So What Is the Spirit Up to in Your Life?3 min read

Who is the Holy Spirit and what is He up to anyway? These questions have led some to an unhealthy focus on the Holy Spirit and others to forgetfulness about the Spirit. A sound approach to the Holy Spirit respects the centrality of Christ in the Scriptures, but also shows how the Spirit actually shapes Christ in us, in our lives!

Neither a Free Agent Nor a Neglected Person

To avoid seeing the Holy Spirit as a free agent, the Spirit and the Son must be seen as inseparable companions, always working together in a joint mission to bring us into communion with God the Father. Where the Son is, the Spirit is. And vice-versa. Christ, the incarnate Son of God, is the bearer and giver of the Spirit. Or we may say that the Spirit of the Father rests on and is sent by the Son for us.

To avoid neglect of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit whom Christ bears must also be seen as the Spirit whom Christ gives to us, as therefore as the Spirit of Christ in us. We may then ask what the church that lives in the Spirit of Christ looks like today, how the Holy Spirit actually shapes Christ in us.

The Spirit Is United to Christ

The Gospel writers portray Jesus, the Son of God, as the bearer of the Holy Spirit, the one filled with the Spirit of God, the one who speaks and acts in the power of the Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit rests on Christ, He is with Christ at all times.

At the Jordan, the Father anointed Jesus with the Spirit for His saving mission as Yahweh’s suffering Servant. Anointed with the Holy Spirit, Jesus brings His Father’s gracious kingdom among us by delivering us from Satan’s bondage, calling people to repentance and forgiving sins, and opening the way to eternal life for us through His service unto death and glorious resurrection. The Spirit is involved in all these events.

[Tweet “The Spirit drives us to the foot of the cross daily, to the waters of our Baptism, in order to die to self and be raised anew in Christ.”]

The Spirit Shapes Christ in Us

The same Spirit whom Christ bears Christ has given to us, the church.

Like Jesus, the church is led by the Spirit into the desert to face the devil’s attacks. As one who was tempted, Jesus sympathizes with our struggles. But when Christ sends His Spirit into our hearts, He gives us “the sword of the Spirit” (the Word of God), and access to His Abba Father in prayer to resist the devil’s attacks.

Like Jesus, the church is also led by the Holy Spirit into the world to call sinners to repentance and forgive their sins. Through the Word, the Spirit convicts and comforts us, kills the Old Adam in us and makes us a new creation in Christ. The Spirit drives us to the foot of the cross daily, to the waters of our baptism, in order to die to self and be raised anew in Christ.

Like Jesus, the church is led by the Spirit to die to self in order to make room for the needy neighbor. The Spirit shapes us to be Christlike, leading us to serve others in thanksgiving to God for His gifts in Christ, our greatest Servant.

And at last, when our service is done, the same Spirit through whom God raised Jesus from the dead shall raise us from the dead too. Our struggle with death, sin, and the devil will also come to an end. The Spirit and the Bride say: Come, Lord Jesus!

A Question For You:

So what is Spirit up to in your life? Is the Spirit accompanying you in the wilderness as you stand firm against Satan’s attacks? Is the Spirit convicting you of sin and giving you the assurance of God’s deliverance from guilt and shame? Is the Spirit bringing you into new and exciting places where your service, gifts, and vocation are needed to care for various neighbors?

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About the Author

Leopoldo (Leo) Sánchez was born in Concepcion, Chile and raised in Panama City, Republic of Panama. He is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where he also serves as Director of its Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) in The Werner R.H. and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Chair for Hispanic Ministries. Dr. Sánchez recently completed his second book in Spanish, "Teología de la santificación," on the topic of sanctification or Christian life. He serves in various committees, think tanks, and boards. In his spare time, Leo is a double-bass player with the St. Louis Civic Orchestra, plays Latin and jazz bass gigs with local groups, and takes classes in or reads books about music history and theory for fun. He lives in St. Louis, Mo. with his wife Tracy Lynn and their two children, Lucas Antonio and Ana Victoria.

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