I shared a message a few weeks ago concerning how the Holy Spirit works in believers from John 16. My friend, Glen, offered some thoughts and an apt illustration that made me think, and so I am revisiting this thought concerning the Holy Spirit as He has historically related to our fellowship.
Glen shares this – I think it took a major event in my life 13 years ago this April before I began to see who the Holy Spirit is. That was when I had my cardiac arrest and when I got home from the hospital after receiving my first defibrillator implant, I began to realize there is a power beyond what I ever realized that was working inside of me thru God, and I no longer took the position of I could do things "all by myself". Or as an old country song goes with lyrics something to the effect of "no help wanted, I can handle this job all by myself". That seemed to be the position I had until after April 12, 2000. It is strange how we can be raised in the church, go to church and Bible class all our lives, and still miss the point of the Holy Spirit. It seems that it is gradually being corrected after a hundred or more years of error. It reminds me of a ranch I sold in Eastland Co., a modern survey showed it was 40 acres less than the deed stated. Guess what happened, the surveyor back 100 years ago missed a call in the survey (that is for example going from point A to point C, missing point B) which the survey showed 40 acres more land in the tract than there was. This error had not been discovered until 100 years later under modern day surveys and more knowledgeable title attorneys knowing what to look for. I took the owner to the courthouse and had him to look at the deed description which plainly showed a survey call was missing. Took 100 years before it was noticed, I think similar as to what we are finding in the study of the scriptures today compared with what was believed yesterday.
This is not the first time (and it will not be the last), where I have gladly had to answer the question as to why the Holy Spirit was ignored for so long in our fellowship. My original posting -- The KJV is an unfortunate translation of the concept of Holy Spirit...as a ghost and a Spirit are not at all the same thing, but many were led to believe that the Holy Spirit was something that was "not real" like a ghost. To be certain, the Holy Spirit is not just some "ethereal influence" as the JW's and a few other religions view Him, but He is very much alive, personally involved in filling us (Ephesians 5:18ff) with His presence and fruit (love, joy, peace, etc. Galatians 5:22ff). As I believe we have talked about in the past, many, if not most, churches of Christ virtually ignored the Holy Spirit until recent decades, thanks in large part to a reaction against the holiness movement in the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. Most rationalists could not get past what the restoration folks viewed as radical -- speaking in tongues, miraculous healings, etc...and perhaps rightfully so (in my opinion), but to take only a small slice of the pie with regard to the Holy Spirit and dismiss…or allow it to lead to misinterpretation concerning…the rest of such a critically important doctrine and working was a grievous error. It seems that it was just too much for rationalists to overcome...that Someone else could be in control of their lives...(a bit of humor there). However, there is simply too much biblical data concerning how the Holy Spirit works and how He works in our lives for us to miss what He is supposed to be doing in our lives individually and collectively – the aforementioned John 16 (as well as chapter 14), Joel 2, Acts 1 and 2, Romans 8, Galatians 5, Ephesians 1 and 6, etc.