Monday, March 14, 2011
The Spirit of God
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
What does it mean to have the Spirit of God?
I have responded to many people in the last year who do not have the Spirit of God. I would just like to list some of the comments these people have made in response to a couple of my writings or essays if you will, about heaven and hell, about life and death, about sin and forgiveness and about the Almighty God. These comments are a mockery to the Creator of our universe.
They are as follows:
· Amen! For a God who would torture his own creations in hell simply because they made the wrong choice. Amen! For free will, the most damnable gift of all time...I await the day when all you hellers learn and repent your wickedness.
· I have trouble reconciling a God of love with the God that condoned violence and murders in the O.T. The fear of hell is what makes Christians believe...
· God tells us to love our enemies and then He makes His enemies suffer forever and ever.
· So, exactly when was hell created? It wasn’t on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth days. So he must have created it on his day off.
· All humans are a product of nature like all forms of life on this planet...Since all religions are manmade myths, which old book was inspired by what gods when all gods are fabrications of human myths?
· I suggest you actually use your reasoning capacity instead of blindly following an ancient book of myths.
· If God truly wants us to serve him out of love, then why does he threaten us with eternal torture, or bribe us to love him with eternal bliss when we die?
· You ask about Kristeen’s comment: Eternity is forever. I can tell you from my experience that is it a veiled threat of hellfire, the passive aggressive method that is so favored by Christians to make their points.
It is easy to see that these people have no love or respect for God and therefore we know His Spirit does not dwell in their hearts.
Thankfully along with the comments from those who don’t love God, my writings have also prompted many positive comments from people who do love God, and it is obvious His Spirit resides in their hearts. I would also like to list some of the positive comments I have received.
They are as follows:
· We need to show the love of God for all mankind. We need to pray that their eyes be opened. We need to help them in all possible ways so that they can see the love of God and be transformed.
· AMEN sister! All glory to God! I love how you speak the truth without twisting scripture or wavering. Rock on sister! We have much work to do for HIM who loved us first.
· You hang in there sister! People that hate the message of hell will no doubt hate the messenger, and the Bible says we will be hated on account of His name.(Matt. 10:22) God has no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord. REPENT AND LIVE! (Ezekiel 18:32). Blow the trumpet sister!
· This is a great reminder to pray for others. So many people plan their vacations, but don’t even think about eternity.
· So keep the faith and let’s win souls into the kingdom of God. PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST FOREVER!
· Sister Kristeen, beautiful hub. You truly love the word of God as I do. The world will always find fault with Christians, because we shine the light of the Gospel on their way of life and expose it for what it is – evil. You keep proclaiming the word of God.
· Kristeen, I have just had a chance to read your excellent hub. I love this paragraph: ‘Stay in the word. Read it and study it daily. Love God and put Him first in your life. You will be truly blessed and you will have nothing to fear from the devil and his wicked schemes. You are protected by Jesus.’
· Kristeen: Thank you! You did a good service to God in fielding difficult questions. God has all the answers to every question.
The verse from 1 Corinthians 2:9 above is an often misunderstood piece of scripture. I misunderstood it myself for many years. My pastor clarified it for me recently in his sermon one Sunday.
In and of itself this scripture; No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, seems to be talking to us about what God has prepared for all believers in heaven. This is not necessarily a bad interpretation. It is not misleading people in any way, but in reality this verse carries with it a whole different meaning – a meaning that is important for us to see and understand. The apostle Paul is not focusing on our future life in heaven, but on our present existence here on earth during our time of grace.
He is referring to our having a knowledge of God which is only attainable to those whose hearts and minds are filled with the Spirit of God and who believe and have faith in His Son. Through the gift of His Spirit, we are able to see, hear, and comprehend the words of Scripture. We are given a peek at the heart and mind of God.
In verse 11 of the same chapter the apostle Paul states; For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? As individuals we know what is in our own heart, but we are not able to know what is in the hearts of others. We cannot see into their souls and know exactly what they are thinking or feeling. We can only judge by their actions, which may or may not be in line with what they are thinking.
In the same way, without the Spirit of God, which is revealed to us through His word, we are unable to see the heart and mind of God. It will seem to be foolishness to us, like the people I quoted above who consider God a myth. They don’t see God as a God of love. They don’t believe in hell. They feel that God bribes us with heaven and threatens us with hell to get us to believe in Him. They advise believers to use their human reasoning rather than blindly following an ancient book of myths.
Paul explains further in verse 14; The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The ways of God are revealed to us only through spiritual discernment. In other words it all seems like nonsense to those who don’t have faith.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 51: 5; Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Ephesians 2:1 tells us also; As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins... We are born into this world spiritually blind and dead in sin. Just as a dead person is physically unable to do anything for himself, so also a spiritually dead person is unable to help himself believe and come to faith. We are born with a natural knowledge of God, but without the Spirit of God. We can say we believe there is a God, but that does not mean we believe IN God. That does not mean we have the life giving faith which leads us to an eternity in heaven with Him.
So, how do we receive that faith? How do we get the Spirit of God? Where does it come from? Paul answers this question in Romans 10:17 when He says; consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Therefore faith comes from listening to, reading and studying God’s word.
Although you are not able to come to faith on your own, you can take the first step by picking up your Bible and beginning to read. If you have never read scripture, the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are a great place to start. The Holy Spirit will open your heart and begin to live within you.
Faith also comes to us with Baptism. Through Baptism the Holy Spirit puts faith in our hearts, forgives our sins and makes us members of God’s family. And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins...After me will come one more powerful than I...I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:4,7,8)
Jesus Himself was baptized as an example for us (Mark 1:9-12) and He commands baptism in Matthew 28:18,19 as He speaks His parting words to His disciples. He says; All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
In Titus 3:4,5 Paul also tells us; But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 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... and in Romans 6:4 He tells us; We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Do you have the Spirit of God? If not would you like to? It isn’t difficult to attain. In Deuteronomy 30:11,12 God assures His people; Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach...No the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. It is a gift from God freely offered to all people through the sacrifice of His one and only Son.
Take that first step and reach out for His word. You will have no regrets. He offers full and free forgiveness for all sins no matter how unforgiveable they may seem to us. Remember Jesus words to the thief hanging on the cross beside Him; I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)