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The Holy Spirit in Paul's Letters


Several weeks ago we started a series of lessons on the Holy Spirit. Our goal was to shine light on this topic. We have already noted that due to some false teaching within Christendom, and even in our fellowship of the churches of Christ, people have misunderstood the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. One who knew this subject much more than we could imagine is the apostle Paul. He wrote about the Holy Spirit often in his letters.


Paul is the one who tells us that the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts and manifestations (the outshining) of His presence to and through the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:4-10). As we have read in the gospels, the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the ability to cast out demons (Matthew 12:28) and as we saw in Acts, the Holy Spirit was meant to be a seal for the believer in Christ (Acts 2:38-39).


What does Paul teach in the letters to the Corinthians? The Holy Spirit knows the things of God, because He is God (I Corinthians 2:11). One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to teach us (I Corinthians 2:13, John 14:26). Because of this, the Holy Spirit can reveal the deep things of God to us, especially as we read His word (I Corinthians 2:10, II Timothy 3:16-17). The Holy Spirit reveals what has been given to us from God (I Corinthians 2:12, II Peter 1:19-20).


By the time Paul reaches chapter twelve he is in full stride! The church in Corinth needed to understand the core teachings of Christianity. Paul reveals more and more of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The Holy Spirit intends to work through God’s people (I Corinthians 12:3). Paul also harkens back to his teaching in Romans 6-8 by recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit in Christian baptism which places us into the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13).


In the second letter to the Corinthians he says that the Holy Spirit brings liberty (II Corinthians 3:17), that He transforms us into the image of Christ (II Corinthians 3:18), and is our guarantee and deposit of the future resurrection (II Corinthians 1:22, 5:5). Much of this is also referred to in the letter to the Romans.


In the book of Galatians, Paul says that the Holy Spirit cries in our hearts, “Abba, Father” aiding us in prayer (Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:26-27), He enables us to wait (Galatians 5:5), He grants everlasting life (Galatians 6:8), and that He produces in us the fruit or evidence of His work and presence (Galatians 5:22-23). Without these blessings a Christian would be bankrupt in their walk with God. A walk with God is a “spiritual” walk!


Next week we will consider the book of Romans. Paul has much to say about the work of the Holy Spirit in that particular book. In fact, it may take us several weeks to examine His teachings in that great book. Specifically, notice what he has to say in the 8th chapter. Have a great week!


You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds


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