November 2023 | Persecution: The First Martyr—Stephen

Holy Spirit and and the Joy of Salvation

Holy Spirit and and the Joy of Salvation

Pr. P. T. Thomas

Every conversion involves a power encounter. The whole world remains under the evil one and every unsaved person is held captive by the forces of darkness and evil. But only few realize this stark reality. The god of this world keeps the minds of the unbelievers blinded. Satan does not allow man to think about his own helpless condition of being ruled over by evil. If he opens his mind, and he will find himself pursuing the path of sin he earnestly wants to avoid. As long as he remains spiritually blinded, he does not admit that he does things which he himself does not approve of. This blinding mantle over human mind is the work of the devil.

Satan is keen to keep the blinding mantle untampered and intact. For that he brings in many captivating things to keep man ‘busy and engaged’ so that man does not get a break to consider his real pitiable predicament. Entertainments, sensual pleasures, materialism, the pomp and pride of life, the craving for professional excellence and myriads of other wares are plentifully provided in the vanity fair of the world to keep man engraved in the affairs of this world. Man is cunningly kept away from considering his eternal destiny. If and when someone remaining under such a powerful spell realizes his own pitiful condition, there must be the intervention of a mere powerful spiritual force. It surely is the Holy Spirit of God in operation in his life. This is why it is said that every conversion is a power encounter.

The Convicting Spirit

The first step towards salvation is one realizing and acknowledging his lost sinful condition. It is natural for every man to justify himself, however blatant his guilt is. This innate tendency is the greatest obstacle to avail the grace of God. It is only by the operation of the Holy Spirit can anyone overcome this hindrance and reach out to God. He convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). Do not think that the Holy Spirit ministers only among believers. God is concerned about every human being. This convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit reaches out to the world at large. God loves the whole mankind, even the atheists and criminals. So, the Holy Spirit deals with everyone without prejudice. It is affected through the human conscience and incidents. But the Holy Spirit won’t force anyone. The appeal of the Spirit can be accepted or rejected. Those who refuse to respond to the moving of the Spirit can’t get convicted of his lost state. The pity is that the majority of mankind remain stubborn and insensitive to the dealing the Holy Spirit. Some take refuse in excuses and refuse to get convicted.

Guilty Feeling and Conviction

The convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be confusing with the nagging guilty feeling. Satan may bring guilty feelings to ruin the peace of mind of the people. It may lead one to despair, self-contempt and even suicide. But the experience of conviction effected by the ministry of the Holy Spirit causes godly sorrow, humility and submissiveness. While guilty feelings harden one’s heart and sinks his mind in the slough of despair, conviction effected by the Holy Spirit breaks his heart and makes him to cry out for help. Guilty feeling shuts up one’s mind and makes him an introvert. On the other hand, conviction opens one’s mind to confession leading to comfort. Guilty feeling relates to the sinful deeds one has committed. But conviction relates to one’s corrupt inner condition. The former causes regret, despair and self-abhorrence. The latter effects a sense of helplessness and one wishes that his inner state was different. Guilty feeling prompts one to run away from the predicament, while conviction yearns for an inward change. It makes one to look to God and cry out for mercy.

Righteousness and Judgment

Within the purview of the conviction effected by the Holy Spirit come not only one’s sinful state, but the righteousness of God and the judgment to come as well. The righteousness of God made perfect in the propitiatory death of Jesus Christ is clearly revealed to those who respond to the call of the Holy Spirit. God’s judgment on sin too was executed in the today of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. Clear revelation of these great divine truths is implied in the conviction given by the Holy Spirit. The witness of the Holy Spirit about the saving grace of Jesus Christ brings hope and comfort to the broken heart of the convicted person. It makes him to put his trust in the Lord and believe Him whole heartedly. This experience of salvation brings great joy and comfort in one’s life. The sorrow of conviction gives way to the joy of salvation. The broken heart feels the balm of healing.

The Witness of the Holy Spirit

O! the wonderful change that salvation brings in our life! Our status and standing before God changes. The ‘eyes, of our hearts’ get brightened and we stout seeing things in the light of eternity. The Holy Spirit who had convicted us of our sinful state effects the experience of re-birth through the Word of God. Our feels that he has ushered into the glorious presence of God Almighty. A cordial, intimate, personal relationship with God gets established. God is no longer a monster-figure seeking every chance to punish us for the least displeasing act. He is our loving heavenly Father willing to forgive us and restore us if we confess our follies with a contrite, believing heart. A filial relationship is cherished by us. The Spirit of God stars indwelling us and guides us into all truths and strengthens us to face and overcome all odds that way come our way. He is our resident Comforter and witnesses to our spirit that we are children of God. Being God’s children, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).

Seated in Heavenly Places

To a faithful child of God, heaven and heavenly blessings are no longer a strange and alien realm or a mirage. We are citizens of heaven and our inheritance is in heaven. We are liberated from the deceitful rule of the devil and are in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not material blessings like abundance of provisions or riches. It is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When a convicted sinner is declared righteous his joy would know no bounds. Without experiencing the grief of conviction and utter helplessness, no one can enjoy the joy of salvation. The reality of judgment and the unrelenting righteousness of God causes godly fear. It makes one realize the need of a savior. As one meets the compassionate, able Savior in the person of Christ crucified, he sheds tears of joy and submits himself in faith. He starts rejoicing in the Savior in whom he is made righteous. Peace that passesall understandingreigns in his heart. The over-whelming joy of the Lord brims over in his inner person. He starts experiencing the joy of heaven here in this life. The people of the world may have pleasures; but real joy evades them. It is observed that modern man spends scores of money and time to keep  himself happy than he spends for his bodily needs. Yet, he fails to find it. Uncertainty of the future and anxiety haunts him day and night. But the joy of salvation and hope of the glorious future lights up even the valley of the shadow of death to a child of God. While the world expects a hopeless end, we have an endless hope. Let us rejoice in the glorious hope to come. •

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