The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

fellowshipIt’s funny how so many Christians are practically anti-Trinitarian. Perhaps “funny” isn’t the right word. While so many of us believe in the Trinity, in our practical life we tend not to think so much about the Holy Spirit. We know He – though we often say “it” – is out there, but we don’t think about His involvement in our lives very much. But Paul wants believers to know and experience our Trinitarian God. At the end of his second letter to the Corinthians Paul prays that this church would experience the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” and the “love of God,” and the “fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” Most of us know the grace of Jesus, and the love of the Father, but it’s the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that we are seeming most unfamiliar with. But this is Paul’s prayer so he must believe it is important. Believers need to contemplate carefully what it means to experience the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

The Scriptures stress the relationship between the believer and the Holy Spirit. To be a Christian, then, is to be in relationship with the Holy Spirit. Jesus teaches that God has given to the church a “helper” (John 14:16), and that this helper is our teacher (v. 26). Paul, even more pointedly says that if you don’t possess the Spirit you don’t belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9). In Philippians 2 Paul states that the fellowship of the Spirit is motivation for the unity of the church (Phil. 2:1-2), without him division in the church would abound to its destruction. Believers have a necessary and fundamental relationship with the Holy Spirit. We have to, then, think carefully about it.

We need to think about it, however, according to Scripture. Communion with the Holy Spirit serves a vital and varied role in the life of the believer. The Spirit is our teacher. The Spirit confirms our adoption in Christ. The Spirit empowers us for ministry. The Spirit unites the body. So much can be said about the Spirit’s role in the lives of believers. Sadly, however, often not much is said, or what is said is simply wrong. In the coming weeks I want to explore both what real fellowship with the Spirit means, and what it doesn’t. We’ll see that there are often two extremes to understanding our communion with the Holy Spirit: (1) to diminish it below what Scriptures teaches; (2) to exaggerate it beyond what Scripture teaches. It’s important, however, that we understand what it means to relate Biblically to the Spirit of God.

The fellowship of the Spirit is a real and important aspect of the Christian life. We should pursue understanding it with great ardor. We should also pursue it by means of God’s revealed Word. As we come to understand it more and more this truth will, I believe, strengthen our Christian lives. It’s time for those of us who believe in the Spirit to “walk in the Spirit,” it’s time for us to truly live out our Trinitarian faith.

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