
what sin is, and who we are in Christ. We know our eternal
value and position in Christ, it does not matter what
happened to our old nature, we are a new creation. So we
can say, “I am in the image of God, I can have victory over
my sin through the power of the Spirit.
choose to live a defeated life, we get the results of our
choosing. Satan is our enemy; Jesus called him a liar from
the beginning. Satan wants us to wallow in our past, rather
then to rejoice in our future. If he can keep us focused on
our failings, so we don’t try to advance in our spiritual
walk, then he has removed us as a threat, to his kingdom.
After all, scripture calls Satan the god of this age (2 Cor.
44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your
father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning,
and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth
in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own
resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 "But
because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
Aiming too high
extreme of living in spiritual defeat, is the self-deception
of perfection. Scripture makes it clear, we will not be
perfect in this life (I John 1:8).
Perfection should be our goal, something we strive for but
we are bound to fail occasionally, because we still have a
fallen nature. If Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament
through the power of the Spirit, did not attain perfection,
then why will we?
contrary, those who claim spiritual perfection are according
scripture deceived, even calling God a liar. Our goal
should be strive for perfection, moving closer and closer
toward the mark. While at the same time, understanding if we
fall we can confess our sins and be restored, but to keep
moving forward and upward.
should be to live the victorious life, whatever our
circumstances. The Lord wants us to take our condition and
submit it to Him. This life is not end, but only the
beginning. In addition to Salvation, which is for all
believers, the Bible speaks of rewards at the “Bema”
seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10).
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
that each one may receive the things done in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:10
When we are
rewarded for a faithful life, when are works are tested.
Our goal should be to live a life approved of by God. In
the parables of the mina and talents the servants, present
their work before the master who has returned. Two of the
three servants assigned the task heard the words “Well
done”, as a result their master rewarded them. (see also Matthew 25:14-30)
12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far
country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13
"So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten
minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' 14 "But
his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him,
saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.' 15
"And so it was that when he returned, having received the
kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had
given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how
much every man had gained by trading. 16 "Then came the
first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17
"And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because
you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten
cities.' 18 "And the second came, saying, 'Master, your
mina has earned five minas.' 19 "Likewise he said to him,
'You also be over five cities.' 20 "Then another came,
saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put
away in a handkerchief. 21 'For I feared you, because you
are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit,
and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "And he said to him, 'Out
of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You
knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not
deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 'Why then did you
not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have
collected it with interest?' 24 "And he said to those who
stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who
has ten minas.' 25 ("But they said to him, 'Master, he has
ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has
will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he
has will be taken away from him.
our life on this earth, the Lord will reward his saints with
responsibilities in the life to come. This is the point
behind the parable of the Talents and the Mina, the nobleman
represents Christ who went into a distant country (heaven),
to claim a kingdom. His servants (believers) were assigned
tasks in the master’s absence, the servants responded to the
commands in different ways. When the master returned
(Christ return) he rewarded the servants based on their
assigned was test for reward when the master received his
kingdom. We are part of this very same promise, Jesus has
promised to reward us for a faithful life, this in addition
to our salvation.
12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with
Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 "I am
the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the
First and the Last." 14 Blessed are those who do His
commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of
life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
What does this mean? We are not sure of what all these
rewards are. Some involve positions of responsibility
others notoriety. The exact rewards are not entirely
spelled out, because there is an expectation and excitement
in the world to come, the mystery yet to be revealed, God
just gives us a glimpse. Just as people in this world seek
the rewards of this world, the Lord want His saints to seek
the world to come.
People work tirelessly night and day, earning
degrees or making sales to reap the reward in this life,
this reward is temporary and passing. On the other hand,
Christ promises eternal reward to those who are willing to