God is Spirit. John testifies to this in John 2.24. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NKJV) On our own, we cannot do this. It is impossible. Only the Spirit of God can testify to our spirit with truth about Jesus, the gospel and God’s plan for his creation for eternity. “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8. 16,17 ESV
While Jesus was here on earth, in intimate relationship with his chosen disciples, the apostles, they were only temporarily for a few days filled with the Holy Spirit when they were sent out to do God’s work. Not until Jesus ascended and Pentecost came, did they understand the truth of everything he had taught them. They weren’t in the dark totally as they had intellectual knowledge, but their spirit had not been reborn, renewed. Jesus knew this well, so he told them in advance of what was to come. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…” John 16.7, 8 NKJV
Jesus goes on to clarify what is the renewing work of the Holy Spirit. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. And all that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16.13-15 ESV
Jesus makes it profoundly clear during his encounter with Nicodemus that every person has to be born again. Because of the Fall, we as sinful beings, are separated from God until this new birth comes about. ‘Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He went on to say… “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3.7, 8 ESV
I was convicted at 12 years of age in a Baptist church in Franklin, Tennessee. One morning, I was compelled to go forward and dedicate my life to Jesus and receive salvation. I was baptized and spent the next 20 years pretty well living with one foot in the world and one foot in God’s kingdom. But as the Lord would have it, one Sunday in Dallas, Texas, a pastor delivered a sermon that convicted me once and for all. I know for certain that the Spirit of God came into my life that night when I repented, and from that day on truth literally leapt off the page. I could sense that my sins have been forgiven once and for all. I was born again. What is your Holy Spirit story?