Mystery of the Holy Spirit Bible Study Lessons
I HAVE SPOKEN AT some length about the Holy Spirit and the life of the Christian. This placement of the Holy Spirit is called the anointing. It, like everything else we are discussing here, is a mystery. In Colossians 1:26–27 Paul wrote:
[The fulfillment of the word of God is] the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Here this phrase “Christ in you” is found. But just as importantly we see again that this word mystery is used to indicate not something hidden but something that God is revealing. Paul said that the mystery “has been hidden from ages.” Yes, it was at one point not revealed, because Messiah had to come for these mysteries to be revealed. So what do we mean here by the mystery of the Spirit?
A SACRED SECRET
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul points out that the hidden treasures of God are hidden in Christ Jesus. All the mysteries of the Bible are sacred secrets that are available to every believer. Colossians 1:26 says that the mystery has been revealed “to [God’s] saints.” That word saints simply means “holy ones.” This does not mean holy in the sense that the word is so often used but simply that the saints are ones whom God has set apart.
Salvation—being “born again,” being “reborn,” being “converted,” being “washed in the blood,” “getting saved,” or whatever term you might be prone to use—is a wonderful experience with the Holy Spirit. The church, however, has done a great disservice to the world. We have tried to tell people that there is a “plan of salvation.” We have printed leaflets and tracts, written books and sermons, recorded songs about this “plan.” Don’t misunderstand me. There is a message of salvation. But people have a tendency to think that if we can memorize something that’s easy, then that is the route we are going to take. So we tend to take the unbeliever through the “Romans Road.” Was that Jesus’s witnessing method? No!
There is nothing wrong with knowing the facts and being able to present them, but what we have done is pluck green fruit and brought lost people into the church because they agreed with a plan. But these people were never truly converted! Salvation is a revelation of the Spirit of God and the work He has done in our lives. Jesus Christ literally, in reality, by His Spirit comes to live in our lives. It is not just a process of some prayer and not feeling anything or really knowing anything.
Salvation is a simple yet mysterious truth. The way is clear: a person must agree with God about his sins and turn from them. He must personally invite Jesus into his life as Lord and Savior. My friend Ron Dunn put it best, I think, when he said that salvation happens when “we give all we know about ourselves to all we know about Jesus.” This is a transaction that takes place by faith.
Even when put so simply, we must understand that there is an invisible, mysterious, and wonderful change that takes place in the life of the new convert. Salvation is not now, nor has it ever been, simply knowing “the plan of salvation.” It is not accepting facts, though facts must be believed.
No! I say again, true conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit. That is the mystery of conversion. God’s Spirit moves into our inner person to live in us during our years upon earth. Again it must be more than feeling. I have heard some people say, “You don’t have to feel anything.” That is simply untrue! The Bible warns us about being past feeling. Salvation is God coming to live in us for the rest of our lives! That is something to get excited about. I am not trying to cast doubt, but God forbid we assume that just because we mouthed a prayer and acknowledged the four spiritual laws that we somehow slipped in without being converted, redeemed, and regenerated by the Spirit in our lives.
Ron Phillips, Unexplained Mysteries of Heaven and Earth: Surprising Insights about Our World and beyond (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2013).