“Will the Holy Spirit Ever Leave a Believer?”

Simply put, no, the Holy Spirit will never leave a true believer. This is revealed in many different passages in the New Testament. For example, Romans 8:9 tells us, “…if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” This verse very clearly states that if someone does not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, then that person is not saved. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit were to leave a believer, that person would have lost the saving relationship with Christ. Yet this is contrary to what the Bible teaches about the eternal security of Christians. Another verse that speaks to the permanence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence in the life of believers is John 14:16. Here Jesus states that the Father will give another Helper “to be with you forever.”

The fact that the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer is also seen in Ephesians 1:13-14 where believers are said to be “sealed” with the Holy Spirit, “who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” The picture of being sealed with the Spirit is one of ownership and possession. God has promised eternal life to all who believe in Christ, and as a guarantee that He will keep His promise, He has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer until the day of redemption. Similar to making a down payment on a car or a house, God has provided all believers with a down payment on their future relationship with Him by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell them. The fact that all believers are sealed with the Spirit is also seen in 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 4:30.

Beginning on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit began permanently indwelling believers (Acts 2). The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of God’s promise to always be with us and never forsake us.

While the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer, it is possible for our sin to “quench the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30). Sin always has consequences in our relationship with God. While our relationship with God is secure in Christ, unconfessed sin in our lives can hinder our fellowship with God and effectively quench the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives. That is why it is so important to confess our sins because God is “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). So, while the Holy Spirit will never leave us, the benefits and joy of His presence can in fact depart from us.

Do You Consider Yourself A Friend of God?

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.— James 2:23

Let’s say that being called a believer in God, or a follower of God, or a servant of God is not enough for you. Let’s say that you want to be called, like Abraham, a “friend of God.” What would it take to acquire that appellation? How could you become a friend of God? According to James, Abraham was known as the friend of God for two basic reasons. He not only believed in God and the promises God made to him, but he also acted in accordance with his faith. He had works that flowed from his faith (James 2:22).

Abraham believed God when God told him that he would have an heir from his own body and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15:4-6). At that point in time Abraham’s prospects for having a child seemed dim. Nevertheless, he believed God’s promise. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21). And as our verse for today makes clear, Abraham’s faith in God made him righteous before God. Abraham was justified by faith.

The reason why Abraham was justified by faith, however, was because his faith was more than mere lip-service to God. It was a living faith. It was the kind of faith that leads to works. This was revealed when God tested his faith later on by asking him to sacrifice his son on an altar (Genesis 22:1-19). Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, but God stayed his hand, and Abraham’s faith in God’s promise of an heir and many descendants was completed. He became known as the friend of God (see II Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8).

Jesus said this with respect to friendship with him, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). We can see, then, that friendship with Jesus, as well as with God, comes about when we believe in them and follow their commands. After all, what kind of friend to God and to Jesus would we be if we never did what they said?

Do You Have Doubts About Your Salvation? Read This!

5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.—1 John 1:5-7

One of the main reasons Christians doubt their salvation is the presence of sin in their life. According to 1 John 1:6, people who profess faith while continuing in a sinful lifestyle are deceiving themselves and walking in darkness. Verse 7, however, offers reassurance to those who are truly saved: Though they’ll still sin at times, this doesn’t mean they’ve lost their salvation. Today’s passage explains how believers are to deal with sin when it occurs in their life:

Confess your sins (1 John 1:9). Confession should be our first response when we stumble and fall. It means acknowledging to God that we’ve acted in a manner inconsistent with His character and standards and are in need of His promised forgiveness and cleansing.

Know that Christ is your Advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1-2). It’s never God’s will that we sin, but when we do, Jesus is our Defender in God’s courtroom. His sacrifice fully atoned for our sin and satisfied divine justice. When we repented and believed that Christ died for our sins, we were justified and declared righteous before God.

Know that sin is not a continuing practice in the life of a true believer (1 John 3:9). Since we’re born of God and the Holy Spirit abides in us, we cannot continue in sin. Although there may be brief periods of transgression, God’s Spirit works in us to change our desires and practices.

A believer’s disobedience brings the Lord’s discipline, not loss of salvation. However, as God’s children, we should never excuse our disobedience or abuse God’s grace by living in sin. Instead, we’re to pursue obedience and holiness.

(Presented with permission | © In Touch Ministries)

Ask The Holy Spirit To Help You Pray

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.— Romans 8:26-27 NLT

As a believer, you are not left to your own resources to cope with problems. Even when you don’t know the right words to pray, the Holy Spirit prays with and for you, and God answers. With God helping you pray, you don’t need to be afraid to come before him.

Ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for you “in harmony with God’s own will.” Then, when you bring your requests to God, trust that he will always do what is best.

A Scriptural Guide To Proper Thinking

There are many things we take for granted, and prominent among them are our thoughts. After all, they are always with us, yet we rarely stop to consider whether we are thinking correctly. Furthermore, how would we even know? What is the gauge for evaluating them?

The only sure way to know if we are thinking correctly is to align our thoughts as closely as possible with absolute truth, and that is found in the Bible.

If we’re making decisions based on lies or faulty reasoning, every aspect of our lives is affected. Since the day we were born, our minds have been programmed by what we’ve experienced and been taught. Some of it is good, but we may have developed thought patterns that are hampering our lives because they are not based on truth.

Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Then He continued by explaining that “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (v. 34). Since the human race is born with a sin nature that is hostile toward God, our minds have been corrupted, and that in turn affects every other area of our lives. We can no longer trust our reasoning. Therefore, let’s consider what the Bible says about the mind.

First, the minds of the unbelieving are darkened. This doesn’t mean they lack intelligence, but they can’t understand the things of God since these are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). All those who suppress the truth about God, which He has made evident within them and through His creation, become futile in their speculations and reasoning even though they claim to be wise (Rom. 1:18-22).

In addition, those without Christ have no power over sin. Although most people are not as bad as they could be, their sin nature contaminates their motives, making all their good deeds like filthy rags in God’s eyes. To make matters worse, Satan is constantly tempting and deceiving them with worldly pleasures and pursuits, and they have no defense. However, there is hope in Christ.

Second, believers become new creations in Christ with a new mind (2 Cor. 5:17). When we believe in Jesus, repent of sin, and receive Him as Lord and Savior, we are given a new nature that is bent toward God. We will never be the person we once were because we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Although we will still continue to struggle with sin, now we have the power to obey God instead of yielding to our natural inclinations.

Being a new creation in Christ also applies to our minds (1 Cor. 2:15-16). We are now able to understand the things of God; however, He doesn’t instantaneously change how we think. It’s a process, and we have a role in it. After salvation we may still be encumbered by wrong thought patterns, old habits, a worldly perspective, and bad attitudes, but God has provided what we need to be transformed—His Word. It’s when we continue in the Word, as Christ said, that we’ll know the truth and be set free from faulty thinking as well as sinful behaviors.

Third, without a renewed mind, a Christian will think like the world. Some believers are worn out with their efforts to overcome sin. The problem is that they are working on the externals but have failed to address the internal problem—their thinking. The only way to overcome destructive thought patterns and deceptions is to think biblically.

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Christ calls us to stop adopting the culture’s values, philosophies, and ideas because He’s working to conform us into His image, not that of the world, and it all begins in the mind (Rom. 8:29).

Every time you read the Bible, God is reprogramming your mind with truth so you can be set free from old thought patterns and begin to think rightly. The result is a life filled with trust in the Lord and victory over sin.

Engagement with Scripture is a personal essential. It’s also a crucial function of the church. Not only must pastors faithfully teach God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15), but believers should constantly remind each other of its life-giving contents: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). When you store up God’s Word in your heart and speak it into the lives of others, powerful transformation is possible.

If you’ll continue in Scripture, you’ll discover that it not only sets you free but brings delight to your soul, wisdom to your mind, and blessings to those with whom you share it.

(Reprinted with permission | Charles Stanley | In Touch)

Events of Jesus’ Life Before His Crucifixion

As Jesus and His disciples traveled throughout the area known as Caesarea Philippi, he performed many miracles. These miracles were a physical display of His power as God in the flesh. Since Jesus had been performing these miracles, such as healing a blind man, He wanted to know who the many people in the crowds thought He was.

Jesus asked His disciples traveling with Him. “Whom do men say that I am?” His disciples responded by saying, “People think you are Elijah, or John the Baptist come back in the flesh and some even think you’re a prophet.”

Jesus took His question one step further and asked His disciples directly, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him saying, “You are the Christ.” Why was Jesus interested in finding out what His disciples thought about Him. Jesus was preparing His disciples for the ultimately reality of His coming suffering and crucifixion.

Peter, the ever present vocalist for the group said to Jesus when he heard all this, “Lord may this never be.” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Get behind me Satan.” Peter at this point really didn’t understand that Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins.

So, being a Christian is to sincerely believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He died for our sins so that we might have life eternal in heaven. Our belief is based on our faith in the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and has conquered death for all those who believe.

Next Sunday is Easter. A holy and highly celebrated holiday among Christ’s followers. As we approach this important day we will continue to look at some of the events prior to Christ’s crucifixion. Understanding these events will give us a firmer foundation in the belief that Jesus is the risen Savior and Christ.