Much like our current culture, morality in the Roman Empire was very low. Paul recognized that perfection is impossible, but striving to be holy is not. In 1 Thessalonians 4:7 Paul says, For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Allowing sin to run unabated in our lives leads to harsh consequences; physically, emotionally, and Spiritually. Only through trusting in God and leading of the Holy Spirit can we combat the desire for sin in our lives.
When the Holy Spirit came over the believers, it created confusion. The people questioned what had happened and what they should do. Peter stands up and says in Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” After Peter said this, there was no more confusion as to who Jesus really was. The apostles already knew the truth and many others believed, but this is where the Church and outward ministry of believers really started with the Holy Spirit and our ability to be led through Him.
When we accept Christ we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And just like we cannot control our physical birth, we cannot control our spiritual birth. In John 3:8 Jesus explains to Nicodemus how the Holy Spirit works in us, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” The Spirit will move in us in ways we cannot predict or control. The secret is to allow it to happen and follow His guidance in our lives.
God is not unclear about what we must do to keep His commands; keep His words close to our heart and obediently follow them. Proverbs 7:1 says, My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. There is only one way to do this and it is to be in God’s word and apply it to our lives. We must constantly turn to God and remind ourselves of what it means to be righteous. We will often fail, but God does not expect perfection, He expects effort and trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us to be obedient.
Discretion is the ability to tell right from wrong. Proverbs 2:11 says, Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Discretion and understanding help us detect the evil motives of men and women. For some people discretion comes naturally, but for most it is developed over time using the Holy Spirit to make wise decisions.
As we talked about a couple of days ago in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, all scripture comes from God. It may be written by men, but the words are inspired by God Himself. In 2 Peter 1:21 Peter says, 21 For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Men who were carried by the will of God through the Holy Spirit living in them drove the actions of the men in scripture. And it is these inspired men who helped produce the words of God shared in scripture.
Our sin nature will always be a force in our lives. It will always want to push us into doing the things we know are wrong even when we know the potential to hurt us. In Romans 7:15 Paul says I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Without the power of the Holy Spirit in us to change, and the grace of God through Jesus Christ, we would forever face a losing battle. Praise God for showing us grace and giving us a a path to salvation.
Because of Christ we are brand new people. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! The Holy Spirit lives in us and gives us new life. We are no longer the same. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated; we are re-created.
Our bodies were created to honor God and to be in a relationship with Him. When we accept Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit lives in us. We are no longer our own, we are one with Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. 20 you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body. We are not expected to be perfect, but we are expected to do all we can to honor God with our bodies in all we do. Just as a temple is holy, so are we supposed to be holy as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
When we accept Christ into our lives God chooses to live in us through the Holy Spirit. We become the temple the He lives in 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? By recognizing God’s presence in our lives we are able to do all God intended through us.