Holy Spirit and Spiritual Renewal

Posted by donna on February 1, 2017

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The Apostle Paul reveals the secret of Holy Spirit renewal in Romans 12:1-12 - “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)

Paul took 11 chapters to outline what God’s grace means to us, His children. It is all the work of God for His elect. It is Paul’s manner to begin with doctrine and move to practice, and he does so here. Paul makes it clear that we have a vital role to play in living out this grace, and it is to our spiritual benefit to obey God’s injunctions to us.

First Paul says, we are to display the grace of God so freely given to us in a way that the world can see it. We are to do so whole-heartedly. It is as if we were sacrificing ourselves for the gospel. It will take great effort; at great cost. Just as the sacrifice of Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin was at great cost. It is a most dramatic, yet realistic picture of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Jesus said we are to take up our cross and follow Him daily if we are to be His disciples. If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us at the judgment. These are hard words, but again, a stark reality of what it means to be a true believer (Mark 8:34-38).

Secondly, it means we must deny ourselves the comfort and benefit of conformity to this world’s system of thinking and motives. We must have a value system that is not world centred. The result will be that we can discern what the mind of Christ is in every situation. This gives us a confidence (not an arrogance) to live transformed lives.  When tolerance and licence is the new morality in our western world, true believers will stand out when they do not conform. There is a cost to pay. The persecuted Church understands that cost all too well. That may be why they experience renewal.  What is the role of the indwelling Spirit of God in this process? It is vital. As the Spirit of God indwells and informs, He also compels us to turn from this world to the true nature of Christ, which is holiness. “Be holy as He is holy.” (1 Peter 1:15)

The Holy Spirit is the transforming power that captures our spirits to inform our souls to deny the flesh and to live and keep in step with Him. We become ‘slaves’ to the person of the Spirit rather than ‘slaves to sin’ (Romans 6).  In doing so we can hear His clear voice, discern what is perfectly in line with the heart and mind of God, and have the courage to live it out. This is true revival and it will bring the power of God in renewal to the Church and to our society.

 “So, what is true revival? It is not revivalism, not individualism, not emotionalism, and not idealism.  True revival is marked by a rediscovery of the Word of God, a restored sense of the fear of God, a return to God through confession and repentance, a renewed spiritual commitment and accountability and finally, a reformation of true piety.  If this is the longing of your heart, preachers, get preaching; and everyone, start praying.” - Kevin DeYoung


Willem Fietje

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