Matthew 12:28 – “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
The Evangelical Christian church is oftentimes guilty of believing in a very incomplete picture of God. We baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and claim to believe that God is three-in-one, but many of us are practicing heretics based on what we believe of the Holy Spirit.
In the church today, we have two very opposing viewpoints (extremes) of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. One side of the pendulum is the belief that the Holy Spirit is very active in the church and in believers’ lives to the point where confusion and disorder are sometimes the result. Barking, being slain in the spirit, and holy laughter are oftentimes the charismatic gifts that people believe happen to those indwelt by the Spirit.
On the other end of the spectrum is the belief that the work of the Spirit ceased after the church was born. These people may go so far as to say the Holy Spirit inspired God’s Word, so we do not need the Spirit anymore for us to know and follow Jesus. Obviously, these are the extremes of both sides; and as is oftentimes the case, the truth must be found somewhere in between.
We must believe a number of things about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He has knowledge (Isaiah 11:2), feeling (Isaiah 63:10, Ephesians 4:30), and a will (1 Corinthians 12:11). He was sent by the Father and by Jesus to be the counselor, or the helper who would convict the world of sin and unrighteousness, and remind the world of all Jesus said. The Spirit leads people “into all the truth” (John 16:13) and shows us the truth of God’s character through the Word of God (2 Peter 2:1). The Holy Spirit is seen as very active in the forming of the New Testament church, as the primary role of the Spirit is to point people to Jesus, who is the way to God, the Father. The Holy Spirit calls believers to salvation and regenerates their hearts to give them the ability to have faith and believe in God. As believers who have the Holy Spirit within us, the Spirit is speaking. The Spirit is leading. He is not a passive Spirit that submits himself to our wills. He is a Spirit that actively leads and directs and convicts so that we would walk as redeemed children of God. Therefore, when there is sin within us as believers, there will also be a battle.
Francis Chan said that the Holy Spirit is the “forgotten God.” This is very true, as the Holy Spirit has been such a polarizing figure for many people in the church. So many people have not seen the Holy Spirit “practiced” (as they put it) the right way. They have seen so many examples of abuse of so-called charismatic works of the Spirit that they end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. While this is not specifically what it means to commit “blasphemy against the Spirit” as we see in Matthew 12:31, this is quenching the Spirit of God as Paul describes it in 1 Thessalonians 5:19. Many of us are practicing heretics who quench the Spirit.
It is time we stopped forming our theology around our bad experiences and start forming our theology on what the Word of God actually teaches. The Holy Spirit is real, is trying to be active in our lives, and is the power of God at work in us. Keep allowing your bad experiences to form and shape your view of the Holy Spirit, and watch how the Holy Spirit will play no role in your life. He will continue to be the “Forgotten God.”