Part 1 is here.
Is speaking in tongues evidence that someone’s life is under the control of the Holy Spirit? Is speaking in tongues evidence that a person is a superior or more mature Christian, with a deeper experience of Jesus Christ than those who do not speak in tongues?
Here is how I read Romans 8.1-17 on this topic, then.
- Every Christian has the Holy Spirit. (8.9: “You are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”)
- The Spirit dwells in all Christians at conversion. He makes conversion happen (John 3.5-6); his presence is what gives us new birth.
- Even though the Spirit dwells in us, we must yield to him. We yield to him by setting our minds, hearts, desires, values, etc., according to the things HE desires. (8.5-8: “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”)
- Our relationship with the Holy Spirit is … well … a relationship. His power is always there, but we can resist him, which is often the cause of our failures (8.4-8). Is resisting the Spirit = “quenching” or “grieving” the Spirit?
- We can “quench” the Spirit (1 Thess 5.19); from the context (5.19-20), Paul here seems to be speaking of refusing to use in the church the gifts that the Spirit is giving, rather than refusing to yield to him in day to day life.
- We can “grieve” the Spirit (Eph 4.30); this seems to be more what Paul has in mind when he refers in Romans 8 to believers “setting their minds on things of the flesh.”
- If we yield to the Spirit, he does the following.
- He daily produces new life in us. (8.11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.” See also Galatians 5.22-23.)
- He enables us to crucify the attitudes and habits of the old life. (8.13: “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. “)
- He gives us confidence in our covenant relationship with God, even though we struggle today in the now and not yet. (8.14-16: “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, …”)
- He gives us wisdom and power when we’re weak & overwhelmed. (8.26-27: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”)
Next, I’ll apply Romans 8 to the questions that I started with and (hopefully) address some questions/observations from my friends on Facebook.