As Christians, we understand that salvation is not a matter of earning God’s favour by our own effort. Rather it is transferring our trust from what we can do to what Jesus Christ has already done. But, the Bible which says that we are not saved by good works, also says that we are saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). This means that God who saved us from the penalty of sin wants to change us -to remove the sinful habits and selfish attitudes in our lives so that we can become more like His Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). This is what it means to live Christian life. It would be impossible to achieve this on our own, hence, the Gift of the Holy Spirit to empower us.
Living the life in the Holy Spirit means co-operating with the Holy Spirit in us to be Christians that we are. It means depending on him and yielding ourselves to him.
The Bible teaches that that there are three kinds of man, namely:
- The Natural Man – One who has not received Christ (1Cor 2:14);
- The Carnal Man – One who has received Christ, but who lives in defeat because he is trying to live the Christian life in his own strength (1Cor. 3:1-3). He is either uninformed about, or has forgotten God’s love, forgiveness, and power (Rom. 5:8-10; Heb. 10:1-25;1 John 1; 1 John 2:1-3; 2 Pet. 1:9; Acts 1:8). He has an up-and-down spiritual experience. He cannot understand himself – he wants to do what is right, but cannot. He fails to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. The carnal man is ignorant of his spiritual heritage, disobedient, devoid of love for God and man. He lacks desire for prayer and Bible study. He is legalistic and exhibits the works of flesh. (1 Cor. 3:1-3; Rom. 7:15-24; 8:7; Gal. 5:16-18). He does not live his life in the Holy Spirit, but in the flesh.
- The Spiritual Man – One who is directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 2:15). The life of the Spiritual man is Christ – centred, in constant communion with God, empowered by the Holy Spirit and marked by godliness and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He delights in God’s word, trusts and obeys him. The spiritual man is differentiated from the carnal man by the place the Holy Spirit occupies in his life. To be a spiritual Christian is to live the life in the Holy Spirit, and it entails being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), living by the Spirit and … not gratifying the desires of the sinful nature (Gal. 5:16), keeping in step with the Spirit (Gal.5:25) and being controlled by the Spirit (Rom. 8:9).
The spiritual man is the Christian who lives his life in the Holy Spirit.
The Ven. Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.