I. What Kind Of Power?

Kenneth Kantzer: Virtually all Christians accept the biblical notion of the power of the Holy Spirit. Just what sort of power are we talking about?

Russ Spittler: I have been helped to think about the power of the Holy Spirit in the sense of capacity—a kind of reservoir of potential energy. The power of the Spirit is a resource from God that might be tapped or might be utilized and applied in various ways.

James Packer: Whenever I hear it said that God gives us power “to use” or “to draw upon,” my hackles rise, because it seems so clear to me that the New Testament teaches us to think of the Spirit and his ministry in terms of a personal sovereignty whereby he uses us, not we him.

My frame of reference here is the Spirit’s personhood and mission. He is a person sent to us to glorify Jesus: to exhibit Christ, to make him known to people, and to bring them into fellowship with him. We can’t talk about the power of the Spirit to any purpose outside this frame of reference.

With this I would highlight the Holy Spirit as change agent. He changes us internally first by opening our eyes to reality—the reality of God, of Christ, of our sin and need, of the spiritual realm, of the demonic, and so on; and then, through uniting us to Christ, he changes us motivationally and dispositionally at the center of our being, so that the desires and attitudes of Christ in his incarnate life on earth are reproduced in us. This is the literal new creation that begins the process of character change called sanctification, whereby we are made more and more like the Lord.

Doxology, which means giving praise and glory to God, is central to this new life. The new person in Christ has ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Issue: