As believers we are told one thing that we often overlook; it is that we have been given a guarantee in the form of the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus Christ for salvation.
21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NLT)
This gift we have received is provided so that we can come to know Christ better and to work in accordance to His will. The Holy Spirit in us is evidence of our relationship to Christ and allows us to show love that is beyond our own personal abilities. However, the first thing we need to understand is what the primary goal of the Holy Spirit really is and that is best explained by this sentence from Wayne Grudem.
"The work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world, and especially the church." I add one portion to this and that is in the life of the believer.
This idea is simple everything that goes on in and around the church should bring glory to God. For this to occur it must be done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The same thing can be said for the Christian who desires to live a righteous life; it cannot be done separate from the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. As I looked for examples of this I realized that not everyone is walking at the same pace so what might be considered sinful by one person the other has not yet reached a point in which the Holy Spirit has revealed or convicted them of it as something that is sinful. I know some will not agree with me on that but in my own life it has been my personal experience. Paul also talks of this condition as he writes to the Romans;
7 Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "You must not covet." 8 But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.9 At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law's commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Romans 7:7-10 (NLT)
As you can see Paul recognized the fact that for many of us we do not understand what we are doing is sinful until we are confronted by it either through God's Word or His Holy Spirit convicting us of it. For many people today even some who call Jesus Lord; they do not know or trust God's Word enough to allow it to penetrate to their heart and mind showing them their sin. Instead the live by the old saying, "Ignorance is Bliss" there by denying the opportunity to grow closer to God. Too many Christians today are comfortable with just getting by and in the meantime are missing out on what God really called them to do.
In allowing God's Word to penetrate beyond the surface of our lives He empowers us for service not only to Him but to one another. I pray that today you will spend time in God's Word asking him to show you that sin that you have hidden away that is keeping you from the promises he has guaranteed to each of us through the Holy Spirit. Have a Blessed Day.
Rev. Brian H. Mathis CSC
Ordained Minister Church of God, Cleveland TN
Currently serving as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Westminster Baptist Church
Graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary MDiv in Chaplain Studies